Spending time with your girlfriends can instantly make you feel happier & more at ease – but a luxury vacation with them has the power to maximize on these mood-boosting effects. In fact, taking a girls trip is a great way to totally refresh your mindset while also forging even stronger friendships. Still, there's a right & wrong way to travel with your BFFs.
Before you start planning, consider these do's & don't's for a carefree, memorable girls getaway:
It's helpful to be upfront about how much you can spend an outline your budget accordingly. An all inclusive resort can help to eliminate a lot of the stress since food, entertainment & other aspects of your vacation will be included.
Be flexible when it comes to your itinerary. While it may be really important to you to see a certain historic site, one of your friends might be more interested in a massage at the resort's on-site spa. Remember that it's OK to go your separate ways at a certain point if you have diverging interests. Plus, you'll have a lot to discuss over dinner & drinks that night.
Play to everyone's strengths when you're diving up the responsibilities. Your foodie friend is probably the best person to research restaurants in your destination, & the style expert will likely be able to figure out where the best shopping is.
Take this opportunity to try something new. While you may not be a thrill-seeker, you may be surprised by how much you like the rush you get from scuba diving or canopy zip-lining in an exotic locale. Plus, it's a lot easier to take a risk when your girlfriends are by your side.
Whatever you do, don't feel guilty for taking a vacation. Woman's Day magazine recommended writing yourself a permission slip outlining all the reasons you're worth taking a girls trip, & all the benefits you expect to get out of it. Whenever you start to wonder if you really need that getaway, glance back at the list for affirmation.
Try not to squeeze in too many activities – overscheduling will just end up stressing everyone out. Of course, plan ahead by making reservations for an exclusive restaurant or buying tickets to that concert, but leave some room for relaxation & spontaneity as well.
Don't forget that your friends may have different needs, & it's important to accommodate them to keep everyone happy. For example, if someone is on an especially tight budget, don't insist on tickets to a costly music festival. If one of your friends is a vegetarian, be sure that the restaurants you go to have some options for them.
Sometimes all it takes is some alone time in a whole new setting to breathe romance into your relationship. If you're looking to take a luxury vacation with just your sweetie, you'll hardly find a better place to light the fire & give you an even closer bond than Bora Bora. This majestic stretch of white sandy shores, which is only 18 miles long, has acquired the nickname "the Romantic Island," & it's a fitting reputation – intimacy seems to be in the air.
There are plenty of ways to ignite romance on this island, but here are some that simply can't be missed:
Nothing feels more special than an ultra exclusive dining experience – & that's just what you'll get at Villa Mahana. According to New York Magazine, this six-table restaurant is a secret favorite of the locals, & it books up to two months in advance, so definitely make a reservation. While it may not be easy to get a table, it's well worth the effort. Corsican-born chef Damian Rinaldi Dovio offers a new spin on native ingredients like coconut milk & Tahitian vanilla oil for incredibly innovative, unusual & palate-pleasing fare. Not to mention the elegant environment includes the colorful artwork of Garrick Yrondi, setting the mood for lively conversation over your delectable meal.
Private picnic for two
Need a getaway from your getaway? At the Hilton Bora Bora Nui, you can take a five minute boat ride to the resort's private islet of Moti Tapu. Here, you'll enjoy an authentic Tahitian-style picnic right where the native royal family once held their ritual ceremonies. Sitting on a colorful pareo held down with conch shells, you'll savor fresh sashimi, grilled lobster & Polynesian fruits while sipping champagne. Then you can take some time to explore your breathtaking surroundings before you're whisked back to the hotel by boat.
Massage with a view
The Deep Ocean Spa at theInterContinental Bora Bora Resort is a paradise for pampering that is set right in the middle of the sparkling ocean & the crystal-clear lagoon. Between relaxation areas with a stunning view of the water, outdoor Jacuzzis & an array of hydrotherapy services, this is your haven to find harmony together. Not only that, but this is the first establishment in the entire world to utilize water taken from 900 meters below the Pacific Ocean. Go for a Deep Sea Hydromassage Bath with detox essential oils to completely rejuvenate your body, or a Monoï Tradition Massage for two to melt muscle tension away.
