July 13th, 2021
Now that travel is gaining traction and so rescheduled weddings are popping on the calendar, we foresee a boom in destination nuptials. Here are our top picks from nearby (the Hamptons) to a bit of a hop (Ireland) to more exotic (the Masai Mara).
A Hop (close to home)
Shou Sugi Ban House, Hamptons, NY – for a Hamptons soirée
Shou Sugi Ban House, the wellness retreat and destination spa in the Hamptons hamlet of Water Mill can now accommodate a tent that can hold 120 seated or 150 standing guests. The Glass Pavilion, lined with sliding glass doors on either side, can fit 50 people seated or standing and offers seamless transition between interior and exterior. With its floor to ceiling windows, it is the perfect spot to take in the landscape architecture designed in collaboration with Studio Lily Kwong (The High Line). The cherry blossom trees are in full bloom come spring and the outdoor firepit offers a cozy ambiance during the winter months. The Hamptons vernacular-style Main Barn can accommodate 50 people standing and has an oversized projector for photo and video screening. The property is also available for buyouts and can now accommodate up to 52 guests. There is also an option to do a partial buyout of 13 guest studios accommodating up to 26 guests. The team works closely with groups to arrange experiences they are interested in, including wellness programming, spa treatments and meals designed by Chef Mads Refslund, co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen, who oversees the culinary program. The three house Teslas are even available for use. Onsite amenities include a private tennis court, a variety of pools, a thermal suite, a kitted-out fitness studio, and a rooftop deck. Shou Sugi Ban House is located next to the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill. For larger weddings taking place at the museum, it is a great option for bridal party and wedding guest accommodations.
Images courtesy of Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House: https://we.tl/t-mbYluSq537
Super Special: Newlyweds looking for a deep connection can participate in the Couple’s Shamanic Healing. The onsite Shaman will clear energy, bring in light, and cut any energetic cords causing stagnation and concretion.
White Elephant, Nantucket, MA – for a picture-perfect New England fête
Located a few steps from town, the White Elephant has been a favorite Nantucket retreat since the 1920s; the height of preppy New England elegance with grey shingles and white trim. This is the place where families visit for generations and brides dream of being married. From the elegant Ballroom to intimate spaces overlooking the harbor, White Elephant can accommodate parties from two to 300 guests – or throw a grand celebration by reserving the entire property. Begin with a ceremony on the Harborview Lawn, then wine, dine and dance under the stars on the Harborview Terrace. The wedding party can indulge in renewing treatments at White Elephant Spa by Darya, relax in cushy wicker lounges overlooking the water, cruise the harbor in a Hinckley Picnic boat or top off the celebration with a lavish brunch. A stone’s throw from the center of town, the property has accommodations including suites on the harbor, garden cottages and two in-town Lofts, Easy Street and the Loft at 32 Main and multi-bedroom Residences with kitchenettes. The White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill is a staple restaurant on island and known for their famed Sunday Brunch and Lobster Bloody Mary. The hotel also has a partnership with BMW so wedding guests can sign out cars to explore the island on their own.
Super Special: White Elephant Resorts offers the Hy-Line Ferry Package to wedding couples to assist with roundtrip transportation for their guests to and from the island. The package can be added to a Harborside Terrace wedding or a full buyout wedding weekend.
The Wauwinet, Nantucket, MA – for an elegant, beach-side wedding
Situated on the northeast end of Nantucket located between two private beaches, the 32-room Wauwinet is an adults-only escape with the ambiance of storybook romance. Smaller, more intimate parties can take place in one of TOPPER’S private dining rooms. TOPPER’S, a don’t-miss dining spot on island, where the seasonally inspired menu shines with local produce and seafood. A highlight of the menu is the Retsyo Oysters – sourced 300 yards from property. For larger weddings, the inn has a special option of reserving the entire hotel for the weekend. It offers the feeling a private luxury home. The entire wedding party can enjoy a rehearsal clambake on the beach, followed by a tented wedding ceremony and reception on the lawn as well as a goodbye brunch on the following day. During the spring and fall months, The Wauwinet offers complimentary activities, including boating, lobstering, cooking classes, and scenic drives of neighboring ‘Sconset in the hotel’s 1948 Woody. Guests also receive have access to a BMW SUV for use throughout the stay, available on a complimentary, first-come first-served basis. Buyouts start at $13,500 per night.
