News from the Vines: Winter 2020

November 30th, 2020

What’s Happening in Napa Valley


While it’s no secret that Napa Valley has faced some challenges this year, the region is open to visitors and the spirit is stronger than ever. The Glass Fire that broke out in September is now 100 percent contained and most of Napa County’s 45,000 acres of vine were not impacted. For those wondering how to help, the best way to support the community and its members is to visit. And the timing couldn’t be better. As harvest closes out this month, travelers will be welcomed with the start of Cabernet Season – the best time to visit for those in the know. From November through April, summer heat is replaced with perfectly mild temperatures – think warm days, cool nights, and blue skies. The pace slows down and foliage is at eye level as the vines become dormant along Silverado Trail. (Leaf peeping is not just on the east coast!) Brilliant yellow wild mustard flowers are scattered through the vineyards and along country lanes. During this time of year, visitors can more easily nab reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants. Greater access to wineries is another bonus with more opportunities to meet winemakers and receive impromptu glimpses behind the scenes.

What’s New in Wine (and Spirit) Tastings
These tastings are shaking up the scene in Napa Valley, with freshly designed spaces and new experiences with an emphasis on privacy. Napa Valley Distillery, the first distillery to open its doors in the city of Napa since prohibition, opened a new speakeasy tasting salon dubbed the ”Hollywood Room” with cocktails crafted from spirits made just a few feet away. The art deco-designed space is punctuated with tiki bar-like decor.  Animal lovers will gravitate towards Oasis by Hoopes, where wines are accompanied by an animal sanctuary and regenerative farm. The outdoor space, which opened in October 2020, is dotted with airstreams, lounge areas made with recycled materials, a farm stand (with produce for purchase), as well as rescued chickens, pigs, and goats. Faust’s new tasting room, housed in a Victorian home originally built in 1878, opened in September 2020 following a four-year renovation. Known for their Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from organically farmed estates, the new space still features the original cellar from pre-prohibition era. And for travelers prioritizing privacy, Charles Krug, the oldest wine estate in Napa, opened five new private WIFI-enabled outdoor tasting cabanas on the winery’s picnic grounds and Trefethen is now offering a nightly after-hours experience permitting only one booking per evening – meaning guests have the whole estate to themselves. Space to watch: Yountville’s Baldacci Family Vineyards will open a new hospitality center in March 2021, featuring new private tasting rooms, a wine bar, and an outdoor patio overlooking wine country vistas.

Neighborhoods to Watch
Calistoga
Calistoga, the northern most town in Napa Valley – famed as a wine-meets-spa destination thanks to its geothermal waters – is in the limelight thanks to a crop of new hotels and multi-million-dollar resort renovations. Four Seasons Resort & Residences will open this winter with 85-rooms and an on-site vineyard and tasting room – a rarity in Napa Valley.  As a nod to Calistoga’s wellness roots, the property will offer an eight-room spa with steam pods in which hammocks will be suspended above geo-thermal pools for guests to absorb the heated vapor.  Coming soon, Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, originally built in 1952, will unveil a large-scale renovation. Considered one of the first resorts in Calistoga and known for its mud bath treatments, the property’s new look will include a Southwestern-inspired restaurant, House of Better. This December, Solage, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, will unveil a $30 million-dollar renovation overseen by architect Howard Backen – considered the creator of “Napa Valley Style” – and Los Angeles-based interior design agency Studio Collective. In addition to 11 new accommodations, Solbar - their signature restaurant – will double the size of the patio for outdoor dining and the new PicoBar, with light bites and cocktails, will sit next to an enlarged pool deck with contemporary loungers and cabanas.

Downtown Napa
Spanning three buzzy blocks in the heart of Downtown Napa, First Street Napa is an ever-growing hub for shopping, dining, and tasting. Known for its locally owned boutiques and independent restaurants and wineries, the district has recently welcomed a surge of new shops like C’est La Paire for chic boots and handbags; The Bennington Napa Valley for vintage finds; and Copperfield’s Books, a mainstay store returning to First Street. The first standalone tasting room dedicated solely to luxury California brandies, California Brandy House, will open on First Street on November 6, 2020 for outdoor tastings. The new concept will debut with two leading brandy portfolios, Germain-Robin and Argonaut. Visitors will be guided through tasting flights, including single-barrel samples that are only available at the tasting space. For those looking for something on the fizzier side, the first and only dedicated Champagne & sparkling wine lounge in Napa Valley, Be Bubbly, has just opened its doors. Over in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market (a 40,000-square-foot marketplace with an expansive outdoor deck along the Napa River), Bar Lucia opened this summer from owner behind Kara’s Cupcakes. Highlights of the bar include rosé and sparkling wines paired with seasonal bites. Founder Kara Haspel Lind named the bar after her great grandmother and her daughter, honoring the traditions passed down through five generations of women in her family. For those visitors who are overwhelmed with options across the region, a brand-new Napa Valley Welcome Center will open on November 12 as a resource for itinerary-planning. New technology will provide visitors insider tips in a no-touch manner, and a 16-foot video wall will offer a taste of Napa Valley travel inspiration to pedestrians along First Street through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Looking Ahead to 2021
Black History Month – February 2021
In honor of Black History Month in February, travelers to Napa Valley can explore the roots of BIPOC pioneers in the winemaking business and support local initiatives throughout the region. Leaders in the industry include Brown Estate Vineyards, which was the first Black-owned estate winery in Napa and is now best known as one of Napa Valley’s most well-regarded zinfandel producers. Neighboring Okapi Wines is a micro-boutique winery that produces just a few barrels of wine each year. Founder Dan Johnson limits its production to 300 cases per year to maintain sustainable farming practices. Carneros Resort and Spa is offering a Diversity in Wine Flight featuring four wines by vintners and winemakers of color. The tasting flight is available at two of their onsite restaurants with 10% of proceeds being donated to UNCF. To support diversity in the wine industry, Napa Valley Vintners, a nonprofit association representing more than 500 wineries in the region, has partnered with UNCF to create a new scholarship program for people of color to pursue college degrees in subjects including grape growing and winemaking, with $1 million already invested into the program.

