Top Chef Canada winner visits the Caribbean’s culinary capital

With an abundance of fresh seafood, seasonal ingredients and talented chefs, the Cayman Islands is a destination that is home to a fantastic restaurant scene.


The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is using a newly crowned culinary heavy hitter to promote the destination’s culinary scene.

The department held a recent Toronto lunch where the food was prepared by Tre Sanderson, who was recently announced as the winner of the Food Network Canada’s 10th season of Top Chef Canada.

The Caribbean’s culinary capital

Sanderson has visited the Cayman Islands, getting a first-hand look at what the department of tourism labels “the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.”

It marked the first time the popular show filmed an episode internationally.

“As the culinary capital of the Caribbean, we knew that we would be able to provide a unique location for the chefs and production team — with a variety of experiences that showcase the international influences, amazing ingredients and cuisine, island flair and sophisticated infrastructure that sets us apart from other destinations,” Raymond Mathias, who oversees the department’s Canadian office, told the Toronto gathering.

“We were amazed by the creativity of the four remaining contestants as they competed in a variety of challenges across heritage and hospitality sites in Grand Cayman, and explored the farmers’ market, local fish shacks, recreated a garden party reminiscent of events at Cayman Cookout and Taste of Cayman, and even managed to find a few moments to enjoy our glorious beaches.”

Camana Bay Farmer’s & Artisans Market

Dining options in the Cayman Islands also got the thumbs-up from Eric Abboud, vice-president of Insight Productions, producer of Top Chef Canada, who praised the destination for having a “great restaurant scene.”

Mathias, noting it has been nearly three years since his department hosted an event in this country, told those on hand that “we look forward to seeing you in the Cayman Islands again very soon.”

Mathias also congratulated Toronto-based chef Sanderson — who prepared the food served — on his win.

An emotional Sanderson in turn told the gathering that being named Top Chef Canada was a “special moment” for him.

STORY BY: IAN STALKER

Photos courtesy of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Food Network Canada

These are some of the best things to do at Fiji’s Nanuku Resort

After learning I’m the only one who turned up to the studio for morning yoga, instructor Sisilia Cece Nasiga asks if I’d rather do the session in the great outdoors. “Yes!” I exclaim without hesitation — I’m only here for a short time so why be indoors when I could be staring out at the natural beauty of Fiji. 

A few minutes later, the former Olympian, and Commonwealth and Pacific Games medalist is leading me through peaceful stretches and meditation exercises overlooking the scenic coast of the 500-acre Nanuku Resort.  

Feel at home

From the chanting warriors who greeted me upon arrival to the personalized message in stones at the bottom of my private plunge pool arranged to say “Bula Ann,” the team at the luxury retreat on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu is all about making guests feel at home. Here, Bula extends beyond the Fijian greeting for hello and welcome to a sense of belonging. 

Back in my one bedroom villa, I’m faced with my next challenge — deciding between two tempting options — will it be the indoor or the outdoor shower today? Naturally, I keep the trend going and freshen up in the sun surrounded by lush green foliage. This is the life. 

Island oasis 

The next morning, dolphins are jumping out of the water and flipping up in the air before submerging again next to our speedboat, as if to be escorting us on our journey. 

We’re travelling from Nanuku Resort, to another piece of paradise, the nearby uninhabited island of Nanuku, the inspiration behind the resort’s name. 

This lush tropical island is an idyllic day escape for guests offering hammocks in the sand and unbelievable snorkelling and swimming. It’s also possible to spend the night camping under the stars. After a picnic in the sand, I walk around the entire island feeling like I’m living in a postcard. 

You’ve had cava… but have you heard of kava? 

Over breakfast one morning, where my cappuccino is served with my name in the foam, I overhear some guests talking about how they stayed up late over a bowl of cava. In my mind I’m picturing a group of ladies drinking out of a punch bowl with multiple bottles of sparkling wine emptied into it but I’m completely wrong. 

I’m informed that in Fiji it’s all about kava, not cava, an earthy-tasting drink that plays an important role in Fijian culture. It’s customary to sit around a large bowl with a village leader and socially drink kava, which is prepared from the pounded root of a pepper plant species. 

