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Dear ActiveTravels Members,
I am not sure whether people are hoping to escape the political transition we are about to encounter or are anticipating a brutal winter weather cycle this year, but clients are itching to travel!
And, why not? Travel reminds us of the truly important aspects of life: cherishing our relationships with our family and friends, exploring our magnificent world, and being reminded that CNN or FOX does not accurately portray the people we actually meet in countries near and far.
We are happy to present to you our yearly roundup of all that is new and exciting in the travel world this year. We are featuring our Top 10 New Hotel Picks for 2017 as well as our 2017 Happenings not to miss and what's new in cruising for the coming year.
Have a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Traveled 2017!
Steve & Lisa
Our Top 10 New Hotel Picks in 2017
Slated to open late spring, this will be the first Park Hyatt property in the Caribbean and the only upscale accommodation on the island of St. Kitts. Expect a pristine beachfront locale and daily spa offerings like meditation and yoga at the Stone Mill Sanctuary.
The Surf Club was once Miami Beach's premier private club, hosting such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, and Grace Kelly. Now under the helm of the Four Seasons following a three-year renovation, the 77-room oceanfront property in Surfside will include four pools, a holistic spa, and two new restaurants. Three-star Michelin chef and proprietor Thomas Keller of The French Laundry will open his first Miami eatery while Antonio Sersale of Positano's Le Sirenuse will debut his only restaurant outside of Italy. Opens early 2017.
Beverly Hills, California
When it opens in June 2017 on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, the Waldorf Astoria is set to make quite a splash with the largest rooftop pool and deck in Beverly Hills. The 170-room, 12-story property will feature interiors by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, a 5,000-square-foot La Prairie Spa, and a new restaurant from Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
British Virgin Islands
After closing this iconic retreat for 18 months, the Little Dix will reopen December 2017 with completely refurbished rooms and a new restaurant on the beach so you won't have to walk too far from your chaise lounge chair.
21c Museum Hotels will debut its 7th art-driven property this spring in the historic Gray & Dudley Building in downtown Nashville. A contemporary art museum will be open to the public, along with a Southern-style restaurant, bar, and 124 rooms for those art lovers who want to spend the night.
A former neoclassical church in DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood is having its reincarnation as a 220-room hotel. Set to open in March, the building will retain a lot of its original architectural features, including 60-foot vaulted ceilings and large copper doors. With modern touches like an indoor pool, rooftop views, and restaurants from celebrated DC chefs, this one looks like a winner for any sinner.
Rosewood's latest property is located 75 miles southeast of Mexico City in downtown Puebla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its 16th and 17th century houses covered in tiles (azulejos). When it opens in late spring or early summer, the hotel will spread across several buildings, collected around an intimate common courtyard. It also houses a 300-year-old chapel that guests can rent out for weddings.
Arenal, Costa Rica
A perennial favorite amongst our clients in Costa Rica, Nayara Springs is now partnering with renowned African tent-safari designer, Luxury Frontiers, to create massive lodge-style tents that will debut later this year. Each tent will be made up of a master suite, bathroom, as well as an adjoining tent that can be arranged as a lounge or a second bedroom, perfect for families. Tents will sit on their own platforms furnished with a plunge pool filled from nearby hot springs. In addition to the accommodations, Nayara Tented Resort will also offer a restaurant, pool with swim-up bar, cabanas, a fire pit, and a Wellness Oasis with three spa treatment rooms and a relaxation room.
Langkawi is the name of both a Malaysian archipelago in the Andaman Sea and the largest of the archipelago's 99 sandy islands. Now two new properties are opening up on the secluded southwest coast. The recently opened St. Regis Langkawi offers 85 suites, four overwater villas, and an expansive spa with a natural saltwater lagoon. The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi will open this summer on a private stretch of beach adjacent to a rain forest. The 90 rooms and 29 pool villas will take design cues from traditional Malay palaces, while basket-shaped spa cabanas appear to float on the sea.
Scheduled to open this fall, the Aman Shanghai will be "a village of historic dwellings surrounded by a sacred camphor forest" which has been imported from Jiangxi. The hotel imported 10,000 ancient camphor trees with the help of botanists, architects and craftsmen. The result is an oasis just outside of the city that has helped preserve some of China's most historic flora.
