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Laid-back Luxury - A Couples Guide to Fine Island Living

Author in Barbados

Although the month of love is a distant memory, the spoiling and pampering that comes with it should be an all-year-round affair. Spending time in Barbados with your better half—on the sun-kissed sands of an island getaway—is the perfect potion to rekindle the flame…or to keep the fire burning!

Where We Stayed

What drew me to The Sandpiper Luxury Hotel was its rustic feel set against its opulence and intimate subtle charm. Don’t get me wrong, we love spa resort-type hotels, but Sandpiper’s interior design and location near the stretch of white sandy beaches along St. James was breathtakingly beautiful.

We booked ourselves a one-bedroom luxury suite (they do have double rooms, too) with all the usual amenities, as well as a balcony that beckons you to a morning coffee while you watch the sun crest over the coconut palms. The luxury suites also have a plunge pool perfect for desalinizing after being in the ocean all day.

Barbados Bartender

What We Ate

And now the food…oh my gosh, the food was amazing! It’s fresh, especially the seafood, as it’s caught each morning. The cuisine served during the day was never boring or repetitive and is award-winning quality. Even the barbecue is moist and full of flavor. The best way to drink rum (this would be the only way I would drink it from now on, if I could) is by having a bartender whack off the top of a coconut, splashing a healthy helping of rum inside and throwing in a straw with a teeny-tiny umbrella. I can guarantee you have not tasted anything so marvelous.

What We Did

What we loved about The Sandpiper Hotel was their exclusive and complimentary water activities. We didn’t have to organize anything! We snorkeled, surfed, kayaked, jet-skied and went on island tours. They offer Mabel rides, tennis court access and golfing, but those weren’t our style, so we skipped them.

Barbados Sea Turtle

Besides the ocean-tastic activities, we also did a bit of touring of the island. We visited Harrison’s Cave, saw Green Monkeys in the Wildlife Reserve and took a trip in a glass-bottomed yacht to see the sea turtles (when we snorkeled later that week, we swam with them a little way).

How Did We Do It

Flight costs generally chew up most of our budgets, so I did a comparison with flythomascook.com, flight centers and other popular travel agents to find the best deal.

I cannot truly convey the actual feeling of being on this Caribbean island, talking to other guests, hearing their stories and the sounds of the waves at night and laughing with new friends over good food and wine. Depending on where you are on the island, you will experience both the calm and easy-going side, as well as the passion and energy. So go beyond the standard Google search or YouTube video, and find your own secret gems waiting to be discovered. It will be well worth the time!

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/15 at 09:26 AM
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Family-Friendly Villas in Jamaica

Kick off your snow boots, grab your sandals and head to Jamaica! This week we’re previewing a few of the wonderful villas available there through Villas by Linda Smith. Linda and her team have put together a list of sumptuous villa options designated as family friendly. What makes them family friendly? In addition to the full staff of butler, chef and housekeeper, these villas offer:

- Grassy lawns and outdoor play areas;
- Safe distances between house and swimming pool;
- Kid-friendly meal planning;
- Nanny service; and
- Adjoining bedrooms for parents and children.

Many of these homes also enjoy membership to exclusive resorts so you can take advantage of their on-site kids’ clubs. Here’s a preview of three of these gorgeous family-friendly villas—with the full list available here!

Sundown on the Beach—Discovery Bay

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Sundown is an exquisite nine-bedroom home on a 125’ private white sand beach next to the turquoise waters of Discovery Bay. The villa also features a 17’x 28’ pool with shower, a staff of seven and two seaside gazebos for lunches, massages and watching sunsets across the bay.

Tranquillity on the Beach—Montego Bay

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Tranquillity is a fully-staffed beautiful six-bedroom beachfront villa with more than 6,300 square feet of rich marble floors. The private pool and expanded pool deck are surrounded by hibiscus with over a dozen different blooms daily. Artful landscaping ensures year-round flowers in bloom that brings regular visits from hummingbirds and parrots. The grounds resemble a private park dotted with mango, guava, banana, plantain, lime, soursop, apple and papaya trees.

Knockando on Round Hill—Montego Bay

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The deluxe 5½-bedroom private Knockando villa sits atop prestigious Round Hill and is powered 100% by solar. It features a staff of five, a 20’ X 40’ private saltwater pool with unique mosaic Chinese dragon design and is distinguished by one of the most breathtaking views in the Caribbean.

After taking a look at these posh villas, you and your family are sure to be headed for family fun-in-the-sun in no time!

