10 hotels with cultural programs to broaden your horizons
Although the term “edu-holidays” has been used to reflect family trip with learning opportunities for children, the term can certainly be applied to an increase in the general interest in meaningful travel that makes it possible to get rich. According to American Express’ 2022 Global Travel Trends Report, 81% of respondents want to visit destinations where they can immerse themselves in local culture and redirect their tourism dollars into the local economy. And one of the best ways to do that is to stay at a hotel that offers educational cultural immersion workshops.
The best hotels are mirrors, reflecting the places they call home. Along with employing community members, spotlighting local cuisine, and using indigenous materials in design, this forward-thinking philosophy of hospitality is brought to life at many properties through education programs. cultural designed with the aim of expanding the clientele. the spirits.
The cultural education programs highlighted below teach visitors about local culture in a real, tangible way and provide practical skills for travelers to take home.
10 hotels with cultural programs
1. Thai clay molding at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
Four Seasons Hotel Chiang Mai
As part of its ongoing efforts to foster the connection between guests and the northern Thai way of life, the Four Seasons Hotel Chiang Mai recently launched a cultural center called the Chaan Baan who works with the local community to bring attention to age-old crafts, such as Thai clay molding.
Rest assured, no prior knowledge of pottery is necessary to participate in this captivating session. During the 60-minute workshop, artisans from In the clay studio pottery share traditional Thai techniques and guide visitors in the use of lathe or hand-making, then decorate ceramics with natural ash glazes.
2. Natural Remedies Workshop at NIHI Sumba (Sumba Island, Indonesia)
NIHI Sumba honors indigenous rituals in its Natural Remedies Workshop. Guests can walk around the organic garden and gather the ingredients to prepare traditional Indonesian herbal remedies. These include jamu, an anti-inflammatory drink made from roots, herbs and spices, and serums of aloe vera and virgin coconut oil to treat sunburn.
3. Beading Maasai Jewelry at Mara Bushtops (Masai Mara, Kenya)
Between gazing elephants and lions in the wild on this safari retreat, guests of Mara Bushtops in the Masai Mara in Kenya have the unique chance to stay in a magnificent camp that concentrates the beauty of nature and local traditions, including with its pearl jewelry.
In East African culture, beaded jewelry is not just for decoration, but rather the shapes and colors of the beads have individual meaning. Local bead-making experts share the history and importance of this centuries-old craft while guiding safari enthusiasts through the process of creating their own works of art.
4. Guided meditation with a Buddhist monk at Capella Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)
Finding moments of relaxation in everyday life and on vacation is beneficial for general well-being. After all, meditation has been found to help reduce stressincrease emotional regulationcalm the sympathetic nervous system, and improve sleep. And in Buddhist culture, it is used to develop concentration and achieve a contented state of mind.
Absorb the fundamentals of this practice from a Buddhist monk in Thailand? Well, it certainly offers some benefits. Monk Prasertthe mindfulness meditation master of Wat Yannawa, the 200-year-old Ayutthaya-era temple near CapellaBangkok takes seekers of serenity and spirituality on a guided journey through your consciousness to inner peace.
5. Tali Kato at Turtle Island (Fiji)
Turtle Island in Fiji is a 500-acre luxury private resort employing over 120 staff from local villages. It features 14 traditional Fijian wooden and straw bures overlooking a sparkling blue lagoon, and visitors can learn tali katowhich means weaving traditional Fijian baskets.
6. Little Ram Oyster Company Farm Tour and Shelling Class at The Shoals (Southold, New York)
Fishing is an essential part of life in many coastal communities on the North Fork of Long Island, including Southold. The shoals, a hybrid “boatel” housed in a rehabilitated marina building that was once a fish market and bait shop, embraces the region’s rich aquaculture and natural resources. The robust on-site oyster farming operation, run by a local family business and owned by women Little Ram Oyster Companygives customers a chance to learn first-hand about oyster farming, step-by-step shucking techniques, and how to taste the nuance of delicacy in durable bivalves (which, fun fact, can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day from pollutants).
7. Mayan Hammock Weaving at Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)
Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya
Hammock weaving is a traditional Mayan craft that dates back centuries. While buying a hammock from a tourist shop in Playa del Carmen might be an easy way to add some flair to your home, it certainly won’t teach you anything about the history or art that goes into it. the new vibrant decorative object of your affection. .
The immersive offer of Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya guides guests through the process of transforming a colorful string into a functional hammock while learning about Mayan heritage and culture. Then, why not test out your new creation during a sunset hangout session by the ocean?
8. Ukulele lessons at Montage Kapalua Bay (Maui, Hawaii)
Assembly Kapalua Bay
The ukulele was introduced to the people of Hawaii in 1879, and since then the stringed instrument has become as synonymous with the aloha spirit as the gentle calm of waves lapping on the sand. For many, the mere saying of the word ukulele conjures up images of strumming sessions under swaying palm trees.
Assembly Kapalua Bay strives to preserve Hawaiian traditions through immersive programming. Silla Kaina, the resort’s longtime cultural ambassador, teaches visitors how to hold and touch the ukulele, as well as basic chords, in an idyllic, breezy setting on Maui’s scenic coastline.
9. Making agave paper at Casa Salles (Tequila, Mexico)
The UNESCO-listed town of Tequila in the western Mexican state of Jalisco is best known for its namesake spirit. But the parts of the blue agave that aren’t used for distillation aren’t just thrown away.
Casa Rooms, a shop next to a working distillery, has partnered with local artist Norma Macías Zambrano to recycle agave fibers and other byproducts of the production process into paper, as she does to create art. The immersive classes, which take place in his studio down the street from the hotel, shine a light on the myriad ways locals use his most treasured plant.
10. “Be a Farmer” at Six Senses Con Dao (Con Dao, Vietnam)
Six Senses Con Dao
While it’s not particularly difficult to find an eco-friendly hotel that offers garden tours and farm-to-table cooking classes, Six Senses Con Dao goes even further. At this five-star seaside oasis on the tropical island of Con Dao, it’s not just about browsing rows of endemic plants and mingling with animals, but rather better appreciating long-standing local farming practices. date.
Guests can feed the chickens, collect eggs from the coop, and learn traditional Vietnamese methods of hand-harvesting organic vegetables and herbs – all skills that, with a bit of luck, you might be able to put into practice in your garden. local community.
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