New Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys Expedition From Indonesia to Australia, Timed to Solar Eclipse April 9-24, 2023

August 16th, 2022

PONANT is collaborating with Smithsonian Journeys on a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. Each of the 21 itineraries will be led by two Smithsonian Journey Experts—whether an art historian, a solar astrophysicist, or an international relations expert—whose expertise and knowledge will shed new light on a destination and deepen travelers’ immersion in place.

Among the new sailings is a 16-day sailing to eastern Indonesia, East Timor, and the Kimberley region of Australia, timed to the total eclipse of the sun that will take place on April 20, 2023—one of only five total solar eclipses remaining worldwide this decade. Smithsonian Journey Experts, Associate Director of Science at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Alex Young and Australian-American historian Craig Benjamin, will guide guests’ viewing of this spectacular three-plus hour cosmic event and other trip programming. Rates start at $20,480 per person.

Setting sail from Bali, the trip begins with two days of swimming, snorkeling, and sightings of mythical Komodo dragons in Komodo National Park, followed by two days discovering the cultural and natural wonders of East Timor—from soaking up the Portuguese heritage and arts and crafts scene of the capital, Dili, to discovering the small villages that line the east coast of Baucau. A highlight is exploring the Coral Triangle and its abundant coral reefs.

After crossing the Timor Sea, guests will arrive in Wyndham, the northernmost township of Western Australia and the gateway to the Kimberley region. Often referred to as the “Antarctica of the tropics,” the Kimberley is a vast, remote region larger than 75 percent of the world’s countries, with rushing waterfalls, white sandy beaches, dense mangrove forests, rugged sandstone gorges, and the largest population of migrating humpback whales on the planet. Your first three days will include Zodiac tours of King George River (including the 260-foot-high King George Twin Falls) and viewings of aboriginal Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock art of Swift Bay. Other options include cruising the Ord River, flying over the Bungle Bungle mountains, and exploring the El Questro outback station, one of the world’s last remaining frontiers.

From there, Le Lapérouse will sail back into the Timor Sea to stage herself in an advantageous position for viewing the solar eclipse, which will take place from late morning to early afternoon on April 20, with an approximate period of totality of just over one minute.

Following the spectacular cosmic event, the journey continues with three more days in the Kimberley region, beginning with the landscapes of Collier Bay, where tidal ranges exceeding 45 feet have created dramatic landscapes and natural phenomena, like the Montgomery Reef, the world’s largest in-shore reef system. At the southern end of the Bay is the world’s only “Horizontal Falls,” described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world,” where tidal movements create a waterfall effect between narrow gorges. On the second-to-last day, you’ll head to the Lacepede Islands, a rich breeding habitat for Green Turtles, Brown Boobies, Lesser Frigatebirds, and other species. Guided zodiac tours will offer close-up views of the wildlife and the four sand islands.  The trip concludes in Broome, on the far north coast of Western Australia.

About PONANT

PONANT’s “Explore to Inspire” mission is centered around exploration to better understand, learn, share and protect. For more than 30 years, PONANT has been committed to more responsible tourism and voyages of exploration which have meaning. The French-flagged fleet comprises 13 small capacity ships equipped with state of the art environmentally friendly equipment. With PONANT, exploration is refined, authentic and a source of inspiration. The company explores the Arctic and the Antarctic as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Asia, Oceania and South Pacific, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. For more information, visit  https://us.ponant.com or call 1-844-747-2873 or contact your travel advisor.

About the Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries.  Two of the 21 museums – the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum – are in the early planning stages. The total number of objects, works of art, and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History. www.smithsonian.org

About Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys is part of Smithsonian Enterprises, a division of the Smithsonian which oversees the institution’s commercial activities, including the Smithsonian Channel, which is available in over 55 million households globally; the retail operation, which includes 35 museum and airport stores, food concessions; an E-commerce business, Smithsonianstore.com, and Smithsonian magazine, which reaches more than 8 million monthly readers, consumer and education licensing, and books. Smithsonian Journeys is a global leader in cultural travel for diverse audiences, offering unique, expert-led trips on all seven continents. In addition to ocean cruises with PONANT, Smithsonian Journeys offers small-group land journeys, river cruises, active journeys, cultural stays, private jet trips, tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler, and student travel programs. For more information visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 1-855-330-1542.

 

New 2023 PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys Expedition in Panama and Costa Rica

August 9th, 2022

NEW PONANT AND SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS EXPEDITION IN PANAMA AND COSTA RICA, FEBRUARY 11-FEBRUARY 18, 2023

 

PONANT is collaborating with Smithsonian Journeys on a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. Each of the 21 itineraries will be led by two Smithsonian Journey Experts—whether an art historian, a solar astrophysicist, or an international relations expert—whose expertise and knowledge will shed new light on a destination and deepen travelers’ immersion in place.

