Bucket-List Travel

Consider these lesser-known destinations for the year ahead.

Avid travelers, intrepid adventurers, and culture enthusiasts eager to make up for lost time are circling their calendars for this year and beyond. But with the masses also looking to vacation with friends and family, the world’s most in-demand travel destinations and experiences are likely to be busy and crowded. Here’s a look at some of the world’s best under-the-radar travel options.

Historic Hot Springs and Via Ferratas in the American West

Active travelers looking to take their adventure game to another level are seeking out via ferratas (Italian for “Iron Way”), climbing routes that employ steel cables, rungs, and ladders affixed to natural rock formations. One of America’s newest and most expensive via ferratas is found at Castle Hot Springs, a historic resort north of Phoenix that has been revitalized in recent years to become one of the country’s most luxurious destination resorts. After walking across a 200-foot long aerial walkway high above the cactus-strewn canyon floor, guests recover in one of three therapeutic hot spring pools, with temperatures reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Visitors to Colorado can explore the 720-mile, Historic Hot Springs Loop, which incorporates five inviting destinations in the western part of the state. The 19 hot springs facilities offer unique features such as vapor caves, hot pots, terraced pools, and gigantic travertine formations. Highlights include the charming alpine town of Ouray, known as the “Switzerland of America,” and historic Pagosa Springs, which offers a convenient base in The Springs Resort & Spa, where guests enjoy access to 24 soaking pools ranging from 83-114°F. Overlooking the picturesque San Juan River, the pools are filled with mineral water from the resort’s “mother spring,” which has been measured to 1,002 feet deep, making it the world’s deepest measured geothermal hot spring.

The tony ski town of Telluride offers one of the country’s most jaw-dropping via ferrata routes, thousands of feet above the town’s famed boxed canyon. Guides are not required, but with its challenging course, featuring metal ladder rungs bolted onto a sheer cliff face, not to mention gorgeous views of Bridal Veil Falls, the course is not for the faint of heart.

Luxe Tropical Wellness in Lanai

The Hawaiian island of Lanai, which gets only a fraction of the visitor traffic received by neighboring Maui, is famously owned by the tech mogul Larry Ellison. Travelers often feel like they have the island to themselves, as crowds are rarely found across its pine-clad forests or glimmering shoreline. Ellison’s newest contribution to the island, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, is a secluded wellness enclave that distills preventive health science, data, and research into simple paths for everyday living. Guests can explore untouched wilderness, burn off calories in an outdoor adventure park or via myriad fitness and movement classes, and refuel with meals by Nobu, highlighting sustainable, local ingredients. Or guests can venture over to the island’s other destination resort, the oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai, where the stunning grounds contain memorable spaces for R&R, namely stunning lagoon-style pools and museum-quality botanical gardens.

Next-Level Thrills in Alaska

Best known for its world-class salmon fishing, the majestic town of Ketchikan is home to Salmon Falls Resort. Situated at the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s iconic Inside Passage, the resort offers numerous intriguing activities, most notably float plane fishing in which, after a scenic chartered flight, guests land in remote spots to enjoy one-of-a-kind guided fishing experiences. Due to a lack of cruise ships and a decrease in charter fishing excursions, the wildlife watching and fishing is better than ever. The resort’s other bucket-list experiences include bear watching tours, wildlife watching boat safaris, salmon cooking demos, and wine pairings with salmon roe.

Located in a remote spot in Alaska’s Denali National Park, the Sheldon Chalet attracts big spending mountaineers—three-night packages cost around $35,000 for two guests, inclusive of a helicopter “flightseeing” tour, gourmet meals, five-bedroom luxe accommodations, all gear and equipment, and more. Once properly fitted with a climbing harness, snowshoes, helmet, and poles, guests attend the chalet’s glacier school. (No previous mountaineering experience necessary.) Others may simply prefer to relax around the fireplace or warm up in the sauna with views of Denali’s summit.

Situated 60 miles west of Anchorage, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge lures adventurers with its heli-skiing and other hair-raising pursuits; owner and heli-ski pioneer Mike Overcast opened the lodge with Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe. Guests can tackle the only via ferrata in Alaska, or go bear viewing in a vintage 1956 Turbine Otter plane.

Reflections in the beautiful blue waters of Horseshoe Lake at Denali National Park in Alaska.

Reflections in the beautiful blue waters of Horseshoe Lake at Denali National Park in Alaska.

