7 Travel Products Worth Noting | Luxury Travel Expo 2010
I don’t normally write about topics that don’t have a significant lifetime attached to them. However, I spent last week at the Luxury Travel Expo, and I went to town finding out everything I could about the countries, cities, hotels and tour companies represented in the exhibition hall. That’s no small task with more than 1,000 booths on hand.
I learned A LOT about tons of cool things going on in the travel industry, but there were a few tours, hotels and offerings that really stood for me, which I’d like to share with you.
Abercrombie & Kent offers extreme adventures. This tour company is not new in the industry, but I didn’t realize it had a whole division devoted to people who want more than a frothy drink on the beach or a hot chocolate in a chalet. There are more than 30 extreme adventures ranging from dog sledding in Norway and kayaking the Baja Coast to hiking and biking in Bhutan. Extreme Adventure expeditions are small (ranging from two to six people plus an expert guide), but prices are high. A five-day trip to Belize for whale shark diving is $2,965, and prices for adventures go up from there.
Check out this rainforest canopy lodge in Belize. I spent a long time talking with the representative from Machaca Hill about the environmental and sustainable efforts the lodge has in place, which is obviously very important in a sensitive ecosystem like the rainforest. The grounds contain a marine reserve, organic gardens and Mayan ruins. Visitors can choose between a bed & breakfast package (starting at $310 per adult in the low season) and an all-inclusive plan ($485 per adult in the low season), which includes all meals, beverages, guided tours and excursions.
Classic Escapes is focused on educational journeys. A lot of companies had a wide range of tours that tried to offer something for everybody, but Classic Escapes is very much focused on providing natural and cultural journeys. The company partners with esteemed zoos, zoological societies, Audubon societies, nature centers and non-profit organizations to provide expert knowledge during the tours. Whereas many companies allow people to visit a country, the in-depth knowledge provided by the partnerships established by Classic Escapes allows visitors to understand a place beyond the surface.
I’m excited about Alaska’s only non-profit, small ship, eco-cruise line. My husband and I have been talking about taking an Alaskan cruise, and after discovering The Boat Company, I’m even more determined to do so, but through a company like this one. The Boat Company has been around for 30 years, and it’s not just focused on cruising but also on educating cruisers and doing so in an eco-friendly manner. This family-owned business has partnerships with several environmental organizations and is committed to providing responsible and sustainable cruises with personal attention that can only be found on a small ship.
Andaz West Hollywood is funky. This 14-story hotel just opened this year, but is looks like a fun yet classy place to stay in West Hollywood. There are 238 rooms with a view of Hollywood Hills on one side and the Sunset Strip and downtown Los Angeles on the other. I think the RH Bar looks like a fun place to hang out.
Take a walking tour in Italy with one of these guys. Noted by esteemed guidebook writer Rick Steves and the New York Times for his comprehensive, interesting and intimate tours around Italy, Jason Spiehler started his own walking tour company in order to provide more people with the opportunity to have authentic experiences on the streets of Rome, Florence and other popular Italian cities. The tour guides employed by Walk of Italy are hand picked because they are the very best tour guides in the country. If I ever go on a walking tour in Italy, I would strongly consider choosing this company.
I’m drooling over Sundance Resort, and I’m not even very good at skiing! The cottages at Sundance Resort are undeniably gorgeous — rich earth tones, fireplaces and wood stoves, mountain view rooms. In the winter, there’s hardly a better place in the United States to hit the slopes, and in the summer, guests are welcome to go mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. Though I’m not a hot skier, if you are, take note of this awesome deal valid through April 3, 2011, that gives guests two free ski passes per day per room.
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