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Author: sandra-chambers

Luxury and History: Two Historic Seaside Hotels

Oceanfront hotels are a dime a dozen along the East Coast seaboard, but it’s a real treat to find two that have survived decades and still exist as stunning destinations. Their unique stories are woven into a tapestry of Southern charm and hospitality. I recently had the opportunity to visit the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort located on St. Simons Island, GA, and The Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville, FL. Both have fascinating histories and offer unique oceanfront experiences. The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort This legendary hotel, a member of the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, is located on one of the barrier islands that make up Georgia’s coast. It first opened in 1935 as a seaside dance club. Six years later, the main hotel building opened to the public as the King and Prince Hotel. During World War II, the hotel served as a naval coast-watching and training facility. The center of radar operations was housed at the King and Prince, which also provided officers’ quarters and classrooms. The bar at the hotel was an after-hours gathering spot for soldiers, their wives and members of the local Civil Air Patrol. The hotel’s current restaurant “Echo” pays tribute to the hotel’s crucial part in the island’s naval history. As radar sent its electromagnetic waves...

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Seasonal Splendor at The Omni Grove Park Inn

Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains, this 100+ year-old, AAA Four-Diamond resort hotel is known for its elegance and southern charm. While every season is spectacular at the Omni Grove Park Inn, the winter holidays kick it up a notch with special events such as the National Gingerbread House Competition, delicious holiday dining, live music and festive decorations. The holiday charm begins at the icicle-decorated guardhouse, followed by a driveway lined with illuminated trees. Inside, the Great Hall is dressed in glittering seasonal colors with columns wrapped in colorful garlands and a towering magnolia Christmas...

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Luxury and History at Quebec’s Auberge Saint-Antonine Hotel

Located on one of Quebec City’s richest archeological sites, the Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel literally sits atop centuries of history. The hotel integrates three historical buildings of the 18th and 19th century, as well as a wharf and battery structure that dates back to the end of the 17th century. Directly across from the St. Lawrence River near the port in Quebec City’s Old Town, this famous hotel has been a member of the Relais & Chateaux Association since 2005. It also boasts a CAA-AAA Four Diamond rating as well as being named one of the top hotels in the...

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Downton Abbey Visits the Biltmore

Costumes from the popular TV series are on display at America’s largest home.                             Fans of the popular PBS television series Downton Abbey don’t have to travel to Highclere Castle to experience firsthand what life was like at Downton Abbey or to view original costumes of their favorite characters. The Biltmore House, the grand 250-room Vanderbilt estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is showcasing 47 costumes from the show during its exhibition: Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times, which runs from February 5th through May 25th,...

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The Mexican Riviera At Its Best!

Barceló Maya Beach Resort People come from all over the world to soak up the sun, swim in the turquoise waters and experience the vibrant culture and cuisine of the Mexican Riviera. Resorts abound from Cancun south along the Riviera Maya, but if it’s luxury you want, head to Barceló Maya Beach Resort, an hour south of Cancun. Situated on one of the best beaches of the Mexican Riviera, this AAA Four Diamond Resort offers everything a luxury vacation should be. With five hotels, 20 restaurants, 19 bars, 9 swimming pools, 4 theaters, 2 water parks, and a world-class spa,...

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Low Country French Cuisine Along the Grand Strand

Not your typical down-home Southern cooking While Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a great destination for Calabash-style seafood and Southern comfort food, it is not usually known for its top-chef restaurants or its award-winning cuisine. But with rumors of an up-and-coming food and wine culture, I decided to check out two of the recently acclaimed restaurants along the Grand Strand (the designation for the 60-mile strip of beach towns north and south of Myrtle Beach proper).  What I discovered were two hidden gems that satisfy my criteria for some of the best upscale food in the South.  The Brentwood...

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Maui’s Unique Spa Adventures

Award-winning spas offer ancient rituals with indigenous products. Surrounded by breath-taking mountains, soothing ocean breezes and a relaxing calm that permeates the island culture, a visit to Maui is not complete without indulging in at least one rejuvenating spa treatment. The word maui actually means “life, alive, to live” in the Hawaiian language. To the early peoples of Hawaii, the earth, the sea, and the mountains were all intertwined with a person’s health and well-being. Embracing that same philosophy today, Maui’s spas offer many indigenous treatments that have been passed down from generation to generation. The Spa at Travaasa...

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