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Morocco Retreats with their Retreat Team and ecological advisors have produced the FIRST ECO LUXURY CAMP IN THE SAHARA. This camp will be used for Morocco Retreats in the Sahara and on the Moroccan Coast. We have carefully chosen the retreat dates with the climate in mind. The coast, mountains and Sahara enjoy very different temperatures and seasons. Our camp has been created with the environment in mind, the local community and local artisans who recycle.
The launch of our Eco Camp
After many years of Luxury Morocco Retreats in the Sahara we have decided it is high time to make our own luxury camp with all the important additions, such as Spa tents, special catering tent, yoga tent, total ecology throughout. We want to enjoy the Sahara and the beach and leave not a trace behind. We very much want to contribute to the Sahara community so as well as employing the beautiful Berber nomads of the South, we will in stage 2 set up a programme of permaculture in Mhamid and also provide the local community with our fertiliser for their crops.
The launch of our own camp will happen in March with our own ‘The Source’ Retreat. The weather will be stunning in March and the drive down through the spectacular Draa Valley is a trip you will never forget. Our Excellent Spa Team look after your every need on these retreats and you will be pampered through a selection of Massage and Spa Treatments whilst being able to relax in the silence of Zamzam and the dunes whilst enjoying delicious food created in partnership with our Nutritionalist and Chef.
What makes our Retreats unique?
Over 4 years we have searched the globe for our Retreat Family, not only looking for excellence in their field, but a deep profound love and understanding for what Morocco Retreats wants to achieve. Emma Joyston-Bechal, who grew up in Nigeria and has also spent 1 year doing an overland trip from London to Harare, sleeping in tents and cooking outdoors has a vaste experience and love for this type of holiday experience. Daisy Booth, our beautiful yoga teacher and reflexolgist always manages to appeal to any level of yogi. The Retreats have a grown up level of comfort, nurturing and holistic experience and through the carefully selected partners and Retreat Team we have have created and delivered a healing experience never to be forgotten.
Our team are as follows:
Nutritionalist – grew up on the spiritual festival scene, loves the outdoor and connecting with people.
Logistics and comfort – grew up in Nigeria visiting remote places with her parents, loves food, earth energy and people.
Spa Team – love meeting people, exchanging ideas, nurturing and sharing their country.
Camp Manager – Born in the desert and working in fine dining in the UK – high level of expectations.
Yoga Teacher – able to make the yoga fun for all levels or experience, a kindred soul who loves the outdoors.
To view more information on our retreats for 2014 please visit: www.moroccoretreats.com
Beatrice Tollman unveiling the reopening of BK Family Village
Tucked in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa’s Western Cape, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is renowned for its guest service, experience in excellence, and for setting new standards in luxury.
Central to the property and its unique environment is Bushmans Kloof’s widely respected commitment to conservation, culture, and advancement of community – an approach to tourism that is recognized worldwide as an exemplary model for truly sustainable growth and development.
Continuing to look to the future in this spirit, Bushmans Kloof is proud to announce the reopening of its significantly improved BK Family Village. Setting the standard for future models of employee accommodation sustainability for hotels in remote areas, the custom-designed village – first built in 1995 – seeks to improve the living conditions for employees and their families, providing them with a healthy, fulfilling home life and sense of community.
Home to more than 71 staff members and their families, with a total community population of 126, the BK Family Village represents a clear expression of and investment in the future of tourism through the well being of those who work in the industry.
The visionaries of the staff village facility are Stanley and Beatrice Tollman, Chairman of The Travel Corporation and President and Founder of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, respectively. The couple is acutely aware of the value and importance of staff in the consistent creation of genuine, meaningful guest experiences that embed lifelong memories for guests. At the heart of the initiative was their desire to improve the quality of life of individual staff members. The goal is to provide a home for employees and their immediate family, create a sense of community amongst the people of Bushmans Kloof, and provide employees with a happy fulfilled work life with genuine career progression.
“It is largely thanks to our dedicated and devoted staff members that Bushmans Kloof is today recognized for excellence by so many guests across South Africa and the world,” said Beatrice Tollman. “My husband and I are so proud of our team. They really do pride themselves in going the extra mile to offer outstanding service to our guests. We wanted to ensure that they also had a home to be proud of, in a community that they care about. We wanted them to feel comfortable welcoming guests into their own homes.”
