5 Reasons to Explore France This Summer (That Aren’t The Olympics)

May 15th, 2024

This summer, all eyes are on Paris as the city prepares to host the Olympic Games. But you don’t need to be a sports enthusiast to justify a getaway to the City of Lights or further afield to the French Riviera, Champagne, Bordeaux, and beyond. Here’s what not to miss if you’re planning a trip—from summer wellness retreats and ritzy beach clubs to private sailings through the vast, marshy wetland of the Camargue.

Newly Starred Dining Experiences

The 2024 Michelin guide conferred new stars to 62 restaurants across France. Among the fine dining establishments with new sparkle: La Gabriel at La Réserve Paris, now with its third Michelin star—making it one of just 10 restaurants in the capital with this distinction.  While the restaurant has a strong sense of place, the menus take inspiration from all corners of the world, including Japan and Turkey, where Brittany-born chef Jérôme Banctel learned the art of cooking with limestone—a technique he has now made his own. “These high-caliber menus conjure up a vast range of sensations and flavors … and [Banctel’s] talent as a cosmopolitan alchemist enables him to draw everything together harmoniously,” reads the Michelin review. Elsewhere in town, the Art Deco-inflected Monsieur George hotel is home to the newly crowned Michelin-starred restaurant Galanga, helmed by 32-year-old chef Thomas Damingo, who uses techniques like fermentation to add depth and creativity to his plant-forward plates. “[Damingo] conjures up delicate, aromatic dishes, whose elegance and technically flawless craftsmanship pamper the taste buds,” reads the review. Santé to the new star-holders!

Pilgrimage-Worthy Spas

In Paris, you don’t need an Olympic-sized pool to make a splash. In fact, some of the city’s insider’s-favorite wellness refuges are petite in size but mighty in every other respect. Take the newly opened Hotel Hana, designed by Laura Gonzalez (who is behind the restoration of the Cartier Mansion in New York) and Olivier Leone (the cofounder and art director of Nodaleto shoe brand). The property’s design takes inspiration from its location in Little Tokyo, as does the spa menu, which offers holistic treatments and Japanese rituals, including reiki, kobido, and reflexology using green tea and yuzu scented oils. After a treatment, relax by the indoor pool to really set the Zen mood.

Across town, the subterranean Nescens Spa at La Réserve Paris is hosting specialty workouts (open to guests and locals!) leading up to the Olympics. On May 22, Laure Dary, professional dancer/yoga instructor and founder of Maison Of(f) Wellness, will teach her signature ‘Shapes in Motion’ method inspired by yoga poses and also incorporating dance and barre. And those looking to get their heart rate up can catch Justine Rojat, who is bringing her boxing bootcamp class from Punch Boxing to the hotel on June 12.

In the South of France, the Spa Nescens at La Réserve Ramatuelle just launched a series of Women’s Better Aging retreats for summer 2024 season, aimed at helping women of all ages with mental and physical re-energization as well as self-reflection. The 3- and 5-day retreats include activities such as nature walks, yoga, and Pilates classes alongside holistic facial treatments and relaxing body rituals such as a signature Nescens Better Aging Facial and Massage. Two-Michelin Starred chef Eric Canino will also work hand-in-hand with Clinique Nescens’ nutritionist to create tailored menus adapted to the objectives of each guest during their program.

The Côte d’Azur’s Most Exclusive Beaches

The South of France conjures shimmering waters, powdery sands, and the most glamorous beach clubs in the world. For a front-row seat to the Cote d’Azur’s legendary beach culture, look no further than Cap D’Antibes Beach Hotel, a 1950s-era icon that underwent a complete revamp in 2023 led by Belgian architect Bernard Dubois. Perched atop a rocky promontory between Cannes and Nice that was used as a backdrop in both Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief and Jacques Deray’s La Piscine, the 35-room hotel is spread across a private beach with pastel pink loungers and parasols lined up along water’s edge. Fun fact: it’s one of a handful of hotels on the Cote d’Azur where guests don’t need to cross the road to get to the beach.

Near St Tropez, the seaside beach club La Réserve à La Plage opened on the buzzy Pampelonne Beach in 2019. Designed by Philipe Starck, it’s coastal boho-chic at its best, with the staff dressed in white-and-blue Breton stripes and a restaurant overseen by the La Réserve Ramatuelle’s Michelin-starred chef Eric Canino and chef Nicolas Cantrel. The beach club hosts live concerts, DJ sets, and photo exhibitions — all against the shimmering backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. You’re also hanging out in the exact place where beach club culture in France was born: in 1956, French superstar Brigitte Bardot made Pampelonne Beach a summer icon while filming And God Created Woman.

Family-Friendly Escapes

Paris with kids? Bien sûr. Especially if you’re staying at La Réserve Paris Apartments, a collection of 10 multi-bedroom apartments in the quiet 16th arrondissement. The flats feature large kitchens, fully stocked pantries and wine cellars, large balconies ideal for dinner parties prepared by a private chef, home gyms, and direct Eiffel Tower views. The building has its own private street entrance, and guests who buy out the 4,000-square-foot top floor receive a key for private elevator access. Younger guests might enjoy a pastry workshop with the hotel’s chef in the apartment kitchen or visit the Paris Aquarium, just across from the apartments. Guests also have access to all hotel amenities, including 24/7 butler service and meals at the three-starred Michelin restaurant Le Gabriel.

Having been family owned for nearly 70 years, Hotel La Ponche in St Tropez knows a thing or two about multi-generational travel and has many memories to share about the glamourous history of the French Riviera. Families often enjoy the most famous accommodations of the hotel, two Prestige Tropezian suites that were once the favorites of famous French actress, Brigitte Bardot, and French painter and sculptor, Bernard Buffet. Both feature a large, private terrace overlooking the sea and the 17th-century citadel. There are also three apartments, ideal for longer stays, which accommodate between four and six guests and come with a separate living room, fully-equipped kitchen, and of course, fantastic sea views. Here, family-friendly experiences include beach picnics, private boat rides, and exclusive access to the area’s best museums.

Splurge-Worthy Buyouts

Sail France’s waterways in superlative style — and utmost privacy — on a private boating experience with Belmond. In April, Belmond launched Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne after a top-to-bottom refit, with three spacious cabins with ensuite facilities, an indoor salon with a champagne bar, and an extensive outdoor deck. Available for private charter only, Coquelicot will take up to six guests on a cinematic journey of Champagne in partnership with Maison Ruinart, offering exclusive access to the first established House of Champagne. Guests can disembark the boat for unrivaled access to Taissy vineyard, which has been referenced as early as 1733 in the Maison’s archives, for a guided tour through the grounds followed by a technical tasting of iconic Maison Ruinart cuvées led by a Maison Ambassador.

Belmond is now also sailing in the Camargue region from Avignon to Sete (or vice versa) on the

four-cabin Pivoine, A Belmond Boat, Camargue – marking a new destination for Belmond’s fleet in France. As one of Europe’s largest natural reserves and the largest wetland in France, this new itinerary in Camargue, also launched in April, spotlights the vast wilderness of the region with a private visit to the salt marshes to see the pink flamingo’s nesting grounds, bird watching, tours through the lavender fields, and a special experience with famous horse whisperer, Jean Francois Pignon (who worked with Stella McCartney on her campaign starring the white horses of Camargue).

