Hotel Le Cep, Beaune

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When you think of an idyllic retreat in the heart of Burgundy, what image springs to mind? Al fresco dining in a 16th century courtyard? Two antiquated mansions punctuated with renaissance sculptures, leather chesterfields and period wood throughout? What about a wine list that offers over 70 burgundies by the glass alone? At Hotel Le Cep each of these fantastic options come as standard, offering the ideal retreat during your stay in Beaune.

LOCATION

Nowhere else on earth gives you a feeling like Beaune. In a town gloriously dominated by 14th and 16th Century architecture, you can’t help but feel lulled into a sense of antiquated relaxation and in this authentic French town. Hotel Le Cep itself is nestled right in the heart of Beaune, which is widely considered the capital of the Burgundy wine region. A scenic three hour train journey from Paris sees you arrive at Hotel Le Cep, part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world group with good reason. Upon arrival, you’ll feel the pulse of Paris fade away into something more akin to the mute button being pushed. Given it’s placement in Beaune, Hotel Le Cep promises a relaxed vibe whilst still being close enough to the action to offer unrivalled access to Burgundy’s most celebrated vineyards and wineries, meaning you never have to travel far to sample Burgundy’s finest spoils.

YOUR ROOM

Style and tradition are taken seriously at Le Cep, a philosophy which is proven in each of the individually decorated rooms. Our favorite, the Suite Grand Cru Room, which overlooks the 16th century courtyard and offers the ideal home from home during your stay. For families, the hotel offers Villa Le Cepe, a three bedroom gite set away from the main house that offers the perfect space and privacy for a family vacation in this stunning French wine region.

WHY WE LIKE IT

What we really love about Hotel Le Cep is that it doesn’t rest on its laurels, despite being located a stones through from some of Burgundy’s most iconic and tasteful culinary spots. It would be easy for Le Cep to outsource these indulges, but instead it places them right in your hands. Loiseau des Vignes, Le Cep’s restaurant, regularly stakes claim as one of the very finest in Beaune. Offering one Michelin star and style that blends the antique and the contemporary with the perfect subtlety, dining here means could mean that you never have to leave, but we wouldn’t recommend it, outside Burgundy awaits, with enough food and wine to keep any culinary enthusiast at bay.

Javri Lodge

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The perfect balancing act in chic Scandi-minimalism and maximalist natural splendour, Javri Lodge should be on everyone’s radar. Transporting you deep within the Arctic Circle to a land where you’ll chase the Northern Lights across the sky come winter and forage for cloudberries through the summer, it’s Lapland at its best. Built as a traditional log cabin, infused with the rich scent of pine, Javri falls away to reveal sleek contemporary interiors with just 13 stunning suites, a body-soothing spa and sauna and a restaurant serving up the best in Lappish cuisine. An adults-only enclave, romance awaits you here.

Location

In the far reaches of Finnish Lapland, Javri Lodge makes the most of the tranquillity of the wilderness. Set on the fringes of Urho Kekkonen National Park in a landscape dappled with vast lakes and forests, you need never see another soul if you don’t wish to. From such a setting, comes an inescapable sense of healing with Javri a place where the stresses of daily life seem to simply slip away. The best bit? It’s only a 30-minute drive from the nearest airport at Ivalo.

Your Room

At once a simple log cabin and a stunning feat of contemporary architecture, Javri is as breathtaking as the nature beyond it. Between the 13 suites, choose whether you prefer the warm embrace of the downstairs log suites or the modernist edge of upstairs’s Sky Suites. Each has been carefully designed using a blend of natural and recycled materials, offset with minimalist furnishing in neutral hues. The Sky Suites do have a certain edge though, not just in their slick lines, but in their panoramic views which, come winter, act as your own personal window onto the wonder of the Northern Lights, from the comfort of your bed.

Why we like it

At Javri, it’s not so much about what you do at the Lodge as what you do beyond it. Snowmobile safaris chasing the Northern Lights, dog sledding through the National Park, a teepee bonfire set up for a champagne front desk – each and every moment spent here is pure enchantment. But it’s also entirely tailored to you. So if you’d rather just put your feet up? That’s fine too. Allow the staff to light a fire, before spending an evening dining on innovative cuisine or slipping into the indoor pool for a few lengths. Javri is whatever you make of it.

