Robert Q Travel Byron's Blog

'Fungi Fest' in the British Virgin Islands: It's Not About Mushrooms!
If you've never been to the British Virgin Islands, you might think their 'Fungi Fest' is a culinary event featuring mushrooms. Fungi (foon-gee) is actually the traditional folk music of the BVI’s. And it’s a lot more lively than edible fungus!

Also called 'scratch' music, according to BVI Tourism, fungi music is deeply rooted in African heritage, but also with Euroepan influences. It’s described as “a combination of string and percussion instruments complemented by woodwind and storytelling vocals.” Fungi is also the local music of the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

There is, in fact, a culinary connection – but still, no mushrooms! The name fungi comes from a BVI dish, ‘fungi and fish,’ a ‘cook-up’ including cornmeal, onions, peppers, and okra. The music/food connection comes from the idea that bringing together these different savory flavors creates something entirely new, just as a fusion of a wide range of instruments and styles of music created a new type of music.

Fungi music features a range of instruments, some even homemade. You may see and hear the distinct sounds of ukuleles, banjos, guitars and bass, as well as bongos, washboard, calabash, keyboards and saxaphones. It’s not just music to your ears – it’s music made to dance by!

Fungi music is a part of the way of life in the Virgin Islands, with the rhythms of fungi bands marking life milestones like weddings and celebrations as well as livening up local parties, hotel and resort evenings and restaurants.

Perhaps the best way to immerse yourself in the Virgin Islands’ fungi music tradition is to go ‘all in,’ at ‘Fungi Fest’ in Tortola in the BVI’s (pictured above, courtesy of BVITourism.) The annual, November music festival has returned to the BVI’s largest and most populated island. For two weeks, fungi bands from the Virgin Islands as well as Anguilla, Nevis and other surrounding islands light up the stage at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park. The Fungi Fest is part of the BVI’s broader Culture and Tourism Month.

If you haven’t ever visited the BVI’s, come for the fungi music and stay for the 60 islands and cays of this off-the-beaten-path archipelago in the Caribbean. In addition to Tortola, the gateway to the BVI’s, you may have heard whispers of sophisticated island travelers heading to Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke.

Those in the know consider the BVI’s the ‘sailing capital of the world,’ with annual regattas, boat and yacht charters, not to mention yacht-watching, as the international sailing set breeze in and out of port. You can base yourself on land, in exquisite resorts by Rosewood, Autograph Collection, Wyndham or exclusive boutique hotels and private islands – or ask your trusted travel advisor how you can split a trip to the British Virgin Islands between land and yacht. Small ship cruise lines also call at Tortola and let you sample a unique island life – complete with the rhythms of fungi.

Start your British Virgin Islands Trip!



By: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel expert and journalist



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The World's Top Luxury Train Journey is Closer to Home Than You Think
The phrase ‘World’s Leading Luxury Train’ evokes images of glass-domed rail cars revealing breathtaking vistas, gliding through otherwise-inaccessible landscapes that awe pampered travelers within. It’s the romance of travel at its best – and it’s much easier to achieve than you may realize.

That’s because a passenger train company rather close to home has been awarded the title of ‘World’s Leading Luxury Train’ at the latest World Travel Awards. Of all the epic train journeys in all the most incredibly scenic places in the world… Rocky Mountaineer has rolled away with the title.

Based in Western Canada, Rocky Mountaineer is the largest, privately-owned upscale tourist train company in the world. It offers luxury rail journeys that showcase some of the most spectacular scenery the Great West – in both Canada and the United States - has to offer. From the perspective of the rails, you get to see a West you’ve never seen before, by air or road.

As its name suggests, Rocky Mountaineer was born to give travelers not just passage through, but a whole new perspective on the Rocky Mountains.


Three of the luxury train company’s routes connect Vancouver on the Pacific coast to the legendary Canadian Rockies national parks towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, traveling over the Rockies themselves and through scenery unparalleled anywhere in the world, past misty waterfalls where no humans roam, to the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, even “Hell’s Gate!”

The legendary rail route ‘First Passage to the West’ between Banff/Lake Louise and Vancouver is the only passenger train service today on this historic rail route that famously was the first connection from East to West.

A spectacular fourth route travels between Denver, Colorado and Moab, Utah in the Southwest United States (pictured, top). In this rail “Journey to the Red Rocks,” spellbound guests are treated to views only seen by train of vast canyons, inspiring deserts, natural archways and enchanting hoodoos, including Ruby Canyon, and Mount Garfield.

All four rail journeys in both the U.S. and Canada give guests the experience of crossing North America’s Continental Divide: the highest point on the continent, from which water flows down in both directions.

Despite the rugged wilderness outside, inside Rocky Mountaineer cars, guests experience the height of comfort.
Custom-designed, glass-domed coaches open the panoramic view up wide – or you can get even closer to the scenery passing by on the train’s outdoor viewing area. 


Unlike train rides you might be used to, where a conductor comes around to check your ticket, leaving you otherwise on your own, Rocky Mountaineer hosts are on hand every mile of track you cover. From ensuring your wine glass is full – to you seeing a special landmark coming up, and regaling guests with stories about historic sites, scenery, and wildlife along the way, hosts help make memories of more than the scenery.

 
You’ll feel connected to the West through your taste buds, too, with locally-inspired cuisine based on regional ingredients, flavors and recipes featured in gourmet breakfasts and lunches on board.

You might be surprised to learn there are no sleeper cars. Uniquely, every journey is an all-daylight experience so you don’t miss a single sight, sleeping nights in superb hotels – with your luggage delivered to your hotel.

With all of these details thought out, and a focus on making rail journeys through America’s frontiers the very best way to experience the West, it’s no wonder Rocky Mountaineer has been hailed the “World’s Leading Luxury Train.”

Start Your Train Trip!


Images courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer.

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This New Cruise  Ship will House its Own Exclusively-Designed Fabergé Egg
When Regent Seven Seas Grandeur embarks on her inaugural voyage in late 2023, its breathtaking, multi-million dollar art collection will be anchored by a bespoke, sea-inspired Fabergé egg designed just for the ship.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the legendary house of Fabergé are collaborating on the hand-crafted, precious art object, which will be the first Fabergé Egg to reside permanently at sea.

Founded in 1842, Fabergé has been one of the most revered names in jewelry ever since Peter Carl Fabergé created dozens of spectacular and ingenious Easter Eggs for Russia's Imperial family.

Regent has shared the design its collaboration with the relaunched, modern-day house of Fabergé has generated. Called 'Journey in Jewels,' the extravagant, jeweled egg captures the essence of the powerful natural elements of the sea - and has a built-in secret.

The outer egg ‘shell’ is comprised of seven blades, representing the seven seas, which will unfurl to reveal a surprise hidden inside, details of which are being kept as a closely guarded secret until Seven Seas Grandeur is christened in 2023.

Journey in Jewels will stand about 7 inches tall, with a three-tiered base which hides the movement of the egg’s opening mechanism - the first time that Fabergé has hidden the movement in this way.

Conjuring up visions of epic voyages on the water, the egg’s three-tiered base is a gentle cascading waterfall of ocean greens and subtle turquoise, while its outer shell’s soothing deep blue waves become lighter, before breaking into a sea spray of pearls.

Exterior features of the egg's design include a ground-breaking ombre enamel shell; this is the very first time that Fabergé has applied this intricate enameling technique to an egg, marking this a milestone moment for the company. Enameling is an incredibly technical skill, which is made even more challenging with egg art objects due to the added complexity of applying the enamel to a curved surface.

Designed by Fabergé’s Head of Design, Liisa Tallgren, Journey in Jewels is being entirely hand-crafted by one of Fabergé’s appointed Workmasters, and a dedicated team of artisans based in England.

From conception to crafting, the egg will take 24 entire months to complete, just in time to be set in pride of place in Seven Seas Grandeur’s atrium.

