Hot Travel Tickets for March

03/05/2014 12:00 AM

03/06/2014 10:29 AM

A Pair of Ferragamos

Fashion’s Ferragamo family may have kicked off its empire with shoes, so to speak, but it’s quickly expanding as a hospitality powerhouse on its home turf. Massimo Ferragamo, chairman of Ferragamo USA, owns the 4,000-acre Tuscan estate Castiglion del Bosco ( www.castiglion, which this spring will launch a cooking school program devoted to Tuscany’s “forgotten flavors.” That’s the cuisine your nonna (grandmother) would have made — from preserves to stock — if she had a kitchen garden planted with 180 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Back in Florence, the family’s Lungarno Collection of hotels in May will add Portrait Firenze (, a 34-suite riverside address channeling mid-century glamour that overlooks the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge.

Happy Birthday, Beverly Hills

The tony town of Beverly Hills is celebrating its 100th birthday by doing what comes naturally: dressing up. Five of the city’s best hotels have each decorated a suite in retro styles that capture various periods in the past century. Montage Beverly Hills’ Film Noir Suite channels the mirrored and metallic shine of the 1940s. The Marilyn Monroe-inspired suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows features shag carpets, curvaceous furnishings and a library of related artifacts, books and films. The Beverly Hilton’s ’60s-themed suite is trimmed in Hollywood Regency style. The Studio 54-inspired room at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills features an iPad photo booth and Ultrasuede upholstery. And the Peninsula Beverly Hills (pictured) showcases the high gloss of 1991 in a suite clad in photographic murals of a red carpet gala. Suites from $1,914;

Going Ape

For those to whom the Big Five are familiar, apes are the new must-sees of the safari world. Among outfitters offering new primate-focused trips, Austin Adventures has designed a seven-day journey in the Republic of Congo to see the western lowland gorillas in Odzala-Kokoua National Park (from $8,598 per person, double occupancy, Guests will spend two to five hours many days tracking gorillas on foot in the lush jungle, also home to forest elephants and chimpanzees. Uganda-based Premier Safari’s nine-day trip to Uganda and Rwanda tracks chimps in Queen Elizabeth National Park and mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Parc National des Volcans, along with a biodiverse variety of animals, including lions, Cape buffaloes, leopards and hyenas ($9,550, per person, double occupancy,

Brainiac Camp

Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks will launch a venture this spring aimed at giving travelers a few things to think about. His new five-night Curiosity Retreats, held at his Gateway Canyons Resort in western Colorado, will bring together experts in technology, health and wellness for lectures, along with outdoor adventures such as sunrise yoga, dinosaur treks with paleontologists, horseback riding and astronomer-led stargazing sessions. Guest speakers range from wellness guru Deepak Chopra to Google vice president Vint Cerf and Harvard psychologist and happiness expert Nancy Etcoff. Retreats cost $2,000 per person, double occupancy, and run May 18-23 and July 20-25. The latter offers a parallel Curiosity Camp for kids ages 3-17.

Harvest in the Andes

While it’s bud-break season in American vineyards, in Argentina the new Vines Resort & Spa will celebrate its first harvest. Situated amid 1,500 acres of vines in Mendoza with views of the Andes Mountains, the 22-room newcomer aims to steep guests in the food and winemaking culture of Argentina with opportunities to pick grapes as well as taste wines. Acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann runs the flame-focused restaurant Siete Fuegos, serving specialties such as a nine-hour, slow-grilled rib-eye — the perfect partner to a house malbec. Work it off at a spa and fitness center, opening this month, or go hiking, biking and horseback riding around the property. Rooms from $850,

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