Ní neart go cur le chéile
-There is no strength without unity
This treasured Irish proverb reminds us that in times of adversity, there’s one truth to hold on to;
We are in this together.
As our industry takes a pause for the time being we will place a hold on our weekly newsletter and thiis will be a spot for News in the travel world.
Travelers are ready to get going by the calls we have received and as soon as official word comes out from the CDC that the NO SAIL ORDER is lifted and certain restrictions are being eased we can then get serious to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY.
Our hope is to resume our newsltter soon but until then we will continue to post articles and specials of interest for the future anyway.
Our best to all of you at this time and please remain vigilant, and be safe, stay safe and stay healthy.
Bill and Fred
It’s not all the fun and sun in the resorts as Conde Nast let’s us know the sun and fun can also be in town in Cabo.
These new shops, bars, and restaurants provide plenty of reasons to venture beyond Los Cabos' top hotels.
BY JEN MURPHY
February 27, 2020
For years, travelers have been coming to Los Cabos unaware that this region on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula comprises two different towns. And we can’t say we blame them. It’s only since the post Hurricane Odile–hotel boom that the area around the laidback, colonial town of San José del Cabo has started to steal the spotlight away from luxury resort-lined Cabo San Lucas.
Now, new properties like Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Viceroy are luring travelers east. And while these hotels have every imaginable amenity (mezcal bars, indie boutiques), the creative community in the town of San José gives travelers plenty of reasons to explore further. Food lovers have already discovered the exceptional farm-to-table cooking at Flora Farms, Acre, and Huerta Los Tamarindos, all on the outskirts of town. But in the town proper, a serious cocktail scene has emerged to complement restaurants with Baja Peninsula–inspired menus. Visit on a Thursday night when the town’s galleries and shops stay open late for the popular weekly Art Walk—a big block party with live music and car-free streets.
La Lupita Taco & Mezcal
Chef Thomas Keller counts himself among La Lupita’s many devoted fans. The secret to the lively joint’s addictive tacos: made-from-scratch tortillas. La Lupita uses Mazahua corn, grown more than 8,200 feet above sea level, and nixtamalizes (a process where the corn is soaked, cooked, washed, and hulled) and grinds it in-house, then slaps it into sizzling warm tortillas. Fillings range from al pastor and tender short ribs with goat cheese to grasshoppers. No matter what you order, cold cervezas and potent mezcal cocktails pair perfectly.
Poured concrete-and-brick interiors give this newly opened downtown restaurant a minimalist edge, while firepits and tropical vegetation create a cozy vibe. As the name suggests, the menu specializes in garden-to-table cuisine. Wood-fired pizzas are the specialty. Ask your server to match your pie to a bottle of Baja wine.
La Revolución Comedor de Baja California
Set within a historic building in the heart of San Jose, La Revolucíon is the brainchild of Baja California cooking pioneer Benito Molina and cocktail maestro and co-founder of the annual Cabo Cocktail Festival, Osvaldo Vásquez. The intensely local, hyper-seasonal menu has a handful of hefty entrees, like the 2.6-pound Tomahawk, but otherwise is meant for sharing. Don’t miss the octopus and pig skin taco and suckling pig turnovers.
The tacos at La Revolucíon are a can't-miss on a trip to Los Cabos.
Courtesy La Revolucion / Bruno Calderon
Tucked away in the courtyard of the Villa Valentina home store complex, this three-meal-a-day, family-run spot is consistently great no matter what time of day. The menu takes inspiration from every corner of Mexico. For a hearty breakfast, try Benito’s poached eggs with masa gorditas, pulled pork, tomatillo, and avocado sauce. Vegetarian options are plentiful, but the meat dishes, particularly the eight-hour smoked rib, are standouts.
This year-old coffee shop serves freshly ground, single-origin pour-overs, nitro-infused cold brews, and killer horchata all day long and until 9 p.m. on Art Walk nights. Beans are sourced from Mexico City roasters Buna Coffee and the eco-thoughtfulness extends to the biodegradable straws. Come early to score still-warm pastries from Cabo institution Soleil Panadería, as well as breakfast burritos and berry-topped French toast. Stay late on Sundays for guest DJs spinning on the patio.
