Great USA Vacations! Maui

??????????????????????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many Hawaii vacationers, Maui is just right — offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, from impressive wildlife to intriguing history and culture. While on a visit here, you can shimmy alongside professional hula dancers, golf along coastal fairways, snorkel alongside five different types of sea turtles or simply lounge along some of Hawaii’s most notable beaches.

maui-windsurfing

One of the archipelago’s most popular tourism spots, Maui can be found sandwiched between the Big Island and the much tinier Molokai.

 

Maui is divided into five distinct regions: Many travelers base themselves along the coasts of South Maui (home to the famous Wailea Beach) or West Maui, where the sands of Kaanipali Beach and the music from the Old Lahaina Luau are located. But the rest of the island should not be missed. Travel along the Road to Hana to experience East Maui’s scenic coastline, explore Haleakala — the world’s largest dormant volcano — in the Upcountry, and explore the former tribal battlegrounds of Central Maui’s Iao Valley State Park.

maui-golf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maui Culture & Customs

Maui is a great place to go if you’re looking to learn more about Hawaii history and culture. In fact, legend has it that it was the demigod, Maui, who pulled the islands from the sea and lassoed the sun from the top of Haleakala. Travelers who are interested in learning more about island lore will have plenty of opportunities to do so: A visit to the scenic Iao Valley will offer a glimpse of the tumultuous era of tribal warfare, while a stroll through the small town of Lahaina will yield a glimpse of Hawaii’s whaling, plantation and trade history.

maui-sheraton-resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Maui is one of America’s most popular vacation destinations — probably because it’s so drastically different from any place on the mainland. Vacationers will find all the makings of contemporary luxury at the island’s resorts, but outside the hotel areas, the relaxed “Aloha spirit” permeates. If you’re looking to blend in with the locals, you simply need to loosen up: Pack T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops (as well as some light layers) for everyday wear and tone down the road rage (no honking here).

Folklore still plays a large role in day-to-day life, with residents paying tribute to various gods and goddesses in a number of ways — most notably hula dancing. Although visitors to the island see hula performances as entertainment, they are also a type of prayer and should be respected.

Other cultural traditions continue to influence everyday life in Maui, one of the most noticable being language. Unlike many other states, Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian, which is a member of the Polynesian language family. Though you won’t have any trouble finding English-speakers, you’ll benefit from learning a few basic Hawaiian phrases; “Aloha” means both “hello” and “goodbye,” and “mahalo” means “thank you.”

The arts are a mainstay on the island, with numerous festivals — like the one held twice a month in Lahaina’s Banyan Tree Park — showcasing works by regional craftspeople. And throughout the year, Maui honors its vibrant culture through events like the Maui Steel Guitar Festival and the East Maui Taro Festival (both held in April).

Maui-Hawaii-diving

If you’re more interested in discovering Maui’s natural wonders than its heritage, you’ll find plenty of places to do so — from flower-filled jungles to underwater reefs teeming with aquatic life. However, it’s important that you leave the island as you found it. Resist the urge to collect living souvenirs or to have a one-on-one encounter with local wildlife, as these could result in hefty fines or even jail time.

 

Source Reference: USA News and Travel

Egyptian Luxury in Costa Rica

A visit to Costa Rica is a journey to a magical place where the beauty and diversity of tropical nature delight the senses, and authentic hospitality makes you feel like part of the family and the outdoor adventures range from exhilarating to sublime.

CR-pacuare lodge

But would you expect Egyptian Cotton Sheets and unparalleled luxury to be part of a jungle experience?   We expect exactly That!!


CR-PL-Honeymoons

The Pacuare Lodge is truly unique a jungle lodge where gourmet dinners are accompanied by candlelight and a wine list, and where adventure travel activities are complemented by a spa, honeymoon packages and suites with private pools.  In fact, this property is an ideal destination for honeymooners, or anyone looking for privacy, tranquility and tropical nature. The lodge has two exquisite honeymoon suites with king-size beds, spacious bathrooms and private pools and decks that afford unforgettable rainforest views. Candlelight dinners, optional massages, or champagne on ice can add to the romance, whereas the selection of outdoor adventures provide thrills to complement the kisses.

CR-PL-1

It is also an exemplary ecolodge that conserves 300 hectares (740 acres) of rainforest, and is committed to mitigating tourisms impact through eco-friendly accommodations and projects that benefit local communities. Such good practices helped the Pacuare Lodge earn the Rainforest Alliance Verified seal and the highest rating under the Costa Rican government’s Sustainable Tourism Certification. The lodge also maintains the highest safety standards, and a dedication to details and friendly service that makes every stay special. It is hardly a coincidence that so many people say the Pacuare Lodge was the highpoint of their Costa Rica vacation.