Art collections on cruise ships - and especially on luxury cruise ships - are becoming bigger, more valuable and noteworthy. Regent's two latest ships have works by Picasso and other masters on board, and this purpose-designed,
cruise-inspired Fabergé egg art object on Regent's upcoming Grandeur is upping the ante for one-of-a-kind art at sea.

Start your Luxury Cruise Trip!


Images courtesy Regent Seven Seas Cruises via youtube

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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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Regent Seven Seas Cruises' New Shore Excursions Immerse You in Ecology, Design
Calling all design lovers and eco-wanderers! Luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises has launched two new shore excursion concepts. “Behind the Design” and “Eco-Connect” shore excursions roll out beginning in 2022, and give guests new ways to explore destinations and landmarks from unique perspectives that are right up your alley.

The new shore excursions join Regent’s Go Local tours, Gourmet Explorer tours and Wellness tours.

Even better, Regent’s an all-inclusive cruise line, and many of the new tours are included for guests. The cruise line says these two new concepts “were created to offer experiences that even the most seasoned traveler has yet to enjoy.”

“Behind the Design”

Behind the Design tours offer incredible insights about some of the world’s most captivating and brilliant architectural feats.There are already 10 “Behind the Design” tours - all in Europe – in 2022, expanding to more destinations around the world in the months to follow.
 
All offer special, little-known stories and information from knowledgeable guides about the inspiration, reasoning and genius that brought these marvels to life. Behind the Design tours being launched focus on sites in Marseille, France, Copenhagen, Denmark, Oslo, Norway, Barcelona, Spain; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; La Coruna, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Sete, France. See examples below!
 
“Eco-Connect”
There are over 150 Eco-Connect tours to choose from around the globe, that let you engage with local groups and businesses to learn about how they are working to conserve and sustain their surrounding environment.
 
The tours, many of which provide an educational element, offer guests the opportunity to take part in a variety of experiences. Eco-Connect tours span the globe including Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Northern Europe and South America. See examples below!
 
Check out examples of Regent's new tours!

 

Behind the Design: Marseille, France

La Villa Mediterranée & MUCEM

Gain an insider’s understanding of the challenges in building two avant-garde landmarks, by touring them with an architectural historian. Perched along the waterfront, La Villa Mediterranée was designed to embody Marseille’s deep bond with the sea. Instantly recognized for its prominent cantilevered overhang, this three-level public space also features a conference center with portholes beneath the sea. As guests will discover, that lower floor presented all sorts of unusual circumstances that pushed the boundaries of architecture. The building faces MUCEM, a national museum devoted to Mediterranean civilizations. Its audacious design includes elements such as tree-like columns, a lacy façade that resembles a fishnet and a slender footbridge that connects it to the towering ramparts of Fort St. Jean. The concrete filigree that shields much of the structure is particularly stunning.
 
 

Behind the Design: Copenhagen, Denmark

Royal Library & Blue Planet

Browse two radical, modernistic buildings with an architectural historian that will reveal little known facts about their extraordinary designs. The Black Diamond extension to Copenhagen’s Royal Library is as revolutionary as it looks. The irregularly shaped monolithic prism is clad in black granite and leans toward the river to capture as much natural light as possible. The building’s significant tilt, wave-like balconies and expanding form as it rises from bottom to top presented a slew of design challenges that the guide will explain. The Blue Planet may be even more striking as it is the largest aquarium in Europe and resembles a giant whirlpool – a design inspired by the shape of water in endless motion. The building’s exterior is covered in aluminum panels that are reminiscent of fish scales, while the interior curved ceiling evokes images of the baleens of a massive whale.
 

Behind the Design: Oslo, Norway

Equinor & Munchmuseet

Discover how two extraordinarily modern buildings have transformed Oslo’s skyline and pushed the boundaries of design. The iconic Equinor office building consists of five separate rectangular modules stacked on top of each other at different angles, all to optimize daylight and views. Guests will also learn fascinating details about how the atrium’s propeller-shaped glass roof was designed to withstand months of extra weight from snow. Similarly, climate conditions influenced the design of the Munchmuseet, a 13-story museum dedicated to the works of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. It is constructed with low-carbon concrete and aluminum cladding that reflects harsh sunlight and is cooled with seawater. The top of the building intentionally tips forward as if bowing to Oslo in homage.

  

Eco-Connect: Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux Wines and Sustainability

On this Eco-Connect tour guests will discover how converting to biodynamic and organic farming has further elevated the quality of the esteemed wines at Château de La Dauphine in this appellation with a 2000-year history. Biodynamic farming takes a holistic, ethical approach that follows the harmonious cycles of nature, specifically the movement of the moon and planets. As guests tour the vineyards, they will learn more about biodynamics and how it affects the terroir and the taste of the wines. The sampling that follows will lend even more insight.

 (Image courtesy Visit Costa Rica)

Eco-Connect: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

A Sloth Paradise – Give Back to Nature

Visiting a sanctuary for sloths that have been orphaned or injured or lost their habitat due to deforestation, guests will have a close-up look at the animals as they are rehabilitated in hopes of returning them to the wild. Sloths are the world’s slowest animals and spend nearly all-day hanging upside down in trees, rarely traveling more than 125 feet. If their habitat is disturbed or destroyed, the sloths are at great risk. Guests can expect to observe baby sloths and plenty of adults in various stages of rehabilitation. Deforestation is one of the biggest threats to sloths, so to help their cause, travelers may plant a tree in a nearby forest reserve.
 

Eco-Connect: Hue, Vietnam

Bach Ma National Park Eco-System

Guests can hike through the mountainous Bach Ma National Park with a naturalist who will point out and describe the remarkably diverse flora and fauna. Bach Ma means “white horse,” a reference to the clouds that ride the wind around the granite summit. Although the ruins of homes that the colonial French built to escape the summer heat are still visible, most every other sight will be natural. Birds are abundant, including red-headed trogons and scarlet minivets, which are easy to spot because of their bright coloring. A fifth of all the plant species found in Vietnam flourish in the park, and rare orchids may be seen. The summit will afford panoramic views of the mountains, Tam Giang lagoon and Hue.

Start Your Cruise Trip!



Top image provided by Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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In this BestTrip TV video, Lynn Elmhirst visits the famous Fogo Island Inn, on a remote fishing island in the North Atlantic off the shore of Newfoundland.

Not only is the Inn rated one of the top luxury lodges in the world, with award-winning and breathtaking architecture and design that still reflects the culture and craftsmanship of Fogo Island and Fogo Islanders. They call it 'hand-made modern,' and with only 30 rooms on this island that's 'far away from far away,' any trip is a ripe for memory-making, if not for the design or the dramatic natural surroundings, but for the opportunities the Inn creates for visitors to immerse themselves in the real life and lifestyle of this 400-year old fishing community.

The Fogo Island Inn is also the 'economic engine' of a foundation with a vision of a new way of creating spectacular tourism experiences that become a cornerstone of community economic benefit and cultural and social preservation, especially for small remote communities in danger of losing their identities, way of life, and even the entire community to the relentless march of modern life.

Lynn speaks to sister/ brother Zita Cobb and Alan Cobb, Innkeeper/ Founders of the Fogo Island Inn and Shorefast, the charity that strategically puts profits back into the local community to ensure it thrives in the modern world for generations to come.

Start your Island Trip!


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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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Dare You! Where to Eat the World's Most Dangerous Fish
Prepared incorrectly, it’s 1200 times more toxic than cyanide! Yet this fish has been a treasured delicacy for nearly three thousand years - and foodies with a daredevil streak make sure to include it on their list of dishes they must try on a visit to Japan.

Fugu is Japanese for various species of pufferfish or blowfish, as well as dishes prepared from these fish.
Their English names reflect their ability to inflate into the shape of a ball up to three times their original size, with huge amounts of water and sometimes air - all to ward off predators. Some are spiny and have been nicknamed porcupine fish, too.

Neither spines nor shape-shifting deterred ancient Japanese, who managed to add fugu to the menu. After who knows how much fatal trial and error.