Photos courtesy of Jamaica Villas by Linda Smith and photographer Nigel D. Lord

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/11 at 12:56 PM
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Posh Family Travel on a Budget

Jennifer and Katie in Paris

Please welcome our guest poster—author Jennifer Coburn!

When I tell people I took my daughter on four summer trips to Europe, some reply, “Must be nice.” What they’re assuming, of course, is that my family is rich. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When my daughter Katie and I took our first trip overseas, our house was in a state of serious disrepair. None of our windows shut properly. The oven in our 1970s kitchen had two settings: hot and off. And the bathroom floor was patched with wooden boards.

Perhaps making overseas travel a priority was irresponsible, but I will always treasure the memories of watching Katie sketch at the Louvre in Paris and explore the Coliseum in Rome. Plus, there are ways to make family travel fit most budgets.

Fly for Free

Airline frequent flyer programs are a pain to navigate, but worth the hassle. Katie and I have flown to Europe for free in the height of travel season, but I had to learn a few tricks in order to collect and redeem miles.

First, earn miles by signing up with a credit card that awards points for charges. If you have the discipline to pay off the card in full every month, charge everything! If I bought a banana, it went on my American Express card that awards 1.2 miles for every dollar I spend.

Join a dining club—or other groups—that award miles. I earn five miles every time I charge a meal at many restaurants, including hamburger joints.

I’ve been able to fund four round-trip tickets to Europe in the summer this way.

Don’t have the patience to read the fine print? Neither did I, so I called the airline in the middle of the night to talk to a call center operator who wasn’t rushed. She advised that if I wanted to fly during peak travel season, I should call on the exact day “non-revenue” seats opened up. For American Airlines, this was 331 days prior to the flight date. She suggested I call at midnight (in her time zone) to ensure another savvy traveler didn’t snatch up the extremely limited frequent flyer seats. The operator also offered this valuable caveat: Be sure you are 100% certain of your travel dates, because any change will cost you.

Put Your Home to Work

You can actually earn money while traveling by renting your vacant home on Air BnB or another vacation rental service. To find lodging, email everyone you know and ask who has friends who will rent their home or rooms. Katie and I spent 10 days in a lovely home near London. A friend’s aunt charged us $20 per night. Friends in southern Italy let us stay with them for free.

You might also house swap through one of many reputable home exchange services.

Jennifer and Katie in Madrid

Enjoy Family Discounts and “City Passes”

Many countries offer discounts at tourist attractions for children under 16. And most cities offer a cultural pass that bundles admission to attractions at a discount. I bought a $32 Barcelona arts pass that gave me access to every museum we visited, and Katie got in for free almost everywhere we went.

Make a Game of Budgeting

At the start of our visit to Italy, I explained to Katie that I could afford to travel for a month on a budget or a week on a shopping bender. Thankfully, she agreed that time was more important than stuff, and we made a game of staying on our daily budget.

For meals, we loaded up on free breakfast, carried snack bars (from Costco back home) and ate at wonderful little delis. It was Italy, though, so every few nights we splurged on great meals.

Travel is a luxury because it gives us the time to explore new parts of the world with the people we love most. But that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. With some advance planning and cost cutting, the trip of a lifetime doesn’t have to put you in debt for the rest of your life.

Jennifer Coburn is the author of “We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother-Daughter Memoir.” Visit her online at JenniferCoburn.com or on Facebook/JenniferCoburnBooks.

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/08 at 11:33 AM
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5 Vivid & Vibrant Destinations Guaranteed to Lift Your Spirits

Burano, Italy

 
Located in the same lagoon as Venice, Burano is the brightest town in Italy. Legend has it that the town’s colorful roots come from its fishermen, who painted their houses in Technicolor so they’d be easy to see through the fog. So that’s how you get your family to agree to painting the house fuchsia. Touché, Burano fishermen, touché.

Sample rate listed is for travel from New York to Venice between April 25, 2014 and April 28, 2014, based on availability. Additional dates and locations available. Taxes and service fees included. For reservations, visit http://www.cheapoair.com/vacations/special-packages/exclusive-vacation-packages.html

Juzcar, Spain – aka Smurf Town

 
I kid you not—the producers of The Smurfs movie talked the 250 people who live in this teeny, tiny town, to let them paint every single building blue. Bonus points if you make friends with Papa Smurf while you’re there.

