Posts tagged with "vacation"

Stowe × Okemo

A combination of world-class snowmaking and favorable temperatures have allowed both Stowe and Okemo to start making snow at higher elevations during the first weekend of November. Sister resort, Mount Sunapee, in New Hampshire, will begin snowmaking soon as well.
 
Opening day for the 2019/2020 season at all three resorts is approaching quickly. Stowe and Okemo are targeting November 22 as the start of winter operations, while Mount Sunapee is aiming for November 27. All three resorts will commemorate their opening days with “First Chair” celebrations.
 
Last year, Stowe and Okemo opened for the season in mid-November with top-to-bottom terrain. Efforts are being made to accomplish that again this year.

Important Uphill Information
At this time, with extensive snowmaking operations taking place, all uphill traffic is prohibited on Mount Mansfield.  The use of heavy equipment and active high-pressure air and water systems around the mountain create a hazardous environment for anyone other than our snowmaking professionals. Uphill access on Mansfield will begin when the designated uphill routes become available. In the interim, uphill travel is only permitted on the Sterling trail at Spruce Peak. For up to date info about skinning or hiking please call 802-253-3690.
 
Now is the Last Chance to Secure an Epic Pass for the 2019-20 Winter Season 
Epic Passes are on sale now for a limited time only, and now is the last chance for skiers and riders to secure the best multi-resort pass deal in the ski industry. New for the 2019-20 season, Vail Resorts launched the Epic Day Pass allowing guests to ski world-class resorts for up to 50 percent off of lift ticket window prices. Starting at as little as $112 for one day of skiing at any of Vail Resorts’ North American resorts, the Epic Day Pass is perfect for those skiers and riders who may not need the unlimited skiing offered by traditional season passes. Guests can also lower their cost per day by adding more days. 
 
For guests looking to ski more days in a season, the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass continue to offer the best value and variety for unlimited skiing and riding. Currently priced at $989 for the 2019-20 winter season, the Epic Pass provides unlimited, unrestricted access to all of Vail Resorts’ owned and operated resorts and additional access to partner resorts around the world. For skiers and riders willing to navigate around a few peak dates, the Epic Local Pass offers incredible value with access to many of the same destinations, starting at only $739. The entire lineup of Epic Pass options is on sale now at epicpass.com.  
 
 
About Stowe, Okemo and Mount Sunapee

Offering three distinctively unique experience across Vermont and southern New Hampshire, Stowe, Okemo and Mount Sunapee offer top-rated snow surface, plus everything from family friendly skiing and convenient Slopeside accommodations to best-in-class amenities and world-class skiing. Stowe offers premium lodging, dining, entertainment, skiing and off-hill adventures for every season. Stowe’s refined, authentic mountain resort and town and mountain are unequaled in the

Northeast, www.stowe.com. Okemo consistently receives accolades and wins awards for snow quality, grooming, terrain parks, family programs, slope side lodging, resort dining and its friendly and helpful staff. In addition to an on-snow lineup of family fun, Okemo offers a variety of winter activities: a mountain coaster, ice skating, snowshoeing, tubing, a pool and fitness center, spa services, and family events and activities. Visit www.okemo.com. Mount Sunapee is conveniently located in southern New Hampshire, close to two major interstate highways, and easily accessible from Boston. With a summit elevation of 2,743 feet and a vertical drop of 1,510 feet, the mountain offers 66 trails and slopes that make up 233 acres of skiable terrain, www.mountsunapee.com.
 
 
About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)

Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate 37 world-class mountain resorts and urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham in Australia; Stowe, Mount Snow, Okemo in Vermont; Hunter Mountain in New York; Mount Sunapee, Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania; Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine and Mad River in Ohio; Hidden Valley and Snow Creek in Missouri; Wilmot in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and Paoli Peaks in Indiana. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.

LES SUITES AT THE CLIFF BAY, five-star, PORTOBAY HOTELS & RESORTS, 360 MAGAZINE, Portugal, hotels, preferred hotels, resorts, lodging

LES SUITES AT THE CLIFF BAY

OPENS ON MADEIRA

The new five-star Les Suites at The Cliff Bay with 23 luxury suites is the PortoBay group’s most exclusive property on the island of Madeira (Portugal). The experience combines comfort, luxury and history with elegant suites and a new designer restaurant, the Avista. Two century-old manors and a new wing set in lush gardens with amazing views offer an unforgettable stay.
 
Les Suites at The Cliff Bay is located just northeast of The Cliff Bay hotel, off of Funchal’s Estrada Monumental, and occupies a total area of 6,000 square meters.

Sitting atop of a promontory, the hotel incorporates two historic houses, both from the beginning of the last century: one hosts the check-in and two very exclusive suites; the other has a restaurant with different dining areas with a team led by Chef Benoît Sinthon. The new wing consists of 21 spacious luxury suites with large balconies. The buildings are connected by beautiful gardens with an infinity pool and unique views of the Atlantic and Funchal bay.

An idyllic location with access to all the facilities of the neighboring The Cliff Bay hotel, for the true comfort and convenience of the PortoBay hotels.
 
