Our travels and ideas for planning your next trip!

Archive for the ‘Elegant Hotels’ Category

dreamalonghoneymoon

One of my specialties is Honeymoons to the Sun, Sand and Sea!  If you dream of soft white sand between your toes, gentle breezes and a sunset colored rum drink in your hand, I’m your gal.  Go to http://www.dreamalonghoneymoon.com to start designing your dream honeymoon.  Or call me at (208) 964-3578.  Anne Del Vecchio, Honeymoon Designer

Here’s what just two couples had to say…

Anne,

     We had a wonderful time at the Sandals Grand Riviera.  I must say it was better than my honeymoon to Hawaii 5 years ago. Kenny really enjoyed it. That was the quickest week vacation I ever had. The food and restaurants were great. All the theme nights we loved the villa and  private pool, you did a fantastic job. May God bless you and your family a thousand times more for the time and effort you put into making this a trip one we will never forget. Almost forgot, our butlers,  Kameisha and Nicola were great. I will request them again as our butler’s, they were worth every dime and more.  Thank you again, Trina

Here are a few more pics of the happy couple...from now on you're our travel agent... Kenny 

 

From now on you're our agent!

From now on you’re our agent!

“My fiancé and I were trying to find the perfect honeymoon. We would get onto the computer every night and look up different places and different hotels, but it was just becoming more and more frustrating. We weren’t able to narrow it down to a place, let alone a resort, and our wedding day was quickly approaching. Then, someone suggested we call the travel agent, Anne Del Vecchio. I really liked Anne and the knowledge she had of different, exotic places. She made my fiancé and I feel extremely comfortable entrusting her with our honeymoon. Shortly after our first meeting, she came back to me with different ideas and then from there, helped me to narrow it down to the most cost-efficient. And we ended up with an incredible honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta with a resort directly on the beach and were upgraded to a beautiful view of the ocean. And it was all a very reasonable price including the flight as well as this amazing resort which had great service, amazing food, and excellent excursions to go on. We truly would not have been able to have such a wonderful honeymoon in our budget if it weren’t for Anne Del Vecchio. Thank you Anne!”

Hallie and LeeRoy

Hallie and LeRoy

“We would get onto the computer every night and look up different places and different hotels, but it was just becoming more and more frustrating. “

STOP BEING FRUSTRATED.  CALL ME!  I MATCH PRICES AND CHARGE NO FEES!

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Sandals Wrap

Sandals and Beaches resorts are a class of their own!  Known worldwide for their 5 star resorts in the Caribbean and more quality inclusions than any other resorts on the planet!!   When Gordon “Butch” Stewart offered me the opportunity last December of having my car wrapped with Sandals and Beaches advertizing, I jumped at the chance.  Here I am with Mr. Stewart last December in Antigua.  (OK, so he offered the wrap to 160 other agents too and had his picture taken with them as well, but, hey, this is me and it is him.  I’m just getting to know more Sandals up close and friendly.)

   

I absolutely LOVE having my car wrapped!  Thought I would share the experience with you.  Here is my car in the garage last week in snowy Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  BEFORE…   Eric from Sir Graphic out of Spokane arrived early in the morning, before I even had my first cup of tea.  My husband, Gene, welcomed him to our warmed garage.  By the time, I got my first glimpse, one side of the car was already done.  Wow!

 

             

Isn’t it beautiful?  Doesn’t it just make you want to be there?  Give me a call or email and I will make it happen for you.  Let me take the stress of putting together your honeymoon, destination wedding or vacation.  Let me take the stress, you take the beach! 

Anne DelVecchio, Your Travel Consultant

(208) 964-3578    4anne@dreamalongtravel.com    www.dreamalongtravel.com   http://www.honeymoonsbyannemarie.com

Couples San Souci in Jamaica – Brent and Ann’s Honeymoon

Hello Anne,

I’ve been giving it some thought since we’ve been back from Jamaica about the entire experience and I have to say that the resort, Couples Sans Souci, was completely beyond expectations.  Overall we enjoyed every aspect of the resort that was offered, from the room service, daily stocked mini bar, cuisine, Dunn’s river, water sports, weather, everything.  The non-alcoholic smoothie station they have next to the mineral pool and workout room is out of this world.  The mango and strawberry-banana shake are so tongue tantalizing I sometimes forgot about the rest of the resort and even made special trips from my room just for the shakes. 

