HIKING IN STYLE

COMMUNE WITH NATURE WITHOUT SACRIFICING CONVENIENCE

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Credits: Alila Jabal Akhdar

In a digitized world, more global travelers want to take a break from technology while enjoying close contact with nature. Few activities guarantee Zen moments like hiking; fortunately, there’s an ever-growing variety of inviting destinations where expert-led hikes are among the most popular activities.

Better yet, an assortment of upscale resorts and tour providers are offering opportunities to hike in style, with gourmet treats, relaxing spa services, and comfy accommodations taking the sting out of a lung-busting, yet rewarding, hike.

When you’re looking to commune with nature, yet don’t want to sacrifice any conveniences, seek out these opportunities to enjoy some of the best hikes in the world.

NEW YORK STATE

Considered a hiker’s paradise, the Adirondacks cover more than six million acres and have 2,000-plus miles of marked hiking trails, making this America’s largest trail system. Whiteface Lodge, an all-suite luxury resort tucked into the woodlands above Lake Placid, evokes the Gilded Age style of the Adirondacks’ historic Great Camps. The property, which features striking design elements of stone and timber, provides easy access to signature hiking destinations, such as the High Falls Gorge and Whiteface Landing. Families are well-served, thanks to complimentary resort amenities such as a 56-seat movie theater, a game room with a two-lane bowling alley, a fishing pond, and a kids camp.

Mohonk Mountain House, a historic resort in the famed Hudson Valley (some 90 miles north of New York City), is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019, making it one of the oldest family-run hotels in the U.S. Situated in the center of the Shawangunk Mountains, the property sits next to the glacier-formed Lake Mohonk, providing guests of all ages with ample opportunities to engage with nature. Options range from a relaxing mindfulness hike, to an intense survivalist hike during which participants learn valuable tools and techniques, to a “foods of the forest” hike that teaches guests how to sustain themselves with nature’s bounty.

SAINT LUCIA

Health-minded Caribbean travelers flock to BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive wellness resort that offers a pair of exhilarating hiking experiences as part of its luxury services. The Mount Gimie hike encompasses a 3,117-foot climb to the summit of the tallest mountain in the West Indies, with breathtaking views of lush tropical rainforests. Those looking for a less-demanding experience opt for the En Baus Saut hike, in which guests venture into the interior of the island and through the Edmund Rainforest, where they hike into a waterfall to enjoy a refreshing swim.

JAPAN

Japan’s first glamping retreat, Hoshinoya Fuji, offers individual cabins carved into the mountainside, with ample opportunities to detach from the modern world, as epitomized by its “digital detox” program. When not spending time on the Cloud Terrace—a series of connected platforms positioned along the red-pine slope that extends from the cabins—guests can enjoy mountain-trekking tours in which expert guides lead the way towards panoramic views of imposing Mount Fuji and scenic Lake Kawaguchi.

The Alila Experience’s Cave Adventure Via Ferrata in Oman is for the adventurous Credits: Alila Jabal Akhdar

The Alila Experience’s Cave Adventure Via Ferrata in Oman is for the adventurous
Credits: Alila Jabal Akhdar

OMAN

Adventure travelers and nature lovers looking to visit Oman in style flock to Alila Jabal Akhdar, a luxury resort nestled 6,000 feet above sea level in the Al Hajar mountains. Guests are encouraged to explore nearby hiking trails, which extend past farmlands filled with walnut trees and pomegranate bushes. Thrill seekers opt for challenging via ferrata treks that lead to jaw-dropping scenery, such as Al Khutaymi, the site of a hidden village within a cave.

INDIA

For such a densely populated country, India offers a surprising number of world-class hiking destinations, perhaps none more notable than the Himalayan city of Shimla. Well-heeled travelers gravitate to Wildflower Hall, an Oberoi Resort, the stately former residence of a British lord, where guests lose themselves in nature via guided walks through the surrounding landscaped hill slopes.

Nearby, The Oberoi Cecil presents guided nature walks in the village of Annadale. After descending through rhododendron and cedar forests, hikers pause for a relaxing picnic lunch beside a bubbling stream.

