Luxury Travel Latin America: Six Remarkable Resorts Catching Fire

Luxury travel in Latin America is surprisingly easy to plan and is getting that much easier as new flamboyant properties are coming online to cater to the not-so-easy-to-please patron. Not surprising, “wow” is usually the first thing heard from visitors to these six magnificent resorts.

Luxury Travel Latin America: Cabo San Lucas

While luxury travel to the Baja is best managed through the many brand-name resorts lining the golden resort corridor along the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California, The Resort at Pedregal can be seen as crowning this path on its perch overlooking the town of Cabo San Lucas and the ocean, accessed through a long chandelier-lit tunnel cut into the cliffs. The 118-room Spanish Colonial-style resort keeps a focus on customer service while bringing on the wows and ahhs in spa surroundings, infinity pool placements, private terraces and suites, and seafood dining that is considered to be some of the best on the peninsula.

At the Resort at Pedregal, every room is an ocean view room whether a Private Casitas or a 5-Star Suite, each with a private terrace to pan the exquisite landscapes. Mini-fridges are refilled daily with complimentary beverages and each accommodation comes with excellent Wi-Fi, curated reading materials, plush bedding, and a private plunge pool.

Contact:

The Resort at Pedregal
Camino del Mar 1
Cabo San Lucas
Baja California Sur, Mexico
(844) 733 7342 / 844-PEDREGAL
(+52 624) 163 4300
reservations@theresortatpedregal.com
www.theresortatpedregal.com

 

Luxury Travel Latin America: Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos

 

Few trips into nature are as rewarding as a visit to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador where time is but a human concept amid natural surroundings that have remained respected and preserved for eons. For active travelers concerned with nature’s sustainability but who want to enjoy this bounty without foregoing the luxury and pampering that travel often affords, Pikaia Lodge is the one resort where conscious travelers can have it all.

The 14-room property on Santa Cruz Island operates through adherence to nature-preserving practices: solar and wind energy, natural insulation, water conservation, local sourcing …. but has found a way to infuse precious luxury amenities in the process. Guests stay in spacious individually built quarters with soaring floor-to-ceiling glass windows, bamboo floors, and Ecuadorian teak furnishings on a hill overlooking the ocean and island savannah — populated mostly with tortoises and blue-footed boobies.

Every day is a new adventure. Guests can rise early and head off in a private yacht for a day of out island explorations and swimming in remote coves. They can bike around Santa Cruz island, stopping for unusual flora and fauna sightings on their way to the local town. They can lounge around Pikaia’s delicious infinity pool, gazing at nothing but … infinity. They are given to all manner of guided small-group excursions to Galapagos National Park, and know that private sugar sand beaches or islets of penguins, iguanas, sea lions and dolphins are but a quick yacht moment away.

 

Contact:

Pikaia Lodge
Barrio El Camote
Santa Cruz Island
Galápagos, Ecuador
(+011 593) 4371 1670
info@pikaialodge.com
www.pikaialodgegalapagos.com

 

Luxury Travel Latin America: Vik Resorts

 

Few resorts in Latin America spell luxury travel as well as Vik Resorts. The collection, the efforts of a Norwegian/Uruguayan billionaire couple with a keen eye for contemporary art and design, are seen in Uruguay and Chile as the products of knowing what living the good life requires and having the means to set dreams into action.

Those looking for an experience of Luxury travel in Latin America, a visit to José Ignacio, Uruguay near Punta del Este answers the call.  José Ignacio is a simple fishing village within easy reach of the jet-setter’s hub of Punte del Este but far enough in distance to bring sublime quiet, privacy and contemplation of the better things in life.

Estancia Vik is a sumptuous contrast to Punte del Este’s beach scene with sweeping views of the rugged, pastoral Uruguayan countryside. The 12-suite estate overlooks Lake José Ignacio and the Atlantic Ocean from a small hill on a wild 3,400-arce expanse. Horseback riding is the thing here and a place to hone polo skills. Guests can enjoy the spa, play tennis, sip fine wines and wander the spaces where art complements the greater beauty of nature. Along with the public spaces each suite is its own masterpiece, designed and executed by top regional artists in what feels like a flowing fête of Art Basel.

 

Contact:
Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio
Camino Eugenio Saiz Martinez, Kilometro 8
Jose Ignacio, Maldonado, Uruguay
(+011 598) 94 60 5212
info@estanciavik.com
www.vikretreats.com

 

Continuing that celebration of art and life in this popular resort corner of Uruguay is Playa Vik José Ignacio, located just a short drive away from Estancia Vik.

The architect Carlos Ott, perhaps better known for imposing statements of steel and glass in high profile places like Dubai, took on Playa Vik as a special project in his native Uruguay. Ott was given carte blanche for the Playa, a project the architect compares to designing a museum.

The beachside retreat on the José Ignacio peninsula, features a central structure surrounded by six art-focused casitas. As the smallest of the Vik properties in Uruguay, Playa Vik is a self-sustaining, eco-friendly oceanfront hideaway on the shores of Jose Ignacio that can be booked for private gatherings or rented for individual private retreats.

Each of the property’s suites and villas features a fireplace, a private garden, radiant floor heating, and an eyeful of contemporary art creations. Also find a cantilevered swimming pool, acclaimed restaurant, spa, wine cellar, fitness center, game room and library at Playa Vik — all just four blocks from the city center of Jose Ignacio, which offers its own vibrant dining, shopping and nightlife scene in the high season.

 

Contact:

Playa Vik
Calle Los Cisnes
Playa Mansa José Ignacio
Maldonado, Uruguay
(+011 598) 94 60 5212
info@estanciavik.com
www.vikretreats.com

 

Not to be outdone, Bahia Vik is the antidote to the high life with has 11 modernist bungalows and 10 suites right on the southern Atlantic, set amidst the dunes. Bahia Vik is the largest of the Vik beachfront boutique stays in Uruguay and brings distinctive designs conceived by international and local artists to anchor the stunning interiors. But guests are mostly tempted to roll out of bed and onto the sun-drenched sands just outside their suite. They can take a five-minute bike ride or a relaxing 20-minute walk to town when breaking from the warming vistas. Or they can dip into one of Bahia’s four swimming pools, order up at the acclaimed La Susana restaurant, immerse in quiet at the spa, take advantage of the fitness center and tennis courts, or consult with a personal concierge.

Contact:
Bahia Vik
Ruta 10 Kilometro 182, 500
Jose Ignacio, Maldonado, Uruguay
(+011 54911) 3189 8206
reservations@bahiavik.com
www.bahiavik.com

 

Viña Vik takes Vik Retreats to another level with a focus on wine and food as can only be expected with such a manse located on a winery in Chile’s Millahue Valley. The 11,000-acre luxury resort and winery is a two-hour drive from Santiago airport and regales guests with guided tours of the winery, tastings that can include chocolate and wine pairings; horseback riding trips through the surrounding valleys; even foraging expeditions followed by a cooking class. Guests enjoy traditional South American barbecues, a wine spa treatment and, of course, the stunning interior and exterior visual effects for which Vik is now widely known. The resort brings 22 individual guest rooms and suites, each offering its own experience of the resort and its surroundings.

