What’s New in Europe?

April 12th, 2022

Now that warm weather is on the horizon, Europe is gearing up for the summer season. Here are some newsy bits not to miss…

 

UK

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will take place in London June 2-5. How a few hotels are celebrating…

·      The Kensington, in the Royal Borough with its classic London feel, has a package with a private royal walking tour with resident Blue Badge Guide exploring the links and history of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park through monarchs ranging from Henry VIII to Queen Victoria to Princess Dianna and of course Queen Elizabeth II.

·      The recently renovated Le Magritte Bar at The Beaumont has a special Jubilee Cocktail made with very Keepr’s English Raspberry and Honey Gin, Chambord, King’s Ginger Liqueur, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, rhubarb bitters and English sparkling wine. The specialty cocktail coincides with the opening of the new Terrace overlooking Brown Hart Gardens, a alfresco drinking and dining destination with 1920s-style rattan armchairs and café tables surrounded by lush greenery.

·      On June 5th, catch the train at London Victoria Station for an afternoon tea celebration on Belmond’s British Pullman featuring Windsor Great Park Sparkling Wine from Her Majesty’s own estate. The wine served at Buckingham Palace is produced in limited quantities and is crafted from the classic champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This journey is in partnership with pastry chef Claire Clark MBE and the Luminary Bakery, a non-profit bakery founded to help create jobs, community, and support for women in the workplace. Each couple will receive a copy of Luminary Bakery’s Rising Hope cookbook and Belmond will also make a donation for every ticket sold.

·      Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisions, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire is hosting a series of summer experiences including exclusive access to Sir Paul and Lady Getty’s home and the rarely seen castellated library, including the first edition of Caxton’s printing og The Canterbury Tales, Anne Boleyn’s Psalter and the first folio of Shakespeare’s “Comedies, Histories and Tragedies” on June 16; and an alfresco garden party at the property hosted by Raymond Blanc in honor of Bastille Day on July 14.

*JetBlue also announced a July 19 launch of direct flights between Boston and London.

 

GREECE

Chef Costas Spiliadis of the Milos Restaurant group is returning to his Greek roots with the debut of the 43-room property in Athens: xenodocheio Milos. inside two heritage-listed neoclassical buildings (sandwiched between the historical Pláka and trendy Kolonaki neighborhoods). In addition to being within walking distance of the Acropolis and nearby historic sites, it is the only luxury boutique hotel in the city.

 

When it opens for its second season on April 21, Kalesma Mykonos will introduce a newly redesigned restaurant with uninterrupted water views on two sides, a new hand-painted mural in its onsite chapel, and several suites that have been expanded into one-bedroom villas with full outdoor kitchens and grills.

 

IRELAND

Dromoland Castle’s 18-hole golf course will be in peak condition prior to hosting the 2022 Women’s Irish Open in September (the first women’s professional golf tournament to be held in the Republic of Ireland since 2012).

 

ITALY

Belmond is partnering with internationally acclaimed art gallery Galleria Continua on an exclusive project, entitled MITICO, that will kick off during the Venice Biennale (April 19-22). This project represents the beginning of Belmond’s participation in Venice’s world-renowned artistic and cultural programming. Each of the four participating artists will install works in landmarked Belmond gardens across Italy—beginning with Indian artist Subodh Gupta’s “Cooking the World” installation in Cipriani’s Casanova gardens during the Venice Biennale. In May, three major installations will be revealed: Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich’s “Window & Ladder” at Tuscany’s Villa San Michele; Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Accarezzare Gli Alberi” (L’Etrusco) at Castello di Casole; and a garden installation by Cameroonian artist Pascal Marthine Tayou in Sicily’s Grand Hotel Timeo.

 

Additional Belmond getaways:

At Splendido Mare and sister property, Splendido, discover the Portofino that has lured artists and writers to the coastal town throughout the centuries. Following a complete restoration that debuted last summer, Splendido Mare is the epitome of Italian glamor, with a picturesque location overlooking the yacht-filled harbor and 14 rooms filled with Ulrich Guglielmo armchairs, Carrara marble surfaces, and works by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli.

 

At Belmond’s Cipriani, the city’s most iconic stay, guests will have access to exclusive experiences that will deepen their perspectives and whisk them away from the crowds. During tours of the Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th-century Library San Francesco della Vigna, rare books and preserved manuscripts will be on exclusive display for Belmond guests. Meanwhile, at the tiny island of Giudecca, guests will tour medieval pharmacies, visit an authentic gondola boatyard, and meet one of the last “moecante” (soft-shelled green crab) fishing families.

 

A hidden treasure of the Amalfi Coast, Ravello is known for its cliffside gardens and dramatic Tyrrhenian Sea scenery. Guests at Caruso, an 11th-century palace set on a cliff’s edge 1,000 feet above sea level, have exclusive access to secret underground networks deep below the historic town full of archeological treasures from Roman times.