In Bordeaux, La Maison d’Estournel just reopened in mid-April for the season. Located next to the famed Château Cos d’Estournel winery, the property has just 14 rooms with vineyard views, complimentary e-bikes for pedaling through the rolling hills, and cozy-chic interiors that feel like staying at a friend’s country residence. It’s a dream wedding destination, with room for up to 200 people on the great lawn. In between wedding festivities, guests can go grand cru wine tasting, fishing, oyster farming, or take a boat out on Arcachon Bay.

Greece this summer

May 14th, 2024

For many travelers, Greece is synonymous with sun, sea, and island-hopping. But there’s so much more to discover—world-class art collections, pilgrimage-worthy wellness programs, locally-owned hotels with a deep sense of place—giving frequent travelers new reasons to visit.

New Spa this year

Kalesma Mykonos, an architecturally striking and minimalist-cool boutique hotel inspired by the owners’ love affair with the island, reopened for the season with a brand new, sanctuary-like spa with Dr. Barbara Sturm treatments (the only spa on the island to carry these products/treatments, including the Sturmglow Facial and the Revitalizing Scalp Massage, and for the body, an Anti-Aging Body Treatment).  Other highlights include Rick Owens-designed furniture in the lobby (the only hotel in the world to boast this), sunrise and sunset views, an on-site, Greek Orthodox chapel with Byzantine-inspired wall art, and a 50+ bottles-deep Greek wine list.

Images of the Spa: https://we.tl/t-HuWSwEQu5V (Courtesy of Kalesma Mykonos)

Artsy Athens

Most people start off in Athens, and the best way to get in step with city’s cultural pulse is a visit to NEW Hotel. Owned by Cyprus-born industrialist Dakis Joannou (ranked as one of the world’s leading collectors of contemporary art) and designed by powerhouse Brazilian duo Fernando and Humberto Campana, the property lets guests immerse themselves into the arts by borrowing from  their library of over 2,000 artbooks at the rooftop restaurant. Artworks by heavyweights such as Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger appear alongside the Campana Brothers’ iconic furniture designs (including their famed Favela chair), making New Hotel an essential stop on any art lover’s itinerary.

Images courtesy of NEW Hotel Athens: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/w3y8pzz5le1s2u3bb11vg/h?rlkey=17cw827rfm0g3pq0kiuf110gi&dl=0

A high-speed ferry to Santorini…

Brings one to NOŪS, Santorini’s largest resort, located in the village of Mesaria – away from the heavy traffic of the caldera. Inspired by the island’s Cycladic architecture and designed to resemble a whitewashed village, the 119-room property is filled with paintings, photographs, sculptural objects and even AR (augmented reality) works created exclusively for NOŪS by 15 Greek artists, along with light fixtures fashioned out of volcanic stone and design motifs themed after the island’s famous Akrotiri mural. Most rooms have their own private pools and large private gardens for relaxing; there’s also a sprawling spa with Greek-made Korres treatments.

Images courtesy of NOŪS Santorini: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/e07vqje4nbbk38bwczlnp/h?rlkey=ymhenbaen7v1xe2244auvh4vk&dl=0

Where wellness meets history

For more of a wellness-focused holiday, Euphoria Retreat, located on Greece’s lesser-known Peloponnese peninsula, blends cutting-edge science and ancient wisdom, with treatments and programs that draw on Greek philosophy, Hippocratic healing, Taoist philosophy, and traditional Chinese medicine. The location itself is magical (also for non-spa-goers): situated in the foothills of soaring Mount Taygetus, Euphoria overlooks the village of Mystras. Ancient Mystras (up the hillside) was the last significant stronghold of the Byzantine Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. New this year is the Holistic Leadership retreat, offering a new take on leadership, is running June 12-16 and October 9-13, while existing favorites such as the fitness-centric Spartan Spirit of Adventure retreat or the five-day Odysseus Journey combining meditation, group discussion, and energy movement.

Images courtesy of Euhporia Retreat: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/ifdaf7fqy1ucdefx6v2kc/h?rlkey=79tqeqyhfo6iombpm6tqpl312&dl=0

By sea

For those wanting to embrace the ancient Greek seafaring tradition, The Cyclades, in the Wake of Le Ponant sailing on Le Ponant (the first Relais & Châteaux sailing yacht) is a week-long sailing that goes from Lavrio, through the cyclades, to the tip of the Peloponnese and back (hitting Tinos, the uninhabited Polyaigos, Serifos, Monemvasia, Kythnos, and Spetses). The ship sets sail June 16, 23, 30 and July 7, 14, and 21, starting at $12,200 per person.

Images courtesy of Le Ponant: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rp2ovtdmhz5y4e3/AAD5k8sGsbe-apG_m0Oowwkva?dl=0

May 13th, 2024

It’s not always easy to prioritize wellness in our daily lives. Sometimes, getting away is the best way to get back on track with our wellbeing goals. If you’re planning a health holiday, look no further than these pilgrimage-worthy new spas, amenities, and wellness programs— from a confidence-boosting lunar retreat in Costa Rica to a female-centric “holistic leadership” in Greece and an insomnia-busting stay in a Namibian dark sky preserve. Plus, we round up our favorite urban wellness destinations in Paris, London, Tokyo, and beyond.

Almanac | Aqua Expeditions | andBeyond | Beaumont | Belmond | Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel | Chapitre Six | Doyle Collection | Dromoland Castle Hotel | Euphoria Retreat | Fife Arms | Gili Lankanfushi Maldives | Hotel Hana | Hôtel La Ponche | Island Outpost | Kalesma Mykonos | Michel Reybier Hospitality | Monsieur George Hôtel & Spa| Nayara Resorts | New Hotel Athens | Nous Santorini | Park Hyatt Japan | The Parker | Ponant | Potlatch Club | The Roundtree | Royal Mansour Collection | Shou Sugi Ban House | Tenuta di Murlo | Thyme | UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa | Virtuoso | Visit Napa Valley | White Elephant Resorts

New Spas Around the World

The best new spas dig deep into their destinations’ healing traditions. Take the just-opened 30,000-square-foot Spa by Guerlain at Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, where Mayan-inspired healing rituals are front and center. Experiences include a constellation massage aligned with the cosmos; harvesting your own herbs from a traditional Kaánaché; and a unique sonic meditation powered by the buzzing of the sacred Melipona bee, revered by the Mayans for more than 3,000 years. Then in June, Cap Juluca Spa by Guerlain will debut on the white sands of Anguilla’s crescent-shaped Maundays Bay with exclusive new treatments and wellness programming inspired by the indigenous Arawak tribe. Meanwhile, the new spa at Kalesma taps into Mykonos’s mythological side: in ancient times, the island was considered the spiritual center of the Mediterranean due to its proximity to the pilgrimage of Delos. This history is reflected in the new sanctuary-like space, which invites guests to disconnect from the modern world and enjoy pampering treatments by Dr. Barbara Sturm plus a hammam, sauna, and cold plunge in a nod to the ancient Greeks’ love of hydrotherapy.

Summer and Fall Retreats to Book Now

From October 16-20, guests of Nayara Tented Camp will be able to partake in a unique wellness retreat timed to the “Full Hunter’s Moon,” a celestial spectacle characterized by a moon that appears larger and more orange than usual. Historically, these early evening moonrises signaled optimal times for harvesting and hunting, but the hunter’s moon can also illuminate a spiritual path toward growth and enlightenment. During the four-night retreat, guests will harness this radiant lunar energy to cultivate greater self-esteem and awareness.

Rethink traditional male-oriented leadership patterns during a four-day Holistic Leadership program at Greece’s Euphoria Retreat from June 12-16. As part of the program, participants will explore the power of yin (feminine) energy and learn about the role of intuition, cooperation, and compassion in decision making. The deeply personalized program—which is open to guests of all genders—has been designed by Euphoria founder Marina Efraimoglou, whose personal story of transformation informs the property’s globe-spanning healing philosophy.

