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(2021 - Winter Issue)


Protecting the planet while embracing travel as a force for good is the mission of Beyond Green. The new purpose-driven hospitality brand from the Preferred Hotel Group currently represents 27 luxury hotels, resorts and lodges worldwide. Francis Ford Coppola’s Family Hideaways in Belize, the storied Ashford Castle in Ireland and a bespoke luxury camp company in Africa known as Wilderness Safaris, are included in this sustainable travel initiative. All members on this booking and storytelling platform are committed to providing memorable vacations with good practices. Some ways members are practising sustainability include: helping to conserve more than four million hectares of wildlife habitat on land and sea, restoring historic buildings, protecting archaeological sites, hiring local staff, partnering with local artisans and contributing to community development projects. StayBeyondGreen.com

The Italian city of Bologna is home to many things, from delectable food (mortadella, tortellini and ragu alla Bolognese) to the world’s oldest operating  university, founded in 1088. The rich capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna also boasts one of the best-preserved medieval centres in Europe, where you’ll find the world’s longest stretch (62 km) of covered walkways. These elegant porticos, constructed between the 12th and 20th centuries, were recently recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage structures. As well as sheltering residents and visitors from sun and rain in the heart of the city, they are a favourite site for market stalls. Bolognawelcome.com

Gaze skyward from a campsite in Quetico Provincial Park and admire a starry sky similar to what someone would have seen 100 or even 1,000 years ago at the same spot. Thanks to the absence of light pollution, the northwestern Ontario park has earned the Dark Sky Park designation, joining Killarney Provincial Park and Lake Superior Provincial Park. The two-year project to protect dark skies, through managing exterior lights and other initiatives, will help preserve the natural ecosystem and protect birds, amphibians, insects, plants and we humans who rely on periods of uninterrupted darkness during the night. ontarioparks.com/park/quetico

British Columbia is home to thousands of artists and ample studios. Where to begin? If you’re planning a visit, check out Art-BC’s extensive online collection of artists and their creations, whether paintings, glass objects, sculptures and more. Find a gallery or studio to visit, chat with the artist online or while you’re in B.C. sign up for classes or workshops. The website highlights museums and heritage sites, Indigenous culture, festivals and wineries. Even if you’re not quite ready to jump on a plane, you’ll still find plenty of inspiration. Art-BC.com

Travel through 800 years of French history at the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise. It was here in the Loire Valley that Italian artist, scientist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci spent his last three years while continuing to work on his inventions. Today, visitors can retrace the genius of this Renaissance master at the château’s newly opened galleries. Geared to younger visitors, the state-of-the-art galleries incorporate the latest technology to create life-size models, virtual reality and video games. In one gallery, drawings, models and 3D films reveal da Vinci’s talent as an architect and urban planner. Another gallery highlights the artist’s paintings and drawings through an immersive audiovisual show. After your tour wander the manicured gardens and dine in one of three on-site restaurants. vinci-closluce.com or vinci-closluce.tickeasy.com

Delve into hidden corners of Canada’s history by clicking on newly funded projects at the Digital Museums Canada website. The Sounds Like Toronto project, for example, shares the stories that have defined the city’s music heritage over the past century. There are 35 venues and artists, from the late great jazz singer Archie Alleyne to Joni Mitchell including a recommended playlist. Learn about the Irish who moved to Toronto to escape the potato famine in 1847, black pioneers in B.C., and the founders of the Banff Centre. These federally-funded projects are created by museums and heritage organizations across the country. Digitalmuseums.ca

Two floors of a castle in the seaside city of Rimini, in northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, have been transformed into a new museum celebrating Federico Fellini, one of the most famous filmmakers of the 20th century. A number of Fellini movie sets, such as the famous La Dolce Vita, have been replicated inside the 15th century Sismondo Castle for the Federico Fellini International Museum. Advanced digital technology is used to recreate iconic sets, enabling visitors to feel as though they are touching the film’s real-life star Anita Ekberg. Original scripts, costumes, letters, documents and videos are on display throughout the castle for guests to explore. Fellini spent his first 19 years in Rimini, located on the Adriatic coast. His career spanned nearly 50 years until his death in 1993. fellinimuseum.it/en

