Tag Archives: holiday travel

Belmond Unveils Calendar of ‘Festive Invitations’ Virtual Workshops, Events Celebrating Timeless Traditions

A treasured Thanksgiving past-time, Michelle Weaver, Executive Chef at Belmond Charleston Place, will share a special Southern tradition with her Grandma’s favorite ‘sweet potato biscuits’ recipe – filling the home with the nostalgic and comforting scent of freshly baked bread. The live bake-along will also include the sommelier’s perfect wine pairing for this year’s more intimate Thanksgiving occasion.

This holiday season, the luxury travel company Belmond is presenting ‘Festive Invitations,’ a calendar of virtual workshops and events celebrating timeless traditions that bring us together in a year like no other. From a fragrant winter wreath workshop to the ritual of baking Thanksgiving recipes passed down through generations or mastering the art of hand-crafted Christmas crackers to an uplifting musical season finale – join live via Belmond’s Instagram throughout November and December.

DECORATIONS TO DELIGHT – NOVEMBER 20 at 12PM EST / 5PM GMT

Celebrating a magical winter tradition, celebrity florist and a Belmond Good Living Experience Maker, Simon Lycett will share the steps to create a fragrant winter wreath. Materials for the workshop can be gathered and foraged such as scented pines and berries. The mindful process of creating art using nature’s ingredients is a reminder of the life-enhancing joy of connecting with nature, something the world needs now more than ever.

TREASURED HOMEBAKING – NOVEMBER 24 at 12PM EST / 5PM GMT

A treasured Thanksgiving past-time, Michelle Weaver, Executive Chef at Belmond Charleston Place, will share a special Southern tradition with her Grandma’s favorite ‘sweet potato biscuits’ recipe – filling the home with the nostalgic and comforting scent of freshly baked bread. The live bake-along will also include the sommelier’s perfect wine pairing for this year’s more intimate Thanksgiving occasion.

HANDMADE WITH LOVE – DECEMBER 17 at 1PM EST / 6PM GMT

A time-honored British tradition, the crackle and pop of a Christmas cracker is an uplifting festive ritual made for sharing and the anticipation of the gift within. Luxury event designer, Fiona Leahy will host a festive workshop to create the most elegant handcrafted crackers. As a beautiful table setting or gift to share, the crackers can be filled with specially selected and personalized gifts and handwritten messages with promises of brighter times ahead.

MUSICAL FINALE – DECEMBER 22 at 1PM EST / 6PM GMT

Ending the year with an invitation to sing-along with internationally acclaimed singer and pianist, Joe Stilgoe will perform songs from his Christmas album. A musical evening full of sparkle and cheer to stir the soul and lift spirits, we say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to the future.

For shopping and material lists to prepare for each session, visit www.belmond.com/care-package.

“While the season’s festivities may be a bit different this year, Belmond wishes to savor the moments that really matter and make promises for brighter tomorrows.”

Belmond Ltd., part of one of the world’s leading luxury groups, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has been a pioneer of luxury travel for more than 40 years, building a passion for authentic escapes into a portfolio of one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations.

Since the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani in Venice in 1976, it has built a portfolio of 46 properties extending across 24 countries, encompassing three luxury safari lodges, two river cruises, seven luxury trains, including the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, and the legendary ‘21’ restaurant in New York. From historic city landmarks like Belmond Cadogan Hotel and Belmond Copacabana Palace to hidden retreats at Belmond Cap Juluca and Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor, each property has its own timeless story to tell. See www.belmond.com.

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Smart Lemur Highlights 5 Exotic Places to Experience Christmas Holidays

Christmas Island

In December, natural phenomena, perfect weather and local Christmas traditions make such exotic locales as Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Svalbard, Christmas and Galápagos islands some of the most marvelous destinations for travel.

