KAA News Roundup

Great news this month for several hotels from Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards.  The Brando scored a 99.8, making them the #1 resort in the world.  View the whole gallery here which includes awards for Brush Creek Ranch, #1 in the USA and #5 in the world, plus great rankings for Twin Farms, Malibu Beach Inn, Mukul in Nicaragua and Kauri Cliffs.

The Brando has a very real commitment to the environment including research and conservation with the Tetiaroa Society. Read more here from Nat Geo Voices, and here from National Geographic, “Mosquitoes May Meet Their End Thanks to Marlon Brando.” An innovative program has nearly eradicated the insects on the late actor’s private island, no pesticides or genetic engineering needed.

Forbes Travel Guide explores “7 Irresistible Private Island Hotels” and includes The Brando and Musha Cay in The Bahamas. Musha Cay was also featured in Robb Report, 10 Luxury Trends That Forever Changed the Way We Travel, “Private Islands.” Musha Cay wins Caribbean’s Leading Private Island Resort from World Travel Awards.

New client Nomadic Expeditions and their unique itineraries throughout Mongolia have been featured in some high end publications.  Read about this exciting, groundbreaking company in Town & Country, “A Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.”

Sophy Roberts writes for How to Spend It, “Mongolia: Ice driving and horse-sled racing in remotest Mongolia,” and from Travel + Leisure, “Why Mongolia’s Moment Is Now.”

Down to Cambodia and Song Saa Private Island, featured this month in Forbes, “3 Southeast Asian Spa Retreats That Should Be On Your Bucket List,” and on AOL Travel’s list, “World’s most luxurious beach holidays.” The Chef from Song Saa is coming to Carousel in London November 15-26 for London’s very first pop-up Khmer dining experience.

Over to Myanmar, where The Strand Cruise is readying to sail the Irrawaddy this Valentine’s Day featuring musicians from the Paris Opera & Orchestra.

Luxury Travel: Discover the Opulent Reverie Saigon in Eat Love Savor.

Down to India, where Jawai in Rajasthan was featured on Jetsetter, “The World’s Most Spectacular Safaris.”

For wellness inspiration in India, read about The Lodhi & Ananda in Architectural Digest’s article, “India’s Most Opulently Designed Spas.”

Connecting with her inner Bedouin in Dubai, Huffington Post contributor E Nina Rothe reviews the spa at The Palace Downtown Dubai.

The Address Hotels featured in this article by The Mirror, “If you think that size doesn’t matter then you’ve clearly never been to Dubai.”

Fall is a great time for travel to Spain.  Check out this New York Times article featuring Finca Cortesin’s two-night Hike & Bike package.

A well-deserved congrats to our favorite London Hotel, The Beaumont, awarded AA Hotel of the Year, London.

Read about winter at Twin Farms, Vermont in The Robb Report where their new Art of a Vermont Winter offers a totally customized gastronomic experience.

Brush Creek Ranch was named #1 in the USA by Conde Nast and also #1 Destination Resort by USA Today Reader’s Choice Travel Awards. The award winning ranch was also featured in Brides Mag, “Get Married at These Famous Celebrity Wedding Venues.”

Faena Miami Beach founder Alan Faena selected by Conde Nast and Architectural Digest as a Daring 25 Honoree. Watch Video >>

In wellness news, Healthy Living Travel lists the “Top Ten Best Fitness Spas of North America” and Lake Austin Spa makes the list. Goop also includes the spa on the Austin Guide for Beauty and Health.

In Mexico, Rancho La Puerta featured in The Washington Post, ‘The Ranch’: In Mexico, a spa’s luxury inspires a cultish devotion.

A wellness resort, plus beach, golf and mush more, read about Mukul in Nicaragua in the Huff Post, “The Hidden Gem of Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast.” Goop features Mukul in their roundup of Three great girls trips which includes surfing lessons with Tropic Surf.

