Archive for the ‘cheap hotels’ Category

Eco Puerto Rico… We Go…

Hix Island House - Vieques, Puerto Rico

Hix Island House – Vieques, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico… ah, that sultry rustic spot just nestled one short direct flight from NYC (and every major airport, it seems). Well, I’m sorry to say that it’s the one place I haven’t been (that you’d think with my latino skills I’d know left and right), but sigh… not yet. And, although I even have some friends that live there, I just haven’t had a chance to make it… yet. Perhaps I keep going back to my beloved Mexico, but one thing is for sure… we all have to check out this rustic eco-chic island of Vieques… Pronto!

As John Hix says, “Nature is more fascinating and beautiful than things that are made by man.” Architect John Hix of Hix Island House is a man with a vision, that’s for sure. Just check out his website and you’ll see that he clearly “strives to make buildings fit with Nature… understanding the forces in Nature that cause those natural things to be what they are.” So, what did he do? Bring those natural forces into his architectural vision, of course.

On Vieques, you’ll discover extraordinary gray granite boulders set about from some ancient primordial era.

This is Eco Puerto Rico, baby!

This is Eco Puerto Rico, baby!

The sculptural qualities are definitely awe-inspiring. His words speak for themselves… these are buildings that harmonize with the countryside and absorbed or concealed by the landscape. At Hix House, his goal is to get guests diverging from their mundane urban or suburban lives. Designing with nature in mind, sun, land, breeze, and rain allow him to conserve energy, reduce maintenance, and minimize chemical usage. Houses collect rain water, they’re heated from the sun and then excess water is used to replenish the surrounding flora. The houses also convert the sun’s rays into electricity.

The Wabi-Sabi construction of block and reinforced concrete surfaced with plaster is also hurricane, earthquake and fire-proof.

Unglazed windows offer direct connection with climate and Nature and concrete houses with their steel rolling doors and heavy wood shutters have become havens for neighbors and friends during hurricanes. To wit, they didn’t encounter any damage from the three they’ve withstood.

So, basically, we gotta check this out because “Su campo es nuestro campo”. There are lofts, 2 bedrooms, whole homes, casitas… pretty much something for everyone.

Including me and you.

http://hixislandhouse.com

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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

Lost Hotels Brings Eco-Adventure to Last Minute Deal Hungry Travellers

Hukumeizi - Colombia

“Be a traveler, not a tourist.”

Embodying this mantra, we just uncovered Lost Hotels, a website that intends to unite a sense of adventure with cultural destinations, nature and authentic experiences. Here, travelers will taste the local beer and food, experience local customs, test out the native tongue, make new friends and garner stories.

Tango Mar Pool - Costa Rica

Each week, time-sensitive deals to unique destinations curated by Lost Hotel’s staff of world travelers are extended to subscribers via e-mail or by visiting www.losthotels.com. Think independent and green properties, small-to-medium size, cool urban boutique hotels, Amazon jungle lodges and expedition cruises. This isn’t Paris in spring at Ritz. This is Tango Mar in Costa Rica, Sacha Lodge in the Amazon rainforest, Ariau Amazon Towers in Brazil, Titilaka in Bolivia, Hukumeizi and Casa Navegante in Colombia and Casa del Suizo in Ecuador.

Brazil's Ariau Amazon Hotel

In addition to its weekly deals, Lost Hotels will offer a travel guru service, where experts help plan getaways to any of its properties. This service includes being matched with a trip authority, mapping out the stay, finding accommodations and booking these suggestions at the best available rates. Lost Hotels was founded in 2000 by Ernesto Ruben under the name Ecorepublic. Ruben, who grew up in Colombia, longed to offer travelers a chance to explore unspoiled nature and cultural enrichment through quality accommodations.

Casa del Suizo - Ecuador

Former Groupon Colombia executive Jonathan Dreszer, Lost Hotels’ chief marketing officer, joined the team and in 2004, Ecorepublic transformed into Lost Hotels, the online resource for travels looking for the road less traveled. Currently, Lost Hotels is debuting its products in the Americas and the Caribbean. Other worldwide destinations are soon to follow.

So grab your camera and your sense of adventure. It’s time to get lost!

www.losthotels.com

Starwood’s Excellent & Eco-Friendly Element Hotels

Element Hotel's Lexington Studio Suite

Our friend recently stayed at one of Starwood’s Element Hotels in New York City (soon to open its 10th hotel in Miami), and I was impressed by both the eco-friendly touches, as well as the comfort and convenience (she had a stovetop and fridge in the room so she could cook and save some money while working in the big apple). With the average room rate starting at  just $125.00 per night, affordability is also a priority. Here are several unique design amenities keeping Element ahead of the curve:

·         Use of recycled tires for flooring and art mountings – an eco-friendly choice that is invisible to guests

·         Bathrooms that feel spa-inspired yet feature a low-flow oversized rain shower showerhead, as well as amenity dispensers to cut down on plastic bottle waste.  Dual-flush toilets also reduce water consumption.

·         Soy-based fabrics throughout that are soft and comfortable

·         Fully equipped kitchens with energy-efficient appliances

·         Environmentally friendly “Do Not Disturb” door magnets

Element Hotels is also the only major hotel brand to mandate that all properties pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for high-performance buildings.

Que Rica… Colombia!

El Penol Lake near Medellin - Colombia

Colombia is a destination ready for discovery. From its beautiful landscapes, rich heritage, cosmopolitan cities, and mouthwatering cuisine, Colombia is rumored to be THE next hot destination in Latin America. Listed below are the top reasons to fall in love with the passion of Colombia, and a million reasons for wanting to stay. So what inspires you?

