Luxury Hotels

New York

Annastasia Seebohm is a half-Greek globalist who, after graduating in Business Management in Cardiff, Wales, is now – via Harvard Business School and HSBC and a couple of start-ups – global CEO of Quintessentially. She is based in New York and oversees the world.  Listen to this new-look C-Suite executive’s thoughts on luxury travel and hospitality, now, up live on Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast.  You can also catch it below.


Girlahead is continually amazed by the creativity coming out of the Big Apple. This is home base of Jack Ezon, surely, via his company Embark Beyond, one of the innovators in luxury travel. Here is his latest offering:

  1. In Room Testing – We have organized in-room Covid testing for you to comfortably get tested for your return to the United States.
  2. Guaranteed Return – In addition, we have partnered with evacuation insurance company COVAC which will guarantee return to your home in the United States via private medical transport plane if you test positive with Covid. For just $43 per person/per day, COVAC will assure you a private flight home if any insured person has a positive COVID result using a PCR test.

Some details to note:

1.       Cost is $43/person/per day (discounted as an Embark client)

2.       15 day minimum, though you can use the covered 15 days whenever you want. So if you travel for 4 days this month, you can use the 11 additional days for any other trips you plan later

3.       If you test positive for COVID, Covac will fly you back privately in a medical plane

4.       Tests must be a PCR test; rapid, antigen tests are not authoritative

5.       Because planes are “registered medical transport” clients with COVID are allowed back into the USA

6.       Covac will take whichever family members can fit on the plane in addition (noting space may be limited based on medical or fuel requirements)

7.       Private aircraft are based in Ft. Lauderdale so most Caribbean and Mexico destinations will see a 4-5 hour pickup time after diagnosis notification

8.       You can begin to use your covered days 14 days after purchase

9.       COVAC is not typical medical evacuation insurance.  It only evacuates for positive COVID results where medivac covers any emergency issue. However, unlike other medivac policies, you do not need to be admitted into a hospital and have a medical professional attest to the need to be evacuated.  Other medivac policies are a lot more stringent to determine eligibility for a private medical plane home.  For Covac, all you need is a positive PCR result and exhibit one symptom.

Honestly, says Girlahead, can anyone afford NOT to jump on this super-realistic bandwagon?


And now, back to Annastasia (with two Ns, nnote)

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Aman Journeys – Kiwi Collection

Aman may have diverse locations – from the great USA east to Japan – but its sales brains are using this to advantage.  Why not use some of its luxury resorts as hubs from which to drive out and around?  Think Aman Journeys. Aman will provide the vehicles, SUVs or classic, or drive your own, and if you need to ship it, Aman will help. Once there, personalised Aman iPhones will be already loaded with bespoke guides for three to five hours’ drives. You can set off when you want, exploring as the mood takes you. Your bespoke guide includes stop-off coffee shops, galleries and best photo opportunities. Lunch stops range from picnics and casual meals in authentic road-side eateries through to fine dining, all arranged by Aman. Aman GPS systems ensure easy route-finding, and a support vehicle is never far away.  For spring and autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, Aman recommends driving journeys from Amangani and Amangiri in the USA; Aman Venice and Rosa Alpina in Italy; Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro; Amanzoe in Greece; Amanjena in Morocco, and, in Japan, Aman Kyoto and Amanemu.  Here is one Aman Journey starting point – Amangiri, in Utah. Set on over 200 pristine hectares, it claims sweeping desert views and access to some of the world’s most breathtaking roads. Driving through Escalante National Park, Monument Valley and around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon the journey can be complemented by speedboating on Lake Powell and a helicopter ride up Tower Butte for sunrise yoga. The suggested itinerary gives plenty of time at the end of each day for Amangiri’s spa, built around a central swimming pool. Later, dine by a roaring log fire, the perfect antidote to a day of driving.


Kiwi Collection, led by Brian Mumby, monitors the best in the world from its Vancouver BC base. Its current list of Wow Picks, compiled by its knowledgeable and experienced advisors, includes

WOW PICK OF THE YEAR: Secret Bay Portsmouth, Dominica (Relais), GM Dinesh Kissoon  – on a remote corner of Dominica, perched atop a promontory and enveloped by rainforest, conceptualized by Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas (this is all open air, and, punctuated by privacy, each of the 10 residential-style villas has a plunge pool.

BEST NEW HOTEL: Riggs Washington DC (Preferred), 181 rooms, GM Dan Pimental – conversion of the 1891-vintage Richardson Romanesque-style building dubbed “The Bank of Presidents.”

BEST FAMILY HOTEL: Rancho Santana, Tola, Nicaragua (Preferred), 38 rooms, GM Luke Maish – encompassing over 2,700 acres along the Emerald Coast, Rancho Santana has five separate stretches of sand. Kids-related ativities include complimentary guided hikes, wildlife spotting, farm tours and fireside s’mores and there is an onsite accredited international school for study-from-hotel

MOST ROMANTIC HOTEL: Capella Ubud, Bali (GHA and Leading), 22 tents and a two-bedroom lodge, GM Mark Swinton – rising from the rainforest, accommodations, each with a private saltwater pool reaching into the green, seem borrowed from sketchbooks of early explorers.

BEST BEACH HOTEL: Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines, 219 rooms, GM Dave Junker – White Beach is a short drive away, but the resort has two beaches of its own, just as white and sandy but completely private. Nearly every accommodation serves up ocean views.

BEST SUSTAINABLE LUXURY: 1 Hotels – next opening Toronto. (Note, Girlahead loves this brand, and how you even have filtered drinking water on-tap.)


There are two 1 Hotels in New York, one is five minutes’ walk south of Central Park and one in Brooklyn. Talking of the Big Apple, that is where Annastasia Seebohm, Global CEO of the world’s leading conciergerie network, Quintessentially, is based.  Hear her now, up on MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST


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The young lady second on the left of the image above is 23-year old Hannah Punkun, one of the champion apprentices from Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg.  She received top marks city-wide in the recent assessments of entrants into Hamburg hotel arena. The two other females flanking her are also from the hotel, and they came in second and third respectively.  No wonder Moritz Klein, GM of this highly successful property, is thrilled: Germany’s much-praised apprenticeship scheme trains recruits highly professionally for a three-year rotation around a factory or other workplace, including hotels.


As it happens, Hannah received her certificate and then quickly rushed off to help a Swiss resort cope during its winter season. Moritz Klein understands. He started as a page boy at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Munich, and one day legendary boss Michel Maas walked by and addressed this youngster as ‘Herr Klein’, who was hooked.  When he had finished his own apprenticeship he instantly rushed to London to perfect his English, and worked at Claridge’s. Now the serious – motor – biker heads not only the 233-room Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg but also other Steigenberger hotels in Gerrmany’s northern Hanseatic region.  His base hotel, built 1993 and owned by Union Investment Real Estate AG, is being completely redesigned by JOI Design.  Girlahead looks forward to seeing the new look: last visit she stayed in end suite #70 and highlights included a fascinating boat trip on the Elbe with master mariner Hubert Neubacher.  Oh what a joy to see Hamburg’s sculpture-like Elbphilharmonie from all angles.


Talking of sculptural buildings, think of Dubai, where Burj al-Khalifa and also Jumeirah’s iconic Burj Al Arab hotel spring instantly to mind.  Is this the last chance to hear Jumeirah CEO José Silva – below?  No, as of 3pm GMT today another episode goes live all the previous stars are easily found by accessing and  scrolling down




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