How the other half vacations

Welcome to George Clooney Slept Here, the “IT” site for luxury travel! Pull up a Spazio lounge chair, pour yourself a glass of Krug Dlos du Mesnil 1995 and let us tell you what we’re all about.

Whether you just want to peek in on celebrities and their notorious indulgences or you’re ready to climb on through to the world’s most exclusive vacations, you’ve come to the right place.

It only makes sense to vacation where the A-list vacations. When you want a new great room for your mansion, you look to an architect. When only a pre-nup will do, you head straight to a lawyer.

When it comes to travel, what better experts than the unapologetically wealthy? With all their promotional junkets, film festivals and red-carpet appearances, celebrities not only rack up frequent-flier miles, but they have wallets big enough to do  it with panche. Enjoy!!

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Beach Bums

by Stephen Covey (NOT!)

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama is more than a geographic destination. It’s a state of mind, a Zen-like approach to life that lowers blood pressure, strengthens family bonds, promotes peace of mind and elevates joy.


But to fully enter beach consciousness takes practice. Lucky for you, I’m providing this handy dandy cheat sheet for thoroughly chilling on Gulf Shore’s 32 inspiring miles of white sand beach. Follow these seven steps and in no time, you’ll be living in the moment, following your bliss and moving items like “make a sand castle” to the top of your to-do list:

1. Gather your Blackberry, your Kindle, your Macbook, your I-Pod. Okay, now pack them neatly into the nearest carry-on. Deposit said bag in the farthest reaches of your closet. Take a couple deep breaths and back out slowly. Do not, under any circumstances, look back. Grab another duffle, toss in a bathing suit, a pair of flip flops, a couple t-shirts and voila! not only have you mastered the Gulf Shores dress code, but you’re packed for at least a week.


2. Down a beer at the Flora-Bama Lounge. This 50-year-old hole-in-the wall that straddles the Alabama, Florida state line (you’ll recognize it by the two phone booths outside, one in either state) is step number two enroute to Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffet, in fact, immortalized this wildly popular roadhouse in his song, Ragtop Day. Be prepared for a lesson in diversity as this rustic bar with the unmatched tables and chairs attracts everyone from ponytailed surfer dudes to elegant Southern Belles, often dancing together on top of the tables. Hit it right and you can even compete in the Annual Interstate Mullet Toss, a yearly event where participants fling a mullet (the fish, not the hairdo) from a 10-foot circle in Florida into the Yellowhammer State. This internationally-famous event attracts Mullet Olympians (including former NFL quarterback Kenny Stabler) attempting to outdo the current 189’8” record. Other popular, not-for-the-gutless Flora-Bama events are January’s Polar Bear Plunge, the Mullet Man Triathlon and the Superbowl Chili Cook-off.



3. Do a little jig. To further cement your new laidback attitude, head next to Lulu’s. Owned by Jimmy Buffett’s baby sister, Lucy Anne, this indoor/outdoor restaurant with the motto “Where life is good and lunch lasts forever” not only has a concert stage (daily live concerts provide the soundtrack for your jig), but it has a volleyball pit, a summer average of 4000 potential new friends and a diverse menu featuring everything from nine types of margaritas to fish baskets and, not unexpectedly, a Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Lucy, who calls herself the Crazy Sista, grew up near here with her famous big brother Jimmy. After ten years of what she calls “plastic California,” she moved back home to open a burger joint on Weeks Bay, the very spot where her daddy took her fishing. Five years later, she loaded the whole restaurant onto a barge and sailed it to a bigger spot at Homeport Marina. Green leaning-types can further relax knowing they’re sitting in chairs made from recycled milk jugs, that their margaritas blenders are powered by a wind turbine and that Lulu’s menu brims with local produce.


4. Challenge your BFF to a game of ping pong. Choose between indoor/outdoor ping pong tables at The Hangout (yep, that’s its official name), a crazy fun beachside restaurant with sand mountains, cruise ship-like games and a 15-foot-tall wishing wall. Guests are invited to jot down wishes on pastel slips of paper, roll them into scrolls and slide them into the slots on the wall. It looks a lot like an oversized Lite Brite, the toy of choice for most first-graders.


