Who wouldn’t relish a cruise on a small luxury ship where every stateroom is a suite, all onboard gratuities are included, most drinks (from sodas and coffees to cocktails and Champagne) are part of the fare and dining is an epicurean delight? Where shore excursions are flawless? Where your butler is always on call? Your butler, did we say? Quite so.
Despite the white glove service from table to stateroom, however, Silversea Cruises is not a tight-lipped Downton Abbey at sea. Instead, it is an ultra-luxurious cruising experience of a more relaxed sort, as we recently discovered on a Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Rome aboard the sleek, modern, relatively small (540-passenger) Silver Spirit.
As soon as we entered our spacious suite, Silversea’s version of Jeeves appeared to run through the many perks he could provide (choice of pillows, bathroom amenities, dinner reservations, in-suite dining options). Then he offered to unpack our luggage — which we automatically declined, acting perhaps as self-reliant Americans are apt to do. Not flummoxed by our refusal, he quickly dispelled our trepidations over having a butler. In fact, we came to love our skilled personal assistant, who proved to be more a private concierge than a footman, maid or valet — a man who made our smooth, plush voyage that much smoother and plusher. Over the next seven days, he restocked the bar to our taste, served us breakfast with white linens on our balcony and one afternoon even drew us a surprise scented whirlpool bath. (For butlers, women as well as men, this is not a leisurely cruise; each is at the beck and call of about a dozen suites daily.)
On Silversea, the butlers are there to enhance what’s offered on one of the world’s most elegant cruise lines, including some of the finest locally guided shore excursions we ever experienced — a tour and tasting at Marsala’s legendary winery, a ramble through the back streets of Malta, a hike up the slopes of Mount Etna, a stroll through the ravishing ruins of Pompeii and a jog on the track of the original Olympic Stadium — not to mention repasts at some exquisite onboard specialty restaurants, including La Champagne with its Relais & Châteaux menu.
In addition to impeccable, unobtrusive, European-style service; gourmet dining; and memorable shore excursions, each of Silversea’s five small ships (296 to 540 passengers) is equipped with swimming pool, spa, show lounge, beauty salon, Internet café and shops, making for an ample sprinkling of the entertainment and fitness options found on larger, more crowded ships. Silversea’s newest ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse, replete with eight dining venues, will make its maiden voyage from Monte Carlo in April 2017. Silversea also operates three even smaller premium expedition ships (100 to 132 passengers) that focus on wildlife and adventure destinations on seven continents, although without, alas, the resources of an indefatigable butler.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Nice, France, with us.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
As a native of the Philadelphia region, I’m quite familiar with the drive in and out of the City of Brotherly Love. Even as the city’s skyline continually transforms, my favorite views of Philadelphia have always been along Boathouse Row, with the Philadelphia Museum of Art rising in the background, before looping around the museum to the flag-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Home to many of Philadelphia’s incredible and world-renowned museums, the Fairmount neighborhood is fittingly aesthetically pleasing and practically synonymous with fine art.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
Set to open in 2026, Rosewood San Francisco will be the last skyscraper developed in the downtown region for the foreseeable future. The projected 800-foot-tall property will host a hotel, residences, office and rental spaces. The brand’s third property in California will join Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.