Luxury in the Galapagos: Perfection at Pikaia

While there are few luxury hotels in the Galapagos, there are even fewer luxury hotels in this island chain some 600 miles off the Ecuadorean coast that can utter the term “eco luxury lodge” — and mean it.

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Pikaia Lodge can. Pikaia might be considered the world’s ultimate eco-focused luxury lodge as it is smack in the middle of the Galapagos Islands — the original Darwinian playground that is hundreds of miles from any shade of modern civilization. Yet, as a small 14-room resort, Pikaia remains future forward in design, engineering, tourism know-how: just about everything but nature, which is kept ancient and pristine in all its manifestations.

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A Natural Selection

Find Pikaia Lodge on remote Santa Cruz Island on the lip of an extinct volcano some 1200 feet above sea level. From there, from room or suite or even the infinity pool on the resort terrace, you can survey the evolution of life in the making. From the waters of the Pacific in the distance, to the fast moving iguanas in the surrounding scrub to the colonies of slow moving tortoises, many approaching the century mark in age, Pikaia is abustle in activity, seen and unseen.

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It may be for these reasons alone, that a trip to the far Galapagos may be worth the trouble and toil. The 19 isles that make up the Galapagos Islands are much more than a place to study life untainted, removed, protected, and as whatever nature intended. An exploration of the Galapagos and stay at Pikaia may be locations to find out about one’s own roots, one’s soul and one’s spirit in a place where quiet surrounds, where barely a foot print remains from one’s stay.

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Preserving the Galapagos

Pikaia opened its doors after years of planning and dizzying layers of approvals, to become one of the few luxury resorts in the Galapagos Islands. The isolated archipelago, until recent years, could only be experienced by boat with land excursions mixed in as day trips. The Galapagos had been a focus of protection since 1934. In 1959, on the centenary of The Origin of Species, the government of Ecuador declared the islands a national park. UNESCO’s proclamation in 1978 pronounced the Galapagos archipelago a World Heritage Site.

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Into these wild isles, Pikaia grew into a sleek, chic, pampering escape, on the ocean’s edge of Santa Cruz Island, one of the largest islands in the Archipelago, where tortoises and people run about equal in numbers. Building materials were carbon footprint-friendly: recyclable steel and glass, Galapagos lava stone, Ecuadorean teak wood furniture, floors of bamboo wood and Peruvian travertine, solar- and wind-powered energy, and meticulous capture of precious fresh water.

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Everything is to scale there: a small resort that houses no more than 32 guests in a dozen spacious guestrooms and two luxury suites. Those guests are well looked after for everything – from the Peruvian-fusion and fresh seafood master chef creations, to the guided nature walks, quality mountain bike excursions, kayaking, snorkeling and daily luxury-yacht explorations – it’s are part of the package.

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Off the Boat in the Galapagos Islands

Getting off the boat has its benefits. Guests get to explore the island by foot or bicycle and see how not only tortoises and rare fauna survive but how island life thrives. On Santa Cruz Island find the village of Puerto Ayora, which has possibly 12,000 inhabitants and manages its own stores, local restaurants, and colorful markets that Pikaia guests can explore at will. Guests can hike to lava caves and observe giant tortoises and other endemic wildlife, tour the Charles Darwin Scientific Research Center, kayak the edges of the island, visit organic coffee farms, stalk Darwin finches and short-eared owls, or just amble around the resort’s several kilometers of footpaths.

 

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But the other islands of the Galapagos offer their own magic and guests can experience these other unique locations on the M/Y Pikaia I and the M/B Pikaia II, 100-foot yachts that set out each day with no more than 16 guests for some very special locations, each presenting its own chapter in what may be considered the ongoing Origin of Species.

 

On these excursions Pikaia guests get to spot cartoonish blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, curious sea lions, marine iguanas and a variety of rare sea life while docking into hidden coves for snorkeling and swimming, enjoying lunch aboard the boat and even having a snooze and a shower in a private cabin between events.

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Pikaia Perfection

At the end of a day, a drink on the terrace at the DNA Bar, followed by dinner at Evolution restaurant and perhaps a nightcap under an unpolluted canopy of stars – there is no day fuller or more complete than this.

