Your Istanbul Travel Cheat Sheet

Istanbul at Dusk (c) Ritz Carlton Istanbul

Istanbul at Dusk (c) Ritz Carlton Istanbul

Turkey, the site of two wonders of the ancient world, is a present-day marvel – the cradle of many civilizations, the very center of world history and a modern republic which, at times, struggles between embracing the relics of her past and a forward-seeking future. A country of fascinating contrasts, antiquity is juxtaposed with the contemporary, the familiar with the exotic, and sun-swept beaches beckon less than an hour away from snow-capped mountains. Everywhere, however, visitors say they are often treated to the extraordinary warmth of the Turkish people. Istanbul is the most popular 1st stop for those visiting Turkey and it’s a clear winner among people of all nationalities and religions. If  you only have a few days or a long weekend, here’s a quick cheat sheet of the Top Things to Do and See in Istanbul, to soon be followed by the Wonders of The Turkish Coast.

The Bosphorus

The Bosphorus

What to See

In addition to the well known sites of the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, two years ago, Istanbul was rated Travel + Leisure‘s #1 European city to visit, so, to celebrate Staff of the Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF) compiled a list of the 10 places every visitor to Istanbul must experience which we wanted to share.

  1. Sip the best Turkish coffee at Mandabatmaz
  2. Browse the sustainable, locally-made, high-end contemporary Turkish goods at Armaggan Emporium
  3. Indulge in centuries of Anatolian culinary tradition at NAR Gourmet and NAR Restaurant
  4. Absorb the work of Turkey’s greatest contemporary artists at Istanbul Modern
  5. Hop on a Bosphorus ferry to Kadikoy for people watching and Alinin Dondurmasi’s famous ice cream
  6. Experience the centuries-old tradition of raki and fresh fish at İsmet Baba in Kuzguncuk
  7. Relax in the pleasure of a traditional Turkish hamam bath at Cağaloğlu Hamamı
  8. Shop the collection of critically acclaimed Turkish designer Simay Bülbül
  9. Soak up the sounds of Turkey’s thriving jazz scene at Nardis Jazz Bar
  10. Enjoy cocktails and conversation in Münferit’s quiet garden before returning inside to dance until dawn with locals
Istanbul (c) Ritz Carlton Istanbul

Istanbul (c) Ritz Carlton Istanbul

The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul

A few years ago, we stayed at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul because we always know we’ll get top-notch service and food, but Istanbul has several fantastic properties that are unique and special (Note: Ciragan Palace). The Ritz is located at one of the most exciting cultural crossroads in the world in a city that bridges the continents of Asia and Europe along the banks of the Bosphorus Strait. From the outside, it may look like another skyscraper, but once inside, international recognition for its commitment to exceptional levels of service becomes clear. You’re not simply told where the Ladies room is located, you’re escorted there, after being offered some warm Turkish sahlep, a delectable sweet warm drink reminiscent of yogurt and cinnamon. The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul was voted “Best Overseas Business Hotel 2009” by readers of Condé Nast Traveller UK and it’s no surprise. It’s about as stress free as you can get. In addition to 244 rooms and 23 suites, there are 57 Ritz-Carlton Club Level rooms (since I’m obsessed with the Club Level) and The Ritz also offers the award-wining Laveda Spa that includes ten treatment rooms including a not-to-be-missed Turkish Hammam where you will feel transported back in time, dreaming of the days of Suleyman the Magnificient.

Ritz Carlton Couples Hammam

Ritz Carlton Couples Hammam

At the Laveda Spa, the experienced therapists apply the miraculous methods of massage and skin care with Aromatherapy Associates offering all natural plant oils and the high-end line of Carita products. Apart from that a variety of holistic massages like the relaxing “Sultans Royal Six Hands Massage” applied in synchronization by three trained artisans, there are also exclusive body treatments like the “Hot Chocolate Seduction”, “Caviar Therapy”, “Milk & Honey Bath,” or an intoxicating wine therapy called “The Gift of Bacchus,” all infused with natural ingredients.

