An Insta-Worthy Spa Guide

idaho-lodges-shore-lodge

The Cove, Shore Lodge – McCall, Idaho

The Cove, Shore Lodge, McCall, Idaho
Set on the southern glacial waters of Payette Lake and tucked into Idaho forest, The Cove at Shore Lodge is a retreat that embraces the outdoors, with sculptural fir tree logs lining the lobby and a tranquil stone hallway leading to intimate treatment rooms. The spa’s unique indoor/outdoor saltwater immersion pools – lined with local granite boulders and affixed with antique copper water pumps – pay homage to Idaho’s plentiful natural hot springs. Nature-based massages, facials and body treatments are performed using a holistic and organic skincare line, tailored to meet the needs of both serene pleasure seekers and active mountain enthusiasts.
maui-best-spas-marriott-wailea

Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui

Mandara Spa , Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui
Located on the beautiful southeast shore of Maui, Mandara Spa truly embodies Maui’s natural beauty and sense of aloha in every aspect. The Mandara Spa is located on the lobby of the resort, overlooking the serene Hawaiian waters, Molokini crater and the island of Kaho`olawe.  The 9,153 square feet facility features twelve treatment rooms, some of which are Ocean view single treatment rooms and deluxe couple’s suites for facials, body treatments and massages. A welcoming relaxation area, steam room, lockers and showers is privately located in the center of the spa; separated for men and women. The spa also has a full service salon for hair, make-up and nails.
monarch-beach-resort-miraval-spa

Miraval Life in Balance Spa, Monarch Beach Resort – Dana Point, CA

Miraval Life In Balance Spa, Monarch Beach Resort – Dana Point, CA
Situated on the idyllic coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Dana Point, California, the newly opened Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort is a state-of-the-art oasis and the only Miraval location in California. Renowned for its “Life in Balance” philosophy, innovative programs and wellness activities, Miraval Life in Balance Spa offers an expansive spa experience inspired by the resort’s oceanfront location. The spa offers more than 70 of the signature treatments developed at the company’s flagship Miraval Resort & Spa near Tucson, Arizona, each designed to “awaken the senses, create balance and promote a sense of well-being. You’ll also discover an entirely new catalog of services created specifically for Monarch Beach Resort,  featuring California-inspired ingredients like crystal salt stones, algae, and marine mud.
ventana-inn-big-sur

Ventana Inn, Big Sur, CA

The Spa at Ventana, Ventana Big Sur, CA
The Spa at Ventana is a refuge from the stresses of daily life. Start your journey with a hot cup of organic tea or cool fruit-infused filtered water before you wander down to the outdoor clothing-optional amenity area. Like that? Clothing optional! Let the heat of the Japanese Baths and Dry Sauna gently unwind your muscles. Relax by the heated pool and take in the natural beauty that is Big Sur. The Spa at Ventana embraces the magical “Essence of Big Sur” introducing two new dreamy experiences to reinforce Big Sur’s reputation as a sacred site and healing vortex. The Lavender Dreams Experience is an 80-minute, head-to-toe spa experience combining the calming elements of Wild Lavender with earthy minerals, concluded by a luxe foot and pressure point scalp massage in a nourishing cocoon. Also, a new  50-minute Mineral Body Scrub stimulates circulation and leaves the skin soft and hydrated (and even safe for expecting mothers), featuring an exhilarating thermal salt exfoliation applied in a two‐step treatment and mixed with a guests’ essential oil blend of choice.
carmel-valley-ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch, CA

Spa Aiyana, Carmel Valley Ranch, CA
The spa spans 10,500 square feet and has 11 treatment rooms, most of which have private outdoor terraces. There are three couples treatment rooms, grouped in the same wing, allowing them to be sequestered for private functions, such as pre-wedding and birthday spa celebrations. The spa also features private men’s and women’s locker rooms, with steam saunas, as well as a co-ed Relaxation Lounge and Fitness Center. Treatments in the spa are each based on one of four specialized gardens, Lavender, Herb, Aiyana and Alchemist, which use the invigorating, restorative and relaxing energy found in the natural world. Services also include massage therapies, body therapies, advanced and organic skincare, visible results oxygen fusion, nail care, and waxing.
costa-rica-luxury-spas

