AMPR SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER
September 1st, 2019
Belmond British Pullman will launch a new Downton Abbey journey in 2020.
September is a time of transition. Summer fades into fall. Late-season harvests give way to pumpkin-spiced everything. The days get shorter. The nights are longer. And it’s always a good time to get away.
Uptown, Downton: They say that seeing is believing. We say that experiencing is even better. In honor of the upcoming release of Downton Abbey: The Movie, fans of the Crawley Family can enjoy exclusive access to Highclere Castle while aboard Belmond British Pullman on two dedicated journeys in 2020. Opening exclusively for Belmond guests on March 18 and September 23, 2020, Highclere Castle is the location of the much-loved TV series and the ancestral home of the Earl & Countess of Carnavon. On a day trip from London Victoria Station, guests will enjoy a three course brunch onboard the 1920s and 30s carriages, a guided tour of the house and gardens, and a champagne reception and three-course dinner with sommelier-selected wine on the way back to London.
Capital Improvements: This October, The Doyle Collection’s Dupont Circle Hotel will put the finishing touches on its relaunch with the completion of its penthouse suite by Clodagh. Earlier this year, the hotel opened a new bar and restaurant – Doyle and Pembroke – designed by Martin Brudnizki; and a new lobby, also designed by Clodagh. Clodagh and Martin’s styles both embrace chic midcentury touches, with Brudnizki focusing on bold colors and varying textures and Clodagh incorporating holistic touches like live-edge wood and a quiet fountain on the suite’s extra-large terrace.
Palm Beachin’: Coming late 2019 – just in time to escape winter – is White Elephant Palm Beach. The space is a sister property to White Elephant on Nantucket. Previously The Bradley Park Hotel, the historic structure from the 1920s will remain, but the interiors have been completely gutted and will be re-imagined by architectural firm Elkus Manfredi in a color palette of soft neutrals.
Chocolate-y Goodness: New from La Maison du Chocolat Chef Nicolas Cloiseau is Bars Unhinged, the culmination of 18 months of careful research and worldwide travel to trusted chocolate plantations. Chef Cloiseau selected the finest cocoa beans from Brazil, the Caribbean and South America, juxtaposing the chocolate’s delicate silkiness with hazelnuts from Italy, almonds from Spain and pecans from Mexico. The result is a line of “inside out” bars where a constellation of the decadent nuts are visible from the outside.
Embrace the Night: Sometimes the best way to deal with the waning daylight hours is to embrace it. Though located in the southern hemisphere – where the days are becoming longer – andBeyond Sossusvlei Lodge in Namibia is all about the night sky. Opening on October 16, the property is located in Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve. Guests will have the rare opportunity to observe the southern hemisphere stars from one of the darkest and most protected skies in the world. Each evening, guests are invited to join the lodge’s resident astronomer in the on-site observatory – complete with a Meade LX200R 12-inch telescope – to view the brightest constellations and planets across the inky black night sky.
Birch + ‘Wood: Take in the city and the country with a new package by Meadowood Napa Valley and The Battery in San Francisco. The four-night getaway includes a two-night stay at each property, a curated winery itinerary throughout the Napa Valley and a personalized styling appointment at Tory Burch Union Square.
It’s always summer with views like this. Relax at The Christopher St. Barth this month.
In the northern hemisphere, summer officially turns to fall on Monday, September 23. (And if the Farmers Almanac is correct, winter will rear its head with a vengeance all-too-soon after that.) Apple pie and golden-hued leaves are nice, but if you’re not quite ready to let go of long sunny days and warm breezy nights, the below destinations will keep things Hot! Hot! Hot! And help to stave off any end-of-summer blues.
