Showing posts from 2014
Aulani :  "Distinctively Disney, Authentically Hawaiian"

A Disney hotel in Hawaii?  Sounds kind of crazy, but it's true!  A true Polynesian-style resort on the island of Oahu that keeps Hawaiian traditions alive & guests happy!

Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa carefully blends the Polynesian culture and imaginative Disney style to form a terrific experience for adults & kids!  This 360-room, 480 villa property sits on the Leeward coast of Oahu, on the Ko'Olina shore, and in my opinion has the best beach area on the entire island.  It's about a half hour ride from the Honolulu Airport (of course, depending on if you catch the traffic during rush hour from 3:30pm to 6:00pm).

Of course, not being in the Honolulu/Waikiki area of Oahu has it's pros & it's cons.  I loved the fact that you get a true sense of relaxation here and you  can enjoy an uncrowded beach experience, as well as have a very authentic Hawaiian experience.  But, you are awa…

Four Seasons at WDW

Fours Seasons at WDW - No Need To Leave! (Nov. 2014)  What a great addition to Walt Disney World hotel properties!!  This fabulous resort gives new dimension to luxury hotels in Orlando that are available onsite at Walt Disney World in Florida! Having opened just a few months before I visited, it still is going through some 'growing pains' but it's understandable!  The Four Seasons at WDW is terrific for the guest that is looking for balance between a fun-filled vacation for their family, along with a luxurious resort to kick back and forget about all the hustle-bustle of the 'most magical place on Earth'!

The ride from the airport was about 25 minutes, exactly what was expected since it's inside the gates of Disney.  The cost for a luxurious sedan (MEARS) with tax & tip was $85 one way;  Four Seasons partners with Mears for all transportation between the resort & everywhere that guests need to be. The drivers can be quickly & easily arranged at a m…

Travel Advising with Cultural Tolerance and Understanding in the Middle East

When I received my invitation to attend the 2014 Virtuoso Chairman's Event in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I was thrilled.  The United Arab Emirates has been an up and coming destination that has become more and more popular in recent years.  However, as I planned for my trip and spoke to friends and family about my journey, the response was less than favorable.  Many people replied, "Wow, aren't  you afraid", "Don't you think it's a scary time to be in theMiddleEast" and "Please be careful" were some of many phrases I heard.  Having sent many travelers to the UAE in recent years, I wasn't concerned about safety in the least bit, but was curious how I would feel about the culture and way of life.  You see, like many people in the US, I have always looked at the Islamic way of life with curiosity and concern.  The news has been no help and I have to admit that I have always secretly stared at the covered women and felt an urge to tear off their…

Culture & Beauty in India: Relaxation & Reflection

Bill Lynch, a Largay Travel advisor, recently spent 10 days in India to learn more about meditation and the culture. Upon his return Bill stated, “It was a lesson in being have compassion for people that don’t have a lot. Being caring, compassionate, and humble within oneself are some core practices of mediation". 
Lynch attended the Vipassana Meditation Center in Massachusetts where he meditated for 10 days straight two years ago. After the program, Lynch got interested in teaching it. He met with Julie Wallace, the owner of Bloom Yoga in Southington, CT, and asked to start a class. He’s now been teaching there twice a week for the past year.
Here's Bill's list of the Top 5 places to visit in India...

1. New Delhi, Jama Masjid:India’s largest Mosque, which was built in 1656 by Emperor Shah Jahan and took six years and 5,000 workers to construct. In New Delhi you can also see the impressive India Gate, the President’s house and other government buildings.

2. A…

Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tours - Finding the Meaning of It All

As we boarded the pontoon boat on Lake Granby, CO to distribute my father’s ashes on the island he requested in the Rocky Mountains at the headwaters of the Colorado River it started to become clear to us why we were really here.  I truly believe my father’s decision to place his ashes here were not as much about being there himself, as it was about getting his two daughters back to the Rocky Mountain one more time. 

 You see, our family lives in the Rockies and as children, we visited every year and it was always a huge part of our life.  As adults, however,  my sister and I just didn’t go as much.  Even without his daughters, my dad always made time to visit and Aunt Jeannette and cousins Robert and Lisa, always loved his visits.  The last trip he took was with them to Yellowstone National Park.  I truly believe that was why we were there and why he chose this spot for his ashes…….so Denise and I could remember how much we loved to visit our family and the Colorado Rockies.

So, as we …

The Arrival of Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tours

When my sister, Denise, and I realized that our dad had set us up for the ultimate Thelma and Louise adventure, we were already in too deep.  We were sitting on the plane on our way to Colorado to place his ashes on an island in a lake in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.   We were reminiscing about the crazy times of our nomadic childhood.  It wasn't the stories themselves that were all too funny, it was the varying perspective that each of us had as we remembered those times.

I would like to share some of the stories that truly stood out for the both of us.  I'm not sure if you will find them as amusing as we did but I hope you will be entertained non the less.

There was the time we enjoyed a week at the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch near Lake George.  We tried every activity, as it was imperative that we tried everything just once.  We were having a blast until it was time for archery, when my dad picked up a cracked arrow and proceeded to shot it directly threw his hand.  He di…

Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tours....The Final Chapter

Today, my sister Denise and I will depart on a journey affectionately known as, "Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tour, The Final Chapter".  This is a trip like no other, for it's not a business trip, it's not a vacation, it's an adventure where Denise and I will distribute my father's ashes in his final resting place on an island on Lake Granby in the Colorado Rockies where my grandparents are buried and on a flat in the Florida Keys where my dad fished on a regular basis.  These were his requests, his special places and this is what we will do.