Sample rate listed is for travel from Boston to Malaga between April 27, 2014 and April 30, 2014, based on availability. Additional dates and locations available. Taxes and service fees included.  For reservations, visit http://www.cheapoair.com/vacations/special-packages/exclusive-vacation-packages.html

Colmar, France

The capital of Alsatian wine, visiting Colmar is like stepping into a Disney movie of sunshine and rainbows. It’s filled with flower-lined canals, tiny boats, a nightly light show, and even a miniature train. A MINIATURE TRAIN! How. Cute. Is. That.

Sample rate listed is for travel from Miami to Colmar between April 27, 2014 and April 29, 2014, based on availability. Additional dates and locations available. Taxes and service fees included. For reservations, visit http://www.cheapoair.com/vacations/special-packages/exclusive-vacation-packages.html

Oia in Santorini, Greece

 
Perched on a Santorini cliff top, this village is as charming as it gets. Complete with vineyards and donkeys, visiting Oia (pronounced EE-yah) will pretty much make you feel like you stepped into a postcard. Also, please jump into the Mediterranean, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants style. Thank you.

Sample rate listed is for travel from Los Angeles to Santorini between April 26, 2014 and April 29, 2014, based on availability. Additional dates and locations available. Taxes and service fees included. For reservations, visit http://www.cheapoair.com/vacations/special-packages/exclusive-vacation-packages.html

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 
The only place on this list you can hit without a passport, visiting Old San Juan is like taking a step back in time. A small island that’s both a part of and totally separate from the Puerto Rican capital, Old San Juan features brightly painted buildings, cobblestone streets, and lovely beaches. Yes, please!

Sample rate listed is for travel from Las Vegas to San Juan between April 26, 2014 and April 30, 2014, based on availability. Additional dates and locations available. Taxes and service fees included. For reservations, visit http://www.cheapoair.com/vacations/special-packages/exclusive-vacation-packages.html

Fares are round trip, Fares include all fuel surcharges, our service fees and taxes. Displayed fares are historical fares were last found on March 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM and are subject to availability. There is no guarantee that the fares will be available at the time of your search.

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/04 at 10:32 AM
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Say ‘Aloha’ Like Britney

“You want a Lamborghini? Sippin’ martinis?
Look hot in a bikini?”

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Britney Spears was lookin’ mighty sun-kissed during her Hawaiian vacay with the family this past week! Although it remains unknown to us non-celebrity folk where Britney, David and the boys stayed, Posh can give you the scoop on where to stay in Hawaii so you can ‘werk it’ like Britney.

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The Kahala Hotel and Resort
The Kahala, a celebrity retreat since 1964, is located in Honolulu, HI. This luxury hotel and resort is perfect for everyone. Children will love that they can swim with the dolphins or see sea turtles up close, and the Kahala Keiki Club is a place for them to have fun and learn about Hawaiian culture at the same time. Parents will love the reef-protected beach that makes for safe swimming conditions. Their spa is world class, and their dining is top notch. This resort has it all!

Spa at Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay Resort
Located in North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii, Turtle Bay is the only resort in the area that offers a new era of honoring island culture with dramatically renovated accommodations, sourced-restaurants and an integrated wellness spa. You’ll be captivated by the luxury as well as the undeniable natural beauty. Want to take a peek right now? The resort’s live web cams are always on, so you can see what you could be enjoying!

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Four Seasons Resorts
With four luxury resorts in Hawaii, the Four Seasons stands at the pinnacle of the area’s resorts. Many guests even choose to spend time experiencing each resort with the Experience the Hawaiian Islands Package. Having been named the top four resorts in Hawaii by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler, you can be sure your experience will be wonderful! Each resort offers its own unique, quintessentially Hawaiian feature from Jack Nicklaus golf courses to lush gardens and views of the dramatic peak of Haleakala. It’s perfection at it’s best!

So, if you and the fam are finding winter to be “Toxic” and you’re thinking “I Wanna Go” (and we’re sure you are), make like Britney and head for Hawaii!

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/31 at 11:00 PM
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Eleuthra Island: A Refuge from the World

Nobody said it was easy; It’s such a shame for us to part… Nobody said it better than Chris Martin himself, so if you’re looking to get away from it all, we recommend following in his footsteps and stepping out to Eleuthra Island in the Bahamas. There are so many options for luxury on the island: you can rent a home like Gwyneth and Chris or stay at the beachfront resort The Cove Eleuthra Resort and Spa like Justin and Selena! As one of Conde Nast Traveler’s 31 Places to Have the Perfect Beach Vacation, the Cove offers everything you need in a refuge.