 

Set on a craggy coastline on the secluded Sicily’s Bay of Mazzaro, Villa Sant’Andrea has been dazzling visitors since the 1950s. After a day on the hotel’s private beach, guests can meet members of the Rodolico family, who have been building handcrafted boats since 1908 or spend an afternoon with a fisherman and enjoy lunch inside his home overlooking the Messina Strait.

 

FRANCE

Nestled within a Mediterranean jardin overlooking the Cote d’Azur is the cliffside retreat, La Réserve Ramatuelle opens for the season in May following last summer’s refurbishment courtesy of Jacques Garcia. This comes just in time for all business-class airline La Compagnie’s new seasonal route from Newark to Nice (launching May 7).

SPAIN

Located just off Passeig de Gracia, Almanac Barcelona recently launched VIRENS, a new vegetable-forward restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Rodrigo de la Calle of Madrid’s acclaimed El Invernadero. Growing up as the son of a farmer, chef de la Calle and his family would move with the seasons: autumn in Castilla-La Mancha for the harvesting of corn, winter in Andalusia for olives, and spring/summer for mixed vegetables in their huertas in Aranjuez. Guests can expect dishes that spotlight seasonal ingredients like fried artichoke hearts with liliaceae cream and white asparagus with black garlic demi-glaze and capers. To compliment the menu, the VIRENS team makes in-house fermented and sparkling beverages, such as kefir, kombucha, and mead.

 

Mallorca is an island of many sides, and at La Residencia, guests can truly choose their own adventures. Belmond guests can round out their visits by touring a neighboring country estate and enjoying a picnic on the grounds of the Sa Bassa Blanca museum. For a different feast of the senses, meet acclaimed winemaker Javier Jara for a walk through his 15th-century winery, Son Sureda Ric. The experience will conclude with a bossa nova performance amid vines, with Javier on the guitar and his talented wife, Carmè, on vocals.

 

SWITZERLAND

Located 10 minutes outside Switzerland’s second-largest city, La Réserve Geneva feels much farther thanks to its location within a 10-acre park on the shores of Lac Léman. With Europe’s largest alpine lake for its front yard, the property is more like an urban resort. At over 20,000-square-feet, the Nescens Spa is the largest in the city. (The Nescens brand was developed by Professor Jacques Proust, a pioneer in anti-aging medicine, at Geneva’s Center for the Prevention of Aging at the Clinique de Genolier.)

 

CROATIA

PONANT will debut its iconic three-masted sailing yacht, Le Ponant, following a complete refit led by Jean-Philippe Nuel Studio in July. With a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio and welcoming just 32 guests, PONANT invites travelers to feel as if they’ve stepped aboard their own private yacht. The first voyage will depart on July 10 with a seven-night itinerary, Croatia, under sail aboard Le Ponant. Sailing roundtrip from Dubrovnik, travelers will explore seven Adriatic islands. After cruising through the Bay of Kotor, ports of call include Mljet, known for its national park; Korčula, including a private performance of Moreška, a traditional sword dance; Vis, with an optional diving excursion to World War II shipwrecks; and Brač for a winetasting in the town of Bol. Prices start at $10,890 per person based on double occupancy.

 

New Hotel Openings and Renovations

January 28th, 2022

From the Catskills to Tanzania, here is a look ahead at the most exciting new destinations and renovation plans for 2022.

Chatwal Lodge, The Catskills | Bethel, NY | April 1, 2022

90 minutes from Manhattan, Chatwal Lodge is located at The Chapin Estate, a 2,500-acre gated residential community. Architect and designer Steve Dubrovsky specializes in 19th-century Adirondack style, and he is also a four-time circuit champion of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. 10 suites spread among three buildings will feature private patios overlooking the 1,000-acre Toronto Reservoir Lake. Activities will range from fly fishing in the on-property trout stream and kayaking with a to-go picnic to Ayurvedic treatments in-suite.

(Photo credit: The Chapin Estate or Tim Williams, as noted in the file name)

andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge | Tanzania | June 6, 2022

Conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond has announced that andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp in Tanzania’s Western Corridor will reemerge from an extensive rebuild, following a flood in April 2020, with a brand-new identity as andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge. As part of andBeyond’s ethos, sustainability will be key in the rebuild. With interiors by long-time andBeyond collaborator Fox Browne Creative, the rebuild will use the existing footprint of the former structure to redefine the classical tented camp look in a form that will least impact the natural landscape. Guest suites will double in size and feature deep baths and indoor showers, as well as extensive outdoor decks with private plunge pools. The rebuild will also bring a new family suite featuring an additional attached bedroom. An extended selection of experiences is also being developed in time for the reopening. These will combine with the rich resident wildlife of this remote corner of the Serengeti, as well as the lodge’s ideal location for experiencing the thrilling river crossing and vast herds of the Great Migration.

