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Pulitzer Amsterdam | Whimsical Canal-Front Hotel

Pulitzer Amsterdam | Whimsical Canal-Front Hotel

Last March, my husband, Paul, and I visited the Pulitzer Amsterdam, and all I can say is that I never wanted to leave!

Hidden along the city’s famous canal belt, the Pulitzer is 25 connecting canal-front houses with breath-taking inner gardens and authentic Dutch restaurants. The hotel is a blend of upmarket traditional and modern craftsmanship that makes it the perfect place to begin your journey through the charm and quirkiness that Amsterdam is known for.

We stayed in one of the two attic rooms at the Pulitzer, and the character of whimsical Amsterdam carried into the design of our room with so many beautiful accents and personal touches that made our experience perfect!

The Pulitzer even included a bit of fun information on each of the 25 houses that made up the hotel. Ours was the Saxenburg House (pictured above).

Though the city was originally designed for pedestrians, horses, and boats; bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam! Biking has become a way of life in Holland and there are 500 kilometers of bike paths in the city. Our hotel even included a bike repair kit for us, though we didn’t use it. The bikers are pretty intense in Amsterdam, and it is not the leisurely activity we know it as here in America.

The surrounding location was amazing. The Pulitzer is right in the heart of the historic center of Amsterdam, just a few blocks away from the Anne Frank House. In fact, from the inner garden of the hotel, we could hear the church bells from the same church that Anne Frank’s family listened to while in hiding. If you want to see a video we captured of the bells, click here.

As you may have guessed, the food in Amsterdam was delicious and exquisite. Besides the great restaurants in the city, the Pulitzer has three dining venues of its own.

We very much enjoyed our trip their last year and hope to be going back very soon! If you’d like more information on this hotel, view an overview here.

American Queen Steamboat Company | Rates Are Out!

American Queen Steamboat Company | Rates Are Out!

If you’re looking for a cruise that combines fine dining and Broadway-caliber entertainment with cultural and historical enrichment, then you’re in luck! The American Queen Steamboat Company boasts three modern steamboats that are every bit as authentic as those from the 1900s.

Whereas most river cruises don’t tend to be very long, the American Queen Steamboat Company is changing that and has just introduced four brand-new Mighty Mississippi itineraries for 2018. These cruises range from 16 up to even 23 days in length and take the riders on a voyage from New Orleans to Minneapolis.

The trips offer a unique opportunity to sail the entire length of the Mississippi River, and explore the historical site as well as some more modern sites along the way. It is as much a journey back in time as it is a chance to embark on a modern-day exploration.

Sailing on the American Queen, or her sisters the American Duchess and the American Express, allow you to experience one of America’s most famous waterways in a way that isn’t possible on a shorter voyage.

The ships include dining inspired by the Mississippi’s southern heritage as well as the varied cultural influences in America. The culinary team aboard is award winning and offers a menu that reflects each stop along the way.

The trip is also filled with onboard entertainment that delve into the dramatic history and musical influences of the regions in which we travel, including big band shows, musical medleys, and Broadway-style performances.

The main attraction of the American Queen Steamboat Company, though, is what lies off the ship on the shore excursions. With each stop on your 16-23 night journey, you will discover the many historic and cultural attractions.

Few people today can claim they have sailed the mighty Mississippi, American Queen Steamboat Company is aiming to change that. Board the Mighty Mississippi tour this year, and you can claim that you’ve sailed the length of the Mississippi River.

To view more itineraries and rates for the river cruises, view this PDF.

7 Ways to Keep Your Luggage Safe

7 Ways to Keep Your Luggage Safe

It’s easy to forget, until you’re actually traveling, the fear of having your luggage stolen or tampered with during travel. We’ve put together some tips for traveling to make sure that your luggage stays safe during your trip.

1. Know where everything is

This one might seem obvious, but pack your own bags! Don’t let a friend put something in your bag and make sure you know exactly where you put all of those important belongings like your passport or boarding tickets. Keeping them all together keeps you from having to search through all of your belongings to find out if your wallet or driver’s license is missing.

2. Think about what you really need

Make sure you’re not bringing anything that you don’t really need to bring. Sit down and make a list of the essentials and then decide how many bags you can fit it into. It makes it much easier to travel if you only have one bag instead of two.

