ActiveTravels | get up & go!  
 subscribe to ActiveTravels
 Subscribe by RSS By RSS Feed or Email
 
Follow ActiveTravels on Twitter Like ActiveTravels on Facebook View the ActiveTravels YouTube channel
 
ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust
   
     
 

Lodging

Monday, June 24, 2019

Encore Boston Harbor Makes an Impressive Debut

I’m not a fan of casinos and especially Steve Wynn, so I begrudgingly went to the press preview in Everett on Friday, expecting the property to be a Vegas-sized behemoth plopped down on the industrial shores of the Mystic River. And yes, from the exterior, the Encore Boston Harbor hotel looks like it belongs on the Vegas strip. Then you enter this $2.6 billion resort and you’re immediately transported to Monte Carlo and a world of opulence. The design is over-the-top and I loved it, from the red Murano glass used to create their signature chandeliers to the white marble in the 671 rooms and suites, to Jeff Koons’ stainless steel sculpture, Popeye (which Wynn paid the handsome figure of $28 million at Sotheby’s to purchase in 2014), to a carousel of horses and unicorns created from 83,000 flowers. The rooms and suites are incredibly spacious, and all offer fantastic vistas of the Zakim Bridge and Boston skyline. You can also reach the resort via their snazzy 35 passenger customized boats designed by Boston BoatWorks, from either the Seaport or Long Wharf, much better than dealing with car traffic. 

But the reason I really love the resort is the restaurant and bar scene. They wisely used local talent, like Ed Kane, owner of the Big Night Entertainment Group (Tosca, Empire) to create the gorgeously designed Asian-fusion restaurant, Mystique; North End restauranteurs Frank DePasquale (Bricco) and Nick Varano (Strega) to open the Italian restaurant, Fratelli; and Neptune Oyster chef John Ross to run the Oyster Bar, where they’ll serve Duxbury’s own Island Creek Oysters. The neighboring Waterfront Bar serves Mass microbrews like Nightshift, Lord Hobo, and Down the Road. But here’s what I like the most about this resort. It’s employing over 5,000 local workers and the state will be getting 25% of the revenue from the casinos. That’s something I happily support! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/24/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Samoset Unveils New Renovated Rooms and Suites

The crown jewel of Maine’s mid-coast, the 230-acre Samoset Resort in Rockland, has undergone extensive room renovations this winter. All 178 rooms and suites now have a contemporary coastal flair, thanks to the blue and white palette that livens up the décor. Samoset will also debut six new “Family Suites” this month. Each Family Suite will feature a kid’s bunkbed room, separate from the main bedroom, ideally suited for families with tweens and teens. The bunk room features amenities like board and video games and fun, educational books about Maine. The resort also features an 18-hole golf course, outdoor and indoor heated pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, health club, spa, basketball courts, and fire pits. Also nearby is my favorite breakwater to walk in the state and the James Beard-award winning restaurant, Primo

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/19/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Arenal’s Nayara Tented Camp to Debut in December

If you have plans to visit Costa Rica this winter and want a luxurious retreat, consider staying in the Arenal region at the new Nayara Tented Camp. Sister property to the Nayara Hotel and Nayara Springs (16 private villas), Nayara Tented Camp is the brainchild of owner Leo Ghitis who was inspired by the luxury canvas lodges of Africa and Asia. The 29 air-conditioned accommodations, each spacious at 1,496 square feet, have been built at a higher altitude on the hillside to provide unobstructed views of the Arenal volcano. The property is surrounded by creeks and natural hot springs, approximately a 2 ½-hour drive from San Jose Int’l Airport. Transfers are available for an additional cost. Or contact ActiveTravels and we’ll put together a package with another region on the beach, like Manuel Antonio, Osa Peninsula, or Guanacaste. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/18/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, June 10, 2019