 

Among the new sailings is an eight-day cruise aboard Le Bellot to Panama and Costa Rica. The immersive journey will combine a crossing of the Panama Canal, snorkeling and swimming on the beautiful Holandes Cayes, excursions in the Darién and Manuel Antonio National Parks, and encounters with local Indigenous communities—plus a specially arranged visit to the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), an open-air museum dedicated to tropical science and conservation. Back on the ship, expect inspiring talks and informative events led by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts, including climate leader Steve Paton, who has spent his career monitoring the climate and oceans of the tropics.

 

After setting off from Colón, Panama’s colorful port city, Le Bellot will journey to the San Blas archipelago, made up of more than 300 islands and home to approximately 40,000 members of the Kuna community, one of the most powerful Indigenous groups in the Western Hemisphere. From there, you’ll cross the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal, the world’s most important waterway, before exploring the capital’s atmospheric Old Quarter, the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo, and the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). There, staff will share the latest research related to marine science and guests will observe rare species up close.

 

Next, you’ll sail to the Darién National Park, set in the wildest and most remote part of Panama. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a natural playground of sandy beaches, rocky coasts, mangroves, and tropical forests, as well as the home of the Emberá Amerindian community. Guests will visit their tropical village, admiring beautiful local crafts and enjoying traditional songs and dances.

 

The last stretch of the trip takes place in Costa Rica, starting in the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park, a tropical reserve known for its variety of wildlife like sloths, howler monkeys, and toucans. Then Le Bellot will make her way to Puerto Caldera, the point of disembarkation, a gateway to the magnificent Arenal Volcano.

 

Rates start at $6,030 per person.

 

ABOUT PONANT

PONANT’s “Explore to Inspire” mission is centered around exploration to better understand, learn, share and protect. For more than 30 years, PONANT has been committed to more responsible tourism and voyages of exploration which have meaning. The French-flagged fleet comprises 13 small capacity ships equipped with state of the art environmentally friendly equipment. With PONANT, exploration is refined, authentic and a source of inspiration. The company sails to the Arctic and the Antarctic as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Asia, Oceania and South Pacific, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. For more information, visit  https://us.ponant.com or call 1-844-747-2873 or contact your travel advisor.

 

About the Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries.  Two of the 21 museums – the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum – are in the early planning stages. The total number of objects, works of art, and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History. www.smithsonian.org

 

About Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys is part of Smithsonian Enterprises, a division of the Smithsonian which oversees the institution’s commercial activities, including the Smithsonian Channel, which is available in over 55 million households globally; the retail operation, which includes 35 museum and airport stores, food concessions; an E-commerce business, Smithsonianstore.com, and Smithsonian magazine, which reaches more than 8 million monthly readers, consumer and education licensing, and books. Smithsonian Journeys is a global leader in cultural travel for diverse audiences, offering unique, expert-led trips on all seven continents. In addition to ocean cruises with PONANT, Smithsonian Journeys offers small-group land journeys, river cruises, active journeys, cultural stays, private jet trips, tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler, and student travel programs. For more information visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 1-855-330-1542.

 

Where to Learn About Sustainability While Traveling – Our Top 9 Picks

July 27th, 2022

There’s infinite wisdom to be gained from the world of travel. One area where travel can be particularly impactful is sustainability. By integrating travelers into communities, instilling a deep reverence toward natural landscapes, and opening minds through fun, educational programming, travel has the capacity to effect lasting change long after a trip has ended. Here are nine hotels, tour operators, and destinations that are combining impact and inspiration in game-changing ways.

 

andBeyond

When it comes to conservation tourism, andBeyond is in a league of its own. Since its founding in 1991, the brand has secured some of the tourism industry’s conservation firsts: the reintroduction of cheetah to andBeyond Phinda, the groundbreaking translocation of 19 guar at India’s Bandhavgarh National Park, and the Rhinos Without Borders initiative that saw the relocation of 100+ rhinos from the highest poaching zones in South Africa. By staying at andBeyond’s 33 lodges and camps and opting for its tailor made tours and small group journeys, travelers are not only supporting these crucial initiatives across three continents, but also making history. Participate in the pioneering Pangolin conservation experience in a region where the species has been locally extinct for decades. Listen to legendary conservation leaders like Les Carlisle tell you about his decades of experience rewilding destinations around the world. Inspire a younger generation of conservationists by enrolling young visitors in the WILDchild Eco-Guide Challenge, which might include learning bushman skills like catch-and-release fishing, animal tracking, and identifying species of plants and animals.