On its perch along the eastern side of the Cordillera de la Costa range, Viña Vik is an easy 45-minute drive to the important wine region of Chile’s Colchagua Province. But as the only winery on the eastern side of the divide, the lodge presides as the current king of these wine-worthy foothills with impressive lines of glass and rock anchoring the wild and rugged escarpments.

Contact:
Vik Chile
Millahue, Chile
(+011 56) 9 95349437
reservations@vikchile.com
www.vikchile.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

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Heckfield Place, An English Hampshire Hideaway

The_Manor_at_Heckfield_Place

Opening, September 01st, Heckfield Place, an elegant 18th-century Georgian family home set in the heart of rural Hampshire in Jane Austen country, has been lovingly restored to its classic origins spanning across a 400-acre estate of farmland, ancient heather, gardens, meadows, and woodlands. It is a place to reconnect and rediscover life’s simple pleasures with a commitment to sustainability and bound to the changing seasons.

Rewoven from its 18th- century origins to a 21st contemporary feel, each of the 45-rooms are uniquely designed with natural palette and interiors from bespoke English oak furniture to mats handwoven from rushes harvested on the River Ouse and placed throughout the main house and adjacent corridors offering a different aspect and view of the grounds. Designer Ben Thompson’s elegant interiors honor the history of its Georgian grandeur imbued with modest luxury and sustainable local craftsmanship.

Bedroom at Heckfield Place Kurtz-Ahlers and Associates Client

It begins with the soil. Culinary Director Skye Gyngell is fuelled with a passion for biodynamics and the relationship to the land, foraging locally from the Home Farm and orchard. The local honeybees and livestock also inspire her seasonal menu at Marle to cooking over the open- fire at Hearth and sipping creative cocktails at the Moon Bar. The Assembly Room and Sun House are special venues designed for hosting small gatherings or intimate private events.

Marle Dining Room at Heckfield Place Kurtz-Ahlers and Associates Client

Connecting guests with simplicity of nature, The Little Bothy Spa is a tranquil oasis. It offers a variety of facials, massages and treatments from herbalist, restorative and beauty using exclusive products from Wildsmith Skin. All five (5) treatment rooms boast views overlooking the majestic flora and fauna of the walled gardens with three (3) studios for Gym, Pilates, Yoga and private instruction by Bodyism. The Bothy Spa which includes further treatment rooms, gym and swimming pool will be expanded and will launch in Summer 2019.

Gardens at Heckfield Place, Kurtz Ahlers and Associates Client

From the Morning room to the Drawing room, the House marks the natural rhythm of day reconnecting guests to the beauty of nature from the rising of the sun to the east and setting to the west. The most memorable activities are the simplest ones from strolling through the walled gardens dotted with wisteria, lavender and fragrant English roses to conversations with Heckfield Place’s passionate team. Exploring the vast woodlands where parts of the original arboretum were planted in the 18th century by pioneering horticulturalist William Walker Wildsmith carries on the legacy of conservation amongst the estate’s majestic grounds.

Additional activities include:

  • Fly fishing on the lower lake or River Whitewater which meanders through the estate
  • Boating on the lower lake
  • Wild swimming
  • Delightful walks and running paths
  • Private picnics near one of the estate’s follies
  • Horse riding across the estate or lessons at the Wellington Estate
  • Visits to surrounding churches, gardens or stately homes
  • Berry picking around the estate
  • A screening room with a 67-seat private cinema with Silver screen and Dolby ATMOS

Contact:

Heckfield Place
Hampshire
RG27 0LD, England
Tel: +44 (0) 118. 932. 6868
Email: enquires@heckfieldplace.com
Website: www.heckfieldplace.com

Third Night Complimentary Summer Offer at Trisara

Trisara-Third-Night-Free-Promotion-Hero

Trisara, in Sanskrit “The Garden in the Third Heaven” is Phuket Island’s most special Thai resort experience. Each of the 59 spacious ocean facing pool villas and 2-7 bedroom private residences overlook Trisara’s private beach and the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, nestled amongst lush tropical vegetation.

For stays of 3 nights or more, every 3rd night is complimentary  between now and 31 August, 2018. In addition, Trisara is pleased to offer USD 100 resort credit for your clients’ stay.

Rates start from USD 792 net per night. 

Contact:
Trisara
60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Road
Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket 83110
Thailand
Reservations Tel: +66 76 683320-6 4
Email: reservations@trisara.com
Website: www.trisara.com

Luxury Hotel Statements in Thailand and Vietnam

For those heading to Asia for business or pleasure, the beach city of Phuket in Thailand and the buzzing city of Saigon in Vietnam, each bring properties worth the exploration and the stay: Trisara in Phuket and The Reverie Saigon. Both properties are “over-the-top” in wow factors and well located for beach hopping or urban tripping.

Trisara is just 15 minutes from Phuket’s airport but far from the crowds this popular destination brings. With numerous daily flights from Bangkok, Phuket is an easy town to access and a must for anyone visiting Thailand. Those looking for an exquisite stay in this Thai beach resort will find Trisara to be the perfect combination of privacy, quiet, sensual allure and convenience in location on its 40-acre hillside perch overlooking the Andaman Sea.

It has 65 villas and suites, all with sea views offered from the bed, the beckoning sunken bath, and private infinity pools. Villas and suites come in an array of 2- to 8-bedroom lavish residences that peek out of bamboo forest canopies. Orchids, lilies and lotus plants lining the waterscapes that meander through the resort.

Guests who want to part from the quiet comforts of their private villas will find a spacious and inviting spa, water sports equipment to use at the beach, a tennis course, and nearby golf courses. But there will be plenty to do in Phuket, whether beach bopping or wandering the charming and compact town. A walk through the narrow, preserved streets of Old Phuket Town brings a colorful collage of Sino-Portuguese buildings developed through profitable centuries of mining and trading in tin and now converted into a lively collection of shops, hotels, restaurants and museums.

Guests can visit nearby islands, take a Thai cooking class, take mindful walks through rich rainforests, visit a monastery or dive into the warm and colorful wonderlands of the deep. A stay at Trisara offers guests the chance to experience the real Phuket and the peace to be found in Thailand through a pampered retreat.

For those heading onward to Viet Nam, the Reverie Saigon will take their breath away. The imposing hotel of 224 rooms, 62 suites and 89 apartments, takes its perch in District One, mostly known as the French Quarter that is bordered by the Mekong River and containing such historical sites as the Central Post Office (designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame in 1891), the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon Opera house), and many historic hotels, Belle Époque shop fronts, and coffee bistros on broad, shaded avenues.

