Fairmont's Apprentice-Trips Satisfy Travelers' Yearn to Learn

According to an ancient Chinese Proverb, learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere; like most good things, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts believes these words of wisdom still ring true today with an ever-growing number of individuals seeking out enriching and authentic experiences that bring value to their everyday lives.

Taking this yearn to learn movement on the road is the Apprentice-Trips program by Fairmont, a collection of thoughtful experiences that promote knowledge gathering and enable travelers to learn, perfect or acquire a new skill or activity while away on vacation.  From finding one’s inner chi in Beijing or hanging ten in Montreal to beefing up on brewery skills in Boston, Fairmont’s Apprentice-Trips promise to transform that next trip into a skill for life.  Offerings include:

Art & Culture

Nestled in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation, The Fairmont Dallas is perfectly positioned for a weekend of art and culture. With the hotel’s Art Immersion offer guests receive a one-hour private session on how to buy local art with art veteran and Ross Akard gallery owner Bryan Embry.  Making sure guests get their art fix, the package also includes a lesson with the hotel’s Artist in Residence (artists are rotated quarterly), and an art-inspired dinner menu created by Executive Chef André Natera, complimented with pairings carefully selected by sommelier Hunter Hammett from the hotel’s award-winning wine selection. Guests are also encouraged to take a PublicArtWalk, a self-guided walking tour of the city’s dynamic art which has been created by local and regional artists to enliven parks, libraries, fire stations and recreational centers. As an added bonus, guests also receive an elegant coffee table book, generously donated by the Nasher Sculpture Center, which details the development of the center and its collection. Package rates start at $399 USD per night.

Admiring the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque across the creek from Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, one can see that this city is overflowing with Arabic tradition and culture. In honor of Emirati heritage and the falcon, the national bird of the UAE, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr’s Heritage Takes Flight package allows guests to learn more about traditional Bedouin beliefs while mastering the skill of Falconry. Package includes one night of luxurious accommodation, buffet breakfast, a tutorial, hands-on interaction under close supervision of the falconer, and a guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates.  Package rates start from AED 3,999 and bookings must be made 10 days in advance of arrival.

Given its rather modest size (0.78 square miles), The Principality of Monaco is surprisingly rich in culture and is internationally acclaimed on the modern art scene. This year, Fairmont Monte Carlo invites guests to experience the works of contemporary artist Matéo Mornar with the hotel’s unique Apprentiss’Art Package. This package provides an up close look at the Croatian-born artist and his renowned sculptures that have captivated the likes of HSH Prince Albert II and his royal family.  Guests enjoy two-night’s accommodation with buffet breakfast daily, a special visit to Matéo Mornar’s studio, including an introduction to the art of clay sculpting, and dinner for two in the hotel’s signature gourmet restaurant l’Argentin. Package rates start at €440 per night with a seven day advance booking required.

Guests will leave feeling like a true Kama’aina (local) at the end of their stay with the Canoes, Coffee and Culture Package at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. With this package, guests experience the heart of the Hawaiian culture with everything from lessons on the art of growing and harvesting Kona coffee with a local purveyor to putting their fishing skills to the test with an outrigger canoe fishing adventure guided by a Fairmont Orchid Beachboy. Package includes nightly accommodation on Fairmont Gold, a one-hour outrigger canoe fishing adventure, a tour of a Kona coffee farm, a Kona coffee amenity and one dinner at Brown’s Beach House for two featuring locally grown produce and sustainable seafood (excluding alcohol). Package rates start from $659 USD per night.

According to the U.S. Constitution, only three steps are necessary for a bill to become a law. The Fairmont Washington, D.C. wants to help inquisitive types know the players and the process with the hotel’s How to Pass a Bill In Washington Package. The package includes pre-arrival tips from a federally-registered lobbyist on how to craft your agenda, a suggested itinerary, nightly accommodation for two adults and two children, a welcome amenity of the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence and a mini American Flag. Package rates start from $209 USD per night on weekends and $399 USD per night through the week.

Guests interested in perfecting the ancient art of Tai Chi can head to Fairmont Beijing, where meditation and finding ones balance take center stage with the hotel’s Find Your Inner Chi package. With this offer guests embark on a wellness adventure from training to control breathing and synchronize movements to learning more about the history and evolution of this popular Chinese art.  Package includes two night’s accommodation in a Deluxe Room, one day of private Tai Chi lessons in Jing Shan Park with a Tai master including limo transportation, and daily breakfast. Available from September through November, pricing for this two-night package starts from 5,260 CNY ($799 USD).

