Linda Allan's "Top Spots"

In this section, I present some of my top picks for exclusive travel, equisite products, exceptional service, and  more.  When we come across something really special, I think we should publicly acknowledge it by sharing our experience with others so they too can benefit.  My "top spots" list will grow slowly over time, as only a solid 10/10 rating is acceptable... nothing less will do. 

I am in no way connected to any of the things I review.  My comments are personal opinions based on my personal experiences.  I'm not enticed or enlisted.  I do my research, make my selection, pay my way, and hope the experience will be flawless.  If it is, I write about it.  My picks possess standards of service, care, cleanliness, quality, and craftsmanship I greatly admire... especially in these days of sloppy and hasty standards.  

What goes into "Allan Approved"

Tough economic times change our tastes as we reflect more profoundly on what’s important in our lives.  Economists (and logic too!) tell us that conspicuous consumption has been replaced with cautious spending.  Lifestyle experts tell us new tastes have emerged… a taste for quality, craftsmanship, durability, and practicality.  These are the qualities I’ve been advocating for years, and which I present to you in “Allan Approved”.  It’s comforting to know that these precious qualities are now associated with a new class of connoisseurs, those who value the finer things in life without being flamboyant.   

Quality and high standards are subjective and open to interpretation by anyone – and getting harder and harder to find.   I've looked into things that have been highly rated by friends, colleagues or various experts, only to find they missed the mark for me.  What are we to do when we want to assess something for quality and superlatives? 

Many like to say they're the best, first, tops... but few exemplify their claims in everything they do.  Don't assume someone has discriminating taste because they dress well, copy the best of things, or have money (nor even because they're in the business of image!).  It takes a lot more than that.  But what exactly? 

I believe that to know and appreciate quality and high standards one has to be meticulous, discerning, have an appetite (and the patience) for research, and a keen eye for thorough inspection.   You can't teach someone to be meticulous... they either are or they're not.  Companies that understand and value excellence make it a point of hiring people with these special skills to keep them at the top!  These are the companies and people I applaud here!