That’s because almost all blowfish contain a toxin that makes them bad tasting and often lethal to fellow fish predators. It’s absolutely deadly to humans – even more poisonous than cyanide! There’s apparently enough poison in one blowfish to kill 30 people. And there are no known antidotes.

Sounds like a plot from a mystery novel rather than a food story, doesn’t it? And for many, the opposite of a culinary temptation. 

And yet…

If properly prepared by removing the toxic parts and avoiding contaminating the meat, it’s safe to eat. Today, only specially-licensed chefs who have trained specifically for fugu for three years or more are permitted to prepare the delicacy.


Despite – or perhaps because of! – the risk, fugu is one of the most celebrated, celebratory dishes in Japan, served in paper-thin raw slices as sashimi, or in nabemono (hot pot). As you can imagine, it’s pretty pricey, too.

This is one dish you want to go straight to the source and dine at the places with the very best reputation.

The “Blowfish Capital of Japan”

You can get fugu at restaurants in major cities throughout Japan. But for the ultimate experience of cuisine with a shot of adrenaline on the side, head to the “Blowfish Capital of Japan.”

The city of Shimonoseki is in the stunning southern region of Japan’s main inland, on Japan’s rich Inland Sea. It’s an historic fishing community, and even today, 80% of Japan’s fugu comes from Shimonoseki.

Fugu – and fugu experts – abound. At the Karato Market, you can find a fabulous variety of options and even a stall that sells a special ‘bento’ – a colorful boxed meal that says “good luck!” Or settle in at a table at a local fugu restaurant that offers a more formal fugu experience – that also gives you great photo opps. 
 
One is Heike Chaya- family run for nearly half a century, this restaurant’s menu has a range of creatively prepared blowfish dishes created by highly qualified chefs. The centrepiece here is fugu hot pot.

Toast and wash it down with some of the famous local sake and celebrate life on the edge!

Start your Culinary Trip!



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Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn has debuted its first expedition ship, Seabourn Venture. The newest ship in the Seabourn fleet set sail on its inaugural voyage from Tromsø, Norway, on the 27th ofJuly, bound for the Arctic and the Svalbard Archipelago with its complement of about 250 guests.

Outfitted for Adventure

Seabourn Venture was purpose-built for exploration and appointed with features and amenities to enrich and enlighten guests on board, on shore, and even beneath the waves.

Seabourn Venture is a ‘Polar Class’ PC6 ship with modern hardware and technology that qualify it to the highest ‘ice class’ level for a passenger ship.

The ship is equipped with kayaks and enough Zodiacs to transport every guest on expeditions and landings all at once, as well as two custom-built submarines, each with capacity for six and capability of exploring shipwrecks and natural wonders under the sea in luxurious comfort.

In addition to the ship’s regular navigational and hospitality crew, Seabourn Venture has a 26-member Expedition Team, made up of highly regarded wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists. These experts provide guests with in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places they visit.

Designed for Luxury Exploration

Seabourn’s longtime, renowned hospitality design partner, Adam D.Tihany and Tihany Design, created the ultra-luxurious setting that allows you to feel like you’re in the lap of luxury – and still part of the dramatic sea- and landscapes you’re exploring.

The cruise line’s vision for Seabourn Venture was for the interiors and exteriors to combine “authenticity at sea with modern romanticism.”


Like all ships in the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Venture’s 132 guest accommodations are all oceanfront suites. Public spaces were designed to evoke the spirit of adventure, and the thrill of discovery balanced with Seabourn-style luxury and comfort. Picture yourself in:

·      the Expedition Lounge on Deck 4 (below) or its adjacent Discovery Center, spacious for all guests to gather in a classroom-like setting and enjoy natural history and cultural programming;
·      the Bow Lounge, a prime setting for watching marine life with the closest access to the water on the ship;
·      the Constellation Lounge on the top deck, with stunning, 270-degree views and an intimate interior dressed up in dark blue and red inspired by constellations in the night sky, as well as
·      unique versions of beloved spaces found on all Seabourn ships, like Seabourn Square and restaurants.



Inaugural Season: Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica, Amazon and more

Seabourn Venture begins its inaugural season exploring the Arctic, Greenland and Iceland, and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in Nunavut, the most remote and least-populated destinations explored during Seabourn Venture’s Arctic season. Destination highlights include Scoresby Sound, Greenland, home to the largest and longest fjord system in the world; Sermilik Fjord, located in southeastern Greenland and renowned for the many icebergs that flow from multiple glaciers at its head into the Denmark Strait; Svalbard; and Pond Inlet, Nunavut, the eastern entry to the Northwest Passage.

The ship will make its way south in October 2022, stopping at various locales in the Caribbean, Central America, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. There will be opportunities to explore in Zodiacs under cliffs teeming with birds, kayak among tropical coral islands, visit ancient Incan sites, and snorkel unspoiled Caribbean coral gardens, as well as a transit of the magnificent Panama Canal.

Between November 2022 and February 2023, Seabourn Venture will cruise scenic sounds, fjords, channels and glaciers in Chile, sailing to Antarctica, and crossing back to explore South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, with up-close encounters with untamed wilderness and wildlife including icebergs, penguin colonies, and seals, as well as visits to research stations that have footholds on the continent. The voyages will include multiple daily operations using the Zodiacs for landings and cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula. Optional excursions will also be available, such as kayaking and the ship’s submarines, allowing guests to explore the vast frontier below sea level.

In March and April 2023, Seabourn Venture will embark on a series of expedition voyages in Brazil and the Amazon. The ship will visit many colorful colonial cities on the coast of Brazil and sail into the heart of South America through one of the world’s greatest rivers, where guests can cruise in Zodiacs along the Amazon River and visit ancient sites and indigenous villages.

Start Your Expedition Cruise Trip!

 
Images courtesy of Seabourn.
 
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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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World First: Lie-Flat Sleeping Pods in Economy Class
The farther you have to travel, the more important comfort is on the way there. So it’s no surprise that the national airline of one of the most remote destinations in the world is championing in-flight sleep.

Air New Zealand has unveiled plans for its new Dreamliner aircraft, scheduled for service beginning in 2024, with what it’s calling “the best sleep in the sky” – for everyone.
 
'New Zealand's location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long haul travel experience,” says the airline’s CEO, Greg Foran. “We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot - they want to hit the ground running.”
 
We’re used to seeing the extravagant comfort available to business and first class air passengers for many airlines, and Air New Zealand’s premium passengers will be spoiled, indeed. The Kiwi-designed Dreamliner cabin has seven different types of seats: two business class, a premium economy section, and a whopping four types of economy class seats.
 
As Air New Zealand’s Foran says, the new cabin design will provide passengers “options to get some shut eye wherever they're sitting.'
 
 
Business class passengers get a “private nest” for a blissful night’s sleep, with one seating option using the middle row to allow passengers travelling together to open their “nest” into a combined space. Meanwhile, the top tier of business class seats provide the ultimate in space and luxury, with a fully closing door and space for two to dine.
 
Premium Economy seats provide more space and unimpeded reclining space so you don’t disturb the person behind you.
 
But it’s Economy class that really shakes up options for getting much-needed shuteye during long-haul flights.
 
Even the basic Economy class seat boasts “more storage, comfort and space and a 50% bigger screen for entertainment. Connect to Bluetooth audio and pair your device to act as a remote control or second screen,” according to Air New Zealand. Economy Stretch, like the name suggests, gives passengers more leg room.
 
 
Economy Skycouch encompasses multiple seats united in a single surface for sitting, spreading out, or lying down. While it looks ideal for families with young children, imagine booking it all for yourself!
 
Then there’s Economy Skynest (pictured top), “the world’s first sleep pods in the sky.” Air New Zealand’s Dreamliners have six, stacked sleep pods that for the first time, let economy-class passengers lie flat in their own space on a long journey. That’s a game changer.
 
