Archive for the ‘couples retreats’ Category

Honduras: An Eco-Resort’s Latest Organic Offering

The Lodge at Pico Bonito’s New Organic Spa and More…

Honduras Eco Hotel

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

We’re back from the holidays and we’re already ready to plan our next vacation. You too? If getting back to the grind is inspiring daydreams of ditching it all for a trip away from it all, we have a great suggestion for you…

The majestic jungles of Honduras!

Because really… there’s nothing like being in the middle of the glorious jungle filled with over 40 different types of tropical butterflies, toucans, motmots, and miles of private trails through canyons, waterfalls, and swimming holes. If that’s not reason enough, how about a mystical Temazcal (Mayan sauna) in the center of the jungle to get your trip – and your soul – steered in the right direction?

The Pool at Pico Bonito

The Pool at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Temazcal, which comes from the Nahuatl Word temacalli, means ‘house of heat.’ Originating in the pre-Hispanic indigenous culture in Mesoamerica, legend has it that the dome shape of the steam house represents Mother Earth’s womb, and those taking part in a Temazcal are said to experience a rebirth.

Honduras’ top eco-resort, The Lodge at Pico Bonito, is inviting travelers to abandon the stresses of home, ignite a new outlook on life, and increase circulation of the senses with their new organic spa offerings and we think it sounds like an excellent idea. It’s also been named one of the top 50 eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveler.

Honduras Eco Resort Lodge Pico Bonito

The Lodge at Pico Bonita’s Standard Room in the Center of the Jungle

The new outdoor spa, set to debut on January 15th, will have three circular cabins on stilts to maintain balance and harmony with the natural energies of the environment (one cabin for individual massage, one cabin for couples massage, one cabin with a Vichy shower, one Temazcal, and a nearby plunge pool).

Here some just a few deliciously organic spa offerings:

Revitalizing Cotinga, in the Temazcal, begins with an aromatic steam therapy to oxygenate the pores of your skin. The treatment continues in their Vichy shower with a pineapple exfoliation and a therapeutic anti-inflammatory chamomile mud wrap. (Note: Temazcal rituals need two people per session so bring along your partner for a truly liberating couples experience)

Aromatherapy, or Essential Oil therapy, is also on offer. Taking a holistic approach of using extracts from plants to balance, harmonize and improve the mind, body and soul by using essential oils such as spruce, rosewood spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy. Detox relaxes muscles, improves circulation and relieves joint pain by using essential oils such basil, grapefruit, cypress, marjoram, mint, and lavender to drain and remove toxins.

Organic spa treatment

Organic Ingredients Good Enough to Eat!

Organic Fruit Facials incorporate seasonal fruits like cucumber, melon, banana, lychee, papaya, pineapple and passion fruit, along with cacao and honey, to refreshen your face. The best part? Their 50-minute facial only costs US $45. For those feeling even more romantic, there’s the Romantic Rio Coloradito Treatment, a lavender-fused massage to delete back and neck tensions from all those days sitting at the computer. It’s followed with a warm foot purification scrub (using honey and flowers for her and herbs for him) while sipping on a delicious tea from local fruits and aphrodisiac spices.

Honduran Rafting Excursion!

Honduran Rafting Excursion! (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The eco-lodge is worth the escape alone. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, its five-star amenities are set on the edge of Honduras’ second largest National Park, ten miles from La Ceiba. There’s a trio of four-story observation decks overlooking the jungle canopy and adventures like white water rafting and jungle safaris through protected mangroves make it an unforgettable experience. Plus, with only 22 private cabins, it’s the perfect place to escape city life, in eco-chic style.

www.picobonito.com 

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England, Wellness, and a Lovely Country Lodge

A Quintessential Country Inn

A Quintessential Country Inn

Oh dear old England… when I think about getting into a cozy sweater and sipping a hot toddy you are there. You’re also a lovely place for a summertime stroll in the country which is why we wanted to tell our readers about Dorset’s Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. They’ve just partnered their decadent surroundings with the expertise of Dr. Dorian Dugmore, CEO of Wellness Academy and one of the world’s leading wellbeing experts, for an indulgent weekend designed to educate and encourage couples to improve their wellbeing and lifestyles.

Yes, it's this lovely...

Yes, it’s this lovely…

The weekend aims to instill guests with a healthier attitude and confidence, featuring countryside walks through the neighboring 600-acre Melbury Estate and plenty of time to relax in Summer Lodge’s exquisite spa. Participants analyze their vital signs and attend various sessions with Dr. Dorian that focus on key lifestyle factors influencing health and wellbeing. Topics include the science of the feel-good factor, techniques for managing stress and reducing tension, and simple dietary changes that maximize energy and happiness.

