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Hard Rock Resort Punta Cana!

Where can you find a gorgeous beach, all-inclusive amenities, 1,485 lavish rooms, a 45,000 square foot casino, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, an opulent state of the art spa and live concerts by famed artists like Justin Bieber, Maroon Five, and Sting?  Those features and more are all located at the ultra-hip Hard Rock […]

Where can you find a gorgeous beach, all-inclusive amenities, 1,485 lavish rooms, a 45,000 square foot casino, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, an opulent state of the art spa and live concerts by famed artists like Justin Bieber, Maroon Five, and Sting?  Those features and more are all located at the ultra-hip Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana, DR.  Gone are the days where everything quiets down at 9 pm at an island resort.  Hard Rock has made it their mission to indulge their clientele in entertainment, gaming, and sports activities as well as highlight the all-inclusive dining features luxury Caribbean resorts have been known for.
The Hard Rock resort in Punta Cana has 13 unique restaurants, four trendy bars, a super chic nightclub (Club Oro), children’s activity center, 12 outdoor pools, and wedding packages designed by famous wedding planner to the stars, Colin Cowie.
Each of their over the top rooms are classified as suites.  Their entry-level suite is over 781 square feet and includes a double Jacuzzi, in room stocked mini bar, 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi and LCD TV with satellite.
Because Punta Cana has seen a huge spike in tourism over the last decade, the government has completed several projects to entice visitors to travel to the Dominican.  In 2012, major road work resulted in a sleek new highway that offers travelers the option to fly into Santo Domingo, La Romana or Punta Cana with less than an hour drive between destinations.  No longer do vacationers have to dread a 3-hour drive from the airport.  With more choices of airports to fly into, travelers have more options thus providing more competition for reduced airfare prices.
The Dominican Republic has been a leader in tourism over the past 15 years, and the calm Caribbean waters along Punta Cana’s famous beaches create an idyllic vacation setting.  With the addition of the Hard Rock Resort, Punta Cana now has a world-class casino, and their 14,000 square foot Club Oro nightclub transforms this sleepy beach town into one of the trendiest spots south of Miami!
Hard Rock Punta Cana also uses their ties with the music industry to host star-studded concerts throughout the year. Celebrities are often seen frequenting the pools and gaming till all hours of the night in the casino.  Every reservation at Hard Rock also includes resort credit, unlimited golf and limitless spa services that only require guests to pay a small tax/gratuity.  These added features and Hard Rock’s live music events have truly redefined traveler’s expectations for an all-inclusive experience.

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Plan Your Winter Vacation Now

The Arrabelle dubbed the “Holy Vail of Luxury Ski Resorts” If skiing in the Alps has always been on the top of your to-do list, but the inflated Euro, increased travel warnings in Europe and those long flights to Austria have made travel there less than appealing; simply pack your suitcases and head to Vail.  […]

The Arrabelle dubbed the “Holy Vail of Luxury Ski Resorts”

If skiing in the Alps has always been on the top of your to-do list, but the inflated Euro, increased travel warnings in Europe and those long flights to Austria have made travel there less than appealing; simply pack your suitcases and head to Vail.  Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Vail, Colorado, is home to the 2nd largest single ski mountain in North America and a winter wonderland of lavish chalets and world class resorts.

Vail is easily accessed by Eagle airport and the 30-minute shuttle takes you directly into Vail city center.  Like a postcard from Switzerland, Vail is reminiscent of a small European ski village.  Resorts line the narrow streets that blend with the design and feel of Vail’s original Alpine developers and every 15 minutes free buses loop the town dropping off skiers, shoppers, or diners throughout the quaint village.  I was amazed at the mounds of 10 feet of snow found at the ends of the streets, but not a single speck of snow or ice could be found on the sidewalk.  I soon learned that the sidewalks are heated, and protected speakers that project sounds of trendy music are discreetly tucked in among the scenery.  This is the great OZ of upscale ski towns and home to a new resort that puts skiers “wants” first.

In the heart of Vail Square, at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, is the less than 2-year-old Arrabelle Resort. Vail square’s prime location that contains upscale boutiques, an ice rink, and fire pit makes the Arrabelle the crowning attraction.  This seven-story boutique hotel is the crème de la crème of a ski in/ski out lodges.  The Arrabelle’s team of designers extensively traveled to the heart of Europe’s famous alpine locations in order to recreate the feel of an authentic and iconic Alpine resort.