 

Each of the accommodation schemes at Pikaia includes walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, private terraces for sipping a cool drink over the rolling terrain, and beds nearby that allow you to watch the play of nature as much as you wish, day or night. Designs take in the cross winds for cooling, and make maximum use of natural light. Modern luxuries include 40” 3D HD LED TV, DVD player, iPod dock and speakers, safe and mini-bar (and, of course, air-conditioning as desired). Biodegradable bathroom products complement the travertine bath area, which includes a deep soaking Jacuzzi-style tub against a window looking over the terrain and horizon. Accommodations start at a generous 650 square feet in size. Or one can choose the ample 850-square-foot Pool Suite that comes with its own plunge pool.

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Days at sea can be mixed with days at rest, where guests can enjoy intimate spa treatments at Sumaq Spa, perhaps a couples massage followed by a soak in the Jacuzzi with its 270-degree views of the ocean. A stunning outdoor infinity pool offers a luscious way to get swaddled by nature, whether marveling at the views from a corner perch in the water or lounging in the sun surrounded by the sublime quiet.

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Honeymoons and Mini-Moons at Pikaia

Pikaia might easily fit the bill for active young newlyweds looking for a romantic and remote location that comes with bragging rights, plenty of daily adventurous activity and as much peace and privacy as could be desired. The property offers three-, four- and seven-night exploration packages that usually start at $8,115 per couple with all the resort’s standard inclusions, such as VIP Lounge at Seymour Airport (Bartra Island), at arrival and departure, all transfers, guided land and yacht tours, meals and use of library.

 

But Pikaia, possibly the best classroom for natural history on the planet, is also family-friendly and offers special discounts for children, especially during the upcoming months of August through October 2016. Parents bringing along one child can take advantage of a complimentary Child’s Exploration Program and also get a significant discount ($2,250 vs. $3000) add-on rate for that child for a three-night stay.

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End of Summer Savings at Pikaia

Meanwhile, for all guests a special end of summer, beginning of fall rate is available reflecting a 25 percent discount offered, allowing for rates to start at $6,086 per couple for a three-night package.

 

Best months? Depends on what nature has in mind. The waved albatross’s courtship ritual usually goes into full swing in October. But the spectacle of baby tortoises hatching on Santa Cruz Islands happens any time between December and April.

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Contact:

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

La Corte dei Papi in Tuscany 20% Off

Guests at La Corte dei Papi - a family run Tuscan Relais outside Cortona – enjoy 20% off rates during July, August, October, November & December. A historic family estate with modern-day stylings, La Corte dei Papi a tranquil Tuscan getaway for gourmands and those seeking a truly unique experience.

La Corte dei Papi dates back to the 1700’s and The Papi family has taken great care over generations to preserve the history of the Relais. The hotel boasts just 15 suites including beautiful Spa Suites and an excellent restaurant housed in the estate’s original wine cellar.

La Corte dei Papi
903-904
Via La Dogana 12
52040 Cortona
Loc. Pergo
Arezzo, Italia
Tel: +011 39 0575 614109
Email: info@lacortedeipapi.com
Website: www.lacortedeipapi.com

Special Offers in The Galapagos at Pikaia Lodge

This August, September and October, Exploration Packages at Pikaia Lodge are free for kids.

Or, leave the kids at home and enjoy 25% off packages throughout September & October 2016.

More Information>>

Hidden in a secluded giant tortoise reserve, nestled on top of an extinct volcano crater, is Pikaia Lodge. This spectacular new alternative to traditional cruises enables guests to explore the Galapagos Islands, “The last paradise on Earth”, in a sustainable, yet luxurious land-based way.

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Pikaia Lodge guests enjoy high quality guided tours in small groups. Excursions include land explorations and day-cruising to other islands onboard Pikaia Lodge’s private yacht M/Y Pikaia I. Guests can observe wildlife, go hiking, swimming, sea kayaking, snorkeling and return late in the afternoon to rest at the lodge. In addition to land and sea explorations, scuba diving, fishing and mountain biking can also be arranged.

