Travelscope's Blog

New Ways to Celebrate the Start of Summer at the "World's Most Photogenic Beach"
A recent survey of the most popular hashtags in travel photo posts in social media wasn’t a scientific study. But it did generate a clear winner of the title “World’s Most Photogenic Beach.”

That honor went to the seven miles of shorelines and sparkling waters of South Florida’s legendary Miami Beach. If it’s been a while since you indulged in the surfside views and epic lifestyle of one of America’s most famous beaches and beach towns, here are some experiences that can give you new ways to enjoy Miami Beach.

And just in time for the unofficial start of the summer season – with family-friendly ideas, too. 

Seaside

Air & Sea Show: Late May’s unique annual event, dubbed “the Greatest Show Above the Earth,” showcases the men, women, technology and equipment in motion from all five branches of the U.S. military, as well as police and emergency responders. Over two days, you’ll get a rush of adrenaline watching offshore powerboat racing exhibitions, extreme water sports, and more – all with sweeping ocean views from the shores of Miami Beach.

Fishing Charters: Find a little adventure of your own through some of Miami Beach’s world-class offshore, deep sea or wreck fishing just off its shores. Experienced anglers and novice fishers just starting to get a taste for man vs. fish challenges will find an active, educational, and customized day – or half-day – at sea.

Luxury Yacht Charters: Maybe you don’t need your day on the water to have a goal like a big catch. Singles, couples, friends and families can all enjoy a day on the water ‘living the life’ on a luxury yacht. Custom charter itineraries can include a tour of the shore’s gorgeous architecture and celebrity home views, an afternoon learning the ropes on how to operate a water vessel, culinary experiences catered by local private chefs and active water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding and jet skiing.
 
Salt Float Bath Therapy: You can even get the benefits of salt water while on land. The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort lets you float your stress away in a weightless saltwater bath that incorporates 800 pounds of healthy bath salts. The experience helps release natural endorphins, relieve muscle pain, calm anxieties and stimulate blood flow. Who doesn’t need some of that? Plus the stellar ocean views poolside while you relax following your salt water spa experience.

 

Open-Air Design 'Museum'


You may already know about Miami Beach’s globally-recognized collection of design genres including art deco, Mediterranean revival, MiMo and the Miami Beach school of architecture. The city keeps adding to its unique design history in its tropical vacation lifestyle.

Signature Lifeguard Stands:
Recently, the reinvented Miami Beach’s signature lifeguard stands by William Lane (pictured, top) have been newly-recognized as iconic landmarks and symbols of the design-centric, urban beach destination.
 
After Hurricane Andrew destroyed several of the lifeguard stands dotting Miami Beach in the 1990’s, the city called upon designer William Lane to create replacements. Almost immediately, the five lifeguard stands, which the designer said were “influenced not only by Miami’s midcentury and art deco architecture but also by its Caribbean culture and the use of vibrant colors derived from the natural beauty of the tropics” became symbols of the community’s renaissance. Decades later, he was asked to revitalize more of Miami Beach’s seven-miles of sand and sea with new, eye-catching lifeguard towers. You won’t want to miss even one.
 
Get more of a design fix at some new or newly-renovated Miami Beach hotel properties, and design tours, too.
 
The Shelbourne South Beach dates back to the 1940's, exuding timeless luxury, elegance and original Art Deco design. As a stylish playground, guests can expect a dose of oceanside glamour with pops of color and interesting angles to enjoy, even from the hotel’s pool and diving platform. 
 
While Miami Beach is known for incredible Art Deco style, Mediterranean Revival is not to be missed. From superstar couture designer Gianni Versace's masterpiece on Ocean Drive to restaurants and storefronts featuring handmade tile and metal intricacies, travelers can get a taste of another of the city’s distinct design flavors during a walking tour curated by The Miami Design Preservation League. It showcases the architecture made popular on Miami Beach in the 1920's and 1930's. 
 
And, no day is complete on Miami Beach without a classic cocktail in stylish surroundings. Design-lovers can check out the new Lapidus Bar at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach. The beachside hotel was built in the 50’s by iconic architect Morris Lapidus, known as the pioneer of Miami Modern style. Evoking the glamorous, Rat-Pack feel of the era, the bar is located in the hotel's lobby and is part of a spectacular $90 million renovation, bringing the design elements of the past together with iconic, Ritz-Carlton five-star service.
 

Start Your Miami Beach Trip!







You’ll Love This New Generation of Private Island Resorts
There’s a new generation of private islands. One that creates an environment for guests to vacation their way to becoming their best selves.

Scratch any impressions you have of private islands inhabited by music moguls jet-skiing with nude models, royalty sneaking around with other people’s spouses, or tech billionaires popping magnums of champagne.

The new private island experience isn’t just about seclusion away from prying eyes. 

It’s about the ultimate spirit of togetherness with a group of people you value most in the world – having the uplifting and inspiring shared experience of a customized vacation that provides all the means for you to leave better than when you arrived. 

Imagine having an entire island all to yourself for a family gathering, the ultimate destination wedding, vow renewal, reunion, or team-building exercise.

The new type of private island is exclusive, but at the same time also more easily sourced and booked than ever before. Your trusted travel advisor can help you craft an end-to-end private island retreat that will transform your idea of a tropical vacation.

Here’s one of our favorite examples of private islands that’s breaking the mould and redefining what a private island vacation can mean. 


The Aerial BVI

This 43-acre private island destination in the British Virgin Islands is nestled among fourteen surrounding islands, with both stunning sunrises and sunsets.

The new approach to the private island experience comes from its most recent owner, a self-made young woman entrepreneur. Her vision is to “provide guests with the space to find their center again, eat healing food, reconnect to nature and loved ones, and discover what matters most.”


Like the best of private island experiences, guests enjoy the services of a full staff of chefs, hosts, activities managers, housekeeping and watersports teams, boat captains, island concierge and everything needed to fulfil your every need – whether you know you need it or not.

Spectacular Tropical Island Home Away From Home

The Aerial welcomes 26 guests in five residences with names that channel the owner’s aspirations for those coming to the island: Unity House, Faith House, Serenity House, and the Love and Grace Villas.

Rooms in each residence are unique, and as you might expect, they flow into their island surroundings allowing guests to feel part of the natural environment, with island and ocean views dominating sightlines.


Rooms are outfitted in different ways to feed different guest needs ranging from relaxation to reflection, to romance to writing to simply engaging with the outdoors: relaxing daybeds, serene “focus spaces” with writer’s desks for those who want to journal their journeys, private, cliffside balconies, chair swings, outdoor showers or soaking tubs, romantic stargazing decks, and balconies overlooking the infinity pool, to name a few.



Healing Cuisine

The Aerial challenges its guests to think outside the box of private chefs and indulgent dishes.

Its dining, while delicious and satisfying, is about providing “healing,” cuisine that helps guests to “think their best, feel their best, create at their best and connect to the planet in a beautiful and sustainable way.”

The private island resort sources ingredients from local providers in the British Virgin Islands in what it says is a true producer-to-table experience. Food that can’t be bought locally is sustainably sourced. There’s still comfort and fun at the table, though – the resort even has a wood burning pizza oven.


Private Island, Private Beach… and Beyond

 
On a private island, the world – or at least the island- is your oyster. The white sand beach is reserved for you and your private party. But The Aerial, in keeping with its personal, physical and spiritual growth mission, has its own distinct twist on private island activities.

Of course you expect the luxuries of a spa and healing center on the beach, an infinity pool, multiple bars including a beach bar, ping-pong, a yacht, Hobie Cats and a full complement of watersports, and even a recording studio. A wood burning fire pit on the beach? Check.


Those in search of self-improvement and relaxation can participate in yoga in inspired places, guided meditation and writing. Get your blood pumping hiking miles of island-wide trails. Reflect on our place in the universe stargazing.

There’s memory-making fun for families and adults trying to rediscover their inner child. A fleet of pastel-colored, electric Mini Mokes. On the beach: a tribal gym set, giant Jenga and giant Connect 4 and movies and bonfires on the beach.


And beyond your wildest dreams! “Indy’s Redemption Ranch” on the island is home to rescued former race horses, miniature ponies, and even a handful of zebras. Riding on the beach and hand feeding the herd is just the beginning. Swimming with the ponies and guided equine therapy take ranch-on-the-beach to a whole different level.


The Aerial replaces traditional concepts of private island resorts with conscious travel that reconnects you and your select group of guests with the wonders of Nature, and gives you the inspired spaces, seclusion, and activities to discover your very best life.
 

Start Your Private Island Trip!


This chain of couples-only Caribbean resorts is serious about helping guests ‘get in the groove’ while on vacation. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts has launched an ‘Institute of Romance’ to research trends in couples’ relationships with a goal of helping keep the sparks a’ flying. 

The new trend-house delves into data about modern love, relationships and intimacy… And how they relate to holidays.

Through global surveys of paired-up travelers and its past guests, Sandals’ Institute of Romance’s findings will help the resort chain develop activities and experiences in its resorts, and even relationship guidance for couples before, during and after their all-inclusive beach resort vacation.

One of their most stand-out discoveries: More than half (55%) of North American women wish their relationships mirrored the couples of their favorite romance novels.

Sandals is so serious about love, it has a ‘Director of Romance,’ who explains: “With 49% of women preferring to read on vacation – from the initial plane ride to beachside – and romance novel sales skyrocketing over the last two years, this felt like a natural place for us to lend our 40 years of expertise in the romance space.'

So Sandals decided the perfect next step: to partner with romance novel publisher, Avon Books. 

Sandals Resorts is creating a 'romance library' of titles curated by the experts at Avon Books for guests to borrow while on vacation. Beginning at the Sandals resort in Grenada (pictured), the initial library will include a selection from the 'Michelangelo of dirty talk,' Tessa Bailey, as well as popular titles from Julia Quinn's “Bridgerton” series and authors Talia Hibbert, Olivia Dade and more.

Sandals’ Director of Romance says, 'With this partnership, we are helping bring to life the sometimes swoonworthy, but nearly always attainable relationships our guests read about in their favorite books, creating a meaningful and lasting connection on and off vacation.'

Do any of these stats that Sandals has discovered through its first survey of 1500 North American women sound like you?
·     81% say they read romance novels and
·     45% say they've increased their consumption of the genre over the last two years, citing the comfort of happily ever after (44%), the flirty banter (36%) and steamy scenes (30%) as the primary reasons!
 
They’ve even been able to narrow down the elements in romances between the pages of novels that are missing from many women’s relationships in real life, including:
 
·     better communication (55%),
·     spontaneous romantic gestures (54%), and
·     and more satisfying sex life (34%).
 
Do any of those complaints sound familiar? Take ‘heart,’ Sandals is taking those cues and translating them into even better romantic beach getaways.
 
The resort company will be developing ways to prompt spontaneous romantic moments of connection throughout guests' stays – such as reminders to hold hands, ask a meaningful question or share a compliment.

 

Getting Steamy

 
Fantasy. Connection. Fulfillment. Romance novels and couples’ aspirations for their vacations have some things in common. The survey found that:
·     Over a third (36%) of Sandals’ survey respondents shared that they fantasize about fictional characters more than their significant others,
·     55% say reading romance novels makes them more likely to want to connect with their partner and
·     38% say reading romance novels have made them feel more fulfilled in their relationships.
 
Nearly half (49%) of women surveyed say they've learned something from reading a romance novel that they've brought to their real-life relationships, with
·     53% engaging in more meaningful communication,
·     48% spicing up their love life and
·     35% setting time aside for romantic getaways.
 
Sharing a fictional fantasy can help make romance a reality.
 
'There's something inherently attractive when a partner takes an interest in something you're excited about – whether it be reading a new book from one of your favorite authors or trying a new activity together,” says Sandals’ Director of Romance.
 
“It's why we encourage couples to experience adventures together on vacation – from learning to scuba dive to taking in a round of golf. We always tell couples to be intentional about the time they share with each other; make it meaningful.”
 

Start your Romantic Beach Trip!



Now You Can Get Married in Antarctica
February has been an even more romantic month than usual this year. Not only did countless couples celebrate their love in dream destinations on Valentine’s Day – one couple became the first to be united in matrimony on the White Continent.

On an Atlas Ocean Voyage to Antarctica – that even departed on February 14,, 2022 – Valentine’s Day! Bride Courtnie Dodson and Groom Brody Vermillion exchanged vows on Danko Island during a 15-minute ceremony, officiated by British Antarctic Territory-registered Marriage Officer Bryan Clark.

The ceremony was witnessed by eight additional cruise guests – plus some curious penguins who appeared to follow the tuxedo dress code for the wedding!

In fact, that first-ever wedding on the 7th continent was one of four extraordinary weddings and three vow renewal ceremonies during the nine-night cruise to the Antarctic on the luxury expedition cruise line’s first ship World Navigator. 

Atlas Ocean Voyages bills its destination wedding program “Happy Ever Atlas.” It was complimentary for guests who registered for the wedding or vow renewal program in advance.

The weddings weren’t just ceremonial – they were the first legal weddings on the continent. Each couple received an official U.K. wedding license, which is also recognized in many other countries, including the U.S.


World Navigator hosted a ship-wide wedding reception, as well as held separate bachelorette and bachelor group-parties, for an unforgettable wedding week for the couples. The cruise destination wedding program also included a wedding cake, photos, gift bag, custom wedding announcements and Thank You cards. 

Now the ‘ice is broken’ so to speak, we’re sure many other couples will start thinking about the ultimate destination wedding.

A small, luxury expedition cruise might be tailor made for a one-of-a-kind destination wedding. The World Navigator’s size – only 98 suites, solo suites and staterooms – makes for an intimate luxe-adventure. Especially the adventure of starting your new life together!


World Navigator will cruise the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Iceland, Greenland and The Arctic in summer 2022; Central and South America in the autumn; and return to Antarctica for her winter 2022-23 season.