Throughout the resort, fireplaces crackle and windows are perfectly positioned so that when you sit fireside, the views of the slopes are spectacular.  This lavish resort features 62 elegant rooms/suites that average 550 square feet.  Every room contains a classic canopy bed with rich red hues and a fireplace.  High-end flat screen TV‘s, DVD players, BoseTM MP3/CD alarm clock radios, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access,  in-room safe and humidifier are standard in every room.

The large stylish marble bathrooms include a shower and separate tub, double sinks, another TV, plush bathrobes and over the top heated floors.

Every guest is served by a butler and customer service standards here rise to incredible levels.  Slope side ski and boot valets epitomize the 5-star experience created to exceed the standard “ski” resort inclusions.

Endless amenities for Arrabelle’s guests include access to their stunning heated rooftop pool and hot tubs which not only provide exclusive privacy but also offer sweeping views of the mountains. The Arrabelle’s Spa and fitness center is an astounding 9,000 square foot facility that features six massage rooms, two facial rooms, a Vichy Shower/Swiss Shower room and a couple’s therapy room. At the end of a long ski day, the spa offers treatments that focus on feet, ankles and sore leg muscles. It’s no wonder that the Arrabelle’s story like picture perfect location and luxurious amenities have an Olympic downhill gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn, calling it her home.

However, if by chance you are not staying at the Arrabelle while you are in Vail, you can still get a sampling of the vintage yet totally chic vibe at one of their two highly rated restaurants. Centre V and Tavern on the Square beckons visitors of Vail Square with its inviting atmosphere and upscale ambiance. The European influenced Centre V is a romantic spot with candlelit tables and French cuisine.   Tavern on the Square is a pub where guests can cozy up and enjoy après-ski.

The Arrabelle’s European flair and prime location combined with over the top amenities only add more glamour to the Austrian-like village that has brought ski lovers, celeb’s and families to Vail for years.

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Fantasy Island for the 21st Century

Secretly sitting in the shadows of Bora Bora’s famed great Otemanu mountain, lies a secluded private island in French Polynesia where the 5 star Le Taha’a Resort calls home.  Luxury travelers often flock to the neighboring Bora Bora isle; however, those searching for a rare paradise can take a short 10-minute flight from Bora Bora […]

Secretly sitting in the shadows of Bora Bora’s famed great Otemanu mountain, lies a secluded private island in French Polynesia where the 5 star Le Taha’a Resort calls home.  Luxury travelers often flock to the neighboring Bora Bora isle; however, those searching for a rare paradise can take a short 10-minute flight from Bora Bora to the island of Raiatea where you are escorted by a boat transfer to the private island of Le Taha’a.  The 40-minute boat transfer skirts past crystal clear Tahitian water where every scene is like a postcard.
As you approach Le Taha’a, you can see a greeting party on the dock waiting for you as if you were arriving on “Fantasy Island” itself.  As you arrive, you are given a flower lei, fruity coconut filled drink, and you are brought directly to your villa.  At Le Taha’a, over the water Bungalows flank the coastline and luxurious beach bungalows are scattered under the palm trees.  This resort’s privacy affords guests like Carrie Underwood, Goldie Hawn, and Tom Cruise the ability to relax and still experience all aspects and amenities that a top resort can offer.

Crowned as a Relais Chateaux resort, Le Taha’a follows the strict criteria needed to be dubbed by this elite brand.  Relais Chateaux hotels must adhere to their 5 “C” principals – charm, culture (or character), cuisine, courtesy, and calm.

In order to brand themselves Relais Chateaux, the architects took great pride in making sure all the fixtures, furniture, and structures were constructed using only materials found in the French Polynesian chain so that they could fulfill the Culture/Character guideline.  Even the toiletries feature Manoy oil and vanilla (a product of Tahiti).

The open-air lobby is designed to replicate the Tahitian Outrigger canoe, and the curves of the sails billow in the wind.  Beyond the lobby is what can only be described as a (modern) Swiss Family Robinson-like tree house, where the steps lead to a fabulous bar in which the 18-foot bar counter top is carved from wood and high among the tree tops are two of Le Taha’a’s three restaurants.

Maintaining the criteria for exceptional dining and cuisine, the chefs have created award winning dishes that can delight even the pickiest palate.  Le Taha’a consistently wins cooking competitions held annually in Tahiti and signature meals are highlighted by the menu and friendly wait staff.

