Archive for the ‘unique hotels’ 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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Anantara Opens a New Resort in China: Anantara Xishuangbanna

Anantara Xishuangbanna Garden Walkway

Anantara Xishuangbanna Garden Walkway

Anantara, taken from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘without end’ symbolizes the sharing of water and heartfelt hospitality that is at the core of the Anantara experience. Located throughout Asia and the Middle East, from the seaside town of Hua Hin to Koh Samui, the Golden Triangle, Maldives, Bali, and Abu Dhabi, these properties are some of the finest resorts for complete R&R in the world. And now, they have opened Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa, Anantara’s second Chinese establishment, the first and only five star hotel and pool villa destination experience in the Yunnan Province.

Anantara Xishuangbanna Guest Room

Anantara Xishuangbanna Guest Room

Located an hour’s drive from Jinghong International Airport, the resort is set within lush gardens and water, the resort consists of 80 deluxe rooms, as well as 23 one-, two- and three-bedroom Pool Villas. A luxe blend of contemporary and local culture, authentic influences are drawn from the textures, colors and flavors of the region to deliver a bewitching blend of Chinese, Thai, and Burmese accents. Cultural aspects of the local tribes including the Dai, Jinuo and Hani people will feature not only in the resort’s design, but also in its culinary concepts. The also resort offers plenty of indigenous experiences, such as a tea picking journey with the Jinuo tribe, or tours of the Hani and Dai villages. Xishuangbanna also boasts more than 95% of its territory occupied by mountainous and hilly areas, creating awesome opportunities for mountain hiking, bird and wildlife spotting, and boat trips along the Luosuo River.

Anantara Xishuangbanna Lobby

Anantara Xishuangbanna Lobby

Once you’re done experiencing the natural environs, plunge into an expansive outdoor swimming pool set amidst extensive landscaping, use the 24-hour fitness center, enjoy a treatment in one of eight suites at Anantara Spa, or use complimentary iPads in the guest library. There are plenty of 5 Star modern amenities to choose from, including Anantara Xishuangbanna’s several gastronomic opportunities accompanied by a lobby lounge bar and poolside bar. Think the perfect marriage of local Indo-Chinese cuisine.

Anantara Xishuangbanna Pool View

Anantara Xishuangbanna Pool View

The resort’s Dining by Design and in-villa dining concepts also invite guests to create their perfect menu (since people like me often want to create my own unique twists). The best part is that Dining by Design is able to incorporate the local Dai cooking style, in collaboration with a personal chef.

Anantara, take me awayyyyyyy….

www.anantara.com

No Apocalypse? Head to the Mayan Riviera to Celebrate!

Dos Ojos Cenote

Dos Ojos Cenote

Well, since we all knew the world wasn’t really going to end, what better way to pretend you’re surprised and thankful than a trip to the land of the Maya? If you’re planning any spring getaway, the Riviera Maya is always a great choice. The region has cemented itself as a safe, culturally diverse and accessible region in Mexico.  Flowering with lush biodiversity, dotted with intimate hideaways within steps of the clear Caribbean Sea, and featuring gourmet restaurants serving up locally sourced fare, the Riviera Maya seems a world away, but is only a short direct flight from nearly every American city.

Here are just a few eco-chic ways couples can discover new wonders while connecting with nature and strengthening their bond, whether that’s…

Overlooking the sea and stirring up passion at an intimate hideaway, you can stay at any of the vibrant, beach boutique hotels and enjoy the drop-dead views from your room, wake up to the sunlight and the songs of tropical birds. Some ocean-front hideaways include:

o    Casa de las Olaswith sustainable practices ranging from solar powered energy and rain water collection to the use of biodegradable products;

o   Papaya Playa, a pop-up design hotel we’ve written about before, is ideal for those wishing to reconnect with nature. The hotel also features a kiteboarding school for those looking to learn a new sport.

Hartwood Tulum

Hartwood Tulum

–         Eat & Sip with a calm conscience at Hartwood TulumSet in an open-air environment, couples will enjoy the tranquil beauty of the beach under the night sky while indulging in bold flavors from local products and fresh ingredients used to prepare meals by hand. This restaurant is owned by Eric Werner, a Chef who left New York to pursue his dream in paradise.

–         Stay bee-utiful with products found only at the destination: Enjoy the benefits of honey from the native Melipona stingless bee at several spas throughout the region. Examples include: “Ritual Ixchel” at Esencia and “Honey in the Heart” signature service at Fairmont Mayakoba.

–         Awaken the senses at a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Visitors can delight the eyes with the picturesque vision of tropical species, float on mangrove-surrounded rivers while interacting with turtles and fish at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, which covers over 1.6 million acres of various ecosystems.  Other activities include sport fishing, kayak, hiking and snorkeling, while admiring 103 species of mammals, over 345 species of birds and 52 species of fish.

 So since the world isn’t ending quite yet, as Ke$ha says, might as well make the most of the night like you’re gonna die young!

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

Get Off the Beaten Path Without Roughing It. Say Hello to Guyana and Madagascar, my little friends…

Ah Guyana...