Dalton Gin Bar
The rooftop of La Revolucíon was crowned with this classy gin bar in early 2018. Low-watt lighting and classic cocktails evoke a bygone era, but head mixologist Osvaldo Vásquez has put a decidedly modern twist on the drinks. The gin and tonic, for example, gets dressed up with epazote herb, Mexican lime zest, Aztec Rud Bitters, and dehydrated hibiscus flower. Time your arrival to sunset and check the calendar to see what guest DJs and indie bands are on the roster.
Be sure to plan your visit to Dalton Gin Bar around sunset.
Courtesy Dalton Gin Bar / Bruno Calderon
This jewel box of a boutique in the Arts District overflows with Mexican-made finds. Crayola-colored pom pom necklaces and textiles woven by Otomi women in the Tenango Valley of Hidalgo make one-of-a-kind gifts, while wide-brimmed beach hats and flowy beach cover ups are vacation essentials you can use immediately.
A design lover’s dream in the center of the Art District, Caravane is part showroom, part concept shop. The owners of this three-year-old spot honed their curation creating interiors for some of Cabos’ top hotels. Now, they showcase their favorite artisanal finds in this colorful multi-room space. Custom concha chairs painted to look like avocados have become an Instagram sensation. Top sellers include hand-woven flat-weave rugs by Mexico City-label Bi Yuu featuring designs inspired by Mexican modernist architecture, and modern takes on the Acapulco chair crafted by incarcerated men in Oaxaca.
Locally loved restaurant Casa Don Rodrigo recently added a boutique dedicated to Mexican-made art, furnishings, and handicrafts. Hand-woven straw bags decorated with sequined Day of the Dead skulls and alebrijes—brightly colored, wooden folk art sculptures from Oaxaca—are great souvenirs.
From Conde Nast this is a place down under that is not to be believed. And you can contact Fred to go there cuz he’s been there and done that.
With top-tier art and food openings, as well as exciting wineries and hotels, the island state now has plenty of sophisticated attractions to compete with the mainland.
BY MARK ELLWOOD
December 2, 2019
Stuart Vesty/Courtesy Saffire Freycinet
It was barely 10 years ago when the who's who of the art world descended en masse on Hobart, Tasmania. They were at the Australian island at the invitation of the puckish gambling billionaire art collector David Walsh, who was throwing a giant party just outside the workmanlike town where he grew up. The bash was to celebrate the opening of Walsh’s custom-built compound for his own collection, a complex he dubbed MONA, or the Museum of Old & New Art. It was a conversation-starting event: Famously fond of shock gestures, Walsh installed a jar of his father’s ashes right at the museum’s entrance, before anyone could be offended or intrigued by Greg Taylor’s sculpture series, called that most delicate four-letter-word we won't dare write, or the replication of the human digestive system, Cloaca, by Wim Delovye—though the smell from the latter wafted out far beyond the room where it was installed.
Saffire Freycinet changed the game for Australia nature lodges when it opened a decade ago.
The idea that Tasmania, long considered one of Australia's most wild and natural states with its ring of coastline, lack of cities, and sweep of mountains and countryside, would one day become one of the country's leading areas of taste, would have been absurd a handful of years ago. Perhaps it was because of MONA, but this has been the decade of Tassie, as the locals call it. Under a million visitors headed to Australia's subtropical island state before 2010; by 2018, that number had increased by 30 percent with the infrastructure taking shape to suit a more high-spend traveler.
The luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet, a short drive up the east coast from Hobart, opened not long before MONA’s debut; since then, the owners of that hotel have opened Macq01, an unwieldy name for a sister spot right on the Hobart waterfront. It’s a quirky operation, with each of its 114 rooms named after a character from the history of Tasmania or Hobart, like honey-maker Taffy the Bee Man. Across the harbor in the dockside strip of Salamanca Place sits Moss, a 41-room boutique hotel spread across two buildings, both dating back more than a century. They’ve been sensitively updated, with timber-heavy rooms in natural palettes, and plenty of greenery, whether via vertical gardens or the hand-painted tiles in each bathroom. Two more five-star properties are due to open next year: the independent Elizabeth Street, and the Tasman, which will be part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection.