The Reverie, however, hails from modern times – 2015, actually, in a glass tower of offices, shops, restaurants. The Reverie on the 27th to 39th floors gives majestic views of the city. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, The Reverie makes a grand statement from the lobby – a swirl of purples and golds against museum-quality antiques, to the spa that spreads on two floors with salt rooms, chromatic saunas, and eastern/western fusion therapies, to the accommodations that come in a dozen room categories with interiors designed for an emperor.

Dining happens in five restaurant venues with Italian and Cantonese selections. Between bites, the expansive outdoor pool overlooking the city provides a profusion of eye candy.

Whether Six Senses in Asia or other consummate luxury brands, choices in pampering, wellness or top-of-the-line, frill-filled stays in Asia remain abundant and cutting edge for all seekers of memorable experiences in travel.


Six Senses Asia: Widening the Golden Footprint

Six Senses luxury resorts have long been associated with pampering, wellness and exquisite design in some of the world’s most scenic natural settings. A well-known name in Asia, Six Senses has catered mostly to European markets with its unusual properties in Southeast Asia. And, as the rapidly growing portfolio of luxury resorts continues to grow in Asia, Six Senses is looking to new regions to spread its name, its brand and its message – especially to Americans seeking perfection and privacy in their holiday plans.


Six Senses: New Properties

To that end, Six Senses is adding urban destination hotels to its list of mostly exotic, remote resorts. Opening in 2020 is America’s first Six Senses hotel – Six Senses New York, to be set between the city’s infamous Highline and the Hudson River. Six Senses opened its first metropolitan property in April in Singapore with the Six Senses Duxton tucked within a row of traditional shophouses in Singapore’s central Chinatown area.

The new hotel has 49 guestrooms and no two rooms are the same. Accommodations offer such amenities as Naturalmat organic mattress, bathroom amenities by The Organic Pharmacy, and Bose Bluetooth speakers. The property’s sister hotel, Six Senses Maxwell, will be opening later this year within easy walking distance from the Duxton, and will boast a spa.
On this side of the world, Six Senses is looking at the possibility of developing properties in such popular vacation spots as Cabo, Sayulita, Careyes, Tulum, and Turks and Caicos.
Integrated Wellness became a top branding platform for Six Senses in December 2015. Its holistic approach has sought to empower in-house experts to measure and analyze key physiological biomarkers within a system based on the preventative principals of Eastern medicine. Programs and themes combine with results-oriented Western influences for therapies centered on nutrition, sleep, cardiovascular health, and other forms of complementary medicine.

Six Senses opened a wellness property in May in Turkey: Six Senses Kaplankaya, with 141 rooms and suites and 154 private residences, on the country’s golden coast between historical Ephesus and lively Bodrum.

Another newbuild that is catching all the buzz is Six Senses Bhutan, preparing to open in the fall. The resort is actually five resorts in one. There are five unique lodges within the entire Six Senses Bhutan circuit. It is not 5 resorts in one.

The new Six Senses spread is located in the valley enclave of Paro, just west of the capital of Thimphu and near sacred sites as well as the heavenly kingdom’s only international airport. The resort brings five regionally themed lodges and cultural experiences within 82 guest rooms distributed through five lodges (three will open in August and the remaining two will launch by end of year).

The kingdom wedged in the Himalayas between Nepal and India, lives by its word of being “the happiest place on earth.” This value will be reflected in each of the five regional settings with a specific theme for an uplifting journey through the senses.

Other new properties recently opened or soon to be in the Six Senses portfolio:

Six Senses Uluwatu in Bali in August 2018: 103 suites and villas
Six Senses Fiji on the Island of Malolo in March 2018: 66 residences
Six Senses Krabey Island in Cambodia in October 2018: 40 villas
Six Senses Shaharut in the south of the Negev Desert in Israel in pril 2019: 58 suites and villas, and a three-bedroom Retreat
Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan in India in 2019

Six Senses Spas

Six Senses Spa Dubai on the 5th floor of the Hotel Renaissance Downtown in February 2018
Six Senses Spa Manama on the 9th and 10th floors of the Hotel Wyndham Grand Manama mid-2018
Learn more about Six Senses Resorts & Spas >>

Trisara
60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Road
Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket 83110
Thailand
Phone: (+66 76) 683320-6 4
reservations@trisara.com
www.Trisara.com

The Reverie Saigon
22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard
Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(+011 848) 3920 9526
info@thereveriesaigon.com
www.thereveriesaigon.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com

Travel to Zimbabwe: Safe and Easy through Great Plains Conservation

Travel to Zimbabwe is back in fashion as the country counts more than six months since the repressive regime of Robert Mugabe peacefully gave way to more grounded and stable governance. New hotels are opening; tour companies are seeing a significant spike in bookings and safari operators are betting that Zimbabwe, now the new kid on a very ancient block, will excite travelers anxious to experience this truly magical land up close. Great Plains Conservation which is opening two properties in Zimbabwe 2018 and is ready to unlock mysteries in this land that is finally experiencing a new found peace and stability.

The landscape and wildlife of Zimbabwe is under continuous threat – especially as President Donald Trump recently reversed Obama-era conservation efforts involving the import of ivory from Zimbabwe and Zambia. To that end, Great Plains’ new safari camps in Zimbabwe and the company’s ongoing conservation efforts to protect the lands and wildlife in any way possible creates a barrier to hunting, poaching, trophy taking and abuse of the natural balance.

“Let there be no mistake, we are in the midst of the Battle for Africa right now,” says Great Plains Foundation chairman, Dereck Joubert. “Every nine hours another rhino is killed in South Africa alone. We lose five elephants an hour across Africa. In the last 50 years, we have managed to lose 95% of our lions and leopards. At this rate, we can expect extinctions of lions in the next 10 to 15 years. …. Arguably, the most pressing issue for African wildlife is poaching. It goes to follow that if we are strategically acquiring large pieces of land to conserve then we also need to secure that land and its wildlife against poaching. The greatest need now, is what I call “The Battle for Africa,” and it will ultimately involve three species: lions, rhinos, and elephants. If we save those we have a hope. And if we don’t, everything else will go. We’re not going to let that happen on our watch.”

For travelers to Zimbabwe, every Great Plains Conservation safari is an immersion into the rare, unscripted wild adventures to be had in in Zimbabwe and other regions of Africa. It is also a statement of conservation, an up-close lesson about nature, humanity and life in these lands, and most importantly, a great Plains Conservation safari is by any account a life-changing experience.
Great Plains offers three ways to immerse in the majesty of Zimbabwe.

 

Greater Mana Expeditions

This adventure focuses on the private Sapi Reserve, on the eastern boundary of the Mana Pools National Park. The area, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was been awarded to Great Plains Conservation to manage. The area is part of the middle-Zambezi biosphere reserve with nearly 900,000 acres of prime wilderness — 85% of these areas only traversable by foot. For travelers to Zimbabwe who want to touch the ground, smell the earth, feel the wind, connect with the land, this is Africa’s dream walking safari destination.

