Posts tagged Four Seasons
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Overwater Bungalows at Four Seasons Bora Bora

Overwater Bungalows at Four Seasons Bora Bora

When I tell someone about my recent trip to Bora Bora, every single person responds with either “I LOVE Bora Bora” or “I have always wanted to visit Bora Bora”.  It seems to make the top of everyone’s list in some way.  

What surprises me is how people view it as such a faraway, exotic destination.  I’m told that Bora Bora receives the same number of tourists in one year that Hawaii receives in one week.  Many people think nothing of hopping on a plane to Hawaii.  Next trip, those same people should book a flight to Bora Bora and load one extra movie on their ipad.  The flight to Bora Bora is less than two hours longer than that flight to Hawaii.

The French Polynesia is located South of the equator about the same distance as Hawaii is North of the equator.  Tahiti is the largest island.  You fly into Papeete, Tahiti on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles.  From there, you take a quick flight to Bora Bora.

Beachfront Villa

Beachfront Villa

There are a surprising number of resorts on Bora Bora at many different price points.  I was very grateful to be a guest of Four Seasons Bora Bora.  There are 100 overwater bungalows and 7 beachfront villas with one, two or three bedrooms which are really fabulous for families.  If you stay in an overwater bungalow, you can choose between a beach view, lagoon view and a mountain view.  The mountain view is breathtaking with a view of Mount Otemanu, one of the peaks of an extinct volcano.  It is a truly breathtaking view that is, of course, more expensive.  There are also a few connecting bungalows for families or couples traveling with friends.  Some bungalows have infinity pools.  You could stay at your bungalow all day, swim in the ocean and your pool, order room service and drinks and enjoy the best view on the island. 

Yes, I did mention families.  Families are welcome!  It is a quiet atmosphere at the resort, but I consider it a great fit for many families.  The villas are wonderful for families with small kids, so they can enjoy their own private pool right at the beach.  Familieis with older kids would have fun staying in two connecting bungalows and would be thrilled with the many snorkeling and fishing adventures.  There is just one very lovely and relaxing main pool, so kids who like waterpark atmospheres would think the pool is pretty lame.  I think the tween ages would be the hardest to keep happy.

IMG_0382.JPG
Spa at Four Seasons Bora Bora

Spa at Four Seasons Bora Bora

While non-motorized sports are included in your room charge, there are a few more active adventures you must make room for in your budget.  My very favorite activity is the stingray and shark swim.  It is great fun swimming with the stingrays.  We took a ten minute boat ride to waters about chest high where our guide knows the stingrays.  His friend, Juliet, swam right up to him.  Our guide said he has known Juliet for 15 years.  She is pregnant and let our guide hold her for over 20 minutes.  After the stingrays, we visited an area with electric blue waters where you can swim with black tip reef sharks and lemon sharks.  It was an incredible experience, and I highly recommend it to any visitor to Bora Bora.  

I also had the opportunity to jet ski around the entire mainland of Bora Bora.  It was so fun!  The color of the water constantly changes and is so beautiful!  It is great fun to say I circled the island of Bora Bora on a jet ski!

There are lots of other activity choices, such as catamaran sailings, sunset cruises with private dinners, fishing, diving and other snorkeling trips.  The most fun may also be just sleeping on the beach with a fruity drink always at hand.  The service is typical Four Seasons service: impeccable. Everyone is so friendly and truly wants to make your visit to their beautiful island special.  There were hugs good-bye, and, as you drive off in your boat towards the airport, your hosts wave good-bye until they can no longer see you.  Its such a nice touch and makes you mentally start planning your return.

Contact me with any questions about Four Seasons Bora Bora and the French Polynesia in general.  I love sharing my experience on this truly special place on Earth!

Swimming with black tip reef sharks in Bora Bora.

Swimming with black tip reef sharks in Bora Bora.

The Best Island in the World
Four Seasons Bora Bora

Four Seasons Bora Bora

In two weeks I will be visiting “the best island in the world”, a title awarded to Bora Bora by U.S. News.  Bora Bora is the most famous of French Polynesia’s Leeward Islands.  It is a volcanic island, surrounded by an outer coral reef that encloses a crystal clear, turquoise lagoon.  I will be staying at the world-famous Four Seasons Bora Bora in an over-water bungalow suite.  I am counting down the days and will post about my experiences.  

The French Polynesia is incredibly popular with honeymooners and clients celebrating anniversaries.  In addition to romantic trips, Four Seasons Bora Bora is a very popular resort for destination weddings.  While Spring is considered the low season with the fewest number of tourists, the temperature averages only 3 degrees warmer than in the winter months.  There is no bad time of year for a visit to the French Polynesia.

I will be enjoying a Polynesian massage, a snorkeling safari in the lagoon and, wait for it…a wave runner tour around the entire island!!!  It should be a spectacular trip to the best island in the world!!!  Stay tuned...

