a mexico vacation for every traveler

January 20th, 2021

A welcome respite from the winter weather, Mexico also offers an abundance of beaches, cultural offerings and culinary adventures. Whether for a weekend or an extended stay, we’ve rounded up three destinations for travelers looking for a private Mexico getaway.

For an outdoor adventure: Todos Santos

Pablo Carmona and Josh Kremer, Mexican entrepreneurs and financiers, are making their mark with Mexico’s first luxury soft adventure brand, Paradero Hotels, on February 1, 2021. One-hour away from San José del Cabo Airport, Paradero Todos Santos has a barefoot, bohemian vibe and is a haven for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. Overseen by Mexico City-based POLEN, who was behind the landscape design of Google and Twitter offices in Mexico, Paradero Todos Santos is an 80 percent landscape, 20 percent construction project. 35 suites are situated within the Le Mesa farming community and an agricultural area comprising more than a dozen family-owned farms. Details with a sense of place include: on-site 100,000-sq.ft. botanical garden with 60 endemic species; artisan-made furniture from Mexico; suspended ‘star nets’ that offer high-altitude views of the surrounding farmlands, mountains and ocean; below-ground spa that is inspired by a secret watering hole in Todos Santos; and an open-fire kitchen with a traditional Oaxacan clay oven.

For a beach escape: Riviera Maya

With buildings handcrafted by Mayan masons, traditional Temazcal treatments on the menu, and one of the world’s longest barrier reefs just 10-minutes away, Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is a true Mexican escape. Days are spent on white sand beaches while nights are best enjoyed over a private dinner in the observation tower. Highlights include the Kinan Spa which offers a variety of wellness programming pulling from its Mayan surroundings as well as honey-based spa treatments thanks to the on-site apiary, and the new ‘Noches de Cantina’ dining experience centered on the ritual of savoring tequila, inspired by Mexico City’s popularization of cantinas in the 1950s. With Belmond’s new ‘Exclusive Places’ offer, families and small groups can enjoy secluded accommodations among the 200 acres of lush jungle. Casa Leo and Casa Aries, each consisting of four suites, feature four plunge pools, private access to the beach and two private palapa spa areas for in-room treatments.

For a cultural celebration: San Miguel de Allende

2021 marks the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s autonomy from Spain with San Miguel de Allende the first town to receive independence. Housed across six historic casonas, or residences, Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada is a 37-room retreat in the heart of San Miguel de Allende. Each casona has been carefully restored with local, handcrafted items, ranging from the wooden headboards, exclusive artworks, or antique tapestries. The buildings include a former convent, a 17-century fort and the former residence of the Archbishop of San Miguel de Allende, connected by courtyards, cloisters and the city streets. Now, families and small groups can enjoy an entire 17th-century casona to themselves – complete with butler and dining service. Spend the day at the Sazón cooking school with private tours of local markets and mastering Mexican specialties including salmon crudo and. Celebrate the city’s rich artistic past at the Artist Corner perusing the mini-gallery or partaking in a workshop to craft your own masterpiece.

How to Get There: Land travel is not permitted through February 21, 2021, but air travel is open. Direct flights to Mexico City, Cabo and Cancun are available from major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Miami. Belmond has rolled out a selection of value-add offers for private jet travelers. They are collaborating with myriad companies and the list includes but is not limited to Jet Linx, Nicholas Air, Silver Air, TradeWind, Private Jet Service, FlyExclusive, and PRVT. Upon arrival, travelers will need to complete health declaration forms and undergo health screenings, including temperature checks.

12 destinations looking toward a more sustainable future of travel

January 18th, 2021

As the travel industry looks ahead, brands are preparing for how to promote a responsible recovery to Covid-19. Luxury travel advisor network Virtuoso, with over 20,000 advisors and 2,000 travel brands in more than 50 countries, is focusing on a ‘conscious comeback’ as hotels reopen in new and innovative ways. CREST (Center for Responsible Travel) and six other global nonprofit organizations have banded together to form the Future of Tourism Coalition with the belief that travelers will demand a more sustainable tourism marketplace. As people look for ways to reduce their footprint, work more responsibly with travel companies, travel to more sustainable communities and better understand the communities they interact with, we have rounded up leading destinations who are laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future – and how travelers can get involved.