Smart Lemur, a website specializing in “authentic travel” experiences, is highlighting these five unexpected Christmas destinations, explaining what makes them so special during the holiday season: 

Sri Lanka, South Asia

December in Sri Lanka, an island country surrounded by the Indian Ocean, is the most pleasant time – sunny and not overcrowded with tourists. The average daily temperature for this month is 27°C.

Visitors spending Christmas here enjoy the best tea and cinnamon in the world, exchange presents on the sandy beaches, drink from coconuts and watch wild elephants. Seeing these giants from close up in their natural habitat is one of the unique attractions in Sri Lanka.

Those eager to have more traditional holiday activities, are welcome to visit the capital Colombo, offering festive markets, special dinners, live music events and dance performances.

Mauritius, Indian Ocean

Mauritius, also called the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is a tiny island full of lavish nature, ranging from crystal-clear waters and coloured layers of sand to tropical forests and lively underwater world.

During December, air temperature is likely to reach 29°C, and travellers get to enjoy up to nine daily hours of sunshine. Lovely fuss, preparations, and Christmas songs in such weather allow visitors to experience celebrating Christmas in shorts and flip-flops.

Winter season is the time of abundant tropical fruits and splendid flame trees blooming in bright red fiery flowers. Fresh mangoes, pineapples, litchis (Lychee), Longan (Dragon Eye Fruit) and watermelons grow all around the island.

The most prominent attraction in Mauritius is swimming alongside dolphins.

Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard is one of the northernmost settlements in the world, luring travellers who dream of Arctic Christmas.

From mid-November to late January, this Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean enters into a mystical dark season known as Polar Night. During this period, the sun is hidden from the horizon and everything is pitch-dark around the clock.

Furthermore, winter is the time to hunt the Northern Lights. Svalbard is the only permanently inhabited place on Earth where visitors can experience dayside Northern Lights.

Christmas Island, Australia

Christmas Island is in the Indian Ocean, 1,550km north-west from the Australian mainland.

Apart from its obvious affiliation to Christmas after being named so on December 25th in 1643, the island is rich in spectacular nature.

It is the only place on Earth to witness one of the most incredible natural processes – an annual red crab migration. Bright-coloured crabs from all over the island start marching towards the ocean, all at the same time. And it usually occurs in December.

Furthermore, with 40 seabirds per capita, Christmas Island is a regional leader in this metric. Nature lovers can meet endemic species, such as the Christmas Island frigatebird and the elegant white-tailed tropicbird.

Despite the natural wonders and sandy beaches, the destination is still under the radar, receiving just 2000 visitors a year.

Galápagos Islands, Ecuado

The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago, famous for its diverse wildlife and jaw-dropping scenery.

December is a warm and dry season with air temperature reaching 27°C. Visitors get a chance to see rare animals like marine iguanas, sea turtles, flamingos, Masked Boobies and White-cheeked Pintails, which tend to stay away during other months.

Ecuador’s rich Christmas traditions make tourists feel part of a big family. The locals sing carols and celebrate with delicious meals like roasted turkey.

Smart Lemur is a website created by a group of travel enthusiasts who are passionate about unique and authentic travel experiences. Visit www.smartlemur.com

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Gift of Travel: Insight Vacations’ Offers Special Discounts to Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and Morocco Thru Nov. 8

Sistine Chapel, Vatican (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

For those looking to get their holiday gifts early this year, you can give the gift of travel this season with Insight Vacations’ air offers to Europe and beyond.

Delight your loved ones with wine under the Tuscan sun, a cruise over the turquoise-blue waters of Greece or even a private tour of the magnificent architecture of ancient Egypt. When they travel with Insight Vacations, they won’t just see a destination, they’ll meet it, feel it and taste it. Insight Vacations creates the opportunity to experience countries in depth with deliciously authentic dining, immersive experiences with locals and hand-picked, luxurious hotels— located in the heart of the destination. Our passionate Travel Directors will be with you every step of the way providing a seamless, magical and unforgettable experience.