5. Build a sandcastle. Throw down a lounge chair or a blanket or make a sand snow angel and relax into the loving arms of this legendary sand that’s white as a newborn’s bottom and soft as the baby powder that’s applied there. With 32 miles of beaches to choose from, there’s plenty of sand for everyone. Parking is free at most beaches (practically unheard of in Florida and California) and the beaches range from Gulf State Park’s two-mile, mostly deserted beach of sand dunes and wild seat oats to The Hangout’s non-stop, volleyball-playing party beach. Or choose the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Preserve where 80-something Chan West has been known to give barefoot tours along the preserve’s two-mile path through palmettos, live oaks and Spanish moss.


6. Say hello to Flipper. It’s not enough to gaze lovingly over the ocean’s wide horizon. You have to actually get ON the water, not a difficult task since Orange Beach Marina alone has a fleet of more than 100 charter boats. Highly recommended (although not located at Orange Beach Marina) is an ecocruise with Cetacean Cruises’ Captain Bill Mitchell. A former waterski champion, Captain Bill is not only extremely knowledgeable about dolphins (he knows the 30 or so members of the resident pod by name), but he’s a great advocate for marine protection. After the oil spill, he worked with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to monitor local dolphins and other marine life. His fleet includes a 40-foot glass bottom pontoon boat and a 52-foot catamaran. After spending an hour communing and photographing the dolphins (Captain Bill knew just where to point the cameras), he’ll take you into a deserted swamp where you’ll see osprey, Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets and alligator flag, so named because its presence indicates the presence of alligators.


7. Sleep in luxury. Toss the Ambien in the nearest bin. With more than 15,000 condos, beach houses and hotel rooms, you’ll sleep like you did in first grade before money, before responsibility, before members of the opposite sex moved in our your mental turf. More than half of all accommodations are actually on the waterfront with big balconies and porches for watching sunsets, another prerequisite for any self-respecting beach bum.

Meet the locals at Fiji’s Namale Resort

Let’s suppose for a minute that your family isn’t dysfunctional. That there is no underlying tension, that everyone delights in your presence and that the minute you walk in the door, every one of your kin lights up in a neon-bright smile.

Well, I’m here to tell you that if you go to Fiji and book one of 19 bures at Namale Resort and Spa, you’ll get that family, an always-happy, functional clan that puts Beaver Cleaver’s loved ones to shame.

Sure, this 525-acre resort on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu has five stars, made the cover of Architectural Digest and throws in all the over-the-top amenities you’ve come to expect of such showcase resorts. But the reason it stands out — I mean really stands out — is because of its open, loving, big-hearted staff.


Every single person from the driver who picks you up at the airport to the woman who writes bula (it means “hello,” “to life” and “let’s celebrate) in pink ginger petals on your pillow makes a point of introducing him or herself, learning your name (and even remembering it, a favor I wasn’t able to return) and looking you straight in the eye.

And you feel confident that when you leave the table at the barefoot restaurant where you just had the most amazing dinner of your life that Bale, Toops and Villi (okay, I remember a few names) are NOT rolling their eyes and snickering behind your back about the way you pronounce kokoda, a delicious Fijian speciality made with mahi-mahi, limes, green chiles and, of course, coconut cream. Think what you will, but it’s not an act. It’s the Fijian way.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the amenities of this remote resort on the Koro Sea. Of Namale’s 525 acres, 200 are protected rainforest. Each of the bures (Fijian cottages) is locally handcrafted (the only power tool being a drill to anchor fittings into the lava outcroppings) with native hardwoods, floor-to-ceiling windows, thatched roof and infinity pool.

Tony Robbins, the self-help guru who turned the former coconut plantation into the five-star haven, aptly describes it as “killer plush.” It has everything from its own private waterfall to one of the best fitness centers in the South Pacific. It even has a gorgeous hardwood basketball court, a digital golf driving range and a two-lane, 10-pin bowling alley where you can bowl sans shoes.


From the hydro-aromatherapy room of the 10,000-square-foot spa (you can’t miss it. Just look for the smiling giant Buddha out front), you can dreamily gaze out over the Koro Sea, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins, batfish and the resort’s signature blowhole. As Robbins likes to say, “At Namale, the real you can’t help but show up.”

