Nature Guide to Isle of Man

Imagine a place where you can climb a mountain by morning, cross moorlands in the afternoon and catch the coastal sunset in the evening. That’s Isle of Man. This 221 square foot island is one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy nature. From walking trails to bird watching, we have compiled the ideal nature guide to explore this one of a kind island.

The Sound

The Sound, Isle of Man
Photo Courtesy of Visit Isle of Man

There is a reason Isle of Man was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2016. At any point you are only a couple hours from rugged coastlines, lush valleys and barren hills. Known as The Sound, the southernmost tip of the island has some of the most beautiful views in the British Isles. Take the cliff-top walking path around the southwest corner of the island to explore the abundant wildlife, views of Calf of Man and the newly built Sound Visitor Center.

Nature Reserves

The Glens, Isle of Man
Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

Less than half of the island has been developed, leaving plenty of protected land to explore. The Close Sartfield Nature Reserve is the island’s largest nature reserve. Known for its excellent bird watching, this wetland region also has 10,000 colorful orchids that bloom during the months of June and July!

There are 18 mountain and coastal National Glens across the island, which have been preserved and maintained by the government. Choose Dhoon Glen for a spectacular hike filled with steep slops, rugged beauty and a dramatic waterfall.

Calf of Man

Calf of Man, Isle of Man
Photo Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

This 618-acre islet sits on the southwest coast of Isle of Man. Maintained by Marx National Heritage, Calf of Man is the ideal place to study bird life, flora and fauna. A bird watching destination, this island is home to 33 species of birds that breed on the island annually.

The Most Romantic Places in the World

What better way to celebrate love than a dreamy getaway to one of the most romantic places in the world. Soak in the sun on a beautiful Portuguese beach, stroll hand in hand through the Alps or get close in a Spanish city we can’t help but fall in love with.

Santa Maria Island, Portugal

Santa Maria Island, Portugal
Photo Courtesy of Travel in Portugal

Located in the Azores archipelago, Santa Maria Island is only 2,000 miles east of New England, making it the perfect romantic getaway. It’s known as the sunshine island because it has the driest and warmest climate. The most famous beach on the island is Praia Formosa, or the “beautiful beach.” At the bottom of the bay, Praia Formosa reaches a mile long with clear, light green water and rich golden sand with streaks of black. Spend your day in the sunshine and eat at O Paquete, a restaurant on the beach serving fresh fish and drinks.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck, Austria
Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

The city of Innsbruck is located between the Alps in the state of Tyrol, 93 miles south of Munich. You’ll fall instantly in love with this city’s historic old town and the snow-covered mountains as the backdrop. Make a stop at one of the city’s oldest restaurants Kapeller, which first opened in the 16th century. It features authentic Austrian cuisine, like roasted lamb and risotto and dumpling soap. What’s more romantic than a trip to Swarovski Kristallwelten, home to the one and only crystals. Inside you will find creations by artists from around the world using Swarovski crystals, of course.

Barcelona, Spain

La Isabela at The Hotel 1898
Photo Courtesy of Timeout

Barcelona is easy to fall in love with and even easier to fall in love in. Start your evening snuggled up on a rooftop bar with a jug of sangria at La Isabela at The Hotel 1898 in the heart of La Rambla. Then head to Barcelona Pipa Club, a secret jazz club with a dimly lit lounge where you can listen to live music from your own private nook. Spend your day hand in hand strolling through the lovely Park Guell, originally built as a utopian community. Today it’s most famous for it’s mosaic benches and amazing city views.

48 Hours in Cardiff, Wales

Once known as the world’s largest coal port, Cardiff is now Britain’s leading urban center. This vibrant capital is filled with revived shopping arcades, modern architecture and craft beer pubs, yet it remains deeply rooted in its history.

What to See

Cardiff Castle, Wales
Photo Courtesy of Visit Cardiff

Take a look back at the city’s history with a stroll through Cardiff Castle. Originally built in Roman times, Cardiff Castle went through a Gothic transformation in the late 11th century. You could spend all day touring the grounds, including the WWII shelters in the castle’s battlement walls. Then head over to the Pettigrew Tea Rooms in the West Lodge for breakfast or lunch and don’t miss their delicious cakes!

What to Do

Cardiff Bay, Wales
Photo Courtesy of Visit Cardiff

Cardiff is known as one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. Cardiff Bay, which was once a coal-exporting hub, is now filled with shops, restaurants, attractions and modern buildings. You literally can’t miss the Millennium Stadium, which has a 72,500 capacity and is Cardiff’s most visible landmark. The best time to visit is when the stadium is packed with fans during an international rugby game.

