Accor launches new collection of bespoke hotels

 Accor has announced an exciting new addition to the Group’s unparalleled network of brands: Handwritten Collection, a global portfolio of charming bespoke hotels that offer an intimate and stylish hospitality experience.

Accor already has more than 110 Handwritten leads globally totalling more than 11,500 rooms, including 12 secured signings, with five properties expected to debut throughout the first trimester of 2023. 

Handwritten Collection properties opening over the next several months include Hotel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental, Handwritten Collection in Shanghai, China; Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa, Handwritten Collection in Saint Gervais, France; Wonil Hotel Perth, Handwritten Collection in Perth, Australia; Hotel Morris, Handwritten Collection in Sydney, Australia; and Le Splendid Hotel Lac d’Annecy, Handwritten Collection in Annecy, France.

Additional properties will open throughout the remainder of the year and beyond, including Hotel Les Capitouls Toulouse Centre, France; Oru Hub Hotel, Handwritten Collection in Tallinn, Estonia; Square Lodge Hotel La Roche sur Yon, Handwritten Collection in La Roche-sur-Yon, France; Sunrise Premium Resort, Handwritten Collection in Hoi An, Vietnam; Paris Montmartre Sacré Coeur*, Handwritten Collection in Paris, France as well as properties in Bucharest, Romania and Madrid, Spain.

The Handwritten Collection portfolio is expected to reach more than 250 hotels by 2030.

With the creation of Handwritten Collection, Accor is broadening its unrivalled brand portfolio and midscale hotel offerings and will look to replicate the success it has achieved with the Group’s other collection brands across other segments. This includes the MGallery Hotel Collection, a storied portfolio in the upper upscale brand segment that now counts more than 100 boutique hotels worldwide and Emblems Collection, Accor’s first luxury collection brand, a carefully curated selection of distinctive hotels that are emblematic of their destination, designer or place in history. With a similar bespoke approach, Handwritten Collection will bring together hotels with individual personalities, intimately reflecting the character and warmth of the people who love and look after them. Like a handwritten note, each host’s individual touches will be subtly encountered at select moments throughout the guest journey. From a warm welcome that cascades into conversation, to freshly baked treats that have guests sneaking seconds into their pockets, no two hotels or stays will be the same.

A host with passion

Handwritten Collection offers a variety of hotels that are so distinct, it’s as if each local hotelier were inviting guests into their charming and stylish homes.

The guest experience at Handwritten Collection brings to life the spirit of the host: their tastes, their passions and the little quirks of their personality.

Each local hotelier provides a charming presence that weaves their character and personality into the fabric of their hotel, engaging guests with local wisdom and delightful conversation, bringing a personalized energy to the guest experience.

Designed for independent hoteliers

The Handwritten Collection is also designed with the needs of independent hotel owners in mind.

With a current conversion rate of 80 per cent, the bulk of properties joining Handwritten Collection will be conversion projects rather than new builds, requiring a simpler transition and ramp up process and a more sustainable growth and development model.

The brand’s standards are designed to be flexible, light, and easy to attain. Moreover, Handwritten Collection provides direct ROI and the opportunity for owners to maximize revenue with immediate access to the power and reach of Accor’s sales, distribution and loyalty platforms, while also benefiting from the Group’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) capabilities.

Upcoming openings

Hotel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental, Handwritten Collection, Shanghai, China Opening 19 January 2023 

Close to Sheshan National Park, Hotel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental has over 124,000 square meters of landscaped gardens, including an outdoor beach pool for an unforgettable urban resort experience. Opening as the first Handwritten Collection hotel, the property offers a dedicated service team to set up and manage tea breaks and create bespoke dining experiences for guests.

Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa, Handwritten Collection, Saint Gervais, France
Opening 19 January 2023

Designed as a chic and arty holiday home, Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa combines the spirit of the art nouveau movement with contemporary tastes, bringing to life the beauty of a historic home. Ottoman culture will also come to life throughout the guest experience in elements such as a library corner, Turkish coffee and herbal tea infusions available in the spa.

Wonil Hotel Perth, Handwritten Collection, Perth, Australia
Early February 2023

Located on the bank of Swan River next to Kings Park and just minutes from Perth’s central business district, Wonil Hotel offers a chic modern setting. Guests will enjoy this stylish home base from which to explore a vibrant city known for its endless sunshine and pristine beaches.