More news from Latin America, way down to Uruguay. Estanica Vik, Playa Vik, and Bahia Vik in the news from Marie Claire and The Times London.

Need a Zika free holiday this winter? Head to Uruguay, Chile The Maldives and more. Guide from the Trip Trotter here.

The Seychelles is also an excellent choice, where the newest Six Senses just opened. Six Senses Zil Pasyon.

Over to Africa, and a Travel + Leisure interview with Dennis Pinto of Micato Safaris on the transformation he’s seen in the Safari Industry.





The Strand Cruise: Slices of Life and Luxury along Myanmar’s Mighty Irrawaddy

A luxury river cruise in Myanmar should start with a luxury stay at The Strand and then set a course along the Irrawaddy with the same saturation in comforts and conveniences. The venerated hotel recently launched a namesake river cruise option in Myanmar, travelers seeking a slow, luxurious river cruise to Mandalay can now do so on The Strand Cruise.


The Strand Hotel, the circa 1901 colonial iconic hotel on the banks of the Yangon River, was created by the Sarkies brothers, an Armenian team that also owned The Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang.


That vision and time is reflected in The Strand Cruise that started up in January with weekly three- and four-day languidly delicious journeys between Mandalay and Bagan.

Cruises along the Irrawaddy (also known as the Ayeyarwady) are a popular and fast emerging travel product now that the Burmese government has relaxed travel restrictions in Myanmar for foreign tourists. However, few cruise companies offer the imprint and rooted history in Myanmar that The Strand does. The hotel is approaching its 117th year as a premier hotel, known to dignitaries, royalty, celebrities, writers and captains of industry. Rudyard Kipling, author of the poem, “Road to Mandalay,” was a guest.


Guests of The Strand Cruise often begin or end their cruise with a stay at The Strand Hotel as guests fly into and out of Yangon. The Five-star property is currently under a meticulous renovation through mid-November to preserve the fine details and appointments that make the property so compelling. Nearby highlights in Yangon include the Shwedagon Pagoda and Sule Pagoda, in the heart of the city, magnificent buildings dating back 2000 years.


The city is also known as the land of lacquerware, and visitors can fine these works in Bogyoke Aung San Market, (10 minutes from The Strand and open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm) as well as shop for summer sandals, jewels and gems, delicate lacquered parasols and colorful longyi, the ubiquitous Asian sarong. For antiques they head to Augustine and the shop houses of Dhamazedi Road. For gems and jewelry, it’s the Myanmar Gems Museum and its Gems Mart.


Passengers boarding in Bagan take a short flight to Nyaung U Airport where they are met by cruise staff and enjoy the scenic, 20-minute drive to the ship. Passengers gather in the garden of the oldest lacquer factory in Bagan for a lavish breakfast before boarding.

Onboard the four-deck, 27-cabin vessel, guests are guided to staterooms that have four levels of design space: from the 177-square-foot Deluxe Cabin, the 247-square-foot Strand Cabin, the 328-square-foot State Suite, and the 430-square-foot Strand Suite. The latter comes with a complementary spa session, complimentary night at The Strand and private airport transfers. There are only two of these, located at the bow of the ship. Cabins come with soft, high-threadcount linens, single-into-king beds, teak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows with French balconies, international television access, Wi-fi and 24-hour butler service.

The top deck comes with a pool, rare to find on river cruise vessels and a welcomed amenity in these hot climes, despite the adequate air-conditioning. A focus on spa and wellness aboard is accommodated in treatment rooms overlooking the river. And with only 56 passengers onboard, there is little crowding anywhere. An upper deck bar serves cocktails and wines (many local labels). A must try, however, is the “Strand Sour,” said to have been George Orwell’s favorite during his stays at The Strand.


