LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE Islands: Discover Your Digital Detox

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WINTER 2014

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Islands w

D I S C OV E R YO U R D I G I TA L D E TOX

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Letter from the President

When I agreed to show my support for the theme of this issue and “unplug,” I had the best of intentions, I really did. And it was only for one day, who couldn’t manage that? Perhaps I should have done a bit more due diligence. Here’s how it went:

Sunday morning

Didn’t have to depend on my iPhone to wake me up, off to

a good start! Reach for iPad to check the overnight news. Whoops. Put down iPad. Now what? Remember Luddite husband still subscribes to actual newspaper. Add Band-aids (paper cut) and “moist towelettes” (black fingertips) to shopping list. But at least I’m up to date. Wait. What’s the weather going to be today? Reach for iPhone. Shoot. Fish newspaper out of trash. Sunny!

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It is now... 8:00 AM.

Only 23 more hours to go! It wasn’t long before I cracked. And I realized that for me at least, “unplugging” is not literal as much as it’s a state of mind. And it’s a lot easier to achieve that mindset when you’re on a gorgeous beach, where the only distraction is the sound of lapping waves. So this issue is all about guiding you “off the grid,” from under-the-radar resorts to best-kept island secrets. (Did you know one of the world’s largest wine cellars belongs to a hotel in the middle of the Indian Ocean? I didn’t either.) So go on – unplug. We’ll keep your Twitter feed safe until you get back. DIANE MCDAVITT President, Luxury Link Travel Group

Follow Diane on Twitter @luxurylinkpres

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Letter from the President

What’s New

Luxury Journeys

Eco Tourism in Costa Rica

Unplug – The Digital Detox Trend

At a Glance – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Travel Hacks – What to pack for In-flight Comfort Destination Dispatch – The Dominican Republic: Our Caribbean Honeymoon Spotlight On: Concierge In My Carry On – What to Pack for a Barefoot Luxe Break in the Maldives Wine for the Islands Island Fashion Interview with Steve Heydt, Elite Island Resorts President Ten Under-the-Radar Beaches & Islands

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In this issue


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Soon to make its debut on Luxury Link: Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. Spanning throughout Southeast Asia, from the Maldives to Indonesia and from Vietnam to Thailand, each resort uniquely draws upon indigenous design traditions and includes heritage immersions like fruit carving demonstrations and Muay Thai instruction. Perform religious ceremonies with your Balinese guide at Anantara Seminyak. Stimulate therapeutic pressure points as taught by your traditional Thai massage therapist at Anantara Chiang Mai. Taking its name

If you’ve been tempted by some of the insider deals on Luxury Link‘s sister site, Vacationist, but

weren’t ready to commit, we have good news for you! Vacationist introduces the “7-Day Cancellation

seven days for a full refund, no questions asked!

Policy.” Book an arrival that is at least 14 days away, and if you change your mind, just cancel within

from the Sanskrit word for “without end”, Anantara’s resorts harmonize boundlessly with each local culture and environment.

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#ChallengeTo Unplug Live a little! We challenge you to disconnect from virtuality and connect to your reality. Stop to smell the roses, look into your friend’s eyes, listen to your breathing and take it all in. Unplug for at least 24 hours, then come back to share your experience with us and you could win a $500 Luxury Link gift certificate for a real chance to unplug!

Go to www.facebook.com/LuxuryLink for rules and regulations.

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We want you to get away...

(which is why we have monthy giveaways*)

Enter for a chance to win a trip for two to

We are partnering with Snooth and NY Magazine for a complete vacation for two to the romantic

The Landings St. Lucia!

Capella Ixtapa Resort and Spa!

November

December

October Congratulations to the WINNERS! Here are the winners from our October contest in partnership with TheSkimm, InStyle and Club Monaco!

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The grand prize winner, Mark Welch from Newington, Connecticut, is going to stay at Castille Paris, and receive $2,000 in gift cards, plus other goodies. He and his wife will travel to the city of light to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the day they met. Au revoir et bon voyage!

The runner-up winner, Jana Danhauer from Denver, Colorado, has already been spending her $300 gift certificate to Club Monaco. Enjoy your shopping spree Jana!

*No purchase necessary to win. A purchase or payment of any kind will not increase your chances of winning.


Yachting the Caribbean Hidden harbors. Tiny ports. All about you.

2-for-1 Fares plus Bonus Savings up to $1,200 pp For reservations, call Windstar Vacation Planner at 800-258-7245 or your travel professional.

WindstarCruises.com

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Walk the shores of the Galapagos with 100-year-old giant tortoises. Trek a glacier in Patagonia. Hike the Himalayas in Bhutan.

Experience the perfect adventure.

LU X U RY J O U R N E YS Through our partnership with AdventureLink, Luxury Link now offers travelers luxury adventure tours at insider prices. Luxury Link has partnered with fellow Los Angeles-based travel company, AdventureLink, to provide its travelers with unique, authentic travel experiences from around the world. More than just vacations, travelers can explore hard-toreach corners of the world while staying at four and five-star accommodations. Travelers can customize any journey with whatever their imaginations dream up.