EATER Journeys: Paris & Burgundy

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A bite of a single madelaine – France’s most delicate and buttery cake – was enough to send the narrator of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time into a 1,000-page-long reverie on life and love. And this, we think, says everything you need to know about the French and their food. On this extremely bon excursion around the land of haute cuisine and world-class wines, you’ll learn your Mille-feuille from your croque monsieur.

EIFFEL IN LOVE WITH PARIS

Paris. A city of cute bistros, elegant restaurants, and revolutionary inclinations. Here, our guide will be your maitre’d, swooping you across to Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, your elegant 3-night oasis in the beating heart of Paris, an idyllic base for a Parisian eating adventure. Relax and unwind before getting out on the town, starting with pre-dinner drinks in the stylish Marais neighborhood. Swing by Aux Deux Amis, famous for its organic wines and top selection of tap beers, and Le Vin au Vert for their natural champagnes, before your reservation at La Bourse et la Vie; one of Paris’s finest bistros. 

BISTROS AND BRASSERIES

Rise and shine, it’s time to meet a local culinary expert for a tour of some of Paris’s most famed local markets, including Marché Montorgeuil and Rungis. Enjoy the sights and sounds of daily Parisian life as you learn how to source the best ingredients for a classic French meal, followed by a private cooking class near La Bourse. Belly full, it’s time to kick back and relax with an afternoon at leisure before taking a seat at the renowned Champeaux Les Halles, nestled beneath the renovated glass Canopée des Halles. This sleek brasserie revisits classic French dishes from green bean salad to steak frites and succulent lamb chops. The winning dish, however, is their signature soufflé. Sweet or savory? The choice is yours.

THE CRÈME DE LA CRÈME

Cheese and wine are the ultimate pairing. And so, today’s lunch will be spent learning how France’s culinary traditions have handed them the crown as a world leader in producing rich, bold cheeses and sumptuous wines. A sommelier will coach you through the wine labels and food pairings while you indulge in France’s dairy delicacies. Your dinner reservation tonight is at Sellae, near the Gare d’Austerlitz, for some rustic contemporary French comfort food, including mussels cooked with vin jaune and chorizo, guinea hen in cream sauce with morels. Don’t forget to save room for dessert: a superbly rich chocolate mousse.

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EATER Journeys: Rome & Florence

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With a food scene liberally dunked in the olive oil of history, Italy serves up a truly incomparable eating experience. For Italians, cooking and wine are – well – their culture’s bread and butter, all of it farmed, grown and cultivated from the country’s alpine nose to its balmy tail. Tomatoes raised on rich volcanic soil; plump lemons pulled from the branches of Amalfi; focaccia freshly baked in the ovens of Florence. Good food is good culture. With the world-renowned culinary insight from our friends at Eater, we’ve brought together two of the most mouth-watering spots for you to tuck into; Rome and Florence.

WHEN IN ROME

Your gastronomic journey begins in the heart of Rome. On arrival, we will transport you deep within the city to Spalletti Trivelli, your base the next few nights. Set in a traditional Italian garden, this intimate hotel is the ideal spot for those who want to escape the bustle of the city without missing out on all the action. Once settled, tonight’s meal of classic cucina romana at Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto is sure to set the bar high. Here, you can check off most of your Roman food bucket list, from the rich cacio e pepe to tender lamb chops, washed down with a glass of classic Sangiovese. Or a few.

FROM BASIL TO BASILICA

Starting the day bright and early, your private guide will lead you out for a special tour of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Beat the crowds with early access to the Vatican Museum to fully take in that grand beauty of the Sistine Chapel, followed by St. Peter’s Basilica, filled with renowned works of art. Finish the day at a Roman trattoria dedicated to la cucina povera, Italian peasant food. This restaurant boasts true Italian form, showcasing a simple use of local ingredients at their seasonal peak.