 

Contact:

Pikaia Lodge
Barrio El Camote
Santa Cruz Island
Galápagos, Ecuador
Tel: +011 593 4371 1670
Email: info@pikaialodge.com
Website: www.pikaialodgegalapagos.com

Complimentary Night at Costa Rica’s Villa Manzu

From September 1-26 pay four and get the fifth night free at Villa Manzu on Peninsula Papagayo. 

Villa Manzu is an eight-bedroom estate – at just over 30,000 square feet – on an isolated peninsula with plenty of room to spread out, from the two swimming pools and spa to the theater room and expansive bar/party room. Each of the bedrooms is an oversized suite, with mesmerizing ocean views. The grounds are dotted with hammocks, chairs and restful areas, perfect for quiet moments taking in 180-degree sea views and watching monkeys cavort in the trees. The all inclusive experience includes a full staff of chefs, butlers, waiters, drivers and adventure specialists to customize guest’s stay.

Villa Manzu
Peninsula Papagayo
Costa Rica
Tel: +011 949 200 8086
Email: reserve@villamanzu.com
Website: www.VillaManzu.com

Stay in a Work of Art at The Beaumont, London

At The Beaumont, Antony Gormley’s ROOM is both a monumental figural sculpture and an architectural extension to the hotel. Combine a stay in this extraordinary space with breakfast and a one-on-one contemporary art tour of London, devised by SideStory and designed around your personal interests. From £1,575 per night.

Learn more>>

Fly Free to The Brando

Get free Air Tetiaroa flights for 2 adults ! For an arrival between July 01 and September 30, get your round trip tickets for 2 adults for free from Tahiti to Tetiaroa on regular Air Tetiaroa scheduled flights, for a value of 900 Euros (this value cannot be applied to private chartered flights).

*Non retroactive offer, valid for all new bookings received as of June 15. Minimum Stay 3 nights in all-inclusive only, based on a regular high season rate.

More information and reservations >>

 

Visiting India: Maximizing Immersion in Experiences and Luxury

If you do have a bucket list, visiting India inevitably will be on it. And to make that visit to India count it should be managed in style. A customized itinerary arranged by Banyan Tours & Travels is a good place to start and the luxury experiences to be found with a property owned by SUJÁN marks a good place to stay.

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India should not be approached by personal knowledge alone. An easy destination for backpackers and budget wanderers, travelers beyond a certain age and stamina may not fare so well when creating their own trip to this daunting subcontinent. The swirls of cacophony, color and chaos are true hallmarks of a visit to India, overwhelming at times, mesmerizing at all times and often frustrating for those who may not have all the time in the world to wander, get lost and get found again. For travelers with limited time off and who want to seek purposeful times in India with certain must-sees in mind, having a destination specialist, such as Banyan Tours & Travels, can make all the difference between an amazing time, a smooth time, a problem-free time in India and a vacation spent parsing out and solving problems.

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For those who want to see tigers while they still walk this earth, Banyan can get you there. Customized luxury tours allow guests to experience national parks where tigers are protected and guests actually have a chance at sighting these elusive animals through efforts of knowledgeable guides. Banyan is a member of the Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) Campaign, a collective campaign encompassing all those involved in wildlife tourism in India and South Asia and focused on the sustainability of these destinations to save India’s tiger habitats.

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Visiting India: Sleeping where the Tigers Roam

And visitors to India who want to sleep with the tigers can consider a glamping stay at Sher Bagh, a pioneering, luxury tented camp on the borders of Ranthambhore National Park. Pitched under a canopy of indigenous trees, all planted by the family that owns the SUJÁN collection over the last three decades, the camp pays tribute to SUJÁN’s core values of giving back to nature by remaining small and compact and encompassing the surrounding wilderness. White cotton canvas tents are furnished with beautifully handcrafted campaign furniture in original rosewood and teak.

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The nourishing homegrown ingredients, handpicked from the organic herb and vegetable garden and the Sher Bagh Farm, add great value to an entirely fresh gastronomical experience. Live cooking, where guests are invited to participate, is an enduring feature of camp life and one of the most relaxing ways to round off a day tracking wildlife in the jungle.  While visitors may see tigers in Ranthambhore National Park, they my also visit the UNESCO Ranthambhore Fort, along with Mughal ruins, palaces and cenotaphs that lie in these ancient hills and forests. Other animals to be spotted are the wild boar, deer, antelope and monkey.

