My exciting eventful week curating the world of luxury travel attending ILTM Cannes 2016 | ILTM Cannes, France |  After several months traveling around there world non-stop, I have a few days at home in New York, to seat down and start debriefing and blogging about some of the highlights of my recent travels. First post, my exciting eventful week attending ILTM Cannes, which took me from New York to Madrid, Spain, onwards to Nice, Cannes, Monaco and Monte Carlo, France. ILTM – International Luxury Travel Market, is the place and event where luxury travel advisors and media, like me, gather in search of what new – coming – trending in the world of luxury travel, and like in my case, to scout for and curate, unique travel experiences to offer both my discerning leisure and corporate clients. So here we go, hope you enjoy my post. For more tips and recommendations, check and follow me on Instagram, to see all my minute-to-minute past/current/future post and experiences on ILTM Cannes 2016.

American Airlines Business Class

My journey began flying non-stop New York to Madrid on American Airlines Business Class. This is my choice of airline to Europe and South America and in the past I have reported widely about it. You may read more on my Airline Reviews Section. Early morning arrival to Barajas International Airport in Madrid T4 Terminal. I am the kind of traveler that enjoys doing long connections, leaving the airport, taking a hotel room for the day and exploring around, specially at cities I love and enjoy like Madrid. So I did. !!!

Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques

So the hotel of my choice for my brief stopover in Madrid, was the new and receintly opened Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques. This hotel, inspired by the works of the famous Spanish painter Velázquez, opened its doors, days before my stay and visit. A former 19th century palace with a prime location in the Madrid of the Austrias, next to the Royal Palace, the Teatro Real and the Almudena Cathedral. So I checked into my suite, took a shower, went down for breakfast, and them took a full walk-around of the property, which includes two separate buildings and several gourmet options, with Restaurant Dos Cielos as the main options by Hermanos Torres. Something to highlight for the Summer months, is the contemporary swimming pool and jacuzzi on the top floor overlooking the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral and the famous district of the Austrias, with solarium and cocktail bar.

I’ve been to Madrid countless times, and I have even lived there for several years. With the time left I had, before heading back to the airport, I took a stroll around Plaza Mayor and stopped for some tapas at one of my favorite bars, Cerveceria Eboli.

Next stop, and my pre ILTM stay was Nice, France. A destination I adore, to which also been many times and always look forward to return. A busy week was ahead of me, but tonight I was indulging at one of my absolute favorite Grande Dame luxury hotels in the world, Le Negresco Hotel Nice.

Le Negresco Hotel, located along Promenade des Anglais in NiceFrance, features the perfect balance among sophistication, avant-garde style, eccentric lifestyle and tradition. The minute you walk by the door and enter the lobby of the hotel, a fairy tale of charm unfolds. Le Negresco first opened its doors on January 8th, 1913. The hotel, designed by Henri Negrescu, immediately attracted a brilliant international clientele, Kings of the old and the new world. Jeanne Augier is the guardian of this myth. Owner of the Palace since 1957, this great lady – with deeply-rooted convictions – has devoted her life to the preservation and the development of this unique heritage. I have been lucky enough to be among its guests, several times, and each time I return, still takes my breath away.

My suite was gorgeous, mind I truly appreciate this style and design. Eclectic the least, a perfect combination of contemporary, avant-garde and conservative. a journey through the ages in ultimate sophistication. Louis XV, Empire or French Riviera style, they let you enjoy the elegance in an exceptional setting, opening up onto the Bay of Angels. As a courtesy to you, book this hotel thought me and enjoy the following VIP Amenities: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability  + Buffet breakfast daily for up to 2 in-room guests, served in restaurant + A complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people per room, once during stay, excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities once during stay (The dinner is a 3-course set up menu (with 2 choices), exclusive of drinks. + Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability + Complimentary Wi-Fi.

Carlos Melia at Le Negresco Hotel Nice

Was time to get ready for our evening. The annual tradition is a private gala dinner at the fabulous Two-Michelin Stars Restaurant Le Chantecler. So I put my new RUBINSINGER Tuxedo on – tailor made exclusively for this trip – and off I went to enjoy the evening hosted by dear friend and General Manager Pierre Bord, and a select group of hand picked colleagues from around the world.

Chantecler Restaurant at Le Negresco Hotel Nice

Le Chatecler Restaurant, Nice’s finest restaurant. Jean-Denis Rieubland, two stars in the Michelin Guide, defines his cuisine and his style as “inspired by Provence, with the respect of its products and traditions”. He likes transmitting his taste of “the true” and offers. We had the honor to have Chef Rieubland welcome us to his restaurant and extend a warm welcome to France.

Le Negresco Hotel Nice

Of course my evening would not be complete – despite traveling for the last 24 hours, and being a bit tired – without a quick stop by Le Negresco’s Bar, for a Filthy Vodka Martini, Carlos Melia style. With its authentic walnut woodwork from 1913 and its exceptional tapestry from 1683, Le Negresco’s Bar is a place of hushed tasting. When the evening comes the bar wakes to the rhythm of jazz chords and Latino music.

Le Negresco Hotel Nice

Early morning and the breeze coming through my window and the sound of the palm trees moving along, woke me up. It was time to pack, head to breakfast – which it is a must experience at Le Negresco – and off to Cannes to begin my week at ILTM Cannes 2016.

Le Negresco Hotel Nice
La Rotonde Brasserie, functions as the breakfast room. Kitsch and fabulous at the same time, a décor filled with vibrant colors, an 18th century carousel and its wooden horses make La Rotonde a very unexpected place. Dedicated to families, it is a warm and bright restaurant where it is pleasant to linger after a delicious gourmet meal. 