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Mysteries of Myanmar: By Land and By Cruise

Explore Yangon from your late-Victorian colonial hotel, restored to its 1920s-30s glory. Soak in the twilight and the reverence at the golden Shwedagon Pagoda as worshippers make their offerings. Float the Ayeyarwady River past monasteries, through the jungles of the north to the Indian border. Meditate in the morning, watch the sun set over rice pagodas from temple heights in the evening, or sail over the pagodas in a balloon at dawn. Shop for lacquered treasures and fresh produce grown on floating gardens at local village markets. Tour ancient temple ruins submerged in Inle Lake, nestled in the blue mountains of the Shan Plateau.

Rickshaw through Chandni Chowk on your way to architectural sites from the Mughal Dynasty. Check into the sumptuous Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra before visiting the Taj Mahal at sunset and sunrise. En-route to Jaipur, the pink city, explore Fatehpur, the deserted red sandstone city of Emperor Akbar. Meet Bishnoi families who have been protecting India’s ecology since 1484 and tour markets of Jodhpur, the blue city. Lodge in the principal residence of the local Maharaja. Track tigers from elephant back on safari in Kanha National Park. Join the pilgrims to Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges River.

Luxury Tour of Majestic India

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Far away from flashing iPhone screens, an ancient ritual is happening in Costa Rica. Melissa Wozniak journeys off the grid in an ecotourism effort that may eventually save the sea turtles.

To donate, adopt a turtle or learn how to visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy, visit www.conserveturtles.org.

There are no roads

Tortuguero is approximately four hours by car and to Tortuguero. From La Pavo-

boat from Limón.

na, a docking depot on the

outskirts of a dense banana plantation, the River Suerte cuts through blankets of swampy undergrowth clinging to the banks of the rainforest. If the river is low, it may take a shallow-bottom boat two hours to navigate these canals, part of the national park that links Tortuguero to the mainland. It is here, in one of the most remote and most biodiverse parts of Costa Rica, that many of the world’s sea turtles come ashore to

Of the world’s seven species of sea turtles,

make their nests.

Tortuguero’s narrow strip of Caribbean beach, rough with volcanic

five are endangered. Some are on the brink of extinction.

sand, is no new destination for the turtles. Every two or three years they return to the same beach from ocean currents that have led them as far away as Spain or Brazil. They’ve been making this pilgrimage for millennia.

What’s new is the wave of tourists who have made a pilgrimage of their own to watch them, and in doing so, lend a hand to their survival.

Of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, five are endangered. Some are on the brink of extinction. Habitat destruction and bad fishing practices account for many of the casualties, but the most vulnerable part of a sea turtle’s life is when it has yet to hatch. On land, turtles are exposed to predators – most notably, the human kind – who poach the eggs and sell the meat.

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Sixty years ago, Tortuguero was a village that made its living

small groups walk the beach on lookout. If a turtle emerges

on turtle eggs. They were sucked down raw for breakfast

from the waves, the groups assist scientists as they measure

or cooked as a meal, just like they were in many Caribbean

and tag the animal for tracking and note the location of the

cultures. When ecologist Archie Carr opened the Sea Turtle

nest to monitor it in the days ahead.

Conservancy in this coastal town in the 1950s, he had to learn how to not only protect the animals, but how to change the

June through November, hundreds of greens turtles dot the

village mindset as well.

beach. In other months, hawksbills and leatherbacks turn up onshore. It was a

To help the turtles, scientists

at

Conservancy

Since the Conservancy began its

the bring

when I sat guard with

work, the green turtle population

media attention to the animals’ plight

chilly night in March

a

rare

850-pound

leatherback

has increased by 500 percent.

turtle

as she dropped her

and bring eco-tour-

eggs in a pit just inch-

ists from all over the

es away, one of the

world to become first-hand participants in the sea turtle

most incredible experiences of my life.

tagging program. On night patrols, in total darkness – turtles only come ashore at night and are distracted by any light

Since the Sea Turtle Conservancy began its work in Tortu-

source other than the moonlight reflecting off the ocean –

guero, the green turtle population has increased by 500 percent. As for the village mindset, that’s shifting, too. These days, Tortuguero’s economy depends on conservation, not consumption. Former poachers guide the tours, and the Conservancy leads education programs in the local school. “If the turtles go away,” one little girl astutely told me, “where will we be?”

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Melissa is a freelance writer based in New York whose travels have taken her from the mountains of Cape Town to the heart of Nairobi. Connect with her at www.worldwidewoz.com or on Instagram @melwozniak. 13 LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE


Get eco-friendly

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge Golfito Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Hotelito Desconocido La Cruz de Loreto, Mexico

Xandari Resort & Spa Alajuela, Costa Rica

Jicaro Island Ecolodge Ganada Isletas, Nicaragua

The Lodge At Pico Bonito La Ceiba, Honduras

Casa Bonita 14

Barahona, Dominican Republic LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE


Yachting the Caribbean Hidden harbors. Tiny ports. All about you.

2-for-1 Fares plus Bonus Savings up to $1,200 pp For reservations, call Windstar Vacation Planner at 800-258-7245 or your travel professional.