Not too long ago, satisfying your craving for destinations that offered under-the-radar appeal, active excursion options and authentic glimpses at the local culture meant bunk beds, hostels or dragging your tent from place-to-place. While they still adventure and a deep sense of discovery, today’s discerning travelers have less time and higher standards. That’s where nature travel pioneer International Expeditions comes in, handling all of the logistical details for intrepid explorers in remote destinations like Guyana, Madagascar and beyond. You enjoy an upscale adventure to spot exotic wildlife, hike pristine trails and sample tantalizing cuisine in destinations where few other tour operators go. Plus, IE takes care of details like your transfers and tips to ensure a seamless vacation. Phew! (Since that part can be a real pain in the butt, sometimes)

In Guyana & Trinidad, you spend 10 days deep into the heart of one of Earth’s last untouched tropical rainforests and have the chance to spot more than 800 bird species. The 10-day tour starts at $5,598 per person and includes accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, bottled water, entrance fees, transfers, and tips to porters, local guides, drivers and to waiters for included meals.

Nosy Iranja is a small tropical island located off the Northwestern coast of Madagascar, 45km (28 miles) South of Nosy Be, a slightly larger and more popular island.

While island life takes on new meaning in Madagascar, where lemurs cavort in the shade offered by lush forests and charming Malagasy people welcome you to Earth’s oldest island. On IE’s newMadagascar safari, guests spend 17 days on naturalist-guided hiking, snorkeling and boating excursions. Accompanying guests is a seasoned IE expedition leader joined by a Malagasy expedition leader and local naturalists. Why so many guides? Travel to Madagascar typically involves flight delays and last-minute schedule changes, and the IE expedition leader and guides are there to Sherpa you through these changes. This 17-day tour starts at $7,598 and includes accommodations, soft drinks/local beer at lunch and dinner, most meals, ground transportation, transfers, and tips to porters, local guides, local expedition leader, drivers and to waiters for included meals

IE also offers a way to harness your inner “backpacker” with a fully customized trek on the Salkantay Trail. A less-touristy alternative to the Inca Trail, Salkantay passes through stunning Andean scenery before ending at Machu Picchu . Although the surroundings are reminiscent of rugged mountain climbs, the accommodations are anything but rustic. After a day of guided hiking along the trail, you spend evenings at boutique mountain lodges, with a warm shower and cold drink. Prices vary based on length of trek.

www.ietravel.com or 800-234-9620


Discover Tanzania’s Last Tropical Coastal Resort

The View at Ras Kutani

Africa is full of surprises and many of them can be found in the tranquil country of Tanzania. Situated on the relatively undiscovered southern Tanzania coastline, just 35km south of Dar es Salaam, Ras Kutani is one of them. A unique boutique beach retreat (which also happens to score an impressive 5 stars out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor), sits within 100 acres of lush tropical, coastal forest and, as much of Tanzania’s coastline has suffered heavy deforestation, this is truly a hidden Tanzania hotel gem offering a rare opportunity to explore one of the most bio-diverse indigenous coastal forests in East Africa. The forest contains 132 different species of trees, including mango trees (famous for their spectacular fruit) and the Marula tree (prized for its rich bounty of fruit, and the oil from the kernel, which is used to make moisturizer).

The marula tree prized for it's moisturizing nut

Guests can also, of course, enjoy watching the antics of four species of monkey, including the spectacular black-and-white colobus, as well as many species of birds, baboons, wild pigs, the elusive Civet Cats and other wildlife. All of this can be experienced whilst taking the ‘From Tree To Tree’ self-guided tour which steers guests through this eclectic ecosystem on an easy, fascinating walk.

Here little civet cat...

Ras Kutani promises the epitome of barefoot-luxury and a hideaway for those seeking solace, luxury and tranquillity. The luxurious accommodation comprises nine open-fronted spacious, charming cottages, each with en suite bathroom, large verandah with a covered sand floor, seating area, hammocks and views of the clear lagoon, beach and Indian Ocean. Ideal for water babies, the temperate seas and proximity of coral reefs ensure a wealth of marine life with the chance to see colourful fish, dolphins, whales, turtles and even a shipwreck.

Ras Kutani chill area

Complimentary snorkelling equipment, kayaks and boogie boards are available for those that wish to venture from their hammock or beach bed. And in season, turtles come to nest along the beach and guests are invited to get involved in projects that look out for their welfare. I mean, how great is that??

But wait… there’s more!

A cottage at Ras Kutani

Right now, Africa Odyssey is offering seven nights at Ras Kutani, followed by a three-night sophisticated safari experience at the boutique Selous Safari Camp from $5,611 per person (saving $1,400 per person).

Valid for travel throughout June and July, the price includes international flights from various US airports, internal transfers, full board and most activities.

http://www.selous.com/ras-kutani

Toll Free 1-866-356-4691

An Eco-Chic Christmas

We’re wild about the Christmas holidays.

Sure, we know there are plenty of people who get downright depressed and we’ve been there too. No summer sunshine, dark winter clouds… we get it.  Which is also why we think that Christmas is precisely the time to get into that fireplace, hot cocoa, bourbon induced haze of pumpkin pies and ham… without losing out on the feel of a chic summer.

To that end, we spotted the new green hotel in Cornwall, The Scarlet Hotel, one of the UK’s most stylish eco-chic hotels. Their beauty is only matched by their list of green techniques: grey-water harvesting, biomass heating, and a natural saltwater pool make this the perfect place to get into the holiday christmas spirit without losing out on your love of eco-style. You won’t be greeted with cheesy Christmas carols or traditional holiday chintz, but you can expect seasonal Michelin-quality modern cooking, log-fired outdoor hot-tub pods overlooking the sea, and Santorini style chill-out areas that bring back thoughts of that one Grecian summer. It’s like the best of both worlds all in one place. An Eco Chic Winter Summer Holiday with a little of everything in between.

Four-night Christmas break from £730pp, half board.

www.scarlethotel.co.uk

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