Super Special: For larger weddings, the inn has a special option of reserving the entire hotel for the weekend, welcoming up to 64 guests – offering the feeling a private beach home on island.
Dupont Circle Hotel, Washington, DC – for a city elopement
Right on Dupont Circle, the hotel is the perfect spot for an elopement. Its signature Terrace Suites give couples the chance for an al fresco ceremony looking over the rooftops of DC. Seeing an uptick in interest in intimate weddings, the property – which recently reopened after a top-to-bottom renovation with designs from Martin Brudnizki and Clodagh – launched a new elopement package which includes a two-night stay in a Signature Terrace Suite, florals, assistance in sourcing a photographer at a preferred rate, a champagne toast, a justice of the piece, and parking. Rates start at $6,000.
Images Courtesy of The Doyle Collection: https://we.tl/t-Bw9n3lYy1Y
Super Special: For a bigger group, one can book the Penthouse Suite with its sweeping views from the large terrace – perfect for a cocktail reception or intimate dinner party.
A Skip (a bit further away)
Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla – for the picture-perfect Caribbean escape
Located in the British West Indies on the serene shores of Anguilla, Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel is a sanctuary for total escapism with 108 guest rooms and suites, all with large private verandas or balconies overlooking the pristine white sandy shores of Maundays Bay. The property features four dining destinations, a show-stopping infinity-edge pool, an authentic Arawak Spa and a 1,800 square foot events pavilion overlooking the bay. Every detail is taken into account for the couple’s preferences with options to recite vows beside the water, indulge in an Anguillan barbeque on the beach, or throw an intimate reception in one of the private pool villas. An island retreat for the entire party, the resort also offers a roster of daily programming, all available for private reservations, including wine classes, sunset sails, rum tastings, early-morning bird-watching, salt-scrub-making classes and more.
Super Special: Just a smooth 25-minute ride across the Caribbean Sea via a private boat transfer, newlyweds can continue the celebrations at sister property La Samanna on St. Martin. Travelers can seamlessly experience two Leeward Islands in one trip.
The Fife Arms, Scotland – for a dramatic, highland celebration
The Fife Arms is a former 19th century hunting lodge set within the striking Scottish Highlands. The property was purchased by the celebrated art world couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth (co-presidents of Hauser & Wirth) and opened in 2018. Interiors are a charming blend of old and new, deeply luxurious with surprising, eclectic touches and 16,000 works of art. Nearby castles and the Cairngorms National Park, the largest National Park in the UK, make it an especially enchanting setting for a wedding. The in-house team can create events that celebrate the best Scotland has to offer from whisky tastings, golf excursions and art tours to private chef lunches on a grouse moor, picnic teas in the forest and bespoke spa packages. They also work with local vendors including florists and photographers. The Fog House can seat up to 50 people. The room, with its large, wood-burning fireplace and impressive antler chandelier looks out onto the internal courtyard.
Images courtesy of The Fife Arms: https://we.tl/t-FRETvxsRPb
Super Special: With a collection of art done by the likes of Picasso, Man Ray and Queen Victoria, getting married here is like saying ‘I do’ in a world-class museum. Where else can you take your bridal portrait in front of a Gerhard Richter painting? Guests can even join a guided tour of the hotel’s collection.
Dromoland Castle, Ireland – for a fairytale wedding in a castle
Dating back to the 16th century, the grand Dromoland Castle sits on a 450-acre estate replete with an 18-hole golf course, spa, several restaurants, a walled garden designed by the same designer as the gardens at Versailles, and what castle would be complete without turrets and authentic suits of armor lining the expansive corridors? The castle can host anything from an elopement for two (with a ceremony on the Cliffs of Moher and an elaborate celebration dinner back at the castle) to a full buyout of its 97 rooms for up to 200 people. Ceremonies can take place in the walled garden or under a marquee tent with a castle backdrop or in any favorite spot on the grounds. From horse drawn carriage arrivals, champagne receptions on the lawn, dancing under the stars or in the Brian Boru Hall, night caps in the jewel box bar… the experts at Dromoland Castle will create the dreamiest castle celebration.
