100 Things to Do in the United States

I’m Nyssa. I started The Cultureur in August 2012, almost a decade after contracting the travel bug while on a Model United Nations conference in Russia and Finland.
And from there, when I took the first step in solo international travel and decided to study abroad in college,
there was no looking back, and I ended up living, studying, working, and volunteering in 6 countries (the U.S., the UK, France, Iceland, India, and Germany) and traveling to 50+ others.

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Best Restaurants in Washington D.C. | The Harper Notebook

Best Restaurants in Washington D.C. | The Harper Notebook | Andrew Harper


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The world’s most innovative, imaginative hotel system: Hyperloop Hotel


Imagine no longer having to fly to your chosen destination, but instead enjoying a smooth transit system between hotels in top cities. Maybe by 2020 you can, if the imaginative, innovative Hyperloop Hotel becomes a reality.

hyperlink hotel new york city

Hotels linked by a hyperloop transit system

The award winning Hyperloop Hotel concept has been developed by a graduate architecture student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Brandan Siebrecht. His design integrates the normal components that make up our travel experience: buying tickets for planes, trains or buses along with booking a few nights at a hotel. Siebrecht’s design proposes 13 hotels in different US cities linked by a hyperloop transit system.

hyperlink hotel system hyperlink one

Faster than a plane and energy-efficient

The hyperloop concept was originally introduced by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, back in 2013. It is a mode of transportation which propels a pod-like vehicle via a reduced-pressure tube. Brandan Siebrecht’s design was partially inspired by DevLoop. Located just north of Las Vegas, DevLoop is an actual test track for Hyperloop One. The objectives of Hyperloop One are to be faster than a plane, autonomous and energy-efficient.

hyperlink one tube

Linking 13 of America’s most important cities

The Hyperloop Hotel concept will have hotels in 13 of America’s most important cities: New York City, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Denver, Santa Fe, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Austin.

This futuristic concept would also eliminate the need to purchase separate transit tickets between America’s largest cities, all of which would be linked by this hyperloop system. At the time of writing the design is still conceptual, but the goal is to create a fully operational hyperloop system by 2020.

Multiple destinations in a single day

Siebrecht’s design won him the student’s Radical Innovation Award this year. “Guests would be able to travel to any hotel destination within the network and even visit multiple destinations in a single day,” Siebrecht said.

For a proposed flat fee of $1,200, guests will be able to zoom at top speed between the network of US cities, while never having to leave their room. Hotel sizes will vary according to their location, as will their footprint. In dense cities the footprint will be smaller than in less populated areas. As yet nightly costs have not been calculated.

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9 of the best volcanoes to visit


What more says adventure and jaw dropping experience than the sight of an erupting volcano. The sheer splendour of watching the natural vibrant glow of molten rock seep or explode out of the earth’s crust is incredible and quite simply never gets boring!


Across the globe we have many accessible volcanoes in near and far flung destinations that are becoming very popular to visit and plan your next holiday around. Be it the challenge of reaching a tricky summit climb, the incredible views you might be gazing out at, the volcano history with its stories of destruction and fights for survival or the engaging volcanic activity of lava, gases and ash. Here is a list I’ve put together of some of the best volcanoes to visit across the world:

Mt Etna, Sicily, Italy – 3,350m

For UK residents Mt Etna is probably the easiest active volcano to visit. Located on the eastern coast of Sicily, it is easily approached from Catania airport. Many tourists like to include a day trip to Etna with a holiday to Taormina – a beautiful, bustling coastal town. Excursion and local buses will take you to Etna’s Refugio Sapienza, at a height of 2000m above sea level and from there you can either hike the remaining distance or fortunately there is a cable car and jeep option which most people tend to opt for. In late October I found I was hiking above the clouds through the ice – a truly memorable experience!


Vesuvius, Italy – 1,281m

Sitting as a backdrop to the population of Naples in southern Italy the volcano is an iconic landmark. Vesuvius is best known for the devastation it caused to the settlements of Pompeii and Herculaneum whereby it engulfed and buried these entire Roman cities back in AD 79. Today Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of Italy’s biggest tourist attractions – exploring times gone by. To reach the summit of Vesuvius it’s an easy 30/40 minutes walk from where the buses / taxis drop you off. Looking down into the crater that is often still releasing gases, from the crater rim is an eerie and thrilling experience.