Considering the beauty yet remoteness of the location of Bushmans Kloof, Bea Tollman also acknowledges a critical aspect of the social value of the BK Village.
“So often, especially in rural areas, families are forced to break apart as one or both parents need to go off to earn money for the family while the children stay at home to be able to go to school,” said Mrs. Tollman. “With the Staff Village, families are able to stay together. This is such a key part of ensuring that these families, these communities, are able to maintain their roots and family structures.”
Within walking distance from the Bushmans Kloof main lodge, the BK Village facilities are located and designed based on leading practices for community planning and development, including:
Housing – accommodating 26 families and designed for family living, the houses offer private bedrooms for individuals, while couples have the option of living together. As part of the upgrade of the village, additional bathrooms are offered, while the fully furnished rooms include comfortable beds, new carpets, a dining room table and chairs and lamps. All new rooms feature solar heating geysers, in compliance with Bushmans Kloof’s environmental policy. Cottage gardens run throughout the village, providing home grown vegetables for village residents.
Education and career progression – Central to the village offering is the educational infrastructure. The village provides a library with high speed internet access. The upgrade features a new nursery, with games, toys and educational materials for children.
Relaxation and leisure – A newly-built community hall provides a meeting place for up to 80 people with a large flat screen TV positioned on one wall. The community hall can also be used for cultural and social shows, entertainment, performances by Bushmans Kloof’s award-winning choir and for church services. The recreational area around the village is grassed to provide enhanced social space while adding to the beautification of the village, using clean filtered water from the sewage system, which will also be used to irrigate the existing soccer field. The planting of 50 trees further ensures a green, healthy environment, providing shaded eating and relaxing areas for all to enjoy.
To ensure effective operations of the Staff Village in line with community needs, the model village will have its own managerial committee. The community has chosen Assistant Gardens Manager Maans Witbooi to act as the “Mayor” of the BK Village.
Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) said at the official opening of the new facilities on January 7, 2014 that he was delighted with the new development.
“I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Stanley and Beatrice Tollman for the success business and human story in which they transformed Bushmans Kloof,” said Rifai. “The tourism community is privileged to count on entrepreneurs like you, who transform tourism daily into new opportunities and new dreams for their clients, their employees and the communities that host them.”
This message was echoed by Helen Zille, the Premier of the Western Cape of South Africa, who said, “The Bushmans Kloof Family Village offers a glimpse of what the New South Africa can be.”
The creation of the BK Village at Bushmans Kloof is a natural expression of and extension to the investment that the Tollman family makes in its businesses across the globe. Supporting the skills development and career advancement programs in place for employees, the Tollmans are committed to the schooling and training of staff members’ children. The Tollman Family Trust is currently funding schooling and boarding for children of Bushmans Kloof employees at the local Primary School, Elizabethfontein Primary. The school is situated just outside Clanwilliam, close to Bushmans Kloof, where it serves the immediate community of farm workers and provides schooling for approximately 270 children from Kindergarten to Grade 7, including 27 children of Bushmans Kloof’s staff members. This access to formal schooling also allows the children the opportunity to meet children from other local communities, widening their sense of “home.”
BK Village stands tall as a solid, new approach to genuinely sustainable, equitable, holistic tourism development.
About Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat
Bushmans Kloof is a luxurious ecological oasis situated at the foothills of the breathtaking Cederberg mountains. Nearly 19,000 acres of majestic views, staggering rock formations, open plains and invigorating outdoor activities cumulate to create an unforgettable wilderness adventure. The five-star resort features 16 luxurious rooms and suites, award-winning Cape cuisine and a complete wellness experience deeply rooted in nature. Bushmans Kloof also offers its private Koro Lodge to families and groups of travelers, featuring the fully-independent services of a guide, game viewing vehicle, and dedicated chef and hostess.
