Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Survey says....

According to a recent survey of parents conducted by McPheters & Company for Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, 23 percent of parents consider any distance over 500 miles to be "too far" for a child to go away to college. USA TODAY Snapshots® featured this statistic today in the newspaper's Life Section. 

USA TODAY - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Additional USA TODAY Snapshots® are online http://www.usatoday.com/news/snapshot.htm

More information about the Check in to Fairfield Inn & Suites, Check out College Campuses program is available at www.fairfieldcollegevisits.com 

Check in to Fairfield Inn & Suites, Check out Colleges!

Choosing the right college can be challenging but it’s also a wonderful chance for parents to bond with their grown-up children and travel as a family. In collaboration with The Princeton Review, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott has launched Check in to Fairfield Inn & Suites, Check out College Campuses. This program helps out parents of high school junior and seniors, and includes a travel package (with a complimentary Princeton Review admissions guidebook), valuable free tips & advice, and $10,000 in giveaways.  For more information, visit www.fairfieldcollegevisits.com  

To become a fan of Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott on Facebook, click here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just Back From...The French Riviera

LDPR's Nubia DuVall Wilson has just returned from a press trip to Cannes and Nice in France where she experienced two beautiful properties in the Concorde Hotels & Resorts portfolio. 

               One of the customized courses served at La Palme d'Or

Many say September is one of the best months to visit the south of France because it is not filled with tourists and the weather is still beach friendly. I just returned from an amazing trip to Cannes and Nice for my client Concorde Hotels & Resorts. My most memorable moment in Cannes at the Hotel Martinez, eating a 6-course meal at La Palme d’Or, the hotel’s 2 Michelin star restaurant while watching fireworks. Each course was displayed on custom made plates created by the head chef Christian Sinicropi and his wife. After dinner, we were served herbal tea made from herbs plucked from plants and infused in hot water right in front of us.

Next up on our French Riviera adventure was Nice; we stayed at Palais de la Méditerranée, which has suites with beautiful floor-to-ceiling views of the sea. After eating a lovely lunch at the hotel, we were off to the village of Eze to make perfume! Eze is a scenic 30-minute drive from Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice. This special activity takes place at Galimard Perfumerie, the birthplace of French perfume. After smelling the most exotic and aromatic oils for an hour, and choosing which we like best, the expert perfumer Caroline helped me create my own unique scent. I am going to call mine, Musk of Nubia. 

      Nubia "nose" the secret to creating a personal perfume is taking the time to smell only the best  aromatic oils 

Laura Davidson Public Relations Retains VisitScotland Tourism Account

 VisitScotland, the Scottish Tourist Board, has re-appointed Laura Davidson Public Relations (LDPR) as their North American public relations agency following a competitive re-pitch. LDPR continues its PR momentum as the agency of record effective September 1, 2011. The agency has held the account since 2003.

Scotland’s rich cultural history, exciting cities, legendary golf courses and touring opportunities make it a truly versatile and fascinating destination for all types of travelers. The current 2011 "Year of Island Culture" continues to shine the spotlight on Scotland’s 790+ offshore islands, including the stunning Isle of Skye with its craggy coastline and fresh, mouth-watering seafood. In 2012, Scotland will launch exciting activities, festivals and events with the announcement of “The Year of Creative Scotland.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Special Kids Cooking Class in Times Square Celebrates the Opening of Virgil’s Real BBQ at Atlantis Resort

Bahamas family-vacation mecca Atlantis Resort is thrilled to announce the opening of Virgil’s Real BBQ this November. To celebrate the upcoming opening, Atlantis and Virgil's hosted a very special kids’ cooking demo -- a preview of the newest Atlantis Kids Adventures’ (AKA) class. Chef Neal Corman of Virgil's and Chef Chara Roberts of Atlantis’ AKA culinary kitchen lead the charge – and the budding chefs prepared a very tasty lunch! 

Steeped in the storied cooking traditions of the South, using the world-famous BBQ styles of Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, the Carolinas and Missouri, Virgil’s Real BBQ will provide guests of Atlantis with a new family-style dining experience at the heart of Coral Towers. Designed by world-renowned interior architect and designer Jeffrey Beers, the restaurant will be Virgil’s first outside of the US. At Atlantis Kids Adventures, up to 21 child participants, seated at the U-shaped counter surrounding the cooking station, participate in a hands-on cooking class in a fully functioning kitchen, where tackled recipes include Virgil’s signature coleslaw, cornbread, and chicken kebabs. AKA culinary programming also adds on a lesson in table manners, etiquette, and napkin folding to perfect kids’ Southern hospitality.

More details here 

And watch Neal Corman turn a grill into a smoker at Atlantis 

Check out the new "Island Grilling Recipes" e-cookbook, available for download for some great recipes to try at home 

LDPR Recognizes Stephanie Preston!