Here’s to hoping this is the real me. When my daughter and I arrived from the nearby tiny one-strip airport (no air traffic control, just locals shooing cows off the runway), we found our carved names (one of Namale’s many special touches) hanging from the door of the 2500-square-foot Dream House. Suffice it to say, it was bigger and far better appointed than my digs at home with outdoor showers, two pools, its own kitchen and maid quarters, a couple hot tubs and a giant projector that pulls down in front of the 200-foot windows on which we were able to watch The Bachelorette episode that was filmed there.


That was fun, of course, to say, “Oh look, Ashley (Hebert, from Season 7) is sitting next to the same pillow I am. Wow! Doesn’t she look cute being interviewed out on our deck overlooking the ocean,” but again, the best part was meeting our gracious, content Fijian hosts.

On Sunday, we were invited to attend a church service (couldn’t understand a word, but those familiar Methodist hymns sounded even better in Fijian) in the nearby village of Vivili and the following day, we drove out to Baqata, another village in the rainforested mountains, where the chief, in an elaborate ceremony that involved pounding sun-dried kava root into a powder and straining it through what looked like an old sock, ceremoniously presented us with the milky, tongue-numbing drink in the half-shell of a coconut.


Perhaps, Billie, our Indian airport driver, summed it up best. I asked him if he ever sat in on any of Tony’s seminars. After all, the motivational speaker/author teaches such classes as “Business Mastery” and “Life and Wealth Mastery” right on Namale grounds.

“Well,” he said, looking me in the eye, “I have listened to him speak a time or two, but really for us, where else would we ever want to go? What else would we ever want to master?”

Pirates not allowed at new Port of Mobile café

If you know any pirates, you might want to keep this article on the down low.


The Galley Café inside the recently-launched GulfQuest Maritime Museum is the world’s only restaurant with a ship tracking system at every table.

Which means that any of your peg-legged, eye-patch wearing friends could use said computerized screens to track their next target. Not only does the Galley Café show all the tankers, passenger ships, cargo vessels, tugs, barges, pleasure craft and other ships in the Gulf of Mexico, but it reports their speed, destination and GPS coordinates. About the only thing it fails to mention is whether or not any of the captains look like Johnny Depp.

What’s even more surprising about this little lunch-time café on the Port of Mobile is that the food, unlike so many museum cafes, is actually good. Really good.

Locals, who have already “been there, done that” at the museum that opened last September, go just to eat. And not because it’s the only restaurant on Mobile’s downtown waterfront. Helmed by Marshall Barstow, owner of the wildly popular Mama’s On Dauphin Street, The Galley Café dishes up hearty helpings of gumbo, pan-seared crab cakes topped with remoulade, bacon and fried green tomato sandwiches, shrimp and grits and all stripes of blackened seafood.

Besides being an excellent place to “put some South in yo’ Mouth,” as a popular slogan goes, but it also provides fun for mariners of all ages. The ship tracking screens are one of 90 interactive exhibits at this stunning $62 million museum that, from downtown, looks like a life-size container ship. It’s even called the SS McLean, after Mobile native Malcom McLean who revolutionized the shipping industry with “containerization.”

While learning the history, culture and commerce of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors can do everything from remotely navigate tug boats to tie a bow line knot to open valves in a cramped Confederate submarine.

The Galley, with indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of grog (but thankfully no scurvy bilge rats), is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday.

Leave the pirates at home. Aargh!

Your no-nonsense guide to stalking the Northern Lights

It’s that time of year for spotting the big disco ball in the sky. Yes, I’m talking about the aurora borealis, the northern lights, the ultimate light show presented by–ta-da–Mother Nature herself.


Here’s what you need to know if 2016 is your year for finally witnessing this cosmic, life-changing event:

1. Your odds go way up the closer you get to the Arctic Circle. The neon greens, the pinks, the reds, the blues, the violets that streak across the night sky are the result of collisions between gaseous particles in our atmosphere with supercharged particles from the sun. These head-on encounters happen 24/7 in a weird-shaped oval at the Earth’s magnetic poles, so the closer you are, the better “the seats.”