Jamaican Me Crazy: Jamaica. That Jamaica. James Bond author Ian Fleming spent much of his time on the Caribbean Island, and it’s easy to see why he kept coming back. When he wasn’t snorkeling in the azure waters or birding in the Blue Mountains, he wrote a new Bond novel each winter. Today, Fleming’s legacy remains. His bungalow – renamed the Fleming Villa – is part of the 52-acre GoldenEye resort, as are his writing desk, sunken garden and the nearby coral reef. This winter, GoldenEye will open three, three-bedroom cottages on the resort’s lagoon. And, looking ahead, the island will be the site of the 25th James Bond movie – Daniel Craig’s last! Titled No Time to Die, the film will be released April, 2020.
Mal-dive Right In: The recently opened Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is a must-visit for any sunshine seeker. With 122 villas, 56 of which are perched over water, the resort will make guests feel as if they’re in their own private oasis. The Ithaafushi Private Island is perfect for extended families, featuring a two-bedroom overwater villa and a three-bedroom beach villa as well as two pools for adults and one for kids, an overwater spa and wellness center, an entertainment center with cinema, and a dedicated team of chefs. The resort also boasts 11 specialty-concept venues for the largest culinary selection in the Maldives. The highlight is Terra: seven private dining pods on individual treetops overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Eye on the Skies: With new restaurants, reconstructed roads, and the last of the major hotel renovations wrapping up this season, St. Barth is a must-visit. Soak in all that the notorious party island has to offer, then retire to The Christopher, which is located on the island’s quieter, more residential Pointe Milou. The hotel has westward-facing views toward St. Jean Bay, a perfect place to catch the sunset. Sip on fruity beverages at the newly opened restaurant Christo as you mull the cooler weather up north.
Two if By Sea: If you’re crusin’ for a good time in the Caribbean, look no further than PONANT and the recently launched Le Champlain and Le Dumont-d’Urville ships, which will offer a combined 29 sailings for the 2019-2020 season. Highlights of the trips include discovering Mayan treasures along the Yucatan; as well as “The Essential of the Caribbean” itinerary that features a dedicated diving instructor on board throughout the duration of the cruise. Both ships feature the state-of-the-art Blue Eye Lounge. Located eight feel below water, the unprecedented views from the lounge offer a peek into underwater life through the whale-eye shaped portholes.
Island Hopping: Truly extend summer with Belmond’s “Island to Island” package, which offers accommodations in both Anguilla and St. Martin – and a seamless connection via a 25-minute Caribbean boat ride. The recently renovated Belmond La Samanna sits on the French side of St. Martin and offers guests the chance to check out La Cave Wine Cellar – the largest private wine cellar in the Caribbean. After a few days of channeling your inner bourgeoisie exploring St. Martin’s chic shops and restaurants, head across the Caribbean Sea to Anguilla. Sister resort Belmond Cap Juluca reopened in December 2018, following a top-to-bottom redesign by Rottet Studio. The white sands of Maundays Bay, known to be one of the most crystal-clear beaches in the Caribbean, offer a private and quiet escape from the rest of the world.
Nama-stay in the Hamptons a little longer with a fall retreat at Shou Sugi Ban House.
Tumbleweed Tuesday: A term that locals in beach towns use to refer to the day after Labor Day – a.k.a. a start to the offseason. Tourists head back to the big city as a collective sigh of relief can be felt in the air. And yet, adventures can still be had in September and beyond. Think: All of the fun, but fewer crowds and better rates. Check out our top picks below:
Nantucket, Massachusetts: The hydrangeas may no longer be in bloom, but some say that fall is the most beautiful time to enjoy Nantucket. Still easily accessible via a direct flight from JFK (through October) or Boston (year-round), Nantucket’s offseason is one of the Northeast’s best-kept secrets. Cooler temps are perfect for biking, and each of Nantucket Island Resorts’ properties have complimentary bikes for guests to enjoy the 30 miles of flat trails, nature preserves and local farms. Take a spin to island favorite Cisco Brewery, open year-round for local beers and live music. Or, head to Nantucket’s walkable downtown, with its cobblestone streets and a slew of museums should you need to escape from inclement weather. Summer visitors will be remiss not to stop by Island favorite Juice Bar long after the traditional ice cream season has ended – the shop churns out a homemade Pumpkin Spice flavor only available in the fall.