CR-PL-3

We give it 2 green thumbs up!

 

Bottoms Up in the UK

Re-post from: Condé Nast Traveller|June 27, 2014
Bounce Below Low Res 2

Let’s get this straight: this isn’t for you if you are a) scared of heights b) claustrophobic or c) both. But, if you’re can handle heights and closed spaces, you must visit this incredible underground trampoline, which has sprung up under the ground in Wales, UK.

Called ‘Bounce Below’, this claims to be the only underground trampoline in the world. It’s part of the Zip World Titan site, near the historic town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The Experience:

You will be kitted out in special overalls and a helmet and taken to the 100×60 foot underground cavern by an old mining train. Inside, you are let loose to bounce, climb and slide over the three huge trampolines, which are strung at various levels. The company claims that at points, you end up jumping as high as 80 feet above ground! As if that isn’t enough, you have 60 foot slides to barrel down from one trampoline to the other.

Bounce Below opens on 4 July 2014 and tickets cost £15 per person (approx. Rs1,600) per person. That, of course, is the introductory rate, and fetches you around 60 minutes on the trampolines.

Bounce Below Low Res 1

Bound Below Low Res 5

- See more at: http://www.cntraveller.in/news/largest-underground-trampoline-springs-uk#sthash.4KZXWXid.dpuf

Living in the Moment on the Island of Hawaii

hawaii-buddha

Hawaii, the Big Island, goes by many names, including Orchid Island, for its tropical rain forests, or Volcano Island — a nod to active Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. Hawaii Island is not only the biggest island, but also the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands. Due to its two active volcanoes, Maunaloa and Kilauea, Hawaii Island is still growing larger to this day.

Hawaii Island offers vacationers a perfect getaway for adventurers. Take a helicopter tour over Kilauea volcano or discover Maunaloa, the largest mountain on earth in terms of volume and area covered. Stay at hotels in Keauhou, on the Kohala Coast, Kona Coast, or in Hilo. Sun yourself on the shoreline, or venture way out while on your Big Island vacation and stargaze atop 13,796-foot Maunakea. Whether it’s a visit to the rain forests you seek or exotic black sand beaches, Hawaii, the Big Island will deliver.

Recommended Wellness Stay:  Hilton Waikoloa Village®

A world of magical experiences exists moment to moment. Fitness and wellness are intimately connected, and are responsible for a crucial balance between mind and body. Here, the wellness specialists offer a variety of daily group classes including Yoga, Cycling, Tai Chi, Body Sculpting, Zumba, Pilates Mat, and Core Conditioning.

The beautifully-appointed Pilates/Yoga Studio accommodates all yoga, Pilates and meditation programs, and the locker room and lounges offer an inhalation steam rooms, lava rock heated saunas and outdoor garden whirlpools.

Resort Details

62-acre oceanfront resort
Four-acre ocean-fed lagoon with a white sand beach and watersports
Three pools featuring waterfalls, a 175-foot waterslide and an adults-only pool
Legends of Hawaii Luau – Our Big Island Story
Dolphin Quest—swim, feed, play with dolphins
World class Kohala Spa
Award-winning dining with 14 unique restaurants and bars
Two championship golf courses & seaside putting course
Mahogany canal boats & air-conditioned trams for transportation within the resort
Great resort shopping, some of the best on the island

The Spa

Allow the natural essence of Kohala Spa to provide soothing treatments and rejuvenating therapies. Enjoy pure island ingredients expertly combined with modern techniques, supplying an unforgettable means toward total relaxation.

Perfect for Romance or Girlfriend Getaways!  Packages start at $189 per night!

 

 

Travel Splash: Luxury Hotels with the Coolest Pools!

In this hot summer weather, we all want to cool off.  Swimming pools are a standard amenity at most hotels, but here are some of my favorite places to make a splash!

1. Mardan Palace Hotel, Turkey
006815-01-hotel-exterior-pool-night

The Mardan Palace Hotel in Antalya, Turkey boasts the largest swimming pool in the Mediterranean (fits 1,000 guests) and is touted as one of the most elite luxury hotels in Europe. Beyond the sinfully sumptuous suites and jaw-dropping interiors of gold leaf, crystal, and Italian marble, there are also ten dining spots, 17 bars, a lavish spa and a sunken aquarium full of exotic fish. 9,000 tons of white sand was flown in from Egypt for the beach alone. 24/7 personal butler service is also included.