3. Get travel insurance

It’s time to face the fact that you might actually lose a bag. Looking into travel insurance can assure you that lost luggage, while inconvenient, will not be the end of the world. Make sure you read the policy you choose completely to ensure that what your traveling with will be covered.

4. The three essentials you should take on the plane

Your ID, a credit card, and any prescription medication should be taken with you on the plane. If by chance, you lose everything else, these are the three things that cannot be replaced very easily and will get you out of a jam when you land.

5. Wear anything you really care about

This one goes along with number four: if it’s important, keep it with you. Whether it’s your favorite shirt or your spending money for the trip, keep it close to you, so you know where it is at all times.

Create a “day pack” to carry with you; something that is always on your person with the essentials for that day.

6. Never leave your bag unattended

You’ve heard it before. When you’re in a busy place and have to leave or use the restroom, always take your bag with you. In a restaurant or cafe, put the strap of the bag around the chair leg so no one can walk off with it when you’re not looking. If you must to leave it, make sure you have a trusted friend watching it.

7. You can’t protect everything

Don’t try to secure or protect everything. A day pack or carry on can only fit so much, so don’t try to protect your socks or toothbrush. Those items are easily replaceable. Focus more on securing the items that will be hard to replace, then think about the rest after.

Welcome to America – Now let’s eat! | MSC Seaside Cruise Review

Welcome to America – Now let’s eat! | MSC Seaside Cruise Review

I was honored to be invited to attend a preview cruise on the brand new MSC Seaside. MSC has been in the cruising market for many years in Europe and is the largest shipping company in the world! It’s not a household name yet, but I expect as the word gets out, it soon will be! We set sail on its first 7-night guest sail on December 23, 2017.

This ship is joining her sister ship, MSC Divina, in Miami and is fully designed for the North American market. It will remain in Miami for alternate Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries.

One of the most popular questions I get asked when I return from a cruise or have a client looking into a ship is, “How is the food?” My son Sam, who joined me on the trip, and I did our best to sample as much food as we could so I could report back!

There are two buffets onboard, the Marketplace Buffet and the Biscayne Bay Restaurant & Buffet. We went to the Marketplace Buffet for lunch right after we boarded.

My tip is to always board early and head to lunch first to avoid the crowds. As people board, the buffet gets busier and busier, and by that time, you could by playing or relaxing by the pool!

The food was fresh, beautiful, well seasoned, and hot. Up to this point, I’ve always through Princess Cruises had my top mark for pizza, but not anymore! MSC Knows how to do pizza right. My son said the burgers were freshly grilled and did not taste like any old fast-food burger.

My friends at Heather Loves Cruising also joined us, and between the four of us, we tackled this buffet like champs and all agreed the buffet was impressively YUMMY!

One thing we found particularly interesting is the beverage station in the buffet. In addition to self-serve soft drinks, juice, coffee, and tea, they have a bear station, as well as a wine station.*

Other treats around the ship include the Venchi Gelato & Chocolate Bar – just as good as it sounds! – and a second Venchi Gelato & Creperie. Ice cream is not included in the price of the cruise, unless you have the unlimited drink package, Aurea Experience.* To purchase gelato, it’s $3 for the small bowl and $5 for the bigger size. Crepes are $5, freshly made to order with four fillings and toppings.

If you like dark chocolate, the Azteca gelato had our taste buds dancing. For this Midwestern girl, the small size is a mere taste, but it is handmade, deliciously cold, creamy, and totally worth it.

We had dinner in the main dining room, the Seashore Restaurant.** We were seated promptly and dinner was very good. The dining room itself is beautifully decorated. The tables looked a bit close together when we first walked in, but we didn’t end up feeling crowded like I had expected.

There were many tables of 7-8 for larger families or families that are traveling together, which gives the MSC a definite plus. There were also a fair number of tables for 2-4 guests.

Our dinner for this preview sailing experience was a pre-fixed menu. On full sailings, there will be a full menu with several delicious options to select from. Our menu included Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Tortellini stuffed with porcini mushrooms, orange-glazed Chilean sea bass OR peppercorn-crusted filet mignon, and topping it off was a yogurt Mascarpone Cream.

The courses arrived in a very timely manner but did not come out before the previous course had been completed, which allowed us to enjoy our time and not feel rushed. Impressively, each hot course came out hot! One thing that I find aggravating is slow service and food that comes out warm instead of hot. On the MSC Seaside, I was more than pleased with our service!

