Monday, December 23, 2013

Best of Jamacia's All-Inclusive Resorts for Couples

Mark & Tiadora visited Ocho Rios, Jamaica on December 3-9, 2013 and stayed at the beautiful and all-inclusive Couples Tower Isle Resort. This all-inclusive property is modern, clean and up to date as it has just underwent a million dollar renovation. Between Couple's Tower Isle and close by Couple's San Souci, this was the best choice as the San Souci property is very old.


Tower Isle's staff was amazing, very attentive and helpful. The bartenders were the best especially Terry, Pasqua, and Omar! The resort's decor was beautiful and had an open air feeling to it. The lobby was actually open so the breeze passed through the entire time.
Tia and Mark at Couples
View from their room


Lobster Night at Eight Rivers

The food was amazing all over the resort. The buffet tasted good with an excellent variety but tended to get cold quickly. The presentation was amazing at the buffet, and the people were so friendly. The Veranda is the Jamaican restaurant which is very laid back, with great service and people and the food was amazing! We ate out of coconuts, which was so cool! We liked this spot because we were able to listen to the ocean and enjoy ourselves. Eight Rivers is the upscale restaurant on property where the servers are very proper and the decor is simple and beautiful.  The lobster bisque has to be the best I've ever had but all the food was very good! The Asian Bistro is our favorite restaurant, because it sat right on the ocean and was so relaxing to have dinner out there. Though the service was the worst we had all vacation the food was amazing! I especially loved the plating and the layout. The Veggie Bar was open during the day and you could have fresh veggies with different kind of dips as well as plantain chips. They also made fresh fruit smoothies and drinks in fresh coconuts. Pool Grill was a great place because it was open all day and was the perfect snack place when you were hungry. Their hours are 12:00 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.- 6:00 a.m. They had ice cream, nachos, and popcorn and soda and water at all times. They also offered Jamaican beef and chicken patties, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, calamari etc.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cruising the Mediterranean during off-season on Regent Seven Seas Voyager

It is lovely to visit the Mediterranean late in the season when the weather is usually wonderful, there are less crowds everywhere and between summer and the holidays, it is just a nice time to travel. And it is especially lovely to do so on an exquisite luxury ship. Arriving in Rome for two leisurely days in one of our very favorite cities, gave us time to rest up and lose the jet lag before boarding the beautiful Regent Voyager. She was just out of dry dock with a major refurbishment which made her look brand new!



This is a small ship by today's standards accommodating just 700 passengers in elegant veranda suites of varying sizes. We splurged on a huge Seven Seas suite with 1-1/2 bathrooms and a butler which was pure heaven for our ten day voyage. The ship is small enough to be intimate and have no crowded spaces or lines anywhere, ever! Yet large enough to have various dining and entertainment venues to please everyone.  A lovely touch is Regent’s “block party”, right after muster the first afternoon, all passengers were invited out into their hallways and asked to bring a glass from their bar. And there waiting to greet us were waiters with canapes and bottles of champagne as we greeted our new neighbors and the officers who passed by to greet us.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Discover Bavaria’s Culture, Beer & Wine in the Magical Land of Germany

I recently participated in an educational trip to the Bavaria region of Germany. Germany has so much to offer and every state is a little different. There are 16 states within Germany.  I never get tired of visiting Germany since there is always something different. During this visit I saw the amazing fall colors everywhere that were more breathtaking than New England colors at times!



Our first stop was Wurzburg in the German State of Franconia, truly one of the loveliest baroque cities in Germany.  You will notice the old and new with so much charm everywhere you look. Franconian are always on the world's top wine awards and certainly worth tastings whenever you can. There are many “Weinstuben” restaurants which have their own tasting rooms and many own their own vineyards.  Make sure to make stops at the various green markets and especially the Christmas market. 


If you plan on driving the “Romantic Road," this drive is on the top of my list. Wurzburg is a perfect town to visit as a first stop after arriving in Frankfurt. Don’t miss the Residence Palace after walking through Old Town. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Five Star Experience in Florence Italy at The Hotel Brunelleschi


I'm happy to say that I finally made it to Florence!  Although it was a very short visit (only about 20 hours and part of the time I was asleep), it was enough for me to realize the 'magic' of this beautiful city!  The first thing that was very apparent to me was that you should NOT drive if the purpose of the trip is to visit the historical city center!  Even for the experienced driver it is extremely difficult to navigate the streets of Florence. Two-way streets can barely fit one car through, let alone two!  And of course there are areas marked that say 'Area Pedonale', which means 'Pedestrian Area' so naturally an American tourist will avoid turning in those streets; little did I know that you can (and need to) actually turn in those streets in order to get to where you're going to!

