Dear *|FIRSTNAME|*, Being the luckiest man on the planet requires me to routinely travel to some of my favorite places on earth, and often I'm in the company of truly interesting travel advisors.

      Just Back From: London,
The Dolomites & Liguria


Being the luckiest man on the planet requires me to routinely travel to some of my favorite places on earth, and often I'm in the company of truly interesting travel advisors. I was recently honored to show such a group three very special members of Waterstone (four members really….I’ll explain later) in three very distinct destinations. I called the trip “off the beaten path” as it included plunging into one of my favorite cities in the world (London), experiencing alpine heaven (Corvara in the Dolomites) and relishing the elegant lifestyle found in the Italian Riviera (Sanremo in Liguria).

The group met at our Royal Garden Hotel in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Royal Garden, located next to Kensington Palace and its park, is an informal, 5 star hotel particularly suited for families. While the hotel caters to a wide variety of guests, I feel that they hit their high notes when welcoming families traveling with children. In two days I was able to show my traveling companions that Kensington is a magnificent slice of London – very central, but just off the beaten path enough that you are not suffocated by tourist groups, buses and so on.
We dashed about town taking in the theater, touring the venerable Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace (both a 2 minute walk from the Royal Garden), taking refuge in the obligatory pub and embarking on what I think was the hit of our two days... a “Rock Tour of London.” No, this had nothing to do with geology but rather we visited famous spots throughout London having to do with rock & roll history. Too many places to mention in one e-mail, but I for one was thrilled to see Freddy Mercury’s home, visit Abbey Road Studios, and sit outside a stately home in Mayfair waiting for Mr. Eric Clapton to saunter up. Beatles, Stones, Bowie, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Eurhythmics... if you like rock & roll you must have the Royal Garden book this tour for you. Having sampled the Royal Garden’s London, their hospitality and their amazing Chinese restaurant facing Hyde Park, we dashed off to Gatwick. Thanks to Mark Anderson and Tim Forster, we had a blast! Contact  for requests.
Hotel La Perla picked up the group at Venice airport in a luxury vehicle packed with healthy lunches for all. After a scenic two and a half hour drive we were in Corvara, a quaint and beautiful village in the middle of the Dolomite mountain range. Hotel La Perla, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is paradise… full stop. The destination itself is nothing short of magnificent but it is the genuine and warm hospitality offered by the Costa family that propels this alpine hotel into the stratosphere of “greatness.” For me the difficulty comes down to explaining how this hotel makes you “feel” and this is why I urge travel advisors to visit for themselves. I can explain about all we experienced in three magical days in the Dolomites but it is the “awe” that was felt by each of us as we left the hotel that is difficult to capture.

A glimpse of the wonderful experiences we shared at Hotel La Perla include….

» Hiking in the mountain capped with a lovely alpine lunch
» Cooking lesson with chef  Nicola Laera
» Healthy and delicious meals including a memorable night at the hotel’s Michelin starred ‘La Stua de Michil’
» A visit to La Perla’s vast wine cellar, home of the largest private collection of Sassacai wine in the world
» Flower arrangement class with the charming Mrs. Costa

Absolutely everything was cast in a glow of supreme hospitality by the Costa family who can elevate any visit to the Dolomites to ecstasy. To make Hotel La Perla even better (which we thought impossible), the incomparable Fabio Datteroni has recently joined the team and was our minute to minute host. Fabio, pictured on the far right, is an impeccable gentleman who embodies all the values of the Costa family and made our trip truly educational, fun and inspiring. Thank you Fabio, Michil, Mathias, Nicolo, Stefan and the entire team. And of course, thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Costa. This team has created something very, very special and you should definitely be sending your clients to Hotel La Perla. Contact for requests.
From the cool mountain air we flew to the Italian Riviera and checked in to the Royal Hotel Sanremo, another member of Leading Hotels of the World and a property I truly treasure. The “pinch me” nature of each day was encapsulated in waking up to an alpine breakfast facing the mountains and then sitting for lunch facing the magnificent Mediterranean with the sun reflecting off the water. Stately, elegant, romantic, classical and oh so sublime, the Royal Hotel Sanremo evokes a bygone age of gentility, tradition and the sense that every now and then, one needs to slow down and take in their surroundings. The massive public areas and ample space found in their accommodations is something I very much appreciate about the Royal. I also thoroughly enjoyed the ethereal spa, the salt water pool, the beach club and the delightful restaurant options, preferably al fresco. Where some Riviera towns manage to be frenetic, Sanremo is tranquil, like a sea side town should be.
The group and I really enjoyed a food and wine tour of Sanremo given by the lovely and erudite Roberta Giovannina; we were quite entranced walking through this medieval village. There is so much to see in Sanremo – museums, churches, the famous casino – but this group, well, we concentrated on wine, cheese, gelato and chocolates.

Sanremo has always been known for its high quality shopping (a famous Saturday market with great bargains draws visitors from neighboring France) but now the town’s shopping scene has been elevated to the next level. Enter another Waterstone member, The Mall Luxury Outlets Sanremo. Recently opened and not fully completed until this coming November, The Mall Sanremo is a great place to stock up (and save loads of money) on Gucci, Ferragamo, Loro Piana, Armani, Etro, Lagerfeld and many more luxury brands. After an informal dinner hosted by Rossella Vitale, our shopping experience was enhanced by the exclusive “My Luxury Wallet” benefits available for travel advisors to pass on to their clients visiting The Mall. I must say my wife was very happy when I returned home. The Mall Sanremo, much like the original Mall Luxury Outlets Firenze, provides visitors the very finest in luxury fashion at irresistible price discounts. To learn how The Mall partners with travel advisors to provide value added offers to your clients, contact: or

Back at the Royal Sanremo we ended our “off the beaten path” tour with a sumptuous fish dinner on the terrace of the Restaurant Fiori Di Murano. As the full moon sparkled a path to our table, we feasted on local delicacies and fine wines, toasting a truly memorable trip and expressing gratitude for this wonderful community of which we are most proud.  Thank you Simone, Monica, and of course the venerable Marco Sarlo and Marianne Dorsch. If your clients are searching for a new Italian destination and are seeking a Riviera experience with all it implies and without the franticness of more well-known “cities” on the coast, please talk with us about the Royal Hotel Sanremo or contact
And finally, thank you to my traveling companions who were not only very curious throughout the trip, not only gracious and professional but also natural, real and good fun.

All my very best,

Marcelo D. Vazquez
President & CEO of Waterstone

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Lynne Partridge
Vice President
Marcelo Vazquez
President & CEO
Ashley Smith
Director of Sales
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