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THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: The Presidential Suite at Villa La Massa offers total privacy within the groungs of the historic Five Star Resort
The tranquility and sophistication that guests of Villa La Massa have experienced for centuries has just been raised to a new and extraordinary level. The award-winning member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World and sister property of the famous Villa d'Este on Lake Como has just unveiled its Presidential Suite.
This suite to be remembered is a bucolic haven of peace and serenity, surrounded by olive and cypress trees of the estate's 20-acre park, with its own 1500 square foot private garden, with a private jacuzzi, from which the view is rich with the colours of Tuscany. The two magnificient suites include the Arno 600 square food suicte and a separate junior 500 square food suite iwht a large living space with a fireplace adjoining them. The Reniassance style decor and white marble , as well as the artwork, and Florentine tapestries represent gtime honored fashion.
Built in the 16th century as a Medici retreat, Villa La Massa has been run as a hotel since 1948. It was purchased by the Villa d'Este Group hotels in 1998, undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, to become a jewel in the countryside at the gateway to theChianti wine region and a stone's throw form the onte Vecchio in Florence. For rates and additional information please visit: www.villalamassa.it or call +39-055-62611.

Palace Kempinski - Making Mezzes
Guests of the Çırağan Learn to Cook for Royalty 

meze1Turkish cuisine is known for its rich flavors and exotic spices, a perfect blend of East and West. Istanbul's Çırağan Palace Kempinski is known for amazing Ottoman cuisine and, now, guests of the hotel can learn to make these dishes under the supervision of the Michelin Star Executive Chef, Olivier Chaleil and Tuğra Restaurant's awarded Turkish Chef Uğur Alparslan. These special cooking classes will teach guests a whole host of traditional Ottoman cuisine, including:
Pistachio "Piruhi" -- pistachios cooked with onions and garlic -- was often found on Fatih Sultan Mehmet's dinner table and was the one of the leading dishes of Ottoman cuisine in the 15th century.
meze3Su Börek, the favorite afternoon tea dish of the 19th-century's Ottoman Palace, is a steamed, thin pastry baked with spinach and served with a yoghurt-mint sauce.
Ottoman Pilaf was the only Ottoman dish that could be served on its own. Made with rice, currants, nuts, cumin, cinnamon, onions, dill and mint, this dish is a feast of its own.
Turkish Salads: Cucumbers were a staple of Ottoman cuisine and are seen in almost every salad or mezze, especially in the summer. Some Europeans were so amused by the large consumption of cucumber that they started the myth that Turkish women give cucumbers to the babies to stop them from crying.
meze2About Chef Chaleil: French-born Olivier Chaleil has worked in 5-star hotels from Indonesia to Mauritius to France and is bringing his knowledge and expertise to the Çırağan Palace Kempinski. Chef Chaleil is responsible for all food and beverage at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski from the pool-front Gazebo Lounge to the award-winning Tugra fine-dining restaurant.




Wandering Scribes Gather to Share Fun and Farce of Travel News Gathering


Members of the travel media are expected to attend the premiere meeting of the newly formed Santa Barbara Travel Writers Collective at 12:00 noon on Friday, June 19 at Café Shell, 1111 State Street, for a travel press luncheon to share ideas, discuss a possible schedule of events, consider a group mission plan and recommend membership action items for implementation, including the creation of a Santa Barbara travel writers newsletter, travel bytes from local and international travel media.


The formation of this group will provide an opportunity for networking, but will also promote the sharing of not only fun tips on travel pleasures and hazards, but helpful recommendations regarding national and local travel guidelines, and restrictions, as well as safety and health information for dissemination to their specific reading or listening publics. 


The SBTWC will also collaborate with writing groups from the Greater Los Angles and San Francisco areas to develop new destination story leads, and share upcoming travel opportunities for writers, including upcoming symposiums, conferences, seminars and trade shows scheduled for 2009-2010. For information or reservations please email: writebc@aol.com or call 805-845-4214.



--The luxury resort features the cost-saving two- five night package offering guests the utmost in luxury and relaxation in one of the world’s most beautiful regions with rates starting at € 431 per person with nearly a 50 percent discount

 SATURNIA (TUSCANY), ITALY – This summer, forget the crowded streets of Rome and Florence and escape for a relaxing spa vacation in the heart of Tuscany. Located at the foot of the medieval Tuscan village of Saturnia, Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort is surrounded by picturesque, natural and untamed scenery.  The exclusive spa and golf resort is now offering its value-added Summer Break Package, allowing guests to enjoy the best the spa has to offer, including world-class accommodations, exclusive use of the thermal pools and gourmet dining at a saving of up to nearly 50 percent. Package rates range from € 431-€ 931 per person, (based on double occupancy) for a two-five night stay from stay from June 2-August 6, 2009.

