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Lodging

Thursday, August 16, 2018

New Resorts Openings in the Caribbean this Winter

After devastating hurricanes left Puerto Rico, the BVIs, St. Martin, St. Barts, and other Caribbean islands in tatters last winter, the good news is that many classic resorts like Le Toiny and La Samannah are back in business this coming winter. Adding to the excitement are a handful of upscale properties making their debut. The Silversands Grenada will be the first new resort on the famed Grande Anse beach in 25 years, when it opens in November. The all-suite resort (43 total) features an Olympic-sized, 100-meter outdoor infinity pool, and a spa with Turkish hammam. The Liming Bequia will also make its debut in November on that speck of an island in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the property has 13 villas, each with an infinity pool. The hotel's restaurant will serve ocean-to-table seafood and island-picked fruit and seasonal vegetables. Iberostar's latest property will be housed in a circa-1911 hotel set in the heart of Old Havana on Paseo del Prado. The Iberostar Grand Packard will offer 321 rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, three bars and six restaurants, including tapas, when it opens later this year. ActiveTravels is happy to check availabilty and pricing if any of these resorts interest you. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/16/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, July 16, 2018

La Samanna to Reopen on St. Martin December 10

Great news out of the French side of St. Martin, where Belmond La Sammana has just announced that they are reopening on December 10th.  St. Martin was devastated by Hurricane Irma, so the reopening is something we can all celebrate. Lisa and I know La Samanna well, having stayed in one of their whitewashed villas, only a short stroll to the pearly white sands of Baie Longue. After long walks on the mile-long beach, we sunbathed on the roof of our villa and then cooled off in our private plunge pool. It was like being at a resort built for two. The resort's 83 rooms and public spaces have been given a refresh, awash in a sea of pastel blues, greens, pinks, and peaches, inspired by the natural tones of the Caribbean. Belmond La Samanna will also reopen its beachfront French restaurant, Trellis, and La Cave Wine Cellar, the largest private wine cellar in the Caribbean. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/16/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tiny House Resort Debuts in the Catskills

Bob Malkin, owner of the SoHo retail store, Think Big! is now thinking small. He has just created a resort in South Cairo, New York, that features 7 Tiny Houses, created by ESCAPE Home Design. Inspired by the Prairie-style cottages found at Canoe Bay in northwestern Wisconsin, each ESCAPE Home offers a panorama of windows, queen size bed, full-size appliances and luxury bathrooms, as well as a private patio complete with outdoor dining table and seating, Weber grill and fire pit. Think Big! Tiny House Resort is situated on 28 acres with over half a mile of water frontage and perched on a cliff overlooking the Catskill Creek, a year-round wonder of waterfalls and pristine swimming holes. Saturday morning yoga and kayaking are offered as well as the services of a personal raw food chef who can prepare meals for guests using produce from the resort garden. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/03/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Not Your Father’s Holiday Inn

I visited two Holiday Inns in the Cartagena area and was impressed with both properties. At the Holiday Inn Express Cartagena Bocagrande, I met the representative from Colombia Tourism, who noted that the country has had a remarkable surge of travelers, a 28% increase between 2016 and 2017. It's not surprising when you consider that a room at this new hotel (not like any Holiday Inn I've seen in the US) is less than 100 dollars a night including a buffet breakfast, with rooftop pool, and only a 5-minute walk to the beach. Even more impressive was the Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros property just north of the airport. This is a contemporary resort on the beach with outdoor pool, large fitness center, and breakfast buffet. I just looked at the cost for tonight and it's only $103 US. A 15-minute drive from Old Town on a wide stretch of beach, this is an affordable find. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/22/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Stay at the Windermere House in the Muskoka Region of Ontario

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

For our anniversary, my husband Josh and I decided to venture north of Toronto to check out "cottage country" in the Muskoka region of Ontario. Not quite as far as Algonquin Provincial Park (our next outing), and very popular with people in the City, Muskoka offers 1,600 lakes, just two hours from Toronto. 
 
We really enjoyed our stay at the Windermere House, known as "The Lady of the Lake," which has proudly stood over Lake Rosseau since 1870. It was early in the season, so the full fleet of watercraft to enjoy the lake was not ready (we wanted to goof off and paddle boat...no luck), and the lake water was chilly. However, the chairs on the lawn made for a great scenic reading spot, the pool was lovely, and the pub patio dining was excellent (especially our $24 anniversary banana split sundae; a mere $18.50 USD). We walked and walked in the area, enjoying the sunshine and the lake views. People with homes in Muskoka include Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Goldie Hawn. You can see why. Remote, yet accessible and beautiful.   
 
