Summer in Southern Europe with Belmond

March 16th, 2022

While Italy and Spain are perennial favorites (both are topping Virtuoso’s list of most-booked international destinations this year), this year brings dreamy new experiences and buzzy cultural events that beckon new visitors. In Venice, don’t miss Peggy Guggenheim Museum’s first large-scale international loan exhibition, Surrealism and Magic. And if your travels take you to the Amalfi Coast, organize a side trip to the sister island of Procida—a short ferry from Naples—which was dubbed Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022.

Filtered through the lens of Belmond, visitors will experience the splendor of a European summer like never before. Drift along the Italian Riviera in a traditional gozzo fishing boat, tour an artist’s Sicilian studio inside a former monastery, and enjoy Spanish guitar melodies amid a 15th-century winery on Mallorca. Access is everything, and guests of Belmond get front-row seats to these region’s most spectacular landscapes, experiences, and attractions.

PORTOFINO

At Splendido Mare and sister property, Splendido, discover the Portofino that has lured artists and writers to the coastal town throughout the centuries. Following a complete restoration that debuted last summer, Splendido Mare is the epitome of Italian glamor, with a picturesque location overlooking the yacht-filled harbor and 14 rooms filled with Ulrich Guglielmo armchairs, Carrara marble surfaces, and works by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli. Off-property, guests can walk in the footsteps of aristocrats and artists including Peter Paul Rubens by touring two private palaces that date back to the 16th century. Or play out private villa fantasies at a pair of cliff-hugging private residences surrounded by herb gardens and overlooking the shimmering sea. For deeper immersion in nature, plan a sunrise hike to a sustainable eco-farm overlooking the Ligurian Sea, where you can wander around olive groves and vegetable gardens and feast on local delicacies.

A quick jaunt away is Splendido, a Portofino icon housed inside a 16th-century monastery. Take a motorboat to the secluded bay of San Fruttuoso or drift along tranquil waters on traditional gozzo fishing boats, exploring secret coves and hidden bays. At the vineyard of La Portofinese—the only vineyard in Portofino with views of the Ligurian Sea—walk through sloping vines while tasting local grape varieties like Vermentino and Bianchetta Genovese.

VENICE

Over the next few months, Italy’s floating city will host several can’t miss cultural events, including the Arte Laguna Prize, the Surrealism and Magic exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and the Venice Biennale. There’s never been a better moment to visit—and at Belmond’s Cipriani, the city’s most iconic stay, guests will have access to exclusive experiences that will deepen their perspectives and whisk them away from the crowds. During tours of the Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th-century Library San Francesco della Vigna, rare books and preserved manuscripts will be on exclusive display for Belmond guests. Meanwhile, at the tiny island of Giudecca, guests will tour medieval pharmacies, visit an authentic gondola boatyard, and meet one of the last “moecante” (soft-shelled green crab) fishing families.

RAVELLO

A hidden treasure of the Amalfi Coast, Ravello is known for its cliffside gardens and dramatic Tyrrhenian Sea scenery. And Caruso, an 11th-century palace set on a cliff’s edge 1,000 feet above sea level, features all the worldly luxuries anyone could desire—paintings by old masters, marble-clad hallways, a pool that appears to drop into the sea below. Go beyond the usual tourist sites and enjoy exclusive access to secret underground networks deep below the historic town, where you’ll discover archeological treasures from Roman times. And while Amalfi is synonymous with hairpin turns and ribbon-like highways that stretch along the coastline, locals know that there’s a better way to discover the scenery: a hike along the Path of the Gods, an ancient route that links Agerola and Nocelle and offers hair-raising views. An expert guide will join you as you climb into the mountains and picnic on local specialties before descending 1,680 steps to the bustling town below.

SICILY

Travelers are finally catching onto Sicily’s diverse charms. With two glamorous hideaways on Italy’s boot, Belmond can offer every perspective on the island. Grand Hotel Timeo is a private home reborn as a lush tropical paradise. The enchanting hotel is located in the seaside commune of Taormina, on the island’s east coast, where it offers commanding views of Mount Etna, Naxos Bay, and beyond. Go on a private tour of artist Sergio Fiorentino’s private atelier, head to a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna for lunch and a tasting, or see the sights from above on a helicopter tour.

Set on a craggy coastline on the secluded Bay of Mazzaro, Villa Sant’Andrea has been dazzling visitors since the 1950s. Sit on a cabana on the hotel’s private beach, or set off to explore the island’s full range of adventures and experiences. Catch a show at the ancient Greek Theater with Mount Etna as your backdrop, or sail along the Sicilian coast to the charming town of Aci Trezza to meet members of the Rodolico family, who have been building handcrafted boats since 1908. For further local immersion, spend an afternoon with a fisherman and enjoy lunch inside his home overlooking the Messina Strait.