Hotel Morris, Handwritten Collection, Sydney, Australia
Opening February 2023

Housed within a striking Italian Renaissance styled building, the 82-bed Hotel Morris reopens as part of the Handwritten Collection after a major restoration, intertwining European elegance with Australian character, honoring the hotel’s historic roots.

Le Splendid Hotel Lac d’Annecy, Handwritten Collection, Annecy, France
Opening April 2023

Close to the city center and Lake Annecy, Splendid Hotel offers unique Art Deco characteristics with a touch of 1950s modernity within its architecture. The hotel’s decor from renowned Designer Thierry D’Istria is complemented by a selection of eclectic artwork, sculptures and vintage pieces.

Hotel Les Capitouls Toulouse Centre, Handwritten Collection, Toulouse, France
Opening May 2023

In the heart of the city’s historic center, on the most beautiful avenue, the Hotel Les Capitouls Toulouse Center invites guests to discover its charming and warm-hearted atmosphere. Originally built as a historic private mansion, this hotel elegantly combines the charm of the Toulouse brick vaults with modern comforts and new sustainable design elements.

Oru Hub Hotel, Handwritten Collection, Tallinn, Estonia
Opening May 2023

Located in the center of Tallinn in the historic old town and a short drive to the coast, Oru Hub Hotel boasts Yoga facilities and a Tea Room. After two years of major renovations, the hotel will launch a new guest experience concept combining leisure, work and food in a unique way.

Paris Montmartre Sacré Coeur*, Handwritten Collection, Paris, France
Opening Spring 2024

With a typical Parisian facade and boasting intimate and cozy rooms, the Paris Montmartre Sacré Coeur is located a few minutes walk from Sacré-Coeur basilica and the cobbled streets of the beautiful Montmartre neighborhood. The hotel will serve as an ideal base to explore France’s capital and all it has to offer.

With a plan to grow the collection to 250 properties by 2030, Accor is actively seeking new properties to be part of Handwritten Collection in popular travel destinations across the globe.

High-end travellers willing to pay more for sustainable trips, survey says

A major new report by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Trip.com Group, together with Deloitte, reveals a heightened appetite for sustainable tourism amongst consumers, with 69 per cent of travellers actively seeking sustainable travel options.

In this follow-up report, WTTC joined forces again with global travel service provider, Trip.com Group and its major consumer brands Trip.com, Ctrip and Skyscanner, with additional data sourced from Deloitte, to analyze the trends that shaped the Travel & Tourism sector last year and will continue to do so over 2023.

Rise in sustainable trips

The report, “A World in Motion: Shifting Consumer Travel Trends in 2022 and Beyond,” shows that sustainability is a key element of the travel agenda, with travellers eager to reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable tourism.

According to a survey included in the report, three-quarters of travellers are considering travelling more sustainably in the future and nearly 60 per cent have chosen more sustainable travel options in the last couple of years.

Luxury travellers willing to spend

Another survey also found that around three-quarters of high-end travellers are willing to pay extra to make their trips more sustainable.

Last year, following more than two years of travel disruption, travellers made clear their wanderlust is very much alive, with a 109 per cent increase of international overnight arrivals, compared to 2021.

According to the report, last year consumers were willing to stretch their budget for their holiday plans, with 86 per cent of travellers planning on spending the same amount or more on international travel than in 2019, with U.S. tourists leading the list as big spenders.

But 2023 is looking even better in terms of travellers’ spend. Despite concerns about inflation and the cost-of-living crisis around the world, nearly a third (31 per cent) of travellers said they intend to spend more on international travel this year than in 2022.

A major comeback

Additionally, according to Deloitte’s ‘Global State of the Consumer Tracker,’ last year more than half (53 per cent) of global consumers surveyed during the summer said they plan to stay in a hotel over the following three months.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “The demand for travel is now stronger than ever and our report shows that this year we will see a significant bounce back. 2023 is set to be a very strong year for travel and tourism.

“Sustainability is top of travellers’ agenda, and consumers highlight the value they put on protecting nature and traveling responsibly.”

“The Asia-Pacific Region, with its rapidly growing middle-class and dynamic economies, is well-positioned to capitalize on the growth of the industry and take its place as a leader in the global tourism economy,” added Jane Sun, Trip.com Group CEO. “I’m optimistic about the positive momentum for the global resumption and growth of travel in 2023, primarily driven by mainland Chinese consumers, which will help accelerate worldwide recovery and development.”