New Options, Spread Apart in the Maldives

Luxury travelers looking to enjoy world-class scenery and relaxation in private, secluded environs have long flocked to the Maldives. But with roughly 1,200 coral islands spread over 35,000 square miles, the destination offers an endless array of new locales to explore.

Located in Raa Atoll on Muravandhoo Island, Joali Maldives is one of the destination’s splashiest new openings, as well as its first immersive art resort. The 73-villa property places a distinct focus on design, having utilized the Istanbul-based design firms Autoban and Atolye4n, and Tokyo-based Studio Glitt. When not luxuriating in the postcard-perfect waters, guests take holistic wellness journeys and go on yachting excursions to spot whales and manta rays.

Another relative newcomer, the Vakkaru Maldives resort is memorably situated within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll. A tropical wonderland filled with more than 2,300 fully grown coconut trees, the resort’s Work Well package—which includes a bespoke fitness program, personal assistant, and access to a private, oceanfront office—is perfect for executives looking to “work from home” in one of the world’s most scenic offices. Available to guests who book a stay for 21 days or longer, each Work Well residency includes a complimentary upgrade to a bigger villa with a well-equipped study.

For the ultimate private luxury experience, big spenders can buy out one of the Maldives’ priciest and most decorated options—for $35,000 per night. The small private island of Naladhu offers blissful seclusion; there are 20 elegant houses, each with a private pool and 24-hour dedicated butler service. The buyout includes exclusive access to other islands, and guests can enjoy activities such as deserted island picnics, private yacht cruises, in-room spa journeys, and more.

Joali Maldives is a high-end resort and immersive art experience at the same time.

Joali Maldives is a high-end resort and immersive art experience at the same time.

Hard-to-Reach Caribbean Highlights

With its natural hot springs and tropical rainforests, Dominica is one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems. The mountainous island nation is home to some of the region’s most spectacular rivers and canyons. Participants jump into secret waterfalls and natural pools, descend into deep gorges, hike through lush jungle, and rappel down giant waterfalls to drop into the water below.

Serious hikers make the trek to the island’s awe-inspiring Boiling Lake, the second-largest of its kind in the world. The journey to the lake—an ancient, natural cauldron of bubbling water that’s more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit—takes visitors through lush jungles, natural springs, and sulfur pools. The island is also home to the Caribbean’s first long-distance walking trail, the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail. With 14 contiguous segments, the trail can take experienced hikers nearly two weeks to complete in its entirety. Family-friendly and suitable for all types of hikers, the trail takes visitors through the island’s history, including indigenous Kalinago villages and ruins from 18th-century French settlements.

Over in the British Virgin Islands, eco-minded visitors to Oil Nut Bay on Virgin Gorda can try their hand at turtle tagging. The scenic island resort, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic on the other, sits in a turtle-rich environment. Turtle tagging boating adventures allow guests to swim alongside green sea turtles and partake in free diving to safely catch the turtles alongside a researcher. Turtles are measured, tagged, and released, and guests can then follow their adventures even after returning home.

A sailing paradise with 60 islands and cays, the British Virgin Islands are best explored on the water. Voyage Charters recently launched Electrified, its first solar-powered charter yacht and the first sustainable sailing option of its kind in the destination.

Those looking for a truly out-of-the-ordinary diving experience should head to Virgin Gorda’s Mountain Point, home to the islands’ newest diving mecca, the BVI Art Reef. In 2017, the Kodiak Queen—one of only five surviving ships from Pearl Harbor—was intentionally sunk with a large-scale sculpture of an 80-foot kraken. The project was created by a group of artists, engineers, scientists, and donors (including Sir Richard Branson) to raise awareness of ocean conservation. The site is a coral out-planting platform, which is facilitating a thriving new reef habitat while rehabilitating vulnerable marine life such as the goliath grouper.

Speaking of Branson, the islands’ most famous ambassador, his private island retreat, Necker Island has been fully restored after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Those visiting in 2021 will be among the first to experience the island following its pricey restoration; in addition to two additional guest rooms in the Great House, three giant wind turbines have been installed, furthering the island’s commitment toward sustainability. Aquatic types pass the time with underwater sea adventures, while landlubbers can enjoy everything from private yoga and tennis to cave exploring. The starting rate for exclusive hire of the entire island, which includes use of 20 bedrooms, is $105,000 per night.

Dominica in the Caribbean offers lots of hiking and climbing options for all levels.

Dominica in the Caribbean offers lots of hiking and climbing options for all levels.

