Tierra del Fuego in Style: Luxury Stays at Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa

A vacation in Tierra del Fuego need not be for adventurers alone. Although there is plenty of adventure to be had at this edge of the world, there is plenty of luxury as well if that Tierra del Fuego vacation includes a stay at Arakur Ushuaia. Located within Cerro Alarkén Natural Reserve – with over 250 acres of native forests, flora and fauna – and the trails begin at Arakur’s gates.

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A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Arakur is as good as it gets — whether you happen to be pushing off on a seven-day cruise to Antarctica and some of the most remote lands on the planet, or just want to take in some pretty incredible scenery and history in a place that will give you bragging rights. Arakur Ushuaia was thought for those who enjoy life outdoors all the year round and in any season, offering multiple alternatives to experience nature intensely.

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Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa

Arakur is just outside Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego and a maritime town of 60,000 souls. It’s a settlement with a story to tell in a land of harsh living, but today those stories are passed by guides who take wanderers to see vast penguin colonies, disappearing glaciers, and odd museums in a land settled by British Missionaries following Magellan’s lead through the world’s southern passage. Ushuaia is as close to Antarctica as it gets while still keeping a foot in civilization. And at the Arakur Ushuaia, civilization certainly has its comforts.

 

11018343_10155334354000088_1593153596574631106_oArakur perches on a hill over town offering each of its 131 rooms and suites panoramic views of the town and the surrounding Andean peaks. Designed with a mind for sustainable architecture, each room is decorated with indigenous Argentine materials: copper, marble, stone, woods, and leather among them. Designer details include Hansgrohe faucets, Duravit bathroom appliances and Philippe Starck touches.

Ushuaia is surprisingly temperate most months – the southern winter might hit 35 degrees, while summers here are a balmy 50 degrees (with rain in the forecast for a good third of the year). It all bodes well for enjoying Arakur’s indoor pools and patio hot tubs. Swim in a pool area that features stunning water mirror pools, a lap pool, and an infinity edge relaxation pool with underwater music. Kids get a pool of their own. The outdoor hot tubs overlook the city and the austral ocean expanses, all surrounded by glacial mountain crags and forests.

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Naturally, there is WiFi and breakfast in the tariff, and guests find meals with flair at La Cravia restaurant. King crab is a must in these parts, as is fueguino lamb, barbecue and Patagonian sea bass.

 

When Nearing Antarctica …

After exploring the gastronomy of the southern latitudes it’s time to explore the sites. Ushuaia proffers an odd history as a penal colony over the last century and a great take-in is the Maritime Museum that is built on the site of the former prison. While the prison closed in 1947 it was modeled after escape-proof colonies in Tasmania and Devil’s Island with cells built by the prisoners themselves. The Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino, a five-mile train attraction runs the route that prisoners would take in gathering forest resources for building and heating. The route travels up to the Tierra del Fuego National Park Station where the mini steam train picks up passengers for a ride along the Pipo River Valley with discussions of the indigenous Yamaná people and local plenty of local lore.

 

11043336_10155334356980088_1714608421780611604_oHikers can hit the trails at Glacier Martial for an ascent of around 3,500 feet. Trails start about four miles outside of town. The views from the top bring a spectacular panorama of the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia. A chair lift runs in both directions all year for those who would rather sit out the climb. Wintertime brings the snow and the skiers to this area. Cerro Castor opened in 1999 as the world’s southernmost full-service ski resort and the consistently cool temperatures allow the longest skiing season (June through October) in South America.

But most visitors from the U.S. who come to Ushuaia come to see the penguins, to see Antarctica and to travel through Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is one of the top jumping off points to Antarctica, easily as close to the South Pole as you can get without boarding a ship or hauling an exploration team. A number of cruise lines make Ushuaia an iconic port stop on Cape Horn and expedition companies, such as Lindblad and Australis, take off for week-long cruises amid some of the world’s most remote geographies.

 

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Those who do not want to venture into those far southern reaches can instead take full and half-day cruise tours through the Beagle Channel to see all the penguins they could ever imagine. These include the diminutive Magellanic species with a white circular stripe around their black faces, and the larger Gentoo (Happy Feet) penguins with orange feet and beaks. Passengers are not usually allowed to go on shore as a measure of minimizing the disruption to the colonies, although a few operators retain permission to take 20-passenger inflatables to restricted spots near the penguins. If penguins top the bucket list note: Magellanic penguins are migratory and leave the colony location in late March or early April for about seven months.

 

11038893_10155334357700088_2386917829289395091_oBesides the Beagle Channel excursions, other natural attraction highlights include explorations of the huge Tierra del Fuego National Park to the west of the city and the Fagnano and Escondido Lakes to the east. Tierra del Fuego National Park is about a 20-minute drive from Ushuaia. The park’s tourist office offers full meals and has a convenient top-floor observation deck as well as exhibits on the Yamaná indigenous people, now virtually extinct but once the world’s most southern inhabitants.

Find Ushuaia and the delightful Arakur Ushuaia at the terminus of the Pan American Highway, although most visitors take the three-hour flight from Buenos Aires on LAN or Aerolineas Argentinas to Ushuaia-Malvinas Argentinas International Airport.