In the South of France, La Réserve Ramatuelle has unveiled a new program designed to support women at various stages in their lives. Participants of the three- or six-day Women’s Better-Aging Journey will learn how to breathe and move better, how to alleviate stress and build resiliency through good eating habits, and how to relieve injuries and discomforts. Daily activities include invigorating walks along the coast and the pine-forested hills, yoga and Pilates, Nescens facial and body care rituals, and bespoke plant-forward meals at the two-starred Michelin restaurant La Voile.

Almanac Palais Vienna has launched new monthly Art Therapy Workshops in partnership with certified holistic art therapist and Create Art Therapy founder Petra Krassnitzer. The four-hour sessions promote the flow of energy in the body and stimulate sensory perceptions through a mixture of meditation and various creative exercises, such as kneading clay, painting on a canvas, or writing. These acts of self-expression aim to silence the inner voice and allow access to their emotional self – relieving stress and pent-up frustration and healing repressed past experiences. Upcoming sessions are available on September 29, October 27, November 17, and December 11, 2024 for up to 15 participants.

Treatments with a Sense of Place

New moon abundance ritual at Shou Sugi Ban House in the Hamptons — As part of the New Moon Sound Ritual, guests will enjoy a seasonal meal around a communal table, followed by a Sacred Sound Journey featuring Himalayan singing bowls, gongs, and crystal singing bowls. Available June 8, July 6, August 4.

Byzantine hammam at Euphoria Retreat Greece — During this hot and steamy hammam experience, guests are massaged, oiled, and scrubbed down using crushed local olives, which are renowned for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Ocean-plant-powered facial at Dromoland Castle — The newly opened Castle Spa features a range of treatments exclusive to the hotel, including the SEABODY Beauty and Wellness Spa Experience, which leverages the power of marine-based nutraceuticals harvested from Ireland’s Atlantic Coastline to optimize the skin’s health and vitality. Try the Seabody Touch Facial, which uses marine bio actives and Gua Sha facial massage techniques to boost circulation and support the lymphatic system.

Almescar Oil Massage at UXUA in Brazil —  Pure Almescar oil, or breu branco, is revered by Brazil’s Indigenous Pataxó people for its restorative qualities, musky scent, and its ability to ward off insects and bad spirits. At UXUA, the oil is used during tension-melting massages, brightening facials, and in homemade soaps.

Other treatments with a sense of place: Facials and massages at NOŪS Santorini incorporate Greek yogurt to strengthen the immune system. In Morocco’s Royal Mansour Marrakech, the bespoke hammam experience uses antioxidant-rich saffron from the nearby mountain village of Taliouine, on the edge of the Argan forest. At Nayara Resorts in Costa Rica, all scrubs and wraps for massages are made from organic coffee from a local farm. There is also a chocolate massage featuring local cacao beans.

Nighttime Wellness

Catch some Zzzs with these creative sleep programs and slumber-ready stays:

  • Located deep in the Namib, the world’s oldest living desert, andBeyond Sossusvlei borders Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve. With the nearest town 140 kilometers away from the lodge, there’s no light or noise pollution, setting the stage for dreamy nights in the property’s airy suites, all of which feature retractable skylights for in-bed stargazing.
  • Gili Lankanfushi’s “Mindful Dream” experience promotes a better night’s sleep through Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breathing technique), sound healing, aromatherapy, massage, and Good Night amenities like an eye mask, earplugs, hot water bottle, and scented pillows specifically for jet lag recovery.
  • The spa at Meadowood in Napa Valley offers sound therapy via a zero-gravity Therabody Lounger. The technology induces deep relaxation through full-body sound and vibrational waves,  bringing guests to a meditative state for a better night’s sleep.
  • Shou Sugi Ban House offers Vibroacoustic Sound Therapy, a research-backed treatment that transmits low-range frequencies (between 30 and 120 hertz/ pulses per second) via a massage-style treatment table. This healthy vibration results in a beneficial cellular-level response that has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, acute pain and discomfort from physical injuries.

City Hotels with Wellness in Mind

La Réserve Genève

Despite its central location just three miles from downtown Geneva, La Réserve Genève feels worlds away from the hustle thanks to its prime address within a 10-acre park on the lake’s right bank, with views to the Jura mountains. The hotel’s privileged, nest-like location and 20,000-square-foot Nescens Spa (the city’s largest) makes it a popular wellness destination among travelers and medical practitioners alike.

Wellness Facilities: 17 treatment rooms, plus a solarium, a fitness center with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, two tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor pool.

Wow Factor: Nescens was developed by Professor Jacques Proust, a pioneer in anti-aging medicine. Guests who participate in the signature Better Aging Programs receive a thorough medical evaluation on their first day. With the help of a team of professionals, guests gain a better understanding of their genetic, medical, dietary and psychological profile, which informs a personalized 4- or 7-day itinerary.

Good to Know: Guests can receive personal training specific to sport, like aqua-biking, swimming, Pilates, cardio dance, yoga, tennis and running. There is also a comprehensive list of group fitness classes offered daily.

La Réserve Paris

A Parisian sojourn isn’t always conducive to wellness (croissants, anyone?). But at La Réserve Paris, guests can easily keep up with their wellness routines at the Belle Époque-inspired spa and wellness facilities. The area is open 24/7, making it easy to squeeze in a couple laps at the pool before carrying on your day. It can also be bought out for the ultimate in privacy and relaxation.

Wellness Facilities: A 52-foot indoor pool, hammam, and a small fitness center

Wow Factor: The anti-aging treatments using Nescens products, which were developed at Switzerland’s Clinique de Genolier by Professor Jacques Proust, a pioneer in anti-aging medicine

Good to know: The hotel offers wellness experiences such as aqua yoga, shiatsu massages and private fitness training. And in-room amenities include hand weights and Pilates stretch bands.

Royal Mansour Casablanca

​​Casablanca’s first luxury hotel has been reborn as the Royal Mansour Casablanca, the second property in the Royal Mansour Collection. Located in the heart of the city near the Old Medina and Art Deco district, the 149-room hotel features the largest suites in town plus private butler service, five restaurants and bars, insider experiences ranging from street art tours to a high-soaring flight above the cityscape and the city’s largest spa.

Wellness Facilities: The two-story, 25,000-foot wellness oasis includes treatment rooms, a fitness area, hammam, hair salon and a swimming pool set under an immense glass roof. Up on the 20th floor, there is also a Barber salon devoted to male beauty, with hair services conceived by hairdresser-barber Sarah Hamizi of La Barbière de Paris salons, the first female barber in Paris.

Wow Factor: Similar to its sister property in Marrakech, the spa will offer a traditional Moroccan hammam, which is sculpted from white marble and comprises three rooms differing in temperature and function. The hammam experience can be complemented with a variety of traditional therapies such as body wraps made with natural clay from the Atlas Mountains, saffron from the Taliouine region, or rose water from Kalaat M’Gouna. High-performance treatments range from HydraFacials and non-invasive cold plasma resurfacing to Indiba body contouring.

Good to know: The spa is the city’s largest and most comprehensive wellbeing sanctuary, combining traditional healing therapies, pampering body care remedies, and cutting-edge treatments. The spa carries five distinctive product lines, including the anti-aging-focused Bellefontaine Switzerland; the Ayurvedic-powered Subtle Energies; the pioneering marocMaroc brand, inspired by the beauty traditions of Moroccan women; the French haircare brand Leonor Greyl; and the plant-powered Proverb, which uses natural products and specialized massage techniques and body stretching to boost performance.

