Maui, Hawaii: The Best Luxury Lover’s Getaway

Maui Romantic Escapes Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa

Our Editor-in-Chief calls Maui home so, when it comes to finding new deals and secret retreats, it’s a bit of a challenge. She knows almost every place already. However, in all her years of traveling to and from the island, this winter, she and her husband were surprised to uncover a beauty among the beaches. The Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, nestled right next to the Shops at Wailea, is just a few hundred feet from well-known properties like The Four Seasons and The Grand Wailea, but offers something you won’t find at more popular locations… no screaming kids! That’s why we’ve voted it the ‘Best Luxury Lover’s Getaway on Maui.’ Not to mention the fact that it’s slightly less expensive than her neighbors.

Mala Maui - Kobe BurgerWith an onsite restaurant, Mala Wailea, from world-renowned chef/owner Mark Ellman, it also has one of the best Kobe burgers in town. The resort offers 546 guest rooms and suites with amenities like high-speed Internet, a 27-inch flat screen TV, cable TV, video games, a private lanai (balcony), the Mandara Spa with holistic treatments from the Far East, five swimming pools, including the new Maluhia Serenity Pool with six exclusive over-the-water cabanas reminiscent of over-water bungalows in Bora Bora, and nearby golf, tennis and Shops at Wailea. The rooms, pictured here, were all recently revamped and look more like a sophisticated W Hotel than the usual (and somewhat dated) luxury hotels nearby.  Though it’s not as beach front as the other properties nearby, you will save a few hundred bucks a night and you’re closer to the Shops at Wailea.

The beach is also just a two-minute walk down a paved oceanfront path. Plus, no other property nearby has anything like their over-the-water cabanas and infinity pool. This is property for adults… and celebs who don’t want other guests constantly gawking. To wit, when our EIC stayed here, Lindsay Lohan was taking some much needed down time. So, though we may be young at heart, we really like our quiet sexy time.

From $525-$3,250/night

http://www.waileamarriott.com
Tel: 1-808-879-1922

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Family Travel: Mamapedia

Lately, we’ve been hanging out with a bunch of real babies.

And we don’t mean the adult kind that are too afraid to climb mountains or repel into valleys. No, we’re talking about the burping, crying, eating, and napping kind. It sure made us realize a few overwhelming things about life (which we’ll save for another story). It also made us realize that even cool moms need travel advice. So, just as school is out, families everywhere are looking for great getaways, vacation ideas, and summer camps – and we found a website that makes it easier than ever.

Mamapedia is a one-stop-shop where moms can ask a question or pose a search on an array of topics – everything from local day camps to cheap vacation ideas, or how to entertain the kids on a long car ride – – and get fast and complete answers from the real experts- other moms!

There’s no registration or fee required to search and find, with just a few clicks of the mouse, the right spot for your own crying, eating, burping, napping family. Every time a question or search is entered, a series of answers will come into play – and then moms can take the answers and insight that make sense for their family. More than a million answers are at their fingertips.

So, if you got knocked up and now need to figure out how to relax (or send your little darling away for the summer), we think you should check it out.

http://www.mamapedia.com

The Azores Islands, Portugal

40 Waterfalls… 0 tourists. We write about Hawaii, Tahiti, Bali, Bora Bora, the Maldives, and the Greek islands about as much as we can. Jaunt lovers adore these exotic island locales, but they also love reading our site to learn a bit about the secret gems of Europe, otherwise known as… the island chains less travelled. This brings us to enlighten our readers to… the Azores islands of Portugal!

The archipelago of the Azores, the closest point in Europe to New England, is made up of nine islands. Sapphire blue and emerald green lakes, fertile prairies, volcanic cones and craters, colorful hydrangeas and azaleas, 15th century churches and majestic manor houses, all make the Azores unlike anywhere else on earth. As a destination, the Azores have won numerous accolades: One of 10 Best Values, USA Today; Top 10 Places for Whale Watching, Sherman’s Travel; Top 3 Places to See Foliage Outside of the US, Wall Street Journal and Top 10 Islands You Never Heard of from Budget Travel.

If you stand on the beach at Faja de Baixo and look out at the sea, there is nothing but water between you and the eastern coast of the United States. Behind you, 40 waterfalls cascade down soaring cliffs. It’s hard to find a more enchanting place than Flores, and its tiny neighbor, Corvo. Together, they make up the Western Group of Azorean islands – over 150 miles from the Central Group.
Flores’ landscape is quite different from the rest of the Azores, it feels younger, and windswept. It’s western coast is a flat slice of land, called a Fajã, running from the cliffs of the mountain plateau to sharp black rocks and beaches along the Atlantic. Tiny towns, with white washed houses flow to the sea, and a dozen of waterfalls splash from the cliffs behind them. In this mild climate, there are cedar forests, tidal pools, and trails to climb to the waterfalls.

