|The Evolution of the Wellness Getaway Wellness looks different to every traveler. For some, a hiking adventure through the Himalayas is the key to rejuvenation, while for others, it’s a week spent at a farm learning how to cook healthy food. It could be completely unplugging or using the latest technology to achieve healthier skin. Long story short, the copy-and-paste style wellness retreat is not what the modern traveler is looking for anymore. Spa getaways and yoga retreats have defined wellness travel for decades. Guests would attend meditation classes, get a couple’s massage and maybe go vegetarian for a few days—all on the grounds of an all-inclusive resort. This type of wellness travel still exists today, but at the dawn of a new decade—and after a year of many of us being cooped up at home—guests are expecting much more personalization and nuance from a getaway that promises to restore their mental and physical health. With wellness travel growth twice the average of overall tourism at the beginning of 2020, it’s clear that the industry has been quick to catch on to evolving desires. The following two properties follow this simple model yet couldn’t be more different from each other:
LAKE AUSTIN SPA & RESORT Located outside Austin in Texas Hill Country, this 40-room property is set on 19 acres along the shores of its namesake lake. Lake Austin Spa Resort tackles the wellness of guests from several angles—from encouraging them to ditch their phones in their rooms, unwinding with a full-body scrub at the spa, or indulging in the vegetable-forward cuisine at the resort’s restaurant. Being lakeside also allows guests to choose from a lengthy list of aquatic activities—enjoy a scenic boat ride or work up a sweat hydro-biking.
AMANKORA Comprising five lodges across Bhutan, this resort system caters specifically to spiritual wellness. Amankora Punakha is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of rice terraces, while visitors to Amankora Bumthang can join local monks in prayer. Open to tourists this month, travelers can also visit monasteries and hike to cliffside temples.While wellness travel is constantly diversifying, the all-inclusive model at its core remains relatively simple—identifying what guests will connect with and then using it to tap into their passions, comfort levels and thought processes to create a program that “gets” them. It’s a balance of making an experience feel completely personal yet still being able to cater to many’s wellness needs. With so many different options out there, as your travel advisor, we can help you find the perfect match to realize your wellness goals. LET’S TALK REJUVENATION!
How to Take Your National Park Visit to the Next Level of Luxury The popularity of national parks skyrocketed in 2020. Abundant in variety, easily accessible, and perfect for social distancing, many built entire vacations around visiting a national park or a series of them. Unsurprisingly, this travel trend continues to be popular in 2021. While there’s the classic “pitch a tent and rough it approach,” it’s now possible to experience the natural wonders of America’s national parks on both a private and luxurious basis. We’re talking visitor programs hosted by high-end hotels and tour operators. After all, reconnecting with nature doesn’t always mean you need to get your hands dirty. We’ve rounded up a shortlist of properties and tour operators hopping on this trend to inspire your next national park visit:
ROCKY MOUNTAINEER This Canadian rail tour company has finally landed in the Lower 48 with their route through the Rocky Mountains. Titled the “Rockies to the Red Rocks,” passengers are whisked from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah, over two days with a stop-over in Glenwood Springs. Through the glass-roofed cars, you’ll take in views of the Colorado River, Byers Canyon, and the sandstone backdrop of wild Utah.
CAMP SARIKA BY AMANGIRI Situated in the heart of the Utah desert, well-known wellness resort Amangiri takes glamping to a whole new level. Just a short drive away from the main property, guests will find themselves surrounded by an unearthly 600-acre landscape of mesas and canyons. Each of the ten canvas-topped pavilions comes with a private plunge pool and centers around a common lounge, restaurant, and pool area.
MOUNTAIN TRAVEL SOBEK Since 1969, this tour company has curated adventures around the world, allowing their clients to connect with new cultures and get back in touch with nature. Small group-oriented and highly customizable, some of their most popular tours of American national parks include Denali and Kenai in Alaska. New additions to the roster include Yosemite National Park in California, as well as an exploration of Yellowstone and the Tetons. See an adventure that inspires you? We’re here to answer your questions and book a national park adventure that’s perfect for you!
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Why 2021 is the Year of the African Safari Despite the uncertainty that dominated the travel landscape in 2020, one thing travel advisors are excited about in 2021 is the ever-popular safari. What’s intriguing about this trip style is that 2021 might be the year to plan your very own adventure. With private tours and small groups in demand, your safari experience promises to be both intimate and highly customizable. In conjunction with smaller numbers of tourists, the quality of wildlife sightings has skyrocketed. Pre-COVID, throngs of visitors to national parks and nature preserves made hard-to-see fauna more challenging to find. Today, you can easily observe a pride of lions at your leisure without another jeep full of tourists bearing down on you for a piece of the action. In short, to experience a safari in 2021 is to experience a safari like it was 30 years ago—fewer tourists, more quality time with the local wildlife, and most importantly, a vacation perfectly catered to your style of travel. The chance to stay at lodges normally booked up to a year in advance, such as Governors’ Camp in Kenya and &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, are also a huge draw for booking a safari in 2021. With these destinations likely to be highly in demand for 2022 and beyond, your best bet to experience the unspoiled beauty of the African wilderness is to book for 2021.As your travel advisor, we’re here to help! How would you like to spend your trip in the African bush?
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You Can’t VIP Yourself It’s a common misconception that using a travel advisor to help plan your vacation is for rookie travelers only. While it’s true that those unfamiliar with the trip planning process will seek out an advisor for guidance, the benefits don’t end once clients become more comfortable. It’s entirely possible to plan a vacation on your own, but there’s a saying in the industry that perfectly explains where our help is invaluable: You can’t VIP yourself. Many of us travel advisors have spent years—and even decades—building and cultivating connections. We’ve put the time and effort into working with only the best properties, suppliers, and tour operators in the business are all relationships our clients benefit from. By working with us, you get top-notch VIP treatment without having to lift a finger. As your travel advisor, our work behind the scenes allows you to have the best possible travel experience without the time, stress, and effort of building relationships with the sometimes dozens of suppliers and operators you’ll come into contact with during a trip. We’re not saying it can’t be done on your own, but ask any of our clients—seasoned travelers and rookies alike—if they’d prefer to enjoy their vacation or stress over the details, and it’s safe to say they’d choose the former. Even if traveling is second nature to you, having an experienced advisor in your corner is the key to unlocking that next level of luxury and attention to detail. Especially during these uncertain times when many travel plans have been sidelined for months, we want to make sure your travel comeback is the best it can be. You deserve to be a VIP on your next vacation. LET’S PLAN A TRIP!
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