Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes
"Travelers411" Radio Show - February 27, 2010 - Show Archive

New York Times Travel Show 2010; Tequila 1921; Jalisco, Mexico; Specialty Travel Agents Association; Singles Travel; Connemara Heritage Centre and Dan O'Hara House; Harlequin Hotels and Resorts; Mexicana Airlines; Bay Gardens Beach Resort St. Lucia; Baja California Sur, Sea of Cortez, Los Cabos, Mexico.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is hosting the “Travelers411” Radio Show at the New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Visit www.travelers411.com/nytts for details about this years 2010 New York Times Travel Show.

If you have questions about the show or would like to leave comments, visit the Travelers411 New York Times Travel Show discussion forum here.

Sabrams.com and Travelers411 Booth at New York Times Travel Show 2010. Featuring booth design by Persistent Visions and Furnishings by NYLO Hotels in Warwick, RI.
Sabrams.com and Travelers411 Booth at New York Times Travel Show 2010. Featuring booth design by Persistent Visions and Furnishings by NYLO Hotels in Warwick, RI.

Stephanie calls the New York Times Travel Show a “World's Fair of travel for the consumer.” Many other travel shows are open only to travel professionals: meeting planners, travel agents, tour operators, and wholesalers. Wholesalers, Stephanie explains, specialize in aggregating and negotiating hotel rooms, car rentals, and other services that can be bought in bulk and packaged. They make these packages available exclusively to travel agents because agencies can move the product.


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Radio Host Stephanie Abrams welcomes Anahi Rivera, Regional Manager for Tequila 1921 in San Antonio, Texas.

Anashi Rivera with Casa 1921 and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams
Anashi Rivera with Casa 1921 and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams.

Tequila 1921 is made in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. Since the agave used in Tequila 1921 is grown in the Jalisco highlands, the spirit has a sweeter, more unique flavor, explains Anahi. Tequila 1921 has only been on the market for 12 years, but it's bottled in replicas of an historic bottle found on the grounds of the company's hacienda. The bottle was found during renovations among antiques from the Mexican Revolution. The company decided to replicate the bottle and call its tequila 1921.

1921 Tequila
1921 Tequila.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1368

For more information visit http://www.tequila1921.com


Link to this segment

On the “Travelers411” Radio Show, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams talks specialty travel with Donna Kujat, Vice President of the Specialty Travel Agents Association.

The STAA was founded three years ago by Sandra McDowell, herself a travel agent who specialized in France. She found that many travel agents who took the time to get certified as specialty agents were unsure of how to market themselves to consumers.

Donna Kujat
Donna Kujat.

Sandra's response was to create a website with a comprehensive specialty agent search feature. Consumers can search for specialty travel agents who represent over 150 destinations.

Stephanie observes that consumers can “drown themselves” in information from the Internet and “still not know what they ought to be seeing.” Donna agrees, using the example of a customer who wants to go to Paris. “You can't just Google it,” she says. “Well, you can, but you'll get thousands of websites.” Using a specialty travel agent means you're talking to a professional expert on a destination, someone who can tell you where to stay and eat and what to see.

Jamaica's Dunns River Falls
Jamaica's Dunns River Falls.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1369

For more information visit http://www.specialtytravelagents.com


Link to this segment

Sheryl Weinberger, Owner of Best Single Travel, visits the “Travelers411” Radio Show. Sheryl explains to Travel Expert and Radio Host Stephanie Abrams how Best Single Travel helps single travelers avoid extra fees.

Sheryl Weinberger, Owner of Best Single Travel
Sheryl Weinberger, Owner of Best Single Travel.

Tour and cruise prices are usually based on double occupancy. If you travel without a companion, you'll often wind up paying double. On a cruise, for example, you pay for the whole cabin, whether both beds are occupied or not. Other tour or cruise operators will assign roommates to single travelers, so you have to bunk with a stranger and hope to make friends.

Sheryl Weinberger started Best Single Travel three years ago because she was “single and had no one to travel with.” The company offers cruises, tours, and vacations for solo travelers all over the world, but specializes in tours to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Sheryl and her team have negotiated rates that provide affordable accommodations for singles.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge as seen on a California Wine Cruise
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge as seen on a California Wine Cruise.

If you don't mind a roommate, Best Single Travel will match you with another traveler and offers chat rooms, so you can get to know them ahead of time.

If you want to bunk alone, Best Single Travel offers single travel at a lower cost than the usual “single supplement” fee.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1370

For more information visit http://www.bestsingletravel.com


Link to this segment

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is serenaded by the “broken-hearted farmer Dan O'Hara” as the “Travelers411” Radio Show broadcasts live from the New York Times Travel Show. It turns out to be Martin Walsh, Founder of the Connemara Heritage Centre and Dan O'Hara House in County Galway, Ireland.

