Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Four Seasons Carmelo

Uruguay may very well be South America’s best kept secret. While foreigners flock to neighboring Brazil and Argentina, South Americans know that Uruguay really has the best beaches, the best meat, the best wine, and the most secure government. One of Uruguay’s most scenic and picturesque towns, Carmelo is the embodiment of enchantment. Situated in the region of the Rio de la Plata, the town is easily accessible by ferry from Buenos Aires across the river, or a 3-hour drive from the capital Montevideo. This is unspoiled South America at it’s ultimate finest.

The climate is temperate, and sunny all year long, making it prime grape-growing territory. While Argentinean wine is widely revered across the world, Uruguayan wine is considered by some to be even better. Speaking of which, it would be sacrilege to travel here and not embark on a tour of the local wineries. The countryside of Carmelo leaves little to be desired. The pace is extremely slow, and if you are looking for peace, this is the place to be. It is gorgeous, scenic, and induces a state of intense relaxation onto all who come. While you can get your adrenaline rushing with activities like horseback riding, canoeing, polo, biking and fishing, most people come here to be enveloped in the calmness. The world-class golf is amazing in this setting, with an 18-hole, par-72 course and plenty of luxurious amenities. A sunset cruise along the Rio Parana, where you can tour the delta islands as you casually drink a beer is a wonderful way to end your day.

Internationally recognized as the best resort in all of Uruguay, The Four Seasons Resort Carmelo is nestled into the landscape of eucalyptus and pine forest, lush green plains, and rolling hills. Sitting directly on the Rio de la Plata’s banks, the views of being immersed in nature are sublime. The resort allows swift access to all of the area’s exciting outdoor attractions. The resort was designed to accommodate the surrounding nature in every possible way. This connection to the natural world is evident in all of Carmelo, and it was imperative that the resort hold an authentic Uruguayan feel. In customary Four Seasons tradition, every aspect of the resort is locally inspired; from the décor to the architecture, which features stunning large windows and open-beamed ceilings throughout. Every bungalow and suite was designed with beautiful furnished terraces, meant to encourage guests to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Bungalows take this concept up a notch, with serene outdoor showers and private gardens. You can expect to see many local treasures displayed throughout the resort as well, in touches like the art done in the local weaving tradition, and the hand made rugs.

The symbol of the area locally is the gaucho, the South American counterpart to the North American cowboy. Fitting, because the wilderness is alive and well here, beautifully preserved and waiting to be explored. Carmelo is adventurous and unhurried, culturally rich and absolutely authentic. Whether you come on an excursion from Buenos Aires, or to spend an entire leisurely week, why not do it with the Exclusive Complimentary Perks that only come from booking through

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What old US city is very modern today ?

Charleston, South Carolina is an American city like no other. Experiencing the past so perfectly preserved within a thriving modern culture, great beaches, and amazing Southern cuisine make this destination a must for many. So much so, that after visiting, a number of those travelers begin plotting ways to come back permanently! Will you be traveling to Charleston this summer?

Charleston Place Hotel is the absolute place to stay when you are in town. The city’s best luxury hotel, it is located merely minutes from everything. All the while, it offers guests who crave relaxation, the ability to able to spend days on end there. When you book through our site, your stay will be more enhanced with the inclusion of our Exclusive Complimentary Perks. The hotel itself is absolutely elegant, boasting the most luxurious accommodations in all of Charleston. Southern hospitality is done right here, and you can expect that every need, whim, or desire is handled with a gracious spirit from a very attentive staff. Unwind at the full service spa; which is considered one of the city’s best, or blow off some steam in the Health Club, the hotel’s fully equipped fitness center. The hotel’s pool is a dazzling, horizon-edged marvel that has a retractable glass roof, accommodating guests as the weather permits. It is heated throughout the year to maintain a perfect temperature, and its innovative design extends even to the water. No excessive chemicals here, and your skin will not feel achingly dry upon your exit; this is a saltwater mineral pool, that offers guests the most pleasurable swimming experience imaginable.

One of Charleston’s finest restaurants, Charleston Grill presents the finest in local eating. Creativity is exemplified here, and this establishment prides itself in offering a very unique setting. The cuisine is an exquisite blend of traditional Southern, French, and Contemporary styles, and has received rave reviews from major international sources as well as locals who gather there weekly as it is one of the hottest places to be seen in the city. While everything about it echoes elegance, the atmosphere is inviting, warm, and very relaxing. Seeking to execute a total experience for every guest who dines there, you can savor the sounds of the in-house jazz trio every night of the week.