The central mountain plains are dotted with seven crater lakes, all easily accessible by foot or car. The landscape here is like a romantic English moor with lines of hydrangeas that follow the road’s that rise fall with the green landscape. Sheep, goats and cattle graze amid the dark crater lakes, and rabbits dash back and forth among the brush.

The southern coast is home to the former whaling town of Lajes Das Flores, where the black ramp leading up to former whaling factory is still the best way to the rocky beach. Old tripots and whaling implements are on display at the factory, while nearby restaurants serve the fresh catch of the day with a 19th century church towering over the village.

Follow the ocean road north through cedar forest to the main town of Santa Cruz on the east coast to the small island of Corvo, shaped like a giant tear, floating 30 miles off the coast. It’s 300 inhabitants live in the island’s only town, Vila Novo do Corvo, a wild open place acesible by a 10-minute flight, ferry, or by tagging along on a local fishing boat. We say opt for the latter. Pleasant, white, and riding high black sea cliffs, Santa Cruz boasts most of the island’s simple eateries, many run by fishermen and their families, as well as a whaling museum (with loads of New England artifacts and all sorts of bottles of whale oil). The town offers a few basic hotels, and plenty of activity in its ports.
Follow the road north along steep sea cliffs to the northern town of Ponta Delgada, with its lighthouse and open coast. From here, trials stretch back miles to the south coast, perfect for hiking. There is no access for cars and the landscape is green and wild. No village or sign of life can be found for miles, as the centuries old footpaths lead through waterfalls, and striking sea views back to the westernmost coast in Europe.

Where to Stay?

Most hotels are comfortable, affordable and near the sea, but two places stand out for authentic experience of what life on Flores is like.

Aldeia da Cuada

Cuada was a tiny village that saw it villagers emigrate for a better life decades ago. When Carlos and Teotonia Silva started to buy up the ruined houses, it was over grown, its ocean views no longer viable. Over two decades they bought and restored 15 of the towns’ 17 houses (one is still in the hands of a family, the other is a chapel), and made them into simple one and two bedroom cottages. The Aldeia (or Village in Portuguese) has the feel of an ancient town, with its rough stone paths (no cars allowed) open fields, and stone houses all with kitchenette, and furnished in period antiques.

Prices are less than $100 per night and the town is connected by a new road, and ancient paths to the nearby towns Fajã Grande and Fajazinha. Views to the west are of the sea, and to the east of the waterfalls.
Aldeia da Cuada (H, B)
T: 351 292 590040
Fax: 351 292 590050
Email: aldeiacuada@mail.telepac.pt
Web: http://www.aldeiadacuada.com

Azores Express, a U.S.-based tour operator and member of the SATA Group, offers direct flights on wide body A310 aircraft to São Miguel, the main island in the Azores archipelago with connections to Flores. Connecting flights from São Miguel are also offered to Lisbon and the island of Madeira. Azores Express has connected New England with the Azores and mainland Portugal for more than 25 years. The carrier is part of the SATA Group, which connects the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, with the world.

For more information and reservations contact:

Azores Express
Tel: 800-762-9995
http://www.sata.pt

Azores Islands/Portugal’s official tourist board site:

http://www.visitportugal.com and http://www.drtacores.pt

Taschen’s Simple Diary

Let me guess… you’d love to keep a journal, but you just don’t know where to begin? We might be a band of crazy gypsy writers, but we also know a thing or two about writer’s block. That’s where Taschen’s first text book, Simple Diary™, comes in handy. The Diary offers a creative way to journal, with a slightly outrageous spin. Art Book publisher Benedikt Taschen’s latest release by renowned artist and author, Philipp Keel, is a curious collection of fill-in-the-blanks, multiple-choice, word associations and lists that give readers the “simple tools” to create unique, memorable daily records without all the heavy lifting of blank journals. This unique diary is Taschen’s first release primarily filled with text which Taschen describes as, “a book that provides us with a little comfort in difficult times.” Illuminating thought starters, queries and illustrations enable the reader/creator to explore, navigate and document the chaotic adventure that is life. Unlike traditional journaling, Simple Diary™ is designed to take the pressure out of journaling by providing boundaries to help the reader get to the essence of his/her day, week or moment. Simply stated, in a time of information overload, Simple Diary™ is the antidote to the modern age.