BEEN THERE, WINE THAT

The following morning, the stories of the Roman Empire come to life. With a day spent among the iconic ruins of this once mighty (and well-fed) empire, you’ll be served up everything from panoramic views on the historic Capitoline Hill to the eye-opening Colosseum. After a big slice of sightseeing, you’ll be ready for a well-deserved trip to Rome’s most traditional enoteche (wine bars) to savor the best wines Italy has to offer. The tasting tour, led by a professional sommelier, pours a delicious tutorial on the styles unique to the Italian peninsula. From there, it’s on to dinner to sample the soulful simplicity of Rome’s classics at Cicolini’s dining room, based in the Appio-Latino quarter. Chef Sarah Cicolini is one of the hottest young chefs in Rome today, serving up hearty plates of carbonara and a sumptuous trippa alla romana.

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Eater Journeys: Mexico City & Oaxaca

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Everyone wants to go to Mexico; where the guacamole is green, and the tortillas are plenty. This epic seven-night Mexico City and Oaxaca experience, inspired by EATER’s top dining recommendations, will serve up a culinary journey like no other. Stirring together hidden street-food spots, critically acclaimed restaurants, and enticing nightlife – this is all about the darkest mole, the freshest margaritas, and the most indulgent enchiladas. Hungry, yet?

TACO ‘BOUT GOOD FOOD

Welcome to great, bustling, heaving Mexico City. Roberto Bolano, the fiery literary prophet of this roaring country, summed it up in the simplest and most powerful way possible. “There are fourteen million people living in Mexico City.” And how can you begin to explain that? Well, via good food and drink. Kicking things off in the beautiful boutique of Las Alcobas hotel, in the vibrant Polanca district, you’ll get a crash course in Mexican cuisine with a mouth-watering walking tour. With a private guide in tow, you’ll satisfy your appetite in traditional food stores, beloved local eateries, and nestled away restaurants. 

MEXICO IS MEZCAL

The best way to understand Mexico City – or any city, for that matter – is to stroll where its locals hang out. Today’s culinary adventure takes you through local markets to learn about spices, produce, and the people who bring them for sale. Once the sun goes down it’s time for a private taco, beer, and mezcal tour around the streets of San Rafael, Anzures, and Condesa. Accompanied by a mezcal master, you’ll savor the smoky, sweet, and herbal flavors of Mexico’s beloved, trend-setting agave spirit. And sample the very best mezcal at La Botia, the city’s first mezcal bar.

A KAHLORIFIC EXPERIENCE

Next up is a tour of the city’s southern neighborhoods, with lunch at Xochimilco’s market. Your guide will whisk you away to the picturesque cobbled streets and brightly-colored houses of San Angel to explore the artisanal market of Bazar del Sabado. From there, you’ll experience the cultural hub of Coyoacán, including a visit to the Blue House, Frida Kahlo’s lifelong home, followed by a fresh and flavorful market lunch at Mercado Coyoacán. Once refuelled, traverse the Aztec canals of Xochimilco by boat and marvel at the famous works of fine art by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo at the Museum of Dolores Olmedo’s. Wind down the day at Contramar, the groundbreaking, must-visit seafood restaurant from acclaimed chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara. Read More

Estancia Peuma Hué, Bariloche

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Start your Patagonian adventure and experience the wild outdoors at Estancia Peuma Hué. Translating as ‘the place of dreams’, this rustic hotel and eco-lodge set in the thick of Nahuel Huapí National Park is the true essence of tranquil mountain life. Thanks to the breathtaking landscapes and abundance of nature-based activities, there is never a shortage on ways to explore the area. Discover your home away from home in the privacy of one of the fourteen guest rooms and drink in the mountain and creekside vistas from their cabin setting as you get to know our favorite corner of Patagonia.

LOCATION

Peacefully settled within the heart of Nahuel Huapí, the first and largest national park in Argentina, 500 acres of vast wilderness and pristine Lake Gutiérrez create a spectacular backdrop. Estancia Peuma Hué is a mere 30-minute drive from the charming town of San Carlos de Bariloche and Bariloche international airport. For ski enthusiasts looking for adrenaline-fuelled thrills, the nearby slopes of Cerro Catedral are a must-visit during the winter months.