 

Contact:

Arakur Ushuaia
(011 54) 2901 44 2900
reservas@arakur.com
www.arakur.com

 

 

KAA News Roundup

True to its heritage of creating exceptional guest experiences in places of incredible beauty, Six Senses Hotels & Resorts unveiled its first resort in Europe on July 15th 2015. Read about Portugal’s Six Senses Douro Valley in The Financial Times, How to Spend It.

Over in Thailand, Six Senses Samui reopens after a complete makeover. Read about the results in Mary Gostelow’s article.

In China, near the UNESCO Heritage site, Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain is set to open on August 1st.

The Lanesborough in London opened July 1st to rave reviews from Grand Luxury Hotels, The Australian, and Conde Nast Traveller.

A review by C & IT Magazine of The Reverie Saigon in Vietnam details the new luxe hotel’s “unapologetic splendor.”

The Brando in Tahiti celebrates its 1st birthday this month.  Get inspired to visit by this list of 20 reasons to visit French Polynesia. (No. 8 The Brando Resort) and by this article in The Star Phoenix. National Geographic – Unique Lodges of the World agrees in their short list of “Best Coastal Destinations, “featuring both The Brando and Fogo Island Inn.

Town & Country Magazine features Musha Cay in their roundup of “The Most Luxurious Wedding Venues in the World,” and The Robb Report’s “World’s 10 Most Incredible Island Resorts” agrees. The Telegraph features both Musha Cay and Song Saa in their list of “World’s Best Private Islands.”

Over to Puerto Rico where the new Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan was featured in Travel Pulse and also voted the #1 hotel in Puerto Rico on Trip Advisor. 

Two great articles on Song Saa in Cambodia this month. From Business Insider, “How this couple bought two islands for $15,000 and turned them into a $30 million business,”  and in Travel Mail, “Meet the people who really are living the dream.” The Telegraph featured “World’s 50 Best Honeymoon Hotels” and Song Saa, along with The Brando and Pikaia in the Galapagos are featured.  We couldn’t agree more!

More news from the eco-luxe Pikaia Lodge this month, here from Conde Nast, “The latest hotel on the archipelago is the first one you’d actually like to stay in,” and from The Huffington Post, “11 Favorite Hotel Pools with a View.”

Over to Nicaragua, where according to A Family Travel Blog, Mukul lives up to the hype as Nicaragua’s leading luxury resort. American Way Magazine details why Nicaragua is “the new, undiscovered Costa Rica” in their article here.

Uruguay’s Bahia Vik has featured in Vogue Magazine’s feature, “Not Your Basic Beach Resort: 6 Game-Changing Modern Hotels.” Sister property Viña Vik in Chile was featured in The Daily Mail, quoting “Never has the line between hotel & art gallery been flirted with so intimately.”

Over to Dubai, where Entrepreneur Middle East Magazine writes this month on “How The Address Downtown Dubai won the title of ‘Best Hotel in the World’ four years in a row.” The Armani Hotel Dubai was crowned Leading Hotel in the UAE at this year’s World Travel Awards and The National UAE Magazine reviewed the hotel’s stunning spa here.

Fogo Island Inn’s architecture won the 2015 Azure Magazine People’s Choice Award, and were also featured on CNN.com as 20 of the most beautiful places in Canada. Indagare Travel recently reviewing the hotel here.

Down a bit to Vermont, where Twin Farms made Fodor’s List, “10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S.”

Feeling like a wellness getaway? Two of our wellness destinations were named to Travel + Leisure’s list of the World’s Best Destination Spas. Rancho La Puerta at #2, and Lake Austin Spa Resort at #4. Congrats!

Organic Spa Magazine’s 2015 Top Ten Organic Spa Awards named both Rancho La Puerta and Song Saa to the list. Refinery29 included Rancho La Puerta on their list of “8 Incredible Spas for The Ultimate Getaway.”

Signature Travel & Style features a Spa Guru’s top 10 wellness retreats, ranking Ananda at #1 plus mentions of Thailand’s Chiva-Som and Rancho La Puerta.  The Boston Globe’s article on Ananda Spa in India details how the resort is great for solo travelers, and Luxury Launches features Ananda as their Spa of the Week.

Glamping through India: Tents to Turrets with Sujan Luxury

Luxury surroundings meet idyllic landscapes and 19th century sandstone palaces with the rarefied stays offered by Sujan’s collection in India. The family-owned foursome of exquisite nature camps and a stately city stay blends well inside the Relais & Chateaux portfolio and provides a mixture of rare experiences of India that keep the focus on authenticity – whether that means meeting the cunning gaze of a leopard, watching the sun rise over the Thar desert or spending nights amid the resonance of rajas and royalty in grand palaces of another age.

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There are four Sujan properties in India, each located in a different area and providing its own special center of focus. All are located within the northern state of Rajasthan within or in easy reach of cities that are an easy and comfortable train ride or plane hop from Delhi.

1519677_10155772964195088_7556133708679005226_oStunning; electric; a continuously shaken kaleidoscope of color, India on entry can be a shock to the senses. No one word can completely captivate the riveting experience that is India, the world’s seventh largest country and second most populous state. There are many Indias here. Shed one layer and find another but it is in such complexity that a stay with Sujan makes sense. With focuses on detail, heritage, luxury and nature, Sujan interprets the India experience and allows visitors an immersion that goes beyond the swirl and into clarified experiences and memories.

