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2017: Best Boutique Hotels in the World

Hotel chains bank on being similar no matter where you are geographically, that’s their business.  Uniformity sells and that’s fine for most, but some travelers want a unique experience when they venture. Boutique hotels are fast becoming the rage in all of your favorite vacation spots. We recently attended the World Boutique Hotel Awards in […]

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2017: Best Boutique Hotels

Hotel chains bank on being similar no matter where you are geographically, that’s their business.  Uniformity sells and that’s fine for most, but some travelers want a unique experience when they venture. Boutique hotels are fast becoming the rage in all of your favorite vacation spots. We recently attended the World Boutique Hotel Awards in London and spoke with some of the hotel world’s leading innovationists. Who knows hotels better than hoteliers?

Here is our list of the best boutique hotels in the world, compiled from the best hoteliers in the business.  

A celebrated panel of voters who are experts in luxury, boutique hotels and first class accommodations decides the World Boutique Hotel Awards.

el nido resorts

El Nido, Philippines

Being as it is winter in the States and huge arctic storms are wreaking havoc on the nation, we may as well start with their award for best Beach or Coastal Hotel: El Nido, Pangulasian Island, Philippines.

El Nido describes itself as “A glittering Island resort with serious eco credentials.” This is a nice summary but this island resort is unlike any other, and uniquely remote. Known as the “Last Frontier,” Palawan Island is a Mecca for nature lovers and eco travelers in general. A little off the beaten path is saying it lightly, just getting to this resort is a whole ordeal. For the adventurous, this eco resort is worth the trouble. El Nido is perfect for the soul-searching vagabond who wants to lie around on deserted beaches and explore undiscovered islands.

El Nido is located on an island with 42 villas, breathtaking views and first class service. A ferry brings you to the resort and you dread the day it comes to take you away. Visitors revel in the fact that there just isn’t enough hours in the day top take it all in.

Highlights include native wildlife, vast reefs to explore and exclusive, candle-lit dinners on the beach.  Villas on stilts over turquoise water and an attentive staff make this boutique villa a must visit in 2017.

http://www.myprivatevillas.com/luxury/caribbean/bahamas/24223/villa-meridian-house-over-yonder-cay?

Over Yonder Cay, Bahamas 

Continuing the trend of best beach hotels, the next award is for World’s Best Private Villa. This award goes to Over Yonder Cay, Bahamas. A sustainable resort located on a private island in the Bahamas, which was developed for the rich and famous.  

Over Yonder Cay welcomes guest to choose between four uniquely designed villas for up to 28 of your closest friends and family.  Each villa is designed specifically to capture the natural beauties of the island.  Villas range from 3 to 4 suites and each sleep up to 8 guests.  Of course the entire island can be reserved for the solitude seeking guests.  

Formerly a remote fishing outpost, the island has been transformed into a sustainable vacation destination for those seeking true privacy and luxury. Boasting 97% sustainability, the island has three wind turbines and a 1.5 acre solar field; producing enough reusable energy for an ultra reliable, generator free island.  

A deep water marina for all your ocean going vessel needs, a beach club for your gathering needs and a water sports cabana encompassing all your aquatic adventures. A private island resort for the upper crust and the elite 1%, Over Yonder Cay is the world’s best private villa winner and rightfully deserved

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g608931-d288372-Reviews-Vigilius_Mountain_Resort-Lana_Province_of_South_Tyrol_Trentino_Alto_Adige.html

Vigilius Mountain Resort, Italy

Once we talk about sustainability it’s hard to not mention this next hotel, voted world’s most sustainable hotel, Vigilius Mountain Resort, in South Tyrol, Italy. Touted as an island in the mountains, Vigilius Mountain Resort has no roads leading up to it; visitors instead take a private cable car up the 1,500 meter accent to the mountaintop.

Vigilius Mountain Resort offers an eco friendly getaway with astonishing views of the Dolomite Mountains and delivering superb alpine and northern-Italian fare. A truly remote setting allows guests to remove themselves from today’s technological pressures and annoyances. Zero cars, traffic or noise pollution of any kind can reach this mountaintop resort.

Built and designed with nature in mind, Vigilius resembles a fallen tree and has 360-degree views of the entire mountain range. From sunsets to sunrises every room has a view and is the perfect place to find serenity.

With a goal to leave no carbon footprint, Vigilius sets the bar by using locally sourced products, sustainable resources and eco friendly building materials. Even the kitchen only uses locally supplied produce and meats.

trip advisor

Aenaon VIllas, Greece

From eco to romance, we shift to this year’s most romantic hotel: Aenaon Villas, Santorini, Greece. Located on an island in the Southern Aegean Sea, this beauty is the quintessential romantic vacation spot on most people’s bucket list.