Women Winemakers are changing the way we drink wine (and beer!)
The month of March is all about celebrating women with International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. As one of the top viticultural regions, Napa Valley is known for its sprawling vineyards, historic wineries and towns that dot the countryside. It is also home to many women who have made names for themselves throughout the area. To name a few, Elaine St. Clair is the only woman in the U.S. to hold the commercial title of both winemaker and brewer. Kathryn Walt Hall is the force behind HALL Wines and WALT Wines in St. Helena and has been in the Napa wine industry for almost five decades, having also worked as an attorney, community activist, and as the United States Ambassador to Austria. During her 40-year tenure in Napa Valley winemaking, Heidi Barrett, who known as “The First Lady of Wine” is behind California’s most notable cult wines, including Screaming Eagle, which has a starting price of $700 a bottle. Today she’s co-founder of her own label, Barrett & Barrett, where she continues to produce some of the top Cabernet Sauvignons.

 

 

Fall is the New Summer on Nantucket

October 8th, 2020

There’s no denying that Nantucket is the quintessential summer destination, but true insiders know that fall is when the island really shines. The crowds disperse and beachcombers can spread out across the island’s 82 miles of coastline to make the most of the last summer days. Food-lovers will rejoice at the arrival of autumnal treats such as fresh, local cranberries from the largest certified organic bog in the country; and Nantucket Bay scallops, only available during the cooler months. From new suites to private tours and holiday cheer, here’s everything you need to know to close out 2020 on island.

New Suites at Jared Coffin House
Jared Coffin House, a former whaling merchant’s home located in the heart of town, unveiled new accommodations on August 15, 2020. While retaining the historic architecture of the 19th-century building, portions of the ground floor were transformed from a former restaurant space into four suites and one guestroom. Each of the suites are named after historic female figures on Nantucket, including Anna Gardner, who was instrumental in organizing an anti-slavery meeting in 1841 during which Frederick Douglass gave his first speech as an abolitionist speaker.

Throw it B(ACK) to the Whaling Days
Nantucket has a centuries-old history as one of the world’s most important whaling ports. November 20, 2020 will mark the 200th anniversary of the sinking of the Essex, the Nantucket-based whale ship that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Today, visitors can explore the island’s rich history on foot with a self-guided walking tour past the Jethro Coffin House, the sole surviving structure from the island’s original seventeenth-century English settlement; and to the Brant Point Lighthouse, which became a fixture for navigating whaleships safely back to port. The Whaling Museum, housed in a 19th-century candle factory, tells the story of the rise and fall of the industry, and is a must visit for all travelers. New for 2020, White Elephant Resort’s Pre-arrival Concierge can assist with arranging private tours each Sunday while the museum is closed to the public.

Ho Ho Holiday Celebrations
The 47th annual Christmas Stroll, November 28-December 6, 2020 feels like you’re stepping into a Charles Dickens backdrop with every corner of Nantucket’s historic downtown transformed into a winter wonderland. As an ode to its original roots, the theme of this year’s event will be centered around shopping local for the holidays. Stroll originally started over four decades ago as an effort to keep residents from leaving Nantucket to buy gifts on the mainland. Today, boutiques remain open through early December and will have elaborately designed storefronts outfitted with twinkling lights. Downtown’s cobblestone streets will also be lined with hundreds of seven-foot fit lit trees decorated by locals. Festive attire and ugly sweaters are encouraged.

Zoom from Here
Those looking for a last dose of sunshine before winter – and a change of scenery for your Zoom meetings – can make White Elephant Resorts their new home. Parents and children alike can set up their new remote station in either a King Room or one-bedroom residence at White Elephant overlooking Nantucket Harbor or in a room or suite at the historic Jared Coffin House. With the offer, families will enjoy a dining credit at Brant Point Grill or Nantucket Tap Room with all-day room service delivery, complimentary WIFI and a welcome kit stocked with a Swell bottle, notebooks, and snacks to keep you going – including beloved Aunt Leah’s Fudge – a staple on island for more than 40 years. Rates at White Elephant begin at $2,095 per week and $1,365 per week at Jared Coffin House.

Extra! Extra!
In addition to the miles of sand and sea, Nantucket is host to a variety of cultural offerings. Here are a few of our favorites to add to the autumn calendar.

  • The Nantucket Historical Association debuted a new exhibition, “The Road from Abolition to Suffrage,” at the Whaling Museum this season. Detailing the civil rights leaders on Nantucket, the new exhibit tells the story of the island’s journey toward a more just and equitable distribution of political power. It begins with a will written in 1710 that endowed a formerly enslaved man with property and continues through Nantucket’s history with race and gender relations until the enactment of the 19th Amendment in 1920 granting voting rights to women.
  • Witness the rare Blue Moon on October 31, 2020 from the Loines Observatory, home to the largest public telescope on the East Coast. Visitors will also learn about Nantucket native Maria Mitchell, the first female astronomer who discovered a comet in 1847 and the first women to ever be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • After a successful community fundraising effort for a drive-in movie theater, the NantucketDreamland opened to the public this summer. The whole family can enjoy the classics on the program for this fall including Dirty DancingThe Graduate, When Harry Met Sally and Casablanca. Through White Elephant Resort’s partnership with BMW, complimentary vehicles are available to guests.

