By Susan Campbell
Private photo safaris with a pro in the Serengeti
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is offering small groups (two to six people travelling together) the opportunity to benefit from the vast experience of professional photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks in a new program of private photo safaris called “Connected Souls.” The highly acclaimed and multi-award-winning wildlife photographer will accompany guests on half-day safaris, conduct content review classes, and provide expert tutorials. The programs are customizable depending on the guest’s level of photography skill. Joynson-Hicks will also provide some of his own photos taken during outings as a special souvenir of the experience. The lodge sits right on the edge of a famous untamed wildlife reserve where elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo and more will be your neighbours. Four nights minimum stay required. Visit: fourseasons.com/serengeti
Plan ahead for “The County”
Lake Ontario’s Prince Edward County is a popular day-tripping, camping and cottage region full of charming small towns, boutique B&Bs, rural attractions, craft and artisanal food and beverage
experiences, bohemian little shops and galleries, and 800km of glorious shoreline. Maybe a tad too popular, they found out last summer, since thousands flocked to their unique curated experiences all at once, which resulted in long lines and disappointments when activities became overbooked. So, this summer, The County’s tourism board decided to create a program that makes it easier to plan and book ahead. Their new Plan Your Visit and 2021 Visitor Checklist online portals provide ideal tools to book accommodations ahead, reserve experiences, get important information on festivals and events and more. Visit: visitpec.ca/2020/08/06/reserve-enjoyrepeat/ and visitpec.ca/2021-visitorchecklist/
St. Croix adult-only all-inclusive
The Divi brand of resorts dotted throughout the Caribbean include locations in Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, and St. Maarten, but their new incarnation of Divi Carina Bay in St. Croix will be their
first adult-only all-inclusive offering. A past hurricane had damaged their original family-friendly resort there, so Divi decided to upgrade the entire complex and turn it into a playground dedicated to adults only. New gourmet food and beverage concepts, a refurbished glitzy casino, and beautifully redesigned rooms and suites will be ready to fully welcome guests by October 2021. St. Croix is a US Virgin Island with gorgeous beaches, superb snorkelling, and excellent diving, plus lush rainforests that provide heavenly hiking. Divi Carina Bay is the island’s only all-inclusive resort. Visit: diviresorts.com/divi-carina-baybeach- resort-casino-st-croix.htm
Hotels embrace gourmet to-go
Always ask your hotel if they offer deluxe picnics because the days of a simple jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou, are over. The lowly picnic has been elevated to new heights in many places. Like Ontario’s Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa that offers delights like Cambridge poached chicken with cabernet franc vinaigrette and wild blueberry cheesecake in a box. Victoria’s regal Fairmont Empress decided to offer a to-go version of their famous Afternoon Tea this year in response to the popularity of their elegant “Lunch on the Lawn” experiences. And now, The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta offers a romantic champagne picnic that’s to be enjoyed seafront where you might even spot whales! So, just ask!
Fancy some spa and cultural time in a castle?
Schloss Elmau destination spa, resort, and cultural retreat officially re-opened on May 21, 2021. The impressive, storied chateau complex set among the spectacular mountain scenery of the Bavarian Alps is one of Germany’s most unique stays. In fact, it hosted the G7 summit in 2015. One wing is a dedicated spa resort while the other bows to cultural pastimes and their legendary concert hall welcome international jazz and classical musical greats year round. The sprawling property boasts six luxurious spas, seven heated outdoor pools, five restaurants (one with two Michelin stars), and the largest hotel bookstore in Germany. Other pastimes include hiking, guided mountain climbing, e-mountain biking, tennis, archery, horseback riding, and golf nearby. They also hold well-curated wellness retreats. Visit: schlosselmau.de/en
Susan Campbell is an award-winning travel writer originally from Ottawa, but now based in Montreal. Her work has appeared in hundreds of major print and web publications throughout North America. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @suectravel.