Hobart became a cultural capital with the opening of the Museum of Old and New Art.
Beyond Hobart, the northwest town of Stanley now has a seven-room boutique hotel, the Ship Inn, whose owners took over an historic pub that shuttered almost 50 years ago and rebooted it as a gourmet guesthouse. Nearby in Launceston, Tasmania’s second biggest town, there’s now the Stillwater Seven, with seven rooms attached to the namesake restaurant, which has long been considered one of the island’s best. The entire operation is a tribute to the Tasmania, from the locally made furniture to the toiletries by Lentara. The local olive farm was renowned for its oils; co-owner Kim Seagram says she approached the farmers at the local market and simply asked if they would be open to developing toiletries, too. If you stay here, you’re granted early access to the restaurant’s kitchen before it opens, so you can chat with Seagram’s co-owner and chef, Craig Will, and hopefully sneak a few samples. The best place for a sundowner or two is the terrace which overlooks the local river,
Kim Seagram is a Canadian expat who was drawn to Tasmania by the caliber of its produce. She credits the varied microclimates here, as well as the abundant water, for that quality; they allow everything from stone fruit to delicate crops like wasabi to thrive here. Seagram also points out the island’s isolation and relative poverty, which forced early European settlers to finesse their farming methods at the outset. Even today, agricultural stipulations are stringent—all Tasmanian meat, for instance, is raised hormone-free. Seagram, who spent time in northern California in the 1970s, sees clear parallels between the two destinations. “There’s the same appreciation for what’s going onto the plate,” she says, “Food has always been cherished here.”
Agrian Eatery is a cooking school that highlights the local ingredients Australian cuisine is known for.
Rodney Dunn has long run the island’s best cooking school, the Agrarian Kitchen, in Derwent Valley, a lush spot just outside Hobart. Last year, he and his wife, Severine, opened a second site, this time a standalone showcase for their cooking, the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery. “I did say in my first cookbook that we were never opening a restaurant,” he admits. “But we wanted to be able to serve this amazing food we were growing to a wider audience.” The menu changes daily, but look for anything cooked in the wood-fired oven whether broad bean leaves or slabs of island pork. Next year, the couple plans to move the school into the same building as the restaurant, as well as creating a new, larger kitchen garden or farm which will supply produce for classes and the chefs and offer tours to guests. “It’ll help connect diners to the essence of our ethos, and it also allows us to have our home back," says Dunn. "Currently, we live where we work, at the school.”
Wine is another Tasmanian highlight. The output here is smaller than many other states, with the 200 or so vineyards producing barely 1 percent of the country’s wine. The sparkling whites, though, which form around 40 percent of the total volume, are world class. For an immersive education on that sector, head to Josef Chromy near Launceston, owned by a refugee who escaped Czechoslovakia in 1949. It has just introduced a new experience, the Art of Sparkling, where guests are taken through the entire production process before creating a bottle of their own sparkling wine. If you’d rather sit back and relax while sampling a raft of the best vintages produced here, idle at the bar of Lucinda in the heart of Hobart. Named after a Tom Waites song, it’s owned by the same pair behind the restaurant Dier Makr, another gourmet mecca; the $58 seasonal tasting menu is one of the island’s best steals.
Art and hospitality collide at Hobart's Macq-1 hotel.
