Category: Destinations

Exploring the Enchanting Channel Islands from Oxnard

Touring the Presidential Suite at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard,  I admired the 1,600 sq. ft. space that includes a spacious master bedroom complete with a king-size bed and balcony looking out to the Pacific Ocean. There is an adjoining bathroom with a large inviting whirlpool soaking tub. The second bedroom features two queen-size beds and a full bathroom with walk-in shower. The grand living room and dining area have another balcony looking out to the picturesque Channel Islands. Appreciating the views, I wanted to learn more about the Channel Islands chain that runs from...

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Fun Halloween Treats at Disney’s California Adventure

Now that it’s autumn, Disney has decorated their parks with happy haunting decor, selling devilishly divine treats to enhance their guests’ experiences. Get your Park Hopper ticket to experience All Hallows’ Eve Celebration at both Disney theme parks in Southern California: Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure until Oct. 31, 2017. During Halloween Time, stroll through the stores, restaurants and visit the food carts for creative themed treats that are only offered once a year. Here’s some of my favorite treats: Throughout both parks guests can purchase a souvenir Poison Apple stein drink with a choice of fresh grapes or...

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Mountains, Monasteries and More in the Mystical ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’

A revered lama and leading astrologer, Master Wengdi of the Paga Monastery in Bhutan, told me that I’m a fire monkey, born under a metal sign that imbues me with confidence and energy. Driven to success, I often gravitate towards leadership roles where I can exercise control and call upon my ability to draw people to me. But, I can be competitive and stubborn (true), allowing my strong will and needs to overwhelm me, sometimes making decisions based on emotion and not logic (also true). To help balance the forces within me, Master Wengdi recommended that I practice patience...

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Staying in a Mansion in Cusco, Peru

Just two blocks from Cusco, Peru’s historic Plaza de Armas is a 16th century mansion that once belonged to the city’s mayor, Don Domingo de Artaza, from 1573-74. Built in the colonial architectural style, the estate was the essence of luxury and comfort. His granddaughter sold the home in 1618 to Alonso Perez de Villarejo, a priest from the Cusco Cathedral. In 1980 the mansion became a National Historical Heritage site, and now the Aranwa Boutique Hotel chain runs the property. While maintaining the integrity of the structure, they also take care of numerous museum pieces, including historic paintings,...

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The Luxe Life in Las Vegas at Vdara Hotel

Checking into the Vdara Hotel, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into the lobby and not smell cigarette smoke. Vdara is one of the few hotels on the Strip that has no casino and is a non-smoking hotel. As I unlocked the door to my Vdara’s Studio Parlor suite, I noticed a large kitchenette and three spacious rooms. With floor to ceiling windows, the suite has million-dollar views of Vegas and the surrounding Red Rock mountains. What is appealing is the dividing wall separating the living room and bedroom with a comfortable king-size, pillow-top bed. There are two 42″...

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Four Seasons Westlake: So Near, Yet So Far From LA

The Southern California Four Seasons Westlake is a great halfway spot between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. From Los Angeles it’s about a 40-minute drive north, if you time the traffic right. Owner billionaire American businessman and philanthropist David Murdock built the resort was after losing his mother and later his wife Gabriele to cancer. Murdock focused on helping researchers find a cure for the disease, while extending life through wellness and nutrition. He  established the Dole Nutrition Institute, and in 2006 opened the California Health and Longevity Institute and Four Seasons Westlake. Walking inside, one feels as if they...

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New Ice Cream Craze in Los Angeles

Somi Somi has become a recent Instagram favorite “like,” appealing to millennials and foodies for its unique cone and colorful swirling colors. Located on the second floor of the interior of Madang Mall plaza in Koreatown, Somi Somi is about a ten-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles. They only sell Korean-style “Ah-Boong,” a very popular street food treat in South Korea. Usually there is a line of people seeking this cool, creamy and colorful treat in a taiyaki cone. Locals and tourist are given the option to fill a golden Japanese carp fish-shaped cone with red bean paste (sweetened...

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Jamaica Offers Pampering Resort Wellness and Retreats with Local Flavor

With palm ferns rustling in the wind, the hypnotic sound of lapping waves and balmy ocean breezes to chase away the heavy, hot air, Jamaica is like a Hollywood stage set for wellness. The only challenge is to script and cast your perfect escape. Jamaica offers pampering resort wellness and retreats with local flavor.  Resort-Hopping If you like your Namaste to come with added niceties, then a resort wellness getaway featuring pampering and Pranayama is the way to go. I start my island wellness tour at one of Negril’s newest properties, The Cliff Hotel. As the name suggests, the...

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Switzerland is Bursting With Countrywide Wellness Experiences

With its crisp mountain air, focus on outdoor sports and overall healthy lifestyle, Switzerland is bursting with wellness experiences. In a country slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey, there are a whopping nine designated wellness areas in this alpine paradise. My first stop is to explore the Weggis Vitnau Rigi region, which has six wellness hotels including my hotel, the Park Weggis, a member of the prestigious Swiss Deluxe Hotel network. The five-star Art Nouveau hotel is located on the shores of iconic Lake Lucerne and has private access to a park and beach. The 52-room...

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Glamorous Old Hollywood Tour

In the 1910s people flocked to Hollywood, CA to find fame, fortune and success. It was similar to the 1840s Gold Rush when people from all over streamed into San Francisco to get rich panning for gold. “Unfortunately, there were too many people coming into Hollywood and not enough movies being made to accommodate all the people,” said our stylish tour guide April Brooks Clemmer, while enjoying an Old Hollywood Walking Tour. We learned from Clemmer that some of the first founders of Hollywood were H. J. Whitley and H. H. and Daeida Wilcox. They bought land and built beautiful...

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Sunset Key to Offer Cuba Day Trips

Cuba, Curated: a Sunset Key Cottages Luxury Day Trip, Available beginning June 1, 2017 Starting next month on June 1st, Sunset Key Cottages, the charming little island resort just off Key West, will offer brand new–and unique–luxury getaways: day trips to Cuba. As far as I can see, no one is offering day trips to Cuba from the United States. These luxury excursions feature a full day of tours led by local experts who provide an insider’s perspective and behind-the-scenes access to the local culture, and return to Sunset Key in time for dinner. The itinerary is presented here; however,...

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From Tokyo to Paris: 4 Continents, 4 cities, 300 objects

A city is made of many things. When you dream of Paris you think croissants, good wine and the Moulin Rouge. When you fantasise Tokyo you visualise sushi, technology and paper lanterns. Photographic Poster Artist, Jordan Bolton based in Manchester, England, has done just that and designed for us, four unique posters depicting four iconic cities: San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Tokyo.       Through extensive research, he selected objects that represent the life, soul and heartbeat of these vibrant cities. Using white plasticine, he made miniature versions of the objects and painted each one. Placing...

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