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Lodging

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Debut of Hotel Salem

For Lisa’s birthday, we headed up the road to spend the day and night in Salem. We saw the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum, and then strolled down the street to the new Hotel Salem, which just opened in the former Newmarket department store building. The 4-story structure of exposed granite and brick now lends itself well to 44 spacious rooms with floor to ceiling windows overlooking this historic town and a restaurant on the ground floor called Counter. I ordered the Industry Burger, one of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time, topped with blue cheese and hot sauce, and served with handcut fries and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. A rooftop bar will be open in the spring and there’s also space in the basement that could be used for games and another long bar. But for the time being, Hotel Salem is perfectly suited for a winter overnight, with the O’Keeffe show running until April 1st. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/14/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Debut of the Perry Lane Hotel, Savannah, Georgia

On the main thoroughfare of Savannah’s downtown corridor, the Perry Lane promises to bridge the antebellum past with modern comforts when it opens on May 18. The owners spent five years studying Savannah, so they've figured out how to transform all that history into a 21st-century hotel. A Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel, the property offers 167 guest rooms, rooftop bar, pool, and Emporium Kitchen and Wine Bar featuring locally sourced meats, fish, and cheeses. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/23/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, January 22, 2018

Under Canvas, Grand Canyon, Arizona

This week, I’m excited to feature five of the most highly participated resort debuts in 2018. Anyone who’s been on a mobile safari in the Serengeti knows that living under a tent can often be as luxurious as a suite in the Four Seasons. All the modern comforts of space, lighting, and private shower can be found inside. Now the upscale glamping scene is starting to catch on with America’s National Parks, thanks to Upscale Canvas. The company already offers luxury tent options in Zion, Yellowstone, Moab, Glacier, Mount Rushmore, and now have their sights set on the Grand Canyon. Located in Williams, a 40-minute drive from the South Rim, 56 secluded acres of forest will be transformed into the ultimate glamping experience. Head over to that big gaping hole for a hike or enjoy a sampling of nearby activities like horseback riding and mountain biking. 

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/22/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Annual Retreat to the South Seas Resort, a Family Tradition

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 

It all started 35 years ago when my parents made a sailing stop on Captiva Island, Florida for the night, thereupon setting into motion an annual multi-generational week at South Seas Resort. It is a property I know extremely well, over many decades, and am pleased to recommend to ActiveTravels members. An easy drive from the Ft. Myers airport (RSW), South Seas features regular hotel rooms and condos with kitchens to stock with groceries. The fun pools, miles of white sand beaches, and activities like beach yoga, which I described in yesterday’s blog, lead to activity filled days, gorgeous sunsets, and starry nights. Off property, we venture to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge to see the alligators and egrets, visit a farmers’ markets, buy lots of fresh seafood, and head to Captiva Cantina or Bubble Room restaurants for dinner. In December, 14 members of my family (aged 19 - 89) gathered for a week at South Seas. We experienced great weather and are already planning for next winter. Please contact ActiveTravels if Captiva, or nearby Sanibel Island appeals to you. We’d be pleased to make arrangements. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/10/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, January 05, 2018

Top Dream Days of 2017, Silky Oaks Lodge, Australia

Guest Post and Photos By Lisa Leavitt

A major perk of being a Virtuoso travel agent is the fam trip. Fam is short for familiarization and these trips are usually low cost to travel advisors to appealing destinations around the globe. Nevertheless, once you arrive, you are fair game to any tourism professional or hotelier in the region. Each one wants to show you their property, activity and special corner of the universe. When I went to Queensland, Australia, in March of 2017, I expected countless hotel viewings and long-drawn out meetings with crocodile park owners.
 
Instead I was pleasantly surprised to experience one of my dream days of 2017. I woke up in Silky Oaks Lodge in Mossman Gorge, in the middle of the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest living rainforest on earth. After a breakfast overlooking the flowing river, we boarded helicopters to view the dense forest from above. The pilots surprised us by landing on rocks next to a waterfall so we could experience feeling completely surrounded by this wet tropical landscape. Whisked away moments later, we were brought back to the lodge for a luscious swim down a cool river.
 
The best part was yet to come! We boarded a van to go into Port Douglas the largest town in northern Queensland and home to many boutique shops, great restaurants and a harbor where Quicksilver Cruises is based. We boarded Wavedancer, a large catamaran that soon was cruising out to sea toward the setting sun. With drink in hand, I toasted with my new friends and watched a spectacular sunset. Back on land, we ate a delicious dinner involving Moreton Bay “Bugs,” which look and taste a lot like our Maine lobster. On the way home, we stopped on the side of the road, got out and took a moment to take in the magnificent Southern Hemisphere stars together. It was certainly a day I will always remember.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/05/18 at 05:59 AM
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Rejuvenating Stay at the Riu Reggae

With our kids out of college early this semester, we decided to head to the Caribbean before Christmas. We made the wise decision to book two rooms at the Riu Reggae, an adults-only all-inclusive which made its debut 8 months ago. Located down the beach from the Riu Palace and the Riu Montego Bay, the Riu Reggae is only a 10-minute drive from the international airport. Compared to the other Riu properties we’ve stayed at in Ocho Rios, Aruba, and Costa Rica, it’s a smaller, more contemporary resort with 400 rooms and 5 restaurants. We thought the food was very good for an all-inclusive property, especially the breakfasts at the main buffet, the steak at the Italian restaurant, and our last night’s dinner at the gourmet restaurant, Kulinarium, which featured lobster, grouper, and oxtail ravioli. The highlight for us (and one of the reasons we keep returning to Jamaica) is the jerk hut, serving slightly charred barbecue chicken on the beach, topped with homemade spicy jerk sauce. We would stand in line every day to grab our lunch there. 
 