If you want to invest in local communities…

Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), a nonprofit trade association leading the wine region since 1944, has partnered with UNCF to create a new scholarship program for people of color to pursue college degrees in subjects ranging from grape growing, winemaking, marketing, business and more, investing $1 million into the program. Each year over the next five years, NVV will invest $200,000 in scholarships and will encourage its members to bolster the scholarship program with donations to help even more students and to ensure the effort extends beyond five years.

Trancoso, Brazil

UXUA recruits and trains locals with little to no prior experience in hospitality. Owner Wilbert Das has invested in providing language training and university tuition reimbursement as well as one-on-one mentorship for those who need help in certain subjects that might have prevented them from completing secondary education. Despite classes being one-hour bus ride each way, three staff members completed their degrees in 2019, with 10 currently enrolled. Under the name of U-2020 initiative, the goal is to have 20 staff (out of 85) to complete or enroll in a university program by end-of-year 2020. UXUA also offers life coaching, including financial planning. As a result, 35 employees have bought land in the past six years.

Peru

Belmond helped found the Q’omer Wasicha Project in 2015 to promote organic vegetable management and cultivation in local communities as well as fair trade practices. Several communities in the Cusco region are now trained in the production of vegetables and herbs; the sustainable greenhouses allow the harvest of organic crops that would not usually survive the high altitudes of the Andes, including tomatoes, squash and zucchini.

East Africa

In collaboration with Africa Foundation, andBeyond offers a Conservation Lesson program for both children and adults living in communities close to wildlife areas. Through the initiative, over 1,600 students in East Africa were able to visit andBeyond’s properties, learning firsthand about the wildlife conservation that takes place so close to their home – partaking in game drives with rangers, swimming with dolphins and witnessing turtles hatch. For many, this is the first time in their life they have been exposed to fauna in a meaningful way. These conservation lessons and interactions with andBeyond guides have been a turning point in many participants’ lives; instilling the passion and knowledge of wildlife conservation and community development in them and playing a major part in influencing their careers.

Botswana

Belmond Eagle Island Lodge has worked with the nearby community village of Xaxaba Island to ensure potable drinking water for the community. Previously unavailable, Belmond donated a Jojo water tank, a leading solution in South Africa to provide safe water, as well as a bowser water tank to ensure a clean water source. Water is then regularly transported from the lodge to the village. Belmond has also assisted with providing medical assistance to the community through mobile clinics. Guests also have the opportunity to visit the neighboring Nxhoga village to learn more about the Khotla from the elders, the meeting and administration system, the cultural relevance of basket weaving and the importance of the fishing industry, witnessing how fishing nets are made.

Myanmar

Dr Hla Tun has been the onboard doctor for Belmond Road to Mandalay, which has been traveling along the Ayeyarwady River since 2004. In addition to his service for guests, Dr. Tun disembarks the river cruise three days per week to lead Belmond’s free health clinic that launched in 2011 as a free service to locals as well as patients who travel for miles on foot to receive medical attention.

If combatting climate change is your passion…

Antarctica

Just 200 years after the first man stepped foot on Antarctica, PONANT is launching the first electric luxury polar ship in 2021. It will be able to cut through ice floe up to seven feet thick – meaning it can reach rarely visited places like Peter I Island, where fewer people have visited than have set foot on the moon. It will operate with a mix of liquified natural gas (the cleanest fuel on the market) and electric battery (zero emission and can operate for up to eight hours at a time). Le Commandant-Charcot will be fitted with the latest technology for minimizing environmental impact, as well as a scientific laboratory for conducting operational oceanography missions and research. Under the supervision of naturalist guides and onboard scientists, guests will be able to participate in the research and experiments during sailings, including helping set up a research station on an ice floe; deploying an Argos transmitter, a satellite-based system which collects and shares environmental data; and taking water samples.