Images Courtesy of Dromoland Castle: https://we.tl/t-Xemps8SP0a
Super Special: For a very authentic feel, Dromoland Castle can arrange traditional Irish dancers and musicians to add a fun and local feel to the celebration.
Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica – for a super-romantic, intimate I do
On a private deck surrounded by rainforest with the imposing Arenal Volcano in the background, couples can opt for an intimate wedding ceremony at their own luxury tent at Nayara Tented Camp. With a day leading up to the wedding of pampering in the spa, soaking in the hot springs under the rainforest canopy, private yoga and mediation sessions, and any wedding hairstyling, brides and grooms will begin their lives together in a complete state of zen. Celebrations post-ceremony can be a private dinner cantilevered over the canopy or a wine-paired feast taking over the balcony of Nostalgia Wine Bar. The honeymoon begins in the sprawling tent with its private plunge pool filled with naturally warm hot spring water, indoor and outdoor double showers, a complimentary mini bar, and beautiful four-poster king-sized bed. Couples can’t forget about the complimentary room service breakfast set up on the private deck.
Images Courtesy of Nayara Tented Camp: https://we.tl/t-xQeTIA6Bbo
Super Special: A sloth sanctuary envelopes the entire property, so there may be wedding photo opps with a sloth in the background.
Kalesma Mykonos – for the dreamiest, Grecian ceremony
Greece opened in May and has been welcoming tourists with open arms. Kalesma opened on May 20 and is the dreamiest spot for a destination wedding. Nuptials can take place outside of the on-site chapel – a classic Cycladic-style chapel with a domed roof. The celebration can continue around the aloni – an original threshing stone found on the property – and at restaurant Pere Ubu with sunset views over the water. With 25 suites and two villas (all with private full-size pools) it’s perfect for a buyout to host all the couples’ nearest and dearest. The concierge can arrange activities for the group such as beach picnics, sailboat cruises around the island, reservations at beach parties, and historical tours of nearby Delos island.
Images courtesy of Kalesma: https://we.tl/t-ZOeIR3sg61
Super Special: With both sunset and sunrise views, there wedding photos will be dramatic and beautiful with the sea, the sky, and the white villas dotting the hillside.
Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino – for the chic sposa and sposo
Located down the hill from sister property Splendido, the 14-room Splendido Mare reopened on April 16, 2021 following a complete restoration led by Paris-based designers FESTEN Architecture. Inspired by its history in a fishing village – where there has not been a new house built since 1935 – Splendido Mare features antiques and locally sourced elements such as terracotta tiles from Impruneta and marble from Carrara. For intimate celebrations, opt for the Ava Gardner spanning the top floor of the property, outfitted with subtle nods to the actress who stayed at the guest house while filming Barefoot Contessa. Make the 14-room retreat a private summer home with a full buyout, accommodating up to 32 guests. The 100-piece art collection sets the scene featuring specially commissioned items by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli as well as cinematic photography and abstract pieces by local artists. The new restaurant, DaV Mare focuses on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, and signatures dishes includes a humble tomato pasta (paccheri alla vittorio). For dessert, do not miss the little gelateria in the heart of piazzetta. Buyouts start at $29,000 per night with a minimum two-night stay.
Super Special: For intimate celebrations, opt for the Ava Gardner Suite spanning the entire top floor of the property and outfitted with subtle nods to the actress who stayed at the guest house while filming Barefoot Contessa.
Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco
Owned by the King of Morocco and situated on nearly seven acres of gardens in the heart of Marrakech, couples will be hard-pressed to find a more majestic setting than Royal Mansour for their destination wedding. The property is composed of 53 three-story riads (private homes), lending itself nicely to either a full-property buyouts or an intimate elopement for two. Royal Mansour’s three-story, white latticework spa is a bridal dream come true, and available for hair/nail styling for the big day as well as pre-wedding treatments such as four-hand massage and traditional hammam. Centered around a hand-tiled fountain, the hotel’s open-air lobby is a favorite amongst couples as the location for their vows. Other options include The Grand Riad, a hotel-within-the-hotel with a glass-enclosed split-level terrace and private property entrance; or for a more intimate micro-wedding, the newly built The Nest, an open-air space elevated above the newly expanded gardens with views overlooking Marrakech, accommodates up to eight people.
