ActiveTravels | get up & go!  
 subscribe to ActiveTravels
 Subscribe by RSS By RSS Feed or Email
Follow ActiveTravels on Twitter Like ActiveTravels on Facebook View the ActiveTravels YouTube channel
ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust


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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

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
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hotel Commonwealth’s $50 Million Makeover

When Hotel Commonwealth first made its debut a dozen years ago, it transformed Kenmore Square into a culinary destination, anchored by Eastern Standard, the restaurant I brought my son after his high school graduation. Just as beloved is the hotel’s second restaurant, Island Creek, which includes oyster farmer, Skip Bennett, as one of its owners. Sandwiched by these two heavyweights, it’s no surprise that Hotel Commonwealth slipped under the radar. That will change during the course of this year. A $50 million renovation has already doubled the lobby size, making it far more spacious and contemporary. The hotel has also added three signature suites. The Terrier Suite caters to alums or parents of nearby Boston University. The Rathskeller Suite includes pianos, guitars, and photos from Boston’s version of CBGB’s, the Rathskeller, which once stood on this plot of land. The Loft, with its tall ceilings and contemporary art provided by BU MFA students is my favorite of three. Next up is a Fenway Park Suite that will overlook the Green Monster at Fenway Park, a 5-minute walk from the hotel. This is part of a major expansion set to be complete in November that will add 96 rooms in an adjoining building. Not surprising when you consider Hotel Commonwealth's locale, within easy walking distance to Fenway Park, the MFA, and Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and some of Boston's finest restaurants right outside your door. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/14/15 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baccarat Makes a Splashy Introduction In Manhattan

Blink and you might miss the entrance to Baccarat’s new flagship hotel in midtown Manhattan, across from the Museum of Modern Art. But then take the elevator up to the second floor and get ready to be bedazzled by all that glorious Baccarat crystal. The French company takes full advantage of its pedigree to create shimmering chandeliers in the petit and grand salon, their posh version of the lounge area. Feel free to have a highball here or walk into the bar, straight out of Paris with its arched roof and black-and-white checkered floors. In a little over a month, it’s already known as the perfect place to grab a French 75 in Baccarat crystal glassware around the long bar or outside on the small patio. The same glassware can be found in your room’s mini-bar, along with sweets from one of my favorite Parisian patisseries, Fauchon. Another nice touch in the room is the hand painted shower door, found in all 114 guest rooms. There’s an indoor pool for doing laps and the Spa de La Mer hidden below the hotel entrance. Chef Shea Gallante, who earned a Michelin star for his work at New York’s Cru, is at the helm of the hotel’s Parisian brasserie, Chevalier. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/13/15 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 10, 2015

My 5 Favorite Tanzanian Properties: Singita Grumeti

The best part of my recent trip to Tanzania was the two nights we spent at Singita in the 140,000 hectare Grumeti Game Reserves that borders the north-central part of the Serengeti. The place feels exactly like the Serengeti with its swaying grasses and low-lying ridges, but without the traffic. We passed, on average, 2 other land rovers on each 3-hour game drive. It felt incredibly exclusive. The wildlife was phenomenal even in March, but the general manager noted that his favorite time of year is September. 

We spent one night in the very contemporary rooms of Singita Faru Faru, perfect for families because of its two pools to unwind after lunch. The spacious rooms overlook a watering hole with good wildlife viewing from the outdoor shower (opt for Room 2 or 3). The next night we moved to Singita Explore, 6 mobile tents that move around the property, depending on the season. This was glamping at its best, with sundowners around the campfire and S. African braai for dinner. You could easily spend 3 nights at Explore and 3 nights at Faru Faru or Singita’s private 4-bedroom house, the Serengeti House, and call it a safari. Better yet, go on a horseback riding safari between the Singita properties, arguably the best place in Africa to ride. 
Going on safari is one of the most magical and memorable trips you can take. Yet, we realize the complexity of travel and the often exorbitant cost involved. ActiveTravels is here to answer all questions to ensure that your African escapades are authentic and special. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/10/15 at 06:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Page 7 of 17 pages « First  <  5 6 7 8 9 >  Last »



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