Bringing the entire family on a luxury vacation has the potential to be a satisfying or stressful experience – & much of the outcome depends on the accommodations. Fortunately, Karisma's resort, Generations Maroma, is designed to make any family vacation as comfortable & relaxing as possible. Riviera Maya is already the perfect destination for all ages to enjoy & this resort offers an ideal location to take advantage of the surrounding area. Not only is it set right on the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Maroma Beach, one of the Travel Channel's Top Ten Beaches in the World, but it's minutes away from top local attractions.
Here's an inside look at the resort:
A spacious suite with a spectacular view
No matter which room you choose at Generations Maroma, you're bound to feel at home with 24-hour room service, an expansive balcony or terrace, a stocked minibar, plush bathrobes & colorful Caribbean décor. That's not all – with strollers, cribs, changing tables, monitors & even pack & plays on hand – the resort has everything you need for tinier tots.
The One Bedroom Suite features a master bedroom, & then a separate children's area with a double & single sofa bed with an extra TV & DVD player. There's also a full kitchen, dining table for six & a breakfast bar so you'll have plenty of room for mealtime bonding. The Two Bedroom Swim Up Suite is perfect for a group getaway with four adults & four children. The best part? A water mirror balcony that offers easy access to the main pool & swim-up bar.
If you're really going all out, opt for the Five Bedroom Oceanfront Villa. This two-level spacious home provides a stunning view of the ocean & a wide array of luxurious amenities, like a high-tech home theater & a custom heated pool. The in-villa executive chef is present to ensure your every craving is fulfilled & an on-call masseuse is on hand to melt any tension away.
Fun without the fuss
If you're looking for gourmet fare with some local flair, head to Generation Maroma's on-site Chakay Restaurant. A cozy setting with a maritime theme offers a playful atmosphere for families of all tastes, & the extensive menu has something to please any palate. At dinner, guests can select from a continually changing à la carte menu with the freshest fish, meats & vegetables.
The Eko Kid's Club takes a lot of the pressure off entertaining little ones. With a range of supervised activities for kids ages 4 to 12 years old, this play center gives young ones a safe, fun environment to learn & also expend some energy. From gaming consoles to a craft station, kids are bound to have a blast.
It's impossible to avoid Mayan cuisine on a trip to Riviera Maya in Mexico – while you may not know it, traces of the flavors are present in nearly every dish you savor there. What you may not know is that this region of Mexico is responsible for some of your favorite foods. In fact, Southern Mexico's capsicum annuum species of chile is a core component of almost every spicy cuisine worldwide, & the Mayans have been cultivating high-quality chocolate from toasted fermented seeds of the cacao tree for nearly 3,000 years.
It goes without saying that a luxury vacation to Riviera Maya would not be complete without some authentic Mayan cuisine. So which spots are serving up truly traditional fare? If you want a taste of the culture's real culinary history, here are a couple restaurants that you can't miss:
La Cueva del Chango
Dining at La Cueva del Chango isn't your typical restaurant experience. The name literally translates to "the monkey cave," & eating here feels like that's just the environment you're in. As you savor Mexican fare made from local, natural ingredients, you'll be surrounded by lush trees, vegetation & small waterways on the open-air patio, or under the mock covered cave. You won't be alone, either – you may spot the resident pair of spider monkeys that are always frolicking on site. Try the tuna with sesame seed & cascabel chile crust, or the classic chicken simmered in mole sauce with beans & rice. Whatever you order, be sure to get a glass of one of the many Mexican wines they offer.