Super Special: Book The Grand Riad for the ultimate private retreat. A veritable hotel-within-a-hotel, the 19,375-square-foot crown jewel of the property features a glass-enclosed split-level terrace, a hammam, cinema, two swimming pools and a private property entrance.
A Jump (a bit of a journey)
andBeyond Bateleur Camp, Kenya – for an unforgettable savannah ceremony
Wedding parties can take over one or both camps at Bateleur Camp on Kenya’s Masai Mara for a truly unforgettable safari wedding. With twice-daily game drives, sundowners in a different picturesque spot each night, and culminating with a traditional Maasai ceremony, andBeyond can create the wedding of a lifetime.
Images Courtesy of andBeyond: https://we.tl/t-I9LUDEJeBP
Super Special: The on-property gin bar has a selection of 16 different types of craft gin for tasting flights or specialty cocktails infused with fresh botanicals grown in the lodge’s organic vegetable garden.
July 12th, 2021
New Itineraries to Antarctica, Costa Rica and Panama, the Caribbean, and Japan will Feature Smithsonian-crafted Cultural Experiences Onboard and on Land
PONANT, a leader in small ship expeditions, announces new winter 2022 itineraries in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. Drawing on Smithsonian’s resources dating back 175 years, the new sailings 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 – focusing on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of further inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Departures exploring Antarctica, Costa Rica and Panama, the Caribbean, and Japan, will provide opportunities to engage with a variety of experts, ranging from geologists and scientists to astrophysicists and historians. The full list of sailings can be viewed here. Highlights include:
Antarctica: The White Continent, L’Austral
The 11-day itinerary will journey into the heart of the Antarctica peninsula. Travelers will begin by crossing the Drake Passage, considered a badge of honor during an Antarctic voyage, before disembarking on Zodiac outings to explore the icy continent. The journey will take guests up close to Gentoo and Adelie penguins and seals and will redirect or stop navigation in order to witness passing humpback whales. The cruise will be accompanied by PONANT’s team of naturalist guides and two Smithsonian Journeys Experts, astrophysicist Michelle Thaller, who serves as the assistant director for Science Communication at NASA’s Goddard Space Center, and geologist Wayne Ranney with over 40 years of experience leading trips to Earth’s most spectacular landscapes, who will join guests on excursions to research stations, volcanic beaches, and along icebergs and ice floe.
Departure on January 22, 2022 / 10 nights, 11 days
Starting from $9,830 per person
Panama and Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America, Le Champlain
Embark on an eight-day cruise from Colón, Panama to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica passing through the Panama Canal. Ports of call include the UNESCO World Heritage site Darién National Park for treks through the wilderness; an exclusive hosted visit to the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City; and Carara National Park, home to over 10,000 species of plants, 300 species of birds and 200 species of butterflies. Guests will join engaging discussions onboard with two Smithsonian Journeys Experts, Matthew Larsen, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, centered around the importance of ecosystems and Ralph Nurnberger, historian and expert in international relations.
Departure on January 24, 2022 / 7 nights, 8 days
Starting from $4,410 per person
Cruising the Caribbean’s Windward Islands, Le Dumont-d’Urville
Join Smithsonian Journeys Experts, Caribbean historian Franklin Knight and geophysicist Carola Stearns, with experience in climate geomorphology, while discovering the most enchanting islands of the Caribbean Sea. Departing from St. Lucia, home to The Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ship will travel to ports larger vessels are unable reach: Portsmouth, Dominica; Les Saintes, Guadeloupe; and scattered islands and uninhabited cays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Along the way, there will be opportunities to snorkel and scuba dive in the crystal-clear waters to observe turtles, barracudas and parrotfish; birdwatch along nature trails; and spend days exploring private beaches.
Departure on February 13, 2022 / 7 nights, 8 days
Starting from $3,900 per person
Treasures of Japan by Sea, Le Soléal
Sail from Kobe, one of the first Japanese ports to open to international trade in the 19th century, to Japan’s second-largest city of Osaka, where rich heritage blends with the country’s industrialization and modernization. The sailing will be accompanied by Smithsonian Journeys Experts, Jonathan Hall, Japanese film and literature expert with 20 years of experience as a Japanese-English translator, as well as Timon Screech, a specialist in the art and culture of early modern Japan. Highlights of the itinerary include an Udon-noodle master class at a Takamatsu cooking school; a visit to Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park; and a tour through Korakuen Garden, one of Japan’s Three Great Gardens in Okayama.
