February 22nd, 2024

New itineraries will whisk guests to Tunisia, the Canary Islands and Mallorca while spotlighting the expertise of Smithsonian Journeys Experts, including scholars and museum curators

PONANT, a designer of inspiring voyages onboard small exploration ships, announces its 2025 sailings in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution. Drawing on Smithsonian’s rich history as the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, the 30 itineraries—the most ever offered in one year, due to growing interest and demand— will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys are rooted in common values, with the goal of further inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel. This is the fourth year PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys will offer co-branded sailings.

Several new itineraries include a two-week voyage from Lisbon to the Canary Islands (October 26-November 8, 2025); and a Mediterranean sailing encompassing Sicily, Sardinia, and Mallorca (October 3-10, 2025); while a newly enhanced itinerary features a circumnavigation of Sicily with a new stop in Tunisia for the archaeological site of Carthage (June 2-10; August 29-September 6, 2025).  All will provide opportunities to engage with a variety of Smithsonian Journeys Experts, ranging from geologists to museum curators and archaeologists, bringing guests even closer to the spirit of these alluring destinations.

PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys will also bring back voyage-favorites from 2024 including a seven-night itinerary from Panama to Costa Rica, with an exclusive visit to the open-air Punta Culebra Nature Center of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (January 6-13, 2025); an eight-day exploration of the Greek Islands in the Southern Aegean, with ports of call at a different island each day (July 6-13; October 12-19, 2025); and a Mediterranean Island Voyage spanning Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba (May 26-June 2,2025).

Highlights of the 2025 voyages include:

New: Lisbon to the Canary Islands by Sea: Spain, Morocco, and Atlantic Isles, Le Bellot

On this voyage along the southern shores of Iberia to the isles of the eastern Atlantic, guests will encounter a fascinating range of cultures, histories, and landscapes—from the ochre cliffs of Portugal’s Algarve Coast to the lush valleys of Madeira and the volcanic craters of the Canary Islands (guests will visit La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and the lesser-visited La Gomera). Cultural riches will come into view during tours of the World Heritage sites of Seville, Spain and Rabat, Morocco. Other highlights include medina visits, a tour of Madeira’s Botanical Gardens, and the insights of onboard Smithsonian Journey Expert Allen Fromherz, a professor of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history.

Departure on October 26-November 8, 2025 // 14 days

Starting from $9,020 per person

Newly Enhanced: A Circumnavigation of Sicily, Le Bougainville

This epic voyage begins as Le Bougainville pulls out of Valletta, Malta—one of the world’s most photogenic harbors—then docks on Sicily’s southern coast for a visit to the World Heritage site of Agrigento. But hold your breath for what’s next: on day three, guests will sail to Tunis, the vibrant, colorful capital of Tunisia, to discover the ancient ruins of Carthage, a city founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century; meander along the blue-and-white lanes of Sidi Bou Said, a coastal town perched on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean; and gaze upon stunning Roman mosaics at the Bardo Museum. Next up is Trapani, where guests can choose from three excursions, one of which involves viewing the iconic high-altitude castles in the medieval city of Erice. From there, it’s off to Palermo, Taormina, Syracuse, and the Aeolian Islands of Lipari and Stromboli, where volcano vistas, winery visits, and slopeside lunches are among the offerings.

Departures from June 2-10, and August 29-September 6, 2025 // 9 days

Starting from $7,420 per person

New: Cruising the Mediterranean: Sicily, Sardinia, and Mallorca, L’Austral

Starting in Valletta, Malta and ending in Tarragona, this eight-day voyage whisks around the Mediterranean, sailing from Sicily and Sardinia to the Balearic Islands of Menorca and Mallorca. Among the highlights are delving into Palermo’s centuries-old markets and encountering the city’s World Heritage-listed Arab-Norman architecture; discovering the cultural riches of Cagliari, Sardinia, which is known for its baroque palazzi, hilltop fortress, and archaeological ruins; and stepping back into history as you discover the Bronze Age ruins of Menorca and tour the magnificent Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, built on the site of a former mosque and rebuilt by Antoni Gaudí in the early 20th century.

