London in Our Minds, in Our Hearts…

September 14th, 2022

London was one of summer 2022’s top travel destinations, capturing 22 percent of European bookings by some measures. Now, the city is preparing for an action-packed fall. This October promises an impressive lineup of can’t-miss cultural and sporting events, giving travelers the perfect excuse to visit when the temperatures are crisp, the leaves are changing color, and the crowds have thinned out.

The expert concierge at The Beaumont, a landmark-listed boutique jewel overlooking the quiet Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair, has helped narrow down their favorites of the season. And the recently-renovated property has also announced two new offers: a blind-folded wine tasting at The Colony Grill Room and a Spa Break package.

The Beaumont Picks:

Start with Eureka Day, the European premiere of playwright Jonathan Spector’s 2018 drama starring Helen Hunt. The satirical play is about a mumps outbreak at a school in California, and the frenzy that ensues as parents squabble over mandatory vaccination. Timely, smart, and laugh-out-loud funny, it’s been described as “wince-inducing” satire that’s sure to get people talking. Runs at the Old Vic theater through October 31.

This fall, the first major British exhibition of the great American Realist painter Winslow Homer will be on view at the National Gallery. The “Force of Nature” exhibition will bring together more than 50 paintings, covering over 40 years of Homer’s career, spanning the American Civil War and the artist’s stints in France, England, the Bahamas, Cuba, and Bermuda. Visitors can expect sketches of battle and camp life, turbulent seascapes, and works that reflect Homer’s interest in the pressing issues of his time: conflict, race, and the relationship between humans and their environment. On view through January 8, 2023.

Finally, America’s National Football League is due to return to London this October, with three must-see games. On October 2, the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints will open the series, followed by a game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers (their first London appearance!) on October 9. Both games will take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This year’s series will conclude at Wembley Stadium, with the Denver Broncos playing the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 30.

News from The Beaumont:

Be sure to check out the hotel’s newest services and amenities—including a blind-folded wine tasting at The Colony Grill Room. Sommeliers Giorgio Scavarelli and Antonio Verrando will take guests on a fun-filled exploratory wine journey, with the aim of introducing them to new and perhaps unfamiliar grape types and wine styles. For €50 per person, the sommeliers will pour four wines that will correspond to the selection of dishes ordered. Guess the wines served (name and vintage), the wine flight is free! Insider’s tip: Scavarelli is a native of Piedmont, so you might want to level up on your Nebbiolos and Barberas before the experience!

The Beaumont has also introduced a Spa Break package, which is available every day of the week, for one or two guests who are staying at the hotel for a single night. It includes a 90-minute spa treatment (choose from massages and facials), plus a glass of Gusbourne in the Gatsby’s Room, and the daily ‘Beaumont Baker’s Basket’ breakfast, among other inclusions. From €949 for a Classic Room.

 

September 14th, 2022

Gifts for the Traveler on Your List

The best travel gifts are steeped in place, evoking far-away places and once-in-a-lifetime adventures. And when said objects are crafted by expert craftspeople using the highest-quality local materials, the humble travel gift is elevated to a treasured possession. For those shopping for the traveler on their list, here are a handful of swoon-worthy gifts—from a hand-crafted globe depicting the Scottish night sky to a coffee table book sure to whisk you away to Italy’s most glamorous locales.

For the One-of-a-Kind Piece Seeker: New Artisan-Made Festive Gifts from the Scottish Highlands

The skies above Braemar, which is situated in the Cairngorms National Park, constitute the most northerly International Dark Sky Park. The exceptional darkness of the night is what attracts avid stargazers to the area. And now that this limited-edition black porcelain globe ($1,414) has been exclusively created for the Fife Arms, constellation-lovers all over the world can glimpse the star-spangled sky as seen from above the hotel. Marked by needlepoint and hand-painted, each globe is an heirloom piece set in an emerald-green nappa and oak pocket case on an oak stand.

Many artists and artisans call the Scottish town of Braemar home. Several of the village’s top makers have even collaborated on the gifts stocked at the Fife Arm’s gift shop— including adorable egg cosies ($36) crafted by two members of the knitting collective Deeside Knitwits. Like little hats for your ouefs, these hand-knitted fabrics are done in an assortment of colors (inspired by the Fife Arm’s house tartan!) and topped with charming mountain hares, which are found in the surrounding Cairngorms National Park. It’s the surest way to brighten any breakfast table!