The Indoor Pool at the Ritz Carlton Istanbul

The Indoor Pool at the Ritz Carlton Istanbul

The indoor pool, the biggest of all indoor hotel pools in the city, is another alternative for more sporty activities or a few lazy laps. You’ll have the feeling of soaking under the Turkish sky when swimming in the mosaic pool as twinkling “stars” on the ceiling illuminate the pool area and highlight the impressive architecture of the Byzantine period of Istanbul.

But perhaps the most stunning section of the Spa is the authentic Turkish Hamam modeled on the 16th century Baths of Roxelana. The Hamam ritual entails a process of complete surrender to scrubbing, washing, and relaxation where you enter a private hamam room and lay a warm slab of marble. Once there, you’re exfoliated and cleansed like a goddess with copious amounts of warm and cool water, followed by a thorough body wash, and a bubble massage where the therapist creates clouds of bubbles with the use of a special towel that surrounds you like a daphine-scented cloud (an exotic flower from Western Asia).

This was, in many ways, the highlight of my luxurious vacation.

Ritz Carlton Cooking

Ritz Carlton Cooking

After our Turkish Hamam, we headed to the Ritz Calrton Istanbul’s Çintemani restaurant for dinner, an exciting autumn menu designed to celebrate local seasonal produce and showcase a unique approach to the culinary traditions of Turkey. Highlights on the autumn five-course degustation menu from then Chef de Cuisine, Ali Ronay (now at Raffles). His menu included Turkish puff pastry with pumpkin and pomegranate, lamb from the Thracian region and Turkish pancakes, while the à la carte menu was a whirlwind journey around the country’s regional flavors from Thracian beef fillet, prawns from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, tuna and octopus from Dardanelles, veal from Balikesir, and chicken from Bandirma on the Sea of Marmara. The fusion of local flavors and innovative cooking techniques made the dishes so unique and mouth-watering that I can honestly say I’ve never quite tasted food like this before. Prawns were infused with Turkish Raki brandy, Bosporus bonito fish was prepared in traditional tomato and onion ragout, while mullet from Dardanelles was dressed with virgin olive oil from Bodrum. Innovative techniques included lamb prepared à la sous vide (a method of cooking vacuum-packed food in a plastic pouch at a set temperature often in a water bath) and cheesecake created from Aegean curd and seasonal pumpkin.

Now are you hungry to check it out?

Rates from $269/night

Other amazing places to stay in Istanbul:

  • Kempinski Ciragan (truly historic and palatial)
  • The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul (can’t go wrong with the always solid Four Seasons)
  • Pera Palace (a Jumeirah property so expect proper opulence)
  • Georges Hotel Galata (a unique boutique property with an intimate vibe)
  • Hotel Ibrahim Pasha (another boutique property in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul on a quaint quiet street)
  • The House Hotel Nisantasi (a smaller elegant modern hotel)

Bars and Restaurants to check out:

  • 11:11 (open Wed. – Sat. this hotspot is owned by the son of one of Turkey’s famous singers)
  • Public (where you want to people watch and party)
  • Poseiden (one of the top fish restaurants in Istanbul with classic mezzes & raki in an upmarket terrace atmosphere)
  • Casita (late night peruhi aka. vegetarian Turkish pasta with yoghurt & mint… yum!)

5 Top U.S. Culinary Adventures

Mirbeau Inn and Spa

Mirbeau Inn and Spa at The Pinehills – Plymouth, Massachusetts 

These days, we in the mood for easy luxury. Perhaps we’re getting accustomed to comfort, perhaps we need to be waited on hand and foot, perhaps… we just won’t settle for mediocre. We want more!

So here are five properties in the US that promise to tickle your taste buds and treat you well:

1.      Mirbeau Inn & Spa at The Pinehills (Plymouth, Mass.): Guests with a penchant for foraging can join Executive Chef Stephen Coe at nearby Plymouth Rock Oyster Farm for a tutorial on picking and shucking oysters. Groups of up to 12 are privy to a farm dinner thereafter including oysters, scallops, lobster, saltwater corn and prosecco ($75 per person). The program launches today and continues through early autumn.