Departure from October 3-10, 2025 // 8 days

Starting from $5,340 per person

Panama and Costa Rica by Sea, Le Bellot

Calling all environmentalists, intrepid outdoor explorers, and aspiring marine scientists: this eight-day itinerary from Panama to Costa Rica promises to immerse guests in some of the world’s most spectacular ecosystems—from mangrove forests and white-sand beaches to flora- and fauna-rich national parks—while offering rare insight into the critical work of nature conservation (expect an exclusive tour of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Punta Culebra Nature Center). The voyage will also bring travelers close to local Indigenous communities on the San Blas Islands and in the World Heritage Site of Darién National Park and Playa Muerto, a small coastal village inhabited by the Emberá people. The onboard Expert is Hugh Neighbour, a former diplomat and U.S. Navy Officer with expertise in history, culture, and current affairs.

Departure from January 6-13, 2025 // 8 days

Starting from $6,054 per person

Cruising the Greek Islands of the Southern Aegean, Le Dumont-d’Urville

Looking to cross off a half-a-dozen Greek islands in one go? This 8-day itinerary, which begins and ends in Athens, is your ticket to discovering the gem-like isles of the Dodecanese and Cyclades archipelagos, plus the lesser-visited Peloponnese peninsula. Explore the jewels of Patmos, Amorgos, and Delos, where activities include touring World Heritage Sites, meeting monks at an 11th century monastery, and visiting a typical Cycladic home to learn the age-old practice of distilling essential oils.  Sanjaya Thakur—an expert in Greek and Roman history —will help guests better understand the islands’ overlapping cultures and archeological riches on the July departure.

Departures from July 6-13 and October 12-19, 2025 // 8 days

Starting from $5,940 per person

For more information, visit https://us.ponant.com/cruises/themes/smithsonian-journeys.

Please find a selection of hi-res images linked HERE.


PONANT’s “Explore to Inspire” mission is centered around exploration to better understand, learn, share and protect. For 35 years, PONANT has been committed to more responsible tourism and voyages of exploration which have meaning. The French-flagged fleet comprises 13 small capacity ships equipped with state of the art environmentally friendly equipment. With PONANT, exploration is refined, authentic and a source of inspiration. The company sails to the Arctic and the Antarctic as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Asia, Oceania and South Pacific, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. For more information, visit  https://us.ponant.com or call 1-833-889-0800 or contact your travel advisor.

About the Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries.  Two of the 21 museums – the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum – are in the early planning stages. The total number of objects, works of art, and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

About Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys is part of Smithsonian Enterprises, a division of the Smithsonian which oversees the institution’s commercial activities, including the Smithsonian Channel, which is available in over 55 million households globally; the retail operation, which includes 35 museum and airport stores, food concessions; an E-commerce business, Smithsonianstore.com, and Smithsonian magazine, which reaches more than 8 million monthly readers, consumer and education licensing, and books. Smithsonian Journeys is a global leader in cultural travel for diverse audiences, offering unique, expert-led trips on all seven continents. In addition to ocean cruises with PONANT, Smithsonian Journeys offers small-group land journeys, river cruises, active journeys, cultural stays, private jet trips, tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler, and student travel programs.

Where to Go: May 2024

February 22nd, 2024

From strolling the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show to playing the Kilted Open golf tournament in Scotland to relaxing on the coast of Sardinia at Belmond’s newest opening, our top destinations for May are below!

London, UK

There’s no better time to stroll through London’s streets than in May when the temperatures begin to rise and the flowers begin to bloom. Everyone says that April showers bring May flowers – London is certainly no exception. The city’s annual Chelsea Flower Show is a world-renowned event for garden enthusiasts, showcasing breathtaking floral displays and innovative garden designs. Visitors can also learn from expert horticulturalists and explore the latest gardening trends. Stay in the heart of Chelsea at The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London. During the show, stunning floral displays will frame the property’s front door and guests are invited to experience various flower-themed offerings including botanical cocktails and a floral-inspired afternoon tea by star pâtissier Benoit Blin. The property also offers early access to London’s oldest botanical garden and private tennis courts in Cadogan Place Gardens year-round.

