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August 06, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Ten Best Moments to Remember

One-and-Only-Maldives-private-villa
Our Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner wraps up her trip to paradise (a.k.a. the One&Only Reethi Rah)

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest recently got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and has guest-blogged about it here for the past three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. We hope you've enjoyed reading about how those plans unfolded. 

by Wanwisa Posner

For my final Dream Trip dispatch, I've challenged myself to come up with a list of my top ten favorite moments. It's nearly impossible to do, but I'm going to try:

Maldives-snorkeling-Indian-Ocean-sea-turtle

1. Swimming within a couple of feet from a sea turtle.
2. Dining on a special menu at Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons, Hong Kong.
3. Taking a private dim sum-making class at the InterContinental Hong Kong.
4. Flying over the North Malé Atoll in the Maldives.
5. Dining on room-service lunches on the deck of our overwater villa.
6. Taking advantage of the iPod dock provided by the One&Only and dancing on our villa deck like no one was watching.
7. Scuba diving for the first time ever.
8. Enjoying a fabulous private beach barbecue.
9. Swimming late in the evening in our private plunge pool under the starry night sky.
10. Eating mini-sandwiches off a heart-shaped table made out of sand on our private sandbank excursion.

Dream-Trip-winner-Maldives

All of this could not have been possible without the help of the travel agent Wendy hooked us up with: Lindsey Wallace of Linara Travel. I believe Lindsey is our "soul-mate travel specialist." As soon as Wendy introduced me to him, he immediately picked up on who Jay and I are as travelers and helped us plan an amazing trip filled with one spectacular experience after another. He scored ridiculous deals and discounts, and he had the connections to get us the best room on the best beach and the best table at the best restaurants!  For these reasons, working on this itinerary with Lindsey is my No. 11. Thanks, Lindsey and Wendy, for creating a trip that exceeded any and all hopes, wishes, and desires for any travel experience I could possibly imagine for Jay and myself.

August 05, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: What It's Like To Have Your Own Personal Butler in the Maldives

One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives-water-villa-butler
This is the only pic Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner was able to snap of her villa host, Shiyan: He worked his magic behind the scenes!

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

There are plenty of resorts that offer personal "butlers" or "attendants" whose goal in life is to fulfill your every desire. At One&Only they are called "villa hosts."  Semantics aside, Jay and I think "host" is quite an appropriate title. Unlike an attendant who waits for requests, Shiyan, our villa host, was super-proactive about providing us with an amazing stay in his home: the One&Only Reethi Rah.

One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives-beach-dinner
Every dinner was planned for us.

Shiyan had our excursions and meals all mapped out and was on top of confirming them and moving them around based on the weather. Every now and then, he'd check on us, tracking us down according to our itinerary. Like a gracious host, he never missed a beat. If I mentioned that I love mangosteens, for instance, he made sure half a dozen of the fragrant fruits were placed in my villa every day. Jay and I even walked in on Shiyan airing out damp t-shirts Jay had tossed over an ottoman.

Shiyan gave us a tour of the resort's most palatial villas, he handpicked the menu items for our private beach barbecue, he made our dinner reservations every night, and he helped move all of our belongings from our "beach villa" to our "water villa."

Once settled in that second villa, Jay found the outdoor sandals provided were too small. Shiyan's response? "I will find you the perfect ones." That very morning after breakfast, we returned to our bedroom to find just that: perfectly Jay-sized sandals. By the end of our trip, we were convinced Shiyan was psychic. We barely had to call him because, at any given point during our stay, we had everything we could ever wish for.

One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives-tour-grand-villa
Shiyan took us on a tour of the island's grand villas.

August 04, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Seeing the Maldives by Seaplane

Maldives-boarding-the-seaplane
Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner boards her private seaplane at the dock of the One&Only Reethi Rah.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

When planning our Dream Trip, Jay and I knew an eagle-eye tour of the Northern Atoll was a must. The price tag of a seaplane was steep, but the expansive views of Reethi Rah and a handful of its neighboring islands were well worth it.