How to Get There
JetBlue offers direct flights from New York City through October 19 and from Boston through September 27. Seastreak Ferry’s seasonal service between Manhattan and Nantucket is available through October 8. Cape Air flights connecting from Boston are available to the island year-round, as is ferry service from Hyannis, MA.

P.S. The Elephant is Migrating This Winter…
As the Nantucket season closes for the winter, travelers will look south for warmer weather. Welcomed by the beloved elephant statue, White Elephant Palm Beach will open its doors for the first time on November 4, 2020. The brand new 32-room hotel is housed in the former Bradley Park Hotel – originally constructed in 1924 as one of the first resorts on Palm Beach’s Main Street. Given it’s listed with the Landmark Preservation Commission, the footprint of the structure and the facade remained, while the interiors have been stripped to the bones and rebuilt by Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects.

 

top hotel accommodations around the world

September 22nd, 2020

From an experiential work of art in London to the nearly 20,000-square-foot hotel-within-a-hotel in Marrakech, these top suites, villas and standalone accommodations offer the best in amenities, design and privacy around the world.


TOP SUITES

A one-bedroom sculpture, a baby grand piano, the former residence of the last High King of Ireland – there is no stone left unturned in these top suites.

ROOM at The Beaumont

The Beaumont in London is home to Turner Prize-winner Antony Gormley’s inhabitable sculpture called ROOM. Designed as an experiential work of art, the exterior takes the shape of a three-story crouching man made of stainless-steel – an answer to the City of Westminster’s requirement that new buildings contain public art. The one-bedroom suite is a dark space entirely clad in fumed-oak, featuring only a single, all-white bed and can be taken to pitch black darkness and silence at the flip of a switch. The heavily insulated walls create an extremely quiet inside, free from the sounds of the city, and there is a window high up where guests can see the night sky but no surrounding buildings as Gormley wanted views to be unencumbered. There is nothing in the room other than the bed – no TV, minibar, artwork or telephone – so there are no distractions.

Tokyo Suite at Park Hyatt Tokyo

50 floors above Tokyo’s restless streets, Park Hyatt Tokyo’s residence-like Tokyo Suite has floor-to-ceiling views of the city’s skyline from almost every room, with Japan’s highest mountain, Mt. Fuji, peaking up in the distance. Decorated with the aura of a private apartment, this 2,368-square-foot accommodation is adorned with a Miao headdress and washi lanterns by Isamu Noguchi, designer and creator of The Noguchi Museum in New York. From the baby grand piano in the living room to the library collection of 1,000 books on the arts, this suite is a quiet and comfortable escape from bustle below.

Eden Suite at La Réserve Eden au Lac

Located on the third floor of La Réserve Eden au Lac, the Eden Suite debuted earlier this year as part of two-year restoration project helmed by Philippe Starck. The Eden Suite features glass walls separating the living area from the bathroom with natural light pouring in from the large windows and four balconies with charming ironwork. As the only luxury hotel on Lac Zurich, the suite offers sweeping views to allow guests to admire the boats and the Alps in the distance. Taking inspiration from the location, Starck wanted to give guests the feeling of being on a yacht. He lent his signature contemporary touch with neutral tones and sleek metal accents, while honoring the building’s historical elements. Quirky nautical touches include wooden oars, paintings of sailboats and room numbers printed as if they were on a racing sail.

Brian Boru Suite at Dromoland Castle

Named for one of the last High Kings of Ireland and member of the O’Brien family who founded the Castle in the 16th century, the Brian Boru Suite at Dromoland Castle has a bedroom and sitting room overlooking the property’s lake. The bedroom’s canopy bed, sparkling chandelier, and separate dressing room evoke the Castle’s royal heritage, activities like falconry and pony and trap rides celebrate its history and the 18-hole golf course with a flood-lit driving range embrace modern technology.

TOP STANDALONE ACCOMMODATIONS

For those looking for extra privacy and added space, these standalone accommodations – villas, casas and riads – offer private entrances, plenty of outdoor space and even their own dedicated staff.


Grand Riad at Royal Mansour

Of Royal Mansour’s 53 individual three-story accommodations, the four-bedroom Grand Riad is the undisputed crown jewel. Referred to as the “hotel within the hotel,” the nearly 20,000-square-foot residence features a private library, two swimming pools with built-in water current, a cinema, hammam, gym, multiple dining and living rooms, and a glass-enclosed split-level terrace with a retractable roof. With a private resort entrance, the Grand Riad feels more like a private home than a hotel. No detail is overlooked thanks in large part to a dedicated staff that includes a chef, watchman, housekeepers, and butlers.

Casa do Lago at UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

UXUA just launched a new casa, Casa do Lago, where not a single tree was cut to create the new accommodation. The house reimagines an old fisherman home and its colonial Brazilian style with reclaimed materials, such as wood sourced from an abandoned plantation, and a modern eye. Wilbert Das, founder of UXUA and former creative director of Diesel, filled the casa with Brazilian art, antiques, and custom pieces from the UXUA DAS furniture collection. The defining feature of this casa is a lake surrounded by rainforest and preserved with modern technology to be sustainable and healthy. The mineral-rich water is home to rare fish species and is a perfect place to swim. The casa is just a short walk from the historic Quadrado of Trancoso but feels like its own tropical universe, celebrating indoor/outdoor living.

