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Lodging

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Havana, Soon to Be a Five-Star Destination

If you’re dreaming of visiting old Havana before its transformation back to the lavish Havana of Hemingway’s day, then you better act quickly. I just received word last week that the ultra-sybaritic hotelier, Kempinski, will soon open an opulent 246-room hotel within the historic Manzana de Gómez building in the heart of Old Havana. Set to open the latter part of 2017, Gran Hotel Mazana Kempinski La Habana will be Cuba’s first modern luxury five-star hotel. Expect a rooftop terrace and swimming pool, spa managed by Resense, three restaurants, and, of course, a cigar lounge. This could be the first of many renowned hotel companies making the jump into the Cuban market. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/15/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Best New Hotels in New England

In the latest round of lodgings to open in New England, history plays an integral role. Boutique hotels have been created out of the former barracks of a 19th-century fort, a venerable captain’s estate, and within the confines of a Federal-style home dating from 1776. The Lark Hotel collection continues to expand in the region, adding inns on Plum Island and Newport. Add a large influx of cash to rehab a resort atop a cliff in Maine into a world-class property and you have our latest list of intriguing places to stay, all making their debut in the past year or two. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/08/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gurney’s Opens Second Resort in Newport, Rhode Island

Great news out of Newport last week as Gurney’s, the iconic Montauk hotelier, has announced they have taken over the Hyatt Regency property on Goat Island. The sprawling 10-acre waterfront locale is one of the best in town, a short walk from the restaurants and shops, yet far away from the crowds to feel like a seaside resort. Gurney’s Montauk knows how to please families and I expect the same dynamic in Newport, where they plan to expand the pool deck, start a Kids’ Club, and offer daily activities for families. Gurney’s Newport will also be home to a full-service spa, state-of-the-art fitness facility, and indoor pool, good for a dip any time of year. They also plan to add the brand’s signature restaurant Scarpetta, set to make its debut in May. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/31/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Arizona Week—Enchanting Enchantment

It’s not until you leave the town of Sedona and make the 15-minute drive to Enchantment that you realize the resort is smack dab in the middle of one of the most spectacular settings in America. Nestled against the red rock walls of Boynton Canyon without any other signs of civilization beyond the property, this is the quintessential Arizona landscape one dreams about when booking a trip to the southwest. Tall, serrated mountain ledges, once home to a Native American population is now an ideal playground to hike, bike, and unwind at the world class destination spa, Mii Amo. I was last here a decade ago to pen a story on Sedona for The Boston Globe. Lounging in the hot tub after a morning of hiking in the canyon and not passing any other hikers, I can’t understand what took me so long to return. The free-standing casitas are spacious, furnished with an adobe-style fireplaces and balconies to savor the vista every morning as the hot Arizona sun illuminates the rock. At night after dinner, everyone heads outside to look at the stars while sitting around the fire pit. The pools and children's program attracts families, the destination spa attracts women on a spa package, and the junior suites are ideal for honeymooners. This is one place worth the splurge. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/25/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Andaz Mayakoba Makes its Debut on Mexico’s Riviera Maya

A 40-minute drive from the Cancun International Airport, the stretch of beach in Mayakoba is the best on the Yucatan Peninsula. So it’s no surprise that the community is already home to such upscale hoteliers as the Rosewood, Banyan Tree, and Fairmont. Now you can add the Andaz Mayakoba to that list. The resort opened its 214-room property last week on a secluded stretch of beach. The property features several outdoor pools, a spa with eight treatment rooms, and a gym with a yoga studio, lap pool, and fitness area. Guests can also explore the nearby ruins of Tulum and access the 18-hole El Camaleón golf course designed by PGA legend Greg Norman. Since Lisa is a Virtuoso-aligned travel agent, all clients who book with us will receive an upgrade on arrival if available, daily breakfast for two, and a $120 credit to use at the resort.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/20/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stocking Stuffer No. 4: Deer Valley and Stowe Lodging