When you do decide to venture beyond the extraordinary hotel, you cannot escape the massive amount of history that awaits you in Charleston. It is the absolute essence of this city. From the Fort Sumter National Monument to the Magnolia Plantation Gardens and the Gullah historical tours in the Lowcountry, as one of the country’s oldest cities, there is just so much to see! If you want to experience the environment beyond the city, you may be surprised by how much wildlife exists in the surrounding area. Sea kayaking is very popular at Folly and Sol Legare Creeks, where you can see more than 250 different bird species. Sometimes if you are lucky, you can witness the area’s large dolphin population as they feed along the mud flats.

Charleston is an old, old city that has totally embraced the present without having abandoned its roots. In 2005, the completion of the Ravenel Bridge, symbolically and tangibly created a long overdue connecting point, allowing most residents at all corners of the city, an option across the Cooper River with it’s eight lanes, bike lanes, and pedestrian lanes spanning 3.5 miles. With surroundings that speak of grandeur, and an inescapably dark past, this city makes no excuses. It is all at once, beautiful, interesting, and loaded with cool things to do.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Where to stay on The Big Island

Known throughout the world for its exceptional beaches, volcanoes, and unmistakable coffee, the Kona Coast is thriving with culture. It has a slower, calmer pace than Honolulu, and offers a much wider range of activities that involve exploring the natural environment. Less catering to tourists, this is the real Hawaii! Kailua-Kona has become quite the destination for culinary enthusiasts in recent years. With rich soil that grows exquisite produce, shores that offer a bounty of seafood, and many creative chefs resulting in really amazing food at every turn. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, hiking the caves and waterfalls at Hilina Pai are absolute musts! 

The Kona region is filled with local pride, and the Historic Kailua Village Walking Tour is the perfect crash course in everything to do with Hawaiian and Kona history. From taking in the summer palace of the Hawaiian royals to King Kamehameha’s many influences, you will definitely be educated first-hand during this 75-minute tour. Get a glimpse in Japanese-Hawaiian culture from the 1920’s to the 1940’s with the Living History Tour, where you can see the day-to-day comings and goings on the Uchida Coffee Farm.

Hitting the Upcountry is also a really cool thing to do. The village Holualoa is a tiny little haven of art and it carries a great laid back scene, where the air is scented sweetly of espresso. If you're going to treat yourself to a few pounds of the local coffee, this is the place to do it, as Holualoa is directly in the heart of the coffee belt. As for local, unique souvenirs, it doesn’t get better than this town with it’s quaint galleries and art shops featuring native art, artisan pieces, local wooden bowls and handmade glass items.

The Four Seasons Hualalai, is one of the finest of all the best resorts in Hawaii. It defines the essence of this Pacific island paradise. True to form in every aspect, from the property’s design, to the elegant graciousness of the staff, your immersion in the island lifestyle will be utterly complete here. Recently renovated, you will be surrounded by authentic design, and an unsurpassed collection of Hawaiian art. The natural surroundings were entirely taken into account in the resort’s architecture, and the aura is majestically blissful. With open-air spaces, and décor that is elegantly relaxed, you will have no other option but to unwind completely during your stay here. 

The Big Island is definitely the showstopper among all the islands in the Hawaiian chain. It is a land of many landscapes, with active volcanoes and alpine meadows, mountains covered in tropical rainforest, and extreme waterfalls. At it’s center lies Mauna Kea, whose peak is perpetually covered in snow, as it is the largest sea mountain in the world. It is also one of the best astronomical observation points on Earth, and it draws a significant crowd of international stargazers. And then there are the beaches, with sands that range in color from powder white to volcanic black, from gold, to green; offering but a glimpse at the area’s unique geology. For many, “Hawaii” is synonymous with “Honolulu,” but lately there have been a lot more flights landing in Kona, offering visitors a different option. Should you travel to Oahu, you could spend your entire trip on the Kona Coast alone, where the views, the artsy vibe, and the coffee are enough to keep even the most restless traveler content.