Cruising the Irrawaddy

The Irrawaddy flows from the northern glaciers of the Himalayas through Myanmar to the Andaman Sea – around 1,348 miles in all, making it Myanmar’s largest river. And, like the Yangtze and the Mekong, it also serves as the river of commerce, moving goods and resources into and out of the region. A muddy river from glacial silt and commercial usage, it is only navigable for some 932 miles from the southern delta, but along those miles, one would be hard-pressed to see industrial marring, overbuilding or anything that isn’t pretty timeless and natural. Rather, golden pagodas and ancient stupas line the riverbanks where people live, fish, wash, trade. Time seems to halt on what can truly be described as a slow boat to Mandalay.

Bagan-templesThe journey begins in Bagan, an ancient city of 2000 temples. Guests can visit the ornate Ananda temple dating back to 1091; then there is the Shwezigon Pagoda, all-aglow in gold. Guests visit the Gubyaukgyi temple, known for its once colorful, but now faded wall paintings. Guests also visit Tant Kyi Taung pagoda, also known as the glass monastery. Legend has it that all four of these holy sites must be visited and given to prayer before midday, should one want to see a specific wish or desire come to pass.

Also along the way guests visit the rickety U Bein Bridge, said to be the oldest and longest teak bridge in the world. The .74 mile long structure crosses Taungthaman Lake, near Amarapura, a former capital just south of Mandalay. Watch locals on bicycles and monks in saffron crossing the lake, under them fisherman pole delicate skiffs in quiet waters.

Famous-U-Bein-Bridge-in-MyanmarMost tours offered are visits to sacred temples, an experience complemented most exquisitely with sunrise hot balloon tours over Bagan that The Strand Cruise arranges for around $330 per person.

Stops and spots along the way center around the once royal cities of Burma, the historical capitals of the country, featuring architecturally stunning Buddhist sanctuaries, tranquil charms of villages and main city centers. Ava, the imperial capital of Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to the 19th centuries, can be visited by horse drawn cart.

Rates for The Strand Cruise start at $1,782 per person, double, for a three-night Mandalay to Bagan trip in low season. Prime sailing season on the Irrawaddy runs September through April. Find a cool, dry season, between November and February. Monsoon rains and high humidity happen May through October.

gallery-new-19Current promotions to be found include a 30 percent discount on selected sailings through the rest of the year, a special City and River packages that include a stay at The Strand in Yangon with breakfast, transfers and domestic flight on selected sailings in December.

gallery-new-16A special themed sailing in February 2017 brings a treat to music lovers. On its Valentine’s Day 2017 departure passengers on The Strand Cruise will be joined by musicians from the Opera de Paris and Orchestre de Paris. During the four-day sailing, the artists will play a series of classical concerts both onboard and onshore with the Irrawaddy as a dramatic backdrop. Click here for seasonal promotions.

The Strand Cruise
4th Floor, Dusit Thani Building
946 Rama IV Road, Silom, Bangrak
Bangkok 10500, Thailand
(+66-0) 9 4979 1324
Email: jared.green@thestrandcruise.com
Website: www.thestrandcruise.com

The Strand
92 Strand Road
Yangon Myanmar
Bangkok 10500, Thailand
(+011 95) 1 243 377
Email: info@hotelthestrand.com
Website: www.hotelthestrand.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.

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The Ultimate New Zealand Lodge Package

Experience the very best of New Zealand by combining 3 nights each at Kauri Cliffs, Matakauri Lodge, and Cape Kidnappers.

matakauri (2)A stay at these lodges always includes daily pre-dinner drinks and canapés, gourmet dinner, and full breakfast – book the ULTIMATE NEW ZEALAND nine night package, and you’ll also enjoy your choice of one of the following quintessential New Zealand adventures at each property (per couple):

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs – Bay of Islands

• Indulge in a luxurious 50 minute couples massage at The Spa at Kauri Cliffs. Can be taken individually if preferred.

