Tag: ideas

27 Great Holiday Gift Ideas From Truly Chic Hotel Boutiques

NO LONGER cramped kiosks selling postcards and prophylactics, many hotel gift shops have become expertly curated boutiques. And now some of the world’s great purveyors of hospitality have emerged as a solution for online shoppers who need a holiday gift for the curtailed travelers in their lives. Think fancy consumables specific to the hotel’s region, an unusual toy, local things unavailable anywhere else.

If your loved ones have a favorite hotel, to which they return time and again, but can’t this year, a souvenir from its gift shop can be especially thoughtful. Ideal for Aunt Jane who’s been itching to get back to Claridge’s? The London landmark is now selling its tea service for the first time via its online store.

Aunt Jane will be thrilled and you can feel good about yourself: Online Christmas shopping via hotel boutique helps the hard-hit hospitality industry, too. Many top names offer gift cards for future travel. But in the meantime, here’s a wish list of things you can get online and have delivered directly, even if the hotel is closed:

Made in Italy

Emporio Sirenuse at Le Sirenuse, Positano

Opened in 1951 when the Sersale family (and current owners) converted their house into a hotel, this small resort that hugs the Amalfi Coast is an Italian dream come true, with a boutique so chic that the wares—from vibrant caftan to snappy swim trunks—are also sold on Net-a-Porter. Standout item: the Suzani-inspired pillow cases (from $316) that mimic textiles used throughout the 58-room property. emporiosirenuse.com

Southern Exposure

Keep Shop at Noelle, Nashville

On the ground floor of this reinvented 1930s downtown hotel, the Keep Shop boutique features a range of home goods and clothing, most made in the Southern U.S., including Stetson cowboy hats (from $125) and an indigo kimono jacket from Nashville designer Oil + Lumber ($175). noelle-nashville.com, keep.shop

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Travel ideas to brighten months ahead

In the deep of our midwinter, the cleverest people in travel will be feeding the dream with initiatives that put, and keep, their hotels at the top of clients’ minds. If these initiatives reiterate a place’s singular style, great; if they underline its commitment to a more thoughtful way of doing hospitality, even better. 

The Fife Arms in Braemar
The Fife Arms in Braemar © Sim Canetty-Clarke
The Heath Room at Heckfield Place, Hampshire
The Heath Room at Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Cases in point: The Fife Arms, the extravagant Highlands bolthole owned by art dealers Iwan and Manuela Wirth; and Heckfield Place, the peerlessly chic Hampshire estate. The former has just launched a comprehensive web shop on which can be found editions of, or things inspired by, the signature designs and products around the hotel. Almost all of them make excellent gifts, from the cashmere stoles printed with abstracts of works by Guillermo Kuitca (who was commissioned by the Wirths to paint the hotel’s dining-room murals) to Gathering: a Place Aware Guide to the Cairngorms, a multi-volume anthology of poetry, essays, maps and photographs produced exclusively by Scottish artist Alec Finlay. The house tartan and tweed, both designed by Araminta Campbell and available as blankets and scarves, are highly covetable. Should you prefer to design your own, there’s a gift for that too: the custom tartan or tweed gift box (£1,500).

The Fife Arms hotel’s signature tartan stole, £150
The Fife Arms hotel’s signature tartan stole, £150
Gathering: a Place Aware Guide to the Cairngorms, by Alec Finlay, £40
Gathering: a Place Aware Guide to the Cairngorms, by Alec Finlay, £40 © Ray Smith

Heckfield Place, meanwhile, has a long-held goal in its sights: to become the first hotel in the UK with a 100 per cent biodynamic farm. Super-chef Skye Gyngell, of London’s Spring, technically oversees the hotel’s two restaurants; but her passion extends across the property’s 400 acres to its organic produce, its flower beds and beehives, and the micro-dairy that generates butter, milk and yoghurt for the hotel and the local community. The achievement will be something of a full circle for Heckfield, whose concept was always to revive the sustainability and self-reliance that used to characterise England’s country estates. shop.thefifearms.com; rooms from £430. heckfieldplace.com; rooms from £350

Toki, the French-Japanese restaurant at Hotel The Mitsui
Toki, the French-Japanese restaurant at Hotel The Mitsui

