The Envoy Hotel, Autograph Collection

The city of Boston is on the rise with a flourishing scene in hospitality. Hotels like The Envoy prove just the spectacular possibilities Boston is capable of. Located in the heart of Boston’s innovation district, discover a hotel with a pretty unique set up. Bold interiors, interesting art pieces and easy style are set in contrast to the city’s New England traditions.

Modern and stylish, yet efficient, rooms are oriented to the water, and have a quintessentially urban view of Boston. Simple layouts that provide floor to ceiling windows, give you the sense you are floating over the harborfront. Perhaps the most unique aspect is the rooftop of the hotel, where you will find The LOOKOUT Bar & Grill boasting views of Boston. In the summer this is obviously one action packed spot, but it does not compromise its location in winter either, when unique bubble tents are erected, so you can still sip, savor and keep warm.

Downstairs in the lobby level of the hotel, you will find The OUTLOOK Kitchen + Bar American, which draws its inspiration for cuisine from the unique Boston landscape. There are of course seasonal variations to dishes, locally sourced food, all resulting in a “one of a kind” approach to their food and drink. Highlights include sharing dishes like the Blue Bay Hill Muscles (in thia curry with cilatro, served with fresh sourdough bread) or the Grilled Italian Eggplant (sprinkled with sunflower and pomegranate seeds and served with Green Goddess naan bread.) Mains vary from seafood dishes like the Seared Atlantic Halibut (served with grilled baby bok choy, barley and mushroom broth) to their Kurobuta Pork Chop (served with sunchokes, carrot puree and warm baby greens.)  Dine away all while overlooking the wondrous waterscape the hotel sits on.

The bar highlights hand made craft cocktails, infusions and micro brews including a special beer brewed specifically for OUTLOOK Kitchen + Bar, small batch bourbons, single malt scotches an interesting, carefully selected wine program. Cocktails like Elevation (New Amsterdam Gin, Limoncello, White and Vine, topped with soda and watermelon) prove the bar’s unique mixology menu. Even if you just come for the food and drink, be sure to stay to experience the live entertainment offered at least 5 nights a week.

All in all, The Envoy raises the bar of exciting things to come in this ever growing city.

AmaWaterways – Paris & Normandy

This summer I tried something I had never tried before, a river cruise. Not just any river cruise, but one aboard AmaWaterways, along the River Seine from Paris to Normandy and back. Europe in itself over summer months is a magical experience, but seeing it from the waterways is something altogether different.

Embarking on this kind of trip is always different for everyone, but that I think is what makes it so unique. I truly didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised but so many aspects of this voyage.

Walking onboard the ship from day one, I was immediately taken aback by the warmth of the ship aesthetically and in terms of hospitality. Every need was catered for one what was essentially a 5* hotel on the water, from a champagne arrival to luggage that awaited me in my cabin.

The cabins themselves were quaint, like the ship; comfortable with floor to ceiling windows on one wall that gave me my own breathtaking view of the river and all the sites we would pass on the upcoming week. It was hard to believe that so many of these rooms could fit on a boutique hotel sized vessel. Incredibly, despite traveling with the same people for one week, not once did I feel my privacy was compromised; far form that I felt a sense of calm and relaxation in the luxury of my cabin.

Onboard the ship we embarked form Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world, as guests savored an exceptional meal at one of the two restaurants on board, serving locally inspired dishes that changes each day, paired with incredible wines each night. After dinner, there was the gorgeous bar and front terrace to take a cocktail out and wade away the night gazing at the glittering Eiffel Tower.

Over the coming days, tours allowed guests to discover the picturesque landscape of Normandy, each day awaking at a new breathtaking destination. Tours embarked from the boat, guiding guests to historic spots and towns where we could browse local markets, try the wine or bike along the River Seine.

A gourmet breakfast buffet, and light lunch was always served with the option in the evening between the main restaurant and the infamous Chef’s Table, where course after course the chef would suprise you with cuisine from freshly prepared meats and fish to a range of cheeses, wines and pastries. In the evenings entertainment from classical violinists to Edith Piaf performers would take to the stage on ship, and bring you an unforgettable end to the night.

Destinations over the week included Giverny and the enchanting home and gardens of Impressionist master Claude Monet, as well as the Impressionist Museum. There was also a stop at the old fishing village of Caudebec, where you could visit Honfleur (famous for being the subject of Courbet’s, Boudin’s and Monet’s paintings) as well as the Normandy Beaches, where guests were able to visit the landing spots of WW2 soldiers. Rouen was a particular personal favorite – a gorgeous medieval town rich in history to bike around, before we headed to the picturesque Les Andelys, with it’s dramatic cliffs to hike up and the former stronghold of Richard the Lionheart crowning the peak.