With this offer guests will enjoy deluxe accommodations in the resort’s luxurious Junior Suites as well as a complimentary breakfast buffet featuring local products at Ristorante Aqualuce. For the utmost in relaxation and overall wellness, guests can also enjoy the luxury spa’s Health and Beauty Treatments with the option of either an Energetic Rebalancing Massage for deep relaxation and revitalization or a classical European Full Body Massage included in the package. Also included is complimentary use of the 3,000 year-old thermal pool, known for its healing effects on the body, onsite Roman Bath and Natural Hydromassage Waterfalls. During their stay, guests are encouraged to take advantage of the new championship golf course or enjoy Terme di Saturnia’s world-class spa facilities, which offer a wide range of therapies and treatments based on the natural and thermal healing waters of the on-site spring.

Summer Break Package:

·         2-5 nights accommodation in a Junior Suite (rate depends on length of stay)

·         Breakfast served in the restaurant daily

·         1 Energetic Rebalancing Massage or 1 Full Body Massage

·         Complimentary use of the Thermal Pools and Natural Hydromassage Waterfalls

·         Complimentary use of Roman Bath, sauna, steam room, tennis court, golf-driving range, guided morning hikes, bikes and gym (classes excluded)

 Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort features 140 guestrooms, including 71 junior suites, three suites and two Grand Suites, state-of-the-art spa with 48 treatment rooms, two restaurants, an Aldo Coppola Hair Salon, a conference center with meeting room for up to 250 people, six outdoor pools and an indoor pool, a replica of a traditional Roman bath house, fitness center, tennis court, practice green, Cruciani Luxury Cashmere shop, Spa Boutique, Spa Cafe and an art gallery. In addition, the resort opened an 18-hole championship golf course in spring 2008, designed by renowned architect Ronald Fream, that allows golfers to take in the spectacular Tuscan setting.

            A true medical spa with a staff of 45 therapists and five medical doctors, the spa features therapies for beauty, stress management and thermal and hydrotherapy treatments based on the area’s unique thermal waters which date back to the Etruscan period.  The 3,000-year-old thermal pool has been flowing continuously into the natural crater nestled at the center of the resort, containing precious minerals and salts which were found by the ancient Romans to have healing effects on aches and pains.

            Rates are per person and are valid June 2-August 6, 2009

**Conversion rate to American Dollars as of May 21, 2009 is subject to changes.

To book the Saturnia Summer Break or for more information on the resort please visit www.termedisaturnia.com or call +39 0564 600111.


Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort is an exclusive resort and member of Leading Hotels of the World and has been certified as a prestigious Leading Spa from the Leading Hotel Brand. Located in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma region of Italy in the medieval village of Saturnia, the four-star hotel consists of 140 rooms, which includes 71 junior suites, three suites and two grand suites, two restaurants, two bars, fitness center, Cruciani shop featuring luxurious cashmere, Art Gallery, the hair salon Aldo Coppola by Terme di Saturnia, a meeting room for up to 250 people, the Spa Boutique at Terme di Saturnia, a state-of-the-art spa with 48 treatment rooms and the 3,000-year-old thermal pool nestled in the center of the resort.  The resort also features a new 18-hole championship golf course, practice green and private golf villas. Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort is a leading spa resort dedicated to providing quality spa treatments and to promote complete well being has 48 rooms for beauty, aesthetic medicine, relaxation, massage, thermal treatments and fitness. The spa also offers diet and nutrition programs.  For more information, please visit our website at www.termedisaturnia.com.


-Enjoy a three-night getaway for the cost of two-night stay as the “Jewel of the AmalfiCoast” offers special value-added package featuring rates starting at €380-

VIETRI SUL MARE, AMALFI COAST –This summer, Hotel Raito invites guests to turn a quick getaway into a relaxing vacation as it features its value-added Stay More, Pay Less offer, allowing guests to stay for a minimum of three nights while only have to pay the cost of a two-night stay-a 33 percent cost savings. With rates for a minimum three-night stay starting at €380 or $496* (U.S. dollar is based on exchange rate as of April 29, 2009), the offer includes deluxe accommodations in one of Hotel Raito’s 77 guestrooms as well as a complimentarily daily breakfast buffet. This package is available through October 31, 2009, and guest must book a minimum of three nights.

