Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Honeymoon Destinations During the Winter Months

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Your honeymoon is sure to be one of the most memorable vacations of your life, but after orchestrating an entire wedding, trying to pin down the perfect honeymoon destination can seem daunting. Don't dismay—we've narrowed down our top five honeymoon recommendations for winter that offer the perfect setting for you to kick off your life together—in style!

These tiny Eastern Caribbean islands may not be on everyone's radar, but that's a huge part of their appeal. Lauded as two of the world's most romantic retreats, St. Kitts and Nevis are the perfect destinations for couples looking for solitude and spectacular natural beauty. These mountainous islands are covered in lush rain forests and miles of golden beaches, with plenty of opportunities for exploration that go beyond sunbathing and water sports. History buffs can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brimstone Hill Fortress on St. Kitts, and outdoor adventurers can hike to the majestic peak of Nevis's volcano.

Where to Stay: Just steps away from Nevis shores, nestled by lush gardens and swaying palm trees, the five-star Four Seasons Nevis features three infinity-edge pools, a world-class spa, a scenic golf course, and sweeping views of the island's solitary volcano. Take a complimentary afternoon tour to check out the island's playful vervet monkeys, or participate in the hotel's "Dive and Dine" program where you'll dive with a local expert and catch your own lobster (to be prepared later at a beach barbecue).

Thailand proposes one of the most seductive vacation spots in the world and, accordingly, makes a superb honeymoon choice. While the country's intoxicating natural beauty may draw you here, it's the Thai people's graciousness and warmth that will make you want to stay. Whether you're looking to unwind on Thailand's southern beaches, enjoy awe-inspiring cultural pursuits in the northern regions, or explore the grand metropolis of Bangkok, everyone will find something to enjoy. Added bonus: Thailand offers a great value for American visitors, to boot.
Where to Stay: Tucked into the province of Chiang Mai, the magical Dhara Devi makes guests feel like royalty from the moment they arrive. The regal resort is comprised of several palace-like structures inspired by the former Lanna Kingdom. Friendly staffers, famous for spoiling guests, ensure that you'll never want to leave—and with an enormous spa, eight restaurants, fitness center, temple house, shopping village, arts-and-crafts center, cooking school, and library, why would you ever need to? 

For a true luxury destination in the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos is an excellent choice. Providenciales (or, Provo), is perhaps its most sophisticated island destination, offering some of the best beaches in the world and every modern convenience that honeymooners may desire. In Grace Bay, visitors can explore coral reefs, rich sea life, and crystalline waters for legendary diving, snorkeling, and water sports. Or, in Chalk Sound National Park, couples can enjoy seclusion bundled with beaches touting the clearest water on the island.
Where to Stay: Head to the north shore of Provo to Grace Bay Club, a Mediterranean-style resort situated on prime beachfront property. Guests will enjoy uncrowded beaches and attentive service throughout their stay. Relish the peacefulness of the island at the adults-only pool or 5,000-square-foot fitness center and spa. 

In Australia, honeymooners have an astounding selection of things to do, as well as thousands of miles of coastline to discover. If you're making the trip all the way "Down Under," don't miss Aussie-style romance in the vibrant city of Sydney, where you can take a surf lesson on Bondi Beach or experience world-class entertainment at Sydney's famous Opera House. Head next to Cairns, to snorkel and scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef for some the best underwater sightseeing in the world. Finally, hit up Uluru (known as Ayers Rock) to take in the visually stunning beauty of the Outback.

Where to Stay: The Park Hyatt, Sydney couples contemporary luxury with an intimate residential feel. Boasting a a central location and striking views of Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House, guests can appreciate the hotel's prime waterfront locale from their private balconies.

The picture-perfect natural beauty of Iceland is a sight to behold. As a honeymoon destination, Reykjavik is the perfect home base to explore more of the country like the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, and Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site where you can witness the phenomenal Northern Lights. 
Where to Stay: Bunk down at the Hótel Borg, combining Art Deco design with contemporary style right in the center of Reykjavik. All 56 modern rooms feature bathrooms equipped with Philippe Starck-designed furnishings and heated marble floors. Since it's your honeymoon, upgrade to a suite on the top floor where you'll enjoy enhanced amenities like a Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TV and a high-quality Hastens beds.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book the Sitter & Pack Your Bags- Awesome Getaways for Couples

