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March 07, 2011

Your Travel Primer for the 2012 London Olympic Games


London-olympics-2012
February was a busy month for the planners of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, with the release of the final competition schedule and a flurry of press images showing construction progress on the Olympic Stadium, athletes' village, and other venues around the 500-acre Olympic Park in east London. March promises to be no less action-packed, with tickets to the 300-plus Summer Olympics' events (across 26 sports) being released worldwide on March 15 (distribution will be made via lottery). Residents of the United Kingdom and designated European countries can apply for tickets at the official London 2012 website. Residents from all other countries should apply for tickets through their local National Olympic Committee, National Paralympic Committee, or an authorized ticket reseller. U.S. and Canadian residents can apply for tickets from CoSport, the group appointed by the London Organising Committee to distribute tickets in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.

Away.com's London Travel Guide

Continue reading "Your Travel Primer for the 2012 London Olympic Games" »

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Related Topics: European Travel · Places to Stay · Travel News · Travel Tips

October 07, 2010

Lost: Black Jacket in Scotland’s Last Great Wilderness


Knoydart-remote-scotland-new

Being a New Englander, I’m not shocked by the occasional “you can’t get there from here” coming from a local. On a trip last weekend to Knoydart Peninsula on the western coast of the Scottish Highlands, I was shocked to find that in some places, it’s actually true.

Our trip, guided by Stevie Christie of Wilderness Scotland, an outfitter named to Outside Magazine’s top adventure trips of 2010, started on a gray morning in Glasgow where we quickly exited the city and drove past Loch Lomond to the base of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles at 4,049 feet. We hiked through the driving rain on a side trail to Glen Nevis, once described as the most beautiful half-kilometer on Earth by mid-century Scottish writer W.H. Murray. I was happy for my durable, sturdy, impermeable-yet-breathable shell that’s one of my must-pack travel items, double that for a trip to Scotland. But no sooner had we gotten to the glen, the clouds broke and the sun came out revealing leprechaun-quality rainbows beaming across Steal Falls.

Continue reading "Lost: Black Jacket in Scotland’s Last Great Wilderness" »

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Related Topics: European Travel · New Zealand Travel · Outdoor Adventures · Places to Stay

September 17, 2010

Go Green With Our Guide to the World's Top 20 Eco-Lodges



By awayblog
09/17/2010

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Aurum-lodge-alberta
SITTING PRETTY: Aurum Lodge, on the shore of Lake Abraham in Alberta (Aurum Lodge)

We've just made the choice of traveling green simpler! Check out our new guide to the world's top 20 eco-lodges, where we cut through the greenwashing and highlight those places that practice what they preach: think lodges built from locally harvested materials, solar- and wind-powered electrical setups, and a focus on sustainable, community-driven tourism and development. Absolutely, we've got the life-list jungle lodge in Ecuador plus that drop-off-the-radar wilderness lodge in Alaska, but let's not forget the humble two-room Midwestern inn that's 100 percent off the grid or that community of yurts that melds with its rugged Big Sur environs. Rest assured that whatever dream destination to which you decide to travel, these 20 picks will let you sleep easy with a clear eco-conscience. No greenwashing required.

For more expert recommendations to over 300 of the best spots to bed down around the globe, check out Away.com's comprehensive guide to the world's Best Resorts & Lodges, from the top family resorts to best all-inclusives to dream safari lodges.

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Related Topics: Eco-Tourism · Outdoor Adventures · Places to Stay

July 15, 2010

Hotel Spotlight: The Resort at Paws Up



By awayblog
07/15/2010

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Paws Up Wilderness
(Resort at Paws Up)

It's amazing how 37,000 acres of wilderness will actually bring your family closer together. The family-owned Resort at Paws Up, is a luxury ranch near Missoula, Montana, where you and your kids will get reacquainted, reconnected, and revitalized. Accommodating families of all sizes including large, multi-generational groups, Paws Up offers everything from horseback riding, fly-fishing, river rafting, and rappelling to paintball wars, a kids camp, and chuck wagon rides. Imagine a singular experience featuring luxurious homes, exhilarating adventure, fine dining, fascinating history, and unparalleled vistas.

Just 35 minutes from Missoula International Airport, The Resort at Paws Up is nestled amid some of the world's most breathtaking countryside, largely unchanged since Lewis and Clark walked here 200 years ago. Accommodations include 28 luxury vacation homes and 18 impeccably appointed luxury camping tents. The elegantly rustic homes range in style, but all are spacious, secluded, and filled with every convenience. If you'd rather sleep under the stars, go "glamping" at the edge of the Blackfoot River, with your own butler to attend your needs—or take a three-day equestrian tour to The Encampment at Bull Creek, a luxury wilderness camp in the Montana backcountry.