WindstarCruises.com

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U N P L U G

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“Unplugging” is an idea that is appearing in the

This doesn’t mean that I am opposed to the idea

lexicon with increasing frequency. Case in point:

of unplugging. I have been known to exuberant-

The phrase “digital detox” was indoctrinated

ly announce to clients that I am taking a two-

into the Oxford English Dictionary in August

week vacation to Northern Maine and I won’t

of 2013. We’re focused on both here at Luxury

even have internet. When I lived in Colorado, I

Link because wellness travel is trending in the

took weekly hikes along the continental divide –

industry.

hours with no signal at all.

In my research on what unplugging might mean

Although I am more social on my personal ac-

to different people, I Googled “How to Unplug”

counts on vacation, I’m that person who won’t

and read several articles suggesting that one

bother to get a local SIM card and data plan

black out time in one’s calendar to shut off all

when I’m in Europe. I may connect to WiFi in Pla-

devices, and, while in this digitally dark period,

ya del Carmen, but chances are I left my phone

one might consider going outside.

in the room when I left to spend the morning underwater with moray eels and manta rays.

I have to admit, I had a hard time finding a way into this topic without sounding overly judg-

But if you can’t flip the switch as easily as I can,

mental. I scoffed at the idea of places like Camp

here’s some extra encouragement. According to

Grounded in Anderson Valley, CA, where those

the Harvard Health Letter and the NIH, light, in-

in need of a forced digital detox must check

cluding that emitted by all your digital devices,

their devices at the camp lodge door. Don’t get

influences your circadian rhythm – what deter-

me wrong, one of the worst days of my life was

mines your natural cycle of waking and sleep-

the day I got too old for summer camp. I’m all

ing. Different wavelengths have different ef-

for the idea as an adult, but I find the unironic

fects. For example, blue light boosts your focus,

loss of perspective that paying someone else

your reaction time and your mood. However,

to take your phone away exhibits consternating

after sundown, it is the most disruptive to your

and baffling.

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...ONE MIGHT CONSIDER GOING OUTSIDE.

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Holly Wilde, Brand, Content & Social Media Manager for Luxury Link & Editor-in-Chief of Luxury Link LIFESTYLE, wrote this article LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE

on her Macbook while flying from LAX to JFK and mostly forgot to look out the window at the clouds. She missed the Grand Canyon entirely.


circadian rhythm because it suppresses mela-

At Petit St. Vincent, a private island with no TV,

tonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy and

WiFi or phone, you have to communicate with

facilitates your trip to dreamland.

the staff via a flag system if you want room service or housekeeping. But not to worry, with a

Guess which wavelength of light your smart-

two-to-one ratio of staff to guests, they’ll see

phone display emits?

your flag in a timely manner. You probably won’t be too fussed about it anyway, since you’ll have

Of course, the obvious answer here is to down-

moved on to step two of your digital detox and

load an app that skews your display more to-

have already left the sustainable resort to visit

ward the red-light end of the spectrum.

sea turtles at uninhabited Tobago Cays, picnic on nearby Mopion Island, or earn a new PADI

If you blithely agreed with the above line and

certification at Yves Cousteau’s dive center.

didn’t register the sarcasm, consider this: The

Also: It’s lobster season. That’s what you’re hav-

internal desynchronization caused by even a

ing for dinner. You earned it.

nightlight’s worth of blue light after dark is a causal factor in breast and prostate cancer, dia-

And we won’t tell if the way you earned it was

betes, heart problems and obesity.

taking a nap in the gazebo.

But where to go once you’ve actually made the decision to pull the plug?

Luxury Link’s other destinations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines include There’s a whole country that has dedicated it-

Buccament Bay Resort on Layou

self to helping you unplug – St. Vincent and the

Young Island Resort on Young Island Grenadines. (Phew!)

Palm Island Resort on Palm Island

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St. Vincent & the Grenadines

J

AT A GLANCE

Location: The southern end of the Lesser Antilles island chain in the Caribbean Sea, just south of St. Lucia and due east of Barbados.

Time zone: Eastern Caribbean Time UTC -04:00 (same as New York) Currency: East Caribbean Dollar ($), approx 0.37 USD

Getting there: Connect to the islands via Barbados and other Caribbean locations. St. Vincent’s primary

gateway is E.T. Joshua Airport (SVD), serviced by regional airlines such as LIAT Airlines and SVG Air. The under-construction Argyle International Airport will offer nearly four times the passenger capacity upon opening in 2015.

Getting around: Ferry services connect the islands, and private air and boat charters are also commonly

available. Many resorts coordinate their own ferry service. On the larger islands, taxis are the most common and efficient mode of transportation and rates are pre-negotiated.

Best time to visit: The Caribbean waters hold the islands in the 80s year-round. Travel in May and June for a shoulder-season value before hurricane season begins in July. Have the islands to yourself once again in November before the peak begins in December.

Luxury Link in St. Vincent and the Grenadines: At press time, Luxury Link offers vacation experiences at five boutique and five-star properties across the islands.

Cuba Puerto Rico Dominican Republic

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Venezuela


IT’S T I ME TO

TO YO U R H A P PY PLA C E LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE

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Luxury Link Connection STEVE HEYDT CEO, ELITE ISLAND RESORTS Steve Heydt is the president of Elite island Resorts, representing a collection of all-inclusive beachfront properties in the Caribbean. Each Elite Island Resorts property provides something unique to fulfill travelers’ desires, with offerings ranging from destination weddings or romantic escapes to family retreats or eco vacations. Resorts include: St. James’s Club Resort & Villas and The Verandah Resort & Spa, in Antigua; St. James’s Club Morgan Bay in Saint Lucia; Long Bay Beach Club in Tortola, BVI; Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines; and The Club Barbados Resort & Spa.