Stella Maris at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Out of the 121 villas, Stella Maris is a standout option at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi – accessible only by traditional dhoni boat. The nearly 6,000-square-feet duplex accommodation features an infinity pool, overwater hammocks with direct access to the ocean, and a BBQ station that is available for private chef service. The ‘smart villa’ (with every light, aircon, and curtain controlled from one central iPad) is stocked with still and sparkling water produced at the property’s onsite bottling plant. Laid-back island style is juxtaposed with modern design elements – from a sleek spiral staircase to a bathroom decked out in black-and-white stripes from head to toe. With an ambiance inspired by the Maldivian night sky, the layout offers stargazing opportunities from various points around the villa, allowing guests to spot both northern and southern hemisphere constellations from a different spot every night.

Fleming Villa at GoldenEye

Channel Ian Fleming in celebration of the 25th James Bond movie, No Time to Die, in the aptly named, five-bedroom Fleming Villa at GoldenEye in Jamaica, where he penned all 14 James Bond novels. Today, his writing desk still remains. The main bedroom looks onto his sunken garden, where he entertained the likes of Kathryn Hepburn and Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden. Guests have access to his private beach and can snorkel in his beloved reef. The grounds also feature a private screening room in what was Fleming’s former garage.

andBeyond Ngala Treehouse at andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge and andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp

Three miles away from the nearest lodge and 39 feet in the air is the new andBeyond Ngala Treehouse. The completely private, four-level accommodation – surrounded by nothing but the South African bush – opened in February 2020 as a new accommodation at andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge and andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp. Fully solar-powered, the treehouse has a rooftop deck with an outdoor bed and lounge for al fresco sundowners and dinner for two, an indoor bedroom, and a full bathroom with an outdoor shower – all with uninterrupted views of the bush below. Couples pack up just what they need for the night and are escorted on a game drive to the treehouse for an unforgettable sleepover, complete with a stocked bar and jars of midnight snacks. Surrounded by a thorn boma fence and just a phone call away from the dedicated treehouse attendant, travelers can feel safe in this otherwise intimidating setting.

Palazzo Vendramin at Belmond Hotel Cipriani

Separated from the main hotel by an ancient courtyard and flowered walkway, Belmond Hotel Cipriani’s Palazzo Vendramin is housed in a 15th-century former palace with views overlooking Venice’s St. Mark’s Square. When booking the new Exclusive Places offer, the 16-room-and-suite palace offers complete seclusion for groups with a separate entrance and private dock along with 24-hour concierge service and daily a la carte breakfast. The top suite, the Dogressa Suite, offers views over both St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace via floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the sitting room. Build out a fulsome itinerary with private experiences including a sailing aboard Belmond’s Edipo Re, a meticulously restored, 16-meter vintage 1960s sailboat to explore the lagoon; or a mixology masterclass with beloved head barman Walter Bolzonella.


COMING SOON!

We’re looking ahead to exciting debuts in 2020 including the largest penthouse suite in Washington D.C. overseen by Clodagh as well as a new boutique hotel in Palm Beach with a private 1,200-square-foot rooftop terrace.

Penthouse Suite at The Dupont Circle

The pièce de resistance of the largescale, top-to-bottom renovation at The Dupont Circle hotel in Washington, DC is the Penthouse Suite, designed by Clodagh. Debuting this month, it can be booked two ways: as a one-bedroom or two-bedroom. When expanded into two-bedrooms, the suite is one of the largest in the city at 1,980 square feet. The heated outdoor terrace, which overlooks Dupont Circle and has views of the Washington Monument, also adds an additional 590 square feet. For the ultimate private experience: guests can also book the entire penthouse floor with its 12 suites and private elevator. Many also featured heated terraces, and all have been completely redesigned by Bernie Gallagher, the Chairman of the Doyle Collection who is very invested in the design of each property, imbuing them all with a unique sense of style and place.

Park Suite at White Elephant Palm Beach

White Elephant Palm Beach, sister hotel to the White Elephant on Nantucket, will open on November 4, 2020 with 32 rooms and suites. Ideal for friends and multi-generational families, the 3,000-square-foot penthouse Park Suite is a three-bedroom that can be expanded into four, complete with a fully equipped kitchen and spacious living room. With views of Bradley Park, the penthouse includes a 1,200-square-foot rooftop terrace for entertaining. Other decorative accents such as bronze elephant door knockers, bold patterned throw pillows, rattan ceiling light fixtures, and black and white striped side tables are sprinkled throughout.

 

ampr march 2018 update

April 10th, 2018

What’s New?

The Lowell’s ever-popular Pembroke Room, known for its chic Afternoon Tea and polished service, is relaunching in April 2018 – complete with a new outdoor terrace for alfresco brunching.

PONANT announces the first electric hybrid Icebreaker ship coming in 2021, which will safely cut through ice flow up to eight feet thick and travel to the true geographic North Pole (at 90 degrees North Latitude).

andBeyond Phinda Homestead in KwaZulu-Natal will reopen on September 1, 2018 after a complete rebuild. This standalone safari lodge allows travelers a completely private safari experience, ideal for family or group travel – no sharing safari vehicles and total control over the day’s schedule.

From March 1 through April 30, The Dupont Circle in Washington DC is celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival with a special ‘In Full Bloom’ package including a stay at the hotel, the chef’s cherry blossom themed welcome amenity, a $25 dining credit, and complimentary valet parking.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort has officially opened two of the five ultra-luxe Beachfront Collection residences. Images of the new homes – complete with infinity pools and floor-to-ceiling glass windows – are available for stays now.