Source Sotheby's International Realty Blog https://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/bucket-list-travel-april2021 



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.


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.


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’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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

Stuttgart’s Finest: Swiss Collection Encompasses 25 Years of Modern Porsche

A special capsule sale from RM Sotheby’s offers unrepeatable examples of Stuttgart’s greatest hits.

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An unwritten rule about buying cars from Stuttgart is to search both ends of the timeline; chasing down either Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche’s earliest efforts or sourcing the most modern examples one can find. Unlike lesser companies, the team of engineers and designers who carried the torch of performance motoring after the elder Porsche’s untimely death in 1951 and his son Ferry’s retirement in 1989 proved that the performance-oriented spirit of the company’s namesake did not dissipate.

RM Sotheby’s is proud to celebrate this continued dedication with a Swiss-based, stand-alone single-owner collection of some of Stuttgart’s finest sports cars from the modern era as the exciting climax to our Online Only: Open Roads, February auction, with a staggered closure over 19-28 February:



1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Starting off with an air-cooled, turbocharged bang, this open-top 911 existed so far above other 993-generation Porsches as to be essentially nonexistent: Merely 14 were constructed by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur at the request of Fitz Haberl, one of Porsche’s most influential dealers in Munich. With widened rear wheel arches and a factory-optional spoiler fitted, the black-on-black theme of this ultra-rare 911 is broken only by its Maroon-colored cloth top. Originally priced with an 89,500 DM premium over the non-turbocharged variant (the approximate equivalent of a $110,139 surcharge today), this example sets the tone for the rest of our list: Unapologetically extraordinary.

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2004 Porsche Carrera GT

Unveiled in spectacular fashion on the eve of the 2000 Paris Motor Show, the concept Carrera GT was a statement that Porsche was not beholden to the rear-engine, six-cylinder formula that built the brand’s reputation. Instead, when the production version of the Carrera GT supercar was released in 2004, it marked many milestones not simply in the history of Porsche, but in the automotive world writ large: The Carrera GT was the first production vehicle built around a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, a foundation that makes up nearly every serious supercar today. Unlike the offerings of today, however, this U.S.-spec Fayence Yellow-over-Dark Grey Carrera GT is shifted by its driver.


2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic

Sometimes, a look back can provide an opportunity for reinvention. The “Classic” in this Sport Classic can easily be observed in this example’s timeless silhouette, echoing some of the dramatic highlights from the brand’s history, right down to the headline-grabbing “ducktail” spoiler. And yet, factory-equipped with a ‘Power Kit,’ the Sport Classic’s 3.8-litre, horizontally opposed, six-cylinder engine comfortably produced 408 horsepower—nearly double the 210 horsepower produced from the 2.7-litre, air-cooled engine under the original “ducktail”: The 1973 Carrera 911 RS 2.7. This example was only the twelfth ever built out of a limited run of 250 ever made. As such, the desirability among Porschephiles for the few Sport Classics released has been strong from the time it was announced. A modern icon.

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2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

As truly old-school Porsche followers will no doubt recognize, hybrid power has flowed in the brand’s blood since the Lohner-Porsche of 1900. Though Ferdinand Porsche’s first effort was driven by electric motors mounted in wheel hubs (a true innovation, spawningseveralmodernimitators), the elder Porsche could scarcely have conceived of the levels of power and refinement achieved by the 918 Spyder. Showing under 5,500 km from new, this tasteful, hybrid hypercar has been optioned with Porsche’s Liquid Chrome Blue Metallic over Mocha Brown leather with Silver accents—one of only three ordered in this exact specification. The perfect counterpoint to the raw emotion from the Carrera GT supercar, this 918 is proof of Porsche’s evolution into a world-class OEM that can offer both exhilarating performance and unparalleled refinement in the same forward-thinking package.

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2010 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Not the first model overseen by this individual, but the first on our list, this 2010 Porsche 911 GT2 RS marks for us the introduction of a name that will no doubt one day be added to the list of greatest-ever automotive engineers: Dr. Andreas Preuninger. Reputed among the motoring press as the person who nearly single-handedly re-established Porsche performance, Dr. Preuninger has overseen every GT-branded model but one (if you have yet to see it, this recent Top Gear segment is illuminating). For this 2010 example, Dr. Preuninger achieved outright domination of the leaderboards, not only on paper, with the GT2 RS earning the title of “fastest and most powerful 997-generation 991” upon its release, but on the track as well, with the model setting a 2010 record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife that remained unbroken internally until the 991.2 Turbo S in 2017. Deeply impressive.