FLORENCE

Florence is synonymous with the Renaissance—what better way to immerse yourself in the period by staying at Villa San Michele, a former medieval monastery whose 15th-century façade is attributed to Michelangelo? Nestled in the Fiesole hills, the historic hotel is surrounded by lush woodland and terraced gardens, with views of the Chianti hills in the distance. Meet local makers and craftsmen who are powering Florence’s New Renaissance, enjoy a private visit to the Zeffirelli Museum where you’ll be personally greeted by the family, and end the day with a meditation session in a tranquil corner of the Leonardo woodland.

SPAIN

Mallorca is an island of many sides, and at La Residencia, guests can truly choose their own adventures. Wedged between the Mediterranean and the island’s spectacular Tramuntana mountains, the boutique jewel is steeped in soulfulness, with 800 works from local painters, 35 rooms and 32 suites set inside 16th-century manor houses, and easy access to the magical village of Deià. In a remote enclave near Alucudia, the Fundacion Yannick y Ben Jakober is a cultural institution comprising an underground art gallery, a sculpture park, and a rose garden with over a hundred varieties of old English roses. Belmond guests can round out their visits by touring a neighboring country estate and enjoying a picnic on the grounds of the Sa Bassa Blanca museum. For a different feast of the senses, meet acclaimed winemaker Javier Jara for a walk through his 15th-century winery, Son Sureda Ric. The experience will conclude with a bossa nova performance amid vines, with Javier on the guitar and his talented wife, Carmè, on vocals.

 

Le Commandant Charcot sets new world record in the Antarctic

March 16th, 2022

On February 27, 2022, PONANT’s Le Commandant Charcot set a new world record in reaching the latitude of 78°44.3’ South, the closet geographic latitude to the South Pole located in the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea.

Captain Patrick Marchesseau, who was at the helm, describes the moment when the vessel reached this point, “The Bay of Whales was the point of departure for the Amundsen expedition which was the first to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911. The temperature was around -15°C. It was in this beautiful landscape, as striking as the cold which reigns here, that Le Commandant Charcot reached 78°44.3’ South, which is the closest geographical latitude to the South Pole by sea on the entire Antarctic continent.”

The latest addition to the PONANT fleet, Le Commandant Charcot is the first hybrid electric high polar exploration ship powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). It is a leading innovation that signals the company’s commitment to sustainable tourism and to minimizing the environmental impact. A ship of scientific opportunity, she is also the only cruise ship to host researchers on board and provide them with a dedicated scientific laboratory. With Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT is collaborating with the scientific world to collect data and gain new insights into these extreme polar regions with that society becomes the best ambassadors once experienced firsthand.

ABOUT PONANT

Founded in 1988 by French Merchant Navy officers, PONANT offers a new style of cruises under the French flag with its own concept of sea travel and commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. Centered around sailing to exceptional and unusual destinations aboard refined design yachts, where lifestyle and excellent cuisine take pride of place, the promise of a voyage with PONANT is that it will be truly unique and authentic. For more information: us.ponant.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Chatwal Launches an Exclusive Work-From-Hotel Package

February 24th, 2022

A playground for New York’s creative set, the Theater District has long been a source of endless inspiration for residents and visitors alike. And now that The Chatwal—a landmark building where the nation’s first professional theatrical club once gathered—has launched an exclusive Work-From-Home Offer, guests will be able to chase their creativity and boost their productivity while enjoying a change of scenery, including views of Manhattan’s skyline from their private outdoor terrace.

The offer includes 10% off a two-night minimum stay, Sunday through Wednesday, plus daily lunch from The Lambs Club delivered straight to your “desk,” complimentary daily butler services (shoe-shining, garment pressing and steaming) complimentary WiFi, and daily housekeeping service upon request.

With pandemic restrictions easing, including the lifting of the indoor mask mandate, there’s never been a better time to visit New York City, where guests of The Chatwal enjoy specialty access to Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, and other top sights.

For an extra dose of inspiration, bed down in one of 14 suites with lush private terraces that overlook West 44th Street and Manhattan’s skyline. Or spark your creativity by opting for the Library Suite, which features a private library stocked with literary tomes and classics. After work hours, guests can work out in the on-site fitness center, or ask the concierge for the best local recommendations, whether it’s dinner reservations, art exhibitions, or walks in nearby Central Park.

The offer will end Labor Day; room rates start at $495+tax (pre-discount).