Image Placeholder
Martin Walsh dressed as Dan O'Hara with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the 2010 New York Times Travel Show.

For the travel show, Martin has dressed up as Dan O'Hara, who “had a very trying life.” Dan was evicted from his Connemara cottage, and left Ireland for America in 1845 with his wife and seven children. Unfortunately, his wife and three of the children died on the journey. Once the family arrived in New York, the four remaining children were fostered out to other families, and Dan found a job selling matches. He died a “broken-hearted man” a few years later, explains Martin.

Image Placeholder
Martin Walsh dressed as Dan O'Hara in Midtown NYC.

Visitors to the Connemara Heritage Centre and Dan O'Hara House can learn more about Dan's native land and watch a video about his story. “Everything is there,” says Martin. “Accommodation, something to eat…so if you want to stay your whole holiday, that's okay.” He offers visitors “cead mile failte,” or “a hundred thousand welcomes” in Irish.

The Connemara Heritage bed and breakfast
The Connemara Heritage bed and breakfast.

Stephanie agrees that the bed & breakfast facilities at the centre are “immaculate, with wood floors. They're not over-the-top frilly, but very comfortable and lovely.” She adds that the centre has a “great gift shop” where you'll find one-of-a-kind items.

Martin Walsh dressed as Dan O'Hara
Martin Walsh dressed as Dan O'Hara with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the 2010 New York Times Travel Show.

Stephanie suggests that visitors use Connemara as a base for exploring Galway, and that American visitors return home via the Shannon airport, where passengers go through immigration before flying, so “you can actually get through the line.”

Dan O'Hara Photo Galleries on Travelers411:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=245
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=255
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=265

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1371

For more information visit http://www.connemaraheritage.com


Guests Include:

Anahi Rivera, Regional Director, Tequila 1921.
www.tequila1921.com

Donna Kujat, Vice President and Editor, Specialty Travel Agents Association.
www.specialtytravelagents.com

Sheryl Weinberger, Owner, Best Single Travel.
www.singlestravel-agent.com
www.bestsingletravel.com

Martin Walsh, Founder, Connemara Heritage & History Centre and Dan O'Hara Homestead, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.
www.connemaraheritage.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

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Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is imagining palm trees as she talks to Joerg Roterberg on the “Travelers411” Radio Show. Joerg Roterberg is Vice President of Operations for Harlequin Hotels and Resorts.

Joerg Roterberg, Harlequin Hotels and Resorts with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the 2010 NYTTS.
Joerg Roterberg, Harlequin Hotels and Resorts with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the 2010 NYTTS.

Harlequin will be opening its first property, the 5-star Buccament Bay Resort, on St Vincent in July 2010. The property is named after the valley where it's located. Historically, “buccament” referred to the place where a river was dammed to store water.

Harlequin is also working on a second property, the Marquis Estate, on the east coast of St Lucia.

Joerg says that Harlequin is very fortunate to have great investors, but the company's most important feature is its partners. Harlequin has joined forces with brands like Trader Vick's, ESPA spas, Gary Player, Pat Cash, and the Liverpool Football Club.

Joerg Roterberg, Harlequin Hotels and Resorts with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the 2010 NYTTS.
caption

Buccament Bay and the Marquis Estate will feature a Gary Player hotel and golf course, a Pat Cash tennis academy, and a Liverpool Football Club football academy. (“In the U.S., you'd call it soccer,” explains Joerg.) The football academy will bring stars from European clubs to train guests and even scout local talent. Harlequin also offers a performing arts academy, where guests of all ages can learn to sing, dance, and act like a Broadway star.

This is an “unusual experience wrapped up in the most beautiful location,” says Stephanie. “Clearly what they have planned is magnificent.”

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1226

For more information visit http://www.harlequinhotelsandresorts.com


Link to this segment

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams talks to Paloma Arias of Mexicana Airlines next on the “Travelers411” Radio Show.

Paloma explains that Mexicana operates in more than 18 gateways in the U.S. and Canada, including New York City, Chicago, Miami, San Antonio, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, and San Francisco. There are nonstop flights from most gateway cities to Mexico City. From there, passengers can connect to other cities or beach destinations.

Paloma Arias, Mexican Airlines
Paloma Arias, Mexican Airlines, speaking with Stephanie Abrams at the New York Times Travel Show in 2010.

Mexicana also has several nonstop flight options. From JFK in NYC, Mexicana offers two daily nonstop flights to Mexico City, one daily nonstop flight to Cancun, and a nonstop flight to Monterrey, which continues to Guadalajara. From Chicago, Mexicana offers nonstop flights to Mexico City and Cancun. From Los Angeles, Mexicana has nonstop flights to Los Cabos, Cancun, Mexico City, and Guadalajara.

