Archive for July, 2009

Park Hyatt’s New Bicycle Valet Program

Ride like the wind, baby!

Eco-Hotel: Park Hyatt's Bicycle Valet Program

So we’re noticing a growing trend among hotels and resorts these days and, we must admit, we likey.  With Park Hyatt’s new Bicycle Valet program set to launch in August, you can get some fresh air and keep it eco-friendly (just make sure you take your eyes off the skies and watch where you’re going, Greenie). Park Hyatt, a fan of ours ever since they launched healthy dining options and art programs at participating properties, are now offering free bike rentals that last up to four hours, allowing plenty of time for a scenic ride, and perhaps a picnic lunch.  Park Hyatts are known for being in the best neighborhoods, just steps from a city’s defining landmark, so guests can find themselves spinning by Sydney Harbor, Piazza del Duomo, or cycling up the Magnificent Mile. Whether heading for the hills or sticking to the city streets, the new hybrid bicycles are said to be ‘comfortable and sturdy.’  The concierge will also be sure to steer you on the right path with a city biking map, bike lock, helmet, kickstand, and bottled water.


Available at participating Park Hyatts worldwide:

Moscow · Sydney · Beaver Creek · Beijing · Toronto ·Paris ·Milan · Dubai · Mendoza· Goa · Hamburg · Zurich · Washington DC · Saigon · Istanbul · Seoul · Melbourne · Buenos Aires · Chicago · Tokyo · Canberra ·

REN’s Bio-Active Travel Skincare Kit

REN Natural Skincare KitAlways on the hunt for organic and eco-friendly travel-sized skincare, our Beauty gurus at Eco-Adventurer came across REN, a UK-based skincare line that works on all skin types and promises to smooth and condition even the most unruly jetlagged skin. We like the line because we love just about everything that comes out of the UK (even the Queen Mother). Plus, REN uses the latest hi-tech bio actives, is free from skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients like: glycols and diglycols (such as propylene glycol), PEG’s, PPGs, urea, D.E.A, T.E.A, PABA and other synthetic sunscreens, aliphatic alcohols/hydrocarbons, phthalates, fumarates, amines, alkanolamines, synthetic AHAs/BHAs, polyacrylamide, metacrylate, elastomer, poloxamer, styrene, vinyl, polyquaternium, synthetic chelating agents, nylon, nitriles, nitrates, nitrosamine releasers, bromates, fluor, aluminum and alumina. Now that’s a mouthful!

The travel kit includes small sizes of the following:



*FRANKINCENSE  & BOSWELLIA REPAIR CREAM with Boswellic Acid, Frankincense, and Vitamin C


*GLYCOLACTIC SKIN RENEWAL PEEL MASK with Glycolic Acid (pineapple)

*AHA Acids (lemon, grape, passion fruit), and Mexican Papain


Sold at Space NK, Sephora, Blue Mercury, Barneys, Fred Segal


Napa Valley, CA: Eco-Friendly Wines

A Green Wine? Well, not exactly ‘green’, but you catch our drift. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. The greening in wine country continues! HALL Wines in Napa is doing something most vintners should have been doing a long time ago. The premier 21st century vineyard and winery has just received the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certification for its Napa Valley St. Helena winery, becoming the first winery in California to be distinguished as a Gold certified facility by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Building Rating System™. The HALL St. Helena LEED® certified winery is one of most advanced wineries in California, with state-of-the-art facilities designed for ultra-premium wine production using a system that carefully measures their building’s performance across all environmental metrics including energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

So we say… let’s drink to that!


Win a Trip to Africa!

We’re KEEN-ly aware you’re in need of a heart healthy vacay. As such, KEEN Inc., a leader in hybrid outdoor performance products, including footwear, socks and bags — is running an exciting contest with the chance to win a week-long volunteer vacation at an animal rescue society near Cape Town, South Africa.

The trip is being organized by i-to-i, a U.K.-based volunteer travel company who has sent more than 20,000 people to volunteer in Africa, Asia, Australasia and Latin America since 1996. The winner will volunteer at TEARS, an animal shelter that provides pet food parcels, veterinary treatment and animal care education for community members with animals that could not otherwise afford these goods and services. The society also works with children who have had extremely hard lives and teaches them to care and be responsible for animals. Learning these nurturing skills helps to break the cycle of abuse in these children’s lives.