SPACIOUS SUITES

The new wing offers two different types of rooms — suites and duplex suites. Both are spacious and comfortable with a sitting room, bedroom and closet, living room, marble bathroom and large balconies with breathtaking views. The 15 Suites (60 m2 + 17 m2 balcony) overlook the Atlantic, and the nine located on the ground floor have access to a cosy private garden. The 6 Duplex Suites (66 m2 + 15 m2 balconies) have living and sleeping areas on separate floors. There are two bathrooms and one very exclusive detail; a private lift inside the room.
 
In the historic house, the Master Suite (85 m2 + 36 m2 balcony) has two bedrooms, kitchenette and an enormous balcony. The Artistic Suite (63 m2 + 16 m2 balconies), is a suite with a difference located on the top floor.
 
Every detail has been carefully selected to ensure added comfort. Natural and classic materials are to the fore: walnut wood for the floors, cabinets and other finishes, a Greek marble bathroom, double sinks, a large bath and shower cubicle, three mirrors and Bvlgari amenities. In the bedroom there are spacious beds (2×1 or 2×1.20 meters wide) with elegant natural leather headboards, natural neutral tone textiles and warm lighting. Balconies include comfortable furniture to enjoy the view.

In terms of technology, the entire hotel has wifi and the suites are serviced by two large, movable 49-inch Smart TVs with USB and HDMI connections.

BREATHTAKING VIEWS AND RELAXING LIVING AREAS
 
Its seafront location offers the framing of the lush gardens, the infinity line on the horizon and a viewpoint. The infinity pool with its unique setting, jacuzzi and harmonious solarium give Les Suites an idyllic feel. The other leisure facilities include gardens, lounges and terraces, gym and pilates room.
 
AVISTA RESTAURANT
 
The Avista Restaurant & Lounges are set in one of the century-old houses with direct street access, which combines a contemporary wing and comfortable outdoor areas.

Inside, the neutral colors blend with some bold details, to frame the memorable landscape that is visible through the glass walls. The tile mural by artist Meinke Flesseman adds a distinctive touch to the ‘pavilion’. On the floor above, a panel by photographer Henrique Seruca represents the fresh local fish.

Here you can experience the sharing concept applied to different culinary experiences inspired by Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. The kitchen is open from 12 noon to 10pm, serving up food ranging from Josper’s grill menu, Asian options, snacks, menu of the day, pastries, afternoon tea, snacks and cocktails.
Avista’s Mediterranean menu offers comfort food, combining the freshness of local ingredients with a more relaxed cooking style — the barbecue grill. Vegetables from the PortoBay garden, fish from the coast, seafood and different cuts of meat are prepared in a Josper oven, a type of closed grill that cooks at high temperatures, giving the food the unique flavor of the embers and a succulent texture. Local produces like the tropical fruits of Madeira, limpets, caco bread and local fish from the coast are all highly prized.

Avista’s Asian menu is designed with the Japanese concept of ‘raw food’ in mind. Sushi, sashimi and ceviche are prepared in the open kitchen, as are warm dishes such as poke bowl and ramen. They are made with refined techniques and local and oriental produce for an elegant and delicate result.

The Avista snack menu offers warm and cold options as you relax in the lounges. In the afternoon, you can personalize a tea of your choice with homemade scones, mini sandwiches and petit fours.

The wine cellar offers an original collection, with national and international wines carefully chosen by sommelier Roberto Drummond to match the chefs’ creations. Avista offers an extensive and daring cocktail menu by award-winning bartender Eusébio Silva.
Guided by Chef Benoît Sinthon (The Cliff Bay, Il Gallo d´Oro restaurant, 2 Michelin stars), Avista’s Mediterranean menu is coordinated by Chef João Luz while the Asian-inspired menu is the responsibility of Chef Luísa Castro.
 
ACCESS TO THE CLIFF BAY

Les Suites is connected to The Cliff Bay hotel. The two hotels are comfortably connected by an interior corridor and guests at Les Suites have access to all of the hotel’s iconic services and facilities. Direct access to the sea, salt-water pool, indoor-outdoor pool, spa and restaurants, including the renowned 2-star Il Gallo d´Oro, bars and gardens.

About PORTOBAY HOTELS & RESORTS


The PortoBay group is a hotel chain comprising 15 hotels: 12 in Portugal (7 on Madeira, 1 in the Algarve, 2 in Lisbon and 2 in Porto) and 3 hotels in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Búzios and São Paulo). It has 3,350 beds in the 4- and 5-star segments in urban and resort settings. With its headquarters in Madeira, PortoBay Hotels & Resorts is the Portuguese group with the most international awards and a high level of loyalty and recognition from its guests.

Marriott Hotels, Cincinnati, 360 MAGAZINE

GIVE BACK THIS HOLIDAY SEASON WITH MARRIOTT HOTELS IN THE MIDWEST

With the holidays right around the corner, travelers will be presented with numerous occasions to donate their time, items or money for the greater good. From chances to volunteer to specials benefiting local organizations, each Midwest city offers its own unique traditions to help those in need. Marriott Hotels across the Midwest are providing prime opportunities for guests looking to open their hearts and give back while vacationing during this joyous time of the year.

