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.
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.
July 27th, 2022
Nothing signals ‘vacation mode’ quite like lounging by a pool, listening to the sounds of trickling water as you take in the surrounding scenery. It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming laps on the 47th floor of a Tokyo skyscraper or taking in coastal views from an infinity pool on the Amalfi Coast—there’s something about being near water that immediately energizes the body and soothes the spirit. Here are 8 pools that make the biggest splash.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
The ultimate antidote to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s streets? A refreshing dip in the pool of Park Hyatt Tokyo. With skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, the pool gives the impression of swimming high above the Japanese capital, with 47th-floor views of the skyline and the snow-capped Mount Fuji in the distance. Stretch out on a lounger around the 65-foot pool and order a drink and light bites. It’s worth hanging around until nighttime, admiring the lights of the city while soaking in the warm waters.
Nayara Tented Camp
At Costa Rica’s Nayara Tented Camp, guests have their pick of seven pools, all fed by hot springs and looking out to lush jungle scenery and the majestic Arenal Volcano. Each pool ranges in temperature, allowing guests to cool down on hotter days and warm up when the sun goes down. Thirsty? Ask the bartender to hand whip up a Guaro Sour or an iced Costa Rican coffee.
Don’t miss a nighttime swim, with twinkling stars overhead and the nocturnal sounds of the rainforest filling the warm air.
UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa
Not all pools are created equal. Take the pool at UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa in Trancoso, Brazil. Lined with 45,000 green aventurine quartz crystals—a native Bahian stone that’s said to have healing qualities— the shimmering pool resembles a natural lagoon that’s shaded by lush greenery and fragrant flowers. Add to the pool’s therapeutic effects by supplementing your swim with a Bahian hot stone massage at the spa.
Le Commandant Charcot
The world’s first luxury icebreaker ship is designed to travel through the globe’s iciest, most remote locations like the Antarctic Polar Circle. But don’t be fooled by its ruggedness—the ship has no shortage of luxe amenities, like a heated indoor swimming pool with a large glass roof and a sunroom looking out to the frozen scenery. Extra-intrepid guests can venture outdoors to the heated Blue Lagoon swimming pool, which wraps around the stern of the ship. The waters are heated from 80 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit using recycled energy from the ship. Snag a spot around the giant outdoor fire pit (as a plus, the armchairs are also heated) and order a selection of sweet and savory bites from 11 AM – 6 PM.
Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Ravello
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is spoiled for breathtaking scenery, but there’s no perch more picturesque than the heated infinity pool at Caruso, A Belmond Hotel. Seemingly suspended between the sea and the sky, the pool is situated at the hotel’s highest point, an astonishing 1,000 feet above sea level. Swim up to the pool’s edge and take in panoramic views of steep cliffs that plunge into the Tyrrhenian Sea. After toweling off, ask the pool concierge to bring you a Kindle with a selection of reading material, or an iPod pre-loaded with the guest’s choice of music.
Palacio Nazarenas, A Belmond Hotel, Cusco
As a former Incan temple turned conquistador’s mansion, Palacio Nazarenas, A Belmond Hotel, is one of Cusco’s most singular stays. It’s also home to the city’s first and only outdoor heated pool, located beyond Inca walls in a cloistered terrace. Swim laps while marveling at the building’s Spanish colonial architecture, then order a Pisco Sour from the poolside Senzo Bar. Don’t miss salsa lessons on the pool deck on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings and live electronic Andean music on Friday night.
Indian Springs Calistoga, Napa Valley
Did you know California’s premier wine country is home to one of the Golden State’s largest natural hot springs? At Calistoga’s Indian Springs, travelers come from far and wide to soak in warm waters that have provided therapeutic relief for thousands of years. Napa’s original inhabitants, the members of the Wappo tribe, built sweat lodges over the area’s bubbling thermal geysers; in the 1860s, notable Californian Sam Brannan created the original spa, volcanic mud baths, and water plunge (now an Olympic-sized mineral pool heated to 92-102 degrees Fahrenheit). After your swim, explore the 17 acres of hills and ponds, lined with olive and pool trees and rose and lavender bushes.
La Reserve Paris
A Parisian sojourn isn’t always conducive to wellness (croissants, anyone?). But at La Réserve Paris, guests can easily keep up with their wellness routines at the oasis-like spa, complete with a 16-meter indoor pool, a hammam, a fitness area, and three treatment rooms for facials and body treatments. Open 24/7 for hotel guests, it is easy to squeeze in a couple laps at the pool before carrying on your day. The pool area can also be bought out for the ultimate in privacy and relaxation.
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.
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.
December 8th, 2021
On the heels of Napa Valley’s harvest is Cabernet Season, which stretches from November to April. During this time, visitors can get a taste of newly released cabernets while taking advantage of the region’s slower pace, lower hotel rates, wider access to winemakers, and new tasting experiences. Not to mention, nabbing reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants has never been easier. Photo opps are also endless with brilliant swaths of mustard flowers popping up everywhere. Here’s a Napa Valley winter travel guide blending new and noteworthy.
This year marks the 12th annual Winter in the Wineries Passport program. For $60 per person, guests receive complimentary wine tastings at 14 participating wineries in Calistoga, Lake Country, Pope Valley, and St. Helena. Other perks include complimentary corkage at participating restaurants and discounts at Calistoga hotels, spas, and shops. Visitors who are especially interested in St. Helena should consider the “Little Book of Big Experiences” wine passport, a $75 purchase with an $800 value. That gets you wine and food pairings, tastes of rare-batch wines, and private wine tastings at 14 of Napa Valley’s top wineries.
While Napa Valley’s wineries are always a draw, keep in mind that the vines only account for nine percent of the county—in other words, there are plenty of other activities to do beyond wine tasting. With off-season temperatures hovering around the mid 60s, it’s an ideal time for getting outdoors, whether that means hiking the trails that crisscross the Mayacamas and the Vaca mountain ranges, biking the Napa Valley Vine Trail, or lacing up your sneakers for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 6, 2022. Don’t miss a walk through the Napa Rail Arts District. Inspired by Wynwood in Miami, the two-mile stretch of murals turned forgotten outdoor spaces into large-scale works of art.
No cool-weather visit to Napa Valley is complete without a warming spa therapy in the town of Calistoga – originally built around abundant, natural hot springs. Detox at the new outdoor treatment rooms at Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort & Spa or opt for the signature mud bath treatment at Four Seasons Napa Valley, which opened in November 2021.
America’s premier wine region not only lures visitors with its stunning vineyards and Michelin-starred cuisine, but also with its selection of accommodations – where the fireplace rivals the pool as the must-have amenity. The best rates can be found now through March enticing guests to stay longer and experience boundless activities. A selection of offers include third night free at Carneros Resort & Spa, Vista Collina Resort, Silverado Resort, Solage, an Auberge Resort, and River Terrace Inn while at Milliken Creek, Lavender Inn, Maison Fleurie and Estate at Yountville, travelers can enjoy 30 percent off two nights or more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
March 6th, 2019
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.
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
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.
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 2019: The 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, 2019: The 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 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 20-25, 2018: The 23rd annual Nantucket Film Festival
April 10th, 2018
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.
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.
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 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 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
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