The Maldives, Not Only For The Rich & Famous

RETURN TO THE MALDIVES – DECEMBER 2-8, 2020, LAND PKG $3100pp

Last December, I experienced the best relaxation ever in my 36 years of traveling internationally.  I had read many articles about various celebrities enjoying the good life in the Maldive Islands  and  I had arranged packages for some high end travelers plunking down 15 to 20,000 dollars for a 5 night stay for 2.   Just like in 1983 when I desperately wanted to experience The Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with the local jazz station. I couldn’t afford it at $3000 per person for 1 week but in my heart of hearts I believed it could be done for way less.  By the grace of God, we made it happen for  $1500,  19 days, 2 countries;  Switzerland and France and 2 jazz festivals; Montreux and the Nice Jazz Fest on the French Riviera. The next year I returned with 25 of my friends and added The North Sea Jazz Festival.  That, my friends, was the beginning of KATZ SUMMER JAZZ TOUR.

That being said, I’m here to show and tell that THE MALDIVE ISLANDS are within reach and quite affordable.  Our resort, SUN ISLAND RESORT AND SPA, located on Nalaguraidhoo island in the South Ari Atoll, 107 km south of the Male’ International airport  is the ONLY resort on our island. It was like having our own private island.

After arriving at Male’ airport, a small aircraft flies  you 20 minutes to the jetty where you board the speed boat for a 7 minute ride to the resort.  It’s best to arrive during daylight hours to take in all the beauty to be seen as you fly in.  The package includes a 6 night stay in an Over the Water Bungalow,  transportation to and from the island from MALE’ AIRPORT  and breakfast and dinner daily.  There are activities galore to experience for a nominal fee, ie, the Spa, fishing trips, snorkeling, scuba diving, bicycling, and  paddle boats just to name a few.

In closing, I must say, I honestly thought my 2  Fiji trips  were  the most relaxing trips I have ever experienced in my life but The Maldives (mall- deeves) wins my prize hands down.

By tomorrow, my expert webmaster will have it on the website kattraxonline.com  If you even think you want this amazing experience; let me hear from you sooner than later.

Here’s a Kat Kibble:  A Stroll Through Black Paris was last week and May 2020 is now half sold out.  An old Jamaican saying, “Think Long, Think Wrong”

Until next time,

 

Au Revoir Paris… Jusqu’ a ce que 2020

 

This night was our  last group activity which is dinner at a very lovely African restaurant, VILLA MAASAI. The food is on point and the service impeccable.  This is just another restaurant that loves the KATTRAX groups no matter what part of the world we find ourselves in.  After dinner the stretch limos are in formation and ready to take the group to see Paris lit up in all her glory while they sip champagne and cider.

The next morning folks had things  to get done on their “to do lists”.  I have only had pancakes once in the last year, compared to once a week prior to that.  I know that was just shameful. In any case, I was ready for BREAKFAST IN AMERICA joined by Willie and Gwen  Tabb of Michigan.  Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.

We are beginning to fill up already for May 7-14, 2020.  20 is the maximu number.

Until next week…..God willing, we will be rolling to Vietnam; stopping off in Saigon, Da Nang, Hanoi and Halong Bay.

Everything In Love

It’s been a very interesting week here in Paris.  France rolled out the red carpet for the President of China, XI Jinping. Major transportation  routes were impacted, and virtually shut down with a very heavy police and military presence.  The Chinese Embassy happened to be 10 mins from our hotel so we at times were semi on lock but Kattrax managed to work it on out.

I love it when young well mannered teens get exposed to international destinations by taking our tour.  Harriett Karis brought her 13 yr old Goddaughter Deja Hill along on this tour and it was evident she was taking it all in.  Robin and I were amazed that they set out on their own to travel 55 km southeast of Paris to Chateau Vaux le Vicomte; truly a site to behold.  In 1641 Nicolas Fouquet; Louis XIV’s Minister of Finance purchased the estate, then later commissioned architect, decorater and painters to renovate his estate to match his grand taste. This collaboration marked the beginning of the “Louis XIV style”.   Old Louis thought Fouquet had misappropriated funds to create this magnificent, lavish estate. He had him arrested, imprisoned for life and exiled his wife. Later hired the same team of artists to design something bigger and more extravagant….The Palace of Versailles.

