Category: Travel

Crazy-crooked houses, picturesque canals — it’s Louisville to Amsterdam for a $51,000 week-long visit

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Boulevard loves Amsterdam: whimsical, cockeyed houses lining romantic canals; the recently reopened Rijksmuseum of Dutch Masters after an extensive renovation, and friendly, liberal-minded residents. And that’s not to mention all those coffee shops selling fine marijuana. Indeed, there’s even more to savor in a recent New York Times story about the city: Amsterdam, Revisited. (And don’t miss its fresh update on “36 Hours in” Holland’s capital. Now, consider the following five-star itinerary.

When: Oct. 12-19. Airline: Delta. Route: Louisville to Detroit to Amsterdam, 10 hours and 17 minutes travel time, including a one-hour layover in Detroit. How much: $7,479, economy to Minneapolis and business class to Amsterdam. Delta reservations.

TripAdvisor recommends the five-star Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. The Brentano Suite is available during these travel dates for $4,721 per night; that’s the lovely sitting area, belowReservations. And of course, don’t forget Airbnb Amsterdam apartments.


The bottom line

For two travelers: airfare, hotel, plus $400 a day for meals, museum tickets and other incidentals: $51,000.

More fashionable (and cool!) than ever: Louisville to seaside R.I. for a $12,000 weekend getaway

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Labor Day traditionally brings the summer to a close, and next weekend’s Louisville weather forecast calls for a scorcher, with temperatures rising to a steamy 90 degrees. Along with a presidential campaign that seems hotter by the minute, it’s time to scadadle — in style.

Todd Oldham

Let’s follow the example of Gilded Age one-percenters, and head for a fresh summer getaway in Rhode Island. (That’s where telecommuting Boulevard Publisher Jim Hopkins is working right now.) Along the way, we’ll stop at the fabulous Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence for the new Todd Oldham fashion retrospective; that’s one of the designer’s more exuberant gowns in the photo, top. The exhibit runs through Sept. 11. Here’s our itinerary:

When: Friday to Tuesday. Airline: Delta. Route: Louisville to Detroit to Providence; total travel time is four hours, including a 40-minute layover in Detroit. We’ll then take a 42-mile scenic car ride to our final destination: Watch Hill. How much: $780 per ticket, for economy to Detroit, then premium economy to Providence. Delta reservations.

But with all the money we’ve saved without flying first/business, we can easily afford to stay at one of New England’s premier seaside resorts: Ocean House in Watch Hill. Part of the Relais & Chateaux group, Ocean House opened in 2010 as a meticulous re-creation of the original property lost to time and neglect. The present resort has 49 rooms and 18 suites.

Ocean House
The resort overlooks an emerald-green croquet lawn.

Our choice: The Spa Suite, with spectacular Atlantic Ocean views from its private 600 square-foot terrace. Price: about $9,500 for four nights, subject to availability. Plus, it’s just 10 seconds as the champagne cork flies to pop superstar Taylor Swift’s $18 million summer estate.

The Spa Suite’s sitting area is an airy aerie.
Bottom line

Add meals and generous tips for staff maintaining amenities including the wear-only-white croquet green, and we’re looking at a $12,000 weekend for two.

Louisville to Provincetown, Mass., for a postcard-perfect $12,000 vacation of sun, sand — and surreal

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

With the world’s attention focused on the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, what better time to jet off to Carnival — in Provincetown, Mass. Known to fans worldwide as P-town, the small, arty and very eclectic beach resort is perched on the tippy-tip of Cape Cod.

Provincetown aerial
At the tip of Cape Cod.

Held this year from Aug. 13 to 19, Carnival is one of the biggest annual outdoor celebrations in Massachusetts, attracting 90,000 revelers to an ultra-festive parade and parties from the east to west ends of lively Commercial Street along the waterfront. This year’s retro theme: “Back to the ’80s.” The Census Bureau says P-town is the gayest city in the world, which also means it’s all-inclusive.

The town’s year-round population is just 3,000, but swells to 60,000 during the summer, when seasonal residents and tourists from all around the world flock to its amazing seafood restaurants, art galleries, theaters, beaches and bike paths rolling through the dunes of the magnificent Cape Cod National Seashore Parks.

The itinerary

When: August 12-21. Airline: American and Cape Air. Route: Louisville to Chicago to Boston to Provincetown; total travel time is five hours and 30 minutes, excluding layovers. How much: $870; coach to Chicago, then first class to Boston. The Cape Air connecting flight is $318 aboard a nine-passenger prop. American reservations and Cape Air reservations.

If you don’t like the idea of small planes, two ferry companies offer frequent service from Boston to P-town: Boston Harbor Cruises and Bay State Cruise Co. Their fast-ferry service will get you there in about 90 minutes. By car from Boston’s Logan Airport, it’s about a 2½ drive.