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2017 Porsche 911 R

In almost a year of compiling this semi-regular blog for RM Sotheby’s, your humble writer has tried to keep his personal preferences private, but with this example, he must confess an undeniable bias. Since serving as an editor on the English-language translation of the definitive book on the making of the modern 911 R, this writer was struck by the sincerity of the true believers within Porsche who balance respect for the brand’s history while understanding the necessity to reinvent it. Practically covered with grace notes and “Easter Eggs” instantly recognizable to Porschephiles everywhere down to the “pepita”-patterned inserts on the brown leather seats, this model was a nod to the original motorsport-inspired 911 R from 1967. For many other brands, the hint at history would be merely aesthetic, but underneath the skin existed the same GT3 RS-spec suspension and 4.0-litre powerplant that made all of Dr. Preuninger’s other output so exemplary. The most critical addition was a six-speed manual gearbox; no spoiler necessary. This example, the 401st constructed out of 991 total, is made even more extraordinary by its Paint-to-Sample Gulf Blue exterior.


2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Proving exactly the ethos of individualism that has from the beginning been integral to the Porsche brand, this RennSport-spec, Paint-to-Sample Porsche 911 GT2 RS was ordered new in this striking shade of Azzurro California Metallic with contrasting gold-colored center-lock wheels. The outspoken exterior of the GT2 is balanced by its straightforward, motorsport-inspired interior, with adaptive sport seats trimmed in two-tone, light blue-over-black leather. Underneath the skin, Dr. Preuninger’s lightening regime truly shines, with the roof of this 911 GT2 RS fashioned from the ultimate natural material for lightweight strength: Magnesium. With carbon-fiber components used throughout this example, it is clear this colorful car makes a modern statement that the future of Porsche performance is bright.


Blog Author:Forest Casey
Casey is the Editorial and Marketing Content Developer at RM Sotheby’s.

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.

R 2017

Art & Home – January 2017

A new issue of Art & Home has arrived, fresh from the printers! Take a moment to scroll through these beautiful pages! http://bit.ly/2jw95Cj

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Country Life

We are proud to announce that the reach of the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand continues to grow, promoting our properties through the most prestigious real estate channels worldwide. And now we’re expanding that presence in the United Kingdom, which represents the 4th largest source of traffic to sothebysrealty.com. To meet that demand among UK consumers, now qualified property listings on sothebysrealty.com will be promoted through countrylife.co.uk.

The website has recently launched a new stylish, user-friendly search engine which showcases properties from the Sotheby’s International Realty brand among other homes from around the world. Countrylife.co.uk reaches a highly affluent, motivated group of consumers mainly from the UK (65% of all visits), as well as the U.S., Australia, Germany and Canada.

For more information, please visit their website at www.countrylife.co.uk.

Homes & Land of the Adirondacks

Select Sotheby’s International Realty is excited to announce that one of our unique and distinctive properties in the Adirondacks has been featured on the cover of Homes & Land of the Adirondacks. This private mountain, represented by Associate Real Estate Broker Keir Weimer, boasts 180 acres of prime land with stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains. Sitting 2300 feet above sea level, this mountaintop setting is an architect’s dream with endless possibilities. The land also includes 1000 feet of waterfront on 5th Lake, which provides access to all lakes on the Fulton Chain of Lakes through the channel.

To learn more about the property or to schedule a showing, please visithttp://privateadkmountain.uniquenyhomes.com

To view the issue of Homes & Land, please visit http://www.homesandland.com/FlipBook.cfm?MagId=2271&Volume=08&Issue=01#1


Home Luxuries: What’s In, What’s Out

Which amenities can luxury homebuyers expect to find in today’s market? For our latest Real Estate Lab report, we combed through two years’ worth of luxury listings to see which words and phrases are trending up and down. We defined luxury listings as homes for sale that are priced at least four times above the median asking price for a given metro area: that means a million-dollar home in Rochester, NY, is a luxury listing, while a million-dollar home in San Francisco is not. We compared luxury homes listed between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, with those listed in the previous year, between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012.

What’s In: Marble, Windows, and Booze
Looking at all of the words and phrases that appear in luxury listings, we identified twenty phrases that trended upward most strongly in the past year compared with the previous year. Luxury listings are now 78% more likely to mention a marble bath than one year ago, and 30% more likely to mention marble floors. Outdoor space is also on the rise: roof deck and terrace were 63% and 42% more common, respectively, than they were a year ago.

