Expert review of Hyatt Ziva Cancun

This new resort is fun!  Even though it’s in the hotel zone of Cancun, you’d never know once you arrive at the resort.   Because there is ocean on 3 sides of the property, we had the feeling of being on a private island.  Rooms are quiet and serene.

Accommodations are spread between three buildings- the budget friendly Pyramid, the adult only tower “Turqoise” and the Club Tower.   All rooms include room service, a mini bar, and private balcony with ocean view.


Highlights include a sportsbar with onsite microbrewery, a desert shop that rivals most candy stores, top notch evening entertainment, coffee shop, huge pools and onsite Dolphins. 


If you are looking for a great beach, you’ll find it here.   The resort has several beaches, but on the calmer side they loan water toys;  snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, etc…  The water is crystal clear, and a dozen shades of blue with soft white sand. 

This might be the perfect resort for your next family vacation, honeymoon or Destination Wedding.   Feel free to contact me with your questions!  Some answers just can’t be found online.  

About the author:  Angee Shields has been helping discriminating travelers for over a decade.   She cuts through the noise to provide an easy, stress free planning process for travelers.    Find her at www.vacationswithflair.com or click here to email her directly.  

Categories: All-Inclusive, Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, Mexico | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My stay in Antigua at The Inn at English Harbour

We arrived tired from a long day of traveling.  Antigua’s heat in June can get to the high 80’s and I wanted some air conditioning.   

The staff met us at the door with a cold towel and beverage and quickly checked us in.  Any  stress I had from travel quickly melted away, looking out on the view.   The Inn’s main building and one restaurant is up on a hill.  You don’t want to walk it-  it’s pretty steep.  That hill, although a bit cumbersome, is part of the charm.  It gives guests an amazing view of the Harbour, beach and the stunning blue ocean.  

The hotel shuttle drove us around to our Jr Suite and my jaw dropped!   Their entry level category is stunning!   It has an enormous balcony with high quality furniture outside.  Inside, there’s a sitting area with a four poster bed.  In the bathroom, the towels and bathrobe are Frette.    

  
What stands out here is the quality.   This is a property that will appeal to travelers who appreciate detail and craftsmanship.  It is small, less than 30 rooms, so it is quiet.  Guests get quite a lot of attention here – we did not once feel overlooked or like just another guest.  We had such personalized attention, it was fantastic!

  
What to do here?  The beach will be healing, with it’s white sand and turquoise water.   The Inn has a boat that you can use as a water taxi to reach English Harbour.  That’s a very fun area in season (not so fun out of season- everything closes down in summer months).  Antigua has several boat festivals here a year, and yachts come in from all over the world.  This area buzzes with energy.  The shops, restaurants, and atmosphere make this area worth checking out.   You can stay in that area, but I wanted a beach.  

  
We ate several meals at the Inn and enjoyed them all.  I was able to get room service, amazing wine, and WiFi in my room.  The Inn has a massage room, library, gym, and lots of little sitting areas.    Most impressive were the pictures of past guests-  if it’s good enough for the Prince of Monaco, it is good enough for me!!

The author:  Angee Shields is a travel professional, who loves planning seamless luxury travel.     Contact Angee at 1-800-517-1133

Categories: Antigua, Caribbean, Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, Honeymoon Ideas, Luxury hotel, Luxury Travel, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

If you work with a travel agent, chances are good you will have to make a decision whether or not to accept travel insurance.  Should you do it? Many couples feel that they cannot afford it, or that it is just an extra add on – not a necessity.

There is no better way to protect your honeymoon or vacation investment then bye-bye long travel insurance. Things can happen to even the most experienced and well prepared traveler.  

 

Think of this…

  • Flight delays are common
  • A lost or stolen passport would delay your trip home
  • Most US health insurers do not extend coverage overseas. Even for medical emergencies.
  • In the event of a natural disaster, airline strike or act of terrorism, airlines will not refund the cost of your ticket.
  • An unforeseen job loss would not be reason enough for a trip refund (without insurance).
  • Life is unpredictable, and some trips must be canceled.