North-end-One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives
The north end of the Only&Only Reethi Rah.

After the jump, more views from our seaplane.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Seeing the Maldives by Seaplane" »

August 03, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Scuba Diving in the Maldives

Maldives-scuba-diving-swimming-with-fish
Our Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner takes the plunge with her husband, Jay.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

Jay and I have been traveling together since we were 18 and love taking on new adventures, but, surprisingly, we had never been scuba diving before our Dream Trip. How appropriate that our first experience was in the Maldives, renowned for its magnificent reefs.

Maldives-scuba-diving-colorful-fish

Read after the jump for more pictures from, and details about, Wanwisa's first time scuba diving.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Scuba Diving in the Maldives" »

July 31, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Snorkeling and Sandbanking in the Maldives

Maldives-pier-speedboat
There's Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner at the pier of the One&Only Reethi Rah, embarking on her trip to a desert island.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

One of the special experiences planned for our stay at the One&Only Reethi Rah was an excursion to our own private desert island. We had envisioned a Robinson Crusoe-style afternoon: We would be dropped off on a lush island and spend the afternoon pretending we were on Survivor. Unfortunately, the weather in the Maldives was not cooperating, and the activities coordinator at the One&Only had to come up with an alternate plan: snorkeling and a sandbank.

Our first stop was an idyllic spot for snorkeling.

Maldives-snorkeling-trip

The coral was gorgeous and the fish as colorful as could be. We saw a handful of friendly turtles that swam right up to us. The turtles swim so close to humans, in fact, that our guide, Jeyde, had to tell us to refrain from grabbing them and attempting to ride them!

Maldives-snorkel-sea-turtle

After the jump, more photos and details of our desert-island excursion.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Snorkeling and Sandbanking in the Maldives" »

July 30, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Beach Barbecue, Maldives-Style

One-and-Only-Maldives-candles-private-beach-BBQ
This was Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner's view from her Maldives beach villa at twilight, while the One&Only Reethi Rah staff prepared her private beach barbecue.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

Jay and I have been to our share of beachy honeymoon destinations (Koh Samui, Phuket, Bora Bora), and we've always thought beach barbecues were overrated. How could the food taste as good as food prepared in a well-equipped kitchen? Not to mention Jay ends up getting eaten alive by mosquitoes by the end of the meal. More important, these "special dining experiences" are almost always overpriced and never really that romantic. For all these reasons, when Lindsey Wallace of Linara Travel suggested he arrange for us to experience a One&Only Reethi Rah private beach barbecue dinner, I wasn't so sure.

One-and-Only-Maldives-private-beach-BBQ
Wanwisa enjoying her beachfront barbecue, which in the Maldives means Champagne

But we decided to try it. And I can report that the One&Only really knows how to put together a romantic beach dinner. Candles dotted the villa's beachfront. A Persian rug and some large lounging pillows were set up just a couple of feet from the table near the water, for post-meal relaxation. The food was grilled to perfection--simple and delicious. Our waiter was accommodating, but we never felt his presence. It was as though we were the only people on earth enjoying a great meal under the massive starlit sky on our own private beach. Needless to say, I'm glad we didn't cross this one off our Dream Trip list.

After the jump, more about our beach barbecue.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Beach Barbecue, Maldives-Style" »

July 29, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: An Overwater Villa in the Maldives

One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives-water-villa-sunbathing-deck
Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner's Water Villa at the One&Only Reethi Rah resort in the Maldives.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

For the second half of our eight-night stay at the One&Only Reethi Rah, we switched from a beach villa to a water villa, just so we could have the full Reethi Rah experience. Our villa host, Shiyan, made sure we had the smoothest of transitions and moved everything for us--we didn't have to pack a single item! The staff went so far as to organize my toiletries by order of height and arrange my socks in neat little rows.

One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives-water-villa-butler

Rooms in our water villa were almost identical to those in the beach villa, but instead of looking out onto a dreamy beach scene, we were completely engulfed in electric blue. Everywhere we looked there was water.