The Beaumont, London

In Mayfair, a neighborhood known for grand hotels, The Beaumont stands out with its intimate size (just 102 rooms and suites) and first-name service. It’s an insider’s kind of place — and the beautiful Art Deco spa (dubbed by Harper’s Bazaar as “the best London spa for unwinding in style”) is no exception.

Wellness Facilities: The spa features just two treatment rooms, but a ton of indulgent extras like a cold plunge pool, a hammam with dry heat, and steam and therapy rooms. Treatments include massages, body scrubs and wraps, and facials using Oskia London and Sultane de Saba products.

Good to Know: The hotel’s commitment to sustainable food sourcing and green cuisine: innovative vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus are served (including a revamped traditional afternoon tea), and bee hives on the hotel roof produce enough honey to serve at breakfast all year.

The Marylebone, London

A down-to-earth classic in one of London’s most fashionable neighborhoods, The Marylebone proves that you can have style and substance. While the rooms have spa-like comforts such as marble-clad bathrooms with underfloor heating, you’ll want to hit the on-site wellness club to really reap the benefits of a stay.

Wellness Facilities: Guests enjoy complimentary access to on-site Third Space, one of London’s premium members-only health clubs, with the latest equipment, expert fitness professionals and trainers, plus saunas and a steam room.

Wow Factor: The on-site 60-foot swimming pool is a rarity for a hotel in central London.

Good to Know: The long list of complimentary classes for all levels and interests include Pilates, yoga, cycling, dance and strength/conditioning. It’s the perfect spot to try something new.

6 Ways to Explore Italy This Summer and Beyond

April 25th, 2024

Once you’ve ticked off the sights in Rome and Milan, where to jet off to next? To make easy work of planning your ultimate Italian summer getaway, we’re rounding up the country’s “bests”—from show-stopping pools and breezy beach clubs to scenic train rides and cruises. Read on for our top picks…

Best Pool: In a country known for its dramatic pools, it’s hard to crown one winner — which is why our vote goes to not one but two legendary Italian piscinas. On the Amalfi Coast, the heated infinity pool at Caruso, A Belmond Hotel is situated at an astonishing 1,000 feet above sea level, appearing to drop off the cliffs and into the Tyrrhenian Sea below. You won’t find a more scenic spot for taking in Amalfi’s soaring coastline. Meanwhile, in Umbria, the family-owned Tenuta di Murlo estate encompasses 18,000 acres of countryside and a collection of historic villas, cottages, hotel suites; one of its most lavish pools is the private L-shaped piscina at Villa Penna, which blends so seamlessly with the surrounding landscapes that you might think it was a natural swimming hole (which coincidentally, the estate also has).

Best Beach Club: Set on a private beach on Sicily’s Bay of Mazarrò, Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel occupies the island’s most covetable coastal perches. Now that the resort has launched Lido Villeggiatura, A Villa Sant’Andrea Beach Club, guests have yet another vantage point for appreciating the hotel’s seaside scenery. Inspired by the hotel’s midcentury Mediterranean glamour (the property was famously a private villa until the 1950s), the new beach club offers white-and-blue stripes sun loungers, six tented cabanas with plush sofas, dedicated butler service, and plenty of locally-inspired design details — from colorful cushions with lace-inspired “merletto” detailing, lava stone tiles from Mount Etna, Sicilian terracotta vases, and sun sails swaying in the sea breeze. Daily programming ranges from sunrise yoga by the water’s edge to open-air cinema nights in partnership with the Taormina Film Festival, DJ sets and seafood barbecues, wellness treatments in private cabanas, and excursions in the beach club’s new private speed boat Apreamare Gozzo 35, constructed by master boat builders from Sorrento.

Best for Artisans: International art gallery Galleria Continua and Belmond are teaming up for the third year on their MITICO art series. While this year’s art initiative will pop up in six Belmond properties around the world (including Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town), art lovers won’t want to miss a site-specific work by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren at Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, near Florence, where the artist has used the glass roof at Bar San Michele as his canvas. Consisting of panels of vividly colored glass in shades of red, green, blue and yellow, the retractable art piece transforms the bar into a kaleidoscopic installation of primary hues.

Best for Foodies: Umbria is ranking high on gourmands’ wish lists now that Tenuta di Murlo has launched a cooking school where guests can learn to make traditional Umbrian pizza and pasta and enroll in interactive group cooking classes. Also new for this year is a farm area that will function as a meeting place for culinary experiences like truffle hunting and apiary workshops. The hotel can organize picnics amid the property’s rolling hillsides, with estate-grown wine, olive oil, honey, biodynamic fruits and vegetables as gourmet picnic provisions. For guests wanting to get a broader taste of the region, culinary towns like Norcia (famous for its cured meats) and Castelluccio (Umbria’s lentil capital!) are just a drive away.

Best Train: What’s better than a road trip? A luxury train journey across Italy’s most breathtaking coastal landscapes. In June, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train will travel to the Ligurian Coast for the very first time in its four-decade history, connecting Paris and the breezy seaside town of Portofino, Italy. The overnight journey will wind through the French countryside and along the Riviera, ending with a two-night stay at Splendido, A Belmond Hotel. As part of their stay, guests will enjoy a night of cinema under the stars at the town’s iconic Piazzetta; they’ll also be among the first to check out the hotel’s newly launched Splendido Grill, where classic Italian dishes are enjoyed on a breezy terrace overlooking the Ligurian Bay.

Best Cruise: Sicily isn’t a destination you can discover in one go — or is it? Next summer, PONANT, in alliance with Smithsonian Journeys, will circumnavigate the Italian island, bringing the destination’s ancient civilizations, cultural riches, and awe-inspiring landscapes into deep focus. Setting sail from Valletta, Malta on June 2-10, 2025, Le Bougainville will head towards the southwestern coast of Sicily, home to the seaside commune of Porto Empedocles and the UNESCO-recognized Temple Valley archaeological site. Next, the ship will journey to Tunisia’s alluring capital to visit the ruins of Ancient Carthage and the Bardo National Museum before arriving in Trapani to visit the San Lorenzo Cathedral and the medieval hilltop commune of Erice. From there, it’s on to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, where Byzantine mosaics and Baroque churches exist alongside chic artisan studios and trendy restaurants. After a loop around Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian islands, travelers will sail north to Stromboli, taking in panoramic vistas of the active volcano, before crossing through the Strait of Messina to arrive at Taormina. The final port of call is Syracuse, which Cicero called “the greatest and most beautiful of all Grecian cities,” where you’ll find the island’s greatest archaeological sites, Parco Archeologico della Neapoli.

Top 2024 Summer Destination: Switzerland

April 18th, 2024

As the “coolcation” trend only gets hotter, Europe’s new summer hotspots are beginning to emerge—and Switzerland is leading the way. Families will want to seek out hotels like Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa or La Réserve Geneva Hotel, Spa and Villa, both of which have robust children’s clubs and kid-friendly programming (wakeboarding school, anyone?). Meanwhile, art-lovers should set their sights on Zurich’s La Réserve Eden au Lac, which is conveniently located near all of the city’s top cultural institutions. No matter your idea of summer fun—from boating and picnics to open-air concerts and mountain hikes—these three iconic Swiss properties are ideally poised for seasonal adventures. Read on!