And it’s not just seats. The entire flight experience has been designed to help every passenger feel their best.
 
'Research shows us the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night's sleep,” says the airline. “So everything we do onboard is to help create a sense of calm – from the lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to healthier food choices and breathable fabrics.”
 
The new aircraft will have a new Sky Pantry for Premium Economy and Economy class passengers, allowing them to stretch their legs (not just milling around the toilets!), grab a bite to eat, and hydrate at their leisure throughout their journey.
 
Meditative onscreen content, “Zentertainment, “ will also help you unwind and get ready for rest.
 
Those innovations will help you feel better while flying.
 
Other innovations on the new Air New Zealand Dreamliners will help you feel better about flying.
 
The airline has also focused on sustainability in its design process. Using modern, lightweight fabrics, rather than leather in the premium cabins, and switching to ligher serviceware, for example, help to reduce carbon emissions. In economy class, new serviceware will eliminate 28 million plastic dishes used inflight every year.
 
So whether you’re planning a trip to New Zealand for its outstanding wineries, natural wonders, land- and seacapes, outdoor adventures, Maori indigenous culture, or cuisine – or all of the above! Now you can also enjoy an outstanding night’s sleep on the way there.
 

Start your New Zealand Trip!

 
Images courtesy Air New Zealand
 
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Hit the Holiday Weekend with this Travel-Inspired, Rum-Infused Salad Recipe from Antigua and Barbuda
It’s officially summer, and the big holiday weekend of the season spells festive get-togethers and celebrations in the sun and the heat. Well, you can take a cue from a year-round hot-weather destination and spice up your summer salad with a salad recipe from Antigua and Barbuda that hits the spot this hot holiday weekend.

This distinctly tropical salad is simple yet oh so delicious and refreshing – and adults only! It features a large watermelon and is infused with Antigua’s signature Cavalier Rum; yes, rum! The secret is letting the sliced watermelon marinate in the rum for up to two days, ensuring the ultimate sweet flavour that will amp up your festivities and set a high note for the holiday weekend.

This twist on a watermelon recipe comes courtesy of Rodrick Beazer, the Executive Sous Chef of Curtain Bluff Resort in Antigua and Barbuda, the twin-island nation in the heart of the Caribbean Sea.

Antigua and Barbuda offer upscale island travelers not one, but two uniquely distinct experiences. Both islands enjoy ideal temperatures year-round, a rich history, vibrant culture, exhilarating excursions, award-winning resorts, mouth-watering cuisine and 365 stunning pink and white-sand beaches - one for everyday of the year!

The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua, comprises 108-square miles with rich history and spectacular topography that provides a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Antigua’s tourism events calendar includes the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and the annual Antigua Carnival; dubbed the ‘Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival.’

Barbuda, Antigua’s smaller sister island, is an off-the-radar celebrity hideaway. The island lies 27 miles north-east of Antigua and is just a 15-minute plane ride away. Barbuda is known for its untouched 17-mile stretch of pink sand beach and as the home of the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. 

 

Antigua and Barbuda’s Cavalier Rum-Infused Local Watermelon Salad

INGREDIENTS:
Start with a large watermelon; seedless watermelon is best for this recipe
1 cup Cavalier rum 
½ cup toasted sliced almonds 
1 bowl of fresh island greens
½ cup local goat cheese
2 sprigs kale 
 
MAKE-AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS:
To infuse the watermelon: 
1. Cut the watermelon in half, horizontally. Place half side down on a clean, dry surface. Then slice a portion off the round top and then each side, making it a square or rectangle. Slice into approximately 1-inch slices.
2. Place sliced (and seeded, if you aren't using seedless) watermelon into vacuum / sealable plastic bag(s). Pour in the Cavalier Rum. 
3. Place vacuum bag into chamber vacuum sealer and pull a full, 100% vacuum on the fruit. You can also do this carefully without a vacuum sealer carefully by hand pressing out all the air.
4. The fruit can marinate in the rum in the refrigerator for up to two days. (After two days, juices will start to expel from the fruit, surrounding the fruit in the vacuum pouch. The fruit is usable, but the texture isn’t as perfect.)
 
To Serve:
1. Remove watermelon from the pouch. Top with goat cheese, almond slices, and kale. Garnish with greens and serve!
 
Chef Beazer says that the rum-infused salad is a perfect side dish for barbequed fish - especially salmon - or chicken. He suggests pairing it with a light rosé or pinot noir wine to accentuate the sweetness of the watermelon.
Until you can make your next – or first! – trip to Antigua and Barbuda, we know this salad recipe will be your travel-inspired star of your sizzling summer entertainment!
 

Start your Tropical Trip!

 
Salad image and recipe courtesy of Antigua and Barbuda.

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

Top Souvenirs from a Trip to England
2022 is a great year to be an anglophile! Queen Elizabeth II’s history-making Platinum Jubilee, marking her remarkable 70 years of service, plus a new Downton Abbey film, have brought all things British to the forefront of popular culture.

Interest in travel to Britain is at an all-time high to experience Britain’s storied pomp and circumstance, English culture and quirk, and immerse yourself in one of the world’s most adored and copied lifestyles, from cricket to rowing, afternoon tea to a round at the pub, stately homes and quaint cottages, gardens to skyscrapers, exquisite tailoring to hand-written invitations: the good life, British-style.

You’ll want to bring some of it home to re-live your vacation and share your love of all things English.

Lynn Elmhirst, producer and host of BestTrip TV, just returned from a transatlantic crossing on the British luxury line Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, with a few days post-cruise in London during the Queen’s Jubilee year. Here are the souvenirs that made it into her bag:
 

Books

English authors have made their mark on the world, from Shakespeare up to the present day, and London remains one of the publishing centers of the planet. And even most modest homes today still retain that very British tradition of having a library to be proud of.


Indulge in some time in an English bookstore. “High street” or mainstream bookstores have so many books you’ll never see at home – even though they’re both written in English! That includes books by experts sharing tips and information about traveling around London or Britain through the lens of their special interests that can help inform and shape your travels.

Then there are still treasure troves of independent, specialty bookstores – if you love books, you could get lost forever and love it!

Tea Service

If someone visits England and doesn't have afternoon tea, have they actually been to England at all?

That very civilized tradition of taking a load off one’s feet in the middle of the afternoon and partaking in a restorative cup of your favorite tea, along with light finger sandwiches, a perfect scone, clotted cream and jam and a sweet delicacy or two… simply makes your day. And tides you over til a late dinner after taking in a performance in one of London’s West End theaters, for example.

You may find you can’t live without afternoon tea, in which case, you’ll need a tea service. From impossibly elegant versions made by top names in British fine bone china, including patterns available in England only, to quirky versions that speak to your own personal sense of style, a tea service will allow you to reminisce about your time in England for years to come.


Start with just a tea pot you can mix and match with your own china at home, or go all the way with tea pot, milk and sugar, teacups and saucers, even sandwich plates! Many fine stores even arrange shipping.

Consumables

When it comes to family, friends and colleagues, I’ve found the most-appreciated souvenirs are the ones that disappear – down your throat!

And England does consumables up right. From teas to biscuits (or as we’d call them: cookies) jams to chutneys, sweets to chocolates and more – all in high-designed tins and packages and parcels and baskets that are essential English style.


There’s no end of shops to stock up on edible souvenirs, but you won’t want to miss the grand-daddies of them all: Harrod’s and Fortnum and Mason.

Anything from Liberty’s

The luxury department store in the unmistakeable historic building – erected in Tudor style using ship timbers symbolic of the exotic emporium of its vision - in the heart of London’s Regent Street shopping area, has become synonymous with the truly unique designs of late 19th century creator, William Morris.


A keen anglophile can always spot a Liberty pattern, whether it’s on a shirt, scarf, man’s tie, or woman’s bag.
Those would be for you. To share with loved ones back home: edibles packaged in those unmistakeable Liberty designs.