After the jump, more on Wanwisa's water villa.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: An Overwater Villa in the Maldives" »

July 28, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Our Winner Arrives in the Maldives

One-and-Only-Reethy-Rah-Maldives-Coral-Beach-private-villa
Our Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner's beach villa at the One&Only Reethi Rah

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next two weeks. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

After four nights in Hong Kong, it was time to head to the Indian Ocean for the main event of our Dream Trip: eight nights at a private-island resort in the Maldives. After our Rolls-Royce ride from the Peninsula to the Hong Kong Airport, an awesome lunch in the Cathay Pacific Business Lounge (where there were no fewer than five varieties of Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian broths on the menu at the Noodle Bar), a flight to Singapore, then another from Singapore to Male, and an hour-plus yacht ride, we reached the Maldives' One&Only Reethi Rah. We arrived at midnight resort time, and there was a constant drizzle of rain that night, so we barely got a feel for the layout of the resort or our beach villa. When we woke up, though, we saw the most beautiful sunrise from Coral Beach, one of the island's 12 beaches.

One-and-Only-Reethi-Rah-Maldives-private-beach
Wanwisa's backyard: her own private stretch of Coral Beach

The travel agent Wendy had handpicked to book our trip, Lindsey Wallace of Linara Travel, had recommended that we spend four of our eight nights in a beach villa--a 1,776-square-foot beachfront bungalow with private pool--and the other four in a water villa--a 1,604-square-foot bungalow on stilts in the ocean. ("The butler will help move you from one room to another," Lindsey had explained.)

After the jump, more pics and details about our beach villa.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Our Winner Arrives in the Maldives" »

July 27, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: A Spa with a View

HKNight
Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner shot this pic of Hong Kong's skyline from just outside her hotel, the Peninsula Hong Kong. Staying on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour gives you this view.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next two weeks. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you, too, will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

The very first night of our stay at " the Pen," Jay and I were given a tour of its ESPA spa--a sanctuary for decadent massages and facials, with a cascading water "curtain" in the waiting area.

 WaterCurtain 

The spa's water "curtain." Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Hong Kong.

We booked last-minute massages in the hope that they would remedy a bad case of jet lag and insomnia (our flight was 15 hours long, and Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of New York). To our surprise, we were given complimentary access to a private treatment suite complete with a whirlpool and a steam room overlooking the harbor. The view from the suite was the perfect way to acquaint us with Hong Kong's vivid nighttime cityscape. The suite was so lovely that we decided to book it again for morning massages on our last day, so we could take in the same glorious view by daylight.

SPaSuite
The daytime view from the treatment suite's whirlpool. (Photo by Wanwisa Posner.)

The private-suite surprise was probably the hotel's way of mending our disappointment when we learned they had canceled our scheduled aerial tour of Hong Kong by helicopter. Strangely, their helicopters were out of service for maintenance and repair, even though the aerial tour had been booked months ahead. Because there are very few privately operated helicopters in China, we were unable to find a substitute. Complimentary use of the treatment suite was a fair enough attempt on the Pen's part to make it up to us, but an eagle-eye tour of this architecturally stunning city would have been an amazing experience. I guess there's always next time!

Come back tomorrow as we make our way to the Maldives, where I did get an aerial tour--of the radiant North Malé Atoll.

July 24, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: A Dim Sum Dream Fulfilled

Market

To market, to market: Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner got up close and personal with dried abalone and other seafood at the Mong Kok Market in Kowloon.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

Although our meal the day before at one of Hong Kong's oldest dim sum restaurants was a disappointment to our taste buds, our five-hour "Insider Experience" at the InterContinental Hong Kong--consisting of a local market tour plus a private dim sum cooking class with one of the hotel's chefs--delivered exactly what we were hoping for.

We started the day with an hour-long adventure through Mong Kok Market in Kowloon with Man Kam Hing, senior sous chef for the hotel's banquet events, as our guide. What we saw was much like what you can find in Chinatowns around the world, but exponentially more colorful, hectic, and grimy. Chef Hing, who also goes by "Buffalo" because of his stature, was brilliantly charming and informative. He showed us various herbs, tropical fruits, prime meats, "thousand-year-old" eggs, and a famous fish stall worker who can fillet a fish in one minute.

