Would WTM accept a Blogger as Publisher/Editor/Journalist?

WTM LOGO

In order to sniff up some travel and luxury travel news I would like to attend WTM as a Blogger, not as a Hotelier. Not being able to offer thousands of rooms my hotel is simply too small to justify a visit to WTM (although I did that once in the past).

So by way of experiment I applied for a Publisher’s Badge.

In reply to my application I got following answer:

Dear Mr Van den Elshout,

Thank you for submitting your registration to attend World Travel Market 2007 as a member of the press.

Press badges are restricted to Publishers, Editors, Journalists, Photographers and Broadcasters. A press badge allows access to the Press Centre at WTM.

In order to process your registration we need to ask you to send us by mail a copy of accreditation in the form of a photocopy of a recognised press or media card, business card, NUJ card or a letter from the editor, that verifies you are working member of the press community.

Please print a copy of this email and send it with the copy accreditation to the following address:

As Blogger I would like to attend the WTM. However as a blogger I do not carry around business cards and I try to avoid any snail mail. So I am curious to see how this can be solved with WTM….

The funny thing is that for my other Blog I do the same with trade fairs and manufacturers and they have no problem to recognize a Blogger as press. They even are sending me tons of press releases……without questioning me….

Update 24th October 2007
Good sports at WTM. I just received their confirmation that they have accepted me and will issue a press badge after I had referred them to this post in my answer to the above quoted e-mail.

Istanbul and the art of booking a hotel online: Nothing Zen! Part 4

Istanbul: View of the Golden Horn.
A Turk singer and three Derwish
dancers preparing for a video shoot

I just returned from a week’s trip to Istanbul with a group of 26 and a lot of information to share with you.

Trip and organization

First I would like to address the actual travel details.

We flew with KLM (a flight shared with KLM’s partner NW) directly from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Istanbul Attaturk Airport without any delay.The fact that KLM is now a subsidiary of Air France apparently did something good to KLM: Flying in time. Flight attendants who behave much more gracious and hospitable and even the food simple, but better than I remember from years ago, when I used to fly business class and decided not to fly KLM anymore due to exorbitant rates, very unfriendly flight attendants, and horrible food and had handed my frequent flier card in. Kudos for KLM!

The trip was partly booked through a Travel Agent No Beach. They also did a wonderful job in getting the group transferred by private couch from and to the airport, provided two nice guides fro some sightseeing, fully bilingual in Turkish and Dutch (to be more precise: one was speaking with a Flemish tongue, the Belgian version of Dutch). They organized some intermediate transport by coach and ferry to a nice restaurant at the Asian side of the Bosphorus and finally the transfer back to the airport. They made the hotel reservations solved some issues arising from an an overbooked hotel. All in all very conveniently organized. Once more the experience convinced me that for a group you should rely on an experienced travel agent and not on your own time consuming Internet rummaging and the hassle of negotiating with hotels you don’t know. Kudos for No Beach!

Hotels
As the frequent reader may remember from the two previous posts in this series, Part 1 in January and Part 2 in April, we had arrived at a shortlist of a couple of hotels:

It turned out that part of the group stayed a couple of days in Lady Diana and I would suggest that as the hotel to stay in when you like to be in the old center and in the walking vicinity of several of Istanbul’s highlights, several good restaurants and in the vicinity of a very easy cross city tram by which you can avoid the car congestions you will face when taking a taxi (apart from the fact that almost every taxi driver tries to make enormous detours to jinn up his bill).

I myself stayed in The Celal Sultan Hotel fro the whole week. The owner lives in Belgium (hence the Dutch spoken) and the hotel has being decorated by a Belgian interior decorator. This is a very nice hotel, very nice staff, good service and good amenities, a cozy lounge and two nice roof terraces with view on the Aya Sophia, but we stayed in a standard room which is more the size of a room in a Pod Hotel than of a decent hotel room, which is a bit too much if you are used to 75 sqm suites in your own hotel. Their superior rooms have the usual 4 star size and are acceptable.