2017 Happenings Not to Miss
Crews like the winning one from Oracle Team USA are already at the Royal Naval Shipyard sampling the course they'll take next May when the America's Cup qualifiers begin. Needless to say, it's going to be an exciting time to be on the island. These newfangled hydrofoil sailboats reach speeds over 30 knots so don't expect a leisurely sail amongst friends on the water. The highly competitive races could very well lead to a rematch between Team USA and Team New Zealand. If at all interested, don't wait too long to find lodging and flights. Properties will sell out quickly. Our clients love The Reefs, Fairmont Southampton, and the newly refurbished Hamilton Princess, which underwent a $90 million renovation. We also like the all-inclusive beach resort, Grotto Bay, for families.
with 175 Events in 2017
Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Confederation in 2017 so we'll be sure to write about the yearlong festivities in an upcoming newsletter. First up is Montreal, which is also celebrating its 375th anniversary next year. To commemorate the occasion, they are hosting over 175 events, including a nightly multi-media show set on the St. Lawrence this summer. If it's anything like the multi-media event we witnessed in Quebec City to celebrate their 400th birthday, it will be one of the best events you'll see in 2017. Other highlights include the mesmerizing "Walk of the Giants" from France's Royal de Luxe street theater company, the premiere of a new opera based on Pink Floyd's "The Wall," and an exhibition at Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art inspired by the songwriting of Leonard Cohen. If you need a place to hang your hat, consider Hotel William Gray, a new luxury hotel that opened in July overlooking the Place Jacques-Cartier.
All National Parks will offer FREE ADMISSION
Not only will there be countless events to enjoy and experience, but all of Canada's National Parks will offer free admission year round with their Discovery Pass for 2017. That and the favorable exchange rate make a trip up North a no-brainer.
Home to 500 giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park, the Mariposa Grove will reopen the summer of 2017 after a 2-year closure. Renovations include over a half-mile of new accessible trails and boardwalks and removal of commercial activities.
Exhibition opens on February 10th
In honor of the Guggenheim Foundation's 80th year, they have curated a show not-to-be-missed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. On view will be 170 works of art from the museum's permanent collections in New York and in Venice. If you're a fan of Chagall, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Picasso or Pollack, you'll want to stroll the circular rotunda and view these innovative works of art.
What's New in Cruising in 2017
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic
Entering service this year, the National Geographic Quest is an expedition vessel ideal for exploring coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels. Lindblad Expeditions has been partnering with National Geographic and their naturalists and photographers for several years now. This is their latest ship designed purposefully to ply the waters of Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Costa Rica and Panama and Belize. Special features on board are the sea kayaks, paddle boards and hydrophone and bow-cam designed to hear humpback whale vocalizations and film dolphins swimming off the bow.
The Perfect Partnership:
It's no surprise that the partnership between Backroads and AMA Waterways has proven to be extremely popular. The chance to bike along classic European waterways while spending the night on the same ship, not packing and unpacking at a new hotel every day, is an enticing opportunity. Families can join in the fun on active river cruises designed just for them. In 2017, Backroads will launch new river cruise trips along the Danube, Rhine, Seine and Portugal's Douro. Additionally, an entire ship just for Backroads guests sets sail on a Danube Full Ship Celebration River Cruise Bike Tour in September 2017.
Sailing the Rhine, Main & Danube Rivers
Crystal Cruises has been sailing the oceans around the globe for decades. Now, they are bringing their world-class ships and service down to a smaller scale to sail the rivers of Europe. Two new ships,
the ultra-luxury Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler will be inaugurated, and they will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers beginning in July. They join the Crystal Mozart, which debuted last July. Each ship holds 53 suites designed for a maximum of 106 guests. Cool stuff: complimentary shore excursions including dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants will be offered.
will be held in France for the first time ever
Get your golfing buddies together and book now for this big event happening on the spectacular L'Albatros golf course, just 30 miles outside Paris (near Versailles). Hosted by Le Golf National in France, the event will be held from September 28th-30th.