An intimate destination on the Caribbean’s most beautiful pink sand beach, all villas, guest rooms and suites blend urban chic with island charm. Sitting on 40 lush acres offering direct access to the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean, The Cove offers an authentic Bahamian island retreat. Between the pink sand beach with its 180º ocean view and ocean-front outdoor pool, you can’t help but relax and reconnect with yourself. And the kids will find plenty to occupy them—from snorkeling, surfing and sea glass collecting to visiting the beautiful Glass Window Bridge just above Gregory Town.

The Cove features two signature restaurants, the Ocean Front Freedom Restaurant & Sushi Bar and the Gregory Town Beach Grill both serving sustainable produce and vegetables from their own gardens, as well as the finest local and imported seasonal products available, organic fed beef and seafood from our local fisherman.

Whatever type of rest and relaxation you’re looking for, you will surely find it on Eleuthra Island!

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/28 at 12:30 PM
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Verbier: A Ski Resort for the Discerning Family

Skiing at Verbier

Please welcome Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan our guest poster from Momaboard.com!

Like every one of London’s families, we planned to spend our February half-term holiday skiing. The options are endless, ranging from Italy to Austria, from budget to luxe and from beginner to advanced ski slopes. We were two families traveling together, with two 5-year olds and a 2 year old. We wanted easy slopes and lessons for our beginner kids, a bit of a challenge for our skiing husbands and a fun après-ski scene for us glam moms. It soon became apparent that Verbier in Switzerland was the perfect place for us.

Verbier is small village in southwest Switzerland. Geneva is the closest major airport and an easy two-hour drive to Verbier, weather conditions permitting. There are also many shuttle and train services connecting Geneva and Verbier.

If you have kids that are learning to ski, you will no doubt spend a lot of time at Les Esserts, the best beginner ski set up. Bubs as young as two years old go zipping down the slopes either harnessed to a parent or completely on their own. Every second person is tethered to a ski instructor, and no one pays much mind to face splats or flying poles. The experts know what they are doing—we booked the boys into two days of private lessons (two hours each), and by the end of the second day they were flying downhill all by themselves.

Food at Restaurant Les Esserts

Everyone deserves a treat after all that hard work, and Restaurant Les Esserts is the perfect place for it. We enjoyed Swiss specialties like fondue and raclette, and the kids relished their burgers and hot chocolate. Sit inside by the fire or on the terrace overlooking the mountains on a sunny day.

Après-ski activities in Verbier start at 4pm and carry on into the wee hours. Kids are welcome at many places, even, I was surprised to find, at the cocktail lounge at Le Farinet, the it après spot. For a more casual outdoor scene, the brand new W Hotel offers a DJ and beverages right at the foot at the slopes. For those looking to be transported to warmer shores, surf bar Offshore serves up Tex-Mex cuisine and margaritas. For a typically Swiss dinner in a cozy chalet, head over to Aux Vieux Verbier to enjoy the wine list and local specialties while the kids feast on the most gourmet nuggets they will ever have.

Fashionista parents will enjoy picking up the latest ski collections from Moncler, Descente and other luxury brands at many of the village’s boutiques, so even if you don’t ski, there’s much for you to do by way of shopping, browsing or people watching. Because it is so popular with kids, babysitting services are also easily available, as are kids’ clubs at the larger hotels. The locals speak French and English, and you will hear a lot of Italian and German as well.

Prince of Denmark Skiing

Verbier is truly a luxe ski resort getaway for the whole family. If you don’t believe me, ask Frederik, the Crown Prince of Denmark who was visiting Verbier at the same time as us. And brought the paps with him.

Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan is the founder of Momaboard.com, a website for globetrotting kids and their parents. Kaamna lives in London and travels the globe with her two kids—5 and 2 years old. Join the community on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and keep up with Momaboard’s journeys.

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/25 at 12:31 PM
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Warm Weather Getaways from Poshbrood and Virtuoso

Virtuoso is the travel industry’s leading luxury network and (lucky you!) one of our partners for booking travel on Poshbrood. When you book your vacation through Poshbrood, you get access to all those awesome Virtuoso perks from exclusive hotel experiences to one-of-a-kind local adventures! And their gorgeous travel magazine, Virtuoso Life, is published six times a year, meaning we have the latest issue available for your perusal!

For this March/April 2014 issue, they’re focusing on those sunny, sunny beaches we’ve all been missing!

