Robert Q Travel Byron's Blog

Doing the Holidays Disney Style in Orlando and Anaheim in 2022
The gift of travel can create precious memories of one of the best holidays ever, and Disney theme parks on both sides of the country have been arrayed in their festive best, unwrapping a full lineup of holiday cheer lasting into the New Year.

There’s still time to plan a Disney version of the holidays this year in Anaheim or Orlando, and your expert travel advisor can help you plan the perfect theme park vacation to suit your family’s travel style.

Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida:

 
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will return to Magic Kingdom Park for 24 select nights this holiday season. This event will offer an evening featuring “Minnie’s Wonder Christmastime Fireworks,” “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” complimentary cookies and hot cocoa at locations throughout the park, three jolly new photo opportunities and more (separate ticketed event).
 
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays takes guests on a global holiday celebration with a candlelight processional, storytellers, costumed performances, seasonal food throughout the World Showcase nations, along with sights, sounds and flavours of the season celebrated by cultures near and far.
 
Disney's Animal Kingdom brings a holiday twist to the magic of nature with festive flotillas featuring holiday percussionists and Santa sailing down the Discovery River. Discovery Island will spring to life with artisan-sculpted puppets of artic animals like penguins, reindeer, polar bears and more during the Merry Menagerie. As nighttime falls, a holiday edition of the Tree of Life Awakening will begin accompanied by a heartwarming musical score.
 
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can dine with Minnie and friends at Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine, enjoy a holiday finale featuring Olaf during the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, catch a glimpse of old St. Nick as he cruises in his candy-apple red convertible down Hollywood Boulevard and experience a captivating projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

 

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California


Disney California Adventure Park


The night-time spectacular “World of Color – Season of Light” wraps guests in holiday magic by fusing cherished holiday music with memorable moments from treasured Disney animated films.

Through energetic live entertainment, culinary delights and special traditions, Disney Festival of Holidays highlights a diverse season of celebrations, including Christmas/Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day. Nine Festive Foods Marketplace kiosks across the park serve a wide array of delectable foods and beverages, including Visions of Sugarplums, a returning marketplace featuring sweet and savory bites.

“Mickey’s Happy Holidays” is a procession of Disney and Pixar characters dancing and marching along to the upbeat rhythms of the Holiday Toy Drummers.


The “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” street party also returns, featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse donning
festive fiesta attire, Mexican folklórico dancers and Mariachis, Brazilian samba dancers and percussionists,
and giant mojiganga puppets. Guests can encounter Disney characters in holiday attire and, at Paradise
Gardens Park, visit with Mirabel from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto.”

Disneyland Park


“A Christmas Fantasy” Parade features Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen,” along with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Santa Claus and many other friends celebrating the season. Characters also greet guests in their finest holiday attire, with some debuting new, vintage-inspired outfits.

In the evenings, the festivities continue with the “Believe... in Holiday Magic” fireworks spectacular, which features magical “snowfall” and colorful projections on Main Street, U.S.A., and the façade of “it’s a small world.” Families can also dance along with characters during nightly holiday dance parties at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

“It’s a Small World” Holiday celebrates its 25th anniversary, featuring dolls and toys representing children around the world, enjoying the distinctive holiday traditions of their respective countries. Unique to this year’s presentation, each room in the attraction features a small detail displaying the number 25.
 

Start your Disney Holiday Trip!

 
Images courtesy Disney.

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Be Among the First to Try These 4 New Luxury Resorts on Your Next Mexico Beach Vacation
Mexico has some of the best beach destinations on the continent, and four new - or completely renewed - luxury resorts may inspire you to treat yourself to being one of the first guests to experience their unique ultra-luxe lifestyle – served up with Mexican hospitality.
 

Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, Riviera Maya

 
By spring, 2023, this storied hideaway in the heart of the Riviera Maya will re-open, completely re-imagined.
 
Nestled between 200 acres of lush tropical jungle and the secluded white sands of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the legendary property’s renovations focus on Mayan culture, design and nature influences, with 10 new waterfront suites, a nature-focused wellness experience in partnership with Guerlain, ground-breaking sustainability initiatives and a new gastronomic era under Mexican-born Executive Chef Daniel Camacho. 
 
Each of the 72 accommodations will be spread across Maroma’s private stretch of sand (pictured, top), of which three quarters now have ocean views, including a spacious new waterfront suite complete with a private pool and garden. The property’s three pools will be completely redesigned, featuring Sukabumi tiles handmade from volcanic stone, in the same vibrant turquoise tones as the region’s many natural cenotes. 


Eighty percent of furnishings and objects will be made by Mexican craftspeople, from a hand-blown glass chandelier and painted clay pots to traditional ‘Saltillo’ floor tiles, meticulously curated for guest rooms. 
 
Guests to the reopened resort will be able to enjoy the first Guerlain Spa in Latin America. Treatment rooms look out onto the jungle and will incorporate local design elements with geometric shapes and artisanal objects. Healing rituals will be inspired by the power of nature and ancient practices.
 
Mexican-born Executive Chef Daniel Camacho will continue his legacy of celebrating his country’s rich culinary diversity at Casa Mayor restaurant, where 90% of ingredients will be sourced from Mexico and almost half from the Yucatán peninsula. Reinventing traditional Mexican cuisine, colorful dishes will range from seafood towers and Michoacan corundas, to Jalisco-style Birria and chocolate cake with Oaxacan black mole, flamed with house mezcal. 
 
For the perfect sundowner, Bambuco will offer a more casual affair, and the legendary beach hangout Freddy’s Bar will continue to channel the vibrant spirit of the Riviera Maya, with live music and DJ sets, fresh seafood and cocktails. 
 

Fairmont Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya

 
The Fairmont Mayakoba will have completed a comprehensive, multi-million dollar renovation by the end of 2022, so even if you’ve visited here before, it will feel like a whole new resort.
 
Nestled in the heart of the Riviera Maya, the 401-room Fairmont Mayakoba is a AAA Five Diamond resort set on 45 acres, within a private luxury community. Dedicated to an environmentally philosophy, the resort is surrounded by a lush mangrove forest intersected by water canals, and includes an expansive spa and El Camaleón Golf Course, host to the first official PGA TOUR event in Mexico.
 
The latest phase of the renovation involves the completion of two new restaurants, La Laguna and Bassano.

 
As the name suggests, La Laguna makes the most of the resort’s waterways, with a terrace and private pavilion, and spectacular over-the-water decks overlooking the Mayakoba water canals. With a magnificent bar serving craft cocktails, and offering a combination of authentic, traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine, La Laguna features an open concept kitchen, an al fresco terrace, and a lively lounge.
 
Bassano, a stylish Italian eatery, brings an element of comfort to Mayakoba. Focusing in the Italian countryside way on the simplest of ingredients, while delivering rich flavor in every dish, the restaurant's standout menu items include homemade pizzas, including an outdoor pizza bar, their signature buccatini cacio e pepe, and exquisite wines.
 
The continued renovation will be inclusive of many additional restaurant offerings that hotel visitors can expect to enjoy with friends and family this coming winter.

St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya

 
The guiding principle behind Marriott’s ultra-luxury St. Regis resorts is to emulate the glamorous private retreats of St. Regis' founding family, the Astors. Yes, ‘those’ Astors, the ‘Gilded Age’ family who shaped American high society from their perch at the peak of New York Society, and left their name and legacy on travel in the U.S. and around the world.
 
Two new, five-star St. Regis resorts will increase the St. Regis footprint in Mexico in the coming months, with the kind of vision, avant-garde style and bespoke service and flair St. Regis has become known for around the world.
 
The St. Regis Kanai Resort opens at the end of 2022 in the captivating Mayan Riviera, and will feature a sophisticated design that boasts breathtaking ocean views from every vantage point, with 124 guest rooms and suites, as well as 32 exclusive villas with private pools. 
 
Three pools with distinct features and atmosphere will appeal to your every mood, and multiple restaurants and bars feature American, Latin American, and global tastes including Middle Eastern, Asian fusion, with a Beach Club barbecue, a to-go deli to fuel your adventures on and off the property, even a charming Library “to delight in conversation and chocolate” with a wide variety of Mexican chocolate preparations.
 

St. Regis Los Cabos

 
The striking St. Regis Los Cabos Resort opens in 2023. It’s located on 33 pristine acres in Quivira, Los Cabos, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, in a private master-planned luxury community featuring nature reserves and 20 miles of scenic walking/cycling trails.

 
On its own, the resort has1,200 feet of panoramic coastal views. Guests stay in 120 all-butler serviced rooms or 60 residences, and enjoy luxe amenities like swimming pools, a saltwater lagoon and luxury cabanas as well as a spa, golf course, beach club, the resort’s specialty restaurant, all-day beachfront grill and outdoor poolside restaurant serving small plates with craft cocktails.
 

Start your Mexican Resort Trip!

 
Images courtesy of their respective resort companies.

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There's More to Peru than Machu Picchu
Peru's overwhelming claim to fame is the mystique and majesty of the ancient remains at Machu Picchu - deservedly named recently the 'South America's Leading Tourist Attraction.” But there's more to Peru than its fabled history, leading it to also earn the designation as 'South America's Leading Culinary Destination 2022' and 'Leading Cultural Destination 2022' in the region.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Annual Día de la Canción Criolla Celebrates Music and Dance on October 31

Move over, Hallowe'en. There's a different, time-honored tradition on the last day of October in Peru. Día de la Canción Criolla (‘The Day of Creole Song’) is a performance event hosted by the Ministry of Culture every year on October 31. 
 
The event is hosted along the Peruvian coast and Andean highlands and brings together a medley of provincial music while also providing a platform for local musicians to showcase their skills. The music was created as a result of the history of Spanish influence and African communities in Peru and is typically created using instruments such as the guitar and Peruvian cajón. The music is accompanied by an array of cultural dances such as the Peruvian national dance, the Marinera, and Vals Criolla, also known as the Peruvian Waltz. Locals can be found in main squares throughout the country celebrating this special occasion.


Peruvian Art Galleries & Museums Offer Immersion into Country’s Unique Culture

While that's only one day of the year, there are many incredible galleries and museums throughout the country for visitors to peruse and enjoy year round. Here are just a few ideas of places for art and history lovers to explore:


This museum showcases the past 3,000 years of art in Peru in a permanent collection of over 18,000 pieces from pre-Columbian, Colonial, Republican and Modern eras. It is also housed in an incredible space that once served as Peru’s National Exhibition in the 19th century. (Pictured above)

Museo Larco is surrounded by a lush garden in a beautifully restored 18th-century house. Visitors here can explore more than 30,000 catalogued ancient pottery artifacts and pre-Columbian erotic art. 

MAC offers a spacious outdoor area as well as interactive exhibits. It is the only institution dedicated exclusively to researching and promoting contemporary, artistic practices of Peru. Both emerging Latin American artists and international names have shown their work at MAC. Guests to the museum can tour three rooms in this glass structure and then enjoy some time outdoors to contemplate the work. 

Considered the pride of Northern Peru, the museum was designed to resemble ancient Moche tombs. Visitors here can explore exhibits of many of the artifacts of the Lord of Sipán, one of the most emblematic figures of the Mochica culture. The discovery of his tomb was the first royal burial site found intact in South America, and belonging to a Peruvian civilization prior to the Inca Empire.

The curators of this museum believe pieces of Andean ethnographic art, if they are produced using traditional techniques and materials, are pieces of great cultural, educational and aesthetic value. The museum aims to acquire, preserve, investigate, communicate and exhibit these foundations of a genuinely Peruvian art form.

Three Lima Restaurants Named to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List

Those in the know go to Peru for its culinary scene, recently acknowledged yet again with three restaurants in the nation's capital being named to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, making Lima a must-visit destination for foodies.

The three restaurants were Central (#2) – owned and run by Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, last year’s World’s Best Female Chef; Maido (#11), a perfect expression of Peru’s Nikkei cuisine; and Mayta (#32), which focuses heavily on sustainable Peruvian ingredients. (Pictured, top, a mise en place at Lima’s Central restaurant.)

Another Lima spot, Kjolle (#68) was named on the expanded list of the top 100, and is also owned by Chef Pía León.



Belmond's Luxury Train Adventure through Peru is an Epicurean Odyssey

Travellers to Peru can explore Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machupicchu, Cusco, Puno, Lake Titicaca, the Uros floating islands and the Colca Valley on a food adventure aboard Belmond's luxury train the Hiram Bingham (bar car pictured above).

Journeying from city to mountain, lake to canyon, guests on this excursion explore the rich culture of Peru through architecture, adventure and, ultimately, your taste buds. Activities on this journey include visits to markets across the country to learn about Peruvian food culture, dining at incredible restaurants, and partaking in a special river-side lunch at Rio Sagrado, A Belmond Hotel, including a variety of dishes featuring local ingredients, strolls through charming villages and, of course, world-class cuisine aboard the train itself.


Start your Peru Trip!


Images courtesy of their respective properties as noted.

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Getting 'Salty' in Anguilla
“Water, water, everywhere, but not any drop to drink.” Being surrounded by seawater takes on new meaning in the British Caribbean island of Anguilla, where locals are rediscovering the luxury destination’s ‘salty’ history.

Anguilla’s only 16 miles long and 3 miles at its widest; a slender length of coral and limestone fringed with green, ringed with 33 beaches. A gem of the northern Caribbean, the island is an off-the-beaten path luxury retreat for celebrities looking for quiet seclusion, as well as other savvy travelers.