Yesterday was our museum excursion. Everybody wants to visit the LOUVRE.  The Carter’s; Jay Z & Beyoncé did a LOUVRE takeover and filmed their video “Apeshit” there.  The museum is home to some of the world’s most famous works of art.  35 years ago my little DeeDee was exposed.  I dragged her through to see some of the very pieces in this amazing video; THE MONA LISA, THE WINGED VICTORY and VENUS de MILO.  Also in the video is the PORTRAIT of a BLACK WOMAN and the Great Sphinx of Tanis; one of the largest Sphinxes housed outside of Egypt. In the video is a reminder that ancient Egypt and its history are a part of a larger African history.

Museums abound in this city with some of the most interesting exhibits. Just opening today until July at Musee D’Orsay is “Black Models”.   Some of my favorite museum exhibits have  been at Musee Quai Branly;  100 Years of Jazz,  and The Black Panther Party to name a few.

Our time is almost up in this beautiful city and tonight will be one of the highlights : Paris by Night in stretch limos after dining at the classy African restaurant, Villa Maasai. This is how we roll.    Well, I must close my eyes now.   It is almost 4am and Willie & Gwen Tabb  and myself have a date at Breakfast in America.

 

Paris, Let’s Get It Started!

Thirty-six years later and Paris is still beautiful and to top it off, no matter the weather forecast in March or April; we still manage to bring the California sunshine. The weather has been gorgeous.     It was my first inclination not to blog this trip because I have been blogging this Paris program repeatedly  but my Durham, NC friends planning to come in 2020 put in a request so here we go.  Just as I continue to threaten “This is my last tour” , it seems I just can’t stop.  2020 is already in place for May 7-14.  Even though my love affair with Paris which was a “Love Supreme” at one time has been replaced by the likes of The Maldive Islands, Fiji, Egypt, Vietnam and Colombia; in my heart there still remains a special place for the “City of Light”.

When checking in for my nonstop United flight, I was surprised with an offer to upgrade to Polaris Business Class for a small amount. It was an offer I could not refuse.  To have the ability to lay flat on long flights these days has proven to be a health requirement for me.  To arrive feeling refreshed without puffy ankles is just what the doctor ordered.  An added plus is the new Polaris dining room at SFO for Business Class Travelers where you are seated and served complimentary from a very interesting menu.  I chose 2 Crispy Shrimp Cakes, Pasta with mushrooms in a creamy Sauce, a Cobb Wedge Salad and of course my tonic water.

There are 18 in the group of which 7 are repeat travelers, some I haven’t seen in a few years and I was excited to be reunited with them again:  Willie and Gwen Tabb of Michigan, Glenda Stone of North Carolina, Tammie McClendon of Chicago;  Sekilati Kodilichi, Deborah Lewis and Steven Portlock from the Bay Area.

Words cannot express the feeling I had upon my arrival at the hotel when the bell staff greeted me with the traditional Parisian embrace with a kiss on each cheek. Reception, chamber maids, and the back office staff all make me and the KATTRAX GROUP feel right at home.  The Elysees Regencia has been a favorite for at least 8 years.

We were picked up by our private bus and taken to Babylone Bis, a French West Indian restaurant for dinner, a regular since 1994.    It was good to see Chis and the Babylone family and as usual the food and service never disappoints.  I noticed they now have 3 of my photos on their walls of fame, right along with Snoop, Marvin Gaye, Sean Paul and other celebrities.

The following morning is always a great kick off with Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tour. Kattrax does it by private bus.  This year we had the pleasure of being guided by one of her very knowledgeable assistants, Miguel.  The group learned historical facts directly related to our heritage. After a delightful lunch in Neuilly-sur-Seine, they paid a visit to the Black Madonna. All in all it was a wonderful morning and afternoon.

