Archive | February, 2016

New Year New You New Body


Barcelona W

The turn of each year means renewed resolutions to improve our life, health or fitness level, save more money, travel more … But how many of us give up on those resolutions within days or hours of the New Year? Work takes over and we quickly throw out our good intentions out of the window and return to past unhealthy habits. I know I often do!

Two of the most common resolutions are to exercise more and enjoy life. There is no better way to enjoy life than to travel and explore new places and cultures.  And now you can combine the joy of travel with the resolution to live a more active life as more and more hotels are offering fantastic fitness classes, personal trainers and wellness packages.  You can check off that next destination off your bucket list AND start a new healthy fitness routine.  Here are some of our favorite hotels for fitness:

W Hotel Barcelona

W Barcelona

Barcelona is one of our favorite cities. This vibrant city enchants us with its boundless culture, world class dining, exciting nightlife and of course the world famous architecture by Gaudi.  For fans of the architectural giant, this year is particularly important as it marks the 90th anniversary of his death and the city is be celebrating the life and works of Gaudi by offering an interactive exhibition “Walking with Gaudi” at the Gaudi Exhibition Center. And to stay on top of your “workout more” resolution, the hip sail-shaped and W Barcelona hotel offers a fantastic fitness program to its guests.  The hotel’s 300-square-meter state-of-the-art FIT fitness facility with Technogym equipment overlooking spectacular views over Barcelona’s coastline just begs to work out. And yes, the gym comes with a team of personal trainers lead by Sergio Micó López who is responsible for the GLOBALFITSTYLE program. Not into indoor gym workouts? No problem. The hotel partnered with Nike and offers a weekly session of beachside running with Nike+ Run Club lead by a world-class athlete Nacho Cáceres, a Nike Training Coach. Yoga fans can stay in shape with Strala Yoga, a revolutionary workout created by yoga rebel Tara Stiles. Finally, W Barcelona is also offering fun yet challenging Stand Up Paddle board classes making the Mediterranean your sport ground. Tone up with fantastic & experienced instructor Ely Merino from Pilates SUP & Beach, who will make your body so fabulous you’ll want to show it off.

Parrot Cay by COMO, Turks and Caicos

Parrot Cay

For a fitness-friendly beach getaway, Parrot Cay by COMO is your go-to hotel.  The stunning ultra-luxurious resort located on its own private island in Turks & Caicos with powdery soft beaches is currently offering a Curry Sisters-led six-night yoga retreat with a focus on embracing strength while learning the art of surrender.  Offered between April 24 and April 30, 2016, the package includes six nights accommodation at Parrot Cay, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner from COMO Shambhala Retreat Wellness Menu (and the restaurants in this resort are fantastic), one 60-minute COMO Shambhala Massage (at the resorts divine spa), five days of yoga instruction and roundtrip airport transfers.  Say Namaste to new you!

Golden Door Spa Resort, California


The Japanese-inspired resort and spa tucked away among acres of serene gardens, citrus groves, koi ponds, waterfalls and woodland walkways is offering weeklong packages devoted to recharging body, mind and spirit. Limited to just 40 guests, your stay will include a private room with deck or patio, daily massage, up to four sessions with a personal trainer, fitness classes, spa treatments, meals, cooking class, lectures and more. In addition, this Virtuoso Exclusive experience includes three months of fitness follow up with the guest’s personal trainer and $100 USD equivalent Spa Services credit to be utilized during stay.  Golden Door is known for providing the tools for healthy eating, lasting fitness and inner reflection, helping you create long lasting effects to take away with you when you finally have to leave this top-notch spa and resort.  No breaking resolutions this year!

Chiva-Som International Health Resorts, Hua Hin Thailand


The philosophy behind this world-renowned wellness resort is “learning to live,
enjoy and appreciate every moment, and in so doing, creating a personal path to health and wellness.” Located on the beachfront of the royal resort of Hua Hin, Chiva-Som, meaning Haven of Life, is a beautiful secluded world of its own hidden within 7 acres of lush tropical gardens. The resort is a magnet for A-list celebrities thanks to its mile long list of wellness offerings such as thai massages, body wraps, cleansing, firming and relaxing facials and Oriental foot rituals, Tai Chi, Qi Kong, Pilates, and personal training sessions. Chiva-Som offers treatments for everyone from weight loss and stress reduction to total relaxation and pure pampering.