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The latest addition to this quartet is the Sujan Rajmahal Palace, opened in January and creating a departure from Sujan’s success in pioneering the grand tented camp experience in Rajasthan. The Rajmahal Palace is a palace hotel amid many that dot the “Pink City” of Jaipur. Only, unlike the many majestic antique hotel spreads here that have seen better days and are more Marigold than Jewel in the Crown, the Rajmahal presents a palace now fully renovated with rooms that sparkle and touches that blend original royalty with contemporary family.

10631260_10155772999180088_5284551830294150920_oThe marble corridors of colonnades and intricately cut cornices that dapple the sunlight give into guest rooms, currently at 15 suites and palace rooms blending Mughal structures with Georgian and Art Deco-style furnishings, Italian light fixtures and Persian floor coverings, all surrounded by gardens and fountains in a spacious, peaceful compound inside the thriving ancient city of Jaipur. This city is a study in white marble, pink sandstone and jewels – rubies, emeralds, sapphires, topaz and moonstones that were often embedded in the exterior walls of palaces to set off the sun in a blast of colors.

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Rajmahal Palace has seen its share of celebrity and royalty that stayed as guests of the royal residents: Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II among them. Today, the guests are royalty of another kind – those who expect to be treated as such and pay rates starting at $550 per night (with breakfast) to enjoy these intricate and historic haunts.

10733857_10155772997760088_406636827753685679_oThe Sujan family began its journey into hospitality in 2000 with the opening of Sher Bagh a luxury camp – the first of its kind in India – with a dozen tents resting in a scenic natural expanse on the edge of the renowned Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. All of the Sujan properties in India are within Rajasthan, taking advantage of some of India’s most beautiful scenery to be found on its northwestern plateau.

11537893_10155773005455088_7864528513479285057_oSher Bagh stays open between October and June and offers tented suites with en-suite baths, gardens, pools, all meals and daily excursions into the reserve with excellent chances for tiger sightings. Amid the other sights in the jungle-covered reserve are Mughal ruins, relics of palaces and medieval cenotaphs and of course the majestic 8th century Ranthambhore Fort – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site..

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When not looking at tigers and the other abundant wildlife, guests are relaxing and taking in the panoramas at the swimming pool, soaking up the sensations in the spa, and dining on British-Raj style lunches or traditional Indian dinners cooked over clay ovens.

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The Serai outside of Jaisalmer puts guests in the sandy expanse of the Thar Desert, known as much for its colorful camel fests as for its ghostly castles and fortresses past and present that unfold in the sandy landscape.

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Serai’s 21 hand-stitched tents of canvas amid pink and ochre-hued Jaisalmer stone is more an encounter with the quiet winds and the changing colors of nature than it is a quest for wildlife. Guests experience the tastes of thalis and vegetables from the camp’s organic gardens as well as massages using oils of basil and saffron. When guests are not sipping sundowners in the desert, they can be exploring ghost towns, such as Kuldhara: one of 84 Paliwal Brahmin villages said to have been abandoned overnight in 1825 due to a curse.

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The latest glamping outpost to open is the coveted JAWAI, which opened last year as an outdoor luxury immersion into Rajasthan’s heritage and nature. Although it often comes with “Leopard Camp” in the name, JAWAI offers much more than encounters with these graceful beasts.

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In fact, on the daily game drives offered guests will easily see antelope, flamingos, parrots, black-faced langur monkeys and a variety of smaller mammals in trips that also take in Jawai Bandh, one of the largest reservoirs in Rajasthan. And then there are the goats, waves of them tended by majestic Rabari herdsmen that roam the lands looking for fresh grasses. An hour’s drive from the camp sits the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kumbalgarh Fort and the Jain temple complex of Ranakpur, also easy excursions offered by the camp.

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But leopards rule the evening and are regularly sighted, unexpectedly or not, by JAWAI’s skilled guides and trackers. The animals roam wild and free and healthy in numbers so sighting probabilities are high and often multiple during a stay. Find ten luxury tents at Jawai, each expansive, air-conditioned, stylish, and of hand-stitched canvas, while soft fabrics and a quasi-Bauhaus furnishings fill the interiors. Private decks extend from each muslin domicile with sweeps across the semi-arid expanse that look towards the rich reservoir as well as dry riverbeds, granite outcroppings and miles of Anogeissus trees giving cover to the desert terrain.

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Guests at Jawai are given plenty to do with their time, should they choose. Among the options: guided hikes, biking an all-terrain cycle trail or walking with the nomadic Rabari herdsmen. The property includes Dining Tents, a Library, an infinity edge swimming pool and private lounging areas in and around the encampment. Romantic candlelit picnics under the stars and after dinner campfires also come with the territory.