So the first (and only) challenge was getting to the Hotel Brunelleschi. After following the navigation system around the same area about three times, I finally called the hotel and spoke to Sergio, the front desk concierge, who guided us to the same area we had passed multiple times. When we got closer to the hotel he had the Bellman step outside and guide us the rest of the way  for the last two turns!  Sergio stayed on the phone with me until we safely made it to the courtyard.  So this is the view that magically appears once you turn that last corner!

The hotel has historical significance dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries, part of it once being a church and the tower part at one time being a women's prison.  What is so beautiful about this hotel is the fact that they have preserved the historical aspect of it yet have remodeled it to make it one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Florence!

View from my window





The location is absolutely perfect, in my opinion.  For someone wanting to be in the historical part of Florence there really is  no better location, no better hotel than The Brunelleschi.  It is a stone's throw from Ponte Vecchio and from Piazza della Signoria, the 'leather market' and so many cafes, restaurants, gelaterias, etc.  It is a very unique gem, no 'cookie-cutter' look for this place!  And better yet is the staff, starting with Claudio Catani, the General Manager, and then on to Sergio, Antonella, and Stefano.   In my short stay each and every person that I came in contact with was extremely and genuinely pleasant, and greeted every guest that they passed by.






Friday, November 1, 2013

Mother, Daughter Trip of a Lifetime to Machu Picchu in Peru


     This was a mother daughter, once in a lifetime, bucket list type of trip.  We had always wanted to see Machu Picchu and when we found the trip that included getting there on horseback, that just seemed like the ultimate experience. Our expectations were high because the brochure made the trip sound extraordinary.  Well, the brochure just didn't do it justice. It was without question the best trip I have ever taken.  


     It started with the services of Largay Travel that made booking and getting questions answered easy as could be.  Both Amanda and Vivian were fabulous to work with.  We did not have one single snafu with flights, bags, or hotels.  Now that NEVER happens but it did.  Once we were picked up by Mountain Lodges of Peru, it was indescribable.  They have it down to a science.  Everything worked like clockwork, we felt completely safe at all times, we were catered to on every level.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Brazil hosts the World Cup and the Olympics... Copacabana anyone?

Rio de Janeiro is in full swing with preparations to host The World Cup 2014, Olympics 2016, and Paralympic Games. Rio was Brazil's capital city until 1960 then fell into a state of neglect. A housing and jobs shortage left many residents living in favelas, or shantytowns. Today, however it is in the middle of a massive comeback. With huge oil and gas reserves in its coastal waters, the area is rapidly attracting businesses from shipbuilding to high-tech research. Notorious favelas like Rocinha and Cidade de Deus are becoming less of a concern. 


Favelas in the hills across from Copacabana Beach 
There are many attractions in Rio and its surrounds. The Museu de Arte Moderna is incredible both for its architecture (spacious concrete and glass design) and its location alongside Guanabara Bay. It constantly brings world class exhibitions to Rio. The museum is known for its vast Latin America cinema archives, sculpture exhibitions, and experimental art activities. 

The beaches are unforgettable and the people are vibrant and beautiful. Stroll the neighborhood of Ipanema, a chic beach neighborhood. It has a mixture of upscale shops, hip restaurants, and nighttime hot spots. In the streets, the aroma of mangoes, star shaped carambola fruit and the smell of fresh seafood makes your mouth water. Rio's markets offer many varieties of fruits including the exotic caju and jaboticaba, as well as mangos, grapes, peaches, and the sweetest pineapple ever. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Happy Largay Traveler Explores the Many Ecosystems of Southern Africa

Largay Advisor, Honey Mistry, sent her clients on an adventure to the southern region of Africa; South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. This is one travelers review of the amazing itinerary Honey choose for them with Tauck Tours...


WOW!  WOW!  WOW!  This trip was fabulous – even better than last year! The combination of ocean, delta, and desert ecosystems was amazing and the contrast of the three was so enjoyable.

Here are some details of the trip:
Journey:  Tauck Botswana, South Africa and Zambia
Departure:  September 12th - 23rd  2013

Day 1:
Arrive in Cape Town, South Africa.

Day 2:
Morning tour of the city.  This included the Company Gardens and the Castle of Good Hope.  Overall this was “ok”.  I made a suggestion to Tauck that there are more interesting things to do in Cape Town.

Afternoon was “on our own”.  We spent the time walking the waterfront and had lunch.  Food in Cape Town is amazing and affordable.