Adorned by steep cliffs and endless views, the Aenaon Villas sits upon an ancient volcanic caldera. Multi-colored cliffs dot the coastline and volcanic sand beaches await the seasoned traveler.

The resort is located on the narrowest part of the island, giving it the most spectacular views. There are seven private villas, each with their own unique veranda and infinity pool. The villas were built with traditional Cycladic architecture to encompass the local history and natural harmony.

Santorini is a lovers’ getaway and Aenaon Villas represents the perfect romantic vacation. Greece is the cradle of civilization and Santorini acts as a bridge between history and luxury.

Award Winning Hotels:

For more amazing boutique hotels, check out this list of other winners from the World Boutique Hotel Awards:

Voted Best Honeymoon Hideaway: Punta Tragara, Capri, Italy

Voted Best New Hotel: Hotel Gotham, Manchester, UK

Voted Best Culinary Hotel, Vila Joya, Algrave, Portugal

Voted Best Wellness Spa: Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy

Voted Best Boutique Hotel: Secret Bay, Dominica, West Indies

 

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Destinations

Air Canada Announces Reopening of Delhi-Toronto Route

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To help eradicate COVID-19 transmission within Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed several travel restrictions, limiting entry into the country. Thus, most foreigners cannot travel to Canada despite owning a valid visa or even an eTA (electronic travel authorization).

At present, however, Air Canada has resumed its Delhi-Toronto flights. This arrangement will last from 15 to 30 August. Flights are scheduled during Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. At the moment, tickets are already for sale via GDS and all the different travel agencies.

Guidelines for Entering Canada

Nevertheless, there are several guidelines that necessitate strict adherence.

Who is allowed to Enter Canada?

As mentioned, not everyone is allowed to enter Canadian borders. Nonetheless, passengers who will be originating from Delhi may be the following:

  • Canadian citizens
  • Dual Canadian citizens with either:

a. a Canadian passport or

b. a distinct authorization permit

  • Canadian permanent residents
  • Students
  • Work permit holders
  • Indian passport holders with valid visitor visas

Indian Nationals Allowed to Enter Canada

Nevertheless, several guidelines must be followed. Indian passport holders with valid visitor visas must be either of the following:

  • Immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident who will be staying in Canada for a minimum of 15 days
  • An Indian national who is travelling for an essential reason

Who is considered an Immediate Family Member?

Immediate family members are the following:

  • Spouse or common-law partner
  • Dependent child
  • Dependent child or a dependent child
  • Parent
  • Step-parent
  • Guardian
  • Tutor

Before Boarding a Flight for Canada

Before you are allowed to board the plane bound for Canada, passengers must be able to:

  • Pass the health check done by the airlines
  • Wear a face mask upon arrival in the airport, upon boarding the plane, and during the flight

Arriving in Canada

When arriving in Canada, here are things you should do.

  • Provide personal details via the travel contact information form which is available via

a. The ArriveCAN mobile app (available for both iOS and Android)

b. An available online form

c. A paper-based form

  • Have yourself examined and screened by the quarantine or board services officer who will assess you for COVID-19 symptoms

Quarantine Requirements

Upon arrival in Canada, you will be examined for COVID-19 symptoms. All foreigners must provide 14-day quarantine details which include:

The place you will stay in

  • How you will get there
  • How you will purchase your groceries
  • How you will access various essential services
  • How will you get emergency and medical care

Quarantine is a compulsory requirement. Even individuals with no visible COVID-19 symptoms are mandated to strictly follow this order. Border services officers will determine your eligibility to enter the country or not.

Penalties for not following these guidelines shall be:

  • An up to $750,000 fine
  • Jail time of up to 6 months
  • Removal from Canadian soil
  • A 1-year ban from entering the country

Summary

Air Canada shall be operating the Delhi-Toronto route from 15 to 30 August. However, all requirements must be fulfilled so that Canada’s entry is approved upon arrival.

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Destinations

What Americans Should Know about Europe’s Travel Restrictions

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In July, the European Union finally reopened its borders to travelers from several countries. The US, however, was not included in the said list. If you plan to take a trip to Europe during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, here are several things you should know.

Who is allowed to visit Europe?