Hacienda AltaGracia, Costa Rica

Auberge Spa at Hacienda AltaGracia, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica
Central America’s largest spa, the 20,000 square-foot Auberge Spa comprises indoor and outdoor treatment rooms – some featuring soaking tubs and private outdoor gardens, locally-inspired facials and body treatments, a panoramic pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and steam and sauna rooms. Untouched by tourism, the resort is located in the purest valley of what is the last unexplored area in Costa Rica, AltaGracia offers a true retreat surrounded by untainted beauty.
tuscany-best-hotels-and-spas-castello-di-casole

Castello di Casole – Tuscany

Essere Spa
Originally the estate’s wine cellar, Essere Spa offers a serene setting within one of the most dramatic spaces on the property. Barrel-vaulted ceilings and restored stone walls create a theatrical setting accentuated by long views across an expansive valley. Essere Spa, meaning To Be in Italian, brings one into harmony with body, mind, spirit, and all that is Tuscany. A full treatment menu is inspired by local ingredients – rosemary, grape and olive oil – with products from the renowned brands Comfort Zone and Germaine de Cappuccini. European spa and wellness experts offer an extensive collection of traditional and modern therapies. Pools and steam rooms, a spectacular couple’s treatment suite with deep soaking tub and shower, and luxurious private outdoor gardens promise to at least make you feel like Italian royalty.
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8 “Bro-Cations” for Adventurous Guys

Guys Fishing Trips Ponoi River

Check out the size of this catch on the Ponoi River in the Russian Arctic (c) Frontiers Travel

With golf’s popularity steadily in decline (although my colleague would disagree as he’s single handedly keeping it alive) and saloons & barber shops no longer the male refuge of choice (for shame!!), many guys are turning to adventure travel to bond with their buddies. A growing number of men are participating in “Bro-Cations” that are all about bonding, unwinding, and pushing the limits through engaging and sometimes extreme activities. Gone are the days of sipping umbrella drinks and lounging by the pool. So, check out some of our favorite “Bro-Cations” for adventurous guys.

8 “Bro-Cations” for Adventurous Guys

amazing guys trips Land Rover Tours

Nothing sexier than a Land Rover Tour through the Silk Road (c) Mir Corp

1. Drive a Land Rover across Exotic Lands – Since MIR Corporation’s inception in 1986 they have been creating custom overland adventures. These self-drive tours often involve groups of buddies piloting Land Rovers, motorcycles or even vintage automobiles across the rolling steppe of Mongolia, through the charming towns and villages of Siberia, or even along The Silk Road. These journeys are momentous, unforgettable and limited only by one’s own imagination.

http://www.mircorp.com/about-mir/mir-clients/overland-expeditions/

2. Fish Remote Russian Wilderness – Ryabaga Camp on the Ponoi River is located above the Arctic Circle and accessed via a 2 hour Mi-8 helicopter ride across remote Russian tundra. A totally wild Atlantic salmon population thrives in the Ponoi River. Anglers enjoy single occupancy cabins with gourmet food and fine wine. Frontiers International Travel arranges everything, including flights, activities, and visas.

http://www.frontierstravel.com/ryabaga-camp-the-ponoi-river

Mountain Biking South America

Experience some of the best mountain biking in South America

3. Mountain Bike Ecuador’s Cotopaxi National Park – Experience the exhilarating thrill of biking Cotopaxi National Park on this intrepid Ecuadorian bro-cation. Designed for experienced and advanced mountain bikers, this challenging and beautiful itinerary takes bikers through Santa Rita Ecological Reserve, El Tambo Trail, The Road of the Lahars, and down Cotopaxi Volcano. Ride on natural trails in the highlands that pre-date the Incas; swoop down the slopes of Cotopaxi; and enjoy flowing single-track across Andean deserts on this tour of a lifetime.