Costa Rica

In the 1970s and 80s, Costa Rica had one of the highest rates of deforestation in Latin America, but it has since reversed that trend and embraced reforestation. This was largely because of the government’s commitment to the cause, making it illegal in 1996 to chop down trees without approval from authorities. They also launched PES, a program that pays farmers to protect watersheds, conserve biodiversity, or capture carbon dioxide. This has positively impacted tourism. According to the tourism board, over 60% of visitors site nature as a reason for coming. The national parks and protected areas cover over a quarter of the country’s land. Nayara Resorts is committed to the cause. Their newest property, Nayara Tented Camp, sits on a hillside that was completely deforested by farmers over 50 years ago. Nayara hired a reforestation expert to rebuild the rainforest – which began with the planting of 40,000 indigenous trees.

Jamaica

Chris Blackwell’s Oracabessa Foundation is restoring the coral reef as a means to bring back marine life. In recent years, through the Foundation’s efforts, the Bay saw an increase of fish presence by 1,800 percent. Because of its success, the template is being replicated in other fish sanctuaries across Jamaica. New this year, Blackwell’s hotel GoldenEye in partnership with the Oracabessa Foundation opened a new dive shop that is open to locals as well as guests, offering coral planting opportunities, with profits going back into the foundation.

Maldives

Coral bleaching from factors like climate change and El Niño has led to the death of 60-90% of the Maldivian reefs. As the only luxury property that is located both on the beach and on a coral reef, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers guests the chance to adopt a coral frame ($175 USD per frame) during their stay. The coral frames are built using broken coral fragments found on local reefs, which are then rehabilitated in the property’s coral nursery and left to grow and regain their health.

If you want to save endangered animals…

Iguassu Falls, Brazil

When Belmond took over the Hotel das Cataratas in 2007, it not only invested in the hotel itself, but in the surrounding Iguassu National Park. The company committed 4 million Brazilian Reals to help update the park’s electricity supply, redesign the old park entrance and build a bicycle path from the gate to the hotel. It also donated 1.4 million Brazilian Reals towards the Projeto Onças do Iguaçu (Jaguars of Iguassu Project) to help preserve the last of the area’s jaguars. Ten years ago the population of these big cats was in sharp decline. The Jaguars of Iguassu Project installed night vision cameras around the park and used tracking devices fitted onto captured and released animals to study their behaviors and devise programs to improve their survival and breeding rates. Since the Jaguars of Iguassu Project began the number of jaguars has increased from around 9 to at least 28 (census of 2019). After exploring the national park, guests can stop by the hotel’s boutique and purchase a stuffed jaguar where a portion of the proceeds continue to support the project.

South Africa

Pangolins are mini (and adorable) dinosaur-like mammals. While not commonly known in the U.S., these native African anteaters are covered in keratin scales, which are highly valuable to poachers, making them the most trafficked mammal in the world. The species used to roam freely in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, but have been locally extinct for decades. Private groups at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve can have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with these elusive creatures with andBeyond’s Pangolin Conservation Experience and assist in replacing tags and monitoring behavior.

If you want to lead by example…

Gregory Miller is a leader in responsible tourism, an expert in public-private partnerships and a trained environmental scientist who believes in working globally, acting locally, and protecting our precious natural and cultural resources. Greg joined CREST as Executive Director in 2019, bringing to the organization a global track record of high-impact results in sustainable travel and recreation, biodiversity conservation, and policy development. He is also a founder of the newly formed Future of Tourism Coalition, as well as the Outdoor Alliance, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, and Parks in Peril program.

Joss Kent joined andBeyond in January 2012 and brought with him a passion for working with local communities and preserving land and wildlife. He came to andBeyond after several years as CEO of Abercrombie & Kent. Starting his career as a game ranger, Joss has gone on to champion leading sustainability and community initiatives including Ocean Without Border and Rhinos Without Border and continuing a partnership with the Africa Foundation to work with local communities to fill their needs, from building schools to creating water filtration systems.

Cindy Pawlcyn is the chef behind Mustards Grill, a Napa Valley landmark for more than 30 years. She opened the restaurant when the region was still largely pasture, with few restaurants and even fewer chefs (none whom were women!). Then, at 28 years old, Pawlcyn was also among the first to plant an organic garden outside her restaurant. Today, Mustards is still a Napa favorite, and has served more than one million pork chops – her signature dish.