TOPFLIGHT TRAVELS IS A FOUR SEASONS PREFERRED PARTNER

Word is getting out about all the added-value amenities my clients receive when they stay at a Four Seasons resort or hotel.  TopFlight Travels belongs to an exclusive group of agencies that are Preferred Partners with Four Seasons.  What this means for my clients is that they will always receive an upgraded room, if available, a full breakfast for two each day, complimentary wifi and a resort or spa credit.  In addition to these amenities, Four Seasons always has wonderful special offers available to clients of Preferred Partners.  Following are a few of my favorite special offers available right now:

1.  Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita.  Who ever heard of an all-inclusive Four Seasons, right?  Well, now you can stay at one of my favorite Mexican resorts in Punta Mita, outside Puerto Vallarta, at an all-inclusive rate.  Enjoy three meals a day for two, as well as soft drinks, house brand cocktails, house white and red wines and draught beers.    

2.  Four Seasons Whistler.  The Family Ski Whistler package includes daily lift passes and buffet breakfast for two adults and two children 12 years of age and younger, as well as a host of other valuable amenities, such as a personal ski concierge, daily wine reception and afternoon hot chocolate.  With over 200 runs to choose from, there is something for everyone in this magical winter wonderland.   

3.  Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.  On the shores of the American Riviera, nestles beside Butterfly Beach, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara offers the perfect getaway.  With this package, stay two nights and receive a complimentary third night when you stay in a Deluxe Room or higher accommodation category.  Use your extra day to enjoy a sensory spa journey, play 18 holes on a nearby golf course, go sailing on the Pacific, or just relax by the pool.   

4.  Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies.  I love this deal!  Experience the Caribbean in the luxurious comfort of Four Seasons Resort Nevis and receive a credit of up to USD 1,500 towards your airfare.  Swim, snorkel, golf, spa, dine or simply relax.  Bring the whole family or make it a couple's escape.  

5.  Ritz Carlton Chicago.  Set atop Water Tower Place, high above prestigious North Michigan Avenue, The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) is just steps away from Chicago's lakefront, cultural attractions and world-class shopping, making it an ideal location for business or leisure.  To enhance your stay in the Windy City, stay two nights and Four Seasons will offer you a complimentary third night.  

Why should you book through TopFlight Travels?  We can always get you the absolute best value and VIP amenities from our friends at Four Seasons.  These are just a sampling of exclusive offers available to you.  Contact Julie at 314-608-4553 or julie@topflighttravels.com for additional information.

 

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED AT VIRTUOSO® TRAVEL WEEK 2014
Virtuoso Travel Week - 2014

Virtuoso Travel Week - 2014

Virtuoso Travel Week is an experience that cannot be described in just a few words.  It is educational, motivating, challenging, exhilarating, grueling, exhausting, exciting, awesome and so darn fun, all rolled into one week in Las Vegas!!

This has been my second year attending VTW, and it did not disappoint.  This year, Tui Leatherman, TopFlight Travels' newest luxury travel advisor, joined me in the fun.  It started with the opening ceremony with CEO Matthew Upchurch, following by a few motivational speeches and Olivia Newton John signing Magic (I can't explain why I thought I needed to film it sideways)!  Olivia is now a member of the Virtuoso family with the opening of her Gaia Retreat and Spa in Australia.  The next morning and for the next four days, Virtuoso members sat at small tables while each and every Virtuoso supplier sat at the members' tables to communicate and educate us on updates to their resorts, hotels, tours and cruises.  They each had 4 minutes at our table.  There were over 4,400 people from 92 countries at the event this year.  It was so wonderful meeting so many people from all over the World in just a few short days.  We learned so much about all the luxury travel options for our clients!  We can't wait to share our knowledge with our clients and send them to these beautiful destinations around the World.  I thought I would list just 5 things I learned this VTW.  Narrowing the list down to just 5 has been so hard.

GoldenEye Hotel and Resort

GoldenEye Hotel and Resort

1.  I met with someone from each of the Virtuoso properties in the Caribbean.  They are all so wonderful, and I absolutely adore visiting their islands.  Two properties really stood out in my mind during VTW.  GoldenEye Hotel and Resort on Jamaica.  It is a wonderful family resort with great villas.  It has such a rich history from Ian Fleming creating the James Bond character there to Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, owning the property and hosting some of the greatest musical artists of our time.  I am never thrilled with how long of a car ride some Jamaican resorts are from the airport.  I really like that you fly directly to the resort at its own Ian Fleming Airport!!! 

Spice Island Beach Resort

Spice Island Beach Resort

Spice Island Beach Resort also peaked my interest.  This resort is located on Grenada and is owned and operated by Sir Royston Hopkin, K.C.M.G. and his family.  I personally met with the family in Las Vegas, and their love of the resort is apparent.  Grenada is known to have some of the best diving in the World, and this resort looks like a dream vacation for families or couples that is luxurious without breaking the bank.

Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island Inn

2.  If you want to visit a most unusual resort totally off the grid, then a trip to Fogo Island Inn is a must.  It is a small island near Newfoundland.  The proprietors are so friendly and explained all the wonderful marine/hiking/exploring activities on this beautiful island.  They can arrange all your sightseeing.  Check out the beautiful building - it is like nothing I have ever seen.  It is really not that hard to get to from Boston.  You have one layover in Halifax to get to Gander, Newfoundland.  They can pick you up at the airport to take you to Fogo Island.  What a cool place to visit!

