Resort Living Rest & relax. Spas & Resorts. http://www.lunch.com/living <![CDATA[Bora Bora Quick Tip by DavidStanley]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-218917.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-218917.html Sun, 8 Jan 2012 23:49:39 +0000 <![CDATA[ Disney World Bay Lake Tower - A Resort With A View Of The Magic]]>

At the Disney Vacation Club's newest resort at Walt Disney World : Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort you can get incredible close-up views of the Magic Kingdom and an experience that differentiates itself from all other Disney Vacation Club Resorts.

Bay Lake Tower

Staying true to the design elements of Disney's Contemporary Resort, Bay Lake Tower takes that "contemporary" feel and applies it to the design of the rooms and amenities for the new hotel.

 

  

The studio rooms have the same amenities that you will find in the other Disney Vacation Club Resorts, but the layout is different and the feel is a little on the cozy side.

 

Incredible Views

What sets Bay Lake Tower apart from the other Disney Vacation Club Resorts is Location, Location, Location.  You are right next to the original Disney World Theme Park and have both walking access and monorail access to the Magic Kingdom.  Along with the close proximately comes some incredible views.

The pictures shown above and below are taken from the 12th floor of Bay Lake Tower.  The above picture is from the exit to the elevator, while the ones below are taken from a Magic Kingdom View Studio.

 

 

 

The views get even better as you move on to night time.  There is nothing like seeing the Magic Kingdom at night.  It takes on a whole new persona.

 

 

 

Top Of The World Lounge

At the top of Bay Lake Tower is the exclusive Top Of The World Lounge that is only accessible by Disney Vacation Club members that are staying at Bay Lake Tower.

 

 

 

The inside of the glass walled lounge follows the theming of the Contemporary Resort and offers a full bar and a limited appetizer type food menu.

 

The most impressive part of the lounge though is the rooftop views.  It is also a great place to catch the Wishes Fireworks.  The music from the show is pumped into the lounge and the outside viewing area.  It is really neat to catch Wishes from a whole new perspective.

  

  

 

Bay Lake Tower Amenities

Like all Disney Vacation Club Resorts, Bay Lake Tower also has great amenitiess like a feature pool with slide, microwave and mini refrigerator in the studios and full kitchen in the larger rooms.  There is also a Community Hall where you can go for fun activities or just pick out a DVD to take back to your room to watch for FREE.

 

  

  

 

Quick Review Of Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower is a beautiful Resort Hotel.  You check in at the main desk of the Contemporary Resort and then head to the self contained Bay Lake Tower.  It is connected to the Contemporary Resort by covered Walkway.

The rooms are beautiful and the furnishings fit well with the Contemporary theme.  The studio felt cozy compared to other Disney Vacation Club Resort Studios, but it still fit my family of 4.

This may sound funny, but one of the comments I had after leaving was that it did not feel as "homey" as the other DVC Resorts.  Then again it is "Contemporary," and "homey" was not quite the look that they were going for.

If you plan on spending a good part of your vacation visiting the Magic Kingdom there is no better place to be.  It is a wonderful convenience to be able to walk to the Magic Kingdom and even better to be able to walk back to the Resort at the end of the night instead of waiting on a bus.  This also makes it incredibly convenient if you are planning to dine at one or more of the great restaurants located at the Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort, or the Grand Floridian Resort.

 At the end of my stay I would definitely have to say that I enjoyed staying at this beautiful resort with the incredible views.  With that said, it did not become one of my favorite Disney resorts.  The contemporary styling did not fit as much with the relaxing style that I personally look for on vacation.  There are several other Disney World Resorts that I have enjoyed better.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/landmark/UserReview-Bay_Lake_Tower_at_Disney_s_Contemporary_Resort-128-1440313-216460-Disney_World_Bay_Lake_Tower_A_Resort_With_A_View.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/landmark/UserReview-Bay_Lake_Tower_at_Disney_s_Contemporary_Resort-128-1440313-216460-Disney_World_Bay_Lake_Tower_A_Resort_With_A_View.html Mon, 19 Dec 2011 01:58:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Pedicure Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

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http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Pedicure-1669235-209575.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Pedicure-1669235-209575.html Wed, 29 Jun 2011 08:47:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ Incredibly well-executed local treasure with breathtaking views!]]> This has to be one of the best local treasures we've discovered in ages.  My husband and I wound up here after a mishap with our original plans for a weekend getaway to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Turned out to be the best thing that could've happened!

Terranea offers the best unobstructed views I've seen from anywhere in or around Los Angeles.  The view is simply spectacular, and offers a south-facing view off of the Palos Verdes peninsula that Angelenos rarely get to see (we're usually looking west, naturally), as well as awesome views of Catalina Island.

We felt like we'd gone abroad, yet were literally in our own backyard.  Amazing!

The most impressive thing about the resort, aside from the luxury amenities, is how they've integrated the property into the local terrain, and also maintained so much free access for locals

We were very familiar with this area from when it was the old Marineland that had since closed and become a great spot to hike around and kayak in the cove (though that was quite hard to access).  The resort has now made a fantastic nature trail around the entire property, added a small lovely beach in the cove (where you can rent kayaks as well).  There's a very cool cave to explore in the cove, and the property will coordinate a dive trip or even horsebackriding for you.  You'll see a lot of wildlife, particularly the pelicans, herons and seagulls swooping along the bluffs.  There was even a golf cart roaming with a rare eagle and giant owl on display -- random, though pretty cool to see.

It's VERY kid-friendly, which is a plus for families, and noteworthy if you're looking for a quiet adult getaway.  There is an adult pool though, however it wasn't open when we were there.  The spa also has a pool though, where kids aren't allowed (I believe).  If you are with kids - the pool offers a jumping water fountain and tiny sand area -- SO perfect for toddlers, and even a swirly slide for bigger kids (and grown ups too ; ) 

One drawback - we were there on a packed weekend and there were no chairs available at the pool - which was a pretty big bummer, though we wound up having a much better time down at the more secluded (and much quieter) cove beach.

The pool also offers cabanas you can reserve, with full-service, if you're going big ; )  You can't access the pool if you're not a guest - however you can get a day pass to the Spa (which has stunning views from the pool area).

Locals are welcome at any of the properties restaurants (There are three or four)  - and you won't want to miss Nelson's restaurant!  It's a sports bar so the food is simple, but the sunset views are unrivaled -- perfect place for a cocktail or a group party. 

There's free parking for local beach access, as well as parking in the lot just south of the lighthouse - which leads down the trail to the resort where you can explore the property or stop to dine at the restaurants.

The rooms are done in a chic beach decor, and are well-appointed.  The balconies are a bit tiny, but comfortable and that view trumps any issues.  I also did wonder why the bed wasn't situated to face the view head-on - seems like that could've been laid out better.  Also, there was a private party going on at the adult pool area until well into the night, so we couldn't sleep with our veranda doors open as I'd have liked - you might inquire if there are any special events happening outdoors on the nights of your stay, and reposition your room based on that.  However, our south-facing view couldn't be beat and I'd probably have opted for that side of the hotel, even if we'd known.

The staff was VERY gracious and helpful, all around.  The rates reflect the hotel's luxury status, however aren't obscene and are in keeping with the quality of the experience.

