Where to Go: May 2024

February 22nd, 2024

From strolling the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show to playing the Kilted Open golf tournament in Scotland to relaxing on the coast of Sardinia at Belmond’s newest opening, our top destinations for May are below!

London, UK

There’s no better time to stroll through London’s streets than in May when the temperatures begin to rise and the flowers begin to bloom. Everyone says that April showers bring May flowers – London is certainly no exception. The city’s annual Chelsea Flower Show is a world-renowned event for garden enthusiasts, showcasing breathtaking floral displays and innovative garden designs. Visitors can also learn from expert horticulturalists and explore the latest gardening trends. Stay in the heart of Chelsea at The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London. During the show, stunning floral displays will frame the property’s front door and guests are invited to experience various flower-themed offerings including botanical cocktails and a floral-inspired afternoon tea by star pâtissier Benoit Blin. The property also offers early access to London’s oldest botanical garden and private tennis courts in Cadogan Place Gardens year-round.

Costa Smeralda, Italy

Italy topped Virtuoso’s top Honeymoon, Family and Global Destinations lists for 2024 and there’s no better place to experience Italy in May than Costa Smeralda. Located on the island of Sardinia, the coastal area boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, breathtaking landscapes and pristine white sand beaches that have been enjoyed by celebrities such as the Clooneys, the Obamas and Elton John. Luxury hotel brand Belmond is joining the fun with the opening of Romazzino, a Belmond Hotel, Costa Smeralda at the end of the month. The property overlooks Costa Smeralda’s most picturesque coastline and is located on the alluring white beach of Spiaggia Del Romazzino. Conceived by Aga Khan in the 1960s and designed by famed architect Michele Busiri Vici, the hotel cultivated a reputation as Sardinia’s original beach hotel. Upon its reopening as a Belmond hotel, Romazzino will offer enchanting guest rooms including suites and villas, wellness facilities, artisanal experiences and two shimmering blue pools along a stretch of private beach to complete the villeggiatura experience.

Barcelona, Spain

Experience un día perfecto in Barcelona during the month of May with less tourists, milder temperatures and longer days. Stroll comfortably through the captivating Gothic Quarter, take stunning pictures of Sagrada Familia or enjoy line-free tapas at the city’s top foodie spots. Music lovers can get tickets for Primavera Sound, the city’s largest music festival starting on May 30th with Lana Del Rey, SZA, and Charli XCX on this year’s lineup. Between food, location and experiences, there’s no better place to experience the Catalonian capital than Almanac Barcelona. The property is located just off the Passeig de Gràcia and boasts a rooftop bar with a plunge pool and 360º views of the city, a plant-forward restaurant with a focus on fermented foods and probiotic drink pairings and a solo traveler package for any single travelers.  To keep up with traveler demand this summer, United is launching its new daily flight route from San Francisco in May, marking the airline’s first time connecting the two cities. American Airlines will also join the fun with a new nonstop service from Dallas-Fort Worth to debut in June.

Napa Valley, CA

When travelers think of Napa Valley, they think of wine, but the region also offers a growing vibrant music scene. Come May, this stretch of Northern California will welcome the 11th annual BottleRock, one the country’s top music festivals with artists, including Ed Sheeran, Stevie Nicks, The Offspring, Nora Jones and Spanish rock veterans Mana. The three-day event, May 24-26, will have over 75 acts with stars from across half a century of music. In addition to performances, visitors can expect culinary experiences by Michelin-starred restaurants (La Toque and Press to name a few) and vino tastings by Schramsberg Vineyards, Napa Valley’s sparkling powerhouse. (This is wine country after all.)

