Julie Zeveloff, the editor of Business Insider’s lifestyle vertical, is going on safari to “the best hotel in the world,” as she has so often referred to it. Ms. Zeveloff has been invited to go on this safari by the Tanzania Tourist Board, the Africa Adventure Company and Singita Grumeti Group, and Coastal Aviation.
“No, I didn’t win the lottery and I’m not a lucky honeymooner,” she helpfully explained on the site. “I’ve been invited by the Tanzania Tourist Board to go on safari and visit several of the country’s best lodges, including the tented camp that Travel + Leisure has called ‘the best hotel in the world’ for the past two years.”
But was it just a random stroke of good luck that the Tanzanians decided to bestow such good fortune on this scribe? Or did it have something to do with the lovely post Ms. Zeveloff wrote back in July, noting that Singita Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania’s SerengetiNational Park had been named “the best hotel in the world” by Travel + Leisure for the second year in a row.
“Despite its remote location, Singita’s guests are treated to five-star service and accommodations,” she elaborated. “Rooms in the tents and villas start at around $850 per person per night, although private lodges and villas go for several thousands of dollars per night. Rates include daily game drives, food, and drink.”
Ms. Zeveloff even accompanied the breathless good news that Singita was once again the best hotel in the world with an impresively comprehensive slideshow. (And, admittedly, it does look decent.)
How does Business Insider EIC Henry Blodget feel about junkets? Fine, as long as they are fun.
“It’s case-by-case,” he told Off the Record. “We discuss whether the trip or event is likely to help us produce stuff that our readers will enjoy. If the answer is yes, we’re happy to consider it. If it sounds godawfully boring, we’ll pass. (And if we do it, obviously, we’ll disclose it.)”
Well, Ms. Zeveloff did write a disclosure, though she neglected to add the part about sucking up in advance.
As for the Tanzania Tourist Board, it’s certainly getting its money’s worth. Ms. Zeveloff has already written another pre–voyage post, titled “I Can’t Believe How Little Luggage I Can Bring on My Ten-Day Trip to Tanzania,” and promises readers a detailed, blow-by-blow account of her travels. Off the Record hopes she has a lovely trip to the best hotel in the world. And that she never ends up at The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal or Travel + Leisure or one of those other publications that tend to be a little pickier about these things.