Our travels and ideas for planning your next trip!

Posts tagged ‘venues’

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

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Economical Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua

For a whole lot less dollars, experience the brilliant aqua marine water caressing silky white sand, Caribbean charm and the all-inclusive pampering of Sandals resorts at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua.  These lesser known resorts, owned by Sandals, and located in both Jamaica and Antigua, are incredible gems for those folks willing to forgo the five-star Sandals or Beaches resort for a more colloquial, homey type of vacation. And I must say, guests at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua were more than satisfied.  On my visit in December 2011 to six Sandals resorts, the Grand Pineapple Antigua was the only resort with “no vacancy”!  We met one woman who has been coming to the Grand Pineapple Antigua from Brittain for the month of December for twenty-five years!!

The two-story bungalow style resort is located on its own private little cove for carefree swimming and sun soaking.   Warm, friendly staff greet you with a cool scented towel and refreshing drink as you arrive.  What a “cool” touch.

Take a stroll through the lovely gardens, read a book from your bungalow porch, or sip a frosty drink under a shade tree…. My husband and I would choose this resort in a minute.  Families are welcome though children’s programs are limited.  Make your own family fun on the beach.

 

Weddings at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua are complimentary with a seven night stay in an ocean view room or only $899 with a shorter stay.  This includes the flowers, cake, government fees and ceremony costs.  Select the garden gazebos for your wedding, then family at home can watch the ceremony on a web cam.  Isn’t that great! 

Or choose the hilltop gazebos overlooking the stunning blue waters.  There is a steep walk up to this sweet vista so be prepared.  

Of course, couples may wish to choose the beach for a wedding, after all it is the Caribbean.  Or maybe, just for relaxing on a beach chair.  This is a small resort and cove so expect company on the beach, especially during the sunshine hours.  Speaking of beach, non-motorized water sports are included. Doesn’t that water bike look fun?

 

See the hilltop gazebos up on the cliff!

Of course, sumptuous food is always a priority on vacation.  And though the dining rooms are more like a summer camp facility than a fine restaurant, the food is wonderful.  There are three restaurants, the pool side grill, the main dining room and the “Outhouse”.   

Hike up that promontory past the hilltop gazebos to discover the “Outhouse” and I promise you will not be sorry.  The ambiance is pure shack!  Grab a stick, write your thoughts or name and hammer it on.  A part of you will always remain in Antigua.  Spend a while savoring those lip smacking ribs and chicken while you are there.  

 

Two rooms became vacant while we were at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua.  After staying at the luxury Sandals resorts, these rooms appeared basic, rather like a typical hotel.  Clean, charming and simple.  The pools are reminiscent of the 1960 era.  But hey, I’m here for the fun, sun, water and affordability.  Throw me in this folksy place anytime!

    

Scenic, friendly and serene…the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua is calling me.

If you want affordable, if you enjoy a smaller resort with a 1940’s feel, if less than perfect but funky, lovely, warm and friendly is fine with you perhaps the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua is calling you too.

See you on the beach,

                                            

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

Affordable Luxury – Robin to Jamaica

Couples Resort Jamaica, May 2011

Couples Swept Away

     Robin Hawkey and I have been in the travel business together from the outset.  She is the owner of Bridal Honeymoons, HoneymoonsbyRobin.com, Wine Country Connections, and Personal Wine Tours.  She is one fantastic travel agent knowlegable in all the exotic sand and sun locations.  As a life long resident in the California wine country, her expertise is invaluable for those wanting a destination wedding in Sonoma or Napa County.

Now that I have introduced Robin, let’s go to Jamaica!  Robin just spent eight days with her husband Randy at the Couples Resort in Jamaica and boy did she have fun!  Couples is for….well who do you think?….COUPLES.  No kids allowed.  So if you and your honeybunch want a trip just for two this is a place we highly recommend. They have several locations and one of them is just right for you.   Three of my brides are headed to luxury, pampering and PARTY at Couples this summer and I don’t know how many Robin is sending also.  Couples is big on sales so we can grab you a great price PLUS EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING IS INCLUDED!  Robin told me she was planning on taking some tours but there was so much to do at the resort along with just laying on the beach, she just never had time to leave.  Oh my, what a problem…anyone want to go there soon?