What's a Wellness Retreat without quality cuisine?

What’s a Wellness Retreat without quality cuisine?

Additional wellness activities include a wine tasting with Summer Lodge’s award-winning sommelier, who shares the secrets to choosing a “healthier” tipple, and the development of individual wellness plans for guests. A special menu, utilizing the abundance of locally-sourced produce, will be served with recipe cards that highlight the nutritional benefits of each dish.

Gourmet Wellness for Couples runs at intervals throughout 2014, beginning the weekend of March 7, 2014.

The package is priced at $2,900 for two people staying in a Classic room, and includes two nights’ accommodations, breakfasts, lunches, a wine tasting and black tie gala dinner.

http://www.summerlodgehotel.co.uk/

Escape to La Paz!

Does that look like peace enough to you?

Does that look like peace enough to you?

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico means ‘Peace’ and we must admit, La Paz has the upper hand when it comes to “off-the-beaten path” activities. We’ve been there and can attest to that. From swimming with sea lions to sipping champagne, there’s no shortage of R&R or adventure.

Hidden away on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula approximately 135 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the Sea of Cortez, the city is a gateway to one of the world’s most unique and bountiful ecosystems, declared a World Heritage Site and dubbed by French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau ‘the aquarium of the world’.

Exploring the aquarium of the world

Exploring the aquarium of the world

The city’s rich cultural history, striking natural wonders, white sand beaches, turquoise waters and world-class sports fishing have made it a magnet for romantics seeking a secluded getaway, outdoor enthusiasts looking for adventure and families in search of a kid-friendly place to explore. Outside selected La Paz as best weekend escape of 2013 and Beautiful Bride as one of the top six honeymoon destinations for San Diegans. Direct flights are available from Los Angeles on Aeromexico, while a new four-lane highway makes the drive from Cabo San Lucas only 90 minutes.

A little whale watching up close for the adventurer in you...

A little whale watching up close for the adventurer in you…

For The Adventurer

Adventure is a big draw for experiential travelers who look to connect with the essence of their destination. The waters surrounding La Paz have one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems whose exceptional number of fish species-891, 90 of them endemic-has earned the area a World Heritage Site distinction.

Visitors can dive deep into the culture and right into El Bajo, a popular dive site known for schooling hammerheads, amber jacks, tuna, and giant Pacific mantas; or explore Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO protected gem that boasts approximately 23,800 acres of untouched ecosystems.

From mid December to late March visitors can experience the migration of gray whales, which swim approximately 5,000 miles from the Artic and North Atlantic to mate or give birth in the shallow lagoons of Magdalena Bay-approximately two and a half hours from La Paz.  For adrenaline junkies looking for some action, a whale shark encounter is the perfect end to a dive trip. These gentle filter feeding giants, weighing in at 79,000 pounds, are the largest fish in the world and can sometimes surpass 40 feet in length.

Approximately 45 minutes south of the city, travelers can visit a 124-acre cactus sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of the dozen species native endemic to Baja Sur region.  North of the city, trails lead hikers to secluded and pristine beaches, showcasing one of the most impressive sights in La Paz-the juxtaposition of the sea and desert.

The Malecon

The Malecon

For Families

If you are traveling with kids, Los Islotes, a colony of approximately 500 Californian brown sea lions, is a must-see. The playful pups are a fun and special treat for snorkelers and even the most seasoned divers.

La Paz is home to miles of virgin coastline, with dozens of white-sand beaches whose calm, crystalline waters are perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and swimming. El Tesoro, a bay beach surrounded by mountains, is the perfect beach for kids as it boasts calm and shallow waters, and also features a small playground and restaurant. Coromuel, the first beach on La Paz’s scenic road, is where many families spend their weekends. The beach, lined with palapas (tiki huts), offers Jet Skis for rent and a variety of equipment for water sports.

Balandra, La Paz’s most famous beach, is the ultimate place for relaxation and known worldwide for its spectacular views of white-sand mountains and the bright blue sea. Balandra’s waters are so shallow and calm bathers can walk to the other side of the bay. Balandra is also home to El Hongo, La Paz’s signature mushroom-shaped rock formation.

The century old buildings and bustling boardwalk with ice cream stands, also offer a nice cultural component to any family vacation. The Regional Anthropology and History Museum located in the heart of the city displays an interesting collection of fossils and cave paintings that give insight to the daily lives of the town’s first dwellers.

Fresh ceviche at Azul Marino

Fresh ceviche at Azul Marino

For The Foodie

For those who live to eat, La Paz has a number of restaurants ready to satisfy the even the most discerning palates.