Departure on April 15, 2022 / 7 nights, 8 days
Starting from $6,500 per person
Created in 1988 by officers of the French Merchant Navy, PONANT has created a new style of cruising, under the French flag, through a unique conception of sea travel and a commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. Accessing exceptional territories aboard yachts featuring refined design, on which the art of living and excellent cuisine takes pride of place: such is the promise of a unique and authentic PONANT voyage.
For more information on PONANT’s worldwide itineraries to the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Asia, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Eastern Asia, Oceania, and Central and South America, visit https://us.ponant.com, call 1-844-747-2873, 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 19 museums, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There were nearly 22 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2019. 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. www.smithsonian.org
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, Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines, which reach 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. Smithsonian Journeys offers small-group land journeys, ocean cruises, river cruises, active journeys, cultural stays, private jet trips, tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler and student travel programs. For more information visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 1-855-330-1542.
Lauren Wintemberg, Alice Marshall Public Relations; 212-861-4031; email@example.com
Angela Ferragamo, Smithsonian Journeys; 202-633-6028; firstname.lastname@example.org
June 30th, 2021
Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ will turn 33 next month and if 45 hours of programming is sufficient to entice you for an enthralling trip, opt for Belmond’s brand-new offer in Cape Town with a shark scientist. As many Americans are dusting off their passports, we have compiled a list of summer destinations from the Caribbean and Mexico to Europe before work-from-hotel is no longer an option. And for when you are ready to travel with the extended family, we have the choice in Marrakech, ready to meet all expectations by all ages. More than ever, nostalgia is a significant element in entertainment (shout-out to fellow fans of Cobra Kai, The Mighty Ducks and Gilmore Girls) and there are some similarities in travel, especially on the heels of the past year. One of our beloved travel icons, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, is back on track and with more itinerary options than before. Maybe it is this heatwave in New York City, but we are already thinking about ski trips and as Switzerland welcomes Americans, Zermatt stands out with its 300-day bluebird conditions.
Marine biologist for the day:
Mount Nelson, a Belmond hotel in Cape Town, now offers an exclusive, private experience with shark scientist Justin Blake. Conservation-minded adults and kids as young as eight years old can partake in the ocean boating and snorkeling expedition to explore the Cape kelp forests, featured in Oscar-winner ‘My Octopus Teacher’ and recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Lucky adventurers might spot an octopus and even hear a tagged shark. Maximum capacity is six guests at $265 per person; double-occupancy at $700 per person.
Last hurrah for remote work:
As offices are reopening, the next two months might just be the last chance for fully-remote office hours. Even though we have invested in our standing desks, striking plants and library-inspired bookshelves in our apartments/houses, it is hard to beat an ‘office’ inside a luxury hotel. Some of our favorite options include: Cap Juluca on the pristine Maundays Bay of Anguilla; Nayara Tented Camp in Costa Rica where hot spring-fed pools are dotted amidst the lush rainforest; La Reserve Paris overlooking the sparkling cityscape; Splendido Mare surrounded by the refreshing scents of Portofino’s orange blossoms; Dromoland Castle in Ireland with a walled garden by the very designer behind the gardens of Versailles; Paradero Todos Santos situated within the Le Mesa farming community; and Ian Fleming’s original five-bedroom home in Jamaica. We can share the latest and greatest on travel regulations to these destinations.
This three-story riad will not disappoint in-laws:
Thinking about an extended family holiday? Opt for the four-bedroom Grand Riad at Royal Mansour in Marrakech. The nearly 20,000-square-foot residence features a private library, two swimming pools with built-in water current, cinema, hammam, gym, multiple dining and living rooms, and a glass-enclosed split-level terrace with a retractable roof. With a private entrance, the Grand Riad feels more like a private home than a hotel. No detail is overlooked thanks to a dedicated staff, including a chef, watchman, housekeepers, and butlers.
Nostalgic about train travel?