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Sher Bagh closes in the summer but otherwise operates from October to mid-May as one of four exquisite resort experiences one can have through SUJÁN, a family-owned collection of luxury properties in Rajasthan. From exquisite nature camps to Raj-style city stays the Relais & Chateaux luxury property portfolio of SUJÁN keeps a focus on heritage and tradition.

SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace is one of the most treasured palaces in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Home to the Maharaja of Jaipur, this exquisite royal palace is located at the heart of Rajasthan’s bustling capital. An enclosed oasis, secluded in verdant gardens, Rajmahal Palace is the repository of a celebrated history.

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Tracing a 300-year history, it has been home and host to generations of royals, Indian and British. Over the decades this remarkable Palace has hosted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Lady Diana & Prince Charles and celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, whom a suite is named after.

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Set on a 100-acre private estate of indigenous desert scrub, The SUJÁN Serai draws inspiration from the royal caravan sites of Rajputana in this Land of Kings. There is no better place from which to venture into the mystical environs of Jaisalmer to discover its fabled golden fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evenings are spent under the vast expanse of the desert sky, punctuated by the stars and ancient melodies of Manganiyar folk musicians whose songs have haunted these dunes for centuries.

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The 21 tents are a delightful symphony of styles. Fourteen tented suites offer spacious accommodation and cover an area of over one thousand square feet. Six luxury tented suites have their own private walled–in garden and sunken, heated dip pool with Jacuzzi jets. The exclusive royal tented suite has its own spa, outdoor pool, dining and lounge tents, all walled into a private enclosure. Each canvas tent is raised on a honey colored sandstone plinth and comes with its own terrace lounge, saturated with natural light and stylish interiors.

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The concept of luxury tented glamping also plays out well at Jawai, a collection of just ten elaborate tent quarters by the Banas River on a granite cropped landscape that is more leopard than tiger. Some call the Relais & Chateaux property a leopard camp as daily game drives in the surrounding wilds bring an assortment of sightings: wolves, antelopes, flamingos, parrots, primates, and, often, dramatic and sudden appearances by leopards. You might have to stop for goats attended by Rabari herdsmen and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Kumbulgarh Fort and the Jain temple complex of Ranakpur, to be found along these paths.

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The luxury hub at Jawal brings spacious, air-conditioned, meticulously designed tent accommodations made from durable hand-stitched canvas. Guests relax on private decks overlooking the silence and undulating horizons that take in the Banas River waters, haunting granite rock formations, and the thorny shade trees of this dessert terrain. As is the tradition in luxury at SUJÁN nature properties, guests can experience aromatic ayurvedic spa treatments in the wild or sip cold gin & tonics from a cool, serene infinity pool. Every need is served here: yoga at sunrise, samosas at sunset, piquant northern India gourmet under the stars. Somewhere in the dark distance, a leopard calls to its mate.

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Stays at SUJÁN can be combined with a perfected itinerary of India’s magical places through Banyan Tours & Travels. Perhaps consider arranging the timing of a visit to India with the dates of one on India’s colorful and intriguing festivals.

 

Top Festivals to Catch During a Visit to India

  • Diwali
  • Holi
  • Durga Puja
  • Ganesh Chaturthi
  • Pushkar Camel Fair

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Diwali is the biggest festival in India, and celebrates the triumph of light over dark, good over evil. Dates change from year to year according to the lunar cycle and traffic can be a nightmare during these times (perhaps it is a good time to hub for five days at a SUJÁN palace or tented camp).

Holi is probably the most beloved festival in India and involves throwing colorful powders and water on other people. Prepare to get dirty, prepare to get wet during this celebration of spring (it usually takes place in March). Top celebrations happen in Mathura / Vrindavan in North India, the birthplace and childhood home of Krishna. Guests at JAWAI camp are invited by the team, most of whom are employed from the local villages next to camp, to enjoy the traditional celebrations with the local communities.

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Durga Puja is not as well known as Diwali and Holi, but is equally colorful and is best celebrated in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in West Bengal. The fest pays homage to the goddess Durga and her divine feminine energy, or Shakti. It takes place over five days, tied to the phases of the moon. Find streets in Kolkata given to pandals — decorated statues of Durga — as well as crowds and live music. On the last day, the statues are delivered in a parade for immersion into the Ganga River.

