Ah, camping. The lure of the great outdoors. Cooking sausages over a crackling fire and telling stories late into the night. Sleeping under the stars, with just a sturdy bit of canvas between you and the wilderness beyond. Leaving the city behind you, and embracing nature at its most pure. Fresh air, exercise, the sun on your face. There’s nothing quite like it.
With the two mega-yachts that make up our Sea Dream yacht club offering incredible luxury cruise charters to top destinations around the world, sometimes we like to check in on where the chic crafts are heading, and daydream about the exotic sights they’ll encounter there.
It’s hard to resist the Amalfi Coast, blessed as it is with crayon coloured houses on rugged cliffs reaching down through terraces of citrus groves to the sparkling sea. Fall in love with this stretch of coast along the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy’s Campania region and you would hardly be the first – it has housed and inspired artists and writers from Byron, Shelley and Keats to Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, John Steinbeck and Gore Vidal. Simply breathing in the air of lemon and jasmine is a kind of poetry, as visitors to our luxury boutique hotel in Sorrento, Villa dei D’Armiento, would attest.
If it’s an outdoor holiday you’re after, you couldn’t do better for a destination than the Bella Coola Valley, an isolated paradise of old growth rain forests, soaring peaks and spectacular wildlife. It’s also home to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, our luxury eco lodge in Canada, where (despite its remote location), the only hardship is in deciding which of the many activities available to experience first. Ideally you should allow at least four nights for your visit to really get a sense of this beautiful valley, taking in a combination of grizzly bear viewing, fishing, relaxing, and of course, a spot of hiking.
At the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, lies the Komodo National Park, comprising of three main islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) as well as a sprinkling of smaller ones. Sailing here as part of a luxury Indonesian holiday, you’ll be rewarded with a desert island idyll – pink beaches (formed from coral and sand), monsoon forests, and turquoise bays visited by pods of dolphins and bales of languorous turtles.
In many ways, Galle is Sri Lanka’s comeback kid, a city that has seen more rises and falls than John Travolta’s career. It was first discovered by the Portuguese, who built a small fort on its windswept promontory. Then came the Dutch, who replaced the existing architecture with their own, and established Galle as the country’s most important port. A century and a half later, however, the action moved to Colombo, and for the most part, time stood still in this quiet but colourful coastal town.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a curious beginner, the thought of a peaceful day by a bubbling river with just your thoughts and an occasional tug on the line for company sounds like bliss. But at Nimmo Bay, our luxury eco lodge in Canada, fishing trips go a step beyond. All the serenity once you’re in position, but an added shot of adrenaline in getting there. This is heli-fishing, the ultimate way to combine a love of nature with a yearning for adventure. If James Bond planned a fishing trip, this would be it. (more…)
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s never a bad time to visit the Galapagos. Even during peak season, limits on the amount of both day visitors by cruise ship and those staying in the luxury eco lodges in Galapagos (imposed in order to preserve the extraordinary natural resources of the islands) ensure that it is unlike what’s termed high season almost anywhere else, and it’s easy to enjoy a sense of peace and isolation in this little piece of paradise off the coast of Ecuador. In March, the rainy season hits its highest level of precipitation, with brief warm tropical showers punctuating days of sunshine. As the rains start to ease off at the end of the month, the flowers bloom – bringing watercolour washes of brights to the archipelago. It’s also a great time for wildlife watching, especially in the water. Here are some of the monthly highlights: (more…)
Visiting Galle is like taking a trip in a time machine – a very laid-back sort of DeLorean perhaps, but a time warp nonetheless. With its gently decaying Dutch colonial architecture and atmosphere of old world charm, it’s the best preserved colonial town in Sri Lanka, and in the last few years has also been experiencing a post-Tsunami renaissance, restoring some of the buzz of its days as a trading port and turning the once sleepy coastal town into a cosmopolitan destination that still retains its chilled out air. While it’s still overlooked by many visitors to the shores and luxury boutique hotels in Sri Lanka, it won’t be for long – here are the first five of our top 10 Galle highlights. (more…)
The vibrant city of Marrakech is the kind of place that regularly gets described as magical – the merry jumble of its market squares, the labyrinthine streets and the mesmerising glow of the sun setting on its city walls are nothing short of enchanting, summoning you like a genie from the life you left behind. But for four days each March, the city is literally the most magical place on earth, as the International Magic Festival comes to town, spilling over from the theatres into the streets, the riads and the luxury boutique hotels. (more…)
If you’ve heard of the island of St Helena at all, it’s probably in the context of Napoleon’s exile there, the birds and endemic flora that can be found there, or perhaps the RMS St Helena, one of the last remaining mail ships which also provides boutique cruises to St Helena Island. But if you’re a coffee aficionado, this remote South Atlantic outpost will have completely different associations for you. It’s the home of one of the world’s most exclusive (and costly) coffees – a blend that Napoleon himself helped to make famous and that still forms one of the island’s chief exports today. (more…)
It’s hard to imagine a world without teddy bears, but in fact the history of the toys only goes back as far as the early 1900s. At the time, President Theodore Roosevelt had become associated with the animals after a hunting incident in which he refused to shoot a captured American black bear, and soon afterwards a toymaker from New York created a stuffed bear he labelled ‘Teddy’s Bear’. Across the pond, a German company had designed a similar toy, and soon the craze for the bears took off as both a children’s toy and eventually a collector’s item for adults. When and how they became popular as a love token is unknown, but each year, thousands are given away as Valentine’s gifts. (more…)