Paris offers rare and brief chance to visit Tour St. Jacques
For the next two months, the public has a rare chance to visit the 200-foot-high tower that soars above the medieval church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie in Paris. The church was built by the wealthy butchers of the nearby Les Halles market between 1509 and 1523, and served as a stop on the pilgrimage route the French faithful followed to Santiago in Spain. The gargoyled tower is all that remains of the church, which was leveled during the French Revolution in the 18th century. In 1998 it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, but it has been closed to the public for much of its 500 years. The Tour Saint-Jacques offers a dizzying but beautiful 360-degree panorama of the heart of Paris from on high—300 steps high, in fact. Curators say that even the revolutionaries didn't have the heart to destroy the magnificent tower, though perhaps they just couldn't overlook its usefulness as a watchtower to prevent fires. Thanks to an exceptional permit issued by the city of Paris, a local association has been allowed to organize visits from Friday to Sunday until Sept 15. The group is hoping the permit will be extended to longer hours next year.
Tauck named best cruise line by Travel + Leisure readers.
From big to small, the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have voted for their favorite cruise ships, with points given for cabins, restaurants/food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities and value. The top three in each size category are:
Top mega-ship line: Celebrity, Disney, Cunard
Top large-ship line: Crystal , Regent Seven Seas, Azamara Club
Top small-ship line: Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Windstar
Top river cruise: Tauck, Uniworld Boutique, Grand Circle
Among the large ships, Cunard and Carnival slipped down the list, to numbers 8 and 9; among the small ships, Paul Gauguin Cruises slipped from number 2 to number 7. The complete results are available online at http://www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest/2013/air-cruise-more/river-cruise/472. Viking fell from the top river-cruise spot to number four, while Tauck got the best score of any ship in the survey, 93.71 out of a possible 100.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has set a 2014 target of 28.01 million international tourist arrivals, generating estimated foreign exchange revenue of 1.326 trillion Baht, up 13% over 2013.
For the domestic market, TAT has set a target of 136.8 million trips, generating estimated of 700 billion Baht for tourism income, up by 9% over 2013. This means that for the first time in the history of Thai tourism, the TAT is targeting total earnings of two trillion Baht from both domestic and foreign visitors.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Heimo Brandstatter has moved to Phoenix as General Manager for the Cibola Vista Resort. He was most recently the Resort Manager at the Resort at Squaw Creek. He had previously overseen food and beverage at the Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa and at the Carmel Valley Ranch.
Yuji Tanaka has been appointed General Manager at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto. He was most recently the Hotel Manager at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo and Interim General Manager for the Ritz-Carlton Osaka.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The “House with Lions” situated next to St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg, Russia, has reopened as the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace following a multi-million redevelopment. This unique project is a modern replica of the famous Hotel Moskva from the 1930s, with an identical façade constructed on the site of the original building, which was demolished in 2002. The hotel will offer 175 rooms and suites and a four-storey spa complex that will open late 2013.
The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has debuted in Ukraine with the addition of the Hotel Bristol in Odessa to The Luxury Collection portfolio. The 112-room property was built in 1898 and designed by Alexander Bernardazzi and Adolf Minkus, featuring renaissance and baroque architectural styles.
Wyndham Hotel Group has opened the Ramada Sulaymaniyah Salim Street in Kurdistan. The hotel has 58 rooms, 13 suites, a 2,388-square-foot theater-style ballroom, a 472-square-foot indoor pool, a Turkish bath, saunas and a whirlpool. In addition to the Iraq property, the Ramada Plaza Beirut Raouche in Lebanon also opened. The 119-room Lebanon hotel overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and has a 1,282-sqare-foot ballroom, a swimming pool, a fitness club and a restaurant on the hotel's 18th floor.
The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts has opened the Costa Smeralda Villa Collection at Hotel Pitrizza and Hotel Romazzino on Sardinia's Emerald Coast. The 20 new villas range between 495 sq ft (46 sq m) and 2,583 sq ft (240 sq m). Hotel Pitrizza houses 14 of the villas, and Hotel Romazzino has the remaining six. Each villa has views of the Mediterranean, an outdoor pool, butler service, and access to hotel facilities such as private beaches and restaurants.