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Ask the average person what “romantic getaway” means, and you’ll most likely hear the usual clichés like long walks on the beach, rose petal strewn beds, or sipping champagne over a candlelight dinner.
But what if you’re not average? What about those of us who like to fuel the flames of romance by amping up our adrenaline together, sharing a delicious new culinary experience with each other, or partying until we just can’t dance anymore?
For those of you who define romance a little differently—whether you seek adventure and excitement, cutting edge cuisine, wild nightlife, or just want to completely disconnect and seriously decompress—we offer the following unique and unusual romantic summer getaways:

The Adventure Couple
Whiteface Lodge
Tucked into the scenic Adirondack Mountains, the rustic Whiteface Lodge features luxurious accommodations in a breathtaking woodland setting. While world-class skiing dominates in the winter (it was home to the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics), in the summer you can venture into the surrounding Adirondack Park for a challenging trail hike, test yourselves on one of the many spectacular mountain bike trails, or take on the whitewater together on a guided rafting tour. Whiteface’s in-house concierge can arrange the perfect adventure for you, along with relaxing spa sessions to ease tired muscles when the day’s exploits are done.

The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa
Reconnect with nature, and each other, at this beachfront, Lowcountry resort where adventure and wildlife go hand in hand. Don’t just stroll across the property when you arrive, strap in to Zip Line Hilton Head and take a two-hour, high-speed tour through the vast canopy of massive live oaks. Later, hop in a kayak and explore the secluded tidal creeks, salt marshes and remote islands while you glide alongside wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Or jump on a bike and tour the 4,053-acre Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, and enjoy a two-wheeled affair among the alligators, turtles and white-tailed deer.

The Treehouse at Kilauea Volcano
For true adventure seekers, start with a 
challenging hike through the Kilauea forest until you arrive just outside the gates to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There, over a lava tube, you’ll find a ladder leading you to the Tree House at Kilauea Volcano. This secluded, one-bedroom playhouse for grown-ups built high in the trees, features a cedar Jacuzzi tub, private lanai and a “secret” trap door leading to a cozy upper level. Take the short walk into the park and experience flowing lava while you hike across volcanic craters and through lava tubes; it’s sure to heat up any romance.

The Foodie Couple
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
This Scottsdale, Arizona retreat offers true food lovers an epicurean indulgence that will make your hearts—and taste buds—flutter. During your personalized “Mi Casa, Mi Chef” gourmet experience, you’ll stay in one of the property’s gorgeous private Mountainside Estates while one of Sanctuary’s highly-skilled chefs works with you to create a completely customized dining affair. First, you and your chef will be chauffeured to the local farmer’s market to select the freshest ingredients for your menu, then you can join the chef in the kitchen to prepare your feast, or enjoy the magnificent sunset with a glass of wine on your private patio while the chef expertly whips up dinner. It’s a hedonistic celebration of your love for food—and for each other.

Hacienda Encantada
Located atop a cliff in dazzling Cabo San Lucas, Hacienda Encantada offers much more than spectacular views and pristine beaches. With a dizzying variety of culinary options in their on-site Mexican-inspired gourmet restaurants, you can also take advantage of their new “Dine Out Privilege.” This all-inclusive option allows you to delight in select restaurants located in the famous Golden Zone at the Cabo San Lucas Marina, so you can indulge in a non-stop food bacchanal.

The Can’t-Keep-Our-Hands-Off-Each-Other Couple
The Chanler at Cliff Walk
A historic cliff-side mansion of classic beauty and elegance with exquisite rooms designed to transport you back in time to a more romantic era, The Chanler at Cliffwalk is small and private, with just twenty unique accommodations overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Welcoming adults only (meaning no screaming children running up and down the halls to ruin the mood), everything is here, so you’ll never have to leave the property, or your room. Enjoy an intimate dinner at the award-winning restaurant, The Spiced Pear, or a glass of champagne in your private, in-room Jacuzzi tub—the butler will have it ready for you when you return.

Capella Pedregal
Capella’s recently launched “The Suite Life” program is like having your very own luxury beachfront resort. After enjoying a welcome margarita you can relax in your suite with a bottle of champagne and chocolates, or retire to the spa for a 90-minute couple’s massage. Later, before a traditional Mexican romantic turndown, you’ll indulge in a three-course dinner on your private terrace overlooking the ocean. And if you want to have everything taken care of before you arrive, Capella’s team of Personal Assistants can help plan every detail of your stay in advance, including setting up a romantic private dinner on the sand, so you can relax and enjoy some “alone time.”

Enchanted Moments at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort
Located on the exclusive and exotic island of Mauritius, the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” The St. Regis Mauritius Resort delivers unparalleled luxury and romance.  Sip from your complimentary bottle of champagne while overlooking the pristine white natural beach and spectacular turquoise lagoon from your terrace, then retreat to the Iridium Spa for a duo massage, ending your day with a just-for-the-two-of-you, candle-lit dinner on secluded Le Morne Beach. It’s like no one else exists in the entire world.

The Stressed Out to the Max Couple
Half Moon RockResort
When royals and celebrities need to get away from the constant stress and pressure, one of their favorite destinations is Half Moon, a RockResort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Spread out over 400 acres, with more than 50 private and semi private pools, the two of you can spend hours in delightful tropical solitude without seeing another living soul. With 68,000 sq. ft of relaxing therapeutic treatments at their Fern Tree Spa, the Half Moon offers the only overwater bungalows in Jamaica, where you can treat yourselves to a couples massage while the sound of the waves calms you. But what will truly erase all your worries is the indigenous Bush Bath, where over a dozen detoxifying and re-energizing herbs from the spa’s own garden are mixed together in a deep soaking tub, big enough for two- feel the stress melt away.

The Nizuc Resort & Spa
Located on the Mexican Caribbean, the Nizuc combines European spa therapies with ancient Mayan healing rituals for a unique spa experience that completely relieves, relaxes and rejuvenates. Begin to unwind with an organic tea ceremony and traditional foot ritual while your treatment specialist customizes the perfect therapies to soothe your mind and body. Book a private couple’s spa suite with your own pool and outdoor deck, and enjoy your treatments in tranquil solitude, like the spa’s exclusive Mayan Cacao massage. Considered the Food of the Gods to ancient Mayans for its mood enhancing and restorative properties, your therapist will melt away the stress using the purest cacao massage oil, finishing with an oil pour to your forehead to calm your mind-as relaxing as it is indulgent.

The Nightlife Couple
Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa
Located at the very tip of the Baja peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortes, the Grand Solmar Land’s End is not only private and exclusive with unequaled views of the ocean, but it’s also just minutes from the heart of downtown Cabo San Lucas, infamous for its non-stop nightlife. Here you can enjoy live music and cocktails at one of the city’s intimate lounges, relive your head-banging days at a classic rock bar, or dance all night at one of the legendary, uninhibited Vegas-style nightclubs. Or hit them all—because in Cabo, the party, like true love, never ends.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
If your idea of the perfect romantic weekend is sipping hand-crafted cocktails or rare wines while enjoying live music in an intimate setting, then skip South Beach and head a few miles north to the St. Regis Bal Harbour. Miami Beach’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star property, the St. Regis is also the only Miami hotel to offer live music seven nights a week—so no matter when you arrive, you can always relax and enjoy a performance. Nestled just off the main lobby, The Bar features up-and-coming singers and musicians, ranging from upbeat rhymes to contemporary jazz, and every evening at 7:30 pm, a St. Regis Butler celebrates the close of the day, and the arrival of an unforgettable evening, by sabering a bottle of champagne. After, if you should feel like something more lively, South Beach is just a few minutes away.

No matter what “romantic” means to you, you’ll find a world of hideaways, sanctuaries and retreats with packages designed to suit your every wish and whim—and keep those flames burning. Contact us for further information on these or any other travel packages. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

10 Things to NOT Do at Disney World

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Walt Disney World is the most-visited vacation resort in the world. Yet as magical as it is, it can also be extremely overwhelming for parents, grandparents, and even children themselves. The authors of the book, "Walt Disney World with Kids" Kim Wright Wiley and Leigh C.W. Jenkins are the ultimate Disney World Experts: they've been there over 100 times combined, and Leigh even worked there for three years. Here are their top 10 things not to do at Disney World.


Ordinarily, one of the perks of going on vacation is getting to sleep in—but not at Disney! The number one mistake first-time guests make is thinking they can arrive at the parks at 11 a.m. and see everything in a couple of hours. The park is least crowded in the first hour after opening, so this is your best chance to get on the big-name rides without long waits. Later you can have an afternoon siesta.