Gin

While its earliest origins stem from the Netherlands just a short sail across the Channel, hundreds of years ago the English made gin very much their own. Today, a gin and tonic – or G&T, remains the essential English cocktail.

Forget everything about gins you’ve tasted at home, and start sipping unfamiliar, small-batch gins on your trip to Britain. There’s a lot more to gin today than distilled juniper berries! Combinations of botanicals, florals, and herbal ingredients have resulted in intriguing new flavors of gin, that are just as delicious sipped straight up as they are mixed with a high-quality tonic.
Image Courtesy Royal Collection Trust

Buckingham Palace now has its own gin that you can buy at its gift shop in support of the Royal Collection Trust that maintains one of the largest art collections in the world.


So does British cruise line Cunard. In fact, Cunard partnered with the well-known distillery Pickering's to create three gins with different flavor profiles: one for each of its ‘Three Queens’ ships.
 

Umbrella

If you were asked to draw an Englishman, chances are, he’d be sporting a tailcoat, a hat… and an umbrella. The quintessential dapper Englishman flourishes his umbrella, which isn’t just an affectation, but protects him or the lady accompanying him, from the English weather.


If quality apparel and accessories mean something to you, England is the place to acquire an umbrella with character. Check out the fine department stores, some specialty stores, and find yourself the perfect bespoke umbrella that will be a conversation-starter back at home – like this one above, kindly provided for the use of guests at our hotel, The Londoner (below), a stunning new luxury hotel in Leicester Square in the heart of the capital's theater district.

 

Globe

In addition to books, of course, every stately home’s library comes equipped with a splendid globe. Every world traveller should have one, too. Flat maps or – the horror! Apps! – fail to evoke the sense of scale of our planet, the distances between destinations, across seas and oceans… or the magic of travel in the way a globe does. Tactile by its very nature, a globe engages our wonder with travel.

And there’s one person in England making bespoke globes by hand in a studio in London. My camera team and I visited the studios of Bellerby & Co. to learn the secrets of putting a map on a sphere you can touch.


The studio isn’t open to the public, but you can order a globe online – even personalized in any way you can imagine! To have a little piece of bespoke English artisanship - and keep your travel dreams alive as you spin it at home.

 

Start your England Trip!


All images copyright BestTrip TV / Lynn Elmhirst unless otherwise stated.


























The ‘Mega-Moon’ and More Romance Travel Trends Every Couple Needs to Know
With so many celebrations put on ‘hold’ over the last couple of years, we knew when people started getting together to mark life’s great milestones again, it was going to be big.

How big?

Well, according to a new survey conducted by an online travel company, destination weddings and honeymoons are going ‘mega.’

The survey of American couples found that a whopping 97% - nearly all – honeymoon plans over the last two-plus years were affected by the pandemic.  Plans were either downsized, or canceled altogether.

And those couples are having a celebration comeback!  Almost 5 million weddings are expected to be celebrated in 2022 -2023, and happy couples are revisiting their plans  - upwards.
You may be surprised at some of the latest destination wedding / honeymoon trends shaped by two years without travel!   And it’s not just newlyweds. Some of these trends spill over to couples who are already together, and looking to rekindle that spark on a romantic trip together.

Trips, Not Toasters

More than ever before, couples are prizing experiences over an excess of stuff.  Now, a big majority – 65% - of couples are adding a honeymoon fund to their wedding registries. Instead of a complete table service at home, they want to dine in exotic locales together. 

‘Double-Moons’

Why stop at one honeymoon? An incredible 83% of couples now say they are planning multiple honeymoons. That could mean a mini-escape immediately after saying ‘I do,’ followed by a longer, more lavish trip later.

‘Redo-Moons’

Then there’s the clear pandemic trend – the do-over. Over half of couples revealed they were not completely satisfied by a honeymoon they did take during the pandemic.  A lot of couples took shorter trips, closer to home, rather than their dream, celebratory trips, and now they want the chance to make their honeymoon travel dreams come true.

‘Mega-Moons’

Go big, or stay home. Well, most couples did the ‘staying home’ part during the pandemic. Now they’re going big. Over half  - 53% - of couples say they’re going to splash out on their honeymoons, spending more than they had originally budgeted. That’s because now, almost two-thirds say they now want their honeymoon to be a bucket-list trip in luxurious surroundings.

The epic honeymoon today can take different shapes for different couples. Beach and tropical destinations are no longer the first choice of today’s couples.  About the same amount of couples are also interested in multi-destination trips, urban escapes or even national park trips.   Less than half say they’re interested in an all-inclusive resort – but the majority are looking for ‘pampering’ and romantic activities together like hot air balloon rides, sunset boat trips, and soft adventures.

Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations for 2022 - 2023

Move over, traditional island beach destinations! Today’s couples are all over the map when it comes to planning the ultimate honeymoon. 

Only one Caribbean island and one exotic tropical island destination made the top ten list of honeymoon destinations this year. St. Lucia and its twin Pitons are number 7 on the list, and the legendary coral islands of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean made the list at number 10.

Two hot-weather U.S. destinations made the list, including the tropical appeal of Florida, and the mystique of Los Angeles, at numbers 4 and 5 respectively.

The exotic, high-end urban destination of Dubai was the surprising second-most popular honeymoon destination this year.

Europe is made for romance, and honeymooning couples still favor the City of Love, Paris, the number 3 most popular honeymooning destination in the first post-pandemic travel year, as well as the Mediterranean pleasures of Spain (6) and Italy (7).  But the Nordic island of Iceland, with its surreal volcanoes, glaciers, and hotsprings, is an unexpected number 9 on the top ten list.

And the English-speaking U.K. – coming off the Queen’s history-making Platinum Jubilee celebrations, full of fun pubs, castles and stately homes, picturesque tiny villages and familiar cultural appeal, tops the list of 2022-23 honeymoon destinations.

Start Your Romantic Trip!


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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




North America to Get its 6th MICHELIN Destination Guide to Star-Rated Restaurants
Or… why will foodies flock to Toronto this fall? That’s when Canada’s largest city becomes only the sixth destination in North America – and the first Canadian city – to be ranked among the crème de la crème of the world’s gastronomic locations.

That’s when the first MICHELIN guide for Toronto will be published. It joins just a rarefied handful of destinations on the continent in getting the seal of approval from the ‘high church’ of culinary credentials.

And those of us who already know and love Toronto’s food scene aren’t surprised.

The city on the north shore of Lake Ontario is surrounded by food producers who collaborate with world-class chefs and restaurateurs, providing farm-fresh ingredients and boutique food products to the appreciative and discriminating palates of city dwellers and visitors. 

As one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities on the continent – and even the world – Toronto also delivers some of the finest international cuisine and chefs who marry their cultural culinary roots with daring new ingredients, preparations, and treatments.

Not to mention Toronto’s just over an hour away from the country’s award-winning Niagara wine region.
Apparently, MICHELIN representatives have been casing the city incognito, evaluating the prospects of awarding coveted stars to restaurants in high profile and tucked-away neighborhoods around the city. Recently, it decided to add Toronto to the ranks of MICHELIN-evaluated destinations.

According to MICHELIN, “A new chapter begins in Toronto, which features global eats and charming cafes as well as high-end dining experiences. It’s a city where top chefs want to establish a presence and where emerging chefs nurture their culinary talent – both drawing on locally produced ingredients unique to Ontario.
 
“This selection will reflect the local flavors and international influences of this gastronomic scene.”
 
“Toronto’s culinary scene is as diverse as the city itself, and MICHELIN Guide Toronto is the perfect way to celebrate our culinary community,” said Scott Beck, President & CEO of Destination Toronto.
 
“It will be a powerful way to share our culinary capabilities with new audiences from around the world.”
 
Anonymous gastronomic inspectors are now investigating Toronto’s culinary scene in earnest and writing their reviews. The City of Toronto notes the coveted ratings in the upcoming guide will involve “complete autonomy regarding the restaurants assessed and the outcome of those assessments.”
 
