Posts Tagged ‘couples retreats’

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 

Advertisements

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

The New Shore Hotel Santa Monica

Shore Hotel - Santa Monica

A day doesn’t go by when we don’t miss the sunny days we spent in Cali. So, always on the hunt for new hotels and openings in the beloved stomping grounds of our 20s, we tracked down this sweet opening. This October in Santa Monica, just steps from the Santa Monica Pier, 3rd Street Promenade, and the city’s popular beaches and shopping, Shore Hotel is the newest addition to the coastline. It’s also, incidentally, a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered property that offers eco-friendly accommodations with stunning views of the Pacific.  The open-air, U-shaped design of the main hotel building has a stainless steel-clad trellis over the street-side of the courtyard, which unifies the two wings of the main building creating an outdoor “living room,” with an outdoor pool, a water feature, and patio dining at Blue Plate Taco. In addition to rooms with crisp turquoise and vibrant orange accents, the hotel also has a unique public-use space that blurs the line between the sidewalk and hotel entrance and includes park benches for pedestrians looking to chillax.

Upon completion of construction, if awarded LEED Gold Certification, Shore Hotel will be the only property in the city of Santa Monica with this elite status.  In June, the Shore Hotel was recognized at the 41st annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards, recognizing the project teams responsible for the City’s very best architecture. So, check it out next month, and let us know what you think!

www.shorehotel.com

www.facebook.com/ShoreHotel

Vermont’s Best Hiking

New Life Hiking Spa

A hiking spa? Who’s ever heard of such a thing? Well, we have and we thought it sounded pretty damn cool. Located in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, since 1978, New Life Hiking Spa is known for its exhilarating hiking program. A world renowned weight loss retreat located in Killington, New Life also offers delicious healthy meals in a comfortable atmosphere where you can experience the peace of the outdoors in a down-to-earth, country inn environment.

Re-opening after Hurricane Irene, New Life Hiking Spa (which was forced to close for two weeks due to the aftermath) has also decided to extend their season until October 16th!

A bit about the joint: In January of 2010 & 2011, New Life Hiking Spa was selected as one of the top 10 fitness vacations in the world by MSNBC. It was also selected by Shape Magazine as “one of the eight best weight loss spas” and by Health Magazine as “one of four great weight loss spas.” And, for four years in a row (2006-2010), New Life has won Best for Weight Loss, Best for Hiking and Best for Affordability by SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Awards.

Pretty impressive.

“The saying goes, ‘After a hurricane comes a rainbow and in this case, it’s a rainbow of fall colors in Vermont”, said Kathleen LeSage who owns New Life with her husband, Jimmy. Mrs. LeSage has been doing some research about fall foliage and found a great article on “What factor affects the intensity of fall colors”. It states, “Mild, sunny days combined with cold but not freezing nights will produce brilliant colors, as will adequate rainfall in autumn”. Vermont has definitely had the adequate rainfall, but luckily with little wind, so leaves were not lost in the storm. “It seems like it is really the perfect conditions for a brilliant foliage season!”

The weather is gorgeous and the trees are starting to change, so why don’t you kick start your own life and opt for change too?

www.newlifehikingspa.com

Kenya: Hanging with the Maasai Mara

Extraordinary Journeys Africa

This week, one of my friends posted that she was headed to Kenya for some photography work.  In addition to her being an all around creative badass, she’s probably been to Kenya more times than I can count, but each time she mentions Africa, I start to daydream about the dusty roads, colorful smells, and vibrant energy of Nairobi. So, of course, I felt compelled to find some cool, feel good trips to this glorious nation just for you. To that end, I came across Extraordinary Journeys Africa, specialists in bespoke customized safaris to Africa, who are offering a unique six night trip to Kenya for the last minute travel junkies (October 10th-16th, 2011). Now, since I’m a fly-by-my-seat kinda gal, that’s *just enough* time for me to find someone to water my plants so I can jet off to Kenya.  Why is this trip so cool? you ask.

Well, it’s a community exchange program with a remote Masai Mara community followed by a luxury safari adventure, that’s why.  For a special rate of $6,000 per person (normally $7,200), it’s being done in partnership with the Founder and Project Director of Under the Acacia organization and the first two days will be spent in the remote area of Loita hills where travelers will be introduced to an impoverished community that in just two years has been equipped with schools, sanitation, running water and a thriving community. Travelers will experience exclusive interactions with community members and learn ways in which they can make a difference. The next four nights of the trip will be spent in the beautiful Masai Mara exploring the amazing wildlife and experiencing thrilling safari adventures of a lifetime.

