ride elephants with royalty

March 29th, 2012

From September 12-16, 2012, the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin will be taken over by some friendly giants and royalty from around the world for annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament! For the 11th year in a row, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas will host the event in an effort to raise money for their giant neighbors.

Transforming from a small two-day event to now one of Thailand’s major and internationally most loved events, elephant polo teams from all over the world will travel to Hua Hin to compete in the tournament, many of which have royal celebrity players. The event will also feature a grand opening parade in Hua Hin town center, a Tournament Draw & Cocktail Party at the Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa, a celebrity Grand Auction Gala dinner, and end of tournament celebrations on the field.

Fundraising from last year’s events has been donated to three projects in Thailand. The first is to continue to support research and clinics using elephants in therapy sessions for children in Thailand living with autism. In addition, the money raised has also been used to launch the first and only elephant hospital in southern Thailand, as a human-elephant conflict project between between Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) and the Elephant Conservation Network (ECN) charity who works in a wildlife reserve in Kanchanaburi.

For more information on this year’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo, please visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com

see the northern lights aboard crystal symphony

March 27th, 2012

Photo of Northern Lights courtesy of hot100tips.com

If seeing the Aurora Borealis is on your bucket list, 2012 is the year to make it happen. While no one knows why, the northern lights have been exceptionally spectacular this year. Maybe it’s global warming, maybe it is a sign from the heavens – all we know is that it is truly stunning.

This summer, spend 15-days watching the world’s most fantastic natural light show from the decks of Crystal Symphony on the Arctic Adventure Cruise. Between the northern lights, dramatic glaciers, and the stunning fjords of Norway, the memory card in your camera will surely fill up fast! Now that Crystal Cruises has gone all-inclusive, this trip won’t even do too much damage to your wallet. Book before April 30th for fares as low as $7280 per person for a 15-day sailing through some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the world. The light show is free!

For a little taste of the Northern Lights you could be seeing, check out this video from Gadling.com.


hippity hoppity, easter’s on its way

March 23rd, 2012

What better place is there to celebrate Easter than beautiful, spring flower-speckled Nantucket Island? Rates are low, crowds are yet to arrive, and there’s a decadent Easter brunch at White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill.

What: Brunch and Raw Bar

When: Sunday, April 8 10am-3pm

Events: Easter egg hunts at 11am and 2pm

Price: $42 for adults, $21 for children

Stay: Rates at Jared Coffin House start at $90/night

Why: Indulge in custom omelets, a waffle station, carving stations, entrees, seafood, salads, and special Kids Corner. While enjoying the best brunch on the island (according the Inquirer & Mirror), adults can sit back and enjoy the harbor view while sipping sybaritic cocktails like the famous Lobster Bloody Mary while kiddies scamper on the lawn filling their baskets with Easter eggs.

library lookout: royal mansour edition

March 22nd, 2012

Can you picture a more beautiful setting to curl up and read a book?

The extravagantly luxe Royal Mansour, a showcase of Moroccan splendor located in the heart of Marrakech, is everything short of a palace, and what palace would be complete without a library? With a retractable roof and a large telescope for stargazing, the library features over 500 titles in French, English and Spanish. Some titles which grace the shelves include, “Splendor of Quran Calligraphy and Illumination” by Martin Lings and “Impression of the Sahara” by Jean Loic Lequellec. From Moroccan guide books to art, architecture, décor, cuisine, travel, culture, crafts, and calligraphy, Royal Mansour’s collection is as diverse as it is beautiful.

Riad rates start at €1,650 per night.

For more information about Royal Mansour Marrakech, please visit, www.royalmansour.com, and check out their new Twitter page www.Twitter.com/RoyalMansour.

no need to shush anyone at these museums

March 21st, 2012

Images courtesy of Departures.com. From left to right, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, MALBA, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

Love art, but hate the long lines and the crowds of tour groups that are inevitably at every major art museum? What’s a true art aficionado to do? Well, this recent article in Departures gives the best advice – skip the marquee museums and seek out some of the world’s most fabulous privately owned art museums.