Where to Stay

St. David's Hotel, Cardiff
Photo Courtesy of Cardiff Bay

Located in the middle of city center, St. David’s Hotel is a 5-star luxury hotel on Cardiff Bay. The glass fronted façade, private balconies and floor to ceiling windows create the perfect ambiance, whether you are traveling for business or pleasure. Inside you will find Marine Spa, voted one of the best spas in the UK, as well as Admiral St. David, a new restaurant and bar.

Travel Guide: Grenoble

What better time to visit Grenoble than the middle of ski season. Known as the capital of the Alps, Grenoble is located in the southeastern region of France. Aside from being a base for winter sports, this city is known for its museums, public transportation system and excellent dining.

What to See

Grenoble, France
Photo Courtesy of Fodors

Grenoble sits at the confluence of the Isere and Drac Rivers and lies within three mountain ranges: La Chartreuse, Vercors and Belledonne. The natural beauty that surrounds the city makes it easy to explore, from skiing in the winter, to hiking in the summer. For some killer views, take the spherical cable cars called Les Bulles from town to the summit of La Bastille Hill.

Museum of Grenoble, France
Photo Courtesy of Okko Hotels

Grenoble was established in Roman times and has a vast history. There are a variety of museums dedicated to the history of the city, but the Museum of Grenoble has one of Europe’s most impressive art collections. Even though the pieces range from the 13th to the 19th century, the museum is filled with mostly modern paintings and sculptures, like Matisse, Picasso and Gauguin.

Where to Stay

Park Hotel Grenoble
Photo Courtesy of Sofitel

For all you snow lovers, the best way to experience Grenoble is by renting a ski chalet in the city’s foothills. This is a great option for larger groups wanting a ski holiday experience. For a couple’s getaway, opt for the four-star Park Hotel Grenoble, which sits on 52 acres of lush greenery. Located on the outskirts of the city center, this hotel features 40 rooms with balconies and views of Paul Mistral Park.

Where to Eat

Auberge Napoleon, Grenoble
Photo Courtesy of Auberge Napoleon

For an après-ski delight, opt for one of the many delightful cafes in Old Town. One of the best dining spots is Auberge Napoleon, named after one of its guests Napoleon Bonaparte. This restaurant features a theatrical Empire décor with fresh, local and mostly organic ingredients, like pan-fried foie gras atop roasted oysters.

Top 3 Airports in Switzerland

Switzerland stays neutral when it comes to politics as well as travel. It’s conveniently located in the middle of Europe, making its airports some of the most sought after for travelers. Whether it’s the international Zurich Airport or the small, but specialized Sion Airport, Switzerland has you covered.

Zurich Airport

Zurich Airport, Switzerland
Photo Courtesy of Air Cargo Week

Home to Swiss Airlines, Zurich Airport is the largest airport in Switzerland and one of the top 10 airports in the world. It’s located 8 miles north of the city of Zurich, a center for international business. While Zurich Airport sees thousands of business travelers daily, it’s slowly pulling in tourists with its medieval old town and Lakeside Promenade. Currently, it has scheduled flights to about 195 destinations in 62 different countries around the world.

Geneva Airport

Geneva Airport, Switzerland
Photo Courtesy of Arch Daily

For those seeking a Swiss vacation and outdoor adventure, Geneva Airport is a great place to fly in and out of. The mountains are near moments from landing and most major tourist attractions are within a two-hour drive from the airport. Located 2.5 miles from the city of Geneva, Geneva Airport is growing every year. It currently serves Europe’s metropolitan areas as well as North America and the Middle East. It served 15 million people in 2014 and aims to increase airport capacity to 25 million by 2030.

Sion Airport

Sion Airport, Switzerland
Photo Courtesy of Villiers Jets

Known as one of the best airports for skiers, Sion Airport is located in the Rhone Valley. It’s located in the Valais region, a popular British tourists destination during the winter months. In the past, the Sion Airport has been hard to get to, but thanks to innovators (like Jet Class!) it’s gotten a lot easier. Landing in Sion involves a steep descent into a valley surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains. Traveling through Sion is one of the most convenient ways to get to popular Swiss ski resorts like Saas-Fee and Crans-Montana.

48 Hours in Catania, Sicily

Due to centuries of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, little has survived from this city’s early days. Still, Catania remains an ancient port city filled with Baroque architecture, some of the best seafood and lots of energy. Winter is one of the best times to visit, there are less tourists and temperatures are mild.

