Inside Sardinia’s newest luxury beachfront resort

7Pines Resort Sardinia, a luxury beachfront resort overlooking the archipelago of La Maddalena officially opened in early August.

Offering unparalleled tranquility and laid-back luxury on one of Europe’s most distinctive coastlines, 7Pines Resort Sardinia represents the first hotel in Italy to join the Destination by Hyatt portfolio, as well as the first Hyatt-affiliated hotel in Sardinia. The official opening demonstrates Hyatt’s ongoing commitment to growing its luxury brands in the most sought-after destinations.

The resort is situated in Baja Sardinia on the Costa Smeralda, just 10 minutes from the Porto Cervo neighborhood. The 76-room property is built within centuries-old rock formations with paths that weave through verdant gardens out to the resort’s five secluded and unspoiled beaches, near wild coves and brilliant blue coastline. Thanks to the resort’s on-site yachting services, guests can explore the emerald lagoons and heavenly beaches of the La Maddalena archipelago, which is a 20-minute boat ride away.

Stylish rooms

Piazza Martiri 7 authentically designed the 76 guestrooms with locally crafted features made from natural materials unique to Sardinia and include bespoke weavings, light fixtures and furniture created from the island’s juniper trees. The natural materials echo in the neutral tones of the rooms, immersing visitors to the lush landscape of the resort’s 37-acre (15-hectare) gardens. The Sea Views rooms, the Suite Del Principe, and the 731-foot (68-square meter) Suite Smeralda overlook the resort’s quiet beaches and have direct beach access.

Elevated cuisine

7Pines Resort Sardinia’s three restaurants take guests on a journey of discovery through the finest local flavors and ingredients. The hotel’s main restaurant, Capogiro, offers seasonal dishes with the freshest produce that has been grown and caught locally. In the Cone Club, a day-to-night concept with a full-service beach bar, restaurant, bar and club, famed chef Tohru Nakamura collaborates with the best local producers for a truly Sardinian casual dining experience, complimented by mixologist Philip Bischoff’s signature cocktail menu. At Spazio, the poolside restaurant, guests find daytime refreshments and informal lunch options, while the Beach Bar delivers drinks directly to their cabana. The Terrace Bar promises incomparable sunset views – aperitif or exotic cocktail in hand.

 

For more information on the hotel, click here!

A view from the water of a town of colourful buildings are built along the steep incline of a cliff.

A look at the most popular places to travel from Canada

According to new research from First in Service Travel LTD (F1S), Italy, France and Greece are the top international destinations Canadian advisors are booking and recommending.

“With all the pent-up demand for travel, coupled with the Canadian dollar’s stronger performance against the euro over the past year, it’s no surprise that Europe is performing so well,” explained Fernando Gonzalez, chief executive officer for F1S, one of North America’s largest independent travel agencies. “Italy has once again claimed its place among the world’s premier destinations, thanks to its stunning scenery, exquisite culture and history, epicurean delights, and extraordinary people.”

Findings from the recent survey had F1S travel advisors name the top three international destination they were booking for 2022. Among international destinations, 72.7% of the advisors named Italy as one of their top destinations, followed by France (45.5%) and Greece (27.3).

“Italy is always a winner,” added F1S advisor Willa Griffin. Advisor Waldo Wohl concurred, offering a simple explanation that “Italy is always Italy.”

Gonzalez indicated that the biggest surprise internationally for the year is the popularity of Greece. “Whether it’s the culture of ancient cities like Athens or the allure of the islands, Greece has really taken off over the past couple years. It was able to take hold during the pandemic and has maintained its strong forward momentum this year,” he said.

F1S advisor Marisa Wise added that she is booking “lots of Santorini. Its views and food are amazing. Also, Greek island cruising is super popular.”

First in Service advisors in Canada were also asked which “under the radar” destinations they are booking most internationally. Colombia and Portugal were tied for first place, with 27.3% of advisors recommending each. 

“Travel to the United States and cruising have both been on the rebound,” Gonzalez added. “Additionally, we will soon issue the trends we are seeing specifically for domestic travel within Canada.”

F1S advisor George Alexandrou is among those recommending Colombia because “it has a great mix of culture, adventure and direct flights.” Meanwhile, Portugal is recommended by F1S advisor Christina Gula, who said, “Portugal is a beautiful country with lots to offer. Great scenery, food and culture.”

Most popular travel picks

Each surveyed advisor was also asked to name the single most popular international destination they are specifically booking for Canadian clients on each continent and other major regions globally.