 

Ganesh Charurthi celebrates the beloved elephant-headed god, Ganesh, with festivals that run 11 days in late August or September, depending on the cycle of the moon. Images and statues of Ganesh are on display during the festival until all are paraded on the last day, accompanied by singing and dancing, to the sea. Mumbai is probably the best place to catch these events.

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Pushkar Camel Fair takes place in a small town in rural Rajasthan known for its beautiful lake and the location of the Brahma Temple. The fair happens each autumn during the full moon festival as a livestock fair as all manner of activity converges on the small town and camel traders come from far and wide come to buy, sell and trade camels. Count on feasts, cultural shows, competitions, camel racing and possibly the world’s most colorful impromptu marketplace.

Banyan Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd

(+011 91) 1244-56-3800
Email: info@banyantours.com
Website: www.banyantours.com

SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace

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

SUJÁN Sher Bagh

Ranthambhore
(+91 11) 4617 2700
Email: reservations@sujanluxury.com
Website: www.sujanluxury.com

SUJÁN The Serai

Jaisalmer
(+011 91) 11 4617 2700
Email: reservations@sujanluxury.com
Website: www.sujanluxury.com

SUJÁN 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

KAA News Roundup

Celebrated Living Mag’s Platinum List was released this month, and we are happy to announce Pikaia Lodge and The Beaumont received accolades for “Most Innovative Architecture.” This innovation at Teh Beaumont is detailed by The Telegraph, “The sculpture that is also London’s strangest hotel suite” and by Conde Nast Traveller, “What’s it like to sleep in a sculpture? A first look inside Antony Gormley’s inhabitable ROOM creation at The Beaumont hotel.” The Financial Times How to Spend It writes on The Beaumont as, “A flawless version of the past.”

More from The Telegraph this month for another European gem, La Fiermontina in their article, “What makes Puglia Italy’s hottest new destination? “ La Fiermontina is also a finalist in Jetsetter.com Best of the Best list for “Best Design.”

Over to Milan where The Armani Hotel Milan’s Ristorante was awarded the Best Italian Luxury Restaurant 2016 from the World Luxury Restaurant Awards. Explore the city of Milan in style with their new package on a special Armani branded EA Vespa.

More hotels on Celebrated Living’s Platinum List for “Best Resorts” includes Halekulani, Rajmahal Palace, Finca Cortesin and Faena Miami. Faena Miami was also awarded Best Over-The-Top Luxury by Jetsetter.com. Two great articles this month for the Faena include Introspective Magazine’s “Miami Beach’s Artistic Aspirations” and from The Miami New Times, “Faena Theater in Miami Beach Brings Cabaret to a New Generation.”

Over to California where Haute Living’s list of 25 Great Things to do in Malibu features Malibu Beach Inn & Carbon Beach as #2 and #9.

Up to Vermont where Vogue Magazine includes Twin Farms in their article “5 Perfect East Coast Weekend Escapes to Book Now.”

After a successful Le Miami this month, Fogo Island Inn received some nice press on Le Miami’s website, writing on Zita Cobb as “not your average hotelier, in the same way…Fogo Island Inn, is not your average hotel.”

From Inside Hook, channel your inner Eastwood at these 10 high-end haciendas, including luxury ranch, The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch.

New client The Strand Cruise is in demand and in the press. Cruise Critic Gary Buchanan writes, “The most luxurious boat afloat? Quite possibly.” More reviews from Miss Around The World, and the Inquirer.net plus beautiful photos from XO Private and great ideas from Yahoo Finance, “River Cruises That You Can Bring Your Kids On.”

Over to China where WildChina founder Mei Zhang appeared on CNNi Business Traveler, watch the highlights.

Song Saa in Cambodia has a new General Manager. Positive Luxury caught up with Karen Merrick, GM to discuss her life at Song Saa and to discover what ‘treading lightly’ means to her.  A Luxury Travel Blog included Song Saa in their list of “4 of the best private island escapes and Spa Spy for The Telegraph does a full review.