Head Outdoors

The grizzly bear is an icon of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and according to folklore the great keeper of the wild kingdom in Canada. With its recent classification as a threatened species, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise invites guests to embark on a journey of rewarding discovery and help save and develop the status of the grizzly bear.  The hotel’s Great Grizzly Getaway showcases the wonders of this great animal, its habitat and how humans and nature can coexist with an extraordinary two-day guided adventure that includes a donation to the World Wildlife Fund and a grizzly bear adoption in the guest’s name.  Package includes three night’s accommodation for two on Fairmont Gold, daily breakfast, two gourmet picnic lunches, two full days of hiking with an expert guide, a keepsake backpack, a donation to the World Wildlife Fund, adoption certificate, and a plush grizzly bear toy to take home.  Package rates for this three-night experience start at $3,000 CAD.

Almost each and every one of us thinks we’re a good driver, right?  Well, Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello provides an opportunity for guests to confirm this assertion, or in some cases get in a little remedial auto instruction, with its Land Rover Driving School Experience. Providing guests with a different vantage point of the natural world, not to mention a thrilling off-road adventure, this package puts their driving skills to the test as they expertly pilot a Land Rover over, under and through hair-rising obstacles including steep ascents, descents, side-tilts, log crossings, creek crossings, rock crawls, boulders and more. Package includes a two-hour Land Rover lesson, nightly accommodation, buffet breakfast in Aux Chantignoles restaurant, and complimentary access to the resort’s sports center. Offered May – October, package rates start at $610 CAD per night.

Environmental consciousness and “malama ‘aina” (taking care of the land) are on the curriculum at The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. With the hotel’s Eco-Learning Package, guests start by choosing one of five eco-learning activities helping to preserve Haleakala National Park: discovering the history of this spectacular volcano, maintaining a beautiful oceanside trail, learning all about organic farming in a rainforest by becoming a helping hand, removing invasive species near some of Maui’s remaining sand dunes, or helping preserve Hawaii’s archeological sites by planting native species. Guests also enjoy three-night’s of suite accommodation, a cultural walking tour of the hotel, a three-course sustainable dinner for two, a tote bag made from recycled materials and a reusable water bottle as a welcome amenity. Guests may also participate in the hotel’s complimentary Hawaiian Canoe Experience and learn not only the basics of outrigger canoe paddling but also the significance of paddling to Hawaiian culture.  Available year-round, package rates start at $529 USD per night.

Learn about the birds, butterflies and Bushbucks with a Walk on the Wild Side at Fairmont Zimbali Resort and Fairmont Zimbali Lodge. Zimbali, Zulu for valley of flowers, has over 700 hectares of lush vegetation to explore, stretching from the coastal forest to the seaside beaches of the Indian Ocean.  The walk, conducted by a certified guide, leads to waterfalls via a coastal dune forest, vlie or estuary, and around a small lake. The graceful Bushbuck (an African antelope), Blue duiker, Large Spotted Genet, Galagos (bush baby) and vervet monkeys are some of the wildlife that may be encountered. There is a list of over 65 different bird species that have been documented around the estate and an amateur ornithologist could see the elusive Narina Trogon, the more common but spectacular Purple-crested Lourie, or delight in the distinctive call of the Green Coucal.  In addition to the array of birds, there is a diversity of trees and plants that support a dazzling display of butterflies. And a short walk to the dunes may be rewarded by seeing dolphins, or from June through November, whales on their migration path. The walk takes approximately two hours and is R200 per person (approximately $30 USD).  Nightly room rates start at 1,999 ZAR and 1,499 ZAR at Fairmont Zimbali Resort and Fairmont Zimbali Lodge respectively.

Novice hikers looking to learn the basics of mountain climbing or expert mountaineers seeking an epic adventure should head to the Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China. With a waterfront setting in the picturesque Yangcheng Lake Park, the hotel is a great place to get outdoors and enjoy all of nature’s sky-high trappings. Don’t have any idea what a headwall, anchor or crampon is? Guests soon will as they head out with an experienced mountain man to learn the ins and outs of the sport in a scenic landscape framed by flourishing greenery and crystal clear waters.  Available April 1 – October 31, 2011, the hotel’s Adventure Awaits experience starts from RMB 1,099 per night and includes rock climbing activities, nightly accommodation and buffet breakfast for two.

Get Your Game On

This year, novices and pros alike can swing by Mexico’s Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya for a little 18-hole tutelage on one of the world’s most masterful courses. With the resort’s El Camaleón 101 package, sporting enthusiasts have the chance to get better acquainted with the game of golf or take their game to new heights with innovative and creative coaching from the Jim McLean Golf School. After some training, golfers then put their newfound skills to the test with rounds on El Camaleon, a Fairmont managed course designed by Greg Norman and host of the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic (Mexico’s only  official  PGA Tour event). Package includes a three-hour Pro Session per person, per stay with a Jim McLean Certified Master Instructor, where guests will have an exclusive behind the scenes look at how a world class golf school is managed; two one-hour lessons at the Jim McLean Golf School; two rounds of golf per adult, per stay; nightly accommodation; a $150 Willow Stream Spa credit per room per stay; and complimentary golf club rentals.  Package rates start from $449 USD per night in a Fairmont room with a minimum three-night stay required.

