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In This Issue

Mumbai: Where to Stay, Eat, and Play

Mumbai
India mints its own stars in the booming Mumbai-based Bollywood film industry.
Photo: Lisa Limer for Condé Nast Traveler

Mumbai is a city of dreams. Millions of people travel there every day in hopes of finding stardom and wealth. In Condé Nast Traveler's October issue, Shoba Narayan explores Mumbai's fantasies and realities. Here are a few of her favorites spots to stay, eat, and play:

* The ITC Grand Central's midtown location makes the hotel a favorite of visiting sports teams and therefore of gawkers. Its female-only floor, Eva, has a great selection of toiletries from Forest Essentials, a local brand (22-2410-1010; doubles, $490-$656).
* For a true Bombay experience, go to Swati Snacks in the Tardeo District, where multiple generations wait in line to chow down on vegetarian Gujarati snacks and dishes (248 Karai Estate; 22-6580-8406; entrées, $2-$8).
* In the nightclub and bar scene, the Blue Frog is the it spot--and not just for its killer Bellinis (D/2 Mathu-radas Mills Compound, N M Joshi St., Lower Parel District).

For more on Mumbai, pick up a copy of the October issue or read "It's Mumbai, Yaar" at cntraveler.com.

RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER

Massive Good Travel Fundraising to Launch

Massive-good

by Brook Wilkinson

Starting early next year, travelers will likely be asked if they want to make a suggested donation of $2 each time they buy an airline ticket. The fundraising effort is part of MassiveGood, a joint project involving the Millennium Foundation (an NGO dedicated to raising money to support the UN's goal of fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in developing countries), the World Travel & Tourism Council, and other travel partners. Those travelers who agree to make the small contribution will be supporting UNITAID, which is already receiving funding from airline ticket taxes levied by several countries in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. UNITAID uses this money to place large orders for medication; this in turn drives down prices and allows the contribution to make an even greater impact. It's a model that's gotten the attention of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a well-respected philanthropic organization.

What do you think? Will you click the box to add an extra $2 to your spring break flight next year? Or would you rather make your charitable donations elsewhere? How do you make sure that your travel gives something back to the earth and its inhabitants?

Further reading:
* Check out our live reports from Monday's World Savers Congress, an event that brought together travel industry leaders to talk about corporate social responsibility
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference


Condé Nast Traveler's Love Letter to Istanbul

Istanbul
The area around the Ortaköy Mosque is now party central.

by Roger Sauerhaft

As a college undergraduate deliberating where to spend a semester abroad--and making no progress toward a decision--a summer internship on the editorial side of Condé Nast Traveler was the perfect remedy for my stalemate.

I had narrowed my search down to five cities after browsing my school's (University of Michigan) international programs Web site and eliminating programs based on my preferences. This left me with three cities to inquire about: Istanbul, Prague, and Stockholm. So whenever I was between projects, I ventured about the office in search of the best advice my internship could buy.

The consensus was unanimous: Staffers at Traveler are in love with Istanbul (see the May 2009 issue).
* It's always been beautiful and full of history, but sort of second-world, said senior editor Lisa Gill. "Now, in the past ten years, it's the hottest place in Europe. All the 'ideas people' go to Istanbul&I love it."
* The only city in the world to straddle two continents, the Turkish capital is considered the "crossroads" of the world--bridging the Islamic world with the West. "It fractures of having two feet in both worlds, and not being able to figure out which world it belongs to," said Clive Irving, the senior consulting editor. "It's a fascinating place. It really is the crossroads."
* Staffers also stressed the significance of traveling to Istanbul now, as the transitional energy makes it the hot and happening place to be.
* Perhaps the only drawback I discovered is the Turkish language. "I know a lot of correspondents who have been in Istanbul a year and are still having trouble picking it up," said deputy news editor Deborah Dunn, citing the difficulty of tenses and pronunciation.