 

2. Grace Santorini Hotel

This 20-room hotel is carved into the cliff-face 300m above Santorini’s volcanic caldera. The infinity pool’s jagged outline echoes the zigzag paths that criss-cross Santorini’s sheer terrain. Santorini’s hotel rooms are invariably front-loaded to face the view, leaving residents exposed to passers-by. To ensure privacy, fragments of volcanic rock are positioned in the windows of four rooms, interspersed with apertures that provide glimpses to the sea. The feature echoes a local architectural technique, more commonly used for retaining walls, in which minimal amounts of mortar are used, leaving gaps between the stonework. By exposing the stones and exaggerating the spaces between them, this light-filtering screen allows privacy and ventilation and casts dappled shadows as the sun goes down.

 

3.  Costa Rica: The Zephyr Palace Mansion

The Zephyr Palace is the ideal place to rest and relax in a private environment. Enjoy total access to the property: Infinity swimming pool, discotheque with terrace, the art gallery and seven thematic suites. Allow yourself to be transported to the time of the Pharaohs, feel the Napoleon Bonaparte™ epoch or enjoy the magic of the 20s. Photo provided by: VFM Leonardo Inc.

 

4. Maldives: Beach House Iruveli

Beach House Iruveli — city, country

Your accommodation options are out of this world here: from Water Villa to Beach Villa, Ocean Villa, Beach Suite, Grand Water Pavillion, and Grand Beach Pavilion. Turquoise waters surround guests and make the decision to hop into your private infinity pool or straight into the sea a more complicated one than you might have anticipated.

Speaking of decision-making, check out this list of activities: deep-sea fishing, diving and snorkeling, bungee trampoline, kids’ club, tennis courts, recreational center, and more… a trip to Beach House Iruveli promises to be one relaxing vacation that does anything but bore you.

 

5. Hawaii: Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort — city, country

What does a $50 million renovation do. See for yourself at Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. Many of the improvements you can see as you swim through nine free-form pools towards the grotto bar to enjoy a Mai-Tai before riding the “river” back to the big pool. This voyage through the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa is guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again.

Once you’ve navigated one of the most sensational pools in Maui, knocked off a game of tennis, and played a round of golf on all three premier golf courses, consider a treatment in the Spa Grande – one of the largest spas in Hawaii. After that, breeze past the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (aka Humu Humu) floating seafood restaurant and pick the lobster you want for dinner right out of the lagoon.

Win-Win Wednesday: July 10, 2013: Barcelona, Seattle, and Morocco

It is Win-Win Wednesday!! We will be posting luxurious special deals all day long!!!

Summer in Seattle!

Fairmount Olympic Hotel

Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle is one of the city’s most illustrious – and luxurious – treasures. Stay from now until September 30, 2013 and enjoy 20% off the best available rate.

The Italian Renaissance architecture of The Fairmont Olympic Hotel brings European style to Seattle visitors. The luxuriously decorated rooms, featuring burnished woods, ornate fabrics, and cushy beds convey pure Continental elegance. Discover French-inspired Northwest cuisine at The Georgian, adorned with Palladian windows and enormous chandeliers. And at Shuckers, Seattle’s oldest oyster bar, sample 13 kinds of oysters prepared nine different ways, as well as local beers only available in this region.

With an historical ballroom, featuring a vast foyer, and truly amazing chandeliers, the Fairmont is host to many prestigious events and occasions. And being in the heart of Seattle, you’re close to all the famous attractions, including Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.

 

Sizzling Spain, Barcelona Beauty!

Barcelona-Gran Hotel La Flordia

Soak up northern Spain’s distinct Catalan culture while reveling in spectacular views overlooking Barcelona and the Mediterranean at the Gran Hotel La Florida. Book 3 nights or more at Gran Hotel Florida a minimum 20 days in advance and enjoy your 3rd night FREE! Yea Baby!

Built in 1925, this landmark hotel was a 1950s home away from home for such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Rock Hudson, and James Stewart. Completely restored to its original glory in 2005, the Gran Hotel La Florida is today the ultimate in old-time European luxury.

Throw open your curtains to reveal spectacular views of Barcelona below and the Pyrenees beyond. Or enjoy the hilltop vista from the privacy of your spacious outdoor terrace, complete with sumptuous sun beds and your own jacuzzi.

It would be unheard of to visit this ultra-chic city without browsing the fashion boutiques of Barcelona’s famous Passeig de Gràcia, lined with opulent nineteenth century landmarks butting up alongside ultra-modern buildings by celebrated local architect, Antonio Gaudi.

After strolling Barcelona’s storied streets, return to the Gran Hotel La Florida for a feast of local Catalan cuisine, followed by a romantic nightcap at the Miramar bar overlooking the twinkling lights of Barcelona.

 

More for Less in Morocco!