Montreal is not just a great city; it’s an island city and a surfer’s paradise! Adventurous guests looking for their next big challenge should forgo widely known haunts and catch a break riding Big Joe, the world’s tallest standing wave, just minutes from downtown. With Surf’s Up Montreal, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth lets travelers in on one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Hidden behind Habitat 67, three permanent waves in the St. Lawrence River give awesome thrills to all surfers, beginners and pros alike.  Package includes two night’s accommodation, one day of surfing lessons with a pro from Kayak Sans Frontières (KSF), where guests learn the basics of river surf at two locations in Montreal, surf equipment rental, daily buffet breakfast and a take-out snack to keep energy levels up. Available from May 31 - September 1, 2011, this two-night experience starts at $399 CAD per night. Valid only on Fridays and Saturdays.

From regular Joes to hole-in-one pros, improving one’s golf game is a lifelong endeavor. With the Fairmont Newport Beach and the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, guests can work on perfecting their game all while soaking up the hot Southern California sun. With the hotel’s David Leadbetter Academy Mini-School package guests receive three-night’s of luxurious accommodation in a Junior Suite, six hours of world-glass instruction over two days at the state’s only David Leadbetter Golf Academy, extensive computer and video analysis on their swing, a take home DVD with a personalized game plan for improvement, a PGA Tour qualified club evaluation, and complimentary valet parking. Available Fridays through Sundays, package rates start at $434 USD per night with a five day advance booking required. 

Spa Is In Session

Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver offers a package that combines a playful affair of the senses along with some easy-to-learn massage techniques to practice and enjoy at home with the Learn How to Massage Package.   The experience includes nightly accommodation and ninety-minutes in the self-contained couple’s room at the Willow Stream spa where 'apprentices' receive bath toys that include a loofah, bath gel, Neroli water, and an aromatic algae gel masque.  The fun begins by applying masques on each other, followed by a soothing soak in the double-sized Japanese style, and time in the multi-jetted experiential double shower. Spa therapists then provide hands-on tips on how to perform a therapeutic massage that will aid in loosening kinks, soothing sore muscles and relieving stress.  The session wraps up with side-by-side massages followed by time in the steam room, mediation pods, and relaxation beds, couples’ lounge, or exclusive spa terrace with hot tub, mediation pods, and relaxation beds.  Package rates start at $599 CAD per couple, per night.

The buddy system is on the curriculum for spa studies at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with the resort’s Couples Loving Touch Massage Workshop Package. Training in the 2Rs (rest & relaxation) is the name of the game as couples are taught to give each other a soothing massage during a private lesson with an expert massage therapist. Each spa-goer takes a turn learning the techniques of Swedish massage, while the other relaxes on the massage table. The session is customized to address each individual’s special needs and the couple receives helpful information on simple muscle anatomy and easy massage movements. Package includes nightly accommodation, couple’s Swedish massage lesson and a take-home spa gift. Offered through December 2011, rates start from $363 USD per night in summer and $550 USD per night in the winter with a minimum 7-day advance booking required.

When it comes to throwing the ultimate spa party, leave it in the hands of the experts at the Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Turnberry Isle in Miami to do it with aplomb. This official girlfriends’ headquarters has introduced a new Gal Pal offering to teach ladies how to create their own B.F.F. - Backrubs, Facials & Foot scrubs - Spa Night with interactive demonstrations from leading therapists. As part of this fun educational experience, guests get hands-on to learn proper massage, facial and exfoliating techniques and receive a take-home gal pal party pack that includes spa and smoothie recipes, a list of suggested BFF Spa Night themes and a box of angel cards.  Out-of-town guests can turn their Gal Pal experience into a girlfriends’ getaway with spacious rooms starting at $399 USD through April 14; $299 USD from April 15 through May 31; $179 USD from June 1 through September 30; and $299 USD from October 1 through December 19, 2011.

Epicurean Education

Never one to “lager” on a trend, Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza has an exclusive experience “on tap” for those looking to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of their favorite brew.  With the hotel’s Samuel Adams Behind the Scenes Boston Brewery Package, guests receive a private tour of this famed Beantown brewery followed by a private tasting of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and limited edition beers in the brewery’s barrel room. Guests then return to the hotel’s celebrated Oak Room for a three-course beer-pairing dinner prepared by Chef Stefan Jarausch and hosted by a Samuel Adams beer expert. Package also includes an in-room Samuel Adams “Bucket of Cheer” amenity.  Offered January-May and September-December, rates start at $429 USD per night.