The ship’s small size allows it to reach smaller, authentic and exclusive locales where larger ships cannot sail. A second, sister ship to the World Navigator, World Traveller, launches in November 2022. Three additional sister ships, World Seeker, World Adventurer and World Discoverer, join the fleet through 2024.

Giving couples looking for the most unique, out-of-the-way or exotic wedding or vow renewal destination a world of options.

Congratulations to the first Antarctic newlyweds!
 

Start Your Milestone Trip!

 
Images courtesy Atlas Ocean Voyages







3 Caribbean Luxury Golf Resorts Where you can Up Your Game this Winter
Is it time to change winter blues for island “greens?” The ideal outdoor, distanced, leisure activity, golfing got a shot in the arm over the last couple of years.

Even less committed golfers dusted off the clubs during the pandemic, rediscovering the delights to be found on the greens. And now that people are travelling again, the clubs are coming along for the ride.

Here are three Caribbean island golf resorts with a unique twist to freshen up your game in tropical, seaside breezes. Plus, their luxury resort game is as strong as their golf experience.

Which ones have you golfed?

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

 
It’s been called the Mecca of golf in the Caribbean. A one-of-a-kind resort with 63 holes over three legendary golf courses designed by Pete Dye.

 
The golf architect calls Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog (above and top) his best work. It remains the only Caribbean course that consistently makes the list of top 100 in the world – usually the top 50. Hand-cleared from wild scrub way back in 1971, it pioneered the dramatic, seaside island golf course. In addition to the breathtaking ‘Heaven 7’ oceanfront holes framed by the sea and dramatic coral shoreline, the course has been described as ‘labyrinthine’ – it remains a challenge this many years later.
 
There are two other courses on the resort. The Links, which is thought to be even more challenging, and Dye Fore. Golfers will find 7 holes run along 300-foot cliff tops, and navigate diverse terrain including lagoons, jungle, and a path down to the resort marina.
 
The Resort
The three courses are all part of the 7000 acre Casa de Campo. Described as the Caribbean version of the Hamptons, it has a resort and nearly 2000 private luxury villas, a modern marina, dozens of restaurants, acclaimed facilities that give non-golfers plenty to do at the shooting club, tennis club, polo and equestrian club, and even a cliffside replica historic European village that includes a 5000-seat amphitheatre that hosts global entertainers.

 

Four Seasons Resort Nevis

 
The tiny island of Nevis – half of the twin-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis - punches above its weight in golfing. Its legendary and groundbreaking Four Seasons Resort put Nevis on the map for luxury island resort lifestyles. Part of that is its 18-hole Robert Trent Jones II-designed golf course.

It’s considered the best in the Eastern Caribbean. Boasting four tee locations at each hole (and one black tee), this par 71 course offers breathtaking scenery on every green and fairway.

 
Nevis’ standout feature is Mount Nevis, an old, extinct volcanic peak soaring into the clouds. The resort hugs the beach and Mount Nevis rises steeply behind the Four Seasons. The golf course cuts through a former coconut plantation, tropical rainforest and steep ravines over 450 feet of elevation change with scenic views high over the sea. The 15th hole plummets off Mount Nevis itself! To top it off, the island’s famous green vervet monkeys have been known to join golfers along the way.


In addition to private lessons and weekly clinics, the golf program at the Four Seasons Nevis has fun with the game that can sometimes be taken too seriously.

'Foot Golf' games - similar to golf but played with a soccer ball instead, have players working toward a 21-inch 'cup' in place of the usual golf hole. The player who finishes the course with the fewest shots wins!

And with 'Eco-Bio Golf', players are actually encouraged to hit a golf ball or two into the sea. The balls turn into fish food within 72 hours after hitting the ocean floor. Guests can have beach-side golf competition while feeding the ecosystem. The entire family will get to enjoy practicing their swing on a mini beach driving range.

 
The Resort
The resort is a favorite for jetsetters in the know. Nevis is only reachable by water by private yacht, small cruise ship, or water taxi from St. Kitts. It was completely re-imagined just before the pandemic, and the breezy, elegant, tropical design, ocean-facing infinity pool, beachside cabanas where guests can go fishing for local lobster with the chef and then have them barbecued for a luxury seafood meal on the beach – is the stuff island vacations are made of.

 

Sandy Lane, Barbados

 
Both the resort of Sandy Lane on Barbados’ platinum coast, and its golf club have received award after award after award.
 
The three resort golf courses have some of the best golf in the world. Golfing guests can choose between the charming Old Nine course, the resort-style 18-hole Tom Fazio designed Country Club course, with its spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. For a real ‘wow’ destination golf challenge, golfers can't miss The Green Monkey, another Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole course, carved out of an old limestone quarry that retains towering stone walls. There’s even a green monkey silhouette carved into turf in honor of the equally green monkeys that invite themselves to join golfers on the course. It’s reserved exclusively for resort guests.
 
The Resort
This is where Tiger Woods got married. That says as much about the resort as the golf. British-style tropical hospitality in classical Palladian-style buildings reigns at Sandy Lane. Lush gardens surround an immense pool with a cascading waterfall, with the Pool Bar just the beginning of dining experiences. On one of the best beaches on the island, shaded by mature mahogany trees, with attendants with cold towels, sunglass cleaning, Evian misting and other luxurious touches, the beach is the best 19th hole!
 

Start Your Golf Resort Trip!



Images courtesy of their respective resorts.










Where in the World to Drink Ice Wine
Don’t let winter stop you from enjoying a wine harvest season! There are two ways - and many places - to celebrate a wine harvest in the New Year.

You could travel to the southern hemisphere, where standard vineyard harvests take place during the northern hemisphere’s spring.

Or you can embrace winter – and the one, very special wine it creates.

Ice wine is a case of making lemonade when life gives you lemons. When winter conditions are just right, grapes freeze on the vine, giving vintners the opportunity to make ice wine. 

What makes ice wine special? When grapes are still on the vine as the temperatures turn to freezing, it’s only the water content in the grapes that freezes – not the sugar or other solids. So the small amount of juice extracted from the frozen grapes is very concentrated.

For natural ice wine, grapes must fully ripen on the vine, then undergo a hard freeze (−8 °C (17 °F) or colder). It's risky business. Grapes can be lost before harvest, and then the moment it freezes, pickers have to work at night harvesting all the grapes in a few hours before the sun warms them up again at dawn.

The wine made from that freezing process is very sweet wine with a balanced acidity - and can only be produced in small quantities. And it's priced accordingly.

If you want to taste ice wine at its source - and see the unique way it's made, your geographic choices are limited. Ice wine can only be produced in wine regions where it gets sufficiently – and reliably – cold.

Old World

Like many culinary innovations, ice wine may have been a happy accident that came about as a result of an unexpectedly harsh winter in the Nuremburg region of Germany around 1800. Vintners pressed their frozen grapes anyway… and voila!

It may have helped that sweet, late harvest Rhine wines were already the most highly valued wines in Germany at the time. Although the process is different, sweet late harvest wines may have smoothed the way for sweet ice wines to be appreciated and attempted in the rare, subsequent years when weather conditions presented the opportunity to make ‘Eiswein.’ 

Technology, like electric lights to facilitate night time picking, helped permit more frequent Eiswein vintages in the second half of the 20th century. Austria and a number of other, mostly Central European countries make small quantities, too.

We recommend: combining an Eiswein tasting trip with an alpine winter ski trip to Europe.

New World

While its wine culture is much more recent, Canada’s Niagara wine region consistently achieves ice wine levels of freezing every year.
 
Not long after some Central European winemakers at Niagara wineries began experimenting with ice wine, Niagara was producing the rare wine in commercially-viable quantities. In 1991, a Niagara ice wine won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at Europe’s Vinexpo, putting Canadian ice wine on the international wine map. 
 
Now, Canada is the world's ice wine superstar and largest producer, making more ice wine than all other countries combined. Niagara (pictured above) remains the biggest ice wine region in Canada, although it’s produced in wineries across the country.
 
Across the border and the Great Lakes, American vineyards have been getting into the ice wine act, too, particularly Michigan, although other wineries in neighboring Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania also produce the wine that celebrates the winter cold.

We recommend: Get in on the spirit of ice wine at a local ice wine festival. Sometimes you can even be part of the midnight grape picking, which is more fun than it sounds.
 

START YOUR WINE TRIP!

 


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6 Exciting Hotel Openings in Cities You'll Want to Travel to in 2022

These newly-opened hotels aren't just a home-away-from-home, they're gateways to a city's sites, local urban culture, cuisine, and social scene. Start planning your next city adventure today!


New York, New York

Hotel: Park Lane Hotel, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
What Makes it Special:
This classic, 47-story NYC Central Park South hotel has been re-imagined and re-opened as a sophisticated, playful, and inclusive hotel in a very exclusive part the city. Celebrated design agency Yabu Pushelberg restored the existing architectural details of the historic, post-war building with bold colors and eclectic textures redefining its mid-century luxury aesthetic. Nearly half of the over 600 rooms have park-facing views, with the other half featuring vistas of the Manhattan skyline. Whimsical murals in guest rooms and public spaces shatter any impression of stuffy luxury. Guests have three unique in-house dining options, which include the Parisian-style lobby bar Rose Lane, reimagined Harry’s New York Bar and Central Park South’s only rooftop lounge “secret garden” cocktail bar.

 

 
Why Visit:
Located on “Billionaires’ Row” on Central Park South between 5th and 6th Avenues, the hotel is ideally located directly across the southeast corner of the park and within immediate walking distance to some of NYC’s most famous attractions, such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, 5th Avenue shopping, and the Museum of Modern Art. Of course, everything in New York is within easy reach, from its famous restaurants to rooftop bars with views of the skyline, to icons of American architecture and culture like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The anniversary of era-defining, NYC-based TV series Friends, and the reboot of Sex and the City, have re-inspired some fans to relive beloved scenes and revisit famous neighborhoods of our favorite fictional characters.

Paris, France

Hotel: Bvlgari Hotel Paris
What makes it special:
Luxury fashion house Bvlgari brings Italian glamour to the magic of the French capital. Located on the Avenue George V in the ‘Golden Triangle’, home to the French capital’s luxury and fashion excellence between the Seine and the Champs-Élysées, the Bvlgari Hotel Paris is where ‘bold’ Italian design and hospitality excellence, as well as contemporary Italian cuisine meet the jewelry heritage of Bvlgari in the glorious setting of Paris. 76 rooms and suites, including the Bvlgari Penthouse, have views of all the capital’s iconic monuments including the iconic Eiffel Tower:






Why visit:
It’s always time to reconnect with the City of Light and one of the world’s most magical, walkable cities. From strolls along either bank of the Seine, to the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, the majesty of historic monuments, to renowned museums and palaces of cuisine to humble restaurants that serve mouth-watering bistro food, from the incomparable boutiques of the Marais and grand department stores that are as much destinations as places to shop for that perfect French addition to your style, there’s no place like Paris.
 

Venice, Italy

Hotel: Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice
What makes it special:
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice, near the heart of the city, was built as a private family villa in the 1500’s, and has opened as a 52-room hotel following two years of renovations approved by Venice’s arts and heritage authorities to preserve its authentic qualities. Restoration work focused on the original decorative and architectural elements of the building’s façade and interiors. Special attention was paid to the restoration of historical ornaments, including centuries-old stuccos and paintings on the walls and ceilings. During the excavation works, some Roman flooring was found and registered as an historic find. The hotel’s wine bar and terrace offers traditional Venetian food, wine and cocktails, while the hotel garden overlooks the Cannaregio Canal.


Why visit:
With views of the Cannaregio canal, and located by the Venetian Ghetto in the northern part of the city, the
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice lies in the Cannaregio district, known for the historic Jewish Ghetto and the many local bars and restaurants. The Vaporetto stop just outside the hotel provides access to the rest of the city, including St. Mark’s Square, the romance of walks along canals and bridges with stops at restaurants and shops of famous Venetian craftsmanship, and of course, gondola rides of exploration. You can also take a water taxi from the hotel to the train station, airport and the islands of Murano and Burano, famous for glass workshops and extended Venetian culture and lifestyle.
 

Halifax, Canada

Hotel: Muir, Autograph Collection
What makes it special:
Muir is the first hotel in the Canadian Atlantic coastal province of Nova Scotia to join Marriott Bonvoy’s Autograph Collection. From a picturesque location in the heart of this famous port city’s waterfront lifestyle scene, carefully appointed rooms with thoughtful amenities, to Nova Scotian art, design and dining, Muir establishes an authentic “Sense of Place” that invites guests to forge a meaningful connection with contemporary Nova Scotia and its people. Muir projects a contemporary marine, wharf-like design using local materials, including salt-and-pepper granite and sandstone, as well as Muntz metal, a copper alloy prominently used in shipbuilding.


Why visit:
Muir is part of the Queen’s Marque district of Halifax, a cultural and community destination for locals and visitors to Atlantic Canada. The bustling district encompasses vibrant restaurants, shops, nightlife, offices and luxury residences, all set against a striking harbor backdrop. Halifax is the capital city of the province that fosters Scottish heritage more than nearly anywhere else in the world outside of Scotland, where you can find your inner Scot at a Gathering of the Clans or musical Tattoo. Halifax also cradles a Canadian Atlantic lifestyle that features whale watching, dining on lobster, sailing, coastal exploration, famous lighthouses and more.
 

