Archive for April, 2016

For Mothers Day, Give the Gift of Travel: 8 ‘Bucket List’ Adventures Sure to Make this an Epic Event

April 26, 2016

 

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This Mother’s Day, you can fulfill a bucket list wish of giving the gift of travel to Iceland, Land of Fire and Ice © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This Mother’s Day, spice things up by giving her the gift of travel. Travel expert Adam York has selected eight bucket list adventures that span the spectrum of Moms, but are sure to make this the most epic Mother’s Day ever. 

  1. Nicaragua Escape – Retreat to a tranquil hideaway overlooking the white sands beaches of the Pacific Ocean at Aqua Wellness Resort. Mom will enjoy two days in charming Granada City where she will kayak, volcano hike, and zip-line, before heading to her exceptional beachfront retreat. She will relax, play, and decompress in a beautiful rainforest setting.
  1. Alaska Northern Lights – Join Gondwana EcoTours on a Northern Lights tour of Alaska. Mom will get a dose of local culture by day, and by night have the opportunity to photograph the Aurora Borealis under the massive Alaskan sky! She will zip between snow-covered trees on the back of a dog-sled, soak in the mineral-rich waters of geothermal hot springs, walk through the frozen art of an ice-sculpture museum, and sip martinis out of glasses made of ice.
  1. Argentina Wine + Photo Adventure– Mom will join renowned Argentine photographer, teacher, and documentary filmmaker, Ossian Lindholm, on the first-ever photography + high-altitude wine tour of Northwest Argentina. This is a magical journey that is perfect for photographers and wine lovers of all levels. Mom will be immersed in the region’s geography, wildlife, cuisine, and culture.
  1. Barge Cruise through France – Fine wines, delicious cuisine, and a leisurely approach to the enjoyment of each day await Mom on a barge cruise down France’s picturesque waterways. From the rolling vineyards of Burgundy to the tree-lined Canal du Midi in the Languedoc region, Frontiers International Travel’s selection of handpicked vessels provide a range of options suitable for anyone in search of a unique holiday with like-minded people.
  1. Moscow, the Golden Ring and St. Petersburg – Mom will discover where Russian art, architecture and culture began. In between the urban centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg, she’ll experience the Russian countryside. The oldest and loveliest churches in Russia, Sergiev Posad’s wooden crafts, and Fedoskino’s glowing lacquer boxes all put a shine on Russia’s Golden Ring that Mom will never forget.  
  1. Cycle Villages of Provence – Take Mom on Ride & Seek’s Provence cycling tour through the most beautiful villages of France as ordained by the group Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. This tour emphasizes authentic cuisine and local wines. There is a wonderful correlation between fine wine growing areas and world-class cycling.
  1. Dude Ranch Retreat – The 25,000 acre Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming is both working ranch and luxury resort. Mom will hike, ride horses, skeet shoot, fly fish, mountain bike, dine on gourmet food, and play cowgirl on this fun-filled getaway.  From cattle drives to branding, the true western lifestyle thrives at Red Reflet.
  1. Diamond Circle Tour of Iceland – The land of fire and ice, active volcanoes and glaciers! Countless geysers, hot pots, and fumaroles dot the landscape. These unique features create a landscape filled with incredible waterfalls, lakes, mountains and stories of trolls and elves. On this six-day trip, Mom will travel by 4WD car from Reykjavik through the Skagafjordur Region to see the highlights of the Diamond Circle in the north, and return to Reykjavik by plane.

 

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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Off-Season Rates in Effect at Luxurious All-Inclusive Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada

April 13, 2016
Spice Island Beachfront - high res

Spice Island Resort, Grenada

Tucked away along a 1,600-foot stretch of spectacular Grand Anse Beach Sir Royston’s Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada, is one of the most luxurious all-inclusives in the world, and beginning April 16, travelers can take advantage of off-season rates, with savings up to 30% on elegant beachfront and private pool suites.

Beginning April 16, travelers can enjoy the ultimate in attentive-yet unobtrusive-service starting at $1,145 per suite, per night, based on double occupancy, while Sir Royston’s signature beachfront Sea Grape Suites open up directly onto magnificent Grand Anse Beach just steps away from the Caribbean Sea from $1,387 per suite.

For private pool suites, Spice Island Beach Resort offers three options: Anthurium, Luxury Almond and Royal Collection Pool Suites. Starting at $1,344 per suite, the 1,200 sq. foot Anthurium Pool Suites feature a private terrace with a double daybed for relaxing and reading as well as private sun beds with umbrellas right besides guests very own 12′ x 16′ plunge pool. Meanwhile, the 1,500 sq. ft. Luxury Almond Pool Suites, which offer a true oasis of private luxury with a 16′ x 20′ residential-size swimming pool, tropical garden and outdoor dining terrace, start at $1,601 per suite during the off-season. The Royal Collection Pool Suites feature a similar configuration to the Luxury Almond category with the added benefit of a full-scale living room, enchanting marble bathroom and private Cedar Sauna, starting at $1,872 per suite, after April 16.

