South Africa's 10 Best Travel Blogs Nominated

SA Blog Awards 2008
SA Blog Awards 2008

The Nominees for the Best South African blogs Featuring Travel Related Content:

Source: Eish

Update April 16, 2008: and the winner is Congratulations!

The 2008 Travvies – Best Travel Blog Awards: Open for Nominations. Be Quick!

Travvies 2007

The 2007 Travvies
Last year, more precisely on January 30, 2007, Upgrade Travel Better announced the 2007 Travvies, a first and very good initiative, awards for travel Blogs because:

Other blog “award shows” exist out there, such as the Webbies or the Weblog Awards, but despite there being thousands of travel blogs, the travel category has never been included in these other awards. Thus, the Travvies were born.

It kicked off on February 5, 2007. There were 6 categories. Here reiterated with the 2007 winners:

  1. Best Travel Blog: National Geographic Inside Traveler by Emily King.
  2. Best Destination Blog: Newyorkology by NYC based Amy Langfield.
  3. Best Informative/Practical Travel Blog: The Cranky Flier by USA based Brett Snyder.
  4. Best Group-Written Travel Blog:The Lost Girls’ World by Three New York City based ladies.
  5. Best Single-Author Travel Blog: The Cranky Flier again by USA based Brett Snyder.
  6. Best Photography on a Travel Blog: Exposed Planet by Netherlands based Harry Kikstra

I covered the 2007 Travvies in a post Travvies 2007: Best Travel Blog Awards: open voor voting (and I only now see the typo I made in the title: “voor” is Dutch for “for”) and one about The the 2007 Travvies Winners.

There were some comments made that the jury had decided to nominate Cranky Flier in two different categories. Also there were some comments that the Blogger who could organize the most votes won. As to the first comment I would agree that it would be nice to have nominations only once in every category plus, possibly a second in the Best over all category, but I am no juror. It amazed me one of the jurors joined the discussion then. I believe jurors should not be involved in the actual discussion. As to the last comment i would say: “Well, isn’t that the usual US way of life and doing things?”

I also covered the post of a Guardian journalist/ single author blogger, who made up his own Alternative Travvies.

Although Cranky Flier didn’t reach the 25 most valuable Blogs by 24/7 Wall St yet (only travelpod did), he was mentioned as one of the 50 most influential Blogger by the Guardian in The World’s 50 Most Powerful Blogs.

The 2008 Travies

The 2008 Travvies

A bit later than I had hoped, as announced on March 15nd, last monday Upgrade : Travel better opened the nominations for The 2008 Travvies.


* The “Destination” blog category has been changed to be the “Destination or Trip Narrative” category.
* New category: Big Media Blog. Most of the Travvies categories are pro/am. This category is designated for those in the mainstream media whose blogs are an extension of their company’s website.
* New category: Podcast/Video. Blogging isn’t just about text and pictures, after all.

In order to nominate up to 3 blogs of your choice, you can add a comment in one of the category posts of Upgrade: Travel Better:

  1. Best Travel Bog.
  2. Best Single Author Travel Blog.
  3. Best Group Written Travel Blog.
  4. Best Destination or Trip Narrative Travel Blog.
  5. Best Informative or Practical Travel Blog.
  6. Best Photography on a Travel Blog.
  7. Best Big Media Travel Blog.
  8. Best Travel Podcast or Video Blog.

Of course I have shamelessly nominated myself for some categories, but also was happily surprised to see that there is someone else out there, Gary of Everything Everywhere who nominated me for the Best Informative / Practical category. Thanks Gary!

Istanbul: Cool Four Seasons at The Bosphorus takes Reservations

Istanbul Four Seasons Under Construction
Istanbul Four Seasons Bosphorus Under Construction

Back in September, 2007 I was on a boat tour over the Bosphorus and our guide told us that this is the new (second) Istanbul Four Seasons at The Bosporus. I took this photo while thinking it would be an excellent place to stay once.
Through its website I learned that it is taking reservations as of June 15, 2008. however when you check it out, it may be a little bit later.

One of their first photos proves me right:

Istanbul Four Seasons at The Bosphorus View
An Istanbul Four Seasons Bosphorus room view

They are very conveniently located here:

Istanbul Four Seasons At The Bosphorus Location

They have 141 guest rooms and 25 suites in a striking blend of Ottoman design and contemporary mahogany furnishings. Nearly a quarter of the rooms offer views across the legendary Bosphorus to the hills of Asia.

Finding a Cool Hotel in Amsterdam – Nothing Zen! Part 7

Here we go again with my “Nothing Zen” series

A fellow TrendHunter, a very trend setting young lady from Down Under, younger than my 2 daughters (who, by the way, are two very trend setting young ladies themselves) is going to attend a conference at the VU university of Amsterdam in July and asks me whether I could recommend a Cool Hotel in Amsterdam.

My first reaction
Off course I first recommend her to stay in my own Haagsche Suites in The Hague, as commuting between The Hague and Amsterdam is usually only 45 minutes and my credo is always: “You should party in Amsterdam, but sleep in The Hague!”.

