Nicaragua in private

What are the views from the breakfast terrace? Jungle in three directions – and the Pacific Ocean with one and a half kilometers of remote beach in the other. There is a subtle taste of the salty air on one’s lips, it smells like the tropics, the temperature is already thirty degrees Celsius and in the jungle, the matutinal bird song is playing: The hardly travelled destinations on the tourist map are dwindling – but Nicaragua is certainly one of them.

Especially the Private Reserve Morgan’s Rock near San Juan del Sur with its 15 bungalows. Over 16 square kilometers extends the private reserve in which the hacienda is located, tens of thousands of trees have been reforested here in the last two decades, rare turtles build their nests on the beach. Morgan’s Rock is exactly what you would call a ‘jungle hideaway’ – and the greatest luxury of all is to be able to just be here and breathe this kind of freedom.

You would like to drop by sometime? To go say hello in a village school, meet local craftspeople, check out your own farm? No problem, that is all part of it: Nicaragua in private. The capital Managua is a three-hour drive away, the border to Costa Rica about 50 kilometers.

Photo: © Private Reserve Morgan’s Rock

On the trails of the ‘Red Gamba’

It stems from a depth of 1000 meters off the coast of the Costa Blanca, only five fishing boats are hunting for it. It is precious, expensive, a delicacy: the mysterious red shrimp ‘Gamba Roja de Dénia’. And it has contributed its share to the fact that the coastal town of Dénia, 100 kilometers south of Valencia, has been declared a UNESCO World Gastronomic Heritage Site.

The sea, the fertile fields of the immediate hinterland, the mountains of the nearby sierras, which are over 1000 metres high – it all provides an impressive gastronomic variety, creative combinations, and has attracted top chefs: most notably Quique Dacosta, whose restaurant here has been awarded three Michelin stars as well as being included in the critics’ list of the 100 best restaurants in the world for many years now. Meanwhile, José Manuel Lopez from ‘Peix i Brases’ is considered an upcoming star.

Both restaurants are the destination of a springtime weekend trip of delicacies in March, organized by my partner airtours Moments. You will also taste specialties in the market hall, watch the fish and gamba auction at the harbor. What are you going to take home with you? Great flavors on the tip of your tongue! And a wealth of memories of culinary experiences, plus perhaps rosemary honey, pickled sea plants, delicious dried squid – and many new inspirations for you to work magic at your own stove.

‘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 –

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

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