November 28, 2022

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Just Do Travel

Hotels Prepare For Summer 2022 Travel

As summer nears, hotels around the world are making big changes and refreshing their offerings in a bid to welcome new travelers. While new survey data from vacation rental company Vacasa points to a rise in outdoor travel this summer, hotels of all types are working to add new amenities as they shift to provide the services that travelers want now that Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift.

Whether you are looking to earn bonus points, reschedule trips you had previously planned or visit new hotels, these hotels have new activities, vacation deals and head-turning amenities designed to get your attention.

JW Marriott’s new garden collaboration with Lily Kwong

Well-known landscape designer Lily Kwong is working with the JW Marriott brand on a new garden initiative. The JW Garden will feature three edible, sustainable herb gardens where hotels can grow fruits, herbs and vegetables to use in their food and beverage menus. Guests can enjoy the gardens and take part in activities like guided meditation and still-life painting classes. Eventually, all JW Marriott hotels around the world will have the JW Garden. The first properties to have them include JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa and JW Marriott Essex House New York. Guests can also purchase an herb garden kit to recreate the green-thumb experience at home.

Westin rewards fitness fans with Marriott Bonvoy points

Through a partnership with Strava, an app and social platform for the sports community, Marriott’s well-being-focused hotel brand will challenge guests to run for 20 million Marriott Bonvoy points this spring. Participation is limited to 500 Marriott Bonvoy members, but those who sign up can earn 40,000 points by completing the month-long global “RunWESTIN Challenge.” In honor of Global Running Day on June 1, the program challenges participants to ten hours of exercise involving running, walking, biking, wheelchair workouts or hiking using the Strava app. Registration begins on May 25 via the Strava app, and spots are expected to go quickly.

Four Seasons doubles down on eco-friendly operations

Already focused on sustainability, Four Seasons is doubling down on its eco-friendly efforts following a recent Earth Day announcement. Numerous properties have announced new initiatives including Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, which is working with a local partner to launch a new on-site zero-waste water bottling and filtration system. In Mexico, Fifty Mils Mexican Specialty Coffee tastings and drinks are now a hallmark at Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, a partnership with coffee farmers of Huautla de Jiménez in the Sierra Madre Region.

At Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, employees can volunteer to be part of clean-up days at the beach with Heal the Bay and feeding the less fortunate at Midnight Mission among other initiatives. Then, there’s the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, which recently earned the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) thanks to numerous improvements including its focus to eliminate single use plastics and styrofoam. There’s even one Michelin star, EST at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, which focuses on sustainable gastronomy, sourcing 95% of their ingredients from within the country and avoiding food waste with a “root-to-shoot” philosophy.

Ladurée macaron spa treatments at Ritz-Carlton LA

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles is tempting your body and your taste buds with its new Ladurée spa experiences. Known for its famous macarons, the patisserie is launching a line of custom spa experiences inspired by its spring flavors of raspberry, hibiscus, black tea, citrus and rose. Spa goers start the experience with a macaron that corresponds to their spa treatment and cup of Ladurée herbal tea. After the treatment, they receive a box of macarons and a Los Angeles Ladurée candle, from the limited-edition “Les Capitales” collection. Spa treatments include a “berry bisou facial” and a “let them eat cake” package with bath butler, trio of treatments, Ladurée factory tour and live pastry class before spending the night in one of the hotel’s executive suites.

New aerial beach at Bocas Bali Resort in Panama

Bocas Bali, a luxury overwater villa resort in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, has unveiled an aerial, white-sand beach deck. The fully sustainable, elevated structure was designed with natural materials and in a manner that respects and protects the area’s mangroves, sea life and corals. Named Kupu-Kupu Beach (the Indonesian word for butterfly) for its butterfly-like design , it leads into the water via a quartz-tiled entryway where guests can swim, snorkel or kayak. Eco-friendly efforts help the property to have a limited carbon footprint and be 100% off the grid using solar energy and catchment basins for rainwater. The resort is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and participates in its recently revamped Leaders Club program.

Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef opens

Following a major, $250 million rebuild, the Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef on St. Thomas is reopening this fall after facing significant hurricane damage. The 392-room resort will offer six restaurants and lounge areas, three oceanfront pools, plentiful meeting space and 2,000 square feet of private dock area. Marriott’s Westin brand focuses on health and wellness with special menu items as well as amenities designed for sound sleep. The U.S. Virgin Islands are especially popular for travelers since no passport is required to visit. Also nearby is The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection, which will also open this fall and participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Family treasure hunt at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The summer adventure package at Fairmont Scottsdale gives parents and kids plenty to explore. The Adventure Summer package includes a variety of activities including a welcome gift at check-in, laser tag, dive-in movies and fireworks each Saturday night. It’s all part of the “Legend of The Lost Temple” experience, which begins at check-in where kids don a brown fedora and receive what they need to begin the adventure. Young archeologists can get their full exploration momentum at the Trailblazer’s Kids Club where they perform dinosaur excavations, mummy wrappings and search for ancient relics to become a certified archeologist. There’s also laser tag, pool parties with DJ and water slides, a zip line trail and relic dig with snacks and treats. The package lasts between May 25 and Sept. 6 and comes with a $150 daily resort credit as well as included donation to a local children’s charity. Fairmont is part of Accor’s All Live Limitless loyalty program where guests can earn and redeem points during their stay.

Golf cocktail caddies at Kimpton Monaco Denver

A golf package, dubbed “Grip it and Rip it,” in partnership with Denver Golf is live at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver. Golfers can take advantage of an included greens fee, golf club rental, a golf cart and small range bucket for two at certain golf courses in addition to their stay. Also included are hotel-branded souvenirs and takeaway snacks for the course. Even better, players are treated to the services of a “cocktail caddy” after their game with golf-inspired drink specials. Kimpton is one of the many IHG Rewards hotel brands where members can earn and redeem points.

Female-focused wellness suite at LA’s Hotel Figueroa

The custom-designed, self-care H.E.R. Suite (Happy, Empowered and Restful) is available for guests between now and the end of May. It is meant to honor the female-led, women-owned businesses (composing 40% of U.S. businesses). Guests of the suite can enjoy all kinds of luxury women-owned products ranging from skincare to activity-focused products like Dieux Skin, OSEA Malibu, PLUS, Act + Acre and Mintly. Rest, recovery and well-being are hallmarks of the hotel’s mission, and this particular option is a great way to celebrate the month of Mother’s Day and women everywhere. As part of World of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, guests can earn and redeem points during their stay, too.

Eden Roc Miami Beach launches new science experiences

Guests at Eden Roc Miami Beach can learn something new after spending the day in the sun. In a partnership with Marine Science Eco Experience, guests can take part in regular sessions including learning about the coral reefs and the animals that inhabit them. There’s also an astronomy presentation where guests can explore the stars and planets using a high-powered telescope. It gets even better since champagne and cookies are part of the class. The programs will be available on a monthly basis.

COMO Hotels and Resorts launches COMO Journeys

If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new skill or try a new experience, now’s the time. COMO Hotels and Resorts’ new COMO Journeys is a collection of one-off retreats where guests can interact with experts to deepen their own skills. For example, guests to COMO Cocoa Island in the Maldives can be a part of a kite surfing retreat with a world-renowned kite surfing champion. COMO Point Yamu in Thailand is hosting a women’s wellness retreat with a sound healer, yoga teacher and art therapist. The luxury brand hopes to expand the offerings over the coming year.

Crimson Resort Boracay introduces “art on a plate”

One of the newest resorts on the Philippine island of Boracay, Crimson Resort & Spa is offering an “art on a plate” dinner experience. A seven-course dinner with wine pairing from the hotel’s Latin American grill is just the start. The dinner features two live artists painting a masterpiece as guests dine, and when they finish the blank canvas is a true work of art. Live entertainment, often local young talent, adds to the experience, and guests can take home the work of art as a souvenir after the meal. Other times, the work of art is auctioned off for charity while guests are given brushes and paint to create their own masterpiece with a canvas on the table.

Nobu opens at Paris Las Vegas

Nobu is opening its second outpost at a Caesers Entertainment property in Las Vegas at Paris Las Vegas. Its first restaurant opened at Caesers Palace years ago. Nobu Las Vegas will feature Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature Japanese fare directly on the Strip. Designed in natural wood, the restaurant will seat 140 people and serve dishes like Yellow Tail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Black Cod Dry Miso and Wagyu Tacos plus a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes as well.

Accor and Fever launch new destination experiences

Accor and its loyalty program Accor Live Limitless (ALL) are partnering with Fever to launch a live entertainment experience platform. It will initially be available in 50 destinations with plans to expand to more than 100. More than 1,500 activities are available including cultural events, live concerts and shows, and sporting events. ALL Members can earn or redeem points on these experiences when they travel or even at home.