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

The best way to enjoy Scotland in the summer is wearing a kilt while golfing, obviously. While the first recorded golf game was established in Scotland in the 15th century, golf enthusiasts can still book a spot at the Kilted Open (May 17-19), an annual tournament celebrating held in partnership with The Fife Arms hotel. Players are encouraged to wear kilts and come with an impressive team name; the best name wins a prize! The first half of the weekend is held at the historic Braemar Golf Club (1902) in the Cairngorms National Park, where players have the chance to swing their clubs while being watched over by golden eagles, stags and other rare wildlife. New this year, guests have the exclusive opportunity to play golf on the grounds of Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1852.  On Sunday, players are brought to the Royal golf course to play nine holes, followed by a BBQ lunch prepared by the Balmoral team using produce from the estate.  The place to stay while enjoying Scotland’s most famous sporting export is none other than the event’s hotel partner, The Fife Arms. A celebratory weekend package is now available and includes a two-night stay, a wine pairing dinner, 9th-hole refreshments, 19th-hole BBQ and drinks, and more.

Nantucket, MA

Warmer weather and fewer crowds make visiting Nantucket in May the perfect destination for an idyllic island getaway. The highlight of Nantucket in May is the 26th annual Nantucket Wine Festival, a four-day festival taking place from May 15th to 19th. The festival will showcase an impressive lineup of world-renowned winemakers and chefs, as well as tasting events and educational seminars. White Elephant Resorts will sponsor the Grand Cru Festival and host the keynote event, the Grand Tastings, where guests can sample more than 600 different wines from over 150 wineries around the world. For a quiet retreat with no shortage of award-winning culinary options, stay at The Wauwinet on the northeast end of the island. The property is home to TOPPER’s, the consecutive Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” recipient for the past 27 years. It has the largest wine cellar on the island and a multi-million-dollar wine collection. Guests staying at The Wauwinet can tour the cellar and enjoy a wine-paired dinner at TOPPER’s, the perfect pairing with the wine festival. The Wauwinet offers a festival package allowing guests to book the Louis Roederer Wine Dinner curated by Chef Kyle, featuring delightful champagne and Camille ‘Hommage’ varietals [Jetblue and Delta nonstop flights from Laguardia to Nantucket start up again in May for the season].

News from the Vines: Fall 2023

September 28th, 2023

If you’ve been to Napa Valley lately, you’ll know that a lot has changed in and around the region. We’re talking new restaurants, buzzy bars – including a champagne and caviar lounge from Thomas Keller and even a swanky tequila lounge – along with just-opened tasting rooms, some of which are set inside landmark buildings that are being opened to the public for the first time in history. Plus, this year, wine grapes are thriving after record winter rainfall. This past summer’s cooler days means a later than usual harvest and more time to celebrate the season.

Here’s a preview of all that’s new and notable in Napa Valley:

The Restaurant Scene Heats Up

There’s nothing more classic than a glass of red wine paire
d with Italian food, especially in Napa Valley. In recent months, a crop of new Italian restaurants have popped up offering home-style Italian cooking using Napa Valley-grown ingredients.

One of the most buzz-worthy openings is Ciccio, first opened in 2012 by winemaker Frank Altamura and shuttered after the pandemic, has made a comeback under new management overseen by Christopher Kostow, Michelin-starred chef from the former Restaurant at Meadowood, The Charter Oak, and Loveski Deli. Expect a wine list that’s 80 percent Italian along with crowd-pleasing dishes like bucatini cacio e pepe and buffalo milk ice cream with strawberries and olive oil. For pizza, the region is flush with options now, including Rutherford Family Pizza (specializing in New York and Neapolitan-style pizza),  Mangia Mi (by Food Network winning chef Rebecca White) and Scala Osteria (from the owners of Napa Valley’s famed Don Giovanni).

The spirit of Napa Valley is all about community, and at the female-run NO|MA House Café & Collective in Yountville, locals and travelers can come together in a welcoming space with a retail shop that focuses on local artisanal goods, plus seasonal bites like summer peach, prosciutto, and burrata tartines. Another community-centered opening is Calistoga Depot, a gourmet spot serving artisan sandwiches and locally roasted coffees, which diners may enjoy on the sunny adjacent patio. Look out for a new on-site sparkling wine and caviar salon, plus a Mexican cuisine kitchen, Casa Obsidiana, both set to open inside of remodeled train cars that date to the 1800s.