The tony new tone to Tasmania doesn’t mean the island is no longer a mecca for outdoorsy types. Lush and heavily forested—trees cover almost half the terrain, compared with just 2 percent of the mainland—it’s a hiking paradise. Ian Johnstone runs the four-day Maria Island Walk, on the namesake scrap of land he calls “the Noah’s ark of Tasmania,” an ecological time capsule where you’re likely to spot dolphins frolicking in the waters nearby. The new Three Capes Lodge Walk takes a similar length of time, and circles around another promontory that juts into the Southern Ocean near Hobart; it includes a boat trip to a secluded cove and a hike through a silver gum forest. And of course, there’s always Bruny Island—the Tasmania of Tasmania, a 20-minute ferry ride from a dock just outside Hobart, is popular with locals on summer weekends. Come here to gorge on fresh seafood at Get Shucked Oyster Bar, local goat’s and cow’s milk cheese from Bruny Island Cheese Company, and even single malts at Bruny Island House of Whisky. Tassie has always been a golfing hub, too. The course near Bothwell is one of the oldest outside Scotland, and though it’s not a premium tee spot, it’s shot through with history. Golf lovers can pilgrimage to the Coore & Frenshaw–designed course at Barnbougle Lost Farm, on the island’s northwest.
But Tasmania transformation isn’t complete. MONA owner David Walsh has his own plans to expand. You can already book a villa or two on Moorilla Estates, the winery next to MONA’s site, but Walsh also has more ambitious plans: a 172-room hotel of his own, inspired by an inverted suspension bridge, that is currently expected to cost around $272 million, one of the priciest luxury investments in the island’s history. There’s no word on when it will open, though MONA’s current ETA is 2024. Just imagine how much further the island might grow between now and then.
Jun 15, 2020
Jamaica began welcoming international travelers on June 15 with an extensive set of protocols for visitors, including health screening before entry and upon entry.
To gain entry, visitors must complete a pre-arrival authorization that asks about their possible exposure to Covid-19. They also are screened via thermal checks and symptom observation. Any visitor who exhibits symptoms or is ill is subject to quarantine.
Previously, Jamaicans who returned to the island underwent temperature checks and screenings, and upon arrival they must quarantine at home for 14 days and are monitored by phone.
"Tourism is our lifeblood, and with the help of international experts and a dedicated task force, we've developed protocols that allow us to safely reopen our borders," said director of tourism Donovan White.
The health protocols will be revisited every two weeks.
The country's tourism industry directly employs 130,000 workers and indirectly impacts an additional 120,000 jobs from other industries and fuels more than one-third of the country's economy.
By Eric Moya
Jun 12, 2020
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Bermuda has announced it will reopen to air travelers beginning July 1.
Passengers arriving at the island's L.F. Wade International Airport must present proof that they tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of departing for Bermuda.
Transport minister Zane DeSilva told Bermuda's Royal Gazette that visitors will undergo a second test upon arrival and will be required to quarantine in their accommodations until they receive their results. "Depending on the volume of tests, the results are expected to be received within 24 hours, but in most cases, the turnaround time will be less than eight hours," he said.
In a June 12 statement outlining the plan, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said the resumption of air travel "reflects Bermuda's success in managing the impact of the pandemic," noting the island has the world's 12th-highest rate of testing per capita and has had 11 consecutive days of no new cases of Covid-19 as of June 11.
PHOTO: Turks and Caicos Islands is known for its beautiful beaches. (Photo via travnikovstudio / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
With safety protocols in place, the Turks and Caicos Islands will begin welcoming travelers on July 22, 2020.
“We are eager and excited to reopen our borders and safely welcome travelers back to the picturesque Turks and Caicos Islands later this summer,” said Pamela Ewing, director of tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board. “In the meantime, we are taking every precaution to ensure the Islands are safe and to enhance the exceptional experience and care afforded by the destination and our world-class hospitality partners. Our intention is to cautiously reboot the tourism sector, laying the foundation for short- and long-term recovery.”
Details of the safety protocols will be announced within the next several weeks.
Meanwhile, the destination’s airline partners will resume flights from the U.S., Canada and Europe when the Providenciales International Airport opens on July 22, tourism officials said.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center, however, will remain closed until Aug. 31, 2020, “subject to guidance from relevant health authorities,” tourism officials said.
The Turks and Caicos Islands comprise 40 islands and cays, only nine of which are inhabited. Over the years, the destination has gained a reputation for its pristine beaches, which are arguably some of the most beautiful in the world.