For the Italy-Lover on Your List: A Coffee Table Book Inspired by La Dolce Vita

If the gift is for the friend or family member who’s always dreaming of an Italian getaway, look no further than Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation ($95), an exquisite coffee table book from Assouline and luxury hospitality brand Belmond. With vivid imagery and evocative descriptions by former Vogue Italia editor Cesare Cunaccia, the book will take readers on a journey to Belmond’s collection of heritage hotels: Capriani in Venice, Splendido and Splendido Mare in Portofino, Villa San Michele in Florence, Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Caruso in Ravello, and Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina, Sicily. Trust us on this one: you’ll want a copy for your own library.

For the Globe-Trotter Who’s Always Recovering from Jetlag: Plush Boutique Hotel Bedding

White Elephant Resorts is a collection of premier hotels and resorts in Nantucket, MA and in Palm Beach, FL, with an online shop inviting guests to bring a piece of the coastal escape home with them. One of their best-selling items: the uber-plush 100% Egyptian cotton bedding ($225) from Italy’s family-owned Rivolta Carmignani textile brand. Guests have been known to stock up after their stays, crediting the soft pillows and sumptuous duvet covers for their peaceful Zzzs. The set also comes with a decorative throw pillow with an elephant motif! For younger travelers, consider an adorable pajama set ($65)—a collaboration between CJW and White Elephant Hotel—featuring ice cream cones and lobster rolls, and made from a super-lightweight bamboo and cotton fabric.

For the Entertainer: Cocktail Glasses from Some of Our Favorite London Hotels

Nothing says the holidays like festive tableware. If the gift is for a friend who loves to entertain, we’ve got the perfect gift: this chic set of Art Deco-inspired coupe cocktail glasses ($49) from The Doyle Collection. Hand-painted with a gold rim and featuring a long, elegant stem, it’s an easy way to bring a dash of glamor to any holiday festivity.

For the Wellness Traveler with an Eye for Design: Decorative Accents from The Hampton’s Original Wellness Retreat

Beautiful objects go a long way in promoting a sense of balance and harmony. Give the gift of wabi sabi design by splurging on these beautiful ceramics (from $30-$100) made exclusively for Shou Sugi Ban House by New York-based ceramicist Stephanie Charlene. The collection includes three sizes of bowls, side and dinner plates, and tumblers—all made from a groggy white stoneware and finished with a sandy white glaze. To bring wellness on the road, consider the property’s signature Edge of the Woods candle ($88), hand-poured with soy and vegetable wax and naturally scented with notes of lemongrass, rosemary, thyme, pine, and ylang ylang. It’s the easiest way to channel Zen, no matter where in the world you are.

For the Fashion Set: Sustainable Shades from Brazil’s Coolest Beach Town

When Wilbert Das, former Creative Director of fashion label Diesel, opened his eco-chic retreat, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, he put the remote Brazilian fishing village of Trancoso on the map. Now, it’s a favorite destination of celebrities, fashion editors, and world-renowned surfers. Channel the destination’s cool factor by purchasing a pair of limited-edition sunglasses ($375), crafted in Trancoso by UXUA artist-in-residence, Mark Inglis, and featuring durable, protective lenses by German supplier Zeis. The sunnies are made of three different varieties of reclaimed wood and sustainably-sourced buffalo bone—making it easy to look and feel good on the fly.

September 14th, 2022

Cheers to Green Cuisine

Green cuisine is sweeping the hotel industry. With properties upping their veggie-forward options and introducing meat-free variations on classic dishes, there’s never been a better time to travel as a vegan, vegetarian, or generally health and environmentally conscious traveler. By embracing plant-forward menus, hotels are appealing to a broader set of travelers and winning over a younger generation of environmentally aware travelers.

When it comes to green cuisine, innovation abounds. At Shou Sugi Ban House, the Hamptons’ first wellness resort, world-renowned chefs Mads Refslund of Noma fame designed a menu that uses a variety of techniques like fermentation, juicing, and en papillote to transform organic foods that are plucked from the hotel’s biodynamic gardens and local farms. Fresh, briny oysters might come from West Robins, a sustainable shellfish operation in Southampton, while the nearby Bhumi Farms might provide sugar snaps, heirloom tomatoes, and mini cucumbers.

At Oxfordshire’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a Belmond Hotel, cooking vegetables is elevated to high art. At the hotel’s signature restaurant—which earned two Michelin stars during its first year and has held them ever since—French chef Raymond Blanc OBE creates stunning dishes that highlight only the finest and freshest ingredients, sourced from his two-acre vegetable garden. Among the 90+ plants that are grown include 20+ species of mushrooms, every French and English herb imaginable, plus an apple and pear orchard and more than 70 varieties. Guests can broaden their botanical knowledge by joining half- and full-day classes at the gardening school. Or they can enroll in the Raymond Blanc Cookery School to learn how to transform the seasonal bounty into multi-course meals.

