By Lisa Alcalay Klug. Jerusalem Post
Every kosher traveler knows that hauling along food, dishes, and a toaster oven isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a vacation. Amy Shishler, a recent immigrant to Modi’in from South Africa, realized she could easily eliminate these hassles for clientele as a luxury concierge. Enter “Kocierge,”
now launching its first season of winter travel to the Caribbean. With this international service, travelers experience fully glatt kosher vacations in the Caribbean for the same price as comparable first-class escapes. “I can finally do something within my business to make opulent kosher vacations a reality,” says Shishler, Kocierge’s managing director, who travels between Israel, the U.S., and the Caribbean to make her own business a reality.
Kocierge’s core staff brings a combined 15 years of experience to its VIP roster. Guests include individuals, couples and families, glitterati, and business tycoons seeking exclusive getaways.
In a departure from companies that charge a significant price for providing kosher facilities, Kocierge ensures that every five-star escape features newly koshered kitchens at the same price as any other luxury travel bookings. Kocierge also offers private chefs and butlers, as well as catered kosher meals and imported meats and wine to satisfy kosher jet-setters to Saint Martin and the neighboring islands of Anguilla and Saint Barths.
Each island has its own unique personality, Shishler says. Saint Barths is filled with celebrities and A-list glitz and glam. Anguilla offers quiet luxury for families—everything from a kosher golf resort to extensive villas nestled amid the cliffs. And Saint Martin offers access to a local Chabad synagogue, as well as a lively nightlife, water sports, beaches, and duty-free shopping. Villas range from simple 3-bedrooms to 10-bedroom estates. On the menu? Nonstop action, relaxation, or a Passover fit for royalty.
“Instead of a massive public Seder, imagine a private butler filling your goblet at a Seder personalized to your individual needs, afikoman gifts for each child, and kosher l’Pesach meals for every gourmand,” Shishler says. “You definitely won’t want to return to your ‘Egypt.’” A vacation of this caliber typically requires coordination among reservation agents, personal shoppers, and kosher supervisors, she says. Previously, additional fees were required for on-site koshering, importing kosher meat and poultry, and countless other tasks.
But not with Kocierge, says Shishler, who began providing luxury concierge service in 2005. “Kocierge makes exclusive kosher travel as easy as all other five-star travel experiences and at the same cost,” she says. “Kocierge clients pay the same price as all our nonkosher clients for an elite villa, resort, or yacht. We do not charge more because it is kosher. And although it is usually a hassle and more expensive to arrange the highest standards of glatt kosher, we automatically provide that.”
Instead of relying on U.S. destinations for kosher vacations, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, and family reunions, Kocierge can easily accommodate up to 20 kosher guests at any one villa or hundreds for larger events. “Kocierge clients want the best and we provide it,” Shishler says. “There is no limit.”
Exquisite villas, resort stays, and other exclusive luxury experiences are available (prices upon request). Rates begin at $2,800 per week for a two-bedroom villa.
Kocierge also offers the convenience of one-stop shopping. In addition to world-class dream vacation rentals, Kocierge provides traditional travel agent services, including flights, airport transfers, and car rentals.
In Saint Martin, Kocierge collaborates with Rabbi Moishe Chanowitz, the local Chabad emissary, who supervises kashrus for all of Kocierge’s programs, including personalized vacation packages for Passover. Every Kocierge villa booking comes with the company’s signature service: a fully appointed kosher kitchen, cookware, and cutlery.
Kocierge is currently launching its first season of winter travel to Saint Martin, Saint Barths, and Anguilla with nonstop flights from New York and other convenient connections throughout the United States.
Le Château des Palmiers, Saint Martin. Le Château des Palmiers is a world-class beachfront estate that includes a five-bedroom oceanside villa and a four-bedroom gardenside villa. Situated on the white sandy beach at Plum Bay, this fabulous property provides an intimate, relaxed, and attentive environment within the walls of a gated enclave. The many amenities include a huge heated pool, an open-air as well as an air-conditioned fitness center, a tennis court, and covered outdoor bar, billiards, and dining areas.
The oceanside villa features five king-size bedrooms with full private baths, including a two-story master suite with a master bath with Jacuzzi and two private balconies facing the pool and the ocean. The remaining interior spaces include a fully equipped kitchen, a formal living room, a formal dining room that seats ten, a casual outside dining area, and a media room. The four-bedroom gardenside villa features the “Jungle Room,” with a king-size bed and a small living room, and the “Palm Room,” with a king-size mahogany bed and a two-bedroom suite with queen-size beds, a shared living room, and cozy dining room. There is also a huge commercial catering kitchen.
Other amenities include air-conditioning in all rooms, an outdoor sound system, and Internet access. All bedrooms have independent DSS TV and VCR; the media room and the master bedroom have a large satellite dish and DSS. There is an on-site chef and experienced security staff available, along with a state-of-the-art security system. Prices start at $50,000 per week.
Sandyline, Saint Martin. Nestled into the hillside in the exclusive private enclave of Terres Basses, and just 20 minutes from an international airport, Sandyline is a newly completed world-class privately-owned estate perfectly designed for entertaining. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea amid verdurous gardens, this property presents the perfect blend of Provencal architecture with Philippe Starck contemporary interiors.
An entrance hall with a tropical reef aquarium leads through to the expansive living areas and pool terraces, with open views west to the ocean. The dining area is served by a fully equipped gourmet kitchen. The living room has extensive leather sofas offering comfortable viewing of the plasma TV and home-cinema system. Private accommodations include four-bedroom master suites with master bathrooms and two further bedrooms with bathrooms en suite.
The impressive exteriors are perfect for entertaining, with two heated pools, sun deck with loungers and parasols, pool gazebo/bar, water slide, pool toys, island sundeck, infinity Jacuzzi, and shaded seating under the air-conditioned covered terrace. Additional highlights include the well-equipped gym, floodlit pétanque, and tennis pavilion with a cushioned all-weather court. From $50,000 per week.
La Samanna, Saint Martin. La Samanna is a luxury Caribbean resort hotel and spa set on the exclusive Baie Longue beach. WiFi-enabled suites feature as many as three bedrooms, Kocierge’s premium kitchenware package, and a private pool and housekeeper. The ultimate luxury resort, La Samanna is set beside Saint Martin’s finest beach. Consistently ranked among the Caribbean’s top 10 hotel retreats, it is a garden paradise in which to enjoy an al fresco massage or lie in a hammock lulled by the waves. Enjoy a beautiful sunset cruise around the island or head into town to enjoy the vibrant local scene. A natural host to weddings and other celebrations, La Samanna was made for romance. La Samanna has undergone recent renovations, including beautifully updated guest rooms and a seaside beach bar.
For reservations and more information, visit www.Kocierge.com or call 305-908-1458 and see their ad on page 83. v