The first chance I get, I try the drink for myself, and it provides a numbing sensation on my tongue. It’s just one of the many immersive experiences that makes my stay memorable from learning how to husk and scrape a coconut, to trying my hand at cooking a meal in bamboo shoots and witnessing a special fire walking ceremony. Another highlight is trying a local delicacy called kokoda, essentially Fijian ceviche with spiced coconut milk.

When departure day arrives too soon, I’m sad to leave, but I’m already devising a plan to come back as the entire staff at the property gathers to sing and see us off as we climb into the bus. 

Getting there: Fiji’s national carrier, Fiji Airways, is gearing up to launch twice-weekly flights from Canada this month. The new nonstop service between Nadi and Vancouver will start on November 25 with the two-cabin class Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Along with operational efficiency and having meals served in biodegradable containers, Fiji Airways is also offsetting its carbon footprint with the ‘A Tree For Every Take Off’ initiative. The airline has planted 55,000 mangroves to date and is targeting another 50,000 over the course of this year. Fiji Airways also offers day trips where customers can plant mangroves to offset their carbon footprint.

Day tripping: Picture a floating thatched bar in the middle of the most serene waters in the Mamanuca Islands, and you’ll find Seventh Heaven. The ultimate day trip is located 45 minutes by boat from Port Denarau, which is in close proximity to Nadi International Airport. The overwater lounge has a bar and restaurant, water activities like snorkelling and stand up paddleboards, and loads of loungers on a two level deck. If you dare, you can jump off the Leap of Faith, a five metre high lookout from the top deck. For those seeking an Instagram-worthy shot, you won’t be able to stop taking pictures!  

What’s in your cup? 

Drink up a local enterprise that’s making a difference on the ground in Fiji

The founding values behind Bula Coffee — a coffee production company in Fiji — extend far beyond providing a good cup of morning joe. As Luke Fryett, whose job title cleverly reads ‘Man on the Ground,’ explains, while giving the world a great shot of coffee, Bula Coffee is “all about giving Fijians a better shot at life.”

What started out over a decade ago as a small enterprise working with one family in one village in Fiji has since expanded across 38 villages and buying coffee off 5,000 people annually — providing a significant number of Fijians with additional sources of revenue.   

“It’s more than money — we exist to give people a hand up — to give people a better shot at life,” he said. “To give people access to education, to give them financial independence. Money matters, but it’s more than money. We are changing lives one cup at a time.”

More recently, Bula Coffee launched the Crop to Cup Coffee Tour, giving travellers “the chance to not only taste Fiji’s wild harvest coffee and see how we process it, but also the chance to become a part of our story, becoming invested in our work and becoming part of the change we are making in Fiji.”

Along with learning about how to get a coffee cherry ready for a morning brew, visitors can learn about how every cup of coffee makes a difference in the local economy. One example of how getting involved in the coffee business has made a positive impact is in a local community where kids would get to their boarding school by floating down the river in a tire — often getting soaked in the process. 

“They used their coffee money to buy every kid in the village a waterproof bag, and a small cooker, so now the older kids can cook for the younger kids, during the week,” he said. “They also built a much better raft with tires all around it secured properly so the kids can keep dry… This is why money matters, but it’s more than money. It’s about empowering communities to keep their kids safe, to keep them dry, to let them have food during the week. Allowing the kids to focus better at school because they aren’t hungry, aren’t worried about their wet clothes. This is why every cup counts.


STORY BY: ANN RUPPENSTEIN


Six stunning rooftop cabins just opened on Australia’s Gold Coast

“The cabins are low-key coastal cool, designed for the modern traveler, exclusive group stays or an innovative event option.”


QT Hotels & Resorts, a hotel operator serving Australia and New Zealand, has unveiled qtQT, an urban green oasis located on the roof of QT Gold Coast.

An immersive concept curated for modern travellers, group getaways or innovative events, qtQT is comprised of six standalone cabins, each of which accommodates up to two guests and features a private balcony with views of the horizon.

“When designing the overall QT Gold Coast upgrade, we identified a previously unused lower-level rooftop,” says Jane Hastings, CEO of EVT, the parent company of QT Hotels & Resorts. “We had been exploring the world of tiny accommodation and standing there as the sun set, we knew this would be the perfect location to trial our interpretation of this experience, the QT way. The cabins are low-key coastal cool, designed for the modern traveler, exclusive group stays or an innovative event option.”
 