Dream onsens in Kyoto
One of Kyoto’s grandest private houses has been reimagined as one of its finest hotels by the illustrious business dynasty that owns it. Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto opened on 3 November with 161 rooms and suites, two restaurants (one innovative French-Japanese, one Italian), and a 1,000sq m spa with a spring-fed onsen and treatment suites. The Mitsui family conscripted a roster of stars of design and architecture, including Hong Kong-based André Fu and Shunsaky Miyagi, the acclaimed landscape designer and partner of the landscape and urban design firm Placemedia. There’s a CV dense with superlatives here for when Japan is back on the travel dockets. hotelthemitsui.com; rooms from about £760 

A Quark Expeditions tour to see humpback whales
A Quark Expeditions tour to see humpback whales © Quark Expeditions

An Antarctic expedition ne plus ultra
In times that encourage escapism, here’s the best-in-class

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Tips And Ideas For Planning Future Travel

When the pandemic started to feel real to many people in early 2020, many hopeful travelers delayed their plans only a few weeks or months. They expected to be out exploring the world again by summer, but then trips kept getting delayed again. Even now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department both still caution against non-essential travel with advisories showing at least a moderate risk assessment for most countries.

The CDC specifically cautions, “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19. You can get Covid-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread Covid-19 to others.” It continues to caution that even children can get and spread the virus before they even know they have it.

So, what are those with us with wanderlust in our hearts to do? One way to keep our spirits up may be to plan future trips for days when the pandemic is in our rearview mirror. Consider these ideas for planning future travel even when you don’t know when you’ll be making the trip.

Take Fantastic Virtual Tours

One way to get a deeper understanding of a location and decide whether you really want to visita place in person is to take advantage of the many virtual tours that are now available. You can take virtual tours of all kinds of interesting places.

Have you always wanted to visit an animal sanctuary and see how rescued animals of many different species enjoy life at a safe forever home? Virtually travel to Canada and see many videos of the ongoing adventures of the fabulous Esther The Wonder Pig, her dads, and her adopted siblings of many different species. Follow along as they live the good life at the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary through the videos on her Facebook page.

On the website of Red Robin Song Animal Sanctuary in the Berkshires, you can get a glimpse via video of a donkey and miniature horse who are best friends. Also in New York are virtual tours of Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Other virtual animal sanctuary tours are available beyond the Big Apple at such places as the Aloha Animal Sanctuary in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and the Austin Farm Sanctuary in Austin, Texas.

For something entirely different, take virtual tours of the world’s best museums to see which ones may best capture your interest for a later in-person visit. Check out the online exhibits of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. See an online tour of the National Museum New Delhi in India. You can also enjoy online tours of The Louvre in Paris, France.

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9 Staycation Outfit Ideas That Will Make You Feel Like You’re Actually On Vacation

If the global coronavirus pandemic put a major wrench in your travel plans, here’s a silver lining: sometimes, the best vacation days are the ones spent close to home. You can just as easily nurse your travel bug by exploring parts of your neighborhood you haven’t ventured into yet, ordering takeout from restaurants you haven’t tried before, and booking an Airbnb in the next town over (or sleeping in the living room for a change of scenery). It’s also worth browsing celebrity staycation outfits as inspiration for what to wear when you’re OOO.



Skai Jackson, Ice Cube, Joan Smalls are posing for a picture: Getty Images


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Skai Jackson, Joan Smalls are posing for a picture: It's time to break out those printed shirts and shell necklaces — even if your big trip this year consists of going from the bed to the couch.


© Getty Images
It’s time to break out those printed shirts and shell necklaces — even if your big trip this year consists of going from the bed to the couch.

RELATED: This Is What It’s Like to Be a Flight Attendant During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Granted, “staycation” is indicative of time spent staying put, but just because you aren’t chilling on a beach in Florida or jet setting to another country doesn’t mean you can’t dress like you’re doing just that. Celebrate your much-need time off (take that PTO!) with outfits that, first and foremost, make you feel good. If that means dolling up for a socially distanced night out (or in!), awesome. If that means vegging out on the couch in your comfiest sweats, even better!

How and where you choose to spend your staycation is up to you, but just in case you’re curious, here are a few celeb-inspired looks to narrow down your outfit choices and help you escape — even if it’s just in your mind.