Evoking the Golden Age of glamour, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express by Belmond expands its immersive, slow travel experiences across Europe with five new boarding points in Rome, Florence, Geneva, Brussels and Amsterdam. Aboard the train’s restored Art Deco carriages, guests will be whisked along one-night journeys from Florence and Rome, passing the Italian lakes and snowy Swiss mountains, before arriving in Paris. Wind through the Brenner Pass as the train crosses from Geneva to Venice or take off on a grand tour of three European Capital cities – Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam – during a Venice to Amsterdam itinerary.
Zermatt by the numbers for skiers:
Switzerland is the birthplace of ski tourism and home to Europe’s largest glaciers. Skiing is available 365 days a year in Zermatt and the destination has over 300 days of sunshine. There are more than 220 miles of ski runs for all levels and the area around the Matterhorn has pistes up to 12,700+ feet above sea level – the tallest in Europe. With 54 ski lifts, Zermatt will unveil a new one this year that will complete an ‘Alpine crossing’ by connecting the Klein Matterhorn to Testa Grigia in Italy’s Aosta Valley for the first time. Designed in an Alpine-chalet style, Schweizerhof is situated on the main thoroughfare of Bahnhofstrasse at the base of the Matterhorn. Oak walls and marble bathrooms create a cozy yet contemporary environment while fun touches like wooden hiking sticks, cow bells, and comforters emblazoned with the Matterhorn lend a sense of place. The Kid’s Club has everything a child could dream of: Arcade games? Check. Climbing wall? Check. Movie nights? Check. Sports gear is available to rent and an in-house ski expert can assist first-timers.
June 24th, 2021
As of June 18, France moved the United States to its “green list” of countries, which is open to unvaccinated travelers as long as they submit a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test that was taken within 72 prior to boarding. Previously, the U.S. was on France’s “orange list” of countries, and only vaccinated leisure travelers could enter from the U.S. carrying with them a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test. According to luxury travel agency network Virtuoso, France is the #3 international destination being booked by Americans this summer. The border opening comes just in time for big news in the country.
As the saying goes, Paris is always a good idea, but the City of Light seems to be having an extra special moment right now. Recent openings include the iconic, LVMH-owned department store La Samaritaine which emerged from a 16-year closure this month and the highly anticipated Bourse de Commerce, the Tadao Ando-designed museum housing the Pinault collection. Dedicated to the history of Paris, Musée Carnavalet, the city’s oldest museum, reopened last month after being closed for four years. In other art news, the Musée Jacquemart-André will debut a Botticelli exhibition (September 10 – January 24, 2022) – just off the heels of the record-setting auction at Sotheby’s. La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is a pick for those looking for discreet luxury. The 40-room property is located in a c. 1854 Haussmann-style mansion that was once owned by the Duc de Morny, step-brother of Emperor Napoleon III. Thanks to an exclusive new service, guests will receive the La Réserve treatment from the minute they step outside their doors. The service will include a private car transfer from their home to the airport and a VIP meet-and-greet and fast track to their plane.
A pick for groups and families, the La Réserve Paris Apartments overlook the Trocadero in the 16th arrondissement – meaning unbeatable views of the Eiffel Towel. The top floor apartments can be connected to create a nearly 4,000-square-foot pied-à-terre. The building has its own private street entrance and guests buying out the top floor would receive a key for private elevator access. The flats have a large kitchen and the pantry and wine cellar come fully stocked. Large balconies can accommodate intimate dinner parties prepared by a private chef. Furniture can be rearranged to guests’ liking and even a home gym and cinema can be set up.
Nestled within a Mediterranean jardin overlooking the Cote d’Azur is the cliffside retreat, La Réserve Ramatuelle. The Palace hotel reopened on May 12, 2021, lifting the veil on a refreshed lobby, two Michelin-starred restaurant, and terrace helmed by none other than Jacques Garcia. Garcia is no stranger to the brand having designed La Réserve Geneva, La Réserve Paris and La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel, the Bordeaux home of founder Michel Reybier. He took inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s when Cocteau, Picasso and Picault brought their creativity to the French Riviera. A special touch is the sculpted lights designed by Julien Capron, grandson of the famous Vallauris ceramic artist Roger Capron. Julien also designed the handmade jars and artwork in the library comprised of blue and green ceramic tiles.