 

 

We had spent the first day getting a feel for the resort and planning our stay and roughly came up with a game plan of what we’d like to do the rest of the stay.  We were trying to get out as much of the Jamaican vibe as we could, trying to experience what Jamaica had to offer.  One particular day we were going to learn the soca dance and when we had shown up nobody was to be found, we waited a few minutes, then left.  We were next to the beach so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Other days there were activities that we had also wanted to participate in but had a conflict with other activities, then one thing led to another and we missed out on those.  So we didn’t get to do as much activities as we’d hoped.  So I guess in a nutshell for first time travelers traveling anywhere for the first time, it may be difficult to take in everything in that a place has to offer and the sooner you realize you can’t do everything, the more fun you’ll have doing whatever you’ve done.  You just have to plan to make another trip.     

One critique, if you can call it that, was an activity we did sign-up for giving them our room number.  We signed up three days in advance to go scuba diving.  Scuba was at 11 am but you had to go through a small course before at 845ish am.  We had fun the night before dancing and stayed up late.  We needed breakfast and time for it to digest so we order breakfast in bed early at 6 am.  December is one of the rainy months in Jamaica and sometimes makes for rougher seas.  So we go down to the water activities station only to find that the water activities for the day have been canceled.  Now the thing is, is that when it comes to scuba diving, is that you can predict the under water conditions from the weather the night before and the morning of.  And with their experience and expertise (resort scuba instructors)they knew before hand the scuba was going to be out of the question.  So making my point, with them having this knowledge and this being an activity that guests actually sign up for with a room number it would’ve been nice to been given a heads up instead of going through all the effort of waking up early, getting ready, and marching down there to find out its canceled.  They could’ve called and notified us since they had our information on hand.  That was a little irritating personally, maybe its just me.  So another activity we missed out on.  I know above I wrote we enjoyed the water sports and then you read this, but the following day the weather was perfect and we took full advantage, going sailing, snorkeling, and glass bottom boat ride.  So in the end the water activities were very eventful and worth it.  Surprisingly I didn’t expect the water to be as salty as it was.

    

There really is just so much that I could jot down about our experience but It’d just be easier for me to tell you verbally so if you have any questions at all I’d be happy to share more of our experience with you or other people thinking of couples or couples sans souci in particular.  Again, I’d definitely recommend Couples.  We spoke with a number of other guests from all over the country staying there and they say that the extra amenities that Couples offers, you’d have to pay extra at other resorts, yet the price for couples was comparable if not better.  And comparing Sans Souci to the other Couples, many said that the geographical location of Sans Souci compared to the others was the best and there favorite.

 

    

It was pretty easy to have the airlines change Ann’s name on the reservations.  I wonder if we could’ve booked the flight and all reservations with her married name even though the flight was booked before the wedding and we didn’t fly till after the wedding, to avoid any future delays.

    

It would’ve been best if we’d reconfirmed the swim with the dolphins before we left for Jamaica because there was a little difficulty in finding the reservations on their part and also once we arrived at Dolphin Cove at the front desk they could’nt find our rsvp for about 15 minutes.  Even though we had the confirmation papers from GoGo with the Swim with the Dolphins information.  That by the way was an awesome and forever memorable experience which we are completely happy with.  Also how often are you going to get the chance to partake in an event like that so we had to purchase the CD and DVD combo to share our experience.  That by the way was $110, fyi.  It was an unexpected purchase and took most of our souvenir money.