 

Le Commandant Charcot

PONANT’s latest addition to its fleet is the world’s first luxury hybrid electric polar exploration ship that’s powered by electric battery and liquified natural gas, a non-toxic source that has the best safety records of all fuel types. With eight departures for the summer 2022 and 2023 Arctic season, Le Commandant Charcot offers guests the chance to venture to the farthest reaches of the globe, where they can participate in citizen science experiments, learn about the conservation initiatives, and tour remote landscapes with a team of naturalist-guides. For example, on a 16-day itinerary to the Geographic North Pole, the most northern point of the Earth’s axis of rotation, one activity is setting up a research station on an ice floe and deploying an Argos transmitter (a satellite-based system that collects and disseminates environmental data). Meanwhile, in Antarctica, on the 30-day journey Unexplored Antarctica Between Two Continents—an all-new and unrivaled half-circumnavigation between the far south of the American continent to New Zealand—guests will deepen their knowledge of the world’s most remote locales through expert-led lectures and excursions guided by naturalists, like observing isolated colonies of emperor penguins on coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea. When in battery mode, Le Commandant Charcot can sail for up to eight hours at a time without producing any emissions and with very low noise levels, so as to not disrupt aquatic life.

 

Paradero

Hands-on sustainable farming tutorials. Cooking classes with ingredients grown in the garden. A hike through the UNESCO-protected biosphere reserves along the Baja California Peninsula. At Paradero Todos Santos, an 80 percent landscape project and hospitality concept developed by Mexican entrepreneurs Pablo Carmona and Josh Kremer, education has never been so fun—or scenic. The property is spread across five acres in the unspoiled La Mesa farming community, an agricultural area comprising 160 acres of family-owned farms, and located at the doorstop of five distinct ecosystems, including the Sierra de La Laguna Mountain range, and a 200-year-old cordon cacti forest. Every activity at Paradero is designed to immerse guests in these spectacular landscapes and promote a deeper, more authentic connection to the land and the local community. Ultimately, these skills will generate greater self-awareness—encouraging guests to embody the values of Paradero long after a trip has ended.

 

Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town

Situated at the base of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain and spread across nine acres of lush gardens, Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel offers the rare experience of being amid nature in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. The reverence toward the natural world is reflected in the property’s range of unique activities and experiences, like the Fynbos Sunset Walk, a hike that begins just steps from the hotel and winds through one of the most biologically diverse regions on earth with over 9,000 plant species, nearly 70 percent are native to the Western Cape. Belmond guests also enjoy private access to shark scientist Justin Blake for a private ocean boating and snorkeling expedition to explore the underwater world that surrounds Cape Town’s coast.  During the half-day excursion, swim through the Cape kelp forests, recently listed as a new Seven Wonder of the World, and the octopus gardens of Oscar-award winning documentary “My Octopus Teacher,” offering to gain a greater understanding of the importance of sharks in maintaining the delicately balanced marine ecosystems. Back on boat, dine on a sustainable seafood-inspired picnic created by Mount Nelson’s Chef Rudi Liebenberg, featuring delicacies sourced from ABALOBI, a South African-based social enterprise supporting small-scale fishing communities globally.

 

UXUA Casa Hotel

Built by local artisans over a two-year period using traditional building methods and reclaimed materials (nothing is sourced beyond a five-mile radius of Trancoso), UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa is literally built on a sustainable foundation. The property’s influence goes beyond the hotel’s walls, though. At VIDA Lab, the on-site nutritional laboratory and medical kitchen, medical director Dr. Jullian Hamamoto transforms local plants and botanicals—from the on-site garden, the nearby Itaporoca beach, and the 50-acre UXUA ROÇA farm—into healing elixirs and beautifying therapies. Guests can go foraging with Dr. Jullian to learn about the significance of these ingredients, many of which are sacred to Brazil’s Indigeous Pataxó people. At the on-site atelier, guests can interact with local craftspeople and give input into products they’d like made, like kaftans and kimonos made by local weavers. Another notable activity is a capoeira lesson by a professor at the local Capoeira Sul Da Bahia school, which is dedicated to the preservation and study of the centuries-old martial art. One hundred percent of the proceeds for each lesson is donated to the school, and guests can also join in public class sessions with local youth.

 

Napa Valley

Napa Valley is at the forefront of sustainability in wine—the region is home to 40 percent of all certified sustainable wineries in California. Established in 1976, the Land Trust of Napa County protects more than 55,000 acres, roughly 10 percent of Napa County, ensuring the preservation of the land. No other wine region in the world has something like it. Local vintners work with more than 20 industry and environmental stakeholder groups to promote responsible business development and environmental stewardship.  What this means for visitors? Plenty of wide-open vistas and sustainably made wine, for one. There’s also an extensive range of activities that promote deeper engagement with Napa’s landscapes. The Napa Valley Bike Trail, for example, is a walking/cycling trail system that will connect the entire region, offering 47 continuous miles of level, paved, dog-friendly trail. Another way to see the sights: motoring around the region with Green Dream Tours, a carbon-neutral business that whisks visitors to sustainable wineries in the region, like Starmont Wines in St. Helena, where they’ll learn about their sustainable processes and techniques.

