Feature Friday: El Sol Cabins in Monteverde

My choice of accommodations are often varied.  But they always have a purpose.  Always.  There is nothing I like more than figuring out the best place to stay that will give me the experience I’m after on a trip. Some would argue with me and say that it really doesn’t matter where you stay because you should be out exploring, and still others would argue that as long as it’s not broke why fix it— If there is a Four Seasons in the area there isn’t much to think about.

Where to Stay in San Miguel de Allende

Ireland is magical. There is beauty to be found across the whole country, and so much of that you get to see by actually driving from place to place.  Whereas sometimes driving on vacation is a necessary evil, in Ireland it’s part of the specialness. So, whether you take an extended vacation and see the whole country, or get specific by just picking one half or the other and take your time to see and do more at each of your stops, there will be no shortage of things that leave you speechless.  

A Beautiful Experience in San Miguel de Allende

I had heard about San Miguel de Allende last year in depth and just knew it was a good fit for me. Have you ever felt that way about a place?  I have a certain personality type that goes well with certain destinations, and I believe we all do. Now don’t get me wrong, my personality at times is also very well suited to a luxury beachfront resort! But in this season of life, I wanted to find a place that felt invigorating to my soul and stimulated a sense of creativity and peace.  

Mission accomplished. 

Feature Friday: Where To Stay In Belize

When I went to Belize on vacation, it was before I had started doing this as a career. But because I’ve always just possessed a knack for stuff like this, I remember doing endless hours of searching to find properties that were juuuuuust right. I am pretty positive that I became an expert on Belize accommodations far before I ever stepped foot in the country!

As a follow-up to my last post about my trip to Belize, I wanted to feature a couple of properties I visited and stayed at that I really liked. My trip was all about having two experiences in one vacation, and because of that I really wanted the properties I stayed at to reflect that. 

My first experience was choosing an eco-lodge that provided a beautiful rainforest setting in the Cayo district of Belize, located right along the Macal River. This provides an ideal location for all your adventure activities, and even some peaceful relaxation right in the center of nature.

Where I stayed in the Cayo District: 

Another place that I wanted to stay at, but didn't because of availability, was this beauty. I did, however, spend a day here and took full advantage of the beautiful pool and gorgeous grounds.

Next, I wanted to be by the water, and relax with a little more luxury and a little less adventure. Basically, I wanted to take a break from the bugs and enjoy some A/C! For me, this was the perfect compliment to the first half of my vacation, and allowed me the opportunity to see a totally different part of the country, by staying in Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. It’s also a mile away from the second largest barrier reef in the world, if you’re into stuff like that!! I had the cutest casita, that was perfectly appointed.

Where I stayed in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye:

If you are trying to figure out what the best place is for you to visit and stay at during your trip to Belize, I have some suggestions! I’d love to help you map out the perfect time for you in this beautiful country.  There is so much to see and do, and the properties you choose are a big part of your experience.  Contact me if you’d like to start planning!

Planning a Paris Vacation

It is one of the most known and visited cities in the world, and rightfully so.  Everyone should visit Paris.  Everyone. 

I have been hard at work planning a detailed itinerary for two fabulous women, a mother and daughter duo, headed to Paris for the first time together. They have been incredibly gracious in letting me shape and guide their trip, ensuring they experience all of the must-see’s in this beautiful city, as well as spend time simply soaking up the essence. 

I have also sought out some of the best guided tours for them, both private and small group, because they appreciate the expertise of local guides to show them the most interesting parts of the city. Not all tours need to involve large groups of fanny-pack wearing tourists following a guide holding an umbrella, or a big red double decker bus (although who doesn’t want to hop on one of those every once in a while just for kicks?!).

Choosing the right tours and working with the best companies provide you with an opportunity to gain priceless insight and knowledge from people who know their city well and have a love for sharing it with travelers. 

Part of my job as a travel advisor is to play matchmaker and seek out the best way for someone to experience parts of the destination that interest them. Here is a closer look at some of the ways they will get to experience Paris by allowing me to prearrange and book some fantastic opportunities.

The Eiffel Tower at Sunset: If you’ve ever tried to visit the Eiffel Tower on your own during the busy season, you know that without some preplanning, you are looking at spending a good amount of time queuing before you make your way up. This small group tour not only allows for travelers to skip the line and head right up, it’s timed so that you are looking over the city at the most beautiful time of day. You can listen to a short presentation about the tower, and spend as much time on your own on both the 2nd and 3rd deck admiring the beautiful hues of the sky as the sun sets over the city.

Paris Landmarks Private Walking Tour: Having a personal guide to show you around the Notre Dame and Isle of Cite is a fantastic way to explore not only the tourist must sees, but the hidden gems that not many people know about, and would be hard to ever find on your own. The expertise of a local is invaluable for things like this.

Baking Class: What better place to learn how to create french baguettes and croissants than from a French baker in his own Parisian bakery? And after you become a master baker, you get the opportunity to become a master eater. It’s a win/win.

 

These are just a few examples of how working with a travel professional can take your travel experience from good to amazing. As I always say, I am interested in giving you your best experience while traveling, and whatever that means to you, I want to make it come to life. If baking flaky croissants might be in your future— or something equally amazing— contact me to start planning.