Elite Island Resorts has some of the

rebranding by Elite Island Resorts. Congratu-

most unique properties in the Caribbean.

lations! Are there any other new openings or

What makes them stand out from other re-

initiatives we should know about?

sorts in the region? We are always keeping our eyes open for the right opOur resorts tend to be far more authentic in nature and

portunity while continuing to improve our other beachfront

each one is uniquely different from the next, compared to

locales in Antigua, The Grenadines, and Tortola in the Brit-

big box resorts that replicate their story from one destination to another.

ish Virgin Islands. We recently rebranded Long Bay Beach Club on Tortola, which now offers 40 all-beachfront rooms,

Galley Bay Resort & Spa is a perfect example. With its pic-

suites and cabanas on the best beach in the BVI. The views

ture-perfect three-quarter-mile long white sand beach,

are incredible.

its romantic, Tahitian-inspired Gauguin Cottages, and its beachfront dining options, Galley Bay embodies the es-

sence of Antigua. A real highlight of this property is the au-

people aren’t going to in the Caribbean and

thentic West Indian cuisine. In May of this year, Caribbean Journal named Galley Bay one of the 10 Best Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts for Food.

You recently expanded the portfo-

lio to include St. James’s Club Morgan Bay and The Club Barbados last year, and both won prestigious awards after renovation and

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What are the most interesting islands

why should they go now? Most Caribbean countries have large marketing and advertising budgets so they are highly recognized. Our locations are less well-known, thus they become more desirable for those seeking an uncommon and authentic vacation experience. Antigua-Barbuda is perfectly positioned for increased tourism to the region with its 365 beaches and


laidback Caribbean charm. It is easy to get to from most

major gateways in the USA, UK and Canada.

vices for a year, which one would it be?

Anything but my phone.

The theme of this issue of Luxury Link

If you had to give up one of your de-

Lifestyle is “unplugging” – from work, from stress, from technology. As the President of

a major hotel company, can you ever actually

gree of travel. When you travel for business,

unplug?

what is important to you in a hotel? How

Your schedule demands a high de-

about when you travel for pleasure? In this 24/7 wired world, not really. But I do make an effort, when traveling for leisure with family in particular, to turn

When traveling for business, WiFi, location, and security

it OFF!

are important to me. When I travel for pleasure, comfort, amenities, and proximity to a city center are important.

How do you unplug?

What is do you think is The Next Big

Family is very important to me, so when on vacation with

Thing in Travel? How will it impact the Carib-

my wife or visiting with my many grandchildren, I make

bean and Elite Island Resorts?

sure to only check my devices a few times a day, rather than having them on 24/7 per usual.

I believe that Experiential Travel is the next big trend. Guests are seeking out travel experiences that resonate on

What is your favorite hotel/island for

unplugging and why?

a deeper emotional level. Elite Island Resorts is responding to this demand by offering guests the option to “Design Their Own” vacation. Whether you desire a spa getaway,

To truly unplug and unwind, I love to visit Palm Island, our

a romantic escape, or an eco-adventure, we can help you

private island resort in the Grenadines. Last year we part-

to plan it all.

nered with the SVG Tourism Board to promote the concept of a “Digital Detox” at the resort. In line with this philosophy,

all of our accommodations are TV, telephone, and WiFi

best “travel nightmare” story?

And now for a bit of fun. What’s your

free. The resort also recently began hosting weekly silent cinemas right on the beach, where guests can listen in via

In my 45+ years of traveling, I’ve had my share of delays,

wireless headphones.

cancellations and interruptions. However, I take all that in stride. Travel is still the best experience that anyone can

When you finally plug back in, what is

have next to family, friends and associates.

the device you reach for first? My iPhone 6 Plus, which I just got recently. I love that it serves as a mini tablet as well.

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Relaxation Begins at Takeoff

What to Pack for In-flight Comfort

Sometimes you have to travel far to really get away. Unfortunately, as airlines have economized, plane travel has become less comfortable. Director of Marketing Zoe Bo-Linn curates a few items that will help you start relaxing as soon as the plane takes off.

Airplane Travel Cup Holder Ever tried using your airplane tray table for a laptop and a drink holder? Almost impossible, and you are in constant fear of spilling your drink! Well, an easy solution is a travel cup holder, which allows you to enjoy your nice cocktail while emailing furiously. There are two options: one that clips to the seat-back pocket and one that easily clips to the tray table. I love the Vector created by VectorWerks.

Cord Organizer To keep all your cords together, I recommend a simple cord organizer. I’ve seen roll-ups and compartments. Personally, I like the grid option because it doubles as holder for your iPad. When packing, items with more than one function are key!

Blanket & Pillow Last year when I went to India was the first time I ever packed my own pillow, and I’m very glad I did. It came in handy as we bumped around the country, especially on the long bus ride from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Introducing the Lug Nap Sac, a machine washable travel blanket and pillow set. You’ll be warm and well rested on any form of transportation you might take. Better still – it is Oprah approved! If you don’t need the blanket, The Travel Halo is a compact travel pillow and mask.