When it comes to hotel dining, the scene is red-hot. Homegrown chef Rogelio Garcia, recently opened Auro at Four Seasons Resort & Residents. The  fine-dining restaurant, which recently earned a Michelin star, offers a prix-fixe tasting menu with a 250-label list emphasizing local wines. While in the northern part of Napa Valley, don’t miss Forum, the new concept at Meadowood, spotlighting local produce and craft cocktails.

A Topped-Up Tasting Experience

In Napa Valley, there’s a tasting room for everyone. Pet-lovers can bring their pooch to the newly opened Benevolent Neglect Wines in downtown Napa, where minimal-intervention wines (many made from obscure grape varieties) are paired with vinyl records and by-the-glass service. And the Scottsdale-born Wine Girl bar just opened a location in downtown Napa that’s perfectly suited for bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations, and girls’ getaways. Local insiders gather at Compline Wine Shop, where an 800-bottle selection featuring international and California labels and a 100-vinyl record collection will keep the good times going all night long.

Also in downtown Napa is the new outpost from Robert Mondavi Winery, a long-term temporary tasting room called Arch & Tower, set inside a two-story industrial building that previously functioned as a dance hall in the 1900s. And the Matthew Bruno Rutherford Estate opened this past summer inside an 1894 Victorian home filled with art. (Look out for a bronze table by Brutalist designer and sculptor Chuck Moffit.) The space is set amid 125-year-old olive trees and a bocce court. It’s the first time in history that the property has been open to the public.

Stylish Sips

This past summer, the Culinary Institute of America at COPIA opened The Haven, a pre-Prohibition-inspired lounge offering a rotating selection of tapped cocktails, alcohol-free tipples, and international wines and beers — plus open-air views of CIA’s gardens. Also in downtown Napa: The Fink, a new cocktail bar at the Historic Napa Mill. Opened by Judd Finkelstein from Judd’s Hill Winery, the space resembles a tiki-inspired boathouse, a homage to the late 1800s when the Mill was the city’s industrial center and a large portion of the business in the region was done by boat.

Tequila-lovers have plenty of reason to celebrate now that the owners of Napa Valley’s most popular wine bars, Cadet, have opened Chispa with a selection of roughly 80 tequilas and 40 mezcals, plus a full kitchen. Chispa will satisfy discerning tequila connoisseurs plus any hankerings for raw oysters and seafood. Meanwhile, in Yountville, Regiis Ova Caviar & Champagne Lounge is the newest opening from chef Thomas Killer, with weekly live jazz music coupled with bubbles and caviar pairings, this sophisticated space, with interiors courtesy of Ken Fulk, is certainly worthy of a Champagne toast.

News from the Vines: What’s Happening in Napa Valley, Summer 2023

June 27th, 2023

In the summer, Napa Valley serves as an adventure-filled backyard for visitors who come to get outdoors, soak up the sun, and relax amid miles of vines and rugged mountain scenery. While wine tourism is a major draw (rosé season, anyone?), there are also plenty of other activities like ATV tours, olive-oil tastings, family picnics, and outdoor music concerts. Here’s a preview of all that the sunny season has in store:

Napa Valley: Bring the Whole Family!

The region is not just an adult getaway – many Napa Valley lodging properties are offering family-friendly accommodations. Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection offers lawn games, fireside s’mores, bocce courts, a kid-friendly Splash Pad, and a personalized pizza-making experience. Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection, has a dedicated kids camp where daily activities include a hawk walk, bike rides, planting vegetables in the farm, and star-gazing on the Great Lawn. Carneros Resort and Spa offers garden tours along with other family-fun activities like a scavenger hunt, kids yoga classes, and a sleep-under-the-stars experience. The Meritage Resort and Spa has adopted a baby goat named Althea! Housed at the nearby Connolly Ranch Education Center (home to more than 85 barnyard animals), where guests can drop by and learn about life on the ranch.  Check out Visit Napa Valley’s list of kid-friendly wineries to find the perfect place to taste, with the whole family in tow.

