Week 02–1, Apr. 2021
“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” 〜 Mark Twain
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” 〜 Robert Louis Stevenson
By LuxPin Team
◆ Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth, died at the age of 99. He was born a royal of Greece and Denmark at the Mon Repos villa on the Greek island of Corfu in 1921. The villa was built in 1826 by British Commissioner Frederic Adams as a gift for his wife, Nina Palatianou. The villa restored in the 1990s is now an archaeological museum and contains a plaque marking Prince Phillip’s birthplace.
◆ As more people around the world receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and with travel restrictions constantly shifting, many are wondering where they can travel right now. To help travelers figure out where they can and can’t travel, travel company Sherpa created an interactive map tool that shows travelers where they can go based on their departure location and vaccination status.
◆ This month, the skies will light up with the Lyrid meteor shower, which will run from roughly April 16 through 25. The full shower peaks on the night of April 21 into the early morning hours of April 22. Don’t miss your chance to see some shooting stars this month, as the next major meteor shower in the Northern Hemisphere isn’t until this summer (though there will be a few minor ones between now and then).
◆ This month’s full moon is a supermoon — and it’ll illuminate the sky on April 26. This year, the Super Pink Moon will reach peak illumination on Monday, April 26, at 11:33 p.m. EDT. That said, it’ll look extraordinarily bright throughout the night, so don’t worry about catching it exactly on time. For the most impressive views, you’ll want to look up when the moon is low on the horizon — roughly around 7:30 p.m. EDT and 6:30 a.m. EDT on April 27 — as that’s when it’ll look the largest.
◆ Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas wants to show you everything the Maldives has to offer, and well beyond. The luxury property has put together a trio of experiences as part of its “Best of Maldives” package to help guests see and do it all. The package includes snorkeling with manta rays, stargazing at the only overwater observatory in the Maldives, and fine dining underwater at its restaurant, SEA.
◆ If you think Amangiri’s Camp Sarika is gorgeous, just wait until you see the view from the Utah retreat’s epic new Cave Peak stairway. The Cave Peak stairway features a mere 120 steps, but it’s set a whopping 400 feet above the rugged Utah desert. The steel suspension bridge sits at the end of Amangiri’s via ferrata, an iron climbing path designed to traverse difficult mountain landscapes. Travelers willing to brave both will earn a one-of-a-kind desert vista. The Daily Mail described it as a “sky ladder.” The stairway, believed to be the longest climb of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere, is more than 200 feet long and provides a rare opportunity to soar above a magnificent remote landscape.
◆ Dogs make everything better — especially while on vacation. At the Equinox Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester Village, Vermont, outdoorsy guests can enjoy a hike with the resort’s chief happiness officer (CHO), Cooper, a five-year-old golden retriever. Cooper took on the job back in fall 2020 “because, well, he just makes people happy,” according to the resort. The resort also encourages guests to bring their own furry companions, too, since Cooper is very good at making friends. The resort is pet-friendly regardless of whether guests want to attend the weekly hike.
◆ West Virginia announced a program called Ascend WV, which will pay people $12,000 and give them a year’s worth of free outdoor recreation if they move to the Mountain State. The Ascend WV program, supported by a $25-million grant from West Virginia native Brad D. Smith and his wife Alys, will entice outdoor adventurers looking for wide-open spaces and a low cost of living. Those who are accepted will enjoy several benefits: $12,000 in cash with no strings attached; one year of free outdoor recreation on public lands; access to free co-working space in West Virginia’s mountain towns; free access to outdoor gear rentals; the ability to earn remote work certifications through West Virginia University; and networking opportunities and events.
◆ The Malta Tourism Authority will pay each visitor who books a three-night stay directly with select three- to five-star hotels on a scaled basis. Those who stay at a five-star property will get €100 (about $119) per person on every booking, while guests at four-star hotels will earn €75 (about $89) and visitors at three-star hotels will score €50 (about $60). Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo added that those amounts will be matched by the hotels, doubling them at every level, so that visitors can earn up to €200 (about $238) for their three-night stay at a five-star hotel. And those who go to Malta’s smaller island of Gozo will get an additional 10% incentive on top of that.
◆ That Tahitian vacation you’ve been dreaming about can now become a reality as the Islands of Tahiti — including Bora Bora, Moorea, and Tahiti itself — will reopen to tourists starting May 1. The announcement was made by Edouard Fritch, the president of French Polynesia, following a Paris meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron last week, the French paper Le Figaro reported.
◆ Highway 1 in Northern California was forced to close in late January after heavy rain triggered a mudslide so powerful that a chunk of the roadway was swept away. Work on Highway 1 wasn’t expected to be completed until late June but is now scheduled to wrap up at the end of April, according to California’s State Transportation Agency.
◆ Ever since it was completed in 1931, the Christ the Redeemer statue has stood atop Mount Corcovado overlooking Rio de Janeiro. But by the end of this year, it will no longer be the tallest statue of Jesus in Brazil. The new Cristo Encantado statue in the small town of Encantado in Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, called Christ the Protector, will overshadow the Rio landmark’s total height of 124 feet by 16 feet, coming in at 140 feet overall.
◆ You’ve never seen spring like this. A new exhibit is open at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), but this display is a little more “otherworldly” than you might expect. Artist Yayoi Kusama has been well-known for decades for her ethereal sculptures, usually covered in her signature polka dots. Her art is often inspired by the natural world, so it only makes sense that a new exhibition, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, was created for the New York Botanical Garden.
◆ Glassblower Israel Bautista’s hearts have become a symbol of love across Mexico. Pueblo Bonito Resorts offloads its used glass products to third-generation local artisan Israel Bautista, who creates vibrant pieces of art from the recycled materials — up to 150 pieces each day — for the hotel to buy back and display at each of its five Los Cabos properties. The forward-thinking recycling initiative has earned Pueblo Bonito Resorts recognition for its commitment to environmental sustainability.
◆ The more than two dozen member states of the European Union have agreed to move forward with a recently proposed Digital Green Certificate designed to facilitate safe travel throughout the continent. A document endorsed by national envoys and seen by Reuters stated that the 27 EU member states have “underlined their commitment to having the framework ready by the summer of 2021.” While the term “vaccine passport” has gained significant momentum in the time of COVID-19, the certificate would not be a vaccine passport but more of a health document giving individuals the green light to cross borders.