   

I don’t know exactly how to put it, but these are some things that I’d recommend or would find useful in future traveling by plane and visits to Jamaica.  I did my best to think about what we’d need along our travels but didn’t think of everything, I didn’t know what to expect.  I’d suggest even if you don’t use it, to have on hand: ear plugs – lets be honest, the screaming kid on even a two hour flight would get on just about anybodies nerves, or better yet an iPod or mp3 player if you have one.  It may not block out all the noise but it helps muffle at least.  Also an eye face mask to block out any light especially if you have to sleep in the airport entrance to catch the morning flight or while on the plane, some times the lights can be bright.  Snacks, snacks, snacks!  Who in there right mind will willingly pay $8 for a sandwhich that you make at home for $2 tops.  Wow, are those airport prices enormously expensive.  There are so many snacks you can bring from home that will save you a bundle.  Also we’ll definitely invest in that neck pillow, for some reason the plane ride can be pretty tiring and it would’ve been nice to have one.  Games, we brought regular cards and uno cards that kept us pretty entertained both on the plane and waiting for the next flight so time went by a little quicker.  Bring water shoes or aqua socks especially for Dunn’s River excursion.  You can rent them but who knows who’s feet have been in them and you only get one use out of them so its a waste of money.  Closed toes are the best, I had sandals, open toed, and continually had rocks in my sandal for the excursion.  Swim goggles are small and easy to carry and would’ve been nice to look under water while swimming around at the beach to see whats underwater.  Didn’t have any need for it but people recommended bug spray so we had some just in case.  If you don’t have one purchase your underwater camera here locally, rite aid has it for $9.  It cost $20 at the gift shop.  When traveling abroad or just in general have a pen to fill out the custom forms, otherwise you’ll be waiting to borrow one since the flight attendants don’t carry any.

Cash, i’d say a few hundred worth or depends on what you plan on doing.  I’d bring at least $20 in ones, $20 in fives, $40 in tens, and the rest in $20’s.  I was a little caught off guard with the tipping ettique and I’m not a big tipper anyway.  Though we didn’t have to worry about tipping at the resort, any excursions to and from, its customary to tip your driver or tour guide.  Just remember you worked hard for that money so don’t feel bad if you don’t tip big. 

There are so many vendors trying to sell you the same thing as the next vendor.  Everything is negotiable it seemed, so don’t be afraid to barter the price with them, your biggest weapon is walking away because the next vendor down probably has the same stuff and they want your money.  These Jamaican’s have been doing this a while and are good with working with your emotions and psychy making it hard to walk away sometimes, but you have to stand strong.  You can find great deals by bartering and shopping around, not hastly buying the first one you see.  Also with the smaller bills you have more le-way* when bartering.  Unlike here, the sale of liquor isn’t regulated by the government.  We purchased a few bottles marked at $28 each for $15 each.   A side note on the liquour too is that you can bring back 2 liters per person, which is equivalent to 3 fiths, to the states but keep in mind that you’ll have to check it at the airport, depending on the airport will cost you an additional $25 that wasn’t on your mind at the time.  Especially if you brought carry-ons to avoid those extra charges. Also, beware that some places charge tax between 8.5% to 18.5% so if you have cash you may avoid tax, depends on the place.  Using a credit card may also cost you an additional percentage by the credit card company for foreign transaction fees and by the shop for them processing it.  Cash is the best option in my opinion, don’t be flashy and use some common sense and have fun with it.  Also cash gives you a budget on how much your going to spend and once you’ve reached that limit then you know it.

Alright, I hope you find some useful information in what I’ve written.  If you have any other questions I’ll do my best to answer them.  I brought back a few brochures about activities if you’d like them for your collection too.  Well that’s enough for now so I hope you enjoyed the pictures and we’ll talk with you later.

Thanks,

Brent and Ann

P.S. The layover wasn’t that bad in North Carolina.  Ann brought a blanket and kept warm. Used sweatshirts as pillows.  For me the eye face mask would’ve been helpful though.  They kicked us out of the terminal so we had to sleep inside at the entrance of the airport. It was cozy though.  Would do it again to save money and add to the experience.

(Note from Anne: They elected to take a flight that gave them an overnight in North Carolina but did not get a hotel.)