  • Coasts: As a destination where the sand is caressed by two oceans, Colombia’s privileged location allows its visitors to enjoy over 2,900 km of coasts on two oceans and the Caribbean Sea. Talk about the ultimate beach vacation! Long, tranquil beaches between jungles and the sea line most of the Pacific coast, while the Caribbean coast contains wide beach beaches, large resort complexes, and various shops and restaurants. Make sure to experience the country’s diving adventures. Go to the depth of Colombia’s colorful seas. Bordered by both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, there is a world that is designed for the delight of divers under the sea. The famous Seaflower Biopsphere Reserve around the Island of Providencia contains the world’s third largest reef park, and is a global haven for spotting the sea’s shiny starfish, crabs, angelfish, corals, sponges and various other species in strange shapes and vibrant colors.

Colombia Coffee Farmer (c) Neil Palmer - CIAT

  • Coffee: Recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2011, Colombia’s Coffee Triangle is known for producing the world’s best coffee. Let the aroma and the taste of coffee surround you, while getting to know the beauty of the key regions. Keeping in tradition with its diverse culture and landscapes, Colombia pays tributes to its roots by containing food that is a mixture of Indian, Spanish, African and Arabic cuisines. Every region is has its own gastronomy, related to its natural resources. Delight in the ocean’s bountiful harvest in the Caribbean region; Savor the meats, potatoes, beans and corn in the Andean region; Enjoy the Pacific Coast’s abundance of rice, lentils, and rice; and appreciate the veal, manioc and various fishes in the Orinoco River region.

Colombia's Amazon (c) Jill Robinson

  • Nature: In a land where the earth breathes, The Amazon is the traditional destination of scientist and scholars who want to learn to talk with nature. Containing the world’s second longest river the largest tropical jungle on the planet, Colombia’s shares the Amazon Rainforest with Brazil and Peru. Enjoy the fauna and flora of the jungle by zipping between trees, or hiking along the forest various jungle paths. 90 percent of Colombia is Nature, while 10 percent of Colombia’s territory is protected by nature reserves– including 37 national parks, 12 fauna and flora sanctuaries, two natural reserves, and one parkway—11,000,000 hectares that encompass beautiful scenery, a variety of climate and soils, floras and fauna, and 230 civil society natural reserves. Talk about Biodiversity! Colombia contains the world’s largest collection of amphibians, butterflies and flowers. It also holds the title of containing the world’s second highest number of bird species (containing 1,865 bird species). From June to November the country turns into the homes of hundreds of bird, whale, and marine turtle species that visit the Colombian Pacific coast to mate, feed, and take rest on their migratory journey.

Cartagena

  • Vibrant Cities: Colombians are festive by nature, and always seek opportunities to celebrate their cultural heritage. From the colorful Barranquilla Carnival every February and Medellin Flower Fair every August, to the much acclaimed Cali Fair, there is always a reason to celebrate. Colombians take pride in the rich cultural life contained within their cities walls. From cosmopolitan Cartagena, modern Bogota, passionate Cali and progressive Medellin, each one of  Colombia’s cities offers its guests something different and unique. Known for their warm and friendly spirit, the people of Colombia are ready to open their arms to the whole world. Seeking to show the world its true face, Colombia’s passion for developing its global status in the world is the ultimate driving force for their authentic energy and dynamic spirit.

There’s even more to be discovered in person. With a booming tourism sector, Colombia is ready for you.

www.colombia.travel

Fabu Family Eco Adventure Deal – Cancun

Whale Shark!

This just in! From June through September, hundreds of whale sharks gather in the waters just a short boat ride from the Villa del Palmar beachfront resort in Cancun – one of the top two places in the world to see these incredible ocean-dwellers. The family-friendly beach resort, which opened last December, is currently offering a Whale Shark Adventure Family Package Deal at great value, with massages included (helloooooo, Cancun!) and two children under 12 staying and eating for free.

  Whale Shark Eco Adventure Package Deal at Villa del Palmar Cancun

5 Days / 4 Nights
Seasonal (June-September) 

 

 

Villa del Palmar

Package Includes:

• 5 Days and 4 Nights in a luxurious One Bedroom Ocean View Suite
• 2 50-Minute Relaxing Massage per room, per Stay
• 10% Off additional Massages
• Up to two children under 12 stay and eat free (sharing room with their parents)
• 2 Whale Shark Tour passes
• Round Trip Transfers
• Welcome Cocktail upon arrival
• All Meals, Snacks and Beverages + Premium Brand Alcoholic Beverages
• Complimentary Internet access in your room
• 6 times daily shuttle to Downtown and Hotel Zone Shopping Centers
• Complimentary use of Water & Land Toys: Non motorized water sports
• Daily Theme Nights
• Taxes and gratuities

Price: $1,598 total package

www.villapalmarcancun.com

Sicily’s Eco Steal

Relais Torre Marabino - Sicily, Italy

This just in! Essential Italy is offering reduced rates in May at this fantastic eco-hotel in Sicily. For stays from May 15th -31st. If you  stay 5 nights and pay 4 nights on all types of rooms.

£135.00/night for 4 nights and £110.00/night for 5 nights B&B

(FYI – Usual price is £145/night)

Relais Torre Marabino

This small hotel is just a short distance from the sandy beach at Pozallo. The building dates back to the 1500’s and is now home to an eco-friendly and intimate hotel where all 7 rooms have been furnished and decorated originally; with each one given a different name of a wine produced in the cantina at Torre Marabino. The views across the Sicilian landscape from all rooms are, in one word, enchanting, and produce from the hotel’s farm is used in the kitchen. Did we also mention that they make their own fabulous organic wine – yep, the label is Torre Marabino.

Location: Ispica 3km, Siracusa 60km, Catania 110km, Palermo 302km, Modica 18km, Taormina 165km, Noto 22km, Pachino 20km

www.essentialitaly.co.uk

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