If you are traveling with your kids, there are some special dinner options to help make the trip more enjoyable for you and them!

KIDS: Fun Time Dinners – As part of the daily kids’ activities, kids can dine with the entertainment staff every day in the buffet restaurant as well as times when there are themed parties which will include their dining times. Your kids can be entertained while you savor special moments of your own! (Free service)

KIDS: Happy Dinners – When kids need to eat, kids need to eat. “Happy Dinners” are designed to let kids eat in their typical quick manner, and they are escorted to the kid’s clubs to play with the entertainment staff while the adults can sit back and enjoy a more leisurely dining experience (free service). Children also have a dedicated children’s menu, including milk.

We enjoyed our breakfast at the Marketplace Buffet prior to disembarkation. It was again, pleasing to the eye and the palate. Our breakfast might have been a bit heavy on the carbs, as most buffets are, but there were other healthier options, as well, such as yogurt, Mueli, fruits, and meats. We decided to opt for the chocolate crescents… those were very good!

Overall, my two-day experience on the MSC Seaside was wonderful. Despite the short time that I was aboard this beauty, I received a good snapshot of the ship and what it has to offer, and I will definitely be back for a longer cruise (and more good dining soon!


*Soft drinks, beer, and wine are not included in Bella stateroom cruise fares and are charged at consumption. Booking your stateroom at the Fantastica level will get twelve drink vouchers per person, which can be used for these beverages. Aurea level bookings will have these beverages include, as well as the gelato!

** There are four Specialty Restaurants on this ship, as well, if you want to pay for a specialty experience – Bistrot – La Boheme (French); Butcher’s Cut & Chef Table (steakhouse); Ocean Cay (seafood and shellfish); and Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi (Hawaiian/Japanese blend). These dining experiences come with an additional surcharge but are sure to enhance your dining experience while onboard MSC Seaside.

Planning Your Next Vacation

Planning Your Next Vacation

As winter draws to a close, many of us are just returning from our vacations and settling in back home.

Right now, you may be thinking about your upcoming work-week or getting kids back to school. As you get back into your normal routine, your next vacation may be the farthest thing from your mind, but it can actually save you money and time to start planning your next vacation now!

Taking time off is associated with increased happiness at home and less stress and higher productivity and performance levels at work. The earlier you start on planning your next vacation, the more time you will have to choose the best location and the more deals your travel agent will be able to find for your next adventure!

Here are some tips to make planning your next getaway a walk on the beach!

1. Choose a destination

If you just returned from a great vacation, it may be difficult to start to think about other locations. Instead of focusing on the many different places there are, start by thinking about what kind of vacation you want to take.

Do you want to relax or explore? Do you prefer the beach or the forest? Do you want to visit a city or somewhere more rural?

Once you have that narrowed down, you can now start looking at locations. Do some research! You may have decided that you want to go “someplace warm,” but there are lots of warm weather vacations that are unique and each trip will be very different.

2. Research your destination

Now that you’ve decided where you want to go, the next step is to decide what kinds of things you want to do when you get there.

The research for the first step may give you an idea to start off with, but there may be more than you realize in the location you chose.

Try looking up some of the popular tourist spots or maybe some restaurants you’d like to try. This will help you to narrow down your vacation plan and give you a better idea of how the trip will actually turn out.

3. Decide when you want to go

Is there an ideal time for the location that you’ve chosen? Traveling to Florida can be very different if you go in June rather than visiting in December.

Other questions that may be helpful to ask are:

When is the tourist season in that area? When is it most convenient for you and your family? When will it be the most affordable? (Your travel agent will be able to let you know when you can get the best deals for a specific location.)

4. Know your budget

You can take an amazing trip for any cost, but depending on what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go, the cost of your trip might go up or down significantly.

Figuring out what your budget is early will help your travel agent make the best travel experience for your budget.

5. Find out if you’ll need a passport or travel visa

Traveling out of the country can sometimes be inconvenient depending on where you’re going. Make sure you have researched the travel protocol for your destination to make things go smoothly during travel.

Some important things to find out before you travel:

  • Do you need a passport and/or a visa?
  • Are there any shots you need to receive before or after your travel?
  • How early do you need to start making these preparations?