Sandals Royal Bahamian

Hello Wanderer,

Today, I am posting my visit several weeks ago to the Sandals Royal Bahamian in the Bahamas on the island of Grand Bahama, near the town of Nassau.  This is a perfect location for couples, brides and honeymooners who would like a smaller, more intimate resorts.  It has a charming British ambiance, with tea served in the afternoon everyday.  Come with me on a tour of the Sandals Royal Bahamian.

       

Dreaming of a wedding, wouldn’t it be just perfect in this garden gazebo. 

To complete the English ambiance, a guard in the “tropical whites” iconic to the Bahamas, stands at attention.  Think the British have it hard, these guys are standing motionless in 80 something degree weather.

The Wine Bar has tasting lessons for those of us who enjoy a fine glass of wine.  Then we can amble on into one of the fine dining establishments to sup.

     A night cap in the pub and a bit of English style pool will do.

After and evening of fine food and drink, a good night’s sleep in Sandals premium beds, the butler will make our coffee and bring us breakfast.  Then imaging you and your honey wandering down to the pool for a quick dip, then off to the private island to laze away the day.

   

   

    Here I am with my travel agent friends partying on the island.  Take me back…

Cheers from Anne!

Sandals Emerald Bay

Last week I visited four Sandals resorts in the Caribbean with 160 other travel agents.  Four resorts on three different islands in four days.  Whew!  They treated us royally, fed us superbly and walked us until our feet ached.  I took lots of pictures so that you can get a view of these four resorts from an ordinary point of view (not a professional photographer).  Come stroll with me through the grounds of the first resort, Sandals Emerald Bay.

In case you have never been, let me acquaint you with Sandals.  These are couples only, luxury included resorts, which means all food, wine and licquor is included.  Sandals is the most well know, upscale resort in the Caribbean.  Butch Stewart, the owner of all Sandals resorts likes to say, “More inclusions than any resort on the planet.”  Each resort has its own personality and style.  I hope my notes will help you decide which Sandals of the four I visited suits your vacation dreams.

First stop, Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Personality: Quiet, Serene, Pristine Beauty, Isolated, A Place to soak in the sun, play in the silky sand, or just relax away from crowds and cities.

We were welcomed by a Junkanoo band, native to the Bahamas.  Cold fragrant towels and a bottle of water.

 

Then we wandered through the villas and bungalows, gazed at the blue sky and perfect white beaches.  The sand was so soft, white and wonderful, I brought a cup of it home with me.  It sits in a dish with shells so I can dabble my fingers in it and dream of the Caribbean.

 

   Doesn’t this look like a fun water toy…just ride it into the water.

Here is a view of a room decorated with a honeymoon welcome and a bungalow with an ocean front view.  Sandals offers butlers with some suites, complete with cell phones to call him/her at your whim.  “James, a fresh towel and a tequila sunrise by the pool, please.”

    This is the view out the bungalow window.

  Every Sandals resort comes with a Red Lane Spa.  Treatments are an extra cost, yet how wonderful to rejuvenate with a spa treatments.  Every detail is attended to.

For weddings, Sandals offers Martha Stewart packages.  Set up here is the “Natural” package.  Couples can be married in the gazebo or on the beach as well.

 

If total rest and relaxation in a serene location is calling you, grab your honey and fly to Sandals Emerald Bay.

Next stop, Antigua,

Anne

Robin to Barbados

Several  months ago, I introduced you to my associate, Robin Hawkey.  Boy has she been traveling lately…Jamaica, Barbados, Riviera Maya all this summer.  Between the two of us, we check out many resorts every year just so we can make good recommendations to our valued travelers.  We like to wine and dine, lay on the beach and tour the local sites.  That way we are confident your vacation will be one of relaxed luxury.

Robin loved Barbados!  She enthused over the tropical landscape, monkeys, and turtles.  “This is definitely an island for my clients,” exclaimed Robin when she got home. This island is safe. The locals are friendly and glad to have you there.  It is a clean and well-cared for British island, very beautiful.   Here are a few of the many pictures she took so you can get a feel of Barbados.

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Robin and her good friend Gail at the Almond Resorts

       

    

 

Adventuring about the island on a tour was a great way to experience all Barbados has to offer!