 

Natural charm

Designed in consultation with EVT’s longstanding collaborator and award-winning designer, Nic Graham, each cabin at qtQT has its own serene character.
 
The spaces are filled with natural textures, earth tones and linens and amenities from such local favorites as I Love Linen, Saya Skincare and Harvest Clay ceramics.
 
The qtQT Cabins also come equipped with QT Tablets (for in-room dining and other hotel information), Dyson Supersonic hair dryers, Dyson Corrale straighteners (available on request), board games and homemade sweet treats courtesy of QT chefs.
 
 
“This is a place for our guests to simply be – whether it’s an unplugged solo escape or couple’s getaway with guests still accessing all of the designer comforts and culinary creations of QT Gold Coast,” says Callum Kennedy, group general manager of QT Hotels & Resorts.
 

Group getaways 

The cabins at qtQT give guests the choice to either unplug completely with a solo, TV-free stay, or book all six cabins exclusively for a rooftop group hang.
 
Guests can make their stay at qtQT even more unique with Curated Experiences, bespoke activities arranged by their Curator of Sunshine (qtQT’s dedicated concierge), in collaboration with the best local Gold Coast partners.
 
For group retreats, qtQT can set up a whole suite of culinary experiences on The Terrace, while The Landing provides a photo-friendly lawn setup for picnics, wedding parties and other group activities, as well as the perfect spot for sunrise yoga with a view.
 
Rates at qtQT start from AU$359 (approx. US$242) per cabin, per night, with bookings open now for stays starting from December 1, 2022.
 
For more information about qtQT at QT Gold Coast, go to: qtqtgoldcoast.com.

Celebrity Cruises unveils new ports and destinations

Celebrity Cruises has announced its most ambitious season of sailings ever, with nearly 500 sailings for the 2024-2025 season that send the line’s fleet of 16 relaxed luxury ships, including Celebrity AscentSM, the fourth ship in the highly acclaimed Edge Series, to more than 250 destinations in 70 countries.

The new offerings include first-ever homeports for some of Celebrity’s Edge Series ships; new year-round offerings in Europe, with new ports; new overnights and double overnights; and new experiences across the rich cultures of every region while basking in the fullness of the Celebrity cruise experience. 

Highlights of the new 2024-25 season include:

  • Year-round sailings with more than 40 different itineraries in Europe, along with  overnights in 11 of the world’s most popular cities from Lisbon, Portugal, to Istanbul, Turkey, and Reykjavik, Iceland; and brand-new ports of call including Pauillac (Bordeaux), France; Brindisi and Trieste, Italy; and Kavala and Volos, Greece; Cel
  • The Edge Series ships deployed to new regions of the world with Celebrity Edge sailing to Alaska roundtrip from Seattle; and Celebrity ApexTM sailing from London to the Norwegian Fjords and the Arctic Circle, the latter a destination Celebrity hasn’t visited since 2014;
  • Year-round sailings from Asia, including an entire summer of sailings from Tokyo, Japan 
  • New 3-night Caribbean itineraries, complemented by sailings up to 12 nights from four departure ports – Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

“For our 2024/2025 season, we wanted to take our offerings to new heights – all in celebration of our fourth Edge Series ship, Celebrity Ascent, sailing its inaugural season in 2024,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. “There’s truly no better way to see the world’s best places than on the world’s best places where our guests are treated to the accommodations and amenities of a Celebrity ship – a luxury hotel, Michelin-quality dining, and a world-class luxury spa retreat all in one with the world just steps away.” 

A European season like no other

With seven ships, including three Edge Series ships – Celebrity Ascent, Celebrity, BeyondSM, and Celebrity ApexCelebrity Cruises expands on its legacy of award-winning European itineraries with 153 different sailings visiting nearly 100 destinations.  

For the first time ever, an Edge Series ship will homeport outside of London, with Celebrity Apex hosting more Norwegian Fjord sailings than ever before, including a new, 12-night Norwegian Fjord and Arctic Circle itinerary.

Celebrity Ascent will embark on its inaugural European season with itineraries visiting culturally rich cities throughout Spain, Italy, France and Greece; while Celebrity Beyond will embark on 10- and 11-night itineraries to Greece, Istanbul, Naples, and more. Additional itinerary options include sailings throughout Scandinavia, along with special sailings to Egypt and Israel.