In the Maldives, Gili Lankfansuhi has made a name as being one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly resorts in the archipelago. Executive chef Hari Govindaraj is passionate about plant-forward cuisine and has introduced a comprehensive veggie-centric menu that transforms locally-grown ingredients into colorful, creative dishes with a sense of place—think: Maldivian vegetable curry with coconut sauce, served with chapatti and poppadum; a beach lettuce salad with pomegranate and mint; and a steamed banana cake with fresh fruits and lemongrass sorbet. Chef Hari’s goal is to create 2,000 new plant-based recipes over the next two years (he’s currently at 600!). Guests can enjoy a plant-based tasting menu in the property’s garden, take part in a private vegan cooking class, or opt for the “Powered by Plants” package. The exclusive experience includes plant-based menus (signature dishes include aloe vera and beetroot tartare, or seared radish and spinach cannelloni), yoga classes, sustainability initiatives like the Coral Lines Project, and vegan treatments at the spa. What’s more, 100% of the resort’s food waste is processed in an advanced rocket composter, producing natural fertilizer for the hotel’s garden.

London might be better known for its bangers and mash than its vegetarian fare, but at L’Oscar, travelers can get their greens without sacrificing any flavor—or culinary prowess! The property’s vegan menu is a celebration of the freshest produce and the city’s crossroads cultures. Enjoy a chickpea velouté with French vierge sauce and seaweed oil to start, followed by an Acquerello risotto with saffron. Sides might include pak choi with shichimi or marinated Japanese aubergine with soy sauce and jalapeno peppers. And don’t miss dessert, especially the pineapple carpaccio with vegan crumble, Madagascar vanilla, and coconut sorbet.

 

Paradero Launches Paradero Sea of Cortez, A Luxury Multi-Night Sailing, Adventure & Culinary Experience

September 13th, 2022

Paradero Launches Paradero Sea of Cortez,

A Luxury Multi-Night Sailing, Adventure & Culinary Experience

Since launching in February 2021, Paradero is the first experience-inclusive brand in North America, offering experiences that deeply connect guests with nature, wellness, adventure, and local culture. Paradero’s inaugural property is in the magical land of Todos Santos – Pescadero –home to several landscapes, microclimates, and cultures. The hotel and landscaping project is inextricably tied to its surroundings, which span five different ecosystems, including the historic privileged farming community of La Mesa.

One of the most undiscovered coastlines in the world is now a lot more accessible with the launch of “Paradero Sea of Cortez,” two exclusive-use catamaran itineraries along the Gulf of California. Sea of Cortez is the very area where French oceanographer, marine conservationist, and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau dubbed it the “Aquarium of the World” after exploring it in the 1960s. Guests join the custom-built vessel at a marina that is just an hour’s drive from Paradero Todos Santos. From there they set sail to discover stunning virgin beaches, uninhabited islands, secret snorkeling spots, and vibrant off-the-beaten-path coastal locales.

A variety of destinations are within reach—from Isla Partida and Isla Ballena to La Paz. Of special note is Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site with red volcanic rock formations, vibrant reefs in tranquil waters, sea turtles, stingrays, blue whales, orcas, grey whales and 98 species of birds. Other highlights include a snorkel through sea caves at the Caleta Partida, a beach set-up on the velvety shores of the crescent-shaped Playa Bonanza, and a hike along the scenic Cascada Seca trek at Playa Candelero. Along the way, paddle-boarding and kayaking opportunities abound. And when guests stay overnight, they will experience incredible sunrises and sunsets, and once-in-a-lifetime stargazing with a full view of the Milky Way.

As part of Paradero’s DNA, culinary elements are equally important. Adventurers will sample the brand’s award-winning culinary offerings like fresh sashimi with right-out-of-the-water Chocolata clams, sea urchin and scallops.

The gleaming, all-white vessel was built in Vendée, France, by Lagoon Catamarans, the world’s leader in sailing catamaran cruisers. It was constructed over a 15-month period, during which Paradero advised on design and materials. In keeping with the brand’s emphasis on sustainability, 30 percent of the resin used in the hull is crafted from recycled fibers, and the interior wood is sourced from FSC-certified forests. All fabrics in the saloon and cockpit are also made from recycled materials.

