Of Note: North American Pursuits

Lights, Camera, Austin! South By Southwest {Austin, Texas} A respected hub for independent filmmaking, live music, and emergent interactive technology, Austin extends its cultural footprint, South By Southwest, for its […]

Lights, Camera, Austin!
South By Southwest {Austin, Texas}

A respected hub for independent filmmaking, live music, and emergent interactive technology, Austin extends its cultural footprint, South By Southwest, for its 28th year. Taking place March 13–22, the festival will attract an eclectic network of artists, performers, and creative minds. Besides buzzworthy film premieres and screenings, the festival is noted for its SXSW Convergence Programming, featuring 60 industry-focused seminars, and diverse industry leaders such as Brian Grazer, Russell Brand, Rich Eisen, and James Frey. The 2015 SXSW Music Festival includes 170 bands from all over the world, with a special performance by Australian psych-pop legends The Church. In 1994, SXSW added both the Film and Interactive Conferences to the existing Music format. The conference attracts more than 51,000 registrants annually. / sxsw.com


Western Winter Wonderland
The Quintess Collection {Jackson Hole, Wyoming}

Imagine yourself snuggled up by a fire, snow falling gently on the ground outside, and the promise of fresh tracks on the mountain in the morning. The Quintess home in Jackson Hole, Aman Springs, offers a stunning setting, yet is just one of the distinctive possibilities available through The Quintess Collection’s assortment of properties. A sprawling 5,000 sq. ft. home with impressive views of the Tetons offers an escape into seasonal bliss. Your personal Quintess Host will ensure that your entire stay is seamless, from booking dinner reservations to special excursions. After a full day on the slopes, shed your boots in the locker at the mountain, and take a soak in the hot tub while admiring the Wyoming wilderness or lounge in the media room with a large flat screen TV and wet bar. The Quintess Collection offers exclusive access to multimillion-dollar vacation properties worldwide to its members. From Italy to New York to the Wild West, you’ll discover your ideal home away from home. / quintess.com/csq or 800/550.0324


Pacific Paradise
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Resort {Puerto Vallarta, Mexico}

The “all-inclusive” resort experience ascended to new levels of sophistication when the Grand Velas Riviera opened in 2002. A cultural gem hugging the vibrant swath of land skirting the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, the property hosts tequila-tasting classes, among the usual five-star amenities, while tours to the delightful villages such as Sayulita and San Pancho beckon. Fine dining venues include Lucca (Italian), Piaf (French) and Frida’s, a tribute to barrier-breaking artist Frida Kahlo with inventive modern Mexican specialties. Suite accommodations (all with Banderas Bay views) are inclusive of meals and premium beverages, athletic and cultural resort activities, taxes, gratuities, and personalized extras such as custom-monogrammed pillow cases. “Romantic Escape” and golf packages (the two beautiful golf courses at Vista Vallarta Golf Club were designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf) are available. vallarta.grandvelas.com


Gulf Coast Opulence
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort {Naples, Florida}

Love knows no limits. Proving this axiom is just as true in 2015 as it ever was, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort is offering a “Champagne Wishes” package through the end of February. Every exquisite detail has been orchestrated, as evidenced by luxury limo service and iced magnum of Veuve Clicquot and Swarovski-embellished crystal flutes that greet you upon arrival. Your itinerary includes a day trip on a 48’ state-of-the-art chartered yacht, daily in-room breakfasts, and a custom “toes-in-the-sand” dinner at Baleen, the resort’s award-winning restaurant. Beyond the pampering, you can also explore La Playa’s verdant, scenic golf course and newly opened David Leadbetter Golf Academy, both designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Cupp. Available through February 28, starting at $18,000 (three nights).  laplayaresort.com


Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang {Thailand}

While Thailand’s Doi Inthanon National Park two hours outside Chiang Mai is covered with hiking trails, waterfalls, and other adventure travel delights, the Royal Agricultural Station is the jewel in this proverbial crown. When the still-reigning King Rama IX (Bhumibol Adulyadej) launched the project in 1969, the opium trade and cultivation had economically, environmentally, and culturally devastated the region. He personally invested in 318.24 hectares of land 1,200 meters above sea level to establish this breakthrough agricultural research station. Forty-six years later, it encompasses temperate fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, tree and flower farms, several reforestation areas, seven tribal villages, and a rustic resort with a fantastic restaurant. The benefiting communities are flourishing economically as well as supplying produce to restaurants and markets around Thailand. / royal-inthanon.com