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.

 

News from the Vines: Winter 2020

November 30th, 2020

What’s Happening in Napa Valley


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

ampr march 2018 update

April 10th, 2018

What’s New?

The Lowell’s ever-popular Pembroke Room, known for its chic Afternoon Tea and polished service, is relaunching in April 2018 – complete with a new outdoor terrace for alfresco brunching.

PONANT announces the first electric hybrid Icebreaker ship coming in 2021, which will safely cut through ice flow up to eight feet thick and travel to the true geographic North Pole (at 90 degrees North Latitude).

andBeyond Phinda Homestead in KwaZulu-Natal will reopen on September 1, 2018 after a complete rebuild. This standalone safari lodge allows travelers a completely private safari experience, ideal for family or group travel – no sharing safari vehicles and total control over the day’s schedule.

From March 1 through April 30, The Dupont Circle in Washington DC is celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival with a special ‘In Full Bloom’ package including a stay at the hotel, the chef’s cherry blossom themed welcome amenity, a $25 dining credit, and complimentary valet parking.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort has officially opened two of the five ultra-luxe Beachfront Collection residences. Images of the new homes – complete with infinity pools and floor-to-ceiling glass windows – are available for stays now.

Domaine de Manville in the heart of Provence received its first Michelin Star for its restaurant, l’Aupiho, helmed by Chef Matthieu Dupuis Baumal.

Vista Collina Resort in Napa is projected to open Summer 2018 and will feature 145 guestrooms. Adjacent to the property will be the Village, featuring nine tastings room, a food and wine center, and a 16,000 square foot lawn for concerts and events.

Jamaica’s GoldenEye launches veggie cocktails, featuring local produce from Pantrepant, the hotel’s farm. New elixirs include: the Cucumber Martini; Beetroot, Bourbon, and Scotch bonnet cocktail; and the Arugula and Celery Sour.

Royal Mansour Spa has unveiled a new series of bespoke hammam treatments where each step of the hammam process can be customized beginning with three types of body wraps, two types of kessa gloves, and a variety of Leonor Greyl shampoos for varying hair types.

Belmond has expanded its Italian portfolio with the acquisition of Castello di Casole, a historic castle hotel in the heart of rural Tuscany. The intimate 39-room hotel sits within 4,200 acres of farmland, vineyards, and olive groves – one of the largest private estates in Italy.

Travel to Brazil is easier than ever with a newly-launched e-visa system for American travelers To make the most of a Brazilian vacation, travelers can book Belmond’s ‘Grand Tour of Brazil’ – a five-night itinerary that includes the brand’s properties on Copacabana Beach and in Iguassu falls – or go off-the-beaten-path with a visit to UXUA on the remote shores of Trancoso.

Strawless and Flawless

Hotels are eschewing plastic straws for more sustainable options like paper or bamboo. According to The Last Plastic Straw project, 500 million straws are used and thrown away every day in the US, which is about 175 billion per year.

Nayara Springs, set on the fringes of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, only uses bamboo straws across the property’s restaurants and bars – mixologist Monica Gonzalez is on-hand to whip up poolside cocktails made with local fruits.

The Doyle Collection’s London hotels (The Marylebone, The Kensington, and The Bloomsbury) just officially became plastic-straw-free and are now moving to roll out this policy brand-wide, from Dublin to Cork to Washington DC.

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and the new andBeyond Bateleur Camp (reopening this month after a complete renovation), both on Kenya’s Masai Mara, have discontinued all plastic straw usage – falling into line with their ethos: care of the land, care of the wildlife, care of the people.

Go Global with Locals


andBeyond’s new philanthropic-focused itineraries in Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa give guests first-hand experiences with the locals in the community, like participating in school conservation lessons in Tanzania.

Guests of Nayara Springs can visit the source of the resort’s chocolate at a local farm. The owners will teach travelers the process of chocolate-making.

During PONANT’s voyages through the Northwest Passage, guests will have opportunity to meet with locals in charming Inuit villages to learn about the culture.

Majestic Hotel & Spa has an exclusive relationship with local marine biologist Anna Bozzano, the only tour guide approved to visit the Barcelona Fish Market where she teaches about the market’s innerworkings.

Connecting guests with the local community is elemental to every Belmond experience. Highlights include art lessons with Jose Luis Arias, a graduate of the local Instituto Allende, at the newly renovated Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, and a walking tour with a former prison guard of Nelson Mandela’s that begins at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

Sugar Beach guests who hike the Gros Piton follow a guide from the local village up the two-hour climb.

Over-the-top Amenities

Guests at La Réserve Paris can create their ownbespoke scent with the help of a professional ‘nose.’

Thanks to Kinloch Anderson, kilt maker to Her Royal Highness the Queen, travelers on Belmond Royal Scotsman are swept to the showroom for a private fitting, and a fully customized kilt arrives at their doorstep 8-10 weeks later in the family tartan or a pattern from the train. During their journey, guests will find a complimentary set of Highland Dress (kilts for men, skirts for women) awaiting them in their train cabin.

