Eric Stoen has traveled to 88 countries and stayed in a lot of hotels—many with standard airport transportation options but several with extraordinary arrivals. We asked him for his favorite ways to arrive at hotels.
Airport transportation is fairly straightforward, right? You fly in and rent a car, or you hop in a taxi or get onto a bus, or maybe there’s a metro or train option. All are fairly standard ways of getting to your hotel, and 99% of the time that’s what I do. But every once in a while a hotel arrival is an experience unto itself—and one that sets the stage for a (hopefully) perfect stay. Here are my six favorite ways that I’ve arrived at hotels with my kids. In some cases there are no other options … there’s only one way in. But a few are splurges.
Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel will pick you up at the airport in a Rolls Royce. But not only that: they actually meet you at your plane, walk you to immigration, wait with you for your luggage, and then walk you to a waiting Rolls which zips you to the hotel—far faster than the A21 bus that I’ve normally taken from the airport to Kowloon. This is a definite splurge, but to this day it’s still the only time I’ve been in a Rolls Royce.
We visited the Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman specifically because you can paraglide in to check in! How it works: our car from Dubai stopped on a hillside overlooking the resort. We got out and my 10-year-old daughter was strapped to the resort’s expert paraglider. They took off running and the next thing you know they were flying down towards the beach and the hotel’s entrance. There wasn’t enough wind that day for me to go, so I watched with jealousy as they touched down perfectly on the beach. A good excuse to return! And yes, you can drive to the hotel if you don’t want to paraglide. But why would you? 🙂
Boat / Water Taxi
Definitely the least-rare arrival on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. From Venice (the Hotel al Ponte Antico) to Bora Bora (Four Seasons Bora Bora) to Palawan, Philippines (Miniloc Island Resort) to the Maldives (Six Senses Laamu), we’ve been picked up at the airport in a boat and taken straight to our hotel. Venice is always amazing because you come in on the Grand Canal. The others are memorable for the turquoise waters, islands in the distance, and welcome drinks on board. Regardless, next time you have the option of arriving by boat, say yes!
Some resorts in the Maldives are accessed via a standard jet flight from the capital Malé to the nearest large island and then a boat ride (see above). Others, though, are accessible via seaplane. Heading to Soneva Fushi, we took a seaplane from Malé directly to the resort’s island, landing on the water and pulling up to a pontoon a short distance out from the resort. A boat then met us and took us to the main pier. So much fun!
We’re not usually a “let’s take a helicopter to a private African island” type of family, but I couldn’t say no to the 15-minute ride from Mahé, Seychelles to the Six Senses Zil Pasyon. It’s roughly six times as much as the standard flight/car/boat transfer, but it’s six times faster, it’s a stunning ride, and landing on a helipad on a granite island in the Indian Ocean (technically part of Africa) is a bucket list experience. Note: we only took the helicopter one way. We chose the more economical boat/car/flight return to Mahé.
In South Greenland we could have hiked from sheep farm to sheep farm, but it seemed like more of an adventure to ride Icelandic ponies! Horse wrangler Lukas met us at our farm/hostel in Tasiusaq and led us 5 miles or so over a ridge to our farm/hostel in Qassiarsuk. The view the entire ride was gorgeous—green hills, yellow flowers, and sheep everywhere, with icebergs on the fjord in the distance. And Icelandic ponies have a unique gait which makes riding them a fairly relaxing experience.
What would you add to this list? What’s the most interesting way you’ve arrived at a hotel?
Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
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