So the votes are in. Now it's time to send out applications and see what happens.

Further reading:
* Istanbul's Lush Life (May 2009)
* Turkish Delights: Istanbul's places and prices

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Video: Jeffrey Swartz Speaks at the 2009 World Savers Congress

Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland, spoke at Condé Nast Traveler's World Savers Congress on the connections between being well and doing good: "...commerce and justice are not antithetical notions." Watch the first part of his speech above. Recorded in New York City, Sept. 21, 2009.

For the second part of his speech, read after the jump.

Continue reading "Video: Jeffrey Swartz Speaks at the 2009 World Savers Congress" »

WORD OF MOUTH

Côte d'Azur's New Generation of Style

Cap_Ferrat_Grand_Hotel
A new look for the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat.

by Ondine Cohane

After my visit to La Réserve Ramatuelle, outside St-Tropez, I decided to check out some other grande dame hotels in the South of France that have been recently refurbished to the tune of millions of euros.

The first stop was the storied Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, tucked away in one of the Côte d'Azur's poshest seaside enclaves. Facing the sea, the imposing building has a beach club with an Olympic-size pool and a new spa by Carita and pretty restaurant space for the property's Michelin-starred Le Cap. But it was the rooms that received the most attention during the overhaul: They are now airy and bright (with a cheery canary-yellow and white palette) and feel very spacious. If you stay in the main building, be sure to book a sea view rather than a forest view, and if you can afford to splurge, the newly built suites behind the main hotel are done in the same style as the rest of the guest rooms but some have private pools, which feels wonderfully decadent.

In nearby Monaco, the Monte Carlo Beach hotel got a similar revamp in time for summer thanks to India Mahdavi, the talented interior designer behind such projects as London's Connaught and Mexico City's Condesa DF. In a matter of months, Mahdavi transformed the Monte Carlo from tired to chic, giving the interiors a nautical feel with porthole windows, 1930s black-and-white photos from the hotel's glam days, and custom-made furniture that makes you feel like you're heading out to sea on a retro cruiser.

Further reading:
* La Réserve Ramatuelle
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide


Win A Trip To India

The Taj Treasure

Condé Nast Traveler and the Food Network want you to win a trip to India. The Taste the World Sweepstakes includes a grand prize  trip to India's Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai, and Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur provided by Indagare. We're also giving away goodie baskets from O&Co., cookbooks and more.  Enter daily at cntraveler.com and tune in October 4 to the Food Network's The Next Iron Chef.

Further reading:
* It's Mumbai, Yaar! (CNT, October 2009) 

BOLDFACE

Christina Aguliera, Bob Dylan, Kenna: Celebrity World Savers

by Beata L. Santora

Whether it's this week's Clinton Global Initiative or the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Congress, celebs have been unusually eager to use their star power to help those less fortunate. Case in point: after a trip to Guatemala with the World Food Programme, singer Christina Aguilera was inspired to join WFO in raising awareness and funds for young children and mothers in areas hardest hit by the hunger epidemic. Her simple black-and-white PSA (above) reveals a startling statistic--a child dies of hunger every 6 seconds. But even a single dollar donated to the WFP can help change that.

Music legend Bob Dylan has also partnered with WFP. In fact, "partnered" is an insufficient word for his contribution. Besides promoting the organization, he is donating all of the royalties from his upcoming Christmas in the Heart album to feed half a million children in developing countries.

Even more drastic (and dangerous) steps are being taken by the organizers of Summit on the Summit. Ethiopian-American rapper Kenna is leading a group of his high wattage friends to a trek in Tanzania this coming January. Their goal? To summit the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest mountain (over 19,000 feet!). Musicians Justin Timberlake and Lupe Fiasco, with actress Jessica Biel and others, are joining Kenna on this journey to help end the world's drinking water shortage.

It seems some celebrities have discovered that doing good can be more important (not to mention more rewarding) than looking good. Hats off.

