When it comes to traveling well, we truly love thought-provoking, indulgent and educational experiences that immediately elevate any journey and stay rooted in our memories. Highlighting the unique characters behind the scenes and their intriguing roles within the travel industry, we ask them to expand on their focus, what they love most about their guests, or share facts that others may not know unless they delve deeper…
Wellness Coach at SHA Wellness - Spain
Taking care of yourself first and foremost, and learning more about the powerful body and mind connection, meet Fernando Gallego, who specialises at SHA as a Watsu Therapist and consults you throughout your stay as a Wellness Coach. This specific therapy combines gentle stretching movements with oriental acupuncture techniques and shiatsu massage, helping to decompress the spine, mobilise joints and stretch your muscles without impact. There are multiple benefits ideal for relaxing the body, improving digestion or eliminating the effects of jet lag.
One of the things that may surprise you most when doing Watsu is that the collective pools used are entirely unique in Europe, where the therapy is done exclusively. Enjoy their cabin designed solely for Watsu therapy and void of external sounds, taking into account the height of the pool, the temperature of their chlorine-free water, and an illuminated ceiling with small lights simulating a starry sky.
The Farmer at The Rooster - Antiparos
On the island of Antiparos, where The Rooster is conceived as a lifestyle resort to embrace slow living, the farmer’s role is looking after the property’s very own farm. His job is essential to ensure the quality of the produce and soil, as well as the changing seasonal offerings which truly inspires their menus. This dedicated space just off the main property grows everything from courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, onions, lemons, olives, and all kinds of herbs. Focused on completely organic produce which is then used in their cooking, guests are encouraged to explore the farm and select which ingredients they want to have for dinner, creating a closer connection with their food.
Their resident hens and roosters as his companions on the farm will delight guests who learn more about these wonderful creatures. There’s even an option to stay directly on the farm at The Farmhouse, a 3-bedroom cottage where you can hand-pick fresh eggs for breakfast!
Sky Guru at Anantara Kihavah Maldives
“The night sky is like a map, showing us where we are placed in this vast intergalactic space. It is like a time warp, allowing us to see billions of years back in time.”
Ali Shameem is a native Maldivian who shares his love of Astronomy in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. His father was a fisherman who used the stars to guide him whilst at sea, educating him about cosmic skies and sparking his passion for storytelling, answers to the universe and fuelling his never-ending curiosity. An astronomical experience with Ali as your Sky Guru is a chance for him to share a lifetime of passion, experience and knowledge.
Anantara Kihavah is an exceptional vantage point for stargazing, devoid of light pollution and advantageous due to its proximity to the equator. Their overwater observatory has a luxury cocktail bar alongside the most powerful telescope in the region, where you are encouraged to revel in this window to the Universe.
Cultural Anthropologist at Amanjiwo - Indonesia
Highlighting the Wisdom of Java, Patrick Vanhoebrouck is the resident Anthropologist at Amanjiwo who also arranges spiritual and healing sessions with a Javanese healer. Having researched Javanese Culture, History, Healing and Spirituality for the past 24 years, he shares this wealth of ancestral data and practices through tailored lectures on the ancient temples and dynasties amidst Java’s UNESCO-protected land. Working as an anthropologist, he guides his guests on how to approach the many sacred sites in the vicinity of Amanjiwo. Spiritual Masters of the ancestral Javanese Kejawen lineages provide the perfect narratives and purifying techniques to enhance one’s experience of these sites beyond a mere visual or oral experience. What he values most with Aman guests is the general open-mindedness and curiosity to ‘feel’ Javanese culture at a more subtle level. Lodged between Borobudur and several hilltop shrines, Amanjiwo itself was an ancient hermitage land for past Buddhists and Mystical Seekers.
Conservationist at Singita Volcanoes National Park - Rwanda
In Rwanda, Charles Nsabimana is a conservationist who shares his knowledge about Mountain Gorillas and Local Communities through conservation talks and nature walks on the property. His shared experiences are not learned from books, but through actual first hand experience of working in the Volcanoes National Park through various roles he has had since 1992. Charles has stories from when he habituated mountain gorillas & golden monkeys, when he worked as a research assistant at Karisoke, managed different community projects as Community Warden and spent time in anti-poaching operations. His years of field knowledge and life experiences are offered at the dedicated Conservation room at Kwitonda Lodge, educating guests with tales not readily available in books or on the internet.
Many guests see the David Yarrow photograph titled ‘Kong’ when they arrive at Singita Kwitonda Lodge, but Charles can reveal the true story of this particular Silverback Gorilla. As the Silverback of the Umubano family (translated as ‘Neighbourliness’ from Kinyarwanda), he also named him Charles while habituating the Amahoro gorilla family in 1997. He was a curious 8-year-old at the time, and while other Gorillas would run away, he would stay – allowing Charles to eventually habituate the whole family!
Vice President of Sustainability at Six Senses
An extremely important topic that has steadily grown within travel is the sustainable outlook and operation on the ground in order to protect our changing planet. As Vice President of Sustainability with Six Senses, Jeff Smith is responsible for their 20 hotel locations and a growing pipeline of new hotels under development. He oversees an ambitious management system to achieve their goal of being a leader in sustainable luxury hospitality, and has noticed that managing sustainability from the corporate level is now becoming less and less unique for the industry. Once guests return to every property, this allows Six Senses to bring sustainability to life, with workshops on living more sustainably and taking part in programs designed specifically for reconnection with nature and with communities.
Did you know : Every Six Senses practices permaculture techniques, composting food waste and cycling those nutrients to grow healthy vegetables in our gardens. Moving towards their goal of being absolutely plastic free in 2022, they eliminated plastic straws in 2016, then inventoried every single piece of plastic they could find in all their operations by 2017!
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