Evening “braai” at a home.  This was great!  Braai is the South African word for barbecue; and this was a great barbeque – lots of interesting meats to try and lots of sides too.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sailing with Paul Gauguin to The Fabulous Islands of French Polynesia

There's something to be said about being on a mere 300+ passenger ship and stopping in some of the most pristine places on this planet!  There's never a rushed or uneasy feeling, never waiting in a line or feeling like you're 'just a number'...only the feeling of being pampered, and as if you are the only one that matters...


Perfection to me comes in the form of beautiful turquoise waters with the backdrop of glorious mountains & scenery, and it comes in the shape of a tiny passenger ship that provides the ultimate in luxury cruising!  I have to say that this cruise experience has reshaped my whole thought process on what cruising means to me!  From the minute that I boarded the Paul Gauguin until the very moment that I got back on the plane to return home, I felt like I was part of a wonderful Tahitian family!

I knew the moment that I got to LAX to board the Air Tahiti Nui flight that I was in for something different!  There were actually two Paul Gauguin Cruise representatives at the check-in area for Air Tahiti Nui at LAX that were there for the sole purpose to meet the guests that were scheduled to fly over that night to board the ship for the upcoming sailing!  What other cruise line does THAT??  

It all flows so seamlessly .....at the other end in Papeete, there are again two Paul Gauguin Cruise representatives that greets guests with their traditional Tiare flower lei and direct them to the transfer vehicles for a quick five minute ride to the Intercontinental Tahiti where more friendly representatives are waiting for travelers to provide them with keys to their rooms for the day!  

What a great way to start a cruise!  The Intercontinental Tahiti ...




The Treasures of Southeast Asia

My blogs are written as I experience my adventure, but there has never been as much after-the-fact reflection as in  this journey. There is so much to process. After I saw the classic "We Were Soldiers" the other night,  my most recent experience in Vietnam and Cambodia seemed to crystallize. The processing will continue.

I truly feel that to understand the struggles, complexities and opportunities of Southeast Asia one needs to experience this itinerary starting in Hanoi, cruising the Mekong River and ending in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). 


Asia, in this case Southeast Asia,  is a part of the world that I definitely want to explore.... and most importantly I need to  be able to handle the physical challenges.  Therefore advance preparation is critical. Drinking plenty of coconut water the week before departure and being armed with  a bottle of Airborne are the prerequisites. I am confident that the AMAZING   Vietnamese massage my first night in Hanoi was one of the reasons that jet lag seemed to escape me. (I am on the hunt for a Ytsara Head to Toe Pampering Massage in the Chicagoland area.) The fact that I had a row of three seats to myself on the flight from Chicago to Korea definitely was a highlight in my storied flying career.

Highlights in Hanoi: The Old Quarter is a maze of streets dating back to the 13th century.  We visited  Hanoi Hilton, where John McCain was captured on October 26, 1967 after his Navy plane was shot down while on a bombing run over Hanoi. He was imprisoned here for 5 1/2 years. Hoan Kiem Lake is where locals begin their day performing tai chi. It's hard to have a bad meal in Hanoi!


Unbelievable fact: An estimated 3 million motorbikes crowd the streets of Hanoi, small numbers compared to Ho Chi Minh City's (Saigon) 6.5 million.


Highly recommended: a one or two night cruise on Ha Long Bay.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Colombia: A "Diamond in Rough" Destination and Central American Hot Spot

Largay advisor, Ken Sause, traveled to Colombia with a small group of luxury travel advisors and learn more about this developing tourist destination. His findings were a sure sign that Colombia is well on its way to becoming the hot spot in Central America within the next few years. This "diamond in the rough" destination is one not to be missed once its tourism is better organized.
Cartagena (pronounced Cart-a-hay-na) was born in 1533 and became UNESCO designated in 1984. The population is a blend of Spanish, African slaves and mulatto people and not many natives from bordering countries. The staff at hotels tends to be people hired from nearby rural areas. This walled old city of Cartagena has lots of islands, plazas, fantastic architecture, casinos and designer fashions. Locally made leather is very popular and the best is Velez . You can find many nice gallery shops featuring ceramic, woven items, leather purses and also goods from kuna indian mola designs. Carriage rides through walled old city are a must however the drivers will spout everything in Spanish and no English! It will make you wish you paid better attention to the Spanish words when you visit you local Lowes or Home Depot.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Largay Advisor Earns Caribbean Destination Specialist

Jeannine Bottorff, Destination Specialist of Classic Family Journeys recently earned the Caribbean Destination Specialist (DS) designation from The Travel Institute. Each of The Institute’s Destination Specialist programs covers the geography, history, attractions, accommodations, cuisine, transportation, and unique culture attractions of many touring areas around the world. The comprehensive, thorough curriculum and subsequent testing assures that Jeannine Bottorff is well equipped with the knowledge necessary to create memorable vacations for travelers to the Caribbean.


