Travel Tribe Up Next!

On my horizon and should be on yours for next year! As I prepare to depart to bustling Bangkok, sightseeing and staying in several five-star hotels, and then onward to an amazing 12-day Aman Resort jaunt in Bhutan, I want to remind you to begin planning for next year!

New Zealand

New Zealand – a few new lodges, exclusive activities always exceptional golf, yachting, chills and thrills with a plethora of activities for couples or families. The perfect itinerary begins with three nights at the fabulous villa ‘The Boathouse’ at The Landing Residences, located in a beautiful private property in the northern Bay of Islands region. The Landing collection of residences are exquisitely built and The Boathouse sits in a prime waterfront position in the bay. It has two bedrooms but one bathroom so it is perfect for a couple. The following day we have included a private cruise on The Landing’s own boat Iti Rangi to explore the region from the water. A day at leisure allows guests to explore the property with its numerous hiking trails, mountain bikes, tennis court, water sports and kiwi on property to spot in the evenings.

Japan

Japan oh, so very popular …plan now for spring, early summer or fall.
Obscure island locations include amazing art, biking and hiking. Add vibrant cities for cultural experiences, fine dining, museums…the list is long and wildly interesting.

Four Seasons Maldives

Four Seasons Maldives Kuda Huraa

Maldives – There aren’t enough superlatives to fully and accurately describe the staggering natural beauty of the Maldives. From the air, nothing prepared me for the extraordinary glimpse of the turquoise seas, the oval halo of atolls and islands, in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean, crystal clear seas in a thousand shades of indigo, accented by white sugar sandy beaches…it was breathtaking!  Two stunning Four Seasons two resorts on different islands, adore both – must stay! OR Four Seasons Private Island for extended family or a gathering of friends.

Amanzoe, Greece

Athens Greece

Greece – Tourists are flocking to Athens and the sunny beaches, a major uptick in streams of travelers. The Four Seasons promises spring opening so there are several must stay options in Athens and outside the city on the beach. My recent visit to Greece was overwhelmingly positive, so much so, that I hope to return in spring for a second visit. Aman junkies will be deliriously happy in the land of myths and legends, at Amanzoe, amid the rocky rolling Argolid hillsides of the Peloponnese. According to ancient Greek mythology the Peloponnese is where the gods walked the earth. The elegant breathtaking resort, like the Acropolis, is situated on a hilltop surrounded by olive groves, underplanted rows of fragrant lavender, and spectacular views of the deep blue Aegean Sea. Oh, did I mention the soundtrack of the cicada summer symphony?

Chable Resort Merida Mexico

Chable Resort Merida Mexico

Mexico – we love the Spanish Colonial City of Merida, stay at the newish Chablé Resort, which is situated amid sleepy authentic villages and the bustling historic colonial city of Mérida. One of my favorite GM’s, Rocco Bova, has taken the helm at Chablé, if anyone inspires magic, it is Rocco! Each white limestone Casita is privately situated off a short path, with a slightly deep plunge pool, comfy dining terrace, outdoor rain shower and acres of glass to view the untamed jungle. I never closed my massive shutters or drapes, preferring to peer out of my glass box to the swaying green trees filled with jabbering jungle birds! Woodpeckers, Chic Bul, Northern Cardinals, cooing Doves, and of course, the social fly catcher chatter all day while hummingbirds dart and dance. Chablé is located in a cultural area brimming with Mayan Ruins. We have access to sophisticated knowledgeable local guides for day trips to Uxmal, Chichen Itza, The Puuc Route Ruins, among other important sites; additionally, visits to private cenotes and biosphere reserves, as well as some of the region’s best museums, art galleries and thriving colorful markets. Just 25 minutes from the Merida International Airport.

Mongolia

Mongolia on your Travel List? We can offer cultural experiences ranging from 3-4 or 7 days traversing some of Mongolia’s most remote and beautiful terrain. From the capital of Ulaanbaatar to the arid Gobi Desert to the fertile fields of Khan Khentii, you’ll not only be immersed in nature, but in Mongolian culture. Much of rural Mongolia is undeveloped and the people here lead nomadic lifestyles, raising horses and other livestock, and living in ger camps. On this journey, you’ll have the chance to stay in a selection of different ger camps for a truly authentic Mongolian experience.

Mongolia

Camelback, your style? Imagine traditional camel passage through Zorgol Hairhan Mountains.  Trace the 12-mile-long sand dune that makes up the North Gobi today, on the back of a camel. If camelback is not your preferred mode of transportation, you may also choose to trek or drive the same route. Here, you may spot wolves, who have made a home in the area. Get up close and personal with Mongolian culture on our tour of the Gobi Steppe, a treeless grassland inhabited by Mongolian nomads. Here, you’ll experience their traditional lifestyle, from the equestrian nature of their transportation, to their nomadic ger tents. Plod across a 12-mile-long sand dune on the back of a majestic camel. Make friends with local families, who will help you out along the way and allow you a window into their incredible culture.