Remember to make copies of all your important travel documents for safety. While your travel agent may be able to help you out with the details, it is your responsibility to know the documents you need to travel.

6. Call Lori

The most important step you need to take in planning your next vacation is to call Adventures by Lori today to start booking your vacation.

All of these tips will help you prepare for the vacation of the dreams, but Lori can make it happen – and at the best price.

Top 5 Romantic Getaways

Top 5 Romantic Getaways

In our busy lives, we sometimes forget how important it is to slow down and take a break. According to a study by U.S. Travel Association, 54% of employees end their year with unused time off, totaling 662 million unused vacation days.

Make this Valentine’s day a time for you and your significant other to relax and just spend time with each other. Get some inspiration for ways for the two of you to connect by looking at our top five picks for a romantic retreat and the best way to spend your Valentine’s Day.

El Dorado Seaside Suites | Riviera Maya

If you’re hoping to relax and be pampered, El Dorado Seaside Suites, a Gourmet Inclusive® Resort, by Karisma is the perfect place for you and your special someone! This adults-only retreat is hidden in a jungle of palm trees on the gorgeous Playa del Carmen. Surround yourself with beautiful white beaches and authentic Mexican architecture in one of the largest spas in the Riviera Maya. With 24-hour room service, you may never actually need to leave your suite, but when you do, you’ll find shaded, King-size Bali beds waiting for you on the beach, tended to by attentive beach butlers.

Hotel Grande Bretagne | Athens

If you and your loved one want a getaway that involves a bit more adventure, the Hotel Grande Bretagne is for you! Mirroring the culture of the historic yet bustling city, this resort offers guests an old-world elegance mingled with state-of-the-art facilities. With breathtaking views of the fabled Acropolis, regal Syntagma Square and the Parliament, lush Lycabettus Hill or the original Olympic Stadium, the 5-star Hotel Grande Bretagne offers an unrivaled perspective of Athens’ mythical history. After exploring the city, relax in the spa for a signature massage and beauty treatment. Then indulge yourself at the Roof Garden Restaurant, ideal for a romantic rooftop meal.

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun | Riviera Maya

Hidden away on one of the most pristine and famous beaches in all of Mexico, this AAA Five Diamond Resort is the quintessential setting for adult adventure, relaxation, and romance. This is the ideal vacation spot for the couple who desires to enjoy pure white sands, crystal-clear waters and warm tropical breezes on the Yucatan Peninsula. The twelve swimming pools and infinity pool offer the best place to cool off while you admire the spectacular ocean views.

Post Ranch Inn | Big Sur

If you and your significant other are looking for something away from the beach, the cliff-top Post Ranch Inn is for you. Only accessible by helicopter, this resort and spa is a sanctuary for the soul. It’s natural architecture embraces the coast’s dramatic beauty, and each room offers a king-size bed, indoor spa tub, wood-burning fireplace, mini-bar with complimentary snacks and beverages, and private deck – many with an outdoor hot tub.

The Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant offers exquisite dining with a menu that changes daily, complimentary gourmet breakfast buffet, and a spectacular setting with endless ocean views. Complementing the food is one of the largest wine lists in California. The award-winning spa offers an inviting array of services, including massages, facials, body treatments, rituals, shamanic sessions, and more. Nearby, Big Sur offers state parks, beaches, art galleries and more. Picturesque Monterey and Carmel are within an hour’s drive.

InterContinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort | Da Nang, Vietnam

Right on the coast of the Son Tra Peninsula Nature Reserve in Da Nang, Vietnam, the luxury InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a work of art as much as a resort. Here, you can delve into the soul of Vietnamese culture and heritage with our nearby cultural and natural sites including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Hoi An Ancient Town and Hue Imperial City. Meet your neighbors, the rare red-shanked douc langurs who inhabit the lush forests of “Monkey Mountain,” or simply kick back and enjoy our resort’s 700-meter private beach. From the moment you arrive, you and your special someone will be pampered by the InterContinental’s personalized service and unparalleled luxurious amenities.

Escape from the Cold | 11 Best Warm-Weather Vacations

Escape from the Cold | 11 Best Warm-Weather Vacations

If you’re like us, then when the weather turns chilly, we start looking for places to go to escape. Here are our picks for the 11 best warm-weather vacations!