Luxury listings were also more likely to mention windows in the past year compared with the previous year. Oversized, floor-to-ceiling, ceiling, and large windows – as well breathtaking and ocean views – all trended upward, which suggests that buyers of luxury homes are increasingly paying for what they see when they look outward.


Home Luxuries: What’s Trending Up

# Phrase Change
1 marble bath


2 roof deck


3 oversized windows


4 storage space


5 terrace


6 floor-to-ceiling windows


7 ceiling windows


8 marble floors


9 wine room


10 gym


11 tennis court


12 private elevator


13 large windows


14 wood burning fireplace


15 outdoor kitchen


16 summer kitchen


17 pond


18 panoramic views


19 ocean views


20 walk-in closets


Finally, more luxury listings mentioned fitness amenities like gyms (up 28%) and tennis courts (up 24%). But residents should remember to use those before they hit another upward-trending luxury amenity: wine rooms (up 30%).

What’s Out: Kitchens and Formality

Many kitchen and cooking amenities trended downward over the past year. Luxury listings were 16% less likely to mention a BBQ, compared with the previous year. Additionally, phrases that were kitchen-related (custom cabinets, center island, granite counters, breakfast area) and appliance-related (double sinks, stainless appliances) were less likely to appear in luxury listings over the past year than in the previous year.

Also decreasing were mentions of formal rooms: formal dining and formal living room were both down 4%.




Home Luxuries: What’s Trending Down

# Phrase Change
1 BBQ -16%
2 hardwoods -13%
3 plantation shutters -13%
4 covered patio -11%
5 lush landscaping -9%
6 custom cabinets -9%
7 fireplaces -9%
8 double sinks -8%
9 stainless appliances -7%
10 pool -7%
11 gated community -6%
12 center island -6%
13 bonus room -6%
14 granite counters -5%
15 formal dining -4%
16 formal living room -4%
17 surround sound -4%
18 large master suite -3%
19 gourmet kitchen -3%
20 breakfast area -3%

What’s behind these trends in luxury listings? One factor is a shift in where luxury homes are for sale. Luxury listings increased in the New York and Washington D.C. metro areas, and where many high-priced homes there are fancy condos or co-ops, which are more likely feature urban luxuries like roof decks than suburban luxuries like BBQs, covered patios, or pools. Still, many of the upwardly trending luxury features like tennis courts, ponds, and outdoor kitchens aren’t found in urban condos, so these trends aren’t ONLY about geographic shifts in luxury listings.

Overall, there seems to be a move toward luxury listings calling out expansive windows, great views, and fitness amenities – and a move away from indoor cooking and eating. The real winner of these recent trends in luxury homes could be fancy restaurants: luxury homes aren’t emphasizing kitchens as much as they used to, but buyers of those homes still need to eat. For some of those luxury-home buyers, the most desirable view out of those floor-to-ceiling windows might be onto a lively neighborhood full of good restaurants

The Luxury Log Cabin

The new log cabin: so large, so luxe and so loaded with amenities that Daniel Boone would hardly know where to hang his coonskin hat.



The rise of the high-end log cabin: so large, so luxe and so loaded with amenities that Daniel Boone would hardly know where to hang his coonskin hat. Photo: Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal.

William Raphael spent $12.5 million on his vacation log home in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The 15,000-square-foot residence, completed in 2011, has six bedrooms with attached bathrooms and two half-baths. It includes a 3,600-square-foot playroom with a table shuffleboard, a ping-pong table, three hanging TVs, a media room and a bar. The great room has a 38-foot-tall tongue-and-groove ceiling, wide-plank, hand-hewn walnut floors and a 10-foot-wide fireplace.

Despite its size, the spaces include rustic touches: The staircase railings still have bark on them, and the treads are made of logs cut in half.

“I know it’s going to be there for 100 years,” says Mr. Raphael, a retired manufacturing executive who primarily lives in Ridgewood, N.J.

By the Lumbers


Jim McKinney’s nearly 7,000-square-foot vacation home in Jackson, Wyo., which cost about $3 million to build.


To create his dream cabin, Mr. Raphael traveled the country, taking photographs of log lodges at a number of national parks because he was enamored with the architecture. He then met with Jay Pohley, president of Pioneer Log Homes in Victor, Mont., and together, they came up with a design for the home, located in Windham, N.Y. The exterior features native stone and hand-peeled standing dead timber—trees that were killed by wildfire or disease and then harvested from their setting.