ILTM Cannes 2016

My private transfer was awaiting for me to take me to Cannes. Quick Check IN at my hotel by La Croisette, by the Cannes Convention Center and off to register as VIP Travel Media and get my badge to access the show ILTM Cannes 2016. (ILTM) International Luxury Travel Market is a portfolio of global, regional and specialist luxury travel events, where the best of the best in Travel meet and network. Their flagship event takes place every year in Cannes. But, if you follow me, you might have seen me as well taking part on there Mexico edition at ITLM Americas. ILTM is a by invitation only event. I have been invited in the past to participate as a hosted Buyer and Travel Agent, but this year, I was honor to be invited to participate as part of the VIP Media Team, along with companies and publications like Conde Nast, Travel and Leisure, VOGUE, Robb Report, among many other… Such an honor. !!!!

Hotel du Cap Eden Roc by Oetker Collection

During ILTM Events, the top luxury hospitality and travel groups, go above and beyond to host and celebrate the travel trade and press in attendance. With event open to everyone and some other VIP by invitation only soirees. My first event – back to my Tuxedo – was hosted by one of my favorite collection of hotels, Oetker Collection, which took place at the spectacular Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Cap d’Antibes, only 30 minutes away from Cannes. The evening was cohosted by Travel Leaders – the largest and most celebrated network of professional travel agents in North America, and I was joined by my fellow colleagues at First in Service Travel.

Cannes France
A new morning in Cannes attending ILTM Cannes 2016. My short stroll by La Croisette, to the convention center. The rest of my morning went along with presentations by hotel groups and travel services at the Media Center and some Pre-Scheduled one-on-one appointments. Some highlights were: (A) seeing the entire team of Belmond Hotels, Trains & River Cruises and listening to the exciting news on the upcoming growth for 2017/18, expecting to duplicate their collection. (B). Meeting the owners of this two properties, Sikelia Luxury Retreat in Pantelleria, Sicily and Ciasa Salares Hotel in the Dolomites.

Carlton Hotel Cannes

Lunch break was hosted this time by the InterContinental Group, at the very lovely Carlton Hotel. I was lucky to share the table with many distinguished Travel Media colleagues. As a courtesy to you, book this hotel thought me and enjoy the following VIP Amenities: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability + Buffet breakfast for up to two in-room guests, served at the restaurant + Carlton Beach : Free access to the beach sunlounges (exclusivity for Virtuoso). Value is up to 45 euros per day and per person  + Dedicated Guest Relation Manager and daily complimentary in-room internet access + For guests staying in the 1 Bedroom Suite Category or higher: One Way Transfer + Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability.

Cannes France

The afternoon was back at the convention center and at our Media Center. I was very interested to attend several presentations by suppliers in Japan, a destination I am rather interested for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Some of the highlights were: (A) Luxurique Japan, a bespoke luxury tour operator specialized in created private unique local traditional and untraditional experiences. (B) The  Ryokan Collection, the ultimate Japanese experience to Ryokans. (C). The new line of day and overnight luxury trains being developed, Twilight Express Mizukaze (opening June 2017) and the Train Suite Shiki-Shima ( opening May 2017 ).

Lungarno Collection Hotels by Ferragamo
It was time to get ready for another evening full of fantastic events. Above, the private event by Lungarno Hotel Collection by the Ferragamo Family, of course at the Salvatore Ferragamo flagship shop in Cannes. So I took my own Ferragamo shoes for a walk in honor to the evening. Next stop was the event by Cheval Blanc Hotel Group at Hotel Barriere Le Majestic,  and the ARMANI Hotels event at the ARMANI Store.

Hotel Martinez Cannes

The evening concluded at the annual ILTM Official Opening Party at The Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez. Always lots of fun, lots of champagne and the best way to network with dear colleagues and meet new ones.

Ritz Carlton Hotels Breakfast

Following morning, was an early ( very early one ). Given that the previous night went on till late, I was not at the top of my game, but this changed radically as soon as our speaker for the morning began his discourse on the core of the concept of Luxury the new trends and struggles by The Future Laboratory hosted by Ritz Carlton Hotels & Resorts at the Barriere Hotel Le Majestic. Quite frankly eye-opening, enlightening and reaffirming.

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Event

My last evening was rather F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, with two private glamorous events. First cocktails hosted by Four Seasons Hotels & Resort ( photo above with my dear Nicola Chilton – Regional Director of Public Relations and Content – EMEA ).

Ritz Paris

Second, a private dinner for seven, hosted by Ritz Hotel Paris at the privacy of their own apartment, hosted by no other than Mr Boyen – General Manager and our Chef for the night, and the Mr Colin Peter Field’s Walter, best know as the iconic Head Barman of the legendary Hemingway Bar. As a courtesy to you, book this hotel thought me and enjoy the following VIP Amenities: Guaranteed upgrade at time of booking + No set check-in/check-out time (hotel must be advised of estimated arrival time) + Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests (valid at restaurant or in-room) + Complimentary two-way private airport transfer (with VIP meet & greet at the airport on arrival) +Complimentary Wi-Fi.

ILTM Cannes

And of course, I would not miss for the world, the closing ILTM Party at the Hotel Barriere Le Majestic, along with friend and colleagues. Thank you Bianca for a fun fun night out.

Cannes to Monaco by High Speed Train

Next day, was a free day…. so my choice was to take the Hight Speed train to Monaco, and spend my days exploring both Monaco and Monte Carlo. A panoramic coastal train ride, that in one hour took me from Cannes to Monaco.

Monte Carlo France
The main reason, was to scout and curate unique experiences and the best spots for my clients to enjoy the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix F1. So my day went buy checking the top luxury hotels, restaurants and sites.

Metropole Hotel Monte Carlo