There are also casitas that offer a couple bedrooms, patios and private fire pits -- would be awesome for a family trip or bachelor/ette trip.  The property has a beautiful spot for weddings, and you see a lot of them - though man is that cliff windy!  Hope the brides have some serious hairspray on hand ; )

Weather note -- the forecast will be key to your stay, as it's often foggy up on the bluffs which makes for cool weather and can affect the view. 

All in all, the resort is a total gem.  The architecture and design of the buildings make them fade away into the hillside and feels like it's just part of the cliffs, surrounded by indigenous flora and fauna.  Just lovely.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Terranea_Resort-128-1444890-208410-Incredibly_well_executed_local_treasure_with.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Terranea_Resort-128-1444890-208410-Incredibly_well_executed_local_treasure_with.html Tue, 7 Jun 2011 18:35:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ Simply heavenly!]]>
In China, it's often known as foot reflexology as no lotion or oil is applied and the pressure applied is mostly on the bottom of the feet. In Thailand, the concentration is on both the foot and leg. There are many massage parlor and spas in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. The trick is finding one that you are comfortable in as well as like the pressure it's being applied. Once you've found a good one, stick with it!

There is no way to know other than to try it yourself. Nonetheless, friends and acquaintances can provide good leads. Ask around and then go around testing. 

The routine starts with a 15 mins soak in hot water. I do mean hot! I've been told that's how it ought to be so as to provide the maximum benefit. Some kind of traditional chinese medicine or potion (powdery) is then added into the hot water for a mix. In the Chinese style, you simply soak the feet. In the mean time, the masseuse will do a neck and shoulder massage for you. I enjoy this most since I found my back over stressed due to bad sitting posture as well as too long stretch of time in front of the TV and computer! 



In the other South East Asian countries, the water is merely warm and the masseuse will perform a cleaning service by scrubbing and massaging the feet in the water. That's the main difference.

Thereafter, the masseuse will either massage the head and scalp or the shoulder or both. The last would be the feet.

A foot massage session normally lasts for 60 mins or 90 mins. My preference is 90 mins but if it's someone I've never tried before, I'll try 60 mins for a start and if he/she is good, then extend it to 90 mins.



Another added service is the removal of cuticle and dead skins from your feet. That is a luxury which I do love. It makes my feet totally smooth at the end of it. In China, it's a mere RMB30/35 (less than $5). In other countries like Thailand and India, they might do it for free in a foot spa service. I encourage you to do it. You'll be very happy with how smooth your feet are once the dead skins are removed. I love applying the massage oil to my feet after this. Really great!


One last suggestion, do your foot massage at day spa or massage parlor. They are a lot more economical. Never do one in the hotel spas. They are highly overpriced there. One doesn't need so much privacy where foot massages are concerned. The hotel and destination spas are best for body massages and certainly not foot massages!

As a guide, an hour of foot massage in China is about RMB 60 (US$10) and it's less in Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. The advice of the masseuse is to do it at least once a week. For Chinese reflexology, foot massages are meant to cure sleeplessness, lack of appetite or other known illnesses. It's been claimed that a good masseuse will know what kind of problem you're having by pressing certain acu-point and if you are in great pain, then you've a problem in certain area of your body!!!



For those of you who have no chance of going to a foot massage, WikiHow has a manual on how you can give a foot massage to your loved ones. Click here.

One last note about (foot) massages, you can get addicted to them!!!




]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/actor/UserReview-Foot_massage_reflexology_-128-1734351-207199-Simply_heavenly_.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/actor/UserReview-Foot_massage_reflexology_-128-1734351-207199-Simply_heavenly_.html Mon, 9 May 2011 12:47:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Bora Bora Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>



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http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-207182.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-207182.html Mon, 9 May 2011 03:24:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Interlaken, Switzerland Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Interlaken_Switzerland-155-1419364-206725.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Interlaken_Switzerland-155-1419364-206725.html Sun, 1 May 2011 14:05:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Bali Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bali-155-1437075-206654.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bali-155-1437075-206654.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:21:04 +0000 <![CDATA[Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-128-1394724-206636.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-128-1394724-206636.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 03:37:03 +0000 <![CDATA[Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-155-1394724-206097.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-155-1394724-206097.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:05:38 +0000 <![CDATA[The Venetian, Macao Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Zaia (Cirque du Soleil) for entertainment, hundreds of shops and restaurants for guests' selections. Venetian belongs to the Sands group so there are free transportation between these 2 hotels as well as Macau ferry terminal.


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http://www.lunch.com/LuxuryHotels/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Venetian_Macao-706-1388474-205107.html http://www.lunch.com/LuxuryHotels/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Venetian_Macao-706-1388474-205107.html Mon, 4 Apr 2011 13:25:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Grand Hyatt Macau Hotel (Cotai) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/LuxuryHotels/reviews/d/UserReview-Grand_Hyatt_Macau_Hotel_Cotai_-706-1695716-205068.html http://www.lunch.com/LuxuryHotels/reviews/d/UserReview-Grand_Hyatt_Macau_Hotel_Cotai_-706-1695716-205068.html Sun, 3 Apr 2011 05:37:31 +0000 <![CDATA[Grand Hyatt Macau Hotel (Cotai) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/asiatravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Grand_Hyatt_Macau_Hotel_Cotai_-705-1695716-201347.html http://www.lunch.com/asiatravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Grand_Hyatt_Macau_Hotel_Cotai_-705-1695716-201347.html Wed, 16 Feb 2011 15:41:21 +0000 <![CDATA[ Disney World's Pop Century - A Great Resort At A Value Price]]> Disney's Pop Century Provides Great Value Resort Option

 

Disney's Pop Century Resort is a highly themed Walt Disney World Resort Hotel at a Value Resort price!  This means that budget conscious travelers can still experience the benefits of staying on property during their Disney World Vacation. 

Disney's Pop Century Resort
With 2,880 guest rooms Disney's Pop Century Resort qualifies as one of America's Largest Hotels.  The resort is divided into 5 sections that are each themed to correspond with a particular decade of the latter half of the 20th Century: the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, & 90's.  There are also 3 large themed pool areas and a main building referred to as the Classic Hall.

A Standard Room will cost as low as $82 + tax Rack Rate (during Value Season) and can be discounted as low as $56 + tax.  This provides a real "value" for a stay in a nice, clean room at a fun Disney World Resort Hotel.

The Lobby
As soon as you enter the Main Lobby in the Classic Hall, you get a nostalgic look at the decades referred to as "The Classic Years."  The long Lobby provides ample counters to handle large crowds of people check-in during the busiest times.

Behind the check-in counters are a series of pictures that take you through the 50's to the 90's with images that bring those eras to mind.
Across the Lobby on the opposite wall you will find collections of items that reflect the years that they represent.  Here you find pop culture items that represented popular fads, TV shows, and Movies from those times.  You may find yourself lingering after you have checked-in in order to check out all of the items from your personal favorite decade.
 


The Rooms At Pop Century Resort
The rooms are always important, no matter where you stay.  Even at a Value Resort you expect to find a clean, comfortable room.  The rooms at Pop Century were a pleasant surprise.  The 260 square foot standard rooms will have either 2 double beds (like the ones pictured below) or 1 king sized bed.

