• Borgo Ignazia_Hotels_Hero

    Best Luxury Hotels in the World for R&R

    <p>After you’ve hung the decorations, wrapped the presents, cooked the food and entertained all your guests – it’ll be time for you to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/reservations/" target="_blank">book some much-needed R&amp;R</a>. In the meantime, while you’re currently in full holiday-mode, just think... the rush will be over in a few more weeks and you can be lounging poolside (or bar-side) at one of these six luxury accommodations while on a handcrafted trip of a lifetime.   <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Skalakot" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Skalakot - Iceland</a></b><br>With white gables that echo the nearby mountains, this <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">family-owned manor</a> hotel is a cozy and luxurious retreat. Rooms are decorated in true Icelandic style. The exceptional restaurant features local specialties from Arctic char to homemade bread. Now, this is getting away from it all. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Hotel Sahrai" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Hotel Sahrai - Morocco</a></b><br>On a hill between the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Fes Medina</a> and the New Town, this boutique hotel has unparalleled views. Light-flooded rooms are decorated with a contemporary twist on Moroccan design. Facilities include an infinity pool, fitness center and Givenchy spa – perfect for your well-deserved, post-holiday pampering.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Borgo Egnazia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank">Borgo Egnazia – Italy</a></b><br>Apulia is where the high-profile stars go to escape and decompress, and<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank"> Borgo Egnazia </a>is the perfect stay. A whitewashed seaside compound, this chic property is designed as a Mediterranean village. Elegant rooms decorated in shades of white amplify Apulia’s sun. The property offers indoor and outdoor pools, a terrific spa and a range of dining options.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Iguana Crossing" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Iguana Crossing - Galapagos</a></b><br>What better way to relax than with an <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">ocean-front room</a> in paradise? There’s nothing but National Park (with a live volcano) out the back. This hotel is cool, very close to nature and eco-minded. Amenities include a swimming pool, a roof-deck Jacuzzi and its own excellent restaurant.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Inkaterra Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Inkaterra Machu Picchu – Peru</a></b><br>Set among 13 acres of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">tropical gardens</a> featuring over 140 species of orchids, this hotel proudly 100% carbon neutral. Spacious rooms are situated in unique hillside casitas and feature lovely tile floors, carved wood furniture, and luxurious bathrooms.<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank"><img alt="Amarvilas" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rn6" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank">Oberoi Amarvilas – India</a></b><br>Just 600 meters from the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank">Taj Mahal</a>, all rooms and public areas in this fine resort offer breathtaking views. Inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture, it has been ranked in the top 10 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure.</p>

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  • Machu Picchu, Peru

    Paradise Found

    <h3>GO FOR MACHU PICCHU AND DISCOVER A PERU ALIVE WITH NEW EXPERIENCES</h3> <p>It’s funny where bucket list ideas begin. I’d wanted to go to Peru since junior high when I blundered onto my Mom’s View-Master disc from the 1950s. It featured the “Lost City of the Incas,” “Cathedral in Ancient Cuzco,” and “Llamas, Urubamba Valley.” Clicking through those stereoscopic 3D images, I saw that Machu Picchu was just a frame or two in Peru’s story. But I’ll admit that it was <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">that mysterious city in the Andes that finally drew me there.</a><br><br><img alt="Downtown Cusco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9p" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><a href="https://goo.gl/pZ1D3j" target="_blank">I decided to do my pilgrimage with Classic Journeys</a>, particularly because their itinerary includes parts of three days at Machu Picchu. After waiting so long and traveling that far, I wasn’t about to do a day trip like many visitors. Also, I had the option of going all the way to the top on the luxurious and super scenic Inca Train or of making my approach by walking the last stretch of the famous Inca Trail with a local Quechua guide. That leg rises 1,500 feet on a path that takes five to six hours. It requires a special permit (which Classic Journeys arranged for me), and I was glad I’d spent some pre-trip time on a Stairmaster, because wow was it worth it.<br><br><img alt="llama at Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9u" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><br>Via the Inca Trail, we arrived at Machu Picchu at the Sun Gate, which is above the site. Puffs of mist drifted in the cloud forests below. The view took my breath away even more than the trail. After I pinched myself, my mind jumped to the inevitable question of how the heck this place is even possible. During our visit, <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">we had sensational guides</a> who floated the legends and shared the learning about how it was buildable in the 15th century. I also had time to wander on my own, a rare chance to get a personal sense of one of the world’s most important archaeological sites.<br><br><img alt="Woman feeding llama" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9G" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>View-Master wasn’t lying when it taught me that <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">Machu Picchu is just a drop in the Peruvian bucket</a>. The people we met would have been worth the trip, even if there weren’t a single ruin. Out in the Andes, many of the folks we met, including our guide Marisol, were direct Quechua descendants of the Incas. I talked breeding practices with a llama herder. (Yes, the beasts do spit. Fortunately, their aim is iffy.) In an off-the-beaten-path village, our group dropped in on a local school to visit with the kids and teachers. A heads-up before our trip meant that I had pens, pencils and notebooks to share with them. We also got to hang out with the people of Ollantaytambo, a thriving pre-Columbian village where I nursed my first glass of chicha, the corn beer that’s still brewed pretty much as the Incas did. The boy tending sheep in the Sacred Valley couldn’t have been happier to say hi, or wonder about why we were walking through his valley. Renowned ceramicist Pablo Seminario waved us into his studio like we were long-lost friends.<br><br><img alt="Woman with local school children" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9Q" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Frankly, I’d put Peru right back at the top of my list, just to go back and <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">experience the country’s luxurious hospitality</a>. Our monastery-turned-hotel in Cusco is ranked as one of South America’s finest. Back out at Machu Picchu, our hotel sat in a 12-acre park with 214 kinds of birds, 372 species of orchids and its own tea plantation. (I picked my own leaves and brewed my own cup. So long, oolong.) Peru’s cuisine is as haute as a snow-capped Andes peak. I would have happily bestowed as many Michelin stars as there are on my ceviche of sea bass, lime juice and hot chilies, crisps of onion and creamy sweet potato.<br><br><img alt="Hotel in Peru" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9V" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>After years of anticipation, it could have happened that my actual visit to Peru would be anti-climactic. But I’m feeling a little sorry that I’ve ticked that box. From blockbuster Machu Picchu right through an unforgettable two-pisco-sour sunset in the Urubamba Valley, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/perufamily" target="_blank">I’d do it all again in a second.</a><br><br><img alt="Rio Sagrado" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9f" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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  • Machu Picchu