Experience true luxury – pair a visit to one of these privately owned collections with a stay in an ultra-luxe hotel. By the end of your trip, you’ll feel like royalty.

For the 20th Century Latin American art-aficionados, take a trip to South America’s most popular city, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to visit the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. MALBA’s permanent collection showcases towering figures of the Latin American art world such as Diego Rivera, Antonio Berni and Frida Kahlo. Currently, its temporary collection, “Bye Bye American Pie”, features works from artists like Nan Goldin, Larry Clark and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Get pampered like Argentinean royalty while staying at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires – your personal butler will make sure of it.

For the contemporary art enthusiasts, a trip to the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China is in order. Due to the global spotlight on artists like Ai Weiwei, China has transformed into a hotbed of new galleries and museums. Featuring works by China’s most celebrated contemporary artists, this world- class collection, founded by Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens, strives to fosters a “dialogue between China and the rest of the world”. Housed in a jaw-droppingly fabulous 1950s Bauhaus factory complex, architecture aficionados will be equally impressed. Part of the tallest skyscraper on Chang’an Avenue and a symbol of the new China, the luxurious Park Hyatt Beijing is the perfect home-away-from-home for the most discriminating aficionados.

Perhaps our favorite private art museum, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, is the perfect way to spend a few hours in the port of Venice while sailing with Crystal Cruises. Housed in the former home of lifelong gallerist, art patron and collector Peggy Guggenheim, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni islocated right on Venice’s Grand Cana land is a work of art itself. Its classical triple arched facade decorated with stone lion’s heads and charming alfresco sculpture garden pay tribute to this romantic city. This private museum features works by the luminaries of the 20th century, including Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock. In addition to Peggy’s personal collection, the museum also houses works bestowed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

seasonal flights make travel to nantucket a breeze

March 21st, 2012

The season for direct service to Nantucket Memorial Airport is upon us! Starting May 17, JetBlue will offer direct flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Nantucket, and with roundtrip fares starting at $117, getting there couldn’t be easier.

Beginning May 27, Cape Air will offer direct, seasonal flights from White Plain’s Westchester County Airport, making that Boston layover a thing of the past. Delta and Continental flyers need not fret about layovers either. Starting June 7, Delta’s seasonal direct service from JFK to ACK begins, followed shortly thereafter by Continental, offering direct flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to ACK starting June 15.

Whether you’re heading to Nantucket from New York City, Upstate New York, or New Jersey, Nantucket’s seasonal flights mean you’ll be dining at TOPPER’S, sipping beer at Cisco Brewery, or plunging in the pool at White Elephant Hotel Residences in no time at all.

happy nyepi from bali!

March 20th, 2012

For the Balinese, March 23, 2012 marks the beginning of the New Year with the celebration of Nyepi, one of the most sacred holidays on the calendar. Nyepi is a day of silence, prohibitions, meditation, and prayer, and it is believed that one’s control of earthly senses will increase the quality of life for the year to come. The whole island of Bali falls quiet; nobody leaves their houses, lighting is kept low and everything closes (even the airport)! Experience this auspicious occasion at COMO Shambhala Estate or Anantara Seminyak Bali, where indulgence continues as usual, accompanied by some special Nyepi surprises.

On the eve of Nyepi, every village partakes in some sort of ceremonial procession. At COMO Shambhala Estate, spend New Year’s Eve, or ‘Ogoh Ogoh Night’, with a traditional Noise Parade, where participants will carry the Estate Ogoh Ogoh, a traditional Balinese effigy, through the grounds. Using Balinese cymbals and other instruments, the noise of the procession is meant to awaken and ward off evil spirits.