You will also find a small table with 2 chairs, and a dresser with an LCD Flat Screen TV.  There really wasn't anything extra or fancy in the room, but it certainly met the requirements of being clean and comfortable.  The LCD TV was a definite plus and I think it makes the room seem larger.  The bedspreads had a Disney theme and you could find Hidden Mickeys in the carpet and bathroom wallpaper.
 


The Food Court
Every Resort needs a place to each and the Everything Pop Food Court is just the place at Pop Century Resort.  Here you can eat during breakfast, lunch, and dinner from a wide variety of choices.  You can also redeem Quick Service Dining Credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

 
Within the Food Court itself there are 4 different food stations offering selections during each meal and a market area with prepared foods, drinks, and deserts to choose from.
 

Typically the foods you get here will be a slightly better value than what you will purchase in the parks.  They still are not cheap, but you can have a wide variety of selections at reasonable (by Disney standards) prices.
 
 
Pop Century Resort Grounds
The Resort grounds is where the Pop Century Resort shines.  Having stayed at both the Disney All-Star Resorts and now Pop Century, I can say that the resort theming and grounds are better at the Pop Century.
 
The next 6 pictures take you on a quick tour of the resort.  The colors are bright and family friendly.  The inclusion of numerous trees within the resort grounds gave it a much richer feeling.  The trees also made the resort feel more "homey" as it broke up the view of the numerous cement buildings.
 
I think Disney did a great job with the Layout of the Resort and I give it high marks for the appearance.  The Foosball courtyard is just awesome!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Great Value Resort!
Disney's Pop Century Resort is a family friendly hotel done right.  It provides an excellent value for the price point.  This is a great choice for people who want to stay on property, but plan to be spending most of their days in the parks.
 
I would definitely choose Pop Century over the Disney All-Star Resorts when choosing a Disney Value Resort Hotel in the future.  I think the better theming and the fact that Pop Century is newer drives that decision.
 
It's also great to know that even though this is a Value Resort you are still entitled to Free Parking (at the Resort and at the Theme Parks), Free Disney World Transportation, and Free Magical Express shuttle service to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO).  These are the same amenities that all Disney World Resort Guests are entitled to no matter the resort class.  These perks can actually make it cheaper to stay on Disney Property instead of off-site with a rental car and paying to park.
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http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/landmark/UserReview-Pop_Century_Resort-128-1440328-200758-Disney_World_s_Pop_Century_A_Great_Resort_At_A.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/landmark/UserReview-Pop_Century_Resort-128-1440328-200758-Disney_World_s_Pop_Century_A_Great_Resort_At_A.html Sat, 5 Feb 2011 14:33:52 +0000
<![CDATA[ A quick, easy, relaxing massage whenever you need it!]]> I recently purchased one of these devices on Dailysteals.com when they had it as their daily deal and I must say that I'm very impressed. I was going to my chiropractor regularly for adjustments and for electric stimulation therapy but now that I have this, I don't feel like I need to go as often!

Pros:
  • Extremely affordable, I got mine for 15 dollars with shipping, others are on amazon for under 30 bucks!
  • Multiple modes with varying degrees of pressure and speed.
  • Take it with you anywhere, since it's small.
  • Easy to use.
Cons:

There's really only one that I can think of, and that's the electrode pads. They come with adhesive and mine are still sticking fine but not sure how long they last. (There are replacement pads on amazon).

Recommendation:

I highly recommend this product to anyone who has any sort of muscle tension, back aches or anyone who just plain enjoys massages. I was extremely skeptical since the device is so small and only uses 2 AAA batteries but I was very impressed.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/product/UserReview-Hi_Dow_Physical_Therapy_Massager_With_Digital_LCD-128-1685290-198565-A_quick_easy_relaxing_massage_whenever_you_need.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/product/UserReview-Hi_Dow_Physical_Therapy_Massager_With_Digital_LCD-128-1685290-198565-A_quick_easy_relaxing_massage_whenever_you_need.html Wed, 5 Jan 2011 02:14:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Las Vegas Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Las_Vegas-155-1300351-198267.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Las_Vegas-155-1300351-198267.html Fri, 31 Dec 2010 10:26:39 +0000 <![CDATA[Gokarna Forest Resort Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Gokarna_Forest_Resort-128-1682406-197845.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Gokarna_Forest_Resort-128-1682406-197845.html Mon, 27 Dec 2010 07:06:06 +0000 <![CDATA[ A 90 minute presentation]]> So a bunch of their reps post up at sporting events like Dodger, Padre and Clipper games and target couples who might be interested in a "presentation". They give out all kind of incentives and even give out a free shirt or hat.

@wlisa89 and I attended the Clippers vs. Grizzlies game at Staples Center on December 11, 2010 (let's not talk about the outcome of the game) and one of their reps approached us and talked a million words per second about some kind of resort where they give you a presentation and drive you around in a golf cart. I figured it was some kind of timeshare thing and my sister and my parents had gone through some of these presentations and scored some pretty cool stuff. So I said, why not, let's give it a shot and decided to sign up.

They ask for a deposit, which they return to you if you show up to the presentation, other than that, they just promise you all kinds of stuff, like a 3 day trip to San Fran, a trip to Catalina etc. We opted for the Catalina trip and a bunch of dodger tickets. In the back of my mind I'm thinking that we'll probably never end up getting the stuff anyway (being a Clipper fan will make you think like that about everything).

The scheduled presentation was for the following weekend, we got a free shirt and then parted ways with the rep.

I decided to get some background info by researching on the Internet about this place and oh man I was not expecting the terrible reviews on Yelp. People said it was a disaster but there was 1 or 2 semi-positive reviews. Not really a great sign but still decided to go through with it, really how bad could it be?

The next week, it was raining but luckily it didn't take too long to make it out the resort out in Escondido. They have a parking lot where they shuttle you to the resort entrance via a golf cart.

We made our way into the lobby and met up with our guide. Her name was Rita and she was friendly. Almost immediately, I told her that we were in a hurry and only had 90 minutes. This was because on the reviews, I read that people were stuck there for 4 hours. Rita honored our time constraint and sat down and talked with us in a big room with about 20 other couples.

She went over what our vacation preferences were and what we like to do on our free time etc and explained that what they were offering was ownership that wasn't really like a timeshare. She threw out all kinds of numbers and explained that it's better to own one of their rooms rather than go on vacation and pay for hotel rooms where none of the money goes toward an investment.

She also took us around to look at the models and some illustrations about the history of the place. Since it was raining, she wasn't able to show us the actual rooms or tour the entire place. Not a problem.

Overall I wasn't very impressed and it looked pretty clear I wasn't interested in buying. To make a long story short, I declined and she didn't really question it much and sent us to get our gifts.

The next person she sent us to, gave us some last deals that we also declined.

He thanked us and shows us the exit but not before handing us 6 vouchers for Dodger tickets, 2 vouchers for LA Kings tickets, a receipt for a refund for my deposit and a handout on how to claim the Catalina trip.

I was pretty surprised especially after reading such bad reviews of the place. I wasn't expecting to get anything so I was pleasantly surprised. A 90 minute drive, a 90 minute presentation, a bunch of gifts and the rest of the day to spend around San Diego. Not too bad.