Exodus Travels takes travelers to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas Credits: Exodus Travels

Exodus Travels takes travelers to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas
Credits: Exodus Travels

MEXICO

Spread across more than 4,000 acres in Tecate, Rancho La Puerta—one of Mexico’s most acclaimed wellness resorts—offers hiking-focused activities for all fitness levels, and employs a concierge with whom guests can take hiking lessons. In addition to challenging hikes, serious trail runners and marathoners can take to the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa to train across numerous trails at different altitudes.

UTAH

Located in Park City, the Montage Deer Valley resort presents a variety of easily accessible hikes. And visitors looking to take their brushes with nature to another level can opt for a Montage Expedition. These intimate, personalized adventures see resort guests take a private plane to Yellowstone or Canyonlands National Park, where expert tour guides lead hikes past myriad highlights.

Nature lovers flock to the city of St. George for the outdoors-focused Red Mountain Resort. Positioned in the heart of southwestern Utah’s Red Rock Country, the resort sits in close proximity to neighboring Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. It offers a range of customizable hiking experiences, as well as spa treatments and wellness workshops designed to help recovery after a long day on the trails.

Hiking through Uganda with Intrepid Travel Credits: Damien Raggatt - Intrepid Group

Hiking through Uganda with Intrepid Travel
Credits: Damien Raggatt – Intrepid Group

CALIFORNIA

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the adults-only Ventana Big Sur resort sits on 160 acres of rolling meadows and towering redwoods along California’s scenic Central Coast. Guests revel in daily guided walks, plus dedicated adventure hikes and Big Sur excursions.

Devotees of The Ranch Malibu—one of America’s most lauded and influential wellness retreats—swear by its daily regimen that pairs nutrition-focused, plant-based meals with rigorous fitness classes and guided mountain hikes. The knowledgeable staff and revitalizing atmosphere attract visitors from around the world, and for those who have already had the signature Malibu experience, The Ranch offers similar retreats in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, where guests hike along alpine trails with professional guides.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Accessible only by boat, seaplane, or helicopter, the Sonora Resort attracts nature lovers to its home in B.C.’s Discovery Islands. Guests hike alongside the property’s ecological guide and pass through old-growth cedars—some more than 800 years old—while learning about ancient remedies and local history. Once back at the resort, vacationers keep an eye out for orcas, dolphins, sea lions, and more.

Adrenaline junkies looking to take their hikes to another level are attracted to the famous granite spires of the Bugaboos, found in the Purcell Mountains of southeastern B.C. CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures delivers hikers by helicopter; for takeoffs and landings, participants huddle as a group and hold on tight, due to hurricane-force winds created by the rotor. Hardcore types tackle the Skyladder Via Ferrata, a half-day vertical journey up Mount Trundle (no climbing experience necessary), while others can simply admire shale ridges and alpine meadows.

CHILE

Tierra Hotels—a trio of boutique, all-inclusive lodges, each inspired by nature—provides guided hiking excursions through some of Chile’s most scenic locales. Located on the edge of the famed Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra Patagonia offers guided hikes both inside and outside the park. From its base in the northern Atacama desert, Tierra Atacama lets guests hike through the striking Valle de la Luna. Situated off the coast of northern Patagonia, Tierra Chiloe—the newest of the three—delivers a quiet environment for peaceful hikes, not to mention penguin and dolphin spotting.

SCOTLAND AND IRELAND

Wilderness Scotland and its sister company, Wilderness Ireland, offer guided walking trips with highlights such as Scotland’s North Highlands Coast, West Highlands Way, and Speyside Way, and Ireland’s Dingle Way and the mountains of Connemara and Mayo. Participants choose between hill walks, coastal walks, and valley hikes, and a grading system ensures the right difficulty level. Wilderness Scotland also offers self-guided walks in which guests go at their own pace with the freedom to explore along the way, while being assisted via baggage transfers and 24-hour support.