Community Project: $500 will be donated on behalf of each participant to help build a new classroom at Esoit Academy in Kenya. This project is spearheaded by Under the Acacia, a not-for-profit that works in tandem with remote communities in Kenya to generate sustainable initiatives and community development.

Masai Mara Reserve

Itinerary:

October 10-11 Loita/Olarro

Participants fly to Siana Springs where their driver/guide warmly welcomes them and takes them on a game drive en route to the luxury Olarro Camp, nestled along the Loita Hills. In partnership with Under the Acacia, guests will  meet with the chiefs, elders, and students of this special community of Maasai. The next day, they participate in the school opening and a very lively dedication ceremony at the new Esoit Academy.

October 12,13,14,15: Maasai Mara/Olanana

On day three, a beautiful three-hour drive takes guests to Olonana Camp where they can experience daily game drives to see the great migration of the wildebeest or track the Big Five; take advantage of the spa facilities by trying traditional African remedies; or relax in the library on their private terrace overlooking the river filled with hippos below. Guests will also be able to arrange for hot air balloon rides, bush dinners or visiting another Under the Acacia school project (a 1.5-hour drive away). After lunch on the last day, visitors fly to Wilson Airport and transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for their flights home.

About EJ Africa
Run by an extraordinary mother-daughter team, EJ Africa organizes customized trips for honeymooners, families and individual travelers to Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Mixing and matching safaris, camps, lodges, and villas, with travel by private planes, 4x4s, hot air balloons, elephant, camel and even horse, EJ Africa has planned over 500 trips to Africa and not one has been the same.

www.ejafrica.com

Escape to Colorado

Biking Mount Evans

Air conditioners are being set on high and residents are locking themselves indoors as the U.S. experiences one of the hottest summers on record. So, we think August is the perfect time for an escape to Colorado where virtually no humidity, mild temperatures and Rocky Mountain breezes offer a way to beat the heat. Below is a sampling of the many ways to cool off naturally in the great outdoors. You can thank us later for this Colorado Cheat Sheet highlighting all the best eco-adventure activities for those who love green vacations and the perfect family or active couple retreats.

Cool Off With Activities

  • Zippity Breeze. Create your own breeze as you sail through the Aspen groves and over the Animas River on the largest zipline in North America. Soaring Tree Top Adventures offers over 34 eco-friendly platforms, with 27 spans ranging from 56-1400 feet and several unique elements to get into and out of the trees. www.SoaringColorado.com

Soaring at Tall Timber Resort

  • Riding Mountains. Experience a refreshing drop in temperature while the wind rushes past you biking down 14,115-foot Pikes Peak. The Summit is 40 degrees cooler than the city of Colorado Springs on a given day. Riders will pass through five different life zones, each zone having a different climate, different vegetation and wildlife.www.BikitHikit.com
  • Sail Away. Sail Western Colorado offers sunset sails, sailing adventures, instruction and certification on Blue Mesa Lake, Colorado’s largest body of water located in Curecanti National Recreation Area. Consistent southwesterly winds that begin building in the morning provide ideal sailing conditions on this picturesque mountain lake. www.SailWesternColorado.com, 970.901.5360
  • Alpine Adventure. Hike to “The Peak” at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR). The Summit Trail is part lift ride, part one-mile hike. The rewards are breathtaking and the cool mountain air may warrant the need to pull on a fleece. www.SkiCB.com
  • Cave Dwellers. Tour Glenwood Caverns & Historic Fairy Caves, where it’s always 52 degrees. Choose the 70-minute walking tour or the three-hour Wild Tour; either way you’ll enjoy some of Mother Nature’s finest handiwork and escape the summer heat (check out the beautiful photo below if you need some convincing) www.GlenwoodCaverns.com, 800.530.1635
  • Rocky Mountain High. At an elevation of 10,152-feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. Average temperatures in July and August range from lows in the 40s to highs in the 70s. Surrounded by more than 35,000 acres of Wilderness Area, the state’s two highest Fourteeners and hiking and biking trails galore. www.VisitLeadvilleColorado.com, 888.532.3845
  • Float-On. Tubing and floating are popular pastimes when the water levels drop below 400 cubic feet per second (CFS) in the late summer on the San Juan River.  It’s a scenic, fun and affordable way to spend the day in Pagosa Springs. Rent tubes, boogie boards and more to float down the river. www.VisitPagosa.com