About The Chatwal Brand

With timeless elegance at its core in architecture, design and details, The Chatwal brand is committed to offering bespoke experiences and refined services. Created by the visionary hotelier and entrepreneur Mr. Sant Singh Chatwal, The Chatwal brand represents a seamless mélange of impeccable world-class interiors, serene wellness components, the finest in haute cuisine and elaborate wines, and a deep understanding of local cultures to provide guests with highly personalized and distinguished, luxury hospitality in some of the world’s most desirable locales. The flagship property, The Chatwal, New York, has been voted #1 Best Hotel in New York City by the 2021 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and #2 Top Hotel in New York City by the 2021 Travel + Leisure’s World Best Awards. Originally built in 1905 by Stanford White, the landmark hotel was restored and renewed by master architect Thierry  Despont and re-launched in 2010 with 76 creatively-appointed accommodations, several of which feature spacious outdoor terraces. April 29, 2022 will  debut  The Chatwal Lodge, The Catskills, NY, which will be followed by  2023 openings in San Miguel de Allende and Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico.

 

 

NANTUCKET REOPENS THIS SPRING

February 23rd, 2022

 

 

Nantucket: Why Go Now

With Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and other holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start planning a spring getaway to Nantucket. Get a jump start on the season by arriving in time for the reopening of hotels like White Elephant, overlooking the harbor; The Wauwinet, situated between two private beaches; The Cottages, perched on the Boat Basin; and the Jared Coffin House, a former whaling merchant’s home. All properties are enticing guests with the “Hot Dates, Cool Rates” promotion, which offers discounts of up to 25 percent off nightly rates. Many beloved restaurants like Brant Point Grill and TOPPER’s will also reopen, giving visitors the chance to nab reservations before the summer crowds descend.

As the mercury rises and flowers start to bloom, spring is one of the best times to get outdoors and explore the island, experiencing the full range of activities on offer—from golfing and sailing to surfcasting. Guests of White Elephant have complimentary access to Priority Bicycles, which they can use to peddle around the island, as well as a fleet of 2022 BMW vehicles, also available on a complimentary basis. Guests of the hotel are within strolling distance of beaches, the shops on Main Street, and several cultural centers. On April 23 and 24, the Daffodil Festival will take place on the island, kicking off a 2022 season of celebrations, many of which have been paused in recent years due to the pandemic: May 18-22 will see the return of the Nantucket Wine Festival; June 16-19 the Nantucket Book Festival; and June 22-26 the Nantucket Film Festival.

Suite Spotlight

The only bookable accommodation on Nantucket’s Main Street, 32 Main Street Loft is an airy 2,500-square-foot space with three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. The light-drenched loft is located on the second floor of a historic brick building and features sleek, contemporary furnishings and large picture windows with views of Main Street. Perfect for large families or big groups, the pied-à-terre-style accommodation has an expansive living space, an open kitchen, and a dining table that seats 8. Guests also have access to the pool and cabana area at White Elephant, a short walk away.

‘Woof There it Is’

The whole family (four-legged members, included) is welcome at the one- and two-bedroom Woof Cottages. Located at the Nantucket Boat Basin, the Cottages give the impression of sleeping on the water, with large decks overlooking the harbor. These cottages give pets the VIP treatment, with beds, a welcome basket of treats and toys, food and water bowls, and personalized pet tags. For recommendations on the island’s most pet-friendly activities—including the best places to run free, play fetch, and settle down for lunch—email local insider Bailey, a black lab/Brittany Spaniel mix, at petconcierge@thecottagesnantucket.com. Nightly rates start at $275.

How to Travel to the Island

JetBlue, United and American Airlines are re-launching direct service to the island beginning in May from east coast cities including Boston, New York, Newark, Washington D.C. and Charlotte. Roundtrip flights from New York start at $140 while nonstop service from Washington D.C. dips as low as $180 roundtrip. Seastreak Ferry’s seasonal service between Manhattan and Nantucket will also return on weekends beginning June 16.

 

Celebrate Women’s History Month

February 18th, 2022

March is Women’s History Month – a time to (extra) celebrate the accomplishments of our leading ladies. From tours through wine country to dedicated suites, here are inspiring destinations to visit that pay homage to female powerhouses, plus a shoutout to our favorite fearless females.

Female-Focused Suites

Portofino, Italy

Celebrating the iconic 1950s era that defined Portofino’s glamorous past, Splendido Mare, a Belmond property dedicated the penthouse suite to Ava Gardner, as a nod to her stay at the guest house while filming Barefoot Contessa in 1954. Following its complete renovation 2021, the redesigned suite spans the entire top floor of the seaside retreat and features subtle references to the actress in the décor: original vintage photographs of Ava in the artwork selection and coffee table books that relate to her.