This small island is dotted with about 17 lagoons – but there’s a catch. They’re not fresh water. Like a number of other islands in the region, Anguilla relies on collected rainwater, underwater aquifers, and desalination of seawater for its water supply.

When Europeans first arrived at the island in the 1600’s, they uncovered a unique local treasure: Anguilla’s ‘salt ponds.’ Before the days of refrigeration, salt wasn’t just a seasoning. It was one of the best ways to preserve meat, fish, and other food, and was a precious commodity. In fact, the word ‘salary’ was derived from the Latin word for ‘salt.’

So began the start of salt production on the island. Reportedly, for over three hundred years, close to 100,000 barrels of naturally occurring salt were ‘harvested’ each year from the salt ponds and exported.

As tourism grew in Anguilla in the 1980’s, the salt industry faded in economic importance, but natural salt remained part of local identity, culture, and history. Today, Anguillans are rebuilding the local salt pond lifestyle.

(Above and top images: Visit Anguilla)

Most of the action is at the Road Salt Pond, a 100-acre lagoon that’s the largest enclosed body of water on Anguilla.

Nature lovers and bird watchers ‘flock’ to the Road Salt Pond. The unique wetland environment is a designated ‘Important Bird Area’ as a breeding site supporting the populations of over a hundred types of birds.


Locals have begun a new cottage industry of salt harvesting, and local tours take visitors to the pond to ‘pick’ salt by hand like generations of Anguillans did for hundreds of years.

You can even to take a dip in the highly mineralized - and therefore, therapeutic, water.

Beyond the salt ponds themselves, locally-harvested salt is finding its way into the everyday life – and visitor experience on Anguilla. 


(Image: Belmond Cap Juluca)

Spas at two of the most luxurious resorts on Anguilla draw on the local salt’s natural, therapeutic qualities. The Four Seasons Resort, Anguilla offers guests an ‘Anguilla Salt Body Polish,’ and at the spa at Belmond Cap Juluca (pictured above) you can take a ‘Salt Soak Bath.’

And the Four Seasons Resort, Anguilla has a restaurant dubbed ‘SALT’ (pictured, below) that celebrates locally-sourced salt as a gourmet ingredient.

(Image: Four Seasons Resort, Anguilla)

So you might go to Anguilla for the sea and the sand… but some of the best stories, memories and souvenirs you take away…. may be the salt!

Start Your Island Trip!




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Looking for inspiration for your next holiday close to home? These new hotel openings are the perfect excuse for a short haul vacation in an all-new environment.


From sophisticated urban centers to the Great Outdoors, from beaches to deserts, mountains to cityscapes, these diverse hotels give you the perfect excuse to call your travel advisor to plan a getaway soon!


Massachussets

 
Life House, Lenox, Berkshires, features a cozy library lounge with a crackling fireplace, an outdoor firepit, intimate cocktail club and a restaurant offering locally-sourced bites. The design and aesthetic of this property pays tribute to the nearby Berkshire mountains and historical literary figures that traveled through Lenox, Massachusetts – including Herman Melville and Fanny Kemble. Get away to the country during the summer heat, or bask in autumn colors in this new property in the Berkshires.
 

Montreal


 
Hyatt Place Downtown Montreal provides visitors a new home away from home to experience the cosmopolitan city famous as a global fashion center, alluring culinary scene, and a packed schedule of world-class events, from jazz to comedy to a Grand Prix race and more. The city's first Hyatt Place hotel is located near the Village, one of Montreal's most diverse and colorful neighborhoods, near the Quartier des Spectacles, the city’s festival central. The hotel’s 350 guestrooms have separate spaces to sleep, work and play, as well as a 'Cozy Corner' sofa-sleeper, and guests can enjoy an indoor pool and sauna, with a view of Downtown Montreal, spaces to facilitate remote working with views of over the city, as well as a bistro, restaurant, bar and lounge serving sharing dishes and signature cocktails.
 

New York State

 
Mt. Tremper, NY: Inspired by the influence of ancient Rome on contemporary civilization, The Aurum Catskills New York re-envisions “the bathing culture and rituals that defined the first social clubs.” With 36 rooms and 12 mountain bungalows on 131 acres, the luxury retreat features a Sicilian farm-to-table restaurant, incredible views and private gardens.
 

NYC

 
Luxury hotel brand Aman is expanding its global reach with the unveiling this summer of a new urban sanctuary – and rebirth of an architectural icon within the historic Crown Building – with Aman New York. The hotel offers guests Aman’s signature serenity through 83 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a wine library, jazz club, garden terrace, rooftop outdoor pool with an incredible view, and a 25,000 square foot spa.


For guests wanting to extend their stay permanently, Aman New York features the first Aman-branded urban Residences. The 22 private homes include all hotel amenities and range in size from one to six bedrooms, including a five-story penthouse.
 
The Ritz-Carlton's newest property, The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, soars 50 stories above the dynamic North of Madison Square Park neighborhood. The newly constructed, hotel with 250 guest rooms, 19 suites, plus residences brings the brand's renowned service and elegance to one of the NYC's most vibrant and emerging districts. The hotel is one of the tallest buildings in NoMad, the birthplace of American popular music at Tin Pan Alley and today a nexus of art, entertainment, fashion, and technology.


A bold, contemporary design, with an impressive art collection and seasonal floral installations pays homage to the hotel's location in the city's vibrant Flower District. There’s a 6,800-square-foot signature Ritz-Carlton Spa and Fitness Center, and the hotel's food and beverage partnership is unique, with all culinary venues, bars and lounges and in-room dining helmed by Michelin-starred chef and global citizen José Andrés.
 
The Ned NoMad opens in New York this summer, marking the brand’s first international site. Paying homage to the original architecture of Manhattan’s Johnston Building and featuring interiors from the famed UK private members club SoHo House team, this new location will bring the hotel’s signature British style across the pond.


The Ned NoMad includes a public bar and restaurant, as well as the members-only Ned’s Club, which features both mezzanine and rooftop bars as well as a terrace restaurant.
 

Nashville, Tennessee


 
The 40-storey Four Seasons Hotel Nashville, opening this year in Music City, connects guests to the creative spirit of the city’s makers and artisans. Situated just one block from the entertainment hub of Broadway in Nashville's SoBro district, the new Four Seasons hotel will feature 235 guest rooms and suites as well as private residences, a new chef-driven dining concept, a full-service spa and resort-style pool deck, event spaces, and more. Its glass tower allows for sunlight to stream in from all sides, with panoramic city and river views in every direction. Light-filled interiors pay homage to Tennessee's iron industry heritage, while making use of steel, copper, bronze and the state's native black walnut, with an art collection featuring local and international contemporary works. Four Seasons Hotel Nashville will also introduce a new dining concept, a resort-style experience for guests with a rooftop pool deck; unveil a new spa; and host weddings, galas and more in its event spaces.
 

Fredericksburg, Texas


 
The Albert Hotel, built as a celebration of Texas Hill Country and noted Fredericksburg architect Albert Keidel, will open this year on the original site of the Keidel family pharmacy and homestead. The hotel will have 110 guest rooms, including bunkrooms, suites, and a private house, each with tailored amenities and custom-designed furniture. The property has three restaurants, two bars, a private dining room, and will offer in-room dining. The grounds include an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a 2,000 square-foot full-service spa.
  

Utah


(Image: Travis Burke)

Set upon 750 acres of high mountain plains, Under Canvas Bryce Canyon offers luxury accommodation with expansive views of John’s Valley.

(Image: Bailey Made - UC Moab interiors for inspiration)

Located just 15 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park, this “glamping” experience invites guests to reconnect to nature with ensuite bathrooms in every tent, king-sized beds with luxe linens, outdoor dining, as well as complimentary camp programming (including yoga, guided hikes, movie nights and outdoor games).
 
Spirit at Zion National Park invites visitors to experience the Utah wilderness and enjoy the surrounding landscape in one of its 40 suites or homesteads. Both Leaf Suites and Homestead Retreats provide separate living and sleeping areas, including a 'wellness studio' that can be used for exercise, meditation, or in-room spa treatments. Each accommodation also comes with electric bikes for exploring the property's 35 miles of trails.
 

Sedona, AZ

 

Billed as an “exclusive nature escape,” Ambiente: A Landscape Hotel aims to provide guests with modern, elegant accommodations in a nature-focused setting. Each of the 40 free-standing atrium suites offers panoramic views of the red rocks, and a private rooftop with a fire pit (pictured above and top). Additional amenities include an in-house wellness-centered spa, on-site trail access and electric vehicles for rent.
 

Santa Barbara, CA

 
This autumn, former stagecoach stop, and Prohibition destination The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern will open to guests with reimagined guestrooms and cottage-style accommodations nestled among acres of old-growth palm trees. Dine at the Inn’s open-air restaurant, or take a dip in the outdoor pool, followed by stories and s’mores gathered around a firepit. Guests will feel right at home with the inn’s laid-back version of wine country luxury.
 

Hawaii


 
Kauai: Considered one of the most beautiful spots on Earth, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay will bring a world-class wellness resort and flagship sustainable sanctuary to Kauai’s North Shore. 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay will feature 252 rooms, including 51 suites -with native greenery, reclaimed materials, organic cotton linens, and views of the stunning Hanalei Bay. Seven restaurants and bars will offer fresh, local, and sustainably sourced farm-to-table cuisine using ingredients from the hotel’s organic on-site garden and neighboring farms.
 

Start Your Short Haul Trip!


Images courtesy of their respective properties.

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Australia's Latest Luxe Stays: New Hotels to Inspire a Trip Down Under
Koalas and kangaroos, beaches and beer and ‘bugs’ (lobster-like shellfish), deserts and mountains and rivers iconic in the Southern hemisphere, and that famous Aussie lifestyle and hospitality! There are so many reasons to put a trip to Australia on your travel list – including these new, luxury hotels that make a trip anywhere in Australia just a little more exciting with anticipation.
 
From the first-ever Ace Hotel in the southern hemisphere, to the biggest W Hotel in the world, Australia’s tallest hotel, a nature lodge with indigenous guides, the first Marriott Luxury Collection in Australia, to historic re-imaginations, every style of traveler who appreciates the good life – and the best of Australia - will find a new hotel to love.
 
Ask us to design the trip Down Under of your dreams including one or more of these new hotels.
 

SYDNEY

 
Ace Hotel
Opened in May 2022, the Ace Hotel Sydney marks Ace’s very first home in the Southern Hemisphere. Nestled in Surry Hills, Ace Hotel Sydney is a sweeping re-imagination of a historical location. With 257 incredible guest rooms and a variety of suites, there is a room for every type of holiday. The hotel also offers a range of dining options, including ground-floor restaurant, LOAM; craft cocktails, wine and beers at Lobby Bar; day-to-night cafe and bar, Good Chemistry; and the acclaimed, genre-bending restaurant Kiln, located 18 stories above Ace and helmed by Chef-Partner Mitch Orr.
 
W Sydney (opening late 2022)
Set to be the biggest W Hotel in its catalogue of more than 60 across the globe, W Sydney will be a must-visit for travelers to the harbor city. W Sydney’s undulating ribbon form rises through two elevated roadways on Sydney’s Darling Harbour, creating a spectacular waterfront experience, sightlines over the Harbour and pedestrian links across Cockle Bay and from the Harbour through to Darling Quarter and Sydney's International Convention Centre.


The hotel is within walking distance of the buzzing dining and shopping district as well as the surrounding area. The gleaming glass building will boast 593 guest rooms and an assortment of larger serviced apartments, along with a restaurant, two bars, spa and an infinity pool overlooking the harbor.

 Ⓒ QT Newcastle
QT Newcastle (opening June 2022) - Newcastle, 90-minutes drive north of Sydney
Newcastle may be known for its laid-back beach culture, but it will soon also house its own luxury accommodation offering. The popular boutique QT Hotel brand will be making its debut in Newcastle in June 2022, marking the fourth QT property to open in Australia. Set to take over the former 111-year-old David Jones department store building, QT Newcastle will be conveniently located on Hunter Mall right in the centre of the growing beach-side city. The design-led hotel's luxurious, quirky flair and distinctive service will feature across the 106-rooms, rooftop bar and its signature QT dining concept.
 

GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND

 
The Langham Gold Coast (opening June 2022)

Located on the sands of Surfers Paradise, The Langham Gold Coast will feature 169 rooms and suites and an additional 170 serviced apartments as part of the new Jewel Residences by The Langham. Visible throughout the Gold Coast, the hotel will be located inside the tallest of three waterside skyscrapers.


It is the first and largest development with direct beach access to be built in the coastal city within the last 30 years, offering uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean or the Hinterland. Surrounded by the buzzing dining district and nightlife of the Gold Coast, the hotel offers guests the perfect base to explore the region. The hotel will also offer a Cantonese restaurant T’ang Cou, an afternoon tea experience similar to the world-famous version at sister property The Langham in London, England, and several wellness offerings built around traditional Chinese medicine.
 

MELBOURNE


Ⓒ Ritz Carlton Melbourne
Ritz Carlton (opening late 2022)
Australia’s culture capital is getting set to ‘put on the Ritz,’ with the arrival of The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Melbourne in late 2022. Located in bustling Spencer Street within walking distance of some of the city’s top dining and shopping destinations, the hotel will be housed in the $2.6 billion West Side Place. The precinct will include four striking towers accommodating more than 2,600 one, two and three bedroom residences, many with expansive views across the city and the bay, and exceptional lifestyle facilities. The Ritz Carlton hotel itself will also set a record as Australia’s tallest hotel, complete with a “sky check-in”, a restaurant on level 79 and 263 hotel suites.
 