Strap on your sea legs and go behind the scenes on the only Lobster boat tour in Boston with the Fairmont Battery Wharf’s exclusive Keep the Catch Boston Harbor Lobster Package. Accompanied by a Fairmont Chef, guests head out on a private excursion aboard an authentic down-east style lobster boat to learn firsthand how to bait, drop, and haul in lobster traps.  In between  how-to sessions from the boat’s captain, fledgling first mates can enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling Boston Harbor and learn more about its great history. After a day at sea, guests return with their catch and stop in at the hotel’s restaurant, Aragosta, where the Chef will prepare the lobster to their liking (additional a la carte menu item charges may apply). Offered May through October, rates start at $529 USD per night and include the “Keep the Catch” Lobster Boat tour, lobster preparation at Aragosta with a guaranteed reservation at the Chef’s Counter, a lobster book welcome gift and overnight accommodations in a Deluxe Waterview room.  

A visit to The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa should be on the agenda for oenophiles looking to further their appreciation of wine. With the resort’s Sonoma Experiential Package, travelers get hands-on to fully discover the wines and locally inspired cuisine of this famous region, discover an assortment of sommelier secrets, and enjoy some expert tutelage on the next wave of up and coming wines. Package includes a signature wine and cheese amenity upon arrival, nightly accommodation in a suite, daily breakfast, VIP tour to Benziger Family Winery, wine-paired Chef’s Tasting Menu dinner for two in the Michelin-star Santé, and a sommelier-led tour to two local wineries. Package rates start at $619 USD per night based on a two-night minimum. Package must be booked two weeks in advance of arrival.

Webster's may have to rethink the definition of “cheesy” after it hears about the new Grand Fromage Package at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. A farm-to-fork tour not to missed, this artisan adventure is sure to please lovers of all things cheese. Package includes two night’s of luxurious accommodation at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, a tour and hands-on cheese making course at Farmhouse Cheeses in Aggasiz (rental car included), a three-course tasting menu paired with wines at the hotel’s Griffins Restaurant, dinner for two at Au Petit Chavignol, known as one of the city’s best restaurants for artisan cheese, and a welcome amenity highlighting local wine and cheese. Offered in the spring and summer, package rates for this two-night offering start from $999 CAD.

Class is in session for food buffs at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York with the hotel’s Shop with Chef experience. An excellent choice for foodies looking to elevate their culinary IQ, the package provides practical tips on how to fully explore a local market and shares secrets on how to select top quality meats and produce. Package includes two-night’s accommodation, a chef-led tour of the city’s St. Lawrence market, coffee for two at Pasta Mia, sample tasting at Golden Orchard Fine Foods, peameal bacon sandwiches for two at the Carousel Bakery, one-hour walking tour with a local historian, and a six-course menu in EPIC, the hotel’s signature restaurant. Available on weekends through December 26, 2011, rates for this two-night package start from $700 CAD. Those looking for more of an East Coast adventure can head to New Brunswick’s Fairmont Algonquin.  Located in a picturesque town on the world-famous Bay of Fundy, the resort’s Cooking with Chef experience schools guests on how to employ simple and unique culinary techniques in the kitchen. Package includes nightly accommodation, a cooking lesson with one of the resort’s certified Chefs, and a three course dinner in The Library Dining Room. Package rates start from $329 CAD per night.

Every wonder what it would be like to be behind the scenes of a restaurant kitchen? The Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda gives foodies the opportunity with its Chef for a Day Package.  Spend an entire day with the chef of one of our award winning restaurants.  Choose from the Asian-inspired seafood restaurant, Ocean Club; the five-diamond Newport Room; the award winning steakhouse, Waterlot Inn; or the Italian restaurant, Bacci.  After a day in the kitchen, guests enjoy a special dinner for two in the restaurant.  This package also includes a chef’s apron and overnight accommodations.  Package must be booked 14 days in advance and is available Monday through Thursday until December 31, 2011.  Rates start at $259 per person.  Small groups of friends can take advantage of this behind the scenes experience and the maximum number of participants is six. 

Visit http://www.fairmont.com/Promotions/apprenticetrips.htm for a full list of Fairmont’s Apprentice-Trip experiences. All packages unless noted otherwise are subject to availability, priced per room, per night, exclude taxes and are based on double occupancy. Prices are quoted in local currency. For reservations, please visit http://www.fairmont.com, call 1-800-441-1414 or contact your local travel agent.