MICHELIN guides began in France over a century ago as a way for the tire company – yes! the same company as the rotund, MICHELIN man made out of tires! - to encourage early car-owners to travel on road trips throughout the country and beyond (and buy tires!) Its lists, reviews and famously-starred ratings of dining, accommodation, destinations and attractions set a standard for all guide books that followed.
 
Just as they expect celebrated restaurants to re-earn their stars, the famous French guide books haven’t rested on their laurels, either.

In some ways, their culinary evaluations have come full circle.

The earliest MICHELIN guides noted not just justifiably famous restaurants along motoring routes that French travellers followed en route to their vacations in the countryside and beaches of France. They also advised which secret jewels of small, mom-and-pop – or should we say, mere-et-pere? eateries in small, off-the-beaten track villages were worth the drive or diverting from your route.

Today, MICHELIN guides award not only stratospherically-pricey fine dining restaurants in France with priceless stars, but also famously, street food in Singapore.

So travellers to Toronto can look forward to a MICHELIN guide to a full range of culinary adventures at different budgets. 

In fact, you might not want to wait for the word to get out and all the restaurants to fill up, and instead, beat the crowds to your own gastronomic pilgrimage to the world’s latest MICHELIN destination. Toronto’s favorite foodie festival, Summerlicious, returns this summer in August.  

START YOUR CULINARY TRIP!

 
 

New Ways to Celebrate the Start of Summer at the "World's Most Photogenic Beach"
A recent survey of the most popular hashtags in travel photo posts in social media wasn’t a scientific study. But it did generate a clear winner of the title “World’s Most Photogenic Beach.”

That honor went to the seven miles of shorelines and sparkling waters of South Florida’s legendary Miami Beach. If it’s been a while since you indulged in the surfside views and epic lifestyle of one of America’s most famous beaches and beach towns, here are some experiences that can give you new ways to enjoy Miami Beach.

And just in time for the unofficial start of the summer season – with family-friendly ideas, too. 

Seaside

Air & Sea Show: Late May’s unique annual event, dubbed “the Greatest Show Above the Earth,” showcases the men, women, technology and equipment in motion from all five branches of the U.S. military, as well as police and emergency responders. Over two days, you’ll get a rush of adrenaline watching offshore powerboat racing exhibitions, extreme water sports, and more – all with sweeping ocean views from the shores of Miami Beach.

Fishing Charters: Find a little adventure of your own through some of Miami Beach’s world-class offshore, deep sea or wreck fishing just off its shores. Experienced anglers and novice fishers just starting to get a taste for man vs. fish challenges will find an active, educational, and customized day – or half-day – at sea.

Luxury Yacht Charters: Maybe you don’t need your day on the water to have a goal like a big catch. Singles, couples, friends and families can all enjoy a day on the water ‘living the life’ on a luxury yacht. Custom charter itineraries can include a tour of the shore’s gorgeous architecture and celebrity home views, an afternoon learning the ropes on how to operate a water vessel, culinary experiences catered by local private chefs and active water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding and jet skiing.
 
Salt Float Bath Therapy: You can even get the benefits of salt water while on land. The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort lets you float your stress away in a weightless saltwater bath that incorporates 800 pounds of healthy bath salts. The experience helps release natural endorphins, relieve muscle pain, calm anxieties and stimulate blood flow. Who doesn’t need some of that? Plus the stellar ocean views poolside while you relax following your salt water spa experience.

 

Open-Air Design 'Museum'


You may already know about Miami Beach’s globally-recognized collection of design genres including art deco, Mediterranean revival, MiMo and the Miami Beach school of architecture. The city keeps adding to its unique design history in its tropical vacation lifestyle.

Signature Lifeguard Stands:
Recently, the reinvented Miami Beach’s signature lifeguard stands by William Lane (pictured, top) have been newly-recognized as iconic landmarks and symbols of the design-centric, urban beach destination.
 
After Hurricane Andrew destroyed several of the lifeguard stands dotting Miami Beach in the 1990’s, the city called upon designer William Lane to create replacements. Almost immediately, the five lifeguard stands, which the designer said were “influenced not only by Miami’s midcentury and art deco architecture but also by its Caribbean culture and the use of vibrant colors derived from the natural beauty of the tropics” became symbols of the community’s renaissance. Decades later, he was asked to revitalize more of Miami Beach’s seven-miles of sand and sea with new, eye-catching lifeguard towers. You won’t want to miss even one.
 
Get more of a design fix at some new or newly-renovated Miami Beach hotel properties, and design tours, too.
 
The Shelbourne South Beach dates back to the 1940's, exuding timeless luxury, elegance and original Art Deco design. As a stylish playground, guests can expect a dose of oceanside glamour with pops of color and interesting angles to enjoy, even from the hotel’s pool and diving platform. 
 
While Miami Beach is known for incredible Art Deco style, Mediterranean Revival is not to be missed. From superstar couture designer Gianni Versace's masterpiece on Ocean Drive to restaurants and storefronts featuring handmade tile and metal intricacies, travelers can get a taste of another of the city’s distinct design flavors during a walking tour curated by The Miami Design Preservation League. It showcases the architecture made popular on Miami Beach in the 1920's and 1930's. 
 
And, no day is complete on Miami Beach without a classic cocktail in stylish surroundings. Design-lovers can check out the new Lapidus Bar at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach. The beachside hotel was built in the 50’s by iconic architect Morris Lapidus, known as the pioneer of Miami Modern style. Evoking the glamorous, Rat-Pack feel of the era, the bar is located in the hotel's lobby and is part of a spectacular $90 million renovation, bringing the design elements of the past together with iconic, Ritz-Carlton five-star service.
 

Start Your Miami Beach Trip!







You’ll Love This New Generation of Private Island Resorts
There’s a new generation of private islands. One that creates an environment for guests to vacation their way to becoming their best selves.

Scratch any impressions you have of private islands inhabited by music moguls jet-skiing with nude models, royalty sneaking around with other people’s spouses, or tech billionaires popping magnums of champagne.

The new private island experience isn’t just about seclusion away from prying eyes. 

It’s about the ultimate spirit of togetherness with a group of people you value most in the world – having the uplifting and inspiring shared experience of a customized vacation that provides all the means for you to leave better than when you arrived. 

Imagine having an entire island all to yourself for a family gathering, the ultimate destination wedding, vow renewal, reunion, or team-building exercise.

The new type of private island is exclusive, but at the same time also more easily sourced and booked than ever before. Your trusted travel advisor can help you craft an end-to-end private island retreat that will transform your idea of a tropical vacation.

Here’s one of our favorite examples of private islands that’s breaking the mould and redefining what a private island vacation can mean. 


The Aerial BVI

This 43-acre private island destination in the British Virgin Islands is nestled among fourteen surrounding islands, with both stunning sunrises and sunsets.

The new approach to the private island experience comes from its most recent owner, a self-made young woman entrepreneur. Her vision is to “provide guests with the space to find their center again, eat healing food, reconnect to nature and loved ones, and discover what matters most.”


Like the best of private island experiences, guests enjoy the services of a full staff of chefs, hosts, activities managers, housekeeping and watersports teams, boat captains, island concierge and everything needed to fulfil your every need – whether you know you need it or not.

Spectacular Tropical Island Home Away From Home

The Aerial welcomes 26 guests in five residences with names that channel the owner’s aspirations for those coming to the island: Unity House, Faith House, Serenity House, and the Love and Grace Villas.

Rooms in each residence are unique, and as you might expect, they flow into their island surroundings allowing guests to feel part of the natural environment, with island and ocean views dominating sightlines.


Rooms are outfitted in different ways to feed different guest needs ranging from relaxation to reflection, to romance to writing to simply engaging with the outdoors: relaxing daybeds, serene “focus spaces” with writer’s desks for those who want to journal their journeys, private, cliffside balconies, chair swings, outdoor showers or soaking tubs, romantic stargazing decks, and balconies overlooking the infinity pool, to name a few.



