May 3, 2016

The Growth Cycle Of A Perfect Vacation, Part One


Happy May!! Inspired by planting Spring flowers, I thought it would be interesting to take you through the process of “growing” a vacation - from the earliest stages of brainstorming ideas through the final conclusion of an incredible trip. 

via
Of course, not every vacation is the same, but if you go through these steps, staying relatively close to the order listed, it will make for easier travel. The timing from start to finish depends a lot on what type of trip you are planning, where you are going and what type of traveler you are.  Some people will take a year to go through this process, others can do it in weeks! While I completely understand the value of spontaneity, I also am a firm believer in planning - even if it is planning the last minute trip you are taking, it still pays to be organized! 

I have too much information to share in one post, so I will be splitting it into several parts throughout the week…who is ready to “grow a vacation”??

Gathering the Seeds


It usually starts with a dinner conversation...whether it is date night, cocktails with friends or a family dinner after soccer practice...you begin discussing the myriad of random ideas that will ultimately become the destination for your next adventure. Make a list of any and all ideas that are under discussion. During this phase, no idea is a bad one. Keep the discussion going as you narrow down your list to three or four destinations to look into further. 

Laying The Groundwork 


You have a short list of destinations…now you need to lay the groundwork. Most importantly, when will you go? Work schedules, school calendars, holidays and long standing commitments need to be considered when you narrow down the timing of your trip. This will likely lead to the question, how long will your trip be? The answers to many of these questions will narrow your list even more – some places require more time than you may have or, if you have longer, you may want to visit two places on your list! Consider weather and high/low seasons in your possible destinations as well. 

Now is the time to set an overall estimated budget for your trip as well. I often have clients who say “I have no budget” but when presented with a $30,000 price tag for vacation at five star hotels and days of private touring suddenly realize that they actually did have a budget after all. It doesn't need to be detailed (and you can always decide to spend more or less) but it helps a lot to have a rough number in mind before you get started. 

Hiring A Pro


With a list of two or three possible destinations along with your time frame and your budget, now is the time to consult a travel advisor, much as you would hire a great landscaper, to turn your dreams into reality. A good travel advisor will take your parameters and create a cohesive proposal with several  ideas for you to consider. Even if you love planning your own travel, consider seeking the advice of a travel advisor – just as a landscape designer lays the foundation for your garden, a travel advisor will collaborate with you to create travel plans customized to exactly what you want.

Next, we will “plant the seeds” that will become your dream vacation…stay tuned! 

April 29, 2016

On My Radar Screen...Defining Luxury, Italy, France and More!


Happy Friday!!! It is the time of year that the Northeast seems to burst into bloom...
May is my favorite month in Connecticut and I am happy to welcome it this weekend! 
It is also the time that many of us start dreaming of summer vacations in exotic destinations like the one below...where are you dreaming of for this summer?

Photo by Gray Malin

The New Meaning of Luxury...this is one of the best things I have read in a while and reinforces my mantra of  "experiences over things"...

A Guide to Capri from photographer Gray Malin...who better to share a guide to Capri than the master of the aerial umbrella photo!

Avoid these planning mistakes when traveling to Italy...or call me and I will help you avoid them by planning your trip for you!

 Breathtaking Undiscovered Southern Italian Idylls...I will be happy to discover them, thank you very much!

Mother/Daughter Trips to Paris...makes me remember my own mother/daughter Paris trip AND want to do it again...

Win a trip for two to Paris inspired by one of my favorite new books "The Little Paris Book Shop" ...maybe I will win and take Caroline on another mother/daughter Paris trip!

 This month's Virtuoso Life...if you love luxury hotel rooms, go straight to page 114 for a great article on some of the world's best hotel suites...

Have a wonderful weekend celebrating May Day (anyone still dance around a May Pole???)...wherever you may be wandering...

xoxo


April 26, 2016

Take Me Away...Rosewood Tucker's Point


As I have mentioned before, one of the best parts of my job as a Virtuoso Travel Advisor is the opportunity for site visits at some of the best hotels in the world.  

While we were in Bermuda, I had the pleasure of visiting the absolutely gorgeous Rosewood Tucker's Point.  We did not stay there (crossing my fingers for my next trip to Bermuda) but we did spend an afternoon with Sherry, Rosewood's lovely Sales Coordinator, who gave us a very extensive tour of this stunning property.


 Unfortunately, as luck would have it, my pictures did not turn out very well and then, to make matters worse, I ran out of storage on my phone! But lucky for me (and all of you!), the hotel was kind enough to allow me to share some of their photos...