Bushmans Kloof is located less than three hours from Cape Town and is consistently recognized for its award-winning environmental and conservation projects. The entire reserve is malaria- and predator-free, serving as a sanctuary for endangered species, indigenous plants, and a variety of birds and animals. It is one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites as well as part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and home to more than 130 ancient Bushman rock art sites. Condé Nast Traveler readers recently voted Bushmans Kloof, a member of Relais & Chateau, as the #1 ‘Resort and Safari Camp in Africa’ as well as the #3 ‘Top 100 Hotel and Resort in the World’ during their 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. The gorgeous reserve has won numerous annual awards for its exceptional hospitality and opulent accommodations from National Geographic Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler, and Travel + Leisure.
About The Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is a member of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, award-winning collection of five- and four-star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Palm Beach, South Africa and Ireland. In South Africa, sister properties include The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town and The Oyster Box in KwaZulu-Natal. Each property has its own individual character and unique location that reflects the local environment, culture and cuisine. They all share the qualities central to The Red Carnation’s ethos that win them so many prestigious awards – splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, private art collections, passionate service and loyal staff committed to creating richly rewarding experiences for all their guests.
For more information about The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, please call toll free from the USA/Canada 1.877.955.1515 or from Europe, Australia and New Zealand at + 800.1698.8740. Visit us at www.redcarnationhotels.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the video about Bushmans Kloof in www.jetsetters.tv
After many months of planning, Hamiltons Tented Camp has proudly unveiled their biggest green initiative to date – an entirely solar powered camp! The luxury tented camp is situated in a remote area within the Kruger National Park. Hamiltons Tented Camp, a member of Extraordinary is located within the Imbali Private Concession, approximately 50km South East of Orpen Gate in the Central Kruger Park. Set within a wilderness zone the camp was too remote to be electrified with Eskom power and to date has relied entirely on generator power. Wouter Pienaar General Manager of Hamiltons Tented Campand the Imbali Private Concession said “this is truly a giant green step in the right direction, we foresee a saving of around 54 000 litres of diesel per year which impacts on our pristine environment. Although noise pollution has always been kept to a minimum by ensuring that the generator housing was sound proof, we can almost hear the silence now”
The solar powered system is capable of generating sufficient power to run all the camp’s 220 V electricity demands including the six luxury tented suites air conditioning, ceiling fans, geysers, lighting and of course boreholes and pumps.
Other Green initiatives at Hamiltons Tented Camp include reed beds, a unique design which minimizes the footprint, water saving mechanisms on all taps, removal of all waste from the park to approved recycling operations amongst others.
Hamiltons Tented Camp is the first premium camp in the Kruger National Park to be completely powered by solar energy.
“This is really good news for our “conservation minded” guests who are definitely growing in numbers annually. Hamiltons Tented Camp is fully committed to sustainable and eco-friendly practices and will be focusing on capturing the environmentally aware market segments going forward” says Cindy Sheedy Walker Director of Extraordinary.
Visit the website at: www.hamiltonstentedcamp.co.za
Goleta – A Good Land for Family Fun: A Family Getaway With an Enchanting Butterfly Grove and the Only Coffee Farm in the Continental US
Goleta, Santa Barbara’s neighbor to the north is a respite for families, offering countless activities for those who want to explore more of Santa Barbara County. From the undiscovered treasure of the Goleta Butterfly Grove to Goodland Organics, the continental United States’ only coffee plantation, there is something for every family.
Families that don’t mind getting a little dirty will appreciate Goleta’s outdoor offerings. Hike the bluffs in the Ellwood Mesa with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean en route to the Goleta Butterfly Grove. Every winter (mid-November to mid-February) thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate to their winter home in the hidden eucalyptus groves along the interior of the Ellwood Mesa. The area is never crowded with people, so sit back and enjoy watching these beautiful creatures as they flutter overhead, and if one is lucky enough, a butterfly may land on their shoulder. Prefer to be more active? Take advantage of the free parking at Goleta Beach, one of three beaches where Channel Island Outfitters rents equipment such as stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and surfboards. For those that prefer to stay on land, there are volleyball nets and a fishing pier to keep busy. Don’t miss the stunning ocean and mountain views at championship golf courses Sandpiper Golf Club and Glen Annie Golf Club, both offering discounted rates for junior golfers. The spectacular views make it hard to concentrate on one’s golf swing. After a fun-filled day, cheer on the UCSB Gaucho’s as they take on their rivals in soccer, basketball and more.