Rafters and Train Riders meet in the Royal Gorge

  • “Gorge”ous. Just downstream from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, lies the Gunnison Gorge. This 64,000-acre recreation area offering Gold Medal trout fishing, hiking, and a 14-mile whitewater rafting adventure, with rapids ranging from class II to IV. www.VisitMontrose.com, 970.240.5300
  • Heat quenching. Grand Lake, the largest natural body of water in Colorado offers summer boating, swimming, sailing and shoreline camping with 360-degree views of majestic mountains. The lake is framed by the quaint town of Grand Lake, and sits at the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. www.Grand-County.com

Chilled Packages

  • Paddle, Saddle & Bridge in the Royal Gorge combines a Bighorn Sheep Canyon half-day rafting trip with a riverside lunch, a one-hour mule ride on the rim of the Royal Gorge and tickets to the Royal Gorge Bridge. www.RaftEcho.com, 800.755.ECHO
  • Keep Your Cool in Breckenridge. Feel the breeze as you coast along Breck’s paved recreation path; let the snowmelt rivers cool your skin on a whitewater rafting trip; head inside the cool tunnels at a real gold mine; and saddle up for a sunset horseback ride. Groups of four can stay in a two-bedroom condo and each get four activities included for just $74 per person, per night. www.BreckCenRes.com, 800.462.7325

The Glenwood Caverns in Glenwood Springs

  • Hit the Road Package at The Westin Riverfront. Escape the heat in Colorado’s Vail Valley with accommodations in a spacious Studio Suite, two 2-hour bike rentals, one 4-hour off-road Jeep Tour for two, a $50 dining credit to Restaurant Avondale, a $100 Spa Anjali gift card and complimentary valet parking. Rates start at $249 per night. www.WestinRiverfrontBeaverCreek.com, 866.716.8137
  • Stand-Up Paddle in Aspen. The Little Nell in Aspen offers Little Nell Adventures to its guests including stand-up paddle boarding. This fast-growing sport is an amazing thrill and an incredible workout. Private lessons and group classes are available in the morning and afternoon, as well as full-day trips. A gourmet picnic will accompany you on your journey. www.TheLittleNell.com

Check out Colorado’s Facebook page, as well:

www.facebook.com/visitcolorado and www.colorado.com

Natural Hotel Wonders of the World

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Without a doubt, Machu Picchu is among man’s most awe-inspiring wonders, and the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge sits just outside the gates of this Inca citadel.  The hotel was originally built as lodging for the teams of archaeologists who flocked to the region after Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the ruins around 1910. It offers its guests the opportunity to explore this great site late in the evening and early in the day; this sacred place of ancient stones is illuminated by spectacular sunrises and mystical moonlit nights. Sit out on the terrace and savor Peruvian cuisine based on produce grown on the Lodge’s own plot. The hideaway is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the shadow of the Lost City. Rates start from a steep $925/night, single or double occupancy, but this spot is uber famous so what do you expect?  Booking code is L04.  www.LHW.com/machupicchusanctuary

Hayman Private Island Resort - Great Barrier Reef/Australasia

Hayman is a magnificent private island resort, nestled amid a tropical paradise in the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef – Australia’s national treasure and one of seven natural wonders of the world. A site of remarkable variety and beauty; it contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish. As Australasia’s most awarded luxury nature resort provides astonishing beauty and restorative peace. Rates include daily buffet breakfast, tax and service charge, and start from AUD 670/night, single or double occupancy. www.hayman.com.au

Royal Suite at the King George Palace

Travelers wanting to explore the remains of ancient Greece can’t find a better base than the King George Palace in Athens.  The hotel’s jaw-dropping views of the Acropolis cannot be surpassed.  From now until the end of the year, the hotel gets guests off on the right foot with its two-night Acropolis Museum Package, priced from EUR 280/night, single or double occupancy, which includes daily breakfast, an exclusive 1 ½ hour guided tour of the new Acropolis Museum, Wi-Fi access and entrance to the gym.  The offer is valid every day except Mondays, when the museum is closed.  There is a two-night minimum, and a one-night deposit is required at the time of the reservation.  Booking code is L16. www.LHW.com/kinggeorge

Victoria Falls Hotel

A stunning African wonder created by nature – Victoria Falls.  And since the grand Edwardian-era Victoria Falls Hotel is just a leisurely ten-minute stroll from this spectacular sight, there is no need for an elaborate package to enable guests to fully enjoy the majestic cascade.  The hotel’s Leading Suites offer, which is valid until December 31, 2011, and priced from USD 399 per night, single or double occupancy, is straightforward and includes a welcome box of Belgian chocolates (yummers!), buffet breakfast daily, dinner for two one evening, a gift from the general manager, a snack tray each evening, and tax.  Booking code is L06. www.LHW.com/victoria


%d bloggers like this: