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April 2020


Singapore balances priorities as it forges a sustainable future. p. 48 BORNEO p. 70 CAPE TOWN p.56 COPENHAGEN p.60 FIJI p.72 HALIFAX p. 62 MADEIRA p.64 MONTEVIDEO p.68 QUITO p.58 SAN FRANCISCO p.54

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letter from the editor ®

ONWARD AND UPWARD I SAT DOWN TO WRITE this letter at a time of uncertainty in our industry, our nation and the world. No one knows what the situation will look like by the time this issue reaches your hands, but one thing to be certain of: Travel will rebound, and we will be right by your side. We will continue to spread the word about the wonderful world we all inhabit. You can rely on us to remain your go-to source on the greatest destinations around the globe because we know this too shall pass. Travel providers diligently work to make traveler health and safety an even higher priority, and we are all in this together. I can’t wait to see travel rebound and become the great unifier we know it can be. In this, our fourth annual Green Issue, we turn our sights to another hot-button issue in the travel industry and the world: sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. From alternative fuels to hybrid cruise ships and, perhaps the hottest topic of them all recently, hotels ditching small, single-use amenity bottles in favor of larger bottles, green practices are regularly implemented throughout the industry, with investments being made to ensure a much INSPIRING MEMORIES: greener future that still connects the world Kimberly Krol on a visit to Singapore in 2010 through travel. PHOTO: © KIMBERLY KROL The selected destinations in this month’s issue are some of the world’s most advanced in terms of sustainability. Look no further than this month’s cover destination of Singapore, a city built on a tropical island and dedicated to preserving its green space amid the growing needs of a modern city. From farm-to-plane food practices and natural hot springs in Colorado to eco-friendly tours and sustainable grape farming, we bring all the latest in green travel to you in this issue. Join us in other parts of the globe including Quito, Copenhagen, Borneo, Madeira, Fiji, Cape Town, Halifax, San Francisco, Montevideo, Costa Rica and Taiwan — and it’s all printed on recycled paper! Next month, we unveil the winners of our annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. Who do you think will find themselves on the winners’ list? Until then, find ways to keep making your travels a bit more friendly for Mother Earth.

EDITORIAL Editor in Chief KIMBERLY KROL kim.krol@globaltravelerusa.com Vice President/Digital Director KATIE SKRZEK katie.skrzek@globaltravelerusa.com Senior Editor JANICE HECHT jan.hecht@globaltravelerusa.com Associate Editor/Copy Editor PATRICIA VANIKIOTIS patty.vanikiotis@globaltravelerusa.com Associate Editor ANGELIQUE PLATAS angelique.platas@globaltravelerusa.com Assistant Editor ERICH J. MARTIN erich.martin@globaltravelerusa.com Social Media & Editorial Coordinator MARY MELNICK mary.melnick@globaltravelerusa.com News Editor ALLIE MOORE allie.moore@globaltravelerusa.com Editor at Large HOLLY RIDDLE holly.riddle@globaltravelerusa.com ART Art Director TRACEY CULLEN tracey.cullen@globaltravelerusa.com Staff Photographer CHRISTOPHER P. OTTAUNICK christopher@globaltravelerusa.com Special Events Video Editor VANCE PICCIN





ete For compl t bios, visi m elerusa.co globaltrav


Town & The Cape  Cape Western n Bureau Conventio tings ee m s secure erences and conf not charge and does r its fo planners from preservices, -meeting and post ance to bid assist planning convention ite supand on-s rn more port. Lea n ape Tow about C 56. on page

ADVISORY BOARD Chairman MICHAEL DONAHUE, COO MICHAEL KIELY, President CARLOS CAPPUCCIO, Executive Vice President GARY OSWALD, Deputy Vice President Aviation EDWARD JEFFERSON, Deputy Vice President Accommodations STEPHEN DOHERTY, Deputy Director Destinations WAYNE TALLMAN, Vice President Special Events/Photography CHRISTOPHER OTTAUNICK, Secretary MARK LANE, Research Director FRANK LOVERME, Treasurer KEVIN RYAN, Director of Technology BOB HANCOCK, Director of Digital Advancement JARED TORGAN GENERAL COUNSEL THOMAS F. GOLDMAN CONTACT US


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letter from the publisher ®


GREEN GLOBILITY I HOPE YOU ENJOY OUR fourth annual Green Issue, which I am proud to report is printed on recycled paper. In addition, the paper we use regularly is certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program, meaning it comes from responsibly managed forests and is a renewable resource. So not only is this issue green, but we have always been green! The advancements in conPOWERING UP: servation of energy have been Francis at an electric car charging station overwhelming, and as we direct PHOTO: © FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER more technology at this issue, we increase the viability of renewable resources like wind and solar. Tesla made electric cars cool, and purchasers of these vehicles rarely consider other electric automobile brands — sorry, GM and Ford. Although charging can sometimes be annoying, it does not take away from the wow factor or the speed and agility of the Tesla brand. The entire April issue focuses on environmentally friendly travel and those looking to invest in eco-initiatives in the segment. United Airlines made great strides with its Eco-Skies commitment to sustainability, which encompasses more fuel-efficient aircraft, carbon offsets, sustainable products and materials, and great investment in bio-fuels. Other airlines are following this lead and shrinking their footprint. Corporations embrace green initiatives as more research shows these investments conserve not just the environment but costs as well. Some cultures disparage travel, but that is not the best outlook for humankind. Building bridges and meeting our colleagues across the globe opens our senses to the fact we all share the same goal: to live and work in peace and to provide a future for our family and loved ones. Not traveling, not meeting face to face, can often promote misunderstanding and differences. Please enjoy this issue, and don’t let anything stop you from traveling!

Publisher/CEO FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER tel 267 364 5811 ext 200 | fran.gallagher@globaltravelerusa.com Senior Vice President RICHARD T. EVANS tel 267 364 5811 ext 203 | dick.evans@globaltravelerusa.com Executive Vice President, Associate Publisher CARLY ALLEN tel 267 495 6287 | carly.allen@globaltravelerusa.com Sales Manager CHRISTOPHER SAGER tel 267 364 5811 ext 204 | chris.sager@globaltravelerusa.com Senior Account Executive STEPHANIE MAKOWSKI tel 267 364 5811 ext 211 | stephanie.makowski@globaltravelerusa.com Account Executive MARIANA ZENIZO tel 52 55 6560 1152 | marzenizo@gmail.com Account Executive ANGELA PAGE tel 917 334 6572 | angela.page@globaltravelerusa.com Digital Account Executive LEXI HOLSTIN tel 67 364 5811 ext 205 | lexi.holstin@globaltravelerusa.com Production & Advertising Coordinator YASSER OGANDO tel 267 884 1650 | yasser.ogando@globaltravelerusa.com

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April 2020 48






38 Preserving the Planet Continue to explore the Earth and protect it, too.

48 Destination One: Singapore Singapore balances priorities as it forges a sustainable future.

58 9–5: Quito Enjoy Quito’s new subway, sustainable architecture and year-round equatorial sunshine.

54 Stateside: San Francisco San Francisco builds a smarter, more sustainable city.

60 After 5: Copenhagen Get cozy in Copenhagen when the work day ends.

42 Staying Green Sustainability and eco-mmodations flourish within today’s hospitality industry.


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Singapore balances priorities as it forges a sustainable future. p. 48 BORNEO p. 70 CAPE TOWN p.56 COPENHAGEN p.60 FIJI p.72 HALIFAX p. 62 MADEIRA p.64 MONTEVIDEO p.68 QUITO p.58 SAN FRANCISCO p.54

56 MICE: Cape Town The gem of the Western Cape shines with eco-conscious corporate events.

This issue is printed on recycled paper.





APRIL 2020

April 2020


oneworld welcomes Royal Air Maroc. We are delighted to welcome Royal Air Maroc, the newest member of oneworld® – an alliance of 13 world-class airlines. Royal Air Maroc will be oneworld’s first full member from Africa. Enjoy an array of special privileges and rewards across all oneworld member airlines. Welcome to an even brighter alliance. Learn more at oneworld.com

Royal Air Maroc is a member of oneworld alliance effective 1 April 2020.


March 2020 28






24 Technology 26 Wine & Spirits 27 Wealth 28 Spas 30 Golf 32 Chefs 34 Cruising 76 LGBTQ+ 80 Medical Tourism

10 Mail Call 14 News 16 Reviews 22 One on One Air Premia 78 Airport Update 82 Preview

62 Neighborhoods: Halifax Halifax strives to showcase and protect its natural wealth. 64 Friends & Family: Madeira Explore Madeira in all its mesmerizing natural beauty. 68 Tours: Montevideo Sample the local food and culture on a culinary tour of Montevideo.





APRIL 2020

70 Bucket List: Borneo Connect with Borneo’s orangutans and the people dedicated to conserving them and their habitat. 72 Kicking Back: Fiji Find your smile in Fiji’s friendly paradise.


P U B L I C AT I O N S , I N C .

Global Traveler and Globility are registered trademarks of Global Traveler magazine and of its parent company, FXExpress Publications, Inc. Global Traveler is not affiliated with any commercial interests within the travel industry. The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor can the publisher accept responsibility for errors or omissions. The magazine cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited articles, photographs or other material. AAM member 04-0361-2. AAM audited circulation 111,517. ISSN 1551-7187 © 2020 FXExpress Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of text, photographs or illustrations without permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited.

AIR CANADA SIGNATURE SERVICE The perfect blend of premium comfort and convenience.

Q&A WITH YASSER OGANDO, PRODUCTION & ADVERTISING COORDINATOR In our February issue, production and advertising coordinator Yasser Ogando discussed solo female travel and her own bucket-list destinations, including Cuba. This inspired the question: What are some exciting destinations and pro tips for first-timers?

Q&A WITH CHRIS SAGER, SALES MANAGER Much has been said lately about improving eco-friendly initiatives within the wider travel industry. What steps have you taken as a traveler to reduce your carbon footprint? Email us: letters@globaltravelerusa.com

A few readers wrote in with suggestions: I travel alone more than with a group, and for beginners I would suggest Chicago. It’s a walkable city, easy to get around and has a lot to offer. Also, another plus with a big city, you don’t necessarily feel alone while you’re there.

stinking up the air and causing allergic people to suffer (me). TERRI CALABRESE, via email Very unfortunate the guidelines have been so permissive until now. I fully support carefully tightening up the rules so the disabled are the ones who benefit.

JENNIFER NEWMAN, via email The first time I traveled alone, I visited San Francisco. It was a little odd because it wasn’t necessarily the trend then to travel as a single female, but I had a great time and would highly recommend [it]. CINDY VISCS, via email Solo travel is all about your mindset. Do your research, plan well and you can go just about anywhere — within reason. RACHEL DRESCHER, via email

EDITH PEREZ, via email

MORE BARK TALK: SERVICE ANIMAL RESTRICTIONS CHANGE In our Jan. 28 issue of eFlyer USA and March “Mail Call,” we discussed the U.S. Department of Transportation rules changing the definition of service animals. Specific rules include allowing airlines to limit the size and number of

service animals, requiring passengers with service animals to check in earlier and requiring stricter documentation and training. The topic inspired more readers to write in with their thoughts: So pleased and hope new rules [allow] fly[ing] with true service animals only. So tired of “pets”

As I’m sure you’re aware, the variety and size of animals seen on airplanes is quite ridiculous: dogs, cats, parrots, snakes, etc. Generally, the airlines allow for a pet to travel on board if it can fit underneath the seat in front of you in a pet carrier. You must pay a fee for this as well as if your animal is checked in the cargo area. I believe people are abusing the service animal variance

CONTACT GT Do you have a story to share? Thoughts on a recent GT article? Email us: letters@globaltravelerusa.com or write to Letters to the Editor, 310 Floral Vale Blvd., Yardley, PA 19067 Letters must be written exclusively to Global Traveler and must include your full name, mailing address and contact phone number. Letters become the property of Global Traveler. We cannot respond to every letter. Global Traveler reserves the right to edit letters to the editor for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in Mail Call are not necessarily those of Global Traveler, and Global Traveler cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions.



APRIL 2020


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Drift above Cappadocia’s surreal landscape in a hot-air balloon. p. 72

2011 | Global Traveler | 35


GT on the Road GT Members Section Captivating Cape Town

passed through in 2016 — its busiest year yet. Arranging a car service in advance proves the best way to get into town. Services like Centurion Tours and Citi Hopper greet you at the terminal and run about 270–360 South African rand ($20–27), depending on the number of passengers in the vehicle. Uber is also thriving in Cape Town, so consider hailing a ride with the app if your smartphone works in South Africa. The Uber X service costs R146–189 ($11–15), while the more luxurious Uber Black should cost about R249–324 ($18–25). The 20- to 30-minute ride (depending on traffic) along the highway takes you past some of South Africa’s infamous townships. Although the center of Cape Town is home to fewer than 435,000, the metro area boasts a population of more than 3.7 million. Many live in these makeshift towns consisting of informal housing, a remnant from the days of apartheid, prohibiting non-whites from living in the city center. Cape Town, though, is quickly moving on from those unfortunate days. As you approach the downtown area, you’ll immediately recognize the faces of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu currently installed on the façade of the Civic Centre. On a clear day, you’ll also spot the flat-topped Table Mountain in the background. Suitable hotels are scattered around the Central Business District and along the waterfront, but the 12-story Townhouse Hotel offers an excellent option for business travelers with its downtown location near City Hall and South Africa’s Houses of Parliament. It boasts seven meeting rooms that accommodate up to 425 people, with its largest holding 300. While your hotel likely includes full breakfast, you might want to organize a morning meeting offsite. Taxis don’t roam Cape Town’s streets, however, so use Uber or ask the concierge to arrange transportation for you. Hemelhuijs, a chic café by Chef Jacques

he new GT app is This cultural crossroads provides endless opportunities for entertaining clients. BY MEREDITH BETHUNE

JOHANNESBURG MAY HAVE THE REPUTATION as South Africa’s business capital, but Cape Town still offers plenty to those traveling for work. The Mother City, as it is commonly known, with its spectacular waterfront setting crowned by the famous Table Mountain, hosts conferences that attract visitors from around the world. You’ll likely arrive at Cape Town International Airport, the second-busiest in South Africa and the thirdbusiest on the entire continent. Located just 12 miles from the city center, it experienced tremendous growth since opening in 1954. More than 10 million passengers


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and claiming “emotional support” to avoid paying this fee. Animals are uncaged and too large to fit underneath the seat in front of you. The size of the animal is also important because larger animals encroach on other passengers’ space in an area where space is already limited. There have also been documented cases of other passengers being bit and animals relieving themselves on the plane. I hope the new rules will require that all owners must provide to the airline certified documentation the animal is in fact a service animal that provides an actual medical function to the owner, the dog wears an identifying marker that it is a service animal and that there is a size limitation. Prior to boarding, the animal must be caged and able to fit underneath the seat in front of you as well as restricting the animal from being allowed out of the cage when on board the plane.

experiencing severe allergies to pet dander, I have struggled to stay healthy traveling weekly with pets masquerading as service animals. I have been moved to the back of the plane from economy plus (which I paid for) because the flight attendant had to give preferential treatment to the disabled so an “emotional support” dog could lie on the floor in the bulkhead. I moved to another available seat at the back of the plane. Animals eating off of the food tray of their owner, animals on nearly every flight with it only getting worse as time went on. I have nearly left my job more than once. Please, the stricter the better … the sooner the better! DIANE SACCO, via email

JUDY MURPHY, via email Thank God; finally, common sense! As a weekly business traveler trying to support my family with a job requiring 80 percent travel, and



APRIL 2020





fine vines


Torrontés Tango


Argentina’s signature white will have all your senses dancing.


n an attempt to describe Torrontés, Argentina’s signature white wine, some have compared it to Pinot Grigio, Viognier, even Riesling. But none come close. Made from the grape of the same name, Torrontés is like no other. It begins with an aroma that conjures up a bouquet of flowers (the honeyed, perfumed Muscat of Alexandria is one of its ancestors), hinting that a sweet wine will follow. But no, Torrontés goes toward dry and fruity with a tangy and spicy edge. It is the perfect aperitif and equally right with shellfish, Niçoise salad, chicken, other whitemeat dishes, lightly flavored cheese and many Asian foods. As Americans discover this intriguing wine, they will also discover that, with a myriad of choices, even the most attractive Torrontés usually costs under $20. And what are the most attractive Torrontés? Among two dozen that I’ve recently tasted, these are my favorites. Xavier Flouret Flaca 2008 ($18) is one of the most elegant Torrontés, with a delicate floral nose that hints of apricot and peach; a dry, Powered by round, well-structured body; a fruit-filled taste and vibrant acidity; and a long, delicious finish. Its Muscat ancestor comes to the fore in Lo Tengo 2009’s ($11.50) vivid, flowery aroma. It goes on to be a clearly focused, intensely flavored, bright and satisfying wine. IN THE COOK ISLANDS, on Rarotonga, I’m walking along a dusty path, edged There is a suggestion of by a plethora of plants and trees. Fat papayas hang from their umbrella-like sweet mint and an evocation trees; bananas, still green on the stem, invite; and mangos, ripe and ready, have of orange and peach in Finca fallen from their roost. Blossoming bushes waft a perfume, butterflies circle halos La Linda 2009’s ($11) aroma, around my head, and a stream gurgles nearby. A mother sow and her family of followed by a relatively full body cartoonish piglets join me on the road. Not one but 10 roosters crow in competing symphonies — though early morning is long past. The sea lies nearby, but and excellent balance. Altogether a here, hiking inland, surrounded by steep hills and much vegetation, I feel like the pleasing, inviting wine. only person left on Earth. Finca El Origen Reserva 2009 ($12) Luckily, I’m not. I share this walk with one of the Cook Islands’ most Ease body, mind andoffering soul ain is clean, crisp and refreshing, famous residents, a larger-than-life figure known as Uncle Pa, once a world typical Torrontés floral flavor with pear the natural goodness of the surfing champion. Though an octogenarian, he wears long dreadlocks, treks and peach overtones and a gentle reminder shirtless and sports a colorful sarong. With rippling muscles and the physique of citrus fruits in the A particularly of a 30-year-old man, he belies aging and serves as the metaphorical poster Cook Islands. BY mouth. BECCA HENSLEY harmonious wine. child for his role as this island nation’s most famous healer. An herbalist or The delightful Pascual Toso 2009 ($15) kahuna, he learned from his grandmother about the power of the plants that BEACHSIDE BLISS:herbal notes grow on these less-traveled islands. Intuitive, fearless, with a foot in both the combines keen fruit flavors, Spa treatment on the beach at and a fresh lemony acidity with a trace of past and the modern world, Uncle Pa has helped thousands of people regain Aitutaki Lagoon their health over the years. As we walk, he picks leaves, flowers, berries and honey and floral tones. PHOTO: © STEVE ALLEN | DREAMSTIME.COM Following its aroma of fresh flowers and ripefruit. He tells me how he makes elixirs or poultices from them; he lets me taste fruit, Colomé 2009 ($15) is a graceful wine with notes reminiscent of grapefruit. 72citric globaltravelerusa.com JUNE 2017 The pale-shaded Dominio del Plata’s Crios 2009 ($13.50) has a lilac-scented aroma with peach overtones followed by a dry, tangy taste. 

Art of Healing


A variety of international airlines fly to Rarotonga International Airport on the Cook Islands’ main island. In December 2016 Air New Zealand began weekly non-stop flights on its comfortable Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which offers a new premium-economy option, from Los Angeles (LAX), making the trek from the United States easier than ever.



May 2011 | Global Traveler | 35


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VITTORIO MANGIONE, via email I absolutely agree animals should be limited on planes. I am allergic to dogs and can barely sit at an airport in the gate area because of all the dogs. People let them out of the cages while in the gate area to roam free. Airports and planes are beginning to smell like urine pots. It is disgusting. They don’t serve peanuts anymore because of peanut allergies; how about dog allergies? Even if I was not allergic, the smell gets overwhelming, both at gate areas and on airplanes.