On my last day back in Paris, with the options including a visit to Château Malmaison, “Artists’ Walk” tour or just to explore all the magic Paris has to offer, I found myself saddened at the prospect of leaving this unforgettable experience and all the people I had met behind.

It didn’t matter, who you were or what you decided to do, being aboard the Amalyra through Normandy, had it’s own impression on everyone. The world class service and hospitality I had received from the team onboard, the friends I had made, and the places I had seen, all created memories to last a lifetime. I may have just have become a river cruiser. So where to next?

 

 

 

 

 

UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya

Set on the stunning white beaches of Riviera Maya, UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya combines local culture with cutting edge hospitality and chic modernity. Inspired by the region, guests arrive to be greeted with locally influenced cocktails, and a sense of ‘luxury-at-ease.’

As an adults only resort, UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya offers a property that is both understated yet palatial, with three unique pools, palm tree lined fountained walkways and swim up bars – all located overlooking a stretch of divine sandy beach. Rooms are filled with local inspiration, from the art on the wall, to the patterns of the upholstery, to the handcrafted details throughout. Features such as as balcony bathtubs and marble rain showers, add opulence to the resort suites, while understated color and rustic fabrics bring warmth to the decor.

Dining in the resort is not overwhelming yet diverse, with five exceptional restaurants to choose from, ranging from Japanese to Italian. While locally-sourced ingredients are a staple at every restaurant and bar, the offerings are a diverse mix of international flavors, varying from elevated fine dining to casual beachside buffet. In terms of Mexican cuisine, a rotating chef program has been implemented at the resort’s Cueva Siete, where current chef Christian Bravo serves up modern twists on classical dishes like tamales or enchiladas, utilizing local produce and flavor. Perhaps the most unique feature of the resort is the mixologist-driven cocktail program, that focuses on the art of the drink and the savor of the sip, with naturally infused margaritas and more on offer throughout the property.

Wellness is taken very seriously at the resort too. Esencia Wellness is an immersive experience for the self featuring signature spa treatments, a full-service beauty salon & barber shop, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility featuring classes from ‘Spin’ to ‘HIT’ (great for a bit of detox before any daytime retox.) The spa itself boasts a range of top notch massages and more. It is in itself a piece of heaven, offering a hydrotherapy experience of plunge pools and a deck with floating beds to match.

At UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya you might just find yourself asking how long you can extend your trip for, especially when it feel like a blissful slice of how the Gods might live.

 

The Harborview, Nantucket

Nantucket, a tiny, isolated island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is an epic summer destination with dune-backed beaches, marked by beautiful beach houses, wharves and cobblestoned streets. Charming accommodation options like The Harborview Nantucket cottages provide an extraordinary beach setting in which to unwind and relax, before exploring the streets of the island lined with restaurants, high-end boutiques the town’s popular Whaling Museum that recounts the island’s role as a 19th-century whaling.

The Harborview Nantucket embodies all the charm of this nautical island, with homely hotel accommodations range in size from 1 – 4 bedrooms. Lovely wooden beachfront cottages make up the property which overlooks its own private walkway to the water.

Accommodations provide all the needs of a home-away-from-home experience, set with a full kitchen, high-end appliances and washer/dryers. Decor is clean, crisp, nautical, and yet extremely elegant, with fireplaces, and plush furniture to match. Perhaps the most romantic detail is the private decks or balconies where you can sit and soak in the peaceful solitude that makes Nantucket paradise.

Should you wish to venture out, a personalized concierge service is another added amenity at the hotel to ensure you discover the best that this magical island has to offer, from dining at world class restaurants to shopping, fishing, biking, sailing, golf, tennis, swimming, kayaking, surfing, horseback riding, birding, and more.

The Harborview is also located walking distance from downtown Nantucket, with exceptional events that include wine, comedy and music and artisan festivals, the Nantucket Antique Show, the Boston Pops, and Race Week highlighted by the Opera House Cup, featuring only wooden hulled boats and more. Alternatively guests can relax in the comfort of a chaise lounge on the beach or on their personal deck or balcony, enjoying the picturesque views of the harbor.

Evening entertainment includes two exceptional theater programs, twilight harbor cruises, surf casting for stripers, or simply strolling the docks to admire the transient, magnificent yachts. September showcases the Nantucket Project, highlighting distinguished guests, innovators, and speakers from all over the globe, while October brings scalloping and the Nantucket Birding Festival. There is no more delightful place to spend Thanksgiving and then stay on for Christmas Stroll, which launches the holiday season in festive style.

Overall, The Harborview Nantucket offers visitors a peace of tranquil paradise and a window into all this incredible island has to offer.