Mexico City, Mexico

Hotel: Ritz-Carlton Mexico City
What makes it special:
This hotel is the third Ritz-Carlton in the country, but the first urban Ritz-Carlton. It has transformed Mexico city’s skyline with its 58-story tower along the iconic Paseo de Reforma and showcases sweeping, uninterrupted views of the famed Chapultepec Park. Its location and views are maximized by a double glass façade and open-air terraces, inviting guests in its 153 guest rooms and suites to discover a new perspective on the city. The hotel’s design pays homage to Mexico city’s profound role in the surrealist art movement, and how Mexican artists like Frida Kahlo celebrated their indigenous roots. Its design makes use of metals, mirrors and glass to reflect the exterior into the interior, creating a surrealist experience by playing with perspective and distorting the surrounding, traditional architecture. A calm neutral color palette with shades of smokey ash, deep blues, and metallic fibers woven throughout the hotel are a nod to Mexican storytelling and folklore, and local ingredients and botanicals, as well as healing and spiritual traditions of Mexico City’s Aztec culture, in addition to local flavors in its dining offering, add to the hotel’s uniquely local experience.


Why visit:
The personalized guest experience at the Ritz-Carlton Mexico City goes beyond its doors into the vibrant city that’s known for its art and culture scene. A hotel tour with a local historian allows guests to be immersed into the Mexican rituals and celebrations that inspired the hotel design, and hotel staff curate days of exploration for cultural discovery and epicurean adventures in the city. Part of the hotel’s vision is to be a “literal and figurative gateway along the Paseo de Reforma, welcoming and encouraging guests to learn about the colorful history, dynamic present and bright future of Mexico City,” say hotel officials.

Melbourne, Australia

Hotel: Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
What makes it special:
The first Marriott Hotels property to open in Australia in 20 years is a 189-room center of hospitality whose design takes inspiration from the yachts in the city’s harbor, and its façade offers multiple views over the water, city skyline, and the Bolte Bridge. The hotel’s lobby holds fluted glass windows with art installations to welcome guests, as well as brass golden chains suspended over the area to mimic a cinched sailcloth. But its centrepiece is a 92-foot, wet edge rooftop infinity pool, with an adjoining Sunset House bar, one of the only bars in town with views of sunsets illuminating the city skyline. Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands also welcomes the first exclusive, 24-hour M Club executive lounge in Australia.
 
Why visit:
The hotelier says it aims to offer “an all-encompassing experience” of Australia’s second city. Located within the retail, leisure, and entertainment precinct, The District Docklands on Waterfront Way in Melbourne’s city center, the Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands doesn’t just offer views across Melbourne’s harbour, city skyline, Bolte Bridge, and into sunsets in the west. Melbourne's Docklands is one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects, reconnecting central Melbourne with its historic waterfront on the Yarra River. Melbourne is the gateway to the state of Victoria’s treasures, including Great Ocean Road and the vineyards of the Yarra Valley.
 

START YOUR URBAN ADVENTURE!


Images courtesy of their respective hotels.



Better Sleep is the Travel Trend We Need Right Now
Is your New Year’s resolution to get more rest – and travel more? The good news is that there are travel experiences that let you do both. 

Lynn Elmhirst, Producer and Host of BestTrip TV, runs down a few of her favorites.
 

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland – Sleep Retreat

The breathtaking Fogo Island Inn, perched on stilts like the fishing huts on the island on the edge of the North Atlantic ocean, has been rated one of the top luxury lodges in the world.

 
Any trip to the Fogo Island Inn is a retreat into a unique island environment enriched with visiting artists, local artisans and crafters, and centuries-old living off the land and the sea, which curated, hands-on guest experiences bring to life.
 
Don’t take my word for it! WATCH THIS BESTTRIP TV VIDEO OF THE FOGO ISLAND INN. Designer Karen Sealy highlights some of its breathtaking design.
 
The hospitality of the island and the Inn is now legendary. In its 29 unique rooms, beds covered in locally hand-made, colorful quilts face floor-to-ceiling windows onto the sea or the dramatic landscape. Every morning, a wooden box draped with cheerful linens is dropped off at the door of your room, with a carafe of coffee or tea, and a selection of freshly baked treats that inspire you to go right back to bed to enjoy them while gazing out at the view and enjoying the crackling of your room’s wood-burning stove.

 
In addition to an acclaimed dining experience in its restaurant, bar, lounge and Tea Room, the Inn’s Heritage Library, Reading Room, roof-top wood saunas and hot tubs help contribute to a guest’s relaxation and well-being – not to mention the benefits of feeling cut off from the hustle and bustle in this remote edge of the world.
 
What’s more, the Fogo Island Inn is also a community asset, with all of the operating surpluses reinvested into the local community to help secure a sustainable future for Fogo Island.
 
If that doesn’t already make you sleep better, the Inn also hosts a sleep retreat in March 2022. The director of Ryerson University in Toronto’s sleep and depression lab will lead “The Secrets of Sleep” that teaches guests sleep science, including daily workshops, morning yoga, evening meditation, time outdoors in the fresh sea air of the island, and more.
 
 Between the inherently relaxing qualities of a stay at the Inn, and the science-based sleep teachings of the retreat, guests can look forward to restorative sleep during their stay, “and the benefits will endure long after you’ve left our shores,” says the hotel.
 

Rosewood Hotels’ “The Alchemy of Sleep” Retreats

Inspiring guests to improve their state of rest in the New Year, 20 luxury Rosewood Hotels have launched holistic escapes to encourage movement, mindfulness, nutrition and tranquillity leading to more restorative sleep.
 
In addition to the restful features and amenities of their rooms and hotel spas, Alchemy of Sleep is Rosewood’s global collection of new and immersive retreats from January to March 2022, designed to promote rest through sleep-inducing treatments, movement-driven activities and special amenities that create long-lasting benefits to travelers. Dedicated to those setting intentions for profound change in the New Year, the thoughtfully crafted programs support renewal of the body and practices to take home and incorporate into busy, everyday life.
 
Guests can opt for a one-night 'Dreamscape' or extend from two to five nights for a 'Sleep Transformation,' providing an even more immersive stay. As a supplement to these offerings, Curated Sleep Boxes feature products that re-balance such as essential oil blends, tea blends, aromatherapy linen mists and silk eye masks.

Image: Rosewood Hotel Georgia
 
Rosewood's “A Sense of Place” philosophy means the Alchemy of Sleep retreats reflect local wellness customs and embrace the unique natural surroundings. Here are a selection of Alchemy of Sleep programs at hotels and in destinations that inspire:
 
  • In Paris, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel welcomes guests with an in-room Sleeping Beauty set, featuring all the essentials for ensuring a good night's sleep. Guests continue their stay with personalized messages and centering meditation sessions, concluding the journey with a Sleep Naturopathy consultation to establish long-term patterns for attaining the best sleep possible back home.
  • In St. Barth, the newly-debuted Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth offers an ideal setting for finding serenity. In addition to nutrient-rich dishes and scenic meditation, restorative treatments, such as Healing Sound Bath Therapy, activate the brain waves for a dreamlike state. Each room is enhanced with oil diffusers and mists, silk pillowcases and eye masks, books with sleep tips, as well as access to meditation TV apps.
  • In the British Virgin Islands, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is a tranquil haven that also offers aromatherapy and reflexology treatments releasing tension from the body, supplemented with outdoor activities such as hikes through 'The Baths' National Park. For the deepest possible state of relaxation in full consciousness, guests can partake in Yoga Nindra, also known as 'Yogic Sleep,' offered under the stars just before bedtime.
  • In Mexico's Riviera Maya, Rosewood Mayakoba guests can engage in personal consultations with the resort's wellbeing experts to develop clear actions for improving sleep cycles, while keeping the body moving with Float Fit sessions and Restorative Yoga at the resort's private cenote (natural pool). Guests will also have access to a Sleep Aromatherapy Support Kit featuring a remedy made from a blend of organic oils, as well as a master class on sleep.
  • In California, with the Alchemy of Sleep retreat launch comes the debut of Bryte Sleep Suites at Montecito's Rosewood Miramar Beach and Menlo Park's Rosewood Sand Hill. The suites feature 'The Restorative Bed by Bryte,' which allow for individual heating and cooling personalized to each sleep partner's profile with Circadian Climate technology directly impacting the sleeper's core body temperature. To further reduce stress, guests can choose from a selection of calm-inducing treatments that incorporate ingredients like CBD and lavender, as well as partake in meditations that take advantage of the resorts' breathtaking natural settings and landscaped gardens.
  • Rosewood San Miguel De Allende's retreat hones in on nutrition's impact on the sleep cycle, offering menus specially created by the hotel's Executive Chef Vincent Wallez, who thoughtfully selected soothing ingredients. Throughout the stay, guests will enjoy treatments that encourage deep rest, as well as meditation, yoga and breathing workshops that take advantage of the property's scenic surroundings.
 
Alchemy of Sleep retreats are also available at other Rosewood hotels around the world including Baha Mar, The Bahamas, Phuket, Thailand, London, England, Italy, the Middle East, and other destinations in Asia. 
 

SLEEP by Princess Cruises

Some of my best sleeps ever have been on cruise ships, where the gentle motion lulls you to sleep.
 
Princess Cruises has built on the natural advantages of the rocking motion of ships by consulting with a board-certified sleep expert to optimize staterooms for a sleep-friendly experience via all five of your senses.
 
“SLEEP” is not a specific retreat, but a way of cruising, with added touches for a wonderful, restorative rest on board, from the bedding to wellness treatments at the spa, even SLEEP-friendly evening meals on board. The cruise lines’ sleep expert explains, 'Sleep is a sensory experience. In fact, all five of your senses must be prepared for slumber in order for sleep to come easily and last all night long.'

Images above and top: Princess Cruises

Other resorts, hotels, cruise ships and spas offer enhancements to your sleep practices – from pillow menus to sleep concierges to activities, amenities and therapies. Whatever your travel tastes or needs for better rest, there are practices available at hotels, resorts and ships in dream destinations to help you achieve restorative rest while traveling, and even when you return home.

Ask your expert travel advisor about the perfect, restful travel experience for you.
 

START YOUR (RESTFUL) TRIP!







Celebrate the Festive Season - or Make a Gift of the Holidays at Four Seasons Across North America
There’s only one holiday season, but the luxury lifestyles of one of many Four Seasons hotels or resorts is just around the corner - either a drive or a short-haul flight - from many of us, and our loved ones.

Treating ourselves during the festive season, or giving our loved ones the gift of a recognized luxury travel brand experience in your hometown or at a favorite destination - will help make this holiday special and memorable.

Here are some suggestions to help you get into the Christmas spirit - or capture the holiday magic for your loved ones.

Your expert travel advisor can help you create the perfect luxury travel experience or give the perfect gift, from wellness, culinary, and family festive experiences.


Surround Yourself with Christmas Cheer


Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort gets into the Christmas spirit with a chocolate and gingerbread display created by its award-winning chef. Even a Christmas Grinch can’t help but smile at the charming life-size gingerbread house, with candy canes, lollipops, Santa and more, Plus - it’s the perfect holiday photo backdrop for your social media holiday post. You can enjoy festive treats including holiday gelato flavours such as chocolate peppermint, while the little ones try their hands at cookie decorating.

At Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, the holiday display takes the form of a modern arctic wonderland. A large, mirrored polar bear flanked by custom made flocked trees and poinsettias adorned with snow. The holiday magic extends to the ground floor's reflective Christmas tree and the fifth floor's life-size reindeer, creating a majestic holiday scene and the perfect backdrop for holiday photos.

Make a List, Check it Twice… then get some Help


Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston’s Wellness Floor has curated a holiday gift guide featuring bespoke experiences and products for mindful giving. You can fill your loved ones’ stockings with certificates for a side-by-side couples massage or Cryotherapy Energy facial and gifts such as candles, cashmere loungewear and beautiful Italian leather handbags. Maybe slip one treat in there for yourself for your next visit to Boston, too.

Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC’s Holiday Market is a goldmine of the gifts and culinary works of local artisans as well as the Hotel's craftspeople including their pastry chef’s gourmet hot chocolate bar. And you can shop for your loved ones surrounded by live music entertainment, light and snow displays. You can feel even better about holiday gift giving this seasons as a portion of the proceeds from every sale is donated to Children's National Hospital.

Culinary Christmas - and the Whole Holiday Season


Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel is ringing in the holidays in style. A series of prix fixe menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, along with a New Year's Day Brunch let you leave all the work to the hotel chefs - and you can choose to indulge fully with options like caviar, a seafood platter, and Bloody Mary and bottomless champagne bar. The restaurant, which overlooks the famed Rodeo Drive, will also be offering a special holiday afternoon tea, complete with delicate and elegant Italian desserts by its chef.

The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler’s popular Vintage Camper is back for the winter, serving up decadent hot chocolate and cook-your-own s'mores. Guests can enjoy a Tipsy Snowman, the Resort's playful signature hot chocolate, or wind down with a complimentary wine tasting offered every evening featuring a selection of local British Columbia wines.

Hands-on Holiday Experiences



At Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, a limited-time winter wonderland pop-up reimagines an alpine village. Rustic wooden chalets take center stage, while 'snowfall,' fireside movies, an après-ski menu including s'mores and hot cocktails create an inviting experience on the outdoor terrace. The village includes a sweet shoppe, Instagrammable life-sized snow globe and more.

Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina’s #FSWAYFINDERS program is a weekly series featuring art, culture, history, and in-depth workshops that make the holidays in Hawaii come alive. A curated group of artisans and crafters offers intimate and engaging learning opportunities including ukulele lessons, coconut hat weaving, lei making, evening stargazing and hula workshops with all proceeds going to the artisans themselves.

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire keeps the holidays active, with horseback riding across the 500 acres of parkland, the ultimate treetop challenge, a relaxing ride on a traditional horse-drawn carriage or a unique bird-watching experience on a wildlife walk.


Restoring from Stresses of the Holiday Season


Four Seasons Hotel Austin’s The Spa has two festive ways to treat winter-ravaged skin and stressed-out bodies. Picture yourself or a loves one enjoying a Peppermint Facial or a Fire & Ice Massage. Up the ante with an after-hours private booking that allows for full access of the entire spa complete with the hotel’s margarita cart.