What to See

Catania Cathedral, Sicily
Photo Courtesy of Typical Sicily

Start your exploration of Catania in the city center, Piazza Duomo. Designed in Baroque style in the 18th century, this area features the whimsical Fontana dell’Elefante statue and the stunning Catania Cathedral. The city’s showpiece church, Catania Cathedral, is dedicated to Saint Agatha and features a tiered Baroque façade fashioned out of volcanic rock.

Mount Etna, Catania
Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

One of Catania’s biggest attractions is that it sits at the foot of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna which dominates the landscape of north-eastern Sicily. Take one of the buses from the Piazza to the base of the mountain or further up to several of the main cauldrons.

Where to Stay

Una Hotel Palace, Catania
Photo Courtesy of Una Hotels

Located in the artistic and commercial part of Catania, Una Hotel Palace is in the middle of it all. It’s housed in an early 20th century palazzo and features 94 elegant, yet understated rooms with roof top views of Mt. Etna. After a long day exploring the city, indulge in a Turkish bath and relax on the rooftop garden.

What to Eat

La Pescheria, Catania
Photo Courtesy of Dissapore

Catania is home to Sicily’s iconic pasta alla Norma, made with tomatoes, aubergine, ricotta and basil. It’s also known for its amazing and abundant fish market, La Pescheria, which is open daily and surrounded by seafood restaurants. Make a reservation at Osteria Antica Marina, which serves superb seafood with a trattoria vibe. Finish off your evening with gelato at Pasticceria Savia, a local institution in the middle of Via Etnea.

Travel Guide: Guernsey

This channel island might not be part of the UK, but it definitely has all the British feels. Guernsey sits near the French coast and consists of 27 different bays with long stretches of sand, hidden coves and coastal cliffs. Guernsey is the perfect long weekend getaway, with its five star accommodations, fresh seafood and breathtaking views.

What to See

Castle Cornet, Guernsey
Photo Courtesy of Museums.gov

Saint Peter Port is one of the prettiest harbor towns in Europe. The cobblestone streets and Regency architecture sits amid stunning seaside cliffs. For breathtaking views and some island history, check out Castle Cornet. This 800-year-old fortress sits on an island of its own and guards the harbor. Today it consists of five museums, four period gardens and a gift shop.

Hauteville House, Guernsey
Photo Courtesy of Museums.gov

Entirely furnished and decorated by poet Victor Hugo, the Hauteville House is a site to be seen. The house was built on five floors and overlooks Saint Peter Port. Hugo lived in his home for over 14 years during his enforced exile from France and created some of his most famous works, such as Les Misérables.

Where to Stay

The Old Government House Hotel & Spa
Photo Courtesy of The OGH Hotel

The Old Government House Hotel & Spa is a historic property that sits on the hill in the heart of Saint Peter Port. It was the former governor’s house starting in 1976 and consists of 63 elegant rooms and suites. Accommodations include traditional afternoon tea, spa treatments, a heated outdoor pool and beautiful gardens.

What to Do

Candie Gardens, Guernsey
Photo Courtesy of Visit Guernsey

Spend your day at Candie Gardens at the hillside of Saint Peter Port. You can view statues of Queen Victoria and Victor Hugo and visit the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. From there take a two-mile hike around Icart Point for some dramatic views. When the weather is nice, have a picnic at Moulin Huet Bay, a spot favored by the painter Renoir.

Top Wellness Retreats in 2018

What better way to kick off the New Year than with some self-care! To truly reset and recharge, try checking into one of the top wellness retreats in the world, from Malaga’s leading yoga center to Abu Dhabi’s desert retreat.

Molino del Rey, Malaga, Spain

Molino del Rey, Malaga
Photo Courtesy of Molino del Rey

Located in the natural reserve of Sierra de las Nieves in Andalusia,  Molino del Rey began as a yoga center in 1994. Built by hand, this center has transformed into the best yoga retreat in Spain. It offers a wide range of activities such as yoga, detox, meditation, mindfulness and well-being courses. There are 22 guest beds with en-suite balconies and tea making facilities. Molino del Rey is set in a Spanish hamlet community surrounded by traditional country life. The retreat atmosphere is perfect for helping you reconnect with your inner self.

Amatara Wellness Resort, Phuket, Thailand

Amatara Wellness Resort, Phuket
Photo Courtesy of Amatara Phuket

Regain your well-being while enjoying the best coastal views in Phuket. At the Amatara Wellness Resort you can indulge in one of six all-inclusive holistic wellness retreat programs. Accommodations include organic nutritional food and personalized wellness and activities. All programs include the Thai Hammam experience, which brings together traditional Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices with Thai spa therapies. The Amatara Wellness Resort is 45 minutes away from the Phuket International Airport, at the beautiful Cape Panwa.

