Thursday, May 31, 2012

Destination Hawaii!

One of the best parts of my job is traveling to different destinations around the world for the sole purpose of touring the resorts, participating in different experiences and exploring as a 'working tourist' to ensure we are sending our clients to places that are worthy!  The internet is a great resource for gathering information on specific destinations and places, but actually seeing and experiencing it for yourself is the way we like to get our info.  I recently returned from a 10 day stay in Hawaii and let me say it was wonderful!  I spent 4 days on Oahu, in Honolulu and Waikiki, and 6 days on Maui and can't wait to share my travel journey with you!  Obviously I can't put 10 days worth of information into one blog so I'll be breaking it up into several.  In the meantime I wanted to post a few pics to show you a few of the highlights.  Hopefully it will give you a glimpse of what these beautiful islands have to offer - truly something for everyone!  Enjoy!

Gorgeous Waikiki Beach!
My daughter Marissa and me ;)

Entrance to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
To stand before the names of the brave men who gave their lives in action was quite an emotional experience and one I'll never forget

View of Maui from the airplane

Beach at Royal Lahaina

Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa ~ built into the cliffs of Black Rock ~ so cool!
Standard room at Sheraton 
Cute signs that help you find your way!

All photos in the rooms at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel are of hotel employees and guests
Beach at Ka'anapali

Permanent guests of the Westin Maui Resort and Spa
Westin Maui Resort and Spa is perfect for meeting and incentive groups

Brand new lobby of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
Children's pool at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Traditional Hawaiian Luau

View from the lobby of the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
They had the coolest floral arrangements!

Destination Wedding set-up at Fairmont Kea Lani

Kitchen in Villa at Ho'olei at Grand Wailea
Living area of villa
Pool area at Ho'olei at Grand Wailea

Kids 'Camp Grand' at Grand Wailea, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
Teen Club
Seaside Wedding Chapel at Grand Wailea
Poolside cabanas for rent

Beautiful Maui Sunset

That's just a 'snapshot' of all I have to share with you.  Watch for Resort Spotlights of each particular resort where I'll share more details of what the wonderful resorts in Hawaii have to offer and how they each have their own personality so you can decide which one fits you best!  Until next time...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

W. A. T. W. - The Cosmopolitan

If you're like me, you tucked the kids in bed last night, and settled in to watch the latest episode of "The Housewives of Orange County." Who doesn't love the drama that's sure to follow these ladies wherever they go? And I couldn't WAIT to hear Gretchen's performance at the Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon in Las Vegas.

O. M. G.
Turns out I would have been OK missing that one - poor Gretchen. I don't know what Slade was thinking when he signed her up for that gig. But I was happy that I watched, simply so I could take a peek at the hotel the ladies were staying at, The Cosmopolitan (which just so happens to be one of my favorite drinks as well).

Las Vegas' newest addition to the Strip is all the rage right now. It's great location (next to Bellagio and across from Paris and Planet Hollywood) and stylish decor are sure to please any type of traveler. The Cosmopolitan boasts 52 stories and nearly 3000 rooms, and features a 100,000 square foot casino. It is also the first casino to come up with concept of Casino Cabanas, which give you a more social gambling experience.
Casino Cabana

The rooms at The Cosmopolitan are gorgeous. Even the entry level rooms (City View) are 460 square feet and have a very luxurious feel. If you can swing it, do a Wraparound Terrace. This is a 1200 square foot room, featuring a 480 square foot terrace, which wraps around the entire suite for in incredible panoramic view of the Strip. It also holds a Japanese soaking tub, and your own washer/dryer.

The Cosmopolitan has three different pool areas, each with a different vibe. The Boulevard overlooks the Strip, and has multi-level areas filled with energy and pizzaz. Bamboo is for those looking for more of a peaceful retreat. Think private, pampering and seclusion. Finally, there is the Day Club pool. By day it is like an adult beach club, and by night it becomes an extension of the nightclub. Beautiful!
Boulevard Pool
Bamboo Pool
Day Club/Marquee Pool

I know when people go to Las Vegas they like to walk around and experience as much as they can of the city, but for those that like to stay put, The Cosmopolitan offers a wide range of culinary delights:

  • Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill: American comfort foods, chops and filets, sushi and sashimi
  • China Poblano: Chinese/Mexican cuisine
  • Comme Ca: French brasserie, handcrafted classic cocktails
  • D.O.C.G.: Italian wine bar with pizza, pasta, pastries, cheese and chocolate
  • Estiatorio Milos: Mediterranean cuisine with fresh seafood
  • Jaleo: Spanish tapas
  • STK: Celebrity hotspot steakhouse
  • Scarpetta: Italian cuisine
  • Va Bene Cafe: Italian coffee bar with salads, paninis and gelato
  • The Henry: Tried and true dishes and drinks
  • Wicked Spoon: Buffet style 

There are four main bar areas as for every night you're there:
  • The Chandelier: A high energy hotspot which intersects art and life
  • Vesper Bar: A contemporary feel with 1950's glamour - think James Bond!
  • Book and Stage: A premier sports book and entertainment venue
  • Bond: Combines live performances, house music and LED art
Chandelier Bar
Vesper Bar

The Cosmopolitan has also come up with a fun concept: the Pop-Up. Their last Pop-Up was a wedding chapel which encouraged passers-by to engage in a ceremony, most of them not being legal, but just for fun (I think Gretchen would have liked that!). But the newest Pop-Up is called the EA Sports Bar. It features nine different living-room style vignettes that each house different top-of-the-line video gaming equipment, so groups can hang out there playing the latest video games right on the Strip! Not my cup of tea, but sounds like Bachelor Party material to me. Can't wait to see what their next concept is!
The lobby has these unique check-in stations and hundreds of TV screens that display digital art.

Of course, there is an amazing and luxurious spa and a fabulous nightclub, run by the Tao Group, and they always have entertainment, whether it's the hippest DJ in the country or the latest band. Here is a lineup of some of the upcoming acts:
  • May 12: Snow Patrol
  • July 7: Foster the People
  • July 27: The Fray and Kelly Clarkson
  • August 16: FUN.
Check out this video that takes you on a wonderful visual tour of the hotel:

If you're like the Housewives and you'd rather hang by the pool all day than gamble, here's a little a day bed near the pool. It's just a $75 minimum food and beverage charge (easily accomplished in Las Vegas) and you can relax in comfort all day long, retreat to your room for small catnap, then shower up and get ready for a night on the town - just as long as you avoid Gretchen's performance you're sure to have an incredible time!

Good luck and Viva Las Vegas!