Costa Smeralda, Italy

Italy topped Virtuoso’s top Honeymoon, Family and Global Destinations lists for 2024 and there’s no better place to experience Italy in May than Costa Smeralda. Located on the island of Sardinia, the coastal area boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, breathtaking landscapes and pristine white sand beaches that have been enjoyed by celebrities such as the Clooneys, the Obamas and Elton John. Luxury hotel brand Belmond is joining the fun with the opening of Romazzino, a Belmond Hotel, Costa Smeralda at the end of the month. The property overlooks Costa Smeralda’s most picturesque coastline and is located on the alluring white beach of Spiaggia Del Romazzino. Conceived by Aga Khan in the 1960s and designed by famed architect Michele Busiri Vici, the hotel cultivated a reputation as Sardinia’s original beach hotel. Upon its reopening as a Belmond hotel, Romazzino will offer enchanting guest rooms including suites and villas, wellness facilities, artisanal experiences and two shimmering blue pools along a stretch of private beach to complete the villeggiatura experience.

Barcelona, Spain

Experience un día perfecto in Barcelona during the month of May with less tourists, milder temperatures and longer days. Stroll comfortably through the captivating Gothic Quarter, take stunning pictures of Sagrada Familia or enjoy line-free tapas at the city’s top foodie spots. Music lovers can get tickets for Primavera Sound, the city’s largest music festival starting on May 30th with Lana Del Rey, SZA, and Charli XCX on this year’s lineup. Between food, location and experiences, there’s no better place to experience the Catalonian capital than Almanac Barcelona. The property is located just off the Passeig de Gràcia and boasts a rooftop bar with a plunge pool and 360º views of the city, a plant-forward restaurant with a focus on fermented foods and probiotic drink pairings and a solo traveler package for any single travelers.  To keep up with traveler demand this summer, United is launching its new daily flight route from San Francisco in May, marking the airline’s first time connecting the two cities. American Airlines will also join the fun with a new nonstop service from Dallas-Fort Worth to debut in June.

Napa Valley, CA

When travelers think of Napa Valley, they think of wine, but the region also offers a growing vibrant music scene. Come May, this stretch of Northern California will welcome the 11th annual BottleRock, one the country’s top music festivals with artists, including Ed Sheeran, Stevie Nicks, The Offspring, Nora Jones and Spanish rock veterans Mana. The three-day event, May 24-26, will have over 75 acts with stars from across half a century of music. In addition to performances, visitors can expect culinary experiences by Michelin-starred restaurants (La Toque and Press to name a few) and vino tastings by Schramsberg Vineyards, Napa Valley’s sparkling powerhouse. (This is wine country after all.)

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

The best way to enjoy Scotland in the summer is wearing a kilt while golfing, obviously. While the first recorded golf game was established in Scotland in the 15th century, golf enthusiasts can still book a spot at the Kilted Open (May 17-19), an annual tournament celebrating held in partnership with The Fife Arms hotel. Players are encouraged to wear kilts and come with an impressive team name; the best name wins a prize! The first half of the weekend is held at the historic Braemar Golf Club (1902) in the Cairngorms National Park, where players have the chance to swing their clubs while being watched over by golden eagles, stags and other rare wildlife. New this year, guests have the exclusive opportunity to play golf on the grounds of Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1852.  On Sunday, players are brought to the Royal golf course to play nine holes, followed by a BBQ lunch prepared by the Balmoral team using produce from the estate.  The place to stay while enjoying Scotland’s most famous sporting export is none other than the event’s hotel partner, The Fife Arms. A celebratory weekend package is now available and includes a two-night stay, a wine pairing dinner, 9th-hole refreshments, 19th-hole BBQ and drinks, and more.

Nantucket, MA

Warmer weather and fewer crowds make visiting Nantucket in May the perfect destination for an idyllic island getaway. The highlight of Nantucket in May is the 26th annual Nantucket Wine Festival, a four-day festival taking place from May 15th to 19th. The festival will showcase an impressive lineup of world-renowned winemakers and chefs, as well as tasting events and educational seminars. White Elephant Resorts will sponsor the Grand Cru Festival and host the keynote event, the Grand Tastings, where guests can sample more than 600 different wines from over 150 wineries around the world. For a quiet retreat with no shortage of award-winning culinary options, stay at The Wauwinet on the northeast end of the island. The property is home to TOPPER’s, the consecutive Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” recipient for the past 27 years. It has the largest wine cellar on the island and a multi-million-dollar wine collection. Guests staying at The Wauwinet can tour the cellar and enjoy a wine-paired dinner at TOPPER’s, the perfect pairing with the wine festival. The Wauwinet offers a festival package allowing guests to book the Louis Roederer Wine Dinner curated by Chef Kyle, featuring delightful champagne and Camille ‘Hommage’ varietals [Jetblue and Delta nonstop flights from Laguardia to Nantucket start up again in May for the season].