Homeporting in Tokyo (Yokohama) from April 2024 to October 2024, the newly revolutionized Celebrity Millennium will sail 12-night itineraries, immersing guests in the physical and cultural beauty of Japan from the awe-inspiring Mt. Fuji, to the quiet temples and bamboo groves of Kyoto, with each sailing including overnight stays in Osaka. Special sailings immerse guests in the country’s renowned summer festivals culture including Golden Week in May.  

Following its season in Japan, Celebrity Millennium will join Celebrity Solstice providing guests an opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural offerings of Southeast Asia on 11- to 14 night sailings visiting 32 destinations across Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and more from September 2024 to April 2025.

Roundtrip from Seattle, Celebrity Edge – the first Edge Series ship to sail to Alaska – will take guests on 7-night itineraries to the pristine Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier, complete with breathtaking views and gushing waterfalls, with stops in Victoria, British Columbia, and Ketchikan. Joined by Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Solstice, together, they will offer 57 sailings and an array of 6- to 8-night itineraries from May to September 2024.

For the 2024-25 season, eight Celebrity ships, including three Edge Series ships – Celebrity Ascent, Celebrity Beyond, and Celebrity Apex – will offer itineraries ranging from 3-night weekend getaways to longer 12-night voyages. Itinerary offerings include:

  • Celebrity Ascent – making her Caribbean debut with rotating 7-night Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries, visiting the picturesque ports of St. Thomas and St. Maarten, or the historic Georgetown, Grand Cayman and the unique landscape of Labadee, Haiti, where beachside meets mountside;
  • Celebrity Beyond – sailing 10- and 11-night itineraries to the Southern Caribbean, visiting St. George, Grenada; St. John’s Antgua, St. Maarten, and more. For those looking to check off a bucket list destination, Celebrity Beyond will also take guests to see the modern marvel that is the Panama Canal;
  • Celebrity Apex – transporting guests on a 7-night itinerary to some of the most sought-after destinations in the region including Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Labadee, Haiti; Key West, Bimini, Bahamas; St. Kitts, Tortola, and more;

Additional sailings include:

  • Celebrity Edge returning for her second season Down Under, embarking on a selection of 3- to 14-night itineraries starting October 2024 and running through April 2025. 
  • Setting sail to the Galapagos aboard one of the brand’s three uniquely intimate and stunning shipsCelebrity Flora, Celebrity Xpedition or Celebrity Xploration – on six or seven-night itineraries carefully curated to ensure wanderlust travelers experience all this extraordinary archipelago offers. Every sailing includes an option to extend the experience on land.
  • Celebrity Equinox embarking on her inaugural season in South America, including a 14-night itinerary exploring the beauty of Patagonia, Argentina and Antarctica, as well as taking in a tango show or surfing the beautiful beaches of Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Celebrity Eclipse making her Northeast debut, sailing to Canada and New England; Greenland and Iceland; and offering 7-night Bermuda itineraries from the New York area.

Nicaragua is brimming with natural experiences: here are our top picks

Nicaraguan tourism officials say it can be incredibly uplifting to rapidly go downhill in the Central American nation.

Ana Garcia of the Nicaraguan Tourism Board noted during a recent Toronto event that adventurous sorts vacationing in her homeland can spend some 45 minutes hiking up 728-meter-high active volcano Cerro Negro and then slide down its steep slopes on a sled made in part of plywood and partly of metal, possibly hitting speeds of around 93 kph while doing so.

The sledders wear special suits and goggles to protect themselves from what’s described as a “gravelly, basaltic surface.” And, continued Garcia, that sort of exhilarating activity underscores Nicaragua’s adventurous side, with adventure tourism being one of many sides to her homeland.

The board is also promoting the natural side of a country that has 26 volcanoes, 7 of them active; a freshwater lake with sharks; 74 protected areas; 4 biospheres; and 200 private wildlife retreats.

“We’ve come out of the shadow of Costa Rica and Nicaragua can stand on its own,” Marlon Moreno of Moreno + Co. — which represents Nicaragua in this country — told those on hand.