Review of The Lodhi, New Delhi from Travel Executive, “… our new favorite city hotel in India.” South China Morning Post writes on Rajasthan’s Jawai Leopard Camp, “luxury safari, no crowds,” and Forbes describes sister hotel as, “The Most Beautiful New Hotel In India: Sujan Rajmahal Palace.”

Down to The Maldives where Spears Mag writes on Gili Lankanfushi, “a tranquil island in the heart of the Maldives and Telegraph Luxury includes Gili in “The world’s best hotel villas.”

Great news for Costa Rica’s Villa Manzu, Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence - “Best New Villa Worldwide.”

Nicaragua is a hot and emerging destination.  The Toronto Star writes, “Is Nicaragua the new Costa Rica?” Get inspired to visit Mukul Resort from these articles, 9 Hidden Hotel Bars You’ll Want To Check Out from Paste Magazine; 15 Family-Friendly Hotels Mom and Dad Will Love Too from Men’s Journal; and from Conde Nast Traveler, “16 Most Over-the-Top Hotel Butler Services.”

The Galapagos is a bucket list trip for most, and Pikaia Lodge brings a luxury element to this eco paradise. From Wonderland Mag, “The Evolution of the Eco Luxury Adventure;” from Jetsetter, “Journey through the Galápagos;” and why Pikaia is a hot new honeymoon spot from Martha Stewart Weddings.

Plan South America website reviews Casa San Agustin, their new favorite hotel in Cartagena and Conde Nast Traveller on where to stay in Cartagena. Get the full down low on Cartagena by The Points Guy, “8 reasons why you should consider vacationing in Cartagena, Colombia.”

Why not celebrate July 4th in the southern hemisphere? Great feature from The New York Times on July 4th packages in South America including a package at Viña Vik.

From Luxury Travel Magazine, The Brando is the Winner of Best Overseas Resort 2016: Tahiti’s luxurious and eco-friendly The Brando wins this category for the second time just two years since it opened – an impressive feat for an impressive resort. Read more about The Brando from Destinology.

More luxury hotel news – Six Senses in the Seychelles is opening soon!

Big news in wellness travel, where Aja Malibu is opening this August.  Read about it in the LA Times.

Lots of news from Texas where Lake Austin Spa press includes this blog from The Simple Sol, a review from Adventure Girl, Sharp Heels. Well and Good NYC included Lake Austin Spa in their roundup of “The 11 best healthy retreats this summer,”and it was also included on Celebrated Living Mag’s Platinum List for wellness along with Chiva-Som in Thailand.

Prana Journeys “Our Favorite Destination Spas,” featured Lake Austin Spa along with the famed Rancho La Puerta. Yahoo’s article, “10 Underrated Self-Discovery Trip Ideas” features Rancho La Puerta, along with Mukul and Twin Farms.

Finally, read this great piece on Ananda Spa by National Geographic Traveller India.

 

 

 

 

Heaven on Earth? A Sandbar at Musha Cay

Musha Cay may be the top place in the Bahamas to have a magical vacation with your significant other – or 23 of favorite friends – but don’t be surprised if you see more than you expect of that magic you are seeking.

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This is David Copperfield’s idea of what a vacation should look like and the illusions may be real. The co-producer of the hit film, “Now You See Me 2” that is just out in theaters now, has a thing or two to say about what happens when fantasy meets reality.
“My particular contribution to magic is to combine magic with story,” Copperfield recently told a reporter for the L.A. Times. And there is plenty of story for everyone in a stay at Musha Cay.
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Copperfield performs 15 times a week at the MGM Resort in Las Vegas to packed crowds anxious to parse the mechanics of the magician’s famed disappearing and teleportation acts. One can only imagine how he might be teleporting himself nightly to the magnificent surrounds of Musha Cay where 12 rooms spread amid five expansive houses and bungalows open to 700 acres of undisturbed tropical foliage and pristine shore lines on this for real private island.

 

Copperfield purchased this private island for $50 million and in the ensuing years put in just about as much into building and remodeling. He also purchased ten more islands to keep Musha Cay company. The holdings now extend to some 40 beaches (you would have to stay weeks to visit them all!) in these calm Caribbean waters of the Exuma Cay islands south of Nassau.

