natra bintan tribute portfolio

You’ll feel the energy of the Indonesian rain forest at Natra Bintan, A Tribute Portfolio Resort. (Photo: Marriott International)

Tips + Trends

Exploration Made Easy: 8 Great Local Experiences Without Leaving Your Hotel

There’s nothing like immersing yourself in a new-to-you destination with all five senses from the get-go — literally the moment you check in at your hotel. Here are eight places to stay where you can soak up the local culture, sights, sounds and flavors before you’ve even unpacked your suitcase.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Glamp It Up in an Indonesian Rainforest

On Indonesia’s exotic Bintan Island, there’s a very special place to stay where you’ll feel like you’re glamping it up in the middle of a tropical rainforest.

Once you sashay into your swish safari tent at Natra Bintan, A Tribute Portfolio Resort, the first thing you’ll want to do is cool off in the vast saltwater Crystal Lagoon, the playful hotel’s focal point. If you’re feeling active, go swimming at Lagoi Beach or kayaking at a mangrove reserve.

Back at your secret hideaway, freshen up with an alfresco shower and enjoy an outdoor barbecue in the privacy of your space. Make sure you don’t miss lagoon-side sunset cocktails.

Find Sanctuary in the Sonoran Desert

Stepping out of your hotel room right into Arizona’s cacti-studded Sonoran Desert has to be one of those life experiences that sear themselves into your memory.

adero scottsdale at dusk
As the sun sets over the Adero Scottsdale, Autograph Collection. (Photo: Marriott International)

At ADERO Scottsdale, Autograph Collection, hike or mountain bike on-site trailheads or go horse riding in neighboring McDowell Mountain Regional Park where you might spot deer, javelina, coyotes and various bird species.

In the late afternoon, retreat to the spa for a restorative deep tissue massage with oil infused with local botanicals like wild sage and lavender to soothe achy muscles.

As night falls in this Dark Sky Community, one of the world’s few, lay back at the SkyTop outdoor cocktail lounge and make out shimmering constellations.

Navigate Nova Scotia’s Nautical Roots

Positioned in the exuberant Queen’s Marque district looking out onto bustling Halifax Harbour, Muir, Autograph Collection pays homage to the Canadian city’s nautical heritage in myriad ways through a contemporary lens.

front of boat on the water
Enjoy your location on Halifax Harbour. (Photo: Marriott International)

Design elements like Muntz copper metal, a shipbuilding staple, and local salt and pepper granite stand out. Regional artists impart detailed insight into the people and places of Nova Scotia through conversation-sparking art installations.

In-house restaurant Drift dishes out haute takes on Atlantic Canadian classics like hodge podge (vegetable stew) and blueberry grunt (a type of cobbler). A tour aboard the hotel’s motorboat or sailboat reveals hidden bays and coves and unparalleled coastline views. But what truly stays with you after you check out is the warm Nova Scotian hospitality.

Live the Pastoral Life in South Africa

Converted from a 19th-century working farm into a refined hotel reminiscent of a regal manor, African Pride Irene Country Lodge, Autograph Collection, is proud of its long agricultural lineage.

irene african pride
Explore and unwind in South Africa. (Photo: Marriott International)

Situated between the South African administrative capital of Pretoria and lively Johannesburg, the property is spread across 148 acres. Get the lay of the land with a leisurely stroll beside lush pastures filled with grazing cows.

For lunch, breathe in the country air and picnic on homemade pies, local cold cut biltong and freshly baked milk tarts beside a peaceful lake. Best of all, nature-loving travelers can bird-watch, see cow-milking or maybe even witness a calving.

Sharpen Wine-Tasting Skills in Mendoza

Wine connoisseurs, whether novice or seasoned, should follow their nose when it comes to deciding where to stay in Argentina. In the country’s wine-producing heartland of Mendoza, Auberge du Vin, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tupungato, stands out as a palate-pleasing choice.

Finding a hotel ensconced within a wine estate is a rare treat, so why not pair a passion for fine wine with a spectacular location at the foot of the Andes Mountains?

Tour Mendoza’s sprawling vineyards and learn about the Uco Valley’s terroir-driven reds, including malbec, naturally, and fine whites made with varietals like torrontés. Grape picking and grape stomping await those who time their trip with harvest season.

Wine Down in Strasbourg

Slip into an Alsace wine country state of mind while staying at Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection in the heart of Strasbourg’s city center. With restored art deco interiors, this legendary lodging dates to 1387.

hotel bathroom with bathtub
Book a relaxing spa treatment. (Photo: Marriott International)

At the in-house spa, choose from a range of one-of-a-kind vinotherapy treatments by French beauty brand Vinésime. Local grape varietals, sourced from UNESCO World Heritage–protected Burgundy vineyards, provide skin-revitalizing ingredients for products applied in an array of invigorating therapies.

Choose from anti-aging antioxidant-rich Burgundy facials, toxin-releasing body scrubs involving grand cru grape flesh and seeds, sculpting massages and body wraps.

Refreshed and ready to head out for dinner, first savor a glass of Champagne or Alsatian wine at the hotel’s elegant bar.

Dive Cousteau’s Beloved Belize

Pioneering ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau put the Belize Barrier Reef on the map when he declared the Great Blue Hole, a 410-foot-deep sinkhole forged out of ice age caverns, one of the world’s best dive sites.

Home to more than 500 fish species, 100 coral species, 450 sand and mangrove cays, and hundreds of invertebrate species, the UNESCO World Heritage–listed reef lies literally at your feet at Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection.

Located on Ambergris Caye, the resort is a dream destination for divers as it has its very own dive shop. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, Belize Pro Dive Center runs a range of PADI-certified courses, as well as tours of the Great Blue Hole, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Turneffe Atoll.

Get Your Country Music Fix in Virginia

While some say country music has made a roaring comeback, others insist it never went away. Longtime devotees of the genre know Bristol, Virginia, well.

Considered the birthplace of country music, this lively little city is a great place to surround yourself with country sounds ranging from honky-tonk and bluegrass to acoustic homespun tales of family and faith.

Settle in at The Sessions Hotel, Bristol, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel amid historic repurposed buildings, including a former granary mill whose silos have been converted to industrial-chic rooms. Sing along to your favorite country tunes at live shows held at the hotel’s two music venues.

Afterward, tuck into Southern comfort fare at Southern Craft, the hotel’s restaurant, where wood-fired, smokehouse barbecue reigns. Then cap off the night with creative cocktails by the fire pit at the rooftop bar.