Resorts are wonderful, but some have a tendency to isolate the traveler from the country and culture that they are trying to absorb.
It can be hard to experience the customs of the indigenous people when you are surrounded by good-hearted attempts to make you feel as at home as possible.
To combat this, many properties around the world deliver resort experiences that bring you right into the cultures of the countries that they inhabit. This type of experience offers you the best of both world: the comfort and amenities of a resort and the experience and broadening of horizons of an excursion.
These resorts offer the best cultural excursions in the world:
Half Moon, A RockResort
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Cultural Experience: Half Moon just finalized new and completely bespoke cultural excursions for guests. The new excursions are one-of-a-kind day adventures in Jamaica that grant guests access to local communities and businesses; those who book are literally welcomed into the homes of notable, working Jamaican families who are part of a long line of notable residents (one family founded Red Stripe beer) and invited to learn alongside them.
The property developed the relationships and planned these tours exclusively for guests. The tours, which are in collaboration with established tour guide, Lynda Lee Burks, will take guests off the beaten path to the infamous Blue Mountain in the parish of St. Andrew, “Stush in the Bush” lunch located in Bamboo, St. Ann, and for meetings and lunch with local sculptors, artists and tea connoisseurs.
The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas
Cultural Experience: Apart from offering a variety of local traditional Balinese dishes in their dining restaurants and using numerous indigenous ingredients in their treatments offered by The Mulia Spa, The Mulia also offers various cultural experiences that include day trips to some of Bali’s ‘must see’ towns: Ubud, Seminyak, the Balinese rice fields, temple visits and a trip to the Cliffside Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple to watch the nightly sunset traditional kecak dance. Lastly on Nyepi Day, also known as the Day of Silence or the Balinese New Year, where all noise and public transportation (including airplanes at Ngurah Rai International Airport) are put on hold for 24 hours, The Mulia offers a morning meditation for guests to be fully immersed in as the Balinese observe the national day of silence.
Cultural Experience: For centuries monks have left their temples every morning and walked through local towns and streets accepting alms from the local community. This is a great way for the monastic community to maintain contact with their followers and for people to gain merit.
Locals place rice and other foods into the monks’ alms bowls before they return to their temples with the collected food for breakfast. At one of Paresa’s favorite local pagodas in nearby Kamala and after the “tak bat” we continue with your next rewarding way to connect with the Buddhist ethos of Thailand – a spiritual blessing of love.
Offering a small basket of items prepared by the Paresa chefs to the monks is a sign of respect, and the monk returns his thanks with a spiritual blessing. This consists of a monk presenting a small dish of holy water, gently pouring it over your hands to cleanse your spirit whilst chanting ancient PaliSanskrit Mantras. The remaining holy water is lightly sprinkled around and over you, leaving you feeling lighter and calm; a very spiritual event and a welcome addition to the hectic lives we live nowadays. The walking meditation occurs at first light and we invite you to join us for this very spiritual experience, a special way to perhaps start your new marriage, just to unwind or end your heavenly stay at Paresa.
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ko Olina, Hawaii
Cultural Aspect for Travelers: Aulani, meaning messenger of the chief has worked hand-in-hand with local cultural experts to ensure the property is true to its Hawaiian heritage. Imaginatively designed to embrace time-honored traditions, guests can enjoy an array of Hawaiian-inpsired experiences including contemporary Hawaiian art and design throughout the resort, and world-class entertainment – like fireside storytelling and Starlit Hui, an evening celebration of Hawaiian traditions and Disney storytelling. Guests can also enjoy Hawaiian activities and crafts including hula and lei-making classes and island excursions from surf lessons, local hikes and more.
Bespoke by Grace
The Bespoke by Grace program gives guests a uniquely personalized experience at any of the Grace Hotels.Guests can now enjoy exclusive access to authentic and local experiences at Grace properties around the world. From a gaucho ride through the dunes of Argentina, to a meditative journey in Connecticut and a Mykonian wine tour in Mykonos, Bespoke by Grace gives guests a unique selection of bespoke experiences surrounding gastronomy, adventure and romance that guests can choose prior to arrival. Designed to give guests the most out of Grace Hotels’ diverse destinations, each activity within the program is wholly tailored to the guest’s preferences. Additionally, Grace is rolling out a Grace Kids program next year that will include personalized programming for children staying at the Grace properties.