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An Authentic Sense of Place: 6 Extraordinary Experiences

Article by Kat Johnson 03.05.2018

Whether it’s a bustling weekend in the city or a relaxing oceanside getaway, truly great travel experiences allow you to go beyond the beaten path and forge a true connection to the local culture and traditions. Creatively incorporating cultural, culinary and natural elements of their surrounding environments, these six new experiences at The Ritz-Carlton offer guests a genuinely deeper travel experience.

1. Discover Local Legends in Malaysia

The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi was designed to fully immerse guests in the tranquil Malaysian island’s incredible ecosystem and rich local culture. The experience begins the moment you arrive, where you can inscribe a stone with a wish and drop it into the fountain inspired by Tasik Dayang Buntin, the island’s legendary granter of dreams. After a day exploring the beautiful beaches or ancient jungle, the magic continues at sunset, when the resort’s nightly “Dance of Thanks to the Sea” performance is accompanied by traditional gamelan music and spellbinding oceanfront views.

A woman drapes her lace shawl so that it catches the sunlight.

2. Find Moments of Peace in New York City

At the gateway to New York’s most beloved green space, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park has always embodied the spirit of the city. But recently, the hotel took an olfactory approach to honoring its location, collaborating with luxury fragrance company Antica Farmacista on a signature scent. The new 50 Central Park fragrance contains notes of elderflower, mountain mint and ripe strawberries and is available in a range of experiences, from two signature treatments at La Prairie Spa to an aromatic new handcrafted cocktail. The best part? The scent is available to purchase as a candle or room spray, so you can bring your memories of Central Park home with you.

A castle of brown and gray stone overlooks a still pond.

3. Ride Through the Arabian Desert

For a quintessential Arabian experience, a traditional camel ride through the desert tops many visitors’ bucket lists.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach in the United Arab Emirates offers guests the opportunity to set off into the sunset at the resort’s very own Equestrian Centre, which offers horseback riding and lessons in addition to a daily sunset camel caravan through the soft, sifting sands of the sprawling Al Wadi Nature Reserve. The leisurely ride culminates at dusk, where you’ll enjoy refreshments as the sun disappears below the dunes.

Led by a guide, a woman rides a camel across the desert sands.

4. Take a Spin on Germany’s Autobahn

If you prefer your adventures on the open road, there’s no better way to explore Germany than from behind the wheel of one of the country’s finest vehicles. When you reserve the new Audi RS6 Performance package from The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, you’ll have access to the use of a peak-performance luxury driving machine — the Audi RS6 Performance or the Audi S8 Plus — throughout the length of your stay. You’ll also enjoy complimentary access to Volkswagen’s renowned Autostadt, including a guided VIP tour through its Audi pavilion — and an exclusive map to the area, with sightseeing attractions, to further immerse you in the local environs.

Neatly-trimmed hedges surround a paved racetrack.

5. Taste a Gastronome’s Tokyo

Few places inspire culinary devotion like Tokyo, where travelers relish eating their way through the city’s stellar sushi, lively izakayas and artful omakase. But natives know there’s epicurean magic afoot on the 45th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, where the Japanese-inflected French cuisine of Azure 45 recently earned the restaurant a Michelin star for the third consecutive year. Chalk it up to Chef Shinatro Miyakazi, who’s confidently composed, gorgeous dishes draw a regular crowd of discerning Tokyo residents. After a day of exploring the city, you can truly eat like a local — right in the hotel.

A modernly-decorated dining room overlooks the evening Tokyo skyline.

6. Feel the Spirit of Aloha

When you finally make time for a beach vacation, chances are you’re ready to embrace the island mindset as soon as possible. In Hawaii, this attitude is a deeper experience than you might think; the “spirit of Aloha” encompasses joyful energy, presence of mind and harmony with nature. Clifford Nae’ole, cultural advisor at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, guides visitors through the islands’ traditions through genuine cultural experiences such as a cleansing and awakening sunrise ceremony. This healing ritual incorporates the purifying power of the ocean and traditional Hawaiian chanting to wash away negativity as another beautiful Hawaiian day is dawning. “Once the sun has blinked its eye,” Nae’ole says, “you are free to begin life anew.”

Rocky beaches covered in lush green plants meet the ocean.


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  • Langkawi

    Location Langkawi, Malaysia

    Experience Rainforest retreat overlooking the sea

    • Island’s only overwater spa
    • Beachfront, vitality and adults-only infinity pools
    • Batik painting, wildlife photography and other activities
  • New York, Central Park

    Location Midtown Manhattan

    Experience Sweeping Central Park views from your hotel room

    • Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best
    • Steps away from Central Park
    • Just one block from the famed 5th Avenue
  • Al Hamra Beach - Ras Al Khaimah

    Location Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach

    Experience A beachfront oasis offering both tranquility and adventure.

    • Located on a secluded beach with boat arrival
    • Intimate Private Pool Villas with direct access to a pristine beach
    • Destination dining in beach private cabanas
  • Wolfsburg

    Location Wolfsburg, Germany

    Experience One of the most luxurious hotels in Germany’s wealthiest city.

    • Located within the famed Autostadt
    • 3-star Michelin-rated AQUA restaurant
    • Located near Volkswagen’s headquarters
  • Tokyo

    Location Tokyo, Japan

    Experience Stunning views from the city’s tallest building, Midtown Tower.

    • Accommodations begin on the 47th floor
    • Michelin starred French fare at Azure 45
    • Centrally located to Tokyo’s attractions
  • Kapalua

    Location Maui, Hawaii

    Experience A resort rich in cultural traditions and a warm Aloha spirit.

    • Unique ocean activities for everyone
    • Three distinctive beachside cabana offerings
    • Snorkeling & underwater photography