SF Luxe: Summer Travel Plans

Jun 8, 2009

No summer travel plans? The global economic situation has made for unprecedented bargains this season, according to travel expert Michelle Finkelstein, the San Francisco representative of international luxury travel group Our Personal Guest.  

"Last-minute deals on luxury European villas (some as low as 50 euros per person, per night) and airfare specials (such as significantly reduced, but non-refundable or changeable, business fares, and 'kids fly half-price' deals) are abundant!" Michelle says. 

She tells us that now is the best time to travel to those places that may have seemed cost-prohibitive before. A lot of her international contacts are more than willing to negotiate! 

So we asked her for her three ideas for a distinctive and memorable Summer getaway, and this is what she came up with. We love her suggestions, and think you will too. 

First, Italy. 

Perfect for a family or group of friends, rent a villa for a week in Italy. On the Ligurian coast, lovely Villa Tigullio is perched above Portofino harbour, offering gorgeous views over the Italian Riviera. It sleeps 11 and is renting for only 125 euros per person per night. 

As with any villa, just about any services can be arranged: private chef, babysitter, car and driver, personalized wine tasting with a local sommelier, in-house masseuse… whatever suits your style. 

Enjoy boat trips around the peninsula and excursions to gorgeous Cinque Terre and Portovenere, two of the most romantic spots on the coastline. In Portovenere, visit the Grotta dell’Arpaia (now collapsed), known as Byron’s Grotto, made famous by 19th century English poet Lord Byron. 

Secondly, Michelle suggests Africa For an once-in-a-lifetime adventure, travel to Kenya and Tanzania to witness the great wildebeest migration, one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. 

Each year, over two million herbivores traverse the Serengeti-Mara plains in a roughly circular pattern driven by rainfall, grazing land and calving season. Normally sold out a year in advance, there are still many lodges with space available. 

Bateleur Camp in the Masai Mara features sumptuous platform tents with en suite bathrooms and private viewing decks, an antiques-filled lounge fit for Hemingway, and special touches like private bush breakfasts and handmade toiletries. 

For a slightly more rugged but truly exceptional experience, try the Serengeti Under Canvas roving tented camp that moves along with the wildlife herds. Staying at these camps of eight well-appointed tents ensures you’ll have an unsurpassed outlook on this incredible event. 

Finally, from Michelle: Travel the Greek Isles 

Ready to take to the sea? Charter a yacht around the Mediterranean in one of the numerous stunning sailing and motor yachts still available. 

The Armonia is a stylish, graceful and fast sloop that sleeps four as it navigates the Greek Isles. Whether your interest is archaeology, beachcombing or partying, there’s an island (or three) for you.  

"While normally the arena of the super-rich, due to the massive summer inventory, yacht charters have come down in price significantly and nearly all agents are open to negotiation," says Michelle. 

See link for full article: http://sfluxe.com/2009/06/08/summer-travel-plans/

© 2010 Azurine, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Selected photographs by Michelle Murré and Christopher Michel.