Nicaragua borders Costa Rica, which is widely seen as a pioneer in eco-tourism. Nicaragua offers the same types of landscapes and wildlife that have long been attracting people to Costa Rica.

Moreno added that Nicaragua has beautiful beaches and is a “very cultural” part of the world, with colonial architecture being found in the cities of Leon and Granada. He said Nicaragua has a thriving farm-to-table scene and the country also is producing quality rum, coffee and cigars. Nicaragua’s Pacific coast is home to the 293-unit, all-inclusive Barcelo Montelimar — part of Spanish chain Barcelo — but Moreno said the country is more focused on boutique hotels.

Among those on hand for the gathering was Roberto Yanqui of Martour International, who labelled Nicaragua a “very unspoiled” part of the world with nice beaches and colonial cities. Nicaragua is one of the world’s premier surfing destinations, Yanqui continued and added it offers a lot of spa and yoga retreats, among them the Canadian-owned Coco Loco, which Martour recently took a group booking for.

Michele Martinson of Aeromexico in turn said Nicaragua is a “really great option for people looking for a new vacation opportunity.” Moreno said those vacationing in Nicaragua will encounter lodging options that range from backpacker retreats that may be available for as little as $10 a night to the incredibly swank Leading Hotels of the World member Calala Island, an exclusive island retreat.

Nicaragua can be reached from Mexico City with Aeromexico, Copa Airlines from Panama City, El Salvador and Miami with Avianca and American Airlines will return to Managua in November. Those wanting to enter the country must show proof of vaccination or receive a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before their departure.

Nicaragua saw political unrest several years ago but Moreno and Garcia said the country is now quiet and there’s no need for tourists to be uneasy about their visit.

BY: IAN STALKER

Nassau’s only boutique beach hotel is now taking reservations

Goldwyn Resort is now accepting reservations for arrivals beginning Feb. 1, 2023.
 
Perched on a pristine stretch of Cable Beach, this resort is an intimate, modern retreat that stands in contrast to the large resorts of Nassau and departs from the traditional beachside aesthetic.
 
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Goldwyn Resort is designed with a nod to the seaside travel of yesteryear combined with the best in today’s luxury travel. Designed to celebrate the nostalgia of a grand era of travel, Wynn Hospitality LTD. presents their spin on a luxury Bahamian holiday with privacy and personal service, world-class cuisine and an epic sea side location.
 
“It is with very good reason that we welcome Goldwyn Resort & Residences to Small Luxury Hotels of the World as our one and only property in the Bahamas: the new beachside luxury retreat offers a more authentic, boutique island resort experience than the much larger neighboring Nassau properties,” said Kenan Simmons, Senior Vice President, Americas, of Small Luxury Hotels ofthe World. “From its beautifully appointed oversized rooms and contemporary island living philosophy, Goldwyn is an ideal partner to continue to bring discerning SLH members the smaller, independent luxury travel experiences that they desire.”
 
Goldwynn Resort will feature 81 studios, one- two- and three-bedroom suites, and three expansive Edge suites. The three-bedroom signature Goldwynn Suite is the ultimate in an oceanfront resort stay, with 1,940 square feet of interior space, three balconies, two terraces and 270 degrees ofunobstructed ocean views. All studios and suites feature full kitchens or kitchenettes, private balconies and views of the Bahamian ocean or manicured golf course. The inviting accommodations showcase locally curated artwork, rich textures, bespoke design elements and a dazzling palette of bright whites, cool blues, and sun-kissed metallics that capture the colour journey of a typical Bahamian day.
 
 
The resort’s signature restaurant, OIA, will offer a fusion of flavors influenced by MediterrAsian specialties, and rooted in Japanese traditions of preparation and presentation. OlA’s panoramic oceanfront views are shared with Bar Paul, a casual lounge by day and energizing space by night. Amara, an open-air eatery located on the infinity-pool deck, serves light fare and libations overlooking the Cable Beach coastline. Guests can opt to dine poolside in a private, butler-serviced cabana, just steps from the water’s edge. Atria is a stylish, yet unpretentious casual hub infused with natural light and showcases the world’s tallest indoor relief sculpture – a spectacular five-story art installation by Bahamian master artist, Kishan Munroe.
 