There are just 14 countries currently permitted to enter the 27 EU member states plus the Schengen-linked countries of Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland.
They are the following:
· Algeria
· Australia
· Canada
· Georgia
· Japan
· Montenegro
· Morocco
· New Zealand
· Rwanda
· Serbia
· South Korea
· Thailand
· Tunisia
· Uruguay

For purposes of COVID-19 travel, citizens from these countries are allowed to enter Europe as well:

· Andorra
· Monaco
· San Marino
· Vatican
Unless they qualify for several exemptions, Americans cannot enter Europe at present.

Why are Americans not currently permitted to visit Europe?

One of the main criteria mandated by the European Council is that permitted visitors must originate from countries that do not have a total number of COVID-19 cases higher than the EU average of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 individuals. The country of origin should also have a decreasing trend of COVID-19 transmission—a pattern that is examined every couple of weeks. Currently, America’s ever-increasing number of cases does not fit the given requirement.

Are there certain exceptions to the current EU travel ban?

On-going restrictions do not cover long-term residents and their immediate family members. Individuals who need to travel to Europe due to a vital function or reason are also exempted.
Exempted travelers include the following:
· Humanitarian and health workers
· Students
· Diplomats
· Seasonal Workers

Is there any chance that the decision to ban Americans from entering Europe be modified or revoked?

The current list of permitted countries is examined and reviewed every couple of weeks. If the US’s COVID-19 trend improves—if the cases decrease and reach the total number asserted by the EU, Americans may eventually be permitted to travel to Europe. Similarly, all countries presently included in the said list get reviewed in that manner and can be eradicated from the list when the COVID-19 cases in those nations go above the specified number stressed.

To know more about the different travel guidelines and restrictions outlined by the EU, visit the European Council Recommendation.

If Europe is currently off-limits, where then can I go?

Americans can travel to several countries at present. These places include:

· Countries in the Caribbean

· Select states in Mexico

· Kenya

· Albania

· Turkey

Most countries that permit entrance to US citizens; however, issue strict health protocols, including 14-day quarantine, COVID-19 testing, compulsory insurance premiums, and decreased travel capabilities.

Equally, the US government asserts that travelers returning from several restricted locations (like several European Schengen nations, Iran, and China) are merely permitted to land in 15 airports to undergo US-imposed safety measures. Visit the website of the State Department for more information regarding various country-specific guidelines.

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Destinations

Travel During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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Traveling during the height of COVID-19 transmission can be increasingly fatal, especially when you don’t follow the proper protocols mandated to keep you safe. Without the benefit of a tried-and-tested vaccine, it is best to stay indoors for

the time being.

Nevertheless, if you have a pressing reason to go somewhere else, be sure to follow the guidelines given by your government. You can be infected with COVID-19. You may or may not experience its symptoms, but if you are an active carrier of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the said disease, you can also spread it to others during the 14-day period after you get infected.

Avoid traveling if you have been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19 during the last 14 days. Do not take a trip if you are sick or have underlying ailments like hypertension, heart disease, asthma, or diabetes.

Before Your Trip

Before you take your trip, consider the following:

Are there COVID-19 cases at your intended destination?

COVID-19 is extremely transmittable. Places with an active local transmission must be avoided at all costs. You can get infected with the disease and even carry the virus with you when you return from your trip.

Are you living with someone who is at risk of getting infected with COVID-19?

Children, the elderly, and those who have underlying ailments are highly vulnerable. If you contract the disease during your trip, you can quickly spread the virus to your companions when you return home.

Are you at risk of contracting COVID-19?

If you have a weak or compromised immune system, you are highly susceptible to COVID-19. Similarly, if you have certain chronic ailments, you are also vulnerable to the disease.

Does your planned destination have travel restrictions or requirements?

Most national and local governments have current guidelines for travelers, including the necessity of wearing face shields and face masks, 14-day quarantine protocols, and itinerary disclosures. Check the government website of your intended destination and fulfill the entry requirements provided there.

During Your Trip

When you travel, make sure that you follow these guidelines:

  • Wear a face mask—and even a face shield—especially when going to public places.
  • Avoid crowded places and follow the social distancing rule.
  • Close contact with others must be avoided—at least 6 feet apart is the safe distance between you and another person.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer or alcohol with you. Use it after touching anything that is exposed to everyone else.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bring your own food—and do not eat in public places where people can suddenly cough, sneeze, or even speak near you.

Takeaway

Taking a trip during this pandemic can be extremely difficult and hazardous to your health. Staying safe must be your primary concern. Non-essential travel must be postponed because remaining indoors will ultimately keep you away from the rapid spread of COVID-19. However, if you need to travel, make sure that you strictly follow the guidelines mentioned above so that you do not contract the disease and infect others when you return home.

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