http://www.adventure-life.com/ecuador/tours/3951/cotopaxi-mountain-biking

trips to greenland

Glacier Trek in Greenland (c) Big Chill Adventure

4. Dogsled and Trek Glaciers in Greenland – Travel to West Greenland to explore and photograph fantastic landscapes of pristine beauty, exotic, arctic wildlife and northern lights. This all-inclusive adventure is a splendid introduction to the highlights of Greenland: calving glaciers, palatial icebergs, dogsledding, wildlife viewing, and trekking the Greenland Ice Sheet.

http://bigchilladventure.com/trips-cat/greenland/

Belgium beer tour

Belgium Beer Rocks!

5. Belgium Beer Bike Tour – Biking Belgium is truly a beer-loving cyclist’s dream, as there are 1,130+ beers brewed in country. In addition to Trappist ales and abbey beers, it churns out lagers such as Stella Artois and Jupiler. This unique itinerary offers access to more boutique breweries than any other European bicycle tour.

http://www.ciclismoclassico.com/bike-belgium/

dude ranch city slicker trips

Giddy Up!

6. “City Slicker” Cowboy Weekend – Hike, ride horses, ATV, and play cowboy at Red Reflet Ranch in Wyoming. The ranch is both working ranch and luxury resort where guests are treated like family. Additional activities include guided hikes, dirt bike rides, fly fishing and mountain biking. Guests can explore the 25,000 acre ranch, work cattle, fish on private streams and enjoy abundant wildlife. Gourmet dining includes ingredients from the ranch’s butcher shop, organic greenhouse and gardens. From cattle drives to branding, the true western lifestyle thrives at Red Reflet.

http://www.red-reflet-ranch.net/

Hawaii Cycling Tour

Bike like an Ironman

7. Tackle an Ironman Bike Course – Bike tour operators Ride & Seek and Big Island Bike Tours have partnered to offer a new Hawaii tour on which guests will ride the infamous Ironman Kona bike course, cycle through famous coffee plantations and ride up the world’s largest active volcano Mauna Loa (13,677 ft.). Other highlights include: luxury accommodations, soaking in the heated tide pools of Kapoho, and delicious local cuisine.

http://www.rideandseek.com/kom/hawaii

Visit Amazon Tribe

Visit an Amazon Tribe Deep in the Rainforest of Ecuador

8. Visit Amazon Tribe – Venture deep into the rarely accessed Amazon Rainforest to meet the indigenous Achuar tribe of the Ecuador. Contact with this tribe was only made in the 1970s, and their culture is more intact than most of the world’s tribes. Hike volcanoes, visit remote waterfalls, spot tropical birds and other exotic wildlife, learn about flora & fauna, kayak Amazon waters, and stay at one of the most remote, ecologically responsible ecolodges in the world.

http://gondwanaecotours.com/tour/amazon-rainforest-ecotour/

Looking for Om in 2014? Here are some Yoga Trips for You

Namaste

Namaste

We all know yoga based vacations are gaining popularity with travelers looking for a balance between wellness and exploring a new place and intriguing culture. Our readers love ’em! Rachel Quinn, Head of Group Sales for Holidays for Humanity, also states that over 35% of their enquiries now include requests for yoga, alongside some other vacation “must haves” like white sandy beaches, water sports, and tropical encounters.

So, we thought we’d share several new ideas of yoga trips to kick off the new year right!

Yoga Vacations for Sailors in Turkey

This sailing journey is an exclusive one-of-a-kind voyage that offers guests a chance to practice yoga among the enchanting blue waters of the Turkish Mediterranean coast. The striking coastline, with its pristine beaches, idyllic villages, picturesque coves and remote ancient civilizations is waiting to be explored. This is an excellent opportunity to experience a taste of traditional Turkey in the unhurried pace of staying aboard a sailing yacht. Sit back, relax and let their experienced captain, crew and chef take you on an unforgettable journey. Rates start at $1399 per person based on seven-nights shared accommodation.