Further reading:
* Video: Highlights from Monday's World Savers Congress
* Boldface: Celebrity travels

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Video: Mandy Moore Speaks at the 2009 World Savers Congress

Mandy Moore, singer-songwriter, actress, and philanthropist, spoke at Condé Nast Traveler's World Savers Congress on her work with the Five & Alive Fund. Recorded in New York City, Sept. 21, 2009.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Video: Wyclef Jean Speaks at the 2009 World Savers Congress

Wyclef Jean, musician and humanitarian, spoke at Condé Nast Traveler's World Savers Congress on his work with the Yéle Haiti Foundation, which supports grass roots educational, sports, arts, and environmental programs in Haiti. Recorded in New York City, Sept. 21, 2009.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Video: Edward Norton Speaks at the 2009 World Savers Congress

Edward Norton, actor and social activist, spoke at Condé Nast Traveler's World Savers Congress on his work with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. Recorded in New York City, Sept. 21, 2009.

For parts 2 and 3 of his speech, read after the jump.

Continue reading "Video: Edward Norton Speaks at the 2009 World Savers Congress" »

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Video: Klara Glowczewska Opens the 2009 World Savers Congress

"We're at the dawn of a new era," said Condé Nast Traveler editor in chief Klara Glowczewska at the opening of the magazine's third annual World Savers Congress. "Business will be transformed, and ultimately in the best possible ways." Watch the first part of her welcome speech above.

For the second part of her speech, read after the jump.

Continue reading "Video: Klara Glowczewska Opens the 2009 World Savers Congress" »

RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER

National Geographic's Genographic Project

National-geographic-genographic-project-mapMy family tree?

by Brook Wilkinson

My ancestors left Africa about 50,000 years ago, moving north across the Sinai Peninsula and eventually populating western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. I know this because I sent a sample of my saliva to National Geographic's Genographic Project. They extracted my DNA from the Q-Tip I'd used to swab the inside of my cheek. The mutations in my mitochondrial DNA--which is passed from mother to child--laid down signposts indicating the route my ancestors followed, starting all the way back with Mitochondrial Eve: a woman who lived in Africa between 150,000 and 170,000 years ago, to whom all humans on earth today are related.

Continue reading "National Geographic's Genographic Project" »

WORD OF MOUTH

La Reserve Ramatuelle

La_Reserve_Ramatuelle_Saint_TropezViews from rooms at La Reserve Ramatuelle reveal a seemingly endless expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.
Photo: La Reserve Ramatuelle

by Ondine Cohane

Last week I had the good fortune to be in the South of France scoping out La Reserve Ramatuelle near Saint-Tropez. The property opened in May and, as the name suggests, it's a true retreat. What I think made it stand out most was the fact that even though it was close to the action of celeb central Saint-Tropez and the pretty medieval village of Ramatuelle, it felt a world apart from the tourist crowds with only 23 rooms perched over the Mediterranean. The resort was masterminded by French designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte who focused on creating airy, light-filled spaces that were still very luxurious, the perfect aesthetic for a place where the focus should be on the view.

Some European "beauty centers," while they look good are a little lightweight on treatments, but the spa at La Reserve Ramatuelle was a standout. It was obvious that my technician was just as concerned with my alignment as making sure I was relaxed as I was. And I loved the spa's internal pool, the counterpoint to the huge outdoor swimming pool that also seems to hang above the sea. It was hard to leave my room, but I did manage to make a couple of stops into Ramatuelle for the market and also to Saint-Tropez to admire the über-yachts (if the economy is bad, these seafarers didnt seem to have gotten the memo). If you are heading to the South of France you'll want to make La Reserve a part of the itinerary.