Scott Rosenberger, Deloitte Global Transportation, Hospitality & Services Sector Leader, said: “Travel is rebounding from the pandemic while innovating and meeting the demands of more modern alternative travel-types, sustainable travel, luxury travel, and much more.

“Even the rise in inflation-driven financial concerns is not slowing the pace; incredibly travel is being prioritized and flexible/remote work arrangements are creating new opportunities. We are actively engaging with our clients as they embrace these new trends and create memorable experiences for consumers.”

Other findings revealed in the report include:

  • 2022 sun and sea package holiday sales are estimated to be up 75 per cent compared to the previous year
  • Last year during the summer, international arrivals in European sun and beach destinations were just 15 per cent below 2019 levels
  • According to WTTC’s recent ‘Cities Economic Impact Research’, in 2022 visits to major cities are expected to see a 58 per cent year-on-year increase, less than 14 per cent below 2019 levels
  • Luxury holidays will prove particularly popular, with sales of luxury hotels expected to reach $92 billion by 2025 (compared to $76 billion in 2019)
  • In a survey, nearly 60 per cent of travellers said they were either already paying to offset their carbon emissions or considering it if the price was right

To access more information and read the report in full, please click here.

Luxury cruise line partners with Rocky Mountaineer for Alaska journey

Luxury cruise line Cunard is offering guests the opportunity to experience the world-famous Rocky Mountaineer train when they sail through Alaska on Queen Elizabeth this summer.

Guests will be able to extend their Alaska voyage with either a four-night pre-voyage train experience or a three-night post-voyage package, depending on the sailing date. The three-night Rocky Mountaineer tour takes guests on an eastbound journey from Vancouver to Calgary, while the four-night train tour goes the opposite direction and gives guests an additional day of sightseeing in Banff, where the highlight is an impressive trip on the Banff Gondola.

Rocky Mountaineer pre- and post-cruise tours

  • The three-night post-voyage tours starts at $2,850 per person based on double occupancy, available on two Japan to Alaskavoyages (Q318A, Q319) and four Alaska voyages roundtrip out of Vancouver ranging from 10 to 11 nights (Q323, Q324, Q325, Q326).
  • The four-night pre-voyage tour starts at $3,250per person based on double occupancy, available on three Alaska voyages roundtrip out of Vancouver ranging from seven to 10 nights (Q321, Q322, Q323).

Panoramic views

Guests travelling on the legendary Rocky Mountaineer train – the only passenger rail service on this historic rail route – will experience expansive glass-dome windows and luxurious coaches. Breathtaking 180-degree panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, shimmering lakes and winding canyons are offered from all angles.

Renowned for its GoldLeaf Service, Rocky Mountaineer offers an onboard dining room where guests can indulge in culinary delights inspired by the region with a new 2023 menu as well as full complimentary bar service.

Queen Elizabeth’s summer in Alaska will be a season full of adventure and discovery, with the onboard Insights program featuring experts from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, TV personality Bear Grylls, and famed explorer Mensun Bound, to name a few.

Other highlights on Queen Elizabeth include the bespoke Alaska Afternoon Tea, the elegant Ice White Ball and a new dining concept called Frontier, which offers a taste of Alaska.

 

Marriott planning to open 35 new luxury hotels this year

Marriott International plans to introduce more than 35 luxury hotels in 2023, delivering the unique and meaningful experiences desired by today’s luxury traveller.

Boasting an unrivaled portfolio of luxury brands including The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, EDITION, JW Marriott, and Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International continues to push the boundaries, reimagining travel with a globally inspired perspective that defines the future of luxury.

With an unparalleled footprint of nearly 500 luxury hotels and resorts in 68 countries and territories today, Marriott International is poised to further its position as the global leader in luxury hospitality with more than 200 luxury properties in the development pipeline. From Kenya to Singapore and Japan to Mexico, more than 35 new hotels are slated to open next year in sought-after and emerging destinations around the world.

The Ritz-Carlton

In 2023, the brand expects to open two new hotels in North America, including its first property in America’s Pacific Northwest region with The Ritz-Carlton, Portland, and The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie in Arizona’s coveted Scottsdale area.