A new themed mountain trail with views of Eiger’s North Face (one of the world’s most formidable peaks) is luring active travelers to Switzerland’s Jungfrau region. The perfect base camp for your adventure? The legendary Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, which is located a funicular ride away from the start of the trail. Dating to the mid-1800s, the Belle Époque hotel (the former stomping grounds of Goethe and Lord Byron) has chandelier-lit salons, trickling marble fountains, six tennis courts, and a 5,500-square-meter spa with a vaulted indoor swimming pool and an outdoor saltwater pool. It’s also super family-friendly thanks to its sprawling Bienhuus (Bee House) play facility, where the little ones can partake in dance classes and face painting and make decorative wreaths, beeswax candles, and bracelets. Be sure to make reservations at the hotel’s Radius by Stefan Beer restaurant—which was recently awarded a Michelin Star and a Green Star—where the Swiss chef creates tasting menus with ingredients like wood sorrel and Mirabelle plums sourced within a 50-kilometer radius of the hotel.


Zurich is an eminently walkable and bikeable city with an exploding cultural scene. In the summer, the city comes alive with a whole calendar of free outdoor summer concerts ranging from Openair Wipkingen held on the River Linnett to Stolze Openair, the city’s largest free open-air festival. For a fittingly cultured place to stay, look no further than La Réserve Eden au Lac. Designed by Philippe Starck, the lakeside landmark is located strolling distance from the Opera House, the Pavilion Le Corbusier, the Art Nouveau-era Bad Utoquai bathing pavilion, and the Kunsthaus Zurich art museum (look out for masterpieces by Monet and Van Gogh). The Swiss city is also renowned for its public art: there are more than 1,000 works by the likes of Nikki de Saint-Phalle and Augusto Giacometti scattered around town. Back at the hotel, guests can opt for Motoscafo boat rides across the lake, picnics in surprise locations, wellness sessions in a floating sauna, and golden hour magic at the hotel’s buzzy Peruvian rooftop restaurant.


La Réserve Geneva Hotel, Spa and Villa occupies a privileged location within a 10-acre park on the lake’s right bank, with views of the Jura mountains. While the property’s 20,000-square-foot Nescens Spa—the city’s largest wellness haven—draws its share of health-seekers, families love the property for its vast wooden playground, interconnected rooms, and seasonal activities ranging from tennis lessons to pastry making to wakeboarding lessons with a two-time World Wakesurf champion. Don’t miss the city’s new family friendly attractions like Renzo Piano-designed CERN Science Gateway, located a quick 20-minute ride from the hotel. Swiss wine is a well-kept secret (98% of it stays in Switzerland!), but at the nearby Lavaux vineyards, just 15 minutes west of the city center, guests can sample the region’s famed Chasselas wine and discover the region’s 200+ winemakers!

Springtime in London

April 15th, 2024

from neighborhood scavenger hunts to Chelsea blooms…

There’s no better time to visit London than the spring, when the skies have cleared, the parks are bursting with flowers and lush greenery, and the streets are overflowing with people eating and drinking outdoors. If you’re planning a visit, here are the can’t-miss events and seasonal spots to put on your list—from the V&A Museum’s largest ever photography exhibition to a flower-powered installation at one of the city’s buzziest restaurants.

The Doyle Collection, London (The Bloomsbury, The Kensington, and The Marylebone)

The Bloomsbury is a top pick among families, thanks to its classic London style and prime location near the cool Neal’s Yard and the British Museum. This spring, families can enjoy a complimentary self-guided city scavenger hunt, created in partnership with the Blue Badge Tourist Guide and the children’s illustrators behind the Drawn Together Art Collective. The 60-minute walking tour begins and ends at The Bloomsbury Hotel, where children who show a completed treasure hunt map will earn a tasty surprise from the concierge! Also new for spring is a seasonal installation at the hotel’s buzzy Dalloway Terrace, where London-based florist Princess & Ko has created a floral wonderland of green foliage and yellow mimosa flowers (the official emblem of International Women’s Day). As part of the activation, the Provençal rosé brand Maison Mirabeau has crafted a menu of rosé-inspired cocktails inspired by some of France’s most legendary actresses including Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve.

Meanwhile, The Kensington Hotel is offering tickets to one of the season’s hottest-ticket art events: the V&A Museum’s “Fragile Beauty” exhibition, which opens on May 18 and will showcase more than 300 photographs (the largest photography exhibition the museum has staged to date!) from Elton John’s legendary art collection. Guests who book the hotel’s Fragile Beauty Exhibition Experience package will snag two tickets to the exhibition plus a full English breakfast each morning of their stay. Later in the season, The Kensington will offer a similar package for guests interested in high fashion—specifically, the world of fashion icon Naomi Campbell, the leading lady of “Naomi: in Fashion” which opens at the V&A in June.

For a quick weekend escape, consider a stay at the fashionable Marylebone Hotel, known for its unbeatable address and on-site health club (home to an 18-meter swimming pool and complimentary Pilates and yoga classes!).

The Beaumont

A hidden gem in Mayfair, The Beaumont hotel has long been an insider’s spot that feels intimate, but never snobby, thanks to a team that knows guests by name and to its acclaimed restaurants and bars that draw a local crowd. For a curated sense of place, guests receive exclusive access and offerings at nearby stores, including Heywood Hill bookstore, Leica Cameras, and leather goods boutique, Métier. This is the first spring season for the property to showcase its 29 additional rooms and suites (for a total of 101) that have been designed by the late French American designer Thierry Despont. Not to miss is ROOM, a one-of-a-kind suite that was originally designed by Turner Prize-winner Antony Gormley due to the City of Westminster’s requirement that new buildings contain public art. The Lego man-like accommodation offers a bedroom with nothing but an all-white bed – no TV, minibar, artwork or telephone – so there are no distractions for a healthier night’s sleep. Fun fact: Every first Tuesday of the month, up to six guests can order a selection of board games at the Gatsby’s Room. For those looking to add on a cocktail, the team recommends Manhattan for backgammon and Mint Julep for Scrabble.

L’oscar London

Housed inside a converted Grade-II listed Baroque church with Jacques Garcia interiors, L’oscar London is one of the city’s most fashion-forward hotels. It’s also one of the best spots to enjoy afternoon tea, especially now that the property has rolled out a new afternoon tea menu with infusions from Newby Teas (the world’s most awarded luxury tea brand) and small bites inspired by seasonal flavors (think rhubarb and strawberry choux or lime and elderflower cheesecake). Vegan guests can opt for the hotel’s plant-forward menu, with a selection of veggie-centric finger sandwiches and sweets like dark chocolate mousse with yuzu and matcha.

The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel

London’s Chelsea Flower Show is an annual celebration of show-stopping seasonal blooms and innovative garden designs. As part of the floral festivities, The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel will debut spectacular floral displays around the property, as well as botanical cocktails and a floral-inspired afternoon tea by star pâtissier Benoit Blin. Guests also receive early access to London’s oldest botanical garden and private tennis courts in Cadogan Place Gardens.

Gift Guide for Every Mother Figure

April 11th, 2024

Gift Guide: Mother’s Day

Whether she enjoys hosting a dinner party, dressing up for every occasion (including bedtime!), or is embracing her role as dog mom, there’s a gift for every mother figure this May:

For the Hostess:

UXUA Utopia: A Very Gifted Guest House

The boutique property on the Bahian coast of Brazil tends to attract a cool crowd (Anderson Cooper loved it so much that he built a house; its where Solange Knowles spent her honeymoon; models like Candice Swanepoel have been spotted there…), so it’s no surprise that leading trend forecaster Li Edelkoort joined forces to release this coffee table book. The 288 pages combine elements of design, art, and travel, exploring owner Wilbert Das’ achievements in establishing values for a new world through a local project meant to set a global example. Past guests can reminisce about their holidays while flipping through the beautiful pages, and those yet to visit can daydream and imagine themselves in the tropical paradise of Trancoso, Brazil. The book retails for $150.