2. The show can only be seen by the naked eye when it’s dark and cloudless. This means winter is the time to look. As in now. Right now. When there’s no light pollution. They don’t call the northern climes the Land of the Midnight Sun because it sounds poetic. In the summer, it’s light. Nearly all day. But this time of year, when the air is crisp and the sun barely makes an appearance, Mother Nature starts auditioning for a Pink Floyd light show. Anytime the sun’s magnetic fields get distorted and twisted and sunspots and their solar flares start exploding, the pyrotechnics appear to dance and violently sashay across the sky. The good news is we’re only a couple years out from a solar maximus, so go now.

3. Pictures and videos don’t begin to cut it. Sure, you can watch Hotel Ranga’s webcam for a live stream of Iceland’s southern skies. The vibrant celestial ballet might even prompt an inadvertent sucking in of your breath. But until you’ve seen the real deal, it’s like “dating” a picture of Megan Fox.

4. Your options diminish if you want to be comfortable. As you can imagine, there is lots of frozen tundra with a ringside seat to this celestial spectacle. Hotel rooms and people? Not so much. In fact, the reason, you hear so little about aurora borealis’ counterpart, the aurora australis, is because it’s mainly visible in Antarctica.

Options for the northern lights are better. The Yukon, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, the Scandinavian countries all offer packages and hotels and research stations. In Sweden’s Lapland, for example, there’s an ice hotel with suites and rooms carved by 100 artists and in Finland, you can watch the dancing display from a glass-topped igloo. But riddle me this? How long do you want to face bitter cold temps in an igloo? You can only showshoe, ice fish and ride reindeer for so long. In Alaska, on the other hand, you can gaze at the Northern Lights from the warm, mineral-rich waters of Chena Hot Springs, but if those lights don’t show up (and believe me, the aurora is a diva), you’re going to risk looking like a raisin.

5. Best option bar none is Hurtigruten. This Norwegian freight line that runs the length of Norway’s jagged coast offers 11-day cruises from Bergen in the south of the country to Kirkenes just nine miles shy of the Russian border. Not only do you end up 250 miles above the Arctic Circle, but 11 full days of looking ups your odds of spotting the celestial display by well, 11. Hurtigruten will even give you a second cruise (for free) if, for some strange, unexpected reason, you go away empty-handed.

Hurtigruten has been around since 1893 when the government contracted it to improve communication in a country’s that’s more than 1000 miles long and only a few feet across. Okay, I’m exaggerating about the width. But not about the wonders Hurtigruten has wrought upon Norway as it drops off mail, delivers freight and, more recently, delights intrepid cruise passengers (it’s not the QE2, not does it try to be) with 11-day round-trip journeys up and down its stunningly beautiful coast.

6. You get the guarantee without freezing off your tush. Hurtigruten doesn’t have all the foo-foo stuff of other cruise lines–the casinos, the musical cabarets, the photographers trying to capture your every movement. But it has warm, snug rooms and food that will knock your muck lucks off. There are daily buffets with piles of fresh and smoked fish, pates, cheese, green salad, yogurt and three-course evening meals. The captain will even alert you when the lights are doing their thing.  

7. It always pay to check with NASA. Since solar weather affects spacecraft in orbit and can knock out power grids, NASA keeps tabs on the sun’s aurora-causing activities. They’re one of several agencies that issue alerts if they’re expecting an impressive show. The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration updates their forecast every 30 minutes.

Only in Helsinki: 5 Things You Will Find Nowhere Else

As a profiler of the weird and wonderful, I couldn’t wait to get to Finland, a country that stages world championships in phone throwing, wife carrying, mosquito catching and air guitar.

Where else would you find speeding tickets based on the offender’s income? Once, the director of Nokia revved up his Harley a bit too vigorously and was issued a ticket for 116,000 Euros.

I knew Helsinki, Finland’s capital, would not disappoint my passion for the one-off, quirky and unique.

Here are the top five things you can only find in Helsinki, a city that regularly doubles for St. Petersburg in movies:

1. Its Parliament House has its own sauna chambers. Although the impressive 200-seat Parliament House is currently being revonated (MP’s are meeting in nearby Sibelius Academy until 2017), you can bet that they won’t leave out the sauna chambers, a popular forum for debates.