My second reaction
However, because her conference schedule is from 8.00 AM until Mid Night, she only needs a nearby comfy bed to crash and sleep in.

So my second suggestion to her is to look at the then one year open Qbic Hotel which is within walking distance. No other hotels are nearer by. Next near are some hotels at Schiphol Airport, but a bit noisy maybe.

My third reaction
As a local your knowledge of local hotels tend to be scarce. My only Amsterdam experience is a couple of nights stay at the Pulitzer Hotel, see my review at VibeAgent. Therefore this question is not so easy to answer. First I will give some off the cuff recommendations:

While talking about VibeAgent, fellow Vibe Agents recommended:

  • Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel
  • The Pulitzer Hotel
  • Bilderberg Hotel Jan Luyken
  • Hotel ‘t Jagershuis
  • Bed and Coffee
  • Amsterdam Marriott

Finding a very clever feature at VibeAgent
While looking in detail at VibeAgent, I discovered a very handy travel planning feature which is not so obvious. This is the map you get if you type in Amsterdam at their Hotel Search:

VibeAgent Amsterdam Search Page

The orange signs mean that the hotel has been reviewed by one or more of the VibeAgent members (who are called VibeAgents).
Here the order starts with the Pulitzer.
However, If you know the exact location where you have to be, you can drag the center of their map to your exact destination. Then their search results change while you move. Excellent thinking!

Vibeagent Search Results

Now the VU location is in the center of the map and suddenly you note a completely different list of hotels starting with the Novotel and the Holiday Inn.

VibeAgent has a long way to go with acquiring more content, but this is a very helpful tool to get names of hotels in a city you don’t know yet!

Fellow TrendHunters mentioned:

Hm TrendHunter should do a bit more homework. Maybe the lady in question and I should get together and do some more research.

Historic Hotels of the Benelux has 2 Amsterdam Hotels:

Some suggestions from the Weekend Hotel list for Amsterdam:

I believe there is no better site for finding a cool hotel in The Netherlands and Belgium than Weekendhotel. Search results of Weekendhotel should be matched with their List of Favorites which counts 38 hotels and B&B’s and even apartments in Amsterdam.

Maybe co author – and owner of the site- at Weekendhotel, Willem steps in with some suggestions as well, as I know he always looks at my Zen Series.

I intend to follow this up with my own list of favorite Amsterdam hotels after a bit more checking.

It still is very time consuming!

NYC: How to Save a Marcel Breuer Building

Whitney Museum of Armerican Art NYC

Titled Whitney Museum to Receive $131 Million Gift, Carol Vogel of The New York Times reports that Leonard A. Lauder, chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies and, according to Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $3.2 billion in 2007, said on Tuesday in a telephone interview that his art foundation would give the museum $131 million, the biggest donation in the Whitney’s 77-year history. Mr Lauder is also chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

One requirement of the gift is that it is not to sell its Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue for an extended period. Mr. Lauder as an architecture lover believes the Whitney and the Breuer building should not be separated.

The Whitney announced last year that it planned to open a satellite museum downtown in the meatpacking district of Manhattan, which stirred speculation that it might sell its Breuer building.

The gift includes $6 million to cover expenses until the donation is complete, which is expected to be by June 30, 2009. The money is a major infusion for the Whitney, which has been historically under-endowed. Its new endowment total of $195 million will still pale in comparison with those of institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, with an $850 million endowment. (Ronald S. Lauder, Leonard Lauder’s brother, is a trustee and former board chairman at MoMA.)

In November the Whitney announced that it had reached a conditional agreement with the city’s Economic Development Corporation to buy a city-owned site at Washington and West Streets, the same place where the Dia Art Foundation had planned to build a museum. (In October 2006 Dia said it had scrapped that idea and would seek a different site in the city.) The Whitney satellite is to be designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano.

Mr. Piano was also the architect for a proposed nine-story addition to the Breuer building that was abandoned in 2006.

The Piano scheme was the third time in more than a decade that the museum had commissioned a celebrity architect to design a major expansion, only to pull out.

Mr. Lauder’s gift is not the first major donation he has made to the Whitney. Since becoming its chairman in 1994, he has led the campaign for the new fifth-floor galleries in the Breuer building, which are devoted entirely to the permanent collection.

Six years ago he led a three-year initiative to acquire about $200 million worth of art by masters like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock.

Mr. Lauder’s American Contemporary Art Foundation was responsible for the largest single group of art in that gift, including major works by Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Warhol and Pollock.

My Thoughts

This is a brilliant move to save a Breuer Building in a time frame where Breuer buildings seem a bit less loved than they used to be.

This is the solution when the US Ambassador to The Netherlands will leave his Marcel Breuer designed American Embassy in The Hague City Center after pressure from the The Hague Municipality because of the cumbersome safety measures put into place after 9/11:

Create a Whitney satellite in The Hague….