Domaine de Manville in the heart of Provence received its first Michelin Star for its restaurant, l’Aupiho, helmed by Chef Matthieu Dupuis Baumal.

Vista Collina Resort in Napa is projected to open Summer 2018 and will feature 145 guestrooms. Adjacent to the property will be the Village, featuring nine tastings room, a food and wine center, and a 16,000 square foot lawn for concerts and events.

Jamaica’s GoldenEye launches veggie cocktails, featuring local produce from Pantrepant, the hotel’s farm. New elixirs include: the Cucumber Martini; Beetroot, Bourbon, and Scotch bonnet cocktail; and the Arugula and Celery Sour.

Royal Mansour Spa has unveiled a new series of bespoke hammam treatments where each step of the hammam process can be customized beginning with three types of body wraps, two types of kessa gloves, and a variety of Leonor Greyl shampoos for varying hair types.

Belmond has expanded its Italian portfolio with the acquisition of Castello di Casole, a historic castle hotel in the heart of rural Tuscany. The intimate 39-room hotel sits within 4,200 acres of farmland, vineyards, and olive groves – one of the largest private estates in Italy.

Travel to Brazil is easier than ever with a newly-launched e-visa system for American travelers To make the most of a Brazilian vacation, travelers can book Belmond’s ‘Grand Tour of Brazil’ – a five-night itinerary that includes the brand’s properties on Copacabana Beach and in Iguassu falls – or go off-the-beaten-path with a visit to UXUA on the remote shores of Trancoso.

Strawless and Flawless

Hotels are eschewing plastic straws for more sustainable options like paper or bamboo. According to The Last Plastic Straw project, 500 million straws are used and thrown away every day in the US, which is about 175 billion per year.

Nayara Springs, set on the fringes of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, only uses bamboo straws across the property’s restaurants and bars – mixologist Monica Gonzalez is on-hand to whip up poolside cocktails made with local fruits.

The Doyle Collection’s London hotels (The Marylebone, The Kensington, and The Bloomsbury) just officially became plastic-straw-free and are now moving to roll out this policy brand-wide, from Dublin to Cork to Washington DC.

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and the new andBeyond Bateleur Camp (reopening this month after a complete renovation), both on Kenya’s Masai Mara, have discontinued all plastic straw usage – falling into line with their ethos: care of the land, care of the wildlife, care of the people.

Go Global with Locals


andBeyond’s new philanthropic-focused itineraries in Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa give guests first-hand experiences with the locals in the community, like participating in school conservation lessons in Tanzania.

Guests of Nayara Springs can visit the source of the resort’s chocolate at a local farm. The owners will teach travelers the process of chocolate-making.

During PONANT’s voyages through the Northwest Passage, guests will have opportunity to meet with locals in charming Inuit villages to learn about the culture.

Majestic Hotel & Spa has an exclusive relationship with local marine biologist Anna Bozzano, the only tour guide approved to visit the Barcelona Fish Market where she teaches about the market’s innerworkings.

Connecting guests with the local community is elemental to every Belmond experience. Highlights include art lessons with Jose Luis Arias, a graduate of the local Instituto Allende, at the newly renovated Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, and a walking tour with a former prison guard of Nelson Mandela’s that begins at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

Sugar Beach guests who hike the Gros Piton follow a guide from the local village up the two-hour climb.

Over-the-top Amenities

Guests at La Réserve Paris can create their ownbespoke scent with the help of a professional ‘nose.’

Thanks to Kinloch Anderson, kilt maker to Her Royal Highness the Queen, travelers on Belmond Royal Scotsman are swept to the showroom for a private fitting, and a fully customized kilt arrives at their doorstep 8-10 weeks later in the family tartan or a pattern from the train. During their journey, guests will find a complimentary set of Highland Dress (kilts for men, skirts for women) awaiting them in their train cabin.

One of the new Beachfront Collection residences available to buy or book for stay at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach will have a waterslide connecting an infinity pool to a lower level hot tub and yoga deck.

Guests who book the top, three-bedroom suite at the White Elephant, White Elephant Village or The Wauwinet will receive the keys to a BMW for the duration of their stay.

At andBeyond Mnemba Island, instead of your typical tray of room service arriving in your room, the lodge will dig a custom “sand castle” dining room on the beach in front of your suite and serve freshly caught seafood surrounded by lantern light.

Located on the shores of Lac Léman, La Réserve Geneva has its very own Venetian Motoscafo boat that takes guests to go to and from the city center.

Majestic Hotel & Spa’s Royal Penthouse Suite – the largest suite in Barcelona – is home to a Bar Au Parfum stocked with five 200 ml bottles of Atelier Cologne, available for use throughout the stay. Guests can take home a complimentary leather case, engraved with their name and filled with 30ml sized bottles of each of the colognes.

Calendar

April

April 2018: Belmond La Residencia will unveil a new suite created by fashion designer Matthew Williamson.