Virtuoso Life Magazine Cover

Spring is in the air, and we’re betting that you’re ready for a change in seasons—and probably a change of scenery, too. Let’s face it, in March, the beach beckons. It’s time to get away and bid farewell to winter. Check out the latest issue of Virtuoso Life to get a look at this year’s hottest beaches, islands and trips that call for bathing suits, sunscreen and cold cocktails. Don’t miss the feature on our favorite beach towns around the world, with tips on where to eat, shop, stay, catch the sunset—or the best waves—and more. From the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, these spin-the-globe articles intentionally entice.

Beach Appeal: Six sun-kissed towns where life revolves around the seaside.
Turks and Caicos, Tailored: This tiny chain of islands offers something for everyone.
A New Grecian Formula: Greece turns to its past to develop a more sustainable tourism future.
Surprise Island: With a peaceful recovery in full swing, Sri Lanka’s temples, tea gardens, safaris, and surf breaks are ready for rediscovery.

We dare you to read this issue and resist the lure of the sun! You’ll be booking your next vacation to a beautiful beach before you know it!

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/21 at 10:11 AM
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It’s Time to Warm Up: Elite Island Resorts March Madness Sale

It’s steadily approaching. The season we dreaded as we stuffed our faces during the holidays and yearned for as the snow piled up! Spring is inevitable so start digging out your summer attire, and take advantage of this sale!

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Don’t miss out on the March Madness sale from Elite Island Resorts, a leading provider of authentic Caribbean vacations. Book a seven-night Caribbean getaway to receive up to 40 percent off, plus a $500 air credit, at the following participating resorts:

- The classically Caribbean St. James’s Club & Villas in Antigua
- The eco-conscious Verandah Resort & Spa in Antigua
- The intimate, adults-only Galley Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua
- The family-friendly St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, Saint Lucia
- Palm Island, a private island resort in the Grenadines
- The Club Barbados, the island’s first adults-only all-inclusive resort
- The newly re-launched Long Bay Beach Club in Tortola, BVI*

*Long Bay Beach Club participates on an air-and-room-only basis.  All other resorts are all-inclusive.

All-inclusive rates start as low as $167 per person, per night, based on double occupancy at St. James’s Club Morgan Bay in Saint Lucia with a $500 air credit on stays of seven nights or longer.

Book online or by phone now through March 31, 2014 for travel through December 20, 2014 subject to blackout dates and availability.

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About Elite Island Resorts
Elite Island Resorts represents an impressive collection of unique beachfront properties in the Caribbean. Each Elite Island Resorts property provides something special to fulfill travelers’ desires with offerings ranging from destination weddings or romantic escapes to family retreats or eco vacations. Resorts include: St. James’s Club & Villas, The Verandah Resort & Spa, and Galley Bay Resort & Spa all in Antigua; St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, Saint Lucia; Long Bay Beach Club in Tortola; Palm Island Resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and The Club Barbados Resort & Spa. For more information visit www.eliteislandresorts.com or call 1-800-274-0008.

 

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/18 at 11:26 AM
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Luck of the Irish in Dublin: The Clarence

Bono and The Edge U2

Saint Patrick’s Day is almost here, and it’s time to channel the spirit of the Irish! But we don’t mean celebrating the American way: throwing on a tacky green outfit and chugging an ungodly amount of green beer. We mean to keep it classy with a trip to Dublin! And where better to stay than in the heart of the city at The Clarence, the premiere boutique hotel owned by none other than U2’s Bono and The Edge?

The Clarence Penthouse View

You won’t miss a beat at this gorgeous hotel located within walking distance to the best of Dublin. Music, shopping, historical sites and Michelin star Irish restaurants are all just outside the door. The hotel sits on the banks of River Liffey, close to the Ha’penny Bridge, Croke Park, the Aviva Stadium, the RDS, the O2 and the National Concert Hall.

The Clarence Deluxe Bedroom

There are 50 rooms and suites to choose from, but the two-story Penthouse is the pinnacle of luxury featuring a baby grand piano, two master bedrooms, full kitchen and dining area and a panoramic rooftop terrace. The ambience reflects the belief of Bono and The Edge that luxury should be simple, unpretentious and elegant.

Octagon Bar by Night

There are several dining options on-site from casual dining at The Octagon Bar to the tasting plate experience at Cleaver East. You’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at one of the hotel’s four restaurants! The Group Team is on-hand to make arrangements and ensure your family’s stay in Dublin is as welcoming and comfortable as possible. Kids are welcomed on arrival with the non-alcoholic ClarenceKids Cocktail, and the family friendly hotel allows kids to hang out in the hotel’s social areas until 9pm!