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Compression Socks Compression socks are doctor recommended if you are at risk of deep vein thrombosis. I am not personally at risk, but a friend raves about them. “Gone are the days of orthopedic socks,” she says, “now compression socks come in lightweight materials.” She recommends the Celeste Stein brand easily found on Amazon, “because they are lightweight, colorful and efficient. I can rinse them out when I get to my destination and since they dry quickly, I can wear them again for my trip home.” Her enthusiasm made me curious, so on my recent trip to Thailand, I borrowed a pair. The socks improved circulation – no more swollen ankles!

Sleep Mask If a pillow and a blanket are too much to pack, a simple sleep mask will do. The Daydream sleep mask not only blocks light, but has microcapsules that release Aloe Vera and Vitamin E while you sleep. Add a spray of Sensai Hydrachange Mist, and you are set for a peaceful “night.”

Ostrich Pillow No seriously. Yes, we are fully aware of how ridiculous this looks, but after testing it, we noticed it has something that no other product achieves: 360˚ Pillow. No matter how fantastic your travel pillow is, there is always the inevitable fight for comfort as you bunch it under your neck or against the seat wall. But with the Ostrich Pillow, you can move your head and neck around and always be comfortable. It blocks out the world in a cocoon of comfort and even acts as a mask and sound barrier all in one. (There is also a mini version if you can’t bring yourself to look like a squeezable stress doll.)

Lastly, don’t forget to move and stretch! Most international in-flight entertainment provides stretching exercises. Happy Flying!

Each year, Zoe travels to a new country; this year it was Northern Thailand. If she could go anywhere again, it would be Myanmar. South America is next on her bucket list. LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE

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Photo by Elizabeth Balch | www.elizabethbalch.com


Honeymoon

OUR CARIBBEAN

After ten months of wedding planning, two address changes, a last minute international trip, the death

of my father and a drastic career change, my (now) husband and I were ready to unplug. Even though

we had a magical wedding filled with love and sweet promises, we needed to turn the outside world off and connect to each other. We decided we would take the first three days of our honeymoon to completely unplug, which meant turning off all digital devices and leaving all work problems in the iCloud. What I thought was going to be difficult turned out to be an experience worth sharing.

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Unplugged

& Hooked-u p

We wanted a worry-free all-inclusive vacation. In our

can multitask). No more missing out on the sounds of the

search, we found Ocean Blue & Sand, an exquisite retreat

waves crashing because you are listening to a song on

located twenty minutes from Punta Cana in the Domini-

your iPod. When you unplug, you get hooked-up on the

can Republic. Combining meticulous service and an array

present. You pay attention to what’s going on around you

of activities, and seasoning them with Caribbean flavors,

and savor the moment. It’s like tasting wine – you engage

Ocean Blue & Sand was a great pick for us because it gave

all your senses and think about what you are seeing, smell-

us all that we were looking for at a great value! We got the

ing, tasting and how all that makes you feel. I think that’s

Privilege (VIP) treatment for an entire week through Luxury

what normal should be like.

Link’s Signature Escape. Privilege gave us access to the best, including a romantic lobster dinner under the stars,

We had agreed to leave our electronics behind for at least

premium drinks, bali beds on the beach, and the gift of a

three days. However, after our digital fast was over, we en-

couple’s massage. (Such a treat! Thank you Ocean Blue.)

joyed it so much, that we never took our phones anywhere.

With all the resort had to offer, I have to say it was easy to

We only took our camera, but that we also used in moder-

leave the iPhones and watches behind. It’s amazing what

ation. Every morning, we read the resort’s activity list and

unplugging from technology can do to a person: We be-

meal times. There were no clocks around the resort, so we

came normal again!

got a sense of the time by watching the sun and observing the activities that were going on around us. Our only inter-

When I say “normal” I really mean normal. You know? The

ests were relaxing by the pool or the beach, drinking what-

way we’re supposed to be… No more looking down to the

ever we desired, eating whenever we were hungry and

iPad to check who commented on your latest post or liked

enjoying every minute together. It’s interesting how living

your Instagram photo. No more blocking your significant

each moment like it was our last, actually made time go by

other’s face with your phone while you type a text mes-

slower. So, turn off your device, and turn on your senses!

sage to your friend, when you should be listening to what the person in front of you is saying (even if you think you

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Green Prints

Another part of our trip that’s worth mentioning was the Outback Safari. Before we left for the Dominican, my savvy husband did a little research online and found this highly rated tour. They picked us up at nine in the morning at our resort and dropped us off right after sunset. Rudy, our tour guide, was very informative and genuine, always explaining the Dominican culture and the significance of everything they do. Our first stop was at the school they support. You may think that visiting a school will not do anybody any good, but as Rudy said, “Everybody should leave the hotel for at least one day and see how others live.” If anything, it will make you appreciate what you have at home. And the prints you will leave on the tourist destination will be smaller, while the multiplier effect will be larger. The multiplier effect means that whatever you leave in the community, whether it is donations or money from purchases, will help the locals. Whereas if you just stay in the resort, most of that money will go back to the owners, who are usually from a developed country.