Stay in a Treehouse in Ohio’s Amish Country

Drive about 90 minutes northeast of Columbus or 90 minutes southwest of Cleveland and you’ll reach Glenmont, Ohio, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. This is where you’ll find The Mohicans, best known as the country’s largest treehouse village. They offer 6 treehouses, 2 of which were designed by Pete Nelson, the star of the Discovery Channel’s series, “Treehouse Masters.” Moonlit Treasure looks the best to me, but all are impressive. Nestled in the woods, this is a place to relax, walk the paths, and then dine on tasty farm-to-table cuisine. It’s perfect for families looking at colleges in Ohio. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/10/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thursday, June 06, 2019

New in the Adirondacks

If you’re headed to the Adirondacks, my old boyhood stomping grounds, to hike the 46 High Peaks, paddle one of the large lakes, rambling rivers or countless ponds, or to visit the fantastic Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, you’ll want to know about the latest lodgings to make their debut in this 6 million acre playground. The Woods Inn in Inlet, on the shores of Fourth Lake, unveils the new Carriage House this summer.  The lodging includes a wellness center and lounge, a ground-floor handicapped-accessible suite and 4 two-story, two-bedroom townhouse rental units, perfect for families. Chalet Whiteface is a newly opened 11-bedroom boutique lodge and restaurant in Wilmington, home of Whiteface Mountain, High Falls Gorge, Santa’s Workshop and miles and miles of hiking and biking trails. The Hotel Saranac, a downtown landmark since 1927, reopened in 2017 after undergoing a $35 million refurbishment that brought out its Jazz Age roots. Lastly, Trail Break at Schroon Lake opens in June with remodeled rooms and an attached restaurant. Get out there and hit the trails! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/06/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Think Big! A Tiny House Resort Offers New Activities This Summer in the Catskills

Last summer, Bob Malkin, owner of the SoHo retail store, Think Big!, unveiled a resort in South Cairo, New York, that features 9 Tiny Houses. Inspired by the Prairie-style cottages found at Canoe Bay in northwestern Wisconsin, each Tiny House 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! A 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 chef who can prepare meals for guests using produce from the resort garden. New this year is a Wellness Tent, featuring massage services and a private cedar soaking tub; an Arts and Crafts Studio in an Airstream travel trailer, where kids and adults can work with an instructor to create one-of-a-kind vacation souvenirs; and an inground pool, heated to 92 degrees. The resort is also dog-friendly and features a dog park. Think Tiny! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/01/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Don’t Hesitate to Stay at Corral del Rey

We loved our penthouse room at Corral del Rey, a boutique property in the old quarter of Seville, where rooms are located inside a former 17th-century estate. We had a large outdoor patio with views overlooking the Gothic Cathedral, plunge pool, bath built for two, fantastic shower, and a heavenly mattress. It’s no surprise it was our favorite hotel of our entire stay in Spain. We took full advantage of the room, polishing off a bottle of Tempranillo with our nephew, Micah, who’s studying in Seville this semester, before strolling over to a hole-in-the-wall tapas joint with outdoor tables, Estrella. The place is popular with flamenco dancers, guitarists, and singers who perform at the nearby Museo del Baile Flamenco, as we would soon find out when seeing an hourlong flamenco show. The guy I just met at the bar was the guitarist for the show, and wow, was he good, along with two soulful singers, and three incredibly talented flamenco dancers. We made the wise move of booking the VIP show, where only two rows of audience view the show in an intimate setting inside a former wine cellar. The performance was so moving that I looked over at Lisa and saw tears rolling down her cheek. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/16/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Highly Recommended Hotel Neri in Barcelona

We stayed in the heart of the Gothic Quarter at the Hotel Neri, down a twisting alleyway from a recently excavated 4th-century synagogue. The bed was incredibly comfortable, especially after a long day of sightseeing, and Lisa especially enjoyed the outdoor tub. The highlight, however, was breakfast, where we would dine on our perfectly poached eggs and look out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the many families dropping off their young children at the school behind us. Kids would arrive hand-in-hand with grandparents, on the front of bikes with mom and dad, and holding onto dogs far larger than them. It was a wonderful voyeuristic look into the lives of families in Barcelona. 