Follow the footsteps of Agent 007

One of the most famous international pop icons ever is the ubiquitous Bond… James Bond. Our favorite secret agent, mastermind spy, jet-setting traveler who happens to lead the most interesting life imaginable. The fantasy series that began in the literary context, takes hold of our fascination with secretive undertakings, ridiculously gorgeous women, and the kind of daily life most people can only dream about. Over the years, his exploits have inspired many to travel in his fictional footsteps, from the shores of Jamaica, where the novels were penned, to London where he “lives,” and some venture as far as the Thai islands, specifically James Bond Island in the quest. While we cannot all live his exhilaratingly dangerous lifestyle, we can certainly visit. Here’s how to travel like the legend himself, just make sure no matter what, you are ready for a mission, or anything precarious, at a moment’s notice! Keeping in line with the agent’s good taste, you will love all the extra, Exclusive Complimentary Perks that come with staying at any of these fine hotels when you book your reservations through our site.

Phuket, Thailand and James Bond Island
Long before Phuket was the hotspot it is today, “The Man with the Golden Gun” introduced Western audiences to the beauty that lies in the waters outside of Thailand. While the movie is actually shot in Ko Tapu, which has been nicknamed “James Bond Island” the commercialism can be avoided with a stay in Phuket, at the exclusive Trisara resort. Plan a day excursion to Bond instead!

Where the hero calls “home.” You must stay at The Ritz London, as it holds it’s own special place in Bond history. In 1963’s “From Russia With love” it was featured briefly.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Casinos go hand-in-hand with James Bond, and Le Casino de Monte-Carlo has had a pivotal role in his adventures. The essence of glamour is obvious, and formal attire is required to enter the building. Stay at the Hotel Hermitage so you can really indulge in the essence of the “Belle Epoque.”

Istanbul, Turkey
“From Russia with Love” offered some amazing vistas of Turkey’s ancient sites. The Byzantine architecture is stunning, and the film prominently featured the site Hagia Sophia. Where to stay: The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul, Bosphorus for the grand surroundings, uncompromised luxury, and exceptional service.

Ticino, Switzerland
James was raised partially in Switzerland, as his mother was Swiss. Ian Fleming, the author behind James Bond studied briefly there, to. In Ticino, not only can you visit a special Bond locale, you can also recreate the infamous opening scene bungee jump from “GoldenEye.” Stay at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

The Bahamas
In “Casino Royale” Bond spent some time in Paradise Island, playing card games with a henchman. Gamble big at The Cove Atlantis in Paradise Island, for a similar rush of excitement! While you can relax 007-style on the gorgeous beaches during the day, be prepared to party all night long!

Adrenaline and glamour is a Hollywood pastime! The most important aspect to traveling like James Bond is to do it with a whole lot of style. It doesn’t matter where you are going as long as you make it look really good while you do it. A tuxedo is essential, as is the appropriate luxury vehicle (preferably a Bentley or Aston Martin). A Swiss timepiece will only enhance your precision. And when the day is done, make sure you are sipping an extremely well-made, cold, shaken-not-stirred martini (Vesper, of course). 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

You too can go where those who have it all go

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt… theirs is kind of romance that has played out in the tabloids and captivated the nation for the better half of decade. The very definition of a ‘power couple,’ world travel is a part of their daily lives. In fact, they are the most well traveled American couple in the spotlight, by far. Off the beaten path, as well as in the most obvious and glamorous locales, you can hear about their globetrotting on a weekly basis. Often with their brood of six in tow, they really know how to live it up. Here is a look at their favorite hotels, as well as a little Brad & Angie hotel history. You bet only five-star, exceedingly stylish, and absolutely the best of the best accommodations will do for this star-crossed pair.

The first hotel where the couple really made eyebrows raise was at Shutters on the Beach Hotel, Santa Monica. While “Mr. &  Mrs. Smith” was more favored for the obvious chemistry between Brad and Angelina than the actual plot, in 2005 a press conference for the film was held at Shutters. The most intriguing questions coming from the media were less directed at the film, and far more interested in knowing if the romance rumors were true. While they outright refused to answer anything regarding their personal lives, it was just too perfect. Not long after, they broke the news that were they a couple, and Angie was pregnant. Shutters is a gorgeous luxury resort sitting on the shores of Santa Monica, and it is totally ideal for romance. While our fantasies can run wild with ideas of what may have transpired behind the scenes at Shutters, their lips are tightly sealed.

When they vacation, they prefer to be out of the glaring eye of the paparazzi as much as possible. After the birth of their daughter Shiloh, the family vacationed at the beautiful Caneel Bay, on the island of St. John, in the US Virgin Islands. There isn’t a more charming way to savor the Caribbean than in the serenity of so much protected land. The resort is unique in that it is located directly within a protected national park, with seven exclusive beaches. Opting for the most privacy possible, they stayed in Cottage 7, which was once the residence of Laurance Rockefeller.