Kohala Coast | Hawaii

Average Winter High: 79°

Why you should travel here: The coast extends north for about 15 miles until just past the small town of Kawaihae. The Kohala coast is home to some of Hawaii’s most magnificent luxury resorts. Wherever you stop on the Kohala coast, you’ll hear tales of the Night Marchers: They’re the ghosts of long-dead warriors who are said to return to warn the locals of such cataclysms as tidal waves or volcanic eruptions. (Whether they’ll warn the tourists in the resorts is unclear.)

Where you should stay: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a landmark of luxury on Hawaii’s Golden Kohala Coast. Located on the beautiful Kauna’oa Bay with a white sand crescent beach, it is the ideal setting for a relaxing getaway. Events like the Mauna Kea Luau and the Clambake at the Beach immerse guests in the island’s culture.

Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Average Winter High: 86°

Why you should travel here: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—sensuous, chaotic, sophisticated, open and friendly—is one of South America’s gems. The Cidade Marvilhosa (Marvelous City), as Brazilians call it, displays a unique blend of contrasts: old and new, tremendous wealth amid crushing poverty, an urban metropolis nestled around mountains and a huge forest. If the buzz of the city becomes too much, there’s always an easy escape to the beautiful coast or to the lush Tijuca Forest that surrounds Rio de Janeiro’s mountainous slopes.

Where you should stay: Club Med Rio das Pedras is spectacular resort nestled amid lush greenery set at the edge of a long beach at the heart of Brazil’s second largest protected ecological reserve. The resort’s colonial style bungalows mingle in harmony with the surrounding wildlife. The large seafront swimming pool lies next to the restaurant where after a day of water-skiing or excursions, a variety of buffets await you at La Jangada. Here in this unique location, the live music and warmth of the Brazilian welcome will sweep you away into another world, where mountains, forest, river and ocean converge into one.

Cape Town | South Africa

Average Winter High: 79°

Why you should travel here: Cape Town is host to a number of cultures that contribute to the city’s eclectic music, food, and festival scenes. Most impressive is St. George’s Castle, an symbol of the history that lies in this town. Once used as a base for slave trade, the forlorn-looking castle lets you get a feel for the suffering of captured slaves. Take a break from the gorgeous beaches and vibrant nightlife to take a tour through the historical parts of the town, following knowledgeable guides, whose stories will send chills down your spine.

Where you should stay: Taj Cape Town is perfectly located in the center of historic Cape Town at the entrance of the famous pedestrian precinct, St. George’s Castle. It’s prime location ensures a blend of fascinating history. Within walking distance to most tourist attractions, monuments, museums, shopping, restaurants, markets and nightlife.

Miami | Florida*

Average Winter High: 80°

Why you should travel here: Warm weather, sandy beaches and bright sunshine were selling points more than 100 years ago, just as they are today. But Miami’s allure extends beyond its shores. People from all over the Caribbean and Latin America have settled in Miami, giving the city its distinctive, lively international character. South Beach, with its cheerful, sherbet-colored art-deco buildings and palm-tree-lined avenues, is the center of Miami’s trendy dining and nightlife scene.

Where you should stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour is a luxury beachfront oasis set along pristine white sand beaches in the most exclusive neighborhood of Miami Beach. Escape to this hidden gem, located only 15 minutes from the renowned South Beach on the northeastern end of Bal Harbour Village. With idyllic beaches, easy access to the fashion mecca of the famed designer boutiques, world-class exclusive art galleries, exceptional cuisine, internationally acclaimed design and nightlife all at your fingertips.

The Florida Keys*

Average Winter High: 74°

Why you should travel here: You really haven’t seen Florida until you’ve seen the Florida Keys, a 125 mile archipelago of approximately 1,000 coral islands at the southern end of the state. The residents who have settled in the islands have much to do with the area’s distinctive character: They’re a mix of salty sea dogs, artists, retirees, musicians, drinkers, hippies, writers and free spirits of various sorts.

Where you should stay: Opening on New Year’s Eve in 1920, Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Casa Marina is a flawless merging of Old Key West ambiance and contemporary luxury. The resort is minutes away from the third-largest coral reef in the world and while providing a sense of relaxing seclusion, the resort is also a short walk to the renowned nightlife, restaurants and art galleries on Duval Street.