One of the new Beachfront Collection residences available to buy or book for stay at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach will have a waterslide connecting an infinity pool to a lower level hot tub and yoga deck.

Guests who book the top, three-bedroom suite at the White Elephant, White Elephant Village or The Wauwinet will receive the keys to a BMW for the duration of their stay.

At andBeyond Mnemba Island, instead of your typical tray of room service arriving in your room, the lodge will dig a custom “sand castle” dining room on the beach in front of your suite and serve freshly caught seafood surrounded by lantern light.

Located on the shores of Lac Léman, La Réserve Geneva has its very own Venetian Motoscafo boat that takes guests to go to and from the city center.

Majestic Hotel & Spa’s Royal Penthouse Suite – the largest suite in Barcelona – is home to a Bar Au Parfum stocked with five 200 ml bottles of Atelier Cologne, available for use throughout the stay. Guests can take home a complimentary leather case, engraved with their name and filled with 30ml sized bottles of each of the colognes.

Calendar

April

April 2018: Belmond La Residencia will unveil a new suite created by fashion designer Matthew Williamson.

April 2018: Belmond will add two new barges to its Belmond Afloat in France fleet. The two “floating hotels” will travel the rivers of Champagne and Alsace

April 2018: The Pembroke Room at The Lowell completes a renovation

April 7-17, 2018: andBeyond’s Eat, Pray and Love journey departs in India

April 28-29, 2018: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda will serve as the official host hotel for the ITU World Triathlon, the first time it is held in Bermuda

May

May 4, 2018: In honor of its 100th anniversary, Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona will serve a new pre-fixe dinner replicating the hotel’s original restaurant menus

May 19, 2018: The Royal Wedding will be screened all day at The Kensington in London

May 25, 2018: La Maison du Chocolat’s Bien Être collection is available in boutiques and online

June

June 10, 2018: Sterling Vineyard’s 2nd Annual RoseFest will feature 30+ Napa Valley rose tastings with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation

June 15-16, 2018: In honor of the Nantucket Boat Basin’s 50th anniversary, the marina will host its first-ever Father’s Day Fishing Tournament where teams will compete for the top title in categories such as heaviest fish and most fish caught

2013 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award Winners

October 15th, 2013

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

The results of Condé Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards are in. This year, the 26th annual Readers’ Choice Awards boasted its highest-ever participation with 79,268 readers casting 1.3 million votes. The result is a compilation of the best cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and resorts in the world.

The #1 spot for Top Hotel & Resort in the World was a tie between The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in Matauri Bay, New Zealand and La Residence in Franschhoek, South Africa.

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards including:

Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World: #1 The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, #7 One&Only The Palm Dubai, #22 (tied) Phinda Private Game Reserve, One&Only Palmilla, #63 Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens, #75 Park Hyatt Dubai

Top Midsize-Ship Cruise Lines: #1 Crystal Cruises

Top Hotels in the Middle East: #1 Park Hyatt Dubai

Top Resorts in the Middle East: #1 One&Only The Palm Dubai, #2 Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, #5 One&Only Royal Mirage

Top Resorts in Central & South America: #1 Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens

Top Resorts in Baja, Mexico: #1 One&Only Palmilla

Top Hotels in Australia & the Pacific: #1 Park Hyatt Sydney

Top Hotels in the Atlantic: #2 One&Only Ocean Club, #4 Parrot Cay

Top Hotels in New England: #3 The Wauwinet, #7 White Elephant Hotel

Top Resorts & Safari Camps: #4 Phinda Private Game Reserve, #25 Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

Top Hotels in Chicago: #4 Park Hyatt Chicago

Top Hotels in Northern Europe: #5 Park Hyatt Hamburg

Top Hotels in South America: #4 Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau

Top Hotels in Washington, D.C: #5 Park Hyatt Washington, D.C.

Top Resorts in the Caribbean: #5 The Caves, #6 Hôtel Saint-Barth Isle de France, #10 Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

Top Hotels in France & Monaco: #6 Park Hyatt Paris-Vedome, #18 Pavillon de la Reine

Top Hotels in Africa: #7 One&Only Cape Town

Top Hotels in Japan and South Korea: #7 Park Hyatt Seoul, #8 Park Hyatt Tokyo

Top Islands in the Caribbean: #7 St. Barths

Top Hotels in the Southwest: #8 Inn on the Alameda

Top Resorts in Europe: #10 Chewton Glen

Top Cities in the United States: #10 Napa

Top Hotels in Southeast Asia: #13 Park Hyatt Saigon

Top Resorts in Asia: #16 Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp

Top Hotels in Central Europe: #17 Park Hyatt Zurich

Top Hotels in China: #29 Park Hyatt Shanghai, #37 Park Hyatt Beijing

 

For the complete list of 2013 Readers’ Choice winners, click here: http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-choice-awards

Hotels that Brew Their Own Booze

June 18th, 2013

Hotel bars are making a serious comeback; for some simply being the cool kid again isn’t enough, so they are upping the ante. From Tokyo to Nantucket, these hotel bars are offering exclusive, limited edition whiskys, wines, and craft beers that travelers won’t find anywhere else…

The Wauwinet’s Woody 25

Nantucket Island, MA

In celebration of The Wauwinet’s 25th anniversary year, the inn’s award-winning restaurant, TOPPER’S, has teamed up with Triple Eight Distillery in collaboration with Cisco Brewery to create a custom-made 10-year-old Woody 25 single malt whisky.

