Sunday, December 20, 2009

I can't wait to stay at...

the new W Vieques in Puerto Rico, opening March 1st, 2010 (though currently only taking reservations for travel dates of May 1st and later)!

Though the resort is larger than those I usually enjoy, with 150 rooms, its location, amenities, and unusual design are compelling enough to put it at the top of my short list of long weekend ideas! One of the reasons I've not yet visited this small island off off Puerto Rico's main island is that until now, there were no true resort options on Vieques--only limited-service hotels and villas. And as much as I love small properties, I'm not a fan of having to make my own breakfast while on vacation!

Friday, December 18, 2009

New air service from the US to Fiji!

Beginning today, Continental airlines is offering nonstop service from Honolulu, HI (airport code HNL) to Nadi, Fiji (airport code NAN)! The outbound flights will operate on Mondays and Fridays, departing Honolulu at 6:55PM and arriving at 12:40AM 2 days later (due to crossing the international dateline). Return service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, flying out of Nadi at 9:50AM and arriving in Honolulu at 5:25PM the previous calendar day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Getting married in French Polynesia is finally legal!

It was recently announced that couples from the US and other countries can legally tie the knot in Tahiti and her islands! French Polynesia resorts are now creating fabulous wedding packages which include flowers, photographers, cakes, group rates for guests, and more. What could be more beautiful than a wedding in paradise?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Third trip to Belize - December '08

Close to a year behind on this, but my husband and I made our third visit down to Ambergris Caye for my birthday in December '08!

Note: please excuse the poor quality of many of the pictures--they were taken with my old camera!

This time, Victoria House was all booked up (we booked last minute), so we stayed at Xanadu Island Resort.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, Riviera Maya, Mexico

To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband and I spent 4 nights in April at the new Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita resort near Puerto Morelos (Riviera Maya), Mexico.

The property itself has been open for several years, but was taken over and rebranded as Zoetry last fall. Though we are generally not big all-inclusive resort fans, we had a wonderful time here. As most of our trips seem to involve long and/or multiple flights and a lot of moving around/activity, it was a new and fabulous experience to get on a plane in Atlanta, fly for under 3 hours, take a 20 minute car ride, and then spend 4 days doing absolutely nothing but relaxing! We were even upgraded (thank you, hard-earned Delta medallion status!) on both flights, which is very rare coming from Atlanta and really started the trip off right.

New Panama City, Panama hotel

When I traveled to Panama last year, one of the disappointments/frustrations of the trip was the dearth of good hotel options in Panama City. However, Starwood has just opened a chic new Le Meridien in the city! While early reviews are mixed, the property's location, views, and amenities will likely help it become the premier luxury and business hotel in the city. The Le Meridien will definitely be my first choice the next time I'm in Panama City!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Long time no post!

Just realized it has been 3.5 months since my last post here and that it is really time for me to update. After 6 international trips in the past 4.5 months, I haven't had much time for blogging, but definitely have a lot of reviews, tips, and photos to share, so stay tuned! In the next couple of weeks, I will start posting again with reviews of places I've visited recently - including Tonga, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, and 2 visits to Mexico!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back from Tahiti Tiare Agent Conference in French Polynesia!

I recently returned from the 2009 Tahiti Tiare Agent Conference, presented by Tahiti Tourisme North America for travel agents and tour operators who specialize in travel to the islands of French Polynesia. What a fantastic experience--I feel very lucky to have been able to go on such an amazing business trip! While I would have loved to have been able to spend a longer period of time on each island, I do feel like I really got to experience a lot of what each destination had to offer, even in just a couple of days. And there's always next year...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back to French Polynesia!

I'm leaving today for a conference in FP for Tahiti Tiare agents (the official French Polynesia specialist program for travel agents), and can't wait! This will be my third visit to the Tahitian islands, and I would say the third time's a charm. However, that would indicate that the first 2 times (my honeymoon and 2nd anniversary trip) were not, when nothing could be further from the truth! Each trip brings amazing new experiences and sights, and I look forward to visiting French Polynesia many more times in the future.

This time, I'll be staying on 4 islands over the course of a week--Tahiti, Raiatea, Huahine, and Tahaa. A whirlwind trip, but well worth it! Of those 4 islands, I've only stayed on Tahiti previously (my earlier trips have also included stays on Moorea, Bora Bora, and Tikehau), so I'm very much looking forward to experiencing 3 new islands and a new resort on Tahiti!

I'll be taking about a million pictures and definitely writing a lengthy review of the trip when I return, and will post all of that here in the next couple of weeks!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Gorgeous new overwater bungalow find

Well, new to me at least (it appears to have been in business since at least 2005)! I stumbled across Sipadan-Kapalai Island Resort in Malaysia rather randomly during a Flickr search, and fell in love. It appears that getting there would be an adventure unto itself, and the bungalows are not super-luxe. However, the area is stunning, the snorkeling and diving look unbelievable, and the OWBs are lovely, spacious, and look out over insanely clear water. I especially adore the way they've put a giant window right next to the bathtub, so you can gaze out over the sea while you bathe. While it's not incredibly cheap for Southeast Asia, the resort is an absolute steal compared to what you'd pay for an OWB in French Polynesia or the Maldives! For about $1000US (non-divers) or $1250US (divers), you can have a 3 night stay for 2 people, including accommodation, meals, some drinks, transfers, and tons of dives (the last only if you get the dive package, of course).

The hotel's website is not particularly user-friendly or informative, but here is the tripadvisor link, which has tons of great pictures and information:

Also check out S-KIR's sister resort, Lankayan Island Dive Resort. No OWBs, but simply stunning location, with spacious bungalows right on the beach!

Looks like Malaysia just moved even higher on my "must-visit SOON" list!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Panama reviews and photos

Bob and I always take a trip over Labor Day week, to take advantage of the "free" day off (anything to use less vacation time!) This year, Panama was the chosen destination for two reasons. First, we (Bob especially) had been talking about going there for awhile. We're big fans of Central America, but had already been to Belize and Costa Rica, and wanted something a bit "beachier" than Guatemala or El Salvador. Honduras and Nicaragua were the other options we considered for this trip, but the fact that we were able to get business class seats with Skymiles to Panama sealed the deal!

1 night Panama City at the Albrook Inn(our flight landed at 9PM and our flight to the San Blas left the next morning at 6AM, so this was a very short stay)

3 nights San Blas Islands (aka Comarca Kuna Yala)at Yandup

1 night Panama City at the Veneto

4 nights Bocas Del Toro at Popa Paradise



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