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TRAVEL BLOG

Ritz Paris Opens After 4-Year Remodel

The Ritz Paris is celebrating its 2016 reopening after an unprecedented four year renovation.

The project cost an estimated €400m (~$500m US), well over the initial estimate of €140m (source).

The legendary hotel was founded by Swiss entrepreneur César Ritz in 1898, and is the basis of the meaning “ritzy.” The hotel is famed as the stomping ground of figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway. You’ll find a dedicated Coco Chanel Suite, and Hemingway Bar in their honor.

The bar is aptly named in Hemingway's honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.

The bar is aptly named in Hemingway’s honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.

The hotel now features the world’s first Chanel branded spa; an underground swimming pool with 800,000 mosaic tiles, and a revamp of the interior detailing that is iconic to the Ritz: delicate silks, draped curtains and gilded mirrors.

Lobby
The bar is aptly named in Hemingway’s honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.
“When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz,” Hemingway once said of the hotel.

Coco Chanel Suite inspired by Coco Chanel, who lived at the Ritz for decades

Coco Chanel Suite inspired by Coco Chanel, who lived at the Ritz for decades

The legendary hotel opened its 71 opulent rooms and 71 suites including 15 one-of-a-kind Prestige Suites. It features three restaurants, three bars (including famed Bar Hemingway) and gorgeous gardens and terraces with retractable roofs. The historic Salon Proust offers Ritz afternoon tea, while the Ritz Club, with its indoor pool and modern fitness center, welcomes CHANEL au Ritz Paris, the exclusive area dedicated to the art of CHANEL skin care. A discreet tunnel is available for completely private guest arrivals and departures.

Ritz Paris Fine Dining Restaurant, L'Espadon

Ritz Paris Fine Dining Restaurant, L’Espadon

 

The Piscine at the luxurious Ritz Paris, featuring over 800,000 mosaic tiles

Le Piscine at the luxurious Ritz Paris, featuring over 800,000 mosaic tiles

Visit our specials page for exclusive offers for your Ritz Paris stay, exclusively available through Santa Barbara Travel Bureau

 

Contact Corinne Hart by calling 805.969.7746 or email chart@sbtravel.com

World Cruise 2018: La Grande Bellezza

180 Days Traveling the World in Luxury and Comfort

121 Days Traveling the World in Luxury and Comfort

It is, indeed, a beautiful world and this magnificent voyage from Los Angeles to Rome casts a spotlight on all of its richness — mesmerizing landscapes like the blue lagoons of Polynesia and splendors of New Zealand. Ancient wonders from Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal to the epic monuments that straddle the banks of the Red Sea.

Silversea Sydney

Silver Whisper in front of the Sydney Opera House

The ingenuity of modern-day man is also on display: Sydney’s Opera House, the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur, the soaring skylines of Singapore and Hong Kong, forever competing in a global race skyward. La Grande Bellezza was designed to encompass priceless treasures like these. Although the ultimate prize may be more metaphysical — the pampered indulgence of your butler, the intimate ship and highly personalised service, the luxury of your spacious suite and culinary excellence and diversity of the cuisine — the joy of a Silversea journey, itself.

Seven Seas Explorer Embarks on Christening Voyage

Through the partnership of Santa Barbara Travel and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the CEO of Santa Barbara Travel was invited aboard the first voyage of Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer, before the invitation-only Christening Voyage. Recognized industry-wide as “The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Ever Built,” expectations are running high, but we have no doubt they will be exceeded. The round-trip voyage out of Monte Carlo will be making port visits to Portofino, Livorno, Ibiza, Barcelona, and St. Rafael before returning to Monte Carlo.

Follow us on Facebook for live updates of the trip!

About the Seven Seas Explorer

New Regent Seven Seas Explorer

New Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Seven Seas Explorer is spaciously intimate, breathlessly elegant and perfectly staffed to offer Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ special brand of all-inclusive luxury. She will bring elegance and glamour to the world’s greatest destinations, offering exquisite dining options that rival those of the finest restaurants ashore and all-suite, all-balcony accommodations boasting the largest balconies at sea.

 

“If you are going to deliver on the promise that this is the Most Luxurious Cruise Ship ever built, there’s a myriad of variables that have to be taken into account, and one of them is the actual materials used,” says Frank del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines. How does that translate into a luxury cruise ship? To start, sleep in a $150,000 bed, play a one-of-a-kind $500,000 Steinway grand piano in your living room, and enjoy in-room spa treatments. Take a full tour of the Regent Suite in the video below.