Chicago, Illinois

●        The 42nd Annual Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade, hosted on Sunday, December 1, attracts between 40,000 and 50,000 motorcyclists each year and provides thousands of toys to children and families in need during the holiday season. For those who do not own a motorcycle, the Chicagoland Toys for Tots organization is always looking for parade volunteers to assist in the smooth execution of the event through toy collection, photography, security, and more. Those traveling to Chicago for this event may stay at either Sheraton Grand Chicago or The Westin Michigan Avenue, which are both a 35-minute drive from the celebration. Patrons looking to purchase a brand-new toy to donate to the organization may stay at the Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile, which is located within walking distance of all the stores on the iconic Magnificent Mile.

Green Bay, Wisconsin

●        The Hotel Northland, Autograph Collection is teaming up with the New Community Shelter, an organization that addresses homelessness and hopelessness through education and supportive services, to supply holiday turkey dinners for the shelter’s residents. Throughout the month of December, the property will also donate one dollar from every turkey special ordered to the New Community Shelter. Additionally, hotel staff will ask visitors if they would like to match the dollar donation.

Detroit, Michigan

●        Serving 1,500 children annually, The Children’s Center of Detroit’s Holiday Shop provides less-fortunate parents with the ability to surprise their families with gifts under their Christmas trees. Free of charge, guests may shop a wide-array of brand new, donated items. Following “purchase,” gifts are wrapped on-site and ready for the holiday festivities. Those in the area that are looking to donate their time or never-been-used items to this organization can stay at the Aloft Detroit at the David WhitneyDetroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center or the Courtyard Detroit Downtown, which are all located just 20 minutes via car from the center.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

●        The Twin Cities Salvation Army offers aid to its community through all seasons of the year with a diverse range of programming. Those visiting this area during the holiday season may volunteer with the organization to assist with coat distribution, meal service, food distribution and more. With multiple donation centers in and around the city, travelers throughout Minneapolis have many opportunities to make a difference. Guests staying at the Courtyard Minneapolis- St. Paul Airport or Delta Hotels Minneapolis Northeast are just a short drive away from the multiple Salvation Army locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis including 2024 N. Lyndale Ave. and 3740 S. Nicollet Ave. Additionally, Moxy Minneapolis Uptown is located just a 15-minute drive to the Salvation Army on 1604 E. Lake Street.

Cincinnati, Ohio

●        The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for food banks and as they try to accommodate the rise in demand, volunteers become a major asset to these organizations. The Freestore Foodbank, a local Cincinnati organization, provides food insecure individuals and families with nutritious meals and programs that encourage stability. Visitors at the Courtyard Cincinnati Covington and Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown may volunteer to assist in packing meals in boxes, sorting food donations and much more, as these properties are located 10 minutes away from the food bank.

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About Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy is the new travel program replacing Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) starting February 2019. Comprised of a portfolio of 30 hotel brands and home rental offering Homes & Villas by Marriott International, members can earn and redeem points for stays and accelerate the points they earn with co-branded credit cards from Chase and American Express.  The program offers 120,000 destination tours and adventures on Marriott Bonvoy Moments. When members book direct on Marriott.com they receive perks including free and enhanced Wi-Fi and exclusive member-only rates, and on the Marriott app they enjoy mobile check-in and checkout, Mobile Requests and, wherever available, Mobile Key. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit MarriottBonvoy.com. To download the Marriott app, go here. Travelers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

ironman, Hawaii, 360 magazine, sports

Royal Hawaiian Orchards Refuels IRONMAN Competitors

Participants in IRONMAN Village Provides Great Opportunity to Share the Benefits of Macadamia Nuts, Close to the Source
 
MacFarms and Royal Hawaiian Orchards welcomed the world’s best athletes, equipment makers, volunteers and fans to Kona, Hawaii this past week for the IRONMAN Championship – the ultimate test of athletic endurance, strength and heart. After four days of meeting athletes and fans alike, Royal Hawaiian Orchards would like to congratulate this year’s IRONMAN World Championship winners, Jan Frodino and Anne Haug.
 
Royal Hawaiian Orchards and MacFarms in IRONMAN Village
 
Staying close to home on the Big Island, they joined the IRONMAN Village throughout the event. To ensure that the competitors as well as their supporters enjoyed the full benefits of the macadamia nut, MacFarms and Royal Hawaiian Orchards handed out more than 5,000 samples from their new product lines including customized samples that went directly to the 2560 athletes.
 
As the best of the best athletes descended on Hawaii to prove themselves as part of the elite, Royal Hawaiian Orchards’ easy-to-grab packs of macadamia nuts guaranteed that energy levels were kept at an all-time high before and during the event, while MacFarms was a great option for a post-event treat. With these two brands together, you can enjoy pre-race fuel and post-race reward!
 
“It was incredible to see the level of intensity and strength of all of the athletes this weekend,” said K.C. Blinn, general manager of sales and marketing for MacFarms and Royal Hawaiian Orchards. “Our brands include the whole nutrients that the macadamia nut offers, making them a perfect match for both the IRONMAN athlete, as well as the enthusiasts that were here to cheer them on at every step. It was a great opportunity to see first-hand how our local orchards fuel athletes and fans alike.” 
 
Packed with protein, good fatty-acids and certified heart-healthy by the FDA, MacFarms and Royal Hawaiian Orchards’ macadamia nuts are the perfect way to refuel after a long day. 