St. Regis Bermuda launches its own jewelry collection

The new St. Regis Bermuda has begun a partnership with local Bermuda jewelry designer Alexandra Mosher to start a bespoke jewelry line. The first necklace design takes its inspiration from both the resort and the island plus the life and legacy of Caroline Astor whose husband founded St. Regis Hotels and Resorts. Its ocean blue gemstones give a nod to Edwardian jewelry of centuries past as well as the textures found in the resort’s neighbor Fort St. Catherine. They are accented with glints of white diamonds and are set in 14K yellow gold. The modular, interchangeable designs make the jewelry ideal for numerous occasions and are a nice souvenir from this Marriott Bonvoy resort. They are only available to purchase in Bermuda.

All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy trials kids club

All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy is partnering with CAMP to create special activities and kids club activities at The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa in Costa Rica. For now, it’s a family-friendly experience only available between July 6-10 including things like yoga, karaoke, and arts and crafts. Kids will write pen pal postcards, learn about better nutrition and have fun field-day activities. The stimulating, mind-focused activities are designed in line with Westin’s wellness mindset including sleeping well, eating well, moving well and playing well among other things. This is something Marriott is testing at this property, but could potentially roll out to others in the future.

“Surf residencies” at Niyama Private Island, Maldives

Several new surf initiatives are in place at Niyama Private Island in the Maldives. This summer, the resort is welcoming a professional surf photographer to capture people as they ride the waves. The property also hosted a surf strength coach and now has a new speed boat to take surfers farther out into the ocean to find the best waves.

Emirates “Dubai Experience” with hotel discounts

Emirates’ new Dubai Experience platform gives visitors to Dubai the option to plan numerous activities during their stay. Part of the program is a variety of hotel offers including complimentary breakfast and the ability to check in at any time during the day or night (helpful given the airline’s round-the-clock schedule of flights). Hotel discounts and more flexible cancellation policies are also part of the deal. Participating hotels include Jumeirah Al Qasr At Madinat Jumeirah, Palace Downtown and Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai among others. It also includes a 10% discount on Emirates flights plus dozens of activities like sand duning and city tours.

Hilton Orlando adds world’s largest, tallest escape room

Prepare yourself. The Hilton Orlando is making a big splash with the world’s largest and tallest escape room, Escape at Orlando. Instead of being locked in a room, the game asks participants to break into something with various missions needed to complete the experience throughout the property. A special app guides people through the journey with different clues and augmented reality involving indoor-outdoor resort adventures and complimentary, themed food and beverage items like gelato and a non-alcoholic colada along the way. Hilton Honors points are not as elusive as the clues in the escape room since guests can earn and redeem them during their stay.

New cottages, amenities at Farmhouse Inn Sonoma

New to Farmhouse Inn this year are the recently renovated cottages including a new room category, the Cottage Petite Suite. There’s also a new “wellness barn” for spa treatments, a new restaurant and new excursions including vineyard bathing and cycling tours of the vineyards. Among many other changes are the new poolside lunch “farmside coolers,” offering thematic meals during the warmer months.

Melia Punta Cana Beach’s wellness months

Each month this summer, the Melia Punta Cana Beach in the Dominican Republic is putting the spotlight on health and wellness with various complimentary classes and activities. In July, the resort will offer programs focused on healthy eating and natural body detoxes. Included in the daily rate are regular classes covering topics like mud cleansing, healthy cooking, Ayurvedic detox, juice therapies and a vegan diet tutorial. Sure to be popular is its low-calorie wine tasting sessions. In August, hydra wellness events center around water jumping aerobics, aqua spinning, aqua Zumba and Pilates, and paddle yoga. In September, guests will have boot camps, guided meditation sessions and body scrub workshops.

Wyndham launches app-based road trip planner

Just in time for Memorial Day, Wyndham is introducing a new road trip planning feature within its app. As travelers gear up for a busy summer season, the app will make the planning process for a trip easier. Road trips continue to remain popular after hitting a pandemic high, despite high fuel costs. Coordinating a more efficient route can also help people save cash by planning every navigational element before they hit the road. The feature includes organizing trips by selecting certain Wyndham hotel brands, finding pet-friendly properties, choosing hotels based on driving distance and coordinating multiple hotels into one trip transaction. The app can recommend routes between hotels and allows Wyndham Rewards members to pay with cash, points or a combination of both.