Market1
The famous one-minute-fish stall.

After we toured the market, Buffalo delivered us to Chef Lau Yiu Fai, who gave us a two-hour cooking lesson in the beautiful kitchen of the InterContinental's Cantonese restaurant, Yan Toh Heen. Elated (we were, after all, learning the art of dim sum from the executive chef of a world-renowned restaurant), Jay leaned over and whispered "I could do this all day." We couldn't quite mimic Chef Fai's har gow-making skills, but were pampered anyway; assistant chefs continually offered us fresh wet towels and drinks. Then we were treated to a delicious and decadent lunch in Yan Toh Heen's dining room.

It was a day perfectly balanced by gritty market touring and pampered dining--a truly awesome experience.

Read after the jump for a breakdown of our "Insider Experience."

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: A Dim Sum Dream Fulfilled" »

July 23, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Dim Sum with the Regulars

Lukyuexterior
One of Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner's requests for her Hong Kong adventure? An authentic dim sum meal, with a private English-speaking guide to expedite and explain it all, in the city's oldest teahouse.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

It was Luk Yu Tea House's old-world atmosphere--it's Hong Kong's oldest teahouse, established in 1933--that made our dim sum experience there a treat. But, like many of our searches for that "meal of a lifetime" experience (for instance, our trip to Naples, Italy, where we sampled some pizza from the originating source), Jay and I felt a bit underwhelmed by the food itself. It was, at best, as good as any random dim sum house in New York's Chinatown.

As we entered the teahouse, one of Luk Yu's employees tried to send us to the second floor, where most tourists and foreigners are seated. However, because we were accompanied by a guide, Winnie Wy Robinson of Eastern Journeys, she negotiated for us a table where the "regulars" and businessmen sat as they dined on har gow (steamed prawn dumplings) while reading their newspapers.

The dim sum was shopped around by waitresses with large trays strapped across their shoulders. This was something we'd never seen before. Maybe it was also the reason why the food was not as delicious as when heated carts are used to keep stacks of shumai (pork dumplings) warm and steamy. 

After the jump, more photos and a breakdown of our meal:

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Dim Sum with the Regulars" »

July 22, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: The (Molecular) Meal of a Lifetime

Bo1
Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner's cocktail appeared from smoke at BO Innovation, Hong Kong's molecular-gastronomy mecca.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

BO Innovation was the top restaurant on our Hong Kong wish list. It was to be the meal that promised not only highly rated food (two stars from the recently published Michelin Hong Kong guide) but also a lesson in molecular gastronomy. Most important, it was to be our very own reenactment of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Hong Kong episode (watch the video of his visit to BO).

After dining on critically acclaimed classic grub the previous night at Lung King Heen, we were ready to try "Demon Chef" Alvin Leung's deconstruction of Chinese standards. It was perhaps the most interactive meal we've ever had, where cocktail-sorbets were concocted from a smoky bowl of liquid nitrogen and tweezers were choice flatware for thinly sliced toro topped with foie gras powder. Although the meal itself failed for us in some ways (see below), it remains one of the most memorable and enlightening meals of our lives.

After the jump, a breakdown of Wanwisa's meal, plus more of her pics, of course.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: The (Molecular) Meal of a Lifetime" »

July 21, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: A Serious Foodie Hits the Four Seasons Hong Kong

FSdinner2
Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner and her appetizer at Lung King Heen, the three-Michelin-star Cantonese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hong Kong.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article "Making a Dream Trip Happen" in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

After reading that Lung King Heen is Hong Kong's only restaurant with three Michelin stars, and also that its executive chef, Chan Yan Tak, is the only Chinese chef who's received this recognition, Jay and I decided our Hong Kong culinary journey wouldn't be complete without dinner there.