About MacFarms:
MacFarms is the parent company of both the Royal Hawaiian Orchards and MacFarms brands. The company’s story spans decades of macadamia growing, beginning in the mid-20th Century with the founding of the Royal Hawaiian Nut Company in Hawaii. Though the company has evolved over the years, its dedication to health, wellness and “living aloha” live on.  The company’s orchards on the Big Island have more than 250,000 trees and is one of the largest macadamia operations in the world.  For additional information, please visit: macfarms.com or royalhawaiianorchards.com.

vacation homes, rentals, condominiums, cooperatives, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home

If you’re in a financial position where you are considering a vacation home, it can be exciting. Maybe your family has a favorite travel destination, or you’ve come across a great deal, and you think you might be ready to dive in.

Last year according to the National Association of Realtors, around one in eight homebuyers were purchasing a second home.


There is a lot that goes into buying a vacation home in terms of finances and logistics that you need to keep in mind. Sometimes it can sound dreamy, but the reality is different than you expected it would be, and the following are five important things to consider and weigh before buying a vacation home.


How Much Is It Really Going to Cost?


You may be looking at just the cost of the property itself and thinking it’s a great deal, but that only tells a small fraction of the story.


For example, is the house close enough to drive to, or will you be flying? If it’s somewhere you have to fly to, then you may have to buy an additional car to use when you’re there, and that comes with its own set of costs beyond the purchase price, such as carrying auto insurance for a rarely driven vehicle.


If you have to fly, you also have to factor in how much those airline tickets are going to cost you every time you want to go to your second home.


You’ll need other types of insurance along with auto insurance, such as homeowners’ insurance, and if your second home is in a place where flooding or hurricanes are likely, you’ll have to add that coverage in.
Other costs that often come with a second home include utility bills, homeowners association fees, and maintenance for the lawn.


Are You Willing to Commit to One Travel Destination?


If you buy a second home in a place you love, you may be happy only to travel there but you have to ensure that’s the case. You may be very limited in where you’re able to go outside of traveling to your vacation home.


If you’re someone who likes familiar routines, this could be fine for you, but if you are someone who has the travel bug, you might want to save your money and put it toward trips around the world versus locking yourself into one destination.


Are You Going to Rent It Out?


Some people who buy a second home will use it as a source of income when they’re not there, by renting it out. It can be a good way to cover some of the costs of owning a second home, but it’s a lot of work to own and rent out a property.


First, you have to ensure you can even rent it out at all. Certain neighborhoods or condo buildings might not allow this.


You also have to think about how you would rent it out—some locations in the country don’t allow Airbnb, for example, so you may have to pay an agency to handle it for you.


You also then have to pay for additional maintenance, insurance and cleaning services.


Plus, the most demand for your rental is going to be during the high season wherever it’s located, and that’s going to cut into your ability to enjoy your home.


What Will the Taxes Be?


A vacation home is a personal residence according to the IRS if you rent it out 14 days or fewer a year. If you rent it out more than 14 days a year, it’s considered a rental property. Either way, you have to report the rental income, plus there are issues like property taxes to take into consideration.


Are You Being Realistic?


The biggest thing to think about aside from the financial considerations is if you’re being realistic about the potential value, monetary and otherwise, that a second home will bring to your life and the life of your family.


There are snowbirds that love their vacation homes, and they use them for months at a time.


However, if you have a young family and you’re working full-time, this just isn’t going to be feasible.


What can initially seem like a dream may turn into something that you rarely get time to go to, and a vacation home can quickly become a burden.


You want to make sure you have the time and willingness to use your vacation home before you make such a big purchase that’s going to impact your finances and your life in so many ways.

Portugal’s Paradise: Madeira

Welcome to Madeira- a wonderful destination that has a warm year-round climate, dramatic volcanic landscapes, world-class wines, incredible hiking, a wide mix of lodging and so much more. Now closer than ever to the United States – is a the prefect warm weather winter/spring destination. All the wonders of Europe, the landscapes of a semi-tropical volcanic island, and as close as the Caribbean.

The Madeira Islands, an archipelago 750 miles southwest of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean, have a nearly perfect climate—warm in winter and never too hot in summer.

Ancient volcanic cliffs that rise dramatically from the sea dominate Madeira’s fascinating landscape. When Portuguese explorers came upon the Island of Madeira in 1420, they thought its dark cliffs signaled the gates of hell. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The steep rise creates six unique climate zones, each with its own beautiful flora and fauna that contribute to comparisons of Madeira with Hawaii.

The US and Madeira have long had strong bonds. Back in 1665, the British said all goods sold to its American colonies had to be shipped on British vessels from British ports, except products from Madeira. So, Madeira became the wine of America. America soon imported one-fourth of Madeira’s production of wine. George Washington supposedly drank a bottle a day. His inauguration was toasted with it, as was the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the launching of the USS Constitution. And, it became a popular destination for wealthy Americans, including US President Franklin Pierce, who spent three months on Madeira after leaving office in 1857.

Today, visitors come for the natural beauty, and they stay to experience the climate, cuisine, hiking, fishing, surf, and the old world charm of its cities and small towns. Madeira is the authentic jewel of European charm, where a visitor can experience fine wines, mountain hiking, or city culture—or easily all three in one day. Madeira has more than 200 years of hospitality traditions, famous visitors in the past included George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill. And, let me add that Madeira is a real value too, especially on the high end – with affordable lodging options, a wide range of dining, and overall very fairly priced.

