The Golden Door Experience

Ready for a spa getaway and luxury cooking school? It was love at first sight, the minute I stepped out of the black BMW luxury transport and took a look at the Japanese lanterns and those "golden doors". I knew my lavish love affair had begun. I was greeted quickly by an attendant and my luggage was whisked away into my Asian-inspired upstairs suite overlooking

2018-11-27T12:05:52-07:00

Dive into Dominican Culture at Casas del XVI

For Dominican culture, food, drinks, and plenty of things to do, look beyond the beach resorts and head to the colonial city of Santo Domingo... while beautiful beach resorts may be the Dominican Republic’s calling card, there are plenty of other riches to be found on the island. Dominican Culture I had wandered these streets before and knew that a return trip was inevitable. Most

2019-03-06T20:09:05-07:00

Come Join Me at Half Moon Jamaica

  Half Moon Jamaica Far up ahead, I could see the majestic black wrought iron gates that would soon open up into a wealthy man’s grand tropical paradise: Half Moon Jamaica. I only wanted some down time to relax having already visited 12 countries this year at that point (and it was only May when I arrived in Jamaica). I knew I needed a break

2018-11-27T12:06:42-07:00

Grand Velas Los Cabos -Elevating the Bar Once Again

There’s something slightly silly about being followed by your personal waiter to your breakfast table - him carrying your morning breakfast plate in his hands while walking directly behind you at the Grand Velas. As I sit, he takes my napkin and places it in my lap, asking me if there is anything else that I might need. Seriously, what else could I need? Feeling

2018-11-27T12:06:52-07:00

A Trip of a Lifetime – Riding the Rocky Mountaineer

How does a travel experience of a lifetime begin?  It starts by making an iconic trip, such as Rocky Mountaineer, a priority in your life as a top life experience. When you come to the realization that the only scarce commodity that we all have in this world is TIME, then that changes the urgency in your life. Why not spend some time educating yourself

2018-11-27T12:07:14-07:00

Luxury Firenze Hotel: IL Salviatino – Florence, Italy

Luxury Firenze Hotel: IL Salviatino - Florence, Italy Exhausted from my overnight flight to Rome from the USA, and then my train ride to Florence, I was bound and determined to make it to my Firenze hotel to find my suite with a king-sized bed soon. It was not exactly in the center of  Florence, but in a neighborhood on a hill overlooking Florence known as

2018-11-27T12:07:34-07:00

French River Cruises: A Southern France Tour

French River Cruises - My Viking Journey This is my Viking journey. The Rhone River in Southern France has taken a long journey to get here. It started its prolonged journey as a glacier high up in the Swiss Alps before making its way down to the Chaîne des Alpilles, a small range of low mountains in Provence. It flowed through Lake Geneva before arriving in

2018-11-27T12:12:55-07:00

Hotel Adler Spa in Tuscany, Italy for Your Mind and Soul

Hotel Adler, otherwise known as the Adler Thermae Spa and Relax Resort in Tuscany, Italy We had arrived in this tiny little town in Italy in the middle of Tuscany and were anxious to see what was meant by this Italian “relax spa” called Hotel Adler. I had heard Italians relax differently than Americans, so I was ready to find out the differences at Hotel Adler.

2018-11-27T12:13:43-07:00

Isn’t value luxury worth it? The Devil is in the Details

What is value or smart luxury?  It is basically staying in high-end or boutique hotels, an amazing bed and breakfasts, charming apartments,  rentals cottages or anything that is considered in the luxury market at discount prices, for great price points or using your points in a loyalty program.  Getting more bang for your buck with the same luxury stays, but just at discount pricing.  Vacations

2018-11-27T12:14:34-07:00

The Ranch at Rock Creek – A Slice of Heaven

By Donnie Sexton In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t be spending three nights at The Ranch at Rock Creek, located off the Pintler Veteran’s Memorial Scenic Highway 1 in southwest Montana.  Don’t get me wrong, being treated like the most important person to ever walk through their front door and being delightfully pampered is out of this world.   Problem is, I don’t want to leave.  Not

2018-11-27T12:15:44-07:00

A Night at Hacienda San Antonio El Puente, Cuernavaca, Mexico

For years, I have been enamored with Spanish architecture of colonial origins, from Mérida and Oaxaca City to Guanajuato, Puebla, and Cuernavaca, Mexico. Back the day, it was called "New Spain" during the colonial era of Mexico in the 16th to 19th centuries. Mexico has more sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list than any other country in the Americas with its 29 sites, many of