These pictures speak for themselves, but take it from me, the resort is every bit as fabulous (if not more so) than the photos. Sit back and enjoy an escape to one of my new favorite resorts in the world...

The back of the resort...those gorgeous cabanas are complimentary with the rooms that are adjacent. This is just one of the pools.
The Spa Pool
A deluxe room
The living room of a villa suite...the villas suites come with complimentary golf carts.
The bedroom in a Villa Suite
Dining al fresco...
Living room in the Manor House Suite
Manor House Suite Bedroom
Terrace of a Manor House Suite
Cabana at the Palm Court Pool
Tucker's Bar
The Point Restaurant
Croquet, anyone?
An aerial view of the resort, including the Palm Court Pool
 The Rosewood Tucker's Point sits on a hill overlooking Castle Harbor. While there are only 88 rooms and suites, the resort is set on 240 acres, which means no matter where you go, it never feels crowded. The resort facilities are substantial...world class golf, a luxurious spa, five pools, tennis, a kids' club, several excellent restaurants and, my personal favorite part of the resort - a private beach club for hotel guests and club members only, which is just a short golf cart (or hotel shuttle) ride down the hill.

For the golfer's in the family, the Tucker's Point Club offers world class golf. The hotel can also arrange tee times at the private Mid Ocean Club next door. 
An adults only infinity pool right on the beach (adjacent and also on the beach is a family pool).
The beach is expansive - crystal waters and sugary pink sand abound. The Beach Club also has a great restaurant and bar.
The hotel is located only 15 minutes from the Bermuda airport which means you can leave New York at noon and be on this beach with a rum swizzle in your hand by 3:00pm!!!

Isn't it stunning? Wouldn't you like to be sitting on that beach today?

Please contact me if you are interested in booking a stay at the Rosewood Tucker's Point - Sherry has promised me she will take extra special care of any of my clients and I guarantee you will love it there! 

(all photos courtesy of Rosewood Tucker's Point)

April 22, 2016

Just Back From...Beautiful Bermuda


Last Thursday we hopped on a plane and less than two hours later we were...

 

In Bermuda!!

It is SUCH a beautiful island! I hadn't been there in years and was excited to go back to visit it again. 

Curiously, tourism to Bermuda has declined over the past 30 years. I really don't understand why - it offers spectacular weather from April to October and comfortable weather year round for playing golf or tennis or just relaxing outside. The beaches are stunning - some of the prettiest I have ever seen - with pink sand and the incredible aqua colored water.


We stayed on the south side of the island at the Fairmont Southampton

This was the view from our room...

 

The Fairmont is quite large and is popular with families, as well as large groups. It truly offers something for everyone - with many restaurants, two pools, a stunning beach club, a par three golf course, a full service spa, several excellent shops and ferry service to and from Hamilton three times a day, there is always something to do. 

The hotel is set on top of a hill looking to the ocean on one side and the Hamilton Sound on the other...

 The view from the "back" of the Fairmont...

We especially enjoyed the Beach Club - the hotel offers shuttle service down the hill to the beach on a regular basis...
 
 

We also really enjoyed taking the complimentary hotel "ferry" into Hamilton. 

  

The city of Hamilton is bustling with lots of shops and restaurants, all with a distinctively British feel. Be sure to stop into local favorite, The Pickled Onion, for lunch and to try out their version of the official drink of Bermuda - the Rum Swizzle...


 In 2017, Bermuda is hosting the America's Cup, which will quickly put this gorgeous island destination firmly on the radar screen of everyone in the world.

Getting to Bermuda is incredibly easy from anywhere on the east coast, which means it should be at the top of the list of vacation destinations for quite a few people. It is a perfect place for a summer vacation  - arguably easier to get to from New York than the Hamptons or Nantucket for a long weekend. Direct flights from New York, Boston, Washington, Philly and Charlotte are all two hours or less. (Many people don't realize that Bermuda is not in the Caribbean or near the Bahamas - it is actually off just under 600 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and 600 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.) And, to make life even easier, on your return to the US, you clear customs in Bermuda, which means no long lines when entering the US. 

Beyond soaking up the sunshine, shopping in Hamilton, sampling Rum Swizzles pretty much all over the island, and basically falling into a mode of total relaxation in just four short days, we also visited a fabulous hotel, the Rosewood Tucker's Point...I can't wait to share it with you in my next post!

Stay tuned...