At LDPR we value and encourage our employees personal and professional growth. We are very proud and excited to recognize one of our star employees this month, Stephanie Preston, who was promoted to Senior Account Executive. Stephanie joined LDPR as a graduate of Marist College in 2008 after an impressive internship with the Agency. She wow’ed all of us with her can-do attitude and budding PR savvy and we knew we had to scoop her up! Stephanie has since achieved several milestones during her time at LDPR and currently works on exciting clients like Abercrombie & Kent, Tourisme Montreal, Visit Scotland, Eden Rock in St. Bart's and A&K Villas.  She is a social media maven with a true knack for digital media – you may see her tweeting about LDPR’s clients and other interesting travel-related news. We're personally a big fan of her recent twit pics from Majorca where she traveled with press to experience A&K Villas in Spain. When asked what she liked best about working at LDPR, Stephanie responded, “Working with a close-knit group of amazing publicists, whom I learn from every day.” As our resident fashionista who might give Carrie Bradshaw a run for her money on spectacular shoes, we weren’t surprised when Stephanie’s personal travel tip involved fashion: “Always dress up slightly more than you think you need to. The best thing about travel is that you never know what the day will bring – and it’s far better to look too elegant than too casual!”

Please join us in congratulating Stephanie - @stephpreston  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Barths in Style

LDPR’s Stephanie Preston recounts a trip to Eden Rock – St Barths, one of the most enviable addresses in the Caribbean, with fellow stylish LDPR traveler Sara Geen Hill.

Perched on a rocky promontory in St Jean Bay, Eden Rock – St Barths epitomizes the sense of glamour that marked its early days as a retreat for Old Hollywood elite like Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes. Still as glamorous as ever, here’s how to do St Barths in style: 

A Warm Welcome: World-class service at Eden Rock – St Barths begins upon arrival. Champagne, homemade spinach quiches and lime marshmallows were the perfect pick-me-up after a morning of traveling. 

Time to hit the beach: Eden Rock – St Barths is situated on St Jean Bay, one of the most beautiful spots on the island.

Insider tip: Try your luck at paddle boarding, the celebrity beach activity of choice, offered complimentary at the hotel.

My perfect outfit: Missoni silk retro print dress, which even matched the décor of my stylish quarters in the Michaels Suite.

Perfect for an evening of dinner and drinks at Eden Rock’s glam (and delicious!) restaurant On the Rocks.

Villas Galore: St Barths is home to some of the most stunning villas in the world. This fall, the hotel’s Villa Rockstar (pictured above) and Villa Nina will become part of an additional new venture – Eden Rock Villa Rentals (ERVR) – in conjunction with the island’s leading villa rental company SiBarth. Forty of the island’s most sought after properties will be available to guests who seek the privacy of their villa but still want to enjoy private airport transfers and many of the services and facilities belonging to Eden Rock – St Barths.

We just had to check out a few for ourselves…

My favorite? Villa Jade – modern, sleek and sexy with Asian touches throughout – truly a serene island oasis. And the view from the infinity pool is absolutely amazing!

Fit for a Queen: The Freddie Mercury Suite in Eden Rock – St Barth’s ultra-luxe Villa Rockstar is equal parts cool and chic.  

My perfect outfit: REDValentino top and Emporio Armani shorts and belt. Easy to take from villa hunting by day to toasting a beautiful St Barths sunset by night.

For a stylish getaway to Eden Rock – St Barths of your own, visit www.edenrockhotel.com.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Welcome Dose of Americana: Grand Teton National Park

While waiting for our flight from Chicago O'Hare to Jackson Hole CNN was broadcasting news of 50 new planets discovered across a small screen at Gate 9. When I woke up to the Teton Range the next morning I was entirely convinced I had landed on one of them feeling completely overwhelmed by the destination's unique beauty. Driving to Jackson Lake Lodge at 10pm the night before was no easy fete (as you can imagine, Manhattanites are not used to such dark roads). But when we each arrived safely to our lovely cabins, I soon found comfort in the solitude of the mountains, the crisp, clean air and distant (or maybe not-so-distant) sounds of bountiful wildlife. The trip had a very classic, back-to-the-basics, Americana vibe — which inspired the use of my iphone instagram app creating a cool, vintage mountain feel for my photos.

What's Grand Teton National Park all about? Getting back in touch with history, American culture, and most of all, the great outdoors! See my list of Teton’s Top Four below for some tips on how to make the most of your time in the park.

Mormon Row Historic District

1.     Grand Teton Lodge Company is without-a-doubt the perfect option for families and travelers looking to experience the park and nearby Jackson Hole. Jackson Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village and Jenny Lake Lodge provide wonderful accommodations, prime access to activities and dining options that are nothing less than superb. If you haven’t yet experienced huckleberry pancakes (or anything with huckleberries for that matter), you're missing out. 

2.     Rent a car. The views are spectacular and there was truly something special about waking up at 6:30 each morning before sunrise zooming through the morning fog to discover the Teton Range a few miles up the road. 