Average Winter High: 81°

Why you should travel here: Singapore has always been a crossroads between East and West. Once upon a time, its port swelled with Chinese, Arab, Malay, Indian and European traders who went to exchange exotic wares. Today, the city-state has expanded to become one of the world’s busiest ports, and over time, as goods have been exchanged, cultures have mingled as well. Singapore’s dedication to preserving cultural heritage has created a number of excellent museums and thriving, ethnically distinct neighborhoods. Chinatown and Little India still retain some of their original cultural relevance for Singaporeans while attracting foreign visitors who marvel at the endurance of cultural identity.

Where you should stay: Shangri-La Hotel is one of the top luxury hotels in Asia and the world. Situated amidst 15 acres of lush tropical landscape, the hotel is a mere 10 minute stroll from the main entertainment and shopping belt of Orchard Road.

Guanacaste | Costa Rica

Average Winter High: 85°

Why you should travel here: Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province is heralded as the “next Hawaii,” with a tremendous building boom that includes five-star hotels, all-inclusive resorts and large condominium projects. Some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful and expansive beaches are located in Guanacaste, and many of them have black volcanic sand. The contrast of these ebony-sand beaches with sparkling blue waves crashing on them, bordered by verdant forest, is striking. The forests that abound in Guanacaste are dry tropical forests as opposed to tropical rain forests found in the rest of the country.

Where you should stay: Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo overlooks the sapphire blue waters of Culebra Bay and authentically personifies Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” way of living. Featuring rooms that immerse guests in nature with stunning views, the organic design is inspired by the local flora and fauna. True to the Andaz brand, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort creates locally-inspired experiences and engages guests in the local culture in a comfortable, unique atmosphere for which Andaz is known.

Playa del Carmen | Mexico

Average Winter High: 82°

Why you should travel here: The small city of Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Yucatan coast is the geographic and cultural center of the Riviera Maya, one of Mexico’s fastest-growing destinations. For those who find the nearby city of Cancun too large and glossy and lacking in local character, bustling Playa del Carmen is the cure: cozy, funky and quite international, though still with a Mexican flair.

Despite the town’s growing popularity, the pace remains delightfully slow much of the time. And the core of this pleasant town is young, vibrant, and joyous. During the day, the downtown beaches always have a lively crowd of locals and tourists enjoying the azure waters of the Caribbean, and the downtown shops and restaurants are alive with customers. In the evenings, Playa takes on a more festive air, with groups of friends, families and strolling musicians filling the street as the local restaurants, bars and discos compete for their attention.

Where you should stay: Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla is located in a stunning little bay at the prestigious Playa del Carmen enclave on Mexico’s eastern Caribbean shore. Guests will transcend into the unparalleled beauty of the exclusive area famous for pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise water.

Willemstad | Curaçao

Average Winter High: 84°

Why you should travel here: Curaçao’s capital city, Willemstad, is divided into two parts: Punda (old-world Dutch ambience and great shopping) and Otrobanda (“the other side”—also good shopping, but with a more contemporary flavor). Punda and Otrobanda each take about a half-day to see, and they’re connected by ferry, a land bridge or the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. Most of the tourist sites are in Punda, which is the oldest part of town. Its collection of historic buildings is a big reason why Willemstad and its harbor have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The many brightly colored buildings in Otrobanda give this section of the city a fairy-tale feel.

Where you should stay: Baoase Luxury Resort is ideally situated between Willemstad and the Curacao Sea Aquarium and surrounded by meandering freeform pools, waterfalls, Asian art, and Balinese gardens. Families, couples, and groups appreciate the resort’s relaxed and secluded ambiance.

Nassau | Bahamas

Average Winter High: 77°

Why you should travel here: Located on the island of New Providence, Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas. You’ll find the islands’ best sightseeing and historic buildings there. Also expect to find a crowd: Nassau is a very busy place, thanks to the high volume of cruise-ship passengers. To have a good time in Nassau, approach the port with an open mind. Even though it’s an international city and commercial center—and firmly a part of the present—it still maintains its old-world island flavor. Slow your pace as you explore Nassau’s rich history, tranquil beaches and turquoise waters—one of the best commodities of the Bahamas.

Where you should stay: The Cove Atlantis is elegantly situated between Cove and Paradise Beaches creating the feeling of being cast away on a private, white-sand sanctuary. The ultra-luxury property was designed by architect Jeffrey Beers to bring high design together with the bluest ocean and mother of pearl hued sand.

