Getting the local view through a (fashionable) lens

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View from the British Colonial Hilton Nassau.
View from the British Colonial Hilton Nassau.

A collaboration between a hotel company and an eyewear brand is focused on a shared vision for experiential travel.

"Through the Local Lens" features a series of curated, self-guided itineraries for guests staying at Hilton properties in the Caribbean.

The eyewear component of the partnership is Sicky Eyewear, a designer sunglass company whose name is the nickname of its founder, John Hildebrand.

Travelers booking a stay at a Hilton Caribbean property receive a 20% discount on more than 45 Sicky sunglass designs. The sunglasses are available online at sickysworld.com. They are not available in the Hilton properties.

"I first began to explore the world through the lens of a camera, which served as a vehicle for my passion to travel," Hildebrand said. His love for photography and travel served as the inspiration for the program, he said.

"We want travelers to go out on their own, get out of their comfort zones and connect with the destination," he said.

Working with Hilton's on-property Experience Ambassadors -- hotel employees with a knowledge of the local scene who help facilitate tour recommendations -- Sicky and Hilton developed guides and accompanying maps that identify experiences not often found in a standard-issue island map.

Besides highlighting restaurants and bars, activities and cultural landmarks, the maps offer off-the-grid suggestions, such as exploring Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain Trinidad, diving the Lost Blue Hole in the Bahamas or just grabbing a local beer at a beach stand or from a vendor at a market.

"Just as Sicky sets out to create a personalized and distinctive eyewear design, our team strives to provide guests with curated experiences that reflect the destination's culture and allow them to live like true islanders and document their experiences 'through the local lens'," said Rakel Dean, Experience Ambassador at the British Colonial Hilton Nassau.

Participating Hiltons include 10 properties on eight islands: Aruba, New Providence and Bimini in the Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and three on Puerto Rico (Dorado, Ponce and San Juan). Hotels in St. Lucia and Cartagena, Colombia will soon join the program.

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