 

FARTHER AFIELD


Ⓒ Finniss River Lodge
 
Finniss River Lodge - near Darwin, Northern Territory
Perched on the edge of a vast floodplain, the newly opened Finniss River Lodge is located just a 90-minute drive or 20- minute private charter flight south west of Darwin. Boasting one of Australia’s most exciting chefs, Travis Crane, guests will experience dining that celebrates the highest quality and most seasonal produce native to the region.

Ⓒ Finniss River Lodge

Guests will find a relaxing escape, luxurious suites and amenities, along with an inviting wet-edge pool, all offering expansive views out over the surrounding floodplain and fiery sunsets. For those wanting to explore the region, there are a range of immersive experiences led by highly trained guides, including air boating, on-property four-wheel drive or open buggy tours, heli-fishing and cultural learning with an Indigenous guide.
 
The Tasman - Hobart, Tasmania

The Tasman Hotel in Hobart’s city centre is the Marriott Luxury Collection brand’s first in Australia. Located in Parliament Square just a six-minute walk from Hobart’s city centre, the hotel features 152 rooms and suites with carefully restored features and Georgian and Art-Deco design elements throughout.


The hotel also houses a range of premium dining options, including a lobby lounge, whisky bar and signature Italian restaurant in partnership with Chef Massimo Mele. With a range of stylish rooms available, there is something for every kind of traveler looking for a truly memorable experience.
 
Sequoia at Mount Lofty House - Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Located within an hour of Adelaide’s International Airport in the ambient Adelaide Hills, Sequoia houses 14 sustainably designed suites each with unrivalled panoramic views of the city and picturesque surrounding region.


The state-of-the-art lodge, situated on the sprawling Mount Lofty Estate, features spring-fed stone hot pools, an infinity pool, day spa and valley rim campfire amphitheater. Sequoia has an on-site team of local Experience Hosts who guide guests through activities themed around the lodge’s key experience pillars of Food and Wine, Wellness, Nature and History.
 
The Westin Margaret River (opening 2023) - Margaret River, Western Australia
Located on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach in Margaret River, 2.5 hours’ drive south of Perth, the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa (below and top images) is slated to open in 2023. The resort will be home to 120 guestrooms, including 45 spacious suites, featuring uninterrupted views of the vivid coastline.


Seeking to offer guests an opportunity to rest and recuperate, the resort will feature a range of spa packages from the iconic Heavenly brand as well as a signature Westin fitness studio and a resort-style outdoor swimming pool. Drawing heavily on local produce, there will be a diverse range of culinary offerings on site including an all-day dining restaurant, lobby lounge and pool bar.
 

Start Your Australia Trip!

 
Images copyright of their respective properties unless otherwise states, all courtesy of Australia.com

How to Travel Like ‘Emily in Paris’
The breakout TV series is the stuff of travel fantasy, but you don’t have to be a fictional character to have a dream trip to France.

The good life, Parisian-style, eye-catching fashion center-stage and a thread of romance against a backdrop of one stunning City of Lights setting after another, Emily in Paris on Netflix follows the French adventures of a young American woman living the dream when her luxury marketing job is relocated to Paris.

The pure escapism of the streaming series, as well as the heroic secondary character – Paris itself! – has captivated and inspired audiences.

If Emily in Paris has made you imagine yourself in Paris, read on!  Here are just a few locations in the City of Love where Emily’s adventures took place – and your own adventures in France, can too!

Jardin du Palais Royal
Emily first meets her friend Mindy, a nanny living in Paris, in the elegantly landscaped gardens just steps from the Louvre in the heart of Paris. 

The Jardin surrounds the 17th century Palais Royal – once, as the name suggests, a palace, but now, government buildings.  It’s a little green haven in this busy part of the city, where locals take five to recharge, and visitors can rest their feet and regroup surrounded by classically French gardens.
 
Café de Flore
In the late 1800’s and first part of the 20th century, Saint-Germain-des-Pres was perhaps the most artistic neighborhood in the world, drawing giants and change-makers who transformed their fields and defined an era. Artists, novelists, and philosophers turned Saint-Germain-des-Pres into an incubator for some of the most profound works from the period that we still know and love today.
 
And many met, exchanged ideas and inspired each other at the picturesque sidewalk tables of the Café de Flore, one of the oldest in the city.  It’s still a must-see destination in Paris today, fantastic for people-watching. Of course producers of Emily in Paris had to include this iconic and easily-identifiable setting for the scene where our heroine meets Thomas, a professor.
 
Opéra National de Paris - Palais Garnier
Emily in Paris is not the first work of fiction to be set in this famous Paris location. Perhaps you’ve heard of “The Phantom of the Opera?”
 
The setting that inspired one of the most successful musicals of all time, Paris’ magnificent opera house dates from the 19th century. As impressive as the architectural masterpiece is on the outside, it’s truly breathtaking on the inside, so like Emily visited to see Swan Lake, we recommend you book tickets for one of the operas, orchestral, or ballet performances scheduled.
 
For her visit to the Palais Garnier, Emily even dresses in a nod to Audrey Hepburn, perhaps the Hollywood actress most associated with her string of classic films set in the City of Light, and as the muse of iconic couturier Hubert de Givenchy.



Pont Alexandre III
 
Gardens, cafés, architectural marvels… and bridges. Any story located in the city built up from the Seine must include at least one of its famous bridges, and Emily in Paris is no exception.
 
Emily’s marketing company uses the Alexander III bridge as the set for a commercial shoot for a client’s perfume, and the shoot-within-a-shoot location couldn’t be more ideal.
 
While the ironically-named Pont Neuf (‘New Bridge’) is the oldest structure spanning the Seine, Pont Alexandre III may have the distinction of being the most beautiful.  Not only is it stunning to behold, a walk across it reveals iconic scenes of the city, including the Eiffel Tower.



EMILY BEYOND PARIS

Like many savvy visitors to France, Emily travels beyond the City of Light’s famous Boulevard Périphérique ring-road, to savor the best of French beach life on the famous Cote d’Azur.

In the series, Emily takes a girls’ getaway to the real-life, iconic Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, an institution on the glamorous French Riviera since the Art Deco era of the 1930’s. On acres of grounds punctuated with local, Mediterranean trees and vegetation with the sea lapping at its secluded pebble beach, this Four Seasons Hotel is the perfect setting for a fictional – or a real life! – escape to the indulgence of one of the world’s most famous seaside lifestyles.

In fact, the hotel has even created an experience, inspired by its starring role in Emily in Paris, for any guest.  Its ‘Girls’ Trip on the French Riviera’ experience echoes Emily’s fictional trip: transfers from the airport in a Bentley; a stay in a Sea-View suite with elegant French windows opening up onto a patio with an infinity pool or, on higher floors, with views high over the sea; bespoke cocktails; Mediterranean-based spa treatments; and private cabanas at the hotel’s famous pool-side Club Dauphin where the hotel also arranges for a photo shoot to memorialize your own, Emily in Paris-inspired dream vacation.

Start your Trip!



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Top Image: courtesy Netflix
Middle Image: Getty
Bottom Image: courtesy Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel




6 Exciting Hotel Openings in Cities You'll Want to Travel to in 2022

These newly-opened hotels aren't just a home-away-from-home, they're gateways to a city's sites, local urban culture, cuisine, and social scene. Start planning your next city adventure today!


New York, New York

Hotel: Park Lane Hotel, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
What Makes it Special:
This classic, 47-story NYC Central Park South hotel has been re-imagined and re-opened as a sophisticated, playful, and inclusive hotel in a very exclusive part the city. Celebrated design agency Yabu Pushelberg restored the existing architectural details of the historic, post-war building with bold colors and eclectic textures redefining its mid-century luxury aesthetic. Nearly half of the over 600 rooms have park-facing views, with the other half featuring vistas of the Manhattan skyline. Whimsical murals in guest rooms and public spaces shatter any impression of stuffy luxury. Guests have three unique in-house dining options, which include the Parisian-style lobby bar Rose Lane, reimagined Harry’s New York Bar and Central Park South’s only rooftop lounge “secret garden” cocktail bar.

 

 
Why Visit:
Located on “Billionaires’ Row” on Central Park South between 5th and 6th Avenues, the hotel is ideally located directly across the southeast corner of the park and within immediate walking distance to some of NYC’s most famous attractions, such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, 5th Avenue shopping, and the Museum of Modern Art. Of course, everything in New York is within easy reach, from its famous restaurants to rooftop bars with views of the skyline, to icons of American architecture and culture like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The anniversary of era-defining, NYC-based TV series Friends, and the reboot of Sex and the City, have re-inspired some fans to relive beloved scenes and revisit famous neighborhoods of our favorite fictional characters.

Paris, France

Hotel: Bvlgari Hotel Paris
What makes it special:
Luxury fashion house Bvlgari brings Italian glamour to the magic of the French capital. Located on the Avenue George V in the ‘Golden Triangle’, home to the French capital’s luxury and fashion excellence between the Seine and the Champs-Élysées, the Bvlgari Hotel Paris is where ‘bold’ Italian design and hospitality excellence, as well as contemporary Italian cuisine meet the jewelry heritage of Bvlgari in the glorious setting of Paris. 76 rooms and suites, including the Bvlgari Penthouse, have views of all the capital’s iconic monuments including the iconic Eiffel Tower:






Why visit:
It’s always time to reconnect with the City of Light and one of the world’s most magical, walkable cities. From strolls along either bank of the Seine, to the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, the majesty of historic monuments, to renowned museums and palaces of cuisine to humble restaurants that serve mouth-watering bistro food, from the incomparable boutiques of the Marais and grand department stores that are as much destinations as places to shop for that perfect French addition to your style, there’s no place like Paris.
 

Venice, Italy

Hotel: Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice
What makes it special:
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice, near the heart of the city, was built as a private family villa in the 1500’s, and has opened as a 52-room hotel following two years of renovations approved by Venice’s arts and heritage authorities to preserve its authentic qualities. Restoration work focused on the original decorative and architectural elements of the building’s façade and interiors. Special attention was paid to the restoration of historical ornaments, including centuries-old stuccos and paintings on the walls and ceilings. During the excavation works, some Roman flooring was found and registered as an historic find. The hotel’s wine bar and terrace offers traditional Venetian food, wine and cocktails, while the hotel garden overlooks the Cannaregio Canal.


Why visit:
With views of the Cannaregio canal, and located by the Venetian Ghetto in the northern part of the city, the
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice lies in the Cannaregio district, known for the historic Jewish Ghetto and the many local bars and restaurants. The Vaporetto stop just outside the hotel provides access to the rest of the city, including St. Mark’s Square, the romance of walks along canals and bridges with stops at restaurants and shops of famous Venetian craftsmanship, and of course, gondola rides of exploration. You can also take a water taxi from the hotel to the train station, airport and the islands of Murano and Burano, famous for glass workshops and extended Venetian culture and lifestyle.
 

Halifax, Canada

Hotel: Muir, Autograph Collection
What makes it special:
Muir is the first hotel in the Canadian Atlantic coastal province of Nova Scotia to join Marriott Bonvoy’s Autograph Collection. From a picturesque location in the heart of this famous port city’s waterfront lifestyle scene, carefully appointed rooms with thoughtful amenities, to Nova Scotian art, design and dining, Muir establishes an authentic “Sense of Place” that invites guests to forge a meaningful connection with contemporary Nova Scotia and its people. Muir projects a contemporary marine, wharf-like design using local materials, including salt-and-pepper granite and sandstone, as well as Muntz metal, a copper alloy prominently used in shipbuilding.


Why visit:
Muir is part of the Queen’s Marque district of Halifax, a cultural and community destination for locals and visitors to Atlantic Canada. The bustling district encompasses vibrant restaurants, shops, nightlife, offices and luxury residences, all set against a striking harbor backdrop. Halifax is the capital city of the province that fosters Scottish heritage more than nearly anywhere else in the world outside of Scotland, where you can find your inner Scot at a Gathering of the Clans or musical Tattoo. Halifax also cradles a Canadian Atlantic lifestyle that features whale watching, dining on lobster, sailing, coastal exploration, famous lighthouses and more.
 

Mexico City, Mexico

Hotel: Ritz-Carlton Mexico City
What makes it special:
This hotel is the third Ritz-Carlton in the country, but the first urban Ritz-Carlton. It has transformed Mexico city’s skyline with its 58-story tower along the iconic Paseo de Reforma and showcases sweeping, uninterrupted views of the famed Chapultepec Park. Its location and views are maximized by a double glass façade and open-air terraces, inviting guests in its 153 guest rooms and suites to discover a new perspective on the city. The hotel’s design pays homage to Mexico city’s profound role in the surrealist art movement, and how Mexican artists like Frida Kahlo celebrated their indigenous roots. Its design makes use of metals, mirrors and glass to reflect the exterior into the interior, creating a surrealist experience by playing with perspective and distorting the surrounding, traditional architecture. A calm neutral color palette with shades of smokey ash, deep blues, and metallic fibers woven throughout the hotel are a nod to Mexican storytelling and folklore, and local ingredients and botanicals, as well as healing and spiritual traditions of Mexico City’s Aztec culture, in addition to local flavors in its dining offering, add to the hotel’s uniquely local experience.


Why visit:
The personalized guest experience at the Ritz-Carlton Mexico City goes beyond its doors into the vibrant city that’s known for its art and culture scene. A hotel tour with a local historian allows guests to be immersed into the Mexican rituals and celebrations that inspired the hotel design, and hotel staff curate days of exploration for cultural discovery and epicurean adventures in the city. Part of the hotel’s vision is to be a “literal and figurative gateway along the Paseo de Reforma, welcoming and encouraging guests to learn about the colorful history, dynamic present and bright future of Mexico City,” say hotel officials.