Highlights on the ship include the state of the art Culinary Arts Kitchen, incredible entertainment, world class luxury suites, extraordinary service, culinary experiences that rival the best on-shore restaurants, top-notch shore excursions, and did we mention, all Regent Seven Seas Cruises are truly all-inclusive?

Regent Seven Seas Explorer Main Lobby

Regent Seven Seas Explorer Main Lobby. Over 1 acre of marble and 1 acre of granite used throughout the vessle

See all the Inside Details on the Seven Seas Explorer

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco will christen the Seven Seas Explorer® on July 13, 2016. Watch the historic ceremony and grand celebration live from Monte Carlo at 2:45 PM (EST) on ExplorerChristening.com

Watch the Christening Ceremony

Talk to our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre, about his recent trip on the Seven Seas Explorer. Contact him by emailing charlesd@sbtravel.com

Advisor Trip: Holland America’s new Koningsdam Ship

Janet Morton is amongst our most experienced travel advisors. This Spring, she was invited aboard the newest addition to the Holland America fleet, Koningsdam. Below, she shares her impressions of the new ship, as well as highlights and suggestions for each city along the way. 

SHIP HIGHLIGHTS

The Koningsdam is certainly the new King of the Holland America fleet, aptly named as “Koning” means “king” in Dutch. The new ship was impressive. Modern technology upgrades make the trip comfortable; the restaurant options are expanded; the spa is the most deluxe I have seen on a cruise ship, and the music-themed ship certainly delivers on both entertainment and décor.

The onboard entertainment is good, appealing to both solo travelers and families. Favorite entertainment options of mine included a Jazz lounge, classical music area, big evening shows, a new glass roofed Lido Deck where evening movies are screened, diverse dining options, and a huge theatre. On days we were at sea, we spent our time by the pool.

Pool area aboard the

Pool area aboard the Koningsdam

 

LAND HIGHLIGHTS

Naples is always a favorite cruise stop of mine, as there is a lot to do quite easily. You can go to the ancient city of Pompeii, the charming coastal town of Sorrento, tour the Amalfi Coast, or take a boat to Capri, each in a day’s visit. I visited Pompeii, an incredible archeological site that captures this Roman city exactly as it was before Mt. Vesuvius erupted.

Elaborate Sign in Pompeii that Translates to "Beware of Dog"

Elaborate Sign in Pompeii that Translates to “Beware of Dog”

In Granada, I joined the offered shore excursion to visit The Alhambra, a castle with Moorish architecture. I typically go off on my own, given my travel experience, but I chose the offered Shore Excursion to The Alhambra. Unless you rent a car, it is quite difficult to get there yourself, and we were happy to join the group for the day. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly, the weather was great, and lunch was included. It was busy, but still enjoyable.

The Courtyard of the Alhambra, the regional  "Taj Majal"

The Courtyard of the Alhambra, the regional “Taj Majal”

The itinerary was well planned, allowing for two days in the city of Barcelona. While there are plenty of shore excursions (up to 20 to 30 at each port), I chose to walk Barcelona. With the quirky art and architecture of the city, maze-like streets, fantastic restaurants, it is a city meant to be experienced up close. Already I am planning a trip with more time in this city, a passion sparked by our introduction on this cruise.

The Port of Gibraltar was an incredible day with a visit to the most interesting airport in the world and the Rock of Gibraltar. If you go anywhere, you’ll have no choice but to drive through the airport, literally. The main road goes right through the runway, and when a plane comes in, stoplights stop traffic on either side, a crew cleans the runway, and a plane lands right in front of you.

The Rock of Gibraltar (left) and Gibraltar Airport stop light (right)

The Rock of Gibraltar (left) and Gibraltar Airport stop light (right)

The Rock of Gibraltar peaks at 1398 feet, and is formed from Early Jurassic limestone and dolomites. There is a tram that takes you up, and the view over the ocean is unbelievable. The Barbary Macaques, or “monos,” are the resident monkeys and quite a scene!

Each port city is such a treat, and it can be difficult to choose from the many wonderful options. It is good to remember that cruises are an opportunity to explore many places without checking in, checking out, and navigating to each city. In fact, this trip has already inspired another to Spain!

To talk about Holland America, Spain or Italy, reach out to Janet Morton by email at jmorton@sbtravel.com