 

Nayara Resorts

The five properties that make up Naya Resorts’ portfolio are each located in a spectacular corner of Latin American—from the green valley in the Atacama Desert; Easter Island, one of the most remote places on earth; and the three Costa Rican properties, which are spread over a mountainside facing the majestic Arenal Volcano. With these sublime natural locations comes ample opportunity to learn about these precious ecosystems and the wildlife therein. In Costa Rica, for example, where Nayara planted over 1,000 Cecropia trees—the sloth’s made food source—guests can visit the sloth sanctuary to watch and learn about these creatures and various conservation efforts. While in Atacama, guests can discover the Salar of Atacama with a naturalist guide, navigating its rock formations and watching flamingos fly across the open sky.

 

Gili Lankanfushi

​​Located in the Maldives’ North Malé Atoll, one of the world’s most spectacular and fragile natural environments, Gili Lankanfushi takes great strides to protect its rich marine diversity and safeguard its surroundings for generations to come. Later this year, the resort will unveil a new Marine Biology Center, with a cutting-edge research space and the expansion of the coral nursery. The resort’s primary marine research facility, the lab is where guests can learn from Gili’s team of marine biologists, participating in coral reef cleaning and collecting vital information that benefits organizations like the Marina Research Center. Guests can even help rehabilitate damaged coral by nursing coral on ropes (lines) and transplanting them onto degraded reef areas—an initiative that Gili launched way before it was popular in the Maldives.

 

La Samanna, A Belmond Hotel, St. Martin

While a beach vacation conjures up visions of sunbathing on velvety shores, guests of La Samanna, A Belmond Hotel can combine seaside bliss and sustainable education. The Escape to Tintamarre experience entails a boat ride to the uninhabited Tintamarre island, in the Saint Martin Nature Reserve, home to rare hawksbill turtles and stingrays. A local marine conservationist will educate guests about the rich marine fauna and local sustainability efforts. Or visitors can venture up the St. Martin’s tallest peaks with a local nature guide, pausing to soak up sweeping island views and admire colorful plants and animals.

 

 

Will Travel for Swimming Pools? Our Top 8 Picks:

July 27th, 2022

Nothing signals ‘vacation mode’ quite like lounging by a pool, listening to the sounds of trickling water as you take in the surrounding scenery. It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming laps on the 47th floor of a Tokyo skyscraper or taking in coastal views from an infinity pool on the Amalfi Coast—there’s something about being near water that immediately energizes the body and soothes the spirit. Here are 8 pools that make the biggest splash.

 

Park Hyatt Tokyo

The ultimate antidote to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s streets? A refreshing dip in the pool of Park Hyatt Tokyo. With skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, the pool gives the impression of swimming high above the Japanese capital, with 47th-floor views of the skyline and the snow-capped Mount Fuji in the distance.  Stretch out on a lounger around the 65-foot pool and order a drink and light bites. It’s worth hanging around until nighttime, admiring the lights of the city while soaking in the warm waters.

 

Nayara Tented Camp

At Costa Rica’s Nayara Tented Camp, guests have their pick of seven pools, all fed by hot springs and looking out to lush jungle scenery and the majestic Arenal Volcano. Each pool ranges in temperature, allowing guests to cool down on hotter days and warm up when the sun goes down. Thirsty? Ask the bartender to hand whip up a Guaro Sour or an iced Costa Rican coffee.

Don’t miss a nighttime swim, with twinkling stars overhead and the nocturnal sounds of the rainforest filling the warm air.

 

UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa

Not all pools are created equal. Take the pool at UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa in Trancoso, Brazil. Lined with 45,000 green aventurine quartz crystals—a native Bahian stone that’s said to have healing qualities— the shimmering pool resembles a natural lagoon that’s shaded by lush greenery and fragrant flowers. Add to the pool’s therapeutic effects by supplementing your swim with a Bahian hot stone massage at the spa.

 

Le Commandant Charcot

The world’s first luxury icebreaker ship is designed to travel through the globe’s iciest, most remote locations like the Antarctic Polar Circle. But don’t be fooled by its ruggedness—the ship has no shortage of luxe amenities, like a heated indoor swimming pool with a large glass roof and a sunroom looking out to the frozen scenery. Extra-intrepid guests can venture outdoors to the heated Blue Lagoon swimming pool, which wraps around the stern of the ship. The waters are heated from 80 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit using recycled energy from the ship. Snag a spot around the giant outdoor fire pit (as a plus, the armchairs are also heated) and order a selection of sweet and savory bites from 11 AM – 6 PM.

Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Ravello

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is spoiled for breathtaking scenery, but there’s no perch more picturesque than the heated infinity pool at Caruso, A Belmond Hotel. Seemingly suspended between the sea and the sky, the pool is situated at the hotel’s highest point, an astonishing 1,000 feet above sea level. Swim up to the pool’s edge and take in panoramic views of steep cliffs that plunge into the Tyrrhenian Sea. After toweling off, ask the pool concierge to bring you a Kindle with a selection of reading material, or an iPod pre-loaded with the guest’s choice of music.

 

Palacio Nazarenas, A Belmond Hotel, Cusco

As a former Incan temple turned conquistador’s mansion, Palacio Nazarenas, A Belmond Hotel, is one of Cusco’s most singular stays. It’s also home to the city’s first and only outdoor heated pool, located beyond Inca walls in a cloistered terrace. Swim laps while marveling at the building’s Spanish colonial architecture, then order a Pisco Sour from the poolside Senzo Bar. Don’t miss salsa lessons on the pool deck on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings and live electronic Andean music on Friday night.

 

Indian Springs Calistoga, Napa Valley

Did you know California’s premier wine country is home to one of the Golden State’s largest natural hot springs? At Calistoga’s Indian Springs, travelers come from far and wide to soak in warm waters that have provided therapeutic relief for thousands of years. Napa’s original inhabitants, the members of the Wappo tribe, built sweat lodges over the area’s bubbling thermal geysers; in the 1860s, notable Californian Sam Brannan created the original spa, volcanic mud baths, and water plunge (now an Olympic-sized mineral pool heated to 92-102 degrees Fahrenheit). After your swim, explore the 17 acres of hills and ponds, lined with olive and pool trees and rose and lavender bushes.

 

La Reserve Paris

A Parisian sojourn isn’t always conducive to wellness (croissants, anyone?). But at La Réserve Paris, guests can easily keep up with their wellness routines at the oasis-like spa, complete with a 16-meter indoor pool, a hammam, a fitness area, and three treatment rooms for facials and body treatments. Open 24/7 for hotel guests, it is easy to squeeze in a couple laps at the pool before carrying on your day. The pool area can also be bought out for the ultimate in privacy and relaxation.

 

Ponant Unveils Le Ponant Following Complete Refit

July 25th, 2022

The reimagined three-masted sailing yacht will debut in August 2022

In August 2022, PONANT will debut the iconic three-masted sailing yacht Le Ponant following a complete refit by Jean-Philippe Nuel Studio. The 88-meter sailing yacht will relaunch in the Mediterranean with 10 departures and three new itineraries, followed by winter 2022-23 in the Seychelles and summer 2023 in western Australia’s Kimberley region.

With just 16 staterooms and suites accommodating a maximum of 32 guests, Le Ponant offers a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio—making guests feel like they’re aboard a private yacht. Cabins are spread over three decks, each with large windows overlooking the sea, while the muted color palette lends an air of understated elegance.

An ode to art of slow travel, relax on the sun lounge looking up to the billowing white sails, order a drink from the outdoor bar, and enjoy organic dishes at the gastronomic dining destination Le Diamant. The wellness space offers Biologique Recherche treatments, and daily yoga sessions are held on the deck. With glass-bottomed kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, diving and snorkeling equipment, and a saltwater pool, there’s no shortage of activities.

Outfitted with the latest environmental innovations including a SCR filter system that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%, Le Ponantrepresents PONANT’s enduring commitment toward responsible tourism. Other sustainability-centered initiatives include non-motorized water-based activities, individual and small-group disembarkations only, an emphasis on local, organic products, and periods of sailing using just wind power.

The intimate-size vessel offers access to less-traveled sites and new ports of calls. Each journey is an immersion into the destination to learn about the local culture as well as connect with the vibrant flora and fauna in the Mediterranean, the Seychelles, and Australia’s Kimberley region throughout 2022 and 2023.

Summer 2022 in the Mediterranean

The first voyage will depart on August 14 with a seven-night itinerary along Croatia’s coastline, from Dubrovnik through the Bay of Kotor, then to the Adriatic islands of Mljet, Korčula, Vis, Hvar, Brač, Šipan, and Lopud. Activities include wine tasting, traditional sword dance performances, visits with local artists, diving excursions to World War II shipwrecks, and a tour of the oldest fishing port in the Adriatic. Prices start at $10,890 per person.

