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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Leap Day Deals

With Leap Day about to approach, hotels are coming up with fun deals. At Burlington’s Hotel Vermont, leap year babies can book a one-night stay on leap day for only $129. In addition, enjoy a complimentary dinner at Juniper with sparkling wine and cake. Leap Year babies can also celebrate with a FREE vacation at the new Kixby hotel in Manhattan. On February 29, anyone born on Leap Day can enjoy one free night at Kixby. From now through the end of February 2021, guests who stay two nights at The James New York - NoMad will enjoy the third night FREE. Or book a multiple-night stay at one of the participating Meritage Collection hotels by March 31, 2020 and you’ll get a 3rd, 4th, or 5th night free. The Collection includes several of our favorite properties like Koa Kea in Kauai and The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. Please contact ActiveTravels and we’ll be happy to make the booking for you! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/25/20 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Staycation at YOTEL Boston

With plans to meet friends in the Seaport district last Saturday night for dinner, and snow on the way, we made the wise move to spend a night at the YOTEL Boston. Smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood’s exponential growth, it’s hard to top the YOTEL’s location, within easy walking distance to all restaurants, bars, movies, and Boston’s contemporary art museum, the ICA. We dropped our bags off in the room, just big enough for a cozy bed, flat screen television, and full bathroom with rainforest shower and view of the Boston harbor. Then we headed across the street to watch 1917 at a wonderful new cinema with deluxe seating and impeccable sound. We had just enough time for a pint of Super Juicy New England IPA at Hopsters, before strolling over in the snow to the new Woods Hill Pier 4 restaurant. Situated in the same spot as Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant, the only reason to head to this neighborhood before the Seaport became the fashionable zip code to live, the latest incarnation of dining features tasty local seafood and veggies, many grown on the owner/chef’s farm in nearby Concord. We started with small plates of tender scallops and charred broccoli before moving on to a lobster/crab ragu and crispy lamb ribs. The food was perfectly paired with the magical scene outside, snow falling onto a nearby park surrounded by water, and popular with dog walkers and families. We slept well on our comfy mattress that night, woke up to a hot shower, and took a long walk along the harbor waters early Sunday. An ideal getaway, and considerably cheaper than buying a condo in the neighborhood. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/30/20 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Rent Your Own Private Island this Winter

Guest Post by Amy Perry Basseches
In 2018, I wrote a blog about SuperShe Island, off the coast of Finland, where you and friends can enjoy a private island retreat. What fun...but not exactly a “palm trees and sand” location. And it’s women only. 
Recently, an ActiveTravels member expressed interest in a birthday celebration week with her husband and some friends, on a private island in the Caribbean. Now we’re talking! If this is up your alley, please consider:
Fifteen minutes off the coast of Placencia, Belize, Kanu Private Island is a coral island with white sands sloping gently into the Caribbean Sea. Kanu’s 2.5 acres ensures privacy with five 1,000-square-foot villas, each containing a breezily chic master bedroom suite, high bamboo ceilings, huge resort bathrooms with outdoor showers, and custom-made local furniture. Some villas also have large soaking tubs and one has a loft for kids. Price is $4,305 USD per night for exclusive use of the entire island for up to 8 adults based on double occupancy and a minimum 7-night stay (includes all taxes and booking fees). The cost is all inclusive, including transfers, accommodations, meals prepared by your personal chef, local beer and spirits, personal concierge services, personal boat captain, personal fishing and snorkeling guide, up to 4 complementary massages per day, housekeeping, Internet/WiFi, unlimited use of kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling gear and all other sporting equipment.  
Eagle Rock Cay is “for those looking for a little bit of peace and quiet whilst still enjoying the best of the Bahamas.” In the Abacos region, in Hopetown harbor, this island can accommodate four people. Both bedrooms offer comfort and great design. The master bathroom, with its whirlpool tub and double headed shower, forms the perfect place to relax and soak up the Caribbean. From the spacious deck or in the hot tub, you can wave at passing yachts as they cruise through the calm waters, soaking up the spirit of the Caribbean. Nearby Elbow Cay is home to what is generally considered to be the world’s third biggest barrier reef. Choose to cook your catch of the day in the full kitchen. Or take advantage of the wealth of restaurants in nearby Hopetown and the neighboring islands. For an additional fee, a talented chef is available to you. Prices begin at $3600 USD per night. 
Let ActiveTravels know if these or other private islands are of interest to you!