Stay More, Pay Less Package Inclusions:

·         Accommodations in a room category of guests choice (double occupancy)

·         Daily buffet breakfast

 Originally opened in 1958, Hotel Raito continues to be the crown jewel of the AmalfiCoast. Located in the quaint town of Vietri sul Mare, which offers mild temperatures year-round, hotel guests will enjoy the historic Etruscan village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. After completing a recent renovation, the hotel now features Italian-contemporary décor, luxury amenities such as ExPure SPA bath products, custom-tiled spacious bathrooms and plasma televisions. Many of the 77 guest rooms and suites offer balconies and terraces with stunning views of the Bay of Salerno and the villages of Vietri sul Mare.

In addition to its luxurious guestroom accommodations, the hotel features three sea-view dining rooms including Il Golfo, offering a-la-carte Mediterranean cuisine, the Restaurant Luna Vietrese, for formal dining, and the casual and charming ExLounge Bar & Grill restaurant, which offers a selection of light Mediterranean fare. Hotel Raito also offers exquisite SPA facilities in its ExPure SPA.  The hotel features a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, Turkish baths, sensory beds, hydromassage seats, coiffeur, relax area, solarium and massage rooms. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from both Vietri sul Mare as well as the beach, and boat rentals, with or without a sailor, are also available for a cost.

 MEXICO SETS FORTH PLANS TO REACTIVATE ITS TOURISM INDUSTRY President Calderon announces fiscal and financial stimulus measures for Mexico's tourism industry. Creation of special funding for tourism promotion with inital contribution of 2.2 billion pesos, approximately 165 million dollars. The Mexico Tourism Board is designing a plan to reactivate tourism and launch a new external branding and promotional campaign
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is not restricting travel in relation to the outbreak of H1N1 Influenza. Mexico City, Mexico- May 8th 2009- Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, announced that he will enable extraordinary fiscal and financial measures for the tourism industry with the main objective of accomplishing a fast reactivation for the country’s tourism. In a message to the nation, the President stated that a promotional campaign with the main goal of winning back the trust of international tourists, will soon take effect.

 Mexico’s government is working intensely for the return of normalcy in the country and in the hopes that that tourists will soon return to Mexico and take advantage of the country’s beauty and excellent lodging, leisure, entertainment and hospitality that only Mexico can offer.

 During a recent press conference, the Secretary of Treasury and Public Credit stated that they will offer fiscal incentives to tourism companies, such as a 50% reduction of costs towards the use of air space and cruise ports for the next three months as well as a discount of 20% in management quotas paid to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS).  

 The measures taken to prevent the virus from spreading have caused a huge economic impact and are critical to the tourism industry, which is the country’s third source of revenue.  Nevertheless, Mexico complied with federal and local sanitary protocols and collectively faced this crisis.

 Upon the emergence of this new virus, which had the potential of turning into a pandemic, the Mexican government acted responsibly in respect to the health of its people and in regards to the health of the world’s population; Mexico’s officials had a vision and the strength to carry it out.

 The World Health Organization (WHO), along with US President Barack Obama, and Chief of State, Jose Luis Zapatero, have all recognized that it is unfair to accuse Mexico of overreacting and for taking immediate effective actions aligned with international sanitation protocols.

In addition, last Tuesday, Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, stated that he would petition governments to annul their commercial and travel bans in place due to the virus outbreak, unless the restrictions were founded on scientific evidence. Dr. David Nabarro, Senior UN Coordinator for Influenza, said countries must explain to WHO their rationale for such measures, and said that their effectiveness is minimal at best. "We want to be very clear that WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of this novel form of influenza," said Nabarro. Both dignitaries’ statements are examples of the efforts being made to create unity amidst a global crisis.

Financial Institutions as solid as Grupo Santander, have expressed their optimism towards the adverse situation in Mexico, stating  “the Mexican government has acted magnificently in regards to this health crisis,” confirmed President Emilio Botin, “their actions have been phenomenal, very different from past incidents where action was probably not as quick, but in this occasion, fast action was taken with real organized measures and the country will come out of this crisis a lot sooner than expected…the virus will not affect Mexico’s economy in the long-term,” he added.

Speaking about the current international crisis, the banker emphasized that “Mexico’s economy has been coping pretty well during this global crisis and it is much better prepared in comparison to other countries” “We will continue to invest in Mexico,” assured Botin.