Beyond the Glass – Unique Winery Experiences

Do you like your wine with a side of adventure? Buckle up and embark on an ATV tour of the 1,000-acre mountainside vineyard at Hess Persson Estate, complete with views from Napa Valley to the San Francisco Bay. Afterward, enjoy a wine and cheese pairing or culinary tasting experience with dishes cultivated from produce grown in the estate gardens.

Blending is an art as well as a science. If you sign up for the Bottle Blending Camp at Judd’s Hill Winery, you’ll learn how to perfect your Bordeaux-style blends using samples from four red varietals. It’s a fun and educational way to hone your palate and just as enjoyable if you’re a single, a couple, or a group. There’s room for everyone!

Develop a taste for olive oil and head over to Round Pond Estate to learn about olive cultivation, harvest, and the property’s artisanal methods of production including a traditional stone mill. The estate is home to 2,200 olive trees with the five Italian varieties and three Spanish varieties—see if you can taste the difference during an hour-long tasting. Or visit the new tasting room of Grove 45, a producer of extra virgin olive oil produced in the heart of Napa Valley. Run by mother-daughter duo Ana and Marcela Hernandez, Grove 45 hosts olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings, paired with seasonal bites.

If the great outdoors is calling you, several Napa Valley wineries host guided hikes that culminate in (of course!) a tasting, offering a true grape to glass experience. At Pine Ridge Vineyards, visitors can partake in a guided moderate hike through the vines while learning about the winery’s sustainable farming techniques and diverse ecosystems, while at Cuvaison, guests can walk through their vineyards before enjoying an ‘Estate Tasting’ and boxed lunch on the patio.

Summer of Sound in Napa Valley

Over the last decade, Napa Valley has become the premier destination for the biggest names in music, hosting both large scale and intimate shows in stunning outdoor venues. Highlights include the Golden States Festival (July 15) and the Down in the Valley Festival (September 2-3), both at the Oxbow RiverStage in downtown Napa, and the Blue Note Jazz Festival (July 28-30) hosted by Dave Chapelle and featuring headliners Mary J. Blige, Nas, and Chance the Rapper at Silverado Resort & Spa.

Other notable concert series running all summer long include the Blue Note Summer Sessions at The Meritage ResortFestival Napa Valley (July 8-23) with country music star Carrie Underwood set to perform.

Savor After Hours (in residency from June- to September), brings a wholly unique show to Napa Valley. The first of its kind, this cabaret and wine tasting experience, featuring Dancing with the Stars champions Maks and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, is sure to surprise and delight guests. Featuring dance, music, magic, and of course wine, Savor After Hours is quickly becoming the hottest ticket in Napa Valley!


Wineries for Architecture and Design Lovers

January 9th, 2023

Wineries for Architecture and Design Lovers

From left to right: Quixote Winery, Darioush

California wine country may be known for its so-called modern farmhouse design, popularized by American architect Howard Backen. But in Napa Valley, there’s everything from French-style chateaus, Cape Dutch-inspired estates, and even a whimsical winery designed by the eccentric Austrian artist and architect, Friedrich Stowasser. Here are 10 of the region’s most striking designs.

Hall Winery

With over 35 works of contemporary art spread over 33 acres, HALL St. Helena practically doubles as an art gallery. The Wine and Art Exploration experience whisks visitors around the property, to works by artists such as John Baldessari, Jim Campbell, and Nick Cave.

Elusa Winery

Just as a good wine reflects its terroir, the design of the new Elusa Winery on the grounds of the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley is a testament to the beauty of its surroundings. Even its name, Elusa, is a tribute to the native language of the original inhabitants of Napa Valley. San Francisco studio Hirsch Bedner Associates drew from the region’s landscape when conceiving the winery’s tasting room, which features a palette of warm whites, natural oak and walnut paired with bronze medals and a stunning mixed media wall sculpture, titled “Viticultural,” by Bay Area artist Lisa Kokin.