Friday is always a full day and night.  Our music scene would be at JAZZ CLUB ETOILE located in the lovely HOTEL MERIDIEN ETOILE.  The evening performance was Rossitza Milevska, who hails from Bulgaria and is one of the best jazz harp players in the world today.  She was teamed up with KRISTEL ADAMS.  I cannot say enough good things about this sista songstress who resides in Marseille.  Her mother is Vietnamese and her father West Indian, this young lady who was one of the early contestants  on THE VOICE, performed soul, jazz and gospel  in 10 languages and knocked it out of the box.  She has an unbelievable range and believe it or not, an uncanny resemblance to Whitney.  We all loved the performance.  This classy club has been around since 1975 and it’s been my favorite since ‘83 when it was called The Lionel Hampton Jazz Club.  It’s since been totally renovated. The sound system has always been outstanding and the cocktails and food remain to be on point.  When planning a year in advance, we never know what music will be available until a month, sometimes 2 weeks before we arrive.  Robin Bates and myself always strive to be able to offer something “soulful” and this night was magical.

Saturday and Sunday are leisure days.  Some take off to experience London, Amsterdam and Versailles on their own.  Our program resumes on Monday and I just might blog again.  Whether or not I blog then, you can expect VIETNAM when we take off the first week in April.

 

More of Kat’s Kibbles & Bits

We were so looking forward to New Years in Dubai but with it being such a sought after destination especially at that time of the year; the airfares were not showing us any mercy so as a result we had to let it go but we still have the 8 night package Nov 25 – Dec 3  $2325pp dbl occupancy which includes 3 nights at the 5 star Ritz Carlton, Grand Canal in ABU DHABI plus the 5 nights in DUBAI at the 5 star Kempinski at the Emirates Mall.  I’m pretty sure I’ll swing by to party with the Sagittarians on my way back from Cairo.

The website kattraxonline.com has been updated with information for the following 2020 destinations.  Please note: Our packages are land packages. You are not locked into our flights. You have the flexibility of doing your own thing.   You will notice just how we are turning our focus towards non-European countries in 2020 as the Euro continues to kick the not so mighty dollar in the behind.

GHANA    MARCH 9-16, 2020  $3300pp dbl occ  5 nights Labadi Beach Hotel in ACCRA and 2 nights Coconut Grove in ELMINA near the Cape Coast Castles plus We’ll go off the beaten path and visit Assin Manso where the slaves in shackles took their “Last Bath” in the “Slave River”.

BLACK PARIS  MAY 7 – 14, 2020  $2900pp dbl occupancy   Where we do it all with a black perspective; African and French West Indian restaurants, museums, music scene,  Paris by night in limos with our handsome brothers as chauffeurs and spend the day with Ricki Stevenson on her African American historical tour.

SOUTH AFRICA  SEPTEMBER 20 – 30, 2020  $4350pp dbl occupancy  Where you get a taste of it all;  the struggle in SOWETO,  Village life at LESEDI,  The Cosmopolitan flair of CAPE TOWN and life in The Townships, wine tasting in The WINELANDS, and a trip to ROBBEN ISLAND where NELSON MANDELA spent 18 years of his 27 year incarceration,  Being up close and personal with the BIG 5 at a 5 star Game Lodge and dining on some of the best meals imaginable.

EGYPT  OCTOBER 21 – NOVEMBER 3, 2020  Cost: TBA.  See the Pyramids, the Sphinx, Luxor, Valley of the Kings and Queens,   home of the NUBIANS in Aswan, and a 4 night NILE CRUISE.  Of my 88 cruises, I still say, my best have been 4 times on the NILE RIVER where you cruise by day stopping at towns along the way, seeing life on the banks of the river and enjoying the included shore excursions with our own private Egyptologist.  No doubt, the mere thought of Baby Moses being found somewhere along these very banks has something to do with why I love the serenity of a Nile cruise

THE MALDIVE ISLANDS will find its place somewhere on the KATTRAX 2020 WORLD TOUR.  That trip last December scored high marks with me as being the BEST, MOST RELAXING TOUR in my book   I so look forward to visiting it again. Imagine  being at the only resort on an entire island, in over the water Bungalows where you walk down your stairs and you are smack dab in the pristine, turquoise waters of the INDIAN OCEAN. Heavenly…