After close to quarter of a century, Tracy Stern, my Muse and soul mate, and I reconnected. Amazingly, it was as if time had stood still for us. Although admittedly I take every opportunity to shout this miracle out to the world, it’s truly apropos here. The idea for this travel guide series (Tracy’s naturally – she’s a one-person think tank) was born during our second trip out of the country together, easily two of the greatest vacations of my adult life. The first was Vancouver, where Tracy opened a new SALONTEA store. The second was Monte Carlo, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever laid eyes on.
After forty years of travel, including such faraway destinations as the West Indies, Asia and Europe, and flights that would’ve made a despot find sympathy in his blackened heart, I never thought I’d see the day when a seven-hour flight would actually seem enticing. Yet with Tracy, everything in life, even the most mundane tasks, have acquired profound meaning. Coach never felt so intimate and dare I say, romantic. Collaborating on this guide will be effortless.
But enough about us for the moment (Ebullience is a rare feeling and one to be embraced in case you haven’t noticed). Let’s focus on the subject of this debut guide. Monaco is a magical enclave in the South of France, a place everyone should see at one point or another during the course of his or her lifetime. Topographically and culturally, it’s captivating, even awe- inspiring. Tracy has referred to it at as “a Disneyland of sorts,” for its fairytale like Belle Epoque architecture, idyllic scenery, delectable cuisine, thrilling attractions and overall emphasis upon assaulting the senses with pleasure.
Tracy was featured in Monte Carlo, The Art of Taste, a new magazine launched in conjunction with Monaco’s Grand Prix. We had the chance to attend lavish parties at Hotel de Paris, a magnificent five-star hotel, observe the great race from a private Team Lotus party and dine along the Cote d’Azur at the deservedly trendy African Queen restaurant, gastronomical homage to Humphrey Bogart’s classic film. One lazy afternoon began in Monaco and ended with a romantic dinner in Italy, one of the quaint villages just twenty minutes by rail. Finally, our accommodations, chic and oceanfront, afforded expansive views of the Mediterranean and the mega- yachts vying for our attention as they proudly embraced the shoreline, in all of their opulent glory.
Our recent trip to Monaco was five-star in every sense of the word. It left us wanting more travel together (I had a distinct feeling that was going to happen). Not only were we inspired to explore the world together but we were also intrigued by the possibility of sharing these experiences with travelers throughout the world. And not just any sort of explorer. We are seeking those who crave unadulterated luxury, without the astronomical price tag. We’ve created a guide that truly makes Monaco and other exquisite locales accessible to everyone, Tracy Stern style of course.
Perhaps just a very brief explanation of SALONTEA’s origins is in order. Tracy’s tea empire was inspired by the great tea salons in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, where all of society’s most fascinating personalities and thinkers congregated to exchange intellectual discourse and share an affinity for the arts and culture. So in staying true to this theme, this travel guide classifies the travel experience through these differing yet equally important lenses.
So whether you fancy yourself a fashionable dandy, writer, artist musician, player or lover, for instance, this guide will inspire you to explore the places that have riveted us. We are proud that we have been able to share our joy to everyone, revealing the most affordable way to experience the same bliss