THE WOMEN’S ISSUE Rise of the Female Solo Traveler p. 38

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Our first-ever Women’s Issue published in February inspired an avid reader and Advisory Board member to write in with some kind words: The February issue is refreshing and impressive. Good for you for executing a great idea. Restores faith in print media. MARK LANE, via email

WHAT’S HAPPENING ON GT BLOGS? Updated daily, our blogs offer readers an inside look at the lives and travels of the GT staff. Last month we featured blogs about everything from visiting Colonial Williamsburg to managing a medical emergency overseas.


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news, deals and rewards British Airways Automatically Offsets Carbon Emissions

In fall 2019 the Red Sea Development Co. awarded Fosters + Partners a design contract to develop a new international airport in Saudi Arabia, one officials anticipate will serve up to 1 million passengers per year by 2030. With a focus on sustainability, Fosters + Partners will work with subconsultant WSP Global to complete an “airport for the future,” set to open in 2022. The ecofriendly design will pay homage to the surrounding natural landscapes and fit into the design vision of The Red Sea Project, an adjacent resort also scheduled to open in 2022. Touted as the world’s most ambitious tourism and hospitality project, the Red Sea Project will comprise an archipelago of 90 islands featuring dormant volcanoes, deserts, mountains and rich culture and will be served by the new Red Sea Airport. During the first phase of completion, the resort will open 14 hotels on five of the islands, as well as commercial and leisure operations. By the time of its final completion, estimated in 2030, the resort will span 22 islands. theredsea.sa fosterandpartners.com

WANT MORE NEWS ON THE GO? SIGN UP FOR GT NEWSLETTERS Global Traveler’s weekly newsletters keep you up to date with info on the go. Sign up for newsletters at globaltravelerusa.com/newsletter.


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APRIL 2020


TripIt Checks Your Carbon Footprint

One of the best ways to help combat climate change is to find alternative ways to travel (such as bus or train), but when a flight is the only available option, you can now check your flight’s effect on the environment, which may increase or lessen your guilt. A new feature from the mobile app TripIt lets you enter your flight details to view your carbon footprint based on that flight or based on multiple flights over time. Using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to calculate the figures, TripIt also relies on data such as flight distance, cabin class and other environment elements such as weather to provide information about a given journey’s carbon footprint. Once they add a trip to the app, users can toggle to the flight detail screen and click Carbon Footprint. This page not only displays information about the carbon emissions of a particular flight but also provides a list of ways travelers can offset these emissions on their own. tripit.com ghgprotocol.org


Design Contract for New Saudi Arabia Airport

It’s no secret air travel is bad for the environment, so airlines have begun to take action against the harmful contributions to the atmosphere. Since Jan. 1 British Airways automatically pays to offset carbon emissions for all passengers on domestic flights. This is often an option travelers can select when booking a flight on other airlines, but now British Airways passengers will enjoy this benefit regardless of whether they opt in. British Airways currently only offers this service for 75 domestic flights departing from London daily, but customers who travel internationally with the airline can still opt to pay to offset their carbon emissions on an individual basis. The price to offset carbon emissions for a short flight can cost $3–5, while the cost for long-haul flights can be up to $25. Based on calculations, for 75 daily flights each with 150 passengers, British Airways covers quite a tab per day.

Chase, United Launch New Business Card

Credit card giant Chase and United Airlines launched a new version of the United Business Explorer Card, now called the United Business Card and geared toward small-business owners. Cardholders earn more miles when they make business-related purchases such as office supplies, fares for commuting to work and business meals at restaurants. Sign-up bonuses include two miles per $1 spent on transit (such as taxis, rideshare services and tolls); 5,000 miles for each card anniversary; an annual travel credit of $100 after purchasing seven United flights for a minimum of $100 each; and 25 percent back as a card credit for in-flight purchases on United flights (such as WiFi, food and drinks).

Air New Zealand’s Edible Coffee Cups

To play its part in helping the environment, Air New Zealand has begun to serve coffee — both in the air and on the ground — in edible coffee cups. Through a partnership with twiice, a New Zealand company that makes edible coffee cups, the airline adopted the vanilla-flavored, leakproof cups as both mugs for coffee and bowls for ice cream and other desserts. Twiice plans to roll out other edible products in the near future. Air New Zealand also uses plant-based cups on board and in its airport lounges. Made from paper and corn, the cups are compostable. These minor changes in daily services will help the airline reach its goal of stabilizing its carbon emissions by the end of 2020 and reduce its net emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

chase.com united.com

airnewzealand.com twiice.co.nz


New Amex Centurion Lounge in Phoenix


At the start of the year, the new Amex Centurion Lounge opened its doors at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Located on the upper level of Terminal 4, the 10th U.S. Centurion Lounge offers premium cardholders the benefits they have come to expect from these well-known airport lounges. With 9,500 square feet of amenities, up to 240 guests can grab a Mexican-themed meal at an eatery conceptualized by local chef Doug Robson or sip on a cocktail by famed mixologist Jim Meehan. Other amenities include dedicated workspaces, high-speed WiFi and showers. American Express customers who carry Centurion- or Platinum-branded cards are eligible to take advantage of the lounge, as are travelers with other Amex Platinum cards from Schwab or Ameriprise. New Amex Centurion lounges are also scheduled to open in 2020 at London Heathrow and in New York (JFK), Charlotte (CLT), Denver (DEN) and Los Angeles (LAX).



Hopper Plants Trees for Booked Flights

Travelers who book flights directly through the search engine app Hopper can take solace in knowing the flight search and price comparison company now plants a tree for every flight booked through the app. Through an initiative called Hopper Trees, Hopper will donate money to Eden Reforestation Projects to plant up to four trees for every flight booked, and for each hotel booked, Hopper will donate enough to plant two trees. The trees will be planted in locations all over the world such as Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Nepal. This service comes at no cost to the traveler and will not be added to any booking fees incurred through Hopper or through the airlines. Hopper is committed to planting approximately 6 million trees in 2020, each with the potential to offset 900kg of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

APRIL 2020



GT tested

HALEKULANI Reviewed by Francis X. Gallagher

Arrival/Check-In: After a great non-stop flight from Newark to Honolulu on United Airlines first class, we swiftly said hello to a friend at baggage claim who was on the same flight and then took a taxi to the Halekulani. At the entrance, its team was ready, willing and able to help take our bags and swiftly set us up for registration, escorting us to our room, No. 1657. I last stayed at the Halekulani years earlier, and I have a lot of fond memories, including the marriage reception for Jim and Aileen Ferguson, and my son Nate who was about 4 years old participating in the Easter egg hunt and winning every event — we had to take four Easter baskets on our flight to Kauai the next day, but they all fit in the overhead. The Halekulani is a mainstay on the edge of Waikiki, and I have always considered it a haven from all the bustle. You can walk almost anywhere and return for the serenity here. Guest Quarters: We crossed the grassy lawn to our wing of the property, where the elevator stood next to the famed restaurant Orchids. Our room had a nice view of Diamond Head and a comfortable lanai to sit and take in the view. As we entered the room, a king-sized bed sat to the right, just past the bathroom. A small desk area to the right of the sliding glass doors came in handy as my command center. A flat-screen TV on a credenza along the left wall, along with a chair, made good use of space. I would have preferred a larger TV, but we really spent little time in the room. The bathroom seemed a little small by today’s standards but in good shape and complete with a separate shower and tub and a separate room for the commode. Halekulani-branded bath products completed the amenities in the bathroom.



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◆ Halekulani offers a haven in the center of all the action. ◆ Always the best hula! HALEKULANI 2199 Kalia Road Honolulu, HI 96815 tel 808 923 2311 halekulani.com

During the day we spent time at the pool and the small beach at the edge of the property. The water at Waikiki is warm and the sand soft, some of the best in the world, and this little beach has few swimmers. In the evening we alternately went to the Japanese Restaurant Suntory for sushi (reservation made by the Halekulani concierge) and Tim Ho Wan for dim sum. Both were spectacular. Walking Kalakaua Avenue, we stopped at Na Hoku jewelry store, where we made some new friends and picked up some presents.


Services/Amenities: You cannot beat the service at the Halekulani, and the staff at the House Without a Key restaurant are dedicated to their guests. Breakfast is served daily in this beautiful and comforting place to start your day. We also enjoyed superb cocktails and appetizers: a cold Sauvignon Blanc and boneless short rib, coconut shrimp and seared fish tacos. It was a treat to spend time listening to traditional Hawai’ian singing and watching graceful hula dancing — the Halekulani has the best! We also frequented Lewers Lounge after spending the night out in Honolulu. The clubby atmosphere and crafted cocktails are often accompanied by entertainment. One night we enjoyed a great jazz trio at the end of our evening.


GT tested

SHELBORNE SOUTH BEACH Reviewed by Stephanie Makowski

Arrival/Check-In: Arriving after a quick drive from meetings, bustling Collins Avenue beckoned me to get in the Miami mood. Driving down the famed avenue on approach to the retro driveway entrance of the Shelborne South Beach, I found that mood. The crisp, white exterior with a geometrically pleasing façade was just the ticket for those who admire a vintage touch with a modern twist. Upon entry to the lobby, it is clear this is a chic and tasteful atmosphere. In the roomy but inviting lobby, I found the front desk staff accommodating. Upon check-in, I made my way through the building toward the back, passing the on-site restaurant, café and trendy bar. Elevators were readily available to take me to my home away from home for a few days.


Guest Quarters: Entering my room, I was immediately struck by the fun black-and-white beach photographs on the walls. The tones of sandy beige and white linen encouraged a feeling of beach vibes right away. The room layout proved accommodating for both leisure and business travel, featuring a large desk for evening office work; a great dresser equipped with minibar, fridge and snack bar; a large lounge chair for reading; and — since I was in a corner room — a balcony overlooking the beach. The balcony offered city gazing to the far left and vast ocean views to the immediate right. The linens and bed were quite supportive, needed after a busy day of meetings. The bathroom met all the traditional needs one has when traveling. I’m a fan of a tub but find the shower option is better for the environment, so that was certainly a win. The vanity and lighting fixtures were modern yet elegant. Services/Amenities: The hotel’s location is something to note. Being right on Collins Avenue, it provides the Miami restaurant and shopping amenities outside the front door. Also situated on beachfront property, the hotel hosts a perfect scenario for the aquatic aficionado; ocean or poolside, you are sure to find your spot in the Florida sun! The hotel staff are all kind and courteous. The lobby café makes an excellent spot for a

TOP TAKEAWAYS: ◆ Should you be too tired to venture out on the town or even down to the restaurant, the hotel boasts a great room service menu. ◆ The Shelborne offers townhomestyle suites for those traveling with families or small groups, providing a spacious, flexible alternative to booking multiple rooms.

morning pick-me-up, and for the after-5 crowd, the Drawing Room provides a chic and hip spot for a cocktail mixed to perfection or an entrée to savor. Planning a meeting or social event? The Shelborne boasts a multitude of event space options with seating up to 360. The property combines style with practicality, making it a great hotel for creating a Miami memory.

◆ The GUYandGIRL bathroom amenities smell divine, and I highly recommend trying them. Leave your traditional bath products at home! SHELBORNE SOUTH BEACH 1801 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139 tel 305 531 1271 shelborne.com

APRIL 2020



GT tested

VICEROY LOS CABOS Reviewed by Mariana Zenizo

Arrival/Check-In: Arriving at the airport around 1 p.m., as soon as I walked out of the gate, I found my driver waiting to take me to the hotel. I enjoyed a pleasant 40-minute ride in a spacious van with air-conditioning, WiFi, fresh water and music of my choice. At the hotel, staff took care of my luggage and offered a refresher called the “Discovery Cocktail.” It tasted like the perfect mix of sweet and salty — refreshing. I enjoyed the beverage as I quickly checked in. Guest Quarters: My Partial Ocean View King room looked like a dream come true, with an amazing view. The room featured a king-sized bed, WiFi, an LED smart TV, Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee, automated sheers and blackout curtains. A real plus: Alexa powered the whole room. As I unpacked, I noticed a perfectly clean room, not a bit of dust, not even in the forgotten corners. The architecture and the design existed in total harmony with the hotel, almost everything done in a beautiful pearl white with wood details and creating an all Zen environment, perfect for resting. The balcony, furnished with a bathtub and outside bed, offered a place to chill after a day at the beach.



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TOP TAKEAWAYS: ◆ Guests receive complimentary bicycle rental (the bikes are in perfect condition), so you can take a spin around the area. ◆ The hotel offers a relaxing bath with salts and luxurious amenities. I requested one at night; it was delicious. ◆ The fitness center is well-equipped, with a professional fitness attendant on hand. VICEROY LOS CABOS Paseo Malecón San José Lote 8, Zona Hotelera 23400 San José del Cabo Baja California Sur, México tel 52 624 104 9999 viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/los-cabos


Services/Amenities: After dropping off my luggage and changing clothes, I went for something to eat at Casero Restaurant, the main restaurant with a homestyle Mexican kitchen — the guacamole is a must! After a delicious lunch I explored the hotel. I discovered in order to get to the beach you have to walk by the water mirrors and the famous Nido restaurant, and then go down through small roads where you’ll find the fitness center, the spa and the playroom (where the whole family can rest out of the sun and play pool, board games or video games). The beach club sits a few steps from the playroom, offering two warm pools, a beach bar called Nidito (with the same bird’s nest structure as the restaurant) and beach beds to enjoy the sun and water. The beach couldn’t be more ideal: cared for and clean, the sand an astonishing white that contrasts nicely with the turquoise sea. It’s a bit of a distance from the beach club to actually touching the sea. I had the chance to try several restaurants in addition to Casero. I sampled the menu at Cielomar Rooftop, based on fresh seafood, flame-grilled fare and wood-fired pizza. I sampled the tasty Argentine-style empanadas, as fat as empanadas can be. The property’s most-famous restaurant, Nido, focuses on Japanese cuisine. To be honest, raw food is not my favorite, but I still enjoyed the delicious tuna sashimi and, of course, some dumplings. And I relaxed at Nidito, the beach bar, and Otro, the main bar.

GT tested

CASA HABITA Reviewed by Angelique Platas


Arrival/Check-In: After driving through downtown Guadalajara, through busy streets, markets and a main road seemingly dedicated to selling only bathroom porcelain and fixtures, the silence, greenery and openness surrounding Casa Habita was almost jarring. The hotel sits neatly tucked away behind lush foliage and a short staircase designed more like the entrance to an inviting home than a hotel. I walked into the floor-to-ceiling glass-clad entrance and through a waiting room that seemed more like a cigar bar and swanky lounge than anything else (a theme here) toward guest services to check in. The concierge graciously cut short my choppy Spanish as she took my information and handed me my key within minutes. My room was ready (huge plus), so I didn’t have time to pour myself a welcome shot of tequila from the three varieties — añejo, reposado and blanco — available at the desk. Shoot. Guest Quarters: I grabbed my old-school key (think Secret Garden) and headed to my Junior Suite. It took a minute or two to find it, as the dark-toned hallways were dimly lit, but I finally entered my corner room boasting city views from three of the four walls, two of which featured floor-to-ceiling windows. The open layout of the space offered a king-sized bed facing one glass wall, sectioning the room with a retro-green vinyl headboard acting as a room divider, a real Mad Men-meetsMexico aesthetic. I put my bag on the floor and made use of the side table and velvety rolling chairs for my clothes — I’m not

one to use hotel drawers and dressers, but I do always use the closet, which this room lacked. The room felt larger than its documented 538 square feet, with the open concept extending to the bathroom, which had no doors, only privacy windows with a slight frosted tint. Finding a rain showerhead is always a fun surprise, but just remember to close the floor-to-ceiling curtains before you get too excited and hop in. The room’s 1930s–1950s vibe was not wasted on me — I loved the simplistic style, pop of color and swanky furniture.


Services/Amenities: Between the guestroom’s city views and rain shower, you could forget to go out and explore the hotel’s small pool, spa, secluded outdoor space and equally charming 1930s style throughout. This hotel has its own vibe. One side boasts a light and airy tropical look, with light-filled windows, palm patterns and upscale wicker furniture, while the other offers a dark, cigarrolling, rich, fabric-covered side — the two together offer an Old Havana feel in the heart of a bohemian, artsy Mexican neighborhood. The hotel could be a set in a Wes Anderson film, a style which perfectly encapsulates the hip neighborhood surrounding its walls. The service was efficient and helpful, from check-in to check-out. I called down and housekeeping came within minutes; the staff remembered my name and made friendly conversation throughout my stay but wasn’t at all overbearing — a win/win for me.

◆ The hotel hosts exclusive, secret events for locals and guests, like a speakeasy-style party in a penthouse room, only made known to a select group of guests.

◆ The hotel’s complimentary WiFi was great; I had service throughout my stay on multiple devices. ◆ I made use of the Bluetooth speaker in my room almost the entire time I was there — it was a nice touch.

◆ Take advantage of the complimentary continental breakfast! CASA HABITA Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2308 Col Americana, Lafayette 44160 Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico tel 52 33 3679 2000 casahabita.com

APRIL 2020



GT tested


Arrival/Check-In: We arrived at the hotel on a chilly afternoon to a warm greeting from the doorman and were directed to the lobby on the second floor, where we received another warm greeting and a speedy check-in.

Services/Amenities: The hotel was once the iconic London Guarantee & Accident headquarters, built in 1923 and renowned as one of the “Big Four” skyscrapers around the former Michigan Avenue Bridge. It sits within walking distance of Millennium Park and Magnificent Mile shopping. LondonHouse features several dining and drinking



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◆ I have experienced many friendly hotel staff, but the LondonHouse’s dedicated staff, from the doormen to the people at reception and to the bartenders and wait staff, take the prize as the best in the business.

options. Land & Lake, at street level, is ideal for breakfast and casual dining, and Bridges Lobby Bar on the second floor offers a great place to meet friends for a drink and snacks. As for fine dining, Ocean Prime within the hotel has great views of the river. The hotel has Chicago’s only three-level rooftop bar; the LH on 21 is an indoor bar, and LH on 22 is an outdoor terrace bar with phenomenal views of the city, while the exclusive Cupola bar is on the 23rd floor. The LondonHouse proves an ideal location for meetings, with 13 meeting rooms running the gamut from the Juliette Grand ballroom to small meetings spaces. The fitness center provides all of the equipment one needs for a good workout.

◆ The development that transformed this former traditional office tower into a timeless take on luxury did a great job in creating a contemporary yet warm environment, which really appealed to me. ◆ I look forward to visiting Chicago in warmer weather and enjoying LH on 22, the terrace bar, and taking in the fabulous views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile. LONDONHOUSE CHICAGO, CURIO COLLECTION BY HILTON 85 E. Wacker Drive Chicago, IL 60601 tel 312 357 1200 hilton.com


Guest Quarters: I was in a suite on a high floor with a 180-degree view of the Chicago River. The suite included an entrance hall which opened into a small sitting room with a sofa, an oval coffee table and two round ottoman stools; and a side table held the coffeemaker. The sitting room flat-screen TV hung on the wall opposite the sofa. The bedroom had a king-sized bed and two bedside tables, an easy chair and a dresser, plus another flat-screen TV. The closet held an iron and ironing board and a safe. The spacious bathroom included a spacious, glasswalled shower and a large single sink. I liked the amenities by (MALIN+GOETZ) because they are almost scent-free, and I am not a great fan of overly scented soap, shampoo or conditioner.