Jeannine Bottorff has traveled to the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, St. Martin, Martinique, Dominica, Aruba, Bonaire, Puerto Rico, Grenada, Cozumel, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, and St. Bart’s. She chose to specialize in the Caribbean because of her deep love for its unique combination of cultures, its natural beauty and the opportunities for adventures available. 

As a luxury family travel specialist, Jeannine believes that beautiful, relaxing environments help families to forget their worries, to reconnect and to create unforgettable family memories.

For 40 years, The Travel Institute has been serving as a community of knowledge and insight for all travel professionals. Through innovative educations opportunities, professional certification programs and customized learning colutions, the Institute fulfills its non-profit mission to promote a standard of industry knowledge, professionalism and excellence. For more information about The Travel Institute, visit www.thetravelinstitute.com or all 800.542.4282.


For more information about Classic Family Journeys and how Jeannine Bottorff can help you plan your next trip to the Caribbean, please call 571-732-0998 or visit: www.ClassicFamilyJourneys.com

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wine and Dine on Oceania Cruises' Unique Cruise Experiences

Oceania marked its 10th anniversary this past January and as a landmark year for this budding cruise line, they hosted agents and guests for a luncheon and ship tour scheduled at ports throughout the year on the M/S Regatta, their inaugural vessel. I was among the selected travel advisors invited to tour Oceania Cruises' M/S Regatta. 


The Regatta-Class Ship M/S Regatta debuted in 2000, and was recently refurbished in 2011. This Victorian-style cruise ship was mirrored after the Ritz-Carlton, Naples in Florida, and will be undergoing a $50,000,000.00 renovation for colossal room showers, complimentary coffee baristas and an updated art gallery this coming April.

As a member of Largay Travel's Oceania Cruises Sales Team, I stay current on the what's happening, onboard programs, booking promotions and Virtuoso benefitsNext summer, you can sail with French chef, television star and bestselling author, Jacques Pepin! This Largay Travel's Exclusive group sailing on Oceania will offer a 10 day European cruise with a food and wine experience unlike any other sailing. Oceania Cruises is actually the first cruise line to offer a cooking school at sea. The London to London voyage with Jacques Pepin is one example of Oceania Cruises customized itineraries. Docking in over 300 ports, they allow for unique encounters each season. Many destinations include overnights in ports-of-call, affording in-depth, enriching destination experiences, as well as opportunities to immerse oneself into the local culture, history, and cuisine of the ports visited. Some hosted groups include: Art experts, art historians, wine experts, wine lecturers or wineries, activity groups, annual board meetings at sea, cooking instructors, food historians, and food critics.

Oceania Cruises categorizes itself as an ‘upper premium’ cruise line. The pillars that define Oceania Cruises’ five-star product are: Cuisine, Comfort, and Service and outstanding value. Oceania Cruises has positioned itself as the cruise company of choice for the casually elegant and refined traveler. This line caters to the 55+ clientele and specialty niche groups. The staff-to-guest ratio is an impressive 2:3, allowing for unrivaled levels of personalized service. If you are interested in learning more about Oceania Cruises, or have questions about Largay's exclusive group sailings, please contact vacations@largaytravel.com or at 1 (800) 322-9481



Largay advisors Julie Harris, and Pat and Bill Lynch were among the invitees to tour the M/S Regatta, September 12 at Pier 88 in New York City.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

American's Love Affair with Beaches and My Love of the Emerald Coast of Florida

It's that time of year again! School has either begun or is about to begin in the Northeast corner of America. Our last unofficial weekend of the summer kicks off tomorrow in the U.S.
Largay advisors have traveled domestically and internationally all summer long and we continue to share our experiences here on, "The Largay Advisor" blog. From Latin America to the West coast of the states, Largay advisors have found amazing beaches for couples, adults and families for you to experience your next love affair with the beach. As we end another 120 days of summer, I would like to reflect on how this came to be such an American love affair. (*infographic below)

I can't remember a time when my vacation didn't include the beach, sun or some sort of natural body of water. When we were young Cape Cod and Myrtle Beach were some hot spot beaches and as we grew up we were lucky enough to play in the sand in Maui,Hawaii, Bali, Indonesia and Bermuda. There is something about the beach that has always made me and my family feel at peace no matter where we were in the world or what circumstance life may be throwing at us at the time. Today my favorite beach is where my dad lives in Panama City Beach, Florida. I know it sounds like spring break 1984, but this beach has the softest white sand, perfectly turquoise water that compares to Cancun but is much more calm and serene. The "Emerald Coast" of Florida is a place that doesn't get as much attention as it should. These beaches are surely some of the best in the world and from Panama City to Rosemary, Watercolor to Seaside, Destin and all the way down to Pensacola, you can find sun, sand and so much more in every beach town on this coast. You can contact Largay advisor, Jessica Siregar at jessica@largaytravel.com, for your Florida panhandle beach getaway.