(Photo credit: andBeyond)

Nayara Tented Camp | Costa Rica | June 2022

Nayara Tented Camp opened at the end of 2019 as one of the first luxury camps in Central America. This June, they are putting the finishing touches on a big phase two which will see the addition of a main building, reception area, bar, lounge, restaurant, swimming pool, and fire pit. There will also be several new accommodations, including: two four-bedroom villas with a living area, dining area, and main deck and pool (with the option to add a third tented bedroom); six two-bedroom tented suites (perfect for families); and two more tented suites. Nayara Tented Camp will then have a total of 38 accommodations altogether, and the new two-bedroom villas will be perfect for larger families and groups and those seeking extra privacy.

(Images to come.)

Opening for the Summer Season

US

Nantucket

  • Jared Coffin House – Opening April 6

The Jared Coffin House, a three-story brick mansion, was built by and named for one of Nantucket’s original shipping merchants. Dating from the mid-19th century, it oozes historic charm and graceful service. As a nod to the island’s history-making females, each of the four suites are named after influential women, including abolitionist Anna Gardner and women’s rights activist Lucretia Coffin Mott.

  • Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin – Opening April 7

The Cottages at the Boat Basin evoke the mood of a quaint New England fishing village, and are the closest guests will get to staying on the water without being on a boat. Most cottages have decks and patios where guests can enjoy al fresco clambakes and picnics. For those traveling with pets, The Woof Cottages welcome pups with Draper Canine beds, a basket of treats and toys, food and water bowls, dog-walking services, and personalized pet tags.

  • White Elephant – Opening April 14

The White Elephant has been a favorite Nantucket retreat since the 1920s. The height of preppy New England elegance with grey shingles and white trim. A stone’s throw from the center of town, the property has accommodations for every traveler including suites on the harbor, garden cottages and two in-town Lofts, Easy Street and the Loft at 32 Main and multi-bedroom Residences with kitchenettes. The White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill is a staple restaurant on island and known for their famed Sunday Brunch and Lobster Bloody Mary.

  • Wauwinet – Opening April 14

Situated on the northeast end of Nantucket bordering the peaceful Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, the 32-room Wauwinet is the island’s only Relais & Chateaux property. An adults-only escape, the hotel offers an ambiance of storybook romance. The location is a standout – with access to two private beaches – one on the ocean and one on the Bay. The on-property restaurant TOPPER’S, a don’t-miss dining spot on island, features a seasonally inspired menu with local produce and seafood.

Europe

Greece

  • Kalesma, Mykonos, Greece – Opening April 21, 2022

Kalesma opened in the summer of 2021 and stands apart from other hotels on the island with its amazing service (the owners are bringing in their trusted staff from their three hotspot restaurants in Athens to get it started). They are one of the earliest seasonal openings this year to coincide with their festive Greek Easter celebration. This year there will be new one-bedroom villas with an option to connect for a two-bedroom villa. They are moving and creating a new bar to optimize the views of the water looking both East and West. More information on what’s new for 2022 coming soon!

Italy

  • Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice – Opening March 10

Giuseppe Cipriani — also the founder of Harry’s Bar, the birthplace of the Bellini that was inspired by the pinky golden hues over St. Mark’s Square — opened Cipriani in 1956 as a haven for jet-setting travelers. Belmond guests can enjoy the only Olympic-sized swimming pool in the city and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of the city’s libraries and archives.

  • Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina – Opening March 15

Grand Hotel Timeo was formerly a private home and converted into a hotel in 1873. The property is adjacent to the Greek theater, stretched along six acres of tropical gardens, with views on the Naxos Bay and Mount Etna.

  • Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino – Opening March 25

One year following its complete restoration by Paris-based FESTEN Architecture, Splendido Mare reopens for the 2022 season. Inspired by its history in a fishing village, the 14-room property is a chic seaside guesthouse with fresh seafood and Italian fare at the onproperty restaurant, DaV Mare, and offers a trip along the Italian Riviera aboard a gozzo, a traditional Ligurian fishing boat.

  • Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence – Opening March 27

Nestled on a hilltop amid lush trees and terraced gardens, the 15th-century facade is attributed to Michelangelo. Guests are invited to experience the delicate beauty and solitude of a monastery that is as much a part of Italy’s culture as the country’s greatest cathedrals and galleries. A colorful highlight is a 400-year-old wisteria, the only one in Florence to bloom twice a year.

  • Castelo did Casole, A Belmond Hotel, Tuscany – Opening April 1

The 4,200-acre property is one of the largest private estates in Italy, nestled in Tuscany’s geographical center between Siena and Florence. A former castle dating back to the 10th century, it has changed hands from Italian aristocratic family to acclaimed cinematographer Luchino Visconti before joining the Belmond portfolio.

  • Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Ravello – April 1

Perched atop the highest point of the charming town of Ravello, at 1,000 ft above sea level, the 11th-century palace adorns Instagram feeds with its heated infinity pool. The historic property features 18th-century Neapolitan paintings, lush grounds with lemon and olive trees, and a two-suite Villa Margherita for those seeking extra privacy.

  • Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino – April 1

Splendido Mare’s sister property – just a quick, complimentary shuttle ride away, is a restored 16th-century monastery. Splendido is nestled up in the hills overlooking Portofino with a heated saltwater pool and Instagram-worthy views from La Terrazza restaurant.

  • Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina – April 14

Built in 1919 among subtropical gardens, the property enjoys its own stretch on the secluded Bay of Mazzaro, where private cabanas for up to four guests can be reserved. Hop onboard the historic Circumetnea steam train to Mount Etna for private vineyard tours to taste rare vintages and local delicacies, available only to guests of Belmond.

Spain

  • La Residencia, A Belmond Hotel, Mallorca – Opening March 18

Located in a hillside village located on the northwest coast of Mallorca, La Residencia was the first to attract artists and connoisseurs who put Deia on the map. Book the one-bedroom Suite 67 for added privacy – completely redesigned by British fashion designer Matthew Williamson, balancing his signature botanicals and lively colors while honoring the hotel’s traditional Mallorcan heritage.

France

  • La Réserve Ramatuelle, Côte d’Azur – Opening May 2022

Nestled within a Mediterranean jardin overlooking the Cote d’Azur is the cliffside retreat, La Réserve Ramatuelle. Last summer the Palace hotel lifted the veil on a refreshed lobby, two Michelin-starred restaurant, and terrace helmed by none other than Jacques Garcia who took inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s when Cocteau, Picasso and Picault brought their creativity to the French Riviera.

 

Belmond Introduces a New ‘Golden Era’ for the British Pullman with a Reimagined Carriage by Wes Anderson

October 14th, 2021

Today, Belmond reveals an exclusive cinematic design partnership with filmmaker Wes Anderson. Paying tribute to both the golden age of cinema and travel, Wes Anderson has reimagined the Cygnus carriage aboard the legendary British Pullman, A Belmond Train, England.

With a love of trains and a passion for craftsmanship, Wes Anderson – famed for films including TheDarjeeling Limited, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and most recently The French Dispatch – has been able to carefully balance the historical preservation of the Art Deco-inspired carriage with a modern interpretation of design. The carriage is instantly recognizable as a Wes Anderson design through his signature symmetrical lines, unique color pallets, and art nouveau style.  The bespoke design also introduces an elevated guest experience with two new private coupés in the carriage.

Commenting on the design collaboration, Wes Anderson says, “I love trains! I have often had the chance to invent train compartments and carriages in my movies — so I was immediately pleased to say ‘yes’ to this real-life opportunity, and very eager to make something new while also participating in the process of preservation which accompanies all the classic Belmond train projects. They are keeping something special alive; igniting this endangered species of travel into a new golden era.”

A STORIED DESIGN

Each carriage aboard British Pullman has a unique history and continues to be at the cutting edge of design and craftsmanship. With Cygnus’ design, Wes Anderson has paid careful tribute in his dream-like storytelling to the origins of the 1950s carriage.

Named after the Greek God of Balance, Cygnus is often personified as a swan and immortalized as one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky. Detailed reference to the myth and legend can be found throughout the design in the intricate waves and swan detailing in the marquetry. From the meticulously positioned silver leaf on the ceiling that reflects like water, to the swan shaped champagne coolers – the carriage is a tribute to the majestic swan.

OFFERING A NEW LEVEL OF PRIVACY

Cygnus carriage features two private coupés where every detail of the design and experience takes a journey aboard British Pullman to a new level of luxury. The intimate space, with 360-degree carefully handcrafted marquetry, can be exclusively booked for up to four guests – beginning at London Victoria where the Train Manager greets guests with priority boarding and ensures free flowing champagne is available throughout the journey.

Contemporary British menus are served on special crockery, with additional flourishes from British Pullman’s Head Chef and exclusive cocktails served in glassware only available in the private coupé.

Guests can also travel in the open carriage as part of the regular Pullman experience or choose to book the entire carriage for groups and celebrations up to 26 people.

A CINEMATIC CELEBRATION

Arnaud Champenois, Senior Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Belmond, comments, “At Belmond we are custodians of timeless heritage. We are always seeking new ways to remain relevant and create new legendary adventures. It is our mission to keep the travel dreams alive by collaborating with the most creative talents, who share our passion for design and craftsmanship.

It has been a privilege to work with Wes Anderson who is one of the most captivating story tellers in the world and a true legend.”

THE FINAL DETAIL

British Pullman, A Luxury Train, England, offers a host of day journeys throughout the year from London Victoria Station.  ‘Pullman Dining by Wes Anderson’ starts from $545 (£400) per person. The ‘Pullman coupé by Wes Anderson’ starts from $2,455 (£1,800) per coupé. The full carriage hire price is available on request. To book or for more information, visit belmond.com or call 0 845 077 2222.