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Rajmahal Palace
Sadar Patel Marg
Jaipur 302-001
(+011 91) 1414143000
Email: reservations@sujanluxury.com
Website: www.sujanluxury.com

Sher Bagh, Relais & Chateaux
Ranthambhore
(+91 11) 4617 2700
Email: reservations@sujanluxury.com
Website: www.sujanluxury.com

The Serai, Relais & Chateaux
Jaisalmer
(+011 91) 11 4617 2700
Email: reservations@sujanluxury.com
Website: www.sujanluxury.com

JAWAI
Jawai, India
(+011 91) 11 4617 2700
Email: reservations@sujanluxury.com
Website: www.sujanluxury.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

 

Sweet Reverie Awakens in Saigon

Reverie_Saigon_hotel_Vietnam-20150706093927930The Reverie Saigon, newly opened and much anticipated as one of the top new hotels to open in 2015, puts a serious splash of panache on these shores of the Mekong River. Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, crowds and swells in a chaotic swirl of commerce, traffic, trade and frenzied development. But in this precious corner of the city, there is a peace and an undeniable air of sophistication.

The Reverie Saigon is located in District 1, formerly the French Quarter with its legendary Central Post Office designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame in 1891, its Notre Dame Cathedral, its opera house and formerly grand colonial administration buildings on broad tree-lined avenues where you can almost see ornate horse-drawn coaches if you squint hard enough. And then there are the once majestic hotels: the Grand Hotel, the Hotel Majestic, the Caravelle that still beg to be admired.

But The Reverie Saigon takes its cues from a different era, the new Vietnam that is growing fast, welcoming tourists at a demanding clip (7.8 million foreign visitors last year, around half million of those from the U.S.), and welcoming a new style of visitor to these lands: the luxury traveler. Kings and statesmen may stay in its 286 rooms and suites, but, as one of the newest members of the Leading Hotels of the World collection, it is the discerning traveler’s eye that the new Reverie Saigon targets.

mainAnd it does this in the grandest of fashion. Think furnishings from houses such as Colombostile, Giorgetti, Provasi and Visionnaire. Envision Rococo, Belle Epoch, Forbidden City, a little Versailles, perhaps some Dubai, and the top hotel picks of Shanghai all rolled together into one swirling, whirling high-rise emblem of hospitality.

The Reverie Saigon lives up to its name, even if those are the fever dreams of some 18th century Chinese emperor. Rooms are not rooms here. They are cushiony pads of silks and velvets. They are windows on an iconic city with floor to ceiling vantages perched on the edges of 27th to 39th floors of one of the city’s new, gleaming mixed-used towers. Far above the dust and din of a hundred thousand scooters speeding through the sprawl, The Reverie Saigon offers 224 rooms, 62 suites and 89 apartments, each designed to take your breath away in color patterns, lavish appointments and layouts.

deluxe kingEach accommodation offers a Nespresso coffee maker, Dammann Freres tea, a fully stocked mini-bar, Frette Linens, a commodious shower, Chopard, Aqua di Parma or Hermes bath amenities and not forgetting the tech-forward Toto toilet. Wi-Fi is fast and free; express dry-cleaning is available as is complimentary VOIP phone service and 24-hour dining.

Dining is, in fact, another badge of the property, which offers five dining options, including exquisite Cantonese, classic French and haute Italian cuisine. With the highest hotel panoramas of sensational Saigon, The Reverie Saigon makes the most of these views with its lavish restaurant layouts and public spaces, ample meeting and event spaces, and its techno-gym and spa.

The Reverie Saigon - R&J - IThe lifestyle and spa areas at The Reverie Saigon spread along two floors with outdoor swimming pools, ten spa treatment rooms, and thermal experience areas. A 24-hour fitness center looks over the city and it all makes a pleasant complement to the fabulous bargain and fashion shopping, antique noodling and amazing sightseeing to be done at ground level.

An exploration of Ho Chi Minh City requires at least two days but makes a rewarding end to a lazy luxury cruise on the Mekong. The attractions here are mostly historic in nature and can be quite intense, especially for those who were adults or coming of age during the Vietnam War – a time when this remote country on the South China Sea jumped out at us from our television sets during riveting, dinner-hour network newscasts.

Saigon_skylineFrom those years, many of the attractions around Ho Chi Minh City will resonate with strength and prove meaningful to American visitors. These include Reunification Hall – the Presidential Palace that housed the last three doomed presidents of South Vietnam and was the scene of tanks crashing the gates on April 30, 1975. The 1960s vintage rooms, the hidden bunkers, and the rolling film that ties it all together make this visit a worthy expense of time. The War Remnants Museum, too, is an emotional scene as visitors go through room after room of disturbing photography, haunting exhibits, and film clips depicting maimed citizens still fighting the effects of Agent Orange.

A tour that puts light on much of the missing history of this war, the American War as it is called there, is a half-day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels, about an hour outside the city. The tour provides a rare view of the world lived by the Vietnamese resistance fighters who fought, survived and staged the war from a hand-hewn web of tunnels fanning out for more than 100 miles.

juniorsuiteBetween taxis, motorize rickshaws and well-maintained sidewalks, Ho Chi Minh City is easy to get around and safe. Caveats exist: resist bargaining too hard – items are inexpensive enough; be wary of excess charges on ATM transactions; do stay with known dining establishments — lest you may not want to know what is really in that pho; be aware of distances – the city is large – some 800 square miles, all told.

681x454District 1 that fans out around The Reverie Saigon is the best area to explore and, with its proximity to the river, is possibly the coolest. Cafes serve French pastries and lattes and time moves slowly, as if being penned moment to moment by Graham Greene. If there are dreams to be had, they can come to life here, at The Reverie Saigon, where colonial illusions give way to rarefied expressions of new-era opulence.