Recommendation:

Overall, I think that buying their property wasn't for me but I think some people might be very interested. It seemed like there were a number of people there who ended up buying and Rita also showed us a huge book of pictures of herself and her buyers.

So I say, give it a shot, listen to what they've got and at the very least, you'll walk away with some gifts!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/business/UserReview-Welk_Resort-128-1681366-197581-A_90_minute_presentation.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/business/UserReview-Welk_Resort-128-1681366-197581-A_90_minute_presentation.html Tue, 21 Dec 2010 01:28:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Lavana Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Oasis Spa and there are more tourists here. 

It is located just next to the Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant so if you're hungry after the massage, you can head next door and have a great meal!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Lavana_Bangkok-128-1680804-197490.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Lavana_Bangkok-128-1680804-197490.html Sun, 19 Dec 2010 17:14:30 +0000
<![CDATA[St. Regis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/starwood/reviews/hotel/UserReview-St_Regis-248-1433584-197396.html http://www.lunch.com/starwood/reviews/hotel/UserReview-St_Regis-248-1433584-197396.html Sun, 19 Dec 2010 05:54:08 +0000 <![CDATA[Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/uniquehotels/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Sofitel_Bora_Bora_Marara_Beach_and_Private_Island-50-1670172-194045.html http://www.lunch.com/uniquehotels/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Sofitel_Bora_Bora_Marara_Beach_and_Private_Island-50-1670172-194045.html Sat, 20 Nov 2010 15:31:36 +0000 <![CDATA[Banyan Tree Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Banyan_Tree-128-1670137-194037.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Banyan_Tree-128-1670137-194037.html Sat, 20 Nov 2010 07:02:32 +0000 <![CDATA[Amanjiwo Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Provided that money is of not of great concern! Otherwise, a spa experience at this resort would be excellent too!]]> http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amanjiwo-142-1669696-193913.html http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amanjiwo-142-1669696-193913.html Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:23:59 +0000 <![CDATA[Amanusa Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amanusa-142-1669695-193912.html http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amanusa-142-1669695-193912.html Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:08:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Amandari Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amandari-142-1669694-193911.html http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amandari-142-1669694-193911.html Thu, 18 Nov 2010 14:59:27 +0000 <![CDATA[Amankila Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Bali. I have the fortune to visit it when it was first launched, back then in early 90s. The resort is not in the touristy areas of Bali, hence, it's far away from the maddening crowd. The best part of it is that it overlooks the ocean and with private pools in each of the beach houses. That was way too cool back then. Imagine, even today, the concept of having your own pools in your backyard and the visionary illusion of it stretching as far as the oceanI was totally awed!

Official Site: http://www.amanresorts.com/amankila/home.aspx]]>
http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amankila-142-1669693-193910.html http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/d/UserReview-Amankila-142-1669693-193910.html Thu, 18 Nov 2010 14:51:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Exotic Escapes at Half the Price]]>
I have yet to book a vacation through SniqueAway, but I do love the offerings that are featured on this site. All of the properties are four or five star resorts that come highly recommended from reviewers on Trip Advisor (yes, SniqueAway is a Trip Advisor Member company). The hotels/resorts are not only beautiful, but when you're making a spontaneous decision on whether to book one, you are privy to gorgeous, colorful photos of each property, a list of all amenities and policies, a map detailing the location, and a descriptive recommendation on why this hotel is worth the price and what type of traveler would enjoy it.

The timed sale (usually 24 hours +) gives a bit of excitement to the hotel shopping experience and by limiting the amount of deals per day and week, I don't feel overwhelmed with choices. I either see something that interests me or I don't.

The other perk: By inviting your friends to join SniqueAway you get a $25 credit every time they book through the website. I've invited all my travel friends and do hope they make a reservation soon (nudge, nudge)! Here's my invite link if you want to check it out: http://www.sniqueaway.com/invite/BethanyK

Savings on hotels seem to range from 30- 50% off – quite a savings! It appears you'll still be paying a fairly high price for most of these resorts, however 50% off a 5 - star resort is certainly of value and perfect for a honeymoon or special occasion trip.

Hotels are located in global hot spots like Portugal and the Caymans, to US cities like Savannah, GA. The variety allows for close excursions that are perfect for weekend trips or week long adventures.

So what are you waiting for? It's time to get away!]]>
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<![CDATA[ "To infinity and beyond!"]]> The Sheraton Waikiki in Oahu, HI was a fantastic hotel experience.  The hotel property had recently been updated prior to my stay.  With the addition of an infinity pool and restaurant area, this hotel is definitely one I will remember.  It is located in a great central location on the strip of Waikiki beach.  A block away from amazing shopping, from Hermes to Gap.  All we needed and more however could be purchased within the hotel property. 

The staff was amazing.  I experienced the best service I have ever received from Diane, a server at the swim up infinity pool bar, and The Edge restaurant.  Our last night there I happened to forget my camera by a lounge chair near the pool area and a pool boy actually turned it into security.  I could not believe it!  Those two people and their kindness alone would be reason enough for my return. 

The grounds were stunning and seemed to handle both adults and families very well.  The property was divided by The Rum Fire bar and tapas restaurant.  An adult only infinity pool on one side and a family friendly pool equipped with a water slide and lagoon style hot tubs on the other side.  We could enjoy great drinks, tapas, and live music at The Rum Fire.  Fire dancers on the patio outside "The Edge bar", or fine dining at The Twist, 30 stories up to a loft dining experience overlooking Waikiki beach.  There were a total of five restaurants on site, including buffet and market style options.  The musicians at the Rum Fire and the talents of the fire dancers were beautiful enough for us to skip going to a Luau. 

The rooms were great with a unique window/ mirror in the bathroom that opened up so you could see through the room to the ocean.  The fitness center was equipped with anything you would want and the entire hotel was very clean and consistently aesthetically pleasing.  On my next stay I want to try out the Spa Khakara as I did not have time to experience it on this trip.  The hotel has daycare available just down the hall from the spa so you can rest assured your children are being cared for as you are being pampered.  Yet another reason I love this hotel!! 

  

I would highly recommend this beautiful and unique hotel!!  Hope you get to experience it one day!!
Aloha!!
 

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Sheraton_Waikiki-128-1444975-191983-_To_infinity_and_beyond_.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Sheraton_Waikiki-128-1444975-191983-_To_infinity_and_beyond_.html Tue, 26 Oct 2010 19:58:53 +0000
<![CDATA[Songtsam Hotel (颂赞绿谷酒店) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Songtsam_Hotel_-128-1658762-191867.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-Songtsam_Hotel_-128-1658762-191867.html Sun, 24 Oct 2010 14:09:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ Family Friendly Old School Resort]]>
We only spent one night here so I don't feel qualified to comment on everything, but here are some tips.

1. Call them to book it. We went online and found a rate of $315/night. Then we called them and they quoted us a rate of $275. Then after a little inquiring about any good deals that we might be able to partake in, they put me on hold... came back and gave us a rate of $119/night!!! OMG. Granted this was off season they had plenty of rooms, but what a difference. We were stoked to say the least.