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On arrival guests head to their quarters, likely a large, lumbering bedroom suite in a house that might be described as English colonial with tropical flourishes containing high ceilings and mahogany wood terraces and South Asian design treatments.

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All meals and most amenities are included in this adventure and guests wander from fresh seafood course pairings on the 2,200 square-foot Balinese Beach Pavilion to various customized and catered beach settings where only torchlight and moonlight illuminate the moment. A pinch, a sleight of hand and suddenly you remember this is not your average private island.

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There is a 3-mile-long sandbar that David Copperfield calls “Heaven on Earth” to explore. There are other earthly pleasures to consider: a movie in a beach lounger under the stars at Dave’s Drive-in; bicycles for taking bike paths around the island; a 28-foot catamaran to head out to the other islands and beaches; a 23-foot jet-boat, jet skis, paddle boards, Boston Whalers and sailboats… just ask and watch it manifest.

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“When I acquired these islands a few years ago, I made a personal commitment to transform an already perfect place into the most magical vacation destination in the world. Everything truly magical that I’ve ever experienced, everything that has created wonder for me has been re-created at the Islands of Copperfield Bay,” Copperfield told a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun in 2011.

And word traveled. And keeps traveling. Judge Judy vacations there with her family. Such notables as Johnny Deep, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and John Travolta have stayed on the island. Javier Bardem married Penelope Cruz there.

Time Magazine reported Musha Cay to be the number 2 most pinned location on Pinterest last year.

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Guests, whether famous or not, have choices. They may want their own private 10,000-square-foot villa on the crest of a hill. They may opt for a thatched-roof beach house far from sight and sound of other guests. They may choose a guest villa with two bedrooms, private outdoor Jacuzzis, and beaches, or they may go for a five-bedroom beachside villa. Naturally, there is air-conditioning throughout, satellite television, and international phone service.

Musha Cay Accommodations at a Glance:


Highview:
10,000 square feet, two-bedroom main house high on a hill overlooking the 700-acre resort island

Pier House: 3,200 square feet, two-bedroom beach house

Blue Point: 3,200 square feet, two-bedroom beach house

Palm Terrace: 4,500 square feet, five-bedroom beach house

Beach House: a one-bedroom beach cottage with open-air living room and bathroom

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A Stay at Musha Cay

Getting to Musha Cay can be accommodated by air and sea. Guests fly into Georgetown, Great Exuma (GGT) and transfer to a 45-minute boat ride to Musha Cay’s dock. Guests may also choose to take a 15-minute charter flight or helicopter flight to Musha’s 2,200-foot private runway.

Staying at Musha Cay is best managed as a buy-out by 24 fun, close friends and relatives where rates run $39,000 to $59,000 per night, four-night minimum. This booking concept insures that “private” is kept in the “private island” promise. And those rates, though all-inclusive, do not include transfers, international telephone calls, massage, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, special entertainment — such as fireworks, musical groups, and custom-designed treasure hunts – or gratuities.

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Contact:

Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay
Exumas, Bahamas
(208) 309-1106
mushacay@kurtzahlers.com

www.mushacay.com

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Vermont Summers Immortalized at Twin Farms

While autumn is a sublime time to take in the rolling hills of Vermont, the quaint Green Mountain State becomes a bounty of old fashioned fun in the summertime too. And that’s when Twin Farms is alive and sizzling with explorations and activities that can bond couples and families in memories that cannot be made anywhere else.

13392125_10157040454085088_6858026704496660261_oWhat can be more romantic than canoeing across a calm, glistening lake only you, your other and the birds in the pines? The sun pours down like honey as you take a dip in Copper Pond and set up a private picnic on the shore. Or you take to the hills, hiking the groomed trails around the resort – there are miles of them with views across the undulating North Country landscapes.


Perhaps you prefer a morning mountain bike ride trek or a comfortable cruiser for the scenic, 10-mile downhill ride to Woodstock. Ok, not a fan of 10-mile up-hill slogs? Twin Farms staff will pick you up.

Summer in Style at Twin Farms

Twin Farms celebrates the warm long days of summer in style. The resort’s 20 rooms and suites are just places of blessed retreat at the end of a full day of New England activities: ice cream tastings at amazing creameries, beer sampling at award-winning craft breweries, checking out the Holsteins at the county fair, hiking the northern climbs of the Appalachian Trail. In Vermont, sky is the limit and in summer it is likely to be blue with a smattering of clouds casting blobby shadows over shimmering carpets of green.