Nayara Resorts – 2024 at a glance

February 22nd, 2024

Nayara Resorts comprises six properties in beautiful locations: Nayara Tented Camp, Nayara Springs, and the newly reopened Nayara Gardens in Costa Rica’s Arenal rainforest; Nayara Alto Atacama in Chile’s Atacama Desert and Nayara Hangaroa on Easter Island; and Nayara Bocas del Toro off of Panama’s Caribbean coast. Here’s a look at what is happening across the brand in the year ahead…


Nayara Gardens reopened in January following an extensive transformation. The Arenal Casitas have been completely rebuilt with redesigned interiors and private decks with plunge pools enveloped by the rainforest. A new boutique showcases locally crafted artisanal goods, while a family education center dedicated to the exploration of the surrounding rainforest adds immersive learning opportunities. The spa is also going through a renovation and will reopen Spring 2024.

At Nayara Tented Camp, the new Sukha Spa (opened summer 2023) has led to enhanced wellness offerings, including several new retreats ranging from bespoke three-day itineraries with yoga, sound healing, and sunset meditation to set itineraries such as the five-day Sukha Flower Moon retreat in May and the four-day Sukha Rainforest retreat in October. The Sukha Flower Mood retreat will align with the full moon in May. This retreat’s goal is to captivate one’s emotions in harmony with intuition and purpose, focusing on introspection and aligning actions with newfound insights. The Sukha Rainforest Retreat is during the 2024 Supermoon, where the moon will be 30 % brighter than usual. Historically, during the Supermoon, hunters traditionally sought out their prey, preparing for a long winter ahead. The goal of this retreat is for guests to cultivate self-esteem and self-awareness, connecting with nature to ground one’s being and nurture one’s dreams. One not-to-be-missed spa experience is the new volcanic mud baths, where the volcanic mud is sourced from La Fortuna. Ancient Costa Ricans believed that applying this mineral-rich volcanic mud to the body regenerates and nourishes the skin and provides energy and inner peace.

At Nayara Springs, the adults-only sanctuary, the fine dining restaurant Amor Loco has launched a new Costa Rican cuisine tasting menu focused on the bounty and quality of Costa Rican ingredients from across the country’s provinces. The four or seven-course menu uses French and Japanese techniques. Chef William Weiss elevates ingredients locally sourced from around Costa Rica, including mahi mahi, coffee, chocolate, pink pineapple, yucca, rum centenario, and more, creating culinary masterpieces. There is an alternative seven-course vegan tasting menu as well.


Nayara Bocas del Toro – an adults-only, all-inclusive retreat on a private mangrove island off Panama’s Caribbean Coast – gives Robinson Crusoe vibes with its 16 overwater villas and three towering treehouses. Remaining true to its ethos, the resort is entirely off-grid, running on solar power, with water collected from the rain (Wi-Fi is available!). The newest additions are the fifty-foot treehouses added in 2023, designed by IBUKU with locally sourced bamboo and beams collected from petrified trees at the bottom of the Panama Canal. Getting to Panama from the East Coast will soon be faster as Copa Airlines will begin offering a new direct flight route from Raleigh-Durham International Airport into Panama City starting June 21st. Other direct flights include New York, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and more.


Nestled within the red-rocks of Chile’s Salt Mountains, Nayara Alto Atacama stands as an adobe-style oasis in the heart of the world’s driest desert. Offering access to the desert and mountains, the resort has a diverse range of activities, including hiking through lunar landscapes, cycling amidst dunes and caves, exploring geysers and lagoons, and stargazing. Recognized as one of the clearest places in the world for stargazing, its open-air observatory is about to welcome a second telescope to add to the experience. Pía Urbano Mena is the resident astronomer who gives guests private lessons on celestial patterns, including the local history of how the stars were used to help navigate and in agricultural planning.