Great Plains Conservation’ Greater Mana Expeditions program is  a six-night expedition that explores the stunning features of the Mana Pools National Park and the neighboring private Sapi Concession; capturing the spirit of safaris of of a bygone era. Guests are based 3 explorers-style wilderness camps for two nights each exploring three unique areas within the Sapi Concession. The tents in each camp  are largecomfortable tents for two with all needs managed. On nights 3 and 4 guests can experience the thrill of a Sapi Starbed sleep-out. Each expedition takes a maximum of six guests – perfect for close friends or a multi-generation family vacation (children must be 12 or older).

Access to the Sapi Reserve is through light aircraft transfers from Harare International Airport (1 hour 20 mins); or Victoria Falls International Airport (2 hours 20 min).

Mpala Jena Camp

Mpala Jena Camp in Zambezi National Park is just north of famed Vic Falls and offers travelers to Zimbabwe an exquisite and exclusive tented camp experience on a private concession within the park on the shores of the great Zambezi River. A natural spring runs through the concession and attracts an abundance of wildlife throughout the year, especially in the drier months of April to October.

The camp was named after a white impala, a rare “ghost-like” albino impala that rangers reported seeing living along the river in the area when the national park was first established. The area sees high concentrations of buffalo and elephant from June through to October and is also good for bird watching throughout the year.

The four tent Mpala Jena Camp manages a very light footprint with recycled hardwoods and canvas and electricity from its solar farm. Care was taken in the design of the tents, employing Moroccan styling and appointments that include lounge chairs, bathtub and shower in the en-suite facilities and event a plunge pool for each room. The property is conveniently located 10 miles from the entrance of Zambezi National Park, which creates easy access to Victoria Falls town. Still, the camp is remote enough to be far from other signs of humanity.

Fully inclusive rates bring all meals and libations and early morning and late afternoon game viewing in a private open 4×4 vehicle, boat cruises and guided walks.

Included in the nightly rate is either a road transfer conducted as a safari drive through the Zambezi National Park (around 80 minutes) or a more adventurous road and boat transfer that runs around 90 minutes. A road transfer from Victoria Falls Airport to town followed by a helicopter flight from Victoria Falls Town (30 mins) can be had for an additional cost.

Mpala Jena Suite

As a special treat for honeymooners, couples in celebration or families, Great Plains offers the Mpala Jena Suite, an exquisite two-bedroom villa with a private pool overlooking the Zambezi. The suite spreads out under beige flowing canvas with canopy ceilings and Moroccan style influences. The suite can be shared by adults or even five people if a child is in the party (children must be at least six years old). Guests find a central private lounge as well as dining area and en-suite bathroom facilities that include a design-worthy bathtub, indoor shower and double basins. The suite is separate from the other tents but in easy reach of all the camp facilities.

Travel to Zimbabwe

Online visas for Zimbabwe costing around $30 are now available as part of on-going government efforts to open up to the outside world in order to boost economic growth. Travel to Zimbabwe from the USA usually entails at least two stops and a journey that can last 17 to 55 hours, so it is best to book a stopover where possible.

Great Plains Conservation offers camps and safari explorations in Botswana and Kenya as well for those who want to see Africa in full and special four-night discounts during various seasons.

Contact:
Great Plains Conservation
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (0) 87 354 6591
info@greatplainsconservation.com
GreatPlainsConservation.com

European Vacation Plans Anchored to a Sense of Place

European vacation plans can often be aided by choosing not only the destination to be visited, but the hotel to be booked. In fact, it is not unusual to see a European vacation built around the hotel as the destination, especially if it is central to the European vacation experience.

To some, a European vacation is aspirational. To others it’s an annual affair, especially during the summer season when countryside is awash in greenery. Local fairs, food celebrations and music festivals abound.

For those vacationers who want to match hospitality experiences during their European travels with the joys of being in the destination, here are five hotel suggestions from Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates that will not disappoint.

 

Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal

Summer and wine make a sublime match at this resort in the Douro Valley, one of the world’s oldest wine regions. In this European vacation experience, wine is front and center and it infuses every aspect of the stay. It is there to be sampled, mixed, sipped in fantastical wine and food pairings or small plate extravaganzas, and sensually doused and dripped in inspired spa treatments.

A preserved 19th century manor, the hotel is a former great house of 57 rooms, suites and villas that preserve much of the effects of the era in rustic luxury design. But plenty of 21st century touches can be found, such as room service ordered via through an app that also operates the lighting, window coverings and TV.

A spacious spa and two pools provide entrée to the healing elements of this property. The locally made lemongrass soaps maintain a citrus scent that permeates the property. A schedule of visiting healing practitioners has been launched for special wellness programs and retreats that will be hosted at the resort through the summer.

Naturally, dining follows suit with local organic picks from the garden that find their way into daily menus and cocktails. Try the chilled peach gazpacho and sweet basil ice cream. Traditional Portuguese fare is available in the Vale d’Abraão. The Chef’s Table option gives guests a chance to watch action in the kitchen up close, as the chef creates such signatures as chargrilled leeks, garden figs and goats’ cheese or smoky peaches and presunto ham that are plated and matched with the best of the Douro wines.

Contact:

Six Senses Douro Valley
Quinta de Vale Abraão, Samodães
5100 – 758 Lamego, Portugal
(+011 351) 254 660 600
reservations-dourovalley@sixsenses.com
www.SixSenses.com/DouroValley

 

Almanac Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is often at the top of a list for a Europe Vacation plan and a new luxury hotel in the Catalan capital is ready to heed the call. Almanac Barcelona in the buzzing city center recently opened as a 91-room homage to modern architectural vision and progressive artistic design, all along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and within an easy amble to some of Barcelona’s iconic draws.

Almanac Hotels, with new luxury properties scheduled to open in Prague, Zagreb, Budapest and Vienna, focused on design with the Barcelona property. Barcelona designer Jaime Beriestain took décor into the ‘20s era of gilded opulence but kept muted tones and rich textures for the rooms and suites – many with terraces overlooking the city.

The property prides itself on service – a concierge is on duty 24/7. A precious spa offers a selection of facial and massage treatments designed by the prestigious French Anne Sémonin brand.

Top on the list of hotel attractions, however, is what’s atop the hotel. A multi-tiered rooftop terrace offers stunning panoramic views across Barcelona. The swimming pool is a good spot to take a break from explorations on a hot summer day. By night, the rooftop turns into a city scene with custom crafted cocktails sampled over the lights of Barcelona.

Contact:

Almanac Hotel Barcelona
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes 619-621
08007 Barcelona, Spain
reservations.barcelona@almanachotels.com
www.almanachotels.com

 

Ett Hem, Stockholm

At Ett Hem, located amid private townhouses and posh residences in the Östermalm section of Stockholm, guests on a European vacation can live like locals as the property’s name literally translates into “at home.” The palatial stead offers 12 private upstairs guestrooms, each individually furnished in variations of Nordic chic and ranging from small, cozy doubles to large king suites, with most rooms showing high ceilings, antique ceramic wood-burning stoves and bath tubs.