GT tested

21C MUSEUM HOTEL NASHVILLE Reviewed by Angelique Platas


Arrival/Check-In: Walking into the stark-white lobby of the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, I was immediately reminded of the hotel’s namesake — yes, it looked like a museum; no, I was not quite ready for the bright lights at the hour of my late check-in. As the young staff member at the front desk kindly chatted while checking me in, I noticed a few interesting statues behind him, one of a woman seemingly floating while holding the leash of an animal-skin rug. Again, an odd sight at the hour of my late check-in, but I made a mental note to tour the hotel in the morning and get a second look. Within a few minutes I was headed to the elevator to venture up to my luxury king room. A few scans of the key in the elevator, one replacement keycard later when I realized it simply didn’t work, and up I went — along for the ride was a video on the elevator wall that looked like a kaleidoscope of snakes twisting in a terrarium. The darkness of the elevator made the snakes pop and illuminate the small space. Art really is subjective. Guest Quarters: Wandering through the dark hallways of the sixth floor to my room, narrowly avoiding three penguin statues positioned together as if in conversation in the hallway, I was that person using my phone as a flashlight to find my room. Once inside, the bright-white bathroom drew my attention, featuring (MALIN+GOETZ) soaps and enough sink surface to double as a vanity, with neatly stacked towels topped with a rubber ducky.

Walking further into the room, I was drawn to the king-sized bed like a moth to a flame but distracted by the mid-century furniture and wide-open windows — two design themes I’m a sucker for. The fold-top desk held a generously sized television; inside the desk were a minibar, Nespresso maker, water bottles and some stylish glassware. I placed my bag on the seat by the window, pulled the black-out curtains closed and slept like a rock. In the morning I pulled back the floor-to-ceiling curtains to a sunshine-filled view of the Cumberland River. The wide window ledge could serve as that reading corner we’ve all always wanted, but the call of downtown Nashville was too strong. Services/Amenities: The hotel had more amenities than I had time for, including a spa, 24-hour fitness center equipped with Peloton bikes, 24-hour business center and full museum of contemporary art. In the morning, several visitors were touring the exhibits in the lobby and making their way to the restaurant and museum on their own accord. The museum in Gray & Dudley (the on-site restaurant and quirky stunner on its own) is free to the public, open daily and boasts more than 10,500 square feet of exhibit space. Between the art displayed around the museum and on guestroom floors, the hotel offers one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the country. I took a self-guided tour, but 21c actually offers expert guides twice a week, with fun events mixed in, including specialty themed tours.


◆ I found a hardcover copy of Art Is the Highest Form of Hope & Other Quotes by Artists on the bedside table — I picked it up in the morning and couldn’t put it down. ◆ The hotel’s exhibits rotate, so if you’re in a 21c Museum Hotel city, check out what’s showing online and pop in for free. ◆ Only guests can see the art collection spread across guestroom floors, as you need a room key to ride the elevator. ◆ See something you like? Take it home! Like all self-respecting museums, there’s an online gift shop. 21C MUSEUM HOTEL NASHVILLE 221 Second Ave. N. Nashville, TN 37201 tel 615 610 6400 21cmuseumhotels.com

APRIL 2020



one on one


What is your favorite book, movie or television show? My favorite book is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and my favorite movies are Tropic Thunder and Austin Powers. What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with? Mark Twain, the greatest innovative thinker, and George Westinghouse, who ensured his deeds alone would outlast him

THE BASICS Name: Peter Sim Title: CEO Company, city: Air Premia; Seoul, South Korea First job: I had a great experience working as a soldier with the U.S. Army, 1997–2000. After that, I started my career as a corporate lawyer. Where to next: Air Premia is a startup, new-concept airline, so our first strategy is to survive and connect the world to Seoul. My future goal is to connect others with the world using our own resources. With our Empty Seat Foundation, we give back to our community by donating seats to underprivileged citizens who have the desire to travel around the world. A LITTLE BIT MORE What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life? Ben Stiller; I am a huge comedy fan, and he is my hero. What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry? Stand-up comedy writing



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AS A TRAVELER Tell us about a travel nightmare: “Pick whatever medicine you like,” a flight attendant said in 2016 when I was in severe pain. I was traveling through Shanghai for business and became sick. I almost coughed up blood. I asked flight attendants for any medicine they could provide, and I had to pick the one I thought might help the symptom subside. It was a rough flight, but I made it home. Share a comical travel experience: Anytime I travel with my two kids! I try to seize every moment when traveling with them. But the most comical experience was my trip to Cambodia when I was 30. I had not flown before, starting air travel relatively late in life. After I got off the plane, to get to the small town in Cambodia I had to travel on a tiny boat down the Mekong River during a monsoon for four hours. It was an exciting and excruciating experience. What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? Airplanes — time is so valuable. What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? I’ve been there, done that, but haven’t had service that can be described as the best example. As an operator and a customer, I look forward to experiencing it and sharing it in the near future.


THE BUSINESS What is your most recent project and what was the inspiration behind it? My chief adviser, Ms. Yoon, sums it up best in three words: Connect, Comfort, Create. Air Premia serves customers full WiFi capabilities while flying over the Pacific, offers the world’s best seats — 35-inch economy and 42-inch premium economy — and creates the first hybrid carrier in the trans-Pacific travel market. We got through the airline licensing process with the Korean government. It was a long and difficult process, but we are excited to share with our investors and customers that we are ready for the future. What is your favorite aspect of the job? Bringing good things to life What is the biggest business risk you have ever taken? I risked all my fortune on Air Premia, not having a single dime left. Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry? Steven Udvar-Házy, chairman of Air Lease Corp., is someone I truly admire. He was the first to give Air Premia a chance to share our dream by leasing us our first three Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, allowing us to take passengers from Seoul to the United States and later into Europe. Steve also has a great passion for giving back, as I do, and gave a $66 million grant to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.


GET IN GEAR Choose green technology to reduce your environmental impact. BY JACK GUY

VOLTBIKE BRAVO Get some exercise and cut your carbon footprint by getting around on an electric bike rather than in your car. Volt makes a variety of models aimed at people with different needs, but the Bravo is the best all-rounder. Sporty enough to eat up the asphalt but sturdy enough for off-road trails, it’s a top choice as a first electric bike. One charge should get you around 35 miles in range, and the bike can reach a top speed of 20 mph. $1,699. voltbike.com



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ECOBEE SMARTTHERMOSTAT Connected home devices are becoming increasingly common, but none boast the green credentials of a smart thermostat. Ecobee recently upgraded its range with eco+ software that automatically optimizes your central heating for efficiency and cost savings. Voice activation and a simple app make for easy operation, plus it connects to air conditioners, dehumidifiers and other devices for greater accuracy in maintaining temperatures throughout your home. $249. ecobee.com


BOTANIUM SMART GROWERS Indoor gardening is a great way to grow your own food, improve air quality and add a touch of natural beauty to your living space. Botanium takes the hassle out of the process thanks to a smart hydroponic system that works without soil and is impossible to overwater, a great feature for those not blessed with green thumbs. You can even leave it alone for weeks while you travel, as it takes care of the plant for you. The growers work with a number of herbs and lettuce, vegetables such as tomatoes and chili peppers, and even orchids. Botanium also sells nutrient pipettes to give your indoor garden a health boost in order to grow more of your chosen produce. From $73. botanium.se

SONY DIGITAL PAPER Cut down on your paper consumption with this digital notepad. The device works with a stylus that lets you make digital notes and save them to the Digital Paper app. You can also annotate, erase and highlight PDF files, perfect for those who want to work on a project free from the distractions of being online. Easily share files between devices using the app and leave your laptop at home thanks to 16GB internal storage. Choose between the 10.3-inch and 13.3-inch screen sizes, depending on your needs. From $499.99. sony.com

2020 GT Tested Reader Survey Awards Ballot Please write in your personal favorites, based on your own experience, on the line next to each of the following categories.


Overall Best Airline in the World_____________________________________________________ Airline Alliance________________________________________________________________________ Aircraft Type _________________________________________________________________________ Airline Website _______________________________________________________________________ Fastest-Growing Airline – Trans-Pacific______________________________________________ Best Corporate Program for Business Travelers__________________________________ Best Airline for . . . Business Class___________________________________________________________________ International First Class_________________________________________________________ Domestic First Class_____________________________________________________________ Onboard Service ________________________________________________________________ Lounges _________________________________________________________________________ Flight Attendants________________________________________________________________ Flight Attendant Uniforms ______________________________________________________ Airline Cuisine___________________________________________________________________ Security__________________________________________________________________________ First-Class Seat Design_______________________________________________________________ Business-Class Seat Design _________________________________________________________ Best New Airline Service Launch_____________________________________________________ Best Frequent-Flyer Programs Overall Best Frequent-Flyer Program___________________________________________ Elite-Level Program______________________________________________________________ Bonus Promotion_______________________________________________________________ Award Redemption______________________________________________________________ Customer Service _______________________________________________________________

BEST AIRLINE BY LOCATION Best Airline in . . . Africa_____________________________________________________________________________ Australia and New Zealand______________________________________________________ Central/South Asia and India __________________________________________________ China____________________________________________________________________________ Eastern Europe__________________________________________________________________ Europe___________________________________________________________________________ Mexico___________________________________________________________________________ The Middle East _________________________________________________________________ North America___________________________________________________________________ North Asia (excluding China)____________________________________________________ The South Pacific________________________________________________________________ To South America and Central America_____________________________________________ To Japan______________________________________________________________________________ Trans-Atlantic Airline_________________________________________________________________ Trans-Pacific Airline__________________________________________________________________

AIRPORT BEST Overall Best Airport in the World____________________________________________________ Overall Best Duty-Free Shop in the World___________________________________________ Airport Staff/Gate Agents____________________________________________________________ Airport Dining________________________________________________________________________ Airport Shopping ____________________________________________________________________ Fastest-Growing U.S. Airport_________________________________________________________ Duty-Free Shops in . . . Asia______________________________________________________________________________ Africa_____________________________________________________________________________ Europe___________________________________________________________________________ The Middle East_________________________________________________________________ Best Airport in . . . Asia______________________________________________________________________________ Africa_____________________________________________________________________________ Europe___________________________________________________________________________ The Middle East_________________________________________________________________ North America___________________________________________________________________ South America___________________________________________________________________

Best Individual Hotel in the World ________________________________________________ International Hotel Chain__________________________________________________________ Domestic Hotel Chain______________________________________________________________ Lifestyle Hotel______________________________________________________________________ MICE Hotel _________________________________________________________________________ (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) Hotel Website______________________________________________________________________ Best Frequent-Stay Programs Best Hotel Rewards Program in the World___________________________________ Elite-Level Program____________________________________________________________ Bonus Promotion_____________________________________________________________ Award Redemption____________________________________________________________ Customer Service_____________________________________________________________

HOTEL BEST BY LOCATION Best Hotel in . . . Asia____________________________________________________________________________ Europe_________________________________________________________________________ South Korea___________________________________________________________________ The Middle East_______________________________________________________________ The United States _____________________________________________________________ Best Hotel Chain in . . . Asia____________________________________________________________________________ Europe_________________________________________________________________________ Latin America__________________________________________________________________ Mexico_________________________________________________________________________ The Middle East_______________________________________________________________

OTHER BEST Overseas Delivery Program _______________________________________________________ Rental Car Company_______________________________________________________________ Tourism Destination_______________________________________________________________ MICE City ___________________________________________________________________________ (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) WiFi Service_________________________________________________________________________ Luggage Brand_____________________________________________________________________ Hotel App___________________________________________________________________________ Airline App__________________________________________________________________________ Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program ______________________________________ Credit Cards Best Overall Credit Card___________________________________________________________ Best Small-Business Credit Card __________________________________________________ Best Credit Card Special Events ___________________________________________________ Credit Card Rewards Program_____________________________________________________ Frequent-Stay Affinity Credit Card ________________________________________________ Promotions____________________________________________________________________ Benefits________________________________________________________________________ Redemptions__________________________________________________________________ Frequent-Flyer Affinity Credit Card_________________________________________________ Promotions____________________________________________________________________ Benefits________________________________________________________________________ Redemptions__________________________________________________________________ Best Cruise Line Affinity Credit Card_______________________________________________

PLEASE MAIL THE COMPLETED SURVEY TO: Kevin Ryan, Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP, 1800 JFK Blvd., 20th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103 | Or FAX to 215 545 4810 Or vote online at globaltravelerusa.com/gt-tested-awards-ballot Name Street Address City Home Phone


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wine & spirits

WHAT’S IN A WORD? Decipher the vocabulary of eco-friendly methods of grape growing. BY EUNICE FRIED

THE LABELS ON SOME OF TODAY’S wine bottles sport a relatively new vocabulary, one that explains how the grapes were grown and made into wine. They include such terms as sustainable, organic and biodynamic, among others, and they warrant some explanation. Were the grapes grown by sustainable farming? Were they sprayed with organic fertilizers? Is the wine biodynamic? A number of the terms are new to many consumers. Some are controlled by the U.S. government; others are not. For simple definitions of this relatively new vocabulary, consider the following. Sustainable grape farming focuses on producing grapes that have minimal effects on the environment and are ecologically sound. Organic farming involves growing grapes without using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. It depends instead on ecologically based pest controls and fertilizers. The term “organic” is regulated by the U.S. government. Biodynamic farming begins as organic farming does and uses no synthetic chemicals. From there, it also considers a vineyard as a complete ecosystem and includes lunar and astrological terms. Unlike organic, “biodynamic” is not a term regulated by the government. How do you know if a wine is organic, biodynamic or otherwise “different”? Since all of these practices take a great deal more effort and time, more than likely it will say so on the label. Or you can find that information on the winery’s website. California’s Frey Vineyards, a third-generation, family-owned winery in Mendocino County, takes pride in being the state’s first organic and biodynamic winery. California boasts many other wineries that are organic or biodynamic, or both, among them



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nded g fou u r K rst rles Cha rnia’s fi y in o er f Cali rcial win 861. 1 e comm alley in V a Nap

MacRostie Winery & Vineyards, Chappellet, Spottswoode, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Peju Winery, Acumen, Sea Smoke and Frog’s Leap. Does a biodynamic wine taste different? Does it offer a different sensation and leave a different memory? No written description can give you an answer. Only a taste will do that. And since about 90 percent of American-made wine comes from California and three out of every five bottles of wine sold in the United States come from California, there is a good chance almost all of us wine drinkers have had organic and biodynamic wines — and gone back for more.


J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard, St. Helena (top), and CCOF sign on Spottswoode gate (bottom) PHOTOS: © J. LOHR CAROL, © SPOTTSWOODE


HEALTHY HABITS Take measured steps now to ensure you’re ready for retirement. BY DAVID PILAITIS


a “keeping up with the Joneses” philosophy toward spending. Do you have friends who tweet and share every purchase and activity in their lives? Believe it or not, this subconsciously drives the temptation to spend on things we do not need or want to impress people we don’t even like. Finding a balance and delaying gratification on purchases can singlehandedly make or break your financial well-being, and it starts with making tough budgeting decisions. LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS. Try contributing an extra 1 or 2 percent to your company’s retirement plan, or open up an IRA. You won’t miss the contribution and your standard of living will adjust accordingly. Seek to live below your means today to ensure a strong financial future tomorrow. ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY by the General Accountability Office, 29 percent of Americans 55 and older do not have any retirement savings or pension plan, and those who have saved are woefully behind, with households age 55–64 averaging $104,000 in retirement assets. The bleak outlook can largely be attributed to a lack of education when it comes to retirement planning and, more specifically, investment allocation. With a growing number of millennials feeling ill-equipped to make investment-related decisions — even within their own retirement plans — the numbers prove ignorance is not bliss. In fact, 61 percent of millennials said they want to invest but they don’t know how. These numbers alone should serve as a call to action for younger workers who increasingly find themselves behind the eight ball when it comes to saving for retirement. A sound, longterm roadmap to retirement can center on three key areas. DEVELOP HEALTHY FINANCIAL HABITS. In a society increasingly driven by social media, it is easy to fall prey to

REDUCE YOUR DEBT. The average American household carries a whopping $15,762 in credit card debt. According to a study this year, the average household pays a total of $6,658 in interest per year — lost dollars that could be pumped into retirement savings and wealth accumulation. In some situations debt such as a mortgage or a student loan can improve one’s financial position long-term; however, credit card debt carries the highest interest rates and should be paid off as quickly as possible. Work with an independent financial planner if necessary to consolidate debt and come up with a game plan to attack it head on. At the end of the day, no magic bullet can singlehandedly solve the retirement shortfall for millions of Americans. Only you can take steps to educate yourself and make prudent, financially savvy choices in your day-to-day life which will translate to a significantly healthier financial standing. Don’t just hope the retirement picture in your life becomes clearer as the day gets closer; the opposite is true. Build confident savings and investment solutions for your household by starting today.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice. Always seek the expertise of a certified financial advisor or other qualified provider with any questions you may have regarding personal finance, investment and money-related issues.

APRIL 2020




SPA BY MOTHER EARTH Soak in the healing power of The Springs Resort & Spa.


River and ledge at The Springs Resort PHOTO: © THE SPRINGS RESORT & SPA



AT THE SPRINGS RESORT & SPA in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, I’m soaking in a tub called “Lobster Pot.” From the color of my skin — crimson — that nomenclature seems about right. Today’s posted temperature reads 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Ouch. Or glorious. I can’t decide. I take a whiff of the fresh, high-altitude, chilly air and ease further into a watery mélange of 13 curative minerals, a medley composite that ranges from sulfur to potassium to lithium, among others. Submerged in water from the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring, I feel like an ingredient in a salubrious stew. Balneotherapy and hydrotherapy are two lofty terms that refer to healing by the use of water. But the ritual of soaking for optimal health dates back centuries, perhaps millennia. Even animals and apes intuitively seek hot springs for healing. Think of the macaques (snow monkeys) who luxuriate in Japan; the horse in Avène, France, who legendarily cured his own skin disease four centuries ago in a silica-rich mineral spring (now frequented for eczema relief by


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humans); or the black bears who wander into backyard whirlpools and splash about as gleefully as teenagers. Ancient humans followed suit. Well-worn paths leading to hot springs around the globe attest to that. For indigenous peoples, thermal water (and the sea) counted as strong medicine. Later, water-obsessed societies like the Romans constructed elaborate bathing and swimming complexes wherever they settled. In fact, the word “spa” may derive from Latin: salus per aquam means “health by water.” But even earlier evidence, such as the remains of a bath house in Pakistan dating back to 2500 B.C., manifests a certain early understanding of water as wellness. From Etruscan settlements to Japanese onsens, Scandinavia’s sauna/cold plunge traditions and Turkish hammam habits, healing water has played a key role worldwide. Today we have empirical evidence many of the minerals common in geothermal springs (and the sea) provide clear benefits. In addition, we know contrast bathing (hot and cold submersions,

in turns) strengthens the immune system, and soaking not only instills a sense of well-being but relieves joint pain, detoxifies the body, oxygenates the blood and balances hormones, among other results. At The Springs Resort & Spa, taking the cure means dipping into any of 24 thermal water-filled pools. Constantly fed by the famous springs, the tubs and immersion ponds of various shapes and sizes pepper a terraced hill which flows gracefully down to the San Juan River. With amusing names (Sunset Social Club, Clouds in My Coffee, The Cliffs), the steeping pools’ temperatures vary daily, ranging from 83 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Overlooking the historic mountain hamlet and its (often) snow-capped peaks, the current Springs Resort & Spa, in the mode of the Roman bath houses, grew from an original motel set on the site. Throughout the decades it evolved through many renditions, from utilitarian soaking baths to a hippie heyday, resulting at last in today’s elegantly appointed, casually vibed final transformation. Open yearround, with day pass access available for all ages, plus a special adults-only section including a café and a bar, The Springs draws après skiers, cabin dwellers, honeymooners, summer vacationers and families galore. To enjoy the best way to experience The Springs, stay in one of its 79 guestrooms, positioned adjacent to the retreat area. (The newest section garnered LEED Gold, the first of its kind in Colorado.) What’s the benefit of staying? Twenty-four-hour access to the pools — that’s what! While relentless dipping and dunking will satisfy the keenest spa lovers’ wellness urges, a visit to The Springs’ dedicated brickand-mortar Pahgosa Spa for a massage with essential oils made from local plants or a results-driven facial provides a break from all that wetness. But to take the water theme to its zenith, sign up for AquaZen Therapy by David Dolan, a master of cranial-sacral massage, trained at the Upledger Institute. The treatment takes place in a picturesque upper-level pool where you’ll float as Dolan guides you through an underwater massage meant to lengthen your spine and rejuvenate the nervous and immune systems. Located in southern Colorado, just about 30 minutes from Wolf Creek Ski Area and surrounded by wilderness, thick forests and craggy mountains, Pagosa Springs projects a nostalgic mountain village ambience fused with some non-kitschy Western élan. First discovered by the Ute Indians (pagosa means “healing or boiling waters” in their language), the Mother Spring plummets some 1,002 feet deep, anchoring the town — not to mention supplying much of its energy. It exudes just the right amount of contemporary hipness (think breweries and cool restaurants) while still having a certain old-fashioned getaway appeal. In an area well-suited to satisfy sports enthusiasts of all kinds (skiing, hiking, fishing, tubing and more), its 300-plus days of sunshine ensure that requisite, end-of-the-day soak is well-earned.