A Wilderness Scotland tour through beautiful scenery and ruins on the North Highlands Coast Credits: Wilderness Scotland-Rupert Shanks

A Wilderness Scotland tour through beautiful scenery and ruins on the North Highlands Coast
Credits: Wilderness Scotland-Rupert Shanks

Announcing the 2020 Presidents Club Members

We are very proud to announce our 2020 Select Sotheby’s International Realty President’s Club! Each agent who is inducted into this club will provide you with an unparalleled experience with buying or selling your next home. Congratulations to all of these outstanding professionals.⁠ Presidents Club Social Media 2020

Sotheby’s International Realty 2020 Brand Stats

Sotheby’s International Realty Sees 32% Sales Growth, Achieving $150 Billion In Global Sales Volume In 2020

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Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to announce that its affiliated brokers and independent sales professionals achieved a record US$150 billion in 2020 global sales volume, a nearly 32% increase in sales growth year over year, as the definition of home changed for consumers around the world. Due to a longstanding commitment to innovation, Sotheby’s International Realty® agents were able to seamlessly help clients navigate the changing market dynamics brought on by the global pandemic with existing technology offerings which propelled business momentum.

Agents affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty quickly pivoted to address the impact of the global pandemic,” said Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Thanks to innovations we pioneered nearly a decade ago, our affiliated companies and agents made the impossible possible. Their adaptability to serve clients safely further extended our position as a leader in luxury real estate.”

Long-Standing Commitment to Virtual Technology Paved Way for Success

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Sotheby’s International Realty continued to lead the industry and was well-positioned to meet the needs of consumers as the buying and selling process became increasingly virtual. Sotheby’s International Realty agents accelerated the use of the brand’s existing video, virtual reality, and live-streaming technology to produce new forms of content that engaged buyers and set a new standard for marketing luxury properties. Currently, buyers can safely tour more than 6,000 properties via virtual reality or video on sothebysrealty.com. Property videos also proved engaging on social media where the brand’s YouTube channel delivered 43 million views, or the equivalent of more than one million hours watched.

As a leader in the luxury real estate industry, Sotheby’s International Realty is able to anticipate trends,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Bradley Nelson. “Our priority remains to present listings in the best possible manner and to provide a superb end-user experience however buyers prefer to search for their new home. Virtual technology has been at the forefront of our marketing strategy for several years and comes as naturally to us as our commitment to high quality service.”

The brand also unveiled a new website, sothebysrealty.com, available in 14 languages and nearly 60 currency conversions, to continue serving its growing international clientele and fuel referrals worldwide. The website achieved a notable amount of traffic for the brand with 37 million visits in 2020. Property videos on the site produced by Sotheby’s International Realty agents were especially popular and played nearly 13 million times in 2020, totaling more than 90,000 hours watched.

A Year of Strategic Growth and Record Achievements

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Despite travel restrictions, Sotheby’s International Realty remained committed to expanding its global footprint and achieving strategic growth. In 2020, the brand opened more than 50 new offices across the world, bringing the brand’s total presence to nearly 1,000 offices in 75 countries and territories with approximately 24,000 independent sales associates worldwide.

The brand’s existing affiliated companies around the world continued to grow in 2020. Sotheby’s International Realty increased its total domestic presence to 45 states around the country. Sotheby’s International Realty facilitated affiliate expansions through  12 domestic M&A transactions, including California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington.

The brand also continued to expand internationally in key markets and opened offices in seven new territories. In Europe, the brand expanded to Ukraine, Romania, Montenegro, and in Germany. In the Asia-Pacific region, the brand opened its first office in South Korea and expanded in the Caribbean and Latin American region with two new offices in Paraguay and Antigua & Barbuda.

Our international footprint is one of our greatest competitive advantages,” said Tammy Fahmi, vice president, global operations and international servicing. “Our brand’s locations are in the most desirable places around the globe, so our clients know they can rely on our local market expertise wherever they are looking to buy or sell.”

As affluent individuals looked to acquire secondary homes in markets around the world, Sotheby’s International Realty agents acted as true global real estate advisors and referral volume surged by 42% to US$2.9 billion in closed sales volume.

Our 2020 results prove what is possible when you focus on quality above all else. We remain proud to be the real estate brand of choice for so many luxury real estate experts and affluent clients. We will continue to work tirelessly to prove their trust has been well placed,” concluded White.

2020 Brand Stats Video

Get ready for another thrilling track season!

