Tag Archives: honeymoon

Keeping busy in St. Lucia

With lush mountains and baby blue waters, St. Lucia is one of my favorite Caribbean destinations for couples looking for a romantic week away.  The occasional concern with my clients, though, is that there’s not enough to do in St. Lucia.  The truth is that there is so much to do, chances are you won’t get to everything in just a week.

Top resorts picks in St. Lucia are the adults only, couples-oriented all-inclusive resorts Sandals Grande St. Lucian and Sandals La Toc Resort.  Sandals offers so much at their resorts, including water sports and scuba.  Plus there’s exchange privileges (stay at one and play at three) and golf fees are included at the 9 hole La Toc Golf Course.

The iconic Pitons stand proud in St. Lucia

It is always fun, though, to explore the island a bit.  Here are our top picks for excursions and tours away from your resort:

  • Tropical Jeep Safari – $90
  • Waterfall Cycling Adventure – $70
  • Hiking the Pitons – $155
  • Zipline – $110
  • Horseback riding – $75
  • ATV adventure – $135
  • Volcano highlight – $90
  • Whale and dolphin watching – $100
  • Piton sunset cruise – $95

Or, for the ultimate in exploring, visit a nearby island (flight is included)

  • Grenada for a day – $475
  • Dominica for a day – $490

These tours are operated by Island Routes, and are open to families and couples who are staying in St. Lucia.  Age and physical restrictions apply to some tours.

~Happy travels, Cindy Grant travel consultant with Reconnect Travel / Expert Family Travel.  Located in The Colony/Frisco (Dallas-Ft Worth metro area) with clients across the US.  Contact information:  972-625-6200  or cindy@expertfamilytravel.com

LeMeridien Bora Bora – pack your bags!

LeMeridien Bora Bora is a wonderful, 4 1/2 to 5 star resort set on a motu island and facing back to Mount Otemanu and Bora Bora’s famous lagoon.  This resort is best known for their sea turtles onsite (you can swim with them).   This resort recently (late 2010/early 2011) had underwent renovations.

LeMeridien Resort Bora Bora Video

Well, thank you Thomas Reynoird, Groups Manager at LeMeridien Bora Bora, for sharing the latest resort video.  It’s only 3 minutes long, but it certainly imparts a huge WOW factor — including the new interior of the bungalows, grand sweeping views of the resort, and great shots of real people (employees and guests).  I am left with a feeling like I just returned to the LeMeridien!  If you are considering this resort, you MUST watch this video.

And certainly, ask for a quote for your travel dates and I will be happy to put a quote together for you.  Bora Bora is located in Tahiti (French Polynesia), and is about 8 hours’ flight from LAX.  Bora Bora is an exceptional island experience on its own, and can pair well with another island for a 2 island itinerary for your honeymoon or anniversary.

~Happy travels!  Cindy Grant, CTA, travel consultant at Reconnect Travel & Expert Family Travel.  Located in the Dallas metro area (Plano, Little Elm, Frisco, Fort Worth, Texas area) with clients across the US.  972-625-6200
cindy@expertfamilytravel.com

In search of the overwater bungalow

So, maybe you are wondering — where in the world can you find overwater bungalow accommodations?

The “True” Overwater Bungalow

French Polynesia (Tahiti) is perhaps the most famous destination offering overwater bungalows, and of these islands Bora Bora tops the list.  Here you’ll find pontoons with multiple thatched-roof bungalows sitting on crystal clear, super-calm lagoon waters.  The Tahitian islands offering overwater bungalows include:

  • Bora Bora
  • Moorea
  • Tahiti (including the capital city of Papeete)
  • Huahine
  • Taha’a
  • Tikehau
  • Manihi
  • Rangiroa
  • Raiatea

Fiji has one property — the Likuliku Lagoon Resort — offering 10 overwater bungalows (called “bures”).

Cook Islands in the South Pacific has a deluxe resort featuring seven overwater bungalows.