Yoga Vacations for Surfers in Costa Rica

Founded in the spirit of adventure, Rip Jack Inn in Playa Grande, Costa Rica is known for tropical bliss and friendly ambiance. They are just steps away from Playa Grande’s main surf break, and offer daily yoga classes in their beautiful shala. If you love to surf, practice yoga, and love great food, you’ll feel right at home here. Rip Jack Inn is also a member of Pack for a Purpose, and supports local community outreach programs. Expect prices around $170 night/based on double occupancy.

Yoga Vacations for Purists in India

Shreyas is dedicated to promoting the authentic spiritual tradition of yoga in a holistic manner and is recognized as one of the finest yoga retreats in the world. What makes Shreyas unique is that, whilst yoga is taught in traditional ashram style (daily yoga, meditation sessions, chanting classes, a strict vegetarian, no alcohol policy and community service), their guests live in a luxurious environment normally associated with a star rated hotel. They enable their guests to integrate the ‘manifold facets’ and benefits of yoga into their daily lives without the austerity and rigor usually associated with ashrams. Expect prices around $550 night/based on double occupancy.

Yoga Vacations for Beginners in Mexico

With personalized yoga, pranayama and meditation classes the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita is a great place for beginner wellness travellers. Set on 14 acres, including a picturesque sugar sand beach, the resort is perfectly positioned along Cancun’s famed Riviera Maya. Intimate in design, with only 90 luxury suites, they offer a completely new kind of vacation experience focused on wellness, serenity, and romance, balanced by a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Expect prices around $750 night/based on double occupancy.

Yoga Vacations for Nature Lovers in Nicaragua

Aqua’s explicit vision statement is to “lead luxury sustainable development in Nicaragua” and as such, they built, and operated their resort in close partnership with the local communities, and in complete concert with nature. Additionally, they are completely committed to sea turtle conservation, and encourage their guests to join along. They provide opportunities to work with trained staff in caring for the turtle eggs, protecting them in the nursery, and for those fortunate enough to be there during hatching, to help release them back to the ocean. Daily yoga takes place on their palm-thatched open air, ocean-side platform. Expect prices around $280 night/ based on double occupancy.

About Holidays for Humanity: www.holidaysforhumanity.com

Holidays for Humanity connects travellers with vacation options that appeal to their self, as well as their soul. By working with partners that promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices they offer a range of travel options including eco resorts and hotels, health and wellness, volunteering abroad, cultural and culinary and expeditions and tours.

The Best Hostel Food Around the World

Tapas at the Oasis Granada Hostel

Tapas at the Oasis Granada Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal

Our friends at The Daily Meal love to keep us informed on the best of the best when it comes to food around the world. This time, they’ve done a great 20 best hostels around the world for food (since we know hostels can get a bad rap, and most of the time, that reputation isn’t unfounded). If a hostel serves any food at all, the best most backpackers can expect to find is some cheap white bread and bad coffee. For many travelers, this lack of decent food is hardly a point of contention. After all, eating pricey gourmet meals often isn’t an option for those traveling on a budget, and as long as the hostel is well located, safe, and free of bedbug sightings, what more could a backpacker ask for? A lot more, apparently, according to recent research.

Plus Berlin

Plus Berlin All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

A hostel meal will likely never reach the ranks of Michelin-starred dining or compare to the breakfast buffet at the St. Regis. However, some establishments are offering culinary delights such as barbecue, ceviche, poutine, and a burger that even the locals clamor over, and these are just a sampling of some of the excellent dishes found in hostel dining rooms around the world.  

Ceviche at La Hamaca Hostel - San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Ceviche at La Hamaca Hostel – San Pedro Sula, Honduras

For a minimal fee, guests at PLUS Berlin Hostel can enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and dinner in the hostel restaurant.  The restaurant’s manager, Diego, is Italian and takes pride in the quality of the food. Options range from pizza and pasta dishes to German specialties. The hostel’s well-stocked bar also serves cocktails to get you ready for a night exploring the neighborhood’s nightclubs.