In Finland, the sauna is a point of a national pride, a weekly ritual practice by 99 percent of the population. There are more saunas than cars in Finland and, unlike the rest of us who view a hop in the sauna as a luxury, the Finns consider their weekly sauna as a necessity, right up there with food, rye bread and vodka. Any business worth its credit rating has a company sauna as do most passenger and cargo ships, every home and apartment building. A popular Finnish Finnish TV talk show that ran for two years featured hosts in a sauna chatting up celebs and government officials. Even former president Tarja Halonen (the Conan O’Brien look-alike) was interviewed wearing nothing but a towel.

2. Per capita, Helsinki has the world’s most heavy metal bands. The normally underground head-banging, double bass drums and suicidal lyrics of heavy metal are “out” and widely celebrated all over Finland. It’s hard to find even a small town that doesn’t have at least one heavy metal group: there’s 53 for every 100,000 people, according to The Wire.

Helsinki streets are crowded with metal theme clubs, the Tuska Festival (Tuska means agony in Finnish), a three-day open-air festival draws tens of thousands of metal maniacs from all over the world and The University of Helsinki offers a class on heavy metal music in contemporary society.

There’s a heavy metal children’s music band (It’s called Hevisaurus and members dress in dinosaur costumes) and if you go to the Helsinki Rock Shop, you won’t find gems or minerals but a wide selection of official band t-shirts (black and heavily-studded, of course) of Finland’s most successful heavy metal groups: The Sperm, Wigwam, Children of Bodom (named after a famous massacre on the quiet shores of Lake Bodom), Hanoi Rocks (reputed to have inspired Guns N’ Roses) and His Infernal Majesty, HIM that headlines a midnight show most New Year’s at long-time rock stalwart, the Tavastia Club.

3. It screened the world’s longest running movie (so far). The Lord of the Rings Trilogy has a running time of 558 minutes, but that’s a drop in the cinematic bucket compared to Modern Times Forever, a movie that ran in Helsinki for 240 hours. This ten-day movie was projected onto the side of the Stora Enso Building, an appropriate venue since well, the riveting plot revolved around what would happen to modern architecture (specifically the Stora Enso Buidling) if humankind disappeared. But alas, Helsinki will hold the record for only five more years as Swedish director Anders Weberg just released a 72-minute trailer for his proposed 720-hour movie, Ambiance.

4. Travelers can lose their wallets without worrying or having to call the embassy. Reader’s Digest, in a test to find the world’s most honest city, dropped 12 wallets in 16 cities around the globe. The wallets, each with a cellphone number, a family photo, business cards and the equivalent of $50 were left in parks, on sidewalks, near shopping malls. In Helsinki, 11 out of 12 were returned.

5. There’s a proposed law in Helsinki that will forbid schools to start before 9 a.m.. Not only do kids in Finland stay home until they’re 7 years old (compare that to the U.S. push for earlier and earlier education), but the school day doesn’t start typically start until 9, there’s twice as much recess and the kids go home earlier with little or no homework. While the U.S. sometimes struggles to find good teachers, in Finland, teacher wannabe’s are turned away. Only the top 10 percent are selected, they’re given status on par with doctors and lawyers and, most opposite to the U.S., they’re actually trusted to know the best way to teach their students. Probably most important is Finland consistently performs among the top nations on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year olds in 65 nations and territories around the world.

Machu Picchu without the crowds: when only the rare and one-off will do

When you’re George Clooney or Donald Trump you don’t stay at the Holiday Inn. You stay at hotels that provide exclusive fringe benefits, that tell a story or that offer unusual perks.

Inkaterra’s La Casona in Cusco offers all three. Here’s why choosy clients choose Inkaterra La Casona.

1. It’s Machu Picchu without the crowds. Who doesn’t want to mark this 15th century Inca citadel off their bucket list? But it’s your vacation, for goodness sakes, and the last thing you want to do is spend it with 5000 strangers, the average daily attendance at Machu Picchu.

At least not for long. So book a stay at this exquisite 16th century manor house in Cusco and let the concierge worry about the details of your day trip to Machu Picchu. Your only job should be drinking Pisco Sours and enjoying the colonial antiques, roaring fireplaces and giant marble bathrooms with deep Roman tubs.

