Posts tagged with "relaxing vacation"

SUMMER EVENTS – GARDEN OF FRANCE

Known as “The Garden of France,” the Loire Valley flourishes in the summer and fall months with a bounty of events, exhibitions and experiences taking place in and around the region’s many gardens. Below is a selection of some of the many experiences to find in the Loire Valley in the coming months.

Live Music at Château Royal of Blois Through July 29, 2022

The historic Château Royal of Blois, a favorite residence of seven kings and ten queens of France, will fill its gardens with live music this summer. Occurring every Friday through July 29, concerts will be held in the shade of century-old chestnut trees and cedars from a wide variety of music genres, including jazz, bossa nova, folk, great French standards, classical and Renaissance music. Changing every week, this year’s program will honor women; visitors can also view the Château’s current exhibition, La Renaissance des Femmes, dedicated to three of its famous former residents: Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers and Marguerite de Valois.

Nights of a Thousand Lights & Vegetable Garden Days at Château de Villandry July, August & September

The grounds of Château de Villandry are not only home to the beautiful Renaissance-era Château, but also to an expansive network of gardens that are open year-round, including a maze, two ornamental gardens and a water garden. On July 1 and 2, as well as August 5 and 6, the Château de Villandry will host the ‘Nights of a Thousand Lights,” illuminating the gardens with more than 2,000 candles at night, making for a dreamlike experience. The evening also features an aerial performance by specially trained eagles and other birds of prey that will conclude with a fireworks finale. September 24 and 25 will be dedicated to the property’s lush vegetable garden, where the on-site gardeners will share exclusive botanical tips and tricks with visitors.

Sculptures in the Garden at Domaine de Poulaines Through November 7, 2022

Spanning 62 acres, Domaine de Poulaines is home to some of the most impressive gardens in the Loire Valley, including an arboretum with more than 1,200 plants. Currently on display on the estate is a new exhibition created in collaboration with prolific French sculptor Olivier Giroud, which explores the ways nature and man-made design can be combined through art. Giroud began his work as an artist in the 1980s and is known for his ability to work with a wide variety of materials, including clay, metal and wood.

New Offerings at Le Jardin de Marie
After 30 years of tending to the gardens at Le Jardin de Marie, Marie Marcat is passing on the torch to new owners, who intend to preserve the garden’s legacy and expand its offerings. Located just a few miles from the vineyards of Sancerre, Le Jardin de Marie will offer a new educational garden for children, along with a new vegetable garden and permaculture orchard highlighting the region’s biodiversity and botanical heritage. New guest accommodations, sleeping up to 12 people, will soon open at the gardens, in addition to a new cafe. Le Jardin de Marie will also introduce cooking lessons that approach the art of cooking from a unique angle, such as a course on cooking with old vegetables instead of throwing them away.
Find more details on the Loire Valley here: www.loirevalley-france.co.uk.
Italy via Authentic Travel PR for use by 360 Magazine

Three New Italian Casas

Casas Latinas is a stunning collection of sophisticated estates, hotels and villas across Italy; Spain; other Latin European countries and Latin America, including Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and Venezuela.  

New for 2022 is three exquisite authentic Italian Casas to add to the group. Dimora Dei Gelsi, a beautiful traditional Puglian home from home, ‘Locanda’ set amongst the rolling hills in a UNESCO world heritage site in Tuscany, and Casa Fantini a concept hotel on their tranquil shores of Lake Orta.

Founder and CEO of Casas Latinas Massimo Ianni said, “At Casas Latinas, our incredible portfolio of properties across the world are hand-picked for their unique credentials. All of them have sustainability at the forefront but each has its special appeal and dedication to providing the ultimate unique stay – reframing the experience we have and the way we travel.”

Dimora Dei Gelsi in Puglia – opening 1st April 2022

Puglia in Southern Italy is top of the list of places to visit this year with its idyllic countryside and pristine coast. Perfect for a family or a small group of friends, Dimora dei Gelsi is a stunning 4-bedroom luxury property in a newly converted group of trulli, the traditional Apulian dry stone whitewashed huts with conical roofs that are specific to the Itria Valley. The property is set amidst a large estate of olive groves between the Adriatic coast and Alberobello. A very special space–a stay here offers the chance to experience a truly authentic Puglian casa like no other. Book a traditional cooking lesson with a local nona and learn the secrets of how to make the best pasta dishes using fragrant herbs grown on the garden terraces.