American travelers are looking for a new destination. One that has a warm climate, history, wines, sun, great food, and a mix of the cosmopolitan with nature – that is Madeira. Please let me know if we can get you any additional information, or news about Madeira.

The Madeira Promotion Bureau promotes Madeira as a unique travel destination, with a focus on the travel trade. The Madeira Promotion Bureau is a non-profit association founded in August 2004 by a public entity and a private entity – the Regional Tourism Board and the Funchal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. www.apmadeira.pt/en

Getting to Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic on the 32nd parallel north. It lies southwest of Lisbon, and several hundred miles west of the coast of Morocco. It is made up of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, as well as the Desertas and the Selvagem Islands.

Madeira has never been easier to get to. TAP Portugal offers easy connections from Lisbon – and with non-stop service to Portugal from 9 US cities on five airlines, getting a connection is easy. TAP now has a 1 stop from Boston, DC, New york and Newark, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. It is a 1.5-hour flight from Lisbon, Porto or the Azores and it takes about 15 minutes to fly between the two islands in the group—Madeira and Porto Santo. Madeira’s Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport and the Porto Santo Airport serve the archipelago. The airport on Madeira is about a 30-minute drive to Funchal, the archipelago’s capital. Madeira has also become a major stop for cruise ships.

An overview

Madeira is a semi-tropical island rising from sea level to over 6,000 feet. Its steep pitch gives the island six distinct climate zones. The ancient Laurissilva cloud forest at the highest elevations is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, 2/3rds of Madeira is conservation land. It has mountain plains, valleys, high peaks, streams, rocky coastlines, and tidal pools. The island has a unique landscape accessed by a modern roadway system of new tunnels, and the older mountain roads they replaced that wind along the hillsides.

The south coast is sunny, and home to the cultivation of bananas, sugar cane, and grapes. Quaint fishing towns rise off the coast, where small hotels and villas welcome guests. The east coast is home to the historic towns of Caniçal, Machico and Santa Cruz. The wild Ponta de São Lourenço reserve snakes out into the ocean with great hiking and impressive views. The north coast is rugged, and features small towns and great surf. Santana is known for its straw roofed homes and great hiking and Sao Vincente has a series of lava caves. Inland, the massive peaks of Pico Ruivo and Areiro make for wild valleys and cliffs, with lots of grazing sheep and sweeping views. To the west lies the massive flat mountain plain of Paul da Serra, which feels like the surface of Mars, and the crater valley of Curral das Freiras. The sunny west coast runs from the tidal pools of Porto Moniz to the cliffs on the point at Cabo Girão.

Some 30 miles from Madeira is the smaller island of Porto Santo, famed for its long sandy beach, dunes, and vineyards. Porto Santo was where Portuguese ships first landed in 1419. Today, it earns the nickname the “Golden Island” from its undeveloped beaches and features a handful of hotels. Porto Santo’s beach is said to be one of the best in Europe, and its golden magnetized sands are famous for healing sore aches and pains. A new set of spas has recently opened to feature the sands, joined by a new golf course. Dry and sunny Porto Santo gets very little rain, perfect for a relaxing beach getaway any time of the year.

The uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens Islands are southwest and south of Madeira. The Desertas Islands’ three small, volcanic islands are a nature reserve. They serve as the last refuge of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), the rarest seal in the world. Another 180 miles south of Madeira are the Selvagens Islands, two groups of small islands also serving as a rich nature reserve for some of the rarest plants on the planet. Ideal nesting conditions make the islands a perfect bird sanctuary. Boat trips can be arranged, but environmental laws limit visitor numbers.

The City of Funchal

“The sea on one side, the mountains on the other, and between these two majestic splendors, the city smiles like a child sleeping, safe and warm, between its parents.” – Júlio Dinis

Funchal is a bustling city that rises from the Atlantic like an amphitheatre. It boasts forts, an historic old town, well-preserved churches, inviting museums, and regionally crafted wines. It is a walkable city with a pleasant harbor and a medieval cathedral more than 500 years old. Funchal is also perpetually sunny, but when the sun goes down, it’s easy to find entertainment, fine cuisine and music in its nightclubs, restaurants, and casino. The black cliffs surrounding Funchal are dotted with world-class hotels. There is an art museum, wicker toboggan rides, wineries, an open market, seaside parks… and so much more. The Lavradores Market features the colors, aromas, flowers, fruit and fish of Madeira. On the Rua de Santa Maria, a Painted Door Project has highlighted the oldest part of the city and its historic streets. Santiago Fort is the home to the Museum of Contemporary Art. And the Madeira Story Centre offers an interactive look at the archipelago.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the Monte Palace high above the city, is one the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Alongside the flowers inspired by them, the island is known for its embroidery. Unique, handmade pieces come form a team effort that includes designers, perforators and skilled embroiderers.

Wines and Hiking

Madeira is famous for the wine that bears its name and, today, is produced in a number of varieties. Funchal is the center of wine production. Madeira can be a dry table wine, a sweeter dessert wine, or a classic after-dinner drink. Its production is part of the social and economic life of the island. Each September, festivals celebrate the grape harvest. Along the warm south coast, grapes are grown on tiered terraces.