Contact:

The Reverie Saigon

22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard
& 57-69F Dong Khoi Street
Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: +011 848 3920 9526
Email: info@thereveriesaigon.com
Website: www.thereveriesaigon.com

 

KAA News Roundup

Happy Summer!  Big news from London is that The Lanesborough will re-open July 1st after an extensive renovation.The refurbishment included all areas of the hotel; the 93 guest rooms, including 43 suites, and all public areas. Following The Lanesborough’s closure in December 2013, the hotel was taken back to its shell and meticulously transformed by Alberto Pinto, the world renowned interior design studio. Read about their new Chefs Eric Fréchon and his protégé Florian Favario.

Also on July 1st, Six Senses Samui in Thailand will re-open with beautiful refreshed interiors.

srmp7New client SUJÁN Luxury and their four Rajasthan properties have received some great press this month.  Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur is “the most romantic and royal residence in Jaipur” according to Conde Nast Traveller in their article. Architectural Digest featured the palace on their website in a beautiful slideshow. All SUJÁN Luxury hotels were recently visited by Andrew Harper and received glowing reviews.  And The Independent featured a review of Rajmahal, “Sujan Rajmahal Palace, India: In the pink with the Maharajas of Jaipur,” and also featured on Trendland, “ Jaipur’s Most Luxurious Hotel.”

We are delighted to welcome SUJÁN Luxury hotels to the Kurtz-Ahlers family, offering exceptional luxury travel experiences across Rajasthan, India: Rahmahal Palace in Jaipur, Sher Bagh in Ranthambhore, The Serai in Jaisalmer, and JAWAI.

Another new client this month joins our Wellness Travel Collection, the authentic Lake Austin Spa Resort. Lake Austin Spa Resort is an award-winning destination spa nestled along the shores of scenic Lake Austin in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Lake Austin Spa Resort soothes the soul in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere featuring comfortable public areas, peaceful grounds and nature and wildlife trails at the foot of the cool, blue Lake Austin. Read about the resort in Houstonia Magazine.

More from our Wellness Collection, where VeraVia was featured in the Hollywood Reporter, “Summer Getaways: 5 Luxe Spas to Check out Now,” and in the LA Times “guide to well-rounded wellness vacations.”

Thailand’s beachfront health resort, Chiva-Som, and Rancho La Puerta – the original destination spa – were both featured in a CNN Travel feature on “10 of the world’s best hotel spas.”  Writer Beth Weitzman recounts her 5-night stay at Chiva-Som in article for Modern Luxury entitled, “Thai Tranquility.”

At Nicaragua’s new gem, Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, wellness comes along with a dose of surfing, golf, rum tastings and beachfront pool villas. Their wellness packages were featured in Departures Magazine. Too much press this month to mention but here goes:  from Golf Advisor, “From great rum to great golf and surfing, Nicaragua’s Mukul Resort offers a taste of luxury.” From Golf Magazine, “David McLay Kidd’s Tropical Getaway.” From Bloomberg, “Five Reasons You Should Go to Nicaragua Right Now.” From The Dallas Morning News, “Family travel five: When you want more from a beach vacation than the beach.” From Parenting Magazine, “Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families.” Lastly, from Conde Nast, “Under-the-Radar Destinations to Visit in 2015. And, travel to Nicaragua and visit is easier than ever with new non-stop flights from LAX and Dallas.

Down to The Galapagos, where the new Pikaia Lodge is ready to welcome adventurous guests.  Get inspired by this article in A Magazine, “Highly Evolved Adventure, ” or by this Men’s Journal roundup of “Ten Epic, All-Inclusive Adventures.” Martha Stewart Weddings calls Pikaia as one of “Three Best Places to Elope, ” and The Dallas Morning News declares, “Pikaia Lodge brings smart luxury to the Galapagos.”

Let’s head over to Chile, where the new Viña Vik Winery and Hotel in is busy raising the wine bar. Read more in Forbes.

Up to the USA’s mountain west, the perfect place a for a family luxury ranch vacation this summer. Check out The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch for a guy’s trip, or a women’s trip.  The Women’s Orvis Adventure Getaway with Georgia Pellegrini is just for women from September 24-27.

Up to Canada where Fogo Island Inn has received accolades from far and wide.  Harper Travel’s feature on “11 Incredible Luxury Hotels on Stilts: includes the Newfoundland gem, as well as Coastal Living Magazine’s feature, “10 Best Summer Hotels on the Water.” And from the Wall Street Journal, “Five Out-of-the-way Art Spots w/ Out-of-this-world Food.”

Another out of the way gem is Song Saa resort in Cambodia. Read, “10 Secret Spots Where the Stars Go Off the Grid” from Pop Sugar, or this article by co-founder Melita Hunter featured on Yahoo “I Bought an Island in Cambodia and Changed My Life.” More press from The Australian, “Song Saa resort, Cambodia, is Rory and Melita Hunter’s community project,”and from the Ego Tripper, “Honestly, I’ve been to a few luxury resorts in my life but this one tops it all,”  a nice article here from Trendesign, and lastly, Song Saa made the list from Traveller AU, “Our 15 top places in the world right now.”