Artisan Olive Oil from Tenuta di Murlo in Umbria

Tenuta di Murlo’s exclusive olive oil, harvested at the 18,000-acre estate from a blend of Dolce Agogia, Frantoio, Leccino, and Moraiolo olives holds the DOP label (Protected Designation of Origin) that is awarded to products that are produced, processed and prepared with ingredients from the specific region. For subtle amaro and spicy flavors, while also enjoying a fruity aroma with herbaceous notes, gift a bundle of three bottles for $83 on shop.murlo.com.

Charlotte & Co at Dromoland Castle

Instead of the requisite trinkets that often fill hotel gift shops, Dromoland Castle’s Charlotte & Co, a boutique celebrating Irish artisans and giving visitors a one-stop shop to pick up an authentic, Irish-made item to remember their trip. The boutique features a collection of Irish contemporary design comprising homewares by KOPPER KREATION made with reclaimed copper, steel, and brass; handmade perfumes made in and inspired by The Burren national park from Burren Perfumery; super chic freeform architectural modeling kits from ARCKIT (think Lego goes high design); and several other proudly Irish makers.

Elegant Teatime with The Westbury’s Finest Set

Relax with your valentine using The Westbury’s quintessential set of afternoon teacups and saucers. Available in a set of two, are crafted from the finest bone china and with a hand-painted gold rim. It elevates a DIY afternoon tea experience from the cozy confines of home. This set is available on shop.doylecollection.com, with a retail price of $88.

For the Fashionista:

Scottish Fashion from The Fife Arms

Renowned British couture designer Giles Deacon has collaborated with The Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland to create an exclusive capsule collection in celebration of the inaugural Festival of Fashion. A frequent visitor to the hotel, Deacon merged the bespoke house tweed and tartan with his high-fashion expertise. The collection is comprised of the Munro Victoria Cape ($2,775) and three versions of the Munro Bag (from $678), including one that features an archival print of the legendary Braemar Gathering, an annual event regularly attended by the reigning Monarch and members of the British Royal Family. His pieces are worn and collected the world over by private clients, red carpet celebrities and royalty (he designed Pippa Middleton’s wedding dress). The Munro Capsule collection can be found on The Fife Arms’ online shop.

Centenary Collection from COPA X FARM Rio

Two of Rio’s most iconic brands, Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro and FARM Rio, the city’s most renowned fashion brand, have collaborated on a centenary collection inspired by Rio’s vibrant Carioca spirit and Copacabana Palace’s 100 years of timeless elegance. The collection is the first time FARM Rio has teamed up with a luxury hospitality brand, connecting contemporary fashion with time-old glamour. Within the collection, the black Copacabana Chemise ($260) brings a tone of sophistication embellished with the classic tropical bananas print for a quick transition from walks on the beach to dinner by the pool.

The Parker X Sant & Abel Women’s Parker Boxer Set

Sleep in style in a new pajama set this Mother’s Day. Sant & Abel created an exclusive Parker Palm Springs print with colorful sketches of the iconic cheeky and whimsical elements that lie within the hotel’s estate – from the Jonathan Adler-designed bronzed banana statue and the poolside, Lemonade Stand to the pink lip artwork by Jessica Rowe and the room service cyclists. The word “DRUGS” in the print is a nod to the 1930s vintage sign sourced from a pharmacy in Idaho that now hangs in the lobby. The shirt & boxer set can be purchased online here for $170.

For Dog Moms:

Pet Pampering Accessories from Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel X Chommies

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the iconic Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel has expanded its circle of love to guests’ furry companions with a Mount Nelson x Chommies collaboration. The range of luxury pet accessories is modeled by the hotel’s very own beloved cat, Nellie, who has captured the hearts of staff and guests for 15 years and can be found roaming the Lounge and Verandah on property. The collaboration includes tennis-inspired rope collars and leashes as well as a luxury knitted picnic blanket and a handcrafted food & water bowl set. Shop the entire collection online here; 10% of the proceeds go to the Underdog Project, a local program that provides therapeutic workshops to youths through shelter dog training.

Coastal Charm Pet Collection with White Elephant X Pawsitivity

White Elephant Nantucket teamed up with Pawsitivity to create a custom pet collection of collars and leashes, featuring signature Nantucket icons and the iconic White Elephant logo. The collection is 100% handcrafted in Massachusetts, made using durable metal hardware coated for saltwater usage and wear tested in Nantucket Sound. The collection can be found both online and at the hotel’s newly redesigned retail space starting at $45. For the ultimate pet-friendly stay on Nantucket, check out the newly renovated Cottages at the Boat Basin including 12 “Woof Cottages” for those traveling with furry friends (personal pet tags are included with each stay!)

Now Open: Nantucket’s Cottages at the Boat Basin Unveils a Complete Renovation for 2024 Season

April 11th, 2024

Nantucket’s Cottages at the Boat Basin, overlooking the famous harbor, unveiled a six-month multi-million-dollar renovation today. Drawing on Nantucket’s rich seafaring past and Quaker influence, Nantucket-based designer Audrey Sterk infused new life into the 29 Cottages, which occupy an enviable perch along the slips of the award-winning Nantucket Boat Basin.

Located 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, the island of Nantucket continues to retain the historic charm lingering from its days as the world’s whaling capital in the 19th century. The Boat Basin’s storied history spans over 300 years beginning in the late-1720s when the island was the busiest whaling port in the world and its wharves were flourishing with boat-building ships, sail lofts and candle factories. During that time, 15-20 whale ships would be anchored in the harbor and stacks of oil casks lined each wharf. In 1830, the California Gold Rush played a role in the whaling industry’s collapse on the East Coast, but by 1920, Nantucket entered a new era of tourism with travelers arriving by steamboat from posts across the Northeast. By the mid 1960s, the waterfront, which became known as the Nantucket Boat Basin, developed into a fisherman’s community and artist enclave with more than a dozen galleries lining the wharves. The Cottages, as we know it today, officially arrived on the scene in 2002 when the accommodations became part of White Elephant Resorts.

Checking into The Cottages is the closest thing to staying on the water, without being on a boat, nautical soundtrack included. The setting is reminiscent of a seaside village. The individually styled accommodations with names like Sea Syren, Essex and Orion, are inspired by the names of the great  whaling ships of the 1700s. A collection of 12 accommodations, dubbed ‘Woof Cottages’ continue to be available for those traveling with pets. Ranging from studio cottages to split-level three-bedroom lofts, every inch of the historic accommodations, particularly the bedrooms, living spaces and bathrooms, have been revamped without altering their original architecture. Original details including vaulted ceiling beams and individual floor plans have remained. All cottages offer full kitchens and most feature private outdoor decks.  The accommodations feature a color palette of inviting tones of deep ocean blue, misty gray and stark white.  Caged lighting, nautical charts of Nantucket, brass barometer instruments, rope and jute detailing in the furnishings and carpet, and woven fixtures inject a dose of contemporary maritime charm while the humble, functional materials hark back to the island’s whaling roots.

