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Friday, February 26, 2016

A Recommended Stay in Delray

Whenever we head to the Delray Beach/Boca Raton section of Florida to visit my father-in-law and his wife, we always stay at the Colony Hotel. Last week, we stopped there again for the final 3 nights of our trip. Smack dab in the heart of Delray Beach on Atlantic Avenue, within easy walking distance to many restaurants, bars, and shops in town, the Colony Hotel was built in 1926 and exudes a feeling of Florida from a bygone era. I love walking into the open-air lounge and its pleasing color palette of reds, pinks, and oranges. Rooms are spacious and affordable, and include a hot breakfast, free parking, and complimentary WiFi. An added bonus is the Colony’s own beach club, 2 miles down the road, which includes chaise lounge chairs and cabanas on a secluded stretch of beach, saltwater pool, and a shaded place for salads and sandwiches at lunch. They often feature live music here during Happy Hour or head back to the hotel, grab a mojito, and relax on an outdoor table. One of our best dining choices this trip was the Mexican restaurant, El Camino, just off Atlantic Avenue. We enjoyed the homemade guacamole, chorizo tacos, achiote chicken burrito, and avocado salad. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/26/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Relaxing Stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale

We broke up our trip last week in Florida with a stop at the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. While I’ve stayed at the better known Ritz-Carltons in Florida at Key Biscayne and Naples, I’ve always been a bit leery of this property due to its proximity to the row of Happy Hour bars and T-shirt shops across from the beach, better suited for college students on spring break. But I was pleasantly surprised. Rooms were spacious with balconies overlooking the ocean, the fitness center on the 8th floor has up-to-the-minute equipment with views overlooking the Intracoastal, and the hotel’s new restaurant, Burlock Coast Seafare, served our favorite breakfast of the trip, including strong Panther Coffee. But let’s be real. You come here for the Florida sunshine and this Ritz offers two choices, padded chaise lounge chairs on the 7th-floor pool with glorious vistas of the Atlantic and great waiter service for drinks and lunch; or an overpass across the street to their own stretch of beach and ocean. It’s a nice combination to have on vacation. Kudos also to the concierge, Ernesto, for pointing out Casablanca Café, serving fresh seafood in one of the oldest houses in Fort Lauderdale, a mere 5-minute walk from the hotel. I’d happily recommend this Ritz-Carlton to clients and wouldn’t hesitate to return. 

(Photo by Lisa Leavitt)


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/24/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, February 05, 2016

Get Cozy at a Maine Inn this Winter

A number of Maine inns offer a warm winter welcome for those in need of a weekend getaway. Start with The Danforth Inn in Portland’s Arts District. This boutique property offers stylish and comfortable bedrooms, roaring fireplaces and the Southeast Asian cuisine of the Tempo Dulu restaurant. At Among the Lakes Bed and Breakfast in the Belgrade Lakes region, not far from Colby College, a winter’s day is best spent with a good book in the Parlor Library or heading out on the x-c ski and snowshoe trails that lead from the house’s back door. Pampering is the rule at the legendary White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, where the treatments at the Spa and dinner at the restaurant can elevate a stay from a mere getaway to an ultra-sybaritic weekend. Lastly, avoid the summer crowds at Acadia National Park by heading there in winter. If you make the wise choice to stay at The Maples Inn in Bar Harbor, you’ll wake up to stuffed blueberry French toast before hitting the spectacular trails. For more suggestions, check out the list of inns at Visit Maine.
I’ll be back next week with some of my favorite local outfitters around the globe. Have a great weekend and stay active! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/05/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Spicer Mansion to Debut in Mystic in May

Conveniently located halfway between Boston and New York on the I-95 corridor, Mystic has always been a popular stopover to see the beluga whales at the Mystic Aquarium and the former whaling vessels at the Mystic Seaport, a re-creation of a 19th-century seaside village. Then there’s B.F. Clyde’s, the oldest steam powered cider mill in America, Mystic Pizza, and Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream, where homemade ice cream has been served at the same site for over a century. Lodging, however, has always been geared toward families, not adults who crave a bit more sophistication. That will change on May 4 when management of the acclaimed Relais & Chateau property, Ocean House, and Weekapaug Inn in nearby Rhode Island open the Spicer Mansion. A landmark since 1853, the building will return to its Victorian splendor. Expect the same level of service that one finds at the Ocean House, afternoon tea in the grand salon, cocktails at Room No. 9 Speakeasy, and a new restaurant that will offer a seasonal six-course tasting menu. Guests at the Spicer Mansion also gain access to the other two properties and their beaches and spa facilities. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/02/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ogunquit’s Cliff House Receives a Total Makeover