Where to stay?

The Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Spa hotel’s penthouse suite promises spectacular panoramic town views with two bedrooms; a chef’s kitchen with six-burner gas stove and double ovens, and two private decks. The rate: $749 a night, or $6,741 for our nine-day stay, excluding taxes.

Dina Martina

P-town’s theater scene is like nowhere else. Boulevard especially recommends the incomparable comedian Dina Martina: “tragic singer, horrible dancer, and surreal raconteur.” (Emphasis on the surreal.) When: through Sept. 17 at the Crown & Anchor Resort.

Don’t forget The New York Times’ 36 Hours in Provincetown; TripAdvisor’s Provincetown page, and Airbnb’s Provincetown rentals.

The bottom line

For two: airfare and hotel, plus $300 a day for meals and incidentals comes to just under $12,000.

Here’s a drone’s-eye view of what you’ll experience:

Das ist schön! Louisville to Berlin for a $32,000 gay tango festival weekend

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Tango has always been an art form friendly to same-sex couples — hardly surprising, when you consider one possible origin of the traditional Argentine dance is in Buenos Aires brothels, where men danced awaiting their turns for sexual assignations.

Now, with June’s gay pride month kicking off a busy summer of events for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks, The New York Times suggests the International Queer Tango Festival, July 28-31.

Let’s dance!

When: July 28-31. Airline: American. Route: Louisville to Washington to Berlin; total travel time: 16 hours and 30 minutes. How much: $7,720 per business-class ticket. Reservations.

For accommodations, the Waldorf Astoria Berlin ist schön, especially the King Presidential Suite — a large, luxurious apartment on the 31st floor. It sleeps four adults in two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms; a living room with a piano, fireplace; panoramic views from two balconies; a kitchen; separate office and service access. Here’s the view from a bedroom . . .

Corner bedroom
A corner room with Berlin at your feet.

. . . and the living room. Continue reading “Das ist schön! Louisville to Berlin for a $32,000 gay tango festival weekend”

At the Brown, follow royalty’s footsteps (Hollywood and real) for $900 a night

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

The gilded lobby.

The historic 93-year-old Brown Hotel, now undergoing a $750,000 event-space addition to its rooftop, has hosted a glittering array of royal guests of all stripes over the years, including:

Presidential: Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Hollywood: Elizabeth Taylor (photo, above); plus Robert Young, Joan Crawford, Al Jolson and Victor Mature (who worked briefly there as an elevator operator).

The real deal: Queen Marie of Romania was entertained there in 1926 in the Crystal Ballroom, complete with a gold throne on a dais. And the Duke of Windsor, who scandalously gave up the British throne to marry the America divorcée, Wallis Warfield Simpson.

Where: 335 West Broadway St., at Fourth. How much: the top-of-the-line Muhammad Ali Suite can be yours for $900 a night. Reservations.

Related: For more “staycation” options, Airbnb lists more than 300 homes and apartments in the Louisville area starting at $900 a night. Here’s The New York Times’s Louisville travel page, including this just published update to its “36 Hours in Louisville” guide. Don’t forget the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and TripAdvisor’s recommendations.

Plus, a bonus related! All the latest British royals news from Vanity Fair magazine.

Louisville to London for $7,800 to visit the stately country house made famous by ‘Brideshead Revisited’

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Boulevard truly enjoys Voice-Tribune columnist Carla Sue Broecker, and not just because of our shared love for exclamation marks!!! Latest reason why: In this week’s just-published issue, Broecker continues her travel journal about a recent holiday in Merry Old England. But what left us right chuffed was her visit to the iconic Castle Howard (photo, top) — better known as the setting for the 1981 British TV series “Brideshead Revisited.”

The 317-year-old country house is in York, 215 miles north of London. Imagine one of Newport’s summer “cottages” — on steroids. The Howard family still lives there, helping finance its upkeep with year-round public tours, starting daily at 10:30 a.m. Adult tickets are $26 at current exchange rates. Buy them online.

So, let’s escape Louisville’s August heat, and pay the Howards a visit!!!!!

When: Aug. 3-10. Airline: United. Route: Louisville to Chicago to London (Heathrow); total travel time is 10 hours 40 minutes, including layover. How much: $5,076 per ticket, first class all the way. United reservations.

Broecker stayed at The Rembrandt in London’s posh Knightsbridge. One of the hotel’s Grand Rooms is available during our travel week for $381 a night, or about $2,700. Reservations. TripAdvisor rates it no. 228 of 1,067 hotels there. As always, Airbnb London apartments are an option, too.

Fans of the 1981 Brideshead series, based on the Evelyn Waugh novel, will also enjoy the excellent 2008 film adaptation starring Emma Thompson and Matthew Goode. Here’s the trailer:

Photo: Wikipedia.