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About Belmond

Belmond has been a pioneer of luxury travel for over 45 years, building a passion for authentic escapes into a portfolio of one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the world’s most inspiring destinations. Since the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani in Venice in 1976, Belmond has continued to perpetuate the legendary art of travel, taking discerning global travellers on breathtaking journeys.

Its portfolio extends across 24 countries with 46 remarkable properties that include the illustrious Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train, remote beach retreats like Cap Juluca in Anguilla, Italian hideaways such as Splendido in Portofino, or unrivalled gateways to world natural wonders such as Hotel das Cataratas inside Brazil’s Iguazu National Park. From trains to river barges, safari lodges to hotels, each unique property offers an incomparable experience with its own story to tell. The essence of the Belmond brand is built upon its heritage, craftsmanship and genuine, authentic service. Belmond sees its role as custodians of timeless heritage, dedicated to preserving its assets through sensitive ongoing restoration plans. Belmond is part of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Belmond.com

 

WHAT’S NEW IN: THE U.K. AND IRELAND

September 23rd, 2021

As of July 19 and August 2, both Ireland and the U.K, respectively, began welcoming U.S. tourists. Fully vaccinated Americans can now travel to both countries without having to quarantine. The development is welcome news – according to Wanderlist, the free social site for travel planning from luxury travel agency network Virtuoso, both Ireland and Scotland are among the top 10 locales affluent travelers are dreaming of. The border openings come just in time for exciting autumn news from the British Isles.

ENGLAND

Last month, The Beaumont in Mayfair emerged from a renovation led by Thierry Despont (Claridge’s, Ritz Paris, The Chatwal New York). The architecturally protected, Grade II-listed property has retained its Art Deco aesthetic (for which Despont is also known) while incorporating influences from London, Paris and New York. The common spaces have a fresh look, including the lobby, bar, restaurant and gym. New additions include the Mayfair Suite and the terrace where guests can enjoy drinks and snacks from 8am until 8pm. Guests can expect lots of leather, velvet, bronze and mahogany and neutral cream tones mixed with chocolate, deep reds and golds.

The Kensington, a collection of four adjoining Victorian townhouses in the heart of South Kensington, reopened last spring following a refurbishment including several brand new suites. After an increased interest in long-stay guests looking for a London home base, these suites were reconfigured to enhance the feeling of a luxurious and carefully curated home, using elements and original features of the townhouse to inform the redesign. Bernie Gallagher, Chairman of The Doyle Collection, worked with London design studio Timothy Matter on the new design featuring bold Thibaut wallpaper and pops of color.

Guests can now experience the best of city & country with Belmond’s ‘Town and Country’ package combining two nights at The Cadogan – the British brand’s first London address with private access to the Cadogan Estate Gardens – and one night at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a 15th-century manor in the English countryside. A one-and-a-half-hour limousine transfer from London to Oxfordshire is followed by dinner for two at Le Manoir’s two Michelin-star restaurant by chef patron Raymond Blanc featuring organic produce grown in the on-site property’s gardens.

All aboard British Pullman, A Belmond Train for an exclusive culinary experience this fall. This October, the day train will journey roundtrip from London Victoria Station through the English countryside while guests indulge in a delicious brunch. On arrival in Oxfordshire, an unforgettable three-course lunch will be served by Raymond Blanc, founder of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel. The ride home will be accompanied by a selection of Great British cheeses and dessert.

How to get there: Most major U.S. cities have nonstop flights to London on British Airways, Delta, American and United. JetBlue launched flights to London Heathrow from New York’s Kennedy Airport on August 11 and will begin flying to London Gatwick on September 29.

SCOTLAND

The Fife Arms, the 19th-century hunting lodge in Braemar, is owned by art world power couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth and debuted in November 2018 to much fanfare (Prince Charles attended the opening). The Highland hotel recently lifted the veil on a new whisky barBertie’s, inspired by Queen Victoria’s extravagant and hedonistic heir. The bar offers 365 whiskies from Scotland and around the world, curated with the help of World Atlas of Whisky author Dave Broom, and will soon launch two of its own exclusive whiskies. On-the-ground experiences include flights, tastings, and tours of local distilleries, led by Whisky Ambassador Katy Fennema. Those who aren’t traveling there immediately can still bring a piece of the destination home. Thanks to the Fife Arms’ online shop, guests and fans can find a custom tartan or tweed design gift box, afternoon tea set, and the Fife Arms coffee table book from Phaidon. The latest addition is perhaps the most exciting, though. The new collection for dogs includes a coat, bone, collar and leash, all made with the hotel’s house tweed. What better gift for dog lovers or man’s best friend?!

In partnership with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, guests of Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train will enjoy a private tour of one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, Glen Ord; a specialist single cask whisky tasting with the dedicated whisky ambassador; and a tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society headquarters. Back on board, guests can choose from over 50 whiskies to enjoy while gazing out over the countryside in the Observation Car before taking home a year-long membership to Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Next available journeys depart on October 4, 2021; July 20, 2022; and August 22, 2022.

