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This week’s issue is all about luxury. I had the pleasure of writing my first-ever article about luxury travel with kids. I’ve spent years traveling around the world and have had the privilege of staying in one-of-a-kind, unique properties that I will never forget. Then, I had two kids. My whole concept of what travel means has now changed.
So I enlisted the help of experts to ask a few questions. The first being: What are key tips for parents traveling with kids, based on their age? And second: What are the best hotel groups that provide thoughtful kid travel experiences? I’ve learned tips to last a lifetime while writing this piece, and I hope it proves actionable for those who read it.
Continuing our luxury trend, I recently sat with Julie Macklowe in her home in the Hamptons to talk about family legacy and creating the great American single-malt whiskey. Macklowe is a Wall Street vet turned entrepreneur whose love of whiskey led her to create her own brand.
As always, we appreciate any comments, ideas and insights that would make this newsletter more useful. I look forward to growing this family office community with your help. Please email me at [email protected].
HANDPICKED: Traveling with kids: A comprehensive guide
By KRISTEN OLIVERI
“Travel should be a continuous string of experiences, not a one-time thing,” says Kate Mitchell, a luxury travel consultant and affiliate partner of the Local Foreigner, a New York-based consultancy.
Mitchell should know, given that she has traveled extensively all over the world with her young family. She understands that the reality of traveling with children boils down to this: No one trip is ever going to check all the boxes.
So if that’s the case, it begs the question: How do families even begin to conceptualize planning a luxury trip somewhere new, considering that global travel is at an all-time high?
Mitchell believes it’s about prioritizing things based upon your children’s ages. If you’re traveling with infants and toddlers, there’s one set of stipulations; for school-age kids, there’s another. And when you reach the teenage years, you can most likely take those luxury experiences and excursions to the next level.
“There’s no reason why you need to sacrifice luxury when traveling with your family,” Mitchell said. “From toddlers to teenagers, there is something for everyone out there, and there’s no better way to expose your kids to the world.”
TRAVELING WITH LITTLE ONES
The first thing to do when organizing a trip with infants-through-toddler age is to prioritize the hotel, then the location, Mitchell said. “You may really want to go to this small island in Greece,” she said, “but if they don’t have a proper hotel for kids, it could fall short.
“So, what does a good hotel look like for families? It starts with the room configurations. Do they have connecting rooms and/or family suites? If the answer is no, then they likely aren’t set up to accommodate families, and any attempt at doing so may feel contrived.”
Seek out luxury hotel brands that have kids club options, multiple restaurants on-site with kids menus, babysitting services and the ability to have things like cribs, Pack ’n Plays and bumpers for beds set up before arrival. For hotels with kitchens and kitchenettes, concierge services can organize groceries and food staples to have stocked up to avoid time spent shopping. Another option is to send luggage and any baby or child gear ahead of time to your final destination to avoid lost luggage and carrying bulky items while in transit.
For seaside luxury in the high summer season in the U.S., Gurney’s in Montauk, New York, is calling. The property runs Camp Gurney’s kids club, including activities such as crafting, pool time and movie nights. “The property offers an exclusive experience, with access to our expansive, 2,000-foot private beach with beach games, lifeguards and even sand toys to build castles all day,” said Michael Nenner, executive vice president of Gurney’s Resort.
Urban experiences are another great option for this age group. The Logan Hotel in Philadelphia offers an urban campout package that creates an in-room experience complete with an indoor s’mores-making kit, an assembled tepee tent with children’s sleeping bags, kids “Rocky”-style robes, coloring books, stuffed animals … and a bottle of wine for the adults.
Similarly, Graduate New York has a Loft Suite experience inspired by the 1988 film “Big.” The room has been transformed into a toy-filled suite — just as Tom Hanks’ character, Josh Baskin, does to his New York apartment in the film. The experience can be enhanced with features including an overnight stay in The Loft Suite, a Polaroid camera to use during your stay, a take-home mini Zoltar kit and Skee-Ball set, and nostalgic treats from the iconic Economy Candy store.
Beyond individual experiences, hotel groups such as the family-owned Montage International offer an overall initiative called the “paintbox program” that provides children’s programming and activities throughout all of its properties. The program offers half-or full-day sessions with arts and crafts, group games and outdoor recreational activities.
Montage International’s global creative director, Azadeh Hawkins, explained that the company’s approach to children’s programming is “to create engaging and enriching experiences for our youngest guests. With the paintbox program, children are not only entertained but are able to take part in immersive, educational experiences exclusive to that destination that extend beyond their stay.”