Mangrove Spa welcomes guests to a holistic ecosystem where they can stabilize and maintain their well-being through the power of touch, ancient rituals and mind body wellness technologies. Treatments are designed with Pevonia, Dermalogica, and Biologique Recheche products to deliver a high-quality spa experience, bringing guests to a new level of peace and relaxation. This intimate and sophisticated sanctuary includes three treatment rooms (including one couple’s suite), a nail and hair salon where guests can enjoy multiple simultaneous salon treatments and an outdoor cabana where guests can bask in the beautiful Bahamian seaside atmosphere.
 
The stunning beachfront location, merely 50 feet away from the turquoise waters, will accommodate small weddings, corporate events and a wide array of special occasions, celebrations and memorable
escapes. The Goldwynn Resort’s private yet prime location is just fifteen minutes from Linden Pindling International Airport and ten minutes from downtown Nassau. Goldwyn Resort is dedicated to providing the best in-class luxury service and experience in the region. Guests are invited to make every minute on property second to none.

This hotel in Grand Cayman is home to the island’s only sushi spot

With travellers permitted to enter the Cayman Islands without the need of any additional documents or health-related steps due to COVID-19, the destination is open for business and Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa is welcoming all travellers looking for a luxurious and memorable Caribbean getaway.   

Occupying the most expansive stretch of Grand Cayman’s famed Seven Mile Beach, the beachfront Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa features 343 guestrooms and suites, boasting the island’s largest inventory of guest rooms on Seven Mile Beach with Caribbean Sea views.  

Guests also have access to an array of wellness amenities including a daily activities schedule, morning beach yoga, a 24-hour WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, The Hibiscus Spa, featuring 13 treatment rooms and a menu of over 60 wellness treatments, as well as a recently renovated freshwater pool – the largest in Grand Cayman. With Red Sail Sports located on the property’s beach, guests are also just steps away from an array of watersports activities.  

Travellers arriving to Grand Cayman will now have access to the island’s only restaurant specializing in sushi, ceviche, and poke with Westin Grand Cayman’s woto, which officially opened in June 2021. Led by Chef Ronald DeLa Torre and his award-winning culinary team, woto offers the freshest and most delectable chef-crafted sushi, ceviche, and poke the island has to offer. A new Sunday Brunch offering, available for hotel guests and locals, is available at woto from 12 – 3 p.m. with a choice of three menu items, a dessert and bottomless prosecco for $75 per person. Woto is also open daily from 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm. 

The property is also home to the Cayman Coffee Exchange, which recently underwent a one-million-dollar renovation. The grab-and-go café is the perfect place for guests to stop by for a quick pick-me-up as they head off for a day of sightseeing in the Cayman Islands. Cayman Coffee Exchange offers freshly brewed coffee, pastries, breakfast burritos and more.  

News of the removal of travel restrictions comes at a perfect time as Cayman Airways will start offering nonstop flights to Grand Cayman from Los Angeles International Airport on Nov.5, 2022, making travel from the West Coast to the Cayman Islands much easier.  

In honor of the new flight option, Westin Grand Cayman is offering a 20 per cent discount and a $300 resort credit per stay (with six-night min) now through Nov. 30 for guests booking a stay from Nov. 6, 2022 – March 4, 2023 traveling via Cayman Airways’ new direct flights. The promotion can be accessed with promo code YX1 as well as via booking page and boarding passes must be presented upon check in. 

A legendary property gets a Mayan makeover in Mexico

On 25 May 2023, the Riviera Maya will welcome the much-anticipated return of Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, the storied hideaway in the beating heart of the Riviera Maya.

Nestled between 200 acres of lush tropical jungle and the secluded white sands of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the legendary property has been completely reimagined with Mayan culture at its core – and will be the first, extensive transformation within Belmond’s North America portfolio, under LVMH ownership.

This new chapter of Maroma will reveal 10 new waterfront suites, a nature-focussed wellness experience in partnership with Guerlain, ground-breaking sustainability initiatives and a new gastronomic era under Mexican-born Executive Chef Daniel Camacho.

A Mayan legend, reborn

Internationally renowned designer, Tara Bernerd, is at the helm of the comprehensive restoration, working hand-in-hand with local artisans to honour Mexican heritage. Blending contemporary craft with the careful sourcing of indigenous materials, the team will create timeless spaces that are authentic to their roots and channel the healing energy of the locale. The original design and architecture of the property have been preserved, including the white stucco buildings, aligned to the Sacred Geometry of Mayan masonry.