• OR a guided land based fishing excursion to one of the three private beaches; Waiaua Bay, Pink Beach or Little Takou (2 hours). The chef will be pleased to prepare your catch as part of your evening meal.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers – HAWKE’S Bay

• Experience the Kiwi Discovery Walk. A once in a lifetime opportunity to accompany the Cape Kidnappers wildlife preservation team while they track and monitor a Kiwi bird which has been released on the property.

• OR a guided Can-am Tour. An exhilarating way to experience the 6,000 acres that make up The Farm.

Matakauri Lodge – Queenstown

• A scenic cruise aboard the 100 year old steamer the TSS Earnslaw as it travels up and down Lake Wakatipu stopping at Walter Peak Station. Transfers included.

• OR the iconic Shotover Jet boat ride. A breathtaking ride through the dramatic and narrow canyons of the Shotover River, with full 360 degree spins. Transfers included

1 April 16 – 14 November 16 $9,210
15 November 16 – 22 December 16 $14,310
23 December 16 – 4 January 17 $19,170
5 January 17 – 28 February 17 $17,010
1 March 17 – 21 April 17 $14,310

*Package is quoted in New Zealand Dollars per person, based on double/twin occupancy and excludes the applicable 15% Govt. Goods & Services Tax (GST). Package represents savings of up to NZ $855 per person

image 049
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Accommodation at the lodges includes daily pre-dinner drinks and hors d’oeuvres, gourmet dinner, full breakfast, complimentary mini-bar (excluding liquor and wines) and use of lodge facilities. In addition to the traditional lodge inclusions guests staying on The Ultimate New Zealand Lodge Package will also enjoy a complimentary lunch for each night they stay. Lunch can be taken in the lodge dining rooms, or packed as a picnic or lunch bag to take with you on excursions.

Reservations & more Information >>

Brush Creek Ranch Named the Top Destination Resort by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards

“Award-winning Brush Creek Resort sits on 30,000 private acres of Wyoming’s Platte River Valley and blends the allure of the American West with the sophistication and comfort of one of the world’s best resorts. Activities include horseback riding, shooting sports, fly fishing, yoga, lawn games and an indoor arcade.” – USA Today 10Best

Brush Creek Ranch is honored to be named the top Destination Resort by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards! We thank USA Today, the 10Best readers and loyal guests for casting their votes and choosing Brush Creek Ranch as the number one Destination Resort in the United States, offering a premier luxury experience. Read more >>

Finca Cortesin Hike & Bike Package

A winter and fall package available for adventurous travelers until March 22nd, the Hike & Bike Package offers a mix of walking and cycling perfect for walkers who want to have a day on a bike or for riders who wants to swap their bikes for boots.

Dibujo0Cycle or Hike your way through the hills or mountains of Andalusia, exploring the unspoilt countryside. We offer a tailor made mountain bike ride or hikes to suit your preferences and abilities.
The package includes:

– Minimum of two night stay in one of our Suites.

– Fresh Fruit and Premium Water in your room

– Complimentary WI- FI connection

– An energizing daily breakfast at our Restaurant

– 1 day of guided mountain Bike or Hike with qualified guide

– Energy Bars and Fresh Water

– Safety car and bike hire included for cyclists

– Landry service for your bike or walking clothing (Max. 2 garment per person)

– Access to our 2.200m2 Spa

– Early check in / late check out (upon availability) / welcome drink during check-in



Junior Suites from 2 nights from:                   1.102€
Executive Suite from 2 nights from:               1.460€


Junior Suites from 2 nights from:                   1.182€
Executive Suite from 2 nights from:               1.540€

Rates per suite per package based in double occupancy. 10% VAT not included.

Package available from 10th October 2015 until 22th March, 2016 subject to availability.

More information, plus additional special offers including golf and spa packages can be found here.









Costa Rica Adventure with Pampering at Villa Manzu

Adventure and luxury rarely combine so well as they do in Costa Rica. The Central American country that is barely the size of West Virginia holds half a million species of wildlife – some 4 percent of the world’s index of living species. And it also holds nearly as healthy a selection of the world’s top luxury resorts for those seeking an over-the-top-vacation in adventure and hospitality. Topping the list may be Villa Manzu on Costa Rica’s Papagayo Peninsula near Liberia. It’s a stay like no other in a lavish manse made for two or eight times that number.