Artesa Vineyards & Winery

In 1991, Spain’s oldest winemaking family debuted a sea-facing hillside winery in Napa Valley. Renowned Barcelona architect Domingo Triay designed the avant-garde winery, which appears to have grown out of its landscape: the 127,000-square-foot facility is covered with earth and blanketed with native grasses, giving the impression of a mound rather than a winery. Other unique architectural features include prismatic windows, cascading waterfalls, and the surrounding manmade lakes.

Del Dotto Vineyards

Marble floors, glittering mosaics, vivid frescoes, grand chandeliers. No, we’re not describing a Venetian palace but the Del Dotto Estate Winery & Caves in St. Helena. Owners Dave and Yolanda Del Dotto wanted to pay homage to their family’s Venetian history, so they built a cathedral-like structure surrounded by manicured gardens and 17th century fountains. Talk about a complete sensory experience!

Domaine Carneros

Founded by the same family behind renowned Champagne Taittinger, Domaine Carneros offers a slice of French palatial architecture in the middle of Napa Valley. The 138-acre parcel is anchored by a stunning French-style chateau with a grand staircase leading to formal gardens. Enjoy a glass of sparkling on the terrace overlooking the hills and vineyard of Carneros, or take a seat inside the elegant Louis XV-style salon.

Quixote Winery

The only U.S.-based project of Austrian artist and architect Friedrich Hundsertwasser — known for his whimsical, larger-than-life designs — Quixote Winery is a popular pilgrimage destination among architecture lovers. As with the architect’s other buildings, the winery has no straight lines (Hundertwasser believed they didn’t “align” with human nature) and features signature features like curving walls and an undulating roofline — plus colorful ceramic tiles, a shimmering gold onion dome, and views across Napa Valley to Mount Veeder.

Chimney Rock Winery

With its distinctive gables and bright white stucco exteriors, Chimney Rock is evocative of the Cape-Dutch architectural style typical of South Africa’s iconic Stellenbosch region. On the north side of the building is a one massive allegorical frieze of Ganymede — cupbearer to the gods — inspired by the historic South African winery Groot Constantia and surrounded by miles of tidy vines.


Napa Valley’s “Persian Palace” was completed in 2004 and constructed with stones imported from quarries near Shiraz, Iran. Founders Darioush Khaledi and his wife, Shahpar, wanted to pay tribute to the winemaking legacy of Shiraz, formerly one of Iran’s most prominent wine-growing regions, and called on architects Ardeshir and Roshan Nozari to envision an homage to Persepolis, with imposing columns, trickling fountains, and a garden planted with pomegranate and pistachio trees.

Ashes & Diamonds

Inspired by influential mid-century modern architects Donald Wexler and Albert Frey, this striking, all-white winery looks like it belongs in Palm Springs. Note the structure’s folded plate canopy, geometric accents, portholes, and pops of Kelly green and bright yellow — all signatures of mid century-modern design.


This 45-acre estate vineyard embraces sustainability at all levels, including design. Nestled in the valley’s eastern hills, the LEED Gold-certified winery features a living roof and 2,500 square feet of solar panels, plus a trio of shipping containers repurposed as labs and office spaces. The winery’s sinuous curves are a nod to the pivotal female characters in the works of Shakespeare and Proust, and the swan princess in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Other notable mentions include Robert Mondavi Winery, designed by prominent Los Angeles-based architect Cliff May; Dominus Estate Winery, with it’s brutalist architecture; Inglenook, one of the first Bordeaux-styled wineries in the U.S.; and Quintessa, offering open-air minimalist wine-tasting pavilions.

NEWS FROM THE VINES: What’s Happening in Napa Valley, Fall 2022

October 7th, 2022


FALL 2022

To see Napa Valley at its most picture-perfect, consider visiting in fall. Daytime highs are next to perfect, and the changing leaves blanket the valley in shades of brilliant yellow, orange, and burgundy. With “crush” season in full swing through early November there’s opportunities for grape smashing, wine blending, and harvest dinners. Here are the can’t-miss events and seasonal hotel offers to put on your radar this fall.

