Archive for the ‘family travel’ Category

How Locals Vacation in New Zealand

You often hear about New Zealand’s incredible, stunning luxury lodges around Hawke’s Bay and Queenstown, but Kiwis themselves have always been drawn to out-of-the-way places. They want to be at the far corners of the country, where big waves roll just off the front porch, long-legged seabirds scavenge in the sand for insects, and the only sounds are cicadas chirping. The iconic New Zealand “bach” (vacation home) personifies the Kiwi character: unpretentious, individual and creative. It is also a place to find solace and silence. There are extensive listings of Kiwi beaches for rent throughout the country, of course, but we found out about these three awesome places where you can stay to have a real Kiwi baech experience.

Onemana Bach - lo res

Onemana Bach

Coromandel: Paradise Found at Onemana

Internationally renowned New Zealand music producer Chris Parry (The Cure, The Jam) has slept in some of the world’s most luxurious penthouse suites, however, when he thinks of paradise, his beach on the Coromandel Peninsula is what comes to mind. Accessed only by a forestry road, his beach at Onemana, north of popular Whangamata Beach, is the polar opposite of his jet set music life. It is remote, slow moving and soul restoring – and you too can rent it!

www.bachcare.co.nz/2620

Woodpecker Bay lo res

Woodpecker Bay

Woodpecker Bay: Built on the Rocks

When big waves pound the South Island’s West Coast at Woodpecker Bay, guests at this mid-century era bach have a seaside seat. Owner Daniel Beetham says guests love the bach’s wild location and the sense of peace they get when they walk through the door. Lovingly furnished with New Zealand art and items bought from secondhand shops, there is an old claw bath and a wood-burning stove. Guests at Woodpecker Bay Bach – Life on the Edge (15 minutes north of Punakaiki) can sit and watch the rough sea batter the rocks just outside the window or – for those who want to get their feet wet – there is a great swimming hole at Fox River, 2.5 miles to the south. As for the name, “Woodpecker Bay,” well it is a Kiwi mystery… New Zealand has no woodpeckers!

www.bookabach.co.nz/23594

Stewart Island: A Bird Lover’s Paradise

Located only 39 steps from the bach to the beach, guests at Skip’s Place are woken by a deafening dawn chorus as bellbirds, grey warblers and kakariki warming up their vocal chords. Owner Holger Lachman, originally from Germany, visited Stewart Island – on New Zealand’s southern extremity – as a backpacker 20 years ago and never left. The weatherboard bach has been fully modernized, yet some original features remain – guests have to light a fire for hot water – but Lachman says visitors like the rustic do-it-yourself aspects. They also enjoy how dark it is when night falls, which is great for stargazing and seeing the Southern Cross.

http://www.nzstays.co.nz/497-s kip-039s-place-stewart-island- new-zealand.html

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 

Lake Mojave and Cottonwood Cove Resort’s Eco-Dive and Environmental Clean Up Day

Lake Mojave

Lake Mojave’s Cottonwood Cove and Marina

We like a good cause related adventure and in the spirit of keeping our natural habitat looking and functioning great, Forever Resorts, in cooperation with the National Park Service, the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the area SCUBA diving community, will host its annual Eco-Dive and Environmental Clean-up Day at Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina. It’s a chance for eco-conscious individuals to come out and help clean up the marina, the dock, and surrounding beach areas with others who share their passion for preserving the beauty of our National Park lands.

Did we also mention you can rent houseboats? There’s something Wild West on the Water about Houseboats, isn’t there?

More than 19,500 pounds of debris have been collected over the last seven clean-up days at Cottonwood Cove—that’s nearly 10 tons of trash. Individuals wishing to volunteer for Clean-up Day should remember to wear loose fitted or layered clothing closed toed shoes, sunglasses/hat, and sunscreen. Tools and bags will be provided. The first 100 participants to arrive will receive t-shirts and all who register will be entered in a raffle to receive prizes.

WHEN:
Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015

EVENT OVERVIEW:
7:30 a.m. –  Registration

8:30 a.m. – Land volunteer safety meeting and departure

8:45 a.m. – Diver safety meeting and departure

9:30 to 10:30 a.m. – Harbor closure for first dive; land volunteers on beaches

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – snack/water break

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Harbor closure for second dive; land volunteers on beaches

11:30 a.m. – BBQ begins for land volunteers

12:30 p.m. – BBQ for divers

1 to 2 p.m. – Raffle and giveaways

WHERE:
Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina on Lake Mohave
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Located 14 miles east of Searchlight, Nev.

Directions to Cottonwood Cove from Las Vegas:
Take US-93 S/US-95 S, and the get off at the exit toward Searchlight, NV. Merge onto US-95. Turn left at W. Cottonwood Cove Road.