From its earliest days as a producer of wine, the island built a system of water channels, called Levadas that brought water to the vineyards. Today, they also serve as a vast network of hiking paths that run passed waterfalls and spectacular views.

Declared World Heritage in 1999, the Levadas lead to amazing scenery that includes valleys, mountains and ocean views. The most famous include: Caldeirão Verde, 25 Fontes, Risco, Balcões, and the one that goes to Pico do Arieiro from Pico Ruivo, the highest point on the island, which rises to 6,100 feet.

If you go..

Madeira is an Autonomous Region of Portugal. The archipelago has two main inhabited islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and two groups of uninhabited islands, Desertas and Selvagens. With a total area of 310 square miles, its capital is Funchal.

Madeira has a population of 255,650, which represents 2.5% of the total Portuguese population (10.5 million). The majority of the islanders live in and around Funchal. Santa Cruz, Câmara de Lobos, and Santana are the next biggest cities.

From the United States, direct (1-stop) flights are available out of cities including Boston, New York, Newark, Providence, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, and Atlanta. Azores Airlines and TAP are the main Portuguese operators flying directly and at the best rates. United, American, Delta, Norwegian or British Airways also fly to the island via connections.

Traveling from the mainland, Porto, Lisbon and Ponta Delgada airports all have non-stop flights to Funchal. And, the low-cost airlines Easyjet and Transavia also offer good deals and service.

Morro Bay, 360 MAGAZINE, California

5 Ways to Enjoy Morro Bay

The crowds are gone, the sunsets are as breathtaking as ever, and the weather in this seaside town of Morro Bay is extraordinary – which is why locals call October and November Morro Bay “Secret Season”. In the fall the coast is clear, sunny, and warm, and this years Secret Season is infused with new ways to enjoy Morro Bay. The opening of Port House, a new waterfront restaurant, the new Fire Pits at Morro Rock, and the new Estero Adventures are bringing smiles to everyone’s faces this fall. On top of miles of beaches and the unavoidably beautiful 576-foot tall volcanic rock sitting at the front of a bustling harbor filled with sailboats, kayakers, pelicans, sea lions and otters, here are 5 new and fun ways to enjoy Morro Bay this fall.

1) Dinner with a Sunset View at the NEW Port House Restaurant

Soak up the amazing sunsets while you drink hand crafted cocktails and dine on California coastal cuisine with an Italian flairߞand really great steaksߞat the new Port House Restaurant. That’s how executive chef Joe White describes the menu at this new eatery that recently opened on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero at 885 Embarcadero, the former site of Otter Rock Cafe. The location has been completely renovated with a nautical theme throughout, expanded waterfront seating, overstuffed couches and a beautiful bar, this restaurant is a new addition to the fine dining establishments in the middle of the Embarcadero. Don’t miss out on the Port House’s weekend brunches or rent out the entire location for your holiday party! Specialty drinks recipes like this one called the Port House will make any occasion special. Port House Cocktail, basil Hayden’s bourbon, 20 yr port, bitters, luxardo cherry, straight up. Delish!

As well as renovating the entire building, there’s also a NEW marina waterside at the Port House. The marina consists of five new docks, and a newly installed kayak and standup paddleboard launch area. Tiki bar tours, whale watching excursions, a charter boat company offering deep sea fishing excursions, and boat rentals are located only steps away from your delicious Port House. There’s even space for transient boaters, so you can cruise over for excellent food and a table by the window.

2) Enjoy the NEW Morro Rock Fire Pits

An excellent way to witness the stunning sunset is to take your surfboard at dusk and surf Morro Rock’s epic waves. Afterwards, enjoy an evening bonfire at the city’s new Morro Rock Fire Pits that overlook the beach or the bay, where you can stargaze to the sound of the waves cashing on the shore or enjoy watching the sea otter families in the harbor as they dive and dine on local shell fish. Sprawling from the base of Morro Rock to the north, Morro Beach is perfect for playing, beach combing or taking a cruise on a beach cruiser from Beachfront Kites and Surreys. Morro Bay’s Harbor Department also offers beach wheelchairs for people who are mobility challenged. Call the harbor department at (805) 772-6254, let them know when you’ll arrive and they will bring the equipment to you at the Morro Rock parking lot.

3) Cruise the Bay or the Boardwalk with the NEW Estero Adventures

Estero Adventures is a one stop for active adventurers offering a large selection of outdoor activities including electric pontoon boats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, and fat-tire beach bike rentals. Perfect for making memories and going on adventures, Estero Adventures is conveniently located along the Embarcadero inside the Estero Inn. The dock is located right in front of the Inn, close to the sand spit with an easy launch area perfect for all skill levels.

4Romantic Engagements abound in Morro Bay

We must mention that in Morro Bay, being home to two oyster farms that deliver local oysters to restaurants throughout town, romance and getting paramours in the mood for love is kind of our thing. Romance reaches new heights at the iconic Morro Rock, especially if you or your future someone is expecting a “big rock” for their engagement ring and want the perfect Insta location. The blufftop of Black Hill is a memorable location to pop the question, and with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Morro Rock Éc;Yes!Éd; will definitely be the answer. Or, take the engagement to the water on a tour of the bay while cruising the harbor with Chablis Cruises, a 50-foot, two-story riverboat serving up elegant brunches and beautiful views, perfect for dropping that ring in a glass of champagne. Want something more traditional? Windows on the Water or the Galley offer beautiful waterfront settings for any engagement, offering floor to ceiling views of the bay from their restaurants, patios and lounges. For those who’d like to say “I do” at any of Morro Bay’s amazing venues, Toes-In-the-Sand Weddings will help take care of everything.