A fact to ponder: Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan. With four theme parks, two water parks, and countless sporting, shopping, and dining options, it's impossible to see everything in the course of one vacation. (In fact, they designed it that way to make sure you'll come back.) Rather than treating the vacation like some military assault, consider the age, stamina, and risk tolerance of everyone in your party and prioritize accordingly. Reading up on the parks in advance will give you a good sense of which attractions are "must dos" for your family, which are nice if you have the time, and which are skippable. And you don't have to do everything together: strapping Grandma onto Space Mountain against her will or hoping a three-year-old sits still through The Hall of Presidents is a recipe for disaster.


Parents often plan a vacation for their kids without consulting the very people they are trying to entertain. Besides helping the kids get excited about the trip, letting them in on the decision-making will prevent temper tantrums and fighting while you're on vacation. One strategy is to let each family member choose three must-see attractions in each park and then agree to honor those choices.


Thanks largely to FastPass+, the My Disney Experience app, and the ever-expanding size of the parks, gone are the days where Disney can be tackled without a plan. If you're thinking, "We'll just show up, get a map, and see what everybody feels like doing," you're likely to find yourself shut out of the best restaurants and most popular attractions by families who made advance reservations. This is especially true if you're traveling during summer or over a major holiday. 


There is a reason good deals can be found at hotels on the eastern side of Orlando (I-4, exits 80 and higher)—they're the farthest away from Disney. Staying in this area guarantees you'll be fighting Orlando rush-hour traffic every morning, on top of the traffic Disney itself draws. If you plan on spending most of your time in the parks and not on the highway, make sure to stay in hotels that are off exits 79 and below.


Not many people associate Disney with culinary delights, but you should! Disney goes to great lengths to provide an array of dining choices to its guests, with both variety and quality increasing steadily every year. One of the best ways to find out where to go? Ask a cast member where their favorite place to eat is. No one knows the parks—and its food—better!


It may seem counterintuitive to split up—this is a family vacation, after all—but little breaks will make the time together better, so schedule time apart to explore or just to relax. Older kids can split off from the group to ride a favorite over and over, or one parent can take the younger kids to Fantasyland while the other tackles the coasters with the older ones. Babies, older family members, and anyone who has just plain had it can go back to the room while the teens stay in the parks. (Granted, this is easier if you're staying on-site at a Disney-owned hotel and can use their transportation system to come and go whenever you please.) Parents, look into in-room babysitters or the kidsitting programs provided at most hotels so you can enjoy an evening at one of Disney's upscale, adult-centric restaurants.


The Disney parks are full of wonderfully creative details. While walking down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, look up to the store windows to find the names of people who have influenced the Disney Company. In the Animal Kingdom, spend time studying the Tree of Life and its more than 300 animal carvings. Hollywood Studios has some of the best Streetmosphere performers—actors and actresses who walk around like they're in 1920s Hollywood, interacting with guests and putting on small shows. Epcot has shows going non-stop around the World Showcase in the afternoon and many, like the young acrobats in China, are especially fun for kids. And the number one thing to notice? The cast members! Many guests report that the highlight of their trip was getting to know the men and women who make Walt Disney World the magical place it is.


Many toddlers and even a few older kids will find the experience of meeting Mickey Mouse and friends to be intimidating. If your kids seem overwhelmed when they get through the gates and find that the main mouse is actually five feet tall, start them off slowly by meeting the face characters—those like Aladdin or Cinderella who don’t wear a mask.  And instead of forcing kids into the picture, allow them to watch the characters before approaching. Employees have been trained to be sensitive around nervous children and are good at slowly inviting them to participate on their own terms. If you schedule a character meal, save if for the last day. By then, even the most cautious kids usually will have warmed up. 


Sure, Disney is for families, but some of the attractions can pack quite a wallop. It’s easy to figure out that a ride called Tower of Terror might be terrifying, but keep in mind that Disney does scary atmospheres as well. The Haunted Mansion, It’s Tough to be a Bug, Stitch's Great Escape—all of these are tame rides with elements that might frighten some youngsters. When in doubt, let a parent ride first and come back with the verdict, or do a baby swap.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tipping Tips 101

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There is nothing more vexing than trying to figure out who to tip, how much, and when—especially when you're in a foreign country. You’ll come face to face with employees at airports and train stations, hotels and bed and breakfasts, restaurants and cafés. Do you have to tip everyone? What about shuttle bus drivers, tour guides, and bellmen?
The truth is that the rules differ from place to place, so it's hard to know how much you should be tipping. Below, you'll find a handy cheat sheet that will prevent you from ever tipping too much or too little again.


At the airport or train stations: It’s common to tip any airport porter that assists you with your luggage. Set aside $1 to $2 per bag. The same guidelines should be followed when taking a shuttle bus around the airport or to your car rental counter: $1 to $2 per bag. When the valet brings your car around to the hotel entrance you should hand over a buck or two.
At hotels: The bellman that brings your luggage to the room should receive $1 to $2 for each bag delivered. You should tip your housekeeper $2 to $5 per day and do so each morning and you’ll likely get better service. You don’t need to tip the concierge for simple requests like directions to a local restaurant but you should offer $5 to $20 for more involved requests. For example, if the concierge secures reservations for you at the hot restaurant or sold-out Broadway show, tip accordingly.
A note about bed and breakfasts: Most often, the owner(s) of the B&B prepare meals, clean rooms, and man the check-in desk. It is not necessary to tip the owner of a business.
Taxi drivers: It’s commonplace to give a taxi driver 10 to 15 percent of the fare as a tip.
At restaurants: In the United States we tip waiters and waitresses 15 to 20 percent of the total bill for the meal. Bartenders generally get a buck a drink. We’ll discuss what to do in other countries below.
Tour guides: All tour guides should receive a few extra dollars for services rendered in addition to the price of the tour. The amount of the tip should hinge on the length of the tour (half-day or full-day) and how much you enjoyed the experience. You could give $5 to $10 per person for a half-day excursions and as much as $10 to $20 per person for full-day tours.


While tipping is the norm in the United States, it’s not customary in many parts of the world. In fact, in some countries like China and Japan, individuals would be offended if you offered a tip for services rendered. Before leaving home, it’s always a good idea to research the tipping practices of the countries you’ll visit. You can also download an app like Global Tipping to your smartphone so you’ll have access to tipping information at your fingertips.
Argentina: Tip 10 percent in restaurants, give your bellman 2 pesos per bag, but don’t tip your taxi driver.
Australia: Tipping is not expected but waiters and waitresses do appreciate a 10 to 15 percent gratuity when offered and that’s becoming more common—especially in pricier restaurants. The only other person you should tip is your hotel bellman: $1 per bag.
Austria: In restaurants a service charge is usually automatically added but it’s common to round up the bill in addition to that (leaving 10 percent or less is common). Follow U.S. tipping guidelines for everyone else.
Brazil: Tipping here is not customary but you may offer a gratuity for excellent service. Most restaurants do add a 10 percent service charge to the bill so look for that first. Tip at your discretion.
Canada: Follow U.S. tipping customs.
The Caribbean: In general, the Caribbean islands follow the USA’s lead when it comes to tipping. However, many all-inclusive resorts levy a 10 to 15 percent service charge. You may, of course, tip on top of that but consider the level of service before doing so.
China: Tipping is not customary in China with one exception: tour guides. Give $5 to $10 per person for a half-day excursions and as much as $10 to $20 per person for full-day tours.
France: A 15 percent service charge is always included in any restaurant or bar bill and tipping beyond that is not expected. However, feel free to leave an additional 5 or 10 percent for excellent service. At a café, round up the bill if you wish to leave a little something extra for your waiter. Give your taxi driver one or two euros as a tip and bellman should get one euro per bag.
French Polynesia: Tipping is not a custom here so don’t feel obligated but it’s not uncommon to leave a tip for good service.
Germany: A service charge is automatically included in restaurant bills but it’s common to either round up the bill or leave an extra 5 to 10 percent for good service. Tip your taxi driver 5 to 10 percent, give your bellman one euro per bag, and leave one or two euros per day for your hotel housekeeper.
Hong Kong: Tipping is acceptable in Hong Kong. A 10 percent service charge is generally included in restaurant bills but you can round up or leave additional money for excellent service. Roundup taxi fares and offer bellman $2 or $3HK per bag.
Italy: Tipping in Italy isn’t compulsory. A service fee is often included in restaurant tabs. Feel free to roundup the bill or tip in addition to that for good service at high-end establishments. Hand your bellman $1 per bag and round up taxi fares.
Japan: Tipping is uncommon in Japan and sometimes viewed as rude—especially if you try to hand someone money directly. Tour guides and tour bus drivers should be offered a gratuity, but it’s best delivered in an envelope. Give $5 to $10 per person for a half-day excursions and as much as $10 to $20 per person for full-day tours.
Mexico: Follow U.S. tipping customs.
Singapore: At hotels you only need to tip the bellman one or two dollars per bag. In restaurants, a 10 percent service charge is levied on all bills but you can leave an additional 10 percent if you feel service warrants it. Round up your taxi fare for your convenience but it’s not necessary.
South Africa: Tip 10 to 20 percent in restaurants. Group tour guides should receive 10 to 15 rand per person per day while private guides generally receive 50 rand for half-day tours and 100 rand for all-day excursions. Leave about 50 rand per day for your hotel housekeeper and tip the bellman about 5 rand per bag. Give taxi drivers 10 percent of the fare.
Thailand: Tipping is not customary in Thailand, but tokens of your appreciation are always happily accepted. Tip at your discretion.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Children's Museum, Labrynth, Animals and More! - Schönbrunn Palace

