Shermanstravel Blog

Smart Luxury

Seoul, South KoreaIn the hit K-pop song, Gangnam Style, Psy describes the trendy scene of Seoul’s Gangnam district, where your clothes, and how much money you have, matter most. It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at a neighborhood known for luxury and wealth in a country where people have acquired wealth so recently it’s still somewhat of a novelty.

South Korea’s newfound prosperity is most evident in Seoul, where the shopping malls are some of the biggest in the world and the pursuit of beauty has become an obsession. But not everyone in Seoul rolls “Gangnam style” and you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy a visit. For every luxury hotel, you’ll find a much more affordable option. For dinner, you can sit down to a pricey gourmet meal in a restaurant, or grab some equally delicious fare from a street vendor. Here are some ways to enjoy Seoul on both ends of the spectrum. Read more

SanJuanMarriottWhether you’re a family of four, a group of girlfriends, or a young couple on a tight budget, you know that tropical travel can come with a high price. Sure, all-inclusives offer the bang-for-the-buck factor, but what they provide in savings they often lack in culture and distinctiveness.

For all of the above travelers (and anyone in between), the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers the best of both worlds: comfort and culture at reasonable rates. Rooms start as low as $185 per night in low season; about $200-$220 in high season. (Note: there is an 18% resort fee per room, per night.) Read more

paperfactoryhotelNew York City: home to astronomically priced hotel rooms that are the size of shoeboxes. While that’s bearable for a short stay, what’s a longer-term visitor to do? How about considering one of these hotels that are especially suited for longer stays? Read more

SilverseaA few beads of moisture had collected on a marble tabletop at the outdoor Panorama Lounge aboard Silversea CruisesSilver Spirit. Seconds later, a waiter appeared out of nowhere with a white rag. “Here, madam. Let me just take care of that,” he said, wiping away the droplets. That’s one example of the service level passengers can expect on a luxury ship like this. On the Silver Spirit, there is one crew member for every 1.4 passengers – that’s half the ratio offered by most premium-category ships.

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Hilton Head Vacation Rentals PropertyFor photos of Hilton Head, and the  Endless Summer villa (pictured, and mentioned below), visit our slideshow.

When you ask the locals about things to do in Hilton Head, the South Carolina island community that’s overhung with Spanish moss and filled with quiet gated communities, you’ll get an honest answer: not much. And that’s what’s good about it. While other beach destinations boast of their noisy nightlife, amusement parks, and crowded boardwalks, Hilton Head offers a different kind of vacation. That is – a purely relaxing one. Visitors wile away the summer months golfing, soaking up the sun, biking on tree-shaded paths, and enjoying the island’s casual restaurants.

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(See the full slideshow: Hadahaa, Maldives)

Traveling to the Maldives from the U.S. is a serious endeavor, no matter how you plan it. The entire trip takes about two days each way, and it’s certainly not a budget vacation. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from a trip to Hadahaa, a tiny island in the southern Maldives that requires a 55-minute flight from the nation’s capital of Male, followed by a 35-minute speedboat ride from the isle of Kooddoo. It’s a lot of effort, but this is the ultimate destination for peace and serenity.

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620x400_ViceroyNYCSure, the locals may roll their eyes at the mention of Midtown Manhattan. The concrete jungle in and around Times Square doesn’t have Greenwich Village’s cozy charm, or the sleek nightclubs of the downtown Meatpacking District. But some new developments in this area, especially north of Times Square near Central Park, have given Midtown a new-found sense of cool. For visitors who are willing to seek it out – and painstakingly avoid the area’s inevitable tourist traps – it can provide the ultimate glimpse at New York’s beautiful public spaces, exemplary accommodation, and endless nightlife. Here’s a sample itinerary to try on your next visit to the Big Apple…

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If you’ve ever dreamed of splashing around with dolphins, Flipper-style, singing with crabs like a certain redheaded mermaid, or simply like the sound of “sleeping with the fishes,” then here are eight epic hotels that bring you as close to the deep blue as you’ll ever get.

Pemba Island, Zanzibar

the manta resort 1

What if you could book your own, private island? Well… you can, kinda. Essentially a three-story, private, floating island in the midst of the Zanzibar archipelago, The Manta Resort (from $900 per night) features everything from a perfect sunbathing deck, open-ocean swimming, and a bedroom submerged 13 feet below the ocean.

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tokyonightWhile Tokyo is not nearly as unaffordable as common wisdom would have it, it’s certainly not a cheap place to visit – starting with the four-figures-and-counting price of the airfare to get there. But with a little bit of insider knowledge, you can enjoy Tokyo – including some of its ritizier trappings. Here’s how to do it.  Read more

Chesapeake Bay

Depending on the size (or existence) of the check coming your way post taxes, you could be looking at extra vacation money. And if you’re anything like us, money like that burns a deep, deep hole in your pocket. We thought you’d appreciate a few tips on ways to blow your tax refund on a trip in late April/May. Consider it a reward for getting them done in the first place. Read more

1024px-Oia,_Santorini_HDR_sunset - Pedro Szekely - 620We have Santorini on our minds, with hotel openings and renovations galore coming up on this legendary Greek island. For starters, there’s the all-new Iconic Santorini, a cadera boutique with luscious veranda pools, opening in April. The sophisticated Grace Santorini has finished a three-year refurbishment, and modern Santa Marina Resort and Villas is reopening in May after its own chic makeover.

That, of course, is just to name a few. For more news, sights, and tips on when to go – with gorgeous photos to boot – click through.

Cincinnati

If you still think of Cincinnati as just another Ohio city that starts with the letter C, we’ve got news. The state’s third largest metropolis is now home to a flourishing arts neighborhood, trendy new restaurants, and a sparkling new public park – not to mention venerable cultural institutions like Cincinnati Opera, which is the second oldest opera company in the country.  Here’s how to get the absolute best of the city without breaking your budget…

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explorersclubWhat travel fan wouldn’t want to be a member of The Explorers Club? Founded in New York City in 1904, this illustrious organization is dedicated to scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space. It supports research and education in the physical, natural, and biological sciences, and members include Neil Armstrong, Roald Amundsen, and Edmund Hillary – people who have been responsible for a series of famous firsts: first to the North and South Poles, first to the summit of Mount Everest, to the deepest point in the ocean, and to the surface of the moon.

As you would imagine, the club’s gatherings are normally a close-knit affair, but next month, everyone has a chance to dine with the adventurers at their annual dinner. If you’re feeling particularly brave – particularly when it comes to your wallet – you can join them.

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South AfricaIn recent seasons, ABC’s long-running series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have quietly turned their attention from catfights, crying, and ill-fated proposals to routinely showcasing some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Of course, there’s still over-the-top drama, but more and more, it’s set against a backdrop of bucket-list adventures in far-flung locales. So far this season, Juan Pablo and company have bungee-jumped off a bridge in Los Angeles and eaten insects at a food cart in Seoul, South Korea.

But you don’t have to have a harem of romantic hopefuls in tow – or ABC’s travel budget, for that matter – to enjoy some of these experiences. Here are a few ways travelers can enjoy some of the show’s around-the-world adventures. Who knows? It just might be your Most. Dramatic. Trip. Ever.

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620x400_ConradChicagoGot a case of the winter blues? How does an escape to a luxury hotel, discounted room service, and other warming extras for just $155 per night sound? Fitting for the season, the luxe Conrad Chicago – recently named a top hotel on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 Gold List – is offering a “Just Chillin” package. That, of course, alludes to both the relaxing extras included and the frigid temperatures in the Windy City right now. But then, who needs to leave the hotel when you’ve been offered the following…

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