In 2009, while Angelina was filming the movie “Salt,” and Brad was lobbying for reconstruction and development in New Orleans, the entire family checked into the Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. for an extended stay. This DC landmark is a haven of style and sophistication, and has been listed as one of the world’s best hotels by Institutional Investor magazine.

When in New York City, their favorite spot is the exponentially lavish Waldorf Towers. Known for it’s lofty status among the world’s biggest celebrities and business executives, royalty, and presidents, this boutique hotel of the Waldorf Astoria is the summit of all that is luxurious, promising it’s high profile clientele absolute privacy. Scandal rocked the tabloids when a story broke in 2010, claiming Angelina was carrying on an affair openly in the hotel. Of course it was virulently shot down by her staff, but not without a lingering sense of appeal for the clandestine aura of the hotel.

And where do Hollywood’s most well-heeled and well-traveled couple go for a one-on-one romantic vacation? Deep into the Utah desert, to stay at the stunning Amangiri resort. Considering Brad’s passion for architecture, Angelina’s longing for privacy, and their shared love of the outdoors, the wonder that is Amangiri satisfies all of those with it’s striking beauty and secluded intimacy. This majestic resort is built into the native rock formations of the landscape, with views of the Grand Staircase of Escalante National Park.

Whether they are enjoying Paris at Le Meurice, on safari in Africa, or bouncing all over North America, when they travel, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt aren’t making headlines just because of who they are It’s just how interesting their travels, and hotel choices are!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where to send that mother

For the mom who has everything, what could beat the gift of travel? Nothing! If you are still pondering what to get her, and haven’t been able to decide on the perfect gift, how about a luxurious getaway tailored to her every whim? Here are some travel ideas that can help you put together the perfect getaway for your mom, or the mother of your children this Mother’s Day! When you book at any of these spots through our site, your mom won't just get a reservation; she will  receive Exclusive Complimentary Perks throughout her stay. There is no better way to make her feel special this year!

The Spa Getaway
Massages, facials, the ultimate mani/pedi, mud baths, and other wellness treatments can really do wonders to refresh and revive the body and the spirit. Sometimes a trip to a day spa just isn’t enough, and life calls for a spa vacation, where the pampering and relaxation go on for several days, and one can return to life perfectly rejuvenated. For the mom who loves being lavished in the most elegant surroundings, a spa getaway at one of the best spas in the world will definitely make her Mother’s Day! Here are some of the world's best hotel.resort spas that specialize in total bliss:

The Wine Connoisseur
Touring California’s Wine Country is on the bucket list of many, and what better way to spoil the mama in your life than with a trip that features a total immersion? Staying in the gorgeous countryside, touring the local wineries, and savoring the area’s amazing dining would be an absolute treat!
Best Wine Country Country Hotels:

Big City Indulgence
For the mothers who are more inclined to travel for sophistication, where they can be surrounded by the lively pulse of a major metropolis, San Francisco or New York are always top choices in the US. Extravagance, art, entertainment, amazing dining, and shopping are always found in massive quantities in big cities, and cultural cravings can really be satisfied. Make the experience perfect by reserving her stay in a five-star pad, where the surroundings will pique her interest as much as the city itself!

Where to Stay in New York: 

Where to Stay in San Francisco:

Vegas Getaway
If your mom is more the type to crave excitement, and less relaxation, Las Vegas may be calling her name. A weekend to gamble, get decked out in her glamorous best, and party till dawn in absolute luxury can revitalize the spirit like nothing else!
Best Vegas Hotels for the Scene and Surroundings:

The biggest star that will light up New York

This week it was announced that the currently under construction, One World Trade Center is officially the tallest building in NYC. Towering 1,271 feet above the city streets, it is a domineering presence of honor and achievement. While it is still another two years out from completion, the steel columns that were just put into place gave it a whopping 21 feet on the Empire State Building’s observation deck. While it does not surpass Chicago’s Willis Tower in actual structural height, if you include the 408-foot tall antenna that will be placed on the skyscraper’s roof it will then officially be America’s tallest building.

As thousands have visited New York since 9/11, you can bet once the construction is complete at One World Trade Center, visitors will be flocking in to pay homage to the site, and marvel in the strength it has taken to overcome the devastation that once occurred. The site has always been world famous, and long before the attacks, tourists came in droves. Even since the attacks, the area still draws crowds who come to see the site of where two skyscrapers once stood. On the tenth anniversary, the National September 11 Memorial opened, and it really is a must for anyone visiting New York City. Furthering the remembrance, the Memorial Museum will open this year in September.

