Category Archives: family travel

Explore Alaska’s Most Scenic Wonders in Winter

Alaska Awaits

Alaska is open, y’all, and it’s ideal for families and friends who dream of exploring America’s greatest wildernesses free of crowds and against a pristine white canvas. Imagine skiing through forests, wildlife spotting, flightseeing above multicolored geysers and glaciers cresting on the snow, and a vastness only available in the quiet of winter. Abercrombie & Kent’s U.S. Luxury Tailor Made itineraries, which can be customized to your private party’s interests, feature handpicked local guides, fun activities that naturally lend themselves to social distancing, and luxurious accommodations. You can even book with confidence knowing you can reschedule your journey due to COVID-19, and that they have enhanced protocols in place to safeguard your health while travelling. This is numero uno in my book since I’ve been sheltering in place for almost a year and need to know things are on the up and up.

Our recent travel dream favorite is their Call of the Iditarod series because I’ve always been obsessed with riding a husky driven sled through the snow like a Russian Bond Girl.

You too?

Well, we can celebrate Alaska’s famed Iditarod dogsled race, watching the participants prepare and depart from Anchorage on their 1,000-mile trek, witnessing their arrival at an important checkpoint near your remote wilderness lodge. You can dogsled yourself along the rugged Iditarod trail on this independent journey filled with the splendors of Alaskan wilderness.

The skinny:

  • Join Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous festival, giving the Iditarod teams a ceremonial send-off
  • Take in the buzz of Iditarod mushers and their teams arrive at a remote checkpoint
  • Choose from an array of outdoor activities, including the option to drive your own dogsled team
  • Discover the history of Alaska’s indigenous culture and art in Anchorage

Itinerary at a Glance

DAY 1

ARRIVE ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 

DAY 2

ANCHORAGE | CELEBRATING THE IDITAROD

DAY 3

WINTERLAKE LODGE | SCENIC WILDERNESS FLIGHT

DAYS 4–5

WINTERLAKE LODGE | IDITAROD MUSHERS’ ARRIVE

DAY 6

WINTERLAKE LODGE | DOGSLEDDING & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

DAY 7

ANCHORAGE | EXPERIENCING INDIGENOUS CULTURE

DAY 8

DEPART ANCHORAGE
INCLUDED WITH EVERY LUXURY TAILOR MADE JOURNEY
  • One-of-a-kind Itinerary Designed for You
  • Driver-guide and vehicle
  • Hand-Selected Accommodations
  • Exclusive Insider-Access Opportunities and Inspiring Sightseeing
  • English-Speaking Local Guides
  • Airport Meet and Greet with Private Transfers
  • Full Breakfast Daily
  • Entrance Fees and Taxes
  • 24/7 A&K On-Call Support

Want more info? I don’t blame you.

Check this link and get on it: https://www.abercrombiekent.com/tours/luxury-tailor-made-travel/2021/alaska-call-of-the-iditarod

Staycationing with Kids: Rosewood Sand Hill

Rosewood Sand Hill

Let’s face it. Traveling with kids can be a nightmare. I often need a vacation from the vacation because it’s not like parents can really be “off” when the kids are screaming that they don’t want to go to bed, they’re hungry, or they simply want to play with you 24/7.

Enter The Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park. It’s a favorite of Silicon Valley execs due to it’s close proximity to the major VCs, Stanford, and San Jose. Reflecting a mix of California Ranch and Tuscan architecture, the main lobby rises up from terraced land with large balconies overlooking the gardens, mountains, and pool. The grounds are, quite simply, stunning with a pool largely unmatched by other local properties. They also have poolside food and cocktail service right now so that means… get me to the Rosewood!

My first order of business? Poolside cocktails. Obvi. They make a delicious Aperol Spritz.