prings Loop, toric Hot S is H o ad or ngs. of the Col iad hot spri ings is part e state’s myr th of Pagosa Spr gamut 19 e th ng si ngs run route showca nty, the spri ou C e a 720-mile fe n. ha ee to C betw erything in ood Springs stic and ev From Glenw ru to s ou ri small, luxu from big to


massage arm movement (above), and facial (left) PHOTOS: © THE SPRINGS RESORT & SPA

The Springs Resort & Spa 165 Hot Springs Blvd. Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 tel 866 439 5934 pagosahotsprings.com

APRIL 2020




GO FOR THE GREEN Play a friendly round at Florida’s Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club. BY FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER

UPS AND DOWNS: Meadows Hole 7



IT SEEMS FITTING TO REVIEW Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club in our Green Issue, as the course architect, Ted McAnlis, did everything possible to save his own “green” by not paying his federal income taxes. McAnlis believed it was unconstitutional and used common-law trusts, a fake church, contrived Social Security numbers and a bank account in the Bahamas to avoid paying. He was, however, a prolific golf course designer in Florida and designed the Waterford Golf Club, reviewed in the July 2019 issue of Global Traveler. I was a guest of Wayne Tallman, a GT Advisory Board member, and we teamed up with Bob Golm and his son, John, from Michigan and Ohio, respectively. We nicknamed Bob “The Father” and John “JoeJohn” or sometimes “BobJohn.” We shared a lot of laughs and a fun time on a chilly start one morning in February. Pelican Pointe — or Pointy, as I called it when speaking with the bartender after the round, without getting a single laugh — is a large golfing machine with 27 holes made up of three nines: the Meadows; the Preserve, opened in 1995; and Hatchett Creek, opened in 2002. Mixing up the nines makes for a wide variety of play. The gated community includes more than 1,300 homes with easy access past the


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security guard. When I told him I was there to play golf, he simply said, “Have fun,” and I was in without a name or a secret handshake or password. Once I picked up my rental set, which became my excuse for the day, I hit balls at the range to the constant sound of “next on the tee box” from the starter. The place appeared packed, but we never waited and we hardly saw the group in front and no one behind. The course gets an “A” for timing each tee-off on the 27 holes. We played a combination of the Meadows and the Preserve for our 18-hole round.

MEADOWS HOLE 1 | 353 yards, par 4

The day was windy and warming up to 46 degrees but still quite cold considering I was wearing shorts. After exchanging introductions with our new friends, I teed up and sent a drive, trying to avoid the water on the left but heading too far right toward a clump of trees. Wayne drove perfectly, using his tried and tested clubs, right down the center. The Golm boys had respectable first tee shots. The Father obviously had played a lot of golf and had a decent swing — he even looked like a golfer. BobJohn had the benefit of youth and a powerful swing.

My lie was fine, far enough from the tree for a complete swing. My ball traveled right to left, landing on the collar. Two putts secured the only par in the group, albeit a little sloppy.

HOLE 7 | 521 yards, par 5

This is the longest hole on the Meadows nine, and if you can hit a straight ball, you might have a shot. Off the tee box I slammed one down the middle — not as far as my teammates but dead center. This allowed me to take out my rental TaylorMade 3-wood and hope I could connect one and keep it in play. I needed a recovery hole. The shot was glorious, met with cheers from our new twosome of friends. Wayne lost a ball in the pond on the left on his approach shot, but I landed on the back of the green, just off, saving par. BobJohn killed his approach, hoping to land in two on the green, but the ball vanished forever. He walked around like he’d lost his puppy, hoping to find the ball.

HOLE 9 | 448 yards, par 4

The wind picked up, but, fortunately, so did the heat. We were now playing with windbreakers off as the temperature rose to about 65. Hole 9 leaves little room for error as trees and scrub line the left side, with a bunker and water all along the right. My drive nearly made the water and just sat on the edge. Since I still had a shot, I took out my rental TaylorMade 3-wood and tried to bring home a miracle shot to the green. Unfortunately, the well-hit ball sliced a palm tree and ricocheted into the water. That cost me a shot and left me with a double bogey. Wayne also had a “chili dip” after a great drive, and BobJohn hit a drive which disappeared — he thought it landed in the parking lot, but it most likely sank in the water as well. Not the best closing for the Meadows nine.

PRESERVE HOLE 15 | 414 yards, par 4

This tricky little par-4 dogleg right has houses on the left (BobJohn hit one squarely on a beautiful Spanish-tiled roof) and woods and brush on the far right. I took a more rightward trajectory but was saved by the trap. Wayne also went right but landed in the rough with an easy shot to the green. The Father hit into the woods, though not far enough to be unplayable, and made a nice out to bring him back into play. Bogeys were our just rewards for our errors.

ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS: Preserve Hole 18 (above), and Meadows Hole 9 (left) PHOTOS: © FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER

HOLE 18 | 450 yards, par 4

The final hole of the day, but we could have easily added the third nine of Hatchet Creek, as the weather became glorious. Hole 18 has an intimidating shoot to clear before you reach the fairway, but the thick trees left and right along with marsh and scrub did not pose an issue for our foursome. Four nicely placed drives peppered the fairway left and right. I landed near a large tree on the right side and had to hit a low shot just short of the green. Wayne came from center fairway to hit the green in regulation, putting for a nice closing par. BobJohn and The Father played a decent final hole. As we walked off the green, BobJohn was intent on selling me a set of Andersen Windows … maybe one day, I said, as we all laughed after a fun day. Golf can do this: bring people together for four hours as if they are best friends.

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Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club 499 Derbyshire Drive Venice, FL 34285 tel 941 496 4653 pelicanpointeclub.com




FARM-TO-PLANE F&B director Antony McNeil uses fresh ingredients to achieve maximum flavor at Singapore Airlines. BY KIMBERLY KROL



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WHICH FOOD IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? AND, ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE SPECTRUM, WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT OR FOOD YOU HATE TO USE? A simple vanilla milkshake, which takes me back to family holidays in New Zealand, when I was young. I loved the simple pleasure of walking down the road to the corner store with a handful of coins from my grandfather to ask the storekeeper, with a cheeky grin, if I could get an extra scoop of ice cream and a few extra shots of vanilla syrup to bump up the flavor. I’ll never forget watching the milkshake cup being filled and then the whir of the Hamilton Beach milkshake blender. It’s hard to beat a vanilla shake! I tend to shy away from adding matcha or green tea powder to desserts, pastries or beverages, as I find it’s often excessively applied. I much prefer the Japanese tea experience — it’s a more authentic way to enjoy the green tea tradition. WHAT DISHES WOULD YOU SERVE AT A PRIVATE DINNER PARTY? I have a couple of go-to dishes, often at the request of my guests. Coconut-braised beef short rib is a take on a Southern Thai dish, rich and luscious from the coconut cream, sweet and salty, slightly spicy, cooked 24 hours in a slow cooker. Paris mashed potatoes are the perfect accompaniment. With rich ingredients of potatoes, cream and butter, it is absolute decadence. A classic Caesar salad with a whole egg; roasted garlic; anchovy dressing; crisp Romaine; wafer-thin, maplesmoked, sugar-cured bacon, roasted until crisp; and Parmesan crostini with olive oil and herbs. Then, to finish, apple tarte tartin and homemade vanilla ice cream.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEAL YOU EVER PREPARED ON YOUR OWN? It was a pan-grilled, toasted ham and cheese sandwich, buttered on the outside to give it a golden finish, with shaved ham off the bone and sharp, aged Cheddar melting through the ham. Tasty! IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE IN ONE DISH, WHICH DISH WOULD IT BE AND WHY? I would say dry-aged ribeye on the bone, slow-roasted over charcoal, accompanied by a crisp garden salad using the super-fresh AeroFarms salad greens we serve in flight. Also, I’d add oven-roasted fingerling potatoes and a classic Bearnaise sauce. In my years designing menus for SIA, I’m convinced the simple things are the best: uncomplicated, well-seasoned, cooked with love and a reflection of my culinary journey from humble beginnings to high-end dining to the world’s best airline. It’s a return to the classics. We work to bring this to in-flight menus: simple, quality ingredients; maximum flavor; expert preparation; beautiful presentation. WHICH CULINARY TREND WOULD YOU LIKE TO DISAPPEAR? The use of truffle oil. I would have also included kale; however, after discovering AeroFarms’ baby kale leaves, I’ve become such a convert that we use them in our in-flight meals — soft, sweet, crunchy, easy to eat, tasty! SINGAPORE AIRLINES singaporeair.com


IN A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PARTNERSHIP, Singapore Airlines and AeroFarms, the leader in indoor vertical farming, launched a Farm-toPlane initiative to bring the world’s freshest inflight produce to Singapore flights from Newark International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. Using produce grown within a five-mile radius of EWR and picked frequently yearround, Antony McNeil, director of food and beverage, Singapore Airlines, incorporated the greens into three dishes: The Garden Green featuring asparagus, broccolini, avocado, hot smoked salmon and AeroFarms’ mixed salad greens with lemon vinaigrette; Heirloom Tomato Ceviche with cured ham, palm hearts, AeroFarms’ arugula and spiced tomato dressing; and the Soy Poached Chicken including pickled ginger vinaigrette, AeroFarms’ baby bok choi, zucchini ribbons and sweet potatoes. In his role, McNeil oversees food and beverage; innovation; design development; and customer experience to ensure culinary excellence in flight and in lounge operations worldwide.


GREEN IS THE NEW OCEAN BLUE Cruise lines clean up their environmental act. BY J.D. BROWN AND MARGARET BACKENHEIMER


Crystal Cruises will replace plastic straws and stirrers with bamboo and metal versions. PHOTOS: Š CRYSTAL CRUISES, Š SABELSKAYA DREAMSTIME.COM


WITH HYBRID AND ELECTRIC CARS sparking a revolution in land-based vehicles, cruise lines worldwide are riding a green wave as well. Everything from diesel fuel to plastic drinking straws is walking the plank in the name of improving the environment and combating climate change. As cruise ships clean up their act, passengers become more directly involved. Most major lines now have environmental officers to oversee that greener measures take hold from stem to stern. One prime target: the plastic straw as well as the plastic drink container itself. These staples of a happy holiday cruise are on their way out. Crystal Cruises, for example, will replace plastic straws and stirrers with bamboo and metal versions, while Holland America Line and Carnival Cruises hand out plastic straws only upon request. Going a step further, Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises pledged to eliminate all unreusable plastic water bottles. And Disney Cruise Line aims to reduce plastics in its staterooms by 80 percent by relying on refillable in-room amenities instead. While cruise lines join the crusade to eliminate single-use plastics, they also look to curb climate-changing emissions. One notable green technology routinely incorporated into new ships and retrofits is shore-power hookups


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that enable ships in select ports to shut down their engines and plug into less-polluting power sources on land. In addition, many new ships contain exhaust gas cleaning systems which “scrub out” sulfur compounds and particulates produced by engines. Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Celebrity Cruises managed to reduce emissions by 20 percent in this way on their newest ships. In the search for cleaner fuels, the cruise industry is investing some $8 billion in alternative propellants. The most popular alternative is liquefied natural gas, the world’s cleanest fossil fuel. Germanbased AIDA Cruises recently introduced the world’s first passenger ship powered exclusively by low-emission LNG, the AIDAnova. Many other lines are using or developing LNG-powered ships to reduce greenhouse gases. Another route seeks to offset CO2 emissions. Starting in 2020, MSC Cruises, a fleet of 17 ships, will become the world’s first large cruise line to go carbon neutral. MSC plans to purchase carbon offsets to capture emissions equal to the greenhouse gases it produces. These offsets involve investments in treeplanting operations, wetlands and kelp and algae farms that absorb carbon dioxide. The future of cruise ship power may well lie in reducing the use of fossil fuels by switching to hybrid propulsion systems that employ electric batteries. Ponant will launch Le Commandant Charcot in 2021, described as “the world’s first luxury polar vessel powered by LNG and electric battery.” Underscoring the expansion of battery power in the cruise ship industry, Paul Gauguin Cruises (recently acquired by Ponant) will add two new 230-passenger ships to its French Polynesia fleet that

ces repla s ast. p i h the p f ise s o u r s c ener ragon f gre sea d o g e n v i h wa -belc A new moke s e h t WHO’S THE


feature “the most extensive battery package application in the market, allowing smokeless operation at anchor, in ports and in environmentally sensitive areas.” And next year AIDA Cruises will be the first to test an even greener technology, fuel cells, for use on passenger ships. For the pollutant-prone passenger ships of the past, the handwriting is on the hull. And for Holland America Line, which prints all its onboard materials using soybased ink, even that handwriting has a greener tint. Cruise lines are on course to deep-sixing single-use plastics and curbing carbon emissions. A generation of super-green, all-electric cruise ships no longer seems beyond the farthest port.

With fierce competition among the major cruise lines to produce the most environmentally advanced fleet, determining the greenest of the green is perhaps impossible, but Hurtigruten, an expedition line busily expanding its operations to the North American market, makes a strong case. Hurtigruten’s CEO Daniel Skjeldam proclaims the company’s goal is to be “the greenest cruise line in the world.” Indeed, Hurtigruten was the first cruise line to ban singleuse plastics, including drinking straws, cups, bags, cutlery and butter packages. But its biggest shift to green came this past summer in Alaska where its first hybrid electric-powered ship, the 530-passenger MS Roald Amundsen, began operations. The first hybrid passenger liner at sea, this ship sails silently for nearly an hour at a time at full cruising speed and several hours at slow speed on battery power alone while reducing harmful emissions by up to 20 percent. Hurtigruten’s second hybrid, MS Fridtjof Nansen, debuts this year with sailings in the Antarctic region, and a third hybrid, larger than the first two, sets out next year. Currently Hurtigruten is retrofitting its older expedition ships as well, replacing diesel fuel with a combination of large batteries, liquid natural gas and biogas, a fossilfree renewable fuel consisting of organic wastes including a truly maritime ingredient: dead fish. MAKING WAVES:

MSC Magnifica (top), and AIDAnova (bottom) PHOTOS: © MSC CRUISES, © AIDA CRUISES

APRIL 2020




Sun Moon Lake Cycling Path

Stunning Sun Moon Lake Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake is best explored by bicycle. SITUATED IN THE HEART OF TAIWAN, the calm, mirror-like, turquoise water of Sun Moon Lake beckons travelers to visit and experience the stunning landscape and local ecology. And it’s even better on two wheels as the area’s bicycle paths were named to CNN Travel’s list of “Cycling Routes That’ll Take Your Breath Away.” Visitors will be as inspired as the ancient Chinese poets and painters were by this breathtaking region. The terrain rises and falls along the route, which takes approximately three to 3.5 hours to cycle in its entirety. With a bit of a challenge along the way, it’s best suitable for those who like to bike and do so with some regularity. Shorter paths along the Sun Moon Lake Bikeway, including Xiangshan, Yuetan, Ita Thoa, Songbolun and Shuishe, offer shorter rides. Bike rentals are available from three stations in the area: Giant Bicycles Sun Moon Lake Station, Suong-Meeng

Wenwu Temple

Bikeshop and Sun Moon Lake Merida Bicycle Rental. With the gorgeous views of nature, mountains and the lake as a backdrop, cyclists around Sun Moon Lake enjoy so much more than jaw-dropping vistas: They experience Thao aboriginal culture and cuisine, local ecology in Nantou, temples and other must-see attractions. The Thao people have lived near the lake since the mid 17 century. Dive into the culture as you explore the lake’s surroundings, which also includes four main temples —Longfeng, Wenwu, Xuanzang and Xuanguang. Rather than two wheels, visitors to the region also enjoy ample hiking opportunities, with Songbolun, Dajhuhu, Shuiwatou, Tutingzai and Mt. Qinglong hiking trails nearby. Whether timed to see the cherry blossoms in February and March or the orange red bald cypress in

Maolanshan Trail

autumn and winter, there’s never a bad time to take in the hazy early mornings and beautiful sunsets of Sun Moon Lake. Experience the beauty year-round, or time a visit to coincide with unique events in the area. Fall boasts the Sun Moon Lake Cycling, Music & Fireworks festival, while winter’s Lake Bike Ride and Prayer event is an opportunity to pray for a healthy and peaceful new year on Dec. 31, cycling the lake and visiting the various institutions of different faiths along the way. With a vision to preserve nature and all of the country’s natural beauty, as well as a commitment to green tours, slow travel and sustainability, Taiwan dubbed 2020 the year of Taiwan mountain tourism and 2021 as the year of Taiwan cycling tours. There’s never been a better time to envelop yourself with fresh air of Taiwan. Learn more at eng.taiwan.net.tw.