Melbourne, Australia

Hotel: Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
What makes it special:
The first Marriott Hotels property to open in Australia in 20 years is a 189-room center of hospitality whose design takes inspiration from the yachts in the city’s harbor, and its façade offers multiple views over the water, city skyline, and the Bolte Bridge. The hotel’s lobby holds fluted glass windows with art installations to welcome guests, as well as brass golden chains suspended over the area to mimic a cinched sailcloth. But its centrepiece is a 92-foot, wet edge rooftop infinity pool, with an adjoining Sunset House bar, one of the only bars in town with views of sunsets illuminating the city skyline. Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands also welcomes the first exclusive, 24-hour M Club executive lounge in Australia.
 
Why visit:
The hotelier says it aims to offer “an all-encompassing experience” of Australia’s second city. Located within the retail, leisure, and entertainment precinct, The District Docklands on Waterfront Way in Melbourne’s city center, the Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands doesn’t just offer views across Melbourne’s harbour, city skyline, Bolte Bridge, and into sunsets in the west. Melbourne's Docklands is one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects, reconnecting central Melbourne with its historic waterfront on the Yarra River. Melbourne is the gateway to the state of Victoria’s treasures, including Great Ocean Road and the vineyards of the Yarra Valley.
 

START YOUR URBAN ADVENTURE!


Images courtesy of their respective hotels.



Better Sleep is the Travel Trend We Need Right Now
Is your New Year’s resolution to get more rest – and travel more? The good news is that there are travel experiences that let you do both. 

Lynn Elmhirst, Producer and Host of BestTrip TV, runs down a few of her favorites.
 

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland – Sleep Retreat

The breathtaking Fogo Island Inn, perched on stilts like the fishing huts on the island on the edge of the North Atlantic ocean, has been rated one of the top luxury lodges in the world.

 
Any trip to the Fogo Island Inn is a retreat into a unique island environment enriched with visiting artists, local artisans and crafters, and centuries-old living off the land and the sea, which curated, hands-on guest experiences bring to life.
 
Don’t take my word for it! WATCH THIS BESTTRIP TV VIDEO OF THE FOGO ISLAND INN. Designer Karen Sealy highlights some of its breathtaking design.
 
The hospitality of the island and the Inn is now legendary. In its 29 unique rooms, beds covered in locally hand-made, colorful quilts face floor-to-ceiling windows onto the sea or the dramatic landscape. Every morning, a wooden box draped with cheerful linens is dropped off at the door of your room, with a carafe of coffee or tea, and a selection of freshly baked treats that inspire you to go right back to bed to enjoy them while gazing out at the view and enjoying the crackling of your room’s wood-burning stove.

 
In addition to an acclaimed dining experience in its restaurant, bar, lounge and Tea Room, the Inn’s Heritage Library, Reading Room, roof-top wood saunas and hot tubs help contribute to a guest’s relaxation and well-being – not to mention the benefits of feeling cut off from the hustle and bustle in this remote edge of the world.
 
What’s more, the Fogo Island Inn is also a community asset, with all of the operating surpluses reinvested into the local community to help secure a sustainable future for Fogo Island.
 
If that doesn’t already make you sleep better, the Inn also hosts a sleep retreat in March 2022. The director of Ryerson University in Toronto’s sleep and depression lab will lead “The Secrets of Sleep” that teaches guests sleep science, including daily workshops, morning yoga, evening meditation, time outdoors in the fresh sea air of the island, and more.
 
 Between the inherently relaxing qualities of a stay at the Inn, and the science-based sleep teachings of the retreat, guests can look forward to restorative sleep during their stay, “and the benefits will endure long after you’ve left our shores,” says the hotel.
 

Rosewood Hotels’ “The Alchemy of Sleep” Retreats

Inspiring guests to improve their state of rest in the New Year, 20 luxury Rosewood Hotels have launched holistic escapes to encourage movement, mindfulness, nutrition and tranquillity leading to more restorative sleep.
 
In addition to the restful features and amenities of their rooms and hotel spas, Alchemy of Sleep is Rosewood’s global collection of new and immersive retreats from January to March 2022, designed to promote rest through sleep-inducing treatments, movement-driven activities and special amenities that create long-lasting benefits to travelers. Dedicated to those setting intentions for profound change in the New Year, the thoughtfully crafted programs support renewal of the body and practices to take home and incorporate into busy, everyday life.
 
Guests can opt for a one-night 'Dreamscape' or extend from two to five nights for a 'Sleep Transformation,' providing an even more immersive stay. As a supplement to these offerings, Curated Sleep Boxes feature products that re-balance such as essential oil blends, tea blends, aromatherapy linen mists and silk eye masks.

Image: Rosewood Hotel Georgia
 
Rosewood's “A Sense of Place” philosophy means the Alchemy of Sleep retreats reflect local wellness customs and embrace the unique natural surroundings. Here are a selection of Alchemy of Sleep programs at hotels and in destinations that inspire:
 
  • In Paris, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel welcomes guests with an in-room Sleeping Beauty set, featuring all the essentials for ensuring a good night's sleep. Guests continue their stay with personalized messages and centering meditation sessions, concluding the journey with a Sleep Naturopathy consultation to establish long-term patterns for attaining the best sleep possible back home.
  • In St. Barth, the newly-debuted Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth offers an ideal setting for finding serenity. In addition to nutrient-rich dishes and scenic meditation, restorative treatments, such as Healing Sound Bath Therapy, activate the brain waves for a dreamlike state. Each room is enhanced with oil diffusers and mists, silk pillowcases and eye masks, books with sleep tips, as well as access to meditation TV apps.
  • In the British Virgin Islands, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is a tranquil haven that also offers aromatherapy and reflexology treatments releasing tension from the body, supplemented with outdoor activities such as hikes through 'The Baths' National Park. For the deepest possible state of relaxation in full consciousness, guests can partake in Yoga Nindra, also known as 'Yogic Sleep,' offered under the stars just before bedtime.
  • In Mexico's Riviera Maya, Rosewood Mayakoba guests can engage in personal consultations with the resort's wellbeing experts to develop clear actions for improving sleep cycles, while keeping the body moving with Float Fit sessions and Restorative Yoga at the resort's private cenote (natural pool). Guests will also have access to a Sleep Aromatherapy Support Kit featuring a remedy made from a blend of organic oils, as well as a master class on sleep.
  • In California, with the Alchemy of Sleep retreat launch comes the debut of Bryte Sleep Suites at Montecito's Rosewood Miramar Beach and Menlo Park's Rosewood Sand Hill. The suites feature 'The Restorative Bed by Bryte,' which allow for individual heating and cooling personalized to each sleep partner's profile with Circadian Climate technology directly impacting the sleeper's core body temperature. To further reduce stress, guests can choose from a selection of calm-inducing treatments that incorporate ingredients like CBD and lavender, as well as partake in meditations that take advantage of the resorts' breathtaking natural settings and landscaped gardens.
  • Rosewood San Miguel De Allende's retreat hones in on nutrition's impact on the sleep cycle, offering menus specially created by the hotel's Executive Chef Vincent Wallez, who thoughtfully selected soothing ingredients. Throughout the stay, guests will enjoy treatments that encourage deep rest, as well as meditation, yoga and breathing workshops that take advantage of the property's scenic surroundings.
 
Alchemy of Sleep retreats are also available at other Rosewood hotels around the world including Baha Mar, The Bahamas, Phuket, Thailand, London, England, Italy, the Middle East, and other destinations in Asia. 
 

SLEEP by Princess Cruises

Some of my best sleeps ever have been on cruise ships, where the gentle motion lulls you to sleep.
 
Princess Cruises has built on the natural advantages of the rocking motion of ships by consulting with a board-certified sleep expert to optimize staterooms for a sleep-friendly experience via all five of your senses.
 
“SLEEP” is not a specific retreat, but a way of cruising, with added touches for a wonderful, restorative rest on board, from the bedding to wellness treatments at the spa, even SLEEP-friendly evening meals on board. The cruise lines’ sleep expert explains, 'Sleep is a sensory experience. In fact, all five of your senses must be prepared for slumber in order for sleep to come easily and last all night long.'

Images above and top: Princess Cruises

Other resorts, hotels, cruise ships and spas offer enhancements to your sleep practices – from pillow menus to sleep concierges to activities, amenities and therapies. Whatever your travel tastes or needs for better rest, there are practices available at hotels, resorts and ships in dream destinations to help you achieve restorative rest while traveling, and even when you return home.

Ask your expert travel advisor about the perfect, restful travel experience for you.
 

START YOUR (RESTFUL) TRIP!







Vienna's New Rooftop Bars
Austria’s capital city is famous as a cradle of classical music and high culture, for its skyline shaped by Hapsburg palaces, the Opera House and city symbol Giant Ferris Wheel, for tastes and experiences like chocolate/apricot Sacher Torte and coffee house culture, and even the renowned, high-performing and high-stepping, gleaming white Lipizzaner horses.
 
You may have been to Vienna before, but no matter how many times you’ve been to a city, seeing it from above gives you a whole new perspective.
 
That’s why the string of new rooftop bars in the city on the Danube river – with stunning design and inspiring food and beverage experiences - is so exciting for those of us planning Danube river cruises or guided trips to Central Europe soon.
 
Plan for daytime snacks or late-day drinks in at least one of these ‘elevated’ bars with a view!

mariatrink: Laid-back music
 
This is the most musical of Vienna’s new rooftop bars. Jaz in the City Vienna, located in the city’s sixth district of Mariahilf, is the third hotel in the German hotel chain’s portfolio. The view, if not the music, will make your heart skip a beat.
 
(Photo credit: Jaz in the City Vienna)

Contemporary design is the backdrop to an immersive music theme. The lobby recreates a record shop vibe, and the rooftop, mariatrink bar has the feel of a luxuriant jazz club, with velvet seating, innovative cocktails and regional dishes. But few jazz clubs can boast mariatrink’s real claim to fame: the panoramic views of Vienna.

 
Kindred Spirits Rooftop Bar: Drinks with Views of the Prater
 
Playtime at Vienna’s beloved Prater park… followed by smart drinks at the rooftop bar overlooking it. The boutique Hotel Zoku Vienna opened in June 2021, and its amusement-park-adjacent location is symbolic of its focus: providing a venue for work-life balance. Its special home-office hybrid solution appeals to working road warriors.

(Photo credit: Ewout Huibers Photography & Concrete)

At the top of the building, the Living Kitchen Rooftop Restaurant and Kindred Spirits Rooftop Bar are ideal for a laid-back lunch or after-work drink with a focus on Austrian wine, spirits, and culinary artisans, while soaking in the 360-degree views of Vienna. After dusk, the attractions at the Prater amusement park below twinkle like a sea of colored lights, illuminating the entire atmosphere.

 
 
MQ Libelle: Viennese Modernism and Rooftop Views
 
It only opened mid-pandemic during the summer of 2020, but it’s already the most popular rooftop bar in Vienna. MQ Libelle (libelle means dragonfly) is perched on top of the roof of the Leopold Museum, home to Vienna’s leading museum of Viennese Modernism (pictured, top). The museum has the world’s largest Egon Schiele collection.
 
And architecturally speaking the MQ Libelle is a work of art itself. Two of Austria’s most prominent artists were responsible for designing the main elements of the terrace, glass wall, and iconic lighting elements. The drinks and epicurean hotspot is also a new space for art and cultural projects in its own right.

 
 
360° Ocean Sky: a Zoo With a View
 
Everything about this rooftop bar has a fascinating story. The 360° Ocean Sky is a spectacular rooftop bar and all-day and –evening modern restaurant with pride of place on top of the House of Sea. Whisked to the rooftop in a panoramic elevator, guests enjoy eye-catching drinks overhead, while brightly colored exotic fish shimmer in the waters of the aquarium below.
 
The building itself is located in a WW2 flak tower that – by its very nature soars above the surrounding buildings, providing fantastic views in every direction.


IKEA at Westbahnhof Station
 
Your Saturday morning runs to IKEA at home may be more utilitarian, maybe with some Swedish meatballs as a treat.
 
But in Vienna, right next to the Westbahnhof railway station, IKEA has opened a ‘hus’ social hub complete with green façade and a rooftop terrace that’s open to the public with no obligation to buy a Billy Bookcase or even one of the items on the vegetarian menu.

 (Photo credit: Ikea)

Seventy fully-grown trees in giant planters punctuate the space that has a fantastic view over Vienna.

 

Coming Soon:

 
Chez Bernard Restaurant et Bar: Sustainable and Stunning
 
The Hotel Motto is scheduled to open in Fall 2021, with a combination of 1920’s Parisian charm, contemporary Viennese lifestyle and Scandi-chic design.
 
Its rooftop Chez Bernard Restaurant et Bar is flooded with natural light that supports the lush greenery spread across two floors under a striking glass dome. Organic French and North-African cuisine, locally-roasted coffee beans and signature beer brewed from leftover bread from the in-house bakery – along with the views – make this a one-of-a-kind experience.

 
Parliamentary Proceedings with a Twist
 
The late-19th-century Austrian Parliament, one of the most important buildings on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, will unveil a modern rooftop restaurant of its own in 2022.

(Credit: Parlamentsdirektion / András Pálffy, Ortfried Friedreich und Christian Jabornegg)

It’s part of a huge refurbishment project at the Parliament. Once complete, visitors will be able to enjoy previously unseen views over Vienna’s historic city center from four outdoor terraces. An area with table service, a self-service section and a bistro are all planned. The menu will include a mix of traditional Viennese cuisine and international dishes.

