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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Insider’s Guide: The Pulsing Nightlife of Punta Cana

October 31st, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

Whether you're here for a destination wedding, a girl's trip or a weekend getaway with your significant other, you can't come to Punta Cana without exploring the eccentric nightlife. With an endless range of possibilities, you'll definitely find something to do after dark, no matter your age, music tastes or preferred cocktail.

Here are some of the highlights to consider for your after-hours mischief:

Craving for some American-style clubbing in the Dominican Republic? Look no further than Oro, which is located inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. With an award-winning sound system & a stunning two-story LED wall display, the experience here is meant to mimic that of a hot Miami or Vegas nightclub. After entering, you'll have two levels to choose from for hanging out or busting a move. The rhythms & beats are so infectious that you'll be dancing the night away before you know it – & you might even spot a celebrity next to you.

Soles Chill Out Bar
​If you're looking for a more tame atmosphere, the title of this bar says it all. Punta Cana TV noted that there are plenty of comfy cushioned chairs facing the ocean. Mood lighting & soothing lounge music make for a perfect spot to grab a cocktail with your sweetie or just catch up with a friend. On nights & weekends you'll likely get to mingle with some locals, when a DJ provides the soundtrack for all-night beach parties.

Imagine dancing into the wee hours inside a natural cave & that's what you'll get at Punta Cana's hottest & newest mega-club. Between a lit-up dance floor & live bats flying around the ceiling, Imagine's ambience makes for a truly surreal & unforgettable evening. After descending underground, you'll have three different caves to choose from, each with their own DJ & distinctive vibe. Be prepared to pay a cover charge for entry, but rest assured that it's well worth it to explore this unique disco.

​For those that are seeking a more authentic experience, this is the perfect place to soak in some local flavor. According to Punta Cana Travel Guide, Areito translates to "The Dance of the Gods." So it's no wonder that the grooving here is superior to most other clubs in the district. While one dance hall features a mix of traditional styles, like salsa, merengue & reggaeton, the other plays music from all around the world. Since Areito is a popular spot, expect to pay a cover. Then order a potent cocktail & prepare to learn some new moves.

Family Adventures in Ocho Rios

October 30th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Family Vacations | Leave a comment

At the core of any truly memorable family vacation is one word: fun. For this reason, Ocho Rios is an ideal spot for such a getaway.

Regardless of your children's ages, this area of Jamaica's north shore is brimming with attractions that make for an unusual trip. With the same laid-back vibe the island is known for, but also a bevy of exciting parks & other experiences, Ocho Rios boasts the perfect compromise that keeps both adults & kids happy. Here are some of the top spots you definitely won't want to miss:

Dolphin Cove
Animal lovers should stop by the Dolphin Cove, which is bordered by acres of lush rainforest. Ever wanted to swim with the dolphins? You'll get up close & personal with these friendly creatures, or even try being a "sea keeper" under the tutelage of a dolphin trainer. If you're feeling brave, you can also interact with & feed Caribbean sharks, or snorkel with stingrays. The adventures don't stop, there, either. A humorous Shark Show, glass-bottom kayak expedition & Jungle Trail Walk are just several of the other activities that are sure to please the whole family. While you're taking a break from all the action, savor Jamaican Jerk fare while sipping on a cold Red Stripe beer & gazing out at the sparkling Caribbean sea.

Rainforest Adventures Park at Mystic Mountain
Are you & your kids shameless thrill-seekers? Mystic Mountain is the perfect place to bring adolescents & young adults for an adrenaline-pumping experience they'll never forget. Where else can you go bobsledding in a tropical forest, or go zip-lining through the canopies with a jaw-dropping view of Dunn's River Falls? When you need to cool off, head to the Mystic Waterslide or Infinity Edge Pool. Before you leave, be sure to climb the Mystic Lookout Tower: The Ocho Rios coast provides an ideal background for some stunning family photos.

Walkerswood Factory Tour
Foodie families will definitely want to make a stop at this factory, which is set on the hills of St. Ann. At Walkerswood, a multitude of mouth-watering sauces, seasonings & condiments are made from fresh ingredients grown right in the local area, including Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce & calypso chutney with mangoes, papaya & Jamaican ginger. To get a taste of all the products here & a glimpse into how they're made, go on the guided tour, which will take you through the on-site herb gardens as well as the factory itself. You'll even learn how to make an authentic Jerk marinade with a hands-on demonstration.

SPF Tips to Save Your Skin

October 29th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

It goes without saying that you'll be getting a lot of sun on your luxury vacation, whether it's to the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. While you may be eager to build up a tan, it's crucial to protect your skin from harmful rays to prevent wrinkles, fine lines & potentially more serious damage. Plus, nothing puts a damper on your getaway quite like a painful sunburn.

Fortunately, it's still possible to enjoy the sunshine without the risks. So before you hit the beach, consider these important tips to safeguard your complexion.

Keep reapplying
Just because you slathered on some sunscreen in the morning before laying out your towel on the sand doesn't mean you're set for the rest of the day. If you plan to be outside for an entire afternoon, you'll need to refresh every hour to ensure optimal coverage. This is especially important if you're taking a dip in the ocean or playing a game of beach volleyball since sweat & watersports can cause sunscreen to melt off. A water-resistant formula is ideal if you're planning to be more active. Note that some sunscreens & moisturizers with SPF are formulated with antioxidants, like green tea, which further protect the skin from both free radicals & UV rays.