Events & Happenings

The Barrel Blending Experience at Conn Creek Winery

Appointments available Thursday-Monday

Ever dreamed of becoming a winemaker? The Barrel Blending Experience at Conn Creek Winery lets you play winemaker for a day and even take home the fruits of your labor. During the experience, you’ll receive an overview of the Napa Valley AVA, followed by a guided tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon barrel samples, and instructions on blending techniques and strategies. You’ll go home with a custom blend perfectly suited to your tastes.

Price: $150 per person

Bottle Blending Day Camp at Judd’s Hill Winery

Blending is an art as well as a science. If you sign up for the Bottle Blending Camp at Judd’s Hill Winery, you’ll learn how to perfect your Bordeaux-style blends using samples from four barrels of four red varietals. It’s a fun and educational way to hone your palate as a single, couple, or as a group. Reservations for this experience can be made with at least 24-hour notice. If you can’t make it in person, the Bottle Blending Day Camp can even be done remotely over Zoom.

Price: $275 per person

Winemaker For a Day at Raymond Vineyards

Date: Available Wednesday-Monday

During this 90-minute experience, you’ll craft a wine exactly to your preferences and specifications, then fill and cork the bottle and design a bespoke bottle label. It’s a great way to learn about the blending process — with the ultimate reward of bringing home your own custom bottle.

Price: $150 per person

Hotel Happenings

Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

Napa Valley isn’t just for winemakers — it’s also a haven for artists and design mavens. At Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection, guests can gain an appreciation for Napa’s artistic side through two new exclusive experiences. The Wine & Design excursion will take participants on a tour of the region’s most architecturally stunning wineries, where they’ll learn about the history and architectural elements behind these striking venues while also tasting a few award-winning wines. At the tour’s end, guests will receive a signed copy of Heather Hebert’s acclaimed book, “The New Architecture of Wine.” For more hands-on instruction, sign up for the Design a Hat with an Artisan experience, which involves spending an evening with the Bay Area’s most coveted milliner, Willee Roberts of Hampui Hats. At Willee’s outdoor studio, guests will participate in a hat-making ceremony using the finest and most sustainable materials — the ultimate Napa Valley souvenir!

Auberge du Soleil, Auberge Resorts Collection

From October 24 to 30th, Auberge du Soleil will celebrate its third annual Champagne Week, a guest-favorite event with daily Champagne tastings hosted by premier and Grand Cru houses and paired dining experiences at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Expect wines from renowned producers like Krug, Dom Perignon, Laurent Perrier, and Duval Leroy. Indulge in executive chef Robert Curry’s six-course prix fixe tasting menu at The Restaurant for dinner, or a three-course paired lunch. In honor of the occasion, the Bistro and Bar will also offer an extended menu of Champagnes by the glass. Santé!

Archer Hotel

As fall is one of the most popular times to visit Napa Valley, prices are often sky-high from September through early November. But if you’re willing to play hooky and skip a few days of work, you can enjoy 15 percent off two-night minimum stays at The Archer Hotel, a boutique property in downtown Napa with a gourmet steakhouse and a rooftop spa and pool.

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

If stomping on grapes isn’t your idea of vacation fun, treat yourself to an indulgent harvest season experience at Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, where guests receive 20 percent off the best available rate when they stay Sunday through Thursday. Heighten your relaxation by booking a pampering treatment (not included), whether it’s a bud bath, a Himalayan salt stone massage, or the “Calistoga Elixir” whirlpool bath infused with grape skins, seeds, and oils.

Carneros Resort & Spa

If you needed another excuse to visit Napa during the magical harvest season, Carneros Resort and Spa is offering guests who stay two nights or longer a resort credit of $300 to spend toward a variety of experiences—brunch at the Boon Fly Café, a luxurious spa treatment like a Quiet Mind massage or Valley Glow body scrub, or a seasonally-inspired dinner at FARM.

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.



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.



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.



Napa Valley is for Cocktail (and Mocktail) Lovers

July 26th, 2022

California’s premier wine region may be known for its Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Chardonnays, but in recent years, Napa Valley has expanded its beverage program to appeal to a wider swath of travelers. Cocktail lovers in particular have a lot to celebrate, with a flurry of new bars, distilleries, and tasting rooms turning out elevated spirits and handcrafted cocktails and mocktails. Here are 10 spots to get your drink on.