South Carolina’s Montage Palmetto Bluff has a program that offers children the ability to learn about the ecosystem and nature with a Palmetto Bluff Conservancy tour. In Southern California at Montage Laguna Beach, kids can experience watersports such as paddleboarding, surfing and swimming. In both Montage Big Sky in Montana and Montage Deer Valley in Utah, there are offerings such as fly-fishing, horseback riding, hiking and skiing.
Additionally, Montage Kapalua Bay showcases a mermaid academy, where kids learn how to swim like Arial from the “Little Mermaid movie,” not to mention how to play a ukulele and master the art of hula-hooping.
If international travel is on the table at this point, Mitchell suggests Spain, Portugal and Mexico. “The service, food and accommodations make it easy for young families,” she said. “Prices can almost double on popular school breaks, so take advantage of going away at off times while the kids are still young enough to miss some school.”
As children age, locations, destinations and activities will expand.
Mitchell sees this as a perfect opportunity to mix in “more cities or adventure travel to keep everyone engaged. It’s also a cool opportunity to incorporate events like soccer matches, tennis tournaments, concerts. Places in northern Europe, Costa Rica and experiential ranches are a great place to start.”
A great option for European travel with older children is to find a local tour operator that can help curate daylong itineraries. TourbyLocals, a company run by parents, provides private yet spontaneous experiences. Should the kids need a break for an unscheduled gelato stop or some additional time to locate the perfect souvenir, the tours are designed specifically for family flexibility in mind.
For the culinarily inclined child and family, luxury properties like Wildflower Farms in the Hudson Valley offer sessions where kids are introduced to local farmers to learn about the local plants and explore on-site greenhouses and learn about the benefits of farm-to-table cooking by working side by side with an in-house chef.
Julie Macklowe talks family legacy and the great American whiskey
By KRISTEN OLIVERI
Julie Macklowe has always been a lover of whiskey.
It started while she was entrenched in the hedge fund world traveling throughout Asia. During this period of her life, she became great at two things: playing golf and drinking whiskey.
“I can drink whiskey before, after and during a meal,” she said.
Having caught the whiskey bug, she began curating her own private collection. Macklowe — alongside her husband, real estate mogul Billy Macklowe — built an impressive collection of over 1,000 whiskeys from around the world that today is stored in their home in the Hamptons.
After leaving the financial world, she got the entrepreneurial itch and founded a QVC skin care line, vbeauté. But somehow, whiskey kept calling.
During the COVID lockdown, Macklowe decided to try to turn her passion into a business. She tapped industry expert and Scottish whiskey proprietor Ian MacMillan to help her project come to life. She zeroed in on Kentucky, rather than Scotland, because of how versatile the barley is.
She had essentially identified a hole in the whiskey market. Her new mission: Make the great, luxury American single malt.
Macklowe simultaneously created the look and feel of the bottle itself — something she was adamant that they get right so that it appealed to women as well as men.
She furthered her own education, becoming a registered whiskey taster to constantly compare and contrast the other types of spirits on the market and how they stacked up to what she had created.
But it doesn’t end there. Macklowe spends a great deal of time educating restaurant and bar staffs on her product and how to use it in a cocktail — a piece of the business that gives her great satisfaction.
Ultimately, her vision was to craft two whiskey options: one to drink and one to collect.
“The idea is for this to be the top of the pyramid — quality over quantity,” she said.
Throughout New York City’s elite bar scene — think Daniel and the Mark —and the eastern end of Long Island, one can find a “Gold Fashioned” and the “Macklowe Manhattan” on upscale cocktail lists. While Macklowe loves the cocktail experiences people have with her brand, she prefers it neat.
The future of the Macklowe whiskey business is bright. The team is hard at work in Kentucky curating a rye and bourbon to be released next year. Husband Billy is also her biggest supporter, providing insights to help add value when needed as they expand the business.
Asked whether Macklowe whiskey is part of her family’s legacy, she became pensive. “My goal is to make this a legacy family business,” she said. “Perhaps my kids can participate in it someday.
“I’m serious about what I’m doing and passionate about seeing this brand succeed.”
Today, Macklowe’s whiskey is hard to find. For those looking for an allocation, they’ll find it through a waitlist on her website. She hopes to release the next batch come September.
“Our next batch,” she said, “is ready when it’s ready.”
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Help us with a story: We are working on a story about the anatomy of a club deal/co-investment and seeking family offices to share their experiences. If you have any comments on the topic, reach out to [email protected].