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas uses locally sourced materials in its seasonal relaxation treatment. The Cranberry Pomegranate Body Treatment features a wrap, head massage, and full body scrub and leaves you feeling restored for another day of gaming, entertainment, and super-sized shopping of Sin City.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole is celebrating the winter solstice with restorative yoga and intention setting sessions. Guests can enjoy a complimentary restorative yoga session and wassail, the traditional warming drink you sing about in Christmas carols.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is also commemorating the winter solstice with guided meditation, sound healing and intention setting on the longest night of the year.

#HappyHolidays




Images courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts







Rum and Cigar Festival Elevates St. Barts to New Levels of Luxury Island Lifestyle
 It’s a tiny island with a big reputation as one of the most chic destinations in the Caribbean. Legendary St. Barts combines French ‘art de vivre’ with a lush tropical setting and an exclusive atmosphere. 

If you’ve been waiting to discover – or re-visit – this jewel of the islands, there may be no better time than November.
That’s when the Caribbean Rum Awards bring island luminaries and rum and cigar VIP’s from around the world together to celebrate two island luxury indulgences.

Saint-Barthelemy, affectionately shortened to the anglicized nickname St. Barts or St. Barths, is only 25 square kilometers (just under 10 square miles). Only small planes can land on St. Barts, and its iconic yacht harbour – one of the most renowned in the Caribbean – only accommodates yachts. That preserves the island’s charms from mass tourism.

Visitors arrive by small plane from nearby islands like St. Maarten, or sail in on a private or chartered yacht or even on one of the small, luxury cruise ships that can be accommodated in St. Barts’ picture-perfect, U-shaped harbour nestled in a cove in its capital city, Gustavia.

Some of the world’s most stylish, influential and prestigious travelers include the French overseas island on their annual calendar of travels.

The week-long Caribbean Rum Awards originated in 2018 and have become a highlight of the island’s November social calendar.

Anchored by Gustavia’s Rhum Room, home to the largest collection of fine rums of any bar in the hemisphere, the Caribbean Rum Awards are centered around a blind-tasting of the most premium rums in the world vying for the event’s top award. 

Rum luminaries and cigar aficionados from far and wide gather to sip, savour, judge, share their insights and tastes, and celebrate the iconic sugarcane spirit of the Caribbean.

In addition to the main event, rum lovers enjoy a slate of day and evening events including cocktail parties, master classes, private tastings, rum and cigar pairings, cocktail pairing dinners led by top chefs at one of the island’s most talked-about restaurants that end with spectacular, rare cigars, and nightly tasting parties at the Rhum Room.
A one-day Rum Expo is open to the public that week. Only holders of VIP tickets can access the other events.
 
If you haven’t over indulged already, we recommend you stick around in St. Barths. The Caribbean Rum Awards week kicks off the island’s ‘Gourmet Month,’ with the St Barth Gourmet Festival scheduled for the following week.
 

#StartYourTrip!


Images: Getty


Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

New Ships Put the ‘Luxe’ in Luxury Expedition Cruising to the Remote Oceans of the World
It’s one of the biggest trends in cruising. Not getting bigger, but getting out there. In style.

Expedition cruises used to be only for the most intrepid travelers. You would join a working research vessel on its voyage to a very distant destination, tolerating the discomfort for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting up close and personal with the unique and fascinating natural wonders and wildlife of a maritime region you’d never otherwise encounter. 

The good news is that you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for the privilege of immersion into a magical and otherwise unreachable marine frontier.

Luxury expedition cruising is coming of age. Smaller vessels, able to reach hidden places even where there are no ports, staffed by scientific experts and guides, equipped with polar-class hulls for ice safety, zodiacs and kayaks and other ways to get off the ship to explore remote shorelines, but also outfitted with superb onboard amenities, design, cuisine and service - give you the very best of both worlds. 

Think of them as safaris at sea. New ships are being purpose-built for these one-of-a-kind, bucket list voyages in the distant destinations of your dreams: the Galapagos, Antarctica, Canada’s Northwest Passage… the seas around both of the Earth’s poles and every unspoiled, natural marine destination in between.

Here are the new ships making luxury expedition cruising evermore available to curious, active, travelers who appreciate getting outdoors into Nature… then stepping back into a deluxe and pampered lifestyle.


Crystal Endeavor

Crystal Cruise’s first-ever expedition ship sailed in July, 2021 on her inaugural voyage from Reykjavik, a 10-day circumnavigation of Iceland’s dramatic coastlines.

Complimentary excursions led by naturalist experts on the Endeavor’s expedition team include sea kayaking on the waters of the Westfjords in Patreksfjörður, an Arctic Circle walkabout on Grimsey Island, and Zodiac cruising amid mountain landscapes in Djúpivogur. Crystal Endeavor’s expedition leaders and guides for its Iceland voyages include a marine biologist, ornithologist, geologist/glaciologist, historian, two professional photographers, polar expedition specialists and an artist-in-residence who will instruct and encourage guests to capture travel memories with snapshot sketches and drawings.

 
Zodiacs and kayaks can be launched directly from the ship’s marina. Other expedition ‘toys’ include snorkel gear, a six-person sub, and two helicopters for flightseeing spectacular scenery. A 4K camera capturing the land and seascapes sailing by can be directed by guests in the Palm Court and Expedition Lounge, and the imagery fed to large screens in public areas and guest suites.

(The Endeavor's Expedition Lounge)

The polar-class ship accommodates just 200 guests in 100, all-verandah, all-butler, expansive suites. There’s a one-to-one ratio of staff to guests, guaranteeing highly personalized service. And high tech innovations ensure responsible stewardship of the world’s oceans.

The Endeavor sails Europe’s North Seas, including Iceland, Norway, the Scottish Isles, before making her way south as summer turns to fall, calling in London, Bordeaux and Lisbon for her inaugural Europe season.
 
 

Silver Origin

While she was delivered in 2020, Silver Origin (pictured, top) made her inaugural sailing in the summer of 2021 as one of the first Silversea ships to return to cruising.

Unlike other ‘generalist’ expedition ships in Silversea’s luxury fleet, Silver Origin is purpose made just for the very specific and special islands of the Galapagos, where she will sail all-new itineraries year round. The ship has high-tech innovations that ensure it has minimum impact on the sensitive environment.


Just 100 guests luxuriate in balcony-only suites with the only all-butler service in the Galapagos. With the highest expert-to-guest ratio, the Silver Origin doesn’t just deliver luxury and expedition expertise on board. It also incorporates local culture, local ingredients including produce and seafood from Ecuadorian food producers, and its design brings guests closer to the Galapagos seascape with floor-to-ceiling windows in the Restaurant, an open air Grill which can also be converted to a sheltered space, and maximized observation areas that bring the outdoors onboard the ship. 
 
Just how popular is expedition cruising in the lap of luxury and style? Coming Soon…

Silver Wind

Silversea is converting one of its classic ships, Silver Wind, to an ice-class expedition ship, the fourth in Silversea’s fleet. In addition to a strengthened hull, the Silver Wind will be fitted with two dozen zodiacs, 14 kayaks, a Photo Studio, a luxury ‘mudroom’, and a new pool system for heated swimming in cold climates, as well as interior space enhancements in lounges, restaurants, and guest suites.


She’s slated to re-launch late 2021 in time to be in Antarctica for the expedition ship event of 2021: the solar eclipse over the White Continent on December 4th, 2021.

Seabourn Venture

Another luxury cruise line, Seabourn, is also set to launch its first expedition ship, the Seabourn Venture, in December of 2021, with a sister ship in 2022.

The Seabourn Venture will sail inaugural – and one-of-a-kind – winter Norway voyages, and in addition to zodiaks, kayaks, and submarines, it will also carry mountain and e-bikes for its approximately 250 guests.

Quark’s Ultramarine

The newest ship for expedition cruise line Quark, also firmly establishes its luxury credentials. Ultramarine was purpose-built for polar expedition cruising, sailing with 200 guests and 140 crew when it debuts in late 2021.
 
Do you think expedition cruising could be for you? Ask us for more information and..

#StartYourTrip

 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Images courtesy their respective cruise lines.

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Miami Heats Up This Summer with Three Hotel Openings
Miami has always been one of the hottest destinations on the continent, with art, design and architecture creds, a blistering beach/ party scene, vibrant cultural scene that reflects the city’s status as a Latin American hub, and a celebrity/ jet set appeal that never seems to die down.
 
This summer, the city’s getting even hotter, with three hotel openings set to hit the reset button on restarting travel to Miami. They’re must-stay, must-taste experiences that tap into the essence of Miami’s iconic South Beach.
 

The Goodtime Hotel

 
With a name like that – and star power like Pharrell Williams’ of the song ‘Happy’ fame – behind it, this hotel (pictured, top) promises escapist, playful atmosphere – and it delivers.

With 100,000 square feet of curated public space and only 266 guest rooms with an Art Deco aesthetic that reimagines the style of the district it lives in, a 30,000 square foot pool deck dotted with cabanas, lush greenery, carpet woven with mock wet footprints and Insta-worthy touches like pink land line phones, the award-winning music celebrity and his partners say The Goodtime Hotel (pictured top) is a place for “hedonistic revelry and laidback R&R.”
 
'We want The Goodtime Hotel to impart a feeling of both revitalization and that rare, exciting thrill that takes over when you discover something special,' says Pharrell Williams. 'It's that adrenaline-fueled sensation of entering a whole new setting and a whole new mindset. This place will provide a natural good time, for all who come through.'
 
Between drinks at ‘Strawberry Moon’, cozying up with an old-time book at the library, or recording music at the on-site studio, guests will feel transported into a fantasy, urban beach resort world that is just so Miami.
 

Moxy Miami South Beach

Colorful murals, floor-to-ceiling windows, blurred transitions between indoors and outdoors, a rooftop pool with panoramic views, a dedicated beach club, and six dining and sipping venues, including a rooftop resto, capture the essence of the district’s Art Deco heritage.
 
Moxy Miami South Beach’s designers say its vibe blends the glamour of midcentury Havana, the artistry of contemporary Mexico City, and a tropical vibrancy that's unmistakably Miami, all located steps from the sand.
 
Inspired in part by an overnight ferry that ran between Miami and Havana in the 1940s and '50s, the rooms resemble ocean liner staterooms dressed in vivid Miami hues and bathed in sunlight thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms on higher floors offer unobstructed vistas of the Atlantic, while other rooms feature expansive views of South Beach's pastel-hued architecture. Bedrooms feature custom art by Miami artist Aquarela Sabol depicting iconic artists — Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí — visiting South Beach.

 
New dining and drinking venues include Como Como, a marisquería and raw bar; Mezcalista, a sexy mezcal lounge; Serena, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar; Los Buenos, a taco stand/bodega in the lobby, complemented by Bar Moxy, which does double duty as a social hub and check-in area; and The Upside, a rooftop bar on the eighth floor exclusively for hotel guests and private events.
 
Multiple indoor-outdoor spaces include a ground floor courtyard; a 72-foot, cabana-lined pool; an indoor-outdoor fitness center; an outdoor movie screening room on the rooftop; and an exclusive beach club on Miami's famous South Beach give the young and stylish at heart a natural home in Miami.
 
 

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach


This hotel isn’t exactly new. In fact, it’s one of the breathtakingly original Miami-Modern hotels along the beach, that gave the city its world-famous signature Deco style.
 
What’s new is its re-opening after a $90-million renovation.
 
As a landmark Ritz-Carlton hotel, this 376-guestroom beach resort delivers urban beach resort luxury with an unmatched glamour and sophistication. It almost looks like a luxe, modern interpretation of a mid-century movie set, except that it’s real and full of life and current style. You can almost imagine the Rat Pack ambling in from the pool, towels over their arms, drinks and cigarettes carelessly in hand and lazy smiles on their faces as they head up to their rooms to get ready to entertain hotel guests that night at the club.

 
The hotel’s stunning new lobby is a celebration of the original design, enhanced by elegant touches that transition the property into a modern era. Steps away, the all-new Lapidus Bar is a classic cocktail lounge honoring that bygone era of Miami with live music, vintage cocktails, and a design that invites visitors to settle in and absorb their magnificent surroundings.
 
The vibrant flavors of Latin America take the lead at Fuego y Mar, the hotel’s new restaurant, where guests also find a tech lounge, where they work in a sophisticated, convivial setting while ordering coffee and cocktails. DiLido Beach Club and its oceanfront location promise an intimate dining enclave with plush seating and views out across the turquoise water, and a new, elevated swimming pool overlooks the ocean.
 
When was the last time you indulged in Miami’s high style, culture, and beach lifestyle?
 

#StartYourTrip!

 
Images courtesy of their respective hotel companies.







Two New Luxury Brands for the Secluded Turks & Caicos Islands
They are among the Caribbean’s best kept secrets. The forty islands and cays that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are favored by travelers in the know for their pristine waters, picture-perfect white sand beaches and conch and lobster fisheries that make local dining such a joy.

TCI’s archipelago is strung out along the sea at the tail-end of The Bahamas and before you get to the Dominican Republic.

Bookended by two popular and busy beach destinations, this British Overseas Territory stands out for its quiet seclusion. Only about 30,000 people live on TCI - mainly on Providenciales in the Caicos islands. In fact, fewer than a dozen of the islands are inhabited at all. But possibly because of its primary business as an international banking center, TCI has great air service from Miami, New York, Toronto and London.

So anyone looking for an idyllic island escape can add TCI to their list. Even more now, since two luxury hospitality brands have arrived on the archipelago, boosting its credentials as a luxe beach destination away from the bustle of its bigger neighbors.

Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos

This iconic luxury company has opened its first resort on TCI on renowned Grace Bay in Providenciales. Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos joins a small family of Ritz-Carlton ultra-luxury resorts in the Islands, one that includes Aruba, St. Thomas USVI, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands.