How to get there: There are direct flights to Edinburgh (2 hours from the hotel) from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C., on United, Delta and American. Travelers stopping over in London can fly to the nearest airports, which are Aberdeen (1 hour 15 minutes), Dundee (1 hour 25 minutes), and Inverness (1 hour 55 minutes).

IRELAND

After skipping trick-or-treating last year, parents can make it up to their kids with a memorable Halloween in a real castleDromoland Castle in County Clare will offer family passes to nearby Bunratty Gold Park, which is home to a magical fairy trail, and host spooky activities including a group treasure hunt around the grounds and, of course, pumpkin carving. The tradition actually dates back to Irish immigrants who used to carve turnips. In fact, the name, jack-o’-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. In the old days, people would carve scary faces into turnips and potatoes and place them in windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits.

Dromoland Castle has also crafted a special Thanksgiving week. Imagine roaring fires, fine whiskeys, woodland walks, falconry, golf and the best of local Fall produce in a traditional feast including roast Irish turkey and delicious Irish pumpkin pie. Along with the family-style Thanksgiving dinner, guests at the castle will enjoy additional themed activities including wreath decorating, golf clinic, shopping trips and board games. Calligraphy classes are set to inspire guests with tips and ideas to bring beautiful handwritten notes and holiday cards to the next level. Transfers to and from the Dublin Airport and Antigen tests before returning home are also included. The package is offered from Tuesday, November 23 through Sunday, November 28 and prices start at €5,500 EUR per couple based on a Deluxe room category.

How to get there: There are direct flights to Dublin (2.5 hours from the hotel) from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C., on United, Delta, American and Aer Lingus.


Where to Go: December

September 23rd, 2021

Whether you’re looking for snow and ski or sun and sand, there is no shortage of ideas for where to spend the holidays – and those last remaining vacation days.

Switzerland

Switzerland is open to Americans as of June 26 and what better time to visit than the holidays when the country is at peak charm? Travelers can fly into Zurich (there are direct flights from major U.S. cities) to experience the magical Christmas markets. There are many to choose from but the best include Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Main Station, the city’s largest market, which features 150 stalls and a giant tree decorated with Swarovski crystals, and Dörfli in The Old Town, Zurich’s oldest market where visitors can find artisan gifts. The veil will have just been lifted on a David Chipperfield-designed extension to the Kunsthaus art museum, doubling the footprint and making it the second largest collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art outside Paris. The museum is also home to the world’s largest collection of Dada art (the Dada art movement was established in Zurich in 1916). Guests of the newly opened La Réserve Eden au Lac, the only luxury hotel on Lac Zurich, receive city passes granting discounts at museums. After Zurich head to Zermatt, the charming, car-free town where you can ski 365 days a year. Switzerland is said to be the birthplace of ski tourism and is home to Europe’s largest glaciers and the most peaks over 13,000 feet. Zermatt is launching a new ski lift this year that will complete an ‘Alpine crossing’ by connecting the Klein Matterhorn to Testa Grigia in Italy’s Aosta Valley for the first time. The iconic Schweizerhof hotel reopened in 2019 with a fresh look following an extensive, eight-month top-to-bottom renovation. Designed in an Alpine-chalet style, Schweizerhof is situated on the main thoroughfare of Bahnhofstrasse at the base of the Matterhorn. Oak walls and marble bathrooms in the guest rooms create a cozy, yet contemporary environment while fun touches like wooden hiking sticks, cow bells and comforters emblazoned with the Matterhorn lend a sense of place.

Palm Beach, FL

From the Gilded Age architecture and bustling art scene to the pristine beaches and miles of bike trails, Palm Beach has been a longtime winter playground for those seeking sunshine. As travelers migrate south, cultural offerings will also be in full swing with a new exhibition at the Norton Museum of Art featuring over 150 works titled, “Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.” The exhibit will celebrate art created during a renaissance following the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1920. The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts will also welcome back the Palm Beach Symphony this winter. Art lovers can opt for the 32-room White Elephant Palm Beach, which opened late 2020. With over 130 pieces of modern and pop art, White Elephant Palm Beach offers complimentary educational guided tours of the hotel’s private museum-worthy art collection, which was personally curated by the owners and renowned NYC-based art consultant Emily Santangelo. Explore the works of featured artists including Robert Rauschenberg, whose early creations in the 1950s anticipated the pop art movement, and Sir Christopher Le Brun, a British artist who was knighted in 2021 for services to the arts in England. Several pieces by painter Kenzo Okada, the first Japanese-American artist to receive international acclaim using abstract expressionist style, are on display, as are works by Donald Baechler, part of the 1980s art movement in New York’s East Village. A 54-inch round acrylic work by Orit Fuchs was created for the hotel and is a focal point of the lobby. The 30-minute experience is available every Saturday at 10:00 am.