From now until Nov. 8, you can save 10% on Insight’s immersive vacations to Europe plus $300 off economy air per couple.

Insight Vacations is offering 10% off trips with its popular Early Payment Discount on trips to Europe for those who book and pay in full by December 18, 2019. In addition, past guests and Club Bon Voyage Members can save up to 5%.

By choosing flights with American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair and Iberia, you can save $150 off per person on Economy, $200 off per person on Premium Economy or $300 off per person on Business Class on departures to Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and Morocco from Oct. 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020 to Nov. 15, 2020.

Insights’ immersive trips to Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt include:

Best of Italy (11 days): Showcasing Italy’s grandest attractions, this remarkable journey takes guests to historic landmarks with a local expert such as the Vatican Museum, the Bramante Staircase, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. In Tuscany, guests experience a guided visit through the house of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Niccolò Machiavelli, with a special opening of his private office where he wrote “The Prince.” Afterwards, guests taste wines made from vineyards surrounding the home. They’ll also visit the Italian garden for a view of Florence’s iconic domed cathedral and explore the historic cellar connected to one of the oldest restaurants in Italy by a secret tunnel.  On Giudecca Island, guests will admire the age-old skill of glassblowing by skilled artisans at an arts center, and in Venice they will ride on a gondola while being serenaded through the historic canals under starry skies. Travelers also take a private cruise to the Isle of sun-kissed Capri to enjoy breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Wonders of Egypt (9 days): Guests begin this spectacular journey by visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and viewing the treasures of Tutankhamun with Insight’s professionally trained Egyptologist. They experience the splendor of the Great Pyramids and venture inside one of the inner chambers before gazing upon the mythical Great Sphinx. Clients then take a scenic flight to Luxor, where they explore the massive temple complex of Karnak before boarding their cruise ship then visiting the Temple of Luxor, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On the west bank of the Nile they’ll explore the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings, home to the magnificent tombs of Egypt’s pharaohs, and visit a working bakery to watch local artisans making authentic Egyptian bread. The following evening clients experience a traditional Egyptian dinner and galabeya party, and on the final day they see the imposing Aswan High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk, and the majestic Temple of Isis. The trip ends with a ride in a traditional Nile felucca, where clients learn about the art of sailing this ancient craft from a local sailor.

For more information, contact Insight Vacations at 800-582-8380 or visit www.insightvacations.com.

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Busabout Brings Europe Home for the Holidays

Busabout offers several trips that allow those with itchy feet to celebrate the holidays in exotic locales among like-minded fellow travelers. These late December adventures combine food, fun, and festivities in European locations steeped in holiday spirit, like New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, Scotland.

BOCA RATON, Fla.– Free-spirited travelers may well reconsider that old expression “home for the holidays” after hearing about the European feasts and festivals they can enjoy on an end-of-year trip with Busabout.

Busabout, the flexible travel expert, offers several trips that allow those with itchy feet to celebrate the holidays in exotic locales among like-minded fellow travelers. These late December adventures combine food, fun, and festivities in fantastic European locations that are steeped in snow and holiday spirit.