Curved lines and organic forms inspired by the property’s wild surrounds inform the harmonious indoor-outdoor flow of rooms, suites and villas. An unrivalled beach resort, each of the 72 accommodations are spread across Maroma’s private stretch of sand – of which three quarters now have ocean views, including a spacious new waterfront suite complete with private pool and garden.  The property’s three pools have been completely redesigned, featuring Sukabumi tiles hand-made from volcanic stone, in the same vibrant turquoise tones as the region’s many natural cenotes. 

Colourful & contemporary cuisine

Mexican-born Executive Chef Daniel Camacho will continue his legacy of celebrating his country’s rich culinary diversity at Casa Mayor restaurant. Working on a sustainable provenance approach, 90 per cent of ingredients will be sourced from Mexico and almost half from the Yucatán peninsula.

A proud member of #PescaConFuturo, promoting sustainable fishery and aquaculture, freshly caught seafood will be sourced from Amigos de Sian Ka’an. Reinventing traditional Mexican cuisine, colourful dishes will range from seafood towers and Michoacan corundas, to Jalisco-style Birria and chocolate cake with Oaxacan black mole, flamed with house mezcal.  

For the perfect sundowner, Bambuco offers a more casual affair, where seasonal herbal drinks made fresh from the garden sit alongside Mexican wines, tequila cocktails, and an extensive selection of Mezcal. The legendary beach hangout, Freddy’s Bar will continue to channel the vibrant spirit of the Riviera Maya, filled with live music and DJ sets, fresh seafood and cocktails. 

For more information, click here

In the Cayman Islands, you’ll find a rum that’s been aged 42-feet under the sea

The Cayman Islands is home to a rum with a unique aging process. Seven Fathoms rum — which takes its name from the depth at which the rum has been aged — is the only spirit producer in the world to age its rum underwater.

“The term Fathom is a unit of measurement, roughly the length of one’s outstretched arms. This was most commonly used to measure rope, which was once one of the main industries of the Cayman Islands many years ago,” says Walker Romanica, owner and distiller of Cayman Spirits Co., which produces the rum. “So Seven Fathoms, or 42 feet, is the approximate depth at which we aged a portion of the rum that goes into every blending of Seven Fathoms Rum.”

The rum is aged under the sea in American white oak bourbon casks where it is rocked by underwater currents to mimic a concept that dates back to the golden age of rum.

“The concept of aging underwater goes back to a time when there was something called Ocean Rum, or Dock Rum, which was a term given to barrels of rum that had made a voyage in a barrel across the ocean,” he says. “People knew this rum had aged better because on the ship it had been rocked by the sea. This stirring of the barrel and the rum is called agitation and it is something many distilleries seek to achieve today, we are just doing it in a unique way, using what we have naturally available to us here in the Cayman Islands.”

Although some European wineries and cava producers have started aging their products underwater, Cayman Spirits Co. remains the exclusive spirit producer to use this method. 

“A few whiskies and even some beers have also ventured to ship their liquid in barrels on ships circumventing the globe, to achieve a similar effect,” he says. 

To get a taste of the unique rum firsthand, the distillery offers tours Monday through Saturday “where you can come and get the full experience of the rum at Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery.”

In addition to Seven Fathoms Rum, visitors can also sample a variety of spirits that are only made and sold in Cayman, including some seasonal specialties only available certain times a year like Mango Brandy and Scotch Bonnet Vodka.

 

Here are some of the best tips for a successful sports fishing trip to the Bahamas

The Bahamas is a destination associated with blissful relaxation and lazy days of sunbathing on pristine sandy beaches. For a certain subset of travelers, the ideal Bahamian trip involves less time on the island and more time spent miles offshore on a charter fishing boat. The Bahamas is a sportfishing hotspot, drawing both veteran and aspiring anglers from far and wide with the promise of exhilarating big game fishing. We’ve got you covered if you’re interested in going out on the open waters on your own deep-sea odyssey but don’t know where to start. Here, we present a beginner’s guide to deep-sea fishing in The Bahamas…and how you might reel in a majestic tuna, wahoo or mahi-mahi that lives up to their legendary reputation!