The resort manager, Christine Chevalaz, proudly describes how traditions of the islands intertwine with the daily event schedule.  To bring the island’s culture to guests; canoes, snorkeling equipment and daily transfers to the main island are provided complimentary.

Every over the water bungalow includes sets of masks, and fins allowing guests to jump into the water and explore the lagoon right from their balcony.  The Thatched roof styles of the bungalows may appear rustic but don’t let the local styling fool you.  Inside every bungalow, guests are provided with plasma TVs, Bose stereos, Sense coffee makers, a mini bar, robes, slippers, Wi-Fi and priceless picture perfect views of the sunset.  Several glass covered “peek-a-boo” windows can be found inside the bungalows which display the exotic fish below and can be opened so that feeding the fish becomes a daily highlight. The shower features rocks and shells along the walls to thoroughly embody nature even among these extravagant surroundings.

The “charm” of this resort is highlighted in all the little touches, such as shell shaped lights that illuminate the walking paths at night and the carved wood directional signs that blend in among the natural setting.  Le Taha’a also has a signature spa which emphasizes “calm” and incorporates Tahitian stones, oils, and the surroundings.   Le Taha’a’s spa menu even features a “welcome” massage, which provides weary travelers with 80 minutes of authentic Tahitian therapy and the opportunity to enjoy their unique open air facilities.  Guests can also partake in the resorts facilities that include a sand volleyball court, use of their kayaks, canoes and grass tennis courts.  Additional unique experiences include cooking classes, Tahitian dance classes, snorkeling tours and full PADI dive programs.

If you still have doubts that this resort is truly a luxury 5-star property, have a peak on the other side of the island where you will find a helipad that is perfect for the jet set crowd who want to bypass the 40-minute boat transfer.  If disappearing in paradise means bringing along the whole family, Le Taha’a also has a top-notch Children’s program, and each room comes complete with children’s slippers and robes.  Dining for children is discounted at 50% off of regular prices and beach toys, life jackets and children’s sized snorkeling gear come complimentary.  Le Taha’a makes sure that restless adventurers do not get bored, so daily boat tours for snorkeling and fishing trips operate regularly.

However, I found a perfect hammock between two palm trees that was just the ticket to absorb the absolutely gorgeous landscape.  As the sun set on the horizon and the sounds of the calm South Pacific waters became nature’s stereo, I took a deep breath and tried to make a mental snapshot so I wouldn’t dare forget this secret spot in paradise!

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St. Lucia’s Stunning Calabash Cove

Considered by many to be the “Hawaii of the Caribbean,” the stunningly beautiful island of St. Lucia boasts volcanic peaks, pristine white and black sand beaches, rainforests and scenic valleys that dramatically tumble towards the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.  Named “one of the five places to see in your lifetime” by Oprah Winfrey, this charming […]

Considered by many to be the “Hawaii of the Caribbean,” the stunningly beautiful island of St. Lucia boasts volcanic peaks, pristine white and black sand beaches, rainforests and scenic valleys that dramatically tumble towards the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.  Named “one of the five places to see in your lifetime” by Oprah Winfrey, this charming island with its famous landmark twin peaks, the Piton’s, continues to be one of the least spoiled islands in the Caribbean. St. Lucia is located in the Eastern Caribbean, midway between Martinique and St. Vincent, and is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide.  True to its ancestry, St. Lucia welcomes tourists with French-Creole warmth mixed with the hospitality of English sophistication. The exotic allure of this island has been drawing celebrities the likes of Tyra Banks, Morgan Freeman and also the setting for “The Bachelor’s” finale in 2014.

Taking full advantage of the landscape is the luxury boutique resort, Calabash Cove.  Hugging the hillside, Calabash combines nature with elegance, as displayed with the resort’s showcase designer pool that has an impressive 40-foot infinity edge which gives the illusion of the water simply overflowing towards the crystal blue sea below.  As you walk down towards the secluded white sand beach, you will notice the custom-designed boardwalk and several ideal locations for a sunset candlelit dinner for two.  Positioned to view unbelievable sunsets, Calabash is an idyllic respite for honeymooners and couples looking to reconnect.  Managing Director, Konrad Wagner certainly knows how to dial up the romance and create an atmosphere perfect for couples in love.  Mr. Wagner spent years as general manager for Sandals Grande in St. Lucia.  Unlike the large Sandals properties on St. Lucia, this 5-star resort consists of 26 luxurious cottages/suites, all with Jacuzzis and many with private pools or swim up suites and each boasting amazing Caribbean Sea views.  Each unique accommodation features handcrafted teak and mahogany wood and well equipped hi-end electronics, such as flat-screen TV’s, DVD, and refrigerators.  Among the coconut trees and gorgeous “Cove Gardens” is Calabash’s It Spa, Fitness Center, and beauty salon.