Nayara Hangaroa, at the heart of Easter Island (one of the planet’s most remote locales, known for its ancient Moai statues), gives guests an introduction to the island in many ways, from sailing through the islets by the Rano Kau cliff to traversing its rugged terrain on bike or ATV. On property, guests love the Spa Manavai, a faithful replica of an ancient Manavai dome, where coco body scrubs and massages featuring pure Tahitian coconut oil and Tiare flowers await.


February 21st, 2024

Park Hyatt Tokyo is pleased to announce Ben Wheeler as New York Grill & Bar’s Chef de Cuisine. In his new role, Chef Ben brings his culinary passion and creativity to one of Tokyo’s most iconic restaurants.

Born in the United Kingdom, Chef Ben was raised in the Buckinghamshire countryside. From a young age, he felt he belonged in the kitchen and was fascinated experimenting with basic ingredients and turning them into something delicious. His fondest childhood memories were making pastries and cakes with his grandmother.

Chef Ben began his culinary career at The Stag at Mentmore, followed by the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva, Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi and Four Seasons Trinity Square London. Thereafter he joined as Chef de Cuisine at Grand Hyatt Kuwait and Atlantis The Royal Dubai as a member of their pre- opening teams.

Japan has always intrigued Chef Ben, from its food, to cars and particularly the culture. He is fascinated by Japanese trends, both modern and traditional, and most of all, the attention to detail and dedication to perform any task artistically and efficiently. Chef Ben’s dream was to move to Japan and immerse himself in its culture, experiencing all five senses throughout the country and particularly the sense of taste and smell.

Food consumes most of Chef Ben’s time, both professionally and personally. During his leisure time, you can find him reading cookbooks and trying new restaurants and bars. In joining Park Hyatt Tokyo, Chef Ben said, “It is an honor to join Park Hyatt Tokyo, with its long history of setting international luxury hotel standards in Japan, both in culinary and service. I look forward to continuing New York Grill & Bar’s story and learning from the Japanese culinary team, while sharing my experiences and new ideas.”

After the completion of scheduled building maintenance, New York Grill & Bar will reopen on April 1, 2024. From April 15 to 18, 2024, Chef Ben welcomes Australia’s Rockpool Bar & Grill’s Executive Chef Santiago Aristizabal for a special four-hands culinary collaboration creating a unique six-course dinner menu. Colombian-born Chef Santiago Aristizabal joined Rockpool Bar & Grill in 2009 and quickly proved himself to be an integral member of the culinary team as his career progressed from Sous Chef to Head Chef to his current position overseeing all three Rockpool Bar & Grill in Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. The limited dinner menu is priced at JPY55,000 per person, including consumption tax and subject to a 15% service charge. Reservations are required. For reservations, please contact New York Grill & Bar at (+81-3) 5323 3458 or visit NEW YORK GRILL | Park Hyatt Tokyo.

About Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt hotels provide discerning, global travelers with a refined home-away-from-home. Guests of Park Hyatt hotels receive quietly confident and personalized service in an enriching environment. Located in several of the world’s premier destinations, each Park Hyatt hotel is custom designed to combine sophistication with understated luxury. Park Hyatt hotels feature well-appointed guestrooms, world-renowned artwork and design, rare and immersive culinary experiences, and signature restaurants featuring award-winning chefs. There are currently 44 Park Hyatt hotels in the following locations: Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Bangkok, Beaver Creek, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Busan, Canberra, Changbaishan, Carlsbad, Chennai, Chicago, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hyderabad, Istanbul, Jakarta, Jeddah, Kyoto, Maldives, Melbourne, Mendoza, Milan, New York, Ningbo, Niseko, Paris, Saigon, Sanya, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Siem Reap, St. Kitts, Suzhou, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Washington, D.C., Zanzibar, and Zurich. For more information, please visit parkhyatt.com. Follow @ParkHyatt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and tag photos with #LuxuryIsPersonal.

Park Hyatt Japan – Spring/Summer 2024 News

February 20th, 2024

Spring and summer are among the best times to visit Japan. In addition to Sakura, or cherry blossom season, there are also thrilling outdoor adventures, seasonal art installations, and open-air dining experiences. Guests of Park Hyatt’s properties in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Niseko get front-row access to these—and more. Below, a preview of the spring and summer season, with just-launched experiences and buzzy new city happenings.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

This May, Park Hyatt Tokyo will undergo a renewal carried out by acclaimed design agency Jouin Manku. The new look will offer a fresh, modern take on John Morford’s original design and vision – which fuses art, sleek sophistication, and cocoon-like serenity – while retaining the soul and essence of its DNA, heritage, and original design. Park Hyatt Tokyo will keep what has become familiar and iconic over the past three decades and evolve the facilities and services to keep up the standards of luxury to which it has always been held.