The Green Tortoise

The Green Tortoise – San Francisco, CA

So what makes a hostel’s food stand above the fray? “Food is part of the cultural experience you get when you visit a foreign country,” explains Andres Poveda Solano, co-owner of Hostel Pangea in Costa Rica, while Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco provides hearty and healthy free breakfast every day of organic oatmeal and fresh fruit, and free dinner three times per week including dishes like pasta primavera and Thai curry.

The Menaggio Youth Hostel's Cooking Classes - Lake Como, Italy

The Menaggio Youth Hostel’s Cooking Classes – Lake Como, Italy

Good food at a hostel enhances the backpacker’s experience. One of the charms of staying in a hostel is the opportunity it offers to meet people from all over the world, and for these hostels, the dining room is one place where the magic happens. Whether you’re enjoying a hearty breakfast on a terrace overlooking the scenic French countryside or participating in a free tour with fellow travelers of a Spanish city’s tapas bars, the food at these top 20 hostels will create memories you won’t quickly forget.

The 20 Best Hotels Around the World For Food

What hostels have you stayed in that had great food?

By Michelle Kiefer

Design Hotels Summer Specials

Memmo Baleeira Hotel - Portugal

Memmo Baleeira Hotel - Portugal

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to experience a surf ‘n’ sail season Memmo Baleeira style in Portugal’s southernmost tip. You too? Following in the wake of hotelier Rodrigo Machaz, himself a surfer who knows the best spots in the shimmering Algarve waters, Design Hotels™™ is offering some Summer Specials not to be missed.

The Mira Spa - Hong Kong

The Mira Spa - Hong Kong

Or, if you feel like taking in the shimmering nightscape of Hong Kong from your room at the The Mira Hong Kong, you can do that too. For an eclectically British feel, try the Firmdale hotels in London. Choose the funky neighbourhood of Soho with Charlotte Street Hotel or the exclusive upmarket locale of West End with Haymarket Hotel.

Apparently, Summer is just a click away…

The three different options include:

– 3 for 2: one complimentary overnight stay (minimum length of stay 3 nights)

– Upgrade: free upgrade to the next available room category (minimum length of stay 2 nights)

– Value: save a minimum of 10% off the best available rate (minimum length of stay 2 nights)

For travel: April 30 – September 18, 2012

www.designhotels.com/summerspecials

Nicaragua: Private Island Pilates Retreat

Nicaragua Beach Pilates Retreat: Jicaro Island Ecolodge

This just in, kiddos.

Now who’s taking me?

Jan. 29 – Feb. 4, 2011

Alycea Ungaro, celebrated author, celebrity trainer and wellness expert, will host Real Wellness, a private island retreat in Nicaragua. Real wellness will take place at Jicaro Island Ecolodge Nicaragua, a tranquil, 500 square meter private island in the Granada Islestas from January 29 to February 4, 2011.

Developed by Ungaro, the retreat is based upon her signature Principles of Wellness. Attendees will experience an immersion of healthy eating, exercise and wellness training. Known for motivating some of the world’s leading A-list celebrities at her Tribeca studio, Real Pilates in New York City, in addition to twice daily Pilates practice, each day, students will be guided through the teachings taken from her soon to be released book, The Pilates Practice Companion. Since the program was created to forge a foundation for sustainable and realistic lifestyle changes, customized take-home workouts and nutritional planning will be created for each participant. Through a combination of nutrition and learning, the group will gain knowledge that translates to life-changing possibilities for health and well-being. Jicaro, a secluded getaway,named in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 Hot List, the private island is ideal for relaxation or an out of the ordinary wellness vacation. Jicaro’s Eco-luxury accommodations offer the perfect refuge for relaxation and renewal designed in harmony with nature. Guest suites also provide an exceptional experience within the lush tropical forest.
I could really use an eco-luxury private island pilates retreat, couldn’t you?
 