Charity Cheruiyot was the first female safari ranger in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Having grown up in a small village as a member of the Kalenjin tribe, Charity paved her own way to a future in the bush. She now is a favorite ranger among guests of andBeyond Bateleur Camp, teaching the brand’s values of care of the land, wildlife, and people.

Wilbert Das, the former creative director at Diesel, founded UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, Brazil. Today, Wilbert’s life in Trancoso extends far beyond the (unmarked) entrance of UXUA. As the town’s “unofficial mayor,” he is steadfast in his support of the community and proves that eco-conscious efforts and a propensity for high design are not mutually exclusive.

 

news from the vines

December 3rd, 2020

News from the Vines: Winter 2020

What’s Happening in Napa Valley

A cactus in a field with a mountain in the background

Description automatically generated A glass of wine

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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.

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About Visit Napa Valley

Visit Napa Valley is the official destination management organization for the Napa Valley, with a mission to promote, protect and enhance the region’s position as an attractive travel destination and enhance its public image as a dynamic place to visit, live and work.

The Napa Valley, conveniently located just an hour from the San Francisco Bay Area, consists of the following distinctive towns, including, from north to south, Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford/Oakville, Yountville, the city of Napa, American Canyon, and the outdoor recreation area of Lake Berryessa.

For additional information on the Napa Valley, or to plan your Napa Valley experience, please explore VisitNapaValley.com, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @VisitNapaValley.

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.

 

 

Nayara Joins Forces with Tánica

November 9th, 2020


Nayara Resorts, known for its three properties in Costa Rica often ranked amongst the top hotels in the world, is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Tánica hotels in Chile. This is Nayara’s first foray beyond Costa Rica and they look forward to offering guests their incredible customer service and gracious hospitality, starting with Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa in Chile’s Atacama Desert and Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa on Easter Island.

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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.

 

Long Stay Offers from AMPR

September 14th, 2020

For many, the work-from-home lifestyle has become the new normal. The option to change up the location of that ‘home’ is becoming increasingly enticing as borders slowly begin to open around the world. Luxury travel advisor network, Virtuoso, has seen the trend expand as of late, noting “If micro-vacations were born from a lack of time, extended stays are the answer to a strained work-life balance brought on by incessant Zooming.” [Misty Belles, Managing Director of Global Public Relations]

The following properties have taken their hospitality to the next level with extended stay deals that offer a true home-away-from-home – from the Irish countryside to the beaches of Jamaica.

County Clare, Ireland
Set on 450 acres with gardens based on the same designs as the Gardens at Versailles, Dromoland Castle can trace its heritage back to the 16th century when it was home of the O’Brien family and last high kinds of Ireland. Two couples or a family of four can now make this once royal home their very own with a month-long stay in the Grania O’Brien Suite. The two-bedroom apartment features its own kitchen, fireplace, and private terrace with a garden and outdoor space. With the long stay offer, guests can take advantage of the 18-hole golf course with daily access to the golf academy and the golf buggy. The rate includes unlimited laundry, daily breakfast, 24/7 IT support for those setting up a home office, and a personal host to attend to guests’ every need. Cost for 30 nights is €29,000 (approximately $34,182 USD) (valid September 1, 2020-April 1, 2021, excluding Christmas and some closed out dates) *Americans are welcome in Ireland right now, but must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Nantucket, Massachusetts
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.  The local boutiques and restaurants remain open, and travelers are still able to enjoy outdoor offering such as biking, sailing, lobstering and golfing. Those looking for a last dose of vitamin sea before winter sets in can make White Elephant Resorts their home. Stays for 30 nights or more after Labor Day will receive 25% off. Families or groups can opt for an in-town Residence or Loft at the White Elephant (closes for the season on December 6); the three-bedroom Anchorage House by Serena & Lily at The Wauwinet (closes for the season on November 2); or a Cottage at the Boat Basin (closes for the season on October 18).