    Why you should add Peru to your bucket list and go now

    <p><a href="https://goo.gl/15kx3f" target="_blank">“More than Machu Picchu!”</a> This would be a fitting subtitle for any traveler’s exploration of Peru. Across the sweeping southern plains of the country and within its tangled rainforests, there are enough adventures to satiate even the most storied travelers without setting foot upon the Incan citadel. And yet, it’s also true that no trip to the Land of the Sun would be complete without it, so it seems a fitting way to kick off this list.</p> <p><b>If you have one week:</b></p> <h3><b><a href="https://goo.gl/15kx3f" target="_blank">SEE MACHU PICCHU LIKE HIRAM BINGHAM</a></b></h3> <p>High up amidst the clean air of the Andes mountains, where the sky is a deep topaz and the hills are an almost lurid green, your senses can stretch without constraint.</p> <p>Built in the 15<sup>th</sup> century, the stone city’s secluded location spared it from the conquest of the Spanish (though it’s just fifty miles from Cusco, which was seized). Something of an architectural anomaly, it was once an almost <a href="https://goo.gl/15kx3f" target="_blank">mythical mountaintop city</a>: solstices were celebrated and thriving commerce was conducted. The driving force behind its success in such a remote location, however, eludes historians to this day.<br><br>If you still find energy after walking in the ancient ruins, there’s an abundance of hummingbirds to identify in the surrounding lushness, and tea leaves to pick and dry in time for dinner.<br><br><img alt="Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l6&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qgF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b><a href="https://goo.gl/kWm0f5" target="_blank">SLEEP IN A MONASTERY</a></b></h3> <p><a href="https://goo.gl/kWm0f5" target="_blank">The Belmond Monasterio in Cusco </a>manages to provide world-class 5-star service within a 17th century Spanish monastery built on ancient Incan foundations. It’s also been renovated with the highest degree of historical accuracy. Settle into the inner courtyard, the perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner Pisco sour – a South American signature drink. It sets the culinary bar high, and the food does not disappoint. Warm crawfish ceviche and lamb shank infused with garden-picked oregano and dolloped with goat cheese are the perfect way to punctuate a long day of exploring; a glass of red wine seals the deal. <br><br><img alt="Hotel Monasterio" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l6&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qgK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><a href="https://goo.gl/VzCoZ3" target="_blank"><b>LEARN ANCIENT TECHNIQUES FROM PERUVIAN ARTISTS</b></a></h3> <p>Peru’s brightly patterned textiles are amongst its most recognizable cultural symbols. Relying on techniques unchanged through centuries, there’s no better place to discover the mystery behind their making than in the tiny mountain village of Chinchero. Deep in Peru’s Sacred Valley, this community is known today for making fabrics according to ancient tradition<a href="https://goo.gl/VzCoZ3" target="_blank">.</a> Here, <a href="https://goo.gl/VzCoZ3" target="_blank">meet with local artisans</a> who demonstrate how they treat wool with natural dyes to achieve astoundingly vibrant colors, and then weave them into intensely complicated patterns. A true delight for those with an artistic eye or fascinated by Andean cultural traditions.<br><br><img alt="Peruvian woman weaving" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l6&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qgP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><b>If you have more than a week, here’s how to extend your explorations:</b></p> <h3><a href="https://goo.gl/EG4TFg" target="_blank"><b>EXPLORE THE AMAZONIAN JUNGLE</b></a></h3> <p>Peru’s Amazonian jungle occupies over half the country. Within the lush tangle of the Tambopata National Reserve, the density of the Amazon is immediate and breathtaking. A network of swinging bridges exist for you to navigate the tree tops; take in an aerial view of the biological complexity beneath the canopy. Howler monkeys swing through trees as otters swim in lakes below. If heights make you nervous, never fear; canoes also await. Paddling the Reserve’s hushed lake surface is an experience not to be missed.<br><br><img alt="Canopy walk" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l6&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qgU" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>It’s true that much of Peru’s mystique stems from its timeless ancient cities, colorful cultures and cinematic scenery. But there’s also never been a better time to visit its increasingly cosmopolitan cities. The country has won <a href="https://goo.gl/15kx3f" target="_blank">World Travel Awards for South America’s Leading Culinary Destination</a> for three years in a row, and Cusco has quickly established itself as a <a href="https://goo.gl/15kx3f" target="_blank">world class culinary destination.</a> If you’re drawn by it all – food, luxury, history, and nature – then rest assured that Peru is the perfect destination for you.</p>

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