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket might not be an obvious choice for festive season, but the historic island transforms into a winter wonderland on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The annual Christmas Stroll, taking place December 3-5, 2021, feels like you’re stepping into a Charles Dickens backdrop with every corner of Nantucket’s historic downtown magically transformed. On pause last year, the three-day celebration has become a quintessential New England experience over the last 47 years. As an ode to its roots, the theme of this year’s event will be centered around shopping local for the holidays. Christmas 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. In the center of town, the White Elephant has been a favorite Nantucket retreat since the 1920s. The property has accommodations for families including suites on the harbor, garden cottages and two in-town Lofts. Guests will also have access to complimentary BMW vehicles to explore the island on their own, available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

St. Barth

It has only been a few years since St. Barth rebuilt itself following Hurricane Irma in 2017 so there’s plenty new to do on the island. It will be in full swing in December, with the harbor filling with yachts for the holidays and myriad glitzy New Year’s Eve parties. The best place to lay low is at The Christopher on Pointe Milou which is reopening for this season with a brand new chef and restaurant. The French Riviera-inspired restaurant will be called “Rivyera” and helmed by Chef Arnaud Faye, a two-Michelin-starred chef and a Meilleur Ouvrier de France who comes from the Chèvre d’Or on the Côte d’Azur (a member of the Grandes Tables du Monde). The Christopher’s westward facing bar makes it the perfect spot to catch the sunset and the New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Anguilla

A white winter takes on a whole new meaning in Anguilla. Forego the freezing snow and head south for miles of white sand beaches and balmy 80 degrees days. The trip is made even easier this winter with American Airlines launching a new direct route from Miami to Anguilla on December 11, 2021. This will be the only direct flight from a U.S. destination to the island. (Those arriving via private jet can also fly directly into Anguilla’s Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA).)  And the best home base on the island is Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla. Set on Maundays Bay, the property is a sanctuary for total escapism, with standalone villas dotted along the pristine stretch of beach. Every room is beachfront, giving guests their very own slice of Caribbean Sea. To celebrate the holiday season, the resort has launched a roster of daily programming, including wine tastings, sunset sails, tennis lessons, rum tastings, salt-scrub-making classes, an iron man swim and more. Family-friendly activities include eggnog and smores, gift opening on Christmas Day, and a family beach volleyball competition. Guests can also try ‘The Head Table’ dining experience, where they are invited to enjoy a multi-course feast at Pimm’s filled with Anguillan comfort foods. There will also be a choir performance, Carol of the Bells, on December 24 for some extra yuletide spirit.

Antarctica

Two once-in-a-lifetime experiences are available in one trip this December: witnessing a total solar eclipse and a cruise to Antarctica. The phenomenon will be viewable from the Weddell Sea on December 4, 2021 – the only area in the world where the solar eclipse will be 100 percent visible. There’s a handful of expeditions that will take travelers to the end of the earth in December 2021. PONANT is offering a new itinerary onboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the first luxury hybrid electric polar ship launching in November. The ship will operate on a mix of LNG and battery (when in battery mode, the ship will emit zero emissions). Guests will disembark onto the ice pack to witness this natural phenomenon as the moon passes between Earth and the sun. In a region where the sun never quite sets, travelers will be enveloped in complete darkness for a few minutes. EYOS Expeditions will also offer a private expedition experience on its 12-passenger Naia superyacht – marrying the adventure of an expedition itinerary with the comfort and level of service of a privately-chartered yacht. Quark Expeditions, Hurtigruten, Lindblad, and Atlas Ocean Voyages are offering solar eclipse itineraries as well.

 

Where to Go: November

September 23rd, 2021

With summer behind us and a noticeable chill in the air, our minds are on fall travel. Whether it’s a quick jaunt to Nantucket or a long-awaited Antarctic cruise, there’s a little something for everyone.

Scotland

Following the alarming climate change report from the United Nations, all eyes will be on Scotland where the UN Climate Change Summit will take place in Glasgow on November 1-12. As of August 2, fully vaccinated Americans can travel to the U.K. without quarantine requirements if they show proof of vaccination against Covid-19. Take a trip two-and-a-half hours northeast of Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands. On the way, travelers can pop over to Dundee to check out the Kengo Kuma-designed Victoria & Albert Museum there. Currently on show though January is Night Fever: Designing Club Culture, the first major exhibition exploring the relationship between club culture and design from the 1960s to today. The short drive will be well worth it for a stay at The Fife Arms. The 19th century hunting lodge is owned by art industry power couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth. November is an ideal time for exploring the Cairngorms National Park, the largest national park in the U.K. The hotel’s in-house forager Natasha Lloyd leads two- and three-hour walks for guests. Autumn is a great time for foraging – guests can find wild raspberries, cow berries, blaeberries, fungi (it’s the height of the season) and nettles. Back at the hotel, Natasha hosts workshops where guests can make condiments, cosmetics, and tinctures. Their findings even make their way into dishes (like sweet cicely and pistachio pesto) and cocktails (via in-house bitters and tinctures).