What is deep sea fishing?

To start, you’ll need to understand what deep sea fishing is all about. If you’re picturing a small tin boat on a placid lake, you’re mistaken. Deep sea fishing often takes place in ocean waters about 100 feet deep so that anglers can target the largest sporting fish. You’ll definitely have to put in the work to catch these species; some specimens easily weigh over 100 pounds. Many prized fish caught off the shores of The Bahamas have tipped the scales at over 300 pounds, meaning reeling one in is a test of mental and physical strength.

If your heart is set on catching a legendary big fish, let’s dive in deeper about how to actually do so. Within The Bahamas, there are many favourable areas in which to go deep- sea fishing. Picking a perfect fishing spot is tough, but some of the best in The Bahamas are the waters around Bimini, Treasure Cay, the channel between Andros and Nassau and the Exuma trough. As a beginner, your best bet is to find a great charter with an even better guide to help you navigate the waters. As you might expect, we’ve prepared a helpful list for you below.

How to choose a charter

You can’t go wrong stepping aboard any of these trusty charters. For new and even experienced anglers, they represent one of the most consistent ways to return to shore with an impressive catch:

Yellowtail Charters

You’ll find family-owned Yellowtail Charters in Nassau. This deep-sea fishing business runs on three generations of sportfishermen with significant experience navigating the waters offshore. The expertise and knowledge of the captains at Yellowtail Charters will maximise your potential for catching big fish. If you want to experience the excitement that comes along with a deep-sea fishing trip, this is the charter for you!

Hunter Charters 

You’re bound to have a blast during a day out with Hunter Charters. The captains at Hunter Charters take pride in giving guests an incredible fishing experience. The owner and operator of Hunter Charters, Paul Smith, has been fishing in Nassau since 1979. The experienced crew takes their guests only 15 minutes off the shore of Nassau for some of the best deep-sea fishing in The Bahamas. Come aboard their clean, modern charters for some world-class fishing!

Chubasco Charters 

With over 30 years in the boat chartering business, Chubasco Charters has been joyfully guiding visitors on their fleet of four sportfishing boats. Chubasco Charters has made quite a name for itself in the deep-sea fishing industry and often sets annual catch records. If you want to get in on the action, Chubasco Charters will be delighted to share in the joys of deep-sea fishing. They prioritise their visitors, so you can expect nothing but smooth sailing on your deep-sea fishing adventure with Chubasco Charters.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect charter, you’re well on your way to making a big catch. You can prepare for your trip in several ways, so we’ve compiled a few tips to ensure your success!

What to bring on the boat

It’s not just about choosing the right rod. There are a number of elements to consider when prepping for what can be a long day at sea:

Clothing 

Clothing is very much weather-dependent. On a hot sunny day, you’ll want to bring a light, breathable long-sleeve t-shirt to protect your skin from the sun. Consider also wearing shorts on hotter days and on cooler days, opt for pants. Also, bring additional layers like a windbreaker and an extra shirt. Ultimately, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting fish slime on!

Sunscreen

There’s not much to elaborate on here, but most definitely bring sunscreen. We suggest also bringing sunglasses and a baseball hat or any other brimmed hat! You don’t want to burn, and a brim may keep any sea spray out of your eyes.

Food and Drinks

Many charters offer everything needed for a fantastic fishing trip, like food and drinks. Check out the website of the charter you’re using for specific details. If food and drink aren’t included, you’ll want to bring plenty of drinking water, snacks and lunch for a more extended trip. It takes a lot of energy to reel in a truly massive fish!

After preparing and planning for your first deep-sea fishing trip, it’s time for the real fun! On the day of your journey into the bright waters of the Atlantic Ocean, you can expect plenty of excitement! Bring your camera because this will be a day you won’t want to forget!

Getting there:

  • Daily flights from Toronto to Nassau with either Air Canada or WestJet.  
  • 2-3 flights weekly from Montreal to Nassau with Air Canada beginning Nov. 5.
  • Weekly Air Canada flights from Toronto to Great Exuma beginning Nov. 13.
  • Weekly WestJet flights from Calgary to Nassau beginning Nov. 26.
  • Weekly Sunwing flights to Freeport, Grand Bahama from Toronto & Montreal beginning Dec. 17.