Guests roam the grounds and garden and find the living room with grand piano and honesty bar. The house has a library lined with intriguing design books. A casual kitchen with a large and inviting wooden table bolsters the at-home comforts. Breakfast is often taken in the sunny conservatory or garden. The kitchen is the heart and soul of the house and produces seasonal menus using local produce. And it wouldn’t be Sweden without the sauna, located on the ground floor adjacent to a small gym.

Although it is a home, Ett Hem is not without a strong focus on service. The staff are living guides to Stockholm, so do not forget to ask them about their favorite local spots.

From Ett Hem’s location, city center of Stockholm is a leisurely 10-minute walk. Ett Hem is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

 

Contact

Ett Hem
Sköldungagatan 2
SE-114 27
Stockholm, Sweden
info@etthem.se
www.etthem.se

 

Finca Cortesin, Costa del Sol, Spain

Long ago, there was a traditional, family-owned Andalusian estate, set in the rolling hills of southern Spain. Endless pastures, historic olive trees, and beautiful Mediterranean vistas defined the exquisite private estate, known to be one of the most scenic locales in the country. One-thousand years later, the estate serves as the home of the luxury resort of Finca Cortesin. Set just outside the coastal settlement of Casares, the resort is a short drive away from Sotogrande—the European Playground for polo, golf, and sailing.

Casares is a magical village of cobbled streets and milk carton houses clustered in the hills, within easy reach of the sea and in the shadows of a well-preserved 12th century castle. Such charm is reflected in this Andalusian resort of Moorish courtyards, vast arches, aged flagstone floors from a monastery in Portugal, tapestries and portraits of noblemen, lanterns casting romantic soft hues, and richly upholstered furnishings. While it was not built 400 years ago, it looks like it could have been, until one comes across the three swimming pools, Jack Nicklaus golf course with 14 holes on cliffs over the sea, and a worth-the-trip Michelin-starred restaurants.

Find 67 suites as well as six villas and 25 residences here all overlooking 525 acres of gardens, rolling hills and the ocean beyond. Days are spent exploring Medieval villages, sunning at the resort’s beach club and pools, playing golf and enjoying local wines and cocktails on the Levantine-inspired rooftop. The resort is located less than an hour from Malaga Airport (AGP) on the Costa del Sol.

Contact:

Finca Cortesin
Carretera de Casares Km 2, E 29690 Casares
Malaga, Spain
(844) 733-4190 toll free
(+34 952) 93 78 00
reservas@hotelcortesin.com
www.fincacortesin.com

 

The Beaumont, London

This boutique art hotel in a quiet corner of Mayfair puts the visitor in throwing distance from Hyde Park and Selfridge’s but offers plenty of inside pleasures as well. Art Deco styles combine with contemporary sensibilities to, at once, transport guests to a simpler era and at the same time provide plenty of cultural panache. This is especially true with the hotel’s eclectic art collection culminating in the property’s piece de resistance: ROOM.

The feat by British artist Antony Gormley is a living artwork that pushes out from the façade of the Beaumont to become a room of its own – a veritable cathedral of Cubist block design. Gormley’s spare, oak-clad bedroom is reached through a pure white marble bathroom which retains the Art Deco motif, as does the comfortable sitting room with its plush furnishings. The Beaumont’s other 72 guest rooms and suites keep the Art Deco tone and offer plush accommodations, many with a separate foyer, wardrobe and dressing room.

The property marks the first hospitality venture by legendary London restaurateurs, Corbin & King (The Wolseley, the Delaunay, etc.). The Beaumont’s Colony Grill Room keeps with the Jazz Age motif with a menu of 1920s favorites, such as lobster à la Russe, Yankee hot dogs, Arnold Bennett omelettes, chicken pot pies, with a slice of red velvet cake or a build-your-own sundae to top off the meal.

Adding to a pampered European vacation experience, a chauffeured Daimler is available for local drop offs. But the location, close to royal park spreads, art galleries and iconic shopping spots, will make walking the streets of Mayfair an equally pleasant choice.

The Beaumont
Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair
London W1K 6TF
(+44 20) 7499 1001 toll free
(+34 952) 93 78 00
reservations@thebeaumont.com
www.thebeaumont.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

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Five Top Resorts to Takeover for Special Occasions

Enjoy the wedding, special occasion or multi-generational gathering of your dreams at one of these five properties. They are pros at creating special memories, where all you have to do is sit back and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

Musha Cay, Exuma Islands, Bahamas

To be included among a small club of notables that have gone before you, a buyout of magical Musha Cay will put your group among such names at Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin and even Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. They have all taken over Musha Cay for their weddings and special celebrations.

The private island resort in the Bahamas’ out island chain of the Exumas brings 150 acres, plus some eleven other deserted isles to explore. Guests reside among five exquisitely decorated private beach guesthouses and meander amid stunning effects and spectacular illusions found throughout the resort.

Groups can be as small as desired or as large as 24 to enjoy this rare event. And while every detail will be wowing – from banquets on the beach to movies by the waves, to treasure hunts and treasure dives and explorations in sea and sand, there is much more.

Guests enjoy a the three-mile sandbar that Copperfield calls Heaven on Earth – which makes for a perfect wedding venue. For resort takeovers, any number of creative twists and turns can be customized to fit the passions the guests: including private fireworks shows, contests, fitness programs, ocean explorations and dining experiences.

Musha Cay can be reached by flying into Exuma International Airport. From there guests are transported to the resort island by private air or boat charter.

Contact:

Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay
Exumas, Bahamas
mushacay@kurtzahlers.com
www.mushacay.com

 

Sweet Bocas, Bocas del Toro, Panama

This Panamanian luxury experience offers a little glamping and a lot of pampering within an exquisitely designed overwater manse located in the Bocas del Toro natural reserve in Panama.

Sweet Bocas is 20,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom villa makes a perfect venue for parties, family get-togethers, celebrations, and vacations with friends in takeovers that bring plenty of extras.

The villa on the water wraps guests in Panamanian teak, all connected to a 15-acre island compound accessed by a 430-foot dock. Each room is a suite with a king bed covered in handcrafted linens, and offers a private lounging space over the water with a day bed or hammock. Two luxury tents provide a special glamping-under-the-stars experience and a decked-out pontoon floats along the waters for sublime yoga sessions and candlelight cocktails at night.

Days are spent lounging in the sweet remoteness, where guests can swim and snorkel right off the villa’s expansive deck. While guests can swim, snorkel and float on oversized water mattresses just off the deck of the villa, a world of water and land adventures await off-site.  These include boating, fishing, scuba diving and outstanding surfing.  Sweet Bocas has partnered with famous surfing pro Terry Simms to offer special surfing packages to the villa.