With a 3-mile stretch of beach, a Cliff Walk that introduces you to the rugged Maine coastline, James Beard-award winning chefs, and one of the finest summer theaters in New England, it’s not surprising that I named Ogunquit as my top Beach Town in this Yankee Magazine story. The one missing link, however, is that they never had a top-end resort. At the iconic Cliff House resort, originally opened in 1872, rooms felt old and service was lacking. Thankfully, that’s all about to change. Destination Hotels, the brand behind such properties as Stowe Mountain Lodge, L’Auberge Del Mar, and the Vail Cascade Resort, has taken over the Cliff House and poured millions into renovations. Rooms and pool area have been entirely redone. When it reopens this May, Ogunquit will finally have the world-class resort it deserves. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/19/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stowe Mountain Lodge Continues to Evolve and Impress

One of the main reasons I gave Stowe top billing in this month’s Yankee Magazine cover story on New England’s top winter towns is due to the creation of Stowe Mountain Lodge. The most sybaritic ski-in/ski-out resort in New England, the 312-room Stowe Mountain Lodge has the feel of a ski lodge in Jackson Hole, especially when you enter the lobby with its towering two-story high ceiling. The resort uses indigenous wares everywhere you look, so there’s real Vermont birch twisting around the columns and Lake Champlain marble on stairs leading to the après-ski bar, Hourglass. They have been on a serious building spree since their inception, creating 36 holes of golf, a stylish spa with heated outdoor pool in winter that rewards you with views of the mountain you just conquered, and the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. 
Having just spent the weekend with the family at the resort, I was excited to see the latest changes. A skating rink has opened behind the property near a branch of the popular Burlington creperie, Skinny Pancake. Behind the skating rink, construction workers were hard at work atop a new building that when complete in March will feature a climbing wall and recreation center for kids, along with 19 new condominiums (all sold out). Next door is another new wooden building with large stone chimney in the center that will soon transform into a wine bar. On Saturday afternoon after a day of skiing, kids were making s’mores around fire pits outside as adults swigged their Switchback Ales at the Hourglass bar. The place was a buzz of excitement as a world class ski-in/ski-out resort should be. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/12/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Goldeneye to Debut 26 New Beach Huts

Once home to the villa where author Ian Fleming wrote all 14 of his James Bond novels, Goldeneye is now an exclusive resort just outside of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Set on the white sands of Oracabessa Bay, it’s easy to see why Fleming was attracted to this serene locale. Hotelier Chris Blackwell now runs the property and he has just announced the addition of 26 Beach Huts ready to make their debut in February. The new Beach Huts, designed by Jamaican architect Ann Hodges, are freestanding one- and two-bedroom octagonal structures built in varying heights. Each is designed with a private veranda, oversized louvered windows and high ceiling. Goldeneye will also introduce a seaside bar and rooftop terrace, new pool area, snorkeling cove, and a grill shack serving Jamaican jerk favorites. Wash the spicy food down with a Red Stripe from the nearby Drink Stand and “everything will be Irie, mon.”


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/08/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Saint Lucia Week: What I Loved About the Resorts I Visited

It’s been a great week of new adventures in Saint Lucia and I’m sad to leave, knowing what’s waiting for me in Boston this winter. I covered a lot of territory on the island, heading north, then west and south. There were a slew of things I liked at each of the resorts I visited that I didn’t have time to discuss. The new spa at Windjammer Landing is wonderful and so was the masseuse who delivered that signature massage, a mix of defoliation, hot stones, bamboo, and deep tissue digging. Ti Kaye has one of the finest wine lists I’ve seen in the Caribbean, including a rare sighting of a 1998 Joseph Phelps Insignia. Sample it in their wine cellar along with a prix-fixe menu. Anse Chastanet has a second beach near the Jungle Biking excursion that’s often far less crowded than their main beach. I went snorkeling at their reef yesterday morning by myself, before the tour boats arrived, and spotted one of my favorite tropical fish, the yellowfin chromis. Atop Anse Chastanet, the rooms at Jade Mountain are a dream. Check out the infinity pool in the photo to the left leading to wondrous vistas of the Pitons ahead. Also ask to tour the chocolate laboratory on premises where they make their own organic dark chocolate bars from a nearby cocoa plantation. The sand at Sugar Beach is the whitest I’ve seen in Saint Lucia. I also love their two grass tennis courts. 
I want to thank Maria Hunte at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and Shannon Overholser at Redpoint for designing a perfect 6-day itinerary. Next time I have to bring my wife or she’s going to poison me. I teased with her far too many gorgeous photos this week. 
I’m taking next week off. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember to work off that turkey and stuffing by being active! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/20/15 at 06:00 AM
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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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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

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