The sailboat features four cabins (each with an en-suite bathroom and separate shower) and nearly 500-square-feet of living space, including plush outdoor seating and over-water net beds on which guests can relax as the boat carves through the sea. Fully serviced with a captain, crew, and private chef, bartender, and a senior experience guide, “Paradero Sea of Cortez” is the ultimate luxury sailing experience in one of the most underrated destinations on earth.

The Full-Day Sailing Experience (from $4,480) has capacity for up to 10 passengers and includes 7-8 hours of sailing, while the Paradero Baja Getaway (from $8,320) is a two-night, three-day journey with room for up to 8 guests. Both options include full-service, dining and an open bar, and round-trip transportation between Paradero Todos Santos and the marina. “Paradero Sea of Cortez” is only available for Paradero Todos Santos guests and it is not available for a standalone catamaran reservation at this time.

The Organic Festival is back at UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, Brazil

September 6th, 2022

Since its founding in 2008, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa—the first Brazilian hotel accepted as a signatory to the UN Global Compact— has been a beacon of change in the Bahian town of Trancoso. Among its most impactful achievements include the creation of the Organic Festival Trancoso, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of organic food and its positive impact on the environment and community.

 

This year’s event—the third-ever Organic Festival Trancoso, running October 6-9, 2022—will bring together leading chefs, organic producers, brands, and thousands of tourists from all over Brazil, in an effort to engage the community and visitors in a dialogue about sustainability and agriculture.

 

The program will include classes, lectures, lunches, and dinners with special guests including Roberta Sudbrack (crowned Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2015), Morena Leite (Capim Santo, São Paulo), TV personality and chef Danielle Dahoui (Ruella, São Paulo), and Gabriela Barreto (Futuro Refeitório, São Paulo), Guilherme Gerard (UXUA Quadrado, Trancoso) among many others. The action will largely take place in the town’s historic square, next to the São João Batista church, and the new community garden at non-profit Associação Despertar Trancoso.

 

The three-day event kicks off with free classes, a grilled meat experience hosted by chef Roberta Sudbrack, and a dinner with chef Sandra Marques (Capim Santo, Trancoso), Morena Leite, and famed Bahian chef Dadá at the Capim Santo restaurant. On the 8th, the all-star chefs and organic supplies will unite for a big picnic in the Historic Square — a hallmark of the Organic Festival Trancoso—where signature dishes will be served for just 20 reais ($4) for the entire community. The festival will end with a luau hosted by chef Thiago Madeiros at UXUA Praia Bar and a free concert by Brazilian singer Alice Caymmi.

 

The event is made possible through the support of the NGO Conservation International Brazil, plus sponsorships by Cãna Cachaça, Simple Organic Cosmetics, Amma Chocolate, Vivente Wines, and Pacco bottles. Several other hotels in addition to the UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa have also pledged their support, including Capim Santo Trancoso, Pousada Tutabel, and Casa de Perainda, as well as a handful of restaurants that participate by incorporating organic ingredients from local producers on their menus.

 

Images Courtesy of UXUA: https://we.tl/t-ipkLlnEXmP

 

About UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

When Wilbert Das, former Creative Director of fashion label Diesel, opened his eco-chic retreat, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, he put the remote Brazilian fishing village of Trancoso on the map. Built by local artisans over a two-year period using traditional building methods and reclaimed materials (nothing is sourced beyond a five-mile radius of Trancoso), the boutique hotel is very much a product of its environment, situated on the historic main square of the village. Sustainability and wellness are a focus: at VIDA Lab, the on-site nutritional laboratory and medical kitchen, medical director Dr. Jullian Hamamoto transforms local plants and botanicals—from the on-site garden, the nearby Itapororoca beach, and the 50-acre UXUA ROÇA farm—into healing elixirs and beautifying therapies. Guests can go foraging with Dr. Jullian to learn about the significance of these ingredients, and the wellness philosophy of UXUA, informed by traditions of Brazil’s Indigenous Pataxó people.

 

Did you know? UXUA’s influence goes beyond the hotel’s walls: when UXUA first opened, the tradition of capoeira was practiced by few in Trancoso. Today, the sport is thriving in the region, thanks to the hotel’s generous support of Capoeira Sul da Bahia, a school dedicated to the preservation and study of the centuries-old martial arts-inspired dance form.

 

Watch this space: Conservation International Brazil and its Deliberative Board member Bob Shevlin, an UXUA co-founder, have recently recruited tourism industry and non-profit partners to launch FUTURI, a regional alliance developing regenerative tourism models. More at www.futuribrasil.com and insta #futuribrasil

 

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