📷 Shinta Mani Mustang

 

WHERE TO NEXT?

Dear Traveler,

The US has been taken over by a cold winter blast and I hope you are staying warm inside or properly geared up to take advantage of the powdery snow that has also arrived! Embracing the winter through outdoor adventures is one of my strategies for making it through the long, dark New England Winter.

Luckily, I am working with many of you on warm weather summer, fall and even next festive season getaways so daily I’m immersed in dreams of sunnier places.

January tends to be the most busy month for travel planning. And that is proving true for me!

What I’m working on designing with you this week:

  • finalizing lots of details for your summer trips to Italy (happily we secured all of your hotels back in December because availability is dwindling by the day)
  • Alaska adventures
  • African safaris
  • skiing in the Dolomites
  • exploring Greece
  • cultural and foodie experiences and boating in Portugal
  • adventuring in Interlaken and Austria
  • sporting events – professional soccer games, Eurocopa finals, Wimbledon and the Roland Garos tournament in Paris
  • Taylor Swift concerts in European destinations (for me too)
  • multigenerational family getaway to a villa in rural France
  • immersing yourselves in Cuban culture

Remember – Planning ahead is always a good idea!

In addition to planning trips, this week I also had a call with my partner in Bhutan to learn more about recent updates in travel to their beautiful country.

The opportunities to immerse yourself in local customs through festivals and connections with regular Bhutanese people, the awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes and the active adventures hiking or multiday trekking while staying in spectacular lodges are a few of the reasons to have Bhutan on your list (see more in an article below). And as you’ll also see below, this week’s Hot New Hotel Opening is next door in Nepal. You can easily combine these two countries in one extended trip.


This week’s inspirational articles include the growth in adventure travel for women over 40, Rome’s best wine bars, why Bhutan is a must-visit destination for 2024, Karaoke Gondola Grindewald (teens and college kids would love this!), the transformative power of sabbaticals (I know from experience) and a food and wine guide to New Zealand.

Safari inspiration includes the best safaris to experience in 2024 and 5 national parks that prove why a Uganda safari is special.

You’ll also find information on this year’s best new vacation reads, the removal of the visa requirement for Americans going to Türkiye and how to adopt a legacy mindset to guide you in how you want to be remembered.

Warmly,

Below:

  • This week’s highlight – Belly of the Beast
  • Hot New Hotel Opening – Shinta Mani Mustang
  • Inspiration + Information

BELLY OF THE BEAST

With many of you traveling to Africa this year, and given it’s one of my favorite destinations – it is always on my mind.

The #1 reason people go to South Africa is for the wildlife on safari. But in my opinion time exploring Cape Town is a close second!

Hiking Table Mountain, learning about Nelson Mandela and the history of Apartheid, adventuring to Cape Peninsula (and seeing penguins), shopping, cooking with locals, wine tasting in Stellenbosch. There are so many reason to visit!

Cape Town’s restaurant scene is incredible. You could easily dine out lunch and dinner every day for a week at places that are all worthy of a special occasion.

The Belly of the Beast is one of those.

Chefs Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart describe it as…”It’s like going to your grandmother’s house for dinner. You don’t know what she’s going to serve. You just know it’s going to be good.”

They have just one seating at 7pm. They offer a tasting menu, but it’s different than your typical tasting menu. There are no menu options or set amount of courses. You show up and trust them to satisfy you with their local ingredients and seasonal fare.

The bread is cooked on an open fire and each dish on the tasting menu is paired with a local wine, including new varietals from small producers – all introduced by the sommelier.

 

They have an unwavering commitment to using local, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients and because of that there is a South African vibe to the food. “We like to cook food that we like to eat. It has to taste good.”

Ambience

With only 30 seats, it’s a very personal dining experience. Everyone is seated at the same time so that the chefs can focus on preparing each course. The chefs finish one course entirely before devoting their attention to the next.

“The decor is the perfect backdrop for the food – a little bit edgy, dark and moody, but classic and tasteful, with hints of industrial chic. The open kitchen and its live-fire cooking is the main point of focus, adding a definite energy and dynamism to the space.”

Because of their name, often there is a misconception that they only serve meats, but that is not the case – they try to balance the dishes between meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes (alert them ahead of time to any food sensitivities, preferences or allergies).

See a video of their intro here.

I strongly recommend you put Belly of the Beast on the list for your next Cape Town visit!

📷 Belly of the Beast

🌟 In August, Shinta Mani Mustang opened in Mustang, Nepal. This hotel is perfect for individuals or couples seeking meaningful, awe-inspiring adventures and are spiritually inclined or curious. 

Why visit Shinta Mani Mustang?

  • Enjoy a five night curated program that offers a combination of cultural insight, spiritual connection and scenic adventures in Nepal. Your private guide will tailor your experience to your needs and interests. 
  • You are escorted on a variety of day trips including hiking along rarely traveled trails with dramatic landscapes and visiting important religious sites. These activities enable you to be fully immersed in the local culture and traditions and results in a truly authentic and memorable experience. 
  • Visit the Sorig Spa and Wellness where you have a private consultation with Amchi (Tibetan doctor) who creates a tailor-made spa and wellness regimen that will soothe your body while relaxing your spirit. The Sorig Spa is on site and overlooks the Nilgiri range. 

Of course it comes with the usual perks and VIP treatment when booking your stay through Truvay Travel.

📷 Shinta Mani Mustang

Reach out to plan your trip to

INSPIRATION

Adventure travel is a growth industry thanks to women over 40, Washington Post

I’m a Wine Writer, and Rome Has Some of the World’s Best Wine Bars — Here Are 8 Of My Favorites, Travel & Leisure

Could The Azores Be The New Iceland? This Hotel Entrepreneur Thinks So, Forbes

13 Great Beaches for Winter Sun, AFAR

Why Bhutan is a must-visit destination for 2024, House & Garden

The Caribbean islands to choose for a holiday in 2024, House & Garden

Karaoke Gondola Grindewald, Ricola

The new hotel openings we’re most excited for in 2024, House & Garden

The best pubs in the Cotswolds. House & Garden

The Transformative Power of Sabbaticals, Academy of Management Insights

9 Must-Have Travel Experiences for 2024, Luxury Travel Magazine

Indigenous Tourism Goes Deeper Than ‘Dinner and a Show’, NYT

Coastal dips and river wading on a multi-day hike through New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park, National Geographic

The great food and wine guide to New Zealand, Wanderlust

What It’s Like to Stay at La Mamounia, One of the World’s Greatest Luxury Hotels in the Heart of Marrakech, Robb Report

The 10 Best Multiday Hikes in Our National Parks, Outside Magazine

SAFARIS

The best safaris to experience in 2024, Bazaar

5 National Parks That Prove Why a Uganda Safari Is Special, AFAR

INFORMATION

This Year’s Best New Vacation Reads, Virtuoso

Türkiye Removes Visa Requirement for Americans, Travel Agent Central

F.A.A. to Increase Oversight of Boeing and Audit 737 Max 9 Production, NYT

These are the world’s most powerful passports in 2024: Singapore shares the top spot with Japan and key EU members, Condé Nast

The 7 Key Ingredients of Exceptional Resilience, According to a Psychotherapist. Inc.

How will you be remembered? Here’s how to adopt a ‘legacy’ mindset.,

The Washington Post

Do You Tip in France? Sometimes—Here’s When and How Much to Give, AFAR

(If you aren’t able to access an NYT or Washington Post article, send me a note and I’ll send it to you in a PDF.)

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