Aerial Manzu 27_1With eight suites, 30,000 square feet of living space, 23 dedicated staff to serve, and two heated and private salt water pools, the wowing experience is best shared with some 14 of the couple’s favorite friends and family.

Aerial Manzu 26

Whether for a wedding, a reunion, a celebration, a retreat or a promised family vacation, Villa Manzu can be an easy choice to make. It offers all the exotic wrappings that Costa Rica brings but with none of the sacrifices in convenience and comfort. That is because of location, mostly. While Villa Manzu is in its own jungle of shrouded and exquisitely private grounds – just steps away from the seductive Pacific surf, it is also within walking distance of the Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Exterior Deck 6

Every Suite a Palace

But a stay at the villa is more than a chic private home vacation. The service, the amenities, the precious interior design details … every need and want is anticipated here, from the children’s game room or the movie library room, to the outdoor yoga platform and waterfall-accented spa to the wine cellar, complete with fine cigars. Bedrooms are not bedrooms; they are palatial master suites with wings of their own.

7 Bathroom bAnd all suites pack in the extras, starting with the smart consoles for temperature, lights and sound and then the convenient extras, such as coffee service, full mini-bar, surround sound, iPod dock, entertainment systems and private decks. Naturally, at this level of luxury, the Villa has had its share of celebrity guests (Tip: grab the La Lora suite – rumored to have been Beyoncé’s choice when Kelly Rowland got married at the property in 2014).

1 Bedroom dOnsite Staff at Villa Manzu

Meals are prepared for guests onsite by a dedicated master chef and crew able to present feasts with accents from Europe to the Far East and all with the freshest of fruits from the local land and sea. Lavish picnics follow the parties on sailing missions and snorkeling adventures through remote coves.

Wine roomMorning yoga over the Pacific? No problem. Villa Manzu offers a variety of skilled staff onsite – whether the need is for a full round of yoga salutations on the terrace as the sun rises for three fit and active members of the vacation party, or for two-hour massage treatments in a villa’s private spa that is flanked by two 30-foot waterfalls. Other guests can idle their time away by the two private saltwater pools – one an infinity pool over the ocean – or head down a quick path to the private beach.

yoga at the pointOnly in Costa Rica

For most guests, however, playing golf at the Four Seasons or getting out and exploring the wild ride that is Costa Rica is as much a reason to vacation in Costa Rica as the Villa.

The property features walking trails and equipment for guests use including bikes, golf carts, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and surfboards. The villa’s naturalist guide is available to lead a myriad adventures of to experience the culture and fun that defines Costa Rica.

Stand-up Paddling at ManzuGuests can enjoy fishing excursions, beach horseback riding, kayaking, Jet Ski adventures, snorkeling cruises, mountain biking into the jungle, tubing beneath forest canopies, and helicopter tours along the Pacific coastline. Coffee and chocolate tours can be arranged as well as surfing lessons, waterfall explorations, river rafting, cooking classes, dance lessons, you name it.

As most vacationers in Costa Rica are also action and adventure seekers, Villa Manzu offers a dedicated concierge ready to set guests on their quests to have a holiday like no other.

GarageThe following are the four must-do extreme adventures in Costa Rica for the active set:

Canyoning in Costa Rica

Canyoning in Costa Rica takes place in the areas of Turrialba, San Ramon, Miramar, La Fortuna and Rincon de la Vieja. Performed in small groups of up to 12 people accompanied by a guide, the activity includes walking, hiking, climbing and rappelling any or all of the six canyons available. This is an unusual Costa Rican experience because the country’s tropical canyons and climate provide travelers the opportunity to explore landscapes with lush vegetation and breathtaking views of waterfalls.

