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30.11.2019

‘Manaakitanga’ from the heart

A sense of belonging in New Zealand: being part of the family as a traveler

You can feel the warmth. It does not even have to be a hot day. It is rather this sincere interest to approach one another, the curiosity about someone else. About what they have to tell. It is warmth that comes from within. In New Zealand it is part of everyday life, of culture, of normal interaction with each other – and there is even a word from the native language for it. It is ‘Manaakitanga’.

There is no simple literal translation for that. In the broadest sense, the term stands for ‘best hospitality’ and includes being there for others, caring for them, always helping them to the best of one’s abilities.

Manaakitanga is a beautiful word, it has sound, a melody even. The most beautiful of it is that it is really lived on the island at the other end of the world. Every stranger here is a friend you just have not met yet. Someone who has made a long journey to experience grandeur: this vastness, this freedom, this grandiose nature – and all the moments with the locals, the New Zealanders. If you would like to find out for yourself how Manaakitanga feels, we would be happy to arrange everything.

Photo: ©  Anupam – stock.adobe.com

05.11.2019

Greeting the gorillas

One&Only: two resorts in Rwanda

They are out there somewhere in the dense jungle, out of sight by a hair’s breadth. It is their country, their home. Whoever comes to visit, to say hello to them up close with a racing heartbeat, has to follow their rules: stop by only once a day, not for more than an hour, no physical contact, no eye contact.

There are still about 780 of them, about a third of them live in Rwanda, most of them in the Virunga National Park with its volcanoes – and its dense jungle. Guests of the ‘One&Only Gorilla’s Nest’ near Kinigi, which opened this November, can get this close – as can guests of the affiliated hotel One&Only Nyungwe House further south on the edge of the Nyungwe Forest National Park. After such a journey, what will remain forever? The great feeling of having experienced them in freedom in their habitat: the last mountain gorillas in the world.

Do you collect unforgettable moments, are you looking for the truly big memories? Then One&Only Gorilla’s Nest and Nyungwe House in Rwanda might be just right for you.

Photo: © One&Only Ruanda

02.10.2019

Havana’s top address

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana: Cuba's first new luxury hotel

It is the most beautiful view you can have in swimsuit or bikini when in Havana: directly over the edge of the rooftop pool on the dome of the Cuban Capitol and on to the roofs of the old town. It is also the most beautiful sight you can enjoy on the city lights in the evening: in a stylish outfit from the bar tables over the best daiquiris and mojitos of the city. The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana is the flagship of the Cuban hotel industry, the first world-class luxury hotel to open after the opening of Cuba – built in a completely renovated grandiose building dating from the early 19th century. All is opulent here, the ceilings on the first floor are as high as six meters. On the ground floor, there is a row of luxury shops – just like over a century ago when the building was conceived as the best shopping address in the city.

The location could not be better. The look inside is consistently modern, the styling sophisticated, perfectly state of the art. On top of that, the San Cristobal Panoramic Restaurant is a culinary masterpiece: Caribbean seafood at its finest!

Photo: © Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana

29.08.2019

South Africa at its best

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

It is these minutes that you cannot forget when the sun rises over the Infinity Pool, illuminates this heath landscape, makes the ocean, dunes and beach shine in the first light of the new day. It is the midday while hiking in the shadows of the thousand-year-old Milkwood forests, or while going horseback riding. And it is the evenings on the terrace under the starry sky with a six-course menu with local ingredients including freshly caught fish from the South Atlantic or Indian Ocean. Grootbos is a place no one forgets: a 2500-hectare private nature reserve on the Cape – at the very bottom of Africa, where the two oceans meet.

The wilderness around it is as much the home as the lodge itself. Everything is one at Grootbos, it all belongs together, fits together. The symbiosis of man and nature is the concept. Because the wealth of the animal and plant world can best be preserved if man can feel this beauty with all his senses. Grootbos has eleven suites in the Garden Lodge, 16 in the Forest Lodge and two villas. All meals and numerous activities, including guided rides, are included in the overnight prices.

Photo: © Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

29.07.2019

Hundreds of chairs in all colors

Little Cyclades: stopping time on Folegandros

All in all, there are hundreds of them. They stand around in groups of two or four, on tiny terraces in front of small taverns, under pepper trees on squares in the center of Chora on the island of Folegandros in the Cyclades – and under strings of lights. They can be white, light green, light blue, painted over a few times over the years, and almost all are covered with wickerwork. There is no competition for all these little chairs as there are plenty available: every morning during breakfast time, when yoghurt, freshly squeezed juice and fruit are served, along with white bread and goat cheese from the island. Later for lunch in the open air, when it smells of meat, of herbs. In the evening, when the freshly caught fish of the day sizzles on the grills of the taverns. And at night, when somebody fetches a guitar and another sings along.

Folegandros is a rather quiet place, much calmer than the Santorini Island, which is three times its size and a 45-minute ride by catamaran express ferry away. It could even be described as sort of a counter-design – and it is a real revelation! The most beautiful hotel? It bears the name Anemomilos – with a fantastic view of Chora and the sea. The best time to travel? September and May.

Photo: © Haris – www.harisphoto.com