WHEN YOU GO DOWN to breakfast and the wall of windows facing the ocean flashes moss and turquoise like Vegas neon, you know you’re getting off the ship. That’s why the island of Roatán, off the coast of Honduras, proves one of the most popular stops for cruise ship passengers.
This 31-mile-long, five-mile-wide line of sand is as adventurous as it is colorful. When we sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line, we wanted to explore Roatán but avoid crowds, so we opted out of an organized excursion. Instead, our multigenerational family of five walked along the Coxen Hole wooden pier, past shops, musicians with steel drums and festive welcome drinks to find someone who could take us around the island.
We found that in Joelle, a driver who materialized from a line of taxis and, in perfect English, used his outgoing personality and wide-toothed grin to charm us into believing he had been waiting just for us.
Most passengers go to bustling West Bay, where plenty of activities and resorts await, but Joelle drove us to the quieter Half Moon Bay at West End. During the ride, we spoke about his part of the world. “Everyone speaks English,” he said. “Yes,” I replied, “but what’s the native language?” “English!” he insisted. I later found that was true in Roatán and the two other islands off Honduras, collectively known as the Bay Islands. “Islanders,” as they prefer to be called, are mostly descendants of the British Isles; however, there are also those of African-Caribbean heritage and immigrants from mainland Honduras, so Spanish is a close second.
The beach at Half Moon Bay offers visitors plenty of souvenir, restaurant and bar options just steps from the water. The public beach sits in the center of the half moon bend. Just 30 feet from dry sand, a Technicolor underwater universe beckons. Because we brought our own snorkel gear, we saw a spectrum of undulating anemones, fans of coral and psychedelic fish swimming through the rainbow reef.
On our way back to the ship, we stopped to eat at Jungle Top Zipline and enjoyed the rare opportunity to play with rescued capuchin monkeys. As the little bundles of fur jumped from head to shoulder and back to head, the day ended as magically as it had begun.
Nobu Barbuda is underway in the Caribbean, the newest installation to the Nobu Hospitality portfolio. The Nobu restaurant, all conceived by actor Robert DeNiro, debuted in 2021, and Nobu Barbuda’s first beach club opened this year.
Aimbridge Hospitality announced it will open two brand-new resorts at Frenchman’s Reef in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection, are expected to open in fall 2022. The new properties are part of a $350 million rebuild project on Frenchman’s Reef.
Birds on the brain these days? Head to the Columbia Valley, located between the towering Rocky and Purcell mountains in southeast British Columbia. The newest addition to the BC Bird Trail is marked by friendly communities surrounded by wetlands, featuring a burgeoning avian population. In spring, watch for the striking plumage of horned grebes, as well as songbirds and Lewis’s woodpecker.
Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
Upon our triumphant in-person return to Los Angeles in December 2021 to celebrate our annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team also revisited one of our favorite city hot spots: Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for dinner at the on-site Riviera 31 bar lounge.
Turkish Airlines offers premium travelers something new. After signing an agreement with fashion brands Coccinelle and Hackett, the carrier introduced redesigned premium amenity kits for its business-class passengers flying eight hours or more on long-distance flights. The new kits were introduced April 29.
Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
Lisbon’s popularity has soared in recent years, but within an hour’s drive of Portugal’s capital city, lots of quiet towns and interesting regions that are still somewhat off-the-beaten path await.