Guests shouldn’t miss La Réserve à la Plage, the hotel’s beach club which opened in 2019 on the famous Pampelonne Beach. Designed by Philippe Starck, the open-air setting and wood and rattan décor create a bohemian atmosphere that perfectly fits the coastal Mediterranean locale. Guests of La Réserve Ramatuelle have the advantage of a complimentary shuttle from the resort to the beach (a less than 10-minute ride) and have priority when booking the restaurant and beach chairs.
Located in the heart of a 200-acre vineyard in Bordeaux, La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel is the private residence of hotelier Michel Reybier. The Cos d’Estournel vineyard is one of just 14 Chateaux ranked as Second Growth in 1855. Available exclusively for buyouts, the Jacques Garcia-designed house is decorated in a mix of European antiques and Asian tapestries has six bedrooms and two suites; a library; dining room; hammam; indoor and outdoor swimming pools; and a wine cellar, of course.
The 14-room La Maison d’Estournel in the Médoc region has no shortage of outdoor activities; an ocean, rivers and vineyards can all be found nearby, after all. Experiences include fishing on the Gironde River, a private visit the oldest lighthouse in France still in operation, and biking along the Bay of Arachon followed by lunch in an oyster farmer’s hut. Adults can’t have all the fun and kids get in on the action too, with farming classes complete with friendly donkeys, sheep and chickens; street art workshops led by a local painter; and surfing lessons on the coast with a professional.
Collectively known as Belmond Afloat in France, Belmond’s fleet of seven luxury barges are available for private charters accommodating anywhere from four to 12 passengers. More akin to floating villas, the barges feature a dining room, lounge and sundeck as well as private floating pools. Each barge also comes equipped with bicycles for rides into the local villages or to peddle alongside the barge as it floats down the canal. The week-long itineraries are all-inclusive and completely customizable to meet the individual needs of each guest. Belmond is launching two new itineraries this August including a vintage champagne tour with accommodations on Belmond Pivoine. Families and friends will enjoy the best of vintage champagnes with exclusive access to the region’s leading vineyards, Maisons Ruinart, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Krug. For an in-depth look at the annual grape harvest, opt for the week-long journey on Belmond Amaryllis filled with Grand Cru wine tastings; a masterclass on the ancient art of cooperage, where the group will try their hand at creating a wooden barrel by hand; and participating in the time-honored pigéage, or grape-stomping, with Belmond-only access at Domaine Drouhin-Laroze.
Returning to its roots, PONANT, the leader in luxury expeditions, is offering 15 sailings along the French coastline this summer. Departing on July 2, Le Bellot – the fifth installment in the PONANT EXPLORER series featuring the world’s first underwater lounge, the Blue Eye – will sail roundtrip from Saint-Malo on eight-day itineraries exploring the Breton Coast. Highlights include the brand’s namesake islands, Ponant Islands, and a stop at the island of Houat, home to less than 200 inhabitants all year round. Other sailings include circumnavigating the island of Corsica with stops in the seaside resort of Saint-Laurent as well as Roccapina Beach with its granite lion, a rocky outcrop of pink granite naturally shaped by erosion into the form of a crouching lion.
June 24th, 2021
As of June 15, 2021, Morocco reopened to U.S and Canadian citizens. Morocco announced a two-tiered system, classifying countries into “List A,” including the U.S. and Canada, and “List B” with different entry requirements for each list. Travelers from ‘A’ countries are now welcome as long as they submit a negative PCR test administered within 48 hours of arrival or proof of vaccination.
When planning the next trip, look no further than the King of Morocco’s own hotel, Royal Mansour Marrakech. The palatial estate has long been the destination for travelers seeking privacy within the medina walls while also enjoying quick access to the city’s cultural icons from the Majorelle Gardens to Jemaa el-Fnaa. Guests are welcomed with an open-air courtyard, over seven acres of lush gardens and 53 private multi-story riads dotted along petal-pink pathways. No elevators; no carts; no rooms; no crowds. With recently extended gardens and wellbeing programming, here’s what’s new and noteworthy at Royal Mansour Marrakech.