In the meantime, check out Away's photo gallery of The Resort at Paws Up.

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Related Topics: Places to Stay · US Travel

June 17, 2010

Aspen, Customized to Your Tastes


Blog
One of the many options from Little Nell Hotel

As any Colorado resident would tell ya, you come for the snow, but you stay for the summer. And nowhere is this in better evidence than Aspen after the ski season, where you can rock climb, paddle, fly-fish, mountain or road bike, paraglide, day hike, or backpack—just to name a few.

With all those activities on offer, deciding what to do can be a bit overwhelming. This summer, the Little Nell Hotel makes things easier by enrolling the services of an Adventure Specialist who will help tailor your trip to what you want to do.  A series of day hikes with a gourmet lunch? Done. A how-to clinic on whitewater rafting or rock climbing? No problem (and yes, the gourmet lunch is included in your rock-rat ambitions).

Fly-fishing enthusiasts, in particular, will benefit from this new program. David Doerr, the Little Nell’s Director of Fly-Fishing, will help you plot an itinerary into private-access angling hot spots, and former Olympic downhill skier turned five-time Gold Cup fisherman Andy Mill will join you.

With the salmon fly-fishing season kicking off in July, getting an insider's access the best to fish in Aspen's famed, river-choked Roaring Fork Valley couldn’t come at a better time.

Check out Away's Top Ten Warm-Weather Mountain Towns

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Places to Stay · Travel Deals · Trip Ideas

May 05, 2010

Hotel Spotlight: Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Samoa


Sinalei-Lisa
(Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa)

A little more than six months after a tsunami struck the tiny island of Independent Samoa, the Polynesian country is still rebuilding itself. On April 1, Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa reopened its doors after losing 30 percent of its facility to the devastating natural disaster that took more than 200 lives around the South Pacific. The renovations will continue for the next couple of weeks, with the spa, second restaurant, and ocean side “fales” (or rooms) close to complete. The 30 individual rooms are available in a range of categories: garden view, ocean view, beach side, or executive suite. The resort is located 20 minutes from the capital of Apia and just down the road from where the past two seasons of the reality show, Survivor, were filmed. All guests have access to the on-site golf course with tennis, kayaking, and snorkeling complimentary. Through May 31, Sinalei is offering a “Back to Beautiful” special, which allows you to stay for seven, pay for five. The package also includes two half-hour massages, buffet breakfast, and afternoon tea. Reservations must be made by May 31 for travel through the same date of 2011. Only children 12 years of age and older are allowed. Make sure to mention the booking code SINbtb if you want to take advantage of the special offer.

Lisa Costantini is a writer/editor currently traveling the world with her husband working on a project about sport and culture. More information can be found on their website at www.whysportmatters.com. Lisa will be blogging from the road for us as she and her husband travel through Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe over the next several months.

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Related Topics: Places to Stay · Travel Deals

April 16, 2010

The Beauty of Boutique Hotels



By Guest Blogger
04/16/2010

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Boutique - soho london-Escapio
Soho London (Escapio.com)

The term "boutique hotel" has become popularized over the last couple of decades, as a rapidly increasing number of travelers have more flexible and disposable incomes yet don't have the appetite for the decadence of the classic luxury-hotel's concierge, chandeliers, and gold toilet flushes. Indulgence, hotel-wise, has moved away from the superficial (being seen on the Croisette in Cannes, for example, is so last century), and now winding up in a hotel room should be an indulgence of the senses where touch, atmosphere, and ambiance play a much more significant role. Whether in a capital city or on a faraway beach, these hotels are functional and small, with attentive staff and unbeatable attention to detail.

Often tucked away in city side streets or found in more "local" neighborhoods than on the main tourist trail, the best boutique hotels are perfect for anyone wanting to discover cobbled streets, second-hand shops, and lively restaurants housing the true locals. Hotel facilities and room size are typically modest, with most properties having been converted from townhouses or old apartment buildings rather than being built new. An ideal boutique hotel should have fewer than 60 rooms and is unlikely to boast a huge spa area, ballroom, or conference facilities.

Instead, the sophisticated leisure traveler will unlock an eclectic mix of furnishings and bold, sensuous colors. These hotels are intimate and personalized. You'll find a one-off chaise lounge or a cozy window seat, perhaps a luscious high four-poster bed and a flea-market secretary desk all stylishly arranged in what may not have seemed the most generous of floor spaces. Most boast excellent quality materials, which extends to things like Bang & Olufsun sound systems and Molton Brown toiletries to lather up with under a rainforest shower or free-standing tub.

Continue reading "The Beauty of Boutique Hotels" »

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March 26, 2010

Hotel Spotlight: Hacienda Tres Rios, Playa del Carmen


Hacienda-tres-rios

Open since early 2009, Playa del Carmen's all-inclusive Hacienda Tres Ríos is charting a new course in sustainable resort development in an area that's heretofore been synonymous with quite the opposite. Located 35 miles south of Cancun's concrete-clad "Hotel Zone," the 273-room Hacienda is the first of five planned hotels in the ambitious Tres Ríos development. Given its prime location in 326-acre Tres Ríos Nature Park, the property adheres to strict eco-friendly practices, from landscape design to recycling to on-site water desalination, all of which is overseen by the hotel's "Green Team." Beside its green-building efforts, the Tres Ríos project seeks to foster sustainable tourism through interactions with local artisans, cuisine, and the area's rich culture and history. The all-inclusive offering doesn't scrimp on luxury, either, with multiple restaurants, freeform swimming pools every which way you turn, full-service spa, endless cocktails available at the wave of your hand, and enough activities and amenities to keep an ADD family busy for a week. Pick of the activities include self-guided kayak tours through the nature preserve's knotty mangrove forests, snorkeling and swimming excursions through freshwater cenotes, and guided nature hikes and bike rides. Among its recent accolades, Hacienda Tres Ríos was voted a "Top 10 Relaxation/Spa Hotel in the Caribbean & Mexico" in Tripadvisor.com's 2010 Travelers' Choice awards.

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Mexico Travel · Places to Stay

February 02, 2010

Record Rainfall Promises Spectacular Spring Wildflowers in Death Valley


Desert-gold-death-valley LIFE IN DEATH: Desert gold in Death Valley National Park (courtesy, Xanterra Parks & Resorts)

Editor's Note: Click here for our update about the Death Valley wildflowers for spring 2011

Officials in Death Valley National Park are predicting a bumper wildflower season this spring following record rainfall in the California park. Torrential downpours throughout the state at the end of January, plus higher than average accumulation throughout the year, has locals readying for a colorful show of spring blooms. "Because of the rain last week, everyone who lives and works here in Death Valley is optimistic that we will at least have a better-than-average show this year," says Phil Dickinson, sales and marketing director at Death Valley's historic Furnace Creek Resort.

Continue reading "Record Rainfall Promises Spectacular Spring Wildflowers in Death Valley" »

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Related Topics: California Travel · National Parks · Places to Stay

December 27, 2009

Celebrate New Years Eve 16 Hours Ahead of NYC, PLUS: Melbourne's New Art Hotel


Cullen_Hotel_Day#1_021109-00546-crop Forget huddling with the freezing masses in Times Square waiting for the always-anticlimactic ball to drop.  Instead, jump ahead of the rest of the United States—literally—by heading to Melbourne.  The Aussie cultural capital will enter 2010 a full 16 hours before NYC, celebrating tne endof the aughts with a spectacular display of midnight fireworks bursting over the skyline, visible throughout the city.

Of course gouing down under is hardly a spur-of-the-moment fly-by travel impulse.  But Melbourne boasts loads of antipodal allure for days-long distractions, from hosting the Australian Open this January to museum and gallery hopping to simply wandering the downtown side streets in search of the next great bar. Liquor licenses in the city cost only $500 (AU), so there’s a profusion of fantastic small spots. They typically spring up on the “lane ways”—pedestrian alleys that branch off the major downtown streets.  The joints are often a collection of tiny rooms on the second floor, boasting an intimate, local vibe right in the beating heart of a busy metropolis. It makes for a refreshing alternative to the bigger club scene.

And when looking to bed down for the night, embrace the city’s famed artistic identity by booking a room at The Cullen, a new $48 million luxury boutique hotel in the inner-suburb city of Prahran.  It houses more than 450 works by famed Aussie artist Adam Cullen, with 155 rooms and a lush rooftop garden with private bungalows and a cocktail bar.  This is the first in a series of the Art Series Hotels, a $300 million project that will bring five other new art-inspired properties to the city.  The next, named for renowned painter John Olsen, will open in February 2010, and will have the world’s largest glass-bottom swimming pool that'll hang over Chapel Street in Melbourne’s shopping district.

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Places to Stay
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