Stroll down the Malecon (boardwalk) to find an array of colorful choices. For starters there is El Bismarkcito, a local favorite popular for its fish dipping sauce, and shrimp tacos. A block away from the boardwalk, travelers can spot the fisherman delivering his catch of the day to El Empanada, a friendly spot famous for its chocolatas, or chocolate clams, a delicacy harvested from the waters of the Sea of Cortez whose peculiar name stems from their brown-colored shells.

Local chefs like Cristina Kiewek, from CostaBaja Resort and Spa’s resort award-winning restaurant Azul Marino, have created menus based off traditional Mexican recipes with an added global flare.

Kiewek’s newest venture, Nim, situated in downtown La Paz, has been well-received since it’s opening in in October. Built on an old historic home with large open spaces and ample natural light, the restaurant boasts a variety of international plates such as New Orleans style oysters, Vietnamese pho, Mediterranean Carpaccio, Moroccan lamb and traditional crowd-pleasers like guacamole and Mexican sopes (hand-made, thick corn tortillas with meat toppings).

Nim’s sister restaurant Azul Marino offers its guests a gourmet atmosphere, and the best Asian-fusion in town (think melt-in-your-mouth summer rolls and yellowtail tartare with hints of ginger!).

Fresh fish at Luna Bruja (c) Baja.com

Fresh fish at Luna Bruja (c) Baja.com

Pichilingue, a five-minute drive from El Tesoro, is home to two famous seafood restaurants, Restaurant Playa Pichilingue and Luna Bruja Restaurant. Its shallow, calm waters are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding, a great way to feel less guilty after indulging in all of La Paz’s delicacies.

Great. Now I want to go back all over again!

A Little Romance in Monterey, California

A room at The Portola Hotel & Spa

A room at The Portola Hotel & Spa

We love Monterey, California. Maybe it’s all those seals and seagulls. Maybe it’s the sleepy, peaceful craggy coast surroundings that make us want to have a lazy mimosa brunch, sip a warm tea, eat salt water taffy, and hit up the Aquarium. In short, when we’re on the Northern California coast, it’s a clear must visit. There’s just something special in the air.

So, when The Portola Hotel & Spa, told us they were introducing a Romance Package just in time for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to spread the word. As one of the Central Coast’s most romantic destinations, the Portola Hotel & Spa has designed the perfect overnight package for that special getaway. Pop open your complimentary bottle of bubbly paired with gourmet chocolate covered strawberries and let your vacation begin.

The Spa on the Plaza at the Portola Hotel & Spa

The Spa on the Plaza at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Wake up and enjoy the European-style breakfast buffet at Jacks Restaurant, paired with bottomless Mimosas. The fresh coastal air and breathtaking views help set the scene for a weekend not soon to be forgotten. As Monterey’s first and only Silver LEED® EB certified hotel and AAA Four Diamond Rating, the hotel brings travelers a rich, historical ambiance, with 379 nautically inspired guest rooms and suites, ranging from 400 to 1,000 square feet.

champagne

Champers, anyone?

Inspired by the Monterey Peninsula’s landscape and nautical heritage, all rooms feature elegant wood furnishings, large bathrooms, white shuttered windows. Many guest rooms offer private balconies with ocean, garden terrace or pool views. Also home to Jacks Restaurant and Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, the Monterey Peninsula’s first craft brewery. Bottom’s up! In addition, overnight guests have access to the hotel’s spa and fitness facilities, complete with steam room, sauna, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. The newly renovated 6,000-square-foot Spa on the Plaza

The Romance Package includes:

• Guest room

• A warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie upon check-in

• Complimentary bottle of champagne & gourmet chocolate covered strawberries

• Breakfast buffet for two at Jacks Restaurant with bottomless Mimosas

• Heated pool, Jacuzzi & poolside cabanas

Looking for a little more romance? Add a couples Renewal Massage for two at their Spa On the Plaza for an additional $90.00 per person

Book & Stay Dates January 7, 2014 to March 31, 2014

Starting at $339/night

Some restrictions may apply.

http://www.portolahotel.com/

Virtue or Vice at the Viceroy Anguilla

Viceroy Anguilla Beachfront

Viceroy Anguilla Beachfront

Thirty five lush acres, 3,200 feet of beachfront land along Barnes and Meads Bays, bluff-top villas with full kitchens and butler service. SOLD! I’m talking about the Viceroy Anguilla offering contemporary beachfront, sophisticated townhomes, and lavish resort residences. Renowned for its remarkable design, superb location and exceptional amenities, the resort draws jet-setting travelers from all over the world.