Further reading:
* Feather Down Farms Getaways
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Wyclef Jean on Reducing His Environmental Impact

by Tom Loftus 

Wyclef Jean, musician, social activist, and speaker at today's World Savers Congress, took a moment to talk with senior editor Kate Maxwell about what he does when he travels to reduce his environmental impact.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

The Ripple Effect: Travel's Power to Ignite Change

World Savers

by Julia Bainbridge

Whether they go organic, promote recycling, or facilitate green conferences, travel companies can have an enormous impact on their suppliers--and thus on other communities.

Julie Klein, the Director of Environmental Affairs at Rock Resorts and Vail Resorts, ended up driving the organic food market in Jackson Hole with her Appetitite for Life program. "We went to the distributor and said we wanted better products, compostable containers, et cetera," she said. Then everybody started going organic in the valley.

Reaching the point where you can ignite that kind of change can be difficult, though.

Even a simple decision such as changing from disposable bottles of shampoo to a reusable dispenser can prove to be a monumental project. Brian McGuinness, Senior VP, Specialty Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., pointed out all the things a company of Starwood's size has to consider when making such decisions: "We have properties operating in 15 different languages, so you have to think about labels, then you have to change the viscosity of shampoo if it drips or clogs in the dispenser, you must exhaust the products you already have sitting in warehouse, then get new dispensers to hotels, and then the unions are concerned--how does it change housekeeper cleaning time?"

The good thing is, you can profit from sustainability. "At the end of the day, there is a return on investment--you are actually saving money," said McGuiness. "But it does take a while to get to that point. The return might not be in immediate future; we're laying a foundation."

Arnfinn Oines, Responsible Conscience (yes, that is his title), Six Senses Resorts and Spas, agrees: "What you're doing in terms of being responsible can really help your business in terms of profit. Improving your water consumption actually helps your bottom line and, in that sense, your profitability."

So how do these companies get the word out? They educate their consumers: You don't have to compromise to be green.

Frank Rainieri, President and CEO, Grupo Puntacana, said it best: "People have the tendency to follow. There is always one that goes ahead and the rest follows. We need key elements to push it." One of those key elements, he said, is a day like today.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

The Local Benefit, Part 2

World Savers

by Beata Santora

Can we create consistent metrics to measure sustainability and local involvement?

Tensie Whelan and Ed Norton say absolutely. Tensie discussed the newly-designed Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria established by the Rainforest Alliance and the U.N. which will be implemented on a systematic scale to create a clear-cut baseline for travel sustainability.

"An easy but not sexy way to create such a metric would be measuring how much waste a company generates. Just go to the landfill and see what's dumped in there," said Simon Cooper of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, who is incidentally wearing a shirt made of plastic bottles which will be sold in Ritz-Carltons everywhere. "You can all touch it later on if you want," quipped Cooper.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Local Benefit - Reaching and Empowering the Community, Part 1

World Savers

by Beata Santora

Should hotels and travel businesses be involved in local communities? And if they should, what are the most effective means of establishing genuinely sustainable programs? That is the question posed in the last panel of the day at the World Savers Congress.

All of our panelists agreed that without support and employment of the community, you cannot have a sustainable business in the long term. "We preserve the thing that makes the destination attractive to our guests...the community is an intrinsic part of our company," said Luis Bosoms of Grupo Plan. Going even further, Intrepid Travel's CEO Darrell Wade said "protecting the environment isn't just good business, it's our business."

Tensie Whelan, the president of Rainforence Alliance claimed "if you abuse population where you business is located, you won't survive. On the other hand, by engaging locals, it empowers them, improves lives."

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Ed Norton Takes on the NYC Marathon for the Maasai

World Savers

by Beata Santora

After showing a slideshow of the Maasai landscape, Norton called for smaller scale, grassroots partnerships between tourism companies and the communities where they conduct business. The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund is a prime example of this type of a successful partnership.