After the school, we proceeded to a ranch where Rudy explained to us how cigars are made – the Dominican Republic is the world’s top tobacco hand-rolling country. We also got the chance to learn about local products and support the community by purchasing those directly from the source.

For lunch we stopped at a remote restaurant and ate the best food we had on the island. The main dish? Simply fried chicken with rice and beans. What was the secret? The 18-year-old girl who was in the kitchen learned how to cook with her grandmother.

Because I’ve seen the positive impacts of this tour, I highly recommend anyone traveling to a third world country to either get involved with “Pack for a Purpose” or to take a tour that supports sustainable tourism.

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Saying Goodbye On our last day, we walked by the gift shops outside the resort and bargained on a few more souvenirs to bring home. I fell in love with the native rock, larimar, that once polished can be used to make beautiful jewelry in a light turquoise blue. I bought myself a pair of earrings I can wear daily, in order to feel that the piece of me that I left behind in the Dominican Republic can be lightly replaced by the memory of the country and its joyful people.

Saying good-bye is always bittersweet to me. On one hand, I leave behind a place I grew fond of, but on the other I get to come home to the people I love. On one hand, I realize how privileged I am, and on the other I wonder what else I can do to have a positive impact in the world.

At the end of this trip, I have to say that my conclusion to the latter question is this:

Disconnect from the digital world, and connect to the people you encounter. Whether it is on vacation or in your daily life, make sure to unplug from electricity and hook-up to the moment. Because really, at the end of the day, the people we meet and the experiences we have with them are our biggest treasures. And how we connect with those people and make them feel are ultimately what makes all the difference in the world.

Karina Nascimento is the Marketing Coordinator for Luxury Link. She received her M.S. in International Tourism from San Jose State University, where she also co-authored a research article published by the Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Her passion for travel has led her to cruise the roads of places like Mozambique, Costa Rica, Mexico, and her native country of Brazil. She hopes the train will never stop.

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Spotlight on: CONCIERGE Got a question about a Luxury Link hotel? Not sure which destination is right for you? The Luxury Link Concierge Team is standing by to assist. Give us a call at 877-372-5877, Monday through Saturday, for personalized guidance, including custom-built vacations and help with new or existing reservations.

Jim Sanchez

Jim Sanchez is a Senior Travel expert, with thousands of bookings at luxury hotels all over the world under his belt.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT LUXURY LINK?

THE IDEA OF A “DIGITAL DETOX” VACATION IS A

Nine years.

HOT TOPIC THESE DAYS. IS THERE A BEACHFRONT PROPERTY THAT YOU FEEL REALLY NAILS THIS CONCEPT FOR GUESTS?

WHAT ARE YOUR TRAVEL CREDENTIALS? As a child, I had the great good fortune of living in

Hotelito Desconocido, in La Cruz de Loreto, Mexico,

Thailand for seven years. I had the opportunity to visit

really exemplifies this concept. Everything runs on

countries such as China, Laos, Japan, Vietnam,

solar power, which means no WiFi or televisions in the

Cambodia and Myanmar, amongst others.

rooms. Candles light the walkways and restaurants at night – it’s very romantic and appropriate for its

By high school, I had decided that my career would

location in an eco-preserve.

be in travel, and I’ve worked for a number of corporate travel companies such as American Express

In the Caribbean, Secret Bay Dominica does offer WiFi

and US Travel, booking travel for executives from

and TV in the rooms, but the accommodations are

companies like Boeing, Raytheon, Direct TV, Saatchi

designed to lure you outside with expansive decks,

& Saatchi and Lexus.

soaking tubs and hammocks. The scenery is so beautiful, and there are so many outdoor activities, you

Later, I traveled all over the world and in total I have

won’t miss your electronic diversions at all.

visited 4 of the 7 continents. WHAT GETS YOU UP IN THE MORNING? Helping each of my customers plan their dream WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

vacation. I personally book over 300 vacations each

Do I have to pick just one destination? I’d like to take a

month, and about 100 of them are custom trips. How

Uniworld Cruise in Europe, visit Ca’Sagredo in Venice,

lucky am I?

Belmond Napasai in Koh Samui and Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen.

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The

“Slow-paced mornings were followed by afternoon stupors...” 32

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What’s in my carry on: What to pack for a barefoot luxe break in the Maldives Australian travel blogger Andrea Magrath gives Luxury Link a peek into her suitcase.

epitomizes romance. Scattered across the Indian Ocean, every island in each of the Maldivian atolls boasts powder-white sand, vibrant coral reefs and clear azure water.

These tranquil isles are the ultimate “fly and flop” destinations – a place to unplug, unwind and enjoy each other’s company without the distractions of city life. No deadlines, early meetings, phone calls or social media. Just the two of you, the ocean and a romantic overwater villa.

When I visited over New Year’s with my boyfriend, we spent the week swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. Slow-paced mornings were followed by afternoon stupors, dozing in the hammock. The island was so blissful, so impossibly romantic, and by the time we departed, he was my fiancé.

A good bikini, a book to lose myself in, and a camera to capture the memories are all I need for the ultimate barefoot luxe break in the Maldives. This is what I pack in my carry-on…

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Bikini On a romantic sojourn, you want swimwear that both you and your significant other can appreciate. This Mara Hoffan number ticks all the boxes – sexy, stylish and supportive.

