THIS ISSUE WAS A trip down memory lane as I recounted some wonderful memories from 2017. In this month’s Spas article, I recalled a blissful spa visit at Sandpearl Resort while in Clearwater Beach, Fla., for a friend’s wedding. On page 67 I was transported back to Thailand, where I spent a few days in Chiang Mai, including a half-day experience at an elephant sanctuary. And lastly, I take you all along on a bucket-list trip to Chernobyl, Ukraine. You might be surprised to learn it’s a trending destination. I share my thoughts on page 74.
We also reflect on the 2017 GT Tested Reader Survey award winners and our celebration fete at The Peninsula Beverly Hills. On the following pages, see photos of some of the industry’s top movers and shakers as they collect the awards you, our readers, bestowed upon them. Don’t forget: Voting is on for 2018. Find the ballot in this issue or online. We also invite you to vote in The Trazees at trazeetravel.com, and the Wherever Awards at whereverfamily.com, awards from our two sister web publications.
Speaking of family, we explore the leading family travel destinations around the globe on page 48. As I was reading Steve Jermanok’s article, I recalled a two-week cross-country trek with my parents and grandmother when I was around 12 years old — another blast from the past. We went to Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore, among other places, and today, two decades later, national parks still top the list for family vacations. For daily updates on the world of family travel, visit whereverfamily.com; it’s your trusted travel source for the modern family.
We’re all over the map in this issue as we also journey to İstanbul, Tokyo, Cincinnati, Warsaw, Durban, Managua and the Philippines. Next month we travel from Singapore to the Azores, from Iceland to Oslo in our second annual Green Issue. Join us on that eco-friendly trip around the world.
It’s entirely possible France’s most noteworthy eateries define the term “destination restaurant.” Examples of how some of the more enduring Paris restaurants have approached this is compelling. While hot spots like Le Drugstore changed with the times and tastes of clientele, others, like Café de la Paix, steadfastly stay true to the roots and recipes that have delighted guests for generations.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s staying power is rooted in the way it delivers continuity and consistency for long-time loyalists of the Grand Velas brand and anybody else seeking a luxury, all-inclusive experience. One of Grand Velas’s hallmarks is its activities, amenities and restaurants across its three buildings can be enjoyed by all guests, enabling them to do the destination their way. This is particularly important when groups have different ideas of how they want to spend their vacation time.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
In 2025, Riviera River Cruises will launch two ships with sailing itineraries on Europe’s Danube and Douro rivers. Riviera Radiance will sail the Danube and offer six itineraries, including one exclusively for solo travelers, and three holiday itineraries. Riviera Rose will be based on the Douro River and sail one itinerary.
JetBlue, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are some of the airlines now charging passengers more to check bags at the airport than to purchase the service online in advance. In an effort to cover higher costs, more airlines increased baggage fees in 2024.
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Condor Airlines recently introduced Condor Cards, a membership program that allows frequent Condor passengers to receive additional benefits. The two card options include World Activity Card, tailored to the needs of sports enthusiasts, and World Family Card, offering benefits for families or friends traveling together on vacation.