Check it out!

                                                  Good Morning from Jamaica!         

We chose a garden view room, which was quite nice as we could still see the ocean.    At Couples the water sports are included free.

                                         

We just loved this Jamaican man singing on the beach!

Can’t wait to get into the pool.  Randy, the catamaran cruise is a must do!  Hey, do you want to make a hat?

   

There are so  many fun things to do.  Not only did we learn about Jamaican cooking we enjoyed it.  The food was fabulous!

    

We took the Couples transport to a sister resort Couples Negril.  This is the famous massage tree house at Couples Negril. The Rock House of Negril is just the place for Pirates of the Caribbean….Whooo.

A couple was getting married while we were there and even though it rained shortly before the wedding, it was so beautiful.  Later the bride trashed the dress in the surf.  (Robin caught it on video and promised to send it to me for this blog.)

Love checking out resorts for my honeymooners!
Tough Job, but someone has to do it! lol
Honeymoons by Robin

     That’s it for today.  Would love to do a blog about your travels.  Just email me at 4anne@dreamalongtravel.com your pictures and your story.  Happy Dreaming,  Anne Marie

A Superior Eco-Friendly 5 Star Resort!

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          It takes a lot to make it to the top of my list of resorts, especially when I have not yet even visited it.  Recently, while taking a class on the Yucatan Peninsula, I discovered Hacienda Tres Rios and couldn’t wait to share it with you.  It is one of a kind.  I can’t wait to go there!

           Hacienda Tres Rios, a FIVE STAR resort, was BORN GREEN.  From its concept, being responsible to preserve and even contribute to the reestablishment of almost extinct native plants has been the mission of this incredible resort.  Guests of the Hacienda have exclusive admittance to the 150 acre nature park and a tour of the botanical gardens and nursery.  The resort has won the “Green Globe” award and awards from the Rainforest Alliance. 

 “Tres Ríos Nature Park in Playa del Carmen is an inspiring example of the Caribbean’s tropical plants and animals, including rainforests, mangroves, cenotes, exotic birds, tropical fish, and other wildlife, and is one of the few remaining natural habitats protecting threatened plants and endangered animals. In a once flourishing region now threatened by deforestation from natural disasters, human encroachment, property development, and subsequent pollution, nature conservation is Tres Ríos’ mission.”  Tres Rios

Not only that, it is a beautiful, spa pampering, gourmet, “now-this-is luxury” resort hotel. You can have a fabulous vacation, sensational wedding, beyond wonderful honeymoon in a romantic, fantastic garden of nature, while contributing to the health of our planet.

Check out their website at www.haciendatresrios.com .      Then call me to book your reservations so I can be sure you receive all the specials offered through my contacts.  

Happy Spring,

Anne

Sample of US Wedding Destinations

Come journey with me to a few gorgeous places for a Destination Wedding in our home land.  No need for a passport and frequent flyer miles will apply.  Of course, a plenitude of venues are available of which I have chosen only five dramatically different possibilities.  Shall we begin our trek…

   The California Wine Country was my home for 20 years.  In my mind there are few places more beautiful year around than this corner of the world.  Vineyards, valleys, hills, the ocean not too far away, and mild weather make it a fantastic destination.  If your idea of perfection would be a wedding at an elegant manor house, with beautifully sculptured gardens, and restaurant given Zagats highest overall rating for dining in Sonoma County, The Madrona Manor would be the ideal location.

Built in 1881, this Victorian estate stands on eight acres of landscaped gardens in the hills above the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. Madrona Manor offers the opportunity to experience the wine country from a stylish and gracious setting. Your guests will be able to relax in one of the Manors marvelously comfortable rooms, stroll through the lovely gardens, have a swim in the pool, and go off to explore the pleasures of nearby Healdsburg and the local wineries.

  Traveling to the Inland Northwest to my new home, a setting of mountain grandeur and spectacular lakes, the Panhandle of Northern Idaho.  Here we shall visit a mountain top and a forest glade. 