     

And then there was snorkeling off the catamaran, shopping and street parties. Even the bathrooms were cute!

 

If tropical water, sun and sand is your dream vacation, honeymoon or destination wedding, Barbados is worth checking out!

Safe to play in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

      At the tip of Baha California, the pristine beaches of Cabo San Lucas are still a welcoming, safe place for American to indulge in a luxury sun and sand vacation.  Separate and distant from the turmoils of Mexico, Cabo offers affordable pricing for west coast travelers with hotels ranging from basic to extreme luxury, plus plenty of adventure from snorkeling to zip lining.  The resort location of Los Cabos, Mexico was voted as the #3 Best Destination in the Caribbean and Mexico for the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards.

     On our last trip to Cabo San Lucas, my husband, Gene and I just hung out at the harbor and cantina.    We were in the mood to just relax and stroll.  For those bursting with energy, stop into one of the tourist shops along the walk into town to arrange an ATV trek or check out www.bajaoutback.com .  World class sport fishing awaits those with the lure of the sea.  My Dad, years ago, had the fishing trip of his lifetime here when a great upwelling of fish occured just as he and Uncle Owen set their poles.  Try www.picesssportfishing.com or www.pincantesportfishing.com to charter a boat. 

   Here kitty, kitty, give me a kiss.  A highlight for Gene and I was having our pictures taken with these lion cubs.  The local animal preserve uses this photo opportunity as a fund raiser.  These cuties were about 2 months old and obviously very accustomed to being handled.  The jaguar was not so friendly and gave Gene a nasty nip.

Love being seranaded by the Mariochis! Great fresh seafood for lunch!

   Remember the Eagles’ song, “Hotel California”?  Take a tour or rent a car for a 45 minute jaunt to the quaint town of Todos Santas.  This is the location of the namesake of the song.   Or better yet, rent a utility vehicle such as a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for a back -country trip down the old road to La Paz.  You may be greeted by burros, cows, pigs, Mexican hawks along the dirt roads.  Stop in the tiny village of La Calenderia to visit the historic church and pause under the plumeria trees. 

     Into the party scene, Cabo is ready for you.  Clubs to visit starting about 11:00 pm include Cabo Wabo and Mandala.  For daytime party fun, try the Passion Club at the ME Cabo hotel on Medano Beach.

     Don’t forget to take a water taxi to get a close up view of the famous rock formations of Cabo. 

    As long as we are relaxing, the ultimate is worth investing in so stay at the  4 1/2 star Zoetry Casa Del Mar Los Cabos.     www.zoetryresorts.com   For romance, attention to your every need, stunning vistas, superb spa and a quiet setting, Zoetry Casa Del Mar is unsurpassed.  Better yet, plan to hold your wedding at Zoetry for exquisite beauty and grace. 

    Dreams Los Cabos Suites is another favorite of mine. www.dreamsresorts.com  Such a beautiful place to plan your wedding or honeymoon.  With their branded “Unlimited Luxury” you will be well pampered.  Just look at the honeymoon package they offer: 

This package is complimentary when booking a Honeymoon Suiteor higher for a minimum of 7 nights.

  • Champagne on arrival
  • Fresh flowers and exotic fruit platter in room upon arrival
  • Champagne breakfast in bed the first morning after arrival
  • Tension Release Massage for two in our couples massage suite (25 minutes)
  • Choice of either a European Facial or a Salt Glow Scrub body treatment for two (25 minutes)
  • Private beachfront dinner one evening- upon return from dinner you will find a romantic candlelit rose petal bath (includes bottle of wine)
  • Private petit fours each evening at turn down service
  • Earn Free Nights towards a first anniversary return stay

Both of these resorts are all-inclusive so every bit of food, drink and activities are INCLUDED!  You may find that you never want to venture away from the resort, there is so much to do and we mustn’t forget lying on the beach with a good book.

Next winter, when snow is on the ground, you will love being in Cabo San Lucas where near perfect weather is an everyday occurance.  For a getaway, honeymoon, destination wedding or romance rekindling…how about Cabo?

Smiles,

Anne