Located in the heart of Provence, just a 30-minute drive from Cannes, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, a five-star Provençal resort in the heart of the Côte d’Azur, was recently named France’s leading resort of 2013 at the “Oscars” of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards. With 115 suites and villas that feature private terraces, better check this beauty out. Terre Blanche welcomes guests as if they were at home and boasts championship golf courses, a luxurious spa, first-class amenities and top-notch service, in a tranquil countryside oasis.
This just in from Asia. The proprietors of a new Balinese property recently reached out to us about an interesting little hotel in Bali called The Bali Floating Leaf Hotel. Described as a “peaceful retreat in a lush oasis in which to nourish, recharge and heal your mind, body and spirit, holistically,” they’ve combined ancient Balinese wisdom with modern convenience and luxury to offer a safe place for relaxation, personal enrichment and wellness. If you’re looking for a true retreat, they’ve got just the sort of amenities you need; an open air yoga center with views of the Indian Ocean and Mount Agung Volcano, Bali arts and culture, photography, surfing, and an onsite Balinese spa.
Guests can look forward to an ultimate relaxation pool complete with waterfalls, hidden meditation areas and more. The grounds also feature an organic permaculture garden (hurrah!), as well as a large kitchen where their private chef will prepare delectable healthy meals, juices, and snacks with locally grown organic nutrient-rich food. And to top it off, world-class surf is steps away!
Floating Leaf Eco-Resort is rooted in a deep commitment to Bali’s environment; it’s people, and sustainable tourism so their eco-tourism efforts are aimed at conserving precious natural resources and diverting waste from landfills. They also strive to involve the community in deciding exactly which philanthropic efforts will be of most help and interest to them. Other projects include building water purification facilities, playgrounds, greenhouses and subsidizing local farmers so they can grow nutrient rich foods using traditional and organic methods. As they say in Bali, “Bagus!”
Currently offering soft launch opening prices for individuals and retreats, prices are are as low as $150 a night and some retreats for approximately $1000 for a week-long package.
Alas… one of our favorite luxe cruise lines, Crystal Cruises, has just announced that they’re inspiring their guests to relax, refresh and recharge with a new Mind, Body & Spirit-themed exotic cruise through some of the most exquisite waters in the world.
Crystal Symphony’s first voyage of the year, a 12-day “Southern Seas Soliloquy” itinerary, begins January 8th, 2014 in Valparaíso, Chile, and sails across the southern Pacific to the Society/Tahitian, Easter, and Pitcairn Islands (the latter of Mutiny on the Bounty fame). On the roster are a guest yoga instructor, extreme athlete, health and wellness expert, and ZUMBA® teacher, as well as a repertoire of active excursions and a host of complimentary fitness classes.
The 12-day cruise sails from Valparaíso to Easter Island, Chile; Pitcairn Island/Adamstown, UK; and Moorea, Society Islands before ending with an overnight in Papeete, Tahiti.
All-inclusive cruise fares start at just $2,975/person, with $1,000 in savings if booked by August 30.
Among those scheduled to motivate travelers are:
· Dane Rauschenberg: Extreme athlete who ran 52 marathons in 52 consecutive weekends. I’m tired just thinking about it, but damn… good for Dane!
· Dr. Barbara Udell: Health and wellness expert who’s helped guide the Pritikin Longevity Center, Weight Watchers, and the Diabetes Research &Wellness Foundation.
· Lisa Goodwin: Transformational yoga instructor skilled at teaching both beginners and seasoned practitioners. I. Need. You.
· Annie Hoefel: High-energy motivator leading ZUMBA classes on board for guests of all ages. Because Zumba… who doesn’t want to shake it, shake it?
In addition to the above, complimentary fitness classes and programs onboard include Spinning, Pilates, dancing, stretching, circuit training, Nordic Walking, and Walk-on-Water weight vest power walking on the ship’s 360-degree promenade deck. Can you imagine getting on shape and eating well during a cruise through beautiful islands? I can! Also on the agenda for brainiacs like us: experts to stretch travelers’ minds with talks about space exploration, world affairs, and Leonardo da Vinci.
In port, Crystal Adventures also offers snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV-ing, four-wheeling, volcano trekking, helicoptering, and jet skiing with stingrays. Numerous excursions also take guests to ancient Polynesian temples and ceremonial grounds, including Easter Island’s famous Moai statues. When anchored outside Pitcairn Island – considered the most remote and smallest inhabited place in the world – local residents will come aboard, allowing guests to liaise with the mutineer descendants and see their traditional crafts. I was sorta of obsessed with this movie so I’m daydreaming about mutiny right now…
Add massages, treatments and scrubs and there’s really nothing left to need.