Ride Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner throughout Santa Barbara County and then learn about the history, technology and adventure of railroading at the South Coast Railroad Museum. While there, be sure to check out the historic Goleta Depot. This Victorian-styled country railroad stationhouse was built over 100 years ago (1901) by the Southern Pacific Railroad during completion of the Coast Route, which joined San Francisco and Los Angeles. Parents will want their camera handy to capture their child’s smiling face aboard a train ride on the Goleta Short Line miniature train. Model train aficionado’s will appreciate the model railroad exhibit “Railroading on the South Coast,” which depicts the railroad areas of Santa Barbara and Goleta during the late-steam/early-diesel era.
No smart phone? No television? No problem. Show your children what life was like in the 19th century by taking a tour of the Stow House. Adjacent to the South Coast Railroad Museum is Rancho La Patera and Stow House, historic for its role in the Goleta lemon trade. Today, children can learn how people use to live (without Wi-Fi!) on a tour of the Stow House – a museum displaying the family’s photographs and furniture from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
With so many activities to fill the day, a caffeine jumpstart for the parents and a snack for the kids may be required. If so, the Coffee Educational Tour (offered seasonally) at Goodland Organics is in order; tour the continental United States’ only coffee farm with a Cup of Joe in hand. Situated in the coastal foothills of Santa Barbara, this certified organic farm also cultivates exotic crops such as cherimoyas, lychee, dragon fruit and finger limes. Continue exploring the culinary side of Goleta with a trip to Fairview Garden Farms and Goodland Kitchen & Market. For a healthy snack, purchase organic fruits and vegetables grown at Fairview Garden Farms own farm stand. Producing over 100 different fruits and vegetables on its 12.5 acres of land, children will love seeing the goats and chickens during a docent or self-guided tour of this non-profit educational farm. Not sure what to do with all of the great food products purchased in Goleta? Take a culinary class at the Goodland Kitchen & Market. Classes are periodic at this Old Town Goleta establishment, but year-round it is a grab-and-go eatery specializing in delicious, locally-sourced, and affordable meals. The food is prepared in small batches and comes from local farmers to provide an exceptional culinary experience.
For family friendly nightlife, go back in time to a different era with Goleta’s West Wind Drive-in movie theatre. Showing first run movies nightly, movie-goers can stick around for the double-feature for the same price. Pajama’s welcome. Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond is another popular family activity, and one of only two bowling alleys in Santa Barbara County. Families of all ages and skill levels can bowl together – ramps and bumpers are available for the little ones, and teenagers will love Glow Bowling with a live DJ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night’s. There is also an on-site restaurant and arcade.
To rest your head after a busy day, Goleta has a range of hotel properties that will appeal to families. The newest addition to the area is the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara / Goleta. Located just minutes from the University of California, Santa Barbara, this hotel is great for parents visiting their children at school, or for families that want to be within walking distance of restaurants, a movie theatre and a park. Kids (and parents too) love El Capitan Canyon for its glamping – hotel amenities in a camping environment. Families can choose to stay in a cedar cabin or safari tent, both furnished with willow beds, down-style duvets, western-inspired blankets and casual furnishings. Start the morning off with a nature hike and end the day bonding over a campfire eating s’mores and telling ghost stories. Families interested in a secluded getaway can stay at Bacara Resort & Spa. Parents can even opt for a little alone time by taking advantage of the Monarch Kids’ Club (offered seasonally). Pacifica Suites is another good family choice since every room on the property is a suite furnished with a pull-out sofa, and parking, Wi-Fi and a cooked-to-order breakfast are all included in the price of the room.
Less than 10 miles north of Santa Barbara, Goleta was incorporated as a city in 2002. Initially named “The Good Land” by the Spaniards, the official name changed to Goleta after a schooner with the same name arrived in the area in 1822. A prominent lemon growing region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, today Goleta is a family-friendly community honoring its roots with the annual California Lemon Festival every fall. The climate is mild and sunny all year, with an average daytime temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 21 degrees Celsius). Goleta attire is generally California casual, and transportation and sightseeing services are abundant.