Sweet Bocas is the only luxury property in the beautiful, 97-square mile Bocas del Toro Archipelago in the Caribbean waters of northwest Panama.  Reached exclusively by boat, just ten minutes from a local airport that feeds flights to and from Panama City. All prices include an award-winning Panamanian chef to prepare three meals a day from the area’s freshest, locally sourced ingredients plus snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, complimentary activities and transfers from different airports to the property.

Contact:

Sweet Bocas
Bocas del Toro, Panama
(516) 554-1415
info@sweetbocaspanama.com
www.sweetbocaspanama.com

 

Villa Manzu, Costa Rica

Guests who want to live like an A-List celebrity can have their moment in the sun at Villa Manzu, an eight-bedroom mansion on the edge of the Papagayo peninsula of Costa Rica near its northern Pacific border.

The villa combines the intimacy of a private estate with the hospitality of a five-star hotel that can be shared with up to 22 BFFs and relatives. That’s because Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo is home to the Four Seasons Resort, the Papagayo Marina, a Golf & Tennis Clubhouse, an 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and the Andaz Hotel by Hyatt. Adding to the convenience, the Peninsula Papagayo is only 40 minutes from the Liberia, Costa Rica International Airport (LIR).

Villa Manzu can only be booked as a buyout, given the layout of the accommodations. The all-inclusive stay means a dedicated chef and staff to look after guests – even at full capacity the staff-to-guest ration remains nearly one to one. The palatial bedroom suites sprawl amid the private lounge decks, game and entertainment rooms, onsite spa, living, dining and public spaces of this 30,000 square foot manse. Find a heated infinity swimming pool and splash pool, gym, yoga platform and then a private beach just steps away from the living quarters.

Everything is customized for each group of guests, usually as part of the nightly all-inclusive arrangement. That means luxury vehicles with private drivers are at the ready to take guests into nearby national parks or to legendary nearby zip line attractions, or great surfing beaches. Golf at the Arnold Palmer-designed course gets close to perfection with 14 holes against ocean backdrops.

There is something for everyone inside of a Villa Manzu buyout and dedicated staff and resources to make whatever anyone wants happen.

Contact:

Villa Manzu
Peninsula Papagayo
Costa Rica
(+011 949) 200 8086
reserve@villamanzu.com
www.VillaManzu.com

 

Magee Homestead, Saratoga, Wyoming

The Lodge at Brush Creek offers acres of run of the range fun, especially for those who enjoy the outdoors and the smell of gourmet vittles over an open fire. As a luxury-focused working ranch, guests get the adventures of riding, hiking and fishing along with the soft touches of pampering, yoga, plush accommodations and fine wining and dining.

So, what does that mean for resort buyouts? As a lodge within a ranch resort, the Magee Homestead offers all the benefits of being on the ranch with the privacy required for a celebration or meeting of the minds. Lodge Rooms, Cabin Suites, Cabin Residences and the Magee Homestead can accommodate a maximum of 150 guests. All facilities come furnished with western artwork and furnishings, premium 400 thread count linens, Egyptian cotton towels, plush robes, Brush Creek Ranch Signature Toiletries, and coffee stations. As a separate complex, the Homestead is a part of the Lodge at Brush Creek, but is located five miles from the lodge with dedicated service staff, activities and amenities.

That means never having to wait for a horse or a scheduled horse-focused activity. There is a separate stable and corral is onsite. That convenience also goes for the private swimming pool and spa available just for Homestead guests. Magee Homestead guests can arrange custom-crafted classes, such as yoga, meditation, fitness and art geared for solos and small groups. A dedicated cowboy concierge is on hand to arrange all activities, no matter how spontaneous or planned, and a staff manages all the extras, including packing and unpacking for guests.

Contact:

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch
Saratoga, WY
(307) 327-5284
guestservices@brushcreekranch.com
www.mageehomestead.com

 

Mukan Resort, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Mukan Resort, a precious beachfront getaway located in a remote jungle preserve some 45 minutes from Tulum by boat in on Mexico’s southern Caribbean coast is just the thing for small intimate groups. The resort boasts casual luxury amid nine spacious accommodations: the main house, beach view and jungle view cottages, exclusive beachfront bungalows, and the premium garden villa.

Located on the Sian Ka’an biosphere coastline, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the resort values sustainability but without forsaking luxury and adventure. Powered by solar and wind and supplied by subterranean freshwater cisterns and local fruits of the earth and sea, Mukan offers the best of all worlds, especially for groups that value privacy and want to play where only the trees, vines and sea life can hear them.

Fine dining with wine pairing, plus an array of watersports and innovative cocktail combos happen at the group’s pleasure, complemented by imported cigars and spa treatments that incorporate local herbs and traditions.

Two pools are at the ready for quick dips (guests of the Nojol premier bungalow have their own pool). Staff is available for forays into the biosphere, and can point out the best cenotes for magical soaks and dives. Ground and boat transportation from Cancun Airport can be arranged and is approximately 2.5 hours.
Contact:
Sian Ka’an Biosphere
Quintana Roo, Mexico
(+011-5) 2-998-800-914
info@mukan.com
www.mukan.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

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Mongolia, Bhutan: Adventurous Places for the Nomadic Heart

Mongolia … Bhutan … Tibet … Siberia – these are not places wandering souls usually go without some expertise clearing the way. Nomadic Expeditions is more often than not the expert source that makes such far flung journeys possible. After all, how much fun could it be to wander under the endless skies of the Gobi Desert alone?

The wild steppes of Mongolia, the magnificent cliff monasteries of Bhutan, the top of the world meditation retreats of Tibet and even the untamed frontiers of Siberia are best managed with a few knowing friends and guides. Nomadic Expeditions offers itineraries to these hard to reach spots and makes them comfortable, fun, bragworthy and adventurous.

In Mongolia, travelers stay in the decked-out luxury yurts of Three Camel Lodge. They can join a small group of aspiring photographers with tours lead by award-winning travel photographer Alison Wright. They can join the legendary Golden Eagle Festival held each autumn in the western province of Bayan-Ölgii, or head out on a horse trek across through the beautiful Khoridal Saridag Mountains to Lake Hovsgol, the alpine lake known as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl”.  They can grab a two-humped camel and cross the haunting Gobi, finding hidden mountain springs, isolated forests of saxaul bushes, and canyons hiding ibex and prehistoric rock paintings along the way.

Into Bhutan

Bhutan can be equally as glorious and as remote as Mongolia. The landlocked mountain kingdom, located in the Eastern Himalayas, is bordered by Tibet in the north, Sikkim and Assam on its other frontiers. Now a Buddhist state lead by a constitutional monarchy, the land only opened to tourism in 1974 and as recently as 1999 welcomed television broadcasts from the West and the Internet. What travelers will find there is a land of peace and natural beauty packed into an area the size of Switzerland and with a population of less than 800,000.