Travel insurance can provide you peace of mind and reassurance that your hard earned dollars are protected.

Before you decline travel insurance, ask yourself these important questions….

  1. Can you afford to purchased last-minute plane tickets home if an emergency cut your trip short?
  2. Does your health insurance provide overseas coverage if you must seek medical attention on this trip?
  3. Does your health insurance provide coverage should you need to be airlifted out of your destination country on this trip?
  4. Are you comfortable risking loss of your entire vacation investment should something go wrong?

If you aren’t able to answer yes to all of these questions, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance.

 

Categories: Travel | Leave a comment

Pros and cons of using your mobile during a wedding ceremony

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Wedding ceremonies are normally filled with memorable moments which only last a short while. That’s why professional photographers and videographers are always hired to capture those moments for the couple, family and friends to enjoy over and over down memory lane. Wedding guests are fond of using their mobile phones to capture some of the great moments of the event. However, using your mobile during a wedding ceremony does have its pros and cons. Last weekend I went to a wedding where the minister asked everyone to restrain from taking pictures and told us to put our mobiles away. It had me thinking…what are the pros and cons of using your cell phone during a wedding ceremony?

Pros of using your mobile during a wedding ceremony

  • Capturing the event

Using your mobile device during a wedding ceremony can be useful for your own collection of the best moments of the event. Most wedding guests like taking pictures and videos to enjoy the moments much earlier because it normally takes a while before the couple releases any professional pictures to everyone.  Also, photo booths have become a popular addition to weddings and are a ton of fun for party goers. Usually the couple will create a custom #hashtag that allows for easy search on social media.  We live in a culture where we share mundane details of our everyday lives, such as a snapshot of our coffees and avocados. So, why not share the big moments as well?

  • Communication

The other advantage of using your mobile phone during a wedding ceremony is for communication. Let’s face it, yes we are a society obsessed with tweeting and instagramming, but sometimes we need to be accessible for any emergencies.

Cons of using your mobile during a wedding ceremony

  • Disrupting the “shot” by the professional photographers and videographers

Using your mobile device can also be disadvantageous in the sense that it can cause distractions to the main team taking pictures and capturing the videos for the event. This mostly occurs when the couple is walking along the isle and the guest get up on their seats to try and get the closes best shots of the moment. At this time, some photographers may be positioned at a distance where they only need to use their zoom lenses to capture the best shots, but instead they get blocked by the guests. Imagine trying to get the perfect shot of the bride as she comes down the aisle, only to be photographically cock-blocked by 100 amateur iPhone users. Let the pros do their jobs.

  • Getting distracted

Using your mobile device during a wedding ceremony can also be a great distraction to your own concentration of the main event. When you drown in the sea of social media for example, you end up losing out on the best moments of the wedding ceremony. It IS an unavoidable fact: The very act of Instagramming or tweeting takes you out of the moment, even if it is just for a split second.

Using your mobile during a wedding ceremony requires a balance to ensure you only use the mobile device for the good keeping in mind the distractions that can come with it. If you manage to strike this balance, then you will enjoy every moment of the wedding ceremony.

Call us today +1-800-517-1123 to chat about your next travel destination! 

Be sure to visit www.vacationswithflair.com

Categories: Destination Wedding, Inspiration, Just for fun, Love, Special Event, Technology, Trendy, Wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Reasons to Consider Getting Married in Cyprus

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Wedding days are one of the most important days in a person’s life. The unique blending of two individuals. Dramatic or quiet. Rugged or beautiful. Cyprus offers many reasons to have your destination wedding on their lovely island. Here are five of them:

  1. Location. Located in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is an island of contrasts. Gorgeous cerulean blue waters. Sheer rugged cliffs. Sparkling white buildings and colorful boats in the harbors. This land of drama is the perfect place to start a new adventure with your loved one.
  2. Uniqueness. Imagine getting married in a castle. St. Hilarion Castle ruins still remain today. Arched doorways and windows overlook the bay far below. Say your vows in the church within the castle where beautiful walls still stand. Or look into each other’s eyes with the ornate third floor window as your backdrop. This is a place where dreams come true.