  • Aged 10 years on island, the whisky, with its robust 44.4% alcohol content, is the color of a deeply strawberried golden straw.
  • Its nose evokes an equally rich aroma of sweet almond, apples, and cranberries that is balanced with warming vanilla and earthy oaken tones.
  • The taste, initially spicy and herbal, quickly mellows to flavors of honeyed treacle and caramel, with a long, dry finish of toasty oak and herbal anise – perfect to savor along with freshly shucked oysters or a decadent Lazy Lobster Bake from TOPPER’S.

How is it best served? Neat, of course! But for those who like a little something extra, a menu of carefully-crafted Woody 25 cocktails has been created for TOPPER’S to celebrate the silver anniversary of the inn. While individual servings of Woody 25 will be on the menu for those dining at TOPPER’S at $25/glass, the option to purchase one of the limited run of 200 bottles at $250/bottle is only available to those guests staying at the hotel.

The Calistoga Ranch Sotero Cabernet

Calistoga, CA

Located in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, Calistoga Ranch offers an exclusive Sotero wine to its hotel and restaurant guests. Made with cabernet grapes harvested from the hotel’s on-property vineyard, this private label is grown sustainably and aged in 70% new French Oak for 28 months.

  • Incredibly smooth and polished, in the nose there is a familiar presence of soft barrel vanillin, warm black cherry, and a little spice box.
  • Once in the mouth, this wine is a swirling rollercoaster ride of milk chocolate and caramel with a little dash of espresso supported by layers of generous black fruit riding on the rails of youthful tannin and moderate acidity.
  • As the wine opens up over time, more red fruit fumes gush from the glass and the young texture improves.

The Calistoga Ranch Sotero is available for guests to purchase at $90/bottle in the restaurant, gift shop, or via room service. Depending on the harvest, about 100 cases are produced each year. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, it is 100% Calistoga Cabernet.

Park Hyatt Tokyo’s Exclusive Craft Beers – Park Brewery and Citrus Amber Ales

Tokyo, Japan

Each summer, Sankt Gallen Brewery creates two extraordinary craft beers to be exclusively served at Park Hyatt Tokyo for a limited period. This summer, the brewery, known for its citrus infused craft beers, has created the Park Brewery Ale and Citrus Amber Ale for the hotel.

  • Hopped with seven different aromatics, the Park Brewery Ale has a sharp, hoppy flavor similar to an IPA.
  • The Citrus Amber Ale is made using Shiranui – a Japanese orange and grapefruit hybrid.

From July 1-September 16, Park Hyatt Tokyo will host the Park Brewery Craft Beer Happy Hour daily from 6-8pm. During the happy hour, guests can enjoy unlimited glasses of these two refreshing brews alongside the chef’s special German-style appetizer plate that includes pretzels, sausage, gherkins, and more for JPY 3,800/person (approx USD $38).

 

 

Get Thee to Napa Valley’s Galleries (and Wineries) for Third Annual Arts in April™

February 25th, 2013

Top Wineries, Galleries and Museums Host 30 Days of Art Showings and Wine Tastings


In April, the Napa Valley will again turn its attention from wine appreciation to art appreciation for Napa Valley Arts in April, a 30-day showcase of the art collections maintained by area wineries. Works on view will range from Belle Epoch to contemporary and from pricey to priceless. Wineries such as Chateau Montelena, Jericho Canyon and Markham Vineyards, as well as art spaces such as the Napa Valley Museum and the Calistoga Arts Center will collaborate on a series of exhibitions, artist receptions and activities. Throughout the month, wineries will offer special tastings during the week, and local arts organizations and galleries will host wine and art events on weekends.

Participating permanent and rotating winery exhibitions include Timothy Howe’s plein air paintings at Chateau Montelena, photo-journalist Baron Wolman’s new exhibit The Groupies on view for the first time in the US at Markham Vineyards, and Leonetto Cappiello’s Belle Epoch posters at Silverado Vineyards.

Punctuating the month’s activities is a host of weekend art openings and events, beginning with the opening reception of Napa Valley Collects on April 4 at the Napa Valley Museum, a selection of works on loan from vintners and friends with work from artists such as Robert Rauschenberg. Additional weekend events include Calistoga Arts Center’s Ekphrasis, a photography and mixed media exhibition opening on April 13, a multimedia concert by Mars Lasar entitled Angels of the Valley on April 19, and Ma(i)sonry’s Awaken opening April 19.

 

 

 

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