Once an icon of humble Americana, evoking images of Abe Lincoln, log homes are getting larger and more elaborate, with intricate truss work, expansive windows and even contemporary, curved elements. Instead of dark, low-slung cabins, homeowners are opting for airier, lighter versions with open layouts.

Advances in log-home building have also been driving luxury construction. The chinking, used to fill the gaps between logs, is commonly synthetic in the newer homes. The acrylic polymers adhere to wood better than the traditional sand-cement chinking, which pulled away from the wood as it expanded and contracted, allowing cold drafts, rain and bugs inside. As Mr. Pohley puts it, “synthetic chinking saved our industry.”



Some builders also use logs reinforced with steel rods to minimize sagging as the house settles over time—a common side effect of log homes. The technique also allows architects to create more complex designs.

And builders are increasingly constructing what are called hybrid homes—log homes with a traditional lumber framework that is covered by a veneer of half-logs, half-cut timbers or stone on the outside and inside. This method makes it easier to install electrical, plumbing and insulation in the home, says Ellis Nunn, an architect in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Mr. Nunn and his wife, Sharon, recently designed a 25,000-square-foot hybrid home for a client in Chattanooga, Tenn., with 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, staff quarters, mood lighting and automated doggy doors. The 10-acre estate includes a log sports pavilion with tennis courts and an outdoor entertainment area where the owners host charity events, and a log guesthouse.

Still, the downturn in the economy has put a dent in the log-cabin market in recent years. Murray Arnott, a log-home designer in Ontario, says he saw a steep drop in demand starting in 2009. And even with the real-estate rebound, log homes remain a niche market.

Mr. Raphael put his log home on the market for $12.5 million a year and a half ago; it has already had a price drop and is now listed at $9.75 million. He says he “put his heart and soul” into the home, but that he’s selling because he’s ready to move on to another project.

John A. Burke Jr., a broker who sells homes in New York’s Adirondacks, says there is a market for handcrafted log homes, albeit a small one. That results in more inventory than demand. “Log homes have so many unique characteristics that sometimes people say, ‘Let’s just build our own,’ ” Mr. Burke says, which compounds the surplus.

Jim McKinney, an investment banker in Chicago, worked with PFB Corp.’s PFB.T +0.99%Precision Craft Log & Timber Homes in Meridian, Idaho, on his nearly 7,000-square-foot vacation home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which cost about $3 million. By using steel-reinforced logs, Mr. McKinney was able to get a 27-foot-wide floor-to-ceiling window framed between cedar logs, giving him sweeping views of the Grand Tetons in his great room. “It looks like the trees are coming out of the ground,” Mr. McKinney says of the logs that hold the window.

“I wanted it to be really, really old looking,” says Mr. McKinney, who built a master bath with wood reclaimed from Old Faithful Lodge at Yellowstone National Park and hung a “Bath 25¢” sign outside the steam shower.

He had the walnut floors on the main floor hand-scraped and the granite countertops in the kitchen torched and sandblasted to make them look rough. Finishing touches include a wood-paneled icebox, silver dollars imprinted in the bar with an old brass cash register sitting on top and a great room that has an 18-foot canoe perched in the corner.

Building a luxury log home takes about six to eight months longer than a traditional timber-framed home and costs 10% to 40% more because of the labor involved in hand-crafting elements of the home. Typically, the bark is hand-peeled off the logs with a drawknife to give it a rustic, uneven look. Logs often are notched, another time-consuming task, so the corners can be fitted together.

Delivery costs typically comprise 2% of the overall project cost because most handcrafted log-homes are constructed on a factory or logging site and then disassembled and numbered for shipping. For a $5 million log home recently completed in the mountains of Cyprus, Jim Banner of Precision Craft estimates the fees for 25, 40-foot-long shipping containers cost about $100,000.

Prices for logs have increased about 15% in the past five years, in part because fewer mills are logging. At the same time, the amount of standing dead timber that is available is increasing as forest fires and infestations such as pine-beetle kill become more prevalent, which has kept prices from rising faster, Mr. Pohley says.

The most popular type of log used is the Douglas fir because of its strength, followed by lodgepole pines, which are about 10% to 20% cheaper. Other high-end choices include Western red cedar and Engelmann spruce.

