As usual Conde Nast Traveler arranged an amazing few days for it’s select group of travel & villa specialists. Andrew, being one of them, set off for 2 days of pre-summit meetings at the Kiawah Island Golf resort, South Carolina and then 2 days of discussions and seminars in the city itself at the Charleston Place Hotel. After a rather long flight and a mad dash for his connection to Charleston, thanks to the Soviet like slowness of the immigration department at DC, it was a relief to arrive into a small regional airport, meet his delightful driver and glide through some lovely countryside to the charming coastal resort of Kiawah Island which overlooks the sea with blue skies and a soft breeze – a welcome tonic after the English winter just endured!
By Saturday afternoon, after long walks on the beach and a bit of time exploring the islands 5 golf courses and colonial homes (happily dodging the gators) they all got together for industry chats and lots of fun in the evening with plenty of bourbon and ‘southern hospitality’. This was ‘bonding’ in the most civilized of places and the staff could not have been more friendly and helpful. South Carolina is famous for its hospitality and it certainly lived up to it’s reputation! Andrew wasn’t sure about the grits at breakfast and the hash with tomato and melted cheese on top was a revelation but throughout his stay, whenever possible, he headed straight for the jumbo shrimp, in a rather feeble attempt to restrict his calorie intake and Orson Welles style girth expansion.
By Sunday afternoon, after further discussions, they were loaded onto buses and on their way into the city, in time for the official welcome reception in an old converted cinema and a chance at last to meet the new editorial team from the magazine over yet more bourbon and amazing southern cuisine. Monday had more formal presentations of how the style of the magazine will be changing and learnt about other industry trends and innovative ideas on the social media front. By Monday evening, everyone was in party mood and again the great city of Charleston did not disappoint – they were transported to a wonderful plantation house on the waterfront, where a fabulous blues band were playing some great music and a huge buffet was waiting for them, with endless southern fried chicken, pork roast and shrimp cooked in some mysterious but utterly delicious sauce, all washed down in Andrew’s case with yet more bourbon.
On the final day, after a last morning of meetings, discussion groups and a final lunch, Andrew got some down-time to explore the wonderful old section of the city with some of the most beautiful antebellum homes in America. Thank goodness General Sherman spared the city on his rampage of destruction through the south, as to lose these homes would have been a tragedy. A rather glamorous final dinner in Grill 225 with a few villa specialist friends of Andrews and he was ready to collapse and get ready to head home. A few of them managed to squeeze in a final breakfast together and even and final glass of wine at the airport! The Conde Nast Traveler Summit brings together some wonderful people, many of whom are incredible characters with fascinating stories to tell, after lives well lived and a huge array of experience in different fields and yet again they all left hugely inspired (and grateful!).
You can contact Andrew on + 44 (0) 1835 824642 or Andrew@ltr.co.uk.
This entry was posted in Luxury Lifestyle and tagged charleston, conde nast traveler summit 2014, south carolina, travel and villa specialists .