Whether it be that calm sound of the water, or the tini bikinis, the glow of tan skin, a few cold adult beverages, summer music, or just the warmth and joy of soaking up some vitamin D, the beach has a magical touch that is like no other feeling in nature. I hope everyone enjoys every last drop of their summer this 2013.

*
America
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fear of Flying and the Ironic Career Choice

“Lift,"  “Thrust,” “Drag,” “Pull”  I seem to recall a speech at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum that these are the four scientific properties governing flight.  They are quantifiable and easily applied to aircraft design and operation by those in the know, yet I remain mystified by the whole process.  To me, aerospace science must surely be a close relative to alchemy. I just don't get it.

Hence, the ultimate irony… I am a travel advisor with a tremendous fear of flying.  (For your sakes, I will not delineate the physical and psychological manifestations of my anxiety).  Believe it or not, I am not unique. I am just more open about it. 

So, that begs two obvious questions: Why do I continue to expose myself to the flight anxiety and what steps do I take to mitigate the severity of the symptoms.  Travel is my addiction of choice.  It separates me from the mundane minutiae of everyday life.  No “staycations “ for me.   I need to physically remove myself from my usual surroundings in order to change my behavior patterns. Overcoming the slight discomfort of going someplace new, charges my batteries.  The novel people, panoramas,  food, hotels, etc. not only widen my perspective about the ways other cultures operate, they make me appreciate all my blessings at home. It is a win, win.

Hypnosis and yoga have probably helped my coping skills.  However, nothing takes the edge off like pharmaceuticals and the passage of time.  A little Ativan goes a long way.  When combined with a glass of champagne, a dish of ice cream and a lie flat seat in business class (as I was lucky enough to experience twice), the flight is almost fun.  And, like childbirth, any pain is quickly forgotten, having been replaced by marvelous memories from the most recent trek.

- Ellen Goldman, Largay Travel Advisor


Fear of Flying: Overcoming Limitations
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What is Virtuoso Travel Week and Why It Matters To Your Next Vacation

       

WELCOME TO THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL COMMUNITY



Virtuoso is the ultimate travel community of savvy travelers, professional advisors, and preferred providers. Being a Largay Travel client makes you a Virtuoso Traveler which means you receive greater value and authentic, customized experiences.

Virtuoso is the foremost luxury travel network in the world, composed of more than 340 agencies and more than 7,200 professional travel advisors in 20 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand. The Virtuoso organization also includes more than 1,700 of the finest travel providers on the planet – airlines, cruise lines, destinations, hotels, tour operators, on-site services, and specialty companies.

WHAT IS VIRTUOSO TRAVEL WEEK?
Just as fashion buyers attend Fashion Week, we head to Virtuoso Travel Week to shop the newest travel trends and products for our clients. These include emerging destinations, exciting hotel openings and service enhancements, upcoming air and cruise line news, and more. We spend the week discovering and researching the most extraordinary travel experiences for our clients. It’s at Virtuoso Travel Week that we make connections that help us design customized vacations that build memories that last a lifetime.

WHO ATTENDS?
The event is for Virtuoso travel agencies like us, and our preferred travel providers, many of which are announcing new products and services. If there’s a specific trip you’re interested in, I can schedule a video conference call for us from Virtuoso Travel Week. I can invite any of the Virtuoso preferred travel providers to join us to give you a first-hand account of what they offer, and how you would benefit.


WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO NEXT?
Tell us about your most current travel interests and personal preferences while shopping for you at Virtuoso Travel Week this August, completing the VIRTUOSO TRAVELER PROFILE. If you are interested in creating a profile for future travel planning with a Largay Advisor, please fill out this survey and we will contact you when we return from Virtuoso Travel Week on August 19, 2013.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Viva Las Vegas to California Dreamin Part Two


Our next trip was driving from Williams, AZ to Carlsbad, California but we had to make a stop at the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ.  We parked in the shopping area, right below the bridge. There were quaint little local shops, and we enjoyed a cold italian-ices, in the dry 120 degree weather


The drive to San Diego was long and with lots of desert scenery. You must make sure you have plenty of gas before leaving because the exits are long and far between. I would suggest you stop and gas up the car in between. There seemed to be way too many broken down cars, on the "historic route 66."