GoPro Most of the action happens underwater – you don’t want to miss the beautiful coral and fish. I recently discovered the joys of a GoPro and haven’t looked back.

Diptyque Travel Candle A hotel room always feels a little more like home with a candle lit. I love to bring a travel candle with me wherever I go, and Diptyque Baies is both summery and romantic to set the mood.

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Portable Speakers What could be better than chilling on the sand with a cool soundtrack in the background? I never travel anywhere without Bose mobile

speakers.

Beach Cover-up This sunny crochet cover-up is beach chic exemplified, and all you need to go from the sand to dinner.

Nuxe Body Oil A romantic beach holiday requires a sexy sleeveless dress to show off sun-kissed shoulders. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse body oil is luxurious, smells divine and gives golden skin an extra glimmer. He won’t be able to resist.

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Camera Even if you’re on a self-imposed social media ban, you can still capture memories to cherish forever. My camera of choice is the Panasonic Lumix GF6 – a whole host of built-in filters and modes make every photo look professional. And there’s NFC and WiFi features so you can send snaps straight to your phone – to share when you get home, of course!.

Moroccan Oil Maldivian sun is harsh on the hair. After shampooing, I slather my locks with Moroccan Oil to rehydrate – and the scent is heavenly.

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A Good Book Turn off Twitter and appreciate literature that is more than 140 characters. I devour books during hours on the beach, and recently finished “The Goldfinch,� the book of the year and one that I found intensely gripping.

Andrea is a London-based freelance travel writer and blogger. You can find her in an airport, waiting in line at the latest pop-up restaurant, or glued to her laptop. Follow her travels on somekindofwonderlust.com. Instagram: @somekindofwanderlust Twitter: @andreamagrath

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One & Only Reethi Rah, North MalĂŠ Atoll An image of paradise, the silken sands and cerulean waters of the Maldives islands offer an experience of exceptional beauty and perfect peacefulness.

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Baros Maldives, MalĂŠ In the endless expanse of azure Indian Ocean, Baros Maldives is a paradisiacal retreat set on a small coral island, ready to make your dreams come true.

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, South MalĂŠ Atoll Verdant tropical rainforests and the cerulean waters of the Indian Ocean are the tableau for secluded luxury resort Taj Exotica Resort & Spa.

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WineIsla

An Expert from Each Hemisphere Curates

for the

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Close your eyes and imagine you are on an island

Garrido, Interim Executive Chef at the Gansevoort

getaway. Wide sandy beaches. Crashing waves.

Turks and Caicos and Jean-Sebastian Azais, Chief

Warm air caressing your skin. Are you there yet?

Sommelier for The One&Only Reethi Rah Resort, Maldives, to get insider tips on which wines to sip.

Now, what are you drinking? Both Azais and Garrido like rosés from Many people wouldn’t immediately think of wine –

Provence and Spain, especially for daytime.

it’s too warm to grow wine grapes in the Caribbean

Lighter, crisper and less tannic than a full-bodied

or the Maldives, so they have to be imported. Then

red, a chilled rosé refreshes the palate after a

too, the flavors of the cuisine (spicy and warm

bite ofspicy cuisine.

in the Caribbean, full of lime and nutmeg or rich coconut-curry in the Maldives) can be tough to

Once the temperature cools at night and the

pair and will often “fight” wines without sufficient

cuisine gets serious, Garrido loves the big reds.

character.

Hot and aromatic West Indian spices – such as the scotch bonnet and cinnamon in a jerk seasoning –

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Today, some of the finest chefs in the world are

can make some wines taste “off,” but Garrido finds

opening restaurants in the Caribbean and the Mal-

a Chianti Classico or an Italian Barbera more than

dives, and their sommeliers are carefully building

stands up. Azais agrees. He finds that the wines he

cellars to match. We spoke to one of each: Victor

sources from Bordeaux actually open up and de-

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velop a better aroma in the Maldives than in their

champagne to some truly great wines that rival the

native France – perhaps due to the humidity.

world’s best offerings. “I had one guest who stayed in the Maldives for two weeks and drank very good

Whatever your preferences, don’t worry about

wines over that time. On his last day, he called me

finding an extensive selection. Azais has built one

over and said, ‘Sebastian, I’ve been eyeing that

of the largest cellars in the world (30,000 bottles)

bottle of 1945 Chateau Margaux and I can’t leave

for One&Only Reethi Rah, as well as impressive

the island without drinking it. Will you join me for

cellars for properties in Mauritius and Dubai. He

lunch and share it with me?’ So there I am, sitting

acts as his own importer, traveling the world to es-

with this guest at lunch and drinking a $15,000

tablish connections with suppliers. In Mauritius and

bottle of French red wine.“

Dubai, where alcohol importing is restricted, having the right political connections can help. “There is a

Cheers!

lot of money to be made,” Azais says, “so whoever is in charge can, and does, decide who is allowed to import.” Sara Chapman, Manager of Vacationist, loves islands, beaches and wine,

Azais left us with a story illustrating that your wine experience in a tropical destination can be anything you like, from fun and flirty rosés and

not necessarily in that order. While she loves sampling a variety of vintages, she considers the practice of spitting mouthfuls into a little bucket to be a dreadful waste.