Paloma Arias, Mexican Airlines
Paloma Arias, Mexican Airlines, speaking with Stephanie Abrams at the New York Times Travel Show in 2010.

Travelers should choose Mexicana because it has the “best service in-flight,” says Paloma. “We're still an old-school airline, but with modern technology.” She explains that in coach class, Mexicana offers a choice of hot meals, free entertainment, and complimentary non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages through the “Mexicana Mix” service. “It's like having your own bartender at 35,000 feet,” exclaims Stephanie.

Image Placeholder
Mexicana Airlines Photo Gallery on Trvaelers411.com

In business class, Mexicana offers personal entertainment systems. Passengers can watch pre-recorded TV shows and movies and even play video games as they fly.

Travelers411 Photo Gallery:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=266

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1372

For more information visit http://www.mexicana.com


Link to this segment

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes her old friend Berthia Parle to the “Travelers411” Radio Show. Berthia is a former President of the Caribbean Hotel Association and currently General Manager of the Bay Gardens hotels in Rodney Bay, St Lucia.

Berthia Parle
Berthia Parle with Stephanie Abrams at the New York Times Travel Show in 2010.

“The weather's horrible in New York, but it is hot in St Lucia,” says Berthia, urging Stephanie to decamp to the Caribbean. Not only is the weather nice, but the people of St Lucia are the “friendliest,” Berthia insists.

Berthia is at the New York Times Travel Show with the St Lucia Tourist Board to represent Bay Gardens. Bay Gardens has three hotels: the 4-star luxury Bay Gardens Beach Resort, the medium-sized Bay Gardens Hotel, and the small, intimate Bay Gardens Inn. All three are located in the village of Rodney Bay, just steps away from shops and restaurants. The island's first casino is opening in July 2010, along with the new BayWalk Mall and a brand-new medical center.

Golf in St. Lucia
Golf in St. Lucia.

Bay Gardens is a great choice for everything from budget to luxury vacations, says Berthia, adding that their hotels cater particularly to families. During summer 2010, Bay Gardens Hotel has a special, with rooms from $65 U.S. per night.

Berthia explains that Bay Gardens also takes its corporate social responsibility seriously and has started outreach programs to feed, educate, and support the underprivileged and poor.

Distilleries in St. Lucia
St. Lucia Distellers Rum Factory Producer of Number 2 Best Rum in World.

“Come experience the true Caribbean,” says Berthia. “We'll give you the experience of a lifetime.”

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1373

For more information visit
http://www.baygardensbeachresort.com
http://www.baygardenshotel.com
http://www.baygardensinn.com


Link to this segment

Radio Host Stephanie Abrams is headed south of the border as she talks to Veronica Ruiz Chiu, Director of Marketing for the Baja California Sur Tourism Board on the “Travelers411” Radio Show.

Lic. Veronica Ruiz Chiu
Lic. Veronica Ruiz Chiu at the sabrams.com (Travelers411) booth at the 2010 new York Times Travel Show.

Baja California Sur is located on the southern end of the California peninsula in Mexico. The peninsula is separated from the Mexican mainland by the Sea of Cortez, which Jacques Cousteau famously called “the aquarium of the world.” (“It's not to be confused with the state of California in the U.S.!” says Stephanie.)

Lic. Veronica Ruiz Chiu
Lic. Veronica Ruiz Chiu at the sabrams.com (Travelers411) booth at the 2010 new York Times Travel Show.

Although it's nearly 1,000 miles south of the Mexico-U.S. border, Veronica says that it's easy to reach, with flights from all over the U.S. on 12 different airlines. Most visitors fly to Los Cabos, but they can also choose to arrive in La Paz or Loreto.

From New York City, for example, American Airlines offers a nonstop flight to Los Cabos. Passengers can connect to La Paz and Loreto through major American hubs like Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, or Los Angeles.

Lic. Veronica Ruiz Chiu
Lic. Veronica Ruiz Chiu at the sabrams.com (Travelers411) booth at the 2010 new York Times Travel Show.

Visitors can even sail to Baja California Sur. One of the state's most important attractions is its marinas, says Veronica. As guests sail the Sea of Cortez, they can stop off at marinas and enjoy the laundry and pool facilities, restaurants, and hotel accommodations. The “emerald waters” of the Sea of Cortez are “like a big swimming pool,” says Veronica, so it's great for snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, or just relaxing. She suggests that visitors start in Los Cabos and continue heading north up the coast to La Paz.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1374

For more information visit http://www.visitloscabos.com


Guests Include:

Joerg Roterberg, Vice President of Operations, Harlequin Hotels & Resorts.
www.harlequinhotelsandresorts.com

Paloma Arias, Sales Manager NYC, Mexicana Airlines.
www.mexicana.com

Berthia Parle, General Manager, Bay Gardens Resorts.
www.baygardensbeachresort.com

Veronica Ruiz Chiu, Director of Marketing, Baja California Sur Tourism Board, Mexico.
www.visitloscabos.com

Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes
Travelers411 Online Exclusive

Travelers411 Online Exclusive with Danny Hanley from Distinguished Hotels.
Visit the Travelers411 Online Exclusive homepage here.