D-Hotel Maris, Turkey


The D-Hotel Maris, a top secret address among celebrities and Turkish high society, is a real gem! This stunning property boasts breathtaking views over the Aegean Mediterranean Sea and is surrounded by volcanic mountain views.  The backdrop reminds us of islands like Seychelles. In addition to 5 fantastic beaches (they had sand flown in from Egypt for the best fluffy sand feeling!), 6 restaurants and a fabulous spa with Balinese therapists, the D-Hotel Maris also offers a wide range of fitness activities such as paddle boarding, fully equipped gym and hiking trails. It is also the home of the first European Bodyism Clean & Lean. Bodyism, practiced by such celebrities as Lara Stone, Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley and Hugh Grant, believes in creating long, lean, healthy, athletic bodies. The resort has a team of elite personal trainers from London who specialize in creating long, lean, athletic bodies. They will help you strip fat, improve posture and give nutritional advice. The hotel also offers tennis lessons with the world famous Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, known for one of the greatest serves in tennis history.

Do not wait another year to make your resolution a reality, book your fitness friendly getaway right now!

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Find the True Meaning of Relaxation


Holidays can be a very stressful time, taking its toll on our bodies and minds, making the beginning of the new year the perfect time to get away, destress and get pampered. There is nothing like a week or even a weekend at a destination spa resort to get the mind primed, the chi pumped, and the beauty rebooted. Retreat to these resorts in the new year to invigorate your mind, body and soul:

Alila Ubud


Bali has been a popular wellness and spirituality destination for quite a while now and continues to wow us with organic treatments and holistic massages. Alila Ubud Hotel‘s spellbinding location on the edge of the breathtaking Ayung River Valley will immediately impress you with its zen-like atmosphere. As will their emerald infinity pool overlooking the valley. Alila’s signature treatment is the Moonlight Remedy, offered twice a month on the 1st and 15th day of the lunar month. The treatment is performed in the resort’s outdoor garden and draws on the energy of the moon to promote healing and spiritual growth.

Brenners Park Hotel & Spa


Brenners Park, located in the Black Forest and close to the city of Baden Baden, is one of the best spas in Europe. Full of elegance and glam and with a Michelin-starred restaurant, Brenners Park is a favorite of many celebrities. It has been known to host Bill Clinton, Dalai Lama, Heidi Klum and Victoria Beckham. These A-list celebrities flock there for the top-of-the-line spa treatments designed to pamper and rejuvenate. The hotel’s five floor, 5,000 square meter spa is the largest one in Germany, and includes two health and beauty spas and a medical spa that offers everything from dermatology to dentistry. For the ultimate day of pampering, we recommend booking the Spa Suite which comes with its own whirlpool, terrace, Japanese blossom steam bath and a spa butler.

Ananda in the Himalayas


This stunning property, housed in former palace estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, allows us an opportunity to combine a wellness getaway with a trip of a lifetime to the foothills of the Himalayas. As Oprah described this special resort “Going to Ananda is more like a pilgrimage than a visit, with every moment designed to cultivate presence.” Ananda offers two, three and five-night spa packages designed to balance the five senses through the wisdom of the Vedas. Our favorite is the Ananda Detox-Starter. The four-night program targets toxins that constantly build up in the body due to pollution and other environmental factors and lead to lack of energy, weight gain and low mood. The program integrates the essential elements of Ayurveda and Aromatherapy, Yogic Kriyas, Meditation and Personal Fitness – and all with a dosha-based customized diet that leaves you refreshed, toned, glowing and energized for the new year.

Calistoga Ranch Auberge Resort


For a pampering getaway easier to get to, we recommend the remarkable Calistoga Ranch Auberge Resort located in a secluded Upper Napa Valley canyon (side trips to wineries anyone?!). The resort stays true to its motto of “responsible luxury” by integrating elements of nature into its opulent lodges offering an unforgettable sensory experience. This motto is also translated into the use of the healing waters of Calistoga in the resort’s fabulous spa. You can sink into Calistoga’s heated mineral pool surrounded by woodlands and private Lake Lommel. The soothing pools will relax your body and mind, making it the perfect prelude to a treatment in the Spa. Our favorites is the Calistoga Cure, an invigorating and therapeutic body scrub followed by a private outdoor mud or mineral salt bath. Rest quietly while receiving an energy balancing session, and finish with the resort’s Classic Ranch Massage.

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives


Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Gili Lankanfushi is a five-star barefoot luxury resort offering exquisite food, immaculate service and some of the best beaches in the world. It is not just a resort, it’s a sanctuary on water – a place where you can escape the all the pressures of day-to-day life! Only problem – once you get there you may never want to leave! The resort’s Meera Spa, our favorite part of the resort, is a member of the prestigious Healing Hotels of the World. As with all of the villas, the spa is located overwater and in addition to offering a long list of massages, it also offers Holistic therapies such as Reiki, Yoga, meditation, Tibetan Singing Bowls and several advanced well being services with the “Masters in Residence” program. This program, offered throughout the year, is conducted by visiting holistic practitioners and renowned healers to provide additional wellbeing services. All specialists have their own gifts to offer and some of these include sound therapy, crystal therapy and Craniosacral therapy, among many other alternative healing methods.