Carlsbad’s Park Hyatt Aviara: 7100 Aviara Resort Drive Carlsbad, California: July 7-9th


This is an incredible hotel! Hyatt Aviara is a five star Virtuoso property, with VIP service. We had a gorgeous room with a balcony. The hotel had an arcade for the kids, nice pool and golf course.The hotel is 30 minutes north of San Diego.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Viva Las Vegas to California Dreamin Part One


We mapped out our West Coast family road trip destinations by starting with Las Vegas then Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Next stop at the Hoover Dam, then on to Williams, Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. Southern California was week two (part two) and we choose San Diego, Long Beach/Venice Beach, Universal Studios and Hollywood. Of course, no family vacation is complete without the mouse! So our final stop was Disneyland in Anaheim, before flying back to the East Coast. Here are some of the ups and downs of our road trip and the beautiful pictures, my husband, Brian took on our adventure.

Flamingo Hotel : 3555 Las Vegas Blvd,  Las Vegas, NV : July 2nd - 4th 


This hotel is currently under construction which was very disruptive throughout our stay. The lights in the room flickered or didn't work, the shower pressure was awful and the shower and tub faucets go on together. There is only one elevator for one floor, so plan on a long walk to your room.
The pool for kids and families was under construction. My kids said the pool was small but had a cool slide. Pool hours are only 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The pool for adults 21 and older was much nicer.  
There is a great inexpensive pizza place, Terrace, located near the Flamingo Hotel gardens that cost under $30.00 for large one topping pizza, garlic bread, wings and four sodas. The garden with Koi and albino fish, flamingo’s and various birds was cute especially while we ate.


The parking garage was horrible even though self parking was free on the 3rd floor. The first two floors are reserved for valet but there really was no direction on which way to go when parking, which causes you to have to backup when driving too far. I am surprised there aren’t more accidents in that garage. When checking in and out, the line was long, but there is a speedy check in machine and it was very easy to use. It didn’t seem like many people knew about the machine.
Overall, I felt very lost at this hotel and there were not many hotel staff to assist with questions.

You can take the tram to Bally's Hotel and Casino but it will cost you $12.00 for a round trip ticket or $15.00 for an all day pass. You can buy a pass at the hotel’s ticketing machine.  





Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Reasons to Choose Nicaragua for Your Next Vacation

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Nicaragua, with it’s charming colonial city of Granada, active volcanoes, and gorgeous Pacific waves is already popular among surfers.  This year, the government is aiming to spend $6.6 million on marketing for tourism.  Nicaragua is on the rise as an upscale hot-spot like Vietnam, Colombia, and Croatia that have also overcome turbulent histories.  Many people still associate the country with Ortega and the Sandinistas.  However, some 1.2 million tourists visited Nicaragua in 2012 (about a quarter of them from North America) up 51% since 2008.  The huge recent influx of tourists to Costa Rica has turned that hidden gem into a mainstream ecotourism hotspot, which has increased prices across the board.  Nicaragua is still a bargain hunter’s paradise, much like Costa Rica was a decade ago..  Today, in Costa Rica, visitors spend an average of $118 a day compared to an average of only $43 in Nicaragua.  It is a perfect destination for people who are looking for a sense of adventure and would make a nice add-on to a trip to Costa Rica.


Pool at Mukul Resort – photo courtesy at Mukul

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cruise Small Ships for the Best Service on the Seas

Largay Travel Advisors took a tour of the lovely Oceania Regatta in New York City last year and thoroughly enjoyed their experience!  Traveling on a smaller ship is a unique experience that can change your view of how you normally cruise. This elegant alternative to bigger ships offers special attention to passengers with its European atmosphere and cuisine. Ask your Largay Advisor about the Oceania Regatta's destinations and sailing dates by contacting us at vacations@largaytravel.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where in the World Wednesday


Where in the World Wednesday


One of our newest Largay Advisors, Pam Martin Gay, enjoyed this view when she opened the drapes to her stateroom on Crystal Cruises Serenity. At 6:00 a.m., she calls this her double shot of espresso. Beautiful!
Do you know what port in the world Pam is pulling up to in this picture?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Don't Worry, Be Happy!