1,000 Islands Harbor

1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel – Clayton, New York

2.      1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Clayton, N.Y.): Another off-site adventure awaits in upstate N.Y., where guests head out on the St. Lawrence River to fish with Captain Jeff Garnsey.  The day’s haul is then cooked over a hardwood campfire for a traditional Shore Dinner (a Clayton staple since 1872). In a single cast iron skillet, Captain prepares salt pork sandwiches and fried fish, followed by French toast, served with local maple syrup.

Chatham Bars Inn

Chatham Bars Inn- Chatham, Mass.

3.      Chatham Bars Inn (Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod): Not every culinary moment can or should be planned. The oceanfront resort’s luxury fleet stands ready to whisk guests to sea for big game sport fishing, among other leisure pursuits. (The biggest guest catch was a 350 lb. blue fin tuna.) When opportunity strikes, Executive Chef Anthony Cole will greet boats at shore and immediately filet fish for fresh sashimi, served gratis to guests on the beach with the fisherman’s OK.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Kaiseki Canapes

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Kaiseki Canapes – Cary, North Carolina

4.      The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C., outside Raleigh): Herons’ seven course Kaiseki dinner by Executive Chef Steven Greene begins with a spectacular tableside tea ceremony (this video captures the wow-factor of the process). The drink is served in custom dishware by potter Ben Owen, whose large-scale works are showcased throughout the art-centric Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel. This unexpected start to the dinner experience is a perfect complement to the “source local” mentality at The Umstead, which relies heavily on N.C. products and produce from its own garden and nearby farm.


Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain – Scottsdale, Arizona

5.      Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.): The “Mi Casa, Mi Chef” package takes the relationship between diner and chef to new dimensions. From the arresting vantage point of Sanctuary’s Mountainside Estates, guests work hand-in-hand with a Sanctuary chef (like Food Network star Beau MacMillan) to plan and execute their customized dining experience, letting the day’s best fruits, vegetables, fish and meat dictate the menu.  They join the chef in the kitchen of their private home, working side-by-side to prepare the feast. In-home spa treatments take the package over-the-top.

Mexico: Swanky Deals to Spa For at Mexico Velas Resorts

Hotel Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Mexico

The Sultry Spa at Hotel Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Mexico

This just in! Mexico’s Velas Resorts are celebrating summer by showcasing a selection of special spa treatments for $99 each at their world-class destination spas, a savings up to 50%. Guests are invited to indulge in popular treatments ranging from a rejuvenating Radiance of Pearls Facial to an innovative Velas Fish Therapy Pedicure. The spa promotions are available from June through October at the four resorts, which include: Casa Velas, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit and Velas Vallarta.

At Casa Velas, a highlight of the spa treatments offered is the Dead Sea Mud Wrap, which utilizes mud from the richest waters in the world, providing an ideal concentration of essential salts and minerals. A unique therapy at Grand Velas Riviera Maya is its Velas Fish Therapy, which incorporates the famous Gara Rufa fish, small fish from Asia that produce an enzyme in their mouths that eat dead skin cells and help repair minor skin lesions. The treatment is complete with a relaxing pedicure to polish the nails.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Spatasticness

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Spatasticness

The Spa at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit will be showcasing three 25-minute spa specials: Back Massage, Tired Legs Massage, and a Face and Head Acupressure Treatment. At Velas Vallarta, guests are invited to enjoy its Seaweed Salt Scrub and Foot Massage, which uses seaweed salt to eliminate dead cells and improve circulation with a relaxing foot massage.

We’re already planning our trip now as The Spas at Velas Resorts have won numerous industry awards, including Most Excellent Spa Hotel by Condé Nast Johansens, Virtuoso’s Best Spa in the World, Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Spa Hotel, a SpaFinder Readers’ Choice, and Travel + Leisure’s Best Spas, to name just a few.

