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Monday, October 26, 2015

The Best Hotel Room in Boston

The new Envoy Hotel, which officially opened in September, is already receiving press for its wonderful rooftop bar. The best views of the Boston skyline are from the water and the way the Envoy is located, across Fort Point Channel in the burgeoning Seaport District, you feel as if you’re on the water looking back at the city. If you want to savor that breathtaking view by yourself or with a loved one, book the corner suite, Room 604, just below the rooftop bar. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Boston harbor and all the tall buildings that edge the water. The room is spacious and stylish, with an antique map of the city painted on the glass doors that lead to the shower, and a large flatscreen television hidden into the wall, offering the latest Netflix and Hulu shows. Best of all, those windows bathe the room in light. If you can break away from the view, grab a cocktail on the roof or downstairs in the restaurant. Some of my favorite restaurants in Boston are within easy walking distance of the property, including Row 34, Legal Harborside, Trade, Sportello, Blue Dragon, and Barking Crab, located right next door to the Envoy. As part of the Autograph Collection, you can use your Marriott points to book the room. You can also take a water taxi straight from the airport to the hotel. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/26/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Two New Vermont Properties to Try This Winter

Skiers will want to know that two Vermont hotels are about to open in the state. The Taconic, the first Kimpton property in Vermont, will make its debut in Manchester. The hotel has 87 rooms with views of the Taconic and Green Mountain ranges, three standalone cottages, an indoor/outdoor restaurant, and a large wraparound porch. It’s a great option for folks who want to ski at nearby Stratton or Bromley, a 30-minute drive. In Stowe, Lark Hotels purchased Ye Olde England Inne in late 2014 and is now ready to unveil the 30-room Field Guide


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/21/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, September 11, 2015

Acadia National Park Week: Enjoyed Our Stay at Bar Harbor’s West Street Hotel

After hiking on Mount Desert Island’s Quiet Side, biking Acadia National Park’s secret Schoodic Peninsula, and hitting the Atlantic via a historic Friendship Sloop and a sea kayak, our last day was spent driving the popular Park Loop. The ideal way to end a trip to Acadia is to bike the historic carriage path trails around Eagle Lake and toast your outdoor accomplishments with an iced tea accompanied by hot-out-of-the-oven popovers at Jordan Pond Gatehouse. The view of the small rounded mountains they call the Bubbles on the other end of Jordan Pond is second to none. 
After each day’s outing we would return to the relatively new West Street Hotel and its inviting nautical décor to shower and then swim on their rooftop pool. Overlooking Bar Island and Sheep Porcupine Island and all the boats docked in between, the view from the rooftop pool and our fourth floor balcony was breathtaking. I had the privilege of writing most of these blogs while taking in that mesmerizing seascape. The front desk will also tell you that you can swim at the Bar Harbor Club across the street. By all means, go! Their Olympic-sized pool, perfect for families or doing laps, is situated right on the edge of the ocean overlooking the expanse of sea and mountains. 
West Street Hotel was within easy walking distance to all the restaurants in town. Some of our favorite dishes included the zesty grilled fish tacos at Side Street Café, the blueberry pancakes at 2 Cats, the sublime lobster roll at Beal’s (in Southwest Harbor), the seafood stew at Paddy’s, the kale salad at A&B Naturals, the heavenly black raspberry ice cream at Ben & Bills Chocolate Emporium, and a pint of Bar Harbor Real Ale at the Atlantic Brewery (off Route 3). 
I want to thank Charlene Williams and the folks at Maine Tourism for arranging a memorable week of activity. I’m looking forward to returning next year and participating in the all the festivities surrounding Acadia’s big 100th birthday. Enjoy the weekend. I’ll be back on Wednesday after a much needed break.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/11/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Luxury Resort Openings in the Fall

Having just returned from Virtuoso Travel Week, Lisa will update you on the resorts she found most intriguing from her 386 meetings in our September newsletter. This includes one Phuket property that offers unlimited spa treatments. Also in our January newsletter, we always report on the hotels we’re most excited to see open or reopen. I’m sure the Ritz in Paris, closed since 2012, will lead that list now that it will finally reopen next spring. But I just wanted to keep you updated on a handful of upscale lodgings opening later this year that are already starting to garner excitement in the travel world. 
Leading the list is the new Aman resort, Amanera, in the Dominican Republic. Overlooking the north coast’s Playa Grande Beach, the 25 casitas are surrounded by 2,000 acres of virtually untouched jungle and a nearby mountain range. It will also be the first Aman Resort to feature a golf course, this one designed by Robert Trent Jones. Another opening creating a lot of buzz is Faena Miami, opening in November on a six-block span across mid-Miami Beach. Baz Luhrmann, director of Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, has been tapped to the lead the design team. So this will be the place to be during Art Basel. Finally, another Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort, Mandapa, will open later this month on the island of Bali. The third in the brand's ultra-exclusive collection, suites at this Ubud property start at 1,000 square feet and and keep growing to 2 and 3-bedroom villas with private pools overlooking the rice terraces and rainforest. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/20/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Boston’s Lenox Hotel Just Gets Better With Age

There’s a reason why The Lenox is consistently rated one of the top properties in Boston by TripAdvisor. A mere 115 years old, the owners put close to $80 million in renovations the past decade, so the rooms are as modern and stylish as any new build. The staff are exceptional, especially the concierge desk, which personally vets restaurants and sights before making recommendations. Most important to me, they continue to seek out sustainable practices. So don’t expect small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel to be tossed in the garbage every day. In its place are dispensers carrying Beekman 1802 products. If you’re not familiar with The Beekman Boys, they won The Amazing Race and have their own television show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Working out of a Sharon Springs farm, not far from where I grew up in upstate New York, Brent Ridge and his partner Josh Kilmer-Purcell have become purveyors of all things indigenous, including lotions, furniture, a tasty bruschetta, and addictive caramels. They just entered into an agreement with The Lenox this month to supply their products and there are plans for the Beekman Boys to redesign one of the suites. Like a good wine…


