10 Hotels With Cultural Programs To Expand Your Horizons


Travel offers people one of the best educational opportunities available. It allows us to explore new places, step out of our comfort zone and connect with people from different backgrounds. And according to data, vacationers are excited about the opportunity to broaden their horizons and change their perspectives during their trips.

While the term ‘educational leave’ has been used to reflect family travel with learning opportunities for children, the term can certainly apply to an increasing general interest in meaningful travel that offers opportunities for self-enrichment. According to American Express’ 2022 Global Travel Trends Report, 81 percent of respondents want to visit destinations where they can immerse themselves in local culture and put their tourism dollars back into the local economy. And one of the best ways to do that is by staying at a hotel that offers educational cultural immersion workshops.

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The best hotels are mirrors that reflect the places they call home. In addition to engaging members of the community, emphasizing local cuisine and using native materials in design, this culture-focused hospitality philosophy is brought to life at many properties primarily through cultural education programs designed to expand guest opportunities. Throughts.

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The cultural education programs listed below teach visitors about local culture in a real, tangible way and provide practical skills that travelers can take home with them.

10 hotels with a cultural program

1. Thai clay form at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

As part of its ongoing effort to foster the connection between guests and the Northern Thai way of life, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai recently opened a cultural center called Chaan Baan, which works with the local community to bring attention to ancient crafts such as Thai clay moulds.

Rest assured that no prior knowledge of pottery is required to participate in this engaging session. During the 60-minute workshop, artisans from In Clay Studio Pottery will share traditional Thai techniques and guide visitors through using the wheel or hand building and then decorating the pottery with natural ash glazes.

2. Natural Remedies Workshop at NIHI Sumba (Sumba Island, Indonesia)

NIHI Sumba

NIHI Sumba honors indigenous rituals in its natural healing workshop. Guests can stroll through the organic garden and gather the ingredients to prepare time-honored Indonesian herbal remedies. These include Jamu, an anti-inflammatory drink made from roots, herbs and spices, and serums made from aloe vera and virgin coconut oil to treat sunburn.

3. Maasai Jewelry in Mara Bushtops (Masai Mara, Kenya)

Mara bush tops

Between gazing elephants and lions in the wild, guests at Mara Bushtops in Kenya’s Masai Mara have a unique chance to stay in a stunning camp that showcases the beauty of nature and local traditions, including its beaded jewellery.

In the East African culture, pearl jewelry is not only used for decoration, but the shapes and colors of the pearls have an individual meaning. Local bead-making experts share the history and importance of the time-honoured craft and guide safari-goers through the process of creating their own works of art.

4. Guided Meditation with a Buddhist Monk at Capella Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)

Chapel Bangkok

Finding moments of relaxation in everyday life and on vacation promotes general well-being. Finally, meditation has been found to help reduce stress, promote emotional regulation, calm the sympathetic nervous system, and improve sleep. And in Buddhist culture it is used to develop concentration and attain a contented state of mind.

Pick up the basic elements of this practice from a Buddhist monk in Thailand? Well, that certainly offers some advantages. Monk Prasert, the mindfulness meditation master of Wat Yannawa, the 200-year-old Ayutthaya-era temple near Capella Bangkok, takes serenity and spirituality seekers on a guided journey through their consciousness to inner peace.

5. Tali Kato on Turtle Island (Fiji)

Turtle Island, Fiji

turtle island

Turtle Island in Fiji is a 500 hectare private luxury island resort employing more than 120 staff from the surrounding villages. It features 14 traditional wood and thatch Fijians overlooking a sparkling blue lagoon, and visitors can learn tali katowhat the weaving of traditional Fijian baskets means.

6. Little Ram Oyster Company Farm Tour and Shelling in the Shoals (Southold, New York)

The Swarms

Fishing is an integral part of life in many coastal communities on Long Island’s North Fork, including Southold. The Shoals, a hybrid ‘botel’ housed in a converted marina building that was formerly a fish market and bait shop, embraces the region’s rich aquaculture and natural resources. The robust on-site oyster operation, run by local and women-owned family business Little Ram Oyster Company, gives guests the opportunity to gain a first-hand knowledge of oyster farming, step-by-step shucking techniques, and how to taste the Nuance oysters the sustainable bivalve delicacy (which, fun fact, can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day of pollutants).

7. Mayan Hammock Weaving at Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya

Hammock weaving is a traditional Mayan craft that dates back centuries. While buying a hammock from a Playa del Carmen tourist shop might be an easy way to add a little flair to your home, you certainly won’t learn anything about the history or artistry that goes into the vibrant new decorative item of your affection.

The immersive offering at Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya guides guests through the process of turning colorful strings into a functional hammock while learning about Mayan heritage and culture. Then why not try out your new creation during a sunset hang session by the sea?

8. Ukulele Lessons at Montage Kapalua Bay (Maui, Hawaii)

Montage Kapalua Bay

The ukulele was introduced to Hawaiians in 1879, and since then the stringed instrument has become as synonymous with the spirit of aloha as the gentle sound of waves lapping the sand. For many, the mere utterance of the word ukulele conjures up images of strumming sessions under swaying palm trees.

Montage Kapalua Bay strives to preserve Hawaiian traditions through immersive programming. Silla Kaina, the resort’s longtime cultural ambassador, teaches visitors ukulele holding, fingering, and basic chords in an idyllic, breezy setting on Maui’s scenic coastline.

9. Making Agave Paper in Casa Salles (Tequila, Mexico)

Casa Salles

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Tequila in western Mexico’s state of Jalisco is best known for its namesake spirit. But the undistilled plant parts of the blue agave are not simply thrown away.

Casa Salles, a boutique retreat next to an active distillery, has teamed up with local artist Norma Macías Zambrano to turn the discarded agave fibers and other by-products from the production process into paper, just as she does to create art. The immersive classes, held at their studio near the hotel, shed light on the myriad ways people in the region use their most prized plant.

10. “Be a Farmer” at Six Senses Con Dao (Con Dao, Vietnam)

Six Senses Con Dao

While it’s not particularly difficult to find an eco-focused hotel that offers garden tours and farm-to-table cooking classes, Six Senses Con Dao goes one step further. This 5-star beach oasis on the tropical island of Con Dao isn’t just about roaming rows of endemic plants and mingling with wildlife, it’s about gaining a deeper appreciation for long-standing local farming practices.

Guests can feed the chickens, collect eggs from the coop, and learn traditional Vietnamese hand-picking methods for organic vegetables and herbs—all skills you might be lucky enough to practice in your local community garden.

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