Archive for July, 2012

Secret Spots of Oahu’s Fabled North Shore

Stephen Koehne, Sean Moody, Aamion Goodwin, and Mark Healey. Photo: Kelli Bullock

Stephen Koehne, Sean Moody, Aamion Goodwin, and Mark Healey. Photo: Kelli Bullock

Turtle Bay Resort’s new “Play Lists” helps guests better experience Oahu’s fabled North Shore. Each list is authored by a hand selected North Shore luminary who lives the “The Life” to its fullest and details the many inspirational ways to play along one of the world’s most fabled coastlines. Authored by Jodi Wilmott, veteran surf and watersports communications professional, Jodi’s life has revolved around the ocean since day one. Born in South Africa to a young Australian couple who were on an “Endless Summer” surfari, she moved with her parents to Oahu at the age of three. They lived with the Hawaiian family of Eddie and Clyde Aikau, who were only just starting to make their names in surfing. After traveling the globe for another decade, Jodi settled back in Hawaii permanently in 1998, taking up as communications director for international ocean sport events like the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, the Molokai to Oahu paddleboard and outrigger canoe races, sailing regattas and distance ocean swims.

Jodi lives in the country area of Waialua on the North Shore with her husband and three young boys. She hosts iconic guests each week at Talk Story (Surfer, The Bar) to share and preserve the many wonderful and inspirational stories that are tied to this iconic stretch of ocean on Oahu’s North Shore. In her time off, Jodi loves to surf at Laniakea, Jocko’s, remote breaks near Ka’ena Point, and at Turtle Bay.

Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley

With further ado, here is Jodi’s Play List of Things to Do:

  • Waimea Valley is one of those places where you feel like you can truly exhale, wind down, and get back in touch with all that is good in the world. The expansiveness and beauty of nature has been retained here and it feels like stepping back in time to a day when the early Hawaiians lived in harmony with their environment. My kids love it here as much as I do. Take a walk, relax and read a book on the valley lawn, take a dive in the waterfall. You will leave rejuvenated.
  • Ka’ena Point takes you far away from life’s business. Pack a good sized bottle of ice cold water and a light brunch and drive to the far west end of Farrington Highway, beyond Haleiwa and Mokuleia. There are deserted white sand beaches and aqua waters to find during summer. In the winter, enjoy the massive, crashing surf from the safety of high sand. You can also take the walking trail at the end of the road and gently explore the shoreline. Caution: no lifeguards on this stretch of coastline and it also gets very hot, so get an early start, drink plenty of water, keep a cell phone on you, and stay within your comfort zone for real enjoyment.
  • Dillingham airfield offers amazing glider flights over the North Shore and Oahu’s West Side. Soar like a bird without the sound of an airplane engine and savor the greens, blues and earthy tones of the region, not to mention the spectacular mountain range and ocean views. Get lost in your thoughts and the gorgeous scenery!
  • If you’ve got small children, Shark’s Cove is a natural wonderland. It’s so easy for a kid to be content here and a few small items will make it extra fun: sunscreen and a hat, reef walkers, snorkel and mask, even a small bodyboard to float around on. There are pools of varying depths and plenty of living sea creatures to explore. Get an early start on it to get a parking spot and skip the midday heat. Or, enjoy it late before the sun goes down – there’s an excellent sunset view from here, too.
  • 21 Degrees – this is where my husband and I go for a romantic dinner of superb quality and the island’s best lychee martini!! I love their food and wine paired with the ambiance and view at sunset. It’s the highest quality menu on the North Shore, for sure, and one of the best restaurants in the Islands.
  • Coffee Gallery, in the Haleiwa Marketplace, is where a local’s day begins… or ends! Fresh, fresh, fresh coffee, locally grown, with an incredible selection of one-of-a-kind sweet and savory treats. I love their creamy lattes and the staff pays special attention to making every cup enjoyable. Excellent!!
  • Kahuku Superette and the Fiji Market are just a short drive to the east from Turtle Bay, but are a local favorite. These mom-and-pop stores are like a trip back in time and we’re so fortunate to still have them on the North Shore. Kahuku Superette has the freshest and tastiest poke on the island, and various other Hawaiian delicacies. Fiji Market offers meat pies and sausage rolls among many other things, and is a favorite of expat Australians, New Zealanders and Fijians.
  • The Talk Story speaker series at Turtle Bay Resort’s <Surfer, The Bar>…is my ultimate fave…OK, OK, full disclosure…I am the host!  But, each week I am treated to exceptional stories from iconic surf and ocean-related personalities. Whether the speakers are world champion surfers, best-selling authors, oceanographers, cinematographers and photographers, or big wave riders and legitimate North Shore legends, Talk Story is a human experience you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.
  • Laniakea will forever be my favorite surf spot in the world. Suited more for intermediate and advanced surfers, this is one of the best waves in Hawaii and many surfing greats have had their day at ‘Lani’s’. I may never surf as well as them, but riding a wave is a relative experience; if you’re comfortable with the conditions, you can have the greatest wave of your life – whether it’s 2-feet or 20-feet.