Maybe you would prefer to say your vows in the mystical blue waters. Why not start your married life on a yacht with the Ayia Napa sea caves as the backdrop? And then honeymoon on the yacht! There are so many enthralling places to exchange vows in Cyprus. Deciding which one will be the hard part.

  1. Wedding Coordinators. You can choose a do-it-yourself wedding if you are really organized and savvy about international laws. Or, you can have a wedding planner help you. Many of the hotels and resorts on Cyprus cater to weddings.

Capo Bay Resort is set on the beautiful Fig Tree Bay. Weddings here are handled with great detail. Only one wedding per day is allowed at the resort. The lucky couple has the full attention of the wedding staff.  A wedding coordinator will work with you to accommodate a romantic table for two or a reception with 120 guests.

  1. Convenience. The Royal Apollonia offers in-house hairdressers to style the bride and bridesmaids. Florals are arranged onsite and the views are magnificent. Have your wedding indoors or out. A simple package includes decorated wedding table, a bottle of wine and a 1-tier wedding cake. From there, packages go all the way to full wedding gala dinners with exquisite foods and cocktails. The staff will help you plan every moment for the perfect wedding day.
  2. Entertainment. While you honeymoon, your guests can enjoy all of the offerings of Cyprus. Historical sites like Kato Paphos Archeological Site with its mosaics. Kourion has mosaics and ruins of a Roman city along with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Water-lovers in your group will enjoy snorkeling at the sea caves, or diving from the sheer cliffs. Swim in the blue waters or relax on the beaches. Watch the sunsets or wait for the sunrise. Cyprus offers all of it to you.

Don’t miss taking a tour of the local wineries. Enjoy the wines, the food and the hospitality.

These are just a few of the reasons to make Cyprus your wedding destination.

Call us today +1-800-517-1123 to chat about your next travel destination! 

Be sure to visit www.vacationswithflair.com

Categories: Castle Hotels, Destination Wedding, Europe, Group Travel, Honeymoon, Inspiration, Love, Luxury Travel, Travel, Wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Perfect Snorkeling Lover’s Vacation

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Your love is unique, a blend of you and one other person. Your snorkeling vacation should be the same; a place to celebrate the qualities that make you a couple. You need a lover’s vacation.

For a vacation with a giant underwater surprise, the Maldives are where you want to go. Manta Pointe is where small snorkelers and huge manta rays converge. Enjoy snorkeling with your special someone at the cleaning station for the manta rays. Watch as they float gracefully back and forth, eating the plankton of the lagoon.

The clear waters of the Maldives and the natural reef are home to white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, puffer fish and thousands of tropical fish. Expect to see so much more than the gentle winged giants. Eagle rays and sharks are popular sightings for snorkelers, too.

A night snorkel along the Reethi Beach is great for those wanting adventure and one-of-a-kind memories. Watch as spiny urchins cling to the rocks and sting rays glide over the dips and crevices searching for food. Sea snakes and spiny lobsters hide in the holes and starfish cling to the reef. Taking a flashlight allows you to see the nocturnal sea creatures at work.

Hawaii is a lover’s destination. Beautiful beaches, magnificent resorts, tropical drinks and sunshine add up to a great destination. Take the destination to the next level with some of the world’s best snorkeling. Now, kick it up a notch with some Big Island night snorkeling. Suddenly your heart is pounding, much like the first time you met each other.