Borgo Egnazia Luxury Resort, Puglia, Italy


Borzo Egnazia has been on everyone’s radar ever since Justin Timberlake celebrated his wedding with Jessica Biel here. We promise you that this sudden fame does not take away from the resort’s service, luxury and attention to detail. This architectural gem recreates a traditional Apulian village amid olive groves and lemon trees and is surrounded by deep blue shimmering ocean. The beautiful resort is a place of stone and sky, sea and history and words and silences. Borzo Egnazia is also close to the town of UNESCO World Heritage town of Alberobello for some exploration. And then of course there is the resort’s enormous Vair Spa offering three to five night packages. We recommend the 5-day Nghiane Package, a life-changing treatment program designed to get you back in touch with yourself, be more open with others and get in sync with your body and your life. It includes sessions with artists’therapists, deep massage treatments, private Yoga lesson, Roman bath ritual and and a relaxing massage for a complete mind and body makeover. A perfect way to start the New Year!

Contact Classic Travel for your ultimate “pamper yourself” package.

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Trending Destinations for 2016

Planning a vacation but not sure where to go? We came up with a list of fabulous destinations that are trending this year. Here are our top destinations to visit this year.


Baobab panorama sunset

Baobab panorama sunset

Despite being the fourth largest island in the world, this remote island is still a largely undiscovered destination and one to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you are looking for an adventure, this wild and untamed island should be on top of your bucket list. Isolated for 65 million years, the remote island boasts 200,000 endemic species, including nearly 100 species of lemur. And who does not love those cute lemurs! And with over 300 miles of glorious unspoiled coastline and the fifth largest reef in the world, Madagascar also delivers wanted beach time. Dive the depths of the Indian Ocean surrounded by rays, turtles and sharks, or observe humpback whales from the shores of Ile Sainte Marie and watch sea turtles laying their eggs on Nosy Iranja’s beaches. Madagascar delivers something for everyone and is truly a destination to write home about.



For the ultimate adventure/beach vacation, pair Mozambique with Madagascar and you are guaranteed an ultimate bucket list worthy experience. The coastal country is undergoing a tourism renaissance since it became the first African country to decriminalize homosexuality and make itself a destination for everyone. You will love relaxing and unplugging at the Azura Benguerra Island, a stunning 18 villa property located within a Marine National Park and surrounded by unspoiled beaches that stretch for miles. During your stay on this paradise island, you will set sail at sunset on Azura’s own dhow and watch the dolphins swim around playfully (and hopefully see an endangered dugong – one of only 250 left in the Bazaruto Archipelago); snorkel off two-mile reef and then climb a massive dune for spectacular views of the marine reserve before enjoying a lazy lunch on Pansy Island – all part of the magical Azura island experience. Don’t wait for the rest of the world to discover this magical place and book your trip now.



For years, this beautiful sunny country has been overlooked by scores of travelers to Europe, despite its bounty of offerings – beaches, world renowned wines, historic cities and even Disney-like castles. This year promises to elevate Portugal to one of the top places to visit. Start with Lisbon, the good-time city with an amazing art scene, charming vintage boutiques and grandly faded old houses. Artists, architects and designers are flourishing here – poke around the higgledy-piggledy streets of the now-hip Barrio Alto and Principe Real neighborhoods, and for every charming junk shop and vintage emporium there’s a contemporary new gallery space housed in one of its grandly faded old houses. Graffiti is even funded by the government here. After you have your fill of the emerging foodie scene (a must try is the two Michelin star Belcanto restaurant), head to Douro Valley, Portugal’s best new wine destination. The historic and UNESCO World Heritage Site Douro Valley is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, with the Douro river meandering its way toward the Spanish border flanked on both sides with terraced vineyards. And now you can stay at the newly opened luxurious Six Senses Douro Valley, housed in a renovated 19th century manor house.



“It’s ludicrous this place exists and everybody doesn’t want to live here.” (Anthony Bourdain). Colombia is no longer the country of crime and drugs. This incredible country is undergoing a renaissance and travelers are flocking to experience buzzing Medellin, enchanting Cartagena, the country’s lush coffee region or hike to the Andes or find a slice of paradise on the white sand beaches. Colombia is packed with fantastic places to see and things to do. Stay at the hip and funky W Bogota Hotel when exploring Bogota and at the magnificent Casa Pestagua in Cartagena. Known as the “most beautiful house in Cartagena” Casa Pestagua belonged in the seventeenth century to the Count of Pestagua, a rich and powerful aristocrat who gave his name to this mansion with its impressive colonial architecture. This luxury hotel is bound to make you royal!