Start Your Trip!


Images Courtesy of the rightsholders as noted and the Vienna Tourist Board

Top image: MQ Libelle: WienTourismus/David Payr / MQ Libelle




5 Top Places to Nama-'Stay' During National Yoga Month
For many of us, September feels more like the ‘New Year’ than when the calendar says it’s January. Time to exhale, regroup, and reset yourself on a fulfilling course for the future, one that includes meeting life and wellness goals.
Maybe that’s why September is National Yoga Month.

The ideal time to practice – or at least plan for - two intersecting life goals: more yoga and more travel.

Here are 5 inspired places to practice yoga on an enriching journey. 
 

Flamingo Yoga at Baha Mar, The Bahamas

Located on the pristine white sands of Cable Beach in Nassau, Baha Mar is a tropical island dreamscape, no matter which of its three beachfront resorts best suits your luxury travel style. Whether you choose to stay in the richly refined Rosewood, the playfully hip SLS, or the stylish and modern Grand Hyatt, stunning views and an epic selection of pools and resort experiences awaits.
 
Flamingo Cay is a unique habitat within Baha Mar, designed to shelter these iconic and vivid tropical waterbirds, to educate guests about flamingos and preserve their population in The Bahamas for future generations. 
 

For guests who practice yoga, there’s also an exceptional experience - Flamingo Yoga (pictured above and top) - where guests can practice their flamingo poses, breathing techniques, and mindfulness with the ultimate yoga experts – the Baha Mar Ambassador Flamingos.

The Yoga Instructor is dedicated to working with the flamingos and is on hand to educate guests and look after the birds. The classes are small and intimate, once-weekly sessions that will embed themselves in your memory as a treasured wellness and travel experience.

 

‘Flo-Yo’ in a ‘Spa Without Walls’, Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii



The Fairmont Orchid is uniquely Hawaiian: 32 oceanfront acres with a white sand beach on the black-lava Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island. When you’re not snorkeling with sea turtles in the resort’s private lagoon, napping in a hammock, immersing yourself in Hawaiian cultural activities like storytelling, hula and ukulele, watching the sun rise from a traditional outrigger canoe on the bay… you can rediscover your inner, primal human, surrounded by rushing waterfalls, and greenery, orchids and palms in the resort’s ‘Spa Without Walls.’


Where the indoors is outdoors in paradise, it seems easier to realign mind and body balance immersed in Nature.
 
The resort offers complimentary seaside and sunset yoga, and ‘flo-yo’ or floating yoga on stand-up paddleboards in the quiet waters of the resort’s quiet, private lagoon – a beautiful way to start the day – and a complete core workout where warm ocean breezes and lapping waves set the pace and soothe the spirits.


SUP Yoga at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver

It may be the essential Vancouver wellness experience. Where stand up paddleboard meets downward dog – in a South Beach-style pool overlooking Vancouver's seawall and mountains.

On a fair summer day in Vancouver, British Columbia, the locals joke it's like 'British California'. And it seems that somehow, every resident and visitor in town is outdoors or on the water.
 
The Liquid Yoga program offered by Just Add Water Yoga at the Westin Bayshore gives hotel guests – and the general public – a unique way to be part of Vancouver’s famed local wellness and open air culture - in the security of a pool as an aquatic yoga studio, rather than the open sea like other SUP yoga.

Photo: BestTrip.TV
Didn't bring workout wear? We love that guests can take advantage of the Run Westin's gear lending program.
 
Liquid Yoga is a terrific way to enjoy the Westin Bayshore's gorgeous, circular pool, and its views of Vancouver's harbor, seawall and mountains.
 

Sun-Rise Yoga at Sea in the Caribbean on Virgin Voyages

Imagine yoga on the deck of a sailing ship at dawn, with the sun peeking over the horizon, the sounds and the sights of the sea all around, and the shifting of the ship in the waves adding just a touch of challenge to your core in holding those poses, greeting the new day filling your lungs with fresh sea air.… take it from me: this is living.


One of the most unique places to do yoga overlooking the infinite sea is Virgin Voyages.

Richard Branson’s cheeky new, ‘breaking-the-mould-of-cruising’ cruise line taps into the celebrity billionaire’s history as a music industry entrepreneur. The newly-launched Virgin Voyages feels a lot like a hip, tropical club at sea, with Branson himself telling me that the tables in suites were designed to be danced on!

The line takes a ‘detox, retox’ approach to the cruise lifestyle, so in addition to a nightclub atmosphere, champagne on demand anywhere on the ship, and the first tattoo parlor at sea, guests on the line’s first ship, the Scarlet Lady will also find their daytime downtime wellness options robust.


It starts with the ‘Aquatic Club’ outdoor pool deck, and continues with such wildly different wellness options as outdoor boxing, to meditation and yes, sun-rise yoga.
 

Yoga On the Top Deck of a European River Cruise on U By Uniworld

Before Virgin Voyages launched a new way of cruising, U By Uniworld reimagined river cruising for ‘Active Travelers’, with distinctive, modern black-hulled river ships and a whole new approach to experiencing the shore and the ship. It’s more of a hipster river cruise, with mixology (bar chefs), overnights in key European cities for clubbing, dance parties on board in a private ship version of a club, top deck ‘camping’, a modern approach to cuisine – and yes, yoga!

After an exciting night, guests are welcome to greet the day with complimentary, morning top-deck yoga sessions, led by the ship’s wellness coach.


Why do yoga on a European river cruise? The views are sure to help with the meditation.

Some of the very best views of favorite European cities are from the rivers that run through them. Without the congestion of other buildings around, you can absorb the breathtaking historic beauty of cities that were built on rivers when they - not roads – were the highways of Europe.

Early morning, top-deck yoga in European cities gives you a unique, over-the-rail perspective on some of the most inspiring cityscapes on the continent, and a way to absorb some of the city’s energy before an active day of exploring walking, hiking, cycling or kayaking through town.  
 

#StartYourTrip


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/Host, BestTrip TV

Images courtesy of their respective hotels/ cruise lines except where otherwise stated.










Miami Heats Up This Summer with Three Hotel Openings
Miami has always been one of the hottest destinations on the continent, with art, design and architecture creds, a blistering beach/ party scene, vibrant cultural scene that reflects the city’s status as a Latin American hub, and a celebrity/ jet set appeal that never seems to die down.
 
This summer, the city’s getting even hotter, with three hotel openings set to hit the reset button on restarting travel to Miami. They’re must-stay, must-taste experiences that tap into the essence of Miami’s iconic South Beach.
 

The Goodtime Hotel

 
With a name like that – and star power like Pharrell Williams’ of the song ‘Happy’ fame – behind it, this hotel (pictured, top) promises escapist, playful atmosphere – and it delivers.

With 100,000 square feet of curated public space and only 266 guest rooms with an Art Deco aesthetic that reimagines the style of the district it lives in, a 30,000 square foot pool deck dotted with cabanas, lush greenery, carpet woven with mock wet footprints and Insta-worthy touches like pink land line phones, the award-winning music celebrity and his partners say The Goodtime Hotel (pictured top) is a place for “hedonistic revelry and laidback R&R.”
 
'We want The Goodtime Hotel to impart a feeling of both revitalization and that rare, exciting thrill that takes over when you discover something special,' says Pharrell Williams. 'It's that adrenaline-fueled sensation of entering a whole new setting and a whole new mindset. This place will provide a natural good time, for all who come through.'
 
Between drinks at ‘Strawberry Moon’, cozying up with an old-time book at the library, or recording music at the on-site studio, guests will feel transported into a fantasy, urban beach resort world that is just so Miami.
 

Moxy Miami South Beach

Colorful murals, floor-to-ceiling windows, blurred transitions between indoors and outdoors, a rooftop pool with panoramic views, a dedicated beach club, and six dining and sipping venues, including a rooftop resto, capture the essence of the district’s Art Deco heritage.
 
Moxy Miami South Beach’s designers say its vibe blends the glamour of midcentury Havana, the artistry of contemporary Mexico City, and a tropical vibrancy that's unmistakably Miami, all located steps from the sand.
 
Inspired in part by an overnight ferry that ran between Miami and Havana in the 1940s and '50s, the rooms resemble ocean liner staterooms dressed in vivid Miami hues and bathed in sunlight thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms on higher floors offer unobstructed vistas of the Atlantic, while other rooms feature expansive views of South Beach's pastel-hued architecture. Bedrooms feature custom art by Miami artist Aquarela Sabol depicting iconic artists — Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí — visiting South Beach.

 
New dining and drinking venues include Como Como, a marisquería and raw bar; Mezcalista, a sexy mezcal lounge; Serena, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar; Los Buenos, a taco stand/bodega in the lobby, complemented by Bar Moxy, which does double duty as a social hub and check-in area; and The Upside, a rooftop bar on the eighth floor exclusively for hotel guests and private events.
 
Multiple indoor-outdoor spaces include a ground floor courtyard; a 72-foot, cabana-lined pool; an indoor-outdoor fitness center; an outdoor movie screening room on the rooftop; and an exclusive beach club on Miami's famous South Beach give the young and stylish at heart a natural home in Miami.
 
 

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach


This hotel isn’t exactly new. In fact, it’s one of the breathtakingly original Miami-Modern hotels along the beach, that gave the city its world-famous signature Deco style.
 
What’s new is its re-opening after a $90-million renovation.
 
As a landmark Ritz-Carlton hotel, this 376-guestroom beach resort delivers urban beach resort luxury with an unmatched glamour and sophistication. It almost looks like a luxe, modern interpretation of a mid-century movie set, except that it’s real and full of life and current style. You can almost imagine the Rat Pack ambling in from the pool, towels over their arms, drinks and cigarettes carelessly in hand and lazy smiles on their faces as they head up to their rooms to get ready to entertain hotel guests that night at the club.

 
The hotel’s stunning new lobby is a celebration of the original design, enhanced by elegant touches that transition the property into a modern era. Steps away, the all-new Lapidus Bar is a classic cocktail lounge honoring that bygone era of Miami with live music, vintage cocktails, and a design that invites visitors to settle in and absorb their magnificent surroundings.
 
The vibrant flavors of Latin America take the lead at Fuego y Mar, the hotel’s new restaurant, where guests also find a tech lounge, where they work in a sophisticated, convivial setting while ordering coffee and cocktails. DiLido Beach Club and its oceanfront location promise an intimate dining enclave with plush seating and views out across the turquoise water, and a new, elevated swimming pool overlooks the ocean.
 
When was the last time you indulged in Miami’s high style, culture, and beach lifestyle?
 

#StartYourTrip!

 
Images courtesy of their respective hotel companies.







Two New Luxury Brands for the Secluded Turks & Caicos Islands
They are among the Caribbean’s best kept secrets. The forty islands and cays that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are favored by travelers in the know for their pristine waters, picture-perfect white sand beaches and conch and lobster fisheries that make local dining such a joy.

TCI’s archipelago is strung out along the sea at the tail-end of The Bahamas and before you get to the Dominican Republic.

Bookended by two popular and busy beach destinations, this British Overseas Territory stands out for its quiet seclusion. Only about 30,000 people live on TCI - mainly on Providenciales in the Caicos islands. In fact, fewer than a dozen of the islands are inhabited at all. But possibly because of its primary business as an international banking center, TCI has great air service from Miami, New York, Toronto and London.

So anyone looking for an idyllic island escape can add TCI to their list. Even more now, since two luxury hospitality brands have arrived on the archipelago, boosting its credentials as a luxe beach destination away from the bustle of its bigger neighbors.

Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos

This iconic luxury company has opened its first resort on TCI on renowned Grace Bay in Providenciales. Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos joins a small family of Ritz-Carlton ultra-luxury resorts in the Islands, one that includes Aruba, St. Thomas USVI, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands.


The latest Ritz-Carlton resort’s design was inspired by the natural wonders of the Turks & Caicos, incorporating the heritage of its earliest Lucayan inhabitants in the use of rich wood, calming ocean themes as well as desert magic, incorporating local cactus and sponges into the property, including the native turk-head cactus that thrives in TCI’s dry climate and gave the islands its name.

Guests are welcomed to nearly 150 ocean view rooms including 23 suites, or a number of three-story penthouse suites with private, rooftop plunge pools and endless views.

The resort is designed for private and romantic or fun family vacations; the company’s ‘Ritz Kids’ program offers programs for children to explore the island and learn about marine life through arts and crafts.

For grown-ups, there’s an adults-only pool with private cabanas, a private catamaran for marine exploration, a casino; a seaside spa and yoga on the beach; and multiple dining venues that offer both local and global flavors.

Celebrating the island’s natural abundance of conch, the resort marks the end of every day with the sound of this iconic shell and offers guests the chance to sample conch ceviche and other island delicacies.
 
A Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge offers an exclusive sanctuary that offers private check-in, a dedicated Club Concierge, and multiple culinary presentations throughout the day, in addition to dedicated service at the beach.
 
Indoor and outdoor venues are also designed for meeting and events including a 5000 square-foot ballroom and an ‘event lawn and grand promenade’ with the white sands and sparkling waters of Grace Bay in the background that will fulfil any bride’s dreams.
 

The Meridian Club on Pine Cay

The Meridian Club (pictured top) has occupied a spectacular private, 800 acre island off of Providenciales since the 1970’s, when the exclusive, intimate beachside property became the first tourist development in TCI.