Set above the city skyline, The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne, is slated to grow the brand’s footprint in Australia next year, while The Ritz-Carlton, Fukuoka, is expected to deliver a new offering in the business district of this southwestern Japanese city. Ritz-Carlton Reserve anticipates expanding its exclusive portfolio in 2023 with Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve close to the historic Chinese valley of Jiuzhaigou and Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve located off the West Coast of Saudi Arabia and part of the country’s Red Sea project.  

St. Regis Hotels

In 2023 the brand expects to debut The St. Regis Kanai Resort, an enchanting haven nestled in a 620-acre nature reserve along Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula with ocean views from every guestroom. In the year ahead St. Regisalso anticipates expanding its footprint in North America with The St. Regis Chicago.

The iconic brand is also slated to bring its acclaimed Butler Service and storied legacy to Belgrade and is expected to open its first two properties in Saudi Arabia by debuting a hotel in Riyadh and a resort located on its own private island within the Red Sea project. This past year also marked St. Regis openings in Qatar, India, Kuwait, and Indonesia.

W Hotels

Looking ahead to 2023, W Hotels anticipates debuting in Prague, Budapest, Edinburgh, Sydney, Macau, and Milan.

Also slated for later next year, W New York – Union Square and W Hollywood are expected to emerge newly transformed, embodying the fully reimagined W experience.

EDITION Hotels

EDITION Hotels is rapidly expanding internationally in 2023 with new openings planned across several regions, including the brand’s first properties in Italy, Mexico, and Southeast Asia.

With 15 hotels currently in the global portfolio, EDITION is projected to grow its personal and intimate hospitality experience to 21 total destinations by the end of 2023, with expected openings next year to include Rome, Riviera Maya at Kanai, Tokyo, Ginza, Singapore, Jeddah, and Doha.

London’s newest riverside hotel is minutes from top attractions

The Hyatt Regency London Albert Embankment has officially opened.

 The 142-room hotel marks the eighth Hyatt-branded property in London, confirming Hyatt’s ambitious and strategic brand growth plans for 2023 and beyond in the United Kingdom.  

With its prime riverside location and proximity to the city’s most notable attractions, Hyatt Regency London Albert Embankment caters to the many guests and World of Hyatt members looking for seamless stays in central London.

The hotel is conveniently located; it is a five minute walk to the capital’s political epicenter, Westminster, home to landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben. A short stroll along the River Thames from the hotel leads to the South Bank, an area celebrated for its world-class arts and cultural venues, whilst nearby Vauxhall Station provides direct access to many of the city’s major travel hubs.

Stylish guest rooms

A total of 142 well-appointed, contemporary guestrooms make the most of the enviable riverside spot, with many featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that provide immersive views of the city’s iconic skyline. On the fourteenth floor, a range of executive suites offer king-size bedrooms, spacious, modern bathrooms, and relaxing lounge areas, accompanied by a private balcony for guests to enjoy exclusive panoramas across London.

Food & drink

For those looking for a multifunctional setting to share, socialize and collaborate, POTUS bar and restaurant delivers a diverse and distinctive menu of North American classics alongside traditional British favorites. Meanwhile the rooftop restaurant, cocktail bar, and shisha terrace Mezemiso serves authentic Lebanese and Japanese cuisine to create an incomparable dining experience overlooking the memorable sky-high views of the city.

Amenities

The hotel’s additional amenities reflect the Hyatt Regency brand commitment to encourage productivity and peace of mind. This includes an on-site fitness center fitted with the latest Technogym equipment, and five technology-enabled meeting rooms, which have been designed to inspire connection, offering 15,273 square feet (1,419 square meters) of combined meeting space for a range of events, from business conferences to group gatherings.

A look inside one of Europe’s best private villas

Located in the Bay of Sant Miquel, just off the north coast of Ibiza, Isla Sa Ferradura is an ultra-luxury private island of 377,000 sq. ft. which is connected to the main island by a small, hidden two-sided beach.

The primary villa is set within magnificently landscaped gardens offering approximately 13,000 sq. ft. of indoor living space and accommodations for up to 20 overnightguests.

The villa consists of 1 sumptuous master suite and nine additional, luxuriously appointed double bedrooms with ensuite facilities. Private terraces as well as the spectacular 8000 sq. ft. rooftop terrace abound allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean surroundings and the panoramic sea views.