April 2018: Belmond will add two new barges to its Belmond Afloat in France fleet. The two “floating hotels” will travel the rivers of Champagne and Alsace

April 2018: The Pembroke Room at The Lowell completes a renovation

April 7-17, 2018: andBeyond’s Eat, Pray and Love journey departs in India

April 28-29, 2018: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda will serve as the official host hotel for the ITU World Triathlon, the first time it is held in Bermuda

May

May 4, 2018: In honor of its 100th anniversary, Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona will serve a new pre-fixe dinner replicating the hotel’s original restaurant menus

May 19, 2018: The Royal Wedding will be screened all day at The Kensington in London

May 25, 2018: La Maison du Chocolat’s Bien Être collection is available in boutiques and online

June

June 10, 2018: Sterling Vineyard’s 2nd Annual RoseFest will feature 30+ Napa Valley rose tastings with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation

June 15-16, 2018: In honor of the Nantucket Boat Basin’s 50th anniversary, the marina will host its first-ever Father’s Day Fishing Tournament where teams will compete for the top title in categories such as heaviest fish and most fish caught

ampr february 2018 update

February 5th, 2018

What’s New

Travelers can take on the trending neighborhood of Shinjuku in Tokyo with Park Hyatt Tokyo’s original English Shinjuku area map designed by Japanese fashion illustrator, Hiroshi Watatani. Guests can navigate the winding alleys and track down the best (and often hidden) pint-sized bars, restaurants, and shops per the map’s insider advice.

As part of the final phase of the renovation that doubled the property’s footprint, Royal Mansour will open their new Kid’s Club in Le Jardin this month.

Former Rockette-turned-celebrity fitness trainer, Amanda Kloots is heading to Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort this month to lead fitness classes under St. Lucia’s shady palms. Amanda will teach her signature classes The Dance and The Body, the same workouts she does with her celebrity clients like Zendaya, Hannah Bronfman, and Zach Braff.

andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge will reopen in June 2018 in South Africa after a complete refurbishment, inspired by the plantation-style homesteads of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar cane and pineapple barons.

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is launching ‘Slow Beauty’ wellness retreats in April 2018, including a workshop on the health benefits of Mayan-inspired rituals, a bicycle tour through the Mayan jungle, and a Shaman ceremony on the beach. The retreat will focus on anti-aging daily rituals that allow for personal reflection and connecting with the mind, body, and soul.

PONANT is introducing a new itinerary ‘Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites,’ including special access at Kew Gardens and Chelsea Physic Garden and a gala luncheon at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. The journey departs May 14-22, 2019 sailing to the British Isles, Belgium, and Norway.

La Réserve Genève is offering a special package for the Geneva International Motor Show, March 8-18, 2018. The offer includes a stay in a superior room, daily breakfast, entry to the show, and transfer to/from the Palexpo convention center in a Bentley Flying Spur or Bentayga.

Napa Valley’s Ink House opened as a four-bedroom Inn in January 2018. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property was first built in 1885 by prominent Napa farmer, Theron Ink as a single-family home.

Bermuda’s Hamilton Princess & Beach Club now offers complimentary BMW bicycles for guests to explore the town and waterfront.

Laces and Limos provides a new Napa Valley winery tour experience with its fleet of eco-friendly electric Tuk Tuk vehicles.

Isn’t It Romantic?

Adventurous couples on andBeyond’s 11-day Romantic East Africa safari sleep in cozy stilted treehouse suites at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, picnic on Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater floor, stargaze on the Serengeti plains, and swim with dolphins at andBeyond Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar.

Couples at the adults-only Nayara Springs indulge in a private romantic dinner in their own newly-built stone pavilion tucked amongst the flora and fauna of Costa Rica’s rainforest – complete with a personal chef and specially-designed gourmet menu, featuring herbs and vegetables grown on-property and cheese sourced from the nearby dairy farm.

Valentines can laze in bed all day with special his and hers Valentine’s Day pajamas with The Lowell’s Valentine’s Day package.

Park Hyatt Tokyo’s Pastry Boutique will offer an array of Valentine’s chocolates and sweets for 2018 – from sake truffles to apple-shaped cakes to rose petal macarons. The goodies have a longer shelf life as in Japan, the holiday White Day follows Valentine’s Day (where boys are expected to give sweets to the girls who gifted them Valentine’s Day treats).

La Réserve Paris is celebrating the holiday with a Valentine’s Day Offer, including a complimentary upgrade, Champagne, and a surprise VIP welcome in the room, followed by dinner at the two-Michelin-starred Le Gabriel.

Domaine de Manville is welcoming guests with a couple’s spa treatment including a relaxing bath, followed by Champagne, and capped off with a five-course caviar dinner at La Table.

For a night out on Broadway, The Chatwal offers its guests two tickets to the Tony-Award-winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical with a three-course, pre-theater dinner at The Lambs Club and a ‘Beauty’ manicure at The Chatwal’s Red Door Spa by Elizabeth Arden.

Royal Mansour’s ‘St. Valentine’s Stay’ package includes a three-night stay in a one-bedroom Riad and a Valentine’s themed dinner at La Table. Guests can relax with a spa treatment for two in the hotel’s three-story spa in the privacy of their own Spa Suite, featuring a hammam, a plunge pool with a terrace, and a relaxation area.

Belmond Charleston Place Hotels ‘Glamorous Getaway’ package is perfect for a Galentine’s Day in the heart of downtown Charleston. It includes accommodations on the hotel’s privately-accessed Club Level, with full access to the two-story Club Lounge and its complimentary all-day food and beverages, and a $50 toward the new in-house Elysium Salon.

Take a private sabrage lesson with Verve Napa Valley. Learn the ancient art form and how to sabre a bottle of sparkling wine.

Enjoy a sunset picnic for two at Firefly, Noel Coward’s former hilltop home, offering the best views of the sunset in Jamaica.

A Special-tea Offer

andBeyond takes travelers to the family-run Glenburn Tea Plantation, set against the back drop of the Himalayas, to witness a tea harvesting and brewing from start-to-finish – from the withering, rolling, fermenting, drying, and sorting of tea leaves to a tea tasting along the banks of the River Rungeet.