Travel Tribe – Where is your Next Journey?
There are numerous posts on these locations at gwenbooks.com, just search!

 

 

 

Four Seasons Explorer Motor Yacht  Spring & Summer Planning

If you tend to travel with an entourage may we suggest your spring break or summer plans include a stay at the two stunning Four Seasons Maldives resorts (see earlier posts), or cruise between the two resorts on the beautiful Four Seasons Explorer Motor Yacht.

Embark on the ultimate marine odyssey aboard the luxurious Four Seasons floating resort, the Explorer is an intimate yachting experience. A luxurious three deck catamaran that embarks on 3, 4 or 7-night cruises. Plus, leisure, surf or manta ray charters into the undiscovered Maldives. It sails between the enchanting garden island of Four Seasons Kuda Huraa resort and the pristine hideaway of Landaa Giraavaru in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Each August it plays host to surfing’s hottest invitation only event: The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Championship Trophy.

For guests seeking a deluxe island cruise with a difference, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives offers wholly customizable luxury private charters on the country’s fastest and most luxurious livaboard. Book an all-inclusive private cruise for up to 22 guests for a minimum of three nights. Use the 128-foot yacht as a dedicated dive, surf or leisure vessel, to visit hideaway island villages and meet secluded communities, or to host breathtaking yacht parties in some of the most pristine and remote surroundings on earth.

The boat’s master chefs create custom menus for every meal, accented with your preferred selection of fine wines and spirits. Book the on-board spa therapist for relaxing therapies in tranquil island locations. Groups can also arrange exclusive snorkeling adventures in virgin waters guided by their very own marine biologist, while the boat’s expert dive team offers 12 specialty courses plus bespoke programs for anyone who wants to improve their skills — or just admire the supreme beauty of the Maldivian reefs. In addition, Tropicsurf guides can suggest a tailored surfing itinerary that takes in the secluded outer atolls, using sophisticated web forecasting to direct you to your perfect wave, for a piece of surfing nirvana.

The Cruise Director and his team organize daily programs—from island jaunts and fishing to water-skiing to wakeboarding. Savor a delectable beachside lunch or evening barbecue under a star-filled island sky. And if that’s not enough, cruising with Four Seasons Explorer also brings a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime adventures: bow-riding dolphins, spontaneous sunset snorkeling with majestic manta rays and elusive whale sharks in hidden hotspots known by the vessel’s knowledgeable team.

The Four Seasons Explorer offers ten well-appointed 215-square-foot  State Rooms, the luxurious 484-square-foot Explorer Suite, two bars, an air conditioned dining room, a lounge, a library and two sun decks, creating a level of luxury unrivaled in the Maldivian cruise industry. Services include twice-daily housekeeping, free wireless internet and same-day laundry.

Choose from 10 spacious State Rooms and the palatial Explorer Suite, all of which are bright and airy and include the luxury and style you expect from Four Seasons Explorer.

All cabins are air-conditioned, with an ensuite bathroom that features a bathtub/shower. Curl up on your sofa, select something from the refrigerated private bar or enjoy a movie on the flat screen LCD TV, all in the comfort of your State Room or Explorer Suite.

Explorer Suite – Enjoy spectacular scenery from the expansive panoramic windows of your elegant Explorer Suite. Showered in sunlight from expansive windows, the Explorer Suite boasts contemporary teak furnishings and cool, subdued fabrics. Enjoy your ensuite bathroom with a full bathtub, separate shower, WC and vanity. It is connected to a walk-in wardrobe.

State Rooms – Bright and airy, the intimate State Rooms provide picturesque views from large port windows. Unwind in the air-conditioned room with one king bed or two twin beds, a comfortable couch, a writing desk, a DVD/CD player, an MP3 cable connection, a refrigerated private bar, a telephone and an in-cabin safe.

On board, on land or in the water, Four Seasons Explorer offers a wealth of leisure activities, all supported by their signature service. From water sports and island excursions to relaxing spa treatments, the personalized cruises feature something for everyone.

WATER SPORTS Take to the waves with waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, fun tubes and kayaking. Smaller waves between January and March offer optimal conditions for wakeboarding and waterskiing. All watersports are available on request, subject to currents and conditions.

SNORKELING During daily snorkeling excursions, guests can venture out with our marine biologist, take the plunge off the back of the vessel or snorkel off the beach at any of our numerous island stop offs.

FISHING Venture out by dhoni for some bottom-line fishing, fish from the back of Four Seasons Explorer each night or indulge in handline fishing off the vessel at sunset. Trawling by tender is available on request.

EXCURSIONS Savor gourmet Four Seasons cuisine on uninhabited islands, embark on an adventure with our marine biologist, cast yourself away on a secluded sandbank or visit remote villages for cultural experiences and souvenir shopping – even enjoy a game of football or rugby on a sandy beach.