2. Try to get a balcony room. There are only 4 or so rooms in the hotel that have balcony and we got one. It was a nice upgrade, but we didn't really have a chance to use it too much.  Here's the view from our room overlooking the ice rink with the mountain in the background.  It was room #363.

















This hotel is short drive out of down town Ketchum but probably could be walked too for some exercise. I'll try it again for sure next time i find myself in Sun Valley.  Here i am trying to pick up a spare.  I didn't make it.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Sun_Valley_Lodge-128-1657895-191786-Family_Friendly_Old_School_Resort.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Sun_Valley_Lodge-128-1657895-191786-Family_Friendly_Old_School_Resort.html Fri, 22 Oct 2010 19:47:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ Have it all at the Amangani without paying the price tag]]>
For example, rooms cost $600/night in the off season and $1500/night in the high season. I'm sure the rooms are spectacular (there are only 40 rooms at the resort) but if you compare that to staying across the valley at the Four Seasons you can have a luxury hotel at a fraction of the price. On our recent trip we saved money at the Four Seasons at an off season rate of $183/night.

So how do you experience the Amangani and save a couple grand??

First: Go to the Amangani for the view. I'm a sucker for a good view so I love this place!!  Have a cocktail by the fire and enjoy the modern but still cozy/warm lobby. It's high end for sure... they even have nice wines by the glass... I had Patz and Hall Sonoma Pinot for $16/glass. Not too shabby for a cowboy ski town.

View in lobby by fire place


















In this photo, i'm standing outside taking  a pic of Susan inside by the fire.  You can see my reflection and the reflection of the mountains and impending sunset.  Pretty cool and I just snapped it with the iPhone.































Second:   Go to the restaurant for dinner, which is directly next to the lobby and seats by the windows have the same stunning views. We liked our experience so much having a drink and watching the sunset that we decided to back a second night and try dinner.  Dinner, as expected, isn't cheap. Entree price $30-50 but it was one of the most delicious meals we've ever had. The bison short ribs, were off the charts!!! I will go back there someday to have them again. The elk tenderloin on the other hand was... well... elk. More loin than tender and a bit gamey for my tastes, but at no fault of the restaurant. It's elk, but i wanted to try it.

The Amangani part of the Aman Resorts (one of the nicest luxury hotel brands in the world) and they only have two resorts in the US.  Jackson Hole and Lake Powell.... random right?  But still they do it right.  I hope I can some day stay at both of them and not worry about paying the hefty room rate, because from the service that we had in the lobby and the restaurant, I'm sure the hotel guests are well taken care of.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Amangani-128-1440517-191774-Have_it_all_at_the_Amangani_without_paying_the.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Amangani-128-1440517-191774-Have_it_all_at_the_Amangani_without_paying_the.html Fri, 22 Oct 2010 18:35:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Songtsam Retreat Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Songtsam_Retreat-128-1655989-191674.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Songtsam_Retreat-128-1655989-191674.html Thu, 21 Oct 2010 03:40:21 +0000 <![CDATA[Las Vegas Quick Tip by callmeLucy]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Las_Vegas-1300351-191649.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Las_Vegas-1300351-191649.html Wed, 20 Oct 2010 19:32:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Songtsam Retreat Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/uniquehotels/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Songtsam_Retreat-50-1655989-190206.html http://www.lunch.com/uniquehotels/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Songtsam_Retreat-50-1655989-190206.html Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:04:41 +0000 <![CDATA[Las Vegas Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> http://www.lunch.com/Awesomeness/reviews/d/UserReview-Las_Vegas-163-1300351-166300.html http://www.lunch.com/Awesomeness/reviews/d/UserReview-Las_Vegas-163-1300351-166300.html Sat, 25 Sep 2010 17:52:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Olive Oil Quick Tip by Raederle]]> http://www.lunch.com/HealthyLifestyle/reviews/food/UserReview-Olive_Oil-108-1395970-161030.html http://www.lunch.com/HealthyLifestyle/reviews/food/UserReview-Olive_Oil-108-1395970-161030.html Sat, 18 Sep 2010 07:51:19 +0000 <![CDATA[ This Hotel Inspired my new LIFE GOAL]]> I've been to a few Four Seasons; San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Maui, and the incredible George V in Paris.  For the last few years I had been hearing about the Four Seasons in Punta Mita from friends who had been there and, therefore, I had been dying to go.  Well, thanks to our friends who chose an incredible destination for their wedding...I made it!!
Four Seasons Punta Mita does not disappoint!!  But then, again, Four Seasons has never once disappointed me.  At the Punta Mita Four Seasons, the service is always impeccable.  For example, the groundskeepers and bellmen would literally stop in their tracks or stop their golf carts in order to let me pass.  Even when there was plenty of room for both of us to keep moving, they stopped.  Simply a courtesy to show they are respectful of their guests.  The food was delicious, especially the chilaquiles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilaquiles I had for breakfast.  The views from our room were beyond tranquil and the pools far exceeded any expectations i had for this resort.  When i judge a hotel, I use their lounge chairs to judge them.  It might sound odd, but if my husband is trying to talk me into a certain hotel, I log onto their website and look at the pool.  If I see plastic lounge chairs with those plastic straps, no thank you.  If it is a full teak lounge chair with a thick cushion...I'm booking my trip!  But the Four Season goes far beyond that at the pool.  They actually seat you at your chair, wrapping it in a fitted towel, leave extra towels for you, offer cold washcloths with a lemon scent, magazines and even sunscreen.  I was surprised and impressed to see that there were options of sunscreen, SPF30, SPF55, SPF 75 for the face or the body...all for free.  Then the ice cream cart pulled up to the pool at about 3:00 offering free ice cream to the guests.  I'm sure it is meant for children but I saw plenty of adults enjoying their Hagen Das.  Its the little things that make the Four Seasons so much better than other hotels. 

After spending 3 FANTASTIC days at the Four Seasons, Punta Mita, I decided to make a goal of staying at every Four Seasons in the world.   When I returned home, I checked and there are currently 82 Four Seasons world wide.  Don't laugh..I'm very serious.  Even my husband really likes the idea.  I'm not sure if he is just happy that i finally have some "goals" or because he will get to stay with me in these amazing hotels as i check them off my list.  ;-)

Thank you Four Seasons Punta Mita for the inspiration!!!!!

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-147670-This_Hotel_Inspired_my_new_LIFE_GOAL.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-147670-This_Hotel_Inspired_my_new_LIFE_GOAL.html Tue, 7 Sep 2010 22:16:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ Lush tropical paradise!]]>
Arriving
My family(wife and two sons (6 weeks and 3 years old)) recently traveled to Punta de Mita for my sisters wedding.   We started our vacation at this hotel arriving late (10pm) on a Tuesday evening in mid August.  Upon arriving at the front security gate we were asked if this was the Edds party (-; Again upon pulling into the lobby we were greeted by name(Mr and Mrs Edds).   After traveling for 11 hours we were escorted into the lobby and seated in the lobby.  Cold towels and fruit drinks were brought for the three of us.  Upon our 3 year promptly spilling his drink on the floor the staff didn't miss a beat and had another juice for him to drink, while encouraging us to move on and not cleanup after him.   All of our bags(6+) were unloaded from the van and taken to our room.   We were checked in immediately and asked if we would like to join my sister and her fiance(now husband) at the restaurant as they were finishing up dinner.  We were taken by golf cart to the restaurant and seated with the happy couple.   We had a refreshing beverage or two and some chicken quseadillas to ease our fast food weary stomachaches.  After dinner we were taken to our room by golf cart and upon entry found our bags put away nicely in the room.   The names of our sons had been spelled out in block letters in the crib and Four Seasons t-shirts had been laid out for them to wear to bed.  Our room had been upgraded(Thx) to a one bedroom suite, which included a nice porch and a plunge pool(more on that later).  Our room was equipped with several flat screen TV's, the AC was cranked and the dehumidifier was working hard(It was 85 with a dewpoint of 79 at midnight).  

