Hot Travel Tickets for April
04/02/2014 12:00 AM
04/02/2014 9:43 AM
Among new luxury lodgings in Costa Rica, few are as private — or as sprawling — as the new 30,000-square-foot, eight-suite Villa Manzu. Sharing the Peninsula Papagayo with the nearby Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, the property occupies five clifftop acres spread with hammocks and charted with trails that lead to nearby beaches. Luxuries abound, furnished by a staff that includes a driver, cook and maid, but nature and adventure are at the core of the experience. Villa manager Jenifer Cowles offers yoga and meditation classes; her husband, Chris, will teach you to paddleboard. The garage comes stocked with surfboards, kayaks and mountain bikes. The villa sleeps up to 14 and is $15,000 per night. 949-264-1509; www.villamanzu.com.
Fiesta in San Miguel
Thanks to its long history as an expat-friendly cultural capital, Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende has a reputation for arts and crafts, albeit one that leans toward traditional or folk rather than cutting edge. The upcoming SMART, or San Miguel Art festival, aims to update the town’s art profile, appealing to contemporary collectors by installing temporary exhibits of largely Latin American artists in a trio of local boutique hotels. The third annual event will take place May 30-June 1. http://smartsanmiguel.com.
Wine and Dine
Just in time for spring bud break, the family-owned Hall Wines has opened a new visitor center in St. Helena, site of the first California winery to earn gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Not that the energy-conserving, solar-powered features come first to mind at the glass-wrapped Napa Valley facility. Some 40 artworks fill the tasting rooms, and Hall’s Bordeaux varietals are matched to food pairings in the new “workshop” culinary center. 707-967-2626; www.hallwines.com.
With the recent opening of the new Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, the Dutch island claims its first true luxury resort, boosting the appeal of a southern Caribbean island that’s already well-established as a beach lover’s destination. The 320-room resort fronts Palm Beach, an ever-popular strand. Making it a challenge to even leave the property, ample amenities include two swimming pools and a 13-treatment-room spa with island-inspired services such as hammock massages and herb showers. Four restaurants roam the culinary range, offering a wide variety of seafood and Argentine grill. And for night owls, the casino stays open 24 hours. Rooms from $629; 297-527-2222; www.ritzcarlton.com/aruba.
Cruising to the World Cup
While the U.S. men’s soccer team prepares to face Portugal in Brazil’s Amazon region during the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament June 22, fans can combine their plans for attending the game with a boutique cruise on one of the world’s wildest rivers. Rainforest Cruises will offer special World Cup departures from Manaus, site of a new 40,000-seat soccer stadium slated for four matches (June 14-25), including U.S. vs. Portugal. The 24-passenger riverboat will moor on match days, then ship out to explore the flora and fauna of the Amazon, with excursions including piranha fishing, jungle walks and nocturnal safaris. The trip costs $1,999 per person, not including World Cup tickets. 727-498-0234; www.rainforestcruises.com.
Great Barrier Sleepover
Short of chartering a yacht or joining a live-aboard dive ship, the closest you can get to staying on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is Reefsleep, a 12-passenger-capacity pontoon stationed at Hardy Reef, about 40 miles from the Whitsunday Islands, and newly refurbished to offer sleeping under the stars. Overnighters can opt for “swags,” or low tents with clear panels overhead for stargazing, or choose standard indoor bedrooms. Either way, the stay ensures access to the reef all day long, as well as for night dives free of day-trippers. The stay, including transportation and meals, costs $399 AUS per person; www.cruisewhitsundays.com.
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