Aperol Spritz and a Strawberry Daquiri

Yes, their drinks are delicious, but expect to pay a small fortune for food and drink (anywhere from $22-$28 for a single cocktail). Inspired by San Francisco’s world-renowned cocktail culture, Madera’s menu consists of a mix of classic favorites and innovative concoctions (like a modern take on the Gin and Tonic with Elderflower Liquor) created by cocktail craftsman Oreste Catenacci to emulate the spirit of the Bay Area.

Modern G&T

The hotel charges anywhere from $650-$800/night for a standard room, so this isn’t a place you go to save money. It’s a place you go to splurge. However, they do have deals like the one I took advantage of — 3 nights for the price of 2 — with two nights where you get $100 resort credit (to help ease the pain of spending $24 for a cocktail and $25 for a bagel with lox). It worked. On top of the lovely cocktail service and even lovelier staff, they also deliver cocktails to your room. Do you notice a trend with this mom of two young boys?

Negroni Room Service!

This little Negroni delivered by room service held enough for two cocktails and was one of the best Negronis I’ve had in years. It’s now my go to summer/early fall beverage. If you’re also like me and your favorite part of staying at a hotel is holing up in the room, they offer luxe Le Labo bath amenities and amenities for kids like this cute miniature robe, backpack, and water bottle.

Amenities for the little ones

My friend and I ate dinner in the Madera Lounge one of the last nights there and we enjoyed the warm night and beautiful grounds. The Artichoke with valbreso feta, almond, and naan ($14) was tasty and I also ordered the Farmers’ Market Bowl ($20) with grilled brentwood corn, brokaw avocado, tomato, cotija, cilantro, harissa, and lime vinaigrette. I added salmon, but would skip that part next time as they couldn’t quite get the salmon cooked to my taste. It was far too raw the first (and second) time around when I had to sent it back again. The couple sitting at the table next to us also sent it back for the same reason. That said, the next day when I ordered the Smoked Salmon Tartine ($25) with ricotta, celery, caperberry, and dill it was so good that my friend and I were still thinking about it the next day. My mouth is watering thinking about it now.

My son, Zeus, with fellow luxe travel junkie and friend, Jessica

All in all, for a quick local escape with a clean stunning pool, delicious drinks, and superb staff, I give it a big thumb’s up. Look for deals where you get a free night or resort credit and you’ll live like a Queen or King for a few days without regretting it.

Rosewood Sand Hill

Address: 2825 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: (650) 561-1500

                    

Summer Culture – Rhineland, Germany

 

karsten-wurth-karsten-wuerth-ImeGmbUNarA-unsplash
Molsheim, Germany: Photo by Karsten Würth (@karsten.wuerth) on Unsplash

Germany. From bratwurst and Beethoven’s birthplace to beer and some of the best art and music in the world, it’s time to check out Rhineland-Palatinate’s Summer of Culture, taking place every year from May 1st – October 3rd. Featuring well over 200 projects covering all kinds of different cultural aspects, the theme is revised annually to reflect new focuses for the content, and the venue for the grand opening also changes every year. A large cultural festival on the first weekend in May also offers families their first peek at the summer’s program of events held across the state covering cultural, religious, artistic and social themes.

In early 1992, the Rhineland-Palatinate state government announced the staging of the first Rhineland-Palatinate Summer of Culture, the aim of which was to increase people’s awareness of the region’s culture. What the organizers had – and continue to have – in mind was a sort of ‘citizens’ movement for culture’. The Summer of Culture is, in fact, characterized by the large number of small projects and ideas at its core that were themselves developed out of local or regional initiatives. With almost 250 events including concerts, readings, exhibitions, children’s activities, theatre and more, it’s an incredible melting pot of people and ideas.

From example, throughout August 24, 2019, the Mayen Burgfestspiele Theatre Festival is the cultural highlight of the Northern Rhineland-Palatinate. Every summer, the quiet town Mayen, located about 1 hour north of Mainz (another little colorful gem) turns into a colorful theater city.