The ArBaretum by Napa Valley Distillery, Napa

At this new cocktail bar and tasting room in downtown Napa, visitors can huddle around a working 65-gallon copper-and-stainless steel still, learning about the art and science of distillation. Afterwards, enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, premium spirits, and a selection of small plates.

Napa Valley Distillery, Napa

This family-owned micro-distillery—the first distillery to open in Napa Valley since Prohibition— makes small-batch craft spirits using old-world techniques. Visitors can tour the Grand Tasting Salon to learn how to make properly distilled spirits.

Cole’s Chop House, Napa

At Cole’s, there’s more on the menu than 21-day, dry-aged prime steaks. The restaurant whips up a variety of seasonal cocktails and offers a selection of over 170 whiskeys, including a 15-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon.

Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar at Archer, Napa

Located at the top of the Archer Hotel, downtown Napa’s tallest building, Sky & Vine offers breathtaking views of the city and the wine country beyond. Order one of the many cocktails on tap, like a Paloma, Negroni, or a Moscow Mule, and cozy up around the outdoor fire pits.

Wilfred’s Tiki Bar, Napa

Last summer, downtown Napa opened Wilfred’s, its first tiki bar. Inspired by the owner’s uncle, a bartender who worked in Honolulu during the 1940s and 50s, the watering hole is decked out in Polynesian décor and features a large outdoor terrace overlooking the Napa River. Pull up a chair and choose from a menu with more than 15 tropical cocktails, from Mai Tais and Tahitian punch to the Wiki Wiki Spritz.

Mommenpop, Napa

In 2017, winemaker Samantha Sheehan and her husband, Michael, experimented with making a less-sweet, dye-free alternative to traditional aperitifs, using locally grown Seville oranges and the base of her own Chardonnay. Now available at Outland Wines tasting room, a local favorite in downtown Napa Valley, visitors can sit on the sunny patio and try the spirit that Wine Enthusiast calls “A pop of sun-soaked California citrus.”

California Brandy House, Napa

In 2020, downtown Napa debuted the first stand-alone tasting room dedicated solely to luxury Californian brandies. Visitors will discover the unique terroir of California brandies like German-Robin and Argonaut through guided tastings of limited offerings and single-barrel samples not available anywhere else.

Goose & Gander, St. Helena

“Farm-to-glass” cocktails? Yes, please. Set inside the landmark Martini House, which operated as a bootlegging business in the 1920s, Goose & Gander whips up cocktails with a sense of place, featuring locally foraged ingredients (like borage flowers and fennel) and house-made bases and syrups.

Alila, St. Helena

New at Alila Napa Valley is the “Balance and Botanicals” experience (complimentary for hotel guests). The experience starts with a tour of the garden led by a mixologist from Acacia House. Participants will pick fresh herbs and flowers that they’ll later use in the creation of handcrafted mocktails like cucumber lavender lemonade, taking home a recipe card following the class.

Sam’s Social Club, Calistoga

This upscale restaurant at Calistoga’s legendary Indian Springs resort is named after the state’s first millionaire, Samuel Brannan. Inside, a colorful mural depicting Calistoga’s history graces the bar, which turns out artisanal cocktails that pair perfectly with the fresh, seasonal dishes. Try the Sangria, made from local wine and a house made grape-infused vodka.

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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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

If you want to save endangered animals…

Iguassu Falls, Brazil

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

South Africa

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

If you want to lead by example…

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

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

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

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

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


news from the vines

December 3rd, 2020

News from the Vines: Winter 2020

What’s Happening in Napa Valley

A cactus in a field with a mountain in the background

Description automatically generated A glass of wine

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

What’s New in Wine (and Spirit) Tastings

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

Neighborhoods to Watch


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

Downtown Napa

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

Looking Ahead to 2021

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

Women Winemakers are changing the way we drink wine (and beer!)

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


About Visit Napa Valley

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

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

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