The Lalu

Two Wheels, How far can two wheels take me? How many valleys passed, how many miles traveled, How many friendly smiles met...how many memories made? From coastline to tree line...surf to snow...wetlands to highlands... So much inspiring beauty and challenging terrain. I found it all ... cycling in Taiwan

PARTNER TOUR OPERATORS Supera Tours www.superatours.com STA Travel US www.statravel.com SITA World Tours www.sitatours.com Mango Tours www.mangotours.com Majestic Vacations www.majestic-vacations.com Hana Tour USA www.hanatour.us Goway Travel www.goway.com Avanti Destinations www.avantidestinations.com Asia Getaway www.asiagetaway.com Asia Answers www.asiaanswers.com

Stunning Beauty at Every Turn


Preserving the Planet

Continue to explore the Earth and protect it, too. BY SUSAN B. BARNES WALK IN THE WOODS:

Kumano Kodo Sacred Japanese Trail PHOTO: © SEAN PAVONE DREAMSTIME.COM


HIKING ALONG A PATH THROUGH THE FOREST, the only sounds I heard were the wind rustling through the leaves, the flow of a distant waterfall and, from time to time, the soft sounds of chatter from the others in my group. Missing were the sounds of traffic rushing by, car horns and the din of the everyday world in which most of us live. On this part of the Japan Hiking – Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo trip with REI Adventures, just the eight of us were on the trail, not another human in sight. An eco-adventure at its best, and it was glorious. Earlier this year, Impact Travel Alliance, the world’s largest community for impactfocused travelers, released its trends shaping sustainable travel in 2020, among them


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regenerative travel, conscious consumerism, offseason tourism and slow tourism. ITA aims to educate travelers on how to spend their money mindfully so their experiences empower locals and protect the environment. Since its inception, REI Adventures has been committed to sustainable travel, designing its trips around human-powered activity. The co-op runs its business by following thoughtful practices, including committing to working with local operators in the destinations to which REI travels worldwide and assessing and auditing its operators and trip operations to minimize environmental impact and maximize the benefits to local communities. “It is the responsibility of all travel providers,

regardless of size, to have an active role in sustainable travel and lend their voice to care for the global treasures where our guests visit and recreate,” said Jeff Stivers, supervisor program management, REI Adventures. “For REI, we purposely design our trips first around human-powered activity in an off-thebeaten-path model. We focus on local guides and establishments that align with our principles and are mindful of our impact on natural places.” When it launched in 2007, Aqua Expeditions, a boutique

luxury river and yacht cruise line, made a commitment to focus on sustainability and conservation within the ecologically and culturally significant destinations in which its boats sail — the Peruvian Amazon, the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam, and the seas of East Indonesia. Aqua Expeditions’ eco-friendly operational procedures include fuel efficiency; low-emission launch boats; and nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning products on board all its vessels. The company also supports wildlife preservation and con-

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ECO-EXPLORATION: Aqua Expeditions’ Mekong River tour biking excursion (top), Peruvian Amazon walking tour (bottom left), and Amazon skiff side trip (bottom right) PHOTOS: © AQUA EXPEDITIONS



PEDAL POWER: Aqua Expeditions’ Amazon biking tour PHOTO: © AQUA EXPEDITIONS


servation projects, like working with local Amazon River communities to rehabilitate the population of native paiche fish through improving fish farming techniques. The population of paiche fish increased from 489 in 2010 to more than 9,000 in 2018. Leading the industry with the world’s first Zero Waste Adventure in Yellowstone in July 2019 and its decision to offset emissions from guests’ international flights beginning in 2019, Natural Habitat Adventures announced it will offset a year’s worth of carbon output for anyone who joins one of the company’s 2020 trips from its new 35th-anniversary series, Climate Change & the Wild World. “Ever since we became completely carbon-neutral in 2007, we’ve been ramping up our commitment to conservation every year, and this year is no exception,” said Ben Bressler, founder and president, Natural Habitat Adventures. “Travel needs to become more sustainable, and we feel it’s our responsibility to keep raising the bar on what that looks like — and we challenge other travel companies to do the same.” To offset its guests’ carbon emissions, Natural Habitat Adventures invests in carbon credits to fund three community and


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conservation projects: the construction of wind farms in India, distributing fuel-efficient and electricity-generating cookstoves in Rwanda and developing a rainforest biodiversity corridor in Zimbabwe. “The tourism industry has a unique role to play in promoting conservation in that we have the opportunity to help people understand — through the power of experiences — why we must preserve this one planet we call home,” said Court Whelan, director of sustainability and conservation travel, Natural Habitat. “When we act as leaders and by example, we set a precedent for not just the travel industry but for all those who travel, showing how we can do that.” Offsetting carbon emissions has taken hold with airlines, too. Earlier this year, JetBlue announced it will go carbon-neutral on all domestic flights beginning in July 2020; it is the first major U.S. airline to take this pledge. The airline also announced it will begin flying with sustainable aviation fuel in mid-2020 out of San Francisco International, partnering with Neste, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and a pioneer in renewable jet fuel. Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel is produced 100 percent from

waste and residue raw materials, and over its lifecycle it has up to an 80 percent smaller carbon footprint compared to fossil jet fuel. “Air travel connects people and cultures and supports a global economy, yet we must act to limit this critical industry’s contributions to climate change,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue. “We reduce where we can and offset where we can’t. By offsetting all of our domestic flying, we’re preparing our business for the lowercarbon economy that aviation — and all sectors — must plan for.” “It’s heartening to see so many sustainability and conservation ideas at the forefront of discussions,” said Kelley Louise, founder and executive director, Impact Travel Alliance. This year, REI introduces two new human-powered adventures to its portfolio. The seven-day Norway Fjords Cycling trip rides past majestic fjords, cascading waterfalls, serene lakes, soaring mountains and Viking-era villages for an unforgettable cycling adventure. En route, cyclists hop aboard ferries with their bikes to continue on to even more of the country’s best routes. REI Adventures also debuts the Japan – Shimanami, Shikoku and Kyoto Cycling trip this year. Bicyclists will spend 11 days traversing the country’s network of islands and mountains, including Shikoku, known for its 88-temple Buddhist pilgrimage route. Go deep into the Amazon on Aqua Expeditions’ seven-night Amazon Expedition Cruise. While enjoying the luxury of a suite on board, passengers will discover the best of Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, including its jungle trails and hidden lakes and lagoons. Spot the Amazon’s famous pink river dolphins, visit a local village and fish for piranha. The Amazon Rainforest features in Natural Habitat Adventures’ Climate Change & the Wild World series, as do Greenland’s Arctic, wildlife conservation in Southern Africa and polar bears in Churchill. Natural Habitat Adventures partnered with the World Wildlife Fund for each of these outings; experts will educate guests about how the organization protects wildlife, habitats and humanity from the worst effects of climate change.

Regarding wildlife eco-travel, one of Impact Travel Alliance’s top wildlife trips explores Chumbe Island Coral Park, the first protected marine area in the world, off the coast of Zanzibar. Earth Changers leads the expedition, and the island’s conservation, research, education center and eco-lodge are fully funded by travelers. Finally, consider a 4×4 tour of the Alladale Wilderness Reserve from Alladale Lodge in Scotland. The lodge works to restore the Highland ecosystem by participating in the reintroduction of original plant and wildlife species to help in the recovery of the threatened Scottish wildcat.

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Natural Habitat Adventures’ Zero Waste Adventure PHOTOS: © NATURAL HABITAT ADVENTURES, © ALI WUNDERMAN



feature: hotel update

Staying Green Sustainability and eco-mmodations flourish within today’s hospitality industry. BY DEBRA BOKUR IN THE BACKGROUND, the dusky blue-black ice of the Svartisen Glacier glimmers in a thick wedge of still-frozen slopes above the Arctic Circle. Below, vertical shapes springing from a Norwegian forest provide a living, evergreen contrast to the deep waters stroking the shores of the Holandsfjorden fjord. Rising from the depths, its feet thrust securely into the fjord’s bed, are the wooden legs and underpinnings of Svart. This epic structure, circular and serene in design, is the world’s first Powerhouse hotel constructed in a northern climate, set to open in 2021. The Norwegian Powerhouse designation applies to what it



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calls “future-proof buildings,” defined as energy-positive buildings that generate more energy throughout their lifespan than they consume. Throughout Norway, structures meeting certification standards for the country’s various green labeling programs include numerous hotels — among them the newly opened, 18-story, mixed-use Mjøstårnet rising above Lake Mjøsa in Brumunddal, north of Oslo. Defined as the world’s tallest timber building (and treated to be fireproof), Mjøstårnet features 72 guestrooms, a restaurant, public baths and meeting spaces. There’s a brilliant emerald ripple advancing across the globe, and the hospitality industry is moving with it. The concept of a luxury experience also being sustainable and planet-friendly proves both sexy and seductive, and this momentum has data to support it: By 2016 more than 2,070 hotels worldwide were taking part in the U.S. Green Building Council’s esteemed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building certification program, with those numbers steadily

HIGH STANDARDS: Mjøstårnet exterior (left) and interior PHOTOS: © MJØSTÅRNET

m’s g.co nn i k i Boo l susta a u n el an trav als e l b v a e e rt r o p e t of r rcen e p 73 ld’s wor plan e h t s eler en trav ose gre o g h to c g durin n i g lod 0. 202

increasing. “LEED is the roadmap for designing spaces that are better for people and the planet, and certification is a signal that a property meets the highest sustainability standards,” explained Rhiannon Jacobsen, vice president of strategic relationships, USGBC. “Those standards not only include energy, water and waste but also what we call human experience. People are ultimately at the heart of green building, and we hope more brands and properties will pursue certification as a way to demonstrate their commitment to being more sustainable, [while] also creating an experience that guests know prioritizes their personal well-being.” Travelers still harboring doubts about all that green talk should rest assured the eco-friendly operating practices touted by luxury hotel properties are unlikely to translate to mattresses stuffed with organic, sustainably harvested granola ingredients. On the U. S. East Coast, guests at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge can savor views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan’s iconic skyline while also relishing sustainability features such as the eco-conscious Keetsa mattress and luxurious, 100 percent organic cotton bedding in each guestroom, along with a water reclamation system that collects rainwater to provide irrigation in the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park. “With today’s focus on well-being and sustainability, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge’s nature-driven design and ethics create a unique hotel experience,” said Hannah Bronfman, director of sustainability and impact, SH Hotels & Resorts. “Here, visitors can enjoy a tranquil atmosphere while being encouraged to connect with nature. We’re seeing that more people want to travel the world but at the same time leave less of an impact while doing so. Guests are interested in the 1 Hotels’ goal of educating on the possibilities of sustainable practices through purposeful, mindful design and activism.” To that end, each 1 Hotel property holds LEED certification and features stateof-the-art, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and low-energy lightbulbs throughout. Bronfman said properties monitor water and energy use in real time to reduce waste while also assessing recycling and compost rates monthly with targeted reduction goals. Filtered water flows from all taps, sinks and showers; and guestrooms have five-minute shower timers to gently encourage mindful water use. Housekeeping staff clean rooms and linens with green cleaning solvents, and chefs and beverage directors focus on decreasing food waste with the aim of reducing overall carbon/ climate impact. A key point for eco-travelers to consider is how a hotel’s location will determine what features and operating practices can be configured to minimize its overall footprint. In an arid environment, that likely includes water conservation and filtration systems, while a frigid latitude might focus on the distance food travels to reach the

MINDFUL DESIGN: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge Skyline King guestroom (above) and in-room filtered water (left) PHOTOS: © 1 HOTEL BROOKLYN BRIDGE

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LOTTE HOTEL ADVERTORIAL/GT ON THE GO APRIL 2020/MARCH 2020 materials, utilizes LED lighting systems, supports social projects GT ON THE GO: in local communities and actively works with the Chilean Tourist SUBJECT LINE FOR EMAIL: Lotte Hotels & Resorts Sets Its Board and Forestry Association in the implementation of a massive Sights on Seattleprogram. with Lotte Hotel Seattle, Coming June reforestation 2020 Margarita Lackington, sustainability manager, Tierra Hotels, explained the Tierra Hotels brand ADVERTORIAL: commitment to ecological stewardship includes operating in harmony with the environment, with a full understanding that decisions BANNER: Special Advertising Section made on a daily basis determine the long-term viability of the property itself. “That sense of responsibility permeates everything we do, leading [to] actions that aim to protect the environment, wildlife and communities,” offered Lackington. “Tierra Patagonia is located in a very remote and unique region, with landscapes that have stayed practically untouched for centuries. It is our duty to combine the desires of our guests, who come to experience the beauty of this destination, with our commitment to maintaining its purity and natural balance.” Off the coast of Zanzibar on Chumbe Island, the Chumbe Island Coral Park protects a coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve. Goals at this eco-lodge include zero environmental impact. Hotel operations include a rainwater catchment system, solar water heating and photovoltaic energy supplied to each of the property’s seven bungalows. In Vienna, Boutiquehotel Stadthalle achieved complete energy neutrality, producing as much energy as it consumes in its reclaimed building via features including groundwater heat pumps and photovoltaic technology. Guests are provided with bicycles for use during their stay, and the hotel’s lavender-covered roof meadow houses colonies of bees. Harvested roof honey can be enjoyed in the dining room’s apricot jam with lavender or in lavender crème brûlée. Botanic architecture, organic sheep’s wool and surfaces of slate and Swiss pine are only a few of the sustainable initiatives integrated into Arosea Life Balance Hotel in Stelvio-Stilfser Joch National Park in Italy’s South Tyrol region. At Siwa Oasis Adrère Amellal in Egypt, earth buildings resembling sand castles and constructed of a blend of dried rock salt, clay and straw contain 40 electricity-free guestrooms built by hand and illuminated by beeswax candles. Beyond the hotel’s windows lies an oasis of freshwater springs once revered as the location of the Oracle of Amon. “The most important point is that sustainability is a journey, not a destination,” emphasized the USGBC’s Jacobsen. “It requires continuous improvement and a commitment to measuring and tracking performance. Standards evolve and improve as we get better and learn more, and our buildings must be able to do the same.” Ultimately, whether travelers are headed to Norway, Brooklyn, Patagonia or another destination, the number of desirable sustainable lodging choices that embrace comfort, service and planet-friendly practices continues to expand. And that’s good news for the growing number of eco-oriented travelers who prefer to gaze out at the world around them through green-tinted specs.


IN HARMONY WITH NATURE: Tierra Patagonia exterior (top) and the view from the pool PHOTOS: © TIERRA PATAGONIA



kitchens or the inclusion of geothermal and sustainable heating systems. Travelers can take into account details such as the building itself: Was it a new build or a reclaimed or repurposed structure? To what extent does the existence of the hotel negatively impact the local flora and fauna? Deep in the remote landscape of Patagonia near Torres del Paine National Park, the Tierra Patagonia takes its geographic location seriously, and the property’s conservation efforts are rooted in its architecture. Part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Tierra Patagonia transitioned from single-use plastics to durable, reusable

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Setting Its Sights on Seattle Lotte Hotels & Resorts set to open Lotte Hotel Seattle in June 2020. THE EMERALD CITY WILL SOON SHINE a bit brighter when Lotte Hotel Seattle opens in June 2020. The new luxury property will the 31st Lotte Hotel worldwide, and only the second in the United States. Located in the F5 Tower in downtown Seattle, the 44-story hotel will offer 189 guestrooms, with 31 suites, on floors one to 16. World-renowned French designer Philippe Starck leads the interior design. THE SEATTLE LOCATION FOLLOWS Lotte New York Palace, the brand’s first foray in the U.S. market. The notable hotel was taken over by Lotte Hotels & Resorts in 2015 and has since earned rave reviews and attracted leaders from around the world. The worldwide hotel chain will now bring luxury, stellar service and superior accommodations to both coasts of the United States. FOUNDED IN 1973, Lotte Hotels & Resorts’ brand portfolio includes SIGNIEL, the premium landmark hotel brand; L7, a lifestyle hotel; Lotte City Hotel, optimized for business travelers; and Lotte Resort, attracting family travelers. There’s a brand for every type of traveler, all boasting the best of Korean hospitality, which means putting guests first and creating iconic luxury hotels.

NEVER LOSING SIGHT OF ITS DEEP South Korean roots, the brand has made successful forays into international markets, starting with Lotte Hotel Moscow in 2010. Now, the global hotel brand features 30 resorts and hotels in major cities in seven countries, also including Vietnam and Myanmar. THERE’S ALSO THE ACCOLADES, which continue to be bestowed upon Lotte Hotels & Resorts’ various brands. Lotte Hotel Moscow was named Best Hotel in Europe and Best Hotel Restaurant in Europe at the Villegiature Awards in 2014, while SIGNIEL Seoul won the Grand Prix for Best Hotel in Asia at the Villegiature Awards in 2018. The first 6-star hotel from the SIGNIEL brand, SIGNIEL Seoul ushered in a new hospitality standard in South Korea, helping it earn the Best New Luxury Hotel in Asia award in Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey awards. The excellence of the Lotte Hotel brand has clearly been demonstrated around the globe AND NOW SEATTLE IS DESTINED to receive a taste of that sparkle. Travelers to the city will delight at the chance to experience iconic Korean hospitality in Washington state. THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT FOR Lotte Hotels & Resorts. Learn more at lottehotel.com.

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destination one | SINGAPORE

Leading the Way Singapore balances priorities as it forges a sustainable future. BY RICHARD NEWTON

FOR ALL ITS COSMOPOLITAN TRAPPINGS, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved greenery amid the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819. His outpost became the city we see today. Can nature truly survive in one of the most densely populated countries on Earth? It must. Singapore’s health and well-being depend on it. The country has acknowledged that truth for decades



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and has made efforts to preserve habitats. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, on the island’s northern coast, is one of the most important of these natural remnants. Protecting an area of 320 acres, it offers a vital stopover for migratory birds and a home for otters, snakes and even saltwater crocodiles. The largest remaining patch of jungle lies in the center of the island, enfolding the city’s main reservoirs and for decades the location of Singapore Zoo and its Night Safari, now part of an ambitious project to create a unified natural attraction, Mandai Park. In 2019 a forested wildlife bridge

SANCTUARY: Mangrove Arboretum shelter at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve PHOTO: © SOON WEE MENG - DREAMSTIME.COM


All U.S. citizens require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the last day of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of less than 90 days. Regular visitors (more than three past visits within a year) can apply for the Singapore-United States Trusted Traveler Program to accelerate clearance through immigration.

CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL: Crocodile at Singapore Zoo (top), and owl at Singapore Night Safari (bottom) PHOTOS: © VLADISLAV JIROUSEK - DREAMSTIME .COM, © SAM D\’CRUZ - DREAMSTIME.COM

LODGING RAFFLES HOTEL The epitome of colonial style since 1887, Singapore’s most famous hotel reopened in 2019 after a two-year renovation. The upgrade retains the unique Raffles ambience. 1 Beach Road $$$$

was constructed to connect patches of rainforest previously separated by a highway. Other elements of the Mandai project will include a new bird park, a rainforest park and aerial walkways. After completion in 2023, this new eco-tourism hub is expected to attract 10 million visitors each year. Occupying an island half the size of greater Los Angeles, Singapore has always known environmental issues can’t be sidelined, they must be faced. Sustainability remains at the fore of every planning decision, resulting in a city ranked as the most sustainable in Asia and the fourthmost sustainable in the world. Last year Singapore introduced a carbon tax with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. All companies that produce more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases now pay a tax of $5 per ton, with the revenue invested in green projects. Initially the tax will raise electricity prices for all Singaporeans, though improved energy usage will offset the rise. One seemingly unavoidable consequence of inhabiting a small island is Singapore must import more than 90 percent of its food. The carbon footprint of importing produce from neighboring Malaysia and beyond is significant. But in typical Singapore style, innovative solutions will tackle that issue.

SIX SENSES DUXTON In this sympathetic conversion, renowned designer Anouska Hempel transformed a row of old trading houses into a stylish, carbonneutral hotel. 83 Duxton Road $$$$ THE WAREHOUSE HOTEL A 19th-century riverside spice warehouse (godown in local parlance) reinvented as a chic, 37-room hotel offers an inspired blend of industrial heritage and modern Singaporean design. 320 Havelock Road $$$$

Urban farming is one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors. Some of these farms utilize slivers of land or even rooftops, while others employ high-tech methods to grow produce indoors on an industrial scale. Sustenir Agriculture, one of the pioneers of this new industry, grows kale and strawberries in a climate-controlled, multifloor building. Back in the 19th century, Sir Stamford Raffles identified Singapore as perfectly situated to be a major international trading hub, and so it has proved. But how to be a linchpin of international transport routes and also be sustainable? That’s a challenge Singapore currently addresses. On the southwestern corner of the island, work is un-

ore ingap ’ S h ug ty Altho ‘Lion Ci s mean e city’s is h l t and al symbo wild i o offic head, n here. ’s n d a lio ver live e y lions certainl s r Tige ving gi did, ame to n their al beer. c o the l APRIL 2020




The supertrees at Gardens by the Bay (top), and Singapore Skyways’ parcel delivery by drone (bottom) PHOTOS: © KLANARONG CHITMUNG - DREAMSTIME.COM, © AIRBUS



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derway on the $20 billion Tuas Mega Port, opening in phases between 2021 and 2040. Fully automated, the port will be as energy-efficient as possible. According to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the ultimate aim is nothing less than to “rethink the future of shipping.” Singapore proves one of the few places that fulfill the science fiction vision of the 21st century many of us had in childhood. The 160-foot manmade supertrees in the downtown Gardens by the Bay are indicative of that. At night especially, spectacularly illuminated with colorful, solar-powered, LED lights, the trees immerse visitors in an otherworldly scene straight out of Star Trek. Some of the country’s other innovations, though more prosaic, are equally cutting-edge. With living space at a premium, Singapore recently unveiled an Underground Master Plan. Initially it will develop a new network of common services tunnels, efficiently channeling water and waste as well as power and communication cables beneath the streets. In the longer term, the city will relocate more of the road and rail infrastructure underground, using natural caverns as storage facilities and even as reservoirs. Meanwhile, services utilize the air above the city. Singapore Skyways, a project owned by Airbus, already employs automated drones as a parcel delivery system. The drones currently shuttle items between shore and some of the many ships anchored off Singapore. Ultimately they’ll be used for deliveries in and around the city and even as passenger taxis. The future starts in Singapore.