Upolu, one of the Samoan Islands (also located in the South Pacific) has one resort that offers a couple of overwater bungalows (“fales”) along the shoreline.

The Maldives has more of the classic overwater bungalows than any other destination.  Located in the Indian Ocean and with few flight options from the US, the Maldives is an impossible destination for most Americans due to the flight costs and travel time.  There are more than 75 resorts in the Maldives offering overwater accommodations from budget to luxury.

The Overwater Accommodation

These properties aren’t quite what you envision when you think of an overwater bungalow.  Perhaps they offer over-the-water building, or hang over the shore’s edge in some way.  Or, maybe the water isn’t the clear, calm lagoon that invites an easy dip.

The Caribbean

Panama has three very small, very budget, no-frills resorts that have overwater hut-type accommodations.  These properties don’t have the upscale or luxury touches to make them good choices for the honeymoon couple, however.

Roatan Honduras has three properties that have bungalow-type accommodations that sit perched over the water’s edge.  The water isn’t going to be crystal clear or calm, and you won’t find upscale or luxury touches here either.

Belize has four small properties ranging from budget to luxury, offering a few overwater type bungalows.  While not on the quality you’ll find in the South Pacific or the Maldives, this is the closest you’ll find in the Caribbean to an overwater bungalow experience.

Sandals Grande St. Lucia anticipates opening it’s overwater bungalow category beginning early 2013.  Expect sell-out status and a high price tag.

Review: Tikehau Pearl Resort, Tahiti (French Polynesia)

Bucket list (def.) – a popular way to indicate the places to see and things to do before you die.

Some people’s bucket lists are more extensive than others.  If your bucket list includes the obscure, out of the way, rarely-visited destination gems, consider adding Tikehau.

Tikehau is a small Tuamotu atoll in French Polynesia, located just west of the much larger atoll Rangiroa.  An atoll, by the way, is a ring island where the original volcanic peak in the center of the lagoon has been eroded back into the sea.  Nothing on the island stands taller than a coconut palm.

Other than obscurity, Tikehau’s appeal is water the clarity of a swimming pool, with an abundance of sea life, sea birds, and starlight evenings.  This is a great spot for seasoned travellers who truly want an off the beaten path sort of experience.  It’s also excellent for divers and snorkelers.

Tikehau Pearl Resort is THE resort on the island (though there are a couple of modest pension-type accommodations in Tikehau, too).  There are four room categories:  beach bungalows (with a/c), overwater bungalows (without a/c and direct water access), premium overwater bungalows (without a/c but with direct water access), and suite overwater bungalows (with a/c and direct water access). Continue reading Review: Tikehau Pearl Resort, Tahiti (French Polynesia)

British Virgin Islands: where to stay

The British Virgin Islands has long been a favorite destination for the luxury yacht and barefoot sailboat crowds.  But where to stay?

  • Bitter End Yacht Club — a 4 star upscale resort that caters to couples and families. The marina here can dock 18 yachts, and sailing is a favorite activity here.
  • Brisas Creek Resort – a luxury resort on Virgin Gorda that’s perfect for a romantic getaway.  Member of Relais & Chateaux, 31 suites.
  • Scrub Island Resort — this luxury 5 star resort will become part of the Marriott Resorts family in 2012 (part of their Autograph Collection).  Resort offers 67 rooms and villas, and a marina with 60 slips.  Very boat-oriented!
  • Long Bay Beach Club — the best option if you’d like to stay on Tortola.  Upscale/4 star, and family/couple-friendly.
British Virgin Islands appeals to dive and snorkel enthusiasts and beach lovers too — it’s not just for the boat bunch.
Happy Travels! ~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant, ReconnectTravel.com 972-625-6200

When to travel where…

Europe:

  • Price/Seasonality:  High season goes from June to mid September, when trans-Atlantic air is at a premium.  Low season is during the winter.  Mid season is fall and winter.
  • Weather:  Weather is best from mid Spring to mid Fall.
  • Best time to travel:  Mid September to mid-October is best in terms of pricing and weather.
Hawaii:
  • Price/Seasonality:  High season is June thru April, then Christmas/New Years Weeks, and the two weeks around Easter.  The remainder of the year is Mid season.  Hawaii has no true Low season.
  • Weather:  Gorgeous year round.
  • Best time to travel:  Any time in the fall to mid December and late Spring (after Easter).
Tahiti:
  • Price/Seasonality:  High season is June thru October, and then Christmas/New Years Weeks.  The remainder of the year is Mid season, with no true Low season.
  • Weather:  Rainy season is December thru February.  Weather is lovely year round.  Because they are in the South Pacific, our winter is their summer and is slightly warmer than the other half of the year (we’re not talking a big temperature difference).
  • Best time to travel:  November, then March thru May.
Caribbean and Mexico:
  • Price/Seasonality:  High season kicks off for Christmas holidays and continues thru Winter Break, Spring Break, and Easter.  The remainder of the year is Mid season.
  • Weather:  While year ’round tropical weather is in order, hurricane season is from June thru October.
  • Best time to travel:  May and November will give you the best prices out of hurricane season.  Hurricanes can happen on the Pacific coast of Mexico, too.
Walt Disney World/Orlando:
  • Price/seasonality:  Any time schools are out, attendance is up at the Disney Parks.  High season is during Spring Break thru Easter, Memorial Day to Labor Day (summer break), and Thanksgiving.  Peak season is over Christmas/New Years weeks.
  • Weather:  Summer is hot.  Spring and Fall is glorious.  Winter can be mild to downright cold.
  • Best time to travel:  September, October, and May.

18 Ways to Upgrade your Walt Disney Vacation

Planning a special trip to Walt Disney World? Disney offers a wealth of services, many of which you might not be aware. You’ll definitely want to stay onsite at one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts for maximum convenience and park access. Your Disney experience is limited only by your imagination (and budget).

Consider these ways to upgrade your vacation.

1. Surprise your spouse with flowers or a special gift delivered to the room by Disney Floral & Gifts.
2. Upgrade to private transfers by towncar or limousine.
3. Enjoy a massage, facial, or body treatment at the spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, Saratoga Springs Resort, or Wilderness Lodge.
4. Have a romantic dinner at one of Disney’s signature restaurants such as California Grill (Contemporary), Jiko’s (Animal Kingdom Lodge), Citrico’s (Grand Floridian), and Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian). Call 407-WDW-DINE.
5. Play a round of golf at one of Disney’s five golf courses (Palm, Magnolia, Osprey Ridge, Oak Trail, and Lake Buena Vista). Call 407-WDW-GOLF.
6. Sign up for a behind the scenes tour at one of the Disney Parks. Call 407-WDW-TOUR.
7. Upgrade your room to concierge level (available at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts). Reserve at time of booking.
8. Order room service for breakfast, and take that extra time to sleep in (available at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts).
9. Charter the Grand 1 Yacht, a 52-foot Sea Ray, for your own private cruise ($450 per hour, up to 18 guests, departs from Grand Floridian).
10. Go fish with a guided bass catch-and-release fishing excursion (available at select Disney Resort marinas). Call 407-WDW-BASS.
11. Ride a horse through a 45-60 minute guided trail ride at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Call 407-WDW-PLAY.
12. Or, sign up instead for the 2 hour segway Wilderness Back Trail Adventure at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Call 407-WDW-TOUR.
13. Get your Disney Villa fridge fully stocked by preordering through GardenGrocer.com
14. Race your own stock car at Richard Petty Driving Experience. Reservations: www.1800bepetty.com.
15. Rent a pedal boat, canoe, pontoon boat, sail boat, or catamaran for an hour along one of Disney’s lagoons or lakes.
16. Watch Cirque du Soliel’s show LaNouba, located in Downtown Disney. Reserve at time of booking.
17. Enjoy a luau at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show located at the Polynesian Resort. Call 407-WDW-DINE.
18. Experience a safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Call 407-WDW-TOUR.