Celebrate your “Happily Ever After” on top of Schweitzer! Yes, the bride and groom and all the guests ride a ski lift to the very top of the mountain at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort for a wedding with an unbeatable panorama view. The wedding couple join hands upon a deck overlooking 3 mountain ranges, Canada, Montana, Washington.  Turn around and feast your eyes on the incredible grand lake of Ponderey.  Summers, July and August are the best months for weddings at this splendid resort.  The winter ski lodge becomes your reception area with stunning views as well and the condos and resort hotel your accommodations.  Recently, I attending a wedding show at Schweitzer, savoring culinary delights produced by the Schweitzer chefs which were amazing.  The transformations of a ski lodge into a gracious reception area was lovely.  The rooms were northwest moose (which are still common up here) and deer decor with simple elegance and comfort.  Your guests will be able to relax a short walk from the wedding plus enjoy many outdoor adventures while in northern Idaho.

Forest wood nymphs dancing about a rustic cabin where the pretty maid marries a handsome woodsman can be a fantasy come true at Heartland Ranch  in Northern Idaho.  Heartland Ranch has an old west, country charm in the middle of the woods.  For couples looking for an economic wedding in beautiful lake mountain country, you could search far and wide without finding a better option.  Their “Just A Few” packages start at $245 for the Bride and Groom plus up to 15 guests with $50 off Monday and Fridays.  Heartland accommodates up to 80 guests. Your hostess and owner of the ranch, Becky Applegate, will create memorable occasion for you.  Psst… She also designs and sews affordable wedding dresses.     Visit www.weddingsbybecky.com to learn more.  accommodations for guests, tours and activities are located at nearby Sandpoint or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  Come a day ahead or stay a day over to visit the lake beaches, silver mines, melodrama, quaint towns, or Hiawatha Trail.

Board the airplane now to check out some United States beaches for blissful barefoot weddings.  Who said you had to leave the states for sand between your toes as you say “I Do”?  

 First we fly to Hawaii to the Honeymooners favorite island, Maui.  Though Maui has some economical options, my top choice here is exclusive luxury at The Waldorf Astoria Collection of Hotels, the Grand Wailea.  Grand Wailea is a truly stunning Maui hotel. Whether it is just the two of you, a small group of family and friends, this exquisite resort is an unforgettable Maui wedding location. Choose from the romantic and intimate Seaside Chapel, a ceremony on the beach, or in a picturesque gazebo.  Listen to a comment from trip advisor to see why I chose the Grand Wailea, ” Our main reason for going was to renew our vows. The hotel is absolutely stunning. Very exotic location and when compared to the others it stands out like a sore thumb. The hotel is like paradise. It fulfills the Hawaii experience 100%.”   The ultimate in modern elegance combined with Polynesian tradition will create for you a blissful Hawaiian Wedding. 

To end our journey, we fly across the continent to Florida for another beach wedding catering to the familymoon.   If you are getting married with children alongside, consider the all-inclusive Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida.  This is the only all-inclusive resort in the United States, which means you know your cost before you go.  All food and most all activities are included so all you need is money for extras!  My Club Med families always come back with raves and often will never try another resort.  One couple met at a Club Med, married and honeymoon at a Club Med, and return every year with their children. 

Club Med Sandpiper Bay is the perfect romantic setting for a large family vacation-wedding or a vow renewal ceremony. Breathtaking ocean views provide the perfect backdrop for your special day.  The resort offers modern elegance with a cheerful array of color to delight children of all ages.  A wedding at Club Med Sandpiper Bay is especially great for the couple who just wants to kick back, relax, spend time with their friends and family and enjoy the scenery. Your kids will have the time of their life at Club Med’s children’s clubs with dedicated activities and sports for babies, children and teenagers from morning to evening, and all coordinated by qualified and enthusiastic professionals. This would be perfect for a family wedding on the beach under the warm Floridian sunshine. 

Hope you enjoyed our travels.  There are so many possibilities so do some exploring yourself or call your travel agent for help.  See you next time with a focus on beach weddings in exotic destinations.

Anne