2018-11-27T12:15:55-07:00

Amazing Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat Ipoh, Malaysia

After a 1 1/2-hour bus ride from Penang, Malaysia we had finally arrived at the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Ipoh. Weary and worn, I was overwhelmed with joy as we approached the lush entrance of this breathtaking tropical retreat and meditation center in Ipoh.  I had never seen anything like it and I was ecstatic to be there.  What a stunning place!  The 17-acre hot

2018-11-27T12:16:05-07:00

Swanky Library Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland

Swanky Library Hotel Coming off a week of touring in Europe, I needed a place to relax. I know, there is no feeling sorry for me, the “non-stop traveler” by choice, but it is harder than you think at times! I wanted nothing to do with any cheap or rundown airport hotel but instead wanted upscale and hip. Either “smart luxury” or “splurge” and at

2018-11-27T12:17:00-07:00

Authentic Italian Recipes for the Soul

Authenticity in food is a very fluid concept, especially when looking for authentic food from a specific country. Authentic Italian food to the baker on the corner in Tuscany could be different to the pastry chef down the street, much less the difference in different regions of Italy. In fact, the same recipe can taste different from chef to chef and all of them will

2018-11-27T12:17:11-07:00

The Golden Age of Shangri La’s Rasa Sayang Resort

When I stepped on the grounds of the Shangri La's Rasa Sayang Resort on the island of Penang, Malaysia, I felt like I had walked into the nostalgic good times of the 1920's. Old-style, romantic, and unassuming, this resort is like stepping back in the time of the 1920’s world of bourgeoisie and old money. Shangri La's Rasa Sayang Resort, Penang, Malaysia Shangri

2018-11-27T12:17:47-07:00

Living it up at the Hotel California

  “Ain't it funny, rumors fly, And I know you heard about me.” - Taylor Swift Have you heard? I’ve been living it up at the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico… with “mirrors on the ceiling” and “the pink champagne on ice”… I was dangling my feet in the refreshingly cold swimming pool of the Hotel California in Baja Mexico on a hot, late-fall

2018-11-27T12:18:33-07:00

Radisson Blu Chicago Review

As a Club Carlson Ambassador, I am delighted to create a quick getaway itinerary for the sparkling and wavy 81-story icon Aqua Tower Radisson Blu Hotel in Chicago!     Radisson Blu is Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s highest-end product and has amazing selections of hotels in Europe that I outlined in Four Reasons to visit a Club Carlson in France and in I've Got the French Blues. This

2018-11-27T12:19:36-07:00

Tall Tales: Dog Sledding in Montana

The yelping was so loud, you would have thought something was on fire with all the commotion. As I slipped out of the all-wheel-drive suburban truck, my snow boot landed on the slick white ice in the downpour of snow that had just begun. I stumbled and sort of stammered out of the truck with a “swan dog” yoga pose, throwing my arm over my

2018-11-27T12:22:36-07:00

Hotel Arts Barcelona – A Hotel Review

A quick jaunt over to the Hotel Arts Barcelona, had me excited about all the hype I had been hearing regarding this 5 star Hotel. Someone even told me it was the most luxurious hotel in all of Europe! I was ready to find out if Hotel Barcelona was the one! Arriving via ground transportation on the bottom floor, they quickly had me up the

2018-11-27T12:22:49-07:00

Viking Star: Things to Know Before You Go

A typical objective when choosing a cruise is to get the best “bang for your buck” or to get the best value out of the cruise. I wrote earlier about “Nine Easy Reasons Why You Should Take a Viking Ocean Cruise” and ‘value and pricing" was, of course, the first thing mentioned. Most people want to think that they got a great deal and got

2018-11-27T12:23:06-07:00

Nine Easy Reasons Why You Should Take a Viking Ocean Cruise

One of the main things I write about besides adventure and culture is value luxury or let’s call it something we can all understand: smart luxury. Viking Ocean Cruise (better known for their river cruising) has developed a product that could not better describe what smart luxury is: the Romantic Mediterranean aboard the Viking Star from Barcelona to Rome. I even wrote an article called:

2018-11-27T12:23:44-07:00

Grand Velas: Raising The Bar on All-Inclusives

Raise the Bar: Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectation ~Jack Nicklaus I was on my way to the Grand  Velas in the jungles of Mexico. I was hired to photograph the 10th anniversary of the Festival of Life and Death (Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead) for Experiences Xcaret. I couldn’t be more excited

2018-11-27T12:24:19-07:00

Looking for Diamonds in the French Quarter

  I was with my girlfriend over on Royal Street in the French Quarter at the diamond store. She’s from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so when I sent her a message I would be visiting New Orleans and that I was looking for the best things to do in New Orleans and boutique hotels in New Orleans, she immediately went to work and came up with a

2019-01-17T08:49:08-07:00

4 Reasons to Stay at Carlson Hotels in France

By Cacinda Maloney When it comes to making a decision about where to stay when you are planning your trips to Europe, one thing that I always look for is consistency within the brand. I have traveled every six weeks of my life for over 20+ years and so I have stayed in my share of hotel rooms!  I was recently hired by Carlson Hotels

2018-11-27T12:26:03-07:00

In the Lap of Luxury – The Rocky Mountaineer Train

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer When searching for the most over-the-top, fantastic experience in luxury train travel, I knew that the Rocky Mountaineer train was the place to start. Especially since it is the largest privately owned, luxury tourist train in the world. I was ready to see what they had to offer on a full-on, luxury vacation. When I am talking about

2018-11-27T12:26:14-07:00

Salamanca Spain and its Small Luxury Hotel: Hacienda Zorita

By Kerwin McKenzie of Cruising Altitude  - One can typically find Kerwin flying all over the world, having taken an early absence from his airline job, he now travels even more frequently.  I believe even I have seen him in more than 5 countries!  He most graciously agreed to go on a trip for PointsandTravel and to post a travel related article here about a

2018-11-27T12:26:50-07:00

Great Railway Journeys – Rocky Mountaineer

Great Railway Journeys A Train Ride Across Canada, Is it right for you? The answer for me: YES! By Cacinda Maloney Earlier this year, I was the eager guest of Rocky Mountaineer, one of the World’s greatest railway journeys. I was on board their route from Vancouver to Banff in the Canadian Rockies. There are many different train routes to choose from, but I am told

2018-11-27T12:27:57-07:00

Exclusive Luxury Cava and Wine Tour In Spain

By Cacinda Maloney Exclusive Luxury Cava and Wine Tour In Spain On the grounds of the Exclusive Luxury Cava and Wine Tour In Spain If there is one thing I love about my travels, it is the architecture that I get to see in different countries. I love to see the shape and form of places and how families live within them. I

2018-11-27T12:29:22-07:00

A Medieval Gem: Schlossle Hotel – Tallinn, Estonia

A Medieval Gem: Schlossle Hotel – Tallinn, Estonia A Medieval Gem: Schlossle Hotel – Tallinn, Estonia By Cacinda Maloney Built into the existing facade from the 13th century, I found my medieval gem at the Schlossle Hotel's "cave room" and immediately got into relaxation mode. As I swung open the heavy door, I was able to find paradise waiting inside after my long

2018-11-27T12:30:52-07:00

Four Seasons Scottsdale – Deep in the Heart

  Four Seasons Scottsdale – Deep in the Heart Nestled in the foothills of the High Sonoran Desert, yet tucked up near the trails of the Pinnacle Peak Mountain lies the Four Seasons Scottsdale, which is "deep in the heart" of Scottsdale. During the drive up to the Seasons, you realize that the environment has slowly changed. The elevation begins to increase, the

2018-11-27T12:32:54-07:00

Pure Bliss: Kurumba, Maldives

By Cacinda Maloney The airport was scarce as I looked around at the almost empty room for the late night flight and I think there was only myself and one other American couple in the blindingly white light airport waiting room with my ticket to paradise sweating in the palm of my hand. Finally they called my flight and soon enough I was on the

2018-11-27T12:33:51-07:00

Hyatt Scottsdale, AZ: Wine me, Dine me and Spa

Living in a resort town, I know that when I am home I sure enjoy a “staycation” to relax from all the traveling that I do. I am lucky in that I have so many great choices to choose from here in the Scottsdale/Phoenix metroplex. Recently, I had a chance to try out one of the most amazing spa’s here in town, the Spa Avania.

2018-11-27T12:35:03-07:00

Native American Wisdom – Sheraton Wild Horse Pass

If there is one thing you need to know about Arizona, it's that it is beautiful. Not Italy beautiful, but desert beautiful… beauty in its own way. The purple hue of the mountains against the colors of the desert make for a landscape all its own, one that reminds you of the past, the beauty of the people of the desert who lived here long before

2018-11-27T12:35:16-07:00

Xanadu Island Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize

By Cacinda Maloney Xanadu Island Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize Ambergris Caye, Belize The perfect tropical beach paradise is hard to find.  And believe me, I have been searching for a very long time.  As my Western concept of time blurs, a faint song emerges through the serenity when I think of this beach island.  One thing I can say for certain, Belize does

2018-11-27T12:36:13-07:00
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