The main reason for my verdict in favor of the Lady Diana is that their roof terrace is much more spacious and spectacular than that of the Celal Sultan with a far better view over the city, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara with the possibility to have breakfast on the roof. The Celal website is the best of the three. It gives good photo impressions of its interior, but is scarce in giving rates and prices. They should upload newer photo’s of their renovated roof terraces. At least the rack rates I saw announced in the lounge of the Ceal Sultan are higher than the rack rates of the Lady Diana published on their website. As everything in Istanbul one should negotiate the best rates.

Kybele Front
The Kybele Hotel Front view with owner in red and rosa

The Kybele Hotel is just located between the two others and is also a very nice place for a drink, a lunch or a diner. It has a street terrace and a nice and cosy inner court terrace, without view, and is probably the cheapest of the three. I did not actually see their rooms, but I like the owner who decorated the hotel with thousands of small Turkish lamps (which he sells off course) and who, when we were looking at an Europa Cup football match between Istanbul’s Fenerbace and AC Milan, wore an AC Milan shirt, but was very satisfied that Fenerbace won 1-0 against AC Milan, the 2006 Europa Cup winner.

French Riviera and the Art of Booking Hotels Online: Nothing Zen! Part 3

Map of the French Riviera

We are taking a couple of days off after five months of 7/7 and 24/24 service to our dear guests. Destination: French Riviera. Just a couple of days on the board of a private swimming pool or a beach. Late breakfast, rest, lunch on the beach, rest, read a book, rest, small dinner, maybe some sightseeing, maybe some boating.
We put our plans for a trip to Copenhagen on the back burner as May, June and July gave us mediocre weather after an unusually hot April.

Where to stay?

First: where not to stay:

Not in Don Cesar, Cap d’ Antibes
We have stayed a couple of times at 4 star Hotel Don Cesar. Nicely located on Cap d’Antibes and near to one of our favorite beaches. However, the last time we stayed there, it proved more and more worn out. It doesn’t particularly look inviting to go back. This observation seems in line with those of Tripavisor reviews.
[Update: after a refurbishment the hotel is now know as Hotel Vogue]
Nor in Domaine Cocagne, Cagne sur Mer
Domaine Cocagne originated from a camping with some holiday apartments. It has Dutch owners and was not so long ago thoroughly and very nicely refurbished under guidance of a well known Dutch Designer, Jan des Bouvries: It has good location, a nice restaurant, nice beds and clean and almost white interior. However the guests that frequent there do not fit with the quietness and rest we are looking for. Especially since I had breakfast there with the pleasure of looking out over the swimming pool with a couple of ladies in a string only already loudly occupying their day beds (afraid as they were the beds would be gone for the day) while their figures would only be flattered by a bathing suit (even a bikini would have looked gross)….This view didn’t go well with the excellent shambled (pardon: scrambled) eggs I had for breakfast. In addition the owner made it very rudely clear to a couple of dear Gay friends of us who planned a stay for 2 or 3 months in the hotel, that he didn’t like gay people. Thirdly we noted a very high alcohol consumption of several hotel guests. These issues make me think twice to go there ever again. Hm they even have no reviews on Tripadvisor for this hotel.

True to my own principle I started browsing some trusted sites with hand picked accommodations.

  • Hotels of the Rich and Famous is easy navigable. Its map is excellent and combined with its listed properties it is quick and easy navigable. Certainly not so cluttered as some other sites. It comes up with: Chateau Eza in Eze (between Beaulieu and Monaco. Definitely a possibility as it is close to Bealieu where we like to visit friends one day and very close to Chateau de La Chèvre d’Or where a dinner or lunch has been on my wish list for quite some time already. It appears Chateau Eza is a Stein Group Hotel which operated the Dylan (formerly Blakes and now up for sale by owner Apollo Group) and The College Hotel, both in Amsterdam. I also didn’t know yet that Chateau de La Chèvre d’Or is a hotel as well. Alas it looks much more stuffy than Eza.
  • Kiwi Collection mentions:
    • Le Mas Candille in Mougins which actually is a bit too far from the beaches,
    • Chateau Eza in Eze (again),
    • Cap Estel Eze, Bord de Mer (down by the sea), even a Kiwi Collection WOW pick, but no availability,
    • Le Mas de Pier in Saint Paul de Vence
    • Villa Belrose, near St Tropez that is a bit far from where we want to stay
    • La Reserve de Beaulieu in Beaulieu, and
    • Le Saint Paul in Saint Paul de Vence

    I very much appreciate the fact that the Kiwi collection gives the urls of all their featured hotels, notwithstanding they do not have maps available on their site

  • Chic Retreats offers:

    Chic retreats could use maps on its site or give the urls of the property. However Lulu herself recently promised me to do the urls soon (she recently had asked the member hotels to provide them, but did get only one reply).