On November 1, Norton will join three Maasai warriors to run the New York City Marathon in support of the biodiversity and sustainability of the Maasai region. You can be a part of Norton's team and support the Maasai Marathon.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

How Ed Norton Started the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund

World Savers

by Beata Santora

There are strong models on how global travel industry can sustain and develop local partnerships, said Norton. One such positive example is from Norton's own life. He first traveled to Kenya 10 years ago to visit family. His experience at Campi Ya Kanzi was eye-opening. It was completely sustainable and provided a singular experience, while investing in local communities.

Norton's involvement led to a 10 year relationship with the organization, leading to the formation of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Ed Norton on "Skin-Thin" "Eco-Friendly" Marketing

World Savers

by Beata Santora

Ed Norton has just called on the travel industry to do a lot more to care for their impact on the environments where they do their business. Superficial skin-thin marketing is not enough anymore. Just calling something "green" or "eco-friendly" doesn't cut it.

>For example, the health of the cenotes around Cancún is going to be affected by the tourism industry. And there are many such examples of destinations that are being degraded by the industry that touts it as an asset.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Ed Norton Takes the Stage at the World Savers Congress

Ts_ednorton_090921

by Beata Santora

Bona fide celebrity Edward Norton has just taken the stage. He is on the board of the Maasai Wilderness conservation fund. Why should the travel industry professionals at the World Savers Congress pay attention to Norton? He's the consummate traveler. "I've stayed at all of your hotels," he said and "love your concierges. All of them!"

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

The Bottom Line: Why Responsible Travel Matters

World Savers

by Kathryn Maier

As panel moderator Dorinda Elliott, Deputy Editor at Conde Nast Traveler, said in her introduction, corporate social responsibility has come a long way since Milton Freeman declared that the social responsibility of a business is to increase profits. These days, it's increasingly vital for competitive success.

The way companies look at corporate social responsibility has evolved from philanthropy to real integration into business practices, according to panelist Kara Hartnett Hurst, Managing Director of Business for Social Responsibility. It's now less about giving away the money you've made, and more about how you made it in the first place. It's also becoming more of a leading factor that consumers are considering when deciding whom to do business with.

Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, echoed this statement when talking about sustainability initiatives that have been implemented at his company's hotels, which have proven to produce cost savings as well. An example he gave was that in Santiago, Chile, a team collected waste stream items that were recyclable and received money for them. The proceeds went to a local charity for burn victims. Similar initiatives have been implemented in Moscow and Mumbai. According to Hoplamazian, it's possible to align economic decisions with CSR initiatives, it just takes ingenuity.

Several panelists have increasingly seen that guests want to actively participate in a company's CSR initiatives. Raymond Bickson, CEO of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, says that some of his lodges in India have adopted schools, and offer excursions where travelers can go and read to the children there.

Abercrombie & Kent started its philanthropic foundation 27 years ago, according to Vice Chairman Jorie Butler Kent, who said that social responsibility is just as important to her company's guests as it was before the economic crisis. Every destination management company has a project running now, in 27 countries. Guests love to visit the projects, she said, to see what the company is doing and become actively involved; A&K has recently introduced philanthropic travel as a separate offering.

In response to an audience question about the willingness of companies to work together to achieve a set of common CSR goals, Elliott gave credit to the companies -- Abercrombie & Kent, Carlson Hotels, Fairmont Hotels, Four Seasons, Hyatt Corporation, InterContinental, Kimpton Hotels, Loews, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood, and Vail Resorts -- who've been working together to set standards for measuring and reducing water consumption. All are competitors, and each company handles these issues differently, Elliott said, but each believed that this issue is important enough to work together on it.

But yet, the average consumer may not know about the CSR initiatives that many travel companies have implemented. Hoplamazian sees this as a missed business opportunity. "Everyone's consciousness has been raised," he said. "Guests now come to our properties aware of and interested and wanting to participate in the inititives."