Directions to Cottonwood Cove from Laughlin, Nev.:
Go North on NV-163, turn slight right onto US-95. Turn right at W. Cottonwood Cove Rd.

Directions to Cottonwood Cove  from Southern California:
Take 15-N toward Las Vegas. Take the exit for Hwy 164-E (Nipton Rd) toward Searchlight. Hwy 164 turns into Cottonwood Cove Road

www.CottonwoodCoveResort.com

The Eco-Awesome Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf

Who knew that a hotel on SF’s played out pier, could be so cool? Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf multi-million dollar renovations were completed back in 2012 and have since ushered in a fresh new property that’s perfect for families and couples who want to be right on the Wharf. From the moment you step into the lobby, public areas, and guest rooms, you’ll absorb San Francisco’s sweet charm. Also suited for busy business travelers like me, the hotel’s 355 rooms have  flat-screen TVs, premium linens, updated bathrooms, an on-site Business Center, and sleek 24-hour Fitness Center (to burn off that sourdough bowl calm chowdah you just can’t stop eating). We also love the heated outdoor pool – available year-round. 

If that’s not all, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi (!!) and gorgeous views of the bay, making the Radisson one of the best hotels for families in San Francisco. From the hotel’s location at Fisherman’s Wharf, you’re also incredibly close to the area’s best attractions—just steps from ferries to Alcatraz, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco’s historic cable cars and shopping, dining, and entertainment options at Pier 39.

A newly designed room at The Radisson Fisherman Wharf

A newly designed room at The Radisson Fisherman Wharf

Why else do we like it?

All of the Radisson US managed hotels are Green Key certified, and participation overall has doubled since announcing the partnership between Carlson Hotels and the Green Key Eco-Rating program. Together with other labels, more than 90 hotels have received eco-labels. On Earth Day 2011, Carlson also announced their registration for the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the company’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.

Latest Efforts include:

Implementing a Recycling and Composting program that has diverted 75% of their trash to recycle and compost. Recent success include: recycling bins for all guestrooms and public areas; recyclable bags on all housekeeping carts for appropriate disposal; converted the trash compactor to a recycling compactor; scheduled new pick up frequencies with refuse company; installed new recycling bins in all guestrooms and public areas and educated all team members and space lessees on the proper way to dispose of their trash, recyclables, and compostable in the appropriate bins. Every new Radisson employee is required to go through a required Responsible Business Training, which includes social, ethical and environmental responsibility practices. Other eco-awesomeness with Radisson properties include:

  • Radisson Bed Linens Go Green: Radisson is the first hotel brand in the U.S. to introduce bed linens made of Tencel+Plus Lyocell – a new fabric, which uses 100 times less water than cotton in its production. The fabric, produced by Austria’s Lensing Fibers and sold by Valley Forge, is derived from eucalyptus trees grown in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forests which are protected from overcutting. It is the only FSC certified fiber that can contribute to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification points. The linens are required for all Radisson Blu hotels opening in the US and encouraged bedding options for all Radisson hotels in the region.
  • Increased Green Certifications: Green certifications in Carlson Rezidor Americas properties increased 35 percent over 2011 and the brand is well on track to having all its hotels eco-labelled by 2015
  • Improved Consumption Monitoring/Tracking: Carlson Rezidor launched Think Planet to track hotel energy and water consumptions, while managed hotels in the Americas use Energy Star Portfolio Manager
  • Responsible Business Action Month: Carlson Rezidor will continue to host its annual Responsible Business Action Month as a call-to-action for their 35,000+ employees in 70 countries around the world, placing a focused emphasis on sustainable business practices and giving back to communities to make a positive difference on a global, national and local level. Its latest 2012 initiative was the most successful to-date, with an estimated participation of 400 hotels globally contributing to:
    • planting 5,700 trees
    • removing 35,000 gallons of illegal waste from the environment
    • raising over $300,000 for charity, including the World Childhood Foundation
    • donating 13,000 boxes of necessities to those in need
  • Local Property Accountability: Radisson makes continuous efforts to stay closely in-tune with local property management to ensure sustainable practices are being upheld within all of their hotels across the U.S. Such local efforts include eco-friendly LED lighting, the use of Green Seal cleaning products, linen wash/change guest options, and partnerships with non-profit organizations including Clean The World, to whom Radisson donates their discarded soap, shampoo/conditioner and lotion products for processing and re-use among communities in need – eliminating over 750 tons of waste.

Rooms run as low as $175/night!

http://www.radisson.com/san-francisco-hotel-ca-94133/cafisher

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