Oracabessa, Jamaica
There’s no better way to spend the week than with toes in the sand and a Red Stripe in hand. Travelers who book 30 nights or more at GoldenEye in the quiet fishing village of Oracabessa will receive 30% off accommodations. Previously Ian Fleming’s home and the site where he penned all 14 James Bond novels, today the property is owned by Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell. Set alongthe pristine coast, among lush tropical gardens and around the calm waters of the property’s lagoon and secluded beaches, the 52-acre estate now encompasses 45 stand-alone villas, cottages, and Beach Huts. Guests also have the option to book Fleming’s original five-bedroom home, where his writing desk remains. Daily breakfast and unlimited laundry are included. Not valid December 20, 2020-January 3, 2021.

Maldives
Following months of being cooped up at home, the ‘close to home travel’ trend just won’t cut it for some. Built-up wanderlust means getting as far away as possible, and the Maldives is open of business. With the ‘Live Unforgettable’ offer, guests of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi staying seven nights or longer will receive a 30% discount on accommodations including roundtrip airport transfers via the property’s fleet of yachts, daily breakfast, and nightly dinner credit of $100 per person for two. Privacy-seekers might opt to make a Stella Maris over-water villa their home-away-from-home, which is only accessible by traditional dhoni boat and features a private infinity pool, BBQ setup, and hammocks swimming over the turquoise blue ocean. Available now through December 20, 2020.

Costa Rica
Nayara Tented Camp is one of the first luxury camps in Central America. Located in the Arenal Volcano National Park, the year-round camp is the brainchild of owner Leo Ghitis who was inspired by the luxury canvas lodges of Africa and Asia. The air-conditioned accommodations, each generously sized at 1,496 square feet, have been built at a higher altitude on the hillside to provide unobstructed views of the volcano. The indoor/outdoor design of the Camp blends contemporary, barefoot-luxe touches and unique-to-location design features: a master suite created as a nod to traditional African safari style tents fused with a Costa Rican sense of place; canopy beds with a botanical headboard mural; private plunge pools fed by natural mineral hot springs; and double-head outdoor showers. Guests who book stays 30 days or longer receive 35% discount on accommodations, along with laundry service, twice daily cleaning service, valet parking, breakfast and daily yoga.

 

 

private pools at hotels around the world

September 11th, 2020

Hotels with Stunning Views, Even from the (Private) Swimming Pools

Spotting wildlife, gazing at constellations, sipping chilled rosé, cooling off from the desert heat – these are all activities best enjoyed from a plunge pool. A private place to take a dip is a deal-breaking amenity for many when hitting ‘book,’ especially heading into this new world of travel. In fact, luxury travel advisor network, Virtuoso, says that it’s been one of the most requested in-room features from their clients in recent months.

Here are our favorite places around the world to float.

 

Views of Ocean

Maldives: For those looking to travel as far away from home as possible (we don’t blame you!) Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi awaits. The property opened on July 1, 2019 as the first luxury resort near the capital city of Malé in the last decade – making for a quick and seamless yacht ride from the airport anytime, day or night. Every single villa on the island – whether on the beach, reef, or stilted over the ocean – is equipped with a private infinity pool, dining gazebo, and an outdoor deck with a swinging daybed. Guests staying in a Stella Maris overwater villa can take a traditional dhoni boat straight to their pool and spend the night gazing at both southern and northern hemispheres stars.

Anguilla: Situated in a secluded are of the newly-renovated resort, the multi-story Beachfront Pool Villas at Belmond Cap Juluca have private swimming pools just steps away from the white sands of Maundays Bay. Guests can sway to a private, in-villa reggae concert from the comfort of their own pool float.

St. Barth: New four-bedroom villas at The Christopher, designed by Olivia Putman (daughter of Andrée Putman) blur the boundaries between inside and out and use a mix of natural materials including bamboo, sandstone and volcanic stone, accented with pops of the hotel’s signature orange. With large decks and private pools, they meld the privacy of a villa rental with the comforts of a hotel.