5) FUN Outdoor Patios Great for Dining and Sunsets

Morro Bays restaurants serve up a bounty of produce and award-wining California wines grown in nearby farms and vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, not to mention the abundance of fresh local seafood caught by Morro Bay’s multi-generational fishing families. Find a plethora of great places to eat and drink featuring outdoor patios like Bayside Cafe, a hidden gem located next to the Marina in Morro Bay’s own California State Park, or Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe, a Morro Bay favorite since 1942. Downtown, Pizza Port has an amazing yard for family games and outdoor dining and Shine Cafe, offers vegan and vegetarian street side patio dining under the city lit trees that line Morro Bay Boulevard. Blue Sky Bistro sits right on the water’s edge above the Morro Bay Marina and, offer al fresco dinning. And, let’s not forget Morro Bay’s local seafood markets that double as fantastic seafood restaurants: Tognazzini’s Dockside, Too and Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley. They offer fantastic menus and patio seating with views of wildlife, kayakers, and fishing boats coming in from a long day at sea. Additional waterfront locations with patios that offer a wide variety of cuisine include Thai Bounty & MIlanes Cuban Cuisine, Lil Hut, Hofbrau and Beach Burger, so donߣt wait any longer if you are hungry for great patio dining, Morro Bay is the spot!

For more information about visiting the seaside town during the secret season, check out www.morrobay.org !

Singapore Tourism Board, Travel, 360 MAGAZINE, Wego

WEGO × SINGAPORE


Wego and Singapore Tourism Board sign co-marketing campaign to promote Singapore in the GCC
 
Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has partnered with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Middle East, to drive more travelers from the GCC during the winter season to visit Singapore.
 
Wego and Singapore Tourism Board aim to increase brand and destination awareness to Singapore, showcasing the unique experiences, events and all-year-round activities. Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, with your family or looking to fuel your adrenaline, Singapore offers a spectacular array of experiences that cater to all your needs.
 
Singapore’s cleanliness, safety, efficient public transport, world-class attractions and quality products and services have always been attributes that attract GCC tourists to Singapore. Beyond the basics, Singapore has many deeper, inspiring stories and authentic experiences waiting for travellers to discover.
 
The country is a food paradise with a wide variety of halal cuisine where visitors can enjoy their meals from hawker food stalls, up to the mid-class restaurants or fine-dining restaurants. Singapore is unique because you will not only find Michelin star chefs in fine dining restaurants but also at the street food hawker stalls.
 
Ms. Beverly Au Yong, Area Director Middle East, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “STB looks forward to our first collaboration with Wego in the Middle East. With the wide variety of specially curated experiences available in Singapore under our brand, Passion Made Possible, we have something for every passion tribe. Whether you are a Foodie, Explorer or Action-Seeker, these activities will provide visitors with unique experiences to embrace their passions with like-minded people in Singapore to celebrate their passions with.
 
From the world-class galleries and museums including the National Museum of Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore to the high flying thrills and world’s largest wind tunnel for indoor skydiving at Sentosa, the Universal Studios Singapore™ to the local labels and artisans and the green sanctuaries, this country has everything you’re looking for.
 
Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director, MENA and India, Wego, said: “We’re excited to embark this partnership with one of the world’s global metropolis. We saw a 34% increase in the number of bookings to Singapore on our platform in H1 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Through our partnership with Singapore Tourism Board, we aim to educate travellers and showcase Singapore’s unique offerings helping holidaymakers plan and book their next trip. We look forward to forging a long-lasting relationship with our partners offering them the best travel experience.”
 
Singapore being a little red dot on the world map with an area of 721.5km2 and a population of 5.64m attracted 18.5m visitors in 2018. This is a testimony that you should visit this ‘City in a Garden’ to experience what it has to offer. Look out for what Wego has to offer to make your passions possible.
 
 
About Wego
Wego provides award-winning travel search websites and top-ranked mobile apps for travellers living in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions. Wego harnesses powerful yet simple to use technology that automates the process of searching and comparing results from hundreds of airline, hotel and online travel agency websites.
 
Wego presents an unbiased comparison of all travel products and prices offered in the marketplace by merchants, both local and global, and enables shoppers to quickly find the best deal and place to book whether it is from an airline or hotel directly or with a third-party aggregator website.
 
Wego was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Dubai and Singapore with regional operations in Bangalore، Jakarta and Cairo.
 
About the Singapore Tourism Board
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the lead development agency for tourism, one of Singapore’s key economic sectors. Together with industry partners and the community, we shape a dynamic Singapore tourism landscape. We bring the Passion Made Possible brand to life by differentiating Singapore as a vibrant destination that inspires people to share and deepen their passions.
 