About the Mexico Tourism Board

The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB  is  Mexico’s  tourism  promotion  agency, and its participants include members  of  both  the  private  and  public  sectors.  The MTB has offices throughout    North    America,    Europe,   Japan    and   Latin   America.  For more information on destinations and online trip bookings please go to www.visitmexico.com or www.mexico-update.com .



Introducing the 'Liberty For All' Overnight Package & 'Libertini' Cocktail

Today, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the crown of the Statue of Liberty will re-open on July 4, 2009 after being closed since September 11, 2001.   In honor of this much anticipated event, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park introduces the Liberty For All package -- encouraging people to visit America's greatest icon of freedom, hope and optimism.  The Libertini, will be the hotel's signature cocktail; a beautiful sea-green martini garnished by a home-made Statue of Liberty candy swizzle stick.  The Libertini is offered in our 2 WEST Lounge.

Overnight luxury accommodations in a newly renovated Harbor View room with views of the Statue of Liberty (includes in-room telescope for enhanced viewing)
Two ferry tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Handmade chocolate Statue of Liberty in-room amenity
American breakfast for two in 2 West Restaurant

*This package is priced starting from $375 USD per couple and is available weekdays and weekends
starting May 11, 2009. The package is subject to availability, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

2 oz of Citrus flavor Vodka
½ oz of Pear Liqueur
½ oz of Midori
¼ oz of Blue Curacao
Splash of Lemon
Garnished with a candy Statue of Liberty Swizzle Stick

Philippe Guionnet has been named President of the FACCLA;
He was previously the FACCLA Chief Operating Officer and now succeeds Patrick Pagni in this capacity.

Philippe will focus on a set of key priorities as described below:

  • Align better with Government initiatives, French regions and cities in support of their development in the USA and in their effort to bring US investors in their communities.
  •  Coordinate closer with French associations (i.e. Alliance Francaises, LA and Orange County Accueil)  and with the Francophone community, the FACC in the USA and l'UCCIFE as well as with interntional chambers of commerce.
  • Develop the Services & Consulting Sector at the chamber and increase business opportunities for its members
  •  Rationalize the membership structure and build more value to the membership segments
  • Accelerate the geographical expansion of the Chamber in Orange County and Pasadena/Valley
  • Restructure the LA office and invest in research and Marketing capabilities
  • Augment the executive & sales team in the 3 regions (LA, Orange County and Pasadena)
  • Develop economic forum and special events
Prior to this, Philippe was Directeur General at GSI Informatique USA, Senior Vice President at ACCOR Hotels USA, Executive VP in the Cendant Corporation, and COO at Techtravel; he is a KPMG alumni.
 French American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Los Angeles
10390 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite #130
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: 323-651-4741
Fax: 323-651-2547
website: www.frenchchamberla.org


Exterior panorama
Rome's venerable Hotel Hassler Roma is offering an exclusive Angels & Demons Package, where guests will experience first-hand the adventure from the new novel-turned-movie Angels & Demons, the prequel to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which debuts in U.S. movie theatres this Friday, May 15.  
The Angels & Demons Package allows guests to essentially become the protagonists of this thriller for a day and experience the adventures for themselves.  They will embark on a quest throughout the Eternal City that visits many of the same settings from the book and movie and uncovers many of Rome's mysteries and secrets...all while receiving top-of-the-line service and pampering (comparable to that which the Hollywood stars received while filming the movie!).
The package, based on double occupancy, includes three nights in deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast, an "Angels and Demons Private Tour" of Rome conducted by a professional English-speaking guide, a map of the "illuminati" path, entrance fees for the Castel Sant'Angelo museum and all service charges.  Rates start at Euro 1,710 (approximately USD 2,323) and the package is valid through December 21, 2009.
About Hotel Hassler Roma:
Set atop the Spanish Steps and featuring a panoramic view of the entire city, the Hassler Roma has been Rome's five-star lodging of choice for the world's elite for more than a century.  Each of the 82 rooms and 13 suites are individually designed and adorned in authentic Italian accents.  Highlights include the Michelin-starred panoramic rooftop restaurant, Imàgo, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, and the neighboring, Hassler-owned
Il Palazzetto Restaurant & Wine Bar with an exclusive terrace overlooking the Spanish Steps (within Il Palazzetto is housed the International Wine Academy of Roma which offers wine classes from world-renowned sommeliers).

For more information on Hotel Hassler Roma, visit:

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