Nantucket, MA

Throughout the 1800s, Nantucket was home to more history-making women than anywhere else in the country. At the time, American women could not vote, own property or access higher education. Whaling, the island’s isolated location and Quakerism all played a role in championing women’s rights. As a nod to the island’s history-making females, for suites at the Jared Coffin House, a former whaling merchant’s home, were named after an influential woman from Nantucket. Anna Gardner was instrumental in calling an anti-slavery meeting in 1841 during which Frederick Douglass gave his first speech as an abolitionist speaker. Lucretia Coffin Mott participated in the country’s first meeting about women’s rights in 1848. Maria Mitchell is the first professional female astronomer who opened her own school in 1835 that was desegregated, a controversial move at the time. Mary Coffin Starbuck is recognized for bringing Quakerism to Nantucket in the early 1700s and she ran a trading post that served as the island’s commercial center. The Jared Coffin House is open year-round. Rates start at $145 per night.

Scotland

The Fife Arms, the 19th century hunting lodge in Braemaer Scotland owned by art industry power couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth (of Hauser and Wirth), is inspired by Queen Victoria. The property is just up the road from Balmoral Castle, the residence of the Royal Family. Queen Victoria put Braemar on the map when she purchased Balmoral in 1852 and pioneered fresh air holidays in the destination. Rooms and suites are inspired by some of Braemar’s most noble visitors, including Queen Victoria herself as well as poets Nan Shepard and Marion Angus, Doctor Elsie Inglis, fashion magazine editor Frances Farquharson, and Princesses Louise and Frances Dolgorouki. Each room is a celebration of their involvement in the expansion of Braemar as a destination for visitors around the world.

Women-Led Experiences

Napa Valley, CA

Visit Napa Valley in partnership with West Wine Tours offers the “Women in Wine Country” tasting tour. The privately guided experience brings groups of up to six guests through the vines of Napa Valley in an Instagram-worthy vintage Volkswagen bus. The journey includes three wineries with women winemakers at the helm. Stops include St. Clair Brown Winery & Brewery by Elaine St. Clair, who is the only woman in the U.S. to hold the commercial title of both winemaker and brewer; and Fantesca Estate & Winery by Heidi Barrett, who is known as “The First Lady of Wine” and is behind California’s most notable cult wines, such as Screaming Eagle. The final stop is Crocker & Starr, owned by founding winemaker, Pam Starr. With a career spanning four decades, she is celebrated for her Sauvignon Blanc and sustainable farming practices. Each stop will include a tasting experience and guests may even get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek with the winemakers themselves. Private transportation for up to six guests, including a driver and lunch costs $650 per bus. Tasting experiences are an additional $240 per person. For more information, visit: https://www.westwinetours.com

Scotland

The Fife Arms in the Scottish Highlands recently lifted the veil on a new whisky bar, Bertie’s. The bar offers 365 whiskies from Scotland and around the world, curated by flavor profile: Fragrant, Fruity, Rich and Smoky. Whisky Ambassador Katy Fennema leads experiences such as flights, tastings, and tours of local distilleries. Fennema is also a consultant for the Edinburgh Whisky Academy. Fun fact: women now account for 30-40% of consumers of whisky.

Who Runs the World? Girls!

Tessa Hempson… is the marine scientist and program manager behind andBeyond’s Ocean Without Borders project in East Africa. Tessa has spent her career exploring and studying oceans around the world, having worked as a helicopter underwater evacuation instructor for the Australian Defense Force; a conservation manager for the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST); and a researcher on the Aldabra Atoll World Heritage Site in the Seychelles. Guests of andBeyond’s three island lodges in Mozambique and Zanzibar can join Tessa in conservation experiences like fish tagging, measuring and monitoring reef systems in the Indian Ocean.

Florence Kuyper …is an expedition leader and naturalist guide on PONANT’s new Le Commandant Charcot. A self-proclaimed polar fanatic, she spends much of the year in 24-hour daylight, splitting her time between navigating the icy waters in the Arctic and Antarctica. But she’s not averse to a bit of heat. She also once crossed the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, walking almost 800 miles alongside a camel caravan. In addition to leading almost 100 expeditions to the poles, Kuyper also spent five months as a base leader in Port Lockroy, a British station on the Antarctic peninsula. Guests can join her on expeditions that explore Peter I Island - where fewer people have visited than the moon, and Charcot Island - located in the Southern Ocean, which is covered in ice for most of the year making it difficult to reach and practically unexplored.

Bernie Gallagher…is Chairman of The Doyle Collection, the family-owned, Irish hotel group with properties in Dublin, London, Cork, Bristol, and Washington, DC. In additional to being meticulously detail-orientated in the running of each hotel, she is passionate about supporting and uplifting women. She spearheads the group’s annual initiative to support women in business by offering complimentary professional headshots in each of their city locations. Often securing a professional profile shot often falls to the wayside. The Doyle Collection is inviting women to book a slot with a professional female photographer, who will ensure they are comfortable within the stylish hotel surroundings, and each will receive a digital headshot that can be used as a valuable marketing tool – whether it be for website, social media, LinkedIn profiles or press outreach. (In Washington, DC, this will take place on March 8 at The Dupont Circle hotel.)

 

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