What’s new is its recent adoption into the fold of Relais & Chateaux, the elite collection of boutique hotels, resorts, villas and restaurants all committed to the highest standards of hospitality and gourmet cuisine. That designation just formalizes the recognition of The Meridian Club at Pine Cay as one of the region’s leading private island resorts.

Pine Cay is less than a mile wide and only two miles long. Despite its small size, the island has over 9 miles of trails and a breathtaking 2-mile stretch of white sand beach. The ideal place for beach walking, the island is connected to its neighbors, Water Cay and Little Water Cay – you can even walk the beach for 5 miles to the end of Little Water Cay.

Just 13 rooms host 26 guests with nearly the entire 800 acres of island nature and beauty to explore.


Guests choose between private cottages or spacious beachfront rooms – all inclusive of the fine dining that helped secure its inclusion into the collection of Relais & Chateaux properties world wide. Every room opens directly onto the 2-mile beach.

You can imagine why people with milestones to celebrate often book out the island for their party – it may be the private island party of your dreams!

In addition to miles of arid island hiking, guest while away their days swimming in crystal clear waters, joining daily snorkeling trips, kayaking, paddleboarding, days at the spa, yoga classes, boating on a charter or on complimentary Hobie Cat boats, fishing, or just relaxing seaside.
 
It’s the beach getaway you’ve always really wanted.
 

#StartYourTrip


Images courtesy of their respective resorts. Top image: two of the cottages at the Meridian Club



 New, Luxury Water Park Makes a ‘Splash’ in the Bahamas
If you’ve never put the words ‘luxury’ and ‘water park’ together in a sentence before - let alone a vacation - now’s your chance.

Baha Mar is a thousand acres of Bahamian paradise on world-famous Cable Beach near Nassau. The exquisite white sands are home to not one, but three luxury beach resorts: Rosewood, SLS and Grand Hyatt.

Now, in addition to over three dozen restaurants and lounges, convention center, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Royal Blue Golf Course, the Caribbean's first and only flagship ESPA spa, more than 30 luxury boutiques and the largest casino in the Caribbean, Baha Mar has debuted another way for visitors to play.

Baha Bay is a $200 million, 15-acre beachfront water park, exclusively available for guests at Baha Mar. It’s just as luxurious as the rest of the resort complex – with aquatic experiences for the young – and the young at heart.

Imagine the days of water-based active fun on Baha Bay’s 24 water slides, a tropical action river, group raft rides, the first ProSlide Dueling Water Coaster and FlyingSAUCER 45 in the Caribbean, what’s being called the “most spectacular wave pool” in the islands, and splash zones “for kids of all ages.”

For some visitors, the ultimate thrills will come trying your luck at the world’s only outdoor casino inside a waterpark.

Then for a change of pace, the Baha Bay Beach Club offers privacy, beachside entertaining, and chilling out. Infinity pools overlook the endless turquoise sea, and full-service private cabanas, daybeds, and poolside lounge areas make an ideal day on the beach also the most relaxing.
 
Baha Bay Beach Club also has a restaurant serving coastal California-inspired bites and drinks. That’s just one of Baha Bay’s breezy, beachside dining experiences. The al fresco Market includes Cleo Grill, Sam's Crispy Chicken, Plant Nation and Chill, the famed Sugar Factory, Umami Burger, and Barracuda food trucks.
 
All that, wrapped up in the warmth of the Bahamian sunshine and hospitality.
 
Now that travel’s reopening, if you’re among the many people planning to ‘splash out’ a bit on your next holiday, Baha Mar and its new aquatic attraction Baha Bay might just go to the top of your ‘beach vacation’ list.  

#StartYourTrip





First, Fully Digital Hotel to Open in Northern Europe
It’s in the heart of one of the most historic neighborhoods in London. But this hotel has become a symbol of the future of travel.

ibis Styles London Gloucester Road is in Kensington, within easy strolling distance of some of the English capital’s favorite landmarks, like the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, shopping at Harrod’s and of course, its highest-profile residence, Kensington Palace, where Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and their three children live, alongside other members of the Royal Family.

Surrounded by British tradition, it’s making history of its own as the first, fully digital hotel in Northern Europe.
A suite of digital technologies has reinvented making guests feel welcome, by connecting them to actual, human members of the hotel’s teams, and fulfilling their needs during their stay, from arrival, to getting into and out of and using your room, to food and beverage service, payment and departure.

The pandemic has re-shaped our expectations of cleanliness and sanitization and physical distancing. The digital hotel elevates your ability to maintain those health requirements.

But digital systems at hotels aren’t new. Some contactless features began before the pandemic, and will be appreciated by guests long after.

The digital eco-system at this hotel includes features such as online and mobile check in, in hotel payment, the ‘Accor Key’ –a digital key solution, digital F&B services and guest relations via Whatsapp throughout your stay.

It’s all about choice. Do you want to speak directly with reception? Or would you prefer to go straight to your room?
When you are short of time, a digital solution can save you precious minutes. Other times, when you want that ‘face to face’, personal touch, it’s available too.

(Above Image via Accor, top image via Accor video)

“This is not about robots or faceless technology, this is about the smart integration of innovative, customer-facing technology at pace and at scale. Technology is part of our daily lives and is now fully part of our hotel experience–and with this important step, we give our guests the opportunity to adapt their hotel stay according to their preferences,” hotel management says.

It’s all run through your smartphone. ibis Styles London Gloucester Road now has digital keys where guests can open your room door with just a wave of your smartphone. Each guest will have an ‘Accor Key’ that will allow room access, entry to meeting rooms for business or event guests, and floor access from elevators. No more scrambling to find where you put your room key! We bet your smartphone never leaves your hand even – especially? – when you are traveling.

Through the user-friendly Accor Key, you’ll also be able to order a meal remotely from your room, and since it’s fully integrated with your hotel account, you can pay up front to your method of payment or charge your dining to your room and pay on checkout.

You can also chat to your desired member of the hotel team through the common messaging app WhatsApp to make any special requests before and during your stay, making pre-arrival requests and helping to facilitate your needs and queries during your stay.

Accor has also extended its existing Fast Check-Out (FCO) functionality to all guests, allowing you to check-out via the smartphone app. And expenses can be managed too: a PDF invoice will be sent to your email.

This hotel in London may be the first, fully digital hotel in Northern Europe – but it won’t be the last.

Accor has announced the global roll-out of “Accor Key” and an objective to equip 20,000 hotel doors in 2021 and all new hotel openings beginning this summer. The complete digital hotel experience in the British capital is the first step to similar implementation over the next five years in at least half of Accor’s North and Central American hotels, which include economical brands like ibis, through Novotel and Mercure, to Pullman and Swisshotel, through to luxury brands like Fairmont, Sofitel, and Raffles.
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon





International Dark Sky Week, held during the week of the new moon each April, calls for people worldwide to turn out their lights and take in the beauty of the night sky without light pollution dimming its brilliance. 

It’s also an annual reminder that some of the very best travel experiences aren’t under the bright lights of a city. Some of the most awe-inspiring and life-changing travel moments involve absorbing Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles above us.

Astrotourism is a growing trend that helps travelers capture more of those transformational moments in the darkness.
Astro travel lets us tap into primal parts of ourselves, like our earliest ancestors who created myths and learned wisdom from celestial phenomena. And it reminds us how humans - like all creatures and the Earth itself – respond to the rhythms of movements of the sun, the moon, and the stars.

North Star and Big Dipper over Grosvenor Arch, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah, by Royce Bair, courtesy International Dark Sky Association

It celebrates the wonder in us all when we gaze at the mysteries of the stars in the night skies, or the Northern Lights. Or when we join others to take part in an astronomy event like a solar eclipse, meteor shower or passing comet and feel tiny in our universe and in awe of the infinite darkness that surrounds us.

Savvy astro-travelers have been planning for a while to be in Antarctica for December, 2021’s solar eclipse. If that’s a bit remote for you, wait around for the ‘Great North American Solar Eclipse’ on April 8, 2024: a dramatic astronomy event across the whole continent, that, at its max, will allow observers to see the Moon totally – totally! – blocking the Sun for over 4 minutes!  

Here are some ways you can become part of the dark sky and astrotourism trend, both on land, and at sea.

LAND


Dark Sky Parks
From New Zealand to New Mexico, there’s a growing list of over a hundred Dark Sky parks and reserves around the world. They preserve and protect the ability to see the heavens in their clearest forms as our human ancestors did, and the darkness the planet’s wildlife still relies on today.


New Zealand’s Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie Region (above), at 4300 square km, is the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world, and home to the darkest skies in the world. Much of New Zealand has no light pollution and is home to some of the most accessible observatories on planet Earth. The sheer brightness of the stars, contrasted by the ring of mountains surrounding the Mackenzie Basin, is utterly breath-taking.
 
In North America, Dark Sky parks and preserves are most often found under the vast – and remote- Western Skies, in National Parks where preserving the night skies aligns with the protection of the landscape and wildlife.

Dark Sky Festival in Jasper in the Canadian Rockies
 
Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada’s mountain parks, famous for magnificent glaciers, lakes and mountains. Jasper has also been designated as a Dark Sky Preserve for its special commitment to protect and preserve the night sky and to reduce or eliminate light pollution in all its forms.

(Jasper National Park/ Jasper Tourism)
 
It’s one of 17 designated Dark Sky Preserves in Canada, the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world, and the largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve - meaning there’s a town within the limits of the preserve.

As daylight hours begin to shrink, the month of October is the perfect time for Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival. Dozens of events including dark sky photography workshops, interactive experiences at Jasper’s Planetarium, black hole sculptures, and ‘Animals of the Night’ hikes, indoor and outdoor events, speakers and hands-on celestial activities celebrate the night skies that cradle the earth.

Room With a View – of the Stars
A number of resorts near and far help their guests feel closer to the night skies.

At remote Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah, there’s an in-house astronomer providing complimentary stargazing sessions to guests, an ‘astrophotography’ machine that wirelessly connects users to download astropics to their devices, even a ‘sky terrace’ suite where you can fall asleep under the stars.
 
The Hyatt Regency in Maui, Hawaii has a resident director of astronomy and a Tour of The Stars program that allows guests, just a smidge north of the equator, to see almost all of the 88 constellations.
 
Nearby, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua’s stargazing program highlights celestial navigation and the story of Polynesian overseas migration to the Hawaiian islands, and provides guests telescopes to check out the starry skies on their own, too.
 
Farther afield, the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo offers a ‘Taste the Stars’ program. (Watch a video of the program, top.)

It includes a 7-course tasting menu developed by the resort's chefs in collaboration with Costa Rican-born astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz. A secret ingredient is South American wine aged in a 4.5 billion year old meteorite! Plus a guided stargazing session using a powerful GPS-guided telescope and a take-home sourvenir of the moon shot through the telescope while you’re there. Costa Rica is one of the few places above the Equator where Magellanic Clouds, two galaxies first identified by explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the 1520s, are visible.
 

SEA

It makes sense that some of the darkest skies in the world are found offshore. Way offshore, at sea. Which makes ships some of the best places for celestial experiences - and cruise lines are getting onboard.

2021’s Antarctic Solar Eclipse luckily takes place during the southern hemisphere’s summer, so it’s drawing a host of the world’s expedition cruise ships with guests on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise of the Antarctic – with a solar eclipse completely un-muted by light pollution from land.
 
Silversea has three of its ultra-luxury polar expedition ships sailing in Antarctic waters for the Solar Eclipse. Be on deck with fewer than 250 guests as the brilliance of Antarctica is plunged into darkness, and gaze amazed as the changing light and sharpening shadows highlight Antarctica’s beauty.

(Courtesy Silversea)

Atlas Ocean Voyages is a new luxury, small ship expedition cruise line that will amazingly include Antarctic’s Solar Eclipse in its inaugural season! On the day of the eclipse, you’ll be sailing through icy waters, and be able to see the total solar eclipse against a backdrop of mammoth icebergs.

Ponant is a French luxury, small-ship expedition cruise line. Its newest ship is also the first, luxury hybrid electric polar-class vessel. Just over 250 guests will make the ‘badge of honor’ sailing through the Drake Passage on the day of the eclipse. You’ll be able to disembark the ship onto the ice pack where, according to Ponant, “the pristine white creates a high-pressure zone that will allow for clearer skies”, a rare privilege enhanced by naturalist guides and on-board scientists.

Imagine seeing an eclipse from the Scenic Eclipse! Two former NASA scientists and a world-renowned astrologer will be joining the Scenic Eclipse’s 200 guests when the luxury expedition yacht – that comes complete with two touring helicopters and a six-person submarine, the first permitted to operate in these waters - is strategically positioned for an optimal view at Antarctica’s South Sandwich Island archipelago on the day of the eclipse.

You don’t need a special celestial event for this next Astro tourism cruise!

(Courtesy Celebrity Cruises)

Celebrity Flora is the cruise line’s first purpose-built small ship, just for Galapagos expeditions. The legendary islands far off the coast of Ecuador are well known for their unique wildlife, but guests also have the benefit of a brilliant night sky and countless stars above.

Celebrity has crafted a whole new Galapagos cruising experience available on all its Galapagos sailings: 'Glamping' (glamorous camping) Under the Stars that you'll never forget. Four guests each night will be able to sleep on the ship’s top deck in a specially designed cabana. You’ll also enjoy dining alfresco with curated cocktails, wines, even campfire favorites like s'mores under the stars. A naturalist is available to point out stars and constellations as seen only from this part of the world. The magical overnight experience concludes with sunrise and a full bed-side breakfast. 
Remote lands and seas are on many travelers’ bucket-lists – and adding the natural wonders of the skies to your adventure of a lifetime makes it just that much more unforgettable. 
 