Mykonos: Once home to Greek gods and a favorite destination of Jackie Kennedy as well as artists, poets, designers and actors, Mykonos has long been in the spotlight. But the whole story of the island is rarely told. Enter Kalesma, opening in Spring 2021. Set on a hilltop above Ornos Bay and just under two miles from Mykonos town, Kalesma’s 25 accommodations will be spread across five acres and set against a lush hillside blanketed with 20,000 plants. All suites will offer unobstructed lookouts from the private patio, as well as a full-sized personal heated pool.

Côte d’Azur: La Réserve Ramatuelle is nestled within a cliffside jardin overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Just 15 minutes outside St. Tropez, the property feels like a well-kept secret. Each of the 14 villas comes with its own private garden and pool. The three-bedroom Villa No. 2 has 22,000 square-feet of gardens with unbeatable views of the Mediterranean Sea. Wall-to-wall windows open to the outside, seamlessly blending indoors with outdoors, where an al fresco dining and entertaining area and a private infinity pool and Jacuzzi overlook Cap Taillat.

Thailand: Set among 17 acres of tropical gardens, Belmond Napasai offers a secluded retreat with a collection of standalone villas and suites overlooking Baan Tai beach on Thailand’s Koh Samui. For the utmost privacy, guests can book one of the oceanfront pool residences ranging from one to four bedrooms. The multi-level private homes each feature a massage sala, direct beach access and an oceanfront pool.

Views of Desert + Mountains

Namibia: andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge opened October 16, 2019 after a 10-month complete rebuild in one of the world’s oldest deserts and adjacent to an International Dark Sky Reserve. Ten 1,400 square-foot guest suites have desert views from every corner with thoughtful touches like butler hatches with secret, solar-powered freezer drawers stocked with ice cream and Namibian craft beer;  in-room fireplaces and artist easels; large private verandas with outdoor showers and fire pits; and chilled plunge pools to offset the desert heat. Need more about the pool.

Marrakech: Situated just steps from Jemaa el Fna, Royal Mansour is a quiet oasis with an open-air courtyard and the calming fragrance of orange blossoms. The palatial estate, owned by the King of Morocco, is the only all-riad property in Marrakech. No elevators; no carts; no rooms; no crowds. Dotted along petal-pink walkways are 53 private, three-story riads with rooftop terraces and private plunge pools. The Grand Riad is the crown jewel, with a rooftop terrace spread over two levels with a pool that offers views out to the Atlas Mountains.

Views of Wildlife

Costa RicaNayara Tented Camp opened in December 2019 as one of the very first luxury tented camps in Central America. The 21 tented accommodations are dotted up a hillside with unobstructed views of the towering Arenal Volcano. Set in the lush rainforest – home to wild flora and fauna like hummingbird, colorful macaw, and over 15 sloths – each tent has an expansive terrace with a private pool fed by warm mineral springs sourced from the volcano.

South Africa: andBeyond Tengile River Lodge is located in South Africa’s private Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which is known for its unmatched leopard sightings. With a name that means tranquil, the lodge features nine floating suites that look out over the Sand river from a forest and each suite offers river views. After a morning game drive, guests can swim in their own personal pool while spotting the elephants and buffalo that regularly graze in the river.

 

Views of Vineyards

Napa Valley: The three new Maple Grove Villas at Bardessono Hotel & Spa in Napa Valley are available to book individually or as one three-bedroom retreat. The villas have stocked wine fridges, fireplaces and outdoor “cocktail pools” with lounge seating. Bardessono Hotel & Spa is one of only three Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified hotels in the county. Located in Yountville, cuisine reigns king here, with more Michelin stars per capita than any other place in America.

Costa Rica Opens for Several US States

September 9th, 2020

Costa Rica is opening its borders on September 1st to US citizens who are residents Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and as of September 15 to Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Colorado (with driver’s licenses from those states). Additional requirements include a negative Covid test result within 48 hours of travel to Costa Rica, medical insurance, and a health pass form – full requirements listed on Visit Costa Rica’s website here.

Just below the Arenal volcano in the tropical rainforest, Nayara Tented Camp and Nayara Springs are both currently open (operating at 50% occupancy). Nayara Springs is adults only and Nayara Tented Camp (just opened in December 2019) is family friendly, so those looking for a getaway with or without children can find a perfect refuge.

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