There’s more to Vilnius than historical monuments, lush green spaces and the UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town. The Lithuanian capital is also famous for its lively street art, quirky boutiques and artsy cafés and restaurants. The Twin Peaks-inspired Black Lodge Cafe Speakeasy offers an eerie yet cozy experience for three people at a time. Hang out with the locals at the Peronas pub, a hipster hangout place located on the platform of a 1950s train station, and check out the giant sculpture of Tony Soprano created by well-known Lithuanian artist Donatas Jankauskas. And don’t miss the self-declared Republic of Užupis, a small community inside the Lithuanian capital, with its bohemian street art, pop-up installations and a funky folk-art shop called Baltic Shamans popular for authentic arts and crafts. Vilnius.lt/en

The historic AAA-Five Diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, a landmark 262-room property that is 32 km southeast of Jacksonville, Florida, offers chic, new oceanfront accommodations, designed with couples, families and groups in mind. Perched on a 2.5-km stretch of Atlantic coastline there’s the new Ocean House and Peyton House, which has 41 luxurious beachfront rooms and suites, just steps from the famed Ocean Course and The Racquet Club. Each room offers sweeping views of the ocean and ample space to relax, with generous private terraces or patios that lead directly to the beach. pontevedra.com

Fairmont Tremblant, located at the foot of Mount Tremblant in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains, has earned the AAA’s 2021 Best of Housekeeping award. This prestigious award is granted to select hotels throughout North America and the Caribbean that demonstrate rigorous standards of cleanliness, housekeeping and maintenance. To keep guests safe during COVID-19, the ski-in-ski-out hotel has also earned parent Accor Hotel’s ALLSAFE label, representing some of the hospitality industry’s most stringent cleaning standards and operational procedures. Tremblant’s 314 rooms include 62 spacious suites, some with sofa beds and full kitchens. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountain, the pedestrian village or surrounding woodlands. Fairmont.com/Tremblant

Be one of the first guests to stay at Barbados’ newest all-inclusive retreat, O2 Beach Club & Spa, set on Dover Beach in the heart of the island’s St. Lawrence Gap. This luxurious 5-star property offers 130 luxury rooms and suites, including swim-up rooms, in three different “collections”: Club, Luxury (adults-only suites) and Concierge. All guest rooms come with private sea-view balconies. O2 also boasts three swimming pools, six indoor and outdoor restaurants and seven bars. The full-service spa features the island’s only hammam. Ocean Hotels’ Barbados portfolio also includes the South Beach hotel and the popular Sea Breeze Beach House. o2beachclubbarbados.com

Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn plans to resume sailings on the Seabourn Sojourn on June 6, 2022 in time for the summer sail season. The cruise line is currently operating two of its  five ships, with two expedition ships under construction. The Sojourn will spend the summer season cruising the Western Mediterranean, exploring the French and Italian Rivieras, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Malta and the Canary Islands. Fans of world cruising can expect Seabourn’s highly anticipated 2022 World Cruise to depart from Los Angeles in 2024. Bookings for the world cruise are now available. Every voyage offers complimentary special events and activities. As the official cruise partner of UNESCO, there are optional UNESCO excursions. seabourn.com

Beyond its white-sand beaches, the twin-island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is beloved as a destination for artisanal goods. When it comes to rum, look for a bottle of English Harbour 1981 vintage, aged 25 years in whisky and bourbon barrels. Visit the Linen Shop Antigua for bright, bold textiles and hand-embroidered tablecloths, and Rhythm of Blue Art Gallery for fine pottery made from local clay. Explore the markets in the west end of St. John’s on Saturday morning for woven straw tote bags, baskets and hats. Need duty-free? Visit the Heritage Quay in St. John’s, where you’ll also find Cattleya Clothing Boutique, known for soft, beautiful linens, and be sure to bring home a bottle of Susie’s Original Sauce, a Caribbean classic. Visitantiguabarbuda.com

Tokyo’s best-kept secret is underground. To divert the floodwaters that occasionally threaten the Japanese capital, the Metropolitan Outer Area Underground Discharge Channel was built between 1992 and 2006. This engineering feat is the world’s largest underground flood diversion facility, measuring 50 metres deep. Rainwater enters through a network of massive concrete silos and surges through more than 6 km of tunnels before being released into Tokyo Bay. Free visits to the tunnel system, a popular backdrop for Japanese films and video games, and to the adjoining museum can be booked a month in advance. Visitors who head to the Ryukyukan Underground Exploration Museum will certainly get that cyberpunk vibe as the endless tunnels have a distinct moody ambiance. Be advised, cancellations due to bad weather are not uncommon. japan.travel/en/spot/1524

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