We arrived excited, curious, and hungry and were seated at a gorgeous harbor-view table. While perusing the extensive menu, we were surprised by a tableside visit from Chef Tak himself. Taking advantage of this serendipitous moment (orchestrated without our knowledge by the ever-so-delightful Lindsey Wallace of Linara Travel--more on him later), we asked Chef Tak for his recommendations. Instead of helping us navigate the menu, however, he offered to create a personalized meal for us. (How awesome!) Stunned by what had just happened, I tried my best to stay composed (inside, I was screaming with excitement) as each equally delectable and gorgeous dish followed another.

After the jump, a breakdown of what we ate--and more photos, of course.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: A Serious Foodie Hits the Four Seasons Hong Kong" »

July 20, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: "The Pen"

Room

When Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner arrived at her Superior Harbour View suite in the Peninsula Hong Kong, she found this view of Victoria Harbour and even watched the "Symphony of Lights" show from her window that evening.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and is guest-blogging about it here for the next three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article "Making a Dream Trip Happen" in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

"The Pen," as locals know it, is not just a luxury hotel. It's an institution that sets the standard among all the luxury hotels in Hong Kong. It has an old-world elegance that has helped it keep its "hotel to beat" status, and though the hotel is 70 years old, it offers all the modern comforts one can ever wish for--like bedside control panels and electronically controlled blinds and curtains.

When we arrived, we were escorted straight to our room, where we were greeted by at least four employees (each handing us their business cards, performing what we later learned to be called "the Hong Kong handshake"). We were checked in upstairs, in the comfort of our suite, and offered a cup of "welcome" tea along with some icy-cold herbal-scented wet towels. Our beautifully furnished and roomy suite, located on the 21st floor, had grand vistas of Hong Kong's gorgeously modern skyline. The art that hung on the walls felt handpicked and we couldn't imagine the same hung on any other room's wall, and the furnishings had that one-of-a-kind appeal as well. The marble bathroom was also large and well stocked with every minor necessity that most hotels and resorts often neglect. The whole experience, like our view, was overwhelming in the best possible way.

July 17, 2009

Dream Trip 2009: Starting Out in Style

RRTransfers2
Dream Trip winner Wanwisa Posner, fresh off the plane to Hong Kong, rode to her hotel via Rolls-Royce Phantom as part of the famed white-glove airport transfer service provided by the Peninsula Hong Kong.

DreamTripWinner

The winner of last year's Dream Trip Contest just got back from her $25,000 adventure in the destinations of her dreams--Hong Kong and the Maldives--and will be guest-blogging about it here for the next three weeks. If you've read Wendy's article "Making a Dream Trip Happen" in Condé Nast Traveler's August issue, you already know just how much time, effort, and detail went into the planning of Wanwisa's journey. Now you can find out how those plans unfolded. Maybe you'll even enter our 2009 Dream Trip Contest. If you win, you too will receive a custom-tailored $25K dream trip, crafted by Wendy and the experts she handpicks for the task.

by Wanwisa Posner

When we were planning out our Dream Trip activities, my husband, Jay, didn't think the Rolls-Royce transfers could be worth the $320 price tag. Encouraged to plan an outrageous itinerary worthy of a Dream Trip, I thought: Why not? What could be a better way to start off our vacation?

The answer: There simply isn't a better way! After a 15-hour direct flight from JFK to Hong Kong, there was nothing more welcoming than to find someone waiting at the airport for you, dressed in the best hotel uniform, holding up the fanciest greeting sign amongst them all, and most important, ready to do everything necessary to accommodate you. From the moment we got off the plane, we didn't lift a finger except to enjoy the refreshingly cold wet towels waiting for us inside a gorgeous and humongous hunter-green Rolls-Royce. There was enough legroom to fit another row of seats, and our ride was as smooth and elegant as one could imagine a ride in a Rolls-Royce would be. Barely paying attention to the passing views of Hong Kong outside our windows, we played with various buttons and controls, checking out all the brilliant features and ornate touches of the car's lush tan interior. Our ride felt almost too short, but this white-glove experience only made us more excited for what was in store for us at our final destination. More on that on Monday!

Click to the next page for more of Wanwisa's and Jay's photos of their stylish ride.

Continue reading "Dream Trip 2009: Starting Out in Style" »

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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