Singapore Botanic Gardens PHOTO: © LEI XU - DREAMSTIME.COM

DINING 328 KATONG LAKSA You’ll find many places in Singapore where you can try laksa, a spicy noodle soup, but this no-frills eatery is widely regarded as the best. 51 E. Coast Road $$ FOLKLORE This modest but popular restaurant tells the story of Singapore’s multiethnic heritage through food. The menu offers a mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European influences.

CHECKING IN WITH RUSSELL BOYMAN Commercial director, Omnicom Media Group

How long have you been in Singapore, and what brought you here? I moved here 2.5 years ago from Shanghai, having been offered a regional position here by a rival American-owned marketing services company.   What opportunities does Singapore offer American investors? Aside from the well-documented benefits — low taxation, entrepreneurial culture, great infrastructure, multiple sectors, advanced digital ecosystems — it offers American investors the perfect opportunity to do business in English (or close to it!), secure in the knowledge the government is stable and corruption-minimal. There is also a massive geographical benefit from having the best hub airport in the world at Changi, allowing easy access to the rest of Asia.   What significant cultural differences should American business visitors be aware of? Singapore is good at adapting to the needs of its customers and being all things to all people. Americans will not find huge differences. Essentially, however, the Singapore business acumen largely derives from its Chinese population, so it is a nation of deal makers who will sacrifice their work/ life balance to get the right deal; they are experienced at commerce and trade, perhaps more so than many foreigners coming here. Tipping is frowned upon, and courtesy in

business is important. Foreigners have to embrace a world view from the first and forget what they think they know from their home market. In Singapore, even more so than in the rest of Asia, the mobile device is the most important tool for both business and personal success; be prepared to be amazed at how much you will depend on a local cell phone and its universal high-speed digital connectivity to survive in Singapore. What are the key future developments to look out for? Singapore continues to welcome foreign investment and foreign businesspeople, especially as the banking sector retrenched in the last 10 years. However, increasingly I feel it looks toward Asia more than its former partners in the West — especially given its nervousness over China’s Belt and Road Initiative which may erode Singapore’s power in the region. American businesses should always remember Singapore may look like the West, but in many ways [it] behaves increasingly like the rest of Asia and focuses on China and India rather than the United States or Europe.   Which local attractions do you recommend? Singaporeans live to eat and shop, and so working here is a challenge to the waistline and the wallet, for sure. It would be hard to spend even a weekend here and not take in Marina Bay or the wonderful Gardens by the Bay complex, or the impressive new Jewel at Changi. However, Singapore still harbors a lot of green space, so my preference would be the Botanic Gardens or the nature reserve at Kranji Marshes for up-close and personal local wildlife encounters.

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Destination Hotel, 700 Beach Road $$$ ZÉN A special-occasion restaurant overseen by Björn Frantzén, Sweden’s first 3-Michelin-starred chef, serves spectacular food … but at a price: about $350 per person for the set menu. 41 Bukit Pasoh Road $$$$


International flights arrive at Singapore Changi Airport, located approximately 11 miles northeast of downtown. Mass Rapid Transit, the city’s highly efficient metro system, offers the least expensive transport to the city. Purchase single- or multi-ride tickets at the station. Taxi fares to downtown range $20–30.




Millions of people have been to Singapore without having been to Singapore. How is that possible? The answer lies at Changi Airport, 12 miles east of downtown. Day and night, airliners arrive and depart from an airport consistently voted the best in the world. Singapore Changi Airport exists as a destination in its own right. In 2019 the airport unveiled Jewel, a $1.3 billion “Lifestyle Hub” featuring an indoor rainforest, a seven-story circular waterfall descending from a funnel in the glass roof, a glass-floored walkway, mazes and a children’s playground. Transit passengers (after passing through security) mingle with day-tripping Singaporeans for whom the site has become a popular recreation spot. Airports are not renowned for environmental credentials, but Singapore Changi employs numerous initiatives to help mitigate its impact. The design uses natural light productively to reduce electricity consumption, many outdoor surfaces incorporate recycled concrete, and the facility converts its food waste into water. As air transport becomes increasingly controversial, Singapore likely will lead the way in looking for



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solutions. In downtown Singapore, a lack of space long presented one of the most pressing problems. In 1992 the completion of an ambitious land reclamation scheme gave the city a new 890-acre district, Marina Bay. One of the first developments there, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, with three towers bridged by outdoor observation decks, already touts its status as one of the 21st century’s iconic buildings. Close by, the 18 supertrees in the Gardens by the Bay contribute another fixture of Singapore’s futuristic skyline. In December 2019 an observatory opened in the largest of the supertrees, providing visitors with stunning views from 165 feet up. For all its modernity, Singapore hasn’t forgotten its origins. The Colonial District, centered on the Padang, a grassy sports field, still preserves a number of redroofed, white-columned buildings from the British colonial period. Nearby, beside the Singapore River with the skyscrapers of the Central Business District for a backdrop, stands the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the man who arrived on this mosquito-infested tropical island and imagined a city.

GREEN GATEWAY: Jewel at Singapore Changi Airport PHOTO: © TAMPATRA1 - DREAMSTIME.COM


Time zone: GMT +8 Phone code: 65 Currency: Singapore dollar Key Industries: Banking, financial services, biotechnology, petrochemicals, construction, tourism


English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin. English is the main language of education, administration and business.

stateside | SAN FRANCISCO

Green Riches San Francisco builds a smarter, more sustainable city. BY RINA NEHDAR

PEDAL POWER: Cyclist in front of the Golden Gate Bridge



SAN FRANCISCO NEVER FORGOT its big break came when a lumber miller found gold in the banks of the American River near Sutter’s Mill. Its natural harbor provided access to prospectors and traders to find riches there. Today San Francisco makes every effort to thank the Earth for its natural blessings by striving to become the most environmentally friendly city in the world. The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network gave San Francisco this top honor in its 2019 Leadership Report. Other organizations also recognized the city’s accomplishments. Boxed into 47 square miles, surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco is a walking town. Visitors can stay in a hotel close to where they expect to spend most of their time. Those drawn to Pier 39 would do well to lodge at Hotel Zephyr, just a block from Fisherman’s Wharf. Hotel Zephyr worked hard to take care of its little piece of the planet by saving 398 trees during the four years of its operation. It’s


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also prevented and/or saved 9,648 pounds of air pollution; 114,252 gallons of water; 50.25 cubic yards of landfill; 6,246 gallons of gasoline; and 66,994 kilowatt-hours of energy. The décor around the hotel looks like a group of modern art students raided a recycling bin and unleashed their imagination with funky but utilitarian creations. Guests lounge around a firepit constructed from a tower of metal crates, play at a full-sized Ping Pong table set inside a concrete pipe, or lean against an actual shipping container inside the lobby. Bay View rooms offer balconies with clear sightlines to either Alcatraz Prison or Pier 39. Steps away, Pier 39 offers families, couples and friends an abundance of entertainment options. Grab a bite at the first restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf to serve 100 percent sustainable seafood, Fog Harbor Fish House, voted best clam chowder in the 2018 Wharf Fest Awards. Visit the Aquarium of the Bay, the only Smithsonianaffiliated aquarium in California, before it relocates and transforms into Bay Ecotarium, striving for LEED Platinum certification when it opens around 2024. The aquarium also helped found San Francisco Bay Area Sustainable Seafood Alliance and oversees the Sea Lion Center, which looks after the hundreds of sea lions hanging out at K-Dock. Take a walk to Pier 15 and marvel at more than 650 interactive exhibits at the LEED Platinum-certified Exploratorium, named one of the 10 coolest museums in the world by The New York Times.


View of Pier 39, sea lions and ferry PHOTO: © FRANCISCO CRUSAT - DREAMSTIME.COM


A wonderful way to learn about the city without leaving your carbon footprint everywhere is to take a walking food tour. Local Tastes of the City Tours leads you by your stomach around the eight blocks where restaurants and cafés nourished generations of Italian immigrants. You’ll learn history as you taste it from the people who made it. Guided by locals, you’ll get the inside scoop on where to find the best coffee (Caffe Trieste), the best deli (Molinari Delicatessen), the best Italian meal (Mona Lisa) and the best cannoli (Stella Pastry & Café). “If you’re in a good restaurant,” said our Al Pacino look-alike guide, Brian Raffi, “ask them to make you a fresh cannoli. That’s how you know you’re in a good restaurant.” After all that eating, take a human-powered bicycle tour to — and across — Golden Gate Bridge. Blazing Saddles offers a variety of bike tour destinations. The one across the bridge takes you through the Presidio, once a designated military base, now America’s first national park to earn the Green Flag Award recognizing the highest standards for visitor experience and management of parks. Another sustainable lodging option in the sophisticated heart of downtown is Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Hospitality insiders have dubbed its community projects manager, Jo Licata, the “Dumpster Diva.” She repurposes furniture from area hotels, and her efforts embrace not only the planet but the people who live on it by engaging

in partnerships with organizations like Food Runners. Food Runners donates 20,000 meals every week to local charities from uneaten food at hotels and restaurants.. “The food, resources or volunteer hours we provide come from our hands and hearts in the hope of making a positive difference in someone’s life,” Licata said. Sports fans will love that Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors, got the memo when it planned its operations. Opened in 2019, it’s on track to receive LEED Gold certification. General manager Kim Stone said, “We wanted to make sure we were a transit-friendly facility and offered multiple ways to get to the arena besides just driving.” Fans can take 100 percent electric public transportation, including ferries, for free by showing a Chase Center event ticket. The center also offers a free bike valet program. Always the competitors, San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Field also sports LEED Platinum certification. If you’ve ever wondered how to host a convention without trashing the environment, the Moscone Center provides the answer. After its expansion, it achieved LEED Platinum certification, generating the least amount of carbon emissions per visitor. San Francisco now keeps 1.5 million tons of waste out of landfills every year. That’s nearly double the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not stopping there, this city, along with 25 others worldwide, pledged to attain net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

On the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge lies Sausalito, the gateway to Marin County. A patchwork quilt of green-seeking pleasures awaits along U.S. Route 101 North to California State Route 1 North (Highway 1) to Muir Woods, home of the majestic redwood trees. From the visitor center in Redwood Canyon, paved trails loop into another world. Streams run thick with salmon from July to December, and velvet-like moss veils the trees. Continue on Highway 1 for 23 miles to Bear Valley Visitor Center, headquarters to Point Reyes National Seashore, the famed cliffs along the coastal San Andreas Fault that splits the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. Head five minutes back into town to explore organic, old-world traditions with Food and Farm Tours; you’ll learn about oyster harvests and sparkling mead. Crash at the Acqua Hotel Mill Valley if you’re too tired to drive back. A visit to the city shouldn’t take place without a call on Sonoma County. Laid-back Petaluma, about an hour’s drive from the city, offers an easy hike at Helen Putnam Regional Park, where you might share the trail with deer. Town highlights include lunch at Wild Goat Bistro, wine at Barber Cellars and beer at Lagunitas Brewing Co. If you can’t tear yourself away, glamp nearby at the Petaluma KOA. Back on U.S. Route 101 North for 39 miles, explore the Disneyland of wineries. Take a tour of Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s intricate collection of movie memorabilia and an array of 40 wines produced on site. Keep the vintage vibe going by staying at the Flamingo Resort and Spa, undergoing a $42 million renovation.

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mice | CAPE TOWN

Convene in Cape Town The gem of the Western Cape shines with eco-conscious corporate events. BY ELYSE GLICKMAN




EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE NOT VISITED South Africa know Cape Town as a chic, lifestyledriven destination that sells itself. It is the gateway to the lush Winelands anchored by Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, home to breathtaking Table Mountain, the starting point for a day at the thought-provoking Robben Island and, of course, a departure point for luxury safari camps and outdoor adventure. Since the election of Nelson Mandela as president in 1992, Cape Town evolved into a diverse, cosmopolitan city of 4.52 million residents. Its arts and culture landscape — as colorful and dynamic as the views from Table Mountain — features a healthy assortment of jazz clubs, art galleries and architecture as well as globally renowned chef-driven restaurants, distilleries and festivals. Beyond its long-standing “it” factor as a leisure destination, it also serves as South Africa’s legislative capital and an expanding business hub, offering endless possibilities for one-of-a-kind events. In addition to its two main convention centers (Cape Town International Convention Centre and Century City Conference Centre), more than 130 venues host events and meetings, each with its own distinctive personality. They run the gamut from high-end hotels to museums and historic castles (The Castle of Good Hope), an internationally prominent


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sports stadium to fashionable beach clubs and centrally located spaces like The Lookout Waterfront. Statistics reflect this optimism and energy. According to WESGRO (which encompasses the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau), 1.6 million visitors came to the Western Cape in 2016, which climbed to 1.7 million in 2017 and increased by 0.2 percent in 2018. Those visiting the Western Cape for business activities comprised 10.4 percent of visitors in 2017 and 11 percent in 2018. More than 150 hotels operate in Cape Town and its environs, offering an estimated 20,000 guestrooms. On arrival at Cape Town International Airport (about 12 miles from city center), visitors find access to ground transport simple and convenient, with taxis, MyCiti bus service and a rail network doing their part to cut carbon emissions and leave fewer cars on the road. Travelers also rest easy about safety and value for the dollar given the favorable South African rand exchange rate and substantial local and national government investments to ensure every visitor feels secure and


People on Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town PHOTO: © SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM


welcome. Thirumerni Naidoo, business development manager, Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau, stressed making those pieces come together in an environmentally sound way has been a top priority for the past decade. Even before the 2018 Western Cape water crisis and rising public concern over protecting South Africa’s natural resources, sustainability and best environmental practices have been a part of every conversation, especially when working with overseas companies and planners. “Our goal is to not only connect those attending conventions from abroad and South Africa,” said Naidoo. “Our concept of sustainability ties into promoting integrated management of natural resources and ecosystems. [We want to accomplish] meeting the needs of the present without compromising meeting the needs of future generations.” Case in point is the 121,000-square-foot Cape Town International Convention Centre, opened June 2003 and expanded in 2010. Management places its sustainability objectives as one of its biggest selling points for planners and companies in and outside of South Africa. Since 2009 it has followed the directives of the Nurture Our World Committee, constituted of regional executives in a variety of industries, to not only establish best environmental practices but also assist prospective clients in the best ways to green their events. For starters, the facility offers a variety of conference packages as a base from which to build a bespoke meeting or conference. This, in turn, ensures a productive and unforgettable experience for attendees that will also be green, reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint. To expedite the process, a downloadable checklist on the website helps planners get the most desirable results. Opened in February 2016, the Century City Conference

Centre offers prospective clients a sustainability proposition intended to be future-proof, from the construction materials used to build the complex, hotel and adjoining businesses and residences to an over-arching environmental strategy that encompasses transport, health, energy, water and waste management for up to 1,900 event-goers at its more than 20 venues. As the center and surrounding community continue to grow, with the Century City Hotel Bridgewater the latest hotel to open, contractors are encouraged to make use of locally sourced materials to ensure maximum local economic benefit as well as reducing environmental impact. “Greenhouse gas emissions, water conservation and the welfare of our visitors have been a consideration in the design of the entire project from the groundbreaking to the present day,” said Glyn Taylor, co-CEO, Century City Conference Centre. “We are committed to working even harder to minimize our impact on the environment. This not only means everyday measures like using recycled water in our restrooms but also providing guests water-saving awareness tips in the hotel’s reception area. Things like this not only help replenish the local water table, but with additional bio filters added to our adjoining canal, the directives also improve biodiversity and cleaner air.” Organizations like GreenCape also promote a more economically sound business landscape by providing guidance to South African companies of varying industries and sizes, connecting them with nearby communities and philanthropic entities. Those coming in from abroad, meanwhile, can use this site as an information source to gain greater insight into the region’s ongoing efforts to protect the environment and natural resources. In a city offering one-stop shopping for convention experiences, planners find it easy to blend distinctive local flavor with conscientious and environmentally innovative business practices.

The visually arresting Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art impresses with its permanent collection of contemporary African artists and visiting exhibits. However, its otherworldly interior, powerful acoustics in the BMW Atrium and cathedral-like architecture make it unbeatable as a statement-making venue for business events ranging from presentations to performances and cocktail parties. Its restaurant on Level Six flows into a dramatic rooftop terrace where guests can take in an astounding sunset and daytime views. zeitzmocaa.museum At Babylonstoren, near Franschhoek, choose from the deluxe menu of traditional and nontraditional winery activities to provide the perfect self-contained Western Cape Winelands experience for a pre- or post-conference retreat. Sustainability is front and center, from wine tastings and tours of its exquisitely organized gardens to photography classes, bird watching, fishing, bike tours, rowing and canoeing on its reservoirs. Consider a tea ceremony in its Healing Garden; the spa with its boutique of homespun goods; and two excellent restaurants, Babel and The Greenhouse, noted for its gravity-defying cheese, charcuterie and condiment platters tailored for everybody’s wine preferences. babylonstoren.com

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9–5 | QUITO

Urban Agenda Enjoy Quito’s new subway, sustainable architecture and year-round equatorial sunshine. BY RON BERNTHAL FOUNDED IN 1534, QUITO sits at almost 10,000 feet, making it the second-highest capital city in the world. Located just 14 miles south of the equator, the city enjoys a spring-like climate year-round, from the cool 50s at night to the low 80s during the day. With a consistent 12 hours of daylight, Quito is, literally, one of the greenest cities in the world. Quito’s unique geography provides visitors with a spectacular wall of snow-capped Andes Mountains and volcanoes just beyond the skyline as well as flower gardens and palm trees. In 1978 Quito’s cobblestoned, 16th-century Old Town, one of the best-preserved colonial-era districts in South America, became UNESCO’s first World Heritage site. Business travelers can start the day with an early-morning swim or workout at Zumay Health Club at the 5-star JW Marriott Hotel, followed by breakfast at the hotel’s Bistro Latino, featuring a buffet along with healthy fruit and juices. A popular downtown meetings venue for Ecuadorian and multinational businesses since opening in 1999, the strikingly modern hotel offers more than 30 event venues. Numerous off-site venues provide a different ambience. English is widely spoken at business hotels, but at venues like museums and art galleries in Old Town or at wineries



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and flower farms in the countryside, non-Spanish speakers may find it difficult to arrange meeting spaces. Contact a local tour operator like Link-Experiences, with connections throughout the city, prior to your visit. Getting around Quito by taxi is easy, but account for traffic congestion between destinations. The new Quito Metro, opening this year, will ease that burden considerably and help make the air cleaner. Local environmentalists are thrilled the new Metro will stretch 14 miles through the business center and suburbs, offering 15 new stations, including one in Old Town. Operating 5:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m., the Metro will allow visitors and Quiteños to travel around the city faster and more efficiently. “This is a pivotal moment for the city,” said Felipe Correa, editor, A Line in the Andes, a book about Quito’s urban transformation. “Quito is a linear city, north-south, along a narrow and elongated valley with mountains on either side, so there are very few cities that can actually build a subway from scratch in such a consolidated urban area.” In 2013, to make room for the Metro and other projects, the city moved its airport from city center to a location 11 miles from downtown. The new, green Mariscal Sucre International Airport boasts one of the longest runways in Latin America and earned South America’s Leading Airport at the World Travel Awards. It strives to maintain its high scores in the global Airport Carbon Accreditation program and also instituted a rainwater management program and

works to maintain the biodiversity of the area. The city repurposed the 300 acres around the former airport into a city playground called Bicentennial Park, offering bicycling on the old runway. The Eugenio Espejo Convention Center provides another example of repurposing, as the building once served as an important hospital center. After a remarkable architectural restoration in 2008, the center opened with enough meeting and exhibition space to host Ecuador’s largest conventions. Quito took advantage of the more affordable e-buses coming into the market by electrifying two major bus corridors, purchasing about 120 e-buses and installing dozens of charging stations. Ecuador is only the second South American country to adopt sustainable electric mass transit. Such projects increased since Quito hosted Habitat III, a United Nations conference, in 2016. Some 30,000 delegates attended discussions among world environmental leaders about making cities sustainable, resulting in the Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements. For a small group lunch with business associates, reserve a table at Café Plaza Grande in the Hotel Plaza Grande, a boutique property adjacent to Old Town’s main square, home to the historic Carondelet Palace, Cathedral of Quito, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Municipal Palace. The café serves fresh fish, pork, steak, seafood salads and Ecuadorian specialties, including locro de papas (potato soup). Around 5 p.m., an hour before sunset, get a table at Rooftop

Bar & Terrace at Casa Gangotena, a restored Neoclassical mansion converted into a 33-room boutique hotel on Plaza San Francisco. While enjoying the Old Town view, order a locally produced gin like the quadruple-distilled Amaranto. Or try the non-alcoholic agua de frescos, also called horchata, a vivid pink infusion of plants and herbs traditionally served to refresh visitors arriving in Quito. Quito’s environmentally ambitious city plans also include green architecture. Quito-based Uribe & Schwarzkopf will open the IQON residential tower in 2021, designed by the Danish firm BIG. The 33-story structure of concrete apartment “boxes” features terraces planted with native trees, with a hollow wall underneath to hold the roots. The entire façade becomes a vertical display of Quito’s biodiversity, and the building will act as an urban tree farm, as the trees will be replanted in city parks once they outgrow the terraces, in about five years. EPIQ, a 24-story curved tower also by BIG, will open in 2022 with sustainable features such as a gray water treatment plant for reusing rainwater and a materials bank to reuse and recycle construction materials. It will sit next to a large park close to a new Metro station. Global architects Moshe Safdie, Jean Nouvel, Philippe Starck, Leppanen Anker, Marcel Wanders and Carlos Zapata also launched projects that will greatly enhance Quito’s green and innovative urban environment.