Alycea Ungaro, Pilates Instructor Extraordinaire

Package Includes:

 
6-night accommodations at JICARO ISLAND ECOLODGE

Roundtrip ground transportation (Managua Airport to AQUA)

2x Daily Group Pilates Sessions with Alycea

All organic meals

Guided nature walk, lake kayaking, visit to local school

Package Pricing:

Single (Master Studio Accommodation) – US $2795

Double (Penthouse Accommodation) – US $2450

http://www.bigworldsmallplanet.com/ALYCEA_UNGARO_PILATES_RETREAT_2.html

Panama… Pana-ma-ma

Panama's La Amistad Bird Sanctuary

Oh, we sure love la selva and, let’s be real, it’ll always get better if we invest our dollars to visit nature’s finest jungle reserves. That’s what keeps ’em reserves.
Plus, who doesn’t love Central American life?
Great food, warm people, nature, and plenty of crazy history. To that end, this just in from a little birdie’s mouth. Check out:

Panamá, La Amistad Bird Sanctuary
La Amistad was declared by UNESCO to be a Natural World Heritage Site in 1983. Spread out between Panama and Costa Rica, the sanctuary covers a whopping 207,000 hectares of forests on Panamanian soil (of which 95% are located in the province of Bocas del Toro and the other 5% in Chiriquí). One of the most popular attractions of this park is its potential for bird watching, given that about 425 species of the 925 bird species located in Panama have been identified in this area alone. In this amazing natural reserve, travelers can watch the illusive resplendent quetzal and the harpy eagle. The park also offers the opportunity to be in contact with the indigenous communities of the Teribe and explore ecological trails like La Cascada and El Retoño. With an array of ecosystems such as cloud forest, coral reefs, mangrove forests, and the unique paramo, Amistad/Bocas del Toro is rich in biological and cultural diversity: it is the most culturally and ethnically diverse region where Panama’s indigenous Afro-Caribbean, BriBri, Ngöbe, Naso, Cabecar and Latino ethnic groups live. I had a chance to hike into the jungle and have lunch the Bribri. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life  – complete with fresh fish eaten out of a banana leaf.

A Bribri Shaman

La Amistad International Park is also the perfect place for travelers who enjoy river adventures and mountain hikes through dense, humid forests.

The Teribe and Changuinola Rivers are the life blood of this ancient forest and offer endless opportunities for site seeing, forest travel, and adventure. Just remember: this area is located 2000 meters (6,000 ft.) above sea level, its also important to be prepared for the altitude.
How to get there
From Panama City, you can fly (1 hour) or by land (6 hours) to David, the third largest city of Panama and the capital of the province of Chiriqui. Once you’re there, you take a ride to Cerro Punta that is 1 hour from David. From Cerro Punta to the Administration Center of the park (Las Nubes) is another 5 kilometers by car.

Where to stay
Near the park, you can find three towns that provide hotels, banks, health centers, transportation and guides to the different attractions of the park:

Volcan in Chiriqui
Cerro Punta
David City

Here is a list of lodgings at David, unfortunately most of them don’t have a website, but you can contact them and get a quote at the following site: http://panamatoptravel.com/en/ficha_hot.php?idhotel=6

Most of these hotels are 3 or 4 stars, clean, simple accommodations:

Alcala Hotel
Gran Nacional Hotel
Occidental Hotel
Iberia Hotel
Iris Hotel

You can also find more luxurious accommodations such as:

Las Olas Beach Resort

Volcan is a small, beautiful town located in the mountains of the Chiriqui province, just beside the Baru volcano.
In the town of Volcan, you can find hotels like the Bambito Hotel or fully equiped mountain cabins like Las Huacas or Kucikas Cabines.

Bambito Hotel: $264.00/night
Las Huacas Cabines: 1 or 2 bedroom cabins from $85 to $125/night
Kucikas Cabines (Bambito): $70 to $165

Cerro Punta is a small and beautiful village located in the highlands of the Chiriquí Province Cerro Punta, the newest tourism destination of Panama, with amazing landscapes, abundance of natural resources and cool climate. So, with that in mind, here are some other places to visit within the stunning region:
Finca Dracula Orchids Farm
Guadalupe
Los Quetzales Trail
Baru Volcano National Park