“Isla Sa Ferradura is a discreet hideaway for the discerning few and features privacy and amenities that are found on only a handful of properties around the globe at most,” said managing director Ulf Karow. “Our highly trained international team of 23 is prepared to cater to every need and to provide an unparalleled experience for all guests.”

Isla Sa Ferradura is a two-time recipient of Europe’s Best Private Villa (2018 and 2021) and represents the finest in villa accommodations available in Ibiza and beyond. 

Weekly rental fees for the 2023 season are now available.

 

 

These are some of the most unique eco tours in Costa Rica

One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Costa Rica is home to a plethora of experiences.

Whether you’re looking to explore the rainforests, go deep in a bat cave, or try your hand at foraging, here are five of the best eco tours to try in Costa Rica.

Go looking for leaf cutter ants

The dense rainforest houses thousands of species that play an essential role in the ecosystem, including a plethora of insects. With all of Costa Rica’s incredible wildlife, it’s too easy to overlook the smallest creatures, but leafcutter ants are some of the most fascinating animals you will find in Costa Rica.

These ants live within a complex society of their own, and farm mushrooms underground using mulch chewed from leaves stripped from specific plants and trees. In the Sarapiquí region, a unique town and river area in the Heredia Province with incredible biodiversity, guided tours give visitors a close-up look at active leafcutter colonies. Participants will learn about colony caste divisions, see ants cut and transport leaves, and even spot the queen ant – all of which can normally not be seen without the assistance of an expert.

Fungi tour

The rainforests near the equator have some of the highest fungal biodiversity on Earth. Costa Rica’s rainforests are an eco-tourist’s dream and are teeming with fungi kingdoms. Guided excursions to see the fungi of Costa Rica’s rainforests allow for the exploration of areas that are still being actively investigated by scientists, and aid in rainforest conservation efforts.

Tours run throughout the year but are best enjoyed during the nation’s rainy season. There is a wealth of fungi kingdoms to explore, including day-long trails to see the fungi that cling to the oak trees of the Grecia Forest Reserve “Bosque del Niño” or bioluminescent fungi that grow in the cloud forest of Monteverde.

Those staying in San Jose can even embark on these trails in La Cangreja National Park, which is just 20 miles outside of downtown. Costa Rica’s wild fungi trails are aimed at nature enthusiasts, and travellers will have the opportunity to find, identify, photograph, and in certain cases, even taste some of the world’s rarest fungi. The trails feature recreational and educational activities curated to promote the conservation of wild mushrooms at the local level through responsible and sustainable tourism, and local communities and indigenous knowledge are involved and integrated into the entire experience.

Cacao tour

Cacao is grown across the Caribbean and South America but is particularly important in Costa Rica. It was a highly prized and sacred crop among the indigenous Chorotega and Bribri communities and was used as currency by the Chorotega up until the 1930s.

With the creation and popularization of chocolate, the cacao bean became the cash crop of Costa Rica. The provinces of Guanacaste, Alajuela, Limón, Cartago, and Puntarenas, all contain thriving cacao plantations, which are perfect for any chocolate lover. These plantations offer experiences led by experts who will detail the history, culture, and traditions of chocolate and cacao, as well as the hidden secrets of bean fermentation and sun-drying.

Travellers can personally roast and grind cacao beans, and make their own chocolate treats, including traditional Bribri ceremonial drinks.

Discover medicinal plants

More than just a source of natural beauty, plants growing in Costa Rica have long been sources of traditional remedies.

Indigenous populations across the country know how to identify the medicinal properties of the surrounding flora, and much of this knowledge has been passed through generations. To discover the diversity of plant life across regions in Costa Rica, travellers can visit the foothills of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano, La Fortuna, and the Southern Zone, where the indigenous have preserved the integrity of their traditional villages.

Local experts offer hikes and nature walks through forests and fields where they identify the healing powers provided by trees, herbs, roots, and vines. Guides will educate visitors on the medical properties of plants like ginger, moringa, or chaya leaves, and tell the stories of the locals who cultivate them.

The medicinal plants tours are interactive experiences where participants can feel and smell the plants to identify their textures and scent. At the same time, guides will explain how plants can prevent diseases such as cancer, diabetes, allergies, and stress.

Bat tours

Costa Rica has more than 116 species of bats. These mammals control pest populations in crops, such as bananas and mangoes, and pollinate several plant species. In the Monteverde cloud forest or the Sarapiquí region, travellers can find interactive and educational tours led by highly trained and experienced guides that offer a whole new appreciation for these often-misunderstood creatures of the night.