Several of the Big Island resorts offer night snorkeling adventures. Take a short boat ride to the open waters. In the middle of nowhere you will see groups of divers with lights, illuminating the ocean floor. Your guide will strap on a colored glow-stick to your snorkel. This makes identifying your group easy in the dark waters.

The flashlight beam will reflect the sudden appearance of massive white underbellies. The mantas have arrived. Watch in awe as these giant creatures swim all around you. The ethereal, almost alien-like feel to the snorkeling adventure will have you wondering if you left reality behind on the shores. Few things are more romantic than dancing in the dark with enormous rays gliding around you and your lover.

If you prefer daytime snorkeling, but still want all of the adventure, try your hand at snorkeling in a volcano. The now-extinct volcano of Molokini is located off the shores of the big island of Hawaii. Snorkel along the sheer cliff walls which are now submerged. This underwater marine preserve is home to thousands of fish. Sea turtles, gorgeous fish and even octopus can be found in the bowl of this ancient volcano. Watch as conchs slowly make their way over the corals. These are the things you will remember from your snorkeling vacations.

Bring your lover, your romantic side and your sense of adventure to a lovers snorkeling adventure today.

Call us today +1-800-517-1123 to chat about your next travel destination! 

Be sure to visit www.vacationswithflair.com

Categories: Honeymoon Ideas, Inspiration, Just for fun, Luxury Travel, Things to do on vacation, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Reasons Why Mexico Should be on your Destinations Wedding List

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You said ‘Yes!’ Now it’s time to plan a wedding. Small and intimate or huge and extravagant? What kind of cake? Oh- and where will you have it? That’s the big question. Where do you want to start your new life with your love?

A destination wedding is a must. Somewhere…tropical. Beachy. Warm and romantic. So many options to choose from. Jamaica. Puerto Rico. Bora Bora…  Many brides and grooms overlook a hidden treasure when they consider destinations. Mexico.

Mexico has amazing beaches, beautiful weather, and crystal clear waters. Prices are cheap in Mexico. People are friendly. This place has so many reasons to be your wedding destination.

Imagine a wedding celebration on one of Cozumel’s white sand beaches. Then imagine guests celebrating your nuptials with you underwater. Palancar Reef is a perfect place to scuba dive. Grab all of your guests, your wet suits and fins, and dive into the reef for those wedding pictures. Sea turtles and coral make an amazing backdrop for the bride and groom.

Acapulco is the place for wedding adventure-seekers. Instead of jumping the broom, why not take your wedding plunge from the La Quebrada cliffs? A popular site for locals, this spot has shallow water and sheer cliffs (a perfect metaphoric picture of marriage), great for jumping into your new life together. After that thrilling start, finish out your night with a trip to the many bars and dance venues in Acapulco. This bay city really comes alive at night.

Is your wedding in ruins? Then you are celebrating your nuptials in the Tulum ruins of Riviera Maya. Get married where thousands of years of history abound. The stones of the temple and the ruins of the buildings against the blue of the Yucatan Peninsula are the perfect backdrop for those one-of-a-kind wedding pictures.

What better place to begin your married life than somewhere filled with love? Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach) in Cabo San Lucas is the perfect spot to say those loving words to each other. Ride a glass bottom boat from Cabo to Playa del Amor and see through the clear waters to the colorful fish below.  Or, see Land’s End, where rock formations tower in the water and sea lions rest. The arches and little open spaces in the rocks are windows to the Pacific Ocean. They are also the perfect frame for wedding photos.

Besides being beautiful, Mexico is fairly cheap. Take time before and after your ceremony to shop at the local shops for fantastic bargains. Haggle over the price of silver jewelry, which Mexico is known for, and get a great price on a unique bridesmaid gift.

Enjoy real Mexican food and drinks like Horchata, a cold cinnamon drink that is so refreshing in the hot sun. Cold beer and tequila are also popular in Cozumel, and most vendors offer you a bottle of beer when you enter their store.

Make Mexico your dream wedding destination.