The Morning
We awoke that night to some of the most intense thunderstorms of our lives, after falling back asleep we were awoken by our 3 year old who wanted to "go downstairs" for breakfast.  I suggested a morning swim in the plunge pool instead.  40 minutes later I convinced my son to go inside and watch TV as I had sum enough for the morning    The pool was relatively cool (compared to the 80+ degree air) After getting ready we headed to the brunch that was included with our room.  The brunch restaurant is located outside, over looking the pool and ocean  After a night of rain and a warm day ahead, the humidity at breakfast was a little hot for those not yet accustomed to PM in August.   The food looked great, but the heat prevented us from eating very much. Coffee, part of a made to order omelet, yogurt, granola and fruit was all I could get down.   The cart returned us to our room and the driver waited for us to pack and brought our bags to the cart for us to check out and head over to Casa Siete.   The cart driver must have spent 30 minutes with us that morning, driving, waiting, hauling bags, but refused a forceful tip attempt.  

Return to the river
On Saturday we snuck back to the resort to spend time with family and friends and conquer the lazy river which had evaded us on our stay.  The lazy river is well lazy.  I did the first lap on foot as I was corralling two three year olds on makeshift rafts of noodles.  This was an effort to work around the fact that kids were too small to fit in the tubes used to run the river.  I later took a kidless lap on the tube and found the river to be quite lazy.  My best basis for comparison is the lazy river at MGM grand in Vegas, which as I remember is much faster.    While the MGM grand river has a concrete feel to it, the FS PM river is all palm trees and several small bridges to pass under.  It was morning, and I had not yet had a drink, but I found the FS PM river to be a bit too lazy for my tastes.  

Other notes
- We had several iguana spottings while on property.  Rumor has it that amaradillos roam as well, but we will have to come back to see them.
- FS PM is VERY kid friendly.  We had mistakenly set an expectation for chocolate chip cookies upon arrival.  We did in fact receive a bag of candy for the 3 year old, but cookies were still desired.  After breakfast the FS PM came through and brought 2 excellent cookies to our table(with our approval).  When we returned for our river adventure, box of cereal spilled, cookies were brought to the rescue.  
- We didn't have the opportunity to buy any food at the FS, but our brunch would have cost $90 for the two of us.  Food and drink are spendy at the FS....
- I'm not usually one to let other take my bags, my advice, let them, it changes your entire perspective on vacation...
- Next time we need to stay more than one night]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-144602-Lush_tropical_paradise_.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-144602-Lush_tropical_paradise_.html Tue, 31 Aug 2010 03:26:10 +0000
<![CDATA[ Seaside hammock heaven]]> Imagine yourself lounging in a hammock, being tickled by the warm Mexican Rivera breezes, and being lulled to by the sound of the Pacific Ocean crashing onto rocks below you.  This is what you will find when you stay at the Four Seasons Punta Mita.

Rumored to be the best Four Seasons in the world, this resort, which sits 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, is set in a 400-acre nature preserve on a private peninsula just northwest of Puerto Vallarta on the Bahía de Banderas.  The hotel started a luxury revolution in a little town called Punta Mita...and forever changed the landscape for vacationers. The Four Seasons took residence in Punta Mita 10 years ago and because of this high-end establishment, the St. Regis and very high-end real estate (estates, developments, etc) started popping up in the area. This hotel provided a sanctuary for vacationers looking for a slightly off the beaten path trip but didn't want to lose the luxury of big city life.

The hotel is situated on a large campus overlooking the Pacific, which is 17,000,000 square feet. There are 173 rooms, of which there are: 135 guest rooms, 38 suites, 48 private villas, and 25 four seasons residence clubs. The hotel is designed with traditional Mexican style casitas with red-tiered roofs and extensive gardens, along with a contemporary Mexican art collection.  The hotel also has a fantastic spa, four restaurants and three lounges, 10 tennis courts, A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course --Pacifico Golf Course ($195/18 holes), and amenities galore (tennis lessons, golf lesions, snorkeling, water toys and equipment, whirlpools, fishing, horseback riding, scuba diving and surfing). There are four pools (all a constant temp of 30 degrees Celsius), a lazy river and Game rooms for the kids, and meeting/corp rooms!
 
Last but not least, they also have an In-house cultural center, which offers exhibits and lectures on Mexican, and contemporary art, private yacht excursions and “Gift of the Gods” lecture. I didn’t attend any of these lectures but I want to next time I visit.
 
Enough of the specifics, the resort is fantastic.  As you arrive, they greet you by name with fresh squeezed juice and an icy cold towel and walk you to a lobby table, which is overlooking the ocean. This is where they go through your reservation (while sitting down sipping your juice…. not standing in line or behind a desk) and then carts you to your room via golf cart.  The greatest thing about the Four Seasons is the level of service. The service here is no exception and the staff is ready and happy to abide your latest request or inquiry.
 
The room we stayed in was an ocean view suite…which is the exact room where I fell asleep on the balcony, in a hammock, overlooking the pacific ocean listening the waves crash against the rocks below. This place is magical.  The bathrooms are good sized with double vanity sinks, a large bath Jacuzzi and a stand up shower.  They use L’Occitane products (like most Four Seasons) and ensure the room is stoked with fresh bottled water (free) – it is Mexico.  In the room, we had a King sized bed which had clean silky sheets and firm bedding. All around the room is a winner –but the room isn’t where you want to spend your time.
 
The pools, the restaurants, the beach…this is where you soak in the Mexican sun and unwind.  Remember that if you visit the Four Seasons Punta Mita…don’t pack your watch. You’re on PM time. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-144596-Seaside_hammock_heaven.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-144596-Seaside_hammock_heaven.html Tue, 31 Aug 2010 00:56:42 +0000
<![CDATA[ If you're looking for a great Mexico time, give a read to this hotel review rhyme...]]>


Just got back from spending three nights in Mexico at the gorgeous Four Season's resort in Punta Mita...

For the wedding of senor @jrjohnson and @Savvygirl, his now better half senorita



The resort shuttle from the airport was ready when we got there, the driver holding a sign, donning a most welcoming smile on his face...

Of course, he had a cooler of ice cold Modelo's for those looking to immediately start their Mexico style drinking pace



Our driver showed amazing composure as he swerved out of the way as an oncoming speeding driver was trying to pass directly into a crazy blind spot...

It was seriously a matter of inches, the driver's cool and poise was unreal, skills he was clearly born with, this reaction was not something that can be taught



We safely made it to the grounds of the Four Seasons, where just pulling in you had the feeling of being on vacation...