Belmond British Pullman is hosting themed Paddington Afternoon Tea journeys in honor of the movie release of Paddington 2. While onboard the 1920s and 30s carriages – which are featured in the movie – parents and their little cubs will be treated to live musical entertainment along with an array of sweet and savory snacks including mini-cakes and marmalade sandwiches.

For Park Hyatt Tokyo’s proprietary blends of tea, the leaves are picked from the hotel’s very own plot 300 miles away in the Inokura tea fields in the city of Nara with exclusively-grown black, green, and oolong teas.

Inspired by the movie release of Beauty and the Beast, Town House at The Kensington in London is offering a ‘Tale as Old as Time’ Afternoon Tea, with Mrs. Potts and Chip Potts dishware, a Cogsworth Chocolate Tart, and a Lumière White Chocolate Mousse.

The Pembroke Rooms Afternoon Tea at The Lowell is one of New York City’s best kept secrets and has a Tea Sommelier to help guests choose their perfect match from over 15 teas on the menu. The blends are sourced from French purveyor Dammann Frères and are paired with traditional English tea sandwiches, caviar blinis, and foie gras canapés.

The famous afternoon tea at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town offers a range of teas from around the world, including the hotel’s very own Mount Nelson Tea – a blend of six teas from India, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and rose petals from the hotel’s own signature pink roses.

Majestic Hotel & Spa is launching a dedicated Vegan Afternoon Tea in February, featuring mini almond mousse, Gianduja chocolate short bread with confit lemon, and a Majestic vegan cookie.

Spring Break Ideas for the Family

In Paddington’s homeland of Peru, Belmond has created new four- and seven-night itineraries that include family-friendly activities such as bear-shaped cookie making, a Paddington-themed movie-under-the-stars night, afternoon tea in a secret garden, and of course plenty of marmalade to go around.

The Chatwal welcomes its ViBabies to New York with new amenities designed to help the youngest VIP guests and their parents travel in comfort and style. Delivered in a cherry-red Margherita Missoni backpack, ViBabies will receive an Honest Oh Baby! Kit filled with a line of all-organic toiletries, a Chatwal Charlie plush toy, a bedtime story book, and a menu of organic baby purées curated by The Lambs Club.

andBeyond Bateleur Camp on the Masai Mara will reopen with a new family suite in March, just in time for spring break. The littlest andBeyond travelers can enroll in the WILDchild program for fun (and educational) safari activities with the rangers, such as Maasai obstacle courses and building a fire the Maasai way (and of course roasting marshmallows) – a scrapbook is on hand to document their memories in the bush.

Explore the streets of Barcelona with Majestic Hotel & Spa’s scooter program, offering folding scooters and helmets (both child- and adult-size), a backpack with water and snacks, and an iPad loaded with themed maps and itineraries. For extra credit, families can select the Spanish language tour option to take in La Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila in the native tongue.

From ziplining to kayaking to nature and waterfall hikes, Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens is the adventure-packed vacation of every kid’s dreams. Families can explore the Arenal Volcano, with all its flora and fauna (including Nayara’s sloth sanctuary), by foot – or add a little thrill via bike, horseback, or ATV.

Nantucket’s White Elephant offers the Mini Chef program, where children are invited to decorate cupcakes and cookies in 45-minute weekly sessions. For a fun night in at the hotel, children can snuggle up in kid-sized robes and have an in-room camp-out, complete with teepees and faux, indoor campfires.

St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort’s Sugar Club and Spice Club offer kids and teens their own version of paradise. The Sugar Club welcomes children ages 4-12 and offers treasure hunts, arts and crafts, and coconut bowling, while the Spice Club caters to teens and tweens with ping pong, croquet, pool tournaments, and pinball machines, as well as a sailing school.

Jamaica’s GoldenEye was the former home of Ian Fleming and the site where he penned all 14 James Bond novels. His gardener, Ramsey Dacosta, still works on the property and leads activities, including coconut carving and nature walks for children.

While Napa Valley is famous for wine, the region has plenty to offer to families. Sign up for a tour of the Castello di Amorosa, a 13th-century Tuscan castle and winery perched on a hill just south of Calistoga, where kids can sip on grape juice. Stroll di Rosa, a museum where families can participate in activities including painting portraits.

Calendar

March

March 2018: andBeyond Bateleur Camp reopens after an extensive renovation on the Maasai Mara

March 4, 2018: The Napa Valley Marathon celebrates its 40th anniversary

March 6-18, 2018: andBeyond’s Snow Leopard Expedition departs in the Himalayas

March 21, 2018: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express launches new Grand Suites

April

April 2018: The Pembroke Room at The Lowell completes a renovation

April 7-17, 2018: andBeyond’s Eat, Pray and Love journey departs in India

April 20, 2018: La Réserve Ramatuelle will re-open for the season with renovated villas

April 22-25, 2018: Domaine de Manville is introducing a new, three-day wedding workshop with Style Me Pretty editor Stephanie Weers and photographer Tamara Gruner

April 28-29, 2018: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda will serve as the official host hotel for the ITU World Triathlon, the first time it is held in Bermuda

May

May 2018: La Maison du Chocolat’s Bien Être collection is available in boutiques and online

May 16-20, 2018: Nantucket Wine Festival will feature more than 600 wines from 150 global wineries

 

what we want for valentine’s day

February 13th, 2015

This Valentine’s Day, it’s not only flowers and chocolate on our minds. We want…

A cocktail class at The Brooklyn Kitchen

This colorful book to sit on a coffee table

One of these, in red, to whip around in

An assortment of (one is never enough!) mini cupcakes from this Upper East Side bakery

This personalized bag for traveling

This little gadget for when our hearts get pumping

A bottle (or two or three) of this chilling in the fridge

Kleenex, Maker’s Mark, and this ice cream

 

Have a good weekend!

how to celebrate national rum punch day

September 18th, 2014

This week in  NYC we really started to feel the chill creep up.  Instead of rushing for cashmere throw blankets and Farmer’s Market hot apple cider, we’re burying our heads in the proverbial sand and grasping one last inch of summer.  How?  By throwing a Rum Punch Party! We highly recommend you do the same to celebrate National Rum Punch Day on Saturday, September 20.  Here’s how:

Step 1: Mix up one or all of our preferred rum libations (recipes below)

Step 2: Tune into some Reggae and steel drum beats (may we suggest the Jolly Boys?)