Germany Best travel destinations
Mainz Market (c) The Crazy Tourist

There’s also a nearby wine festival for the parents. The Rheingau Wine Festival has around 100 winemakers offering the acclaimed Rheingau riesling wines, as well as sparkling sekt and regional fare. The ten-day wine festival includes a varied program of entertainment in Schlossplatz and Dern’schen Gelände squares in Wiesbaden too!

For more information on the festival:

www.kultursommer.de

Rheingau Wine Festival:

www.wiesbaden.de

 

Top Kid Friendly All Inclusive Island Resort

We’ve been hearing about Sirenis Hotels and Resorts’ family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts for awhile and we hear they’ve just done a great renovation at the new Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort. A $30 million dollar renovation and repositioning. Home to one of Punta Cana’s largest water parks (what?!), the all-new resort welcomed guests in December to experience the reimagined hotel just in time for those looking for a last minute winter getaway.

The transformation includes a complete renovation of guestrooms, lobby, common areas and restaurants, in addition to improvements of its amenities.

As part of the big reveal, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort will unveil two new buildings that are home to a kids club, fitness center, medical center, pharmacy, beauty salon, local craft shops, and more. They’re also introducing a 7,000 sq ft spa, upgraded pool, and beach area featuring a 120-seat picnic table section.

The upgraded resort has also elevated its all-inclusive dining options with the introduction of new restaurant concepts including Tex Mex and La Gira Rodizio, a Brazilian steakhouse where foodies can dine on traditional Brazilian fare. In addition to new restaurants, there’s a health bar, sports bar, ice cream & coffee shop.

On the majestic Uvero Alto beach, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana is the ultimate playground for the entire family. Children can spend time at the all new Sirenios Kids Club which features a range of activities including a Lego building zone, “master chef” section, arts & crafts activities and more. Adults can test their luck in the casino, have a drink at a swim up bar, or dance the night away at El Bonche lounge. Families can slide into fun together at the Aquagames Water Park which features water towers and slides. With 7 themed restaurants, 3 buffets, 11 cocktail bars, 2 pools with beach-style access, and watersports. What more do you need?

February rates: For the month of February, guests can save up to 35% off average nightly rates of $318, based on double occupancy.

For more information or to book a stay at the new Grand Sirenis Punta Cana, visit www.sirenishotels.com

Small Luxury Hotel’s Top Caribbean Picks 2017

This just in from Small Luxury Hotels for 2017…

A Caribbean hotel round up! Check it out, swoon, and book (if you’re anything like me and really need a vacation… STAT).

the_manoah_anguilla_hotels
The Manoah – Anguilla

The Manoah Boutique Hotel: Shoal Bay, Anguilla

Every aspect of the brand new Manoah Boutique Hotel has been designed to celebrate its stunning location on the shores of Shoal Bay.  Opened in December 2016, the 25 bedrooms and suites are decorated in cool neutral shades and each room has a private glass-fronted veranda overlooking the beach. The resort boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens plus two tropical beach bars. Guests can opt to spend their days at the tranquil Manoah Spa, or relax on the powdery white sands of Shoal Bay taking in the view. Water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking or scuba diving can also be arranged. Inspired by a delicious mix of global cuisines, chefs at the Ocean Beach Club Restaurant have created a unique menu using fresh seasonal produce, best enjoyed accompanied by the sound and sights of the sea.

SLH Insider Tip: With local stables nearby, spend an evening on horse-back with a sunset beach ride on Cove Bay.

www.slh.com/manoah

Rates: $350/night

anguilla best hotels
The Reef by CuisinArt: Anguilla

The Reef by CuisinArt: Anguilla

Desirably situated on Merrywing Bay on the tranquil island of Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt debuted in November 2016, revealing a beachfront contemporary oasis featuring 80 suites, directly on the Caribbean Sea. The hotel offers an array of accommodation, some with sea views and others that are right on the white sand beach with dramatic outdoor Jacuzzis. Fresh locally sourced ingredients from the on-property hydroponic farm and fresh seafood fill the menu at the nautical inspired fine dining restaurant, The Yacht Club, and the casual cool beach front bar and restaurant, Breezes. The architecture and design of the hotel is fresh and modern, with touches of colour and the sea brought inside and ocean views from almost every window.