Your Room

Picture sitting under a blanket by an open fire, glass of full-bodied Argentinian Malbec in hand, looking out onto the surrounding forest as the night falls: Estancia Peuma Hue’s lodges tick every box for a classic alpine retreat. The selection of luxury lodges boast panoramic views of the surrounding mountain peaks, lakeside and forests. Within each, wooden beams, vintage Patagonian interiors and grand stone fireplaces create a humbling setting to chill out after a day of exploring.

WHY WE LIKE IT

It’s easy to lose yourself in nature whilst discovering the gateway to the Andes. Hike along the well-marked mountain trails and spot the local birds and wildlife or trek through the trees by horseback on a guided tour. Explore the crystal-clear waters of Lake Gutiérrez with an afternoon of kayaking or challenge your skills at fly fishing in Limay River. After all the excitement, refuel with delicious, organic dishes served at the lodge and wind down with a gentle yoga class or a long soak in the jacuzzi.

Argentina, Chile & Antarctica: A Luxury Adventure to Patagonia and Beyond

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There are few landscapes on earth that can rival Patagonia. Grassy steppe that rolls into jagged peaks and intimidating glaciers that extend all the way down icy fjords – it’s arguably the world’s best adventure ground. But there is perhaps one place that could top it. A little further south, across the tempestuous waters of the Drake Passage, lies the frozen expanse of Antarctica. A place that only a lucky few have set foot on, it intrigues and mystifies in equal measure. Surrounded as it is by towering icebergs and cut through by plunging crevasses, the landscapes here make a worthy opponent for Patagonia. So why not put the two into perspective and spend two weeks working your way through two of the world’s most beguiling continents. From the tango-filled streets of Buenos Aires, through the majesty of Chile’s Torres del Paine and down to the islets, bays and caps of Antarctica, there’s not a sight to be missed.

Tango through Buenos Aires

Start your adventure in Argentina’s buzzing capital, Buenos Aires with an overnight base in the charming Palermo neighborhood at Legado Mitico. Get to know the city as you link up with one of our expert guides for an in-depth tour through the history of Plaza de Mayo, the vibrancy of La Boca and the cuisine of San Telmo before sitting down to a traditional bodegon lunch at La Brigada. As for the evening, that calls for another Argentine tradition – tango. Leaving your hotel in signature Black Tomato style, in a vintage car, you’ll arrive at the art-deco Faena Hotel for their famous Rojo Tango show. Full of kicks and flicks and signature sensual moves, you’ll want to take a few lessons yourself.

Patagonia & Perito Moreno

The next morning, you’ll leave the city behind as you fly south to El Calafate and make your way into Argentinian Patagonia. Embodying the true spirit of the area, from the area’s indigenous roots to the blend of style between Crillo settlers and modern-day travelers, drop your bags at Eolo before diving headfirst into the staggering landscapes that sit on your backdoor.

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Magellan Explorer

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If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s that extreme environments don’t necessarily preclude extreme luxury. Sailing into Antarctic waters, nowhere has taught us that better than the Magellan Explorer. Borne out of the expertise of multiple polar expedition experts – but furnished by renowned interior designers – this custom-built ship is easily the most luxurious vantage point on the frozen continent. The 35 cabins will welcome just 73 budding explorers at any one time, with a host of RIB boats, kayaks and snowshoes also on hand to take you closer to the action.

Location

Magellan Explorer offers a whole new, unique way of seeing Antarctica. Arriving at Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s southernmost region of Patagonia, you’ll skip the tempestuous sail across the Drake Passage, instead flying down by private charter to King George Island in the South Shetlands from where you’ll board the Magellan Explorer. Spend anywhere from five to 15 days navigating Antarctica, perhaps even choosing to venture as far as the Polar circle or up to the South Georgia Islands. Each day, you’ll head ashore with expert guides to get a glimpse of this incredible environment and the wildlife that call it home.