Calabash is also home to the Windsong Restaurant, with its Michelin star aspiring French chef and an Asian inspired creative menu using the freshest, locally grown ingredients.  This fine dining experience is complemented by the resort’s C-Bar, which serves international cocktails and fine wines.

The leisure concierge at Calabash knows Guests enjoy the seclusion and romance of the resort but may want to venture out to enjoy all that St. Lucia has to offer.  The concierge specializes in creating individualized, tailored excursions.  Sail the waters on the Brig Unicorn, one of the yachts used to film “Pirates of the Caribbean” or take a tour of the “drive through volcano.”  Yearning to find a waterfall, or glide down a cable through the rain forest, or fly in a helicopter to see the very best view of the majestic Pitons?  The concierge can provide expert assistance in arranging day trips for even the most avid adventurer.   Whether you want to enjoy St. Lucia from the panoramic view of your private hammock on your balcony or soaring down a zip line, Calabash is the perfect blend of all that awaits you on this picturesque Island.

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Heavenly Le Blanc

Blanketing the Caribbean coastline like a white flowing oasis of romantic luxury, Le Blanc Resort is an adult only, AAA 5 diamond haven that continues to exceed its client’s expectations.  Frequented by celebrities such as Shakira, Julia Roberts and even the former President George W. Bush; this all inclusive, all butler resort, with a 1 […]

Blanketing the Caribbean coastline like a white flowing oasis of romantic luxury, Le Blanc Resort is an adult only, AAA 5 diamond haven that continues to exceed its client’s expectations.  Frequented by celebrities such as Shakira, Julia Roberts and even the former President George W. Bush; this all inclusive, all butler resort, with a 1 hotel staff to 1 guest ratio, dispels any preconceived notions one might have of the uber touristy Cancun hotel strip.

Completely redesigned in 2005, Le Blanc was determined to change the perception travelers had of Cancun; known for spring breakers, cheap lodging and overcrowded beaches.  Developers set out to fill the enormous void of what the hotel strip was truly lacking and create a high end, adults only, all inclusive, luxury hotel.  Envision contemporary refinement and a South Beach flare combined with renowned dining and impeccable service.   Each of the 260 rooms, lavishly provide guests with a pillow menu, an aromatherapy menu, Jacuzzi and BVGALRI bath amenities plus 24 hour room service.

Those that yearn to experience utter relaxation can pamper themselves at the signature Le Blanc spa which offers over a dozen varieties of “spa suites”, including a golden spa suite which includes a hydro therapy tub, private shower and dressing area as well as a couple’s massage area.  Le Blanc prides itself on unique spa services which include; Shiatsu massage, underwater massage therapy, Hydro-reflexology and Aroma therapy. They even have a signature treatment that includes the 50-minute Steam-Vichy Rain Journey, featuring a soothing exfoliation, an aromatic body mask and a refreshing Vichy Rain shower.   With 5 international restaurants including French, Italian and Asian Specialties and incorporating haute cuisine, any misconceptions one might have that all-inclusive resorts provide a less palatable experience will vanish.   If you are looking to complement the perfect meal with a fine wine, Le Blanc’s trained and knowledgeable sommelier can assist you in selecting the perfect wine as an accompaniment to create a truly memorable culinary experience.  Even the most demanding wine connoisseur will be impressed by Le Blanc’s collection of wines which consists of dozens of whites and reds from all over the world including Argentina, Chile, Australia, Italy and France.

Le Blanc incorporates its prime location and turquoise water backdrop with 2 infinity pools that virtually melt into the Caribbean Sea.  The white decor and clean lines create an atmosphere of trendy sophistication which has propelled Le Blanc’s superb reputation as the “place to stay” for jet setters that may have turned their nose up to Cancun in the past.    Le Blanc’s director of sales, Ash Tembe, attributes its enormous success to their incredible value inclusive promotions, such as $1500 resort/spa/golf/excursion credits per room per 7 night stay, that have enticed visitors to experience this indulging property in a less than stellar economy.  As the hip hotel strip continues to evolve, Le Blanc has already firmly established itself as the 5 star luxury resort it initially aspired to be.

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