The beach connects to the other two properties so you can take long walks in the sand. But most of the time we read our books at the pool while being entertained by the excellent staff. Everyone at the resort seemed genuinely happy to welcome you to their country, from the wait staff to the front desk to the room service (there was no attitude at all). But the entertainers, including Kool Kid and Shampoo, went out of their way to make you laugh and stopped by your chaise lounge chair to converse. One morning, a wonderful band played live reggae music at the edge of the pool, including classic Bob Marley and Peter Tosh tunes. It’s no surprise that the occupancy rate is already 85 percent, with clientele coming in for a week’s stay from all over North America and Europe. If the price remains as reasonable as it is now, I’d happily return. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/26/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New Hotel Openings in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Experts, the tour operator we adore for our clients’ trips to Costa Rica and Panama, has added a handful of new hotels to their list of available lodgings. Located just off the remote Nicoya Peninsula, Isla Chiquita offers the one and only glamping experience in Costa Rica. Arrive by boat to the small luxury site, where you will be lead to one of 15 premium tents. For an adults-only luxury getaway, check out the new Las Catalinas property by Casa Chameleon, which enjoys panoramic views of the Pacific from the comfort of the infinity pool. Holistic, healing, and rejuvenation are the primary focal points of The Retreat, an intimate 11-room boutique property that features yoga classes every morning and afternoon. Lagarta Lodge, a 26-room modern boutique hotel on the Nicoya Peninsula, is located between two rivers and a sandy beach within a private nature reserve, an ideal locale for hiking, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. If you’re thinking of visiting Costa Rica this winter, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll package together the whole trip, including lodging, activities, and transfers.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/29/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Seventh Annual Hotel Week in Manhattan January 5-15, 2018

If you want to visit New York at a discount, then head to the city during their Seventh Annual Hotel Week in early January. Gansevoort Meatpacking, the Refinery Hotel, Library Hotel, James New York, Viceroy Central Park, and Archer New York are just a handful of top-tier properties that will cut their rates considerably during this time. For example, the Paul Hotel NYC will only be $100 a night, more than 50% off their usual rate. Hotel Week NYC™ was created by PR maven Nancy J. Friedman in 2010 to address the occupancy dip most hotels experience after the holiday season. It’s a perfect time to visit Manhattan without the crowds and see the new David Hockney show at the Met. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/28/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Aman New York to Open in 2020

Fans of the ultra-sybaritic Aman brand will be happy to know about its latest undertaking, the refurbishment of the iconic Crown Building overlooking Central Park in Manhattan. Set to debut in 2020, the property will feature 83 guest rooms and 20 residences in the circa-1921 Beaux-Arts building, once the original home of the Museum of Modern Art. This will be Aman’s third hotel in the US and only the second in a major city, after Tokyo. Located on 5th Avenue and 57th Street, Aman New York will feature an Aman Spa that will span 22,000 square feet on the 7th, 8th, and 9th floors and include an 80-foot indoor swimming pool surrounded by daybeds. The wraparound Garden Terrace, located on the 10th floor, will offer guests a panoramic view of Central Park, a restaurant, and a cigar bar. The hotel also plans to open a piano bar in the Sky Lobby, Wine Library for tastings and events, and a subterranean Jazz Club. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/01/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Emergence of Schenectady’s Mohawk Harbor

I was back in my boyhood stomping grounds this weekend for a high school reunion and was pleasantly surprised at how good the city looked. Much of the change is due to an influx of investment from the new Rivers Casino & Resort. We stayed at the casino’s Landing Hotel, boasting a stylish lounge bar, outdoor tables around fire pits, and a paved walking path along the Mohawk River. I’ve never seen so much action on the river. Peering out at the water from our hotel room, we spotted fishing boats, jet skis, and countless crew teams skimming the water’s surface. I learned at the reunion that the Niskayuna crew team is one of the best in New York, with many alums being awarded D-1 scholarships at some of the finest college crew teams in the country. 
 
Rivers Casino is building up the whole waterfront in a neighborhood called Mohawk Harbor. We strolled down the path to find a spanking new apartment building and Courtyard by Marriott. Soon to make its debut in retail space at the bottom of the apartment building is the Shaker & Vine wine bar. Also opening nearby is a restaurant and microbrewery, Druthers Brewing. Before meeting friends at two bars owned by former classmates, Katie O’Byrnes and Cappocia Wine Lounge, we had to stop at my favorite Italian restaurant in town, Cornells, to dine on a dreamy eggplant parmesan. There’s a scene in the movie, Ratatouille, where the food critic is immediately transported back to his youth thanks to the perfect rendering of the dish. That’s what eggplant parmesan at Cornells does to me. One bite and I'm 11 years old surrounded by my family, my mother in her thick Bronx accent asking if I need more fresh baked bread to swipe up the heavenly red sauce. 
 
Things are looking up in Schenectady. If you’re passing through on a college tour or hitting the track at Saratoga next summer, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a night or two at Mohawk Harbor. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/26/17 at 06:00 AM
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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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