Travellers will learn about the diversity and abundance of bats in Costa Rica, their natural history, classification, adaptations, reproduction, threats, and more. On this tour, visitors will have a safe opportunity to observe some of the bats captured during the evening for research projects. Guests will leave the experience with a greater understanding of bat conservation’s importance and ecological benefits.

The best places to travel in 2023

The arrival of a fresh new year opens the door to endless travel possibilities. What’s hot for 2023 and where are clients ahead? OFFSHORE caught up with multiple travel industry professionals to get the inside scoop on what’s selling and what’s popular.


Tauck’s chief operating officer Jeremy Palmer sees a “continued rebound in travel as we move further past Covid.”

Not only will more people be “coming off the sidelines,” he believes that many who travelled in 2022 will be travelling again in the coming year.

“Europe is a traditional hot spot and it continues to do very well — despite some concerns about the Ukraine war in the eastern areas of Western Europe,” Palmer tells Travel Courier. “Within Europe we’re seeing great interest in both Ireland and Switzerland. Farther afield, our bookings to Japan are very strong, reflecting three years of pent-up demand there.”

For the time being, he says concerns about the economy haven’t had much of an impact on bookings across the North American market.

“People are largely setting aside any financial worries and they’re booking their upcoming trips with real excitement and enthusiasm,” he adds.

European destinations are also boding well for luxury travel advisor Kemi Wells, the founder and president of Wells Luxury Travel.

Portugal continues to be a hot spot and great value for Europe,” she notes. “Croatia and Greece are still hotspots.”

Along with a lot of interest for Dubai, New Zealand and Scotland, Wells reports that expedition cruises are also strong.

“The other big one is Africa for safari,” she shares. “I have younger clients and families prioritizing wanting to make this happen.”

Overall, she’s cautiously optimistic about the year ahead.

“I know there are fears of the recession and we are all feeling the inflation, however, in the ultra-luxury space that my team and I work in, I feel like this bracket of clientele are not holding back and still are spending and are planning to spend in 2023 on these memorable trips,” she says. “Clients are not hesitating to pay our professional planning fees either, we now charge $125 an hour.”

As a whole, Jeff Roy, Collette’s executive vice president of revenue management and pricing, points to Europe for representing the tour operator’s highest volume of travel.

Some of the hottest itineraries for the year are: Greece Island Hopper, Italy’s Amalfi Coast to Puglia, Sicily and Its Isles/Old World Sicily & Malta, Discover Tuscany and Irish Splendour.”

Notably, Roy says tours in Costa Rica and the Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park option are also doing well.

“Aside from Europe, we’ve seen travellers head to explore Africa,” he notes. “Our Colours of Morocco and Exploring South Africa, Victoria Falls, & Botswana Small Group Explorations tours have been specifically popular there.”

From Antarctica and Central America to the Galapagos and Hawaii, Bruce Fougner, the president of Lloyds Travel, says adventure travel destinations and expedition cruises are coming in hot. Active land itineraries like trekking the Camino de Santiago in Spainare also doing well. Notably, he says clients are no longer putting of bucket list trips. 

“The time may be limited to travel to small bucket list destinations where crowds are currently not as regulated — Angkor Wat, Petra and the Serengeti come to mind — and places that either require a permit or are controlled such as Machu Picchu, Egyptian Ruins, and visits to the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, will soon become even more difficult to access and will require serious advance planning,” adds Fougner.

For clients looking to get away from the crowds, he suggest booking in the off season.

“Or look to countries farther afield, in Europe… look to Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Latviafor amazing value,” he says. “For those looking for a beach and adventure vacation, Costa Rica offers much better value than Hawaii; Porto over Paris for great dining and culture; Hanoi instead of Bangkok and Split Croatia instead of Rome.”

Meanwhile, Darci Murray of Personal Travel Management, is seeing demand across destinations that allow travellers to step back in time.

Morocco is really popular. Admiring the methodical process of making rugs… the tanneries and the traditional tea services that take place. Hearing the mosque bells and the sound of prayer,” she says. “Jordan, Turkey and Tanzania are also popular destinations.”

BY: ANN RUPPENSTEIN

B&B mansion in Mexico City reopens with gorgeous renovations

Ignacia Guest House, a boutique bed and breakfast located in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma neighborhood, recently completed an extensive renovation and added four new rooms and additional amenities.