To Tahiti where The Brando makes the list from Robb Report, Best of the Best in the Hotels & Resorts 2015. The Province agrees in their article here.

Down to New Zealand, where the challenging Cape Kidnappers Golf Course was featured in Denver Life Magazine. The lodge is also ideal for weddings, as featured in Passport Magazine, “23 Over-the-top Wedding Venues.”

In Dubai at The Armani Hotel, congratulations to Chef Alessandro Salvatico won the Head Chef of the Year at the Caterer Awards 2015!

Phew!  Time for a glass of Rosé.

For the Love of Cod at Fogo Island Inn

BvVlL61CYAAGNnI Fish in Newfoundland means Cod – the humble fish that changed the world. From a nimble but sturdy skiff guests of all ages will have the rare opportunity to Jig for Cod on the North Atlantic.

The For the Love of Cod two-night package is a marine experience that invites visitors to connect with Fogo Island’s roots and participate in a fishery that has shaped lives and culture.  The dates for the much-awaited 2015 recreational fishery are July 18 to August 9, 2015 and September 19 to September 27, 2015.

Fogo Island Inn is a high comfort base from which to orient to old ways and new ways – through the fishery, art, architecture, design and food. The For the Love of Cod two-night package is a marine experience that invites visitors to connect with Fogo Island’s roots and participate in a fishery that has shaped lives and culture.

FogoMainLThe full board, two night minimum package rate begins at $1,525 per night, exclusive of taxes, is based on two persons (solo travelers deduct $200 off base rate per night for food and beverage and $125 for the marine excursion) and includes: a community host island orientation, a half day fishing expedition with a lesson on cod fishing and full use of the Inn’s facilities. Family suites are available.

Click here for more information about this For the Love of Cod package.

To secure your booking, please call: 709-658-3444 or toll free in North America at 855-268-9277 or email reservations@fogoislandinn.ca

Fogo Island Inn Information

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Bonus Night at Condado Vanderbilt, Puerto Rico

Explore old San Juan this summer with a stay at the new Condado Vanderbilt, stay two nights and get the third night complimentary.

Condado Vanderbilt is comprised of the main historic building and two towers, with 212 rooms and 107 suites –most with ocean views– featuring comfortably elegant furnishings, luxurious marble bathrooms and the latest technology, as well as the finest linens and toiletries. Above all is our commitment to service. Butlers cater to our guest’s every need and all at the Condado Vanderbilt are unwaveringly focused in their enjoyment and comfort. The Condado Vanderbilt provides a resort ambiance minutes from the airport, Old San Juan, luxury shopping, and the business district. Puerto Rico, a US territory, is a short flight from most major US cities and no passport is required to visit.

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Special “Summer Package” is subject to availability and black-out dates. Cannot be combined with other promotions, Contact Dominique Myatt for reservations or more information – dmyatt@condadovanderbilt.com

 

Condado Vanderbilt Information

Ski Season Special at Arakur Ushuaia

Time for adventure at Arakur Ushuaia. Ski 2015 rates from $225 per person per night include breakfast, Wi-Fi, city shuttle, airport transfers, transportation to Cerro Castor ski area, free minibar, early check-in/late check-out, and guided trekking in the Nature Reserve. Hotel only rates start at $180 per person per night and Family Plan rates offer 20% off of the second room.

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Located in Tierra del Fuego, 20 minutes from the National Park and within Cerro Alarkén Natural Reserve, Arakur Ushuaia overlooks its stunningly beautiful locale from atop an outcrop just outside the city surrounded by stunning panoramic views, native forests, and natural terraces harmoniously integrated into the environment.

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With 250 acres of natural reserve with native forests, flora and fauna and more than a half mile of river bank along Arroyo Grande, Arakur Ushuaia was thought for those who enjoy life outdoors all the year round and in any season, offering multiple alternatives to experience nature intensely. During the winter season, guests can practice ski or snowboard on the 25 graded ski runs of Cerro Castor and enjoy Husky sled rides, snowcat, snow polo tournaments and snowshoe hikes.

 

Contact reservas@arakur.com

Arakur Ushuaia Information

 

 

 

 

 

Nordic Luxury: Travel through Scandinavia’s Shadows and Light

Travel around Scandinavia requires a few caveats: Always bring a sweater; keep you sun glasses handy at all hours; and be prepared to taste. The Nordic scenery is wild and extreme and is best savored with some intense dining and sipping. Nordic Luxury is a master of it all.

2The boutique tour operator located in Reykjavik, Iceland, is the titan of the tailor-made travel experience in Scandinavia, whether that is travel to Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark or Sweden. Deep and local in its roots, Nordic Luxury delivers the bespoke experience that moves way beyond the Blue Lagoon. But in the harsh and unforgiving lands of the far north, such experiences come with bragging rights – Viking-sized memories of a life taken off-course and then righted again.

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Nordic Luxury in Iceland

Take Iceland. On a mid-summer’s eve the sky is aglow with clouds and dimming blue skies reflected on glaciers and undulating green and brown moraines. The population of Iceland is smaller than the city of Santa Ana, CA on a landmass the size of Virginia. Edging the Arctic Circle between the U.S. and Europe, you won’t find the snow here. Only 10 percent of Iceland peaks white all year. Rather, prepare to jump into hot springs and immerse in the land of fire and ice.

