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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An Ideal Maine Island Getaway, the Inn at Diamond Cove

When the owners of the Portland Harbor Hotel decided to create a new property from the former barracks of circa-1896 Fort McKinley, I was intrigued enough to include it in a round-up for Yankee Magazine on the latest New England resorts to debut. Unfortunately, the Inn at Diamond Cove was already closed for the season when I wrote the article. I finally paid a visit to the property over the weekend and came away impressed. As soon as you board the Casco Bay Ferry in Portland and start cruising to the islands, the stress of the mainland is washed away by the salty sea breeze. Thirty minutes later, you arrive at Great Diamond Island and are whisked away to the hotel past a vast village green that was once the military parade. 
We dropped off our bags in the spacious room and began to explore the island. Children were biking and skateboarding on the paved trails to an indoor basketball court, bowling alley, tennis courts, and outdoor pool. We strolled through the forest to find an exquisite beach where sea glass and its soft edges could be spotted all over the sand. A lone kayaker and whole parade route of ducks, some who looked like they were just hatched, drifted by as we skipped rocks. This is just one of the five beaches on island available to hotel guests. We also wandered past blooming lilacs and sweet honeysuckle lining the summer estates to see Sunset Point on the western shores of the island. When we returned back to the hotel, we dined on tasty blackened bluefish paired with lobster hash. 
With full kitchens in each room, families could easily spend a week in summer here. Portland Paddle leads guided sea kayaking and SUP jaunts, a tennis pro is on staff for round robin tournaments, and a yoga instructor teaches both outdoors and indoors. This is the perfect place to unwind and relax far from the crowds. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/14/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Explora Opens Their First Resort in Peru

On the rugged mountain slopes northwest of Cusco, the Sacred Valley is a beautiful stretch of small villages and ancient ruins spread across a broad plain. The Incas built several of the empire’s greatest estates, temples, and royal palaces between Cusco and Machu Picchu, positioned like great bookends at the south and north ends of the valley. Along with Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Valle Sagrado is one of the highlights of Peru and is really beginning to take off as a destination on its own, rather than just an add-on to Cusco or Machu Picchu. Now it’s home to the latest Explora hotel. I know this resort brand well, having stayed at the first Explora hotel in Torres del Paine, Chile, on assignment for Town & Country magazine. I remember staring out my bathroom window onto the majestic “Horns,” twisted rock formations that rise dramatically from the Patagonian steppe. Daily outdoor excursions are included in the price of a room, so you always have a guide by your side. It’s a worthy addition to the Peruvian landscape, on par with the luxury Inkaterra properties


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/28/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Save 20% at the New LIFE Hotel in New York’s NoMad Neighborhood

Opening its doors on April 10th, the LIFE Hotel is located in the historic building that once housed LIFE Magazine. If you like boutique hotels with great design, lots of amenities, a restaurant, and basement speakeasy serving classic cocktails, this is the place for you. Rates start at $249 if you book by April 25th. The circa-1893 hotel will echo the place where renowned writers and artists worked, lived, and played. When the new owners were researching the building, they discovered that the upper floors served as apartments for the celebrated writers and artists of the time. During prohibition, the building even housed a secret bar in the basement. All of these areas are being revitalized with plans to bring back the spirit of the 1920s with modern amenities and comfort.

The hotel offers 98 rooms and will place an emphasis on great service and affordability. Guestrooms will feature oversized beds, large flat screen TVs, vintage desks and contemplative poetry inscribed throughout. Pets are welcome. If interested, please contact ActiveTravels and we're happy to book the hotel and give you our NYC travel tips.
Guest Post by Lisa Leavitt 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/14/17 at 05:59 AM
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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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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. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association