  • XO Private Collection just sent me an invitation by e-mail to join their XO Private Insider. I thought for a moment “Wow am I privileged”, but I now see you can click on it from its Main Page. I still do wonder from where the invitation came. I like the fact that they provide all info in a write up and simply link through to the website of the accommodation itself. It has (in addition to Eza and Cap d’Estel):
  • Luxury Culture suggests:
    • Hotel du Castellet in an old glass factory north of Bandol near Toulon, too far away for our present plans, but worthwhile to remember,
    • Domaine des Andeols North of Apt, an Alain Ducasse property, too far away but also to remember

    The luxury culture flash presentations are really nice to get good impressions of the properties and I would say a better impression than any video as yet could give

  • A fellow hotel blogger, Hotel Blogs 2.0, suggested:
    • Mas Artigny in St Paul de Vence [ed: Noted closed permanently in 2017], or
    • Villa St Maxime, near St Tropez
  • Another travel blogger in the know, Blog on Travel, suggested go to Clos des Arts from the SLH portfolio in Colle Sur Loup.
  • Then a very good friend of us mentioned Hotel Welcome in Villefranche sur mer. Oh I like that location: It is the second Bay west from Monaco and has a lot of shipping movements as it is frequented by mega yachts and by large cruising vessels who can anchor for free during a couple of hours or waiting until their berth in Nice is free to proceed or are seeking a nice location for a hop of for a stroll or a lunch ashore.

The Verdict:
I have split our stay over two hotels: Bastide Mathieu and Hotel Welcome.
Stay tuned for my reviews.
At least for future visits I can rely on this post which will help to save some time…

Last edited by GJE on December 6, 2011 at 7:24 am

Finally officially opened: Stadeshuys Stavoren

Stadeshuys 00

I have reported earlier about the making of this exceptional 2 suites Bed and Breakfast in Stavoren in 2004 and in 2006.

It has a honeymoon suite with a view that is probably the most beautiful view of The Netherlands. When the suite was half ready we have slept in it as test sleepers.

Saturday 7th April Stadeshuys was officially opened by the Lady of Stavoren, a mythical person in The Netherlands.

Stadeshuys 01
Host Pim an hostess Jane welcoming guests for the opening
Stadeshuys 03
The Honeymoon Suite with original wall painting
STADESHUYS 02
The view from the Honeymoon Suite
Stadeshuys 04
The Lady of Stavoren enjoying the view from the Honeymoon Suite’s balcony
Stadeshuys 05
The Honeymoon Suite’s bathroom
Stadeshuys 06
The view from the Honeymoon Suite’s bath
Stadeshuys 07
The other suite: the “Jol” (= Dinghy) Suite

(All photos © Happy Hotelier)

The Making of….Stadeshuys (part 2)

Stadeshuys Stavoren

In October 2004, I reported already about Stadeshuys Stavoren. Pim and Jane were still busy with their renovation process.

In the middle of 2005 the wedding location, the (wedding) party area and one suite only partly had been finished. We had a chance to test the half finished honeymoon suite.

Pim and Jane have both a full job. The renovation till then took so much of their time that they put the suite renovation process on the back burner. I had to keep the fantastic experience to myself for a long time.

Beginning this year they have taken up the renovation again and recently I got a report that they hoped to open in July 2006.

According to their site they now count 3 suites. I am curious about the final result.

From my own experience I can tell you that what I have seen already has grandeur (large class). The really fantastic view over the IJsselmeer, from Hoorn to the Dyke up north enclosing the IJsselmeer, is worth a special trip. A must see! Also the live webcam on their site gives you a panoramic view equal to the one from your bed.

Update 3 July 2006:
They did not manage to open on 1 July, but 1 August will be managed for sure.

Update November 2006:
Unfortunately their site is still only in the Dutch language.

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