The summer home of successive Habsburg rulers and their families, Schönbrunn Palace is Vienna–and Austria’s–most visited tourist attraction. The enormous residence comprises 1,441 spectacularly preserved rooms, as well as a sprawling garden area complete with follies, a zoo and a labyrinth. The grandeur of the palace and its grounds hold plenty of potential to spark the imagination of children of all ages–here is our guide to making Schönbrunn come to life for kids. 
Interactive Children’s Museum:
Onsite at Schönbrunn, the Children’s Museum was created with the sole purpose of bringing the story of the palace and its aristocratic inhabitants to life for children aged 4 to 12 years. Here, kids can experience first hand what it might have been like to be a prince of princess of the summer palace, with opportunities for dressing and applying makeup in the style of the times, laying the table for a banquet, and playing with period toys.
Get lost!:
The labyrinth and maze of Schönbrunn gardens are a highlight for kids and adults alike, with both requiring a great deal of interfamilial team work. Simple though it looks, the maze, which was laid out in 1790 and reconstructed in 1998, has visitors scratching their heads and retracing their steps for hours on end. The payoff is well worth it, when you finally reach the raised platform in the middle to mock or encourage those still stuck. The labyrinth covers 2700 square meters and features a set of games and challenges for a range of ages and learners, including a mathematical riddle and a giant kaleidoscope. Over at the adjacent Labyrinthikon, a futuristic playground awaits.
Fun at the folly:
There’s nothing like some Roman ruins–even if they are only hundreds rather than thousands of years old–to get children excited. Added to the grounds in 1778 by architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf, Schönbrunn’s Roman Ruins are a prime example of the fashion for fake ruins that were so popular at the time. Despite being called “follies”, the fake remains provide a serious and painstakingly put-together insight into the tastes and wonts of the 18th century ruling classes
Puppet show:
A lesser-known highlight of Schönbrunn’s grounds is the charming marionette theater, which has daily shows of Mozart’s Magic Flute, an adaptation of Strauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus called Die Kinderfledermaus (The Child Bat), and Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck–all starring eerily lifelike puppets worked out-of-sight by expert hands, of course. Private showings of various performances can also be arranged. Animal magic:
Such is the scale of the palace’s grounds that Vienna’s zoo is located within its border. Founded in 1752 as the imperial menagerie– a collection of exotic animals that directly preceded the concept of zoological gardens–Schönbrunn Zoo is the oldest in the world. Animals live amid well-preserved baroque buildings, and the zoo is home to leopards, elephants, koalas and even giant pandas, along with many more creatures great and small.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Barcelo Hotel and Resorts Take 2- the Dominican Republic

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Today we moved eastbound to Barcelo's choices in the Dominican Republic; with 5 options in the Punta Cana area alone, we want to help our readers and clients make their choices a little bit easier. 

Barceló Capella Beach (Juan Dolio): just 45 minutes from Santo Domingo you will find a world of fun and entertainment thanks to the facilities of the hotel; these include 2 restaurants, 3 bars, 3 swimming pools, a children's park, sports tracks, an amphitheatre, gym, spa, night time entertainment programs, and a nightclub on the sea front. The hotel has the capacity to accommodate groups of up to 700 people for wedding receptions and banquets in the amphitheatre. There are also several conference rooms with all the necessary services and equipment.