Your Room

The cabins onboard Magellan Explorer may well have been designed to remain functional in Antarctic waters – but at no point did that mean compromising on luxury. Set against a color palette of cool whites and ice blues, they are sleek and modern with absolutely no hint of ‘roughing it’. All but the three porthole cabins feature balconies from which to watch the icebergs float on by, with many also featuring spacious lounge areas and Grand Suites even going so far as to boast not one but two ensuite bathrooms. Topped off with king-size beds in the majority of cabins and one thing is for certain; you’ll sleep well here.

Why we like it

It’s no secret that Antarctica is a fragile environment and that, as much as we want to see it, we need to protect it in doing so. Recognising this, Magellan Explorer does what it can to minimize its impact by installing ingenious systems so that any excess heat produced by running the engines, is then used to heat your room and your shower. Combine that with nightly presentations from expert researchers that seek to both entertain and educate, and we’ll be sailing these waters for many years to come.

Lough Eske, Co. Donegal

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Woven into the very fabric of Ireland – into iconic Donegal tweed – Lough Eske is a living piece of history. With a story that reaches back into the 1600s, the castle has always held a certain status and now extends an invitation to feel part of Irish history in the most luxurious setting. Perched on a sprawling lough with stunning Donegal landscapes reaching out in every direction, it’s a place to sink into your surroundings before sinking into refined cuisine at Cedars Restaurant, a soothing spa treatment at CARA Organic Spa and the warm embrace of each of the 96 rooms and suites.

Location

Stood between the calm lough waters from which it takes its name and the Blue Stack Mountains, Lough Eske is in a truly picturesque corner of County Donegal. Perfectly within reach of the beauty of Glenveagh National Park and the tempestuousness of the Wild Atlantic Way, there is all manner of adventures to be had. Be it walking, surfing or golfing that takes your fancy, there’s a place for it all. A two and a half hour drive from Belfast or three and a half from Dublin takes you onto this stretch of the Atlantic Coast with plenty more scenic drives at your fingertips on arrival.

Your Room

Dotted throughout the castle and its grounds, each of the 96 rooms takes on its own distinct personality. United as light-filled spaces where emphasis is placed on the emerald landscapes, interiors are full of warm, neutral hues with plush furnishings and hand-carved furniture. We loved the courtyard rooms for their cozy country feel, set as they are within the old castle stables, but also the garden suites where the sunlight floods through French doors onto Lough Eske’s sprawling gardens.

Why we like it

Ireland is all about the great outdoors and a stay at Lough Eske perfectly captures this sentiment. For our favorite day out, take a boat out onto Lough Eske, cast your rod and wait. The fishing here is some of the best with plenty of trout and salmon to catch. Once you’ve reeled in your prize, head back onshore where the team will teach you how to cure and smoke your fish before serving it up alongside a glass of crisp champagne. A well-earned reward if you ask us.

Morocco: A Luxury Adventure in the Sahara Desert

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Versatile and full of intrigue, Morocco perfectly lends itself to all manner of luxury vacations. Extending from snow-capped mountain ranges to rocky hamada and the sweeping sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, there is a lot to explore here. The good news is that our travel experts have found the perfect way to do it. Get off the beaten track and discover a lesser-known side to Morocco as you venture out of Marrakech and into palm-fringed oases and sweeping deserts in this luxurious 10-night adventure. From the ancient kasbahs of Skoura to the history of Zagora, there is plenty to discover. But there’s also an opportunity to disconnect as you head out into the untouched dunes of Erg Chigaga for a night in the desert with only the stars above you for company. Away from the crowds and embedded deep within Moroccan culture, it’s an adventure worth taking.

24 hours in Marrakech

Flying into Marrakech, you’ll spend your first night amid the opulent surrounds of Villa des Orangers, getting to grips with the city on an afternoon private tour of the winding souks and atmospheric Jemaa el Fna square. In the morning, you’ll leave all of this behind as you are met by your private driver-guide who will be at your side for the next eight days of this adventure. Leaving the medina behind, you’ll travel through the heart of the Atlas Mountains, stopping off at the ancient Glaoui kasbah in Telouet, on through the Ounila Valley to the hilltop fortress of Ait Ben Haddou and on through Ouarzazate to the palm-fringed deserts of Skoura.

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