There are quite a few Specialized Journeys –

A Tropicsurf  Surfari aboard the uber-cool Four Seasons Explorer is undoubtedly the world’s premier surfing cruise: five-star service and style, expert guides, chasing the best wave conditions, catching secluded swells, riding remote breaks and experiencing the Maldives vast and ever-changing awe-inspiring seascapes.

SURF CRUISES Surfaris are 7 or 10 days – shared or private charters – during July and August when surf conditions are at their peak.  Setting sail from Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa, surfing enthusiasts will visit rarely surfed breaks in the Outer Atolls, accompanied by two expert Tropicsurf guides, enabling the group to split in two based on wave preferences and personal ability.  It’s a recreational surfer’s dream – diverse yet reliable waves give the option to challenge oneself, hone skills, or simply cruise and enjoy the ride.  No experience is necessary either: it’s the perfect opportunity to learn.

Traveling with a non-surfing partner? There are plenty of parallel activities to keep them busy and ‘blissed out’ too: snorkeling, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing, deep-sea fishing, island sightseeing, beach barbecues and deserted island massages.

WAVES Sophisticated web forecasting allows the team to accurately determine swell and wind forecasts. The complex bathymetry of the atolls means there are often hidden gems that others simply do not know about.  The result: surfers get to visit remote regions, ride pure and uncrowded waves, and experience the spirit and true freedom of surfing at its sublime and soulful best.

Enjoy five-star service on the high seas, with a fully equipped, five-Star PADI Dive Centre with nitrox, a stargazing telescope, a massage by a resident spa therapist and laundry service.

The Maldives is renowned for its abundance of fish life, warm pristine waters and close encounters with pelagics such as manta rays and whale sharks.

As the country’s fastest-cruising live aboard, Four Seasons Explorer gives divers access to a wide variety of secluded hotspots, including exciting channel dives with sharks and rays, vibrant thilas, cleaning stations, wrecks and coral overhangs.

Three Nights –  Aquariums and Caves.  Embarking on Mondays, this three-night cruise from Kuda Huraa to Landaa Giraavaru may include dive sites such as the soft coral ceilings of Fares Caves, the stingray and nudibranch haven of Eboodhoo Cove, and the colorful canyons of Muthaafushi Thila, plus Thulaadhoo laquerware island. Each cruise is purposefully fluid, ensuring the best of the Maldives at any given moment – from chance mid-ocean encounters with huge pods of pilot whales to castaway experiences on remote coral islands.

Four Nights – Sharks and Shipwrecks.  The four-night cruise from Landaa Giraavaru to Kuda Huraa may include dives sites such as the grey reef shark hotspot of Rasdhoo Madivaru, the white-tip shark and octopus refuge of Maaya Thila, the whale shark haven of Maamigili Beyru, and the cargo hull of Machafushi Wreck. Each cruise is purposefully fluid, ensuring the best of the Maldives at any given moment – from chance mid-ocean encounters with huge pods of pilot whales to castaway experiences on remote coral islands.

Seven Nights – See it All.  The seven-night circuit cruise combines the three-night Northward Cruise and the four-night Southward Cruise to help you experience caves, thilas, whale shark hotspots, the swim-through tunnel of Kuda Rah Thila and the cultural lure of Dhangethi Island. Each cruise is purposefully fluid, ensuring the best of the Maldives at any given moment – from chance mid-ocean encounters with huge pods of pilot whales to castaway experiences on remote coral islands.

DIVING COURSES Four Seasons Explorer is geared towards qualified divers. It is the ideal vessel on which to hone your dive skills, increase your underwater confidence and develop specialty skills in thrilling new areas.

DAILY DIVING SCHEDULE Divers can usually expect two dives in the morning and one in the afternoon, with the option of additional sunrise, night and wreck excursions. From May to November, the currents move large quantities of plankton through the atolls, attracting manta rays and whale sharks to the eastern side of the country. From December to April, the wind reverses, resulting in 100 to 130 feet of incredible visibility and consistent, near-perfect conditions.

Dive itineraries adapt to currents and conditions, seasonal marine visitors and the diving requirements of those on board. Every cruise aboard Four Seasons Explorer is unique.

SPA Four Seasons Explorer’s resident spa therapist offers natural therapies inspired by Asia’s ancient healing principles. Retreat to the private treatment area on the upper deck – curtained for privacy yet open to the refreshing sea air – or indulge in a massage at one of the secluded beaches visited during the cruise.

Treatment highlights include the restorative and deeply relaxing Indian herbal-oil massage and the hydrating and refreshing sun-soother wrap, with fresh aloe vera and toning lavender mist.

Captain on Stand by for our Guests! Please let me know if we can answer any questions or reserve for you!