A Sexy Date Night Outfit



a woman standing in front of a crowd: Gotham/GC Images Hailey Bieber


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Gotham/GC Images Hailey Bieber

Date nights, like days off, look a little different than they used to given the current state of the world. But even if your romantic evening translates to eating out of takeout containers, what better way to spice things up a bit than with a sexy date-night outfit? Of course, what you consider “sexy” is subject to you and your partner’s tastes, so if that means breaking out your favorite LBD with strappy heels like Hailey Bieber, go for it! If that means a tank top and sweats, great! Do you.

Tie Dye From Head to Toe



a woman is walking down the street: Raymond Hall/GC Images Irina Shayk


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Raymond Hall/GC Images Irina Shayk

Incorporating pops of color into your wardrobe will liven up your style, but vibrant hues might also boost your mood. Tie-dye has been popping up all over Hollywood, with starlets like Irina Shayk, Hailey Bieber, JLo, Stella Maxwell, and even Jennifer Aniston embracing the trend. From T-shirts and sweatpants, to matching sets and face masks, psychedelic color patterns are a great way to hold onto summer and warmer weather, even as the temperature dips into the the teens.

Tropical Prints to Channel Island Vibes 



a person standing in front of a building: Gotham/GC Images Bella Hadid


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Gotham/GC Images Bella Hadid

As long as the CDC travel restrictions are still in place, you probably won’t be sunbathing under dreamy Florida

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The Best Vacation Ideas & Destinations for 2020


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15 Cheap Vacation Ideas | DaveRamsey.com

Every season has its share of money temptations, but summer just might be the worst. The kids are out of school, the beach is calling your name, and every free hour seems like a good opportunity to drop everything and go on vacation. Blame it on the sun!

But how can you go on a fun trip when you’re on a budget?

15 Cheap Vacation Ideas

Here are 15 cheap vacation ideas that will let you get away without breaking the bank! So, put on The Beach Boys, bust out the shades, and start making your vacation list now.

1. Tour your own city

And this doesn’t mean you “tour” your house projects and work on your yard. We’re talking about getting out there and being a tourist in your own town.

Explore local art galleries, historical sites, that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out, or even half-price museum days. You can truly be as thrifty as you want with this one.

2. Go camping

family camping

Okay, so you can go the traditional “let’s sleep outside” route, or you can rent a cabin. Get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

If you want the whole RV/camper experience but don’t actually want to drive the thing, Airbnb has you covered for as little as $39 a night.(1) Their hosts offer decked-out campers that stay put while you’re cozy and indoors. The youths call this “glamping”—you know, experiencing the great outdoors without dealing with that whole outdoors part.


Ready to start saving? Download our free budgeting tool today!

3. Go to the less popular beach

family on a beach

Certain beaches are going to be more popular and pricier than others (looking at you, Key West and Laguna Beach). But if you know where to look, you can save a pretty penny and still watch the tide roll in.

Coastline beaches are going to be more expensive than beaches along the Gulf. Sure, the water might look a little different, but when you’re coming from a landlocked area, a beach is a beach. Staying in a two-bedroom beach condo in Miami could cost you upwards of $100 more per night in comparison to the same type of lodging in Galveston, Texas. Plus, the Gulf beaches will have less expensive hotels, food and activities too.

4. Book travel packages using warehouse stores

We promise this isn’t as weird as it sounds. Club stores, like Costco, actually offer pretty good deals on vacation packages. If you’re planning a more elaborate vacation, you might want to consider what they have to offer.

For example, one Costco deal we found includes five days of accommodations for two adults at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Walt Disney World tickets, and car rental for about $1,900.(2) But if you paid for your hotel stay, Disney passes, and car rental separately, it would set you back about $2,200. That’s a savings of over $300 just by being smart about who you book with.

We know travel packages

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Top 5 Ideas for a Weekend Vacation in Florida

Florida’s famously good weather and 1,350 miles of coastline make it one of the U.S.’s most popular vacation spots.

Whether you want to spend two weeks in the sun or head down for a quick weekend reprieve from winter weather, there’s plenty of places to go and things to do.

Are you dreaming of a weekend vacation in Florida? Here’s where to go to make the most of the Sunshine State.

1. Miami

Miami is the perfect weekender destination because it offers everything you want without the queues or the cliches of other Floridian cities.

The city is well connected to virtually every U.S. airport, so there’s no need to connect and you have plenty of flight options. There’s also a hotel for every budget. Plus, if you hit Miami Beach, you don’t really need a rental car!

What’s more, Miami has a vibrant food scene, tons of cultural events and destinations, and of course, endless sun.