Mountain Biking through the Jungles

With miles and miles of rocky trails and tough terrains, Costa Rica is perfect for all kinds of two-wheeled fun. The country’s most demanding routes take various days, allowing travelers to cross the country. The average length of a mountain biking trip is five to eight, or even 10 days. Travelers can choose from professional routes such as “La Ruta de los Conquistadores,” which lasts three days, or opt for a shorter route that combines mountain biking with walking, rafting and kayaking. If seeking to go completely off-road, travelers can also choose a route that does not touch pavement at any point, such as the one at Rincon de la Vieja, comprised of 24 to 31 miles of waterfalls and downhill paths.

Trekking Through Captivating Terrain

With mountainous terrain and unspoiled rainforests, trekking through Costa Rica’s rainforests is inspiring. Unlike hiking, trekking, however, is a lengthier activity, with the average route lasting three days. The Savegre route, for instance, consists of various trails connected through agricultural towns that offer facilities and activities, allowing visitors to choose the points they want to explore. The Kamuk route takes at least five days of walking and travelers have to carry everything with them, including their own tent and food.

Sea Kayaking, Costa Rica Style

For travelers interested in sea kayak camping, the four-day route at Golfo Dulce, where different species of whales and dolphins give birth and nurse their young throughout the year, is a must. The trip begins at Puerto Jimenez and leads travelers up the coast at a rate of 12 miles per day. On the second day of the trip, travelers cross from one side of the gulf to the other. Travelers can take a rest at the campsite in Piedras Blancas National Park, at the opposite side of Osa Peninsula. For this trip, travelers have to take all essentials in the kayak with them, including their tent. Another popular route for sea kayak camping is the beginning at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, through Rio San Juan and ending at Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge.

And the Adventure Continues

Costa Rica’s plethora of extreme adventures also includes skydiving in locations such as Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas and Esterillos, as well as scuba diving in Isla del Caño and Isla Catalina, where it’s possible for travelers to see giant devil rays. Travelers interested in surfing may also choose to visit Costa Rica for its massive waves. Some of Costa Rica’s most popular surf beaches include Jaco, the home of the 2016 International Surfing Association World Surfing Games, Playa Naranjo and Pavones.

Nights at Villa Manzu run $16,000 to $23,000 and the villa can only be reserved in its entirety. The Villa is located is about 40 minutes from Liberia International Airport.


Villa Manzu
Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
(+011 949) 200 8086
Email: Reserve@VillaManzu.com

Bar 1Kurtz-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.


KAA News Roundup

Several properties made the coveted list from Andrew Harper’s Reader’s Choice Awards including Twin Farms as the #10 US Hideaway, Halekulani as the #8 Beach Resort and Cape Kidnappers made the list of Best Golf Resorts.

Sister hotel Kauri Cliffs in the news this month from Destination Golf and The New Zealand Herald.

Up to Asia where The Strand Cruise is making waves in the press. “From ship to shore, The Strand experience best showcases this magical country,” from Porthole Cruise and from Two Monkeys Travel, “A Mythical Journey in Myanmar.”

Cambodia’s finest resort, Song Saa Private Island received a great review in Robb Report Singapore, and our favorite Bangkok Hotel, The Siam, is now the #2 Hotel in Bangkok on TripAdvisor.

Over to India where The Lodhi New Delhi’s excellent spa was reviewed by Style, Body & Soul.

More spa experiences await at Gili Lankanfushi in The beautiful Maldives. Travel Junkie Diary writes about her visit and The Daily Mail highlights Gili and Six Senses Laamu as two heavenly Maldives resorts.

Supermodel David Gandy likes to hang out at The Beaumont in London and here’s why according to Balance Mag.

The New York Times writes on The Beaumont, “New Destination for Art: Upscale Hotels” and Vogue France prefers the hotel as their home for London Fashion Week.