The city of Saratoga Springs, nestled in Upstate New York and full of Victorian charm, is a destination filled with gourmet dining, luxury real estate, boutiques, relaxing day spas, lavish golf courses, thriving nightlife, beautiful state parks, and, best of all, the home of the Saratoga Race Course. The 2019 Saratoga Racing season begins on July 11 with an Opening Day Celebration starting at 11AM, and concludes on September 2.

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Interested in the schedule of special events at Saratoga Race Course? Saratoga.com has provided it for us and you can check it out here. So buy your tickets, be sure to dress the part and place your bets! There’s no better place than Saratoga Race Course! 

Introducing The New Reside Magazine

It is with great excitement that the Sotheby’s International Realty brand announces the launch of the new, luxury home & lifestyle magazine- RESIDE!

RESIDE is a celebration of the creative imagination between home, art and living.  Scroll through these beautiful pages here.

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Significant Sales ~ Volume I | Issue VIII

Sig Sales copy

From a historic home in the Hamptons, to a waterfront estate in Cape Cod, this issue of Significant Sales also showcases homes from throughout the United States, Australia, St. Barthelemy, Belgium and Italy.

New York Times Sponsorship: The High End

The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is the official launch sponsor of The High End, the new destination for luxury real estate from the New York Times.

Enjoy reading the first post here:  From Saints to Hot Springs – The Luxury of Mountainside Living.

Exciting News!

Our Top Producer last year Keir Weimer was recently featured on the cover of Top Agent magazine, on their international and national editions. It is a huge honor to be selected from hundreds of top producers from all over the world. Congratulations Keir! The full article can be read here: http://bit.ly/2enrYqa

TOP AGENT MAGAZINE

But the enthusiasm doesn’t stop here…Keir also recently brokered the successful sale of the Northeast’s premier cross country ski resort, Garnet Hill Lodge, in the Adirondacks. The full story on this complicated and significant sale for the region’s economy can be read in the Albany Business Review which covered this important deal by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/2dDxFO2

New housing on the rebound in Wilton

WILTON>> New home starts in town increased for a second straight year in 2013 and were at their highest level since 2007, a major indicator of increased consumer confidence in the local economy.

The town issued 45 residential building permits last year compared to 34 in 2012 and 29 in 2011, the lowest figure in recent history.

The number is a far cry from the 202 permits issued in 2002 but still reflects a turnaround that is slowly gaining steam.

“We’re very encouraged,” said Charles Wait, Adirondack Trust Co. president, chairman and chief executive officer. “All of our loan activity increased substantially during the past year, including personal loans, mainly for new car purchases. Housing and car loans are a very good sign for the economy and this area.”

Loan applications are up for both new construction and existing homes, not just in Wilton, but Saratoga Springs and Milton, he said.

Some people are encouraged by the gradually improving economy. Others who put off purchases during the recession are now making needed expenditures. However, there’s also a third group, Wait said.

“Some of it is money on the sidelines coming in; people who had money, but were being cautious with it,” he said.

The 45 residential permits issued last year in Wilton were the most since the 74 issued in 2007. An average 33 permits were issued annually for the five-year period of 2008 through 2012.

Developer Bill Morris has begun clearing property for his 49-lot Craw Farm subdivision on Traver Road, just south of Wilton Town Hall.

“We’re cutting a road now and will start building a model home this spring,” Morris said. “We haven’t tried the market, but there’s definitely a lot of interest. That’s why we’re putting in infrastructure now.”

Meanwhile, commercial construction crept upward, too, last year in Wilton as 43 permits were issued, the highest figure since 2006 when 45 were approved. However, actual non-residential new construction totaled 32,625 square feet, the least since 2005 when a peak 214,357 square feet was built.

The town Planning Department’s 2013 Development Report says there are 629 approved, but still undeveloped residential building lots in Wilton, meaning the town is poised for considerable growth, depending on the area demand for new housing.

Some approved subdivisions have dozens of undeveloped lots each. They are: Park Place at Wilton (114 lots), Mill at Smith Bridge (60 lots), Craw Farm (49 lots), Burnham Hollow (38 lots) and Olson Farm (31 lots). Ridgeview Estates and Rolling Greens Executive Estates have 28 undeveloped lots each.