Qamea Island | Fiji

Average Winter High: 88°

Why you should travel here: Dramatic tropical forests cling to steep mountains and valleys and pale strips of serene beach line the shores of Qamea, Fiji’s northern gem. Enjoy watersports like hobie cat sailing and sea canoeing. Snorkel along the shores or go a little deeper with PADI-certified scuba diving to explore the myriad of underwater delights in the multitude of reefs, walls of coral and extravagant underwater biodiversity that is renown for being the prime diving experience. Back on land, hike or visit local villages for a taste of indigenous food and daily life, or spend your afternoon at a leisurely game of croquet.

Where you should stay: Qamea Resort and Spa is an exclusive tropical destination for discerning travelers seeking a truly authentic Fijian experience without sacrificing luxury or service. The resort fronts onto a private white sand beach of just under a kilometer in length, offering guests spacious bures and exclusive Royal Beach Houses with private swimming pools and Jacuzzi Spas, all facing the beach and positioned for maximum privacy.


*Note: Florida sustained serious damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Recovery efforts will take months or even years. Travelers should investigate current conditions prior to planning a visit.

Secrets Cap Cana, Romantic Getaway | Resort Review

Secrets Cap Cana, Romantic Getaway | Resort Review

The temperatures here in Michigan are quickly dropping and soon there will be little white flurries (or big ones!) falling from the sky. This is usually the time when most of us decide that “we need to plan a mid-winter get-away” and then, “we want to go somewhere warm.” For those of us who live in the northern states, the weather November through April can be brutal!

My mid-winter get-away was to Adult-Only Secrets Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic with my husband, Paul.

This resort is located on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic in the Cap Cana area. It is located about 20 minutes south of the Punta Cana airport and easy to get to. Secrets brand resorts have complimentary non-strop transfers from Punta Cana, so we were warmly greeted at the exit of the airport and escorted to our private transfer (we were the only ones going to our resort).

We booked a Preferred Club Junior Suite. At Secrets, the Preferred Club will give you VIP access to check-in and check out at the Preferred Club Lounge, access to the PC Lounge for continental breakfast, snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and premium adult beverages. Upon check-in, we were introduced to our butler Yoel, who gave us his phone number so we could text him anything that we needed, and also escorted us to our room. The Preferred Club also has a beautiful pool that is accessible only to Preferred Club members. 

As for the rest of the stay…

Food. This is the most important thing for most people, right? It’s also one of the hardest things to judge a resort by because it all depends on what you order and your likes or dislikes are. In our case, we never went away hungry, enjoyed what we had, and food was easily accessible – and I have the scale to prove it!

Drinks. The next most important aspect of an all-inclusive resort for guests. Drinks were plentiful and the bartenders and pool staff were accessible constantly. Although I am not a big drinker, I can attest that those around me thoroughly enjoyed the drinks.

Beach. I always get asked, “How’s the beach?” Unfortunately, most of the Caribbean has had a problem with seaweed for several years now. Punta Cana is really no different in that aspect. Of all the beaches that I’ve seen, though, this one was probably the best. The beach itself was beautiful! Soft white sand, with padded lounge chairs and Bali beds scattered under sprawling palm trees. We had no trouble finding space on the beach. The water was a little cloudy when we were there, and at some points, we had to walk through sea plants to get to the sand bottom beauty, but once you get out there and look back at the shore, it was stunning.

Accommodations. Secrets knows how to pamper you with accommodations. Everything from their luxurious bedding, beautifully laid out bathrooms and living spaces, spacious rooms, outdoor balcony jacuzzi and lounge area, to the “Secret box.”  I would have been happy to stay in the room the whole time! Relaxation at it’s finest.

Service. We found the service at Secrets Cap Cana to be very attentive and overall well executed. Everywhere we went, we were met with friendly smiles and eagerness to assist. There is some language barrier between Spanish and English, so if you know some Spanish, I found that to be very helpful. The service staff are local residents, so English is not their first language. A little patience, some sign language, and a Spanish dictionary can go a long way!

All in all, I would highly recommend Secrets Cap Cana to anyone needing a quiet get-away and beautiful accommodations for their honeymoon or anniversary. The resort definitely has a romantic atmosphere that couples will love.