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Island Fashion

a Practical is the New Chic

While everything about trip planning is exciting, so much energy goes into logistics. What about the really fun stuff? Let's face it, looking refreshed and fabulous while cruising the islands is just as important as getting there.

When packing for a beachy getaway, articles need to be functional and versatile. Gone are the days of hauling half your closet across continents. Practical is the new chic. Replacing your enormous suitcase by transitioning to the right carry on bag is half the struggle. If you've held out on a trolley suitcase, it's time to swallow your pride and get on board with the trend. Tumi’s Tegra-Lite ® suitcase is at the top of its class when it comes to cabin luggage. Light, durable and easy to maneuver, it’s changed the way travelers pack for the better.

Traveling light does have its own challenges so thinking multi-functional is key.

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For ladies looking to keep baggage light but stay chic, there are a few solutions. Before heading to the sand, read up on the numerous ways to tie a beach wrap. Sarongs are an easy way to transition beachwear into appropriate dinner attire. Dress down a flowy maxi dress with bare feet and a floppy hat during the day and class it up with some heels and sexy curls at night. This navy peek-aboo maxi dress by LOFT is just the right amount of mod meets casual. Also, stressing about hair fixes by the beach can be too much. Drybar recently launched a new travel must-have, the Up and Away travel kit, and no-hassle beach curls are no longer a thing of your dreams. If you really want to save room for souvenirs, opt for bikini tops and bottoms that can be worn separately. J Crew’s mix & match bathing suit tops and bottoms can turn two suits into four.

Men’s outfitters Trunk Club has island vacation es-

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sentials down. Voilà gents, with their California Casual trunk, your packing is complete. A pair of swim trunks that can actually double as great looking shorts? Yes they exist! With a memory foam sole, Hari Mari’s leather flip-flops are the Tempur-Pedic of footwear. Tie any outfit together with a pair of Persol sunglasses and your island fashion is complete. Not just your ordinary Ray-Bans, Persol glasses were originally designed for pilots and extreme sports drivers, making them ideal for today’s island hoppers.

Last but not least, remember that packing for a trip should build buzz for the adventure - and your best beach accessory will always be a dazzling island glow.

Andrea Bildman is a stylist for the men’s shopping service Trunk Club. Looking for more island styles? Get in touch at abildman@trunkclub.com.

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Ten Under-the-Radar

BeACHES & ISLANDS

1

Secret Bay Portsmouth, Dominica

Selected by Travel + Leisure as one of the best new hotels in the world, and by TheKnot as one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world, this boutique eco-luxury resort sits atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean.

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2

Banyan Tree Bintan Lagoi, Indonesia

Just 55 minutes via high-speen catamaran from Singapore, the villas at this adventurer’s retreat are raised on traditional wooden stilts and overlook Tanjung Said Bay and the surrounding firstgrowth rain forest.

3

Kurumba Maldives Kaafu Atoll, Maldives

Named for the Dhivehi word for coconut, this all-inclusive resort is a 2014 contender for the World Luxury Spa Awards.

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4

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort Sciacca, Sicily, Italy

Three Kyle Phillips-designed golf courses hug two kilometers of Mediterranean coastline.

5

Turtle Island Turtle Island, Fij

Each of the twenty eight guests enjoy personal Bure Mama service on this private island that was the setting for The Blue Lagoon and Sports Illustrated’s 2011 swimsuit issue.

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6

Tiamo South Andros Island, Bahamas

Reachable via direct flight from Fort Lauderdale, this boutique getaway on the bonefishing capital of the worldhas just ten cottages and one villa.

7

Travaasa Hana Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Set in a secluded location on the eastern tip of Maui, Travaasa Hana encourages guests to unplug by removing TVs and alarm clocks and offering classes on how to make a flowered lei or throw a handmade fishing net in the bay.

8

Hotelito Desconocido La Cruz de Loreto, Mexico

Situated on a UNESCO nature preserve, where crystal clear lagoon waterways and swaying palms are home to more than 150 species of birds, turtles and other wildlife, Hotel Desconocido designs each individual palafito after a card from the Mexican lottery. LUXURY LINK LIFESTYLE

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9

Indura Beach & Golf Resort Tela Bay, Honduras

Nestled between the Caribbean and Jeannette Kawas National Park, 18 holes designed by internationally renowned golf-pro Gary Player across 1,800 pristine acres await.

Casa Oceano Tango Mar Beach, Costa Rica

This exquisite home, located on Costa Rica's Pacific coast features an oceanfront infinity pool, a full gourmet kitchen, six beautiful bedrooms and a staff who will expertly arrange any tours that pique your interest.

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Yachting the Caribbean Hidden harbors. Tiny ports. All about you.

2-for-1 Fares plus Bonus Savings up to $1,200 pp For reservations, call Windstar Vacation Planner at 800-258-7245 or your travel professional.

WindstarCruises.com

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Publisher: Luxury Link Travel Group Editor-in-Chief: Holly Wilde Creative Director: Matt Cogswell Managing Editor: Zoe Bo-Linn Copy Editors: Sara Chapman, Josh Sciortino Designers: Matthew Cogswell, Anthony Brown Contributors: Diane McDavitt, Karina Nascimento, Melissa Wozniak, Andrea Magrath, Andrea Bildman, Oliver Deubel

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