Sri Lanka

Sri lanka


Sri Lanka has been a trending destination for a few years as it continues to grow in popularity. We love this country for its versatility – it offers something for everyone – couples, families, solo travels, adventure travelers. You can go on a yoga and surfing retreat, visit ancient Buddhist cave temples or rolling hills of tea leaves and frolic on the many secluded beaches. Sri Lanka also surprises us with the fabulousness of its luxury hotel and villa offerings and unrivalled customer service. We love the zen-like Amanwella hotel overlooking the Indian ocean. For a taste of Sri Lankan culture, visit this fascinating country in July/August and attend the annual ten day festival, Kandy Perahera. It takes the form of a striking procession which includes elephants, whip-crackers and various types of dancers, such as fire-dancers and Kandyan dancers, all of which are decorated with vibrant colours and bright lights. The Perahera is a historical Buddhist celebration unique to Sri Lanka, which pays homage to the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, usually housed in the Temple of the Tooth.



You may have heard that Greenland is the new Iceland. While it may not be as developed as Iceland, it certainly is the next great destination offering fantastic glaciers, aquamarine rivers feeding thousands of waterfalls that flow into the enormous Icefjords and whale watching. It is one of the best places to see spouting whales in their natural habitat and if you are adventurous and lucky enough, you may just be able to see polar bears in the wild. And this March, Greenland will be home to the 2016 Arctic Winter Games, where along with skiing and ice hockey, participants will compete in ancient games such as the finger pull and kneel jump. Before you leave this winter wonderland, don’t forget to buy a “tupilak” the inuit version of a voodoo doll. 



For a warmer climate, head to Spain, a country that has a ton of upcoming exciting events. Art fans head to Malaga, a seaside town in Spain’s exotic Andalusia region. This birthplace of Picasso has recently emerged as a new cultural capital and has seen the opening of three brand new museums including a five-year pop-up of the Centre Pompidou, housed in a futuristic building on the beautiful waterfront and exhibiting works of 20th and 21st century artists. After Malaga head to Barcelona via the new high-speed train to help this colorful city mark the 90th anniversary of the death of its beloved architect, Antonio Gaudi and be one of the first to visit the Unesco World Heritage Site Casa Vicens when it opens as a public museum. Finally, Spain also has a lot to offer to foodies. Head to San Sebastian, the 2016 European Capital of Culture and enjoy the many Michelin Starred restaurants that call the Basque country home. Finish with a side trip to the country side and stay at the Frank Gehry designed Marques de Riscal Hotel in the Rioja country and enjoy wine from the Marques de Riscal winery – the oldest in the Rioja



Thanks to the Summer Olympics due to take place in Rio de Janeiro in a few months this is one of the hottest tickets in town right now. And it became even more visitor-friendly when the Brazilian government announced it is waiving the mandatory visas for Americans traveling to Brazil this time. As you can imagine, Rio de Janeiro will be packed with Olympic visitors. Thankfully, Brazil is a huge country with a ton of exciting places to see. One top destination is Iguazu Falls located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a stunning example of nature’s beauty and a must see. If it’s beaches you want, head to Costa Verde, the 350-mile “green coast” between Santos and Rio de Janeiro.



Cambodia is one of the favorite destinations for many. It wowes with its culture, history, nature, beaches and ancient temples, case in point Angkor Wat. It is also constantly evolving and Angkor Wat no longer is the only must-experience attraction. The capital, Phnom Penh, is currently seeing a number of design-minded projects created to educate on the Khmer Rouge history. Siem Reap, home of the immense Ankgor Wat, is emerging as a foodie destination. Cambodia is also a fantastic beach destination.  For an ultimate experience, stay at the Song Saa Private Island Retreat located on a remote private island off the coast of Cambodia offering ultra-luxurious villas, food worth writing home about and a fabulous spa.



Last but not least – Cuba. The destination that seems to be on everyone’s bucket list and is undergoing tremendous changes. You want to go there before it is taken over by big chain hotels and the charm it is known for disappears. One of our favorite places in Cuba is Trinidad, the UNESCO World Heritage Site city, known for its colorful architecture and fantastic beaches. If you are interested in the world famous cigars, head to the village of Vińales and explore the (yet another – UNESCO World Heritage site) the lush valley. You can experience first hand the making of the world’s finest cigars or learn about local organic farming. Finish off with a stay in Havana where you will drink intoxicating mojitos and dance the night way in the capital’s many salsa clubs.

To plan these or many other fantastic vacations, contact your Classic Travel agent.

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