2. Orlando

Orlando and Disney go hand-in-hand, but is Orlando suitable for a weekend vacation in Florida?

Disney for a weekend is do-able, but if you want the best value and you’re bringing kids, then it’s better suited for a week-long trip.

Universal Studios, on the other hand, is perfect for a quick two or three-day trip. Not only is Universal smaller, but there are plenty of weekend bundles for Universal Orlando tickets. 

3. St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the historic jewel of the north. While it’s a bit more difficult to get to for a long weekend, it’s worth the trip if you want to skip the crowds of Orlando and the traffic of Miami.

You’ll also find this northern destination is a bit more temperate during the winter months, so you don’t need to fry on the beach.

Plus, the city is home to some incredibly charming B&Bs and small luxury hotels that will leave you feeling relaxed rather than rushed.

4. The Forgotten Coast

Are you the type who loves to sniff out new destinations – the places that you don’t see on Instagram? Then, visit Florida’s Forgotten Coast. 

The Forgotten Coast is the bit of coastline on the panhandle (in Franklin County) and it offers all the joys of the state in one local area. There are 200 miles of coastline, 5 islands, and 99 historic sites – with no high rises and strip malls to be found.

There are vacation rentals aplenty here, so why not make it your home away from home, at least for a weekend?

5. The Florida Everglades

The Florida Everglades are often a site seen from the plane as you prepare to land in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, but they’re also an amazing weekend destination.

The Everglades is a national park that offers the prime habitat for manatees, crocodiles, and even Florida panthers. Trips and tours give you the chance to learn how to protect such a vital and special area and may even offer a chance to spot one of these creatures

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Resorts at Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas | Vacation Ideas

Let us show you a breakdown of the Resorts at Atlantis Paradise Island. Here you can find out which stay is best for you and some very good vacation ideas. When we think about world-famous Paradise Island as a whole, white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters and warm weather comes to mind. Atlantis is an ocean-themed resort offering plenty of accommodations options, making it dreadful and tiring to choose the right one.

 

So, what will it be today? Dive into a world of underwater adventures or tour the largest open-air marine habitat in the world? Perhaps swim and interact with the bottlenose dolphin at Dolphin Cay? Then, there is heart-pounding, non-stop water and non-stop fun at the thrilling 141-acre Aquaventure Water Park. Water is not the only type of fun Atlantis has to offer. Play a round of tennis on one of the six courts, experience rock climbing or tee off at the 18-hole par 72 championship golf course. Or, just simply decide to melt away with pampering treatments at the Mandara Spa. Indulge in top-class nightlife and dining or have a night on the town at the casino which has over 75 gaming tables and 750 slot machines.

 

As you can see, there are many reasons for visiting this world famous location. To help you get around the massive grounds, free shuttle services are available. Now, which part of these popular grounds will you stay at? Don’t worry, we are here to help you decide. No matter which resort you stay at, all  guests have free privileges at all the Atlantis mega-complex with all the tourism attractions we list above. When you click on an affiliate link and buy something, we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown of some amazing resorts at Atlantis Paradise Island.

 

The Beach

The Beach is an amazing and beautiful resort, perfect for beach lovers and families looking for a casual and affordable stay at the resorts at Atlantis. As the name suggests, it’s all about the white sand beach, which it is close in proximity to. Rooms and suites feature a king bed or 2 queen beds and are decorated in a beach theme with floral decor, tiled floors and splashes of aquamarine colors. The best thing of all at The Beach is the view. From your private balcony, bask in commanding views of the they offer of the ocean as well as tropical gardens and pool. Placed perfectly on the grounds, it is close in proximity to Marina Village, Aquaventure, Atlantis Theatre and the Gamer’s Reef Game Room. Take a dive into the lagoon-style outdoor pool or decide to go on a relaxing lazy river raft ride. In the afternoons, a in-house DJ will play next to the beach bar. There is also a walking path on location that includes waterfalls and stingray feeding areas. As far as dining, The Beach doesn’t offer room service, but includes a two on-site restaurants.

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7 Cheap & Fun Family Vacation Ideas That Your Kids Will Love

The family vacation is practically an American institution. Whether it’s a trip to Grandma’s house or a long-anticipated vacation to a Disney theme park, vacations allow you to spend quality time with your family as you make lifelong memories.