Chillin Poolside

Chillin Poolside

At Viceroy Anguilla this fall, guests will now also have the choice of being naughty or nice with the new “Vice or Virtue” packages as part of the Viceroy Hotels and Resorts special offers. These limited-time travel packages will deliver up everything from healthy and beneficial to wickedly wonderful amenities and experiences for guests who book during the September – October window using code vicevirtue.   At Viceroy Anguilla, guests will experience its Enjoy the Excess –Vice package, or the Breathe Easy—Virtue package.

A room at the Viceroy Anguilla

A room at the Viceroy Anguilla

Enjoy the Excess – Vice

This lavish (and when we say ‘lavish’ we mean it) package includes private charter air to the island, a five-night stay in one of the resorts 4,800+-square-foot, four-bedroom Beachfront Villas featuring a full gourmet kitchen, dining room, living room, four marble bathrooms featuring a deep soaking tub and oversized walk-in shower. Outdoor living includes a private pool, chaise lounges, a spa pool, an outdoor grill, a cabana and two outdoor showers.

Viceroy Anguilla Spa

Viceroy Anguilla Spa

Bring seven loved ones for $150,000 and enjoy:

  • Private Charter Air provided by Tradewind Aviation (For 8 people originating in choice of gateways New York, Atlanta, Dallas or Chicago)
  • Four bedroom Beachfront Villa accommodations for 5 nights for up to 8 people
  • Two private Chef Dinners prepared in the Villa
  • Choice of daily spa treatment
  • Breakfast and lunch daily

Stay October 5, 2013 – March 31, 2014; not available December 15, 2013 – January 2, 2014.

Viceroy Anguilla Patio

Viceroy Anguilla Patio

Breathe Easy –  Virtue

Experience a relaxing retreat and a daily $100 credit and daily breakfast for two. The $100 credit may be used toward feel-good-for-you perks including spa treatments, healthy island fruit drinks or fitness classes including spinning, and yoga. While at the Caribbean resort guests may also partake in a bevy of complimentary land and water activities certain to add to their overall wellbeing.

Viceroy Anguilla Restaurant

Viceroy Anguilla Restaurant

Starting at $450/night

·         Daily Breakfast

·         $100 resort credit

viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/vicevirtue

And let me tell you… these photos don’t do the joint justice!

If you’re also in the mood for other chic one-of-a-kind experiences, try out any one of the Viceroy properties in Abu Dhabi, Beverly Hills, Maldives, Miami, New York, Palm Springs, Riviera Maya, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Snowmass, St. Lucia and Zihuatanejo with forthcoming openings in New YorkIstanbul, Dubai and Bodrum, Turkey.

You can’t go wrong, you jet set junkie.

 

Eco-Luxury in Costa Rica

Kura Design Villas

Kura Design Villas

We were blown away by the amazing design for these two hot eco-friendly lodges in Costa Rica and think they’re two of the best we’ve seen as of late. Now, travelers to Costa Rica can build in two very different  eco-luxury experiences that showcase the evolution of the country’s ecotourism experiences – the multiple award winning, authentic and visionary  Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge in the Osa Peninsula and the less than one year old, critically acclaimed, drop dead gorgeous and sexy Kura Design Villas, just a short 2.5 hour or 150 kilometre journey away in Uvita, and the centre of Ballena Marine National Park.  Recognized as one of the top eco- lodges in Central America, Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge has spent the past 20 years leading by example and incorporating best practices in sustainable tourism. Set within a 1,000 acre rainforest reserve, 900 acres of which are protected into perpetuity thanks to its visionary owners, guests experience firsthand how nature and tourism can coexist in a way that proves that a forest left standing is of far more value than if it was cut down. In 2003, Lapa Rios became the first resort in Costa Rica to receive five-leaf status from the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s (ICT) Certification for Sustainable Tourism.