Dimora de Gelsi is made entirely from local materials reflecting the ancient culture of this fascinating region. The views of the Valle d’Itria are what many consider to be the “typical” Puglia. Rolling hills, groves of centuries-old olive trees, trullo cones everywhere you look, whitewashed towns bleached further by the southern Italian sun. 

A stay at the Masseria, or country house, is about slow living–a major travel trend for 2022. Life is spent outdoors–either dining on the large stone-paved terrace or relaxing in the pretty pool with its breathtaking views over the surrounding Apulian countryside. Dimora dei Gelsi accommodates up to 8 people in its 4 bedrooms—all located on the ground floor of the house. The design of the villa is super stylish. A pared-back style of white-washed walls and flagstone floors keep with the trulli traditional, with mid-century style furniture and a focus on ceramics and art from local artists. The luxury conversion, whilst rooted in the past, features up to the minute features such as underfloor heating and air-cooling systems. 

There are a whole range of experiences available during your stay at Dimora dei Gelsi. Mountain bikes and treks over the local countryside can be arranged and there is a private yoga instructor as well as masseurs and cooking classes all available on request.

Locanda in Tuscany – Opening 15th April 2022

If you are looking for the ultimate authentic Tuscan experience for a special gathering, wedding, or get-together, Locanda in Tuscany ticks all the boxes. Locanda is set deep in the heart of the Italian countryside where you can enjoy absolute peace with nothing but the sound of the birds chirping to wake you.  With little air pollution, Locanda is perfect for incredible night skies and star-gazing or during the day wonderful walks through the hills or cycling to explore this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site.

With nine rooms, including four suites, the first-floor suite has magnificent bathtub views, and relaxing in-room spa treatments are available for guests. Sleep-focussed hotels are a huge trend this year for well-being holidays—at Locanda, the owners take sleep seriously and guests are offered a choice of cotton or linen sheets plus the locally designed wooden beds are metal-free to eliminate electromagnetic pollution that could compromise sleep. 

With breathtaking sweeping sunset 180-degree views over the Val D’Orcia close to the village of Castiglione d’Orcia, this beautiful rural hideaway also offers privacy, comfort, and an authentic Tuscan experience for an unforgettable summer celebration. Tuscany is famous for its weddings, and the Locanda team can create a bespoke menu for your special day. They work with you to create the perfect event for your guests from a pool party with DJs and a cocktail bar, to a quieter al fresco poolside dinner, for just a handful of guests, under the stars.

The restaurant Taverna Di Mozart is the perfect setting for an intimate dinner, party or event and is set inside an old stable with an outdoor terrace, where you can sit under a vibrant bougainvillea trellis. The restaurant showcases the very best of traditional Tuscan cuisine. The dishes are influenced by traditional Tuscan gastronomy with passion, quality, and taste.

Casa Fantini on Lake Orta – Opening 15th April 2022

Ideal for a large gathering of friends for a wedding celebration, family reunion or special birthday, Casa Fantini is spacious enough to cater for all your guests. 

Situated only one hour away from Milan, Casa Fantini’s philosophy is all about lake-time.  The hotel is situated on Lake Orta where everything is designed to be calm, quiet and meditative to create the perfect slow-travel experience. The noise of the gentle waves adapts to the inner rhythms and removes stress. Undisputedly one of the most magical locations for a hotel, Casa Fantini is an intimate place of harmony where architecture, landscape and light blend in perfect balance and, just for a moment, time seems to stand still. 

The hotel was designed by world-famous Italian architect Piero Lissoni of Lissoni Architettura, who worked with hotel owner Daniela Fantini, CEO of Fantini Rubinetti, to interpret her vision for a hotel inspired by the slow pace of Lake Orta and to be a contemporary reflection of a home that would enhance the region’s natural heritage.

Casa Fantini has 5 Superior Rooms, 4 Prestige Rooms, and 2 Suites. Super Rooms have a spacious terrace with lakefront view overlooking the gardens, and all the rooms have luxury bathrooms complete with steam room showers and Fantini Rubinetti bathroom furniture.  Furnishings have a vintage feel with bespoke Italian couches, raw wool rugs, and comfortable beds with floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to balconies with romantic views over the garden, lake and San Giulio Island. There is a beautiful library filled with books about the lake to help you unwind and relax.  

This contemporary and elegant five-star hotel is the perfect location from which to explore the area by boat, foot, bicycle or car. Often overlooked for its bigger sisters Como and Maggiore, the lake itself has inspired many writers of the 18th and 19th Century including Lord Byron, Honoré de Balzac and Robert Browning

Italy via Authentic Travel PR for use by 360 Magazine
360 Magazine, Hotel

SONEVA JANI LAUNCHES CHAPTER TWO

Soneva, the luxury resort operator with sustainability at its core, has announced the launch of Soneva Jani, Chapter Two in the Noonu Atoll of the Maldives, including the unveiling of 27 brand-new overwater villas, a full-service spa and “Soneva Unlimited” all-inclusive dining, drinks and activities offered.