On our way back to Toronto, we stopped in Gravenhurst, one of the main towns in the region, nicknamed "Sawdust City" because of the long history of logging in Muskoka. Interestingly, from 1940 to 1946, Gravenhurst was the site of a Prisoners of War camp for Nazi officers (at its peak, it held 489 prisoners). After WWII, Irving Ungerman, well-known in Toronto's Jewish community, and the child of immigrant parents who ran a small butcher shop in Kensington Market, bought the POW camp and turned it into a kosher resort called "The Gateway" which was very successful from the mid-50s to 60s. Our detour to Gravenhurst was far more trivial -- a delicious stop at Sawdust City Brewing Company for some craft beer and smoked lake trout (Milford Bay Smoked Trout).   
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/14/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Rejuvenating Stay at Inn by the Sea

Lisa and I recently spent a night on the outskirts of Portland, Maine, at one of our favorite properties in New England, Inn by the Sea. We wanted to check out their new Cove and Beach Suites and were happy we made the effort. Both were very spacious 2-bedroom suites, ideal for families of 4, with full kitchen, fireplace, and large balcony. Even the Cove Suites, which overlook the lawn, had views of the Atlantic from the balcony. Inn by the Sea is located in a glorious spot on Cape Elizabeth, with a sloping lawn and outdoor pool that leads to a small path and the 3-mile stretch of Crescent Beach. It's become a popular retreat for dog lovers, many of whom adopted dogs from behind the front desk at the resort. The property runs a program with a local dog shelter and a remarkable 117 dogs have been adopted. The real surprise was the food and wine at the resort's Sea Glass restaurant. Chef Andrew Chadwick was recently asked to create a Maine dinner at the James Beard House in New York and now I understand why. The food was by far the best I've ever had at the restaurant. Chadwick, who ran the Chatham Bars restaurant on Cape Cod, knows his way around seafood, especially the sublime lobster tacos. He's joined by the knowledgeable sommelier Donald Linscott, who paired the dinner with exceptional Oregon pinot noir. A memorable stay!

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/17/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, May 14, 2018

The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Is Once Again a Victorian Gem

For my recent road trip article for Chevrolet's New Roads Magazine on Revolutionary War sites, I spent a night in Saratoga and was fortunate to stay at the recently renovated Adelphi Hotel. Growing up in upstate New York, I spent many weekends in Saratoga dancing at the Rafters, seeing concerts at SPAC, and going to the track. It's a wonderful spot for a weekend retreat, especially now that the Adelphi Hotel has returned to its circa-1877 roots after a 5-year renovation. Walk into the lobby and you can't help but be impressed with the Victorian era grandeur. The lobby bar, Morrissey's, was busy, even on a Monday night and the restaurant, Blue Hen, is housed under a glass conservatory. But it's the spacious rooms that are really impressive, replete with freestanding tubs, heated floor tiles and towel racks, and sumptuous beds. After a good night's sleep, wake up in the morning and stroll to Sweet Mimi's, owned by friends. You can't go wrong with the lemon ricotta or toasted coconut pancakes.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/14/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Debut of the Setai Tel Aviv

Monday was the official opening of The Setai Tel Aviv, the first property in the city to be designated a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Located at the entrance to Jaffa, overlooking the Mediterranean, the property was initially constructed as a fortress in the 12th-century. The five-building complex was conquered and then inhabited by the Crusaders, Turkish-Ottoman Empire, and the British, until being used as a police station until 2005. The original buildings and stone corridors that wrap around an inner courtyard have been meticulously restored over an extensive preservation process that was spearheaded by the Israel Antiquities Authority and preservation architect Eyal Ziv, who is responsible for the design of several iconic Tel Aviv structures, including the Alhambra Theater. The property features 120 guest rooms, rooftop infinity pool, spa and gym, and JAYA, a restaurant that celebrates the best of Israeli food while also honoring the culinary heritage of Jaffa and the property's Turkish roots.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/25/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Vetted House Rentals with Villas of Distinction

With the popularity of Airbnb and VRBO, more and more clients are requesting apartment and house rentals with us. For apartments in residential neighborhoods of European and American cities, we enjoy working with OneFineStay. Someone meets our clients at the residence the first day, goes over the apartment, and then gives them a concierge list of restaurants, shops, and sights to see in the neighborhood. For house rentals, especially on the beaches of the Caribbean isles of the Turks & Caicos and St. Barts, it's hard to top the Villas of Distinction. Each house is personally visited and inspected before being added to the list. It also helps to know the Director of Sales, who ActiveTravels will often call to ensure that the one particular property we like for our clients is indeed fantastic. Try getting the personal lowdown with VRBO. Not happening. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/27/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, March 05, 2018

New England Lodgings You Need to Book Well in Advance

There are three reasons why the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, Maine, continues to sell out summer after summer: location, location, location. A small gate at the far end of the inn’s sprawling lawn opens onto to the famous mile-long cliff walk they call the Marginal Way. Turn left, and you can stroll downhill to the main beach, stores, and restaurants in Ogunquit. Turn right, and discover even more breathtaking vistas of the jagged coastline and vast Atlantic. Keep going, and soon you’re in the compact neighborhood of Perkins Cove, where you can shop for painted lobster buoys and grab that requisite lobster roll at Barnacle Billy’s.

To find other New England properties where reservations are a must, please check out my latest story for Yankee Magazine, Reservations Necessary


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/05/18 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.

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