The latest Ritz-Carlton resort’s design was inspired by the natural wonders of the Turks & Caicos, incorporating the heritage of its earliest Lucayan inhabitants in the use of rich wood, calming ocean themes as well as desert magic, incorporating local cactus and sponges into the property, including the native turk-head cactus that thrives in TCI’s dry climate and gave the islands its name.

Guests are welcomed to nearly 150 ocean view rooms including 23 suites, or a number of three-story penthouse suites with private, rooftop plunge pools and endless views.

The resort is designed for private and romantic or fun family vacations; the company’s ‘Ritz Kids’ program offers programs for children to explore the island and learn about marine life through arts and crafts.

For grown-ups, there’s an adults-only pool with private cabanas, a private catamaran for marine exploration, a casino; a seaside spa and yoga on the beach; and multiple dining venues that offer both local and global flavors.

Celebrating the island’s natural abundance of conch, the resort marks the end of every day with the sound of this iconic shell and offers guests the chance to sample conch ceviche and other island delicacies.
 
A Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge offers an exclusive sanctuary that offers private check-in, a dedicated Club Concierge, and multiple culinary presentations throughout the day, in addition to dedicated service at the beach.
 
Indoor and outdoor venues are also designed for meeting and events including a 5000 square-foot ballroom and an ‘event lawn and grand promenade’ with the white sands and sparkling waters of Grace Bay in the background that will fulfil any bride’s dreams.
 

The Meridian Club on Pine Cay

The Meridian Club (pictured top) has occupied a spectacular private, 800 acre island off of Providenciales since the 1970’s, when the exclusive, intimate beachside property became the first tourist development in TCI.

What’s new is its recent adoption into the fold of Relais & Chateaux, the elite collection of boutique hotels, resorts, villas and restaurants all committed to the highest standards of hospitality and gourmet cuisine. That designation just formalizes the recognition of The Meridian Club at Pine Cay as one of the region’s leading private island resorts.

Pine Cay is less than a mile wide and only two miles long. Despite its small size, the island has over 9 miles of trails and a breathtaking 2-mile stretch of white sand beach. The ideal place for beach walking, the island is connected to its neighbors, Water Cay and Little Water Cay – you can even walk the beach for 5 miles to the end of Little Water Cay.

Just 13 rooms host 26 guests with nearly the entire 800 acres of island nature and beauty to explore.


Guests choose between private cottages or spacious beachfront rooms – all inclusive of the fine dining that helped secure its inclusion into the collection of Relais & Chateaux properties world wide. Every room opens directly onto the 2-mile beach.

You can imagine why people with milestones to celebrate often book out the island for their party – it may be the private island party of your dreams!

In addition to miles of arid island hiking, guest while away their days swimming in crystal clear waters, joining daily snorkeling trips, kayaking, paddleboarding, days at the spa, yoga classes, boating on a charter or on complimentary Hobie Cat boats, fishing, or just relaxing seaside.
 
It’s the beach getaway you’ve always really wanted.
 

#StartYourTrip


Images courtesy of their respective resorts. Top image: two of the cottages at the Meridian Club



Top Tips for G7 Leaders - and Travelers Like Us - to Experience Cornwall
The leaders of the world’s seven biggest democratic economies are meeting in Cornwall, England, and it’s putting the Southwest region of the country under a spotlight.

Maybe you’ve heard of ‘bleisure’ travel? It’s about tacking on a leisure vacation to a business trip. We’re not sure if the leaders of the Western World have the time for a little independent fun and exploration during their packed schedules in Cornwall, but here’s what our friends at Visit Britain suggest they – and you – do on a visit.
 

Cliffs, Surf, Record-Breaking and Breathtaking Hikes

Coastal Cornwall’s claim to fame (other than things labelled ‘Cornish’, like Cornish hens and Cornish pasties/ meat pies) are related to its dramatic, seaside location: over 300 sandy beaches, coastal villages and resorts, dramatic cliffs and wild moors.

It’s an ideal scenario for outdoor, fresh air activities like hiking, cycling and even surfing that draws surfers and kitesurfers from around the world when the surf’s up.

Take a walk along the newly-opened English Coast Path, which, at 2,795 miles (4,500 km) is
the longest managed and waymarked coastal trail in the world. (Yes, in case you were wondering, it’s longer than other famous long-distance trails like the 2190 mile Appalachian Trail and the 2600 mile Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S.)
 
The view alone will get your blood racing. Cornwall has 12 “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty” from the dramatic cliffs of the North Coast to the beautifully bleak hills of Bodmin Moor.


“Jurassic Park” IRL

It’s the closest you might come to a ‘real life’ dinosaur habitat. Cornwall’s “Jurassic Coast” is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and THE place to go fossil hunting with the dinosaur lovers in your family.

The Jurassic Coast begins in Devon and continues for 95 miles (150 km) to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset. The rock cliffs at Charmouth and Lyme Regis contain thousands of fossils of animals that swam in the Jurassic seas, and each year fossils are eroded from the cliffs and tumble onto the beaches waiting to be discovered.

If you’ve seen the film Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet, it is set in Lyme Regis and tells the story of amateur fossil collector Mary Anning. She and her brother were the first to discover a complete Ichthyosaur skeleton and a complete Plesiosuar. Some of her fossils are at London’s Natural History Museum. Fossil fans can find out more about Anning’s life at the Lyme Regis Museum. The Museum of Jurassic Marine Life is home to some of the first fossils found. The famous Weymouth Bay pliosaur is on exhibition at the Dorset County Museum.


Photo: VisitBritain/ Jason Hawkes

The World’s Largest Indoor Rainforest

On the Southeast coast of Cornwall, a huge crater inside a depleted clay pit has been transformed into the Eden Project. Visitors discover a thriving garden featuring massive Biomes housing the world’s largest rainforest within walls including stunning plants, contemporary gardens and exhibitions. In 2022, it will even get its own hotel on site, a 109-bedroom designer hotel that maximizes accessibility, energy-efficiency and sustainability.
 
Photo: English Heritage

Legends and Tales

Cornwall’s Tintagel Castle is inextricably linked with the ultimate English tale: the legend of King Arthur. Situated along the dramatic and windswept coastline, the castle ruins echo with stories from centuries ago. Built half on the mainland and half on a jagged headland projecting into the Cornish sea, the startlingly contemporary Tintagel Bridge brings the two impressive sites together in a dramatic way.

Tropical Escapes on British shores

Cornwall’s Isles of Scilly are called England’s own tropical islands, accessible by a 15 minute flight or a ferry ride to what might seem like another world. Only 5 of the 140 islands lying less than 30 miles (45 km) off of Land’s End are inhabited, providing the ultimate in privacy and seclusion to explore crystal clear waters and idyllic beaches.
Those in the know have already discovered the charms of the Isles of Scilly. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Dame Judi Dench all holiday there.

Local Flavor

Cornish pasties, or meat pies, are an historic favorite, but they’re no bygone tradition. Visit Britain tells us more than 120 million Cornish pasties are made each year! Add decadent Cornish Cream Teas to your travel menu and don’t forget about the seafood! Coastal Cornwall is the perfect place for fresh-from-the-sea fish and chips, not to mention Fal Oysters and Cornish Sardines.

At at the luxury resort Carbis Bay Hotel near St. Ives (yes, the St. Ives of the poem, “As I was walking to St. Ives…”), spa treatments include hot tubs infused with Cornish seaweed. That’s fresh!
 

#StartYourTrip



Top Photo: St. Michaels Mount, a historic fortified building on a rocky outcrop in the Marazion bay, off the coast of Cornwall. VisitBritain/ Jason Hawkes

 New, Luxury Water Park Makes a ‘Splash’ in the Bahamas
If you’ve never put the words ‘luxury’ and ‘water park’ together in a sentence before - let alone a vacation - now’s your chance.

Baha Mar is a thousand acres of Bahamian paradise on world-famous Cable Beach near Nassau. The exquisite white sands are home to not one, but three luxury beach resorts: Rosewood, SLS and Grand Hyatt.

Now, in addition to over three dozen restaurants and lounges, convention center, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Royal Blue Golf Course, the Caribbean's first and only flagship ESPA spa, more than 30 luxury boutiques and the largest casino in the Caribbean, Baha Mar has debuted another way for visitors to play.

Baha Bay is a $200 million, 15-acre beachfront water park, exclusively available for guests at Baha Mar. It’s just as luxurious as the rest of the resort complex – with aquatic experiences for the young – and the young at heart.

Imagine the days of water-based active fun on Baha Bay’s 24 water slides, a tropical action river, group raft rides, the first ProSlide Dueling Water Coaster and FlyingSAUCER 45 in the Caribbean, what’s being called the “most spectacular wave pool” in the islands, and splash zones “for kids of all ages.”

For some visitors, the ultimate thrills will come trying your luck at the world’s only outdoor casino inside a waterpark.

Then for a change of pace, the Baha Bay Beach Club offers privacy, beachside entertaining, and chilling out. Infinity pools overlook the endless turquoise sea, and full-service private cabanas, daybeds, and poolside lounge areas make an ideal day on the beach also the most relaxing.
 
Baha Bay Beach Club also has a restaurant serving coastal California-inspired bites and drinks. That’s just one of Baha Bay’s breezy, beachside dining experiences. The al fresco Market includes Cleo Grill, Sam's Crispy Chicken, Plant Nation and Chill, the famed Sugar Factory, Umami Burger, and Barracuda food trucks.
 
All that, wrapped up in the warmth of the Bahamian sunshine and hospitality.
 
Now that travel’s reopening, if you’re among the many people planning to ‘splash out’ a bit on your next holiday, Baha Mar and its new aquatic attraction Baha Bay might just go to the top of your ‘beach vacation’ list.  

#StartYourTrip





'Revenge Travel' is the Latest Trend - And Here's How to Get Some
“Living well is the best revenge,” said a 16th-century poet, and that line may be the inspiration for one of the latest trends in travel.

Over a year of travel shutdowns has reminded us of how precious the privilege to explore the world is – and how we can’t take for granted that the special trips we’ve been dreaming about will still be ‘there’ when we sometime, somehow get around to it.

‘Revenge Travel’ isn’t about ‘getting back’ at any person – but at the pandemic that’s kept us from travel for so long. Like jilted lovers imagining scenarios of vengeance, people started dreaming of extravagant trips that would make up for the lost time.

Then instead of just plotting their ‘revenge’, they started acting on those dreams.

People are booking their Revenge Travel now, and it seems to fall into two categories:
·     Upgrading features of a trip you’re already planning to really make your return to travel in style; or
·     The dream trips that have been put off.

Not surprisingly, the top Revenge Travel trips overlap with travel bucket lists – is one of these your idea of the perfect revenge?

African Safari

The word ‘safari’ is Swahili, an overland journey through some of Africa’s most iconic landscapes, to see the continent’s most legendary wildlife in their natural settings.

Back when going on safari meant big game hunting, the ‘Big Five’ game animals were used as a benchmark of safari success. But these days, simply seeing and maybe photographing lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo – as well as cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, chimps and other animals who fascinate travelers of every age – in their own environment in the plains, mountains and waters of Africa – is a trip of a lifetime for many.

Your travel advisor can help you plan an African safari at the right time of the year, in the right countries and parks to maximize your opportunity to experience your favorite African wildlife. And they can make sure you’re going on safari with a reputable company with knowledgeable and expert guides, that is committed to the conservation and preservation of the animals and their habitat for future travelers who dream of taking an African safari.

(InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa)

Tahiti and the South Seas

Just the mention of the ‘South Seas’ or any of its legendary islands like Tahiti, Bora Bora, or Moorea, conjures up images of the ultimate, remote, idyllic tropical escape, the most romantic trip of a lifetime.

Some choose to cruise the islands of the South Pacific and some dream of lazy days in those iconic, overwater villas that are the postcard image of travel to the South Seas. Some smart travelers do both options on the same trip: spend time cruising the legendary islands and looking onto landscapes and overwater villas from their balconies at sea… AND take time to stay on one island to luxuriate in the local lifestyle and overwater villa romance.

Your trusted travel advisor can help you choose which islands, or island-hopping agenda, or help you pair it up with a South Seas cruise in the luxury you want on a trip that’s almost as far away as anyone in North America can travel.
 

Egypt’s Pyramids

The pyramids at Giza, near Cairo, Egypt, remain one of the most mythical destinations for travelers with historic imaginations, to gaze up at these man-made wonders of the world and contemplate the civilization that created such monuments.

With the new, Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) opening in 2021, now may be the best time in years to design a trip to channel your inner ‘Indiana Jones’. Only a couple of miles from the Giza Plateau, the new museum is the largest archaeological museum in the world, home to countless artifacts of ancient Egypt, including the complete Tutankhamun collection and many pieces that there’s now room to display for the very first time. Egypt says the Grand Egyptian Museum will act as a gateway between the ancient pyramids and modern Cairo, with spectacular views of both worlds from the museum building.

In addition, major river cruise lines are returning this year to Egypt, and nothing helps a visitor to Egypt to get a sense of ancient and modern day Egypt than cruise to ancient historic sites, past Biblical landscapes, ancient ruins and communities that reveal the past and present lifestyle on the epic Nile.

Machu Picchu

The so-called “Lost City of the Incas” in Peru is another Revenge Travel destination for many travelers who have been hoping for a lifetime to walk within the 600-year old ruins at the peak of a mountain over 7000 feet high.

It’s the most-visited destination in the Andes, and the name actually means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain” and represents the height of Incan civilization. Getting there is more than half the fun, as is acclimatizing to the high altitudes. For the intrepid, there are hiking trails to Machu Picchu, but most take the train trip from Cusco, which is one of the epic train trips of the world. 