SLH Insider Tip: Head to the other end of the island and take a boat out to tiny coral island, Scilly Cay, for live music, delicious lobster and for what many hail as the best rum punch on the island.

Rates: $500/night

www.slh.com/thereef

st barts best hotels
Le Barthelemy Hotel and Spa: St Barths

Le Barthélemy Hotel and Spa: St Barthélemy

This exclusive oceanfront resort is SLH’s first property in St Barth’s. The hotel opened its doors in November 2016, welcoming guests to its 46 rooms and suites with interiors by celebrated designer Sybille de Margerie and cuisine by Michelin-starred French chef, Guy Martin. The elegant boutique hotel perfectly captures the laid-back luxury of St Barth’s, with light airy interiors and genuine island hospitality. The bright and airy rooms and suites are decorated to reflect the white sands and turquoise blue of the ocean and each one opens out onto a private terrace with ocean or garden views and private swimming pool. Aux Amis, the resort’s restaurant serves a light menu during the day and in the evening the space opens onto a beachfront terrace where guests can enjoy French and international cuisine overlooking the bay. The hotel’s spa has partnered with luxury French skin care brand La Mer and offers a wide array of treatments in its open-air atrium.

SLH Insider Tip: On the south-east tip of the island sits Anse de Columbiere – this undeveloped bay is only accessible by foot or by boat and is a peaceful haven for those seeking somewhere secluded to swim and sunbathe.

Rates: $648/night

www.slh.com/barthelemy

nevis luxury hotels and villas paradise beach nevis
The pool at Paradise Beach Nevis

Paradise Beach: St Kitts and Nevis

Exclusivity, intimacy and personal service are key at this beachfront resort on the utopian island of St Kitts and Nevis. Boasting an idyllic location – nestled into a glorious white-sand beach and overlooking St Kitts and Mount Nevis – Paradise Beach Nevis has the distinction of being the only villa resort on the Caribbean island of Nevis. The resort is child friendly and the villas for up to eight people make it a great option for a family getaway. Each of the seven villas is its own personal palace with a marble or limestone bath, king beds, a sound system which allows guest to stream their own music, fitness studio, dining rooms for private meals, a private pool, a sea view and kitted out with Hermés bath products. The hand woven, palm roofs were designed to mirror the Nevis Peak, which, combined with lush gardens and an amazing beach, provide a paradise of luxury and tranquillity. 

SLH Insider Tip:  Probably one of the more well-known attractions but still well worth the hype is the Sugar train –the last scenic railway in the West Indies. The double decker carriages have open sided top decks for guests to enjoy the breeze along with their rum punch and the sounds of the trains own choir.

Rates: $876/night

www.slh.com/paradisebeach

turks and caicos hotels
Point Grace Resort and Spa: Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

Point Grace Resort and Spa: Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

An all-suite hideaway surrounded by perfect sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, Point Grace Resort and Spa overlooks the stunning Grace Bay and is SLH’s first hotel in Turks and Caicos. The tropical resort is turn-of the-century style with a contemporary twist and consists of 25 suites all spanning over 1,000 square feet, two restaurants and the Thalasso Spa, where treatments are inspired by the ocean. Grace’s Cottage, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant is an architectural gem featuring picturesque outdoor seating where old world elegance meets modern gourmet cuisine. Guests can also enjoy lunch and breakfast at Hutchings, which is nestled in a tropical garden and serves casual food with a Caribbean influence. A unique collection of African tribal crafts and artwork can be found dotted around the hotel, most of which are locally sourced from the island and lend an insight into the culture and travel experience of the turn of the century West Indian traveler.

SLH Insider Tip: If you’re a wildlife lover visit the Leeward settlement, an uninhabited islet known as ‘Iguana Island’ – a sanctuary for the endangered Turks & Caicos Rock Iguana.

Rates: $460/night

www.slh.com/pointgrace