Another hotel for fashionistas is or course Armani Hotel Milan. Read about it from Luxury London.

Iceland is the place to be this fall according to Forbes, “Iceland Tops List of Hot Luxury Adventure Destinations.” We recommend a customized journey with luxury outfitter Nordic Luxury.

Two great pieces on Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada, “Fogo Island Inn combines contemporary art and design with centuries-old folk traditions.” And “There are some places that leave you feeling like you’ve reached the ends of the Earth.”

In the USA, Brush Creek Ranch awaits as a luxury ranch getaway, read about it in Forbes.

From Brides Magazine, “5 Los Angeles Hotels Perfect for Your Honeymoon” features Malibu Beach Inn and from People, “The Ultimate California Babymoon.”

A popular bucket list destination, The Galapagos, appears in Departures Magazine highlighting Pikaia Lodge, “How to Do the Galapagos Now,” and from Vogue, “Forget the Typical Honeymoon—Go on an Adventure-Moon Instead.”

Over to Chile and Vina Vik where “Alexander Vik had a dream:  To create the best wine in South America.” Read this wine review to see the results.

In Nicaragua, celebrate 50 years of Endless Summer the movie at Mukul Resort with a special surf package with outfitter Tropic Surf, and The Robb Report includes Mukul and its famous Flor de Cana rum in their roundup, “These 5 Hotels and Resorts Serve Their Own Exclusive Brands of Booze.”

For your dose of wellness this month, congrats to Chiva-Som for making Conde Nast Traveller’s list of their top 100 Reader’s Travel Awards, coming in at #17, and here is an insightful review on the award winning spa from The Province.

Press for Lake Austin Spa Resort this month from Orbitz Blog on their cupping and tapping treatments, and this first hand review by Always on Vacay.

Surfing in Nicaragua; Savoring it at Mukul

Nicaragua has been gaining popularity with backpackers as the new cool place to surf and hang. But luxury travelers are now in for the ride, discovering a country of exotic jungles, rare volcanic splendors and now the dramatic and seductive beaches of the Emerald Coast. Five-star hospitality at Mukul Resort awaits this crowd, who want to immerse in Nicaragua’s mystery and adventure and simmer in its comforts.

mukulresortaerialHollywood gossip reports have already noted the luminaries finding their way to Mukul: Beyoncé, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Michael Fassbender among the names, while celebrity surfers, such as Matthew McConaughey and Josh Brolin are helping to put Nicaragua on the map for the fabulous waves to be found there.

Nicaragua Surfing Safari

At Mukul Resort, surfing takes on another dimension. Guests can take guided expeditions to the best surfing spots along this celebrated coastline. No fuss, no muss, no maps, no crowds. They can have coached lessons as beginners or expert guidance as athletes. At Mukul, they have the time to give to this sport of mind and balance. They have the trainers who can coach them along. They have the waves that fit their level and interest.

Manzinillo Beach Model Released

And they have the freedom to enjoy it all at their pace in an exotic place of unexpected beauty. Mukul’s partnership with Australian luxury surfing outfitter, TropicSurf, makes it all possible – from beach to boards. Even the afterglow is considered. Guests receive a video or stills of their prime wave experiences.

Whether guests choose to try their beginner’s luck with lessons off Mukuk’s beach break or go for the ocean’s action off Paga Drop, the support is there to make sure the time is fun, worthwhile and safe for those traveling alone, with a significant other or with young ones.
Mukul is Making Changes in Nicaragua

Mukul Resort marks a change for Nicaragua, which is fast making its way into a 21st century economy. The $250 million sustainable sanctuary, hotel and residential community is the first five-star development in the country and delivers on its five-star promise. Rum magnate, Don Carlos Pellas, has invested wisely in this pristine 4.8-mile swath of Nicaragua’s Pacific Emerald Coast, creating not only this scenic and rarefied resort experience but also Guacalito de la Isla, a residential resort complex with golf, resort amenities and gorgeous cliffside domiciles near the Mukul property.