Kīlauea, Hawaii – 1,247m

Kilauea is a highly active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. It sits on the southern shore of the ‘Big Island – Hawaii’. If you want to visit a volcano with constantly erupting lava – this is definitely one to be seen! With options to see the lava via boat, by foot or indeed by helicopter – there are plenty of opportunities to find the best way for you.


Stromboli, Aeolian Islands, Italy – 924m

Stromboli is a small volcanic island off the north coast of Sicily. The volcano dominates the island and provides a spectacle for all to see – as its nickname ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’ infers. Excursions are run to hike the volcano just before dusk, so you can arrive at a viewing point to watch the volcano erupting by night. For those not keen on the challenge of the ascent, the eruptions can still often be seen from a boat trip.


Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland – 1,651m

The ice cap Eyjafjallajökul covers the caldera of a volcano which recently caused global chaos back in 2010. This volcano demonstrates the effects that volcanic activity can have across the world and albeit located on a fairly quiet and remote island the consequences can be seen globally. Overall Iceland is a geologists playground with so many fascinating geological structures and features, and is well worth a visit to explore the country’s spectacular waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers and volcanoes.


Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica – 1,670m

Located in the north west of Costa Rica the Arenal Volcano adopts the classic volcano shape making it a picture postcard holiday snap. The Arenal Volcano National Park protects both the Arenal Volcano and the dormant Chato Volcano. The expansive park stretches from near Lake Arenal and has both hiking trails and observational points for visitors to explore and enjoy.


Mount Fuji, Tokyo – 3,766m

Mt Fuji is situated on Honshu island about 100km south west of Japan’s capital Tokyo and on a clear day the grandeur of this mountain can be seen from there. Mount Fuji is an active volcano, which most recently erupted in 1707. The climbing season is from early July to mid September and you will find that this is when the trails and mountain facilities are open and are usually free of snow.


Mt St Helens, USA – 2,550m

The Cascade range forms a chain of volcanoes in the Pacific NW region of North America. It extends forming an arc for approximately 700 miles along a coastal path from British Columbia in Canada through to northern California. Mt St Helens is one of the 13 major volcanoes in this range and is probably most known for it’s major eruption in 1980 causing mass destruction and devastation. Two years after the event the Mount St Helens National Monument was created leaving the area as a protected environment – reminding visitors of the impact this volcano had on the environment and the wonder of nature’s recovery.


Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 3,470m

Mount Nyiragongo in the Virunga Mountains, is located inside Virunga National Park (Africa’s oldest national park and one of the most exciting). With enchanting forests, lava plains and active volcanoes, savannahs, swamps and glacial peaks this park is mesmerising. The park is known for its exceptional (bio)diversity, containing more bird, mammal and reptile species than any protected area on the African continent; and is one of the few remaining places where visitors can observe the critically endangered mountain gorilla in the wild. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site you can ascend to the rim of the crater and look down at the world’s largest lava lake. Every step up to the 3,470-metre-high peak is wholly worth it for the wonderful sight that greets you at the top!


Mike Kelly is Director at Oxford Private Travel.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Best Cities to Visit in the Fall — The Cultureur

I’m Nyssa. I started The Cultureur in August 2012, almost a decade after contracting the travel bug while on a Model United Nations conference in Russia and Finland.
And from there, when I took the first step in solo international travel and decided to study abroad in college,
there was no looking back, and I ended up living, studying, working, and volunteering in 6 countries (the U.S., the UK, France, Iceland, India, and Germany) and traveling to 50+ others.

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Wine and Wanderlust in Walla Walla: An Experiential Luxury Traveler’s Dream

“A city so nice, they named it twice.” If I could sum up the wineries in Walla Walla in one word, it would be intimate. It’s all about the people — the humans that make the magic happen behind the scenes.

The post Wine and Wanderlust in Walla Walla: An Experiential Luxury Traveler’s Dream appeared first on The Cultureur | A Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Blog.

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Review of Marcus Whitman Hotel, Walla Walla

Name: The Marcus Whitman Hotel

Location: Downtown Walla Walla, Washington

Rooms: 133 rooms and suites

Insider Tip: Check out the daily evening refreshments in the lobby — the hot chocolate and cookies were delicious!

