In good company • The Nob Hill Gazette


Whether you are planning a vacation getaway for the entire clan, want to give your loved ones a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or use up a few vacation days before the end of the year, there are many travel destinations worth looking at as the world carefully opens again. These trips – near or far; on sand or snow – are ideal to experience with family and friends.

Sheldon Chalet | Photo courtesy Chris Burkard

North orientation

Deep in the mountains of the Alaska Range, nestled between glaciers and towering peaks in Denali National Park, lies the 2,000 square meter Sheldon Chalet. This remote retreat – only accessible by helicopter – combines privacy and extreme winter action and offers space for up to 10 adventurers for at least three nights. Guests can take part in glacier explorations, unique air tours, ski tours and snowshoe hikes. At an elevation of 6,000 feet, the posh, eco-conscious property has no light pollution, so the night skies are equally spectacular (and all the better for aurora borealis viewing).

At home on the route

Designed for all ages, the Dude Ranches are all about creating special memories (think: s’mores and storytelling around a crackling campfire). Not sure which one is right for you and your family? With nearly 100 locally owned members across the country, the Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you find the perfect place for a Wild West vacation – including the Golden State. The charming Greenhorn Ranch in the Lost Sierra north of Tahoe was acquired by a partnership of local families in 2018 and celebrates the nature of Northern California with fishing, clay pigeon shooting, mountain biking and panning for gold. Further south, in the Santa Ynez Valley, is the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, where the Wranglers love to guide guests on foot and on horseback through scenic canyons and valleys with abundant wildlife. With more than 10,000 hectares and countless trails, adventures in Alisal can suit all abilities and interests.

Islands for the ages

Nothing dazzles like the sighting of the rare blue-footed booby while crossing the Galapagos Islands. Oakland-based tour operator International Nature & Cultural Adventures offers an eight-day cruise through the archipelago aboard the luxury yacht integrity which takes you to iconic sites, allowing maximum exploration time, and revealing hidden islands and rare endemic wildlife. The new exclusive use program means that your group (from four to 10 people) can have the entire ship to themselves. East-west and west-east routes start on December 17 and December 31, respectively.

Love over the water

Do you feel especially grateful for that particular person in your life? Say “yes” (or “I’ll do again”) during a simple but elegant wedding ceremony barefoot on the beach, then head straight for your honeymoon in a blissful on-site overwater bungalow. Starting this fall, the St. Regis Bora Bora invites lovebirds to a French-Polynesian Wedding à Deux – a micro-wedding for both of you, complete with a planner and photographer for the big day. The pristine turquoise waters and romantic Polynesian traditions have long drawn couples to this sultry tropical paradise.

Shop. Beverages. Repeat.

Now that the UK reopens to American travelers, a quick girls vacation is calling for London. Completely free from mustiness or presumption, the Rosewood London exudes a playful, modern sophistication. The hotel’s quirky Scarfes Bar not only offers truly delicious cocktails, but also boasts 1,000+ antique books, amusing cartoons, and most importantly, plenty of personal space. Book your girls for a relaxing massage in the hotel’s premier spa after exploring the cobblestone streets of London’s famous shopping paradise, Covent Garden, just minutes away.

Untouched ice is beautiful

It’s time to explore Canada’s world-class glaciers and remote ice caps. TCS World Travel has partnered with Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler to offer the most memorable seven-day private Winter Whistler Family Getaway. Hit the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort or take off the net with private excursions, including adventure trekking to the glaciers and ice caps. Ride a snowmobile, snowbike, or snow buggy into a vivid blue maze of natural ice caves and enjoy a gourmet lunch on a mountain before returning to the hotel to warm up by a fire pit.

Summit adventure

With a prestigious legacy dating back to 1882, Leo Trippi offers luxury ski vacations to the world’s most spectacular travel destinations. Expanded this season, the outfit’s heli-ski safari is a serious skier’s dream – the powder-heavy adventure includes Switzerland, Italy, and France with stays at iconic resorts. Accompanied by an expert guide, the 10-day tour brings the region’s highest mountain peaks within easy reach for groups of eight people.

Celebrated sightings

If whale watching is your thing, this is the time to visit South Africa. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, an exclusive National Selection property on the coast of De Hoop Nature Reserve, offers savings of up to 35 percent through early January. Explore the reserve with walks to nearby tidal pools and caves and discover more than 1,500 species of plants and flowers. From one of the seven off-grid suites with ocean views, you can watch southern right whales migrating from Antarctica to calve, the less common Bryde’s whales and even humpback whales. (If you are traveling with an entourage, ask about exclusive use of the lodge.)


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