The top picks were:

  • Africa: South Africa
  • Asia: Thailand
  • Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific: Australia
  • Caribbean: St. Barths
  • Central America: Costa Rica
  • Europe: Italy
  • Middle East: Israel
  • North America: United States
  • South America: Colombia

Willa Griffin, who helps lead the agency in Canada, pointed out that they’ve seen a major uptick in last minute bookings with borders reopening.

“I think it’s been a combination of pent up demand and the feeling that the world might close down again,” Griffin shared. “Personally, I feel like things will regulate themselves again very soon. This spring and summer were all about having the freedom to travel again. Moving forward, I think people will again start to plan ahead, maybe not like they used but will want to ensure that they get what they want from their travel dollars. I am already seeing very limited availability for festive which to me is a very good sign.”

 

The 25Hours Hotel in Florence, Italy, forces guests to spend a night in Heaven or Hell

A new opening by 25hours Hotels in Florence, Italy is anything but cookie cutter — giving guests the chance to stay in Heaven or Hell.

Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, rooms at 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino are divided into two styles: Inferno and Paradiso. Milan-based designer Paola Navone created the red Inferno rooms with velvet curtains and black bed linen.

The Paradiso spaces are meant to be cloud-white retreats with ethereal blue accents.

The stylish 171 room property features a classic Negroni bar, a sauna with relaxation room, a gym, a seasonal Italian restaurant focusing on Tuscan cuisine, a typical alimentari – a grocery store for the neighbourhood, and a lively piazza that serves a small selection of food and drinks to suit the time of day.

The hotel, which represents the brand’s first property in Italy, is in close proximity to Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the main train station. Whether you opt for heaven or hell, the character of 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino makes for a memorable and highly photogenic place to spend the night.

To learn more about the 25hours Hotel San Paolino, click here.

THE BEST OF “Bubble Travel”

QUESTION:

What’s better than spending time with your family-and-friend bubble in Muskoka?

ANSWER:

Taking the Holiday of a lifetime with your bubble to that bucket-list destination you have always dreamed about!

The term “bubble travel,” referring to travellers who want the safety and security of travelling within their own trusted circle of family and friends, may have emerged from pandemic life, but Goway Travel, one of North America’s most experienced travel companies, has been specializing in private guided journeys, personalized vacations, and tailor-made tours to exotic destinations for more than 50 years.  

“My best ever vacations have been with our family and close friends,” says Bruce Hodge, founder and president of Goway Travel. “When our children were teenagers, we did a private-guided, personalized safari with friends – just us, our two families – in Botswana. It was magical. Then there was the private villa in Tuscany, the jungles of Ecuador combined with a Galapagos cruise, and a river cruise in Myanmar where we were swarmed by locusts one evening. Just a few of the wonderful places and interesting experiences we have been fortunate to share with family and friends.” 

After more than a year of lockdown and with an end to travel restrictions in sight, isn’t it time to start planning your ultimate pandemic payback trip? Well, when you’re ready to travel again, Goway is ready to help. Contact your favourite travel professional or a Destination Specialist at Goway (1-800-387-8850 or info@goway.com) and be sure to mention “Muskoka challenge.” 

GET INSPIRED

Looking for a little inspiration? Visit goway.com for a list of all the world-wide destinations Goway offers. In the meantime, here are a few of our top travel ideas to whet your appetite for travel: 

DESTINATIONS TO BRAG ABOUT

Like Easter Island, Chile; Papua New Guinea; Arnhemland, Australia; Komodo Island, Indonesia; and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda.

ULTIMATE ISLANDS ESCAPES

To Tahiti, the Maldives, Bali, or the Greek islands.

BOUTIQUE & PRIVATE CRUISING

In the Fiji islands, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, or the Galapagos Islands.

PRIVATE LUXURY SAFARIS

In east and southern Africa, in Australia’s Outback, or across India.

DIFFERENT RIVER CRUISES

On the Amazon, Mekong, and River Nile by Dahabiya.

LUXURY & UNIQUE TRAIN JOURNEYS

On the Venice Simplon Orient Express, Eastern & Oriental Express, Tsar’s Gold Trans Siberia, Pride of Africa, and the Indian Pacific.

MEET BRUCE!

Bruce, a young research economist from Australia, became a tour guide in Europe, where he met his future wife, Claire, from South Africa – soon after (1970), they immigrated to Canada and started Goway Travel. One of their ultimate highlight trips was personally escorting a 30-day luxury Cape-to-Cairo journey in 2016. The Hodge family owns a cottage on Lake Rosseau.