Of course, vacationing with a large brood also means shelling out more for everything: food, lodging, entertainment, and attraction tickets, to name a few. But just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you need to skip the family vacation.

There are ways to plan a family vacation without going into debt or paying a fortune. Being smart about getting the most out of every dollar makes it possible to enjoy your trip without sacrificing fun. It’s the best of both worlds: making memories with your family and avoiding sticker shock when all is said and done.

Cost-Effective Family Vacation Ideas

I’ve taken my kids on two vacations this year, neither of which were exotic or expensive. And even though I didn’t take my kids to see architecture in Europe or to find elephants on an African safari, we had fun, created memories, and snapped a ton of scrapbook-worthy photos. My kids are seven and four – they’re happy to stay in a hotel and go swimming. I’ve learned vacations aren’t about the destination so much as the experience, which means a cost-effective plan can be as enjoyable as a pricey vacation.

Here are some of the best ways to score a memorable trip on the cheap:

1. Plan a Staycation

Whether you visit a historical site, national forest, or a few local city hangouts, by booking lodging where you live and sticking close to home, you can get the vacation experience without the expense of travel. Look for cheap attractions and tours, and ask your hotel whether they offer a discount for local residents. One of the best places to find staycation deals is through group deal websites such as LivingSocial, Travelzoo, and Groupon. Most of these sites offer deep discounts on everything from hotels to food and activities.

Doing something out of the ordinary, even if it’s close to home, can help create a vacation-like atmosphere without requiring an extravagant trip. Whether you choose to go camping at a nearby campsite, or you stay overnight in the city to check out the opening of a new museum, you don’t need to drive or fly to find a vacation spot.

2. Get Active

If you think about it, most of the attractions and events you pay for on vacation are passive activities. It costs a lot of money to catch a baseball game, go to the movies, see a play, or wander around a theme park, and yet, these activities don’t always lend themselves to family bonding. That’s why I favor active itineraries instead. Not only does a hike through a national forest or a bike ride through town cost a lot less than show tickets, these types of activities give you a chance to talk and connect with

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17 Summer Vacation Ideas for Your Kids

What do your kids do on their summer vacation? Many kids go to camp, or visit relatives, or enroll in special classes designed for children. But no matter if your kids are heavily scheduled, or if their time is completely their own, summertime is a perfect time for kids to experience boredom, forcing them to be creative. It’s a time to follow interests, discover new passions, and experiment. But even the most self-entertaining child sometimes runs out of ideas, so here are some items they can add to their summer checklist.

1. Explore outside. Being outside in nature is important for all children. Fresh air, exercise, and observation of the natural world are synonymous with childhood. See what your kids can discover about the area around your house, and about themselves.

2. Make a pet rock. When they are out exploring in nature, kids can choose a rock. Something not too large, and with a smooth enough surface to take paint or sticky items. When they bring it back, once washed and dried it can be decorated with paint, glitter, sticky foam, googly eyes, or whatever is needed to make the rock into a new pet. And here’s the best part: It doesn’t require food or cleaning up after.

3. Go stargazing. Summer is the perfect time to go stargazing. It isn’t too cold at night, and a family snuggle on a blanket looking up at the night sky is an enjoyable way to learn together. Read up on a few constellations and planetary locations ahead of time, and your kids will think you’re a genius.

4. Study the weather. Set up a little weather station and measure rainfall, wind direction, and temperature. Chart these over time to see how the weather changes in your area. Compare notes with a cousin who lives in a different city.

5. Watch movies. Movies that your kids missed in the theater but are out on DVD still make for an exciting way to spend a lazy afternoon when it’s too hot to play outside. Popcorn and lemonade make good accompaniments.

6. Catch up on geek classics. This is a fantastic opportunity to indoctrinate your kids in the all-important geeky movies, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Princess Bride, Back to the Future, WarGames, Tron, and others. And for older kids, set them on Monty Python, The Matrix, Akira, and Highlander.

7. Read books. That says it all.

8. Visit the library. Most local libraries have summer reading programs, special craft project times, puppet shows, teen clubs, and other fun things organized specially for the summer. Check the schedule at a library near you.

9. Build with Lego. Kids can build free-form projects, or modern art pieces. If they run out of ideas, challenge them to build a spaceship, a plant, or a robot. See who can assemble the most realistic Dalek. But no instruction is really necessary here. We’ve all been building with Lego since we could hold up a 2×4 brick. Give

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