ABOUT SANTA BARBARA
Featured on the cover of Travel + Leisure in May 2013 and voted Best Getaway by L.A. Times Readers’ Choice Awards in 2012, Santa Barbara is located just 92 miles north of Los Angeles and 332 miles south of San Francisco, on the Pacific coastline. Visitors can arrive via scenic Highway 101, train, bus or by flying into Santa Barbara Municipal Airport or Los Angeles International Airport. For travel and accommodation information and to request a free copy of the official Santa Barbara County Visitors Magazine, contact the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission at 800.676.1266, 805.966.9222, email@example.com or SantaBarbaraCA.com. Visitor information is also available at the Visitor Center, 1 Garden Street (at Cabrillo Boulevard).
This new year, Bushwise, a leading professional training provider in the Safari industry in South Africa, has expanded its career-boosting course offerings to now provide Hospitality Internships at luxury safari lodges across South Africa, alongside it’s long-standing top-ranking Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) Safari Field Guide Training Course.
Bushwise has welcomed almost 300 students from around the world through its doors since its beginnings in 2006, many of whom had turned their backs on their grey office jobs to live their dream career working with wildlife in the African wilderness. Bushwise has built a reputation as one of the best training schools in the safari industry and, for those searching for a career change or simply nurturing a passion for wildlife and nature, can enable dreams to become a reality. 2014 sees Bushwise’s doors open not only to those wishing to train to gain professional qualifications in field guiding, but also, for those embarking on a career in the hospitality, safari lodge-based Internships at some of South Africa’s finest game lodges, enabling applicants to gain unparalleled hospitality career experience in an exhilarating, wild and beautiful setting.
A family holiday to Africa, a drive in Kruger Park or a safari experience no matter how big or small can leave a huge and lasting mark on an individual’s memory and can spark a long term desire to return to the Bush and learn its secrets. To most these fantasies remain a pipedream. Bushwise can make these dreams a reality.
Jason Kipling, Bushwise graduate, began working life as a professional audio engineer in the UK. His childhood fascination with Africa and all things wildlife captivated his mind and fuelled his desire to pursue a career that fulfilled his passions. Choosing the Bushwise FGASA Field Guide Training course catapulted Jason into a career in the safari industry, first taking a permanent position as a guide at South Africa’s Pilansberg National Park immediately upon graduation and he now holds the position of Head Guide and Ranger at Umkumbe Game Lodge on the Sabi Sands Game Reserve; South Africa’s ultimate luxury safari destination.
“For somebody like me who has a passion for the bush and for nature in general, to be constantly surrounded by instructors who have a massive wealth of knowledge which they were only to excited to share was definitely a highlight of the Bushwise course, as well as being surrounded by like-minded individuals all on the same path to learn and experience the bush on a far deeper level. I am now working in Africa’s premier safari destination and that is a privilege!”
“The Bushwise course was inspirational – some of the best months of my life”
– Jason Kipling, Bushwise graduate and Head Guide & Ranger at Umkumbe Lodge, Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Bushwise’s expansion in 2014 will see an increase in opportunities for applicants from around the world to train and gain career-boosting qualifications and experience which can be the springboard to a dream career.
For more information please contact:
Riding holiday specialist, Ranch Rider recently added New Mexico’s Creek Working Ranch to its collection – the Land of Enchantment poised to be one of America’s travel hotspots in 2014. Covering 14 US states, the tour operator has pinned down several key travel trends for the year ahead, from multi-generational digital detoxes to sought after social adventures.
Tony Daly, Managing Director of Ranch Rider comments, “Riding holidays rank highly on escapism and adventure – both factors currently driving our desire to get away. Many of us spend a large portion of our lives online and ranch stays reignite our passion for the outdoors whether we are driving the cattle, tearing down a zipline or hiking across the larger than life landscapes. Ironically, as many ranch activities are a break from the norm they also give our personal profiles, from Facebook to Pinterest, a boost on our return home.”
Guest ranches offering more in the way of adventure have an undeniable social networking wow factor, as doing something different or challenging will almost always get us noticed. From likes and shares to retweets and pins, daring and unusual pursuits have virtual appeal when it comes to holidays. Generate a buzz in Idaho. Attempt to zip-line across 1,100 metres, scale the 63-foot climbing wall, shoot a bow and arrow at a life size mountain lion on the 3D archery course or ride across Red Horse Mountain Guest Ranch’s stunning 300,000 acres. For the ultimate selfie there is also the chance to sleep in a teepee! 6-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,819pp (two sharing) including, accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers £60pp (from Spokane) and return flight from £869pp. Departing 08 June – 11 October.