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(Left to right) Plaza Grande in Old Town, IQON terraces, and the JW Marriott Quito lobby PHOTOS: © QUITO TOURISMO, © BIG BJARKE INGELS GROUP, © JW MARRIOTT

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after 5 | COPENHAGEN

Unplug and Play Get cozy in Copenhagen when the work day ends. WITH ONE OF THE WORLD’S (if not the world’s) strongest commitments to sustainability combined with an extremely balanced work-life culture, Copenhagen draws working professionals to its winding streets, nearly 60 percent of which are occupied by cyclists. Once businesses and shops close for the day, the Danish capital embraces hygge, a Danish term that refers to locals’ appreciation for coziness in every sense of the word. Copenhagen residents know how to disconnect after a work day, explaining why the city ranks third in the world for social inclusion and prosperity. Locals and visitors are encouraged to come together to reap what the city sows, an example of which lies in this summer’s new public gardens, where fresh fruit will be ripe for the picking. Along with these accolades, Copenhagen plans to be completely carbon-neutral by 2025. Before the sun sets (which can be very early during the winter months), book a spot on Copenhagen’s GoBoats for a unique perspective of the city from the surrounding harbors. The eco-friendly boat tour company also offers GoBoat After Work, which moves the meeting room to one (or up to eight) of GoBoat’s eight-person boats, with the option to add food and beverages. If you’re not sure where to begin a culinary journey through Copenhagen, leave it in the hands of Foodtours.eu, whose Evening Gourmet Stroll starts with tastings at the market halls of Torvehallerne followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant and then beer and dessert in the melting-pot neighborhood of Nørrebro. Last November famed Danish chef Kamilla Seidler opened her first solo restaurant, Restaurant Lola, on the outskirts of Copenhagen’s famous Freetown Christiania neighborhood. Beyond the eatery itself, the Lola Impact restaurant initiative helps underprivileged and marginalized groups glean cooking techniques and culinary basics as well as learn how to build relationships and work as a team. When Seidler isn’t managing Lola, she’s fighting for gender equality rights in the restaurant industry with Food Organisation of Denmark. End any night in Copenhagen with an illuminating stop at Tivoli Gardens, Europe’s oldest amusement park, open until 11 p.m. from mid-April to mid-September, followed by a nightcap at Oscar Bar | Café, an LGBTQ+-friendly bar and restaurant near City Hall.



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Copenhagen waterfront (top), and Tivoli Gardens at night (bottom) PHOTOS: © SERGIYN DREAMSTIME.COM, © SEAN PAVONE DREAMSTIME.COM



JORDANA BREWSTER Stand Up To Cancer Ambassador

Since 2008, Major League BaseballÂŽ has supported Stand Up To Cancer in its mission to fund groundbreaking research and get treatments to patients faster than ever before. Join us as we stand united to show our support for loved ones affected by cancer.

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neighborhoods | HALIFAX

City by the Sea Halifax strives to showcase and protect its natural wealth. BY DALE LEATHERMAN

LOCAL LANDMARKS: The Bicycle Thief (left), and the Halifax Town Clock on Citadel Hill (right) PHOTOS: © DARRYL BROOKS - DREAMSTIME .COM, © MAURIZIO DE MATTEI - DREAMSTIME .COM


nts immigra e r e h w , ered Pier 21 orld ent w e h t r ove from all 928 and etween 1 b rsonal a d a n Ca ry of pe o t i s o p e ar or visi1971, is ources f s e r d n a oots. stories family r r i e h t g kin tors see

“FROM THE SEA, WEALTH.” The motto says a lot about Halifax, the museums and tour offices. Benches and hammocks offer vantage capital of Nova Scotia, a Canadian province almost surrounded by points for enjoying the ever-changing view. Get even closer to the the Atlantic. Though visitors and locals gravitate to the waterfront, action with themed cruises (wine, craft beer, history, nature). Among a good introduction to the city is the the harborside eateries enjoy local favorites such as The Bicycle Thief (Italian), hilltop Citadel, a 244-year-old fortress PRINCE EDWARD Salty’s (seafood) and the Stubborn Goat with a panoramic view of the city and its NEW ISLAND BRUNSWICK Gastropub (tapas, comfort food). strategic harbor. At the waterfront’s southern end A short walk from the Citadel, the explore Halifax Seaport Farmers Market, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic NOVA where more than 250 vendors ply their exhibits the city’s history as a pirate SCOTIA ndy f Fu o y wares in a restored, LEED Gold-certified hangout, commercial port and base for Ba warehouse with a rooftop patio and warships. Artifacts from the 1912 sinking Halifax garden. Nearby, the Canadian Museum of the Titanic offer a grim reminder of of Immigration at Pier 21 commemothe city’s role in recovering the dead, 121 rates the site where a million people of whom are buried locally in Fairview Atlantic Ocean entered the country. The Westin Nova Lawn Cemetery. Another exhibit recounts Scotia, the grande dame of Halifax the Halifax Explosion of 1917, when a hotels, overlooks the Seaport. Built in ship collision set off the world’s largest 1930 and a frequent host to royals and celebrities, it has gone green accidental manmade explosion, killing 2,000 residents and injuring with aggressive energy saving, recycling and composting initiatives. 9,000. The hotel keeps in step with Halifax in realizing its wealth does Near the museum lies the waterfront, where the Royal Canadian come from the sea. Accordingly, Haligonians embrace Canada’s plans to Navy’s Atlantic Fleet bases its operations, but most harbor traffic ban single-use plastics by 2021 and to retrieve “ghost fishing gear” — lost comprises yachts, sailboats, tour boats and cruise ships. A boardwalk tackle, lines and traps that harm marine life. connects almost three miles of shops, galleries, bars, restaurants,


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Chicago’s airports offer more than 275 nonstop destinations worldwide.


VISIT www.flychicago.com

@fly2ohare @fly2midway

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friends & family | MADEIRA

Picture Perfect Explore Madeira in all its mesmerizing natural beauty. BY IRENE RAWLINGS ICONIC COLORS:

(Left to right) Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal, painted doors, and Monte Palace Tropical Garden in Funchal PHOTOS: © STEVE ALLEN DREAMSTIME.COM, © CCAT82 - DREAMSTIME .COM, © GUNOLD DREAMSTIME.COM, © GUNOLD - DREAMSTIME .COM, © CCAT82 DREAMSTIME.COM



DRAMATIC MOUNTAINS. INTOXICATING VISTAS. Spring-like weather. And 5-star hotels. All this originally attracted an older, moneyed crowd to the Portuguese island of Madeira — located in the Atlantic, 700 miles from the Portuguese mainland. George Bernard Shaw learned to tango on the lawn of the iconic Reid’s Palace Hotel (now a Belmond). Sir Winston Churchill came here to paint the island’s staggeringly beautiful seascapes. But recently the picture on this verdant 35- by 13-mile volcanic island has begun to change. The silver-haired aristocrats are still here, but so

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are entrepreneurs attracted by the EU’s favorable business climate for startups, young families escaping the cold northern winters, and hardy adventure seekers. These include surfers looking for world-class waves, cave divers exploring the underwater caverns, distance runners getting fit on ocean trails (think Chariots of Fire) and cyclists braving gravity-defying inclines and the ever-changing weather. Local outfitters like Terras de Adventura and LokoLoko can provide gear and guides. Start your visit in Funchal, Madeira’s capital city. The name comes from the fragrance of wild fennel (or funchal) that perfumed the air 600 years ago, when the Portuguese discovered the island. Today visitors flock to the old town with its narrow, cobbled streets. Stop at the interactive Madeira Story Centre for a glimpse of Madeira’s colorful past, including numerous attacks by pirates. Have lunch on the rooftop restaurant. Children of all ages will enjoy Museo do Brinquedo; the toy museum features more than


Most international airlines fly to Lisbon (LIS). TAP Air Portugal and others offer a domestic flight from Lisbon to Madeira’s Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport (FNC), with a flight time of about one hour and 45 minutes. The airport lies 14 miles from the island’s capital, Funchal. Taxis cost about $35. Another option: Madeira Airport Transfers for pre-booked service anywhere on the island.

20,000 cars, dolls and even vintage Star Wars action figures. Stroll down Rua de Santa Maria to admire the Art of Open Doors Project, with imaginative scenes depicted on the front doors of each little house and shop. On Saturday mornings take the family to Mercado dos Lavradores and admire the building’s blue- and white-tiled façade. Then wander through the farmers market, tasting tropical fruits. Start with the honey-scented, no-bigger-than-your-finger bananas. Don’t miss the custard apple and the philodendron fruit that looks like a pineapple and tastes like a banana. Chat with the colorfully attired flower vendors selling fragrant lilies, roses, orchids and birds of paradise. The downstairs fish market is not for the faint-hearted. Along the perimeter of the market, small bars sell drinks and snacks. Even if you are not religious, consider attending a service at Funchal Cathedral (consecrated in 1514) to admire the painted cherubs, gilded statues of saints and apostles and, especially, the traditional Portuguese knotwork (alfarge) ceiling. From the old town take a spectacular cable car ride up to Monte (kids under 6 ride free). The rich Madeirenses lived here in the heyday of the sugar cane industry, high above the hustle and noise of the commercial port. Take in the fresh air up here and the endless panoramic views. Many of the 17th- and 18th-century homes and gardens still exist. Stop at the Monte Palace Tropical Garden to enjoy lakes, waterfalls and exotic species of native trees and flowers. If you have thrill-seeking teens in tow, they’ll love the trip back down the mountain — a

LODGING BELMOND REID’S PALACE HOTEL Perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the Atlantic, this elegant hotel has hosted princes and sheikhs since 1891. Enjoy Champagne buffet Sundays, dinner dance Mondays and afternoon tea on the terrace, daily. Buffet breakfast included. Estrada Monumental 139, Funchal $$$$ CASA VELHA DO PALHEIRO This 37-room chintz- and antiques-filled hotel feels like

an English country house, offering a heated pool set in luxuriant gardens, sauna and steam rooms, tennis, croquet and billiards. Private yacht for deep-sea fishing available. Rua da Estalagem 23, Funchal $$$$ SAVOY PALACE Shaped like an undulating wave, the recently reopened, retro-chic hotel features 352 rooms, five pools, six restaurants and bars, a cigar club and a 32,000-squarefoot spa. All rooms have sea views. Ave. do Infante 25, Funchal $$$

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Levada trail (top), and Porto Moniz natural swimming pools (bottom) PHOTOS: © SIMONDANNHAUER - DREAMSTIME.COM, © PETR ŠVEC DREAMSTIME.COM

DINING IL GALLO D’ORO Boasting two Michelin stars, the restaurant changes its menu frequently but always offers freshly caught fish. Its 400-bottle cellar includes vintages dating to the 1860s. Reserve a table on the terrace for great views. Estrada Monumental 147, Funchal $$$$$ RESTAURANTE DO FORTE Atop the battlements of 17th-century São Tiago fort sample a local favorite: black scabbard fish with fried bananas. The menu also includes creamy seafood risotto and vegetarian options. Classic car pick-up at your hotel. Rua do Portão de São Tiago, Forte de São Tiago, Funchal $$$$ RESTAURANTE TOKOS Enjoy unhurried dining in a 12-table restaurant run by a husband and wife in a 100-year-old house. Just-caught fish and local seafood star, grilled to order and accompanied by fresh vegetables. Reservation essential. Estrada Monumental 169, Funchal $$$$



hair-raising ride down a curvy road in a wicker sleigh guided by two straw-hatted and white-trousered carreiros, whose thick rubber-soled shoes provide the sleigh’s only brakes. A popular form of downhill transportation since the 1850s, the sleighs can reach speeds up to 30 mph. To explore the rest of the island rent a car; or if you’re not comfortable navigating mountain roads with seemingly impossible hairpin turns, hire a car and driver for the day. Madeira wows visitors with pretty villages like São Vicente, boasting white-walled houses with deep-green shutters and red roofs. Visit the 17th-century church before heading to Grutas de São Vicente, caves created by underground channels of lava from eruptions that occurred more than 400,000 years ago. Visit Porto Moniz to splash in lava pools naturally filled by the ocean’s high tides (go early before the tour buses from the cruise ships arrive). Take a dolphin-, whale- and turtle-watching cruise by speedboat or leisurely catamaran. Drive out to the postcard-pretty Ponta do Pargo lighthouse on the most westerly point of the island. Put on your high-tops for a levada walk — essentially narrow walkways along ancient irrigation channels cut into the mountains nearly 600 years ago. The more than 1,200 miles of trails offer a range of hikes from easy strolls to good workouts. Go with a guided group like Madeira Levadas or Go Trail Madeira, or download a map and head off on your own. Any trip to Madeira must include sampling the fortified Madeira wine. Some drink it as an aperitif; others like it with the cheese course, and still others drink it with tonic water over ice. Book a Premium Tour at Blandy’s Wine Lodge for a tasting of both young and rare vintages. Stay for a wine-paired tapas lunch at the small 1811 Bistro & Wine Bar.

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Although Madeira boasts 99 miles of coastline with gorgeous azure waters, it has few natural sand beaches. For serious beaching, even locals fly over to neighboring Porto Santo, a tiny speck of an island with miles of golden-sand beach. The flight takes only 15 minutes. Porto Santo, a popular scuba destination, offers dives to view ancient cannons and explore a wrecked cargo ship but remains a still-under-the-radar golf destination. Famed Spanish golfer Severiano Ballesteros designed the fun, challenging and always windy 18-hole course.

All the comfort you’d expect from business class, at a lower-than- expected price. When you fly TAP you’ll also get the option to stopover in Portugal on your way to over 70 destinations in Europe and Africa.


Taste of the Town

Sample the local food and culture on a culinary tour of Montevideo. BY KRISTY ALPERT

WEDGED BETWEEN ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL along Rio de la Plata’s Atlantic waters, Montevideo may be small, but it remains one of the most sophisticated and progressive capital cities in South America. Locals take pride in their city’s cleanliness, quality of life and vibrant culture. Many spend their mornings and afternoons in-line skating, jogging or lifting weights along the city’s 17-mile-long seafront esplanade before gathering for cortados and dulce de leche pastries during a 5 p.m. merienda (Uruguayan afternoon tea/snack). “Uruguay is an incredible country with a wide range of options for honeymooners, family trips, friends’ trips but also solo travelers,” explains Diana Wrangham, Uruguay travel expert, Black Tomato. “The countryside that surrounds Montevideo is a destination in itself, boasting rolling plains and [a] wide range of wineries, while Montevideo houses many of the most beautiful and well-kept buildings of Latin America, including Palacio Salvo and Cerrito de la Victoria.” Uruguay can also boast about its environmental policies. In less than 10 years, the country slashed its carbon footprint and lowered electricity costs without government subsidies. Renewables now provide 94.5 percent of the country’s electricity. Rated as one of the most literate countries in South America, Uruguay’s low crime rate and corruption-free govern-



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ment cultivate a capital city in which creative energy thrives. Montevideo houses countless art galleries such as Museo Torres García, Museo Gurvich and Espacio de Arte Contemporaneo, but it’s the culinary arts that now flavor the city with creativity. Nearly every culinary tour includes a visit to one of Francis Mallmann-protégé Chef Lucia Soria’s market-driven restaurants, Jacinto Café and Restaurant and Pizzeria Rosa. However, the offerings from Bueme’s Travel take visitors behind the scenes to explore the colorful markets and even meet the makers themselves with hands-on charcuterie workshops, wine blending sessions and cooking classes with Montevideo residents. Montevideans celebrate their rich gaucho heritage daily, cooking hearty cuts of grass-fed steaks over urban asado grills and pairing them with heavy pours of local Tannat wine. Visitors can get the true gaucho experience with Lares Tours. The local company pioneered active and experiential tourism in Uruguay, offering tours on horseback, bicycle and paddle boards, along with a wide range of specialty tours focused on everything from family-friendly activities to birding. Consider its self-driving tour of Montevideo and the surrounding areas for a great way to take in the city’s natural beauty at your own pace.