Guests who visit before the property’s year-long closure can look forward to a spate of delicious new developments. These developments include the appointment of a new Chef de Cuisine, Ben Wheeler, at New York Grill & Bar, which will also host a culinary takeover by Chef Santiago Aristizabal, who is the Executive Chef for Rockpool Bar & Grill overseeing all three restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, from April 25-18. Both chefs will create three courses each, totaling a six-course menu with a wine pairing for guests to enjoy at JPY 50,000++ per person (as of today, around $338 USD).  It’s the perfect time to visit, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom and the recent unveiling of Tokyo’s Azabudai Hills district – the city’s most futuristic neighborhood – encompassing nearly 20 acres of green space, Japan’s tallest skyscraper, a temple complex, and a contemporary art gallery which is just a 15-minute drive from Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Also not to be missed this year, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building next to Park Hyatt Tokyo will display the world’s largest projection mapping display from February 25th through April. Shows will begin at 7:00 p.m. each night and be played at half-hour intervals. The display will be around 138 yards tall and 120 yards wide.

Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono

It may be Japan’s foremost ski resort, but Niseko is also a true year-round adventure playground. This summer, guests of Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono will be spoiled for choice of outdoor activities: ocean fishing, rafting down the Shiribetsu River, e-biking through Niseko’s forest, and much more. There’s plenty to do for little adventurers too, like firework displays, indoor rock climbing, and a suspended tree walk with views out to Mount Yotei.

Golfers can tee up at the Hanazono Golf Course, an 18-hole link set around the base of Mount Yotei and spanning trickling creeks, white birch forests, with views of the surrounding Annupuri mountain range. Guests can sign up for the “Stay & Play Golf Package,” which includes one round at the course (green fee, cart fee, golf tax included), a Pierre Hermé Paris chocolate golf gift, one complimentary glass of champagne per guest at THE BAR, complimentary breakfast, and more.

For the third year, the resort will activate the art installation “Mountain Lights” by acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. Returning to Niseko on July 1, the installation blankets the foot of Niseko Annupuri Mountain in 180,000 shimmering fiber-optic plumes of light. Guests staying at Park Hyatt Niseko for two or more nights between July 1 and October 14 will enjoy complimentary tickets to the installation.

The Hanazono Zip World – East Asia’s longest zipline – will also reopen for the season in mid-March. Stretching 1.6 miles from the base of the resort halfway to the peak of the Niseko United ski mountain, the zipline allows guests to soar over the forested mountains at speeds around 70 miles per hour on the Black Diamond Superfly, with views of Hokkaido’s Mount Yotei. With two ziplines set side by side, guests can fly across the sky with their friends and family.

This year also marks the 90th anniversary of Nikka Whisky Distillery, a world-renowned artisanal spirit brand launched in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky. In celebration, ParkHyatt Niseko Hanazono will launch an exclusive Whiskey Tour package that will include two-night accommodation, a tour of the brand’s Yoichi Distillery to meet a master blender, a BBQ dinner with whiskey pairings, and a unique blending activity.

Park Hyatt Kyoto

Guests of Park Hyatt Kyoto have specialty access to one of the city’s top UNESCO sights. Upon arriving at the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple in the wooded hills of the city, guests will be greeted by a head priest who will lead them around the temple, guiding them to areas not typically open to the public, and delivering a private sermon. The religious site is especially popular during cherry blossom season; the wooded area is overtaken by white blooms along with maple and cherry trees.

On property, guests can enjoy Japanese tea pairing at the exquisitely renovated KYOYAMATO, a traditional ryotei Japanese restaurant run by a seventh-generation Kyoto family, complete with the Edo-era Soyotei ­­teahouse. There, guests can enjoy an exclusive lunch and tea experience amid ancient hanging scrolls and tea bowls made by master craftsmen. Or, they can enjoy an evening of traditional Geiko dancing and Michelin-starred dining in the airy tatami room, which can be completely opened to let in the night air, with views of the Yasaka Pagoda. Alternatively, guests can opt for a private cocktail experience in the Soyotei teahouse, enjoying a total of five creative concoctions inspired by the venue and created especially for the event by the head bartender at the Kohaku Bar.