Crystal Serenity’s first cruise of 2014, sailing through the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles starting January 5, also offers a “Mind, Body, Spirit” focus, with all-inclusive, “Book Now” fares of $4,675/person for 13 days so check out the website below and let us know if you have any questions.
My parents took their honeymoon at the famous La Valencia Hotel, and never looked back. Just as it was then, it is now one of San Diego and La Jolla’s finest. It’s also pink. Can you really go wrong with pink stucco, palm trees, and blue skies? I’m sure you can actually, just not here.
With its rich, 87-year history, La Valencia Hotel looks to the future under new ownership and new management. Having finished a complete room renovation in early 2013 and with many more updates planned – including a new French bistro and an elaborate spa — this 112-room vintage coastal retreat continues its role as a gathering place where generations of celebrations have taken place. With its iconic tower, “La V” – as it is fondly known by San Diegans – is a landmark on Prospect Avenue, perched on a cliff above the sweepingly beautiful La Jolla Cove.
Built in 1926 during a revival of Mediterranean-style architecture, “The Pink Lady” is known for its beautiful courtyards, hand painted murals, exquisite Spanish mosaics, and stunning panoramic views of the Pacific. La V is also just steps away from a wide selection of luxury retail and dining options in the village of La Jolla. Nearby attractions also include: Torrey Pines State Park, Scripps Ocean Institute, the Birch Aquarium as well as UCSD / La Jolla Playhouse, the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art and the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park.
Hollywood stars, presidents, and my parents have stayed here over the years and, as a ‘thank you and come join us,’ right now they’re offering the Suite Savings Package and you’ll receive 25% off rack rates for a 700 square ft. Suite or a 450 sq ft private, Ocean View Villa plus complimentary parking and a bottle of premium wine. So instead of $950 a night, you’ll pay $713 on weekends and $619 on weeknights for your own sweet La Valencia Suite or Villa.
Take sail, take flight!
Imagine this… The two-term former president of Switzerland, NASA’s lead flight controller for Apollo missions, and a general who was once the highest ranking intelligence officer in the United States Armed Forces. Now, imagine yourself hanging out with them while on a sophisticated exciting cruise. Yes, dreams do come true. These powerful men of sleuth and science will be bringing their considerable clout aboard luxury cruise outfit, Crystal Cruises, this year. The guest speakers are part of a distinguished lineup of internationally influential, preeminent leaders set to present complimentary lectures and interactive Q & A sessions on several of the line’s ultra-luxurious voyages, including:
- General Michael Hayden – The retired Director of both the CIA and NSA, and four-star U.S. Air Force General, brings a wealth of knowledge and intelligence from his nearly four decades of military duty and national service (September 19, Venice to Monte Carlo, President’s Cruise with Crystal President Gregg Michel);
- Kaspar Villiger – Formerly the president of Switzerland, as well as the chairman of UBS Bank, Villiger is one of the world’s leading authorities on business, government and finance, whose influence and leadership has affected global economies (September 2, London to Barcelona);
- Sy Liebergot – The lead controller at NASA’s Mission Control served during the legendary Apollo program (November 23, Miami to Rio de Janeiro);
- Norm Mineta – The ex-U.S. Secretary of Transportation and congressman is also the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Medal for his civil rights efforts (September 11, Barcelona to Venice); and
- Nando Parrado – The ultimate survivor, Uruguayan rugby player-turned-motivational speaker was aboard the ill-fated flight over the Andes that later became the subject of the film Alive (July 6, Istanbul to Rome).
The speakers join an already-extensive roster of leading experts set to enlighten guests sailing Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in 2013, including a U.K.-based celebrity florist, award-winning photographers, show business veterans and a bevy of historians and professors. Crystal often brings expert minds together on their “Ocean Views”- themed cruises, with speakers debating current issues with each other in a live panel that includes audience participation so we think this is pretty darn cool.
“Our guests are worldly, well-educated travelers who seek not only new adventures while on vacation, but also new information and perspectives on topics that affect the world we explore,” says Bret Bullock, vice president of entertainment. “With such fascinating experiences and knowledge to share, these presenters are certain to spark some stimulating discussions on board.”
Bret, we’re so on board with you.
Crystal’s award-winning, luxe offerings always include a diverse selection of thought-provoking, scholarly, and sophisticated enrichment activities that provide extensive on-board choices for cultured world travelers so take to the seas and make your ocean-exploring adventure one for the mind and seas.