There are unexpected challenges. For example, Judith Carpenter was asked to decide the placement of every light switch and electrical outlet before her 9,000-square-foot farmhouse in Norwood, N.C., was completed in 2008. Unlike homes with Sheetrock over wall studs, it’s hard to cut openings in the logs and pull wiring through after the home has been assembled. Five years later, Ms. Carpenter says there are one or two places where she wished she put in outlets—particularly in the bedrooms.

Ms. Carpenter, a former state champion in trap shooting, runs the property as a retreat that includes trap shooting, a tilapia farm and a soon-to-come shrimp farm. The $3 million main home has three bedrooms and six bathrooms and includes a downstairs game room with a pool table and home theater and nearly 1,000 square feet of outdoor porches.

Ms. Carpenter wanted a log cabin because it stands apart from the brick- and vinyl-sided homes in the area. “It’s unlike anything else around here,” she says.

Log cabins can stand the test of time, lasting a century or more, with regular maintenance. Most log homes should be restained every three to five years, builders say, to prevent sun damage, and rechinked as needed to prevent air infiltration. Mr. McKinney, the Jackson Hole homeowner, is currently rechinking and touching up a few spots that have been worn down from the sun and from when the sprinklers hit the home, even though it is only a couple of years old.

Some log-cabin homeowners invoke nostalgia and childhood fantasies in their designs. Race-car driver Tony Stewart recently completed a more-than-15,000-square-foot home with six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms in Columbus, Ind., that is reminiscent of Bass Pro Shops, a company that is one of his sponsors and that uses the same supplier of logs in Mr. Stewart’s home, according to people familiar with the project. The residence has a 1,600-cubic-foot aquarium, two trout ponds and a two-lane bowling alley, according to a brochure by the home’s builder. A lower level includes a game room and two racing display cases, plus an actual Indianapolis 500 car hung on the wall. Mr. Stewart declined to comment, but people familiar with the project say the home is, as one person put it, “a far cry from a cabin.”

In the end, Mr. Raphael hopes his passion for his log home rubs off on potential buyers. He has enjoyed spending Christmas there, inviting friends over to play ping pong in the game room and gather in the kitchen to watch hockey games while food is prepped.

“Sometimes, I live there for weeks on end,” Mr. Raphael says. “It’s a great place to have hot chocolate and burn a fire.”


Lakeside Vacations That Have It All



Lavaux Vineyards at Lake Geneva, Switzerland (Photo: iStockphoto)

It’s the shimmer of the water, catching shadows from the surrounding trees. It’s the opportunity for discovery—perhaps a hidden cave at water’s edge, or maybe a fabulous waterfront nightclub—it all depends on what you want. It’s a way to play where Hollywood superstars vacation, or to be stone alone deep in the wilderness.

Whatever your vacation dream is, click through this slideshow to find a lakeside vacation for you.
Lac Léman, France/Lake Geneva, Switzerland
For: A two-country experience paired with fine wine

Call it Lac Léman in free-wheeling France. Rename it Lake Geneva when you are in prim and pretty Switzerland. Either way, you will see lovely scenery. This crescent lake is backed by towering snow-capped Alps and fronted by pretty vineyards (including the historic Lavaux Vineyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Don’t miss the thousand-year-old Chateau de Chillon, rich in history. Go out on a CGN boat for great photos. Perhaps treat yourself to a night in the five-star Beau Rivage Hotel overlooking the lake in pretty Lausanne, Switzerland, and dine at its Michelin two-star restaurant, Anne-Sophie Pic.

Next: Relax where the Midwestern magnates used to go in Wisconsin.


Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
For relaxing away from it all

A favorite retreat for residents of the Midwestern cities, including folks whose last names were Wrigley and Schwinn and Maytag, Lake Geneva also welcomes non-billionaires to its pretty shores. Book rooms in the lovely Abbey, which combines good opportunities for kids to have fun with the elegance and fine dining that will delight solo couples. Explore the shops in the village of Lake Geneva, and walk the Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path, for a glimpse of the magnates’ mansions. Kick back for some fun on the Ice Cream Social Tour aboard the old-fashioned Grand Belle of Geneva. Star gaze at Yerkes Observatory.


Lake George, New York

For: Forts and family fun

Kids love pretty Lake George, packed with all of the souvenir shops, factory outlets, and fudge stores that make vacations fun. Take the family to tour Fort William Henry, right in town. It played a pivotal role in the French and Indian War, and now it even offers spooky evening ghost tours between July 4 and Labor Day. Fort Ticonderoga, north of the lake, is another popular family stop. Those in search of a more sophisticated experience should book into the Sagamore Resort, a classic grand hotel on an island in the lake. Folks in search of true tranquility will find it on the lake’s far less developed eastern shore.