Ranging from one to four bedrooms, the new Chapter Two villas at Soneva Jani (accessible via butler-driven buggies and bikes along the winding jetty off the southern tip of the resort’s main island) are among the largest and most luxurious overwater villas of their kind in the world. Each features vast indoor and outdoor living spaces and sweeping terraces with sunrise/sunset views, private pools with slides straight into the private lagoon, and outdoor bathrooms for bathing under the sun and stars. The One- and Two-Bedroom Reserves also have the iconic retractable roof over the master bed for stargazing. Ideal for families, all the rooms can be closed off, with a children’s sleeping area located just behind the master bedrooms for maximum peace of mind while staying over water.

With the launch of Soneva Unlimited, the price of a villa at Soneva Jani, Chapter Two now includes unlimited: dining at all bars, restaurants and In-Villa Dining; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at all bars and restaurants; visiting Michelin-starred chef dinners and experiences; wines from the Soneva Unlimited list; experiences, diving, and children’s experiences; and spa treatments. Also included under Soneva Unlimited is a dedicated Barefoot Butler, return shared seaplane transfers from Malé, daily laundry service, and daily replenishment of the in-villa minibar. The full Soneva Unlimited menu can be viewed here. Two of the new dining experiences at Soneva Jani, as part of the launch of Chapter Two, include Overseas by Mathias Dahlgren (which originally opened in October 2020), featuring plant-based and pescatarian dishes from the noted Swedish chef, and So Wild by Diana Von Cranach, a fully plant-based restaurant in the resort’s organic garden.

The new Wellness Centre on Soneva Jani’s South Beach will follow in the second quarter of 2021. The 18,750 square-foot center has been designed to harmonize with its breathtaking beachside setting and will feature two indoor therapy rooms and three open-air treatment pavilions with unmatched views of the spectacular natural surrounds. The Wellness Centre includes a dedicated Ayurvedic Clinic as well as an indoor consultation room for visiting specialists. Alongside a cross-functional fitness area, an open-air yoga pavilion includes facilities for aerial yoga. The new complex also features a retail area, featuring sustainable apparel, wellness products and accessories.

“As we continue to celebrate Soneva’s 25th anniversary into the middle of 2021, Chapter Two will mark the start of an exciting new era for Soneva Jani,” says Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva. “At this milestone moment in our story, we will continue to set the standard for sustainable luxury with even more choices of exquisite accommodations, remarkable gastronomy and rare, unforgettable experiences for our guests.”

The starting price for a One-Bedroom Water Reserve in Chapter Two starts from US $3,560 per night in the shoulder season, which includes all meals, transfers, experiences, drinks and spa treatments.

For more information about Soneva, visit www.soneva.com.

ABOUT SONEVA
Soneva is a pioneering family of hospitality properties, offering holistic encounters in luxurious and inspiring environments – from world-class resorts to outstanding natural locations.  Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand rebuke the traditional concept of luxury and instead promise the luxury of time, purity and solitude. Every day, guests are encouraged to discover sandy feet, inspired minds and full hearts. Combining luxury with a conscientious approach to sustainability and the environment, and proactively changing the nature of hospitality, it delivers intuitive service and meaningful experiences to the guests.

ABOUT KSL CAPITAL PARTNERS
KSL Capital Partners, LLC is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado; Stamford, Connecticut; London, England and Singapore. Since 2005, KSL has raised approximately USD 12 billion of capital across both debt and equity funds. KSL’s current portfolio includes some of the premier properties in travel and leisure. In line with Soneva’s philosophy, KSL has a Responsible Investment (RI) policy, the purpose of which is to define their approach to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities into investments made through its private equity funds. They believe that effective management of ESG issues is critical to preserving and creating long-term value for investors, operators, employees, guests and communities. For more information, please visit www.kslcapital.com.

Rita Azar illustrates travel article for 360 MAGAZINE

Transport Considerations While Traveling Abroad

Choosing a vacation and booking our travel and accommodation are the things we think of when planning a trip. But we rarely plan how we’re actually going to get around once we arrive. Let’s take a look at some of the main options… 

Motorcycles and quad bikes 

Motorcycles and quad bikes are a common and popular means of transport among people taking vacations near the beach. The thing to remember is that you cannot be certain when a motorcycle or quad bike was last used, or whether the rental has been checked for mechanical issues since the last user – all of which can lead to issues that may result in injury (see a motorcycle accident lawyer in your local area if you have been affected). 