Call us today +1-800-517-1123 to chat about your next travel destination! 

Be sure to visit www.vacationswithflair.com

Categories: Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, Inspiration, Just for fun, Love, Mexico, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing the right resort for your Destination Wedding 

  The best part of my job is helping couples decide where to hold their destination wedding.  Since every destination is different and each resort offers different venues and packages, it can be an overwhelming decision.    Just saying “Beach Wedding” gives you thousands of options to choose from!   Never fear- help is available!    Knowing the answer to the following questions will give you a good start in being able to narrow down the options.  Keep in mind that deciding what you want involves knowing what you don’t want.  

  
What kind of ceremony location do you want? Beach?  Garden?   Gazebo?  Do you need a chapel or chuppah for a religious ceremony?   Do you envision a private ceremony or are you fine with a venue next to the end of the main resort pool?   This is probably the biggest question I ask my couples.   Most resorts have fantastic website pictures of their ceremony locations, but sometimes they may have cropped out the onlookers at the pool thirty feet away.   If this is a concern for you, it’s better to find out beforehand.   There are resorts with private, out of the way sites to hold your ceremony and reception.   These options are not the cheapest, but it’s worth knowing your options.   Even at the cheapest venue, you’ll feel like you’ve overpaid if you didn’t get what you wanted.  

Anything Special going on?   Is your wedding involving an ethnic or religious ceremony (Indian, South Asian and Jewish included) where special meals and arrangements need to be made?   This fact alone may narrow your options in a big way if you answered yes to this question.   You definitely want everything to run smoothly, so avoid all resorts that cannot handle your needs.  

What do you want to wear?   Sand is best for barefoot or flat shoes.  The resort can accommodate you with a runner if you really want something solid to wear heels, but it’s going to be wood slat and easy to catch a really high heel on.  

Other great questions to think through include budget, transfer time from the airport, food & restaurant preferences,  and group amenities.    You may want to consider hiring an expert who would work for you-  as opposed to the hotels.   It’s a huge benefit to have someone who can compare all the hotels to make sure you get exactly what you want.   Your experience and memories are too important to risk.   

About the author:   Angee Shields started Vacations With Flair as a Destination Wedding travel planning service in 2007.  In that time, she has planned hundreds of weddings.   Each one is unique- nothing is cookie cutter!   Couples looking to have fun during the planning process are usually a perfect fit for Vacations With Flair.   What’s the Flair about?   Groups receive free personalized websites where guests can book online.   And, couples receive a FREE room as well as VIP rockstar treatment.   Call for more info or a free consultation at 800-517-1123

Categories: All-Inclusive, Caribbean, Destination Wedding, Group Travel, Jamaica, Luxury Travel, Mexico, Wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Romantic Travel Ideas for You and Your Lover

Word love in the sand at the beach on Valentine's Day.

Whether you have a quick weekend to the beach or two weeks in the Caribbean, there are some things you can do to ignite the romance during your vacation. Sometimes, romance gets shuffled to the back burner while you sight-see or sample the buffets or relax on the sands. Here are some tips to get romance to the forefront of the stay, where it belongs.

Start your lover’s flames flickering with a little pre-planning. Call ahead to the resort where you will be staying and ask for some help preparing your room with a chilled bottle of wine and some flowers. You may be happily surprised to find that a good room attendant has sprinkled rose petals on the bed, too. After you arrive, take time, even a few minutes, to have a glass of wine and just be together. There’s no rush. You are on vacation time now.

A hot bath in a huge tub filled with fragrant water is a great way to spend some time with your lover before the candlelit dinner you ordered arrives. A great tip: Drop a bottle of oil or lotion in the water with you. When you finish relaxing in the tub, you will have warm oil to rub on your lover’s back and feet.

Even the best of couples can’t spend their whole vacation in the room. There are simple ways to connect with each other while you are out of the room, too. Hold hands while you walk on the beach. Have a couples massage in one of those quirky outdoor cabanas while you watch the waves together.