Before the entertainment begins at Anantara Seminyak, guests can help purify the hotel by playing tek-tekan with the Anantara team. Then, enjoy the traditional Ogoh Ogoh and Joged processions throughout the resort. The evening concludes with a traditional Balinese Beach BBQ featuring famous Balinese dishes, such as Chicken Betutu and Lawar. The resort is also offering a special package to celebrate the New Year. With rates starting at just $330, guests can receive two nights’ accommodations in a suite, daily breakfast for two at Wild Orchid restaurant, and a choice of one three-course lunch at Wild Orchid or one 90-minute massage for two at Anantara spa, per couple per stay.

The Day of Silence begins at sunrise on March 23rd and continues until sunrise the following morning. Whether one chooses to ‘do as the Balinese do’ or not, both resorts’ on-site restaurants, spas, and other services will remain open. Guests who do not partake in the traditional rituals are asked to stay on resort grounds so as not to disrupt the unique celebration of the Balinese people.

spring and summer deals on nantucket: hot dates, cool rates are back!

March 19th, 2012

A trip to Nantucket doesn’t have to break the bank – Nantucket Island Resorts offers fantastic rates this spring and summer with their Hot Dates, Cool Rates. Think sun-filled days at the beach and evening clambakes on the dock!

Book a room with the Hot Dates, Cool Rates promotion and receive a dinner credit ($25 on $100 spend, or $50 on $150 spend) and two $25 spa treatment credits.

The Hot Dates, Cool Rates offer for 2012:

  • Jared Coffin House from $125 | Relax at this historic inn just steps away from Nantucket’s Main Street
  • The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin from $175 | Admire stunning views of the harbor and spend time with man’s best friend at the WOOF Cottages, the Cottages’ pet-friendly accommodations.
  • White Elephant from $195 | Sip on delicious cocktails on the lawn overlooking the harbor, stroll the cobblestone streets and shop downtown.
  • The Wauwinet from $225 | Retreat from the bustle of the town and take a trip to Great Point Lighthouse (located at the very tip of the island with no other soul in sight).
  • White Elephant Hotel Residences from $350 | Enjoy all of the complimentary extras that the Residences offers, including access to the hotel’s private swimming pool (in season) and complimentary bicycles.

To book online, visit the website of the Nantucket Island Resorts property of your choice and enter the booking code HOV, or call 800.ISLANDS (800.475.2637) or 508.325.1000 and mention booking code HOV.

detox at anantara bophut on koh samui

March 15th, 2012

With temperatures rising, spring is just around the corner and people are starting to lose those extra layers of clothing. While happy to put that winter coat back into storage, maybe you’re not quite ready for that itsy-bitsy bikini. Really, all that is needed is a little detox, so why not pick a spring break locale that will have you looking and feeling great!

Recently, the Huffington Post featured Tablet Hotels’ Top 10 Hotels for Detoxing – and our favorite from the list was Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Located on a tranquil stretch of sand on one of the most stunning islands in Southeast Asia, this resort is the ultimate place to recharge the body, mind, and soul. Get the heart rate up with yoga or Thai boxing classes, followed by unwind time at the Anantara Spa with their signature treatment, the Culture of Anantara, which includes 180 glorious minutes of massage given by two therapists who will be sure to work out any kinks before polishing and smoothing the skin with a clay sea salt scrub. The final stage of the treatment is a Mud Steam Bath, which will leave the skin looking and feeling better than ever.


healthy holiday in the balinese sun

March 1st, 2012

Vacations are usually a time for indulgence. A time when travelers don’t want to worry about how many calories are in that dessert, or when they’ll find time away from the rays to use the resort’s state-of-the-art gym.  Instead, most days are spent horizontally on a beach with a good book. But what happens on that last day of vacation when the bikini fits a little snugger?  Resorts are offering low-cal choices for holiday revelers, and at Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa in Bali, guests can indulge in delicious, health conscious meals, like the Garden Vegetable Terrine featured on BeatMag.com.  Of course, Thai BBQ is also an option for protein-seekers, there’s always a game of beach soccer or yoga to burn off those extra calories.