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/31/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Introducing the Laguna Beach House

What happens when an avid surfer and World Surf Kayaking champ becomes Senior VP of a growing boutique hotel chain? A surfer sense of style shines through at his properties. Classic Hotels & Resorts John Grossman just launched their third property, the 36-room Laguna Beach House, and you can instantly see John’s imprint on the design. Upon arrival, you’re immediately immersed into the SoCal surf culture with vintage furniture and memorabilia that creates the look and feel of an open, airy beach cottage using a palette of natural, bright colors. Pacific Ocean scenes are depicted in the artwork and surfing accents are spread throughout the property. Formerly the Laguna Cliffs Inn, Classic Hotels poured in over $1.5 million into the renovation of the rooms, lobby, and expanded pool deck. Judging from the rave reviews already found on TripAdvisor, the new décor is working. It also doesn’t hurt that the property is within easy walking distance to the main beach and restaurants and shops in town. Laguna Beach House is the sister hotel to the 70-room Inn at Laguna Beach, another Classic Hotels property.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/09/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Nova Scotia Week: Trout Point Lodge, the Quintessential Canadian Retreat

When I think of the ideal Canadian property, I imagine a small timber lodge cut from rough-hewn spruce right next to a running river where you can walk out in waders and fly-fish for trout. A chunk of pristine wilderness thick in a forest of old growth pines, hemlocks, and stately birches, so far from civilization that the night sky twinkles brightly. A boutique resort that caters to your every whim, from dinners of fresh lobster and scallops probably caught off the coast of Nova Scotia that day, to a hot tub, sauna, massages, and guitar strumming around the fire pit at night. Throughout my years of Canadian travel, I must have stayed at over 250 resorts in the country, but it doesn’t get much better than the Trout Point Lodge. Less than an hour’s drive from where the Nova Star ferry arrives in Yarmouth, you drive down a long dirt road into the resort and soon hear the rushing water, welcoming you to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. The only member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World in Atlantic Canada, expect to find wood everywhere—from the thick logs cut into the bathroom walls to wood floors in the rooms to a hot tub made from wood boards to the whimsical sauna, set in oversized wooden barrels. At dinner, you’re given a choice of activities to sample the next day, be it hiking with a naturalist, fly-fishing, mountain biking, or paddling one of the many nearby rivers and lakes. Then you head out to the fire pit and wait for the sky to shine. In 2014, Trout Point Lodge received certification as the world's first Starlight Hotel from the Starlight Foundation, and is considered by astronomers to be one of the finest places in North America to view the night sky. Peer into lodge's new Meade 10" telescope and you just might make out the rings of Saturn. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/09/15 at 04:00 AM
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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Harvest Your Own Oysters at Cape Cod’s Ocean Edge Resort

Brewster’s Ocean Edge Resort, already one of my favorite properties on the Cape, is only going to get better this summer. The resort is teaming up with locals in the Brewster area for a variety of new activities this summer. Walk along the bayside beach with an oyster farmer who will teach you all about his line of work. Then head back to the outdoor deck overlooking the expanse of water to sample those oysters, washed down with a Cape Cod-brewed pale ale called Bayzo Brew. Bayzo was the word people called drunks back in the day on Dorchester Bay, a nod to the owner’s roots. After your little snack, see if you can find Bob Kroeger on the grounds. Kroeger, a Brewster neighbor, is also Director of the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach. He’s happy to give you some pointers on your croquet game. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/04/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, June 01, 2015

The Sniders, Hotel Owners Who Give Back to the Community

This past Saturday on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, the circa-1913 Capawock Theater reopened for the first time in years. Soon to reopen in less than a month is the historic Strand Theater in Edgartown. The person to thank for this monumental effort is Mark Snider, founding director of the newly formed Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation. He recently persuaded singer Carly Simon to join his board and help finish raising the $1 million needed for renovations. 

Snider and his wife Gwenn are known on both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for their philanthropic efforts. As owners of The Winnetu Oceanfront Resort in South Beach, they always insisted that clients pay an extra resort fee that goes to a local hospital. On Nantucket, the Sniders purchased the dormant shell of the circa-1894 Point Breeze hotel in 2012 and converted it into an upscale property now called The Nantucket Hotel. A bigger gift to the locals, however, is the 20,000 square foot expansion of the Boys & Girls Club set to open this summer. As president of Stanmar Inc., an athletic-facility design and construction firm based in Wayland, Snider, 58, knows a thing or two about building a gym. I’ve had the good fortune to meet the Sniders while penning stories on their properties over the years and they’ve always been incredibly passionate about their latest projects at their resorts. It doesn’t surprise me at all that they want to give back to the islands they cherish. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/01/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hotel on North Opens June 1 in Pittsfield

Main Street Hospitality, the hotel management company that runs The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, The Porches Inn in North Adams, and The Williams Inn in Williamstown, are all set to unveil their latest property, Hotel on North in Pittsfield. Next door to my favorite theater in the Berkshires, the Barrington Stage Company, the property is housed in a pair of buildings that date from the 1880s and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 45 rooms will take full advantage of the building’s heritage, replete with refurbished tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and wood columns. Mini bars are stocked with local Berkshire products such as Big Elm Beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillers Bottled Gin & Tonics. The hotel’s restaurant, Eat on North, also relies heavily on locally sourced produce and meats. To celebrate its opening, Hotel on North is offering a package priced at $199 per night that includes room, welcome treat, a special continental breakfast for two with pastries, juice and coffee delivered in-room, and all taxes. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/21/15 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