The stresses and big city hustle bustle you left behind, suddenly a distant sensation



This premier resort, 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta, featuring panoramic ocean views of Mexico's Pacific, has been overindulging its guests since 1999...

With the cold towels in the lobby, the on call golf carts to get you around and the variety of fresh juices by the pool, they're always making sure you're always feeling more than fine



There are 165 units equipped with the usual high class amenities,
some featuring telescopes and an outdoor shower which is always cool...

If you feel like stepping it up, 30 are suites, some on top of ocean crashing waves, but all including your own personal plunge pool



There are no shortages of activities to partake in when you're looking to do more than just chill and be doted on by the overly attentive service crew...

Golfing on a Nicklaus designed course, tennis, snorkeling, surfing and deep sea fishing just to name a few



Basically, however you wish to spend your Mexican holiday, this resort will attempt to eagerly deliver...

I just wish I had more time, perhaps I could have shared first hand knowledge of the fitness room, spa or lazy river



There are four choices of restaurants all with amazing views; the table side guac at Ketsi and the carne asada at Bahia are what I dug the most...

The extensive complimentary buffet breakfast more than exceeded expectations, I heard more than once, "this is the best ever french toast!"



A special shout out to our bartender Andreis for being so tolerant of our loud group after the rehearsal dinner night...

I hear he pours a mean drink and looking back, him not keeping the bar open after closing time was probably a good call in hindsight



If you feel like venturing out of the resort, Salyulita is the place to be, it's a small, mainly locals town, around 15 minutes away...

Whether just having an authentic meal at Don Pedro's overlooking the surfers catching waves or cruising around and getting lost in this quaint city for the day



So, whether you're Jay Z and Beyonce who have been known to frequent this luxurious spot...

Or just someone simply looking for an amazing Mexico experience, I definitely would hit up the Four Seasons Punta Mita, that's all I've got]]>
http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-139044-If_you_re_looking_for_a_great_Mexico_time_give_a.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Four_Seasons_Punta_Mita_Punta_de_Mita_Mexico_-128-1519861-139044-If_you_re_looking_for_a_great_Mexico_time_give_a.html Fri, 27 Aug 2010 00:08:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ Tee it up, Punta Mita Golf Club]]> Punta Mita is home to two Resorts, the St. Regis and the Four Seasons as well as the Punta Mita Golf Club.  The club is comprised of two Jack Nicklaus designed courses and rumored is a third, Greg Norman, designed course.  On a recent trip I had the opportunity to play the Pacifico Course which is home to the signature hole of the resort dubbed "The tail of the whale", the only natural island green in the world.

In general this is a  your typical "resort" golf course, not too much trouble for the duffer, yet challenging enough for more seasoned golfers.  What makes this course special is the views.... and the fact you are in Punta Mita playing golf.  We only played the front nine (10 when you throw in hole 3B,The tail of the Whale") but 4 were ocean view holes. 

The course is beautiful and very well kept, however we were there during the rainy season and the low spots were a little soggy and as a result it was cart path only rules.  I'd recommend asking this prior to making a tee time as cart path only in 90 degree weather with 90% humidity takes on a whole new meaning. This is simply a negotiating point but worth mentioning.  We rented nice Calloway golf clubs, which came with a sleeve of balls and free rental spikes.  We paid $135 for 9 holes, well actually 10 (see note on 3b).  Admittedly not a great value the 18 (19) hole twilight rate was $155 which is a deal for this course. Included in the fee was cart rental, all you can hit balls and cold towel and water service.  As with all things Mexico the tax was a bit heavy.   I have seen rates in Cabo well over $300.  Club rentals were about $50 (not bad considering it would have cost me $25 - $40 in baggage cost), glove $25 and an extra sleeve of balls $10.  Next time I will pack a glove and some balls.  The 19th... 20th hole was a nice Palapa that looked great for a coldie and some cerviche but we didn't have a chance to try it in person... next time for sure.

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<![CDATA[ A great wave for any level of surfer! (Punta Mita's "La Lancha")]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-La_Lancha_Puerto_Vallarta_beach_-128-1591269-136202-A_great_wave_for_any_level_of_surfer_Punta.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/d/UserReview-La_Lancha_Puerto_Vallarta_beach_-128-1591269-136202-A_great_wave_for_any_level_of_surfer_Punta.html Wed, 25 Aug 2010 02:37:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Interlaken, Switzerland Quick Tip by RyanWeiss]]> http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/d/UserReview-Interlaken_Switzerland-134-1419364-114903.html http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/d/UserReview-Interlaken_Switzerland-134-1419364-114903.html Wed, 18 Aug 2010 20:47:11 +0000 <![CDATA[Paris, France Quick Tip by Beasimer]]> http://www.opencafe.fr]]> http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/food/UserReview-Paris_France-134-1333477-113278.html http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/food/UserReview-Paris_France-134-1333477-113278.html Tue, 17 Aug 2010 05:19:57 +0000 <![CDATA[Paris, France Quick Tip by Beasimer]]> http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/food/UserReview-Paris_France-134-1333477-113277.html http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/food/UserReview-Paris_France-134-1333477-113277.html Tue, 17 Aug 2010 04:58:36 +0000 <![CDATA[Paris, France Quick Tip by Beasimer]]> http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/food/UserReview-Paris_France-134-1333477-113276.html http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/food/UserReview-Paris_France-134-1333477-113276.html Tue, 17 Aug 2010 04:53:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ $260 for a couples massage almost cost me $10,000 in fraud]]>
One our product guys here at Lunch.com, Andrew is on his honeymoon down in Mexico at Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort.  I thought it would be nice to get he and his wife a couples massage as a gift.  So i called the hotel, got to the spa and explained what i wanted to do.  They told me that i needed to fax a copy of both sides of the credit card along with my driver's license to them for payment.  I thought that was a bit extreme, so i questioned the woman as to why.  She explained it was for MY protection.  That was obviously the answer we was told to give and after i pressed her on it a bit, she could only offer the same response.  It was obviously a fraud protection mechanism for the hotel so that they don't give out a bunch of couples massages only to find that the charges on the card didn't go through. (side note:  are there a lot people using fake credit cards to book couples massages?)  I told her she could run the card today for the $300 (i included a tip) so they know they will get paid and the couple could get the massage tomorrow.  She didn't buy it.  If i wanted to spend money at their hotel i needed to play be their rules.

My only saving grace was that this woman, Leticia, promised me she would get the fax herself and make sure all of my information was safe.  I believe most people are good and i don't think that she was out to get me, so i begrudgingly  faxed my information down to them.  I called back 15 mins later to see is she got it but she was gone for the day i was told.  Hmmmm... got a little concerned, but not enough to worry too much... what's the worst that could happen?

Well, early the morning i got an email from the AMEX fraud department to call them ASAP.  I called and they asked if within the last 25 minutes I purchased 3 songs on itunes, two first class tickets on Turkish Airlines (London to Istanbul) and 2 first class tickets on Emirates Airlines.  I let them know the stupid fax i sent the night before and they canceled my credit card and stopped the charges.  We assumed that someone at the hotel got a hold of my fax and sold my information to a group who commits this type of fraud.  The three itunes charges to see if the card worked was a give away. 