As the most-visited site in the Andes, with preservation requirements restricting how many visitors are permitted in each day, who must be accompanied by a guide, the best way to experience Machu Picchu is through a tour company that books blocks of tickets to ensure its clients gain admission, and have some of the most experienced and knowledgeable guides in their employ. Your travel advisor can help you book your Revenge Travel trip to the ancient heights of Machu Picchu with the most reputable tour companies with the best service and personal touch, who can also take care of other trip details like hotels and trains so your adventure into the Andes comes in comfort and style.

(Celebrity Cruise's Celebrity Flora)

Galapagos

This archipelago off the coast of Ecuador is the world’s ultimate marine safari. Etched into the world’s collective consciousness as the remote islands whose one-of-a-kind wildlife inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Galapagos remains today a touchstone trip for fans of scientific research or simply natural wonders.

From giant tortoises to famous blue-footed boobies, the fauna on the Galapagos Islands inspires a sense of awe in everyone who travels there.

Formerly accessible to those willing to rough it a bit on boats and from mainland Ecuador, these days, the Galapagos is also a destination for those who love the luxury, small, expedition ship experience. In the last couple of years, a number of cruise lines have even introduced purpose-built small ships for the Galapagos – complete with local design materials and flavours, and committed to the preservation of the ecosystem that is one of the world’s symbols of pristine wilderness at land and sea.

Antarctica

If you thought the Galapagos Islands were remote… the ‘White Continent’ is literally the world’s last frontier. Covered in ice sheets year round, and protected by international covenants from ecological damage, the 7th continent – and usually the last one for travel ‘collectors’ to check off their list – is the ultimate in remote exploration. Between glacial seas, dramatic mountains, and one-of-a-kind wildlife that includes famous Emperor and other types of penguins, seals, whales and other miracles of survival in this severe climate.

Like the Galapagos, Antarctic journeys are now well-served by luxury, small expedition cruises, that keep you cozy and indeed in the lap of luxury between zodiac landings onto ice floes and forays into other-worldly, icy waters. The ‘season for Antarctic cruising is during the southern hemisphere’s summer months, which is late fall and into winter and even early spring in North America.

The closest major urban center jumping off point is thrilling Buenos Aires, so you can add the tempos of tango and delicious wine tasting in Argentina to your once-in-a-lifetime journey to the bottom of the world. 
 
Do any of these meet your requirements for ‘Revenge Travel’? Or will any trip at all satisfy you? I think we can safely conclude that when it comes to travel: “revenge is a dish best served”… at cruising altitude ;-)
 
Tell us what YOUR idea of Revenge Travel is!

#RevengeTravel

#StartYourTrip

 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host Best Trip TV







5 Ways to Explore this Country’s Desert From the Traditional to the Extreme
If you missed your dose of exotic scenery and culture – or even winter sports adrenaline this year, one country’s desert can feed your travel imagination.

The Qatar peninsula juts a hundred miles out from the Arabian Peninsula into the Persian Gulf. Most travellers to the region focus on the thrilling, ultra-modern capital city of Doha. But most of the small country is covered by sand, from barren plains to the Khor al Adaid “Inland Sea” of rolling sand dunes where the desert meets the sea.

That’s where outdoor enthusiasts can discover their inner explorer or a whole new take on winter sports.
 
Instead of dressing warmly for snow-covered slopes, adventurous winter sports fans can pack their sunscreen instead. Glampers and stargazers and adventurers can uncover new horizons.
 
Top desert adventures in Qatar include:
 
1. Sandboarding
Leave your winter sports comfort zone far behind sandboarding in the desert near Qatar's Inland Sea, Khor Al Adaid. You’ll never see your board the same way again after a thrilling slide down the sands in the warm Arabian breeze.
 
2. Dune Bashing
Dare-devils looking for a new and high-octane experience can conquer the desert dunes by machine, on a quad bike.
 
3. Desert Safari
Over 11-thousand square km of desert lie less than an hour away from Doha, putting a desert safari within easy reach of any visitor to the country. You can glide across the Qatari desert in air-conditioned 4x4s with a driver expert in navigating over the sand, and. for a truly unique dining experience, foodies can end their desert safari with dinner by candlelight under the stars.
 
 
 
(Photo credit: Vinay Swaroop Balla & Qatar National Tourism Council)

4. Camel Riding
Of course, the traditional and iconic way to transit the rolling dunes of the Arabian desert is by camelback, and it’s an experience you can still have today. Herds of camels remain in the Inland Sea area.

Culture enthusiasts can get a taste of the nomadic life of the Bedouin tribes on a camel tour of Mesaieed, or you can up the ante with a more luxurious experience glamping under the stars following a desert camel ride.

5. Arabian Nights
Sand below, and stars above. A range of astro-tourism experiences have been inspired by the starry skies of the Qatari desert.

Imagine a moon-lit camel safari and stargazing with an astronomer, with dinner by the campfire and glamping in a combination of a modern luxury meets authentic Arabian style, overlooking the Inland Sea. Or a tour of the Souq Waqif and a dinner at the spectacular Torch 360 restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the bright lights of the nighttime Doha skyline.

#DreamNowTravelSoon


Top Image: Qatar National Tourism Council www.visitqatar.qa



Cruise Ships: New, Improved, and Coming Soon
The latest designs, innovations, and features, in a sparkling white cruise ship gliding over the waves. If that’s not enough to get you excited about taking a cruise on a new ship, there’s always ‘new ship smell’.
 
A new cruise ship may not have a distinctive scent like a new car, but knowing you’re among the first to experience a new entry to the world’s fleet of cruise ships is a not-to-miss sensation.
 
Not every new ship comes ‘hot off the press’. Some ships are remade during their lifetimes, and their mystique begins afresh.
 
Lynn Elmhirst, BestTrip TV’s cruise expert, lists the ships to keep your eye out for right now, whether new, improved, or coming soon.
 

NEW

 

Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas


The latest addition to this mega-cruise ship fleet is the 25th Royal Caribbean ship, and its second Quantum Class ship.
Vacationers of all ages are in for a combination of Royal’s signature, over-the-top cruise experiences plus 12 all-new and first-to-brand experiences including:
 
  • All-new pool deck to enjoy the sun and stars in style– Two decks, two open-air pools, four whirlpools and Splashaway Bay, anchored by a Quantum Ultra Class first – The Lime & Coconut bar
  • Action-packed top deck – Returning guest-favorites include the gravity-defying SkyPad virtual reality bungee trampoline adventure, FlowRidersurf simulator, skydiving with RipCord by iFly, and the iconic North Star all-glass observation capsule that boasts 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level.
  • SeaPlex – The next-generation of a longtime Quantum Class favorite, this SeaPlex is the largest indoor and outdoor activity center at sea.
  • One-of-a-kind entertainment –Teched-out venues combine immersive technology, unparalleled special effects and world-leading performers and aerialists take the stage alongside six agile Roboscreens for a multidimensional live show.
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and Teppanyaki – Two Royal Caribbean restaurants new to North America join the many dining options on board.
 
After an inaugural summer season sailing bubble cruises from Israel in the Eastern Med in 2021, Odyssey sails to Fort Lauderdale for Caribbean cruises including calls at the cruise line’s private island beach experience Perfect Day at CocoCay.
 

IMPROVED

  

Paul Gauguin Cruises’ The Gauguin

 
Paul Gauguin Cruises is the longest-continually sailing luxury cruise line in the South Pacific with its ship The Gauguin, which has emerged from drydock, after intensive environmental upgrades, making her more protective of this precious and sensitive setting.
 
In addition, all her staterooms, suites and public spaces have been renovated in a chic and fresh vision of Polynesian style to enrich her 322 guests' experience sailing the islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji and the South Pacific.

Every detail of The Gauguin's renovations reflect her South Seas home, including décor, artwork, Polynesian cuisine in the restaurants, onboard enrichment and cultural activities led by the ship's troupe of Tahitian entertainers. The refurbishment enhances the historic woodworks and adds local lagoon shades, green and natural tones, organic patterns and woven textiles, exotic panoramas and traditional artwork.

In addition to the renovation, the onboard lifestyle has been enhanced, with a new, virtual museum of over 150 paintings of artist Paul Gauguin, wifi, and all-inclusive experience, including dining in all three of the ship's restaurants.
 
Sailing on the renovated ship, guests have exclusive access to the line's private island and a private beach in Bora Bora, where you can embrace the natural wonders of the South Pacific through marine activities off the ship.
 

COMING SOON


Oceania Vista


By recently naming its upcoming ship The Vista (artists' renderings below and top), this culinary-and destination-focused cruise line looks to the future of cruise travel. The 1200-guest ship is the first of two new Allura Class ships on tap for Oceania, and will be the line’s 7th ship when it sets sail in 2023.

 
Like its sister ships, the new Vista will be a designer-inspired, intimate ship, with residential-inspired suites and staterooms, and dramatic and glamorous public spaces like the Grand Dining Room, which soars almost two decks in height and pays homage to the 'beautiful age' of early 20th-century Parisian society through its contemporary interpretation of Belle Époque. 

 
Guests will also be wowed by Vista's nine additional best-in-class culinary experiences, and several unique firsts that will re-define Oceania’s already acclaimed dining and guest experiences.
 

#DreamNowCruiseSoon

 
Images courtesy of their respective cruise lines.









International Dark Sky Week, held during the week of the new moon each April, calls for people worldwide to turn out their lights and take in the beauty of the night sky without light pollution dimming its brilliance. 

It’s also an annual reminder that some of the very best travel experiences aren’t under the bright lights of a city. Some of the most awe-inspiring and life-changing travel moments involve absorbing Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles above us.

Astrotourism is a growing trend that helps travelers capture more of those transformational moments in the darkness.
Astro travel lets us tap into primal parts of ourselves, like our earliest ancestors who created myths and learned wisdom from celestial phenomena. And it reminds us how humans - like all creatures and the Earth itself – respond to the rhythms of movements of the sun, the moon, and the stars.

North Star and Big Dipper over Grosvenor Arch, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah, by Royce Bair, courtesy International Dark Sky Association

It celebrates the wonder in us all when we gaze at the mysteries of the stars in the night skies, or the Northern Lights. Or when we join others to take part in an astronomy event like a solar eclipse, meteor shower or passing comet and feel tiny in our universe and in awe of the infinite darkness that surrounds us.

Savvy astro-travelers have been planning for a while to be in Antarctica for December, 2021’s solar eclipse. If that’s a bit remote for you, wait around for the ‘Great North American Solar Eclipse’ on April 8, 2024: a dramatic astronomy event across the whole continent, that, at its max, will allow observers to see the Moon totally – totally! – blocking the Sun for over 4 minutes!  

Here are some ways you can become part of the dark sky and astrotourism trend, both on land, and at sea.

LAND


Dark Sky Parks
From New Zealand to New Mexico, there’s a growing list of over a hundred Dark Sky parks and reserves around the world. They preserve and protect the ability to see the heavens in their clearest forms as our human ancestors did, and the darkness the planet’s wildlife still relies on today.


New Zealand’s Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie Region (above), at 4300 square km, is the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world, and home to the darkest skies in the world. Much of New Zealand has no light pollution and is home to some of the most accessible observatories on planet Earth. The sheer brightness of the stars, contrasted by the ring of mountains surrounding the Mackenzie Basin, is utterly breath-taking.
 
In North America, Dark Sky parks and preserves are most often found under the vast – and remote- Western Skies, in National Parks where preserving the night skies aligns with the protection of the landscape and wildlife.

Dark Sky Festival in Jasper in the Canadian Rockies
 
Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada’s mountain parks, famous for magnificent glaciers, lakes and mountains. Jasper has also been designated as a Dark Sky Preserve for its special commitment to protect and preserve the night sky and to reduce or eliminate light pollution in all its forms.

(Jasper National Park/ Jasper Tourism)
 
It’s one of 17 designated Dark Sky Preserves in Canada, the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world, and the largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve - meaning there’s a town within the limits of the preserve.

As daylight hours begin to shrink, the month of October is the perfect time for Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival. Dozens of events including dark sky photography workshops, interactive experiences at Jasper’s Planetarium, black hole sculptures, and ‘Animals of the Night’ hikes, indoor and outdoor events, speakers and hands-on celestial activities celebrate the night skies that cradle the earth.

Room With a View – of the Stars
A number of resorts near and far help their guests feel closer to the night skies.

At remote Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah, there’s an in-house astronomer providing complimentary stargazing sessions to guests, an ‘astrophotography’ machine that wirelessly connects users to download astropics to their devices, even a ‘sky terrace’ suite where you can fall asleep under the stars.
 
The Hyatt Regency in Maui, Hawaii has a resident director of astronomy and a Tour of The Stars program that allows guests, just a smidge north of the equator, to see almost all of the 88 constellations.
 
Nearby, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua’s stargazing program highlights celestial navigation and the story of Polynesian overseas migration to the Hawaiian islands, and provides guests telescopes to check out the starry skies on their own, too.
 
Farther afield, the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo offers a ‘Taste the Stars’ program. (Watch a video of the program, top.)

It includes a 7-course tasting menu developed by the resort's chefs in collaboration with Costa Rican-born astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz. A secret ingredient is South American wine aged in a 4.5 billion year old meteorite! Plus a guided stargazing session using a powerful GPS-guided telescope and a take-home sourvenir of the moon shot through the telescope while you’re there. Costa Rica is one of the few places above the Equator where Magellanic Clouds, two galaxies first identified by explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the 1520s, are visible.
 

SEA

It makes sense that some of the darkest skies in the world are found offshore. Way offshore, at sea. Which makes ships some of the best places for celestial experiences - and cruise lines are getting onboard.

2021’s Antarctic Solar Eclipse luckily takes place during the southern hemisphere’s summer, so it’s drawing a host of the world’s expedition cruise ships with guests on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise of the Antarctic – with a solar eclipse completely un-muted by light pollution from land.
 