In August, Le Ponant will depart on a seven-day island-hopping journey around Greece. Beginning in Dubrovnik, the yacht will set sail toward the Ionian and Aegean Seas, stopping in the islands of Paxos, which is only available to smaller ships; Kefalonia, characterized by limestone cliffs and white sandy beaches; the fortified peninsula of Monemvasia, in the southeastern Peloponnese; and Kythnos, one of the region’s lesser-known islands with over 100 beaches. Prices start at $9,980 per person.

In September, Le Ponant will circle around Greece’s Cycladic islands on an eight-day itinerary beginning and ending in Athens. PONANT guests will enjoy unique access to exclusive ports of call on Tinos, Polyaigos, Folegandros, Monemvasia, Kythnos, and Spetses, due to the intimate size of Le Ponant. Prices start at $13,110 per person.

Please find all Summer 2022 departures linked here.

Winter 2022-23 in the Seychelles

New for this year is “The Seychelles Under the Trade Winds” itinerary, with 11 departures on Le Ponant during the 2022-2023 season. Sailing roundtrip from Mahé, the nine-night itinerary explores a new island each day, including two new ports of call for PONANT—the African Banks north of the Amirante Islands and Thérèse Island, both of which are uninhabited and will be available to PONANT guests for the day. An on-board expedition leader, a trio of naturalist guides, and a free dive instructor will be on hand to lead excursions and shine light on the spectacular flora and fauna of the Seychelles. Activities include scuba diving, free diving initiation, sunrise and sunset yoga, meditation, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and outings in glass-bottomed kayaks. Rates start from $10,890 per person.

Please find all Winter 2022-23 departures linked here.

Summer 2023 in Australia

In summer 2023, Le Ponant will set sail for Australia’s northwest with 26 departures to Kimberley’s coast, which is often referred to as the “Antarctica of the tropics.” The Kimberley is a vast, remote region with rushing waterfalls, white sandy beaches, dense mangrove forests, rugged sandstone gorges, and the largest population of migrating humpback whales on the planet. State-of-the-art Zodiac boats will enable guests to reach hard-to-access points, while an exclusive partnership with the prestigious Paspaley Group will offer private scenic flights onboard one of the brand’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats to whisk guests to or from their embarkation or disembarkation point. Guests can opt to explore the Northern or Southern Kimberley Coast, with rates starting at $12,930 per person.

Please find all Summer 2023 departures linked here.

ABOUT PONANT

PONANT’s “Explore to Inspire” mission is centered around exploration to better understand, learn, share and protect. For more than 30 years, PONANT has been committed to more responsible tourism and voyages of exploration which have meaning. The French-flagged fleet comprises 13 small capacity ships equipped with state of the art environmentally friendly equipment. With PONANT, exploration is refined, authentic and a source of inspiration. The company explores the Arctic and the Antarctic as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Asia, Oceania and South Pacific, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. For more information, visit  https://us.ponant.com or call 1-844-747-2873 or contact your travel advisor.

Renderings of Le Ponant linked here.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

ampr march newsletter

March 6th, 2019

What’s New?

The Grand House

Shou Sugi Ban House is a new kind of wellness sanctuary offering three-, four-, and seven-night retreats focusing on transformation, healing, and an exploration of one’s self, and it’s opening this May in Water Mill. This is not a spartan retreat model; guests’ days comprise many forms of wellness ranging from beach hikes, reiki, spa treatments, sound healing, and meditation punctuated by gourmet cooking demonstrations (menus curated by Mads Refslund, formerly of lauded Noma restaurant in Copenhagen).

Nayara Tented Camp will open in Fall 2019 in Costa Rica. Each tent – designed by veteran luxury safari tent company Luxury Frontiers – will have a private plunge pool filled with naturally warm water from the nearby Arenal volcano’s hot springs, with open views of that volcano and surrounded by a sloth sanctuary.

Inspired by the anticipated live-action Lion King coming out this summer, andBeyond’s new itinerary lets kids live out their own adventures in hakuna matata style through the Masai Mara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater.

The Grand House, a hybrid venture between a luxury hotel and a home rental service will debut in March 2019 with a portfolio of maisons particulières situated in central Rome. Additional properties in Florence and Milan are scheduled to open by 2020.

Napa Valley’s Louis M. Martini Winery will re-open in March 2019  following an extensive restoration of the historic space. One of the first wineries to open at the end of Prohibition, the new space will seamlessly integrate indoors and out and feature 30-foot-high glass walls with views into the barrel cellar.

The Kensington is getting guests into nearby Victoria & Albert Museum’s Christian Dior – Designer of Dreams exhibit with The House Of Kensington Experience, a new three-night package including a stay in a Signature Suite, two tickets to the exhibition (hard to come by due to the show’s popularity), and a round of exclusive Dior-inspired cocktails at the hotel’s K Bar.

