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Showing posts from 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.

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 co…

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 mus…

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 vi…

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 t…

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.  

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. 

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. S…

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 …

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 Cruis…

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 "WeWere 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 reas…

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 ride…

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 trave…

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 benefits. Next summer, you can sail with French chef, television star and bestselling author, Jacques Pepin! This Largay Travel's Exclusive group sailing on Oceania w…

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 th…

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 sur…

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


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.

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 c…

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.

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 und…

Top Reasons to Choose Nicaragua for Your Next Vacation

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 wou…

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

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?

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

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.

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 ma…

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 …

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.

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!

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.

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 r…

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."

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. 

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 usin…

Don't, Stop, Dreaming! Paul talks about working in the Travel Industry

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

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.