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/29/20 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, January 27, 2020

A Relaxing Stay at the Iberostar Quetzal

The first week of January, we took the kids and my mother-in-law to an all-inclusive resort just outside of Playa del Carmen called Iberostar Quetzal. Less than a 5-minute walk from the room is one of the most glorious stretches of beach in Mexico, a wide swath of spanking white sand that goes on and on and on. We would take long walks to the remote stretches of the shoreline to watch large lizards hide in the rocks, then take a dip in the heavenly ocean waters. Unlike other all-inclusive properties I’ve stayed at on the Riviera Maya, it was a short walk to both beach and the restaurants, including the ones we could venture to on the neighboring property, Iberostar Tucan. 

The jungle-like interior, replete with boardwalks over cenotes past waterfalls, was just as much a joy as walking on the beach. We would spot wonderful wildlife and birdlife including cute little agoutis, howler monkeys, the racoon-like coatis, flamingos, peacocks, cranes, large tortoises, and egrets. What a treat! We would spend most of the day down by the beach, grabbing our paella or tacos for lunch, while often listening to a live band. Then wander back to the room later in the afternoon to read on the balcony, cerveza in hand, while watching monkeys jump from branch to branch. We took a taxi into Playa del Carmen to have dinner one night, another half-day tour to the ruins of Tulum, but we were very pleased to spend most of our time under an umbrella, reading our stack of books, before another beach walk and ocean swim. A perfect warm-weather escape. 
If interested in an all-inclusive stay in Mexico or the Caribbean, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll send you a list of our favorite properties. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/27/20 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Little Rhody Hotel Week

Nancy J. Friedman, the PR Maven that created Hotel Week NYC™ in 2010 to address the occupancy dip most Manhattan hotels experience after the holiday season, is at it again. This time in Rhode Island, where the state is launching its first-ever Hotel Week Rhode Island January 18-31. Stay at The Dean in Providence or Hotel Viking in Newport for a mere $100 a night or the charming 1661 Inn on Block Island for $200/night. Providence is known for its innovative dining, so you might want to check out Boston Globe food writer Devra First’s recent story on the best restaurants in town. One of those recommended restaurants, North, is located in The Dean, so you don’t have to venture far to get back to your room. Sounds like a perfect date night in late January.  


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/11/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, December 06, 2019

Down on Broadway at the Chatwal

We recently spent a night in Manhattan at a client favorite, The Chatwal. Located on 44th Street, just off Times Square, the 76-room upscale boutique property is perfectly suited for a night or two of theater in the city. Designed in 1905 by iconic American architect Stanford White, who was killed by his mistress’s husband atop Madison Square Garden, The Chatwal was once home to the prestigious Lambs, America’s first professional theatrical club. A dedicated theater concierge can offer access to the most sought-after shows and guests can enjoy a pre-theater dinner at the retro-style Lambs Club at the hotel. We enjoyed our spacious room and the heated toilet seat was a nice bonus. Rates start at $595 per night based on double occupancy and Marriott Bonvoy points are accepted.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/06/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 15, 2019

Africa Week—A Romantic Escape Near Vic Falls

It’s hard to forget our last stop on Abercrombie and Kent’s trip to Botswana and Victoria Falls, the Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma on the banks of the Zambezi River. On the outskirts of Livingstone, Zambia, we spent the days touring Vic Falls, tracking rhinos in a nearby reserve, and paddling on the Zambezi River past hippos and crocs. If the hippo attacks the canoe, said our guide, swim as fast as you can to the shore. Yeah, thanks for that advice, buddy. Fortunately, the hippos were pretty mellow that day. If we were advising honeymooners or couples who want a romantic interlude on the Zambezi River, not too far from Vic Falls, we would recommend the Relais and Chateaux property, Royal Chundu. Stay at one of their four villas on a private island in the Zambezi. They not only will pick you up from the Livingstone Airport, but they’ll provide a guided tour of Vic Falls and all the adventure you desire on the Zambezi, including rafting, paddling, or flying high above the river and the falls. It’s ideal for a 3-day add-on to any safari in Botswana or Kruger. 