An extensive collection of artwork, including 3-D pieces of framed mariners knots, along with other works hand-selected by the hotel’s owners are displayed throughout the accommodations. A focal point of the cottages is a mural that’s handpainted by Sterk and digitally modified to fit in each space. The floor-to-ceiling seascape—which took nearly eight months to create—stretches across an entire wall and depicts a “First Nantucket Settlers” scene, with large-masted sailboats, lighthouses, a distant hamlet, and coastal vegetation brimming with native plants and animals. The mural tradition is deeply woven into the fabric of the island: in the 1800s, owners of whaling ships commissioned murals for their homes.

Amenities include complimentary access to Priority Bicycles and kids’ fishing rods, reels and nets. Guests are also steps from town and can take advantage of complimentary shuttles to the beach. Pets receive the VIP treatment with beds, a welcome basket of treats and toys, and personalized pet tags. For recommendations on the island’s most pet-friendly activities—including the best places to run free and play fetch, guests can email local insider Bailey, a black lab/Brittany Spaniel mix at petconcierge@thecottagesnantucket.com

To celebrate the renovation, The Cottages is offering a special opening rate starting from $310 per night. High season rates start at $1,250 per night. Starting rates are for one-bedroom Cottages. For more information, visit: https://www.thecottagesnantucket.com/

About White Elephant Resorts

White Elephant Resorts is a collection of premier hotels and resorts on Nantucket, MA and in Palm Beach, FL that specialize in bringing their award-winning combination of service, design, and amenities to today’s discerning traveler. Properties include The Wauwinet, with access to both bay and ocean beaches and home to award-winning TOPPER’S restaurant; White Elephant, the iconic hotel located right on Nantucket Harbor with the Brant Point Grill; Jared Coffin House, a historic hotel in Nantucket Town and its restaurant, Tap Room; The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin, private waterfront cottages; and Nantucket Boat Basin, a 240-slip full-service award-winning marina. White Elephant Palm Beach debuted in November 2020 in Palm Beach, FL with Nantucket-favorite LoLa 41 restaurant.  In 2023, The Wauwinet, White Elephant Nantucket, and White Elephant Palm Beach were ranked in Travel + Leisure’s T+L 500 awards, and both White Elephant Nantucket and The Wauwinet were recipients of Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. TOPPER’s is AAA’s only “Five Diamond” restaurant on Nantucket and has been a recipient of Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” for 27 consecutive years.

ampr April 2024 Newsletter

April 8th, 2024

Spring is officially here! We don’t know about you, but it’s one of our favorite times of year to travel. Beat April showers with a sunny getaway to Palm Springs, take advantage of shoulder-season pricing in Nantucket, and plan a trip around seasonal happenings like D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival. And if you still haven’t found the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of travel-themed gifts that are sure to stoke her wanderlust. Read on!

Almanac | Aqua Expeditions | andBeyond | Beaumont | Belmond | Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel | Doyle Collection | Dromoland Castle Hotel | Euphoria Retreat | Fife Arms | Gili Lankanfushi Maldives | Hotel Hana | Hôtel La Ponche | Island Outpost | Kalesma Mykonos | Michel Reybier Hospitality | Monsieur George Hôtel & Spa| Nayara Resorts | New Hotel Athens | Nous Santorini | Park Hyatt Japan | The Parker | Ponant | Potlatch Club | The Roundtree | Royal Mansour Collection | Shou Sugi Ban House | Tenuta di Murlo | UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa | Virtuoso | Visit Napa Valley | White Elephant Resorts

Destination of the Month: U.S.
Here are this month’s getaways worthy of your holiday plans — whether you’re dreaming of an easy family trip or a stress-busting wellness vacation.


Looking for an easy Memorial Day getaway for the whole family? We’ve got you covered. Take advantage of shoulder season rates in Nantucket, where the iconic Cottages at the Boat Basin will unveil a six-month, multi-million-dollar renovation on April 11. The new look will draw on Nantucket’s seafaring past, Quaker influence, and the property’s covetable location on the famed Nantucket Boat Basin. Of the 29 made-over Cottages, 12 (dubbed “Woof Cottages”) are available for families traveling with pets; all accommodations include complimentary access to bicycles, kids’ fishing rods, and free shuttles to the beach.

Planning a visit to D.C. in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival? Make Dupont Circle your base. Located a short walk from the White House, overlooking the leafy Dupont Circle, the 1950s-era landmark is known for its can-do service (ask the concierge to hook you up with passes to the city’s best museums) and spacious, family-friendly rooms including the 3,000-square-foot Grand Penthouse Suite.

Did You Know: the hotel’s Pembroke restaurant is known to roll out specialty menus around cherry blossom season!

For an easy getaway, a two-hour drive from New York City, head to The Roundtree in Amagansett. Set on two acres of manicured farmlands, the family-friendly property is a collection of renovated cottages and houses, some of which are located inside 250-year-old barns. Big groups should opt for the four-bedroom Beach House, which has a full kitchen, a gas fireplace, a dining area and a living room, as well as a sizable backyard. The hotel has something for all members of the family—historical tours of the Hamptons, boat trips, lawn games like cornhole, and stargazing with S’mores.


Napa Valley isn’t just for wine lovers and gourmands—it’s also for active travelers, health-seekers, and those wanting to commune with nature amid rolling hills, rugged mountain ranges, and glistening lakes. If you’re looking to do a spa weekend, there’s no dreamier place to unwind—there are more than 10 spas that offer healing, detoxifying mud bath treatments. For the ultimate in pampering, consider the three-part Mudslide treatment at Solage Calistoga, which involves being slathered in mineral-enriched mud enhanced with essential oils, relaxing in a private soaking tub filled with geothermal mineral waters, and kicking back in a state-of-the-art “sound” chair.

On the other coast, meanwhile, Shou Sugi Ban House is the Hamptons’ first destination spa and wellness retreat. Last year, the pioneering property launched the cutting-edge Shou Sugi Ban Lab with biohacking technologies like pulsed electro-magnetic field therapy, neuro-acoustic therapy, and biometric testing. The property’s half- and full-day circuits are perfect for travelers wanting a quick mind-body tune-up.


Palm Springs is a year-round haven for art and design, but there’s special buzz around the city this spring. Last month, the Palm Springs Art Museum unveiled the reconstructed Aluminaire House, the 1931 modernist icon designed by pioneering architect Albert Frey, which Architectural Record dubbed one of the most important buildings of the 20th century. If you plan on making the pilgrimage, hang your hat at The Parker Palm Springs, designed by Jonathan Adler and filled with 120 pieces of original art, including an Op-Art work by Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (who also has works at the Palm Springs Art Museum.)

For another design-centric spring getaway, stay at the White Elephant Palm Beach, a 1920s-era landmark mansion reborn as one of Palm Beach’s artsiest stays. The 32-room boutique hotel boasts an ambitious 120-piece art collection with original works by Orit Fuchs and Fredrick Prescott. Design lovers will want to book the hotel’s Architecture & Preservation Package, which offers two nights in a one-bedroom suite and a 1.5-hour architecture tour of the island led by a representative from the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

The next best thing to an actual getaway with mom? A thoughtful gift that evokes far-away places and once-in-a-lifetime adventures. If mom has a penchant for more practical gifts, surprise her with a pair of engraved steel and gold-plated egg scissors from Scotland’s Fife Arms. The elevated kitchen essential pairs perfectly with a set of fine bone china teacups and saucers (complete with a hand-painted gold rim!) from Dublin’s Westbury hotel. Or give mom a taste of Italy by gifting her a bottle of artisanal olive oil from Umbria’s Tenuta di Murlo estate. Each bottle is crafted on site: the property has its own D.O. and blends a variety of Dolce Agogia, Frantoio, Leccino, and Moraiolo olives.