Barceló Puerto Plata: is located on the exclusive Playa Dorada beach surrounded by powdery sand and crystal clear waters and is only 15 minutes from the Gregorio Luperón International Airport and 90 minutes from the Cibao International Airport in Santiago de los Caballeros. Located 10 minutes from the city of Puerto Plata and surrounded by an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, this complex is an excellent option for sports enthusiasts. 

With a daily, interactive entertainment program, the resort is ideal for families, couples, and single guests.

Club Premium Deluxe at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe (Punta Cana): this new hotel is made up of 144 luxurious and modern rooms with hot tubs on the terrace and the best views of the Caribbean Sea. The Club Premium Deluxe guarantees a symphony of services such as check-in & checkout in a private lounge, buffet breakfast, canapés and premium drinks, international newspapers or a concierge available for personalized attention. 
You’ll find the best cuisine with 11 restaurants that are top quality and offer a variety of specialties- Japanese food, traditional Mexican as well as meat, fish and international food. The Club Premium Deluxe at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe is part of the Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort and faces Playa Bávaro, one of the most impressive beaches of the world. 

The resort boasts 4 amazing properties: The Club Premium Deluxe at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, the Family Club at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, the Barceló Bávaro Beach - Adults Only. and the Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe

Family Club at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe (Punta Cana): this new hotel is comprised of 288 family rooms with microwave ovens and a special minibar to satisfy family's needs including a selection of juices, cereals and milk. The rooms have 2 bedrooms that create separate areas for children and adults. The multiple services include exclusive check-in area, supervised activities with qualified entertainment staff, and free entry to the water park.

Barceló Bávaro Beach - Adults only (Punta Cana): this dreamy hotel has reinvented itself after a complete renovation to become an exclusive hotel for adults only.
The hotel offers first class rooms, 80% of which are located right on the beachfront, making it the most perfect place for a romantic getaway. Guest can enjoy the exquisite range of cuisine offered at the hotel with its Caribbean Buffet, Chez Gourmet and La Brisa restaurants; 9 a-la-carte restaurant options: Chez Gourmet (international), La Brisa (Mediterranean), El Coral (fish and seafood), Santa Fe (meat), La Dolce Vita (Italian), México Lindo (Mexican), La Fuente (Spanish), Kyoto (Japanese) and La Comedie (please note: Gourmet – additional charge except for Club Premium guests). Visit the facilities where you can find different options to fill your days: football pitch, tennis court, swimming pool, golf course, water sports, wellness centre, theatre and casino. This exclusive resort set on a virgin beach welcomes you with a cocktail, spoils you with drinks by the pool and offers you a 45 minute hydrothermal circuit (per person once during your stay). There are also 2 massage beds in the pool area at an additional charge). Guests also have access to the facilities of the Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe. 

Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe (Punta Cana): 
the hotel is the perfect place for lovers of good food with 11 first class restaurants and different specialties at your disposal.  You can choose from Japanese, traditional Mexican, meat and fish dishes and international cuisine. 

During the day you can partake in all kinds of sports including golf, kayaking, windsurfing, trips in basic sailing boats or hobbie wave. You can also enjoy all the facilities offered at the hotel with the incredible, complete and luxurious U-Spa Bávaro, swimming pools, gym, shopping centre and a miniclub for the little ones. At night you can enjoy the hotel's vibrant nightlife including shows, nightclubs, and casino.

Barceló Dominican Beach (Punta Cana): is located right in the center of the Caribbean Sea on El Cortecito beach. Thanks to the Barceló All Inclusive program, here you will be able to taste both local and international dishes in the 6 a la carte restaurants, 3 buffet restaurants or 8 bars located within the hotel. What's more, you have the gym and the Spa at your disposal, with a wide range of high quality services available. Enjoy the 3 swimming pools and 2 hot tubs, and the day and night animation program with live shows and music.

Barceló Punta Cana: this premium category resort is surrounded by tropical gardens and boasts 7 specialty restaurants. It is the ideal hotel for families, couples and friends thanks to the extensive facilities and services. It's impossible to get bored in this hotel as one can enjoy water sports on its fabulous beach or relax in its amazing pools, all while the children have a great time in the hotel's water park.

Barceló Santo Domingo: has been completely refurbished and boasts brand new facilities. Situated in downtown Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic's capital city, it's a hotel with big tradition and prestige. The 217 rooms are fully equipped to the highest standards ensuring a well-deserved rest. The internationally recognized cuisine is another hallmark of the success of our hotels. Wi-Fi service is provided throughout all of the hotel's facilities, as well as free parking.