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

More from the World Savers Awards Winners

World Savers

by Julia Bainbridge

More favorite quotes from our World Savers Award winners:

Accor's Hélène Roques, winner for health initiatives
"We have learned three key lessons from our work: 1) There's no need to wait for national regulation to make conservation mandatory. If we reduce waste, we reduce our own costs. 2) Involve employees in sustainable practices. Offer them a way to contribute and save their planet, and you will see their passion for their communities. 3) Give opportunity to guests to contribute to social programs, you will see how the trend of sustainability will accelerate, becoming more important even in this crisis. Multiply effects of these practices with the participation of guests&It's in our interests and out moral obligation to include the planet in our business plans."

Ritz-Carlton president Simon Cooper, large chain overall winner
"From 1983, our mission statement clearly talked about service to our communities and environment&Three years ago we formalized it on a global basis&.Ten days ago we announced a partnership with Americas Promise to tackle the drop out rate of North America's children from disadvantaged communities&Every single Ritz-Carlton will adopt a school in North America."

Willard Intercontinental Hotel General Manager Hervé Houdré, city hotel overall winner
"Sustainable development isn't just a marketing opportunity&Our properties consume a lot of energy and generate a lot of waste. So it's time to focus not only on bottom line, but also on societal and environmental bottom lines&Economic crisis is not an excuse - in fact it's the perfect time to implement practices because it saves on costs&When you develop a serious sustainable strategy, you gain new clients who want to stay at a place that is in tune with their sensibilities&Our clients have evolved, so it's up to each and every one of us to think every day about how we can help to make our descendants proud of us."

Ecoventura owner Santiago Dunn, cruise line overall winner
"Conservation costs time and money. Some may ask why with profits under fire in this environment, are stepping up with our efforts? We believe that we are only as healthy as the animals and people in our environment&When the world returns to its financial health, there will be two types of companies left: ones that exist for purpose, and others for profit."

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

A Call to Action from Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz

World Savers

by Julia Bainbridge

In 2006, Timberland introduced an industry-first "nutrition label" with information about its shoes' "ingredients." The company launched a Green index, as well, to measure the environmental impact of its products.

Today, Timberland President and CEO Jeffrey B. Swartz spoke at the World Savers Congress. But not before receiving two great introductions.

One, from editor in chief Klara Glowczerwska, outlined some of his successes: "Under his leadership, the company has grown from $156 million in revenue 1989 to more than $1.4 billion in 2008."

Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean said, "He has a lot of swagger."

And he does. So much so, in fact, that all his great quotes were hard to get down on paper fast enough. Here's the gist:

"I'm sitting back listening to the CEOsyouand you're talking about social justice as part of what you do, he said. "And I'm thinking, Hey, this is a pretty good day here in NYC for a Red Sox fan.'"

But Swartz's biggest question: If the marketplace is involved, how come the socioeconomic gaps are getting bigger?

"You can create in people an aspirationshow them another world they can be transported to, where they can feel good," he told the travel industry leaders in attendance. "Travel liberates peoples' imaginations and gives them a change to soar. You have power. Use it responsibly. Please continue to use the power audaciously."

"The three important letters are to me are not CEO, they're DAD. I have a responsibility to my kids and you do, too."

We can talk about it all day long, said Swartz, but only if we go together can we change things.

WORLD SAVERS CONGRESS

Wyclef Jean's Haiti

World Savers

by: Beata Santora

"I'm a rockstar, so it's a little early for me," joked Wyclef Jean as he sauntered up on the World Savers stage just a few moments ago. The early 2 p.m. hour notwithstanding, Wyclef gave an impassioned speech about his work on behalf of his beloved native Haiti. Praising Condé Nast Traveler's recent Haiti coverage, he urged the Congress attendees to shake off any preconceived notions of the island. "Tourism is alive in Haiti--it's just missing is the right tour guide," he said.

Modeling a brand new pair of Timberland boots, Wyclef excitedly announced a partnership with Timberland to donate $2 from the sale of each pair to planting trees in Haiti. Through partnerships like this one, and his foundation Yele Haiti, Wyclef has become a true ambassador for his country.

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