Antarctica

The Antarctic cruising season starts in November with a debut of newly-built, ice-class vessels that are small capacity, environmentally friendly and offer guest excursions including polar diving and hovercraft. PONANT will launch Le Commandant-Charcot, the world’s first luxury hybrid electric polar exploration vessel.It will be powered by electric batteries and liquified natural gas (LNG, currently the cleanest fuel on the market) and there will be zero emissions when operated in the hybrid electric mode. Le Commandant-Charcot will sail to parts of Antarctica that were inaccessible prior to the arrival of the ship, including Peter I Island which has welcomed less visitors than the moon. There will also be a scientific laboratory onboard hosting naturalist guides and scientists to explore these remote and untouched destinations, and guests can also participate in citizen science by setting up a station on an ice floe and taking water samples. Additional new builds include Lindblad’s National Geographic Endurance, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ World Navigator, Quark Expeditions’ Ultramarine, and Crystal Expedition Cruises. EYOS Expeditions, the world’s leader in superyacht charters, has also announced an alliance with Nansen Polar Expeditions to offer a new expedition yacht experience aboard the 12-guest MV Nansen Explorer beginning in November. The new alliance will allow EYOS to reach destinations far removed from where most expedition vessels are sailing. The 12-passenger Naia will also be in the Southern Ocean for the 2021-2022 season and is available for charter during the next Antarctic total solar eclipse on December 4, 2021. EYOS CEO Ben Lyons forecasts that Antarctica will have the greatest number of superyachts in the region this year. Where 10 years ago, there might have been one, the company is expecting at least six yachts for the upcoming season.

Nantucket, MA

Known as “Nantucket Gold,” the island’s Bay Scallops are thought to be the finest mollusks in the world. Only found in the chilly waters off Nantucket from November through March, the sought-after delicacies are smaller, sweeter, more tender and have a more velvety texture than its counterpart from the sea. Bay Scallops grow in shallow water about 10 minutes off the shore in the island’s native inshore eel grass, which doubles as a nursery. It is one of the last surviving viable wild scallop fisheries in the country. Catching and sorting the scallops is just half the story. Shucking and cooking them is the other. They are an incredibly versatile ingredient and can be torched, seared, fried, poached, sautéed, broiled, or eaten raw. Stay at the White Elephant, located just steps from the center of town and the Nantucket harbor, or opt for the historic inn, Jared Coffin House, open year-round. Sailors can opt to dock at the Nantucket Boat Basin, the 240-slip full-service marina.

Venice, Italy

Italy still ranks as the #1 international destination for travelers who turn to the expertise of Virtuoso, luxury travel agency network with more than 20,000 travel advisors across 50 countries and annual sales between $25-30 billion. Once the greatest seaport in Iate medieval Europe and still one of the world’s oldest cultural centers, Venice turned 1,600 this year. The 17th annual Venice Architecture Biennale will conclude on November 21st. The theme ‘How will we live together’ explores widening political divides, economic inequalities and changing social norms and challenging architects to imagine and create spaces where society can coexist – all the ever more timely during this year of self-isolation. Honoring Venice’s artistic past as the point of convergence for goods from the East and their dissemination to the European market during the 14th century, Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel will host a three-day course, November 11-14, for exploring the ancient disciplines that traveled along the Silk Road, such as a masterclass on Kintsugi, the delicate art of fixing ceramics with gold, and traditional silk print workshops. Guests of the hotel will also have access to behind-the-scenes tours of the city’s libraries and archives throughout the season. During tours of the Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th-century Library San Francesco della Vigna, rare books and preserved manuscripts will be on display exclusively for Belmond guests.

Napa Valley, CA
Following Napa Valley’s bustling harvest season, November is the start of Cabernet Season. The pace slows down as the region’s cabernets are released, giving visitors a first taste of the bold reds synonymous with Napa Valley. The cooler months mean lower hotel rates and a chance to grab reservations at coveted Michelin-starred restaurants. With new vintages aging in the barrels, winemakers are readily available, and visitors can receive behind-the-scenes access to wineries. While the wineries remain a draw, the vines only cover nine percent of the Valley floor. The mountain ranges that bracket the area, the Mayacamas and the Vaca, are laced with hiking and biking trails. With temperatures hovering in the mid 60s, it’s an ideal time for getting out to explore. New restaurants and tasting experiences are shaking up the scene too. Domaine Carneros’s new “Art of Sabrage” experience allows private groups to learn the history, legend and technique of this dramatic ritual dating back to the age of Napoleon; and the creators of Clif Bar recently joined forces with local celebrity chefs to launch new biking experiences at Clif Family Winery. Watch this space: Stanly Ranch, an Auberge Collection Resort is set to be unveiled in late 2021. The 135 open-air cottages will be set on the historic Stanly Ranch Winery estate, which has been producing critically-acclaimed wines since the 19th century.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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