Snow-capped peaks and deep valleys have kept invaders at bay. Bhutan has escaped colonization throughout its history. Such isolation has helped preserve the endangered snow leopard and the golden langur monkey, both still roaming free in the mountain forests. Nomadic Expeditions brings those fortunate enough to reach this sparsely-visited country through timeless villages and picturesque valleys, visiting fortress monasteries along high mountain passes, rare museums and awe-inspiring dzongs, and citadels featuring beautifully painted wooden architecture.

A 12-day departure timed to coincide with the Jambay Lhakhang Festival, one of Bhutan’s most colorful Buddhist celebrations held each October, celebrates the birthday of Guru Rimpoch, who is acknowledged as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The days are marked by the brilliance of teschu masks and sword dances. Nomadic Expeditions also wraps Bhutan into greater itineraries that include Tibet and Nepal.

Similarly, Siberia may not be a viable destination for novice travelers or adventure-seeking tourists unaccustomed to traveling off the grid, but it is a magnificent take-in for travelers willing to go the distance to a still undiscovered place with plenty of history. Nomadic Expeditions adds Siberia to a greater exploration of the Gobi as Siberia sits along Mongolia’s northern border of Russia.

Mongolia and Siberia harbor some of the world’s most incredible national parks and natural wonders, including Siberia’s magnificent Lake Baikal. It remains the deepest lake in the world and is home a rare species of freshwater seal, all at the heart of one of Russia’s most scenic regions. The visit includes an exploration of Irkutsk, considered the “Paris of Siberia,” as well as travel on the iconic Trans-Siberia Railway.

At the helm of Nomadic Expeditions is Jalsa Urubshurow, founder and CEO, an environmental conservation warrior whose parents left their ancestral homeland during Russia’s Stalin years. The land’s language and lore were not lost on Jalsa, and once Mongolia transitioned to a democracy his dream of visiting his father’s homeland became a reality. Jalsa was tabbed by the nation’s first prime minister to advise on opening up the country to westerners and creating a sustainable vision for tourism. Nomadic Expeditions was born and continues to lead the way with small group tours into some of the world’s most hidden places of treasure.

Among those treasures are the famed Gandan Monastery and a chance to meet Hamba Lama, the highest Buddhist lama as well as sightings of such animals as the Przewalski’s horse, the world’s last wild equine species that resides in Hustain Nuruu National Park, and lammergeiers or bearded vultures, which call the foothills of the Altai Mountains home.

Why Go to Mongolia?

·         Look to the land: It does not get more open than this: Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world, with only 4.3 people per square mile.

·         Look up: Mongolia is known as the “Land of Blue Sky” because it has 260 days of sun a year.

·         Look around: Mongolia counts 13 times more horses than humans. And when it comes to sheep? 35 to 1.

·         Look outside: Mongolia is home to one of the world’s last surviving nomadic people, and they still live in traditional tents known as gers or yurts. These often spacious and circular mobile shelters are protected with animal skins or felt to keep the warmth.

·         Look beyond: Mongolia is perhaps best known for its steppes. These are endless expanses of grasslands that go on forever with nary a tree.

·         Look for comfort: Dressing warm (or in layers that can be discarded in the heat of summer), wearing protection from the sun and wind – these caveats go without saying. But if woolen clothing is on your list for things to buy, Gobi cashmere is soft, warm, plentiful in the capital, relatively inexepensive and prized as a worthy souvenir.

As for dining, although Nomadic Expeditions offers gourmet meals under the sun and stars at Three Camel Lodge, the adventurous palette will seek out local flavors in the mostly sheep-focused delicacies presented in the villages.

Mongolia’s villagers live on sheep’s milk, sheep’s cheese, and mutton, especially a dish called buuz consisting of fried mutton and buttery dumplings. Camels, yaks, goats, and horses also figure into the Gobi diet, which is reliant on proteins and starchy carbs to sustain through winter’s wrath. Hearty mutton stews like tsuivan, or noodle dishes bring in some of the taste influence from neighboring China. Vegetables, especially fresh vegetables, are a delicacy when not traveling with an outfitted tour operator.

Travel to Mongolia or Bhutan and the remote lands that tuck into the foothills of Himalayas are at your fingertips through trusted travel companies like Nomadic Expeditions. Whether travelers are taking their chances and going it alone through the steppes and mountains, or prefer to travel with like-minded spirits in small groups that make these lonely lands a little less so, Nomadic Expeditions should be the first call to make and will offer the right advice to take.

Contact:

Nomadic Expeditions, Inc.
1095 Cranbury-South River Rd. Suite 20A
Monroe Twp., NJ 08831
(609) 860-9008; (800) 998-6634
info@nomadicexpeditions.com
www.nomadicexpeditions.com

Three Camel Lodge
Mt. Bulagtai Bulgan County
Umno-Gobi Province, Mongolia
(011) 976-11-325786
USA Toll-free: (800) 998-6634
info@threecamellodge.com
www.threecamellodge.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com

KAA News Roundup

March is a wonderful time to visit India, and this article from Coveteur details “How a Luxury Travel Expert Does a Trip to India.”  Read up on the beautiful and secluded Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp, Rajasthan in Citizen Femme.  Ananda is one of the great destination spas of the world, yet a week spent padding around this temple to wellness in the Himalayan foothills showed me it’s so much more. Read more from The Times here.

Maldives overwater hideaway Gili Lankanfushi was voted best in the Maldives from Trip Advisor readers, #1 in the region and Top 5 in the world.

Fiji is a fabulous destination this time of year, and Six Senses Fiji is set to open April 14th.  Here is a first look from DestinAsian Mag.

Six Senses Fiji and a bevy of beach resorts are mentioned in this article from Martha Stewart Weddings, “50 Best Beach Honeymoons” including The Brando, Mukul, Vik Retreats, and Six Senses Zil Pasyon.

Jetsetter Mag included Mukul’s Ultimate Romance Package in their roundup of 11 Valentine’s Day Hotel Packages We’re Totally Booking This Year.

Learn about Chable Resort outside Merida, Mexico in this wonderful Forbes Article.  More on Chable in Home Front Magazine, Modern Curiosity Meets Ancient Mysticism.

Over in Cabo another Mexican gem, The Resort at Pedregal, was named #2 Hotel in Mexico by US News. 

Down to South America, where Casa San Agustin in Cartagena was voted #1 in Colombia by TripAdvisor in the Travellers Choice Awards. Pikaia Lodge and Quito, Ecuador are HOT. Read up on 5 Hot Winter Escapes from Furthermore by Equinox.

Indagare’s list of the World’s Most Romantic Hotels includes many of our favorites: The Brando, Twin Farms and Vik Retreats. More evidence can be found for these special resorts in Travel + Leisure, where The Brando and Twin Farms in a tie for 1st in “The World’s Most Romantic Hotels.”

Twin Farms was also featured in Forbes, “The World’s Best Romantic Hotels And Resorts” along with Botswana gem, Zarafa Camp by Great Plains Conservation.