Healing Cuisine

The Aerial challenges its guests to think outside the box of private chefs and indulgent dishes.

Its dining, while delicious and satisfying, is about providing “healing,” cuisine that helps guests to “think their best, feel their best, create at their best and connect to the planet in a beautiful and sustainable way.”

The private island resort sources ingredients from local providers in the British Virgin Islands in what it says is a true producer-to-table experience. Food that can’t be bought locally is sustainably sourced. There’s still comfort and fun at the table, though – the resort even has a wood burning pizza oven.


Private Island, Private Beach… and Beyond

 
On a private island, the world – or at least the island- is your oyster. The white sand beach is reserved for you and your private party. But The Aerial, in keeping with its personal, physical and spiritual growth mission, has its own distinct twist on private island activities.

Of course you expect the luxuries of a spa and healing center on the beach, an infinity pool, multiple bars including a beach bar, ping-pong, a yacht, Hobie Cats and a full complement of watersports, and even a recording studio. A wood burning fire pit on the beach? Check.


Those in search of self-improvement and relaxation can participate in yoga in inspired places, guided meditation and writing. Get your blood pumping hiking miles of island-wide trails. Reflect on our place in the universe stargazing.

There’s memory-making fun for families and adults trying to rediscover their inner child. A fleet of pastel-colored, electric Mini Mokes. On the beach: a tribal gym set, giant Jenga and giant Connect 4 and movies and bonfires on the beach.


And beyond your wildest dreams! “Indy’s Redemption Ranch” on the island is home to rescued former race horses, miniature ponies, and even a handful of zebras. Riding on the beach and hand feeding the herd is just the beginning. Swimming with the ponies and guided equine therapy take ranch-on-the-beach to a whole different level.


The Aerial replaces traditional concepts of private island resorts with conscious travel that reconnects you and your select group of guests with the wonders of Nature, and gives you the inspired spaces, seclusion, and activities to discover your very best life.
 

Start Your Private Island Trip!


This chain of couples-only Caribbean resorts is serious about helping guests ‘get in the groove’ while on vacation. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts has launched an ‘Institute of Romance’ to research trends in couples’ relationships with a goal of helping keep the sparks a’ flying. 

The new trend-house delves into data about modern love, relationships and intimacy… And how they relate to holidays.

Through global surveys of paired-up travelers and its past guests, Sandals’ Institute of Romance’s findings will help the resort chain develop activities and experiences in its resorts, and even relationship guidance for couples before, during and after their all-inclusive beach resort vacation.

One of their most stand-out discoveries: More than half (55%) of North American women wish their relationships mirrored the couples of their favorite romance novels.

Sandals is so serious about love, it has a ‘Director of Romance,’ who explains: “With 49% of women preferring to read on vacation – from the initial plane ride to beachside – and romance novel sales skyrocketing over the last two years, this felt like a natural place for us to lend our 40 years of expertise in the romance space.'

So Sandals decided the perfect next step: to partner with romance novel publisher, Avon Books. 

Sandals Resorts is creating a 'romance library' of titles curated by the experts at Avon Books for guests to borrow while on vacation. Beginning at the Sandals resort in Grenada (pictured), the initial library will include a selection from the 'Michelangelo of dirty talk,' Tessa Bailey, as well as popular titles from Julia Quinn's “Bridgerton” series and authors Talia Hibbert, Olivia Dade and more.

Sandals’ Director of Romance says, 'With this partnership, we are helping bring to life the sometimes swoonworthy, but nearly always attainable relationships our guests read about in their favorite books, creating a meaningful and lasting connection on and off vacation.'

Do any of these stats that Sandals has discovered through its first survey of 1500 North American women sound like you?
·     81% say they read romance novels and
·     45% say they've increased their consumption of the genre over the last two years, citing the comfort of happily ever after (44%), the flirty banter (36%) and steamy scenes (30%) as the primary reasons!
 
They’ve even been able to narrow down the elements in romances between the pages of novels that are missing from many women’s relationships in real life, including:
 
·     better communication (55%),
·     spontaneous romantic gestures (54%), and
·     and more satisfying sex life (34%).
 
Do any of those complaints sound familiar? Take ‘heart,’ Sandals is taking those cues and translating them into even better romantic beach getaways.
 
The resort company will be developing ways to prompt spontaneous romantic moments of connection throughout guests' stays – such as reminders to hold hands, ask a meaningful question or share a compliment.

 

Getting Steamy

 
Fantasy. Connection. Fulfillment. Romance novels and couples’ aspirations for their vacations have some things in common. The survey found that:
·     Over a third (36%) of Sandals’ survey respondents shared that they fantasize about fictional characters more than their significant others,
·     55% say reading romance novels makes them more likely to want to connect with their partner and
·     38% say reading romance novels have made them feel more fulfilled in their relationships.
 
Nearly half (49%) of women surveyed say they've learned something from reading a romance novel that they've brought to their real-life relationships, with
·     53% engaging in more meaningful communication,
·     48% spicing up their love life and
·     35% setting time aside for romantic getaways.
 
Sharing a fictional fantasy can help make romance a reality.
 
'There's something inherently attractive when a partner takes an interest in something you're excited about – whether it be reading a new book from one of your favorite authors or trying a new activity together,” says Sandals’ Director of Romance.
 
“It's why we encourage couples to experience adventures together on vacation – from learning to scuba dive to taking in a round of golf. We always tell couples to be intentional about the time they share with each other; make it meaningful.”
 

Start your Romantic Beach Trip!



Now You Can Get Married in Antarctica
February has been an even more romantic month than usual this year. Not only did countless couples celebrate their love in dream destinations on Valentine’s Day – one couple became the first to be united in matrimony on the White Continent.

On an Atlas Ocean Voyage to Antarctica – that even departed on February 14,, 2022 – Valentine’s Day! Bride Courtnie Dodson and Groom Brody Vermillion exchanged vows on Danko Island during a 15-minute ceremony, officiated by British Antarctic Territory-registered Marriage Officer Bryan Clark.

The ceremony was witnessed by eight additional cruise guests – plus some curious penguins who appeared to follow the tuxedo dress code for the wedding!

In fact, that first-ever wedding on the 7th continent was one of four extraordinary weddings and three vow renewal ceremonies during the nine-night cruise to the Antarctic on the luxury expedition cruise line’s first ship World Navigator. 

Atlas Ocean Voyages bills its destination wedding program “Happy Ever Atlas.” It was complimentary for guests who registered for the wedding or vow renewal program in advance.

The weddings weren’t just ceremonial – they were the first legal weddings on the continent. Each couple received an official U.K. wedding license, which is also recognized in many other countries, including the U.S.


World Navigator hosted a ship-wide wedding reception, as well as held separate bachelorette and bachelor group-parties, for an unforgettable wedding week for the couples. The cruise destination wedding program also included a wedding cake, photos, gift bag, custom wedding announcements and Thank You cards. 

Now the ‘ice is broken’ so to speak, we’re sure many other couples will start thinking about the ultimate destination wedding.

A small, luxury expedition cruise might be tailor made for a one-of-a-kind destination wedding. The World Navigator’s size – only 98 suites, solo suites and staterooms – makes for an intimate luxe-adventure. Especially the adventure of starting your new life together!


World Navigator will cruise the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Iceland, Greenland and The Arctic in summer 2022; Central and South America in the autumn; and return to Antarctica for her winter 2022-23 season.


The ship’s small size allows it to reach smaller, authentic and exclusive locales where larger ships cannot sail. A second, sister ship to the World Navigator, World Traveller, launches in November 2022. Three additional sister ships, World Seeker, World Adventurer and World Discoverer, join the fleet through 2024.

Giving couples looking for the most unique, out-of-the-way or exotic wedding or vow renewal destination a world of options.

Congratulations to the first Antarctic newlyweds!
 

Start Your Milestone Trip!