Courtesy of: The Looptail, the G Adventures online publication

Top Ten Useful Travel Applications for Smartphones and Tablets


When sitting in a restaurant, airport, train, friend's house, really everywhere you go, people have their heads stuck in their smartphones and tablets. Why? Because this tech-driven generation has a need to email, share and scroll through social media, play games, organize the life, and search for information 24/7/365.
Here are the statistics from Constant Contact:

133.7 million people in the U.S. currently own a smartphone.80% of these individuals check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning.
AND  79% have their phones with them for 22 hours a day. 
They use their smartphones to open 43% of their emails and to communicate and use social media for an average of 120 minutes a day.

When traveling in a foreign country, a good smartphone or tablet application or "App" can help your day flow faster, more efficient and guide you to whatever you may be looking for that day.

Wikitude app

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Best in Luxury Travel - Roland Largay



    



It is with both sadness & joy that I must advise you of the passing of our cherished and beloved‘Uncle Roland’. Please enjoy this video of the man who was 'luxury' before luxury was cool. Here he accepts his Travel Advisor of the Year award from Luxury Travel Expo. His words, joy and passion are what inspire us at Largay Travel and many others who grew up with him in the travel industry. As a newbie to the industry, I am not afraid to say that the owner of my company honestly shaped the path and the paths of so many families most unforgettable life journeys. I only wish I met him sooner to enjoy his stories and the joy he transcended to everyone who met him. His joy and positive energy is easily seen in others when they speak of Uncle Roland and that is some kind of amazing spirit that will never die. Roland Largay will truly be missed here but will, for me, be the best example of how to LIVE your life. What a life he lived and we will celebrate!

"Uncle Roland was many things but the most magical was that he was without a doubt the best ‘Joy ambassadors’  the travel industry has had the honor of calling their own." - Paul Largay

"If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I would like to come back as me again." - Uncle Roland Largay

Friday, May 10, 2013

Travel the Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations of 2013

There are many things to consider when deciding where you want to spend your honeymoon. My best friend had asked me to help her and her soon to be hubby to be about a few good choices for their honeymoon destination. Without giving too much personal information, I put this same question out to my experienced travel advisors at Largay Travel. Budget, time of year and their personal styles should be considered, I came up with a general list of Largay's favorites and our first "Top Ten List." 
   When planning your honeymoon consider that the Caribbean and Pacific have a hurricane season that is active June thru November. And with global warming resulting in some of our biggest storms in October and November in the past few years. With that in mind, if you cannot/will not change your wedding date and still want to plan a romantic beachside honeymoon post reception, we recommend adding insurance to your trip. Some of our suppliers like Travel Impressions, offer a good insurance that will allow you to reschedule your entire trip for any reason including acts of God and you can always add insurance on to your trip with companies like TravelEx who offer a variety of coverage. SO important to add insurance!

Runners up and US favorites: Twin Farms in Vermont, Napa in California, and an adventure trip in the Pacific Northwest
Other Runners up and favorites: Paris, Maldives, Thailand, Costa Rica and Belize

Number Ten: Telluride, Colorado 
We love the Virtuoso property, Hotel Madeline. Surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks, this resort exudes intimate elegance in the Colorado high country. The Lovers' Journey at the spa offers couples more than two hours of side-by-side body scrubs and massages, a private steam chamber and sparkling wine and chocolate. Of course you can enjoy the seasonal activities on Telluride's renowned slopes, amazing hiking, fly fishing or Jeep tours through the mountains. At night check out one of Tellurides famous festivals or Hotel Madeline's signature restaurant, Rev.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bucket List Destination Alert! Amanda Klimak and Friends Travel to the End of the World.

 Patagonia is not just a clothing and sport outfitter, it is an amazing region of the world that spreads over Argentina and Chile. In this video, get a taste of the Tierra Patagonia Resort and Spa experience in the most southern part of Chile. This resort is located on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park and offers breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers, the blue lagoon and wildlife. This spot is a photographers dream!
The Tierra Patagonia experience offers the best of Chilean wines and local cuisine in a sustainable, unique and well designed facility for the location. Relax in their infinity pools, jacuzzi and spa rooms with view or watch the sunset over the mountains and sit around an open fire with your friends.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Do you know what it takes to be a Cruise Expert?


Lena Brown of Largay Travel has been designated as a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Cruise Counselor after recently completing the organization’s Certification requirements. Lena Brown is recognized within the cruise industry as an Accredited Cruise Counselor and will continue onto her Master Cruise Counselor.