More than romance can be found at Twin Farms, featured in She Knows as an Active Winter Wellness Retreats to Make the Most of the Snow.

20 of the world’s most seductive places to stay  as featured in The Telegraph include The Brando, Finca Cortesin, and Song Saa.

The buzz for the opening of the much anticipated Silversands Grenada this fall is hot, read up in The Telegraph.

The Bahamian private island Musha Cay was featured in Bloomberg Pursuits: You’ll never top these over-the-top, extravagant expressions of love.

 

Hamak Hotels Seeing Green — and Gold — in Mexico and Beyond

Hamak Hotels continues to make a statement in some of the Mexico’s most pristine and historic locations with 11 hotel and resort properties … and counting. The latest footprint in the portfolio opens this summer with Chablé Maroma on the Riviera Maya.

Each property commits to preservation, both to the culture of place and the natural landscape in place, in a concept commonly referred to as “cultural greening.” But the gold behind the green is a partnership of brains and hospitality experience that accounts for some 60 years combined in bringing successful hotel development and management to Mexico. In 2009, luxury hotelier veterans and developers Alberto Remirez, Nicolas Dominguez and Federico Carstens, formerly of Prohotels Management and Hotel Ikal del Mar (currently known as Tides Riviera Maya), launched their dream in creating and operating eco-conscious hotels throughout Mexico. They saw that guests too often walk away from the homogenized hotel experiences they have feeling unfulfilled. There was a gap there that needed to be addressed and the trio set out to create resorts that offer individualized experiences appealing to guests’ senses of taste, smell, touch, sight and sound with immersions in local traditions and customs, but without sacrificing luxury and pampering.

 

Chablé Resort, Mérida

 

For the past couple of years, Hamak has been receiving wide spread kudos with the 2016 opening of Chablé Resort near Mérida in the Yucatán.

The resort sits in a Mayan forest barely 30 minutes’ drive from the historic and celebrated city. As a five-star spa retreat it spreads across 750 acres with 38 spacious stand-alone pool villas and two palatial 3-bedroom presidential manors, all surrounded by lush gardens and anchored by a lavish 19th century restored Hacienda.

Another centerpiece of the resort is its world-class spa within a natural cenote or magical underground pond, where the resort’s spiritual shaman conducts traditional ceremonies and discusses Mayan philosophies with guests. Drawing from this ancient wisdom, the spa offers a wide range of Mayan-inspired treatments.

Cuisine at Chablé focuses on seasonal and organic ingredients, often accompanied by flights of rare tequilas from the resort’s collection, believed to be the largest in the world.

 

Hotel Cartesiano, Puebla

Hotel Cartesiano opened in 2017 as a luxury property in the heart of historic Puebla – an easy 90-munite drive from Mexico City.  With 78 guest rooms and suites, the hotel spreads across a restored and enhanced 16th century colonial mansion presenting guest rooms and public spaces that bring out the traditions of art and authentic architecture in Mexico through natural woods and local stones.

Guestroom amenities include rain showers, double sink, security box, 55” Smart TV, Nespresso Coffeemaker and Ortigia designer bath products.

A rooftop pool and deck provide relaxation for guests taking a break from touring the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site that is Puebla. Also find a spirited lobby bar and lounge, a robust library and a convenient business center. The spa at Cartesiano offers four tranquil cabins and an array of rejuvenating treatments using Naturopathic brand products.

Dining venues and views throughout the property take in Puebla’s churches and historic quarters.

 

Mukan Resort, Sian Ka’an

For many travelers, far away is just not far enough and for those travelers, there is Mukan. Located on Mexico’s southern Caribbean coast in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mukan is protected by tropical forests, mangrove lagoons and the beauty of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

The precious resort opened in December with just four stand-alone beachfront bungalows and five guest suites in the main villa, all comfortably luxurious and managed with the least amount of pressure on the environment. That includes, solar electricity, water harvested from subterranean springs, indigenous building materials, furnishings crafted by locals, and dining ingredients from local gardens. The Sian Ka’an biosphere is one of Mexico’s largest protected areas and provides for plenty of adventure and discovery.

While incredibly remote, Mukan can be accessed by car, boat and helicopter. It’s an easy 45-minute boat journey through mesmerizing mangrove forests from Tulum. The resort is located 100 miles from Cancun International Airport. The resort offers personal meet and transfer van services for an added fee that, with the boat ride to the dock, takes about 2.5 hours total.

Dining at Mukan is highly personalized. That means there are no menus: the chef carefully creates each dish according to guest preferences. These are often regionally-inspired dishes using locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients.

Days of exploration are given to kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment, bicycles and yoga mats. Excursions can be arranged through the concierge, whether to canoe through meandering mangroves, dive into magical cenotes, fly fishing in lagoons or wandering through the biosphere with its extraordinary flora and fauna.

 

Casa San Agustin, Cartagena, Columbia

Farther afield in the heart of historic, UNESCO-protected Old Town Cartagena in Columbia, Casa San Augustin carries the Hamak banner with 24 rooms and six suites built into adjacent 17th century mansions. The hotel is a veritable museum in its own right filled with local period antiques, original wood-beamed ceilings, and wall frescoes. Slices of a 300-year-old aqueduct run through the hotel’s core.

 

Each guestroom is distinctive and unique with views of the street or garden. Some of the rooms and suites enjoy shared gardens, or private plunge pools. All accommodations are furnished with Frette linens. iPads are presented to guest upon request. Wi-Fi is freely available throughout and bicycles are at the ready for guests to ride through the medieval streets surrounding and onto the beach areas.

Guests gather around an ambient garden pool in the courtyard, framed by the former aqueduct. Dining is managed at Alma, specializing in seafood and known for locally-sourced ceviche, an amazing bouillabaisses and local specialties with international gourmet twists. Steps away is the historic charm and artsy bustle of Old Town Cartagena, a significant colonial port of trade that had its halcyon days in the 17th century.  Casa San Augustin is a member of Leading Hotels of the World.

 

Chablé Maroma, Riviera Maya

Soon to open this summer is Chablé Maroma on the Riviera Maya on popular Maroma Beach on the Riviera Maya. As a member of Leading Hotels of the World, Maroma will not be short on luxury, service or amenities with some 70 Villas with private pools and moon showers, and palatial Presidential Villas with three bedrooms each. Expect a generous beachfront expanse, a beach deck for yoga, and a signature spa offering eight treatment cabins and a creative menu of services. Fitness classes, cooking classes and local explorations will add to the list.

Chablé Maroma is located 35 minutes from the Cancun International Airport.

Contact

Mukan: info@mukan.com

Chablé Maroma: sbeltran@hamakhotels.com

Chablé Resort: info@chableresort.com

Hotel Cartesiano: reservations@hotelcartesiano.com

Casa San Agustin: info@hotelcasasanagustin.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com