Morocco-Kasbah Tamadot

A purposeful sense of mystery surrounds this walled retreat in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. Kasbah Tamadot Hotel only reveals itself to the lucky few passing through its heavy wooden doors…yet the luck expands now offering the 5th night FREE!

Golden hues amplify the fragrance of flowers and fresh herbs hanging in the air around the 27 bedrooms and suites of Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot hotel. Whether you choose to stay in the heart of the retreat, or follow the paths through the herb gardens to the ten luxury Berber Tented Suites, you will be delighted to discover traditional Moroccan furnishings and antiques as well as rare artifacts from all over the world adorning the walls.

True to form, this Virgin Limited Edition property offers a balance of leisurely activities and more exciting endeavors that extend far beyond a dip in of the pool or a quick tennis match on the private courts. Everything from 4×4 adventures to mule rides in the mountains – and even a hot air balloon ride over Marrakech – is available to guests.

And of course, one would be remiss to visit North Africa and not experience a Hammam – a traditional Moroccan skin cleansing ritual.

Finding Real Bliss in Bali

Bliss refers to the experience of when one’s Dharma is fully realized and assimilated into daily action.   This blending of mind and spirit brings forth the real Joy that exists inside each one of us.  Most yogis know that when on their mats, this joy is easy to find…clearly this is why we float around in a “yoga glow” just after a practice session!  But cultivating this Bliss into each of our daily activities is a sought out goal for many of us.

Bliss is indeed found within, yet many times, one may embark  on retreat to create enough sacred space for cultivating our sleeping state of Joy.  “This” is the essence of a LUX World Travel Retreat.

Finding Bliss in Bali

Finding Bliss in Bali: September 7-18, 2013

Our next Women’s Retreat takes us to Bali for an Authentic Wellness Experience.  This retreat is so extraordinary, it is being featured in the next issue of Asia Spa Magazine!

This women’s retreat is designed to be an absolute adventure in perfect wellness, and incorporates the practices of yoga, meditation, the ancient healing practice of mudras, an enormous sampling of included Ayurvedic treatments, with adventure, touring, cultural events, and your choice to either diving or snorkel while retreating on the Island of the Gods.

Highlights include:   SEE RETREAT DETAILS

* 6 Nights Oceanfront Luxury Accommodations at Wellness Resort with all meals
* 4 Nights Private Secluded Accommodations at Ubud with daily breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
* 8 Ayurvedic Treatments
* 2 Spa Treatments
* 2 Diving or Snorkeling Trips
* Sunrise Dolphin Sail
* Daily Yoga and Meditation
* Rice Paddies & Jungle Trekking
* Down Cycling Tour with Lunch
* Day Tour of Ubud & Volcano
* Balinese Cooking Experience
* Cultural Ceremonies
* Spiritual Wisdom Teachings

Ayurvedic Wellness

Ayurvedic Wellness

Ayurveda, the “science of life and the art of healing”, is the world’s most ancient holistic health philosophy and system that covers every aspect of wellbeing: health, beauty, food, spirit, sex and living in harmony with each other and with nature.

For over 5000 years in India, Ayurveda has been the practical basis of treating the root causes of many health disorders and diseases, often giving a real cure rather than temporary relief. Life based on the principles of Ayurveda resist ill health, arrests premature aging and retains youthfulness.

The core objective of Ayurveda is to keep a healthy person healthy, not only physically but also mentally, morally and spiritually. Health begins with the fitness and the strength of the body, deepens to emotional stability, leading to intellectual clarity and wisdom, and through this to spirituality.

Amazing foot rub and bath!  Pure Heaven!

Amazing foot rub and bath! Pure Heaven!

The philosophy of Ayurveda treats the body, mind, and soul as inter-related and in doing so harmonizes the biological, physical, and neurological systems. The understanding that each one of us is a unique individual is important in targeting Ayurveda treatments to address specific health conditions. Ayurvedic massage is a core component of the treatment. Massage opens the body’s energy paths; stimulates and enhances circulation of body fluids, activating the lymphatic system; regulates the digestive systems; strengthens muscles, bones, and blood vessels; improves skin and body tone, and revitalizes the body’s self healing mechanisms.

Diving and Snorkeling at the Island of the Gods...Bali Bliss

Diving and Snorkeling at the Island of the Gods…Bali Bliss

We will also enjoy the beaches, snorkeling, diving, and embrace meditation and yoga…no matter your level of experience, our guides help us begin, or takes further inside on our journey toward Spiritual Awareness.

Cultivate your Bliss with us…

September 7-18, 2013.   Only $2980 per person, based on double occupancy!

See Registration Details