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The Top Travel Stories of 2017

JG Black Book Collection members made some captivating headlines last year, thanks to the unique storylines and creative efforts of the JG Black Book Public Relations team and our travel PR services. Here are some of our favorites we thought you might want to read – and share – for some travel inspiration.

1. The Chedi Andermatt in DuJour

Located in the Swiss Alps, The Chedi Andermatt is home to a 26,000-square-foot spa, 5-star chalet-inspired suites, and a team of professional chefs, trainers, and dieticians, making this alpine oasis the ideal place for a wellness retreat. Dujour’s article “Switzerland Slim” covers the variety of relaxation services and rejuvenation programs the resort offers, including a “slimming” retreat and the ultimate detox program inspired by Les Thermes de Brides-les-Bains. According to the article, “the five-star Chedi Andermatt couldn’t be a more perfect place to hit the ‘reset’ button.”


2. Palace Hotel Tokyo in GQ

If Palace Hotel Tokyo’s palatial suites, Japanese decor, and extensive views of the city skyline aren’t enough to make you book a stay, perhaps their hotel-supplied ramen concierge is. In November, GQ put the spotlight on Palace Hotel Tokyo for housing its very own Ramen Hunter – Brian MacDuckston – who helps guests dive into the “culinary wonderland” that is Tokyo through his ramen expertise. And according to the article, Palace Hotel Tokyo would be “an incredible place to stay with or without the added bonus of having a ramen guru to shepherd you around the city.”

Read This In-House Ramen Hunter Might Be the Ultimate Hotel Perk to see how GQ reveals this uncommon hotel amenity.


3. Le Quartier Français in Robb Report

Robb Report was one of the first publications to share the news of the highly anticipated reopening of Le Quartier Français in a “sneak peek” article, Le Quartier Français Unveils a Long-Awaited Renovation. The coverage describes the revamped on-site restaurant, La Petite Colombe, as a minimalist, light and open space, where diners are invited to watch their French and Asian-inspired courses come to life through an interactive chef’s table. The 14 newly unveiled guest rooms, with exquisite detail by Leeu Collection’s designated interior designer, Beverley Boswell, were also highlighted. And with more renovations and additional rooms to be added in 2018, Robb Report states that ”long-time fans have another reason to explore the evolution of their long treasured Franschhoek retreat.”


4. Volcanoes Safaris in Outdoor Photographer

A stay at Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge paired with a gorilla trekking adventure is a bucket-list experience you’ll never forget – and this Outdoor Photographer article provides curious readers with an inside look at what it’s like to trek in the footsteps of Dian Fossey and encounter these majestic animals. Mark Edward Harris writes that upon first contact, he was “surprised by the proximity to these noble creatures, so close in fact and in such small clearings that my 300mm is useful only for tight close ups.” Thankfully, he captured fascinating moments for this Virunga gorilla trekking photo journal.


5. Sonnenalp Hotel in Marie Claire

In a tell-all guide of the best places to stay, eat, and drink in Vail, Colorado, Marie Claire has declared the Sonnenalp Hotel the number one choice for lodging, stating that this is a “family-friendly resort that still feels grown-up thanks to the Bavarian-inspired decor that skews more towards chic than kitsch.” What to do during your stay? Marie Claire suggests taking advantage of the 5-star resort’s pools, hot tubs, deluxe European spa, five restaurants, and generously sized accommodations with alpine views.


6. Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort Hotel in the New York Times

While summer is considered peak season for travel to Portugal, more US travelers are heading to the country in the fall in winter months than ever before. As the New York Times points out in Traveling to Portugal? Consider the Off-Season, visiting during the fall and winter months is more affordable, less crowded and travelers can delight in mild temperatures. As an alternative to group tours, cruises, or basic hotels, NYT suggests that families might prefer a stay at Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort Hotel.


7. Shambala Private Game Reserve in Vogue

In a captivating article titled, You Can Stay at the Safari Camp Where Nelson Mandela Wrote His Memoirs, Vogue profiles two South African properties from the JG Collection – Shambala Private Game Reserve and the Nelson Mandela Villa. The publication describes Shambala as a “luxurious take on the African bush,” highlighting that controlled animal populations roam the reserve and spacious guest bandas are situated next to natural streams. Vogue goes on to state that the Nelson Mandela Villa – the very place where the former president used to retreat to entertain guests and write his memoirs – is “an exercise in natural beauty, modern comfort and historical relevance you are unlikely to find anywhere else.”


8. Quasar Expeditions in Conde Nast Traveler

In the article, Cruise Around the Galápagos Islands on Grace Kelly’s Yacht, Condé Nast Traveler says that “if you want to hark back to another era and sail on a luxury yacht outfitted with a private chef, an aft-facing hot tub, and two on-board naturalists, there’s no ship like the M/Y Grace.” After sitting empty for several decades, the former honeymoon yacht was brought back to life by Quasar Expeditions and now offers uninterrupted, luxury journeys around the Galápagos Islands in such an elegant setting that CNT states, “you could imagine Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer of Monaco sailing on it so many years ago.”


9. Saxon in AFAR

In an exclusive interview with AFAR, acclaimed chef Luke Dale Roberts sheds light on Johannesburg’s evolving culinary scene and describes how the success of his pop-up eatery at Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa led to a permanent on-site restaurant. At the Luke Dale Roberts x The Saxon restaurant, experimenting with indigenous cuisine is an important aspect of the menu and with limited fine dining options in Johannesburg, Dale-Roberts regards the destination as South Africa’s Next Food City.


10.Heritage Tours in Departures Magazine

If you’re wondering where to eat in Portugal, Departures Magazine’s article, Devouring Portugal, from Lisbon to Porto will fill you in on “a food scene that might be one of the best in Europe.” Heritage Tours – who specializes in custom-designed private travel – designed the itinerary featured in this Departures article, and brought the author on an unforgettable journey through Lisbon’s colorful neighborhoods, cultural sites, and top restaurants.


11. BONUS: National Geographic, “The World’s Most Romantic Destinations” includes Leeu Estates and Volcanoes Safaris.

And in our bonus coverage, four of the JG Black Book Collection Members were featured in an exclusive published book The World’s Most Romantic Destinations by National Geographic! Ranked as being part of the top 50 “dreamy getaways, private retreats, and enchanting places to celebrate love,” National Geographic highlighted Leeu Estates and Volcanoes Safaris.