See…we told you celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin was a good idea!

photo credit: xrayspx cc

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/14 at 01:46 PM
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We Can Vacation Like Royals: Cheval Blanc Randheli Resort

Prince William and Duchess Kate

We may not be able to be royals, but we can definitely vacation like them! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are vacationing in the Maldives this week, and Posh has the inside scoop on where they’re staying—the brand-new, five-star Cheval Blanc Randheli Resort on the southern Noonu Atoll.

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The royal couple are staying in the two-bedroom Garden Water Villa featuring both horizon-side and lagoon-side views. The villa is perched on stilts welcoming the island water and air on the ocean side, while opening up to an infinity pool, patio with a dining table and deck area on the lagoon side. You can’t help but feel at home with the resort’s balance of modern architecture and traditional inspirations. Part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy luxury conglomerate, you’ll be captivated by these beautiful Indian Ocean views.

Garden Villa Cheval Blanc

Your entire experience at Cheval Blanc is personalized just for you. Every villa is assigned a Majordome to handle all aspects of your visit—unpacking with the assistance of the Maison’s Lingère, arranging a complimentary jet-lag treatment and working with the Alchemists to create unique vacation experiences ensuring that every need and desire is met. And don’t forget to unwind in luxury at the Spa after your wonderful day of enjoying exciting beach adventures.

To satisfy whatever desire you may have, there are several different dining experiences for you to choose from. Dining is available in-villa with a private chef, you can enjoy gourmet cuisine at the  The White brasserie or your Majordome will arrange whatever experience you envision.

Le Paddock Cheval Blanc

And, of course, the entire family is welcome! Younger kids can enjoy Le Carrousel—offering fun activities from splash-pool games to children’s yoga to a submarine pictures safari. Older kids can hang out at Le Paddock where games, a sub-aquatic hike, observational astronomy sessions and a mulitmedia center will keep everyone entertained and having fun!

Whatever you wish, at Cheval Blanc, it will come true!

photo credit: tsaiproject cc

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/11 at 03:10 PM
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Boogie On Down in Austin!

Can you believe it’s already time for SXSW again? The annual star-studded music, interactive and film festival in Austin kicked off yesterday with all the glamour and glitz we’ve come to expect from this exciting event!  So, your movie is showing, your band is playing, you’ve scored an invite from a fancy tech friend or you just decided it’s time to expose the kids to the leading edge of modern culture, but where to stay? The festival website has several options available each year, but for the true Posh Brood treatment, we recommend the W Austin! The W Austin provides a true dose of classic luxury for both you and your family, with the added bonus that some of the breakout sessions take place right in the hotel’s conference center. Hang out in the lobby long enough, and you’ll definitely get a glimpse of your favorite stars!

W Austin Lobby

From their Cozy Room that sleeps two to the Extreme Wow Suite that comes in at just under 2000 sq.ft., you’ll be surrounded by luxury at all times. Feel like a rock star with their Whatever/Whenever® service—just push the button on the phone, let them know what you need and the awesome W staff will make it happen. Oh, and did we mention the state-of-the-art-technology and entertainment system? Every room has a minimum 40” Samsung LCD TV, Sonoro for W Hotels clock radio with iPod docking station and an oversized work desk with cordless phones and High Speed Internet Access. A fabulous Munchie Box provides delightful treats for whenever, and pets are welcome!

W Austin Hotel E-Wow Suite

With the on-site Trace Restaurant that supports sustainable, renewable and organic food and beverage products; the sensational AWAY Spa providing ultra-relaxing SXSW packages; and all the other built-in luxuries, you’ll find nothing lacking during your stay at the W Austin!

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/08 at 01:50 PM
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Spring Breakers: Choosing Luxury!

You don’t want to end up looking like James Franco in the film Spring Breakers, so we’ve got tons of suggestions for your spring break vacay this year! There are some spectacular, fun filled places you should consider visiting, and we promise they won’t upset.

The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia
Looking for somewhere both kids and adults will enjoy? The Fresh Prince said it best! Visit Philadelphia with its big city appeal for adults and terrific opportunities for kids. Having just undergone a $10 MM revitalization, including the addition of five new perfect-for-families Park Suites, The Rittenhouse is the perfect boutique hotel for families visiting Philly. And just because the kids are off from school doesn’t mean they can’t learn something! The hotel is located within walking distance to some of the nation’s most legendary cultural establishments including The Barnes Foundation museum and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as historic sites such as The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Forget renting a car, the Rittenhouse is also conveniently located just five minutes from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and eight miles from the Philadelphia International Airport. Get ready to throw your pinkies up! Everyone will enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the Mary Cassatt Tea Room and delicious famous brunch, lunch or dinner at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, Lacroix.