“KEEN values the work that TEARS is doing – teaching a child how to care for an animal can make a life-altering impact on both the animal and the child,” says Bobbie Parisi, Vice President of Marketing of KEEN. “In a struggling economy, the first charities to feel the pinch are those working with animals, so volunteers’ efforts are much needed.”

After returning from South Africa, KEEN invites the winner to share stories from the trip on its HybridLife Community page at The community connects people who are creating possibilities, engaging with the outdoors, and caring for the world around them.

Valued at about $4000, the trip include: roundtrip coach class air transportation, provided by South African Airways, for one between a major U.S. gateway city and Cape Town South Africa to volunteer with animals in Cape Town, South Africa; and a shared dormitory room in volunteer house for a minimum of one week and up to two weeks. The travel must be completed by September 30, 2010. Beyond the volunteer opportunities, the winner can explore an amazing range of other activities – from surfing to hiking to shopping in and around Cape Town.

In addition to KEEN, additional contest sponsors include National Geographic Society, and i-to-i Volunteer Vacations.

Entries are being accepted until August 21, 2009, at

Vietnam: Topas Eco-Lodge

Located near the Chinese border in Northern Vietnam’s Sapa Valley is an eco-retreat so discrete… it’s 250 miles northwest of Hanoi in the 10,000 foot tall Hoang Lien Mountains, also known as the Tonkinese Alps by the Colonial French. Topas Eco-Lodge is like this:

Exotic, quaint, lush, and peaceful. It might even change your life (Vietnamese mountain regions have a way of doing that). The 25-room bungalow retreat tickled our fancy because it’s also in a particularly diverse area, home to five ethnic tribes, each with their own language and culture. A joint venture between the Danes and the Vietnamese, therefore sticking closely to Denmark’s strict environmental regulations, the property provides the perfect opportunity to experience nature and culture in ways that lead to a greater appreciation and understanding of our environment. Actively implementing practices that optimize energy and encouraging suppliers to take part in environmental protection initiatives, Topas is a living breathing example of how to do luxury, style, and ecology. By treating its own wastewater, running off solar power, and being made from limestone from a local quarry and palm-thatched roofs straight from the Vietnamese jungle, they try to think of impact with every decision they make.

Not too shabby. So how do you spend days in this peaceful lust mountainous retreat? By meditating, trekking, or biking through the friendly villages with a guide, lunching at a local’s, or taking a dip in a river. It’s really all up to you. There’s no pressure. After all, this is Vietnam. Definitely a spot to put on the Bucket List of ‘Places to See Before I Die.’

The restaurant serves everything from pork ribs with sweet brown sauce to curried chicken. But, as notes, “The biggest luxury is that magnificent view of the green peaks from your private balcony.”


Numerous carriers fly from NY and LA to Hanoi through other gateway cities. You can get to Hanoi over-land from elsewhere in the country via train or car, but most people chose to come by plane. Hanoi’s small international airport (code: HAN) is not as served by international airlines as Ho Chi Minh City so visitors coming from Europe may fly into Bangkok and then on to Hanoi via Thai or Vietnam Airlines.

From the Americas, there are flights via Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Here are some airlines to look for deals:

*Singapore Airlines
The Singaporean national airline flies daily between Singapore and Hanoi.
*Thai Airways
The Thai national carrier flies daily to Hanoi from Bangkok.
*Vietnam Airlines
The Viet national carrier flies to Hanoi from major cities around the world.
*Pacific Airlines
The only other domestic airline in Vietnam. It is a little cheaper than Vietnam Airlines, but isn’t really a budget carrier. Also serves Taiwan.

From Hanoi, trains run day and night to the mountainous town of Lao Cai. From there, it takes an hour to drive to Sapa, the town nearest to Topas Ecolodge. These trains run day and night and night trains provide good standards of soft sleeper berths. By train, you can depart from Hanoi around 9:00pm and arrive in Lao Cai the next morning at 5am. There are many other departures and arrival options and, the best part… all transport can be arranged by Topas Ecolodge! They’ll provide daily transportation from Sapa to the Ecolodge (45 min drive). Said to be a dirt road and an interesting journey, along the way, you’ll see daily life in the rice fields and the picturesque Muong Hoa valley where beautiful locals make their way to Sapa to sell handcrafts and vegetables.

Topas Ecolodge
Tel: 84 20 872 404
Doubles from $125, including meals and transfers from Sapa

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