What’s Out, What’s In: Your Roots Are Showing
We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Hotel-recommended city tours
What’s In: Hotel-led cultural immersions
Hotels are taking a lead in ensuring guests remember that they’re actually in a foreign city when they travel. Except for some solid holdouts, gone are the days when you walk into your hotel in Amsterdam, say, and you could just as easily be in Istanbul or Portland. Whether through design details, cuisine or cultural tours, hotels are proudly showing their roots.
The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui offers guests a full gamut of authentic Hawaiian experiences led by the hotel’s full-time Cultural Coach. Not only can you explore some historical sites, you can learn the basics of Hawaiian paddling and the canoe's importance to the culture, the uses of native and non-native plants by the Hawaiian people, plus the history of the Hawaiian language, which you can then try to pronounce what seems to be unpronounceable. Rates at the resort start at $519.
The Goring –- the hotel with the Royal Warrant –- is launching their High Days and Holidays walking tours. Six tailor-made tours, all celebrating special occasions (or High Days in London-speak), were designed by Art History UK’s founder Rose Balston. Art’s on the menu but, as Rose says, “Think juicy tales, conversation, challenging ideas and plenty of hidden corners of London, past and present…” We’re talking tours that include dragons, pagan rituals, ghosts and treason. Does it get any better? Rates for the package start at 595 GBP ($902).
Wanna find your Irish roots? The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare, Ireland conveniently has two on-site genealogists who can research your Irish ancestry and help coordinate village visits where your ancestors once lived. They’ll even arrange a meet with a long lost relative. The Journey To Your Roots package includes two nights’ accommodations and a one-hour consultation with a genealogist. The package starts at a reasonable $252 and is available through December 2013.
Discover the secrets behind shadow puppetry from an Arts Master, learn to cook the original recipes from the Royal Palace of Cambodia, tour the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum with a survivor and then visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, and explore the walled city of Angkor Thom with an expert archaeologist. With A Journey Through Khmer Culture package at Raffles Hotel Le Royal and Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor in Cambodia you can do just that. Prices start at $3,187 per person and includes five nights’ accommodation, breakfast, entrance fees, and English speaking local guide.
[Photos: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts/The Goring/The Lodge at Doonbeg/Raffles Hotels & Resorts]