 
Images courtesy Atlas Ocean Voyages







3 Caribbean Luxury Golf Resorts Where you can Up Your Game this Winter
Is it time to change winter blues for island “greens?” The ideal outdoor, distanced, leisure activity, golfing got a shot in the arm over the last couple of years.

Even less committed golfers dusted off the clubs during the pandemic, rediscovering the delights to be found on the greens. And now that people are travelling again, the clubs are coming along for the ride.

Here are three Caribbean island golf resorts with a unique twist to freshen up your game in tropical, seaside breezes. Plus, their luxury resort game is as strong as their golf experience.

Which ones have you golfed?

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

 
It’s been called the Mecca of golf in the Caribbean. A one-of-a-kind resort with 63 holes over three legendary golf courses designed by Pete Dye.

 
The golf architect calls Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog (above and top) his best work. It remains the only Caribbean course that consistently makes the list of top 100 in the world – usually the top 50. Hand-cleared from wild scrub way back in 1971, it pioneered the dramatic, seaside island golf course. In addition to the breathtaking ‘Heaven 7’ oceanfront holes framed by the sea and dramatic coral shoreline, the course has been described as ‘labyrinthine’ – it remains a challenge this many years later.
 
There are two other courses on the resort. The Links, which is thought to be even more challenging, and Dye Fore. Golfers will find 7 holes run along 300-foot cliff tops, and navigate diverse terrain including lagoons, jungle, and a path down to the resort marina.
 
The Resort
The three courses are all part of the 7000 acre Casa de Campo. Described as the Caribbean version of the Hamptons, it has a resort and nearly 2000 private luxury villas, a modern marina, dozens of restaurants, acclaimed facilities that give non-golfers plenty to do at the shooting club, tennis club, polo and equestrian club, and even a cliffside replica historic European village that includes a 5000-seat amphitheatre that hosts global entertainers.

 

Four Seasons Resort Nevis

 
The tiny island of Nevis – half of the twin-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis - punches above its weight in golfing. Its legendary and groundbreaking Four Seasons Resort put Nevis on the map for luxury island resort lifestyles. Part of that is its 18-hole Robert Trent Jones II-designed golf course.

It’s considered the best in the Eastern Caribbean. Boasting four tee locations at each hole (and one black tee), this par 71 course offers breathtaking scenery on every green and fairway.

 
Nevis’ standout feature is Mount Nevis, an old, extinct volcanic peak soaring into the clouds. The resort hugs the beach and Mount Nevis rises steeply behind the Four Seasons. The golf course cuts through a former coconut plantation, tropical rainforest and steep ravines over 450 feet of elevation change with scenic views high over the sea. The 15th hole plummets off Mount Nevis itself! To top it off, the island’s famous green vervet monkeys have been known to join golfers along the way.


In addition to private lessons and weekly clinics, the golf program at the Four Seasons Nevis has fun with the game that can sometimes be taken too seriously.

'Foot Golf' games - similar to golf but played with a soccer ball instead, have players working toward a 21-inch 'cup' in place of the usual golf hole. The player who finishes the course with the fewest shots wins!

And with 'Eco-Bio Golf', players are actually encouraged to hit a golf ball or two into the sea. The balls turn into fish food within 72 hours after hitting the ocean floor. Guests can have beach-side golf competition while feeding the ecosystem. The entire family will get to enjoy practicing their swing on a mini beach driving range.

 
The Resort
The resort is a favorite for jetsetters in the know. Nevis is only reachable by water by private yacht, small cruise ship, or water taxi from St. Kitts. It was completely re-imagined just before the pandemic, and the breezy, elegant, tropical design, ocean-facing infinity pool, beachside cabanas where guests can go fishing for local lobster with the chef and then have them barbecued for a luxury seafood meal on the beach – is the stuff island vacations are made of.

 

Sandy Lane, Barbados

 
Both the resort of Sandy Lane on Barbados’ platinum coast, and its golf club have received award after award after award.
 
The three resort golf courses have some of the best golf in the world. Golfing guests can choose between the charming Old Nine course, the resort-style 18-hole Tom Fazio designed Country Club course, with its spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. For a real ‘wow’ destination golf challenge, golfers can't miss The Green Monkey, another Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole course, carved out of an old limestone quarry that retains towering stone walls. There’s even a green monkey silhouette carved into turf in honor of the equally green monkeys that invite themselves to join golfers on the course. It’s reserved exclusively for resort guests.
 
The Resort
This is where Tiger Woods got married. That says as much about the resort as the golf. British-style tropical hospitality in classical Palladian-style buildings reigns at Sandy Lane. Lush gardens surround an immense pool with a cascading waterfall, with the Pool Bar just the beginning of dining experiences. On one of the best beaches on the island, shaded by mature mahogany trees, with attendants with cold towels, sunglass cleaning, Evian misting and other luxurious touches, the beach is the best 19th hole!
 

Start Your Golf Resort Trip!



Images courtesy of their respective resorts.










Where in the World to Drink Ice Wine
Don’t let winter stop you from enjoying a wine harvest season! There are two ways - and many places - to celebrate a wine harvest in the New Year.

You could travel to the southern hemisphere, where standard vineyard harvests take place during the northern hemisphere’s spring.

Or you can embrace winter – and the one, very special wine it creates.

Ice wine is a case of making lemonade when life gives you lemons. When winter conditions are just right, grapes freeze on the vine, giving vintners the opportunity to make ice wine. 

What makes ice wine special? When grapes are still on the vine as the temperatures turn to freezing, it’s only the water content in the grapes that freezes – not the sugar or other solids. So the small amount of juice extracted from the frozen grapes is very concentrated.

For natural ice wine, grapes must fully ripen on the vine, then undergo a hard freeze (−8 °C (17 °F) or colder). It's risky business. Grapes can be lost before harvest, and then the moment it freezes, pickers have to work at night harvesting all the grapes in a few hours before the sun warms them up again at dawn.

The wine made from that freezing process is very sweet wine with a balanced acidity - and can only be produced in small quantities. And it's priced accordingly.

If you want to taste ice wine at its source - and see the unique way it's made, your geographic choices are limited. Ice wine can only be produced in wine regions where it gets sufficiently – and reliably – cold.

Old World

Like many culinary innovations, ice wine may have been a happy accident that came about as a result of an unexpectedly harsh winter in the Nuremburg region of Germany around 1800. Vintners pressed their frozen grapes anyway… and voila!

It may have helped that sweet, late harvest Rhine wines were already the most highly valued wines in Germany at the time. Although the process is different, sweet late harvest wines may have smoothed the way for sweet ice wines to be appreciated and attempted in the rare, subsequent years when weather conditions presented the opportunity to make ‘Eiswein.’ 

Technology, like electric lights to facilitate night time picking, helped permit more frequent Eiswein vintages in the second half of the 20th century. Austria and a number of other, mostly Central European countries make small quantities, too.

We recommend: combining an Eiswein tasting trip with an alpine winter ski trip to Europe.

New World

While its wine culture is much more recent, Canada’s Niagara wine region consistently achieves ice wine levels of freezing every year.
 
Not long after some Central European winemakers at Niagara wineries began experimenting with ice wine, Niagara was producing the rare wine in commercially-viable quantities. In 1991, a Niagara ice wine won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at Europe’s Vinexpo, putting Canadian ice wine on the international wine map. 
 
Now, Canada is the world's ice wine superstar and largest producer, making more ice wine than all other countries combined. Niagara (pictured above) remains the biggest ice wine region in Canada, although it’s produced in wineries across the country.
 
Across the border and the Great Lakes, American vineyards have been getting into the ice wine act, too, particularly Michigan, although other wineries in neighboring Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania also produce the wine that celebrates the winter cold.

We recommend: Get in on the spirit of ice wine at a local ice wine festival. Sometimes you can even be part of the midnight grape picking, which is more fun than it sounds.
 

START YOUR WINE TRIP!

 


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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.