MW Standard


Lake Como, Italy
Playing where celebrities play

Fly into chic Milan. Shop, or simply admire, the fabulous fashion scene, and book well ahead to catch an opera at La Scala and also reserve in advance to see da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Head out some 40 to 50 miles to Lake Como, where the beautiful people—George Clooney, for one—play. The lake’s 145-mile shoreline is dotted with fabulous villas and the occasional grand hotel. The backdrop: The snow-capped Alps. Explore Bellagio, best visited in less-busy spring or fall. Take the funicular up from town, to hike mountain trails with vast views. Treat yourself to a night at the posh Villa d’Este.



Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

For: For enjoying nature in a luxurious setting

This perfectly situated glacial lake, ringed by towering mountains topped with tall evergreens, and capped by an icy glacier that shimmers in the summer sun, is probably the loveliest place you will ever find to paddle your own canoe. Visitors get double the scenery for their money, since the glorious setting is all reflected again in the green-blue waters of the lake. Treat yourselves to a lakefront room at the classic Chateau Lake Louise. But don’t linger too long there. This is a place custom made for hiking and biking and (and in winter for skating). Drive to nearby Banff for restaurants and nightlife.



Lakes of Killarney, Ireland

For: The great outdoors combined with rich history

This lovely chain of three lakes—Lough Leane (also known as Lower Lake), Muckross Lake (sometimes called Middle Lake), and Upper Lake, in Ireland’s Black Valley—offers both natural beauty and superbly built structures. Start with a visit to lakefront Ross Castle, proudly independent into the 17th century, when it fell to Oliver Cromwell. From there, it is possible to board a boat that will take you along the 14-mile-long Chain of Lakes, for touring or fishing. Your journey will take you past a ruined abbey, under ancient stone bridges, and past waterfalls and mountain vistas, as well as 4,000-year-old copper mines.



Lake Tahoe

For: Big vistas, raw nature, and a little gambling

Postcard-perfect Lake Tahoe—the second-deepest lake in the United States—straddles the California and Nevada border at more than a mile above sea level. Summer visitors get to hike the high ski trails far above the glimmering blue-green water below, and can mountain bike up steep trails, with a return zoom down straight to the lake. Sand Harbor State Beach in Incline Village is a great place to take a dip in the chilly lake waters, or simply to chill out. In July, you can book tickets for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. And of course, you can hit the casinos on the Nevada side of the lake every day.



Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

and Manitoba and Ontario, Canada
A true wilderness experience

While many Americans (as opposed to Canadians) may not know Lake of the Woods, it is, in fact, both massive—we’re talking a 65,000-mile shoreline— and magnificent, as well as far enough off the beaten path to delight folks who really want to be alone. It also boasts an epic 14,000 islands, perfect for romantic picnics, and is a definite paradise for those who love to fish—imagine fresh bass on the grill after a hard day of play. (You can hire a guide who knows where to find the big ones.) The town of Kenora, on the north shore, has a good weekly farmers market, plus shops, galleries, and restaurants.


The Finger Lakes, New York

For: Wineries, pretty villages, and the great outdoors

Oenophiles can explore the more than 100 wineries that line the shores of these 11 long, slim Finger Lakes, created by glacial activity more than two million years ago. Wine tour maps are available, or hire Finger Lakes Winery Tours to take you around. Don’t miss the village ofSkaneateles, so pretty that Norman Rockwell might have created it. Book rooms at the nearby Mirbeau Inn and Spa, which has an excellent restaurant. Visit the Corning Glass Museum, where you may also make your own glass object. Save time to hike in Watkins Glen State Park in Ithaca, where you can climb past 19 waterfalls.



Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia

For: Floating islands and rich culture

Surely one of the world’s most exotic lakes—as well as the world’s highest navigable lake, at 12,500 feet—Lake Titicaca offers rich scenery. The lake crosses the border between Peru and Bolivia, with its shores ringed by the towering Andes Mountains. Titicaca’s floating islands, built of straw, and occupied by groups of Uros Indians who live out their lives in this squishy setting, is a must visit. Larger islands include pretty Taquile (it resembles Tuscany), which boasts serious pre-Inca ruins, and is known for its handicrafts. The men knit, starting as kids, and the women do museum-quality weaving.