Alternatively, go west on a working ranch, branding, cattle drives and an opportunity to attend the Crow Tribe PowWow on offer at Montana’s Lonesome Spur Ranch. (Exclusive Ranch Rider saving of £300pp) 7-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,089pp (no single supplement) including, including accommodation, meals, ranch activities, taxes, transfers and gratuities. Return flight from £879pp. Departing year-round.
With our extended family often stretching across the far-flung corners of the globe almost every aspect of our lives is dictated by technology, and a holiday is now viewed as an opportunity to uplug and reconnect with several generations from the kids to grandparents. For a scenic detox, Wyoming’s Paradise Guest Ranch is famed for its all day rides. Roam through the woodlands of the Big Horn Mountains on horseback while golden eagles soar overhead, hike across the challenging terra firma as a family or cast a line with the kids. Whatever the pursuit, these wide-open spaces will recharge your batteries at every turn. 7-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,265pp (two sharing) and from £1,175pp (6-12 years) including, accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers from £360 per group from Billings and return flight from £879pp. Departures 01 June – 21 September.
More of us are looking to experience a raw form of travel where we can live the lifestyle of the locals. While responsible travel is nothing new, holidays ranking highly on authenticity are in demand. Dude ranching has been an option for almost a century, but if you’re dreaming of earning your spurs on a real cattle or horse drive, Montana’s Dryhead Working Ranch will supply the herd and four generations worth of expertise. Covering around 50 miles, you’ll be riding across challenging terrain – through canyons, over creeks, up steep dirt roads and underneath rugged cliffs. 6-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,149pp (no single supplement) including, accommodation, meals, most ranch activites and taxes. Excluding transfers from £60pp (from Billings) and return flight from £879pp. Departures 26 May – 26 October.
Based in one of 2014’s travel hotspots, New Mexico’s Creek Ranch, a Working Cattle & Guest Ranch, is situated on 8,200-acres, in the Pecos River Valley. Said to be a regular hang out for Billy The Kid the outlaw’s name still lingers on, especially in the neighboring town of Puerto De Luna, once famed as one of the wildest spots in the west. On the cowboy fueled week, guests will have the opportunity to drive the ranch’s Angus cattle, take part in branding and participate in other cowhand activities in line with the changing seasons. 7-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,089pp (no single supplement) including, accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers from £75pp and return flight from £879pp. Departures 01 April – 31 October.
A new hiking tour will explore one of the most interesting fronts in the First World War. (Courtesy of Dolomite Mountains, Ltd.)
As the world commemorates the centenary of WWI, Dolomite Mountains Ltd. is leading three scheduled departures this year that retrace impressions made during the war in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains. The company can also customize the trips. The eight-day itinerary exploring the Via Ferrata (iron path) of WWI and trekking the Alta Via (high routes) are July 5, Aug. 2 and Sep. 6. Guides will immerse participants in the stories, ruins and remnants of this historic route on this centennial year commemorating the start of the “war to end all wars.”
Between 1915 and 1918, the Dolomites were one of the fronts in the war with fighting taking place across the peaks and valleys between Austrian and Italian soldiers, often friends from neighboring villages, fighting each other. Soldiers dug long tunnels inside the mountains with dynamite and picks, built suspension bridges across deep chasms, iron paths and rifugios (mountain shelters) that literally hung on sheer cliffs. Some vestiges of this history are in their original state; others have been renovated and transformed into open air museums on the mountains of Lagazuoi, Marmolada, Tofane and Col di Lana.
Priced at €1990, the hike is limited to well-trained hikers in good and active physical health. The trek begins in Cortina d’Ampezzo and ends in Alta Badia. Included are a local English-speaking guide, logistics and map of the area, accommodations, some meals, Via Ferrata equipment, lifts and cable cars in the area, luggage transfer on day four, local medical and evacuation insurance and Italian VAT tax.
