Spotlight: Chic Retreats, Off the Beaten Path

Here are some of our favorite places that you never thought you’d travel on this week’s Spotlight: 

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Okeanos Luxury Villas 

Have you ever wanted to stay at a hotel that was a bit more under the radar, somewhere luxurious, where you could also truly escape? Well, stop all of your researching and look no further! We are very proud to announce the best kept secret in all of travel history — Chic Retreats, a collection of boutique hotels around the world that puts the excitement back into travel. These hidden gems are all about the little luxuries; Whether you want to stay in a small hotel, a luxury villa, or a B&B, Chic Retreats has got you covered.

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Riad AnaYela

Riad AnaYela: This 300-year old palace is the epitome of Moroccan culture, with a story so incredible, it just had to be carved onto the walls of the actual riad. There is also a magical rooftop terrace where you can take a trip on a flying carpet or eat traditional Moroccan food in an authentic nomad tent. #Culture

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Borgo San Marco 

Borgo San Marco: Discover Italy’s unbeaten paths in Puglia, Italy’s deep south. This hidden boutique hotel is a true oasis, surrounded by thousands of olive trees. Feel free to #Wander around the olive groves, purchase some olive oil or eat in the hotel’s restaurant, where only the best ingredients are used. This charming hotel will keep you coming back again and again.

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Okeanos Luxury Villas

Okeanos Luxury Villas: This fantastic boutique hotel is located in Lefkada, right on the famous white sandy beach of Egremni, which was voted one of the top ten beaches in ALL OF EUROPE! Seriously, you don’t want to miss out on this. These 6 spacious and contemporary self-catering villas have romance written all over them. With mesmerizing views that will lull you into complete relaxation, Okeanos Luxury Villas are a MUST when traveling through Lefkada. Also, major plus: we’re actually giving away 7 nights at this villa, with How He Asked!

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 Riad Jaaneman

Riad Jaaneman: An upbeat and stylish luxury riad that is located in the bohemian heart of Marrakech medina. This hidden oasis of Italian sophistication and design is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the souks and the markets. So come on Wanderers, what are you waiting for?! Morocco is calling your name.

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Theva Residency 

Theva Residency: A cutting-edge boutique hotel that marries tradition with contemporary, the Theva Residency will literally take your breath away with its incredible mountain views. Just 10 minutes from Kandy Town, Sri Lanka, this hotel will give you a chance to relax and revive yourselves while enjoying the mouth-watering menu and the beautiful nature.

beckford-arms-07 Beckford Arms

Beckford Arms: This unbeatable, sophisticated, country pub is located in the Wiltshire countryside, a short two hours away from London. With 8 en-suite bedrooms, this is the perfect getaway for you and your love, combining stylish interiors and delicious food in a traditional pub setting.

So this is definitely making us want to wander anywhere and everywhere with Chic Retreats. What about you? They are the perfect combination of luxury, culture, and a home away from home. Keep them in mind when planning a trip with the one you love– and for exclusive offers and promotions, make sure you “like” Chic Retreats on Facebook!

 

#WanderOn

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The Art of Travel: Wanderable Chooses the Winning Twenty20 Photo

Drumroll please… The winner of the Wanderable/Twenty20 Photo Contest is: Steven Potter!

First of all may we say how in awe we are of everyone who submitted photos to our Wanderable/Twenty20 contest. The photos we saw truly moved us and made us want to crawl in your suitcase and go everywhere with you! The winner (who gets to enjoy a Wanderable trip to Napa, California) was ultimately Seattle-based Steven Potter, with this photo of a seaside Seattle cove at dusk:

romance photo by @steven_potter  The winning Twenty20/Wanderable Photo by Steven Potter

The reason why we fell in love with this photo? It has an original point of view: Steven took the photo through a piece of driftwood. He’s on the outside looking in on a moment between two people. Wanderable is all about helping couples share memorable experiences together, and Steven’s point of view is a great allegory for helping couples craft & capture moments. It tells a story: This couple is exploring an unknown location, and their appearance and body language tells us they’re adventuring.  One is in the stereotypical explorer stance with one hand above the brow. We feel like this really captures everything we’re about: people, traveling, exploring, etc., and for his a reward he’ll travel to Napa and indulge in a vacation, on us.

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To learn more about this emerging artist…be sure to check out his galleries of photos HERE, and here’s Steven in his own words: “Since I was very young I can remember being fascinated with photography.  My father had a 35 MM camera that was strictly off limits to us kids.  In 1987,when I was about 18, he went on a business trip and had left his camera on the kitchen table.  My creative side got the better of me and I used his camera to take some photos of a squirrel playing outside our window.  I put the camera back and forgot all about it until he had the photos developed.  I remember him saying that they were great photos but he didn’t remember taking them.  It wasn’t until I had my first photography show that I finally fessed up to my dad that I was the one to take those photos.  I figured by then, I was 30 years old and so much time had passed that he wouldn’t get angry!  He took it very well and said that he was very proud of my work.”

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For more Whimsical, Wanderable-esque moments, be sure to also check out Steven’s Instagram and Twitter. And read on for some more background on this fascinating photographer, and how he found himself unwittingly immersed in art.

Wanderable: When did you fall in love with photography?

Steven Potter: I first truly got into photography when I bought my first digital camera for a trip to New York City in 2001.  Soon after I returned, I decided to do a coffee table book as a Christmas gift for my housemate of his beautiful home that I was sharing with him that was built in 1902.  My goal was to make even simple features seem beautiful, unique & artistic.  My housemate, at that time, owned a wine bar here in Seattle and would feature a local artist each month.  He loved my coffee table book gift and asked me to show my work at his wine bar. It took some convincing, but I accepted his invitation and had my first exhibit. It was at that show that I told my father about those squirrel photos.

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W: What is your favorite thing to shoot?

S: Although I truly enjoy all types of photography, I have to say my favorite subject is nature photography.  It’s not a clear favorite, however, as I love taking still life, portrait, travel & architecture photos to name a few.

W: Where did you get the idea for your winning photo?

S: Regarding my winning photograph.  It happened organically.  I had hiked to a secluded beach on the Washington coast to take some photos during a foggy morning.  I loved the unique piece of driftwood that had the hole in it.  I was checking it out to see if I could get any unique shots when I noticed the couple walking along the beach.  I composed the shot I wanted and waited for the right timing to snap the photo as they passed by.

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W: What is your favorite place to photograph?

S: Honestly, that’s a tough one.  I love anywhere that has natural beauty, unique architecture, historical value, etc and find something special and unique about everywhere I go.

W: Selfishly we must know…if you could have any Wanderable experience, what would it be?

S: If I could take pictures on any of your Wanderable Experiences it would be the Imagine Asia: Bankok, Koh Samui package. My brother and his wife recently were in Thailand and tell me often that I would love going there to do photography.  It would be amazing to experience some of the scenic coast, tropical forests, ancient temples and modern cities.  Not to mention the food.

Well done, and well deserved, sir.

#WanderOn