Silversea has three of its ultra-luxury polar expedition ships sailing in Antarctic waters for the Solar Eclipse. Be on deck with fewer than 250 guests as the brilliance of Antarctica is plunged into darkness, and gaze amazed as the changing light and sharpening shadows highlight Antarctica’s beauty.

(Courtesy Silversea)

Atlas Ocean Voyages is a new luxury, small ship expedition cruise line that will amazingly include Antarctic’s Solar Eclipse in its inaugural season! On the day of the eclipse, you’ll be sailing through icy waters, and be able to see the total solar eclipse against a backdrop of mammoth icebergs.

Ponant is a French luxury, small-ship expedition cruise line. Its newest ship is also the first, luxury hybrid electric polar-class vessel. Just over 250 guests will make the ‘badge of honor’ sailing through the Drake Passage on the day of the eclipse. You’ll be able to disembark the ship onto the ice pack where, according to Ponant, “the pristine white creates a high-pressure zone that will allow for clearer skies”, a rare privilege enhanced by naturalist guides and on-board scientists.

Imagine seeing an eclipse from the Scenic Eclipse! Two former NASA scientists and a world-renowned astrologer will be joining the Scenic Eclipse’s 200 guests when the luxury expedition yacht – that comes complete with two touring helicopters and a six-person submarine, the first permitted to operate in these waters - is strategically positioned for an optimal view at Antarctica’s South Sandwich Island archipelago on the day of the eclipse.

You don’t need a special celestial event for this next Astro tourism cruise!

(Courtesy Celebrity Cruises)

Celebrity Flora is the cruise line’s first purpose-built small ship, just for Galapagos expeditions. The legendary islands far off the coast of Ecuador are well known for their unique wildlife, but guests also have the benefit of a brilliant night sky and countless stars above.

Celebrity has crafted a whole new Galapagos cruising experience available on all its Galapagos sailings: 'Glamping' (glamorous camping) Under the Stars that you'll never forget. Four guests each night will be able to sleep on the ship’s top deck in a specially designed cabana. You’ll also enjoy dining alfresco with curated cocktails, wines, even campfire favorites like s'mores under the stars. A naturalist is available to point out stars and constellations as seen only from this part of the world. The magical overnight experience concludes with sunrise and a full bed-side breakfast. 
Remote lands and seas are on many travelers’ bucket-lists – and adding the natural wonders of the skies to your adventure of a lifetime makes it just that much more unforgettable. 
 

#DreamNowStarGazeSoon


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

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Yes, You Can Cruise Again - This Summer! Here's How.

No sailing in American or Canadian waters yet? No problem! That’s what at least three cruise lines – so far - are saying.


Plus, some other lines confirming they’re able to start cruising despite restrictions.


Especially if you’re one of the millions of people in the US and Canada who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – or will be soon – you could be on the deck of a ship as early as June, enjoying the feel of sea breezes wafting over you. 


Lynn Elmhirst, BestTrip TV’s cruise expert, explains.

Offshore Cruising


At least three cruise lines have given up waiting for the slow wheels of bureaucracy to overturn cruise bans in US and Canadian waters. Instead, they’ve announced plans for offshore cruising. 

And chances are, we’ll be seeing more.

Ships that once sailed from the States into the Caribbean now have new homeports in the islands.

They’ve come up with new itineraries eager cruise travellers will love, and health and safety measures that will make guests confident to cruise again. These cruise lines, or their sister cruise lines, have already been sailing successfully in other places around the world, and are putting those practices to good use for returning guests from North America.

Crystal Cruises

Beginning in July til at least October, the ultra-luxury Crystal Serenity will be homeporting in The Bahamas, just 50 miles off Florida. 

(Courtesy Crystal Cruises)

The Serenity will be cruising two series of 7-night cruises. One series sails round trip from Nassau, and the other, round trip from Bimini. They’re bubble cruises: all-Bahamian itineraries that keep returning cruisers close to home, and all within a single jurisdiction, without risk of border closures.

Pre-and post-cruise land/hotel stays are also available, and cruisers will also be able to enjoy the famous private island oasis The Beach Club at Bimini, as well as experience four other idyllic Bahamian islands, most of which have until now only been accessible to private yachts, like Harbour Island, ‘The Nantucket of the Caribbean’, Great Exuma, renowned for its swimming pigs, San Salvador Island, and Long Island.

Celebrity Cruises

The newly renovated Celebrity Millennium will homeport in the island of St. Maarten from the first week of June through at least August. 

(The Retreat on the Celebrity Millennium; Top Photo Courtesy Celebrity Cruises)

The Millennium will sail 2 series of 7-night cruises in ‘modern luxury.’ One itinerary features two other Dutch Caribbean islands: Aruba and Curacao, as well as Barbados. The other itinerary includes Tortola, St. Lucia and Barbados.

Celebrity will offer a range of curated tours at every port of call, and the cruise line is also offering small group or private tours for guests preferring to explore the destinations with only members of their family or travel bubble.

 

Royal Caribbean

Mega-cruise ship line Royal Caribbean is launching new homeports in the Caribbean for two of its ships this summer, both beginning their new itineraries in June, and sailing at least through August.

Adventure of the Seas will homeport in Nassau, The Bahamas, and Vision of the Seas will homeport in Bermuda. 
Both ships’ itineraries call at Royal’s acclaimed private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, with 13 waterslides including the tallest on the continent, a tethered balloon ride, floating cabanas, beaches, and the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.

(Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay)
 
Guests on Adventure of the Seas will have two, back-to-back days at CocoCay, as well as quality time exploring Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico.
 
Vision of the Seas guests spend a full day at CocoCay, and an overnight amongst the pink sands and colourful homes of homeport Bermuda.
 

But It’s Not All Offshore North America


Royal Caribbean has also just announced its first Mediterranean series of summer sailings open to vaccinated guests from all countries. Beginning in July and running through at least October, Jewel of the Seas will homeport in Cyprus for the first time, and sail 7-night cruises along the captivating coastlines of Cyprus and Greece, calling at culture-rich cities and idyllic islands, including Limassol, Athens, Greece and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini.

And Celebrity will also sail in the Mediterranean this summer, homeporting the brand-new Apex in Athens, Greece, sailing 7-night cruises beginning in June: one itinerary to Greek islands like Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes as well as Cyprus; and another to Greek islands as well as to the Israeli ports of Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel.

Some other cruise lines are also sailing in North America this summer, with ships small enough they’re exempt from restrictions imposed on larger ships, and can sail from their regular homeports in American or Canadian waters.

US river cruise lines American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company have begun their seasons of sailing in American waterways including itineraries along the Mississippi and Columbia rivers.

UnCruise Adventures focuses on American coastal waters, including Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and 2021 is no exception, thanks to the intimate size of its ships.  

Lindblad, with roots in Sweden and a long-term partner with National Geographic expeditions, also expects to be sailing with its fleet of small ships in Alaska by June, as well as on itineraries in Galapagos and Iceland.

Canadian-based St. Lawrence Cruise Lines and Le Boat offer Canadian options in the Great Lakes region this year.

Expect to see more, all-new homeports and itineraries coming up this year, as more and more cruise lines continue to find alternative ways to restart cruising.


Your favorite, expert travel advisor can help you navigate all the exciting new choices, and keep you up to date on health and safety protocols and requirements.

 

#DreamNowCruiseSoon

 
 
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4 Top Reasons to Make a Vacation Rental Your Next Holiday - Plus Booking Tips
Vacation rentals were the fastest growing type of holiday accommodation even before the pandemic. With types of rental homes ranging from urban apartments to beach villas, farmhouses to ski chalets or even castles, the trend towards non-hotel stays is likely to keep growing as travel picks up again. 
 
Here are the top reasons why you might be thinking about a vacation rental soon.
 
And we share a couple of tips to help you get the best rental experience in a travel space with increasing choices of listed properties and a newly-professional approach to villa rentals. 
 

Privacy and Space… All Together

 
It used to be romance was the big motivation for privacy, but in today’s world, being secluded has health benefits, too. Physical distancing is a new priority we are looking for in our lives – and it counts doubly when we are in an all-new environment. 
 
Post-pandemic, ‘new normal’ lifestyle aligns with private accommodation’s main features of privacy, and a full house for you and the members of your travel ‘bubble’, a new twist on multi-generational travel.
Add on professional standards of cleaning and care, and it’s the perfect post-pandemic stay.
 

Comforts of Home

 
All that, and hospitality, too. One of many people’s reasons to book a private accommodation is to feel at home – even when you’re away.
 
For families, that could mean the convenience of on-site laundry. Active travelers might look for bicycles or other outdoors or fitness equipment. A hot tub or pool you don’t have to share. Even a barbecue for laid-back meals together.
 

Catering to Everyone’s Tastes and Schedules

 
Are you traveling with people with food sensitivities, allergies, or just plain picky eaters? Someone who MUST eat breakfast as soon as they get up… but others who don’t touch food til nearly noon? Just not ‘up to going out after a day of sightseeing or at the beach?
 
Restaurant dining every day can become really stressful, really fast.
 
Having a kitchen at hand during your holiday can ease a lot of food stress, allowing people to make most of their meals at their own convenience, with ingredients they know and can verify… it can even save you money to eat mostly things you prepare yourself, while splurging on a few meals ‘out’ that you are really looking forward to.
 
Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of the incredible, local product ‘finds’ you’ll discover at the local markets.


Living Like a Local

 

It seems the more famous the city, the more removed the ‘attractions’ are from the ‘real people’ who live in the destination, whose lifestyle is what’s drawing you to the area.
 
In a private vacation rental, you’re an honorary resident, living temporarily in a residential area, not usually a commercial one.
 
That means you’ll be closer to and immersed in the ‘authentic’ shops, markets, restaurants and hang-outs where real locals live their lives.

2 Tips for Booking a Private Vacation Rental:

 
1. Make sure you're staying at professionally managed properties; your vacation is not the time to be dealing with an amateur renter or uncertain standards of health and cleanliness.
 
2. Work with your travel advisor. You may not know, but just like your travel advisor can help connect you to the perfect match of other types of vacations, they can also help you find the perfect vacation rental, perfect space for your needs, desired destination, amenities and budget.
 
Many travel agencies now offer vetted, quality vacation rentals like they do other types of travel – and you’ll know you’re getting the advice, legwork, and ongoing support of a qualified travel professional, allowing you to focus on enjoying your holiday.
 
In other words, the best part of any vacation.
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon

 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/Host of BestTrip TV
 

Photos courtesy HVN

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'Pandemic Pivots' in Travel We Hope Will Stick Around Forever

Necessity is the mother of Invention, they say, and the pandemic, while it has shut down travel, has also inspired some innovations we love – and are hoping will stay with us long after travel is back to full swing.

 

By: Lynn Elmhirst, producer/host of Best Trip TV
 

The Cabins at Mountain Village 

The Town of Mountain Village in southwestern Colorado, is just outside the legendary ski resort of Telluride.

So what better ‘pandemic pivot’ to allow visitors to safely enjoy the town’s restaurants – and reinforce the feeling of being on an alpine vacation - than a collection of gondolas retired from a ski lift and up-converted into private dining cars?

(Photo by Ryan Bonneau provided by Town of Mountain Village)

At the beginning of the ski season, the town ordered 20 re-purposed cars and set them up in clusters in plazas around town in the vicinity of over a dozen restaurants. Each gondola accommodates a bubbled group of 4-6 people in ski gear comfortably, 8 in a cozier squeeze.

The Cabins aren’t tied to any individual restaurant. Gondolas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The town has QR codes to its ‘Dine Outside’ web page inside each car, so diners can settle themselves at their private table, then access neighboring restaurants’ take-out menus to order their meal.

One town official told me both visitors and residents love The Cabins. “They are very popular, it’s difficult to find an open cabin during prime dining hours. Several friends of mine with children have reported their kids are the biggest fans of The Cabins and they have to coax them out when it’s time to go home.”

(Photo courtesy of Town of Mountain Village)
 
So popular are the private dining gondolas, the town has installed 5 more. And while the original intent was to provide a creative solution to allow local restaurants to serve diners during the pandemic winter, The Cabins have become such a signature of the town’s alpine lifestyle, they’re set to become a year-round feature of a visit to the Town of Mountain Village.
 

360° Dome Dining in Banff

There’s a new concept in private dining in the Canadian Rockies, too.

For over 130 years, the world-famous Fairmont Banff Springs hotel has been the legendary landmark of the historic, alpine resort town of Banff, Alberta in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage site Banff National Park.


Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies” now has a new, outdoor, private dining venue. The 360° Dome evokes iconic imagery of Canadian winters and shelters up to six guests from the elements as they enjoy panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies and the ‘Castle’ from its terrace.

Inside, the 360° Dome is designed for two to six bubbled guests with rustic luxe elements of winter chic for a couple to indulge in a romantic, gourmet dinner, a group of friends visiting over wine and charcuterie in the afternoon, or a family enjoying an extravagant brunch.
(Two above photos courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel)

The hotel teased the fine dining menus designed by the Fairmont Banff Springs’ Executive Chef. Family-style brunch includes make-your-own mimosas, eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes, wine and charcuterie platters feature housemade preserves and cured meats paired with locally-sourced cheese and Canadian wine, and the indulgent five-course dinner features locally-inspired flavours and ingredients, including the Brant Lake Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and the Long Bone Bison Short Rib.

The 360° Dome at Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies’ may be a fixture of the winter season, with open outdoor dining taking over when spring weather permits. But its warmth and character in the winter months transform the necessity of bubble dining into a story full of charm.

Clockwork At Home

Another Fairmont Hotel, the Royal York in Toronto, has debuted ‘Clockwork at Home’. 

If the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies’, its big city counterpart is a castle in the heart of the country’s biggest metropolis. The epic hotel shares the French chateau design characteristic of the Fairmont hotels across Canada that were born as a chain of luxury rail hotels. Opposite Toronto’s Union Station, the Royal York was once the tallest building in the British Empire, and remains the elegant grand dame of hospitality in the region.