The Marcus Whitman Hotel (Photo credit: marcuswhitmanhotel.com)

-Both check-in and check-out were a breeze. I’m not a happy camper if I have to wait to check-in/check-out.
-A buffet breakfast was included. I appreciated the healthy to-go options — with so many wineries in the area, there’s not a minute to lose!
-Thank you for the very fitting and thoughtful welcome amenity — a local bottle of wine!
-Water is complimentary — can’t believe some hotels don’t get something as simple as this.
-The location is perfect — nestled in the very heart of Downtown, next to tons of restaurants, bars, parks, etc.
-The room was very spacious and comfortable — I stayed in the Luxury Tower Suite.
-I had a city view from my room — it looked out into other buildings in Downtown.
-The lovely curtains weren’t solely for show and managed to perfectly block out the morning sunlight, making it easier for me to sleep in — a MUST on vacation.
-The service was wonderful — attentive, hospitable, and warm. From the front desk to the housekeeping staff to the concierge, the service was fantastic.
-Loved the understated color palette with pops of color in the room.
-The bedding was as luxurious as can be, with a surfeit of fluffy pillows and the cloud-like down comforter.
-The bathtub was separate from its shower.
-The hotel works with a local licensed massage therapist who does in-room calls, so if you’re too lazy to get dressed for the spa, this is the perfect answer! Her name is Deborah Riley and she can be reached directly at http://www.massagetherapywallawalla.com or thespatravelers@gmail.com. I had a 60-minute deep-tissue massage, but she offers a wide range of services such as red wine wraps and couples massages.
-The toiletries were from the British brand, Gilchrist & Soames — always a pleasure!
-There’s daily fresh refreshments in the lobby in the evening.
-WiFi is complimentary — yes!
-There’s an award-winning restaurant in the lobby, The Marc — it wasn’t a favorite, but the service and range of options were superb.
-The front manager was willing to accommodate practically every request of mine, even if it was not generally offered. One of the nights when the temperatures had dropped significantly, I needed to get to the restaurant, and it was too cold to walk, even though it wasn’t very far. And with no Uber/limited taxi service/no hotel house car, the front manager offered to drive me to my destination. Wonderful service, indeed. It’s the can-do attitudes of staff members that make the stay truly memorable.
-Room service was very quick and efficient.
-Lots of outlets near the bed — perfect for digital travelers.
-There’s lots of magazines to choose from.

-There was no pre-arrival correspondence to find out more about my preferences and likes/dislikes.
-There was no social media activity before, during, or after. This is a lost opportunity to connect with guests for any hotel brand.
-The bathroom, in general, was outdated in its decor and fixtures.
-There is no house car for guest use.
-The hair dryer was nonfunctional and merely made noise.
-The lobby looks outdated and is in need of renovation. The chandeliers were beautiful, but the lighting and carpeted floor made the lobby feel drab and antiquated.
-Turn-down service was disappointingly ordinary. Given that it’s a wine-themed destination, there’s a lot they can use to their advantage and a little extra something out of the ordinary would have been a great touch.

Duration: 2 nights, November 18-20, 2016

BOTTOM LINE: Walla Walla is an experiential luxury traveler’s dream and a wine lover’s paradise, and fortunately, it is still relatively off the mainstream radar for tourists. But this also means that luxury hotels are few and far between (that’s changing from what I hear!). Opened in 1928, the Marcus Whitman Hotel is a landmark hotel and one of the few luxury hotels in the area. Given its long history, the decor, furniture, and lighting of the hotel impart an antiquated vibe, but what the hotel lacks in its look and feel, it more than makes up for with its gracious service, helpful, can-do attitudes of the staff, and central location. While it did not emerge as one of my favorite properties, I had a memorable stay, largely due to the fantastic service at the hotel. However, one aspect I would highly recommend that the hotel pay more attention to is its social media presence to bolster its profile with prospective, current, and past guests.

*Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Visit Walla Walla, but views are my own and accurately reflect my stay.

**My policy: there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was hosted by the hotel or paid for with my own money. And even if the hotel decides to offer complimentary services, my review will never be swayed one way or the other. After all, if my experience was sub-par, and I continue to falsely rave about their services, no one will benefit–not me, not you, not the hotel (they’ll never improve!). So, trust that you’ll receive 100% truth in every review.

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