My father, Bob Quier, also know as Captain Bob, passed away suddenly last October of a massive heart attack at the age of 70.  He died in the fashion in which he lived; with a smile on his face, surrounded by friends and doing something he loved.  He was at a Giants / Eagles game in Philadelphia with his best friends Jim and Jane Joyce and their son Christopher, which he attended every year with them.  It was a game of …

How Disney Does New York City Right! The Disney Difference

Adventures by Disney sure knows how to show people around New York City! As a woman who grew up in the Tri-State area, I visited New York City, on my birthday, since I was 8 years old. I've spent countless days and nights visiting friends and exploring the largest collection of villages in the world and I have to say that, I think, I've seen it all in New York. Well, you can never see it ALL in NYC but I've seen most of the "touristy" stuff. 
You have to expect the best when it comes to anything with the Disney brand on it but yesterday I really experienced the "Disney Difference." Here are my "Only in New York moments" with Adventures by Disney in New York City yesterday! 

My experience started with The Ride. One of the coolest ways to see New York is this ultimate viewing motor coach with stadium seating! THE RIDE uses New York City and its renowned landmarks as the backdrop for a theatrical event that blurs the boundary between tour and perfo…

“Did a coconut mojito really make me cry?” My visit to The Modern Honolulu

I just returned from a week in Waikiki and was fortunate enough to stay at The Modern Honolulu for my first time.  From the moment I arrived I was delighted and astonished. The Modern Honolulu defines themselves as “cosmopolitan chic," and that’s exactly what they are.  Sexy and sophisticated.  The aroma of plumeria greeted me immediately upon entry. Now I’ll be the first to admit that at the very mention of perfume (AH-CHOOO!) I sneeze uncontrollably.  But this scent was so very subtle and perfect. I found myself popping down to the lobby throughout the week just to catch another whiff. Well, either that, or to catch another glimpse of the quirky Herbie Fletcher original broken-in-action surfboard back splash.

The rooms were aesthetically divine, so crisp and clean looking; all white with a slight pop of Hawaiian color. I was relaxed just looking at the décor.  No tacky artwork or paisley bedspreads in sight. There are only 310 guest rooms in this hotel, the perfect size boutique…

The Magical and Peaceful Bulgari Bali is the Definition of Namaste

When I arrived in Bali on January 6, 2014, I was taken back by how much tourism has destroyed the peaceful island that I had remembered when I was nine years old. Staying on the Kuta Beach area in Bali feels a bit like being in an Asian version of South Beach, Miami. Crowded with lots of tourists, loud and a little dirty, kind of neon with lots of hotels, restaurants, beach hustling locals and outdoor shopping malls.  The next beach town close by to Kuta is called Semiyak. This area of Bali is more the American version of Kuta Beach. A little more secluded than Kuta with hidden luxury hotels off a main strip filled with small, amazing restaurants and unique, boutique shopping.  By day three, we reach Ulawatu Beach or Dreamland Beach where my family and I had afternoon tea at sunset to celebrate my birthday in Bali. They named it Dreamland Beach because 20 years ago when Bali was filled with mostly surfers, they would come here and lay out naked after a long day of ripping through the ep…

Visit Turks & Caicos Islands Where the Hotel is More Than a Place to Sleep

There are SO many reasons to visit Turks & Caicos Islands, but I just discovered another one. The Regent Palms Hotel.  I’m sorry but for those people that say "Oh, I don’t care where I stay or what kind of hotel it is, I just need a place to sleep," they seriously need a reality check!  It does matter, to me, what hotel I stay at and I think I just about found the absolute most perfect place to stay...

Let’s just start by saying that Turks is not just your regular ‘run of the mill’ Caribbean island destination!  Everything is just a little bit more ‘special’ here….the water color is more fabulous, the hotels & resorts are more magnificent, the food tastes just a bit more delicious, the pedestrian shopping area is a bit cleaner & nicer, and the people are just SO friendly!  But, it’s not for everyone.  If you are not a beach-goer and don’t enjoy being in the sun, or you don’t enjoy water activities, then by all means – STAY AWAY!  
There is no nightlife to speak of …

The Best of Holiday Travel- European Christmas Markets and Austrian Delicatessen

We landed at the Munich Airport on a cold and gray day and took a transport (a bus) 2 hours to Innsbruck. As soon as we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we headed to the Old Town area - a five minute walk - and stumbled upon one of the most beautiful streets I've ever seen. If I hadn't been so jet lagged, I would have appreciated it more!

This is the ugliest street in Innsbruck. Only kidding! There is a commercial side to Innsbruck but the old town area is what everyone comes for. It is uniquely beautiful with a mix of architectural styles and the stunning background. We hired a private guide who showed us many hidden gems in Innsbruck, shared restaurant choices and the best bars to go to. She even showed us where one of the Von Trapp descendants lives.

Epic Family Journey to My Father's Birthplace in Indonesia

Selamat Tahun Baru! Happy New Year! The Siregar’s began their New Year on the island of Sumatra, my dad’s birth place. On the first day of 2014 we landed in Medan, Indonesia, the capital of Sumatra. 

This day shall also be known as the day I lost my passport, twice! Once before I left the hotel in Jakarta and once as we waited for our baggage in Medan. After a 2 1/2 flight from Jakarta we landed in Medan and we’re immediately surprised as to how modern the airport was and how many people were at the airport, at what seemed they were just hanging out there. I immediately realized I left my passport and itineraries in the seat pocket on the plane and literally sprinted back just in time! About two minutes before it pulled back to fly again. Whew!! Setting us up for the turbulent ups and downs for what lied ahead…

We met our driver/guide named Saleh at the airport. We found out the airport was newly opened in August and because of New Year holiday, many people took their day off to check o…