Luxury Hotels

Villa d’Este – Embark – Accor and Qantas

Danielo Zucchetti is one of the world’s humblest and sharing hoteliers – here he is, above, on the rear terrace of Villa d’Este, on the shores of Lake Como (this is one of the beautiful hotels he runs as boss of the Villa d’Este collection).  Yesterday, 18th November 2020, Jeff Weinstein, Editor-in-Chief of Chicago-based HOTELS, hosted a well-organised online ceremony to honour 2020’s two top hoteliers, chosen by the readers of this global publication. Bea Tollman, Red Carnation Hotels, is Corporate Hotelier of the Year, and Zucchetti is Independent Hotelier of the Year.  In his speech, he graciously shared the honour with his team and with his family, and he went further, saluting the runners-up, Tony Costa, newly-appointed RVP Middle East for Caesars and boss of the massive Bluewaters project in Dubai, and Anthony Lark, President, Phuket Hotels Association. And he shared the inspiration he gained from the late Natale Ruscone, of Cipriani fame, and from Four Seasons’ forever detail-oriented Isadore Sharp, for whom he worked for many years. “There is no better profession to make people happy and that is why I strongly believe luxury will allow people to dream and travel.  I think we can lead the way to recovery”, Danilo Zucchetti said.

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Second passports are valuable assets for the rich (and sometimes INfamous).  It is fairly common knowledge that you can pay about $1.85 million for a Malta passport, for access through the EU and, in all, to 166 countries. Other EU nations on this suspect list include Bulgaria and Cyprus.  But, Girlahead has discovered, there is another, legitimate way. Americans can go back through their lineage to discover where they can ‘sign up to’. Partly because of the last four years’ political upheavals, New York-based Embark Beyond, led by former lawyer Jack Ezon, has been inundated with clients wanting genealogical help.  He now has three specialists, working with colleagues in respective countries, helping 100+ consumers trace their forefathers as far back as the 15th century. Embark does all the paperwork, and its handling fees, typically a few hundred dollars, must be added on to the host nation’s requirement. Jack Ezon tells Girlahead that most second-passport clients are sourcing for an entire family as they are mindful of international work restrictions for Americans in years to come: he adds to be aware that, within the EU, Italy’s bureacracy is most expensive, and the slowest, while Austria’s is most efficient, and cost-effective (plus, an Austrian passport gives visa-free access to 171 countries).

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In Sydney, Accor’s Simon McGrath and Qantas’ loyalty guru Olivia Wirth have signed the first major airline-hotels partnership in Asia-Pacific.  Honestly, says Girlahead, we all need even more cooperative ventures to show luxury travellers that travel is PART of lifestyle, not a separate entity.  When are we going to see, say, Qantas and/or Accor similarly sign with, in alphabetical order, Kering, LVMH or Richemont?

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Yes, we all need to consider the WHOLE world. Listen to more of what you really need to know, chosen by Almont Global Director Richard Barnes, namely the weekly WORLD TRAVEL ESSENTIAL PODCAST.  It is only 15 minutes long, so pick it up now, below