The fishing village of Gigante, about a five-minute drive away, keeps it all local with markets and cafes and sleepy village life that is still expressly Nicaraguan.
Local Luxury

Mukul keeps it local too. The resort spreads out amid along 1,670 acres hugging Manzanillo Point with 37 spacious accommodations, all stylish, with high ceilings and locally carved furnishings. Twelve of these are beachfront villas with mesmerizing ocean views. Each villa has a pool and comes with 24-hour butler attendance. Then there are 23 hillside bohios, each with a private plunge pool and wrap around deck, and views from 300-feet above the beach at the edge of the forest. Large families, multi-families, groups, friends, business events can consider the 20,000-square-foot Casona Don Carlos – when the Carlos family is not in residence. The palatial two-story complex on the ocean surrounds an 80-foot palapa, the centerpiece and gathering spot for activities. The estate offers four master bedroom suites, a wrap-around stone terrace, a large private swimming pool, and direct access to the beach.


Each villa or bohio presents, at minimum, 1,003-square-feet of space, bathrooms with separate his and hers vanity rooms leading to a lava rock and liquid temple of monsoon showers and soaking tubs. Outside, each Beach Villa has a wrap-around teak wood deck, direct access to the beach, a private swimming pool, an outdoor lounging palapa, a day bed and hammock. Central air-conditioning and wireless Internet access are also de rigueur.


Each of the 23 bohios runs at least 623 square feet with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and windows over the views, plus a wooden deck with a private plunge pool and separate lounging veranda with a custom daybed. Nicaraguan travertine marble covers the bedroom floor. There is a wet room, double vanity, spacious walk-in closet and double-headed shower. The furniture, fabrics and lighting fixtures also lend to the authentic feel, all handcrafted in a refined local style.
Go for the Golf; Stay for the Spa

An 18-hole golf course designed by David McLay Kidd (Bandon Dunes and the Castle Course in St. Andrew) is a central amenity of Mukul Resort as is the spa – a design of six private suites, each themed and tailored to be temples of ancient healing arts, from mystic crystals to shamanic magic. Journeys can run from a single treatment to a full day healing immersion.

crystal temple
Daring Days, Delicious Nights

At the end of the day, whether spent surfing, hiking (Mukul links up to 15 miles of jungle trails), golfing, exploring some of the country’s 50 volcanoes or touring some of the countries historic colonial towns, Mukul welcomes guests with some of the Flor de Caña, Nicaragua’s royalty of rums. And, for those so inclined, a delicately hand-rolled cigar (Nicaragua is the top producer of premium cigars in the Americas) adds just the right panache.


Dining is a delight over the ocean and breaking waves. Dining choices can be fancy or casual. La Mesa offers tasting menus with four-, five-, and six-course meals paired with just the right wines. Fresh seafood is always in season. Casual meals at La Terrazza see eclectic fare to please fussy children and picky gourmands alike. It’s open for all meals. Having a peaceful in-room breakfast on the private terrace over the ocean after a yoga lesson simply has no comparables. For some added zest, visitors can head to the village of Gigante down the road to try local dishes and wrap themselves in the local color.


Getting There

To get to Mukul from the U.S., guests can choose to fly in from Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua and then take a 20-minute flight to Mukul’s local Costa Esmeralda Airport, 15 minutes away from the resort. Or they can fly in from San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR) in Costa Rica on a 30-minute flight via Sansa Airlines to Costa Esmeralda Airport and be met by a private driver. Guests can also take their time getting to Mukul. The resort is a two-hour drive from Managua. The Nicaraguan capital Managua is an easy two- or three-hour flight from such U.S. gateways as Miami, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale and Atlanta. Flights are also available from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Dallas.

Rates at Mukul start at around $500 a night. Packages with breakfast and transfers are available.


Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa
Guacalito, Nicaragua
(+011 505) 25 63 71 00

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