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Lodging

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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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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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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