Peace as the Shepherds Knew it in a Luxury Cottage
From an athletic exploration of war in the Dolomites we move to a pastoral experience of peace in the English village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell in Oxfordshire: The Blackdown Shepherd Hut, tucked away at Hope Cottage. The luxury, self-contained Blackdown hut promises guests “the real England,” complete with sheep nearby nibbling the grass.
Shepherd’s huts were once a common sight in England, offering simple, warm, living conditions to shepherds tending their flocks far from home. Blackdown Shepherd Huts are luxury living spaces that helps guests to the serenity of the English countryside, while employing the latest in modern conveniences.
The cottage dates to the early 19th century and sits on the site of a Roman Road. With rural views from every window of a flourishing country garden, the cottage comes with a double bed, full ensuite facilities comprising power-shower, lavatory and basin, as well as a Louis Ranger log burning stove and closet space. Built on Blackdown’s signature oak chassis, the tailor-made shepherd hut has unique sheep’s wool insulation in the floor, walls and roof cavity, with year-round use thanks to Blackdown’s double-glazed windows, professionally treated double-doors and sturdy Windy Smithy fireplace.
Hope Cottage will tailor special tours. Within easy reach are London, Bath, Stratford-on-Avon and Oxford, as well as beautiful home county towns, with ancient castles, historic houses and stately homes. Nearby, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell has houses ranging from moated manors to thatched cottages. Hope Cottage Tours can meet visitors at the airport with transfers in a plush, seven-seater, air-conditioned vehicle.
Sailing a Downton Abbey Cruise with European Waterways
Due to popular demand, European Waterways has added two more “Downton Abbey” cruises along the Thames on the Magna Carta, departing Aug. 10 and August 17. The cruises will include a tour of Highclere Castle, the real-life setting for the drama and iconic home of the fictional Crawley family on the show. The company currently offers “Downton Abbey” cruises for departures on April 13, April 20, and May 4.
Rates for Magna Carta’s six-night, Aug. 10 and 17 departures start at $5,180 per person, and include all meals, wines, an open bar, numerous other daily escorted excursions, local transfers and admissions. Rates are based on double occupancy. Whole boat charters of the Magna Carta are also available starting at $32,500 and are subject to availability.
“We introduced the tour of Highclere Castle on the Magna Carta cruise last year and interest was so strong that we brought it back this season for select spring departures. But with demand still high, we’re pleased to accommodate our guests by adding two more tours for the summer,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.
Bumi Duadari, the private retreat of Indonesian designer and art collector Hendra Hadiprana, has been opened up exclusively to guests of GHM’s Chedi Club Tanah Gajah. Located in the Balinese artistic enclave of Ubud, the hotel will use the retreat as a setting for weddings or renewals of vows. The main home features abundant natural light with towering windows leading to thatched wooden ceilings. Colossal stone sculptures depicting women and angels can be found throughout the expansive grounds.
Ceremonies and receptions can be held for as many as 40 people within the gardens, by the pool, or at the pavilion overlooking the estate. A Balinese-style marquee will be used for cocktail and canapé receptions. For smaller wedding parties of 20 people or less, there is the option of a private hilltop barbecue dinner with sweeping views of the property.
Owner’s Cottage Creates A Home Within Matakauri Lodge
Guests at Matakauri Lodge can now look out over Lake Wakatipu from the new four-bedroom “Owner’s Cottage.” The 5,000-square-foot suite opens as the highest tier of accommodation at the Queenstown, New Zealand luxury lodge. The $5 million suite can host up to eight people in a four-bedroom reservation. It’s also available in a two-bedroom format.
The Owner’s Cottage operates separately from the rest of the property, creating the feel of a separate home, a quality that works well for families or groups of gathering friends. There are six separate outdoor spaces, including a courtyard and Jacuzzi, supplemented by a full kitchen where guests may cook for themselves or employ a lodge chef. Each suite has a private balcony and floor-to-ceiling views of the aptly named Remarkable Mountains on Lake Wakatipu.
Nightly rates range from $5,000 for a two-bedroom suite to $12,000 per night for the four-bedroom house and include: full breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, dinner, complimentary in-suite refreshments and bar, Wi-Fi and use of lodge facilities (excluding spa treatments).
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