  • Rise Festival 2018 Ski Adventure: Combine hard rigid peaks with penetrating grooves on this ice cool festival adventure to France and England that visits the one and only Rise Festival. Party in mountain bars after shooting down soft-snowy Alpine slopes, mellow-out with meditation marathons in incredible ice caves, and have the chance to mount husky-sleds, helicopters, and snowmobiles. Then attend the unique festival, which merges dance moves with mountain views.9 days; departs December 14, 2018. Priced from $759 pp.
  • Eastern Festive Trek: This December, discover all the jingles and bells of Eastern Europe, and show Santa you’ve been a good little traveler. Stuff your stockings in the markets of Krakow and Vienna, get merry under the mistletoe in the parties of Krakow, admire the craggy mountains around Zakopane, and ring in the New Year in Prague. You’ll also visit Budapest, Vienna, and Český Krumlov. Even if you’re a little bit naughty, we’ll make sure Santa’s little helpers give you a good gift! 11 days; departs December 22, 2018. Priced from $1,229 pp.
  • Mega Highland Christmas (operated by HAGGiS)This is one truly traditional Scottish Christmas to remember. Imagine a Highland setting for Christmas, with lochs, glens and rugged mountains. Then add a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings followed by a ceilidh (traditional Scottish dance party) and a dram or two! A wee bit different to sitting by the TV… eh? Throw in a real Christmas cracker, the magnificent Scottish Highlands covered in a blanket of snow, and have the time of your life with Christmas Day spent in a Highland hotel fit for the royals. Visit Edinburgh, Loch Ness, and Inverness. 5 days; departs December 23, 2018. Priced from $799 pp.
  • Highlands and HogmanayScotland is simply one of the best places in the world to ring in the New Year! On this trip you’ll celebrate it in so many ways: attend the incredible Edinburgh torchlight procession, participate in traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing, attend the sparkling Winter Festival, and party with thousands at the Hogmanay Street Party amid an eye-popping fireworks displays. On New Year’s Day attend the early-morning Aussie and Kiwi New Year celebration before getting the chance to plunge into the sea during the insane “Loony Dook” in the Firth of Forth. This trip also includes a day trip to the stunning Scottish Highlands. 7 days; departs December 27, 2018. Priced from $799 pp.

Busabout offers a distinctive Hop-on Hop-off bus network across Europe and guided Adventure trips around the world, Busabout and its partner companies Shamrocker Adventures and HAGGiS have been helping independent-minded travelers of all ages see the world affordably and without too much hand-holding since 1998. Their “freestyle” form of travel combines the flexibility that independent travelers crave with the best aspects of traditional tours. Sometimes they show you around, other times you are free to explore. Either way, you get plenty of local knowledge of destinations and the chance to make unforgettable memories alongside like-minded friends.

For more information, visit www.busabout.com or call 1-844-888-0216.

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, The TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit working to help safeguard the planet, wildlife & people for generations to come. To date, TreadRight has supported over 50 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. The Foundation’s guiding principle is to encourage sustainable tourism through conservation, leadership and support for communities. The Foundation’s priorities are set by the Steering Committee. Past project partners include WWF, Conservation International, WildAid, The Travel Foundation and The National Trust in the UK. Current initiatives include supporting various women’s social enterprises, the recently announced Wildlife Conservation Society’s Big Cat fund, WE.org and working with inspiring nature advocates like Céline Cousteau, Costas Christ and Terri Irwin. To learn more visit treadright.org; follow  on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter using hashtag #MakeTravelMatter.

 

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Pullman Rail Journeys Opens Reservations for Chicago-Florida New Years Holiday Special

Traveling in first-class rail style, the special trip will depart Chicago’s famed Union Station in meticulously restored Pullman cars the evening of Dec. 27, arriving at its southernmost stop of Miami the evening of Dec. 29.
Traveling in first-class rail style, the special trip will depart Chicago’s famed Union Station in meticulously restored Pullman cars the evening of Dec. 27, arriving at its southernmost stop of Miami the evening of Dec. 29.

CHICAGO – Pullman Rail Journeys is bringing back the era of grand rail journeys with an exclusive one-time holiday itinerary from Chicago to the “Sunshine State” for a New Year’s celebration.

Traveling in first-class rail style, the special trip will depart Chicago’s famed Union Station in meticulously restored Pullman cars the evening of Dec. 27, arriving at its southernmost stop of Miami the evening of Dec. 29. The return journey departs for Chicago from South Florida beginning the morning of Jan. 2, 2015. Riding the legendary Capitol Limited to Washington, D.C.and Silver Meteor along the East Coast routes, historic menus will be served with renowned Pullman service for a timeless rail travel experience.

