FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Something to Celebrate

by Francis X. Gallagher

Dec 1, 2023
December 2023

In 2004 we held the inaugural GT Tested Reader Survey awards at Millennium Broadway Hudson Theater in New York City. As fate would have it, a bad snowstorm hit New York as award winners flew in from all over the world. The snow was so deep, we wondered if we would be able to host the event the following day. Back then, mass airline cancelations were no the rule, and just about everyone made it to Manhattan.

Since that first event, we have hosted the awards at Essex House, Hotel Bel-Air, The Peninsula Beverly Hills and The Ritz-Carlton. We are excited to host the 2023 GT Tested Reader Survey gala at another prestigious venue, The Langham Huntington, Pasadena.

Please join us in raising a glass to all the winners voted by you, the readers and best travelers. I particularly want to congratulate the winners that consistently ranked as the best in their category for the past 20 years: United MileagePlus, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Asiana Airlines. Read the article about these and other status inductees on page 50.

I just returned from Korea, touching base with longtime friends and clients in Seoul. I enjoyed meeting with our Korean representative, Jeff Hwang, and his lovely family. Jeff and his son, Zion, met me at the airport to much fanfare, and we had a nice welcome Korean dinner. The trip ended with the entire family joining us at a favorite dinner spot in Jeff ’s hometown. It was quite a celebration, and I extended gifts in thanks of their fine support during the pandemic.

The trip’s high point was an afternoon hike to Bukhansan Mountain Trekking Experience in Seoul. A friendly hiking center staff member outfitted me with hiking boots for the walk up the steep, clean mountain. (Travelers can avoid packing heavy clothing and shoes, as they can rent everything.) On this beautiful fall day the leaves were changing, and I was glad to get back
to my walking schedule. This fantastic nature-meets-metropolis experience is easy to fit in during any visit to Seoul. The Seoul Hiking Tourism Center was the idea of president and CEO Ki Yon Kil, and it plans to open two more centers in 2024.

I was thrilled to be back at LOTTE HOTEL SEOUL, next to LOTTE Department Store. I stayed in the Executive Tower, opened in 2018 to join the famous 1979 property. I stayed at the LOTTE on my very first trip to Seoul and have had many fine experiences there since. Look for my review of the property in an upcoming issue.

I flew Korean Air’s Prestige Business Class on an Airbus A380 for a smooth journey. I opted for the vegan menu for the return flight, and it was outstanding (see my upcoming review of Korean Air in a 2024 issue). After countless business meals in Seoul (which I love), I appreciated the lighter vegan meal.

Looking forward to a successful 2024. Please join us as we travel the world!

Francis X. Gallagher

CEO and Publisher

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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