With its announcement of the most popular spring travel destinations, global luxury travel network Virtuoso revealed that Americans are staying closer to home and seeking sun in Los Angeles, Miami, and Orlando. European destinations including Italy, France, and the UK remain popular while Switzerland, Greece, Morocco, and Japan are seeing the largest growth year-over-year.

The Falconry Vineyard Tour is a new tasting offering at Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa Valley. Guests interact with owls, hawks, and falcons and learn how to call birds to land on their arm. The experience concludes with a wine-tasting in the garden.

This summer, GoldenEye is introducing new guest experiences including yoga and guided meditation sessions that conclude with vibrational healing ‘sound bath’ using Tibetan singing bowls; as well as complimentary excursions to Firefly, Noel Coward’s hill home and rumored to be Captain Morgan’s lookout.

Families traveling with little ones can explore London with a helping hand from their very own Mary Poppins with The Kensington’s new Suite Nannies package. A nanny from the UK’s leading nanny agency will arrive each day equipped with her own carpet bag filled with toys and surprises.

Belmond British Pullman continues its celebrity chef pop-up dinner series including a July 20th event with Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and a zero-waste menu with Michelin-starred chef Merlin Labron-Johnson. Beloved British baker Mary Berry will kick of the series with two afternoon tea journeys May 3 and 4th.

CREST (Center for Responsible Travel) will hold its annual World Tourism Day forum on September 27, focusing this year on Impact Tourism.

 

Spring Forward

Daylight Saving Time starts March 10th – here are a few outdoor activities to take advantage of that extra hour of sunshine

Azimuth Rooftop Bar

Located in the heart of Manhattan, The Chatwal, New York offers complimentary Chatwal-red bicycles for the active traveler to explore the city, armed with a bespoke NYC Bike Map and a picnic dinner.

The Grand House will offer its guests the opportunity to fly an Agusta Westland 109 helicopter from Rome to Bolgheri Vineyards where Gelasio Gaetani d’Aragona Lovatelli, oenologist extraordinaire, will lead a private tour of the vineyards and cellars of Castello di Bolgheri and Argentiera. The tour ends with catching the sunset while flying over Monte Argentario on the way back to Rome.

Guests can enjoy the varied landscape in and around Viceroy Riviera Maya with horseback riding, ATV tours, cenote (sinkhole caves) tours, bird watching, and jungle hikes.

The Kensington’s Slice of the City tour, Snapshots of Kensington, brings guests to the most Instagram-worthy locations in the neighborhood. The local host will double as both a guide to the best photo ops and a personal photographer to help travelers get the shot.

La Réserve Geneva’s private and super chic Venetian Motoscafo boat gives guests the most stylish was to get to the city center – a 15 minute cruise across Lake Geneva.

Guests at Nantucket Island Resorts have complimentary access to Priority Bicycles to cruise the 30 miles of scenic flat bike trails on the island. Explorers are provided with a map of popular sites, including the oldest house on Nantucket –  built in 1686; Sankaty Lighthouse – located in the historic fishing village of ‘Sconset; and Cisco Brewery – known for their local beers and live music.

In downtown Napa, visitors can explore the Rail Arts District (RAD) – the 1.7-mile outdoor art gallery showcasing murals, sculptures, landscapes, and parks – beginning at Napa’s Oxbow District and continuing along the Napa Valley Vine Trail bike and pedestrian path and the Napa Valley Wine Train tracks.

Settle into one of the coral cocoon-shaped chairs at Azimuth rooftop bar at Alamanac Barcelona for a sunset cocktail while taking in the 360 views of the city.

 

Shaking Things Up

Instead of a cooking class, guests are learning from the experts how to craft local libations

Guaro Sour at Nayara Springs

andBeyond Bateleur Camp’s new gin bar gives a nod to the gin and tonic tradition dating back to colonial East Africa, when the classic choice for sundowners originated as a medicinal tipple to fend off malaria. With 16 different types of craft gin to pick from, guests can learn from the expert bartenders to create the perfect G&T with ingredients grown in the lodge’s organic vegetable garden.

The Bellini, Venice’s signature cocktail composed of peach juice and prosecco, was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Belmond Hotel Cipriani, in 1948. Today, guests can learn how to make them at the Gabbiano Bar with beloved bartender Walter Bolzonella, a protégé of Cipriani’s, who has been with the hotel for over 40 years.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort offers rum tastings led by the in-house rummelier who teaches guests about the island’s rum history including Sugar Beach – the property sits on a former sugar plantation that produced the key ingredient for 17th century rum makers.

No visit to Peru is complete without a Pisco Sour (or two), and guests of Belmond Hotel Monasterio can learn how to make the traditional cocktail with pisco lessons led by the resident barman. While tasting the different types of pisco, guests will learn the history and distillation techniques of the national drink before mastering their favorite variation.