You don't have to worry about authenticity at Yaxche: In fact, chef Ramón Lizaola learned some of the complicated Mayan recipes from his mother, which have been passed on through the generations. He did some of his own research, too, spending years looking up traditional dishes & cooking techniques. Try the Cochinita Pibil, which is shredded pork prepared according to Mayan methods in a stone oven, marinated in axiote paste & sour orange, & then served with pickled onions, black beans & handmade tortillas.
Lizaola does give some of his fare a modern spin. For example, the chile relleno isn't served with poblano peppers – it gets an unexpected sweet twist with bananas. Food & Wine magazine recommended making a reservation to eat here on holidays, like Valentine's Day. New Year's is an extra special evening here, as they celebrate a ritual Fuego Nuevo, or New Fire, dinner.
What makes adult vacations truly memorable? A breathtakingly beautiful backdrop, lavish amenities, constant entertainment & exciting activities certainly don't hurt. For that reason, Heaven, the adults-only section of the new Hard Rock Riviera Maya is bliss on the beach. Regardless of whether you're looking for a relaxing getaway to ease your mind of everyday stressors, or a thrilling trip brimming with adventure & nonstop nightlife, this all inclusive hotel is bound to fulfill your most extravagant fantasies for a luxury vacation.
Your own personal paradise
A truly utopian getaway starts with an exquisite room. The Deluxe Platinum Sky Terrace features a private patio, where you can gaze out over the balcony, relax on one of the plush lounge chairs or soak your troubles away in the hydro spa tub. Inside, enjoy in-room wine & a personal liquor dispenser – but if you're craving a different beverage or snack, take advantage of around-the-clock room service.
Going with a group? The Rock Suite Platinum Rooftop Lounge comfortably fits six people. Slip on your bathrobe & sip on some wine while you're looking out over your private terrace. Had an exhausting night out? Turndown service & a late-night pillow menu are just some of the features that will make catching Zs an especially dreamy experience.
You'll really be treated like royalty at the three-bedroom Rock Star Suite, which comes with dedicated butler service, a full living room & dining room, premium bar & surround sound entertainment center. Dedicated rock fans can even choose from a bevy of in-room guitars for jamming. When you're nursing a headache from some late night partying, reach for the hangover kit. Then grab your complimentary beach bag & head to the ocean.
Recharge & rejuvenate
The experience at Heaven is designed to make you feel re-energized & renewed so that you leave the best possible version of you. This starts with the Rock Spa, an adults-only pampering paradise & the largest facility of its kind in the entire Caribbean. Relieve the tension in your muscles with a relaxing massage, or enjoy an invigorating facial that will nourish & balance your skin. Whatever your desires may be, the Spa Advisors can suggest an ideal service from the extensive menu to fit your needs.
If you're hoping to improve your state of mind as well as your body, head to the on-site Yoga Temple, where you can take daily classes with a breathtaking view of the Caribbean. Looking for a more intense workout? Head to the state-of-the-art Body Rock Fitness Center, which has every machine you could need to stay in tip-top shape for poolside lounging.
A meal for every mood
Whatever you craving is, you can find a way to satisfy it at one of the nine decadent restaurants or six posh bars on-site. Dying for Italian? Head to Ciao, where you can enjoy à la carte gourmet dishes in a swanky environment. Or, if you're feeling rich French cuisine, stop at Le Petit Cochon for a taste of the countryside in a romantic atmosphere. Sometimes all you really want is a juicy steak – & in that case, only a premium cut at Toro will do.
Not only do you have a variety dining choices at Heaven, but you also have a wide range of bars for imbibing some exotic drinks as well. The Martini Bar serves up some classics as well as more innovative beverages with top-shelf spirits. After getting a massage at the Rock Spa, though, you may want to head to the Rhythm bar, which has a chill vibe & a bevy of creative cocktails. The Heaven Bar & Lounge is perfect when you want a little more action. With live DJ entertainment & an expansive dance floor, you'll likely want to stay here all night long – & you can.