#DreamNowStarGazeSoon


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.












'Pandemic Pivots' in Travel We Hope Will Stick Around Forever

Necessity is the mother of Invention, they say, and the pandemic, while it has shut down travel, has also inspired some innovations we love – and are hoping will stay with us long after travel is back to full swing.

 

By: Lynn Elmhirst, producer/host of Best Trip TV
 

The Cabins at Mountain Village 

The Town of Mountain Village in southwestern Colorado, is just outside the legendary ski resort of Telluride.

So what better ‘pandemic pivot’ to allow visitors to safely enjoy the town’s restaurants – and reinforce the feeling of being on an alpine vacation - than a collection of gondolas retired from a ski lift and up-converted into private dining cars?

(Photo by Ryan Bonneau provided by Town of Mountain Village)

At the beginning of the ski season, the town ordered 20 re-purposed cars and set them up in clusters in plazas around town in the vicinity of over a dozen restaurants. Each gondola accommodates a bubbled group of 4-6 people in ski gear comfortably, 8 in a cozier squeeze.

The Cabins aren’t tied to any individual restaurant. Gondolas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The town has QR codes to its ‘Dine Outside’ web page inside each car, so diners can settle themselves at their private table, then access neighboring restaurants’ take-out menus to order their meal.

One town official told me both visitors and residents love The Cabins. “They are very popular, it’s difficult to find an open cabin during prime dining hours. Several friends of mine with children have reported their kids are the biggest fans of The Cabins and they have to coax them out when it’s time to go home.”

(Photo courtesy of Town of Mountain Village)
 
So popular are the private dining gondolas, the town has installed 5 more. And while the original intent was to provide a creative solution to allow local restaurants to serve diners during the pandemic winter, The Cabins have become such a signature of the town’s alpine lifestyle, they’re set to become a year-round feature of a visit to the Town of Mountain Village.
 

360° Dome Dining in Banff

There’s a new concept in private dining in the Canadian Rockies, too.

For over 130 years, the world-famous Fairmont Banff Springs hotel has been the legendary landmark of the historic, alpine resort town of Banff, Alberta in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage site Banff National Park.


Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies” now has a new, outdoor, private dining venue. The 360° Dome evokes iconic imagery of Canadian winters and shelters up to six guests from the elements as they enjoy panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies and the ‘Castle’ from its terrace.

Inside, the 360° Dome is designed for two to six bubbled guests with rustic luxe elements of winter chic for a couple to indulge in a romantic, gourmet dinner, a group of friends visiting over wine and charcuterie in the afternoon, or a family enjoying an extravagant brunch.
(Two above photos courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel)

The hotel teased the fine dining menus designed by the Fairmont Banff Springs’ Executive Chef. Family-style brunch includes make-your-own mimosas, eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes, wine and charcuterie platters feature housemade preserves and cured meats paired with locally-sourced cheese and Canadian wine, and the indulgent five-course dinner features locally-inspired flavours and ingredients, including the Brant Lake Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and the Long Bone Bison Short Rib.

The 360° Dome at Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies’ may be a fixture of the winter season, with open outdoor dining taking over when spring weather permits. But its warmth and character in the winter months transform the necessity of bubble dining into a story full of charm.

Clockwork At Home

Another Fairmont Hotel, the Royal York in Toronto, has debuted ‘Clockwork at Home’. 

If the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies’, its big city counterpart is a castle in the heart of the country’s biggest metropolis. The epic hotel shares the French chateau design characteristic of the Fairmont hotels across Canada that were born as a chain of luxury rail hotels. Opposite Toronto’s Union Station, the Royal York was once the tallest building in the British Empire, and remains the elegant grand dame of hospitality in the region.


A spectacular re-imagining for its 90th anniversary just before the pandemic introduced a glamorously updated lobby bar. Clockwork is centered around a new statement timepiece, replacing the spiral staircase clock in the lobby that has been a recognized meeting place in the city for years. 

Inspired by its legacy as a railway hotel, the Royal York’s Clockwork marries modern elegance with vintage luxury train carriage style, right down to Pullman car style banquettes. Clockwork is a swanky and stylish bar for champagne and oysters, or a perfectly crafted cocktail over sparkling conversation.

(Above three photos courtesy Fairmont Royal York)

With the hotel closed, Clockwork’s mixologist has bottled up his creative juices into craft cocktails Torontonians can order online, pick up in the afternoon, and recreate the swanky atmosphere of the Royal York during a stylish evening at home. 
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon




Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Snuggle Up In the World's Largest Log Cabin
It’s made of an astonishing 10,000 western red cedar logs, and ‘logs in’ at a whopping 4-million cubic feet of volume.
Fairmont Le Château Montebello lays claim to being the biggest log building on the planet. A massive lobby and rotunda anchor four wings extending out in a star formation that’s painted dramatic black on the outside, but retains its natural warm shade on the inside.


Phenomenal, 70-foot log rafters support the atrium lobby, with a central, three-story stone fireplace, a mezzanine overlooking the stunning space, and a 3rd-floor balcony with a perspective over the wonders of its pristine, old-growth forest surroundings.

This incredible building is topped by half a million hand-made cedar shakes, and boasts over a hundred miles of carved wooden mouldings.


The best part? It’s not the private, waterfront retreat of a reclusive billionaire. As one of Canada’s iconic, former railway, ‘castle’ hotels, any visitor to the Montebello region of Quebec near the Canadian capital of Ottawa, can experience this riverfront resort in the midst of a 300-acre forest reserve.

Unlike many of its sister historic Fairmont hotels which evoke French chateaux in Canada’s great urban and wilderness destinations, Château Montebello stands alone as a breathtaking example of contrasting castle grandeur in rustic style.

The resort is an incredible architectural and construction feat, and an astounding vision of hospitality, with a rich history.
 

Historic Pedigree

 
The property dates back to the 1600’s, part of the original land grants from the French King to settle ‘New France’.
 
In the late 1920’s, its new owner envisioned an exclusive, private wilderness retreat for the country’s political elite from nearby Ottawa and business leaders from Montreal only a bit farther away. Original club directors included the Premier of Quebec and a host of nation builders: the presidents of the National Bank of Canada, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Pacific Railway. 
 
Which may be why, despite the onset of the global economic crash in 1929, the project went ahead. A special spur of the CPR rail line was built to bring deliver the massive logs to the site, and 3500 workers and artisans worked 7 days a week, around the clock using unprecedented electric lighting at night to complete this visionary ‘log cabin’ in a mind-boggling 4 months.  
 
On Canada Day, July 1st, 1930, the private members’ club opened, with a grand masked ball as its spectacular launch on the world’s social scene. 
 
For the next 40 years, the who’s who of the Canadian elite played, networked, dined and celebrated family milestones at the club and its waterfront, wooded 300 acres. Non-Canadian club members included European royalty like the Netherland’s Queen Juliana and Princess Grace of Monaco, and a glitterati of guests included international and Hollywood royalty, even US President Harry Truman who expressed a desire to fish his ‘first Canadian trout’ on his visit to Ottawa in 1947.
 

From Private Club to Luxury Resort

 
In 1970, the club re-opened as a resort and bucket list destination for any discerning traveler. Now, Fairmont Le Château Montebello is known world-wide for its one-of-a-kind setting as well as rustic-chic flair, warm French-Canadian hospitality and cuisine.
 
Other buildings have been added to the resort, including a separate log cabin, accessible by underground tunnel, with a 75-foot indoor pool – the largest in Canada – at the foot of totem poles that support the roof.
 
Vast spa, sauna, and fitness facilities enhance the 40+ on-resort activities surrounding Chateau Montebello. Swim and sunbathe next to the pool or river. Boat in to the marina. Play 18 holes of golf, a match of tennis, or try your hand at iconic Canadian winter activities like dog sledding, curling, ice-skating or cross-country skiing. In the warm spring and summer months, or during vivid autumn colors, you can hike and cycle tranquil woods and paths.

 
The resort brings holiday celebrations to life, too. Imagine a traditional Canadian Christmas within the vast log walls and beams, and the tastes and sights of a Quebecois maple sugar shack experience in early spring.
 

90th Anniversary


Fairmont Le Château Montebello celebrated 90 years as a one-of-a-kind landmark of architecture and hospitality on July 1st, 2020. The pandemic has postponed, but not canceled, celebrations, which have been rescheduled to Canada Day, July 1st, 2021.
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon

 
Images courtesy Fairmont Le Château Montebello

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3 New, Impossibly Picturesque Boutique Hotels That Make it Easy to Dream About Your Next Trip to Europe

France. Italy. Spain. If you’re imagining traveling again to Europe, you’ll have no problem picturing yourself in any of three independent boutique hotels that have just opened in spectacular historic properties.

All three belong to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group of over 500 independent and unique hotels in 90 countries. They all have special character and offer themes that are even more relevant in the new world of travel: small size, privacy, and locations that allow guests to get away from crowds of tourists. 


Milan, Italy

Galleria Vik Milano is part hotel, part post-modern art gallery, immersing guests in Milan’s rich artistic heritage. With bold murals, striking sculptures and a colourful palette, this 88-room hotel is a canvas for Milan’s creative side.


The hotel is located inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and is circled by Milan’s best-loved shops, landmarks, restaurants and galleries. Get your culinary, cultural or couture fix – it’s all literally on your hotel doorstep – then easily escape into your lifestyle hotel.


Both guest rooms and public areas are exhibition spaces with each bearing the hallmark of a renowned artist. Two restaurants, one with dawn-to-dusk food and drinks, the other dedicated to wood-fired pizza, complete your escape from the busy urban surroundings. Fully committed to the marriage of art and life, the hotel has no TV’s or screens. 

Don’t-miss feature: The Adriano Pompa Gallery Suite offers a mezzanine-level bed beneath a Renaissance-esque mural.


Loire Valley, France

If you’ve ever imagined living like the nobility of old France in their chateaux in the Loire Valley, that dream can become a reality in this 49-room hotel. While Les Sources de Cheverny (pictured, top) evokes historic times, guests enjoy modern comforts of luxury French country life.


Everything from the local produce served in the restaurant, the artisanal wooden WaterRower fitness machines, the solid oak jacuzzi and thermal pool, to the antioxidant and anti-aging grape seed extracts of Caudalie’s signature treatments in the Spa des Sources complements the surrounding farms, vineyards and the estate’s 45 hectares of woodland.
 
Here guests can rejuvenate in the spa, inspire energy with a forest-based yoga session, bathe in nature and feed their minds.

Don’t-miss feature: Discover the region on the Loire à Velo cycle route with the hotel’s complimentary bikes. Meander through more than 900km of cycle paths through Loire vineyards, along the banks of the river and past the region’s glorious Renaissance chateaux.


Matarraña, Spain

Torre del Marques is a 15th-century farmhouse that has been brought back to life for the 21st-century and beyond. The intimate, 18-room hotel is in 150 hectares of forest, farmland and vineyards in Aragon, a region of Spain. While it’s easily accessible from Barcelona, many tourists have yet to discover the area sometimes referred to as the ‘Spanish Tuscany’.


Guests of the hotel can enjoy the bounties of the region, including local delicacies surrounded by the gardens and groves that provide them - olives, almonds, honey and black truffles are showcased on the menu alongside local wines like Tempranillo and grape must Mistella.


The hotel has undergone a bio-sustainable makeover with families and small groups in mind. The Suite Room spaciously accommodates four people with two connecting rooms and an outdoor terrace.
 Don’t-miss feature: the organic, ‘zero-kilometre’ restaurant.
 

We can picture a dream escape in luxury to one of Europe’s most beloved destinations in any of these three new boutique hotels.

 

#DreamNowTravelSoon

 
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These 'Hotels' are Full of 'Guests' Throughout Pandemic - Part of Fairmont's 'Bee Sustainable' Program
The global pandemic closed the doors of nearly every hotel in the world. But thousands of very special ‘guests’ at some Fairmont hotels stayed.
Some have even been ‘residents’ for years.

'HOME SWEET HIVE'

In 2008, the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto and Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver installed honey beehives. These two urban hotels may not seem likely places for apiaries. But the thriving hives made headlines, raising awareness of the importance of bees to our world, as well as producing honey for (human) guests, and highlighting local products and food.
Fast forward over ten years, and other Fairmont properties have joined the ‘Bee Sustainable’ initiative, from the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle and Fairmont San Francisco, to Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in China and Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Africa. Onsite local honey produced replaces purchased honey in the hotels’ bars and restaurants. Six rooftop honey beehives at the Royal York alone – home to 350,000 bees - are producing 450 pounds of honey every year.
Every hotel’s honey is one-of-a-kind, tasting of the nectars of dozens of indigenous flowers from humble dandelions to cherry blossoms. And the bees do double duty, foraging up to 12 square miles, pollinating area gardens and parks as they visit over 1 million flowers for every pound of honey they produce. 