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Four Seasons Bora Bora

3.  Many people believe Bora Bora is far too distant to visit.  However, these same people might not think twice about taking their family to Hawaii.  What they don't realize is the fact that the flight to Bora Bora is only 2 hours longer than the flight to Hawaii!!  While Hawaii is of course fabulous, it would be super cool to check Bora Bora off your list of places to visit.  Next time you're thinking about going to one of the many Four Seasons in Hawaii, call me to book your room at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora!  It is a beautiful 5 year old resort.  

Borgo Egnazia

Borgo Egnazia

4.  Have you already visited the major cities in Italy and would like a more authentic experience next visit, away from the crowds?  If so, visit Borgo Egnazia in Puglia for golf and the beach or Palazzo Seneca, a Relais & Chateaux resort, if you want to experience divine food in the heart of Umbria.  I really want to plan a trip to Palazzo Avino in Ravello, a fabulous hotel with a private  beach club on the Amalfi Coast.  The location is perfect for attending their popular music festival.

5.   Did you know you can ship your luggage to your destination?  With the onslaught of backage fees and weight restrictions, it sometimes makes sense to ship your luggage and have it waiting in your room for you.  This particularly makes sense on long or complicated trips like safaris.  Luggage Free is a wonderful company.  The charge tends to be about $250 per bag to be shipped anywhere in the World (you pay by the pound).  I can get you $25 off your charge.

Contact me at 314-608-4553 or julie@topflighttravels.com if you have any questions about the properties mentioned above or want to find out information about any of the Virtuoso companies.  I have spent a week learning about each and every Virtuoso property, tour company and cruise line and can't wait to share my knowledge with you.  

FOUR SEASONS PUNTA MITA IS PERFECTION
PUN_420_aspect16x9.jpg

As I sit on the runway in Puerto Vallarta waiting to take off after a quick three night getaway to the Four Seasons Punta Mita with my husband, I can't stop thinking about how beautiful, serene and relaxing this resort is and how I want to return as soon as possible.  My stay at this Four Seasons far exceeded my expectations, which is saying a lot considering the high expectations anyone has when staying at a Four Seasons Resort.

Punta Mita, Mexico is actually a gated community located 45 minutes North of the airport.  In addition to the Four Seasons, you will find the St. Regis Punta Mita, two Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses and private homes.  These are not your average vacation homes.  Many have in excess of 15,000 square feet, and four of them have been featured in Architectural Digest.  This community is considered very safe.  I felt quite at ease leaving the resort grounds to explore the jungle-like environment on the two miles of walking trails.  The beach is free of vendors, and we took many long walks on it where the only people we encountered were a few surfers.

Four Seasons Punta Mita is beautiful and immaculate.  The resort itself sits high, elevated above an amazing stretch of the Pacific Ocean.  A beautiful view of the ocean welcomes you wherever you are on the grounds of the resort.  The beach is expansive with very soft sand and very few people.  The sunset every evening is simply breathtaking.

However, the service is what really sets this Four Seasons apart from other resorts.  Every single employee is eager to please, friendly and excellent at his or her job.  When we arrived, we were given a tour of the resort on a golf cart before arriving at our room where margaritas were waiting for us.  At the pool or beach, our chairs were set for us, and water bottles were provided and replaced immediately.  Small glasses of smoothies, margaritas and popcicles were passed around all day.  The waiter got into the pool to come to you to take your order or deliver drinks.  There was someone present at all times to take care of you.  The great thing was they never hovered over you, and I never really felt their presence until I needed something.  That takes talent!  When a fruit fly got into my smoothie, a waiter heard me tell my husband and brought over a fresh drink.  When I dropped my sunglasses, another gentleman picked them up before I could even bend down to get them.  He then pulled out a little kit and started tightening the screws and wiping every speck of dust off them.  The service is truly over the top.

We stayed in a water view room with an expansive balcony directly overlooking the water.  It sits on a hill above another building but our view of the water was not blocked by it at all.  The rooms are quite large and very comfortable.

The main infinity pool sits high above the ocean and has breathtaking views.  Giant bean bag chairs float in the water and are incredibly comfortable.  There is also an adult pool, which is actually an hidden oasis with private cabanas, hot tub and large bar with its own lunch selections.  It is very serene.  A third pool is actually a lazy river.  There was just one other couple with a baby at this pool when we were there.  It feels like you are in a jungle with all the fauna surrounding you on both sides.  This pool also has it's own bar and a large selection of slushies for the kids.

While Four Seasons Punta Mita is perfect for a romantic getaway, it would also be a great place for a family vacation.  There are beach toys on the beach, fishing, kayaks, the lazy river, a sport court and a kids club.  Older kids would have a blast learning how to surf at their highly acclaimed surfing school Tropicsurf.  They call it luxury surfing.  I'm not sure how you make surfing luxurious