Garden Party: Royal Mansour recently debuted a private dining space elevated 14 feet above the property’s newly expanded gardens. Aptly titled The Nest, the 430-square-foot open-air dining space is an extension of the property’s poolside restaurant, Le Jardin, featuring a Mediterranean and Asian-fusion menu by Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno. Nestled within the lemon and palm trees, The Nest offers a hidden sanctuary for up to eight guests with uninterrupted views over Marrakech and the Koutoubia Mosque’s Atlas tower. Each dining experience is completely customizable as the team works with guests to finalize curated playlists, floral arrangements, and exclusive menus.
Retreat to the Spa: Accessed through a private citrus grove, the three-story, 27,000-square-foot spa features an elaborate white birdcage atrium welcoming guests and locals alike. This September, Royal Mansour Marrakech is launching new multi-day wellness retreats, marking a new era for the property as a global wellness destination. Available as three-, five-, seven- or 14-day retreats, guests can choose between the Rebalance, Rejuvenation, Immunity Boost, and Weight Control programs – with the goal of improving both mental and physical health. Each program is completely customizable and offers a 360-degree approach with treatments, nutrition (eating healthy but well at the property’s four restaurants led by Michelin-starred chefs), and activities including private cooking classes and Pilates.
Wellbeing Through Art: Surrounded by the quiet serenity of the property’s gardens, Royal Mansour has also designated a new artist’s studio, Atelier d’Artiste, housed in a glass-paneled greenhouse, to host art therapy sessions including painting, modeling, pottery, and calligraphy, each beginning with a guided meditation. Available a la carte or as part of the multi-day wellness retreats, guests will choose between private, couples, or family sessions with the resident expert. The two-hour creative workshops aim to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and encourage self-reflection through the act of learning a new skill.
Where Italy Meets Morocco
For a taste of Italy in Marrakech, Sesamo is an Italian dining concept orchestrated by noted Chef Massimiliano Alajmo, whose family-owned group of restaurants in Italy has earned a total of five Michelin stars. In fact, Chef Massimiliano is the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars (at age 28) and his restaurant in Italy, La Calendre, is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Combining his Italian roots and locally sourced Moroccan ingredients, he has crafted new dishes, including garlic and red pepper spaghetti with vegetables from Royal Mansour’s gardens, for the menu, in addition to signature offerings from La Calendre. This marks his first partnership with a hotel.
A Hotel Within a Hotel
Privacy is the trend that is here to stay, and each of Royal Mansour’s accommodations is an individual, three-story riad with a private entrance. The four-bedroom Grand Riad is the undisputed crown jewel. Referred to as the “hotel within the hotel,” the 19,375 square-foot residence features a private library, two swimming pools, a cinema, hammam, gym, multiple dining and living rooms and a glass-enclosed split-level terrace with a retractable roof. Guests of the Grand Riad also enjoy the services of a dedicated staff that includes a chef, watchman, housekeepers and butlers as well as a private driveway entrance to the property.
Experiences in the Red City:
Scents of Marrakech: Not open to the public, guests of Royal Mansour are granted exclusive access to acclaimed French perfumer Serge Lutens’ 2.5-acre Marrakech home and laboratory. Built by combining 60 riads, the space took almost 30 years to design with its intricately carved ceilings, locally inspired stained-glass windows and seemingly endless succession of plush sitting rooms. The experience begins with a ride through the Medina in a vintage motorcycle sidecar before arriving at the Serge Lutens estate for a private tour. No photos are allowed inside making this a trip guests truly need to see to believe.
Marrakech Two Ways: Escape the city for an overnight experience in the Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world. Flying over the Atlas Mountains, the journey takes guests into the Chigaga dunes, considered by many to be the largest and still untouched dunes in Morocco. Guided through the desert and over the dunes, lunch is served in the midst of the Zagora palm grove. After a camel ride to camp, guests will watch the sunset before sitting down around a campfire for live music and dinner under the night sky with local Toureg guides.
How To Get There: There are currently direct flights from Washington D.C., New York, and Montreal to Casablanca. Travelers can then opt for a quick connecting flight into Marrakech or arrange a private car transfer with Royal Mansour – complete with complimentary WIFI for the two-hour drive. The arrival is seamless as guests of the hotel are met as they step off the plane and are guided through the airport, assisting with customs and side-stepping any long lines along the way.