The Riches of Rome

When you think of Rome, art and history come to mind, sure, but the Eternal City is a hub of glamour, fashion, refinement, and sophistication, too. Rome offers even the most demanding travellers a rich panorama of high-quality lifestyle experiences, making a trip to the Italian capital truly unforgettable. 

WHERE TO START

Start your trip at the top, Rome’s famous Terrazza del Pincio. Take in views of the city while strolling these magnificent gardens that retain much of their 16th-century appearance and character. Caffè Colbert deserves a stop among its ancient statues, coloured cushions, and wrought iron sofas. A little further on, Casina Valadier, the masterpiece designed by the neoclassical architect of the same name, houses a renowned restaurant. 

CITY CENTRE

At the foot of the Spanish Steps – between Via Condotti, Via Borgognona, and Via Frattina – is Rome’s luxury shopping destination. Here you will find a succession of elegant jewellers, ateliers, artisans, and boutiques, both Italian and international. Don’t miss Peppino Capuano jewellery or Atelier Maria Fiorello before taking a break at Caffè Greco, the second oldest Italian café and favourite meeting place of intellectuals and artists from the 18th century. Bespoke shoe brand Marini crafts each hand-made pair from personalized measurements. Find art galleries along Via Margutta before heading to Atelier Cristina Bomba with a knitwear collection designed in-house from a selection of noble natural yarns. Moving towards Via di Monserrato, you’ll find Maison Halaby, a fashion and accessories workshop, the Soledad Twombly atelier featuring mini kimono-style jackets and tunics of antique ikat, creative jewellery by Fabio Salini, and Chez Dede’s exclusive collections of accessories, fashion, and furnishings. 

ANCIENT HISTORY

Rome abounds with ancient ruins around every corner, but along the Tiber River you’ll find two of the most important monuments celebrating the great Emperor Augustus. Under his rule, Rome was enriched with numerous new and splendid buildings that transformed the city into an imperial capital that can still be admired today. The Ara Pacis celebrates the Augustan peace with scenes carved into the marble depicting sacrifices of magistrates, priests, and vestal virgins. And the Mausoleum of Augustus, having just been brought back to life by an excellent restoration, bears witness to the Emperor’s desire to bind himself to the city and its people in perpetuity.

EXCLUSIVE DINING TERRACES

Set on seven hills, Rome is a city of panoramas, and you’ll find many of the most incredible vantage points at Rome’s famed hotels and their luxurious restaurants. Lunch and dinner options abound. Enjoy a dinner of seasonal Mediterranean cuisine at La Terrazza Restaurant at Hotel Eden. Or Hotel de la Ville welcomes guests throughout the day with a variety of delicious menus and one of the most spectacular views from their Cielo Terrace. Located on a quiet street in the epicenter of Rome, the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese is within walking distance of some of the city’s best-known monuments like the Trevi Fountain, Villa Medici, and the Spanish Steps, but the pride of this hotel is Settimo, an elegant restaurant and bar and one of the highest rooftop restaurants in the city. For dinner, try La Pergola at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the only three-star restaurant in the capital or the Michelin-starred Restaurant Imago, on the sixth floor of the Hotel Hassler, which guarantees impeccable service and views. 

WHERE TO FINISH

No need to languish at the airport, instead, immerse yourself in the glossy world of famous Italian high fashion houses. The Tax Free Mall, located at International Boarding Area E of Fiumicino Airport, boasts more than 50 shops, from haute couture brands to exclusive perfumes to fine dining. For a personalized experience, let a personal shopper assist you, but be sure to book in advance. 



DID SOMEONE SAY Aperitif?

Like so many southern Europeans, after a long day of work or shopping, Italians love to indulge in an aperitif before dinner. Here are a few favourites… 

LUMEN COCKTAILS & CUISINE

is unmissable!

LUMEN COCKTAILS & CUISINE

When the St. Regis Rome Sabering ritual announces the arrival of the evening, this becomes the place to be for drinks and small snacks.

STRAVINSKIJ BAR

of the Hotel de Russie

STRAVINSKIJ BAR

is one of the most evocative meeting places in Rome for its unmistakable style and wonderful private garden located at the foot of the Terrazza del Pincio.

NH COLLECTION

NH COLLECTION ROMA PALAZZO CINQUECENTO

NH COLLECTION

offers regional cuisine surrounded by lush gardens that boast ancient ruins - a stretch of the Servian Walls dating back to the 6th century BC – or relax with a drink on the terrace while breathing in magical views of the city.
Grab an aperitif at the decadent Lumen restaurant