Check out Turtle Bay Resort for more Play Lists.

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London Rentals During the Olympics

Going for the Olympics or not, London has plenty else to offer this summer, with some great last minute deals. An estimated 5.3 million more visitors are set to visit Britain during July and August this year compared to the same period in 2011… and, of course, the majority are coming to see the Olympics. However, if you missed out on a ticket or just left it all to the last minute, don’t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy a host of festivals and cultural events in the Capital.

In addition to being named by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice survey as the best city it’s easy to see why.  For art lovers among you, head over to the Tate Modern to see the latest Damien Hirst exhibition running until the 9th of September? If world-class theatre is more your taste, ten London venues will be showcasing the World Shakespeare Festival which is running right through until October 2012.  The Notting Hill Carnival, over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of August, is Europe’s biggest street festival. Or, if you’re looking to soak up some of the Olympic atmosphere, there will be big screens showing the Games in Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square.

With such offerings, there were initial concerns over a shortage of accommodation, but trouble in the Eurozone has meant many would-be-travellers have chosen to stay at home this year.  Accordingly, hotels are reducing their rates to attract last minute bookers and there are some good deals to be had.  www.hotels.com claim room rates in London have fallen by a quarter in the last month.  For the budget traveller, couch-surfing is becoming an increasingly popular option or, if you are looking for something a bit different, sites like www.viveunique.com have great offers on upmarket home rentals, from as little as $80 per night.

ViveUnique is a specialist booking website for unique and upmarket home rentals.  With a handpicked collection of apartments and townhouses in London, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin and Rome, guests enjoy a more authentic and boutique experience.  Guests stay in real homes and live like a local while the owner is away.  With personal recommendations for the local area, each home offers a stylish living experience and excellent value. Homeowners who wish to market their homes and connect with affluent travellers around the globe, can list for free and earn money while they’re away.

With the Olympics just around the corner and having already played host to the Diamond Jubilee and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in recent months, whatever your reason for visiting London, 2012 is set to be a year to remember.

www.viveunique.com

Splendid Isolation: The Ultimate Eco-Retreat – Endémico, Mexico

Endemico's Pool

Endemico’s Pool

Newly opened just a few days ago and set along rugged boulders in the heart of Baja California lies Endémico in Mexico’s fast growing wine region. Endémico (English: endemic), was designed to pay homage to the organic beauty of the landscape; from stark desert to lush vineyards. A team of hand-selected local tradesmen worked in collaboration with Gracia Studio to create 20 luxury cabins, which blend seamlessly with their awe-inspiring natural surroundings. Hotel owners Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha, the partnership behind the highly innovative Grupo Habita portfolio of hotels, are avidly committed to investing in the regions in which they build their hotels, on an environmental, social, economic, and cultural level. Therefore, the eco-friendly cabins are raised off the ground to minimize their impact on the landscape and are constructed from Corten steel and wood to ensure that they weather over time.

A sweet eco-cabin in the sky

A sweet eco-cabin in the sky

The rustic tranquillity of the environment also inspired the fresh, understated interior design of the cabins, which all feature simple yet chic furnishings. Minimal the cabins may be, but modern comforts and luxurious touches have not been overlooked. Private terraces offer unobstructed views over the Valle de Guadalupe and the traditional clay fireplaces, known locally as kivas, allow guests to sit under a blanket of stars and sip regional wines while being warmed by a roaring fire. From the pool, guests can soak up the calming solitude, while gazing out over the vast expanse.

I'll have a glass of Mexican wine with my view, porfa

I’ll have a glass of Mexican wine with my view, porfa

Location and rates
Endémico, located in the village of Valle de Guadalupe between Rosarito and Ensenada, is a mere 90min. drive from San Diego. The region is also known as “El otro México” (the other Mexico), being neither a part of California, yet nothing like mainland Mexico. The area, with its old fishing and mission towns, offers an interesting blend of modern and traditional Mexico and cultural traits from across the nation mingle here, causing an exciting cultural and artisanal melting pot.

Rates from $175-$325/night

www.designhotels.com/endemico

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