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The amazing Family Travel Amenities at the Rittenhouse include:
- Gift of choice from The Rittenhouse Treasure Chest for children 10 and under
- Complimentary in-room movie and popcorn for pre-teens and teenagers
- Children’s bathrobe at turndown time
- All baby amenities, including bathtubs available upon request
- Copy of the book Goodnight Philadelphia for ages 9 and younger
- An MP3/docking station for when you just can’t help but dance
- Discount tickets to the Philadelphia Zoo, Adventure Aquarium and the Please Touch Museum

Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI
What’s in Rhode Island you ask? A trip to Newport, RI is the quintessential New England getaway and staying at Castle Hill Inn, located on its own 40-acre peninsula, is the perfect oceanfront playground for families! Castle Hill Inn has captured the imaginations of guests from around the world for more than a century with its enchanting coastal setting, relaxed elegance and authentic Newport spirit. Combining the elegance of a boutique hotel with the inviting comforts of a coastal inn means you won’t ever want to leave!  What’s stopping you? There are nine guest rooms and suites in the original 19th-century Agassiz Mansion (guests must be 13 or older to stay in the mansion) and 24 private, waterfront accommodations in the Harbor House, Chalet, Beach Houses and Beach Cottages. Hello, Perfection! Book now!

castlehill

Within the mansion, indulgent meals are prepared by renowned executive chef, Karsten Hart, and the recently renovated Lawn at Castle Hill is the epitome of classic New England al fresco dining. All guests receive complimentary gourmet breakfast, and there is an afternoon tea—with a kid’s menu—daily.

On property activities include stargazing, clambakes, picnics, fishing, trails for walking, bonfires, games on the lawn, kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga, surfing, sailing, beach activities and more. The hotel also provides stuffed bunnies for the little ones during turn-down. If this doesn’t scream spring break luxury, then what does?

Your Jamaican Villas – Three Private Villas in Jamaica
Your Jamaican Villas are ideal destinations for families of all sizes to experience an authentic Caribbean getaway in the private homes of owner Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Founder and Chairman of Sandals Resorts.

jamaica

From a palatial seaside estate at Rio Chico to an intimate beachfront masterpiece on a former lime plantation at Lime-Acre, each villa has a personality of its own. Earlier this year, Sundown Villa, set in the historic fishing village of idyllic Discovery Bay, underwent major enhancements making it the largest in the collection of three villas. The newly-constructed two-story cottage conveys Caribbean allure following designs hand-picked by the Stewart family. The villa boasts vaulted ceilings, luxurious king-size beds and personal kitchenettes on each floor. The original main residence houses an additional three bedrooms with four poster king-size beds and two bedrooms with two double beds. With a total of nine bedrooms available, the villa is great for multi-generational families, but also offers guests the flexibility of exclusively renting five or seven bedrooms on the compound for smaller parties.

Fowl Cay – Private Island Resort in the Exumas, Bahamas with Six Villas
Fowl Cay is a private island with a difference: discover six uniquely beautiful villas spread across a private 50-acre retreat in the secluded chain of the Exumas, Bahamas. No neighboring hotels, no passing ships, no crowds—just you and the excitement of exploring a special kind of wilderness. Made up of 365 tiny islands and cays stretching across more than 120 miles of crystal-clear, warm turquoise water—the natural beauty of the Exumas is one of the most extraordinary settings on the planet.

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This all-inclusive island features six beautiful one-, two- and three-bedroom villas scattered throughout the exotic wilderness of the 50-acre private island. Each villa offers panoramic views of the electric blue waters and neighboring cays and feature fully stocked kitchens with a variety of breakfast, lunch, snack, beverage and dessert items. Lunch and dinner are offered at the Hill House restaurant and pub where only the freshest local seafood and cuisine is served.

Fowl Cay offers a ton of activities, including snorkeling at the two old sunken planes or at Thunderball Cave, feeding the sharks at Compass Cay Marina, and taking a trip to Rachel’s Bubble Bath—an area where waves hit rocks and cause a lagoon of water to fill with bubbles—an old mermaid legend. The resort also has tennis, paddle boarding, beach games and a private beach where couples can hang out and relax. Each villa has its own motor boat so couples can spend the day together out on the water exploring the surrounding area. Don’t worry! Every guest gets a tutorial on how to use the boat.