2. Every detail of this boutique hotel begs to be Instagrammed. From its original textile murals and elaborate hand-carved cedar doors to the open-air restaurant’s handmade pottery, everything about La Casona screams, “Take my picture.” You’ll want to capture it all—the quinoa pancakes, the coca tea, the original Peruvian rugs, the Quechua shamans who show up for special ceremonies.

3. The George Washington (of Latin America) slept here. Simon Bolivar, the famous general who finally freed South America from Spanish tentacles, once lived in this two-story mansion that’s now an 11-suite Relais Chateaux hotel. And that’s just the beginning of its historic pedigree. Bolivar is one of several Spanish conquistadores who lived in this home built in the mid-1500’s on the top of the ruins of an Incan palace. No wonder the Peruvian government named it a national historic monument.

4. The owner pals around with Mick Jagger. Jose Koechlin, the enigmatic founder of Inkaterra, who plows profits from his five boutique hotels into conservation and scientific research in the Amazon and Peruvian Andes, was able to help the famous front man for the Rolling Stones finally “get some satisfaction.” Other notables in Koechlin’s rolladeck are German movie director Werner Herzog and famous Harvard biologist, E.O. Wilson.

5. Location, location, location. It doesn’t get much prettier than Cusco’s cobblestone streets and wide-open plazas. La Casona is next door to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art on Plaza de La Nazarenas and just a romantic stroll away from the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas and Plaza de Armas with its cathedral and churches bedecked in gold and silver.

Inkaterra: Where you can feel noble about your travel dollars

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Is this a dream or am I really taking a bubble bath in the same 16th century manor house where Simon Bolivar once lived? Am I really gazing out over Peru’s Sacred Valley from a five-star hotel, drinking medicinal tea from leaves grown right on the grounds?

On a recent trip to Peru, my arms were practically black and blue from all the pinching. Is all this magic really happening to me, a kid from Kansas?

It all started at a hacienda in Urubamba. With knee-buckling vistas of the Andes from every window, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is the latest offering in the Inkaterra lineup.

Like all Inkaterra projects, it plows profits back into the local community, buys produce from the Andean Farm project and offers guests a window into the real story behind the region. In this case, the constellations that guided the Incas in the building of their mysterious stone cities.

I suppose a person could go to Peru and NOT stay at an Inkaterra property. But it would be akin to going to Egypt and forgoing the pyramids.

Inkaterra is a celebration of all things Peru. All things that are good about traveling. Preserving cultures. Forging relationships with real people. Making sure the flora and fauna that makes the region so compelling in the first place will still be there tomorrow.

That Inkaterra happens to have a handful of pedigreed boutique hotels is almost beside the point.

It’s one thing to book a hotel for night-time snoozing. But to book a hotel that has the sole purpose of bettering the world, now that’s what I call a vacation.

Of course, hotel might be the wrong word. Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is actually a field research station. It regularly sponsors scientific inventories and expeditions. With the help of National Geographic and several prestigious American universities, it has catalogued thousands of rainforest species and identified 21 new species including orchids, amphibians and butterflies.

I love the idea of my vacation dollars going to preserve rainforest (42,000 acres so far), fund scientific expeditions and build schools for the local Quechuas people. You won’t be surprised to hear that Inkaterra was the first in Peru to go carbon neutral.

E.O. Wilson, the famous Pulitzer-prize winning Harvard scientist found more ant species during his stay at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica than anywhere else in the world. The orchid garden at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel has the world’s largest orchid collection.

The fact that Inkaterra’s five properties also happen to have high-count sheets, Peruvian antiques, custom-made crafts and quinoa pancakes only adds to the mystique.

When Jose Koechlin, the enigmatic owner of Inkaterra, first bought property in Aguas Caliente, the tiny town at the base of Machu Picchu, he donated 11 acres to build a school, a train station, a market and homes for locals. He made sure the cloud forest was preserved.

Only then, 15 years later, did he open the hotel that today has an organic farm, a tea plantation and a preserved cloud forest with the 372 species of orchids and 111 species of butterflies. Oh and did I mention there’s also an Andean Spectacled Bear Rescue on site.

So, yes, gather all the hotel points you want, but, as for me, I want my travel dollars to help make the world a better place.