The Corrals at Jackson Lake Lodge

3.     If conducive to your travel plans, book a night at each lodging property; the drives between each are leisurely and gorgeous. Colter Bay Village is right on the water, providing easy access to the marina and Jackson Lake. Enjoy lake cruises, fishing, hikes, an on-site historical museum and great shopping. Jackson Lake Lodge has lovely rooms, a grand main cabin lobby and three lovely eateries: The Mural Room (fine dining), The Pioneer Grill (delicious casual-style dining with very generous portions) and the Blue Heron Lounge (unbelievable views of the range and wildlife; their Huckleberry margaritas and local beer are also well worth sampling). Jenny Lake Lodge is absolutely lovely, with cabins spread out around the base of The Tetons. The view from your porch will be spectacular no matter what the location. Tip: don’t miss out on the five-course dinner tasting menu at The Dining Room at Jenny Lake Lodge; Chef Alyson Zimmerman and Vishwatej Nath are masters of American cuisine. The Dining Room additionally serves breakfast and lunch. Dinner and Breakfast at Jenny Lake Lodge are included in the nightly rate.

Lorianne Lacey rafting on Snake River

4.      Take advantage of the park’s activities, which seem endless. Horseback riding, Dinner Wagon Rides, Scenic and Whitewater Rafting, Hiking, Boat Cruises, Guided Tours, Golf & Tennis at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club and much, much more. If heading down to Jackson Hole (about 45 minutes drive from the park), you’ll find the town is always bustling with cultural events and activity. Snake River Lodge & Spa, A RockResort is located right in the heart of Teton Village with wonderful rooms and suites, also providing access to the on-site Avanyu Spa (Jackson Hole’s largest at 17,000 square feet!) If you're headed to or from Yellowstone, a great home-base to consider is Flagg Ranch, located conveniently between each of the parks, where spacious log cabins, camping and RV sites are nestled between the pines. The main lodge also boasts a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an on-site gas station and gift shop.

Prepping for s'mores after a Dinner Wagon Ride
Like  many, in the past I’ve fallen victim to the lures of Europe and the Caribbean forgetting what amazing experiences are right here in The States. If you’re looking to get back in touch with nature, and inevitably your own American history — the Tetons are for you. I’ll speak for both Lorianne and I when I say we’ll be back... that’s for sure.

Just Back From...a family adventure in Costa Rica!

Laura Davidson recaps her family's summer adventure on an Abercrombie & Kent trip to Costa Rica.

The highlight of my summer sabbatical was a two-week trip to Costa Rica organized by LDPR client, Abercrombie & Kent. This was my third time there — it’s one of my favorite countries — but the first visit with Andy and the boys (Tobey is 10 and Jake is 9). I can see why Costa Rica is such a hot destination this year: it’s easy to get to, yet exotic; it has dramatic topography, yet it’s easy and safe to get around; it has delicious cuisine; and the Ticos are the friendliest people in the world.

We spent our first week at Lapa Rios, a fabulous ecolodge deep in the primary rainforest of the Osa Peninsula. Many thanks to all my media friends for this recommendation! Our bungalow was a luxury cottage perched on a ridge hundreds of feet above the smooth rolling waves of the Pacific. Every morning we awoke to the screeches of macaws and the grunts of howler monkeys. We took a different guided hike each day, threading our way through lush rainforest and picturesque waterfalls, checking off more wildlife than we ever thought we would see (three species of monkeys, sloths, macaws, toucans, snakes, agoutis, vultures, etc.). The added bonus: Lapa Rios is a paragon of sustainability (meaning that it has no negative impact on its pristine surroundings). If anyone in the travel world needs a template to copy, then this is it!

Laura, Andy , Tobey and Jake get ready to hike the primary rainforest at the Lapa Rios preserve

For the second week we joined an A&K “Family Departure that combined adventures in two very different ecosystems: Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast and Arenal, an active volcano in the center of the country. I now understand why people say that the guide is the most important part of any tour. William Granados was brilliant, not just as a guide, historian, naturalist, but also as a buddy to the kids. Thanks to him, I feel like an expert on the destination (and car games).

In Tortuguero we went kayaking with crocodiles (William claimed they were a rare vegetarian species), saw sea-turtle nesting sites, and incredible bird life. But the most memorable experience for my boys was when William organized a game of soccer with the local kids in the village. Tough competition!

                                 Kayaking in the Tortuguero National Park

At the Arenal Volcano the scenery was vertical instead of horizontal, but just as spectacular. The days were clear of cloud, so we saw the volcano in its full glory, all the way up to its crater rim belching smoke. We went hiking on suspended bridges in the rainforest and toured an organic farm where the kids got to squeeze out their own sugar-cane juice.

            Laura, Andy, Tobey and Jake hiking near the Arenal Volcano


Much to my great surprise, I came home relaxed. Everything ran so smoothly and I had such confidence in William that I had no choice but to sit back and enjoy the ride. Coming from a mom with two hyperactive, food-picky, danger-magnet kids, that is high praise for A&K indeed!

                         Up close and personal with a turtle family


My photo
For over 20 years LDPR has guided some of the world’s most prestigious travel brands through an evolving media landscape with creativity, professionalism and enthusiasm. We are a highly driven and innovative travel and lifestyle public relations agency based in New York City with a global roster of clients from destinations and tour companies to exclusive private islands, hotels and resorts. Our unique culture is defined by our collaborative and strategic approach to working with clients, media and our staff, leading to a strong partnership with measurable results.