Grace Bay Club – Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Conveniently divided into three separate sections for discerning travelers of all tastes, Grace Bay Club includes the family-friendly Villas complete with its own restaurant, bar and pool.  The award-winning Grace Bay Club’s Kids Town program is designed specifically for the resort’s youngest guests. Located next to The Villas, Kids Town offers full and half-day excursions, from on-site arts and crafts to cave safaris.  The Very Important Kids (VIK) programs offers welcome and activity amenities, including a Kids Town t-shirt, backpack, underwater camera, post cards and snorkel set.  Off-property excursions require 48-hour advance booking and an additional fee.

Activities include:
- Caribbean cooking classes with the chef
- Family sunset kayak eco-tour
- Junior Mocktail Party
- Trips to North Caicos to see flamingos or explore local villages
- Wakeboarding and waterskiing

No matter which of these you choose for spring break this year, there will be lots of fun and luxury for all ages!

Posted by Elizabeth on 03/04 at 03:51 PM
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Do It Big Like Kimye: The Huntington Hotel

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Please tell me you’ve seen Kanye West’s proposal to Kim Kardashian! If you haven’t…you totally should. Way to win a girl’s heart, Yeezy! Okay…maybe you won’t be renting out AT&T Park in San Francisco and busting out a 15-carat diamond ring, but you’ll definitely be feeling like the celebrity couple when you stay at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco.

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Known to be a crown jewel of the city, you won’t be disappointed by the classic hospitality and modern luxury offered at the Huntington Hotel, located atop the famous Nob Hill. Staying at the Huntington is an opportunity to experience San Francisco in an entirely different way. Since 1947, this historical hotel—one of the first in the country to be owned and operated by a woman—has maintained the highest standards of gracious service. With cable cars gliding past, enchanting skyline views and the beauty of Huntington Park and Grace Cathedral just outside, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world.

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You and your family will reach maximum relaxation after visiting the eucalyptus steam room and tranquil fireplace lounge at the luxurious on-site Nob Hill Spa and indulging in gourmet dishes at the award-winning Big 4 Restaurant. As they say, go big like Kim and Kanye, or go home!

photo credit: myalexis via photopin cc

Posted by Elizabeth on 02/28 at 12:24 PM
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No Budget? No Problem! Villas in Anguilla

Oh what’s that you say? You have no budget for this year’s vacation? Did you rub the magic lamp again? Well, when money is not an issue, plan yourself a fabulous and indulgent vacation to one of these three lavish villas on the Caribbean island of Anguilla where you will be surrounded by the best of the best. Luxurious is an understatement. Want to indulge in delectable food? Stay at Ani Villas and book their Ultimate Connoisseur Beach Escape. Need some peace and quiet? Stay in a villa at Altamer. Just want to lounge in the pool all day and stare into the beautiful abyss? Escape to a Cerulean Villa.

Ani Villas

Ani Villas Side with Pool

Ani Villas has partnered with leading luxury wine and spirits importer Moët Hennessy to design a gift that is available for any occasion: the Ultimate Connoisseur Beach Escape. The $250,000 package includes a week-long stay for up to 14 guests, round-trip private jet service from the continental U.S. or Canada, a private chef and full staff, a Moët Hennessy expert to create a curated collection for guests to enjoy and additional one-of-a-kind Moët experiences. For more information, visit http://www.anivillas.com/.

Altamer

Altamer African Sapphire Villa Bedroom

Keep your mind stimulated while your body relaxes. Named the Russian Amethyst, the Brazilian Emerald and the African Sapphire after the rare locational artifacts found in each villa, each five- or six-bedroom villa features unique luxuries such as a private rooftop terrace or a meditation/massage room. Altamer’s conference center can accommodate up to 80 people and offers an unrivaled setting for an executive retreat. Weekly rates start at $30,250 for one villa. For more information, visit www.villaaltamer.com.

Cerulean Villa

Cerulean Photo 1

Remember that pool I mentioned? Cerulean Villa has a 50-foot infinity pool that you will never want to leave. Newly renovated, ultra-luxurious Cerulean Villa reopened November 2013 under new ownership and a new estate manager. New amenities include an expansive heated pool, climate-controlled bedrooms and living rooms and a private spa treatment room. For more information, visit http://www.propertiesinparadiseaxa.com/.

 

Posted by Elizabeth on 02/25 at 11:38 AM
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