St. Tropez, France: Partygoers know that St. Tropez in July and August is a guaranteed good time. And yet, September offers all the pros of the summer months, minus the ruckus. The average high temperate is a pleasant 78 degrees and the water is still warm enough to swim. Nestled among the cliffs 15 minutes outside St. Tropez is La Réserve Ramatuelle – the perfect home base for the 20th anniversary of the Voiles de St. Tropez, a 300-boat yacht race that takes place September 28 through October 6. The race will begin on the beaches of Pampelonne where La Réserve’s new beach club, La Réserve à la Plage, opened last April. Guests of the beach club can watch the yachts sail by while sipping a glass of Provencal rosé – yes, the rosé still flows well into September.
The Hamptons, New York: September is fondly called Locals’ Summer in the Hamptons – the temperatures are still pleasant and the ocean is the warmest it gets all year. What better way to soak in the wealth of the offseason than with a health-focused vacation. New wellness retreat Shou Sugi Ban House, which opened in Water Mill in May, will host weekly retreats throughout the fall, with a culinary-focused program with Chef Mads Refslund (co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen) on September 26-29. Guests will get to taste Refslund’s seasonal, plant-rich and locally sourced meals and also learn from him during culinary demonstrations. Other highlights from the schedule include guided beach walks, yoga and spa treatments.
Barcelona, Spain: As the summer tourist crowds disappear and locals return from vacation, the Catalan capital regains its authentic charm. Every September, the city hosts Festes de la Merce, a weeklong festival honoring the patron saint of Barcelona. The city comes alive with 600 events including fireworks displays, free concerts, street theater performances and activities for children. Travelers who visit in September can join 100,000 spectators to catch a FC Barcelona game at the famous Camp Nou stadium. Take in all the sights and sounds of the city from Almanac Barcelona’s Azimuth rooftop bar – the perfect place to catch the sunset with a sangria in hand. The hotel opened in 2018 in the heart of the Modernist neighborhood of Eixample Derecho. Best of all, the warm temperatures mean guests can still go for a dip in the hotel’s rooftop pool.
Sicily, Italy: For tourist-free views and a deeper dive into the Sicilian coast, those in-the-know head to Sicily in September. With its season extended to January 5, 2020, Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo plays host to pop-up restaurant Otto Geleng (named after the influential German painter) on the Literary Terrace. Catering to just 16 guests per night, the restaurant offers breakthtaking views of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea. The tasting menu features otto (eight) dishes designed by the property’s chef Roberto Toro, all of which highlight local produce and traditional Sicilian culinary methods with a vibrant twist. During the day, oenophiles will enjoy a trip through the vineyards of Mount Etna during peak harvest times to learn more about the production process and to sample rare vintages.
Trancoso, Brazil: September is springtime in Brazil, offering warm weather and a calming atmosphere before the high season kicks into gear in December. Encompassing all that defines the country, Trancoso is surrounded by both the jungle and the sea. The district was put on the map by chic boutique hotel UXUA. The hotel features 11 one-to-three-bedroom casas that seamlessly blend into the surrounding neighborhood, all restored using local and sustainable materials. For a relaxing afternoon, stroll down to UXUA Praia, the beachfront lounge and bar based out of refurbished fishing boat, or stop in the property’s ice cream parlor for fresh, made-daily flavors like cacao and Bahian pepper.
andBeyond Vira Vira is located on a working farm in Pucon, Chile.