A spectacular re-imagining for its 90th anniversary just before the pandemic introduced a glamorously updated lobby bar. Clockwork is centered around a new statement timepiece, replacing the spiral staircase clock in the lobby that has been a recognized meeting place in the city for years. 

Inspired by its legacy as a railway hotel, the Royal York’s Clockwork marries modern elegance with vintage luxury train carriage style, right down to Pullman car style banquettes. Clockwork is a swanky and stylish bar for champagne and oysters, or a perfectly crafted cocktail over sparkling conversation.

(Above three photos courtesy Fairmont Royal York)

With the hotel closed, Clockwork’s mixologist has bottled up his creative juices into craft cocktails Torontonians can order online, pick up in the afternoon, and recreate the swanky atmosphere of the Royal York during a stylish evening at home. 
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon




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The 'FOMO' Guide To Travel in 2022
Social media has an acronym for it: FOMO, or ‘Fear of Missing Out’.
 
Over the last year, we’ve been missing out on a lot. A lot of get togethers, events, family celebrations… and a lot of travel. Finally, it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, with travel starting to pick up this year, and gaining real speed in 2022. 
 
If you’re anything like us, you feel like you have a lot of catching up to do.
 
In addition to all your favorite travel experiences, the 2022 calendar of events is packed with events and natural phenomena that are always worth the trip. 
 
  • The return of live music and theater worldwide.

  • All the famous races, from the Kentucky Derby by horse, to one of the Grand Prix by car, the Tour de France by bicycle, and the America’s Cup at sea.

  • Carnivale. Wimbledon. Day of the Dead.

  • Fashion Weeks, Christmas Markets, St. Patrick’s Day parades.

  • The Great Migration of Africa’s Wildlife on Safari, Cherry Blossom Festivals, Wine Harvests
 
In normal times, these things happen every year. Whether you’ve enjoyed them often, or they’re still entries on your bucket list, if we’ve learned anything from a canceled year, it’s to seize the moment and do it while you can.
 
But there are even more reasons to travel in 2022, and this is where FOMO sets in. Next year has an extraordinary abundance of events that only happen a few times in a century. Once in a lifetime? Maybe not. But your FOMO instincts should be tingling.  
 

Mark Your Calendar

 
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed, and now the Summer Olympics take place in Japan in 2021, but the Winter Olympics are still on schedule for February 2022 in Beijing.
 
The World Games is a quadrennial event too, one that allows athletes to compete in dozens of sports uncontested at the Olympic Games, including acrobatic gymnastics, karate, orienteering, tug of war, waterskiing, and squash. They are held between Olympic Games. With the Summer Games bumped from 2020 to 2021, the 11th World Games were also rescheduled to July, 2022, in Birmingham, Alabama.
 
August 2022 brings another multi-nation, multi-sport games that take place every four years. At the upcoming XXII Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, 5000 athletes from dozens of countries compete in 20 summer sports that bring together the former members of the British Empire.
 
That’s not all that’s happening for sports fans in 2022. 
 
One sports event held every four years is the most widely viewed and followed in the world – beating out the even the Summer Games. The FIFA World Cup brings whole economies of diehard soccer fans to a standstill, and the fan culture in bars and cafes – and for some fortunate fans, in person – is legendary. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held over nearly a month at the end of the year in Qatar, the first time for it to be held in the Arab world.
 
World Expos (formerly known as World’s Fairs) showcase the excellence of nations in arenas other than sports - like technology, agriculture, design and architecture, energy, ecology and more, with vast displays and events held for months twice a decade. Inventions like the telephone, color TV’s, touch screens, Ferris wheels and even ice cream cones were unveiled at World’s Fairs, which also debuted landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Seattle’s Space Needle. Expo 2020 was postponed, and now takes place from October 2021 through April 2022 in Dubai with the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’
 

FOMO Tip:

 
No matter what’s on your travel list in 2022, we have one big travel tip: book early.
 
With people using their stored-up travel credits, and everyone looking to make up lost travel time, some events and blocks of tickets are already selling out.
 
If you have a Fear of Missing Out of any once-in-a-lifetime trip in 2021 or 2022, now’s the time to start planning your trip with your travel advisor.
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host BestTrip TV

Image: Getty

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Why a Trip to Canada's Northwest Territories is a Girl's Best Friend
Canada’s Far North is one of the world’s Last Frontiers – and a true polar travel experience. The country’s Northwest Territories extend from the 60th parallel into Arctic Ocean islands all the way to the North Pole.

At half a million square miles, the Northwest Territories is six times the size of the UK, but has only about 45,000 residents.

Boreal forest thrives at the southern end of the NWT, which thin out before disappearing after the ‘tree line’, with tundra and ice stretching across islands in the Arctic Ocean.

Unsurprisingly, the region’s breathtaking natural wonders, wildlife, and the culture of its native peoples draw intrepid visitors above the 60th parallel.

Celestial Wonders Heighten Your Senses


Capital city Yellowknife is the Northern Lights capital of the world. The aurora borealis dance autumn and winter, 200 nights a year in the crystal-clear dark skies of the NWT. Nature’s ultimate light show is a life-changing experience for visitors from around the world.

Midnight Sun and White Nights at the height of a summer that lasts only a few weeks. During mid-summer, the sun barely sets, creating an other-worldly experience.
 
Polar Nights are at the opposite end of the spectrum, with a winter that’s dark almost around the clock, especially above the Arctic Circle where the sun does not rise for nearly a month!
 

Larger Than Life Places Capture Your Imagination


Expedition cruises through Canada’s Northwest Passage follow a fabled route through the Arctic from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, visiting some of the world’s most remote communities and seeing rare scenery along the way.

(Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve Photo Credit: George Fischer/NWT Tourism)

Virginia Falls takes your breath away at nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls and four acres in size. It's the centrepiece of Nahanni National Park Reserve, which is one of the territories’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Kraus Hot Springs – geothermal springs and pools are found in a number of places in the mountains of the NWT, but Thermal pools are common in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories. Kraus Hot Springs may be the most famous, as they are a popular stop for paddlers right on the shore of the South Nahanni River.
 
Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada's largest National Park, the 2nd largest in the world, and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its most famous resident is in its name, but the park is home to a vast richness of far north biodiversity.
 
(Buffalo in Wood Buffalo National Park, Photo Credit: Darren Roberts/NWT Tourism)

Great Slave Lake in the North Slave region is the deepest Lake in North America with over 2000 feet of mysterious depths.
 
Great Bear Lake is the largest lake in Canada, with an area larger than the entire country of Belgium. It’s a fisherman’s dream, and holds the world record for biggest sport-caught Lake Trout that weighed in at 72 pounds! 
 
Speaking of sports, NWT’s Ulukhaktok has the most Northern golf course on the planet. In Florida, golfers sometimes have to make way for gators. In NWT, watch out for wandering muskoxen!

 

The Souvenir that’s ‘Forever’


One NWT attraction isn’t about its stunning geography. It’s about sparkling geology.

NWT is the home of Canadian diamonds. Only developed as a viable industry beginning in the ‘90’s, Canada is now one of the world’s top 10 diamond producers, which it says is an ethical alternative to so-called ‘blood diamonds’.

Just how much bling are we talking about? Tens of millions of carats of diamonds are extracted each year, worth billions of dollars.

The largest diamond found in the NWT to date is a whopping 552-carat, extremely rare, yellow diamond the size of an egg! It was found in 2018, blowing away the previous record for a Canadian diamond, a 188-carat white specimen called the ‘Foxfire’ found in 2015 that was worth an estimated $10 million.

Canada’s three diamond mines are in a remote corner of the NWT. Yellowknife, hundreds of miles southwest of the mines and the largest city in the NWT, is the hub for the diamond industry.

(Canadian Diamonds. Fischer/ NWT Tourism)

You can’t visit an actual mine, but Yellowknife’s NWT Diamond Centre has interpretive displays where you can learn about the geology of the fire and ice of Canada’s Far North that resulted in deposits of the delicate, but virtually indestructible stones we value so highly. You can also watch diamond cutters at work, transforming rough stones into rare gems.

It’s also where you can treat yourself or your sweetheart to a sparkling souvenir of your visit to NWT – and symbol of your love.

#DreamNowTravelSoon

 

Top Image: Wood Buffalo National Park Dark Sky Preserve Photo Credit: Peter McMahon/NWT Tourism

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3 Places For the Romantic, Overwater Escape of a Lifetime
Ever since the first overwater bungalow resort was built half a century ago, they have come to define the ultimate romantic tropical getaway.

Overwater villas are the next best thing to a private tropical island of your own – a luxury, rustic-chic bungalow suspended right over top of jewel-toned seas. It brings out the primal human in us all, and activates every romantic instinct.

The originals in French Polynesia were inspired by the makeshift, thatched-roof overwater huts made by local fishermen to work on their catch and boats in the shade. A trio of American entrepreneurs hoping to develop a resort on a property on Ra'iātea that had a rocky waterfront - but no beach - got sudden inspiration and voila! The world’s first overwater bungalow resort. Even the first resort, with no TV or phones even, was rustic compared with today’s versions that can be extravagantly luxurious, it allowed guests to feel embraced by the sea surrounding them. The bungalows featured a clear, plexiglass ‘window’ in the floor to the ocean below, with lights to attract marine life which they nicknamed, ‘Tahitian television’. 

The original overwater bungalow resort is no longer, but it inspired a trend that swept the South Pacific and from there, some of the most exotic places in the world.

FRENCH POLYNESIA


Other French Polynesian islands, like Tahiti and Bora Bora, are now world-famous for the overwater villa lifestyle that tops many newlyweds’ lists of dream honeymoons.

Check out: the Four Seasons Bora Bora

You really feel like you are escaping the world when you travel to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, where a private yacht whisks you across vivid, South Pacific waters from tiny Bora Bora’s airport to the resort, where you’re greeted in true Polynesian style with a h a traditional flower lei and escorted to your private overwater villa.

Above: Moeava de Rosemont / Four Seasons
Top: Andre Klotz/ Four Seasons
Some come with their own plunge pools or spacious decks for your own private access to the turquoise lagoon waters. Inspired by a traditional Polynesian village, with thatched roof-design, and décor and furnishings that celebrate by the island's natural beauty, from from the teak-wood furnishings, to textile patterns derived from traditional body tattoos, to the Mother of Pearl accents in the lighting fixtures, the villas are made to close the rest of the world away.
Your meals can be delivered by canoe for perfect seclusion, or you can join diving and snorkeling expeditions, and the rest of the resort on land.

The Four Seasons Bora Bora has even designed ‘A Meal You'll Always Remember’ for a very special night. You and your beloved board a canoe to a private white-sand motu, where you are greeted with Champagne followed by a personalized dinner for two as the sun sets into the water. Romantic meals may also be arranged on a private section of the resort beach or in your bungalow.
 

THE MALDIVES


They may have been invented in the South Pacific, but 50 years later, some estimate of the nearly 200 romantic, overwater bungalow resorts in the world, two-thirds are now in the Maldives.

Possibly even more exotic, almost exactly on the opposite side of the planet from North America, the Maldives is a thousand-mile long atoll covered in sandbars begging to be explored in barefoot luxury and experienced in overwater villas.

It puts new meaning into being immersed in the local natural beauty. The pristine waters of the Maldives are epic, surrounding one of the world's most romantic, remote and legendary tropical eco paradise destinations. 

Check out: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a pioneering resort located in one of the Maldives' best diving and snorkeling locations. It melds harmoniously with the environment, flowing from island to its overwater villas.
What makes this resort stand out from other overwater villa resorts in the Maldives is that, in addition to overwater villas, the resort also boasts the first underwater restaurant 16 feet below the surface, and the first undersea residence.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts

It’s an extraordinary way for up to 9 guests to experience of one of the world's most breathtaking marine environments. Specialized aquarium technology was used to create the 2-story villa, consisting of an over-water space, and a spiral staircase to an underwater suite more than 16 feet below sea level with a king size bedroom, living room, and bathing area under a dome with 180-degree views of the ocean.

Sleeping in an undersea dome is an almost surreal vacation, but the overwater part of the villa above is unforgettable, too, complete with space for a butler and private security, an ocean-facing bathtub, bar and dining area with a deck facing the sunset, and another deck with an infinity pool facing sunrise.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Consciously-designed villas and suites, from ultra-private beach villas nestled amongst the rich tropical landscape with direct beach access, to overwater villas ranging from private and romantic, to expansive for an extended group of family or friends, complete with sundecks, hot tubs steps into the sea, spa treatment rooms and more, provide the iconic Maldives vacation.
 

JAMAICA


Luckily you don’t have to fly around the world to live the dream in tropical, overwater romantic luxury.

Check out: Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Couples-only Sandals built the Caribbean's first all-inclusive overwater bungalows, finally overcoming the barriers of tides and hurricane construction that had kept the romantic trend from expanding here already.

Sandals Royal Caribbean’s secluded villas are just off the resort's private island with private water taxi service. Picture glass floors, butler service, private infinity pools and outdoor soaking tub for two or hammocks over the water where you can dangle your toes and absorb the sun, extended outdoor decks and outdoor showers that blur the line between indoor and outdoor luxury living.

Sandals

Your romantic overwater Caribbean experience at this resort is all-inclusive, with fine dining at 8 restaurants and wine and spirits at 5 bars, including swim-up, and stocked bars in every room, with watersports, landsports, entertainment, and for Butler and Club Sandals guests, even private, luxury-vehicle airport transfers. Plus exchange privileges and all amenities and inclusions with 2 nearby Sandals – it's like having 3 resorts in one!
 
Valentine's Day – or every day – is the best day to dream of an overwater holiday with your sweetheart.
 

#DreamNowTravelSoon


Images courtesy their respective resorts.

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