Very Unique Boutique Hotel in Buenos Aires


I'm ways on the lookout for cute boutique hotels and the HUB Porteno is amazing! Eleven rooms, family owned and very unique. It's right behind the Park Hyatt and the food in the restaurant was the best I've had so far. A real find in Buenos Aires!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Top Magical Sites of Istanbul- Where Worlds Intersect



With one foot in Asia and the other in Europe, Istanbul bridges not only East and West but two worlds. From the ultra modern streets of Taxim Square, with their chic shops and pumping discotheques, to the centuries old covered Grand Bazaar, in its old section, Istanbul seamlessly bridges the ancient with the modern.
 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ten Must Do's Before Traveling Internationally

As a travel specialist, it is my job to not only to plan the perfect itineraries for clients, but to test out the journeys myself.  As a result, I feel I have gained a wealth of knowledge on how to prepare for a trip in record time and, hopefully with little or no incidence.  Packing a suitcase just hours before leaving for a trip overseas is a common occurrence because I know what needs to be done and the order in which I must complete it.

Below is a list of the things I do to prepare for all of my out of the country trips.  I hope it helps you and hope you can add a few tips to my list.

1.  Check your passport and entry requirements - There are many things your travel advisor can fix but an expired passport at the airport isn't one of them.  So, check your passport and entry requirements once and twice and three times a charm.  Remember, not only does your passport need to be valid during the time you are traveling, but many countries require it is valid for 6 months past your return date.  Also, be sure to check that you have enough pages in your passport and verify if you need additional documentation, such as a travel visa.  If you need a passport issued or renewed or need a visa, make sure you have plenty of time to get it back or ask your travel specialist for a recommended passport or visa service, which can expedite the service.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Meeting a Modern Day Explorer

At last night's "Nature Travel Series" Event,  I met the modern day Christopher Columbus! As he spoke about his life, it reminded me of a cross between the Discovery Channel and the History Channel revealed right in front of me. Olaf Malver, Chief Exploratory Officer of Natural Habitat Expeditions (a branch of Natural Habitat Adventures), is today's modern day explorer. He searches for animals and new habitats in the most remote areas of the world, this is what he calls "Real Travel."

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Perfect Match to Travel Happy

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine


One of my favorite and inspiring series of travel videos, "Where the hell is Matt?" , has evolved in its years of existence. Matt, from Westport, CT, quit his job at 23 years old and took off to explore the planet until he figured things out or until money ran out, or whichever happens first really. Upon his return,  he blogged about his journey and posted a video that became pretty popular on YouTube. Today, the video you will watch on this post is the product Matt's successful business. Matt is still traveling, dancing and sharing with people all over the world to encourage others to find happiness and possibly success through travel. He inspired me to blog during my trip to Brazil in 2011 and now I am the newest member of Largay Travel. 


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Art of Packing


Your departure date is quickly approaching.   The air tickets have been paid and your passport has been issued. You now have the daunting task of packing. With the airlines now charging for the number of bags you check in, it is so important to make a packing strategy plan.

Bring only the clothes that are necessary. Packing extra clothes “just in case they are needed” will only cost you in baggage charges. If you are traveling to an area where it will be cooler in the morning, you need to bring clothes that you can layer. That sweater or jacket liner can always be removed once the temperature rises. Mix and match clothing is another way to limit the number of articles you need to bring.

Limit the number of shoes that you pack. Take along a comfortable pair of walking shoes/sneakers to wear during the day for your sightseeing excursions and a pair of sandals for your day to the beach. In addition, one pair of slippers and one pair of dress shoes should be all you need.

Consider using roll-up space saver storage bags. Place your clothes in the bag, zip the seal, and roll out the air. These bags allow you to pack up to twice as much and organize your clothing. You will be amazed at how much you can fit into your suitcase.

Bon Voyage!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paul Largay talks with CBS Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg

Paul Largay recently had the opportunity to talk with CBS Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg, about what’s new in the world of travel.  The discussion was both fun and insightful.
For more information on Peter Greenberg, go to www.PeterGreenberg.com

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adult Spring Break in Jamaica. It's not just for the College Students!




One of my favorite expressions is “oldies by goodies.”  I abbreviate it as OBG.  In the travel business, we are always looking for the next best thing.  Sometimes, however, we should remember the OBGs.  I just returned from a wonderful exploration of some of the top luxury properties in Jamaica.  Low key grace, beauty and elegance are some of the words which come to mind.  Jamaica has so many unique offerings and it is ridiculously easy to visit. Above all, it is the people who make the island.  Service is unparalleled and genuine.  I have highlighted some of my favorite properties below.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Discovering the World of Global Entry

In the world of luxury travel, there are many things I have learned.  First, my job as a travel advisor is to give advice based on my first-hand experiences so I know what works and what doesn't.  Next, that well-traveled individuals HATE, and I mean HATE, to stand in