Few U.S. cities embrace their diversity like San Antonio, Texas. At the intersection of American, Texan and Mexican culture, the seventh-largest city in the United States knows how to celebrate traditions while making everyone feel welcome. (Can we all please take a cue from San Antonio!?)
This season, though tricky Halloween festivities still abound, it is the Mexican holiday of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) that treats visitors most in San Antonio.
The traditional Mexican holiday, dating to pre-Columbian time, professes that during November 1, the distance between living and dead is at its closest point, creating the perfect opportunity to honor our dearly departed loved ones.
Considered the largest Día de los Muertos celebration in the United States, San Antonio builds traditional altars, throws parades and delivers delicious Mexican food offerings that remind you it’s tastier on this side of the divide.
“We want to be the best hotel restaurant in the world. That’s what we’re pushing for.”
Uttering that statement as he welcomes us into HA Restaurant, Chef Carlos Gaytan sets a very high bar. He then spends the next 3 hours exceeding all expectations.
After all, this isn’t your typical hotel restaurant. Carlos Gaytan is the first Mexican chef ever to receive a Michelin Star (for Mexique in Chicago). And although HA Restaurant is located within Hotel Xcaret in Riviera Maya, Mexico, it is open to all diners with a reservation and is the one restaurant not included in the hotel’s all-inclusive package. It’s a stand-alone culinary masterpiece in a resort area more commonly associated with dinner buffets.
Why merely relax when you can transform? The Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret Mexico is your gateway to the ancient traditions and healing practices of the Mayan culture. As you enter the spa’s expansive, open-air lobby you immediately connect with the lush topography of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Excavated from a rocky hillside of this jungle region, the spa opens onto a private river that runs through the entirety of Hotel Xcaret.
For those interested in moving beyond the pampering into the spiritual, plan to visit Muluk Spa on a Wednesday when their Shaman will guide you through the complete Temezcal experience. This traditional Mexican sweat lodge, dating back to Pre-Hispanic times, is not for the faint of heart (quite literally) or those particularly sensitive to heat (your body temperature can exceed 104°F). But it is through the sweat that you cleanse of toxins both physical and emotional… (continue)
Located on a quiet street off Soho Square, Hazlitt’s occupies three historic 18th century townhouses in the heart of London. Beautifully restored to its original Georgian style, the hotel blends the charm of yesteryear with modern innovation. As owner Peter McKay states, the Hazlitt’s creators are “meticulous about using antiques and traditional craftsmanship…and are ardent believers in drawing on authenticity to create the ambience for which Hazlitt’s has become known.” At Hazlitt’s, tradition is timeless.
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Click here to learn more about London’s Soho neighborhood.
Cologne is a city of contrasts. Germany’s most catholic city is also one of its most progressive. Founded along the Rhine River as a Roman settlement in 38 BC, Cologne has managed to stay relevant through more than 2,000 years of history, culture, and artistry. Germany’s fourth largest city celebrates its distinct “Kölsch” culture by marching to the beat of its own drummer: drinking its particular beer, speaking its unique dialect, and living its free-spirited lifestyle. While honoring its rich past, Cologne is a city living in the present and looking toward the future.
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Skip the Acidophilus. Amsterdam provides its own kind of active culture.
Enjoy a takeaway that will leave you wobbling in your wooden shoes. Lucas Bols, the oldest distilled spirit brand in the world, has been cultivating the taste of Amsterdam since 1575. Perhaps best known for creating Genever, a classic Dutch alcoholic spirit, Lucas Bols continues to expand its intoxicating reign with the development of innovative liqueurs…
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