Sir Royston’s most luxurious room category, the palatial Cinnamon and Saffron Suites(only one of each at the resort) offers a new spin on beachside elegance as guests literally step foot on the sand as they exit their lavishly decorated 1440 sq. foot suite. These suites can be reserved during the off-season for $2,155 per suite – representing a savings of $936.

Spice Island Resort, which is surrounded by pristine tropical gardens and offers a world-class spa and culinary program, and a wide choice of super-elegant beachfront suites situated at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, features the full-service Janissa’s Spa, a Cybex® fitness center, an Omnicourt® tennis court and an unmatched culinary program serving seven-course, table d’hote dinners at Oliver’s beachside gourmet restaurant and casual lunches at the Sea & Surf Terrace. Fabulous five-star amenities add to its lavish experience featuring the smoothest Italian Frette bathrobes and linens as well as Molton Brown bath and body amenities, large-screen flat panel televisions, iPod docking stations and more.

Spice Island award

Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, Chairman & Managing Director of Spice Island Beach Resort, was honored with the AAHS Six Star Diamond Lifetime Achievement award, with (l-r) Lesley Hardy; Brian Hardy, General Manager at Spice Island Beach Resort; Lady Hopkin; Janelle Hopkin, Deputy Managing Director for Spice Island Beach Resort; Sir Royston Hopkin; Joseph Cinque, CEO of AAHS; and Karen Dixon, International GM for AAHS

Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, Chairman & Managing Director of Spice Island Beach Resort, one of the Caribbean’s leading hoteliers and Grenada’s Tourism Ambassador at Large, was recently honored at the world renowned Friar’s Club in New York, with the AAHS Six Star Diamond Lifetime Achievement award recognizing his untiring service of over 51 years to Grenada and the Caribbean region.

“I am humbled by this award,” said a surprised Sir Royston who thought he was there only to receive Spice Island Beach Resort’ s third-consecutive Six Star Diamond Award. “As my motto has always been, I serve with honor, but not for honor.  I am only driven by a deep desire to see my country and the Caribbean continue to grow, especially in the area of tourism” he added.  Sir Royston thanked his wife Lady Hopkin and his children Nerissa, Ryan and Janelle whose support he acknowledged “has been pivotal” to his success.

A recipient of Lifetime Achievement awards from the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Sir Royston explained: “This recognition is particularly meaningful as it is very rarely bestowed. I am truly in the company of some of the most visionary entrepreneurs in luxury tourism.”

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented at a gala event held in honor of Spice Island Beach Resort’s third consecutive Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

The resort prides itself on being family owned and operated, making each guest feel as they are personally welcomed into their home, and each employee feel they are part of the Spice Island family. Each month, the “employee of the month” is hosted at Sir Royston’s home for a cocktail party with resort guests, and then invited to dinner with the family.

The hallmark of a luxury resort is service and Spice Island has 210 employees (all who are local) for 64 rooms – which works out to more than two employees per guest.

Spice Island Resort is also known for its culinary prowess – the chef, a 12-year veteran – uses mostly locally sourced products (even the fish, with the exception of salmon, would likely have been fresh caught), and recipes from Sir Royston’s mother, who modified international favorites with local ingredients.

All inclusive means all the meals plus afternoon tea – even room service – as well as premium drinks are included in the price (pool suites have a $10 delivery charge).

The resort extends 1,600 feet along the beach; beach suites are just 20 to 25 feet from water’s edge; the pool suites are notable for privacy.

Other amenities include a tennis court (lighted for night play), a swimming pool (no chlorine), free use of non-powered water sports (snorkeling equipment provided, on-site scuba is available for a fee)

The luxury, beach setting and privacy – and location a 4 ½ hour nonstop flight on JetBlue from JF Kennedy International Airport in New York, and just 10 minutes from the international airport in Grenada –make Spice Island Resort ideal for destination weddings (limited to 24 people in size), and honeymoons.

“The key to our success is providing memorable and essentially priceless experiences with our guest-centric service philosophy as well as our attention to fine detail when it comes to amenities, from Italian Frette bathrobes and linen to Molton Brown bath and body products,” noted Sir Royston. “In other words, we spare no effort in providing our guests with the finest and most luxurious amenities.”

Equally as important to the amenities, if not more so, Spice Island Beach Resort’s unique service-oriented philosophy is cited among the top reasons for repeat guests’ loyalty to the resort.

“The true Grenadian hospitality exhibited in the courtesy of all team members ensures seamless perfection. Each highly disciplined employee plays an important role in the creation of memorable experiences, personalized for each discerning guest,” said Sir Royston.

“When a guest doesn’t cry when they leave, we feel have done something wrong,” said Janelle Hopkin, Deputy Managing Director, a graduate of hotel school in Switzerland. 

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Spring skiing at Northstar at Tahoe

April 13, 2016
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Snowboarder tries his luck at making it across the pond as part of Northstar at Tahoe’s annual pond skim during the Spring It On celebration

 

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Spring skiing and snowboarding at Northstar at Tahoe on a beautiful bluebird day (photo by Sarah Falter)

 

For more, visit northstarcalifornia.com or snow.com.