For some fun together, find a karaoke bar and sing ‘your song’ to each other. Who cares if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket? You are on vacation. Chances are, nobody on the island knows you, so do whatever you want.

There are few things that can top off a beautiful full moon over a Caribbean sea…except a full moon experienced from a sunset cruise. Watch together from the deck of a yacht while the sun melts and spills into the water and the moon slides into view. Most evening cruises offer light appetizers and beverages. Some have dinner under the stars.

Nothing reconnects a couple like bodily contact. Find a piano bar, tip the guy to play something cozy, and snuggle up together on the dance floor. Or, if you prefer, find a hot salsa bar and grind to a heated Latin beat together.

The important thing to remember is that romance is personal. Maybe a rootbeer float reminds you both of your first date. Have that instead of wine. You could write a love letter and tuck it in their luggage or draw a shaving cream heart on the bathroom mirror. Romance is about the two of you only. Nothing is silly if it brings a sense of closeness to you both. Enjoy your time together on your romantic vacation.

Call us today +1-800-517-1123 to chat about your next travel destination! 

Be sure to visit www.vacationswithflair.com

Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cancún never looked so good | A Quick Look at the Presidente InterContinental Cancún !

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You’ve looked forward to a vacation for months. Now it’s time. Time to sink your toes in luxurious white sand. Time to play in diamond-clear waters. It’s time for your Cancun vacation at InterContinental Presidente Resort.

The rooms of Presidente Resort Cancun are full of sleek modern décor, with glass walls, tile floors and amazing ocean views. Watch the ocean from the plush comfort of your bed. Relax with a beverage on the balcony as the salty breeze adds to the ambiance. Or take a good book and swing in your own hammock overlooking the garden.

Most visitors do not spend a lot of time in their rooms, though. After all, this is Cancun and there is an amazing beach right outside your room. Thatched-roof tiki huts provide shade for lounge chairs that are scattered along the sand. Crystal clear, calm water goes out gradually, perfect for snorkeling. Look for stingrays, blowfish and other aquatic life. Work on your tan. Grab a jet ski and explore. This beach is rated as the best beach in Cancun.

There is also a beautiful pool area with loungers, just waiting for you to sink in and enjoy. Take a glide over the refreshing waters or let the jetted plunge pools massage those sore muscles. An outdoor bar between the pool and the beach offers cold drinks to beat the heat.

Are you hungry yet? Restaurante Caribeno serves up fresh seafood and fruit in a coconut half shell. Spicy ceviche, enchiladas, and grilled shrimp fajitas are there to tempt your taste buds. A nice selection of wines and desserts will end the meal perfectly.

Cana Brava is delicious for breakfast made-to-order. Come to the open-air restaurant and enjoy omelets and fresh fruit while you watch the sun rise over the ocean. The buffet is delicious and the view is worth getting out of that comfy bed! Enjoy wood-fired and charcoal grilled items as well as pizza, salads and snacks. In the evenings, reggae music flows and there are tables on the beach— perfect for a toes-in-the-sand dinner as the sun sets.

The Tequila Collection Bar and Terrace is the place to have a tequila drink. Come and try the different cocktails and drinks along with antojitos, Mexican snacks. Learn all about tequila from a certified T bartender. Smokers will enjoy the terrace where smoking is allowed.

El Café is where you go to fix that sweet tooth and experience true Mexican coffee. Enjoy a chocolate treat or have a beautiful fruit tart. Sip a strong and spicy coffee. Get ready for a day of shopping or playing on the beach. Or stop by and have dessert and coffee before dancing the night away at local clubs.

Are you ready to travel?

Call us today +1-800-517-1123 to chat about your next travel destination! 

Be sure to visit www.vacationswithflair.com

Categories: Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, Luxury hotel, Luxury Travel, Mexico, Travel, Trendy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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