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Lodging

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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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Take a Walkaround on the ActiveTravels YouTube Channel

Lisa and I call them Walkarounds. If a resort or boutique lodging impresses us, we immediately break out the iPhone and start filming the room upon arrival. I recently downloaded a good 12 videos we created over the past year or two at some of our favorite properties, including Sol Y Luna in Peru’s Sacred Valley; Silky Oaks in Australia’s Daintree Rainforest; the “trulli” magnificent Borgo Canonica in Puglia, Italy; the gem of a hotel, Corral del Rey in Seville, Spain; Mystique in Santorini, Greece; and Croatia’s Villa Dubrovnik. They join other videos I’ve already uploaded on lodging in Botswana, Tanzania, Hong Kong, and St. Lucia. All videos are short, around 2 to 3 minutes, and can be found on the ActiveTravels YouTube Channel. Please have a look! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/30/19 at 05:59 AM
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Spend Thanksgiving in the Azores

One of Amy’s Dream Days of 2017 was her stay on the Azorean island of Sao Miguel. She had the pleasure of staying at Quinta Minuvida, a small eco-friendly, historic home turned hotel, run by the husband and wife pair of Joao and Rimi. At least five of our clients at ActiveTravels have followed in Amy’s footsteps and all have loved the experience. Now Quinta Minuvida is offering an Azorean Thanksgiving package that includes a 5-night stay in a double suite (either Camélia or Taro), breakfast, an "Azorean Thanksgiving" dinner on Friday night, guided hiking trip including lunch, 2 to 3 yoga classes with Rimi, and optional guided morning meditation twice during the week. Cost is only 550 Euros for the package. Car rental and international flight are not included. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/22/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Peru Week with Abercrombie and Kent: Two Magical Nights at Sol y Luna in Sacred Valley

After touring the historical core of Lima, including the impressive Museo Larco and its vast collection of pre-Colombian art, we flew to Cuzco and headed onward to Sacred Valley. Our lodging for the next two nights was Sol y Luna, where spacious casitas, all with fireplaces and some with hot tubs, dot the grounds of this majestic landscape, surrounded by the serrated ridges of the Andes. I loved it here. Everywhere you walk are flowering shrubs and tall cacti in bloom, another photo to be taken, especially when large hummingbirds would fly into the golden flowers of my back deck. Vases of yellow roses were also found inside the casitas, along with wonderful local painting and sculpture. At night, our group of 18 met in a ranch-style setting for cocktail hour and then a sublime dinner, worthy of the property’s Relais and Chateau rating. We started with pisco mojitos, created with the sweet local mint grown in these parts. Then we dined on trout carpaccio and beef tenderloin, finishing with a dessert of tres leches. This is one Virtuoso lodging that I will recommend highly to our clients. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/24/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Much-Needed Therapeutic Waters of Temagami

As soon as I laid eyes on the waters of Lake Temagami, all I wanted to do was jump in and swim. And for 3 days, that’s primarily what I did. Dove in the heavenly waters of this vast lake and swam free crawl, backstroke, elementary backstroke, underwater, to a small island directly across from us, where our friend Bruce had his cabin (I’ll talk more about him tomorrow). It was a perfect cleansing of my body in these pristine waters, happily washing away the year’s stress with each stroke. 

I had no idea where we were, a place called Ojibway on an island 20 minutes by boat from the parking lot some 5 to 6 hours drive north of Toronto. Amy had found the place because her daughter, Sophie, was a counselor at Keewaydin Songadeewin summer camp in Vermont, sister camp to Keewaydin Temagami located on the same island as Ojibway. There were no campers during our stay, because the Temagami camp is primarily used as a base for long-distance canoe trips for paddlers, upwards of 6 weeks in summer. Ojibway felt like summer camp for adults in one of the most serene settings I’ve visited in Canada. The inviting waters entice you to grab a canoe and paddle to your heart’s content, following the loons. Meals are served family-style on the long tables and the food was surprisingly good. So was the company, many of whom had a long history with this island, including a woman from Mississippi, who told me that her grandfather had found this place in the early 1900s, not wanting to deal with the crowds in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Her family has been returning here for over a century. And who can blame them! 
 
It's hard to find a more peaceful and stress-free setting, one where your WiFi only works close to the dining area (and very slow at that). You’re free to discard the smart phone and read your stack of books, go for a paddle, have gin and tonics on the deck, and yes, swim. I want to hold on to that image of me diving off the dock at Ojibway to hopefully keep my blood pressure down the rest of the year. At least, until I return to this special spot and dive in again. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/21/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 19, 2019

Ontario Lakes Week: First Stop, Bartlett Lodge, Algonquin Provincial Park

As soon as you step foot in that large wooden boat and are whisked away a mere 5 minutes from the parking lot to Bartlett Lodge, tensions start to melt away with the calm Cache Lake waters. Traveling with Amy and Josh from their home in Toronto, it took us about 3 ½ hours to reach Algonquin Provincial Park in central Ontario. Amy had met the owners of Bartlett Lodge, Marilyn and Kim on an Adventure Canada cruise circumnavigating Newfoundland last fall, and she wanted to make this our first stop on a tour of classic Ontario cabins. She started with a winner, the circa-1907 Deil Ma Care cabin, created before the resort even opened by a doctor from Ottawa who would bring patients with TB and other respiratory ailments to Algonquin as a salubrious retreat. After 3 nights at Bartlett Lodge, I’m happy to report that the lodge is just as therapeutic today as it was a century ago! 

The 12 cottages and 4 tents sit on the shores of the inviting Cache Lake. Grab a canoe like we did one early morning before breakfast and you’ll be listening to the distinctive call of the loon echoing across the waters. But even more heavenly than a placid paddle is the chance to swim from the small deck in front of our cabin in the clean refreshing waters. As soon as we arrived, we went for the first of countless swims we would take on our 9-day foray into the lakes of central Ontario. 
 
All meals are included in the price, the highlight being the 4-course dinner, beloved just as much by locals as visitors to Bartlett Lodge. Start with hazelnut gnudi (gnocchi-like dumplings) or wild mushroom arancini before moving on to entrees of chinook salmon or beef tenderloin. But save room for dessert, especially Marilyn’s sublime signature pies, like wild blueberry or strawberry rhubarb. Marilyn is the quintessential host, walking over between courses to all the tables to discuss the history of the place and her love for the region. Not only did her husband Kim and her revive this dreamy waterfront property (they’ve been owners since 1997), but they run a nearby overnight girl’s camp. Off-season, they have a farm outside of Toronto known for its team of Clydesdales. 
 
Swim, paddle, take a Tom Thomson tour with Malcolm (which I’ll discuss tomorrow), hike through old growth forest or up the hillside for vistas of the shorelines, and then return to the Bartlett Lodge for gin and tonics in the Muskoka chairs (the Ontario version of Adirondack chairs) and another fantastic dinner (BYOB, so stop at the province-run liquor store, LCBO, on the way in). It’s a winning recipe for a 3-day add-on to Toronto or Ottawa. Share your dates with ActiveTravels and we’ll check on availability and pricing. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/19/19 at 06:00 AM
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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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