WILD BEE 'HOTELS'

Not all bees produce honey. But all bees are essential pollinators.
So Fairmont broadened its groundbreaking Bee Sustainable program in 2014, building and installing wild bee ‘hotels’. These wooden structures feature sticks drilled with holes to attract wild bees in the area in need of a safe haven.
Now, millions of bees call Fairmont hotels ‘home’. Nearly two dozen honey bee hives, and a similar number of wild pollinator bee hotels grace the grounds and rooftops and terraces of Fairmont hotels around the world:

CANADA

  • Fairmont Royal York - Toronto
  • Fairmont Waterfront -Vancouver
  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler
  • Fairmont Empress - Victoria
  • Fairmont Vancouver Airport
  • Fairmont Le Château Frontenac - Québec City
  • Fairmont Palliser - Calgary
  • Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth - Montréal
 

USA

  • Fairmont San Francisco - San Francisco
  • Fairmont Washington D.C.
  • Fairmont Copley Plaza- Boston
  • Fairmont San Jose
  • Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa - Sonoma, USA
  • Fairmont Dallas
  • Fairmont Olympic Hotel – Seattle
  • Fairmont Orchid - Hawaii
 

INTERNATIONAL

  • Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda
  • Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club - Mount Kenya, Kenya
  • Fairmont Mayakoba - Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
  • Fairmont Le Montreux Palace - Montreux, Switzerland
  • Fairmont Yangcheng - LakeSuzhou, China
  • Fairmont Beijing - China
 
Bees have also become part of their hotels’ guest experiences over the years, from culinary and cocktail menu items, beekeeper courses and packages, garden and bee tours, honey tastings, and special gift items.

BEE SUSTAINABLE

Fairmont has even opened a bee hotel at parent company Accor’s global HQ in Paris. The Bee Sustainable program is a cornerstone of the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable tourism.
The program works with the Pollinator Partnership, an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting pollinators and their ecosystems – not just bees, but also the birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other creatures whose pollination efforts produce one out of every three bites of food we eat.
In that way, Bee Sustainable isn’t just about sustainable tourism and supporting local foods in Fairmont hotels. The company says supporting bee habitats is part of its commitment to hotel communities, food production and the economy, noting that bees pollinate 1,000 of the 1,200 crop varieties that provide 80% of human food worldwide and contribute billions of dollars to the US economy alone.
That’s the big picture, and Fairmont is also encouraging everyone to support bees in your own backyard just as Fairmont hotels support bees on their properties. Families and nature lovers will It sells mini bee hotels at fairmontstore.com – a perfect way for nature lovers to get involved, and for families to learn more about bees at home.
 
You can also learn more about the Fairmont Bee Sustainable program and the importance of honeybees and wild bees at fairmontbeesustainable.com.
 

#DREAMNOWTRAVELSOON


Images courtesy Fairmont

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This Company is Sending a Local Hero - and their Nominating Travel Advisor - On a Life-Changing Trip to Africa
Until June 30th, travel advisors can nominate a person from their community they feel deserves recognition.

Courtesy of African Travel Inc., a sister travel company to luxury Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Red Carnation Hotels among other outstanding travel providers, the chosen hero and their guest will receive the ultimate 8-night escape to South Africa and Botswana, experiencing Red Carnation’s Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa and the new Xigera Safari Lodge as well as the Chobe Game Lodge.
 
The advisor who nominates the winning hero will receive their own complimentary spot on an African Travel educational journey to South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania.

For over 40 years, African Travel has created luxury, handcrafted safaris ensuring immersive and authentic cultural encounters across the continent with exceptional service by local experts every step of the way.

(Chobe Game Lodge is an elegant, five-star, fully Ecotourism-certified safari lodge and the only property located inside the world-renowned Chobe National Park)

From now until June 30th, 2020, travel advisors can nominate a person who they feel deserves recognition for going above and beyond in their community. African Travel wants advisors to share their stories, whether it’s about an essential worker on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic or a co-worker helping their community heal.
 
Advisors nominate local heroes by briefly explaining how their hero has positively impacted the people, planet and wildlife in their local community, which reflects African Travel’s philosophy to TreadRight.
 
The TreadRight Foundation was established by The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, that includes African Travel, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Trafalgar Tours, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, among others. The foundation sets the standard on sustainability for those travel companies, and executes its mission to #MakeTravelMatter.
 
TreadRight supports community-based projects worldwide that safeguard the planet, people and wildlife. To date, the foundation has supported 55+ sustainable tourism projects in 280+ communities worldwide, that have included WWF, Conservation International, WildAid and The National Trust in the UK, while current initiatives include WE.org, Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot School, Wilderness Foundation Africa and Wildlife SOS. 
 
This contest is in gratitude for people’s efforts to make their communities better places, a theme especially powerful during COVID, which has reinforced how ‘we are all in this together as a travel family’.
 
Advisors can nominate a hero by completing the online form here.
 
African Travel will shortlist the top 10 heroes and host a poll July 13-23rd, 2020 for the travel community to choose the deserving hero.
 

Nominations close June 30th.


Don’t miss this opportunity to reward a deserving local hero!

 
 
 
 
 





Canada's Iconic 'Castle and Cabin' Western Mountain Hotels Re-Open
June 1st was the 132nd birthday of the iconic Banff Springs Hotel, and this year, the date marked another milestone: the re-opening of the four Fairmont Hotels in Canada’s Western Mountain region following a nearly two-month pandemic shutdown.
Fairmont Banff Springs is joined by its sister hotels in Canada’s western mountains Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Fairmount Jasper Park Lodge, which are also re-opening with new measures for guest and staff protection including physical distancing, new cleaning and disinfecting protocols, 48-hour periods between guests in rooms, and temporary changes to amenities like restaurants and spas.


Historic and Legendary

Canada’s ‘Castle Hotels’ are part of a string of luxury properties in epic wilderness and central downtown locations across the country. Today they are part of the Fairmont family of world wide landmark hotels. But they were originally built as railway hotels at the most scenic, or most important urban locations along Canada’s cross-country railroad. Styled with a vision of French chateaux in many cases, today’s Fairmont hotels in Canada are legendary.
Four hotels in Canada’s spectacular Western mountain resort regions are the first Fairmont hotels to re-open in Canada.
The setting for adventures in the wilderness, celebrations, milestones, romance, and many more unforgettable memories, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler are spectacular mountain playgrounds.

Magic Every Season 

At any time of the year, experience breathtaking moments in the mountains, in some cases, in the heart of some of Canada’s oldest National Parks, amidst glacier-fed spas, panoramic vantage points, and charming mountain towns. Discover breathtaking views of vast mountain ranges on a gondola ride. Get a glimpse of the bears, elk, deer or bighorn sheep that may live nearby.
Collectively, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise and Whistler are renowned for being among the world’s best alpine ski destinations, where endless winter activity extends beyond your usual experiences on the slopes: the exhilaration of heli-skiing and dog sledding, the pristine backcountry scenery of cross-country skiing, and the romance of horse-drawn sleigh rides and ice-skating.
Summers at these mountain resorts celebrate the joys of alpine hiking and ziplining, fishing and canoeing, retracing the steps of early adventurers up tall peaks and through deep canyons, not to mention championship golf on a lush mountainside.
 

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Canada’s original ‘Castle in the Rockies’, located in the heart of Banff National Park only 90 minutes from Calgary, Alberta, the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel reflects the majesty and grandeur of its magnificent surroundings and features:
 
·     Nearly 800 guest rooms from cozy rooms tucked away in quiet corners of the castle to spacious suites with sweeping Rocky Mountain views
·     A dozen restaurants and lounges, including a 24-hour deli offering seasonal fare
·     Direct access via ski shuttle to three world-class ski areas: Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Area
·     Championship golf at Stanley Thompson–designed 18-hole and Tunnel 9-hole golf courses
·     Willow Stream Spa
·     Shops and boutiques
·     Indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub and children’s wading pool
 

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

One of the most iconic images of Canada is the castle form of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise against the breathtaking backdrop of turquoise waters and mountain peaks of its namesake lake in Banff National Park. For over a century, the Chateau has been a symbol of elegance in the wilderness 2 hours from Calgary, and today features:
 
·     Progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism in its natural setting
·     Guided Mountain Heritage programs
·     Hiking, canoeing, horseback riding and rafting in the summer, or
·     Downhill and cross-country skiing, heli-skiing and ice-skating in the winter
·     Nearly 600 alpine accented guest rooms and suites
·     8 restaurants and lounges, including 24-hour deli
·     Health club, indoor pool and hot tub; salon with spa treatments
 

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Deep within the Canadian Rockies, in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Fairmont
Jasper Park Lodge is one of the last authentic Western Canadian lodges in a charming village of cedar chalets and heritage log cabins lakeside with views of majestic mountain glaciers and features:
 
·     Some of the best alpine skiing in the world 20 minutes away at Marmot Basin
·     #1 Golf Resort in Canada just outside your cabin door in the mountains
·     Abundance of wildlife experiences, icefield hiking, ice skating on the lake, canoeing or kayaking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing,
·     Rejuvenation at the luxurious Fairmont Spa
·     Year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub
·     Local cuisine in 7 unique restaurants and dining rooms and unique outdoor settings
·     Kids’ Club and Children’s Activity Centre
·     446 guest rooms, suites and Signature Cabins
 
 

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler

At the base of British Columbia’s famous Blackcomb Mountain and only 90 minutes from Vancouver, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is one of North America’s top mountain playgrounds and features:
 
·     Spectacular mountain or village views from each of 550 elegant guest rooms and suites
·     True ski-in/ski-out convenience
·     Championship golf at Canada’s only David Leadbetter Golf Academy
·     Year round alpine activities including mountain hiking and charming sleigh rides
·     Full-service spa, health club, including whirlpools, indoor/outdoor pools, sauna and steam rooms
·     5 unique restaurants and lounges, including famous après-ski and happy-hour gatherings
 
Whatever season you choose to visit any one of these magical mountain hotels, the sheer beauty of the landscape and the epic hotels nestled in the mountains will captivate you.
 

Start Your Trip!


Images courtesy Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
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Revealed for the 1st Time: This Hotel’s Famous Cookie Recipe

Challenging times call for fresh-baked cookies. For your COVID-19 #StaySafeStayHome pleasure, a cookie recipe for all the home baking and snacking we hear everyone is enjoying during lock down.

Not just any cookie recipe. These are cookies of legend.

They are the welcoming treat so many guests of DoubleTree by Hilton look forward to when they check in. Receiving a paper sleeve of straight-from-the-oven warm sweet treats makes a hotel stay at one of the company’s nearly 600 hotels in almost 50 countries feel a lot like coming home.
DoubleTree cookies have a long history and - no surprise - an avid fan following. More than 30 million cookies are eaten every year, and copycat recipes have been circulating on the internet.
They are also the first cookies baked in space! The hotel chain partnered provided the recipe for its world-renowned cookies to test cooking equipment for space on the International Space Station.
Travel on earth may be grounded. But now, DoubleTree by Hilton’s beloved cookies can continue to put smiles on faces. For the first time, they’re sharing the official bake-at-home recipe for the chocolate chip cookie so at-home bakers can create the warm and comforting treat in our own kitchens. 
“We know this is an anxious time for everyone,” said a spokesperson for DoubleTree by Hilton. “A warm chocolate chip cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness.”
 

DoubleTree Signature Cookie Recipe

Makes 26 cookies

½ pound / 225 grams butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon / 165 grams granulated sugar
¾ cup packed / 150 grams light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ teaspoons / 6.25 mL vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon / 1.25 mL freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups / 280 grams flour
1/2 cup / 45 grams rolled oats
1 teaspoon / 6 grams baking soda
1 teaspoon / 6 grams salt
Pinch cinnamon
2 2/3 cups / 465 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups / 220 grams chopped walnuts 
 
  • Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. 
  • Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl. 
  • With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix. 
  • Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. 
  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft. 
  • Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 1 hour.
 
On the off-chance you haven’t just eaten all the dough or baked and enjoyed the full recipe of cookies all at once, they’ve even provided a tip so you can enjoy fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies for days.
 
You can freeze the unbaked cookies, and there’s no need to thaw. Preheat oven to 300°F and place frozen cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.
 
The Doubletree spokesperson says, “We hope families enjoy the fun of baking together during their time at home, and we look forward to welcoming all our guests with a warm DoubleTree cookie when travel resumes.”


#DreamNowTravelLater


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When a destination’s nickname is ‘The Rock’, you don’t expect a warm and cozy place. Newfoundland is the eastern most point in North America, the vanguard of the continent where it faces into the North Atlantic waters and winds that once brought Vikings and still bring icebergs to its shores.  
In this dramatic setting and tough climate, only the strong survive. Newfoundlanders are tough survivors, but the opposite to their stark environment with famously welcoming, colorful, charming, musical and comedic culture.
The ponies that Newfoundlanders brought over from Northern Europe developed the same characteristics over 400 years, until they became their own breed of tough, sweet, sure-footed and gentle ponies.
Nearly extinct only couple of decades ago, Newfoundland Ponies are now, along with Newfoundland dogs, the animal symbol of the province, and a special treat to meet ‘in person’.
BestTrip TV met these Newfoundland Ponies at The Doctor's House Inn & Spa, an hour away from the province’s capital of St. John’s. The graceful Tudor-style mansion occupies 100 acres of oceanfront Newfoundland terrain with breathtaking views of Trinity Bay. 
Converted into an inn with charming rooms, acclaimed fine dining, one of the most beautiful private gardens on the island, walking trails, luxury spa and an event venue in the restored barn, it’s become not only a country retreat and hub for visitors to explore the region, it’s also become a world famous wedding destination.
Warm Newfoundland hospitality at The Doctor’s House Inn & Spa includes the welcome of sheep, goats, chickens, ducks… and a small herd of now-rare Newfoundland Ponies. They add a ‘Newfoundland theme’ to weddings, drawing the bridal couple in carts.
Not only picture perfect, but irresistible, too. 
 

#DreamNowTravelLater




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And Now For Some Good News In Travel We hope you are well and keeping yourself, your family and your community safe by staying at home. Now, more than ever, we all really need some good news. read more