Tags: polo | fashion | safari

Luxe Travel: Uganda Safari, Los Cabos Fashionista Getaway

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2008 03:57 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Polo and Brunch in Boston

WaterFire Festival Indulgence in Providence

Fashionista Getaway in Los Cabos

Go Ape in Uganda


Polo and Brunch in Boston

If you don’t have plans for Oct. 5, it’s a glorious weekend to celebrate the end of summer and the dazzling spectacle of autumn, as the 120th season of summer polo matches comes to a close.

On that Sunday, the final polo game of summer 2008 will be played at Boston’s venerable Myopia Polo Club. Opened in 1888, it’s the oldest polo grounds in the U.S.

The city’s equally prestigious Taj Boston Hotel presents a very compelling reason to make a weekend of it. Their polo weekend package for two includes a luxurious Garden View Suite, a dinner for two, tickets to the Sunday match, chauffeured transportation, and a champagne tailgate picnic prepared by Taj Boston chefs. Price: $1,295.

Before the match, or any Sunday from now until Nov. 16, don’t miss the autumn colors from the 17th floor rooftop of the Taj. The hotel’s spectacular Brunch on the Roof is by reservation only (617-598-5255) and between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The price is $62 not including tax and gratuities. Hotel reservations: www.tajhotels.com.

WaterFire festival Indulgence in Providence

If youthful, artful, classical Providence, R.I., was trying to remain a best-kept secret, too bad.

The newly reclaimed Providence River snakes its way smack through the chic urban center, which positively sparkles with restored turn-of-the-century buildings. Between three converging rivers and the green spaces, narrow streets embrace boutiques, cafes, and bistros, performing and fine arts centers. Nearby is Federal Hill, one of the most charming Little Italy enclaves in America.

Absolutely the best time to go this fall is the weekend of Oct. 11, when the city wraps up its summer with the last WaterFire, a multisensory event that starts at twilight and lasts all night long. The night sky, the river and the gleaming cityscape are ablaze with the colorful reflection of 100 torch-lit fires in floating braziers on the river. There’s music, art, performances, and dance, from waltzing under the stars, to salsa dancing in the streets.

The transformation of Providence transcends the river and streetscapes. You can sleep in neoclassical glam at a former Masonic Lodge or artsy loft-chic at my two favorite hotels, the Renaissance Providence Hotel and the NYLO Hotel Warwick.

Book a sensuous-to-the-max suite at the Renaissance Providence Hotel, an imposing neoclassical palace in the shadow of the marble state house, and a stroll-distance to all the WaterFire events.

Built in 1929 as a Masonic Hall it was, in 2007, the most ambitious restoration in Rhode Island history. Indulge yourself in the luxury of the Presidential Suite: $4,300 plus tax for two nights. The Vice Presidential Suite, almost as spacious, is $3,500.

Prepare to be indulged. More at www.marriott.com.

Been there, done that? Not the brand new NYLO Hotel Warwick, you haven’t. Check out the former Pontiac Mills (home of Fruit of the Loom underwear) rescued from ruin to emerge this month as an edgy, urban-chic 163-room loft-style hotel.

Perched on the edge of the Pawtuxet River, and drenched in original local art, its designers boldly borrowed industrial elements from the 1870s mill era for the most refreshing hotel experience to emerge in decades. The gorgeous, sleek, young staff, all in black and white, look like aspiring New York models.

Got allergies? There’s a whole floor of allergen-free Pure Lofts. Don’t look for the marquee — there isn’t one. And wait till you see the beyond avant-garde chrome and teal restaurant. If it weren’t for the menu — gourmet comfort food with a Rhode Island accent — you’d swear you were in Milan, New York, or Paris.

Grand opening rates are downright alluring. For just $800, the two of you get two nights in one of the four luxe suites, private transport to WaterFire in a Lincoln Town Car, and breakfasts and dinners in The Loft. Airport transfers are complimentary.

Prepare to be enchanted. See www.nylohotels.com.

Fashionista Getaway in Los Cabos

Style-conscious ladies: pack lightly and follow the catwalk this November to the Marquis Los Cabos (Mexico) for its “Fashionista Getaway” including a preview of the 2009 Pineda Covalin spring collection.

After the fashion show on Nov. 22, there’s a private VIP reception with Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin, whose culturally inspired silk shawls, ponchos, scarves, and ties are favored by chiefs of state, queens, and celebs worldwide.

The fashionable Cabo resort, with its 15,000-square-foot Spa Marquis, sits in a beach and garden setting at the tip of the Baja peninsula.

Your casita overlooking the Sea of Cortez ($780 per night including room service breakfast) comes with goose-down comforters, Frette bed linens, high-speed Internet access, and an ocean-view, hydro-massage bath.

Pick any four nights between Nov. 20-26, and your personal invitation to the fashion event is included. The package rate extends to Nov. 30. Guests get first dibs at the latest items from the collection, from $60 ties to elaborate $1,600 shawls.

See the collection at www.pinedacovalin.com, and then reserve your casita at www.marquisloscabos.com.

Go Ape in Uganda

If you’re yearning to go on a gorilla safari, here’s all you need to know: Volcanoes Safaris. The unique ecotourism company just celebrated the 10th year of its sustainable tourism program to introduce travelers to the great apes of Africa. Once faced with extinction, only 700 mountain gorillas survive.

Volcanoes Safaris takes you gorilla and chimpanzee tracking in Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda or in Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda, overnighting at charming eco-lodges in these parks. The excursions help fund conservation and community projects such as schools, roads, clinics, and community centers.

Funding partners for the sensitively designed programs include the British government, private, and public companies.

You could join a scheduled 12-day Classic Uganda and Rwanda safari at $6,500 per person, but for about $1,500 more you can tailor your own itinerary to add some intriguing optional excursions. If money’s no object, the new Flying Safari option (about $3,000-$5,000) eliminates some of the road travel.

Besides the primate game drives (including your personal gorilla permit), your 12-day privately guided Classic Uganda and Rwanda safari also includes lion and other wildlife sightings, visits to frontier towns, artisans’ villages and road markets, volcano excursions, guided hikes, spectacular bird-viewing on the Kazinga Channel, and lots more.

Your stays at Volcanoes' all-inclusive gorilla lodges also include unlimited beverages (alcoholic and non), and a complimentary massage.

For a poignant piece of African history, you can visit Dian Fossey’s grave, a genocide memorial, or an orphanage, and make other optional side trips tailored just for you. Go to www.volcanoessafaris.com.

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