Also, Witt Construction owner John Witt has a proposed subdivision called Palmertown Ridge on 900 acres near the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility property. Homes would be priced from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

“I’d like to see the high-end market come back a little before we start that,” Witt said.

However, he’s busy elsewhere.

In Saratoga Springs, an “in-fill” project is currently in the design phase. Plans call for seven single-family condominium units on one lot, on Jumel Place.

Witt is also drawing up plans for 108 apartments and more than 50 townhomes at Northway exit 15, near the Marriott Hotel, a project he hopes to start work on this summer.

“Things have definitely picked up,” Witt said. “It’s not crazy busy, but consistently steady. Everybody is still very conscious of price. That’s going to drive a lot of the new construction. If interest rates stay low, things should be good the next few years.”

Saratoga National Bank & Trust Co. Chairman Raymond F. O’Conor said, “Saratoga County never saw the depths of the ‘Great Recession.’ We had a relatively strong base. Now, with an overall improved economy it was time for the housing sector to make a strong recovery.”

The best apps for selling and buying homes

In the fast-paced San Diego real estate game, successful agents are harnessing mobile data to stay two steps ahead while house hopping.

Luckily, in the age of smartphones, specialized apps put market information at your fingertips. Plus, they give you the ability to win over clients and streamline the paperwork with a few taps.

While some companies such as Zillow and Trulia have built online empires by providing always-up-to-date listings, there are lots of useful smartphone tools that can help agents work faster and more efficiently in the field.

Whether you’re searching for a home in Mission Hills or selling a four-bedroom in East Village, here are nine apps that will help you close the deal fast.

Find the house

The best-laid plans often go awry, and even if you came prepared with a list of prime properties in the bay area, your buyers could decide their budget or taste in neighborhoods have changed. With the right apps, you can adapt on the fly.

There are two big dogs on the mobile house-hunting scene: Zillow and Trulia. And while they mostly focus on buyers, both of their pocket guides guarantee you will have the most current listings and pricing info.

Zillow Real Estate (free on Android and iOS) puts 100 million searchable properties on your smartphone, plus helpful features such as notifications for favorite properties, search within an area that you draw on the map, and price estimates based on surrounding homes and market trends.

Real Estate by Trulia (free on Android and iOS) also uses built-in GPS to find nearby houses on the fly, and adds essential components such as crime maps, school locations, and filtering by criteria like number of bedrooms and total square footage.

Show it off

Once you’re in the ballpark of price and location, it’s time to exhibit the interior features. Even if the buyer isn’t with you on the initial visit, your smartphone’s camera can help you communicate some of a spot’s key characteristics.

For that in-the-room-with-you vibe, try 360 Panorama (99 cents on iOS). This app lets you stitch multiple photos together into a sharable, interactive picture that shows all 360 degrees of a space.

If you need to point out specific details, Skitch (free on Android and iOS) lets users quickly mark up photos and PDFs with highlights, boxes, arrows and overlaid text. It’s perfect for focusing in on oak cabinets or a cobblestone-framed fireplace.

If the prospective buyers want to update the space with their own DIY touches, Zillow Digs(free, iPad only) will help you estimate and factor in those costs. The app provides a database of searchable home-improvement ideas along with tools for projecting project pricing based on location.

Seal the deal

Once your clients are ready to pull the trigger on the home of their dreams, don’t let the paperwork hold up the process.

First, make sure payments are within reason by using Zillow Mortgage Marketplace (free on Android and iOS). This app will help your buyers budget monthly payments and shop around for loan quotes with its dead-simple interface.

Once you agree on terms and have the contract written up, Docusign Ink (free for Android and iOS, $15/month basic plan) will help you get the necessary signatures to make the sale official. All you need is a smartphone and your finger, so it’s perfect for endorsing documents while you’re out and about.

And if you’re completely committed to going paperless, there are a bunch of cloud-based services that keep your documents organized and accessible. The two best options for real estate purposes are Cartavi (free on Android and iOS, $10/month basic plan), Docusign’s sister service that was built specifically for realtors and emphasizes collaborative document sharing, and Dropbox (free on Anderoid and iOS), which links up directly with Docusign and makes it simple to distribute contracts via any online medium.