For off-property excursions, a private car can whisk guests to areas off the beaten track, recommending “hidden” temples, shrines, gardens, and more.


February 13th, 2024

Conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond has announced the extension of its South America portfolio with the launch of an expedition yacht in the Galapagos Islands. Named the andBeyond Galapagos Explorer, the 38 m (124 ft) yacht will operate on two 7-night routes in the east and west of the famed Galapagos Islands. Boasting just six suites and cabins, the yacht will cater for a maximum of 12 guests, with two expert guides present on each departure.

“A uniquely biodiverse environment with the highest number of endemic species in the world, the Galapagos is a natural choice for the further expansion of our portfolio in South America. We are absolutely thrilled to finally have the opportunity to bring our brand of responsible tourism to this precious part of the world, which the Ecuadorian government has protected from over-tourism by strictly limiting the number of operating licenses issued,” says andBeyond Executive Chairman & CEO, Joss Kent.

“We have long believed that the best way to encourage our guests to help protect the world’s wild places is for our skilled guides to help travelers not only fall in love with those places, but also to gain an understanding of the threats that they are facing. This is what we are aiming to do through the introduction of our luxury yacht, where two knowledgeable guides will host just twelve guests, showcasing the wonder and mystery of this exceptional destination.”

With only 12 guests on board, the elevated guest-to-staff ratio makes the Galapagos Explorer the most exclusive yacht operating in the islands. In addition to the highest level of guiding, the vessel will also offer beautifully appointed spacious indoor and outdoor guest areas, as well as four exquisite cabins and two luxury suites. Currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment of its interiors, the andBeyond Galapagos Explorer will set sail on its first departure on June 17, 2024.

Situated on the equator, the Galapagos consists of 18 main islands, three smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1878, the islands are home to a remarkable variety of flora and fauna, with many species found nowhere else on earth. Notable species include the Galapagos giant tortoise, marine iguana, and blue-footed booby. The islands also feature unique geographical features, and each has created a distinct ecosystem of its own, with strict conservation measures in place to preserve the delicate balance. The Charles Darwin Research Centre, located on Santa Cruz Island, focuses on conservation efforts and conducts scientific research to protect the rare biodiversity of the islands.

Operating on two different 7-night itineraries, the andBeyond Galapagos Explorer will offer the choice of discovering the east or the west of the main cluster of islands, while including the highlights of the destination in both. Highlights of the eastern itinerary include the magnificent formation of Kicker Rock, located just off San Cristóbal Island, as well as sightings of the critically endangered waved albatross in Gardner Bay on Española Island. The western Itinerary features highlights that include exploring the geographical center of the Galapagos Islands, Sombrero Chino Island as well as close encounters with the rare Santa Fe land iguana on Santa Fe Island.

Both itineraries present plenty of opportunities for land and sea adventures such as snorkeling, hiking and birdwatching, as well as a plethora of unique and interesting land, air and marine species. Rates for both itineraries begin from $10,950 per person sharing per 7-night cruise.

In keeping with its stated mission to leave our world a better place, andBeyond will apply its ethos of Care of Land, People and Wildlife to its new base of operations. The company plans to extend its Oceans Without Border initiative into the area and hopes to be able to review and implement projects that support the Galapagos’ incredible land and wildlife. Furthermore, in line with its dedication to community development, it also aims to train and upskill local residents, as well as to highlight local procurement opportunities.

For more information or to book, log on to andbeyond.com or contact your preferred travel provider.

ISSUED BY: media@andBeyond.com

T +27 11 809 4300 | F +27 11 809 4511



Established in 1991, andBeyond strives to leave our world a better place through the delivery of extraordinary travel experiences and our care of the land, wildlife and people. We are bespoke tour operators for sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, South America and Antarctica. We also own and manage 29 extraordinary lodges and camps across three continents. We positively impact 75 communities and directly conserve our primary footprint of 1 million acres. Our 2030 vision is to scale our impact through partnerships to support the conservation of an associated 40 million acres of key biospheres and to double our 2020 impact investment, while offering discerning travelers a rare and exclusive experience of the world as it should be.