Swaddle mom in warm fuzzies by gifting her a limited-edition cashmere throw created by Nantucket’s White Elephant Resorts and Arhaus. The embroidered throw is supremely soft and is available exclusively in honor of the property’s 100th-anniversary renovation — making it a unique gift she’ll treasure for years to come! And while we all wish we could treat mom to a spa weekend at the newly opened spa at Ireland’s Dromoland Castle, the second-best option is a beautifying product from plant-based Irish brand SEABODY (one of the three award-winning, female-owned brands stocked at the new wellness sanctuary). We recommend the Sea to Self Gift Set, complete with a serum, moisturizer, overnight elixir, and a bioactive beauty food supplement.

If your mom is the type to always have her nose in a book, we have two travel-themed additions for her library. “UXUA Utopia: A Very Gifted Guest House” is a 288-page love letter to Brazil’s iconic UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa. Filled with stunning imagery of the Bahian eco-haven — pristine beaches, jungle foliage, fisherman homes reborn as high-design casas — it’s sure to transport her to the celeb-favorite hideaway. Or, for dreams of an Italian getaway, opt for “Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation” from Assouline and Belmond. With vivid imagery and evocative descriptions by former Vogue Italia editor Cesare Cunaccia, the book is a journey to Belmond’s collection of legendary hotels across Italy: from Venice and Portofino to Tuscany and Taormina. Happy Mother’s Day!



March 21st, 2024

The Galapagos, Peruvian Amazon, Indonesia’s Spice Islands, as well as Vietnam, and Cambodia … Aqua Expeditions is a leader in luxury small-ship expeditions taking travelers to the world’s most diverse and culturally significant destinations aboard deeply stylish yacht-like vessels. And while offboard excursions promise next-level thrills, the onboard delights offer further immersion through chef-led cooking masterclasses, cocktail demonstrations, and artwork sourced from female artisans in local villages. Here’s a preview of what’s to come for this season:

Where to Sail Next: Spice Islands

Aqua Blu is the first ever long-range ocean explorer yacht permanently based in East Indonesia, making it easy to explore the country’s wildest, most remote corners, including the mythical and relatively undiscovered Spice Islands (which can only be reached by boat). Still to this day the archipelago carries vestiges of its past, from its extensive fortifications and Dutch architecture to its well-preserved nutmeg plantations (the Spice Islands are the origin of the fragrant seed). Interestingly, The Spice Islands were once so valuable that the Dutch traded the British the island of Manhattan to secure tiny Banda Run, which is included on the itinerary. Other stops include Molana and Palau Run for picture-perfect sandy beaches and Banda Neira for twice-daily underwater dives or snorkeling excursions: the island’s historic ‘Fire Mountain’ volcanic eruption of 1988 led to the rebirth of coral and marina life, giving rise to spectacular underwater gardens. Rates start at $9,415 per person.

Savor at Sea: Chef Hosted Departures Return in 2024

Aqua Expeditions will offer three exclusive chef-hosted departures in 2024. In the Peruvian Amazon, renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino—one of Peru’s most celebrated toques and a pioneer of the rainforest-to-table movement—will host two four-night sailings on Aqua Nera from May 14-18 and September 17-21.  Guests will enjoy an intimate dinner, ceviche-making masterclass, and a cocktail demonstration—all led by Schiaffino. Meanwhile, over in East Indonesia, Australian chef Benjamin Cross will host a seven-night sailing on Aqua Blu from August 10-17. Chef Cross began his career over 20 years ago at the award-winning Byron Bay boutique hotel and trained with some of Australia’s top chefs, including Neil Perry and Janni Kyritsis, before opening a string of restaurants in Bali, all of which rank among the island’s top dining destinations. On the weeklong sailing, he’ll host a cooking masterclass and kitchen tour to show guests how he crafts some of his signature recipes, which are inspired by East Indonesia’s spice routes and created specifically for Aqua Expeditions. The experience will culminate with an exclusive chef-hosted dinner spotlighting his creations. Rates start at $6,300 per person for the Amazon departures and $9,415 per person for the Indonesia departure.

An Emphasis on Artful Design

In recent years, expedition lines have been investing in onboard art collections, surrounding passengers with original pieces, sculptures, and ceramics to enrich the experience along the way. Aqua Expeditions’ CEO and Founder Francesco Galli Zugaro and his wife, Birgit, are passionate art-collectors. For as long as they’ve been traveling, they’ve been collecting one-of-a-kind artworks and rare objects, many of which, like a glass foosball table on Aqua Mekong, have found a new home on the brand’s luxurious vessels. Each of the ships has a distinctive design inspired by its destination. For example, Aqua Nera features works inspired by the black-water lagoons of the Peruvian Amazon, with dark-hued wooden décor and beautiful, rare pottery (originally used for formal ceremonies such as marriages) made by Amazonian communities. Aqua Mare takes its inspiration from the Galapagos Islands’ volcanic activity, with brilliant gold accents, ashy grays, coarse textures, and custom-made Panama hats for sale at the ship’s on-board boutique. Aqua Blu nods to its rich naval heritage (it was originally the HMS Beagle, a royal navy vessel that was used for cartography-related missions) with maritime-inspired pieces, including old maps from the 1800s that were made by Dutch cartographers. Rooms feature antique nut crackers sourced in Bali via an antiques dealer and friend of Birgit’s, and the on-site boutique is stocked with treasures like bespoke lacquer trays and scarves from a remote Indonesian island. Finally, Aqua Mekong borrows inspiration from the natural scenery of the Mekong Delta, with its lush greenery like lotus roots and lilies. The ship’s silk scarfs, silver bags and jewelry, and hand-woven and dyed kaftans—all available for sale at the boutique—are made exclusively for Aqua.

This emphasis on artful design trickles down to the onboard dining, too. All crockery has been commissioned exclusively for Aqua by the Bali-based Gaya Ceramics. Birgit first met the brand’s Italian owner at a French art exhibit, and after bonding over their love for ceramics, they decided to collaborate on a collection for Aqua Mekong. Now, there are Gaya ceramics on every Aqua ship—but with a local twist. For example, Aqua Blu has ceramics etched with drawings of English naturalist Alfred Wallace Russel and the wildlife he surveyed; Aqua Mare’s pieces are embellished with gold in a reference to the lava flows of the Galapagos and sketchings by Charles Darwin; and Aqua Mekong features designs of lotus roots and other native flora that were originally sketched by Birgit.  Other dining wares come from local communities, like the napkin rings on Aqua Nera and Aria Amazon made by female artisans out of natural fibers.

Rolling Down the (Mekong) River

Charting a luxurious passage on Southeast Asia’s longest river, the 20-stateroom Aqua Mekong travels at a speed of 6-7 knots, allowing for a beautifully slow-paced way of experiencing the waterway that spans Cambodia and Vietnam. One of the best times of year to make the journey is November through April— dry season—when blue skies and balmy temperatures guarantee smooth sailing.  A three-night Mekong Discovery voyage will either head upriver in Cambodia by exploring the Tonle Sap River, or downriver between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh, while a four-night experience will sail upriver from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, past floating villages and gilded pagodas, with twice-daily excursions on bike, kayak, and guided visits to riverside markets. For a deeper dive into the destination, the seven-night Mekong Expedition Cruise includes more time on the Cambodia stretch of the Mekong and along the Tonle Sap River—the only river in the world whose tide changes annually—which is untouched by tourists. Full charter rates start at $136,000 for 3 nights.