 
Strolling the narrow streets, we would stumble upon opera singers belting out “Ave Maria” from behind the historic cathedral, art students selling their impressive wares at art fairs, and a hole-in-the-wall bakery where the guy made the strongest and best café con leche on the trip. So good, in fact, that we went back three afternoons in a row. Our daughter, Melanie, who’s studying abroad in Barcelona, made reservations at her favorite restaurants in town, all within easy walking distance of Hotel Neri. They included the delectable tapas found at La Luna, and sublime sushi and sangria at Ikibana. Friends in Barcelona also suggested another winning choice, Elsa y Fred, though it’s hard to go astray in this foodie destination.  
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/10/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Friday, February 22, 2019

Anantara, a Serene Oasis in Bangkok

Bangkok is a sprawling, congested city and when you arrive at the Royal Palace, Wat Arun, and the other major sights, even they are overcrowded with tourists. That's why you need to take it slow, not place too many items on your itinerary, and stay at a great hotel where you will enjoy spending time. We split up our stay in Bangkok with two nights at the Anantara Siam and two nights at their sister property, Anantara Riverside. Both featured a lavish spread at the breakfast buffet, including American, Chinese, and Indian favorites. Anantara Siam also features an excellent Thai Restaurant, Spice Market, where we dined our first night. Afterwards, walk into the indoor courtyard and check out the koi pond. The highlight at Anantara Siam was their signature 90-minute Siam 2482 deep-tissue massage. Using two bamboo sticks, eight herbal compresses, and gold leaf, I walked out of there as loose as a jellyfish and happy as a clam. 

 
Anantara Riverside has more of a resort feel, overlooking a large pool where you simply push a button on your menu and a server appears to take your order. The hotel was crowded with families who would spend the entire day splashing around in the 90-degree heat. The Riverside Dinner Cruise from the resort's pier is a must, a 2-hour gentle cruise along the Chao Phraya seeing the Royal Palace and Wat Arun lit up at night. On our last day, to celebrate Lisa's birthday, we took a 5-hour cooking course with one of the hotel's chefs. At 8 am, we took a tuk tuk with Chef over to a local market and picked up all the necessary ingredients for the three courses we would soon make, including large prawns, chicken, lemongrass, galangal, chicory root, mushrooms, and many spicy peppers. Soon we were back at the hotel's outdoor cooking center on the 2nd floor, creating Golden Caps, crusted rice crackers filled with a chicken and shrimp filling; a spicy and delicious Thai soup that we hope to recreate at home one day; and a tender barramundi topped with spicy chili, curry powder, and lime. We finished with fresh mango that Chef sliced like bird's wings, served with sweet sticky rice that was topped with sweet coconut milk. A memorable birthday lunch! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/22/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hong Kong Hotels

I loved all three properties we checked out in Hong Kong for various reasons. The Intercontinental Hong Kong (soon to change its name back to the Regent again) offered fantastic views of the Hong Kong skyline and waterfront from the floor to ceiling windows in the room. After long days of sightseeing, I enjoyed coming back to the room to watch the Chinese junk boats, ferries, fishing boats, and larger barges and cruise ships pass by. The Intercontinental also had the best breakfast buffet of the 3 hotels, with a lavish spread of American, Chinese (great dim sum), Indian, Japanese, and Korean choices, all washed down with fresh mango and guava juice. The W Hong Kong had fantastic service, like a welcome tray of goodies in our room, including a photo of our family from a recent trip to Switzerland. The concierge was excellent designing two days of travel and arranging tickets in advance for the cable car over to Big Buddha. While I probably liked the Intercontinental location a bit better since you could walk outside the hotel to catch the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong and find nearby restaurants at night, I did like that the W was perched above a large mall and subway stop, including the direct train to the airport, the Airport Express. The fitness center was also wonderful, sitting on the 73rd floor with glorious views of the city below. The Upper House on the Hong Kong side offered by far the most spacious rooms with good vista of the city and waterfront below. The concierge was also excellent, setting up free shuttles around the city to see the sights and hit the restaurants at night. In fact, service at the Upper House genuinely made us feel welcome. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/19/19 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Page 1 of 20 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

 

 
 
 

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.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association

 

tags