Judging from the trips we’ve already booked this upcoming Holiday season to Aspen, Park City, Whistler, and Zermatt, our clients love to ski. They even own property at several ski areas and are now renting out to others. In Deer Valley, you can stay at a 5-bedroom townhouse that sleeps 10 comfortably for as little as $395 a night. A free shuttle on neighboring Deer Valley Drive takes you just up the road to the ski resort or a 10-minute ride into Park City. It’s a great location to ski all three mountains, Deer Valley, Park City, and the Canyons. The townhouse also features a long dining room table, two living rooms, a hot tub, and great views of the mountains. At Stowe, the 4-bedroom Ridgerunner is a mile from Mountain Road which leads to Stowe. The 3-story house features a state-of-the-art kitchen, dining room table built for 20, game room, large outdoor deck with fireplace, hot tub, and wonderful views of Mount Mansfield. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/15/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Lark Hotels Holiday Pop-Up Shop on Newbury Street December 13-18

I’m busy this week writing about the latest properties to open in New England for Yankee Magazine. Two of those boutique hotels, Blue on Plum Island and Gilded in Newport, are managed by Lark Hotels, the collection that is quickly expanding around the region. Learn about all their properties including Hotel Salem, which is slated to open next summer in Salem’s Newmark building, at a pop-up on Boston’s Newbury Street. You’ll also have the chance to purchase Lark Hotels’ deluxe sheet sets and hand-selected items from LATHER, Lark’s exclusive bath amenities partner. The pop-up is located at The Shop, 144 Newbury Street, on the corner of Dartmouth Street. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/07/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Kimpton Opens First International Hotel on Grand Cayman

Lovers of the Kimpton Hotels brand will want to know that they opened their first international property on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach this week. Called the Seafire Resort, it’s the first new hotel to make its debut on Grand Cayman in more than a decade. The 266-room resort is home to an 8,500 square-foot spa, oceanfront bungalows, mega-sized pool, and the restaurant, Avecita, which is already starting to garner attention on an island known for its dining. Expect tapas-style small plates with local fish and vegetables, flavored on a wood grill. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/06/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 21, 2016

A Great Stay at BodyHoliday

The first morning at BodyHoliday I woke up for a 7 am bike ride to Pigeon Island, the conical shaped chunk of land that juts out of the northwestern coast of St. Lucia. We biked along seaside villages and deserted beaches breathing in the humidity-thickened tropical air spiced with a heavy dose of salt. The next morning, I got out of bed early once again to hike up Mount Du Cap, climbing high above the resort for unparalleled vistas of the coastline and the island of Martinique in the distance. I had read about BodyHoliday’s long line-up of fitness classes—Spin, Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, AquaFit—but loved the fact that the resort takes full advantage of its locale to offer activities outside. On Saturday morning, British Olympic Silver Medalist Keri-anne Payne led swimmers on a mile race. On Sunday, you could participate in BodyHoliday’s version of a triathlon by biking to Pigeon Island, running to the fortress atop the island, rappelling down to the sea, and sea kayaking back to the property. 

 
The best reward of all is the daily treatments included in the price. Walk up a short hill to a mega-sized spa where a talented local staff works on your body via massages, wraps, and facials. Restaurants serve fresh fish, grilled meats, all washed down with a good house shiraz. After dinner, with what little energy we had left, we danced to a live band. I’d happily return to this little patch of paradise any time. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/21/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Cliff House on the Maine Coast Enters Its Golden Age

I spent the weekend on the Maine coast researching a story for Yankee Magazine on the latest inns and hotels to make their debuts in New England. Our last stop was the Cliff House, a 5-minute drive from Perkins Cove and the Marginal Way in Ogunquit. First opened in 1872, the property is not exactly new, but you would have a hard time recognizing this upscale property now that Destination Hotels has poured millions of dollars into a complete makeover. The resort now takes full advantage of its stunning setting atop a precipitous cliff that drops straight down into the Atlantic. The vista from our room’s balcony was sheer ocean water and the granite-strewn coastline. Walk into the 2-story lobby where floor to ceiling windows offer the same exquisite view and have dinner at Tiller, only to peer down at the pounding surf lit up at night. Phase one of the rebuild is now complete, featuring 132 rooms with a nautical theme (portholes on each door), a new indoor lap pool, spa, and a second casual restaurant, Nubb’s Lobster Shack, all opened in this past month. Construction continues atop the bluff to add an additional 100 rooms by next summer. In the meantime, come spend a night and have dinner at the Cliff House, only 90 minutes up the road from Boston, and you’ll understand why I’m so thrilled that Maine has another world-class resort. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/01/16 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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