$15.00

Available in stores on June 20, you can get in your pre-order by visiting:

http://www.simplediary.com

NYC: A Boutique Hotel in the Heart of the City

Finding a hotel in New York is easy. Finding a hotel that’s quiet, spacious, and reasonably priced is another story. That’s what motivated us to mention The Fitzpatrick Hotels, two family-owned boutique hotels that offer all of the above and pride themselves on European style with personalized service.

We stayed at the recently renovated Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel located in the heart of the city’s most popular retail district at 687 Lexington Avenue between East 56th and East 57th Street. Impressed with the absolute calm in the heart of such bustle was impressive, it’s perfectly situated just a few blocks from Central Park and the Guggenheim. All 91 guest rooms and suites have been renovated with owner John Fitzpatrick actively involved in re-designing every area of the hotel, drawing inspiration from the finest country estates of Ireland. The finished product is perfect for couples, small families, and business travelers… a quiet sanctuary in midtown that is both warm and elegant.

Both properties offer deluxe accommodations including traditional Irish canopy beds with pillow-top mattresses (so comfortable it was hard to get out of bed!), Irish chocolates at turndown, high speed wireless internet, and spacious bathrooms. The hotel restaurants, The Wheeltapper, at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central, and The Fitz, in the Fitzpatrick Manhattan, offer traditional Irish cuisine with a modern flare and a dark sexy bar setting that is discrete enough for that fly-by-night romance. We give it two thumb’s up and plan to tell our business associates and relatives next time they’re looking for a well-priced and comfortable spot near all the major museums and restaurants.

Room rates from $179

http://www.fitzpatrickhotels.com

Also not to be missed. Right down the street at the Hiro Haraguchi salon on 41 East 57th Street at the corner of Madison and East 57th Street, there’s a luxe organic hair treatment developed by resident stylist Mordechai Alvow. The line of organic essential oils called ‘YAROK’ promises to give new life to drab tresses. We recommend checking out the latest Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Guggenheim, grabbing some lunch an an outdoor boite, and then heading your weary tresses to Hiro Haraguchi’s salon. Mordechai Alvow’s on-going quest for performance-driven products healthy for clients and the environment motivated him to create YAROK, a blend of base and essential oils, handpicked for their medicinal and sensory benefits throughout history, and grown so as to retain the highest possible concentration of nutrients.

Each of the seven serums is designed to deliver a heightened sensory experience while addressing seven specific scalp and hair conditions in both men and women, resulting from blow-drying, chemical processing, product overload, free radical assaults and everyday stress — offering a personalized solution for lifeless hair.

Seven Nourishing YAROK Serums include:

· Serum 2: Real Brunettes with Rosemary and Hemp Oil — Rosemary, a naturally stimulating essential oil, controls dandruff and encourage hair growth. It also preserves all shades of brown hair. Hemp Oil, derived from essential fatty acids, is believed to aid in healing.

· Serum 6: Booster For Men with Jasmine and Camellia Oil — Recommended for frequent flyers whose traveling — and high altitudes in general — creates a moisture imbalance in the scalp which over time, coupled with stress, sleep deprivation and poor nutrition (as well as genetics), can lead to hair loss and thinning. Jasmine Oil is a fast-acting hydrator that helps reduce trans-epidermal moisture loss that can dry out scalp and hair, while Camellia Oil is a super-moisturizer.

Treatment is $100.
Individual serums for take-home use $60.

http://www.hiroharaguchi.com

Punta Mita, Mexico: A Luxury Villa Rental For You

Casa Kalika… Punta Mita… si, Senorita. With its breathtaking views of the aquiline waters off the Bay of Banderas on the Pacific Ocean, along with the lush beauty of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Marietas islands, and the Puerta Vallarta skyline, Casa Kalika is one luxury gem we had to share. A 10,000 sq. foot private villa oozing in ultimate relaxation, you can soak up the sun and magnificent views. Simple, yet elegant it’s located on the famed Jack Nicklaus Golf Course in the ultra exclusive Four Seasons Punta Mita community. We think it’s a hot spot for couples or families… and an even better locale for a small wedding or wedding party. With both a coveted location and a private oceanfront setting, it’s a 10,000 square foot villa with 5 bedrooms to sleep up to 12 guests.

Quiero un romp conmigo?

Rates:
Low Season (April 1st – Oct. 31st): $1,950.00 (3 nights minimum)

High Season (Nov. – Mar. 30th): $2,950.00 (3 nights minimum)

Holidays (Christmas and New Years with a minimum stay of 7 nights.
Easter, Thanksgiving and Spring Break with a minimum stay of 5 nights.): $4,600.00

http://www.casakalika.com