Alma Retreat, Abu Dhabi

Alma Retreat, Abu Dhabi
Photo Courtesy of Hotel and Rest

Designed to inspire your mind, motivate your body and unlock your creativity, the Alma Retreat is located in the beautiful desert of Ras al-Khaimah, inside the Bedouin Oasis Camp. Stay in the sustainable cabins designed for simplicity and comfort with en-suite bathrooms. There is a dedicated outdoor gym and the nearby dunes are used for circuit and high intensity training.  Your stay also includes a sweat lodge, 6-person ice bath and fresh vegan cuisine. The Alma Retreat runs every weekend in January through June and on weekdays there are tailor-made corporate and programs and group events.

 

New Year’s Eve Destinations Around the World

Celebrate the year gone by and welcome what’s to come from one of these fabulous destinations. From Big Ben to a Malaysian island, book a flight to one of these spectacular spots to celebrate New Year’s Eve!

Budapest

Szechenyi Spa Bath, Budapest
Photo Courtesy of Szechenyi Spa Bath

It’s impossible to be bored on New Year’s Eve in Budapest. From a dinner cruise to live concerts and a bath party, the Hungarians know how to party! Marvel at the city center fireworks and brightly lit churches from aboard the River Danube Boat, which serves a 6-course dinner with live music and a dance performance. Check out the Budapest Bath Party for an all night New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Located at the Szechenyi thermal baths, this event includes 30 laser shows, DJs and great music.

London

New Year's Eve, London
Photo Courtesy of Timeout London

On New Year’s Eve, Big Ben lights up with UK’s largest firework display. Take a New Year’s Eve cruise for some of the best views of the fireworks while you sip champagne and listen to live music. For land-based parties, dine in style at the black tie dinner at The Ritz, complete with marching bands and views of the fireworks. Start the new year off right with the London New Year’s Day Parade, featuring over 8,000 performers that parade through central London.

Langkawi

New Year's Eve, Langkawi
Photo Courtesy of Live in Style

Warm up beach side this New Year’s Eve at Langkawi, a cluster of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. This tropical paradise sits close to the northwest coast of Malaysia and is one of the most popular beach destinations in the region. Explore the UNESCO Geopark, cycle through rice fields or sail the Andaman Sea at sunset. For New Year’s Eve, enjoy a luxurious gala dinner at a resort or fireworks and vibrant parties at Cenang Beach. An hour before midnight lanterns are released into the sky as a symbol of good luck in the New Year.

The Best Ski Accommodations near Chambery

A short flight to the Chambery Airport will drop you right in the heart of French ski country. From here it’s easy access to some of the most sought after resorts in the world, from Chamonix to Le Trois Vallees. After a long day on the slopes, these are the best ski accommodations to help you relax and rejuvenate.

Hermitage Paccard Chalet Hotel

Hermitage Paccard Chalet Hotel
Photo Courtesy of Hermitage Paccard

The Chamonix ski resort area is located at the base of Mt. Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps. Located two minutes from town is Hermitage Paccard Chalet Hotel, a family-run bed and breakfast in the calm area of Les Mouilles. Inside you will find a wine and cocktail bar, sauna and gym, ski storage and children’s room. For a larger, more private space opt for La Hermitage Chalet, a 5-bedroom chalet with a cozy living room and access to the main lodge.

Altapura

Altapura
Photo Courtesy of Altapura

Le Trois Vallees is the highest ski resort in Europe and the biggest ski area in the world. Home to hundreds of accommodations, this five-star boutique hotel stands out from the rest. The stunning Altapura features a Nordic-chic atmosphere with a wood and stone design aesthetic. There are 61 rooms and 27 suites with amazing views of the snow-caped Alps. After a long day on the slopes, step into the 10,000 square foot spa for treatments based on Nordic and Baltic traditions.

Chalet Ferme de Moudon

Chalet Ferme de Moudon
Photo Courtesy of Ultimate Luxury Chalets

Portes du Soleil, or Gateway to the Sun, is a popular Franco-Swiss ski area comparable to Le Trois Vallees and Paradiski. Just outside the picturesque town of Morzine is Chalet Ferme de Mandon. This private chalet is tucked away from it all, yet only three minutes from the center of town. It sleeps 12 and includes a staff of five (think chef, chauffeur and assistant), a sauna, outside hot tub and massage rooms.