Lapa Rios Amazing Private Deck

Lapa Rios Amazing Private Deck

The sixteen bungalows were designed to reflect the traditional architecture of the area, and set into the Lapa Rios reserve so that guests sleep among the rainforest, with spectacular ocean and wildlife views. Guides who were once hunters are now conservationists, and provide interpretation for dozens of tours and activities provided both on and off property.  The Lapa Rios reserve also offers three beaches and numerous waterfalls.  Meals are served in the open air Brisa Azul restaurant with views of the Golfo Dulce, and the focus is on fresh, local ingredients and traditional Costa Rican flavours and recipes.  This intense interaction with nature can now be combined with a stay at Costa Rica’s newest, painstakingly designed ecolodge experience, Kura Design Villas in Uvita.  While Lapa Rios embraces the traditional architecture and design of the area, Kura celebrates crisp, clean lines, vibrant colours, local modern art, and modern sustainable materials.  Built high on a mountain ridge in order to capture cool ocean breezes while offering spectacular views, Kura has quickly built a reputation for exceptional cuisine and warm hospitality.   An infinity pool and lounge along with its six beautifully appointed villas may make guests suspect of its carbon footprint, but Kura is being mentored by the best sustainable tourism experts in the country and is currently creating its own art, energy and eco-aesthetics tour for guests wanting to peek behind all the seemingly hi-tech exteriors to find the hi-touch commitment to eco-luxe tourism.

A Room at Kura

A Room at Kura

New this fall is Kura’s full service spa, a separately designed building with floor to ceiling windows to take full advantage of the views high above the rainforest and ocean. Private yoga classes are also available upon request. Kura is surrounded by adventure and activities like whale watching, diving and snorkeling, which can all be arranged.  The small village of Uvita de Osa is located between Dominical, a world-class surfing spot, and Ojochal, a town known for its local culinary traditions. For day trips, Kura is close to Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic calls the fourth most diverse national park in the world.

Rates & Reservations:

Rates for Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge range from $260 to $590 USD per person, based on double occupancy and depending on the season. Rates also include meals, lodging, round trip transfer to Puerto Jimenez (the town nearest Lapa Rios) and several on-property tours. A minimum four day stay is recommended.

www.laparios.com

Guests can round off their Costa Rican eco-luxury tour by spending two to three nights at Kura, where rates range from $440 to $890 USD per villa, and include arrival and departure transportation by private car between the town of Uvita and the hotel. (Note: KURA is closed this October 2013 for upgrading and maintenance).

www.kuracostarica.com

Truffle Hunting, Wine Tasting, and Bike Riding in Piedmont!

That's a truffle. Don't get any funny ideas.

That’s a truffle. Don’t get any funny ideas.

A Truffle huntin’ we will go, a truffle huntin’ we will go!

Who wants to wine taste, bike ride AND hunt for truffles? Who wouldn’t?

Ciclismo Classico, a leading outfitter of cycling vacations around the globe, is offering a food and wine focused Italy cycling tour in which guests stay in family-run luxury hotels, dine at the best local restaurants, and pedal through the vineyards and villages of Piedmont.

Gavi

Gavi

The most important vineyard centers of Gavi, Acqui Terme, Alba, lower Monferrato and Turin serve as the focal points of this eight-day tour. On exclusive winery visits, local experts discuss the tradition of winemaking and the nuances of the area’s many microclimates that give the wine its prized sophistication. Who wouldn’t want to learn about wines in Italy too? With great wine comes cuisine that includes a blend of Northern Italian and French influences, with the truffle and mushrooms as seasonal key players. Other highlights include: hunting truffles with local truffle hunter, biking emerald valleys & vineyard-laden hillsides, exclusive wine tastings and sumptuous dinners.

Riding through vineyards

Riding through vineyards

This tour happens Oct 12 – 19, 2013 and starts at $4,395 so it’s not too late to get on it!

This intermediate Piedmont bike tour covers 250 total miles and averages 40 miles per day. The trip starts with a ride from Gavi to Acqui Terme, passing Castles of Monferrato, a hilly area where each village is protected by a castle. The vineyards of Dolcetto, Cortese, and Moscato are the landmarks of this area. Fantastic food, fine wine, and a daily workout really makes this an ideal Italy holiday.

Guests cruise the vineyards of Barolo and Monforte, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Langhe Area. Along the way, Carlosa local truffle hunter will give a special demonstration with his loyal dogLara. The months of October and November see the frenzy and competition of truffle season as both hunters and buyers compete to find the wonderful fungi. Alba is the truffle capital of Italy and throughout each weekend of both months, it hosts truffle mayhem with the White Truffle World Auction and the Truffle of the Year. The International Truffle Fair is happening Oct 12 – Nov 17, 2013.

Ah, Piedmont...

Ah, Piedmont…

The landscape offers a patchwork series of vineyards as well as fruit and nut tree farms. Guests continue riding north, entering the round hills area of Monferrato. On the final day, riders head west toward Turin, capital city of Piedmont. Along the way, the route offers a rollercoaster ride up and down the lower hills of Monferrato. The last climb approaches Superga, an important monument in the hearth of all the “turineis.” From here a magnificent panorama of the 2006 Olympic site appears.

For more information check out: Italy cycling tours or visit http://www.ciclismoclassico.com

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