Step 3: Fill your home with sand and palm trees and transform your bathtub into a swimming pool (optional)

Traditional Rum Punch at Sugar Beach in St. Lucia

3 oz fresh pineapple juice
3 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz g St. Lucia Distillers Crystal White Rum
1 oz St. Lucia Distillers Bounty Rum
1 oz grenadine syrup for color

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into an ice filled glass. Sprinkle the top with fresh nutmeg and dress with fresh pineapple.

Blackwell Rum Cooler at Island Outpost’s GoldenEye in Jamaica

  • 2 oz Blackwell Rum
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 orange
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • 1 can of ginger ale
  • 6 to 10 ice cubes

Mix Blackwell Rum with muddled lime and orange, brown sugar and crushed ice, top with ginger ale and garnish with orange slices.

 

AMPR TOP FIVE: bars with a view

July 15th, 2014

This summer, we’re taking our olives and twists on tour.

Here are our top four destinations for the most luxurious 5 o’clock somewhere.

1. MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE, KENYA

AMPR’s favorite garnish this summer is the sound of the Great Migration rattling the ice cubes in our gin and tonic. The only barrier between you and the wild is the drink in your hand at andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, situated where the forest meets the plains.

2. TOKYO, JAPAN

Sip Yamazaki neat at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s The Peak Bar, 41 stories into the sky and lit entirely by washi paper lanterns.

3. RAMATUELLE, FRANCE

Suspended between the clouds and the Mediterranean Sea, La Réserve Ramatuelle’s bar overlooks the crystal waters of the French Riviera. Hotelier Michel Reybier serves his private label Cos d’Estournel, a Sauvignon Blanc grown from his personal vineyard.

4. NANTUCKET ISLAND, MASSACHUSETTS

Sit under the Brant Point Grill’s shady canopy and gaze out at The White Elephant statue, a harbor-side symbol of the eponymous hotel’s history. Drink of choice: Lobster Bloody Mary.

 

 

 

global coffee culture

July 10th, 2014

The New York Times recently reported that the place to find great coffee in NYC is everywhere. Cult roasters and specialty ateliers are king.  Starbucks is out.  Dunkin’ Donuts who? Sipping Muganjo at Kaffe1668 and browsing cafe-slash-design shop Budin has put us in a coffee state of mind.  Let’s take a closer look at coffee culture across the continents. How do you take your coffee? Elephant dung or two shots of rum?

 

CALIFORNIA
Dotting the vineyards of Napa Valley are specialty coffee shops serving brews with coffee ice cubes. The sun shouldn’t water down your morning routine.

GERMANY
Nothing says “guten Morgen” like two shots of rum, a cube of sugar, and whipped cream. Oh, and coffee, of course. You will typically find Pharisӓer coffee in Northern Germany. In the shopping-savvy Cologne or the posh-centric Düsseldorf, seek out the locals-only spots.

 

THAILAND
Brought to you by the elephant you rode in on, Black Ivory Coffee is made from native Arabica coffee beans that have been consumed by the local elephants, digested, dried, and then brewed in a special 19th century Austrian-style siphon.

 

ITALY
Affogato (literally meaning “drowned”) is a “hot-meets-cold” specialty, adding the richness of vanilla gelato to Italian espresso.  Enjoy a cup on your break from winding around the Venitian canals or navigating the Roman ruins.

 

JAPAN
The Tokyo bustle leaves no time for waiting in coffeeshop lines. While on the go, pick up a Boss coffee from local vending machines. Depending on the season, this delicious canned coffee can warm you in the winter, or cool down your summer.

AUSTRALIA
Made from caffeine-free wattleseeds, the Wattlecino is popular for its chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut profile. Enjoy buzz-free relaxation at the Sydney harbor, beverage in hand.

 

MOROCCO
While shopping the Souks of Marrakech, stop for a café des épices. Stall owners brew their choice of spices into coffees laced with everything from ginger, black pepper, sesame, cardamom, and more.

 

one&only hayman island to launch in april 2014

September 5th, 2013

Mulpha Australia has entered into an agreement with Kerzner International Holdings Limited, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury resorts, to assume management of the highly acclaimed luxury island resort Hayman, Great Barrier Reef. Hayman will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation and be re-launched as One&Only Hayman Island in April 2014 – One&Only’s first resort in Australia.

Positioned in the most beautiful locales in the world, One&Only offers an unparalleled commitment to the finest holiday experiences on every possible level, catering to the most discerning travelers around the globe. Each award-winning One&Only resort offers memorable experiences through a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, genuine hospitality and vivid energy that is unrivaled.

Hayman is located in the very heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, surrounded by an amazing natural ecosystem of pristine coral reef formations and diverse marine life. Showcasing the natural elements of the iconic location, One&Only will present a number of unique guest experiences, enhanced accommodations, new culinary options and signature One&Only service throughout the resort.

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