The perfect B&B in Bali

When I was deciding the places I wanted to stay at while in Bali, I became a little obsessed.  I literally have probably seen and researched every place imaginable, and then came back to each of my favorites a few times before deciding. Some of my research went into the “wish list” file, which basically means I would die and go to heaven if I ever get to stay there, but since it’s also necessary that I cover my living expenses for the next two years, this time I will have to pass.

The beautiful thing about Bali is that the accommodation selection will fit any travelers budget. You have the ability to stay in some truly authentic and unique places, that will really give you a sense of Balinese living, if that’s what you so choose. They come in all shapes, sizes, and budget ranges, and so it’s really a matter of deciding on the experience you are looking for.

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For the first leg of my trip, I chose to stay in the Jimbaran Bay area of Bali. I wanted a lovely and quiet B&B where I could wake up every morning and feel peaceful, while I sipped my coffee and did some work. But the #1 thing I was looking for?

An outdoor shower.

When I started looking around at my options, any time I saw a beautiful outdoor shower, I would swoon. This experience had to happen for me, and so I made sure it did. I don’t know if anyone else would get this giddy over a bathroom, but I do. My gorgeous outdoor bathroom, with a stone shower set right in the midst of my own personal mini outdoor jungle, is absolutely ideal, and I have taken full advantage of it.

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Beyond that, our stay here has been absolutely magical. It goes far beyond the accommodations and lands squarely on the people. Our hosts Bob and Lydia have treated us like family. And don’t even get me started on the breakfast. TO DIE. Homemade pastries and coffee to start, followed by a plate of fresh fruit, and then an omelette, waffle, pancake, crepe, or french toast to fill you to you burst. But most of all, it has truly felt like they opened up their home and their hearts to make sure that our experience in Bali is the best it could possibly be.

If you'd like to know more about this particular B&B, or other types of accommodations available to you in Bali, don't hesitate to contact me to find out more details!

Feature Friday: Where to stay in Venice

For me, Venice is the ultimate embodiment of romance. The gorgeous boutique hotel Ca Maria Adele does an outstanding job of representing that in the most luxurious and stylish way possible. It's location is right next to the Church of the Salute and it is a few yards away from the Grand Canal, where it's possible to take a romantic gondola ride and view the Royal Palace.

This luxury boutique hotel has only 12 rooms total, with 2 of them being suites. They are all decorated impeccably, in a distinct Venetian style, with the themed rooms being the most popular and incredibly lavish in every sense. Another bonus for couples looking for a romantic escape is that the hotel is adult's only, and the hotel's location puts it in one of Venice's most tranquil neighborhoods.

A quiet, romantic stay in Venice might be just what you are looking for after an activity-filled stop in Rome. If so, this is the perfect place to stay in order to accomplish that. 

Additional blogs you may find helpful if you are looking to spend some time in Rome before heading to Venice is the 3 day itinerary in Rome, and where to stay in Rome, for another great boutique hotel option. If you are considering a romantic trip to Italy, or perhaps a honeymoon, I would love to help you plan it!

Feature Friday: Where to stay in Rome

Roma. Italy's capital is truly one of the world's most epic and thrilling cities. A journey here will leave you smitten by its artistic masterpieces and iconic monuments.  Deciding on the perfect place to choose as your home base and where you will rest and rejuvenate as you recover from days spent exploring all the city has to offer is of utmost importance.  I'd like to showcase an amazing property that would certainly be an ideal starting point to experience the elegance of Rome and continue this Feature Friday series exploring some of the great accommodations  in one of my favorite countries.  

Hotel Raphael is a magnificent residence that is a small museum itself, with works of art including sculptures, paintings, lithographs, antiques, and collections of Picasso ceramics and Mayan art. Staying at this charming hotel puts you within a stones throw of must-see destinations and is ideally located right next to the lively Piazza Novana, where both locals and tourists flock to. The fascade is covered in Ivy and the rooftop terrace gives you an amazing view of the eternal city.

As mentioned in last weeks Feature Friday post, Rome makes an excellent pairing with a visit to the Amalfi Coast. Because of it's central location, it also makes it easily accessible from other highly desirable destinations in Italy that we will continue to explore and highlight during this series on some of my favorite hotels in this beautiful country.

Contact me to start designing your next vacation and if you are interested in detailed and custom itineraries for Rome and beyond!

Feature Friday: Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is magnificent. Absolutely breathtaking. When traveling to Italy, one of the most difficult decisions to make is where in the country you are going to decide to visit.  My recommendation is to definitely choose more than one, and if you desire a luxury beach hotel while in Italy, I have just the place. One of the most beautiful properties I have found on this coast is the stunning Hotel Santa Caterina.  It has an understated luxury that attracts the discerning traveler who appreciates hospitality and refined luxury. 

The hotel boast some of the most incredible views and vibrant accommodations, and the breadth of facilities available ensure that if you chose not to leave the property, you would be more than taken care of. 

The closest airport for visiting the Amalfi Coast would be Naples, which is approximately 1 hour and 30 min by either car or train. It's also about 3 hours and 30 min from Rome, which makes it a nice companion destination for travelers looking to visit two distinct areas while in Italy, by choosing to split time in both locations. Traveling through Italy by train and seeing the countryside while you move from destination to destination is something I highly recommend. However you fit the Amalfi Coast in your travel plans, my only suggestion is that you absolutely do it!