Although these modes of transport may seem like a convenient option, always take precautions to ensure your safety. This could include checking the brakes, checking the lights, and checking the treads are suitable to grip the road before you drive off the forecourt. 

Public transport 

Planning the various stop-offs and sight-seeing days out on a vacation sometimes leads people to rely on public transport. And, sometimes, the results can be acceptable. Nevertheless, there are at least two inherent potential issues with public transport. One is that the bus or train service is unlikely to pick you up and drop you off exactly on time outside the front door of your hotel. There’s going to be some walking involved to get to the bus or train station. The second potential issue is that, due to the waiting times involved with public transport, you aren’t likely to be able to spend your day doing multiple things – you may have to stop your activities early to leave time to get back to the station, for example, cutting into your plans, and the routes may not be direct, meaning you will waste even more time.

Car rentals 

Car rentals are perhaps the preferred option for anyone who doesn’t want to face any waiting times – the car will typically be available for you to pick up from the airport upon your arrival, and you will most likely be able to drive straight to your hotel and come and go as you please. One of the standout potential issues with car rentals can be that the rental company may try to bill you for damage to the vehicle. That’s why it’s not only important to rent a vehicle from a reputable company, but also to inspect the vehicle before you drive away (take photos of anything that you think the company may try to bill you for, including any scratches to the paintwork or any cosmetic damage to the interior). 

You may also wish to ask the rental company if the car has any special button or release that you must activate to open the panel covering the fuel intake – the last thing you need is to be stuck at a fuel station with no idea of how to open the covering! 

Madeira Getaway

Madeira is opening July 1st for the perfect post pandemic escape.

Starting July 1st, Madeira and Porto Santo, Portugal, will be open to international travelers. To ensure security for both visitors and residents, all people traveling to the Atlantic islands will have to
either present a negative test. The test must be done within 72 hours prior to departure or be tested upon arrival and the costs of COVID-19 tests will be paid by the Madeira Government.

The Madeira Islands are focused on being a Covid-safe destination and are working with SGS, the world leader in certification, to ensure good practice across the destination to minimize risk in the wake of Covid-19.

Madeira was a pioneer in developing a good practices document to deal with Covid-19. These measures will provide comfort to those who travel and it is ultimately for the wellbeing of all. These three initiatives, to cover testing costs, partner with SGS in certification and develop a good practices document, form the destination’s plan to ensure a safe vacation for all visitors.

The Portuguese island of Madeira  had very few cases of Covid-19 and acted quickly to control the virus on the archipelago (Portugal has been praised for its rapid response). It is an island in the south Atlantic, with numerous villas and private estates for rent, making Madeira a safe vacation option. A 1-stop destination with a sub-tropical climate and year-round warmth. Even when the summer season is over, the sun continues to shine in Madeira. Madeira has a modern airport, well equipped to welcome private jets.

Madeira is sparsely-populated outside the capital of Funchal, with some of the Europe’s most striking  landscapes, classified as a World Natural Heritage site in December 1999. A rural, safe, and relaxing destination. Recently referred to as Europe’s adventure capital with numerous world-class outdoor pursuits, from canyoning to trail running – perfect for those who have increased their fitness levels during lockdown.

Porto Santo, the stunning beach island off Madeira, only two and half hour away by ferry, was the first beach in Europe to officially reopen after Covid-19 and has the added benefit of therapeutic sands – with scientifically proven properties to ease all manner of ailments. There are currently no restrictions to travel between the two islands. Outstanding accommodation and outdoor restaurant options, with Funchal having a charming and cosmopolitan atmosphere. At present, Madeira has registered ninety (90) positive cases of COVID-19, sixty-seven (67) recovered cases, and no deaths.

About the Madeira Archipelago

Considered The Best Island Destination in the World (World Travel Awards), Madeira is a small Portuguese paradise located amid the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean. Of volcanic origin, its privileged location provides a mild climate and sea with pleasant temperatures all year round, in addition to unique scenery of mountains, valleys and cliffs, all covered by the exuberant Laurissilva vegetation, named Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The archipelago is formed by a set of islands, the main and only inhabited being Madeira and Porto Santo. There are excellent options for spas, historic monuments and great hotels and restaurants, where you can sample local cuisine and award-winning Madeira wines.

For more information, visit www.madeiraallyear.com