Located in the vibrant Colonia Roma neighborhood, Ignacia Guest House is an exclusive bed and breakfast with just nine suites, uniting Mexican artisan tradition, history and contemporary design. The restoration of this 1913 mansion celebrates the personality of Ignacia, the mansion’s housekeeper for more than 40 years. With terraces and a harmonious chromatic palette, each guest room creates environments in balance with the entire complex. 

Utilizing the lockdown over the past two years to renovate and upgrade, Ignacia Guest House has expanded the exclusive bed and breakfast blending history, Mexican artisan tradition and contemporary design with the addition of four new rooms and outdoor spaces. Originally opening its doors in February 2017, the name is derived from the housekeeper who looked after this 1913 Porfirian mansion for over 40 years, Ignacia. 

Originally occupying half of the Porfirian mansion, Ignacia Guest House contained a master suite, hall, library, dining room, and kitchen in the historic building, and four rooms, each with its own balcony or terrace in the garden area. After acquiring the rest of the property in early 2022, the intimate property expanded its offering with new amenities and four additional rooms.  Two rooms have been restored in the original house, and two rooms have been newly constructed located in the terrace sharing a common outdoor space adorned with fireplaces and a jacuzzi framed by treetops.

For more information, visit www.ignacia.mx.

This 21-day trip to the Arctic costs $187,000—here’s what it gets you

Thoughtfully curated by the luxury hospitality industry veterans of HL Adventures and led by the Arctic’s foremost experts and guides, The North’s bespoke, three-week itinerary for the Arctic Horizon will cover seven wonders spanning the Arctic Circle.

An intimate group of just 50 like-minded adventurers will explore the edge of the world to destinations normally beyond our boundaries. Together they will take in vast landscapes, view majestic wildlife and partake in rare, authentic experiences with local Indigenous communities.

“As a lifelong explorer of the Arctic, my vision is to make the last frontier accessible to a select few who share my passion and respect for these rarely experienced, untouched regions,” said Founder Jón Olafur Magnussen. “What I am sure will be a life-changing adventure for our guests is the culmination of my life’s work. I am confident our team’s meticulous eye for detail will ensure an unrivalled level of service throughout these most extraordinary destinations.”

Private charter

Typically holding well over 300 passengers, a fully customized Boeing 757-200 has been privately chartered from Icelandair and refitted with 50 lie-flat seats for a more relaxing and restful environment.

A personal chef will prepare destination-inspired dishes, while accommodating dietary preferences, requests and restrictions. A dedicated concierge team and on-board hosts will attend to guests’ every wish and desire. Explorers will receive personalized iPads, detailing the day’s schedule, offering an in-flight entertainment system and showcasing a gallery of photos provided each day by The North’s professional photography team.

Armed with more than two decades of destination management experience, the leaders behind this all-new, once-in-a-lifetime adventure have called upon their elite partners to bring together the finest experiences of each destination. This journey to the last great frontier often only exists in the wildest imaginations of even the most adventurous travelers, but through the expertise and experience of The North’s hand-selected partners, The Arctic Horizon will bring this dream to fruition, without compromising on comfort or service.

Itinerary:

Day 1 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Days 2 – 3 – Ilulissat, Greenland
Days 4 – 6 – Sonora, Canada
Days 7 – 10 – Anchorage, Alaska
Champagne Toast Over the North Pole
Days 11 – 14 – Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 15 – 17 – Alta, Norway
Day 18 – 21 – Reykjavik, Iceland

Farewell journey

The trip will conclude with a festive farewell gala dinner at the Arctic Explorers’ Club’s expedition lodge and luxury camp. Founded in 2015, this members-only group of explorers, travellers and friends are a collective of like-minded individuals who have a lifelong interest in the Arctic. In addition to supporting a foundation to educate children around the world about the Arctic, the Club serves as an opportunity for guests to continue their journey together and to create new opportunities each year to further develop knowledge and understanding and explore this world beyond the horizon.

The price of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure is 187,000 USD per person (based on double occupancy; 10 percent supplement applicable for solo travelers). This all-encompassing journey includes travel by privately chartered air, first-class accommodations, all meals, all ground transportation, an extensive selection of excursions and activities, special events and private access, as well as all gratuities.

For more information, visit https://thenorth.is/arctic-horizon