13422335_10157040461170088_8103351733348693408_oTwin Farms is perfectly located in the center of the Green Mountain State, in easy reach of Burlington and its airport 90 minutes away and pretty much less than two hours from any far points. The town of Barnard holds fewer than 1000 souls as residents but was made famous none-the-less when, in 1928, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis bought two farm settings there with 300 acres surrounding. He named the property Twin Farms and kept it as his favorite vacation and writing hideout during the 1930s and 1940s, enjoying it with his wife Dorothy Thompson.

13344613_10157040453415088_1726019528783816501_nTime and new owners moved the stead into its current state as a luxury resort offering an antidote to civilization needed by ready populations of urban sophisticates in Boston and New York. Guests can unplug as much as they choose, to soak and spa in quiet cathedral corners of the resort; to enjoy the hand-picked interior designs and wall art that characterize the accommodations and to sip fine wines and farm-to-table foods prepared throughout the day by Twin Farms’ passionate culinary team.

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While privacy, and quiet intimacy may be mantras at Twin Farms, if you are looking for social connection and warmth you will find it there. Accommodations are, indeed, spacious and many come as their own cottages, but the resort also offers comfortable shared spaces, roaring fires in the cold months, family style dining for meals (of course, you can enjoy a meal anywhere at Twin Farms – on your porch, at the pond, on a hill, on a trail … your choice), and there is brew, music and billiards to be shared at the pub.


What you won’t find is stress. Your needs are managed within a fully-inclusive philosophy at the Farm, which seeks to keep wallets far from reach while keeping clients comfortable in whatever they may need or want. From bicycles to canoes, to croquet set-ups to fly-fishing gear, to picnics to puzzles to the healing moments to be had in the spa’s Japanese furo – it’s all on the table at Twin Farms and without charge.

Time Out for a Celebration in the Mountains at Twin Farms

Summer in Vermont often means weddings, occasions, family reunions, any excuse to scoop up the kids and head to the cool mountains. At Twin Farms, weddings and celebrations are an art form. They are created from the tempting confluence of wish and imagination and they are molded into action by a knowing, can-do team. Friends and families can buy out the farm and create a twinkling fantasy of five-star experiences as they envision. Or, with 300 acres to play in, friends can pull together and have their own special party in the large, airy and private meadows around the resort. Corporate retreats, too, can move into full swing setting up a variety of activities and focus time with associates in most inspiring settings.

13419118_10157040453545088_7080483013726844204_nPrivate retreats mean coming back to accommodations that can be as intimate as the 600-square-foot Lodge Rooms with private fireplaces and romantic reading corners or be as rustic as the cottages that range just under 1000 square feet on two levels and offer fireplace, stone hot tub, woodstove, cathedral ceilings and plenty of country atmosphere. No room is like the other. At Twin Farms, a Relais & Chateaux resort, you customize your stay in every way.

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Still, no man can vacation by farm alone. Vermont is a destination with plenty of quirky attractions to keep a romance pumped in laughs and any family steeped in did-you-know historical curiosities.

 

Things to do on a Vermont Summer Day

Head to a farmer’s market to taste some of the freshest food on the planet. Ever had fried cattails? How about some real Ben & Jerry’s right from the factory?

Go antiquing. Vermont practically invented antiques and they can be had here for a song if you check out a local auction.

Photograph covered bridges. No they don’t just happen in Madison County. Rare and preserved, step into the shadows of another place and time.

Go for a swim. This is lake country. But Silver Lake near Barnard is pretty special for some natural dipping.

Go to a County Fair. This is the real thing. Expect to see award-winning farm animals, horse competitions, and probably some wacky races as well. Eat corn on the cob. Dance to some vigorous fiddling. Share a homemade ice cream cone. The Vermont State Fair in nearby Rutland runs August 16-20 and offers all the activity and atmosphere one could wish for without transporting into an Elia Kazan movie.

Contact:

Twin Farms
P.O. Box 115
Barnard, VT 05031
(800) 894-6327
info@twinfarms.com
www.twinfarms.com

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