Travelers Are Looking for Adventure

When it comes to adventure travelers, China is an untapped market totaling USD $8.2B per year, according to new research from Bannikin Travel and Tourism, a leading travel consultancy based in Toronto and Hong Kong. The China Adventure Tourism Market Study, which surveyed more than 300 Chinese travelers over the age of 18 who had taken a trip in the past year, determined that 16.3% of respondents ­­— 23.49 million people — chose an adventure trip for their last holiday. For a market with outbound tourism numbers continuing to see double digit growth, this means there are considerable opportunities for adventure travel brands looking to expand their product offerings for Chinese adventurers.

“This report delves deep into who Chinese adventure travelers are—their planning habits, income, spending habits and dream destinations,” said Natasha Martin, managing director of Bannikin Asia. “We’ve never had better insight into how to market towards the Asian travel market and break into one of the largest tourism spends out there.” The 2019 study found that 2.7% of departures could be categorized as ‘hard adventure,’ while 13.6% pursued ‘soft adventure’ experiences. Though Chinese consumers do not necessarily associate adventure travel with risk-taking activities, such as rafting or mountain biking, they do associate it with remote destinations that can be perceived as exotic and potentially dangerous.

The survey was sent with the objective of discovering how many Chinese travelers actively seek-out adventure while on vacation. Here are the report’s main findings: The total adventure market size for China (based on accommodation spending only) is USD $8.2B per year. Adventure travel spend from China represents 0.64% of total international tourism spend. The top destinations for adventure travelers were United States, Thailand, Australia and Japan.Time in nature, camping and backpacking are some of the most popular activities for Chinese adventure tourists. 72% of Chinese adventure travelers spend between 4-10 days abroad, lower than Western adventure travelers. Bannikin Travel & Tourism runs a leading travel trade development satellite office in Hong Kong, with a team of Asia market experts to assist destinations and tour operators on how to tap into the burgeoning Asia adventure marketplace.

360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, Travel, Food

Your Essential Guide to Crete

Crete is one of the most stunning islands of Greece, and visiting it is a holiday that you’re sure to remember forever. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit and really turn your holiday into something special. 

Accommodation

Where you stay is one of the most important decisions of your trip, and it’s worth spending a little more to make sure you get the best quality. Choosing one of many villas in Crete is a different but exciting way to give your visit a little extra kick – absorb yourself in the true, luxurious experience and invest in a villa you can really relax in after a long day of exploring. Plus, with many including a swimming pool, it’s never been easier to live the good life and rock your holiday in style. You can find accommodation here with Blue Villas – they are an award-winning agency dedicated to finding the best quality for you. They have consultants who will handpick choices from over 150 villas so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for, meaning the whole stay is personal to you.

Scenery

One of the main draws of the Greek islands is the breath-taking scenery – whether you’re looking for beaches that wrap the coastline, hidden coves, valleys that envelope villages lined with narrow cobbled streets, mountains that are sprinkled with snow, or rough cliffs that are soaked with frothy, splashing waves, in Crete you’ll find it all. Don’t forget to bring a camera – you’ll need it, as every moment is picture worthy, and you won’t want to forget a second. There are countless orchards, gardens and plateaus for you to get your fill of the local wildlife and plants, and see the true beauty of what grows in Crete. 

Activities

Crete is full of ways for you to spend your time, whichever way you choose to spend your time – if scenery is your thing, take one of the many walking tours (some free) of the island to gain an insight into the history and culture of Crete, as well as get the opportunity to take in some of the most beautiful sights. Take time to explore your surroundings and decide which areas you’d like to see the most – the more you explore, the more hidden gems you’ll come across to make your trip even more special.

If you’re looking for a little bit of paradise, Rethymno is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, and is the perfect place to explore and relax by the gently rippling sea. One of the most bustling parts of Crete is Hania, where you can venture down narrow lanes and explore old Venetian and Turkish architecture, as well as get a taste of the old town and its history. 

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, we recommend hiking the Samaria Gorge – this is Europe’s longest gorge, and gives you access to some of the most incredible views in the world, allowing you to get a glimpse of the raw, untouched beauty of Greece. You’ll even get to explore the abandoned village of Samaria – an experience like no other, and one you certainly don’t want to miss.

History and Culture

If you’re looking to learn a bit more about the history and culture of Crete, it’s not hard to find – there’s plenty to see! You’ll find ruins and remnants of societies been and gone, one of the most prominent being the Palace of Knossos, with plenty more fortresses and mansions scouring the island thanks to the variety of different invaders that have taken a fancy to Crete, along with mosques and Turkish bathhouses. 

The villages in Crete are still untouched, particularly those hidden in valleys and mountains, and they give you a deep insight to life for locals on Crete as well as the chance to immerse yourself in the culture. There are lots of customs and traditions that many of the locals still enact with pride, from dances and instruments (the lyra is a popular instrument in Crete) to local festivals, which occur often and keep the place alive and colourful.

Food

Greek cuisine is one of the finest in the world, and is not to be missed if you visit, particularly in Crete. Since many of the villages are tucked away from mainstream tourism, this is where you’ll find the most authentic and delicious food. Many tavernas make their own food including cheese, olive oil, raki and wine, and often will raise their own meat and catch their own seafood, meaning you’re bound to get top-quality, homemade food straight from the locals. There are plenty of food trails and wine-tastings so you can expand your palette and really explore the world of Greek cuisine and what it’s all about.

Crete is an experience like no other, and with these tips, you’ll be able to make your holiday an extra special one that you’re certain to never forget. Have fun!