Even under construction, and obviously when it is complete, One World Trade Center will be the star of New York City. If you are planning a trip, or happen to find yourself in NYC, keep in mind how exciting Lower Manhattan is. Cool neighborhoods, excellent world class dining, and great shopping; ranging from high-end designer boutiques to amazing vintage, and unique street market finds, can be found in excess. There is an abundance of eye-candy everywhere, and it is a little less touristy then Midtown. As for five-star hotels, downtown has many! Here are the best hotels in New York City:

Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Ground Zero sight has been a somber tourist attraction. Before the tragedy, it was always a go-to spot for tourists to check out, but ever since the tragedy it has held an even greater significance. Millions of people who’ve passed through the city have felt a deep inclination to pay their respects, and say prayers upon visiting the site. The original World Trade Center stood as a marvel of accomplishment and power in the New York City skyline. No matter where in the city you found yourself, you could use the Towers as a compass to track where you were. In the absence of the towers, a decade later, the feeling is awe-inspiring to have rebuilt in their place, exemplifying to the world, that this isn’t a city that can be brought down. One World Trade Center now owns Lower Manhattan’s skyline, and proudly stands as the city’s tallest building. 

Where it almost never rains

Very much off the Caribbean’s beaten path, the Turks and Caicos islands offer paradisiacal seclusion, and unparalleled beauty. The weather is unbelievable, boasting an average of 350 sunny days a year; promising a vacation that will not get rained out. Development has not happened here in the same overwhelming pace as the rest of the Caribbean, and the feeling remains serene and authentic.

Many visitors catch local boats and hop from island to island, which is a really fun and relaxing way to see the sites. With many attractions that prominently feature the islands’ native treasures, like French Cay’s bird sanctuary, the underwater Columbus Landfall National Park, and the Caicos Conch Farm, there is a lot to experience. The Turks and Caicos islands are loved for their pristine waters, where aquatic sports, snorkeling and diving along one of the world’s longest reefs, and relaxing amid the peaceful beaches can be done with utmost pleasure. The color of the water is a crystal clear shade of aqua, and the beaches are never crowded, reasons these islands consistently make “best beaches in the world” lists consistently.

With this attitude of relaxation, and a setting made for indulgence, the best resorts in the Turks and Caicos Islands know how to please their guests. One of the most alluring is Amanyara. From Aman Resorts, whose international collection of resorts is limited to a distinct few, in select, stunning locations. Amanyara is gorgeous, and located on the island of Providenciales. It is comprised of pavilions, and the main entrance is through a large one that opens onto a glistening reflecting pool. The resort sits on a private, undeveloped stretch of coast that features rocky coves right on the heels of Northwest Point Marine National Park. Here you will find some of the world’s most incredible reef and wall diving. All at once it embraces the natural surroundings and offers a stunning model of luxury.
Grace Bay Club is a highly-esteemed Turks and Caicos resort, that offers a true Caribbean experience with a wide range of amenities. The elegance stretches to every detail, yet it is simple and understated with a comforting demeanor. With an adults-only hotel, villas that luxuriously accommodate families, and the opulent Estate Residences, which are beautiful, exclusive beach houses, the ‘home-away-from-home’ concept is sophisticated and luxurious. Grace Bay’s restaurants are also some of the best in the Turks and Caicos. Most notably is Anacona, Providenciale’s only gourmet restaurant that sits directly on the ocean.

Parrot Cay takes exclusivity to another level, as one of the Caribbean’s best private islands. 1,000 acres of protected natural landscape, a beach that stretches for a mile, and a holistic environment where every part of your being can be revitalized are the highlights here. From the cuisine, to the award-winning spa, the yoga retreats, and the access to enthralling water sports, Parrot Cay is both exciting and rejuvenating. Diving, kayaking, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, hiking, and mountain biking 
through the island’s trails allow guests to really savor the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos.

Located to the southeast of the Bahamas, and only a 90-minute flight from Miami, this island chain is a world away from the throngs of tourists and hedonistic crowds you’ll find elsewhere. It’s quieter here, and it offers a glimpse into a time of long ago. The sleepy villages, unspoiled beaches are kind of a Caribbean fantasy, with wild donkeys roaming the grasslands, and the lazy pace of an entire region on island time.