So my thoughts after this experience:
1.  Don't fax your credit card information... that was dumb... i knew it when i did it.
2.  If you are hotel like Excellence Resorts, have better controls on this stuff.  I'm sure the resort is beautiful and there are a lot of really good people that work there, but it only takes one bad apple to tarnish your reputation as well as tarnish the reputation of all resorts in Mexico.  Not only that, but it hurts your bottom line because i was going to spend $300 with your hotel.
3.  Kudos to AMEX for being on it so quickly.  But then the larger societal impact of this type of fraud struck me.  We as consumers are ultimately paying for this in the fees that we pay to the credit card company's to detect this type of fraud, or the merchants who have to pay the credit card companies and we have to pay more for products when we buy them.  All in all.. it's theft... its a crime...and it's a buzzkill to everyone but the thief.
4.  Consumers shouldn't be as stupid as i was and make this crime that much easier for people to commit.  Sorry guys (society)... i won't do it again.
5.  I hope Excellence Playa Mujeres took care of Andrew since he didn't get my wedding gift now.]]>
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<![CDATA[ One of the Nicest Four Seasons I've seen]]>
We stayed there just one night while we were checking it out for our upcoming wedding.  Although we aren't having our wedding at the Four Seasons, most of our guest will be staying there.

Service: The Four Season's service is always top notch and they keep this one fully staffed to take care of almost every need.  They quoted me how many staff they have year round and it's almost 1 staff per every guest... or something close to that.  It kind of makes me feel a little uncomfortable how attentive they are, because you can't walk past anyone without them stopping what they are doing, smiling, and saying hello.  I think it really cuts into the productivity of the housekeepers and gardeners always having to say hi... but they still do it.

Rooms:  We got upgraded from an ocean view room to an ocean front room which was great.  The ocean front rooms sit directly on the bluff over the water.  They have hammocks on the patio and the water crashing the rocks below.  One bit of caution however because you'll see staff walking on the bluff in front of the room, so it's not as private as it feels.  We were on the first floor, but the second floor obviously wouldn't have as much of an issue.  I also wanted to leave the door open at night, but because of the thought of someone being able to walk in... i decided to close and lock it.  If i go back... i'll try for the second floor.

Price:  They do a good job keeping their rates up.  You won't find many discounts on the nightly rate, but they will do deals like stay 3 nights and get a 4th night free.  The cheapest rack rate i've seen is $415/night and that is for the off season (June-Oct)... the rainy season.  In the high season, especially around Christmas, rates will be $600+/night.  We got a group rate for our wedding guests of $225/night and free breakfast.  We had to guarantee 30 room nights and it was in the middle of the off season (late August) which helped on the rates.  And it took a lot of negotiating to get to that rate.  I worked a lot with the St. Regis nearby as well, but the Four Seasons service and ability to work with me more than the St. Regis sealed the deal for us.

Amenities:  Check the website, but the place has it all... from great golf, to a super cool lazy river and kids center for families, adult pool (although it's a little hidden and has no views or breeze so i wouldn't recommend hanging out there), beach toys, spa, etc.  Everything you'd expect from a Four Seasons and killer views!!

Transportation:  To get to the hotel from the airport, it's about 45 mins and the car service (nice Suburban with good AC) is $100usd each way.  Taxis are a touch cheaper, but i think it's worth the nice ride and the AC.  Some car services will try to charge more, but $100 each way should be your top.

Nearby stuff:  The town of Punta Mita doesn't have much to offer, but the town of Sayulita, about 15 mins away is really cool and worth the trip away from the resort.  It's a small beach town which still has a quaint vibe even though there are quite a few gringos there now which brings along the inevitable tourist seeking vendors.  But still... it's worth the short trip IMO for lunch or dinner away from the resort.  The hotel will arrange a driver for you, but it's a little pricey from what I remember and i don't have a cheaper option.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Steak, machine guns and empty wallets - perfect.]]>
Ten Things You Should Do In Sin CIty
  1. Get a hotel with a beach: the Mandalay Bay has a beach - how many hotels can boast that? It also has a wave machine. A wave machine! In 100+ degree weather, sitting at one of the excellent pool areas in The Venetian or MGM Grand is really pretty pleasant, especially since the MGM only costs around $40 a night.
  2. Fire some machine guns: rock out with your Glock out! One of the fastest ways to drop $150 outside a casino, but one of the best ways to milk your immaturity and leave you grinning like a Cheshire cat. Uzi 9mm? No problem. M4? Sure. Squeeze the trigger and be shocked at how you can't even hold the thing as it sprays bullets the size of a fountain pen everywhere! Marvel at how grossly irresponsible this would be anywhere outside of Vegas. Ka-boom!
  3. Smith & Wollensky: there's the beef! Down the south end of the strip sits S&W, churning out plate after plate of phenomenal $29 rib-eyes and $15 lobster. $15 lobster? "Yes, that's right," as they say in commercials. It's like a half-price Morton's.
  4. See Lance Burton disappear before he disappears: ol' Lance is quitting his magic gig at the Monte Carlo soon. He's spectacularly good, and somehow peaks the interest of the audience's inner child, leaving everyone quite inspired and baffled. I'd love to know how the levitation worked considering I was 10 feet away.
  5. The Auto Collections at the Imperial Palace: the world's biggest collection of antique, luxury or modified vehicles, treading the line between museum, auction house and parking lot. Even if you're not a big car fan (count me in), it's impressive stuff and a one-of-a-kind place.
  6. P F Chang's in Planet Hollywood: amazingly, nothing like the other PFCs anywhere. Somehow
    the cooks feed a 400-seat restaurant from a kitchen smaller than the one in my apartment, and it's consistently good food. And Happy Hour from 3-6pm.
     
  7. Champagne Brunch at the Wynn: at around $35, it's easily the best buffet on the strip though not the cheapest. Stay away from the pasta, bread and any other carbohydrate diversion and get into smoked salmon, rack of lamb, prime rib and wash it down with bottomless glasses of bubbles. Make sure you haven't eat for 20 hours beforehand and be prepared to roll out 15 pounds heavier.
  8. Cirque du Soleil: the custom-designed theaters give you an excellent view from anywhere, and their performances are truly remarkable. It definitely makes you want to go to the gym more (but not on this vacation!).
  9. Breakfast at Bouchon in the Venetian: if Thomas Keller had been around in Roman Times, he would have been the living God of food. There's no better breakfast on the planet, and some of the signature dishes are spectacular (chicken waffles). 
  10. New York's roller coaster: as you're being chain-pulled up to the top, it's around half-way that the sheer height of the drop replaces sightseeing with utter terror. 67mph and 5,000 feet later, it conveniently drops you off near a bar that serves pretty decent happy hour Margaritas.
There's almost too much to even start gambling! Vegas, baby, yeah! OMG!]]>
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<![CDATA[Venice, Italy Quick Tip by theKENnection]]> http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/d/UserReview-Venice_Italy-134-1437077-63899.html http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/d/UserReview-Venice_Italy-134-1437077-63899.html Sat, 3 Jul 2010 22:14:35 +0000