I’m off to New York next week to celebrate my niece, Sarah, who will be showing her amazing art at the gallery Shrine. If you happen to be in Manhattan on Tuesday night, the 19th, for the opening, head on over to 179 East Broadway between 6 to 8 pm and say hello. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/15/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 11, 2019

Africa Week—Extending Your Trip to Cape Town at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Lisa just returned from the We Are Africa conference at Sundance in Utah, where she met close to 100 suppliers and property General Managers from across the African continent. This week, I’d like to discuss the 5 contacts that got her the most excited. While the wine country of Stellenbosch/Franschhoek and Cape of Good Hope appear in all of our itineraries to South Africa, we rarely place clients in Hermanus, which is best known for its whale watching. That will change now that we know about Grootbos, a Nat Geo lodge and private game reserve located about 2 hours southeast of Cape Town, just off Cape Nature Walker Bay. Spend 3 days at this eco-resort to go on nature walks and see more than 100 endangered plant species and rare birds, whale watch and dolphin boat rides on the ocean waters, horseback ride through 2500 hectares of forest, even sign up for scenic flights and great white shark cage dives. Then head back to the lodge for gourmet meals, washed down with all that excellent South African wine that never leaves the country. Lekka, mon!  


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/11/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Autocamp Announces New Location on Cape Cod to Debut Fall 2020

Autocamp, the California-based Airstream hotel brand with locations in Santa Barbara, Yosemite National Park, and the Russian River Valley, is heading East. They just announced the debut of a new property in the Woods Hole/Falmouth area of Cape Cod, set to open next fall. The property will operate year-round and will feature 108 total accommodations, including customized Airstream Suites, ADA-accessible X Suites, and Luxury Tents, as well as a two-story clubhouse, community fire pits, and group meeting and event space. The custom 31-foot Airstreams at all AutoCamp locations feature AutoCamp’s signature mid-century modern design. The property will also host on-site activities for guests such as yoga and meditation, a campfire speaker series, music programming, local beer and cider tastings, and occasional farm-to-table dinners. AutoCamp Cape Cod will also be dog-friendly, offering Pet Kits, which include a cozy blanket, food and water bowls, and treats. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/05/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Northeast Kingdom’s Wildflower Inn for Sale

I first met Mary and Jim O’Reilly, owners of Vermont’s Wildflower Inn, in 1995 while doing research for my first book, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England. As soon as I saw their property rising high above the barns and fields of Darling Hill on the East Burke/Lyndonville border, I was smitten. This was the authentic Vermont I was yearning for, soon to be the home to the world-class mountain biking network called the Kingdom Trails. Jim and Mary were well on their way to having 8 children, but this was before my two kids were born. Soon enough, however, Jake, Melanie, and my wife, Lisa, were returning to the Wildflower Inn to cross-country ski, ski nearby Burke Mountain, take sleigh rides, bike the glorious singletrack trails, hike to the summit of Mt. Hor overlooking the deep waters of picturesque Lake Willoughby, and simply relax on the grounds with all the animals. 
The Wildflower Inn is a unique property that caters to families and I helped spread the word, writing about Jim and Mary for The Boston Globe, Yankee Magazine, Men’s Journal, Outside Magazine, and many other publications. Now I receive word that the couple are ready to call it quits after giving their all for close to 35 years. While I’m sad to see them leave, I’m excited about the opportunity for another young couple to take the reins of this special place. John A. Beal of V/T Commercial is assisting Jim and Mary with the sale of the inn, restaurant, and property. Please contact him at 802-864-2000 x11 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to discuss the details of the listing. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/31/19 at 06:00 AM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association