Cover up
The best way to shield your skin from the sun is by physically covering it. This doesn't mean you have to have a head-to-toe ensemble on – after all, you probably want to show off that cute new swimsuit. Consider a chic cover-up to wear while you're lounging by the pool or the ocean. A hat with a big brim not only looks stylish but also provides some shade for your face, thereby helping to prevent a sunburn.

Get under an umbrella
You may have raised an eyebrow at some of the enormous umbrellas you've seen people tote with them to the beach, but it's actually a smart choice. It'll also provide a comfortable respite from the blazing sun when you need a break mid-day, or some shade to read your book.

Don't forget your lips
The skin on your pucker is particularly sensitive to UVA & UVB rays. So it's worth investing in a lip balm that has built-in SPF to keep your lips from getting sunburned, cracked or blistered. 

Top Jewelry Shops in Antigua

October 29th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

Antigua is no doubt a dazzling island. From the sparkling cerulean waters to the glittering sun, the inherent beauty of the surroundings here is blindingly beautiful. So what better way to commemorate luxury travel here than with some new stunning jewelry?

There are plenty of shops, some well-known & others more hidden, that offer the perfect souvenir accessories to remind you of your Antigua vacation. Here are some of the top spots that are worth a trip:

​It's no wonder Gourmet Magazine called Hans Smit "a modern day Faberge." This expert goldsmith forms gold, black coral & precious stones into unique sculptures for you to wear for a lifetime. Even if you don't plan on taking a piece home for yourself, stop by to admire the intricate baubles that he fashions right on the premises, including an orante gold fishbone pendant or glowing ocean spray opal earrings.

This boutique in Redcliffe Quay is a haven for jewelry collectors, with a vast variety of sterling silver pieces designed by both local island artists & international craftsmen. According to TravelMuse, there is also an impressive selection of antique jewelry on hand. You might consider a handmade ivory jewelry box to house your baubles, & all of the accessories make a great gift for someone back home. The shop also has an unusual array of pottery & other ornaments.

Silver Chelles
If you're looking for an ocean-inspired treasure to remind you of your luxury vacation, this relatively new boutique in Redcliffe Quay is the perfect place to find one. From a sterling silver starfish pendant on a leather cord to a bracelet with sea creature charms, you'll have a bevy of baubles to choose from that can incorporate the spirit of Antigua into your everyday style. Each & every piece at Silver Chelles is handcrafted, meaning that they're all completely one-of-a-kind. One of the most popular items is the stunning blue nautilus pendant. It's a double-sided necklace that features a mesmerizing seashell disk for two different looks.

Abbott's Jewelry
You're sure to spot a few brands you're familiar with at this family-owned duty-free luxury shop. From Rolex & Cartier watches to David Yurman & Roberto Coin jewels, there is a wide selection of exquisite on-trend pieces to fit any occasion or taste. Search Antigua recommended stopping here to check out handmade baubles by Antica Murrina & the crystal Swarovski collection.

An Education in Eating in Maui

October 28th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

Eating out of the ordinary cuisine is just one of the many delights of a luxury vacation. Yet foodies who flock to Maui may be interested to discover a little more about the dishes they devour. For those who are hoping to get a culinary education, this Hawaiian island offers a bevy of fascinating tours & tastings that provide insight into where crops come from, how they're grown & what methods local chefs use to turn them into delectable meals. Here are just a few of these unique epicurean experiences:

Market Fresh Bistro
This quaint restaurant features an innovative alfresco layout with an open kitchen, making chef Justin Pardo's work a sort of theatrical experience for patrons. The menu focuses on the farm-to-table concept, emphasizing local & seasonal ingredients. While eating here will no doubt delight your palate any night of the week, Thursdays are a particularly special evening at the Market Fresh Bistro. During the dinner hours, a seven-course tasting menu spotlights a specific Maui farm, allowing you to taste the restaurant's locavore philosophy for yourself. For these special events, you'll definitely want to make a reservation – they're popular with residents & tourists alike.

The Breadfruit Institute
The National Tropical Botanical Garden isn't just a majestic place filled with exotic flowers. It's also home to the Breadfruit Institute, the source of all you ever wanted to know about the fruit that could, according to Diablo magazine, put world hunger to an end. With more than 120 varieties on site, the institute boasts the largest collections of this starchy tree fruit in the world. Plus, the center frequently holds special programs & events throughout the year highlighting how the breadfruit plays a major role in the Islander diet. You might even learn various ways to prepare it under the tutelage of celebrity chefs.

ONO Organic Farms
This family-owned farm is set on a side of the Haleakala volcano, with an extensive range of fruits on the property. Stop by for a guided tour & you'll wander through the jungle-like grounds, tasting more than a multitude different kinds of fruit along the way. You'll spot gourmet guava, tangelo, lychee & mango, as well as others you've likely never heard of, like charimoya & rambutan. Meanwhile, staff will give you a lesson on organic farming, & what it takes to grow all of the mouth-watering fruits here. You'll also get to sample the Arabica estate coffee made on site. Tours are available Monday through Friday afternoons starting at 1:30 p.m., but you can also make a special appointment ahead of time.

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