CP4V6825Nordic Luxury takes super jeeps across the wide plateaus and brings guests beyond the reach of light or air pollution to waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes and a land that seems to exist without time. The Nordic travel specialist whisks guests to remote locations in helicopters to land next to a restaurant reached only by true intention, for celebratory meals of humar, the local lobster. Sleep can be in a tented camp on a pure and glistening glacier. Meditations are best managed by a remote glacial lagoon as icebergs pass in the slow, long day.

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Finding Greenland through Nordic Luxury

Guests looking for a true treat on an exotic Scandinavian vacation will want to head to Greenland. Rumors over the origins of the Iceland and Greenland official names often reach back to settlers who wanted to ward off the masses by giving temperate Iceland its frozen name, while Greenland, covered in snow year ‘round, was given the spring meadow moniker to attract wayward populations.

gr-9Frozen Greenland is the size of Europe with only 55,000 inhabitants who mostly live on the island nation’s unfrozen edges. This is a land few people see at altitudes under 28,000 feet and presents itself up close in dots of fishing villages, stunning fjords, frozen waterfalls, living Inuit populations and possibly one of the last places of purity open for discovery.

6V2A4148Nordic Luxury may be one of the few tour operators offering a customized immersion in Greenland, land of icebergs and midnight sun in summer. Stand on the Arctic ice cap at the top of the world. Sail along Greenland’s shores to unreachable native villages. Lock in the colors. Bathe in the simplicity.

Nordic Luxury in Denmark

Denmark brings the glam as bespoke trips through Nordic Luxury summon stories of Danish royalty, present and past, with magical castles, a changing of the guard to rival Buckingham Palace (but without the crowds), odes to Hans Christian Andersen everywhere (and yes, Tivoli Gardens still stands and delights, as it has been doing since 1843). And then there is the food.

dk-12New Nordic cuisine is a calling in Copenhagen and can be tasted in medieval castle towers (in particular, Restaurant Taarnet in the tower of the Christiansborg Palace that is now home of the Danish Parliament), outdoor farmer’s markets (Saturday mornings in the meat-packing district are a must), bohemian walking street cafes and cafes such as Manfred’s, and super up-and-comers making the food scene pop, such as Restaurant Kul. The genre ranges from exotic twists on traditional open-faced sandwiches to Nordic “tapas,” such as sauced white asparagus with sea brill complemented by a trio of Sealand oysters laced in vodka. Danish brews are always on tap. Not to forget, Copenhagen’s double-Michelin-starred Noma has had the best restaurant in the world, according to Restaurant magazine, for years.

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Nordic Luxury Explorations of Sweden

Sweden, just across the five-mile-long Oresund Bridge from Copenhagen, offers its own charms and many of them come with the lifestyle. There is “fika” or the art of enjoying coffee with friends – a tradition so sacred here they even game it a name. Stockholm provides plenty of places to explore and Nordic Luxury curates them – art districts, music houses, design centers and fashion showcases. Beyond the cities are places to trek, ski and explore with cozy inns for hiding away. The Aurora Borealis lies just beyond, peeking over the Lapland horizons and providing an unparalleled immersion in nature for those lucky enough to catch it.

sw-1Nordic Luxury also captures Sweden’s car-free islands experience for guests.

The Koster Islands, for instance, provide a marine national park of 12,000 different species, below and above the water surface. Try snorkeling in Rörvik. Have a fika at Kosters Trädgårdar (Koster Gardens). Kayak around Upplevelsebolaget and Nautopp. Take a Shellfish Safari. Walk the many nature trails.

The Weather Islands in the Skagerrak have one of Sweden’s warmest and windiest climates and a large colony of Bohuslän’s seals. Take a sauna, bird watch, seal watch and walk among the shoreline rocks.

Marstrand is one of the most well known islands along Sweden’s West Coast with a large supply of shopping, accommodations and restaurants. The fort on the island dates from 1860 (after taking 200 years to be built by prisoners). Strandverket gallery offers eclectic Nordic art. A night at Marstrand’s Havshotell with time in their spa and a meal at Grand Hotel Marstrand tops it off.

Styrsö is an island destination for swimming, tasting and ambling amid beautiful villas or quaint archipelago housing. There are four small villages there, each with its own quaint and centuries-old character dating back the mid 1700s.

 

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Finland and Norway, too, are on the menu with Nordic Luxury: ice hotels, chic urban design communities, private yachts to UNESCO-protected island, skiing from summit to fjord in Norwegian-style Alps.

Take the northlands at their most extreme. Take them at their quiet beauty. But take them. Nordic Luxury is all that’s required.

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Nordic Luxury

Ehf, P.O. Box 3
Reykjavik, Iceland
(+ 011 354) 777-0077
info@nordicluxury.is
www.nordicluxury.is

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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Visiting Newfoundland? Step into the Magic of Fogo Island

If you are visiting Newfoundland, chances are you are ready to enjoy the solitude of a more remote location. But just a little farther east on the watery brink of North America there is one more exploration worth making. It will put you pretty much at the edge of the earth.