Click here to visit the Travelers411 Distinguished Hotels Directory Listing.


Travelers411 Services Directory for US and International Travel - Distinguished Hotels Collection

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams had the pleasure of meeting Danny Hanley, Founder of Investor Relations and Acquisitions for Distinguished Hotels, at the New York Times Travel Show. Stephanie has visited several Distinguished Hotels properties and always has “great faith in their quality and having her expectations exceeded.”

Danny Hanley is also Owner of Le Grand Lodge at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, just outside of Montreal. Danny built Le Grand Lodge from the ground up in 1997 and opened the hotel in 1999. He intended it as a one-of-a-kind property that couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else in the world.

During the project, his financial partners introduced him to Bill Burruss, currently Managing Partner and President of Distinguished Hotels. Bill and Danny discovered that they shared a passion for boutique hotels. They established Distinguished Hotels to help boutique hotels around the world get the word out about their unique attributes.

There are currently 11 properties in the Distinguished Hotels group, including 4 in the U.K., 2 in Ireland, one in Italy, and one in Spain. The group also has ambassadors in Italy, Spain, western Canada, and South America, so Danny expects their growth to accelerate in the near future.

While in London, Stephanie visited the Cranley Hotel and Sir Christopher Wren's House, both Distinguished Hotels properties and “both lovely, charming, delightful places to stay,” she says. The Wren's House in particular captured her imagination because of its history and location in the shadow of Windsor Castle. “I felt like I was stepping into a period film, being at this serene manor house,” Stephanie says.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is also familiar with the two Distinguished Hotels properties in Ireland: the Glasson Hotel & Golf Club and the Mount Falcon Country House Hotel. Located between Galway and Dublin, the Glasson is “a wonderful place with wonderful owners, Tom and Breda Reid,” says Stephanie. And the Mount Falcon, she says, is “a fabulous place.”

“We want to make sure that all our properties have that kind of effect on the people who stay there,” says Danny. What makes a hotel a Distinguished Hotel? Danny explains that each property has something special to offer guests. For example, the Mount Falcon Country House Hotel has a golf course, beautiful grounds, and two miles of private river access for fishing on the River Moy. “It’s beautiful, steeped in history, and the whole family can go and vacation there,” says Danny.

While researching Distinguished Hotels, Stephanie was captivated by the Le Grand Lodge website. Danny says that the whole team contributed to it, but assures listeners that the experience of actually arriving at the hotel is “significantly superior” to anything they feel when looking at the website. He also reassures listeners that Distinguished Hotels' properties will provide that "wow" factor at every single member property.

Le Grand Lodge has a wilderness-themed appeal. Looking at pictures,  “you just know there’s a cheery fire in the fireplace,” says Stephanie. “Every day,” replies Danny, adding that they hold campfires on the beach when there’s a full moon. Le Grand Lodge has 100 full condominium suites, complete with balconies overlooking the lake, and 12 hotel rooms. Even though there are 112 suites spread out in a 13,000-square foot Scandinavian log building, there’s a fireplace in each guest room. The log cabin style, fireplaces, and staff create a feeling of intimacy, so the hotel feels much smaller, says Danny. He adds that although the hotel is 3.5 stories high, they built it into the hillside, so it looks as though it’s only 2 stories tall. “It really unfolds and reveals itself to you slowly,” observes Stephanie.

Most other Distinguished Hotels' properties are half the size of Le Grand Lodge. The Sir Christopher Wren House has 58 suites, while the Cannizaro House in Wimbledon has 46. Casa Angelina, on the Amalfi coast of Italy, has only 38 guest rooms.

Instead of looking for a certain number of rooms, Danny says, Distinguished Hotels looks for a particular concept and experience. While Danny Hanley and Bill Burruss have worked tirelessly to secure wonderful properties, they’ve also tried to assemble a great team, Danny explains, and they have great people from the bottom up.

For example, a housekeeper at Le Grand Lodge came up with the idea of a skating path through the woods. She originally proposed a walking path or cross-country skiing trail, but the maintenance team took the idea and ran with it. They carved out the path and flooded it so that guests could skate through the woods. Danny says it’s “very unique and calming,” while Stephanie has visions of Hans Brinker skating along the Amsterdam canals. Even though it was easy and cheap to construct, it’s part of what she calls the “platinum experience,” as opposed to the “plastic experience.”

For more information visit http://www.distinguishedhotels.com


Danny Hanley, Investor Relations and Acquisitions, Distinguished International Hotels Residences and Resorts.
www.distinguishedhotels.com

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