Sidecar, the Art Deco cocktail bar at The Westbury in Dublin, recently launched mixology classes with their white dinner jacket-clad head bartender (who also happens to be Daniel Craig’s doppelgänger).

Resident mixologist at Nayara Springs, Karla Elizondo Castro, teaches guests a lesson in mixology the Costa Rican way – adorning cocktails with flowers and herbs from the on-property garden at this adults-only resort tucked in the rainforest. Her signature Guaro Sour (made with a local rum-style spirit) is garnished with Borraja and tarragon flowers.

Guests at Viceroy Riviera Maya can participate in a hands-on Artisanal Cocktail Coaching class at the beachside Coral Grill & Bar and learn how to make property favorites like the Xcalacoco Wish (made with a crème tequila liqueur).

Bartenders at The Christopher teach guests to make St. Barth’s potent Ti Punch with sugar, lime, and rum. 

 

Guests Get Involved

Environmental programming

andBeyond Vamizi

Travelers can join a six-day Oceans Without Borders Small Group Journey to andBeyond Vamizi Island to participate in fish tagging, measuring, and monitoring reef systems.

Guests of UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa are invited to become students again at MAMA Trancoso, an education initiative teaching the skills to identify environmental threats and the actions needed to combat these abuses. As part of the daily instruction, guests can collaborate with the small class of students on awareness campaigns and political activism through social media, short films, and community events.

Guests aboard PONANT can join beach clean up excursions in the Seychelles through the brand’s new partnership with the Aldabra Clean Up Project (with its goal of combatting plastic pollution and preserving the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles).

In 1997, Chris Blackwell of Island Outpost hotel established the Oracabessa Foundation, a nonprofit focusing on vocational training and environmental protection.  GoldenEye guests who donate $1,000 to the foundation can have a tree planted on property, joining the likes of Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, and Bill and Hilary Clinton.

andBeyond’s Phinda Impact Small Group Journey is a 7-day journey that combines wildlife conservation (with an experience like rhino notching or elephant collaring), interaction with the local community, and a day-in-the-life of an andBeyond ranger – from learning tracking to rifle training to sleeping out beneath the stars.

 

Calendar

April

March 26 – April 5, 2019: During Easter break, Sugar Beach offers a variety of children’s programing including tie-dye, chocolate making, boat tours, and an Easter egg hunt

April 2019The Dupont Circle completes the final stages of its multimillion-dollar renovation of the bar, restaurant, lobby, and suites

April 2019: Throughout April and early-May, The Woof Cottages at Nantucket Boast Basin will waive pet fees and provide a special dog-friendly turndown treat

April 2019: Napa Valley’s 8th annual Arts in April celebrates the region’s cultural offerings with more than 50 events taking place at wineries, museums and galleries throughout the month.

April 2, 2019: andBeyond’s first Endangered Eight Impact Journey departs to search for eight threatened species in India’s wildlife sanctuaries

April 15, 2019: PONANT’s newest vessel, Le Bougainville, departs on its inaugural sailing

April 18, 2019: The Wauwinet reopens following a multi-million-dollar renovation

April 20, 2019The Wauwinet will host the Easter Brunch Adult Egg Hunt where one lucky duck will find a golden egg with a surprise gift inside

April 20, 2019: Belmond Eagle Island Lodge hosts a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra

April 26-28, 2019: The Nantucket Daffodil Festival Weekend honors the more than three million daffodils that bloom every spring on Nantucket. The Wauwinet will offer a Daffy Tailgate Lunch at TOPPERS and a Daffy Tailgate After Party.

April 28, 2019: Whether a London Marathon participant or spectator, The Doyle Collection’s trio of London hotels provide the perfect home base to enjoy the race

 

May

May 2019: Shou Sugi Ban House will open in Water Mill as a wellness haven offering multi-day programs.

May 3 and 4, 2019: Mary Berry will host two afternoon teas aboard Belmond British Pullman

May 5, 2019: Guests can celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Viceroy Riviera Maya with a Mayan Cuisine Class and learn to cook the indigenous fare of the Yucatan Peninsula.

May 11, 2019: andBeyond’s Bhutan Yoga Retreat departs to travel through Asia’s spiritual heartland and to achieve balance of mind, body, and soul with guided yoga and deep meditation

May 12, 2019: andBeyond’s Phinda Impact Journey embarks to explore South Africa through game drives, ranger training, sleeping out under the stars, and visiting the local community

May 18, 2019: Visit Robert Mondavi Winery for their Fume Blanc Release and Lobster Feed Party, set among the vines of the famous To Kalon Vineyard

May 21-25, 2019: The Chelsea Flower Show takes place in London, stay nearby at The Kensington to usher in the spring season

 

June

June 20-25, 2018: The 23rd annual Nantucket Film Festival

 

 

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