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Visitors to Newfoundland can wander toward the coastal communities of central Newfoundland and discover the specter of what is fondly known as Iceberg Alley. There is no better place to enjoy the site of ghostly white peaks of ice floating by, interrupted only by the occasional breaching whale, than from the floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the Fogo Island Inn in the community of Joe Batt’s Arm, Fogo Island.

Newfoundland’s Narnia

Fogo Island is the largest island on Newfoundland’s vast chain, settled by fisherman in the 1500s and attracting fortune hunters through the years that followed with trading in seal skins, lumber, fur-bearing animals, salmon and, naturally, cod.

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The island is rough and wind torn, bearing a bleak beauty that comes from hard living in harsh places. Such extreme qualities make this journey so rewarding. Much today is as it was yesterday, if not the 19th century, and the people of this island tell the stories of it that go back multiple generations. Travelers seeking authenticity will find it on Fogo Island.

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Fogo Island Inn at the Edge

 

Fogo Island Inn is the vision of entrepreneur Zita Cobb who left corporate life to return to her ancestral home and create something of her own, from the ground up. It would become an icon of the island.

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The Inn was a celebrated finalist last year on the National Geographic World Legacy Awards list (for “excellence in enhancing sense of place and authenticity”). While draping its guests in quiet luxuries and fine regional food experiences, the Fogo Island Inn takes progressive actions to preserve the pristine environment of the island while pushing ahead on energy conservation innovations and aesthetic design endeavors. The inn established the Fogo Island Agricultural Co-op and keeps organic and seasonal ingredients at the forefront of most dishes.

 

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland  Architect: Todd Saunders

The property uses locally-made wood furnishings, as well as wood burning stoves, to keep in the traditions of the island in motion. Recycling and use of solar energy add to these practices, as does the use rain caches for its laundry and myriad of water uses.

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The 40,000 square foot, four-story Inn has 29 suites spread out through an imposing structure inspired by a “stage,”a traditional fishing house that is a common sight on these islands.  These stilted waterfronts have been the platform from where fishermen through the years and centuries would deposit the day’s bounty. At Fogo Island Inn, those stilts are 50 feet high with bores that go 30 feet into the earth. The structure above is an architectural dream.

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Fogo Island and an Eye on Design and Culture

 

The Inn opened in May 2013, the work of NFLD born and internationally based architect Todd Saunders. The Newfoundland and Labrador native now lives in Norway and brought a distinctive design to the Fogo Island Inn that was enough of a statement to put a little inn in a very remote place in the spotlight of global luxury and travel. The hotel offers two floors of guest suites – each with its own design and distinct positioning – plus a dining area that juts out over the granite outcrops above the Atlantic. There is a contemporary art gallery, a bar, a library, a cinema and windows everywhere to capture the light and the changing hues of the endless sky.  A wood-fired sauna and rooftop hot tubs complement the inn’s gym facilities. And, of course, there is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout.

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Fogo Island Inn is part of a multifaceted social enterprise construct created with a registered charity of Canada called Shorefast Foundation to ensure preservation of island traditions and support art on the island through four artist studios built by Saunders in some of the island’s most scenic spots.  Fogo Islands Arts’ studios are self-sustaining and give context to the beauty that filters through the many textures of the island’s light. International artists are invited to take residency for periods of time and keep the island’s artistic edge at a sharpened threshold.

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Meanwhile, guests of the Inn may get a chance to mingle with artists or they can simply cast their interests toward communing with island life. Fogo Island Inn offers island tours guided by community host neighbors and friends of the inn, who know that island well and bring a familiar accent to the tour.  And there are small-scale museums to visit and local cafes to explore. Fogo Island is but 90 square miles long with 11 villages to meander. The island’s 2,700 or so people are part and parcel of the destination experience.

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Swing by the Old School House, the Bleak House Museum and the Marconi Site on bikes offered to guests for just such journeys. There is the Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Centre in the village of Seldom; the Brett House Museum in Joe Batt’s Arm; the Lane House Museum and Old Post Office in Tilting, each offering a precious piece of the island’s lore as a gritty and tough seafaring community and wealthy merchant’s hold. Guests can visit and speak with the island’s quilters or make bakeapple jam with anyone who happens to be canning at the time. Fogo Island time runs slow, and there is much to do.

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Getting to Fogo Island
 is as much a part of the trip as the inn itself.

 

Best to fly into St. John’s International Airport in Newfoundland (YYT) or Gander International Airport (YQX), where you will b picked up from the Inn’s transfer service or where you can pick up a charter flight to the island (Fogo Island Inn can arrange). Or visitors can take one of the ferries from Farewell dock to the island on a 45-minute trip that also carries cars. The inn provides a meet and greet guide to bring guests in from Gander.

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The seven seasons on Fogo Island run from cool — with strong breezes–, to sweet and mild. Average temperatures in July, for instance, run 52 to 69 degrees F. However, winter can also be an adventure. The ocean keeps things tempered at those latitudes and Fogo Island Inn offers packages and experiences that make the destination worth the journey in every season.

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Room rates vary and generally start at $875 CAD per couple per night through October. Rates come with options for full board for an added fee of $200 CAD per person per day.

 

Contact:

Fogo Island Inn
210 Main Road Joe Batt’s Arm
NL A0G 2X0 Canada
(709) 658-3444
(855) 268-9277
www.fogoislandinn.ca

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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