For locavores, fall means one thing: Harvest season. To truly immerse themselves in their vacation destination, travelers look to indulge in the bounty of nearby farms. Take in the local flavors at some of our favorite destinations:
A (Cran)berry good time: The annual family-friendly Cranberry Festival returns to Nantucket on October 12, to celebrate island’s 162-year history of cranberry farming. In addition to live cranberry harvesting, festivalgoers can embark on guided bog tours, or dive into kid-friendly activities such as hayrides, sack races, tug-of-war and a petting zoo. Guests who book The Wauwinet’s three-bedroom Anchorage House will receive keys to a 2019 BMW 760L SUV to arrive to the festival in style:
Cheesing: Nestled on a 54-acre estate just outside of Pucon, Chile, andBeyond Vira Vira defines farm-to-table dining. The resort is located on a modern working farm and features an organic vegetable garden for its Chilean-inspired dishes. The farm also boasts an in-house cheese factory – a quesería – that guests can tour before enjoying a pre-dinner charcuterie board back at the al fresco restaurant. A few favorite local delicacies of Chef Damián Fernández Dupuoy include homegrown artichokes from the garden, honey from the Curarrehue valley, and flakes of fresh parmesan from the quesería.
Sweet Treats: Nestled in the hills of Jamaica’s sleepy Trelawny Parish, 30 miles inland from Montego Bay, Pantrepant is the 800-acre working farm of famed hotelier and record producer Chris Blackwell. Pantrepant, the c. 1700 sugar plantation, is where Blackwell spends time with friends, including Bono, Grace Jones, and Bob Marley’s family. There’s no cell service; no alarm clocks; no set schedule. There’s a two-bedroom guest cottage that is exclusively available to the overnight guests of Island Outpost, Blackwell’s hospitality brand. At Pantrepant, enjoy farm fresh meals prepared by head chef Mama J, who was trained by Blackwell’s personal chef and has been cooking at Pantrepant for more than 20 years. She harvests callaloo from the garden, plucks eggs from the coop and sources milk from the cows. Visitors can spend the day swimming or kayaking in the aqua-marine Martha Brae River or touring the farm via horseback.
Red Alert: Saffron is one of the leading exports for Morocco, and harvest season is right around the corner. Lasting for three weeks in late October and early November, the saffron harvest is typically done by Berber women who gather early in the morning to hand-pick before the sunlight hits and the flowers begin to bloom. Royal Mansour sources all saffron from a local farm in the Ourika Valley, incorporating the spice into its restaurants as well as a new bespoke hammam treatment, The Gourmet Glow wrap. Saffron helps brighten, lift, firm, and hydrate skin. Tip to know it’s not fake? Crush the red stigma and it should turn a mustard yellow color.
Everyday I’m Trufflin’: Belmond Castello di Casole’s vast Tuscan estate is home to a treasure trove of truffles. Guests are welcome to join expert hunter Mauro Nesi and his Lagotto Romagnolo dogs to sniff out the precious tubers, which are particularly abundant in September in October. Once unearthed, the hotel kitchen uses the delicacy to infuse a tasting menu of Taglierini, Tosca fillet and Black truffle tarts.
Wine Not: The Napa Valley’s rich vineyards make it the perfect destination for farm-focused travel. September and October are “crush” season in Napa Valley – the time when vineyard workers pick the grapes and the scent of wine permeates the air. To celebrate, wineries across the region will offer interactive experiences, such as grape stomps at Peju Province and Bell Wine Cellars, and wine blending classes at B Cellars and Judd’s Hill. Stay at the Four Seasons Resort & Residences in Calistoga, which opens January 2020 and will feature an on-site vineyard and tasting space for guests to enjoy the hyper-local harvest. Nearby, learn more about harvest season at 1881, Napa Valley’s first wine history museum and tasting salon. The space features a collection of winemaking artifacts such as decanters, vineyard tools and labels from the 18th and 19th centuries. Afterward, enjoy a meal at Brix Restaurant and Gardens in Yountville – the only restaurant in the region with an on-site vineyard. It reopened in April a three-month, top-to-bottom renovation.