(Left to right) An open-faced sandwich with grass-fed beef and charred onions, a light drizzle of Uruguayan olive oil to complement housemade charcuterie at the Mercado del Puerto, and freshly made empanadas at Chef Lucia Soria’s Jacinto Café and Restaurant PHOTOS: © KRISTY ALPERT

o is evide t n o M r its us fo famo d ed an roast meat cued e b r but a b rilla, r a p aters called ous e r u t n ,a adve rcilla o m e v will lo usage sa ulce blood her d t i e d re ory. prepa r sav o ) t (swee

bucket list | BORNEO

Into the Wild Connect with Borneo’s orangutans and the people dedicated to conserving them and their habitat. BY MARLENE GOLDMAN

FREE TO ROAM: (Left to right) Mother and baby orangutans in Semenggoh, and orangutans in Matang and in Semenggoh PHOTOS: © MARLENE GOLDMAN


MEMBERS OF OUR WELCOMING COMMITTEE at Camp Leakey climb around the wooden slats of the jetty, anxiously awaiting our arrival. The unrelenting equatorial sun highlights their orange tufts of hair, their playful antics offering a distraction from the tropical heat. One of the orangutan greeters, Percy, befriends several of the tourists who have come to this renowned research area in Tanjung Puting National Park, located in Kalimantan, or Indonesian Borneo. Borneo boasts the world’s oldest tropical rainforests which, until a few decades ago, completely covered the island. Only 50 percent of forest cover remains; 25 percent disappeared since the 1980s as virgin forest was converted into oil palm plantations. The loss of habitat makes orangutan refuges and sanctuaries critical to their survival. Many of us arrive at Camp Leakey on a klotok, a wooden boat that ferries tourists along Senoyer River to the park. My three-day trip includes two nights sleeping on deck. Percy joins us as we walk to the feeding platform where orangutans being rehabilitated to live in the wild receive supplemental meals of fruit and milk as they learn to forage on their own. Mothers, babies and a few males indulge in papaya, bananas, durian and other fruit. Some linger in the branches overhead while others quickly depart with their bounty into the surrounding forest. We make our way to the research center, established in 1971 by Dr. Biruté Galdikas and her former spouse, Rod Brindamour. The center was named after paleo-anthropologist Louis Leakey, a mentor to Galdikas as well as to Dr. Jane Goodall, known for her work with chimpan-


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zees, and Dr. Dian Fossey, who researched mountain gorillas. The name orangutan, Malay for “man of the forest,” aptly describes these great apes who share 97 percent of their DNA with humans. The World Wildlife Fund estimates the Bornean orangutan population at about 100,000 — putting them on the endangered list. More dire reports estimate 70,000–100,000 orangutans remain in Borneo, meaning the population reduced by more than half from 1999 to 2015.  “The more I get to know orangutans, the more I get to know how human they are,” said Galdikas, who has studied Borneo’s orangutans for more than 50 years. “As similar as they are, they are also different. They are solitary in the wild. They are meditative and contemplative. They look you in the eye and see into your soul. … I have been wonderfully blessed and fortunate to spend many years with them and continue to do so. I don’t want them to perish from this Earth.” Galdikas helped establish Orangutan Foundation International, which operates Camp Leakey and is dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat. The research center area attracts resident orangutans including Big Tom, an adult male with an impressive set of flanges, or cheek pads. I also meet Siswi, the first orangutan born to an ex-captive at Camp Leakey. Dubbed the Queen of Camp Leakey, she plays up the part, posing for cameras and reveling in the attention. As habituated to humans as the orangutans seem, they remain free to forage and nest anywhere in the reserve. Camp Leakey is one of several feeding stations in Tanjung Putting


National Park. I also visit Tanjung Harapan, the first station in the rehabilitation process. Orangutans that pass the semi-wild phase move to Pondok Tanggui, where researchers monitor them from a distance. The park requested two new feeding stations along the Sekonyer River, where illegal miners have encroached. “One of the mechanisms for preservation of the park is to build up tourism,” Galdikas said “Tourism provides local employment and also supplies more sets of eyes and makes it harder to take resources. Timber mining used to go on in the park. Also surface mining for gold and zircon, the substance that makes glass for Mercedes and BMWs. You need to process tons and tons of sand to get zircon. It’s very damaging.” OFI offers eco-tours led by specialists including Galdikas, who spends six months of the year in Borneo. The Los Angeles-based foundation has sister locations in Canada, Australia and Lithuania. The states of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, north of Kalimantan, offer options for orangutan encounters. In Sabah, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre opened in 1964 as the first center in the world to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans. Here 60 to 80 of the primates live free in the 10,000-plus acres of protected land at the edge of Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. The Sabah Wildlife Department operates Sepilok, obtaining additional funding from entrance fees and Orangutan Appeal UK.

Many orangutans come as babies, caught during logging or forest clearance. Some are poached for the pet trade, though the Malaysian government outlawed the practice. The process to return to the wild can take up to seven years. A small family of orangutans gorges on the fruit of a fig tree during my trip along the Kinabatangan River in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, spanning 65,000 acres and protecting about 780 orangutans, along with other wildlife. The secluded Tabin Wildlife Reserve spans part of the peninsula of Sabah’s Darvel Bay. Created in 1984 to preserve disappearing wildlife, including Asian elephants, the reserve takes visitors on Jeep safaris. Sarawak is home to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, part of the Semenggoh Nature Reserve. Its rehab program moved to Sarawak’s Matang Wildlife Centre, but the reserve remains home to semi-wild orangutan families. As I arrive, a mom and baby greet me in the car park. At the feeding platform, residents swing in for bananas and coconuts, and the star of the show is Ritchie, Semenggoh’s alpha male at the time. On a daytrip to Matang Wildlife Centre, part of Kubah National Park, I watch feedings of orangutans and sun bears. U.K.-based The Great Projects offers visitors volunteer opportunities at Matang and in Kalimantan’s Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary, home to 393 orangutans, the largest number of captive orangutans in the world.

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Visitors to Tanjung Puting National Park can fly from Jakarta (CGK) and other Indonesian locations into Pangkalan Bun (PKN); from there an hour’s drive reaches the harbor of the Sekonyer River. Klotok houseboats with sleeping facilities are available at the harbor. You can travel to Sepilok from the Sabah city of Kota Kinabalu via a five-hour bus ride. Frequent 45-minute flights also operate from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to Sandakan Airport. From Sandakan, public buses run directly to Sepilok in 45 minutes and to Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in two hours. Flights also connect Sandakan to Lahad Datu Airport, near Tabin. For Semenggoh, public buses run daily from Kuching. A 20-minute walk from the entrance takes you to the viewing area. Matang Wildlife Centre lies about a 40-minute drive from Kuching City. Since no regular bus goes directly to the center, hiring a taxi is recommended.



kicking back | FIJI

In the Groove Find your smile in Fiji’s friendly paradise. BY TIM LEFFEL

ns ’ mea ‘Bula s local t u b ‘life,’ with t it u o h s ello,’ or ‘h f o t gus bye,’ ‘good ome,’ ‘welc nd rs,’ a ‘chee ’ s you ‘bles ze. snee a r e aft



AS OUR SMALL PLANE left the main Viti Levu island behind and we made our way toward the Yasawa string of islands, the Fiji we dreamed of stretched out below us. Green tropical islands ringed by beaches, the South Pacific waters in shades of blue in between. When the seaplane landed near the beach at Turtle Island Resort, bare-chested men carried the women ashore while others sang a welcome song. Singing is a key part of the Polynesian culture in Fiji, and it’s one of the strongest memories that lingers with me after my visit. The serenading starts at the international airport, where musicians and singers greet arriving visitors. It then continues at the

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resorts, where you will probably hear music throughout the day and night, sometimes spontaneously. In this country, a staffer who doesn’t sing should probably be viewed with skepticism. After such a long flight to get here from most of the world, you might want to spend your first night or two getting acclimated to the new time zone near Nadi, where the main international airport sits. In the Denerau Island development with a long beach and golf course, choose from a Westin, Sofitel, Sheraton, Hilton and Radisson Blu … and dozens of restaurants. To feel the real beauty and essence of Fiji, though, get away from the entry point and find your own piece of paradise. Still a wild place with a lot of sparsely populated land, Fiji draws adventure travelers who come here to hike steep mountains, go caving, swim under waterfalls and ride down rivers. The rugged interior of Fiji’s two biggest islands


Fiji Airways operates daily direct flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and Honolulu (HNL) to Nadi (NAN), the main gateway city for air service. Connecting flights on other airlines transit through Tokyo (NRT), Hong Kong (HKG), Singapore (SIN) and three Australian cities. Transportation from the airport to Denerau Island hotels or a seaplane departure point runs $20–25 by taxi, $40 by car service. Fiji Link offers domestic commercial air service to other islands and the capital.


(Left to right) A Fijian boy entertains visitors with a traditional song; a young woman kayaking near South Sea Island, Mamanuca Islands; a Fijian warrior greeting the arrival of the Yasawa Flyer, a comfortable, fast catamaran connecting most of the Yasawa Islands PHOTOS: © HEL080808 - DREAMSTIME .COM, © DONYANEDOMAM DREAMSTIME.COM, © MARCO RAMERINI - DREAMSTIME.COM

LODGING LAUCALA ISLAND Occupying a small slice of land on a self-sustained island, all-inclusive Laucala has 16 staffers for every guest staying at one of the 25 villas. Laucala Island $$$$$

offers enough adventure options to last for weeks. The firewalkers of Beqa Island remind people of the country’s unique history as they walk barefoot across glowing red coals. Most vacationers, however, come here to find their own version of South Pacific, to discover the kind of tropical island they usually see only in someone else’s Instagram feed. They take the long trip across the ocean to de-stress, enjoy pictureperfect sunsets and swim with fish of 100 colors under the water. Fortunately, more than one spot in this destination fits the bill. More than 300 islands have their own secret beaches, quiet coves and prime snorkeling spots waiting for you. The Mamanuca Islands, filming location of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, sit close enough to Nadi to reach by boat in two hours. A wide range of lodging options includes — surprisingly — Fiji’s only overwater bungalows: Likuliku Lagoon Resort. The resorts all lie within easy reach from the international arrival point, and some even transport you by helicopter. The skinny string of Yasawa Islands to the north are a short hop by seaplane (or a longer one by boat), and they make it easy to feel like an adventuring explorer. The archi-

pelago includes some of the country’s original private-island resorts, places like Turtle Island, where guests rotate having their own private beach for the day; and Yasawa Island Resort, where each bungalow features its own beach cabana, hammock and outdoor shower at the ready. Nearly every island boasts a nearby coral reef teeming with fish in waters always pleasantly warm for swimming. The high-end resorts usually provide direct air service, but tourist ferries also serve Yasawa and Mamanuca islands, where visitors can hop on and off at the various island ports. With a little planning it’s possible to set up a beach-hopping vacation with some changes of scenery. Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu, offers plenty to do inland and on the water. Housing some of the most reasonably priced places to stay, it also includes a few resorts attracting international jet-setters. Laucala Island, one of the most famous, lies off the coast of Taveuni Island and hosts 25 villas on 3,500 acres of land. It’s partly famous because of its developer, the founder of Red Bull — someone who could afford to spare no expense. No matter where you end up for your relaxation time, you will probably participate in a kava ceremony to loosen up even more. This is not something put on for tourists:

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TURTLE ISLAND FIJI RESORT On the island where the movie Blue Lagoon filmed, the original laid-back, luxury, allinclusive private island resort remains one of the best. Turtle Island $$$$$ VOMO ISLAND FIJI This family-friendly option has a wild kids club reached by a suspension bridge, and children have the option of eating with other kids for lunch or dinner, giving parents a vacation break. Vomo Island $$$$$




The national kokoda fish and coconut dish (right), and a Fijian warrior in full ceremonial tapa dress presenting a bilo (coconut shell) full of kava to a guest (below) PHOTOS: © MAURIE HILL - DREAMSTIME .COM, © RAFAEL BEN ARI - DREAMSTIME .COM

DINING Most Fiji resorts are all-inclusive or include mandatory meal plans. Plus, Fiji has 300-plus islands, so these choices all lie in the Nadi area, where international visitors arrive and depart. INDIGO INDIAN AND ASIAN RESTAURANT Often hailed as the best upscale Indian restaurant on the main island, Indigo is air-conditioned and vegetarian-friendly. The Port at Denarau, Shop R3, Denarau Island, Nadi $$$ NADINA AUTHENTIC FIJIAN RESTAURANT This waterfront option serves upscale versions of local food presented with a flair, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. The Port at Denarau, Shop R1 & R2, Denarau Island, Nadi $$$ TATA’S CURRY HOUSE Located near Nadi’s biggest and most famous Indian temple, this locals’ favorite is not much to look at, but it serves up fiery curries that are definitely not watered down for tourists. Nadi Back Road, Nadi $$



Even trekkers stumbling into remote mountain villages will see this important social custom in practice. Along with the national fish and coconut dish kokoda, kava is a traditional part of daily life for adults. Fijians make the mildly intoxicating drink from the root of a pepper tree, mixing a large enough quantity in a large cauldron for a big crowd to share. Participants generally sit in a circle on the ground. When it’s your turn to drink, you clap once with your hand cupped to make a specific sound, down the drink from a vessel usually made from half a coconut shell, then clap again three times. It tastes like, well, something made from a root, but it will make you smile like an honorary Fijian. Fiji is hot all year and runs on island time, so there’s seldom a reason to dress up, cover up or be in a hurry. As you can only reach most of the outer island resorts by prop plane, heavy, overpacked suitcases are a bad idea. On many flights, passengers and their luggage both go on a scale for weight distribution.

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The best way to get into the groove on these islands is just to let things happen as they happen, in their own time. Sure, enjoy the progress in lodging comfort since the first explorers landed, but then relax and appreciate the natural attributes. Savor the chance to enjoy that perfect beach, that perfect sunset and a glorious day in the tropical sea.


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Evolving Scene Eco-conscious Costa Rica expands as an LGBTQ+ destination. BY MARK CHESNUT


(Left to right) Gay couple in Costa Rica, hot springs at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, and Marcha de la Diversidad / Pride Costa-Rica




THE TIMING COULDN’T BE BETTER for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit Costa Rica. This verdant hot spot renowned for its ecofriendly policies is gearing up to become the first nation in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage. This historic milestone — taking place in May — provides the latest example of Costa Rica’s evolution as an LGBTQ+-friendly destination according to Ernest Calderon, general manager, Gaycations Costa Rica, an LGBTQ+ tour and travel company. “My first visit to Costa Rica was back in 2002,” he recalled. “Back then, there were only a few LGBT establishments. Most were in San José and Manuel Antonio, [and] most LGBT travelers opted to visit only these two areas. Now, [more than] 15 years later, we are sending LGBT travelers to many different regions of the country. There are now many LGBT-owned lodges and restaurants in many different regions of the country. Over the years, the country has become much more open-minded, the LGBT pride festivals have exploded with attendance year after year, and this May 26 same-sex marriage will be recognized.” Hotels are already gearing up to welcome more

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LGBTQ+ couples. Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, touts its appeal for LGBTQ+ elopements with a variety of ecofriendly wedding options. Other hotels providing a warm welcome to LGBTQ+ travelers include Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton, opened in 2018 as a major revamp of the historic Gran Hotel. Travelers can explore the scenic Caribbean coast while checking into Banana Azul, a gay-owned beachfront hotel in Puerto Viejo, a laid-back town that hosted its first pride event in 2018. Gaycations plans on a surge in LGBTQ+ couples. “We already have a huge amount of LGBT travelers that vacation here for anniversaries or honeymoons,” Calderon said. “We can only expect these numbers to grow significantly. We already know that Costa Rica is a huge destination for heterosexual weddings, so there’s no reason to think that the LGBT community will not take notice, as well. I, for one, will be tying the knot here with my partner of eight years on June 27, 2020.”

airport update

Natural Approach Airports the world over reduce environmental impact. BY ERICH MARTIN


Denver International Airport PHOTO: © JOE SOHM DREAMSTIME.COM


IN THE MODERN AGE OF HYPER-AWARENESS surrounding environmentalism and sustainability, travel organizations the world over introduce new ways to lessen the impact on the natural world. Airports introduce programs to reduce environmental impact as much as possible. Denver International Airport makes consistent strides toward reducing its own footprint and leaving the planet greener for the future. Denver holds the largest airport site in North America, with more than 53 square miles of land belonging to the airport. Its areas of focus include greenhouse gas management, water conservation and waste reduction throughout the entire campus. In terms of concrete numbers, DEN succeeded in reducing its 2013 base-level greenhouse emissions by more than 23 percent by 2017. To continuously reduce waste throughout the airport, Denver composted more than 144 tons of organic waste in 2018 and developed a food donation program to reduce waste and help nearby communities. In Europe, Zürich Airport acts as a local steward of the environment by focusing on a number of issues typically associated with airports. The Swiss airport has plans to deal with climate change and carbon emissions, air and water quality and the local wildlife. Because of its efforts to reduce its impact on the environment, Zürich is recognized as one of Europe’s leading airports for sustainability as it reduces air pollution through fixed power systems, modern heating plants and increased public transport options


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serving the airport. Just as Zürich Airport leads sustainability efforts in Europe, Singapore Changi Airport remains one of Asia’s clear sustainability leaders. Between fiscal years 2017 and 2018, Changi reduced water consumption by 7.45 percent; recycled 4,435 tons of concrete; and diverted 8.5 percent more waste from incineration. Changi is on pace to meet all of its self-imposed sustainability goals in all forms, from reducing waste and water use to managing energy consumption. The final airport on this list may be much smaller than others, but it has made sustainability a priority since its construction nearly 20 years ago. Seymour Airport of Baltra, also known as the Galápagos Ecological Airport, was designed with total consideration of its relationship with the surrounding natural environment. Upon completion, it served as a reference point for measuring green buildings’ best practices. The airport’s LEED Gold certification cemented its place as the first green airport. Years later, in 2017, it became the first airport in Latin America and the Caribbean to receive recognition as carbon-neutral. At the crux of the conversation surrounding eco-friendly airport initiatives, the world should look toward airports like the one in the Galápagos. The true aid to the environment comes when people decide the natural state of a destination is as important as the means of arrival.



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• New capital improvement program for $5 billion in modernization and expansion projects

• Non-stop passenger flights to 163 cities worldwide

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• Route launches in 2019: Casablanca, Cordoba,

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medical tourism

Hot Spot for Health Taiwan’s high-tech hospitals attend to increasing numbers of medically minded travelers. BY DEBRA BOKUR

LOCATED OFF THE EASTERN coast of mainland China, Taiwan’s popularity as a medical tourism destination has, until recently, been limited to demographics from within Asia. That’s rapidly changing: Thanks to a combination of high value and low cost, this island destination shows up with increasing frequency on the radar of medical tourists from Western countries including the United States. Taiwan offers a combination of sophisticated medical facilities and welltrained doctors (many English speakers) plus state-of-the-art medical equipment and procedures. According to the U.S. State Department, a large proportion of the country’s well-trained physicians studied in the United States. As a bonus, preparing for travel isn’t as arduous as it is for some destinations, as U.S. citizens can stay for up to 90 consecutive days visa-free. The Joint Commission Internationalaccredited Kaohsiung Medical University Chung Ho Memorial Hospital in Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City, earns recognition for innovative modern procedures such as high-intensity-focused ultrasound uterine fibroid treatment; FOOM, or frontalis-orbicularis oculi muscle eye flap surgery; and Asia’s first Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science-confirmed upper arm allotransplantation. A number of Taiwanese hospitals also offer bespoke services customized to the needs of international medical tourists. Additionally, travelers can benefit from significant cost savings on common popular procedures such as coronary artery bypass grafts, hip replacement, cosmetic surgery, in-vitro fertilization and gastric bypass. In the dental arena, skilled dentists and surgeons offer regular



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treatments such as fillings, root canals and implants for a fraction of the cost of the same treatments in the United States. Planning for treatments abroad should, of course, include downtime after arrival and adequate recovery time post-procedure. As an attractive bonus, Taiwan’s tropical setting includes more than 150 natural hot springs spread across the country, many with accessible mud baths and thermal waters for soaking. This makes it an excellent location for healthy relaxation pursuits leading up to a medical treatment or during the recovery period. In and around the capital city of Taipei, thermal springs include Wulai Hot Springs and the worldrenowned Beitou Hot Springs. At Wulai, soaking areas along the banks of the Nanshi River allow for bathing beneath the sky; at Beitou, sulfur waters from a long-ago volcano provide a soothing respite.


Man relaxing in a natural hot spring in north Taiwan PHOTO: © OUTCAST85 - DREAMSTIME.COM

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In 2020, people want to commit to wellness and mindful living. Most, however, need a nudge. Enter wellness travel — a genre which includes spiritual retreats, hotels that showcase rejuvenation programs or amenities, trips that teach a new skill, digital detox and mindful repose. Learn more about wellness retreats next month as you read Feature: Wellness Retreats Around the World. PHOTO: Š ANANTARA PEACE HAVEN TANGALLE, SRI LANKA



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Whether you’re watching in awe or learning by doing, The Islands of Tahiti are rich with opportunities to discover and participate in the unique culture of each island. TahitiTourisme.com

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