“We continue to see great demand for our regular service between Chicago and New Orleans and 2014 has been a banner year for nostalgic train travel,” shares Edwin E. Ellis, president of Pullman Rail Journeys and its parent company Iowa Pacific Holdings. “What better way to ring in 2015 than with an epic train trip to escape the cold paired with iconic Florida hotels.”

Luxury hotel packages at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, the Chesterfield Palm Beach and The Biltmore Hotel in Miami are available as well as a rail-only option.

Onboard Accommodations

All interiors are fully restored in the original Pullman style. The basic streamlined room accommodations feature one large picture window with exterior views out one side of the train. The open sections have a large picture window with the advantage of being able to look across the aisle out the other side of the train.

Standard cars are configured with open sections, compartments and drawing rooms with double windows. Bedrooms have a single window with a view out one side of the train. Pullman accommodations feature premium white linens and each bed has custom recreated Pullman blankets and blue-stripe towels.

Dining and Entertainment

Meals are served in the Lounge and Dining Cars with the option for room service included in fare. Signature dishes include Railroad French Toast, Fresh Greens with Illinois Central Dressing or Pullman Vinaigrette, Roast Beef Tenderloin with Madeira Demi-Glace and a Fresh Strawberry Parfait. A full range of soft drinks, coffee, local Chicago and New Orleans beers as well as a selection of red, white and sparkling wines and premium spirits are included in the fare.

Guests socialize with fellow passengers in the Club, Observation and Dining Cars, enjoying onboard entertainment on select departures. A current selection of newspapers, magazines and board games are available in the Pullman Library in the Lounge Car as well as DVDs and a collection of classic books.

Following his passion of reviving the elegance and refinement of rail travel, Edwin E. Ellis resurrected the classic rail brand in 2012 after rescuing and refurbishing a collection of Pullman cars dating back as far as 1917.  Renowned for its stylish Art-Deco design, plush accommodations and superb service from attentive porters and stewards, each car has been carefully restored to its original splendor with modern enhancements to offer the public an authentic heritage travel experience-one that their parents or grandparents would have enjoyed.

Hotel Packages

Once in Florida, passengers can take advantage of a hotel package:

Grand Floridian (Orlando): Package begins at $4,198 per person, based on double occupancy and includes three-day Park Hopper pass, Grand Floridian Garden View Room, three meals and two snacks per person per night and a Magic Your Way Platinum Package including unlimited use of select recreation including golf, Cirque du Soleil LaNouba admission, fireworks cruise and reserved seating at Disney’s Hollywood Studios ® Fantasmic, a select spa treatment as well as round-trip transfers between the train station to the hotel.

Chesterfield (Palm Beach): Package begins at $2,497 per person, based on double occupancy and includes New Year Champagne and Dreams Package with a five-course New Year’s Eve Gala dinner for two in the Leopard Lounge, champagne toast at midnight and New Year’s Eve Day brunch. Daily breakfast and round-trip town car transfer between the hotel and train station are included.

The Biltmore (Coral Gables): Package begins at $2,737 per person, based on double occupancy and includes the New Year’s Gala and dinner along with daily breakfast and round-trip sedan transfers between the hotel and train station.

A round-trip rail-only package begins at $2,408 per person, based on double occupancy.

Chicago-based Pullman Rail Journeys is an independently-owned operator of first-class passenger service. Featuring artfully restored vintage rail cars, Pullman’s regular scheduled service operates between Chicago and New Orleans via the Illinois Central line. Parent company Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC (IPH), is the owner of the largest number of original Pullman cars in the world, with approximately 70 cars in various stages of restoration and service. Pullman Rail Journeys seeks to provide the same authentic experience of the golden era of rail travel with their Art Deco design, luxury accommodations and superb service.

For more information on packages, visit www.TravelPullman.com/packages/fun-in-the-sun, call 888-978-5563 or a travel agent.

 

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