Treatment options vary by location and month, but have a look and, who knows? Maybe you can get your feet properly cleaned and pampered by little fish too!

Aruba, Adults Only

Bucuti's Romantic Beachside Huts

Bucuti’s Romantic Beachside Huts

Normally, we don’t write about Adult’s Only properties because it always makes us think of nudist colonies, but, sometimes, when we go on vacation, we do want some peace and quiet. Enter: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, one of Aruba’s premier boutique resort for couples. The award winning, owner managed resort caters to adults only and has earned a number of awards and honors. Most recently, Bucuti was named number one in the top 25 hotels in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor and is the only resort in Aruba to be honored in this category. Additionally, Bucuti was named number two in the top 25 hotels for romance in the Caribbean, number four in the top 25 hotels for service in the Caribbean and was honored among the top hotels for romance in the world. Bucuti has also appeared on Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List, recognizing the world’s best places to stay.

A chic standard room at Bucuti

A chic standard room at Bucuti

Located on the white-powder sands of Eagle Beach, designated as one of the “Dream Beaches of the World,” Bucuti’s 104 guest rooms and suites, freshwater infinity pool, and Day Spa, make it recognized as a Five Star Diamond Resort by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

We also like the property because it’s certified Green Globe 21, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, and is a leader in sustainable tourism throughout the world, earning the Green Globe High Achievement Award. If vegging on the beach isn’t the only thing you’re after, Bucuti supports the local community with  monthly beach clean-ups, the Turtugaruba sea turtle protection group, and Donkey Sanctuary Aruba.

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Did we mention that the resort is also TAG Approved® as a gay friendly hotel?

So, you can have an all around relaxing time on one of the best beaches in the world AND feel good about it.

From around $300/night

Anguilla… Sweet Like Vanilla

CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort (courtesy of the hotel)

CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort (courtesy of the hotel)

Anguilla… rhymes with vanilla, but most likely takes its’ name from the word ‘eel’ in various European languages due to it’s unique shape. Although the island has gained popularity in recent years thanks to A-list visitors like Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, and Miranda Kerr, Anguilla has long enticed in-the-know travellers to experience any number of it’s 33 pristine beaches. A British overseas territory located in the north eastern region of the Caribbean, just five miles north of St. Maarten, and 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, the island is best known for its powder-white sand beaches, all with crystal-clear turquoise waters matched by few places in the world. Its warm, friendly people keep visitors coming back with an island culture infused with a love of the land and dependence on the sea, reflected in its history and cultural festivals that celebrate Anguillian traditions of fishing, boat racing, and cuisine.

Now, the re-opening of the famed Malliouhana Resort & Spa has placed Anguilla again at the forefront of the global conversation. Special offers and new dining options all create great reasons to choose Anguilla for that special winter getaway.

Upcoming Events

The 25th Annual Moonsplash Music Festival will take place March 27-29 under the full moon on gorgeous Rendezvous Bay. Hosted at The Dune Preserve, it is the longest running independent music festival in the Eastern Caribbean and highlights some of the biggest names in reggae and popular emerging talent.

The following weekend, Easter weekend, April 4-5, is the 7th Annual Festival del Mar. An epicurean celebration of all things from the sea, it is hosted in the picturesque fishing village of Island Harbour and features a multiplicity of seaside activities, including fishing competitions, culinary competitions, swimming races, crab races, and of course, Anguilla’s National Sport and beloved pastime, boat racing.

Malliouhana Hotel

Malliouhana Hotel


The renowned Malliouhana Hotel & Spa re-opened its doors in November 2014 after a three year closure and restoration by Auberge Resorts. Malliouhana has been considered one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean since its original opening in 1984. The resort features 55 rooms, two beaches, two restaurants and bars, an extensive array of sports and fitness facilities as well as a 15,000 square-foot spa all on 20 acres of elevated beachfront land.

Nightly rates start at $525 for a garden view deluxe room, inclusive of a continental breakfast buffet for two. or

Ce Blue Beach Resort & Villas, Anguilla’s first and only luxury private residence club, has introduced a new concept for Caribbean vacations: the hybrid villa-resort. CéBlue encompasses just eight private villas, all with lush native landscaping, dramatic oceanfront vistas and configurations up to six bedrooms. Outside, each villa has a spacious 2,000 square foot covered deck plus 3,000 square feet of open terrace with a private pool, outdoor rain shower & bath. While privacy is paramount at CéBlue, guests who seek out a more traditional resort experience can take advantage of a clubhouse with luxury resort amenities and a variety of beachfront activities and entertainment options.

Beaches Edge West End Villa

Beaches Edge West End Villa

Beaches Edge has recently enhanced their two five-bedroom West End Villas with all new soft furnishings. Travelers will enjoy brand new luxury bedding and bath linens, updated accessories and expanded pool-side seating and umbrellas.

Frangipani Beach Resort acquired the villa formerly known as Seychelles in January 2015.  The five-bedroom/four-bathroom villa, scheduled to open in November 2015, is the only one of its kind directly on Meads Bay and features a private infinity pool, butler service and access to the amenities at Frangipani Beach Resort including the fitness facilities and complimentary water sports. Nightly rates will start at $3000.

Kishti Villa Collection will introduce not one but two new six-bedroom retreats to Anguilla’s amazing Meads Bay on March 18, 2015. Known as Kishti on Meads, the twin villas launch the brand-new Kishti Villa Collection, which also includes the five-room Kishti at Black Garden, a few miles east on Anguilla’s north shore. Each villa highlights capacious interiors featuring dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea (“kishti” is Urdu for canoe), with Cecconi Simone-designed interiors highlighting Eastern objets d’arts and Western artworks that create a distinctive environment of unusual refinement. The new six-bedroom villas offer: two kitchens per villa; patio and rooftop gardens; a home theater and home office; personal gym; and a staff of 11, including a butler and chef. The Kishti Villa Collection is exclusively represented by Ricketts Luxury Properties.

Altamer Russian - Amethyst Villa

Altamer Russian – Amethyst Villa

Altamer resort in Shoal Bay West recently renovated and transformed one of its three beachside villas, the Russian Amethyst, into an art villa. Curated by Jennie Lamensdorf, the villa boasts a variety of contemporary paintings from the personal collection of Francis Greenburger, Chairman and CEO of the resort’s New City-based developer, Time Equities Inc. (TEI).

Properties in Paradise, one of Anguilla’s premier real estate and consulting firms, has added the seven-bedroom estate Santosha Villa available for weekly rentals, and added the newly re-launched Elements Villas (Sea, Sand and Sky), formerly Temenos, to the firm’s portfolio. Lastly, Zenaida Beach & Tennis Estate is offering their summer rates for the whole winter season, a savings of nearly 50 percent.

Viceroy Anguilla (c) Viceroy

Viceroy Anguilla (c) Viceroy

The swanky Viceroy Anguilla is offering packages for Valentine’s Day for couples having large destination weddings or small, intimate gatherings to tie the knot. The Love & Legacy Package applies to groups of at least 100 adults staying for three nights and starts at US$500 per person, while Love in the Sky rewards couples who book six roundtrip seats on a Tradewind Aviation flight from San Juan to Anguilla with complimentary seats on the same flight. For those who prefer a couples-only ceremony, Love is Simple and The Elegance of a Vow include the wedding ceremony, a dedicated wedding specialist, a three-course dinner for two at the resort’s signature restaurant Coba and more. The packages are US$4,200 and $4,800 respectively, and also include personal assistance with the marriage license and certificate service. Of course, the fun doesn’t stop after the ceremony, as couples who host a wedding with more than 100 rooms will receive a complimentary five-night stay in a suite, a romantic dinner for two and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for their first anniversary. 

Allamanda Beach Club is offering a Couples Spring Break Getaway. The four-day package includes daily continental breakfast, car rental for the four days, a one-hour glass bottom boat ride, a 40-minute massage for two and dinner for two on the final evening. The package is $1,640 and is valid April 15 through December 15, 2015.


French pastries - Cafe de Paris (courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

French pastries – Cafe de Paris (courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

Café de Paris offers a blend of French and Anguillian specialties. Led by the team that operated Big Spring restaurant in Island Harbour, Café de Paris is set among a lush garden in the West End of Anguilla.

Dad’s Restaurant on Sandy Ground is offering “You Catch It – We Cook It” for fresh seafood at its best. Patrons can bring in their freshly caught fish for the chef to prepare it to their liking with three side dishes. Dad’s also features live music and dancing in the evening.

Pizza at Daisy's

Pizza at Daisy’s (courtesy of Daisy’s Facebook page)

Daisy’s is another restaurant new to the Anguilla scene. Located in a traditional Anguillian home in George Hill, the restaurant serves Caribbean food as well as thin- and thick-crust pizzas. Daisy’s is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.

Ruthy’s Yum Yum is a new locally-owned restaurant featuring fusion-style menu options and international flair. Located in Little Dix, near Shoal Bay East, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Sarjai’s Restaurant opened in December 2014 by Chef Darren Connor, a member of the Anguilla National Culinary Team. Named for his daughter, the restaurant is located on Meads Bay and features a menu of local and regional dishes with an international flair. Sarjai is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Romney’s is Anguilla’s newest restaurant, located in Lower South Hill. Serving tasty local cuisine and favorites such as oven-fresh pizza, succulent burgers, mouthwatering quesadillas and more, Romney’s is the place to dine this winter and is under the capable direction of Chef Kevin Paul.

For reservations or take-out orders please call 1-264-497-6810 or

Anguilla is easily accessible via daily flights that connect directly to Anguilla from San Juan or St. Maarten. For those coming from St. Maarten, Anguilla is just a short seven-minute flight or 20 minute ferry boat ride away. 

Glamping and Smokologists With Cakebread Cellars

Grilling in the Outdoors

Grilling in the Outdoors

Glamping and smokologists? Yes, you heard it here. Frontiers Travel has just announced the Montana Master Grillers Memorial Day Weekend at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Guests will join Cakebread Cellars, one of the most successful and respected wineries in America, May 23 – 26, 2014 for a weekend of glamping, wine, beer and bourbon tastings, fly fishing, grilling by professional Pit Masters and Smokologists, and luxury accommodations at one of Montana’s finest luxury guest ranches.

So saddle up and get your swig and squeal on!

Fancy Feeling Like a City Slicker?

Fancy Feeling Like a City Slicker?

Montana Master Grillers is a seamless blend of fine wines, spirits, beers, exquisite grilled cuisine, stunning outdoor-dining settings and unforgettable wilderness adventures experienced with an intimacy that affords one-on-one interaction with some of the finest chefs, smokologists, winemakers, brewers and distillers in America. The event will feature lunches and dinners prepared by world-class chefs who specialize in grilling and BBQ cooking. The finest wine, whiskey, bourbon and specialty beer providers will be pairing their offerings with the featured and guest chefs’ flame-kissed fare.

This Is What Upscale in the Outdoors Looks Like

This Is What Upscale in the Outdoors Looks Like

At the crossroads of incomparable luxury and unspoiled wilderness lies Paws Up, a 50-room, luxury ranch resort tucked into the Rocky Mountains. Guests can horseback ride, fly fish, and experience a world-class spa all under the Big Sky. Couple impeccable amenities with some of the world’s finest chefs, smokologists, winemakers, brewers and distillers, and guests will leave agreeing that Montana really is “the last best place”.

Paws Up Resort

Paws Up Resort, Montana

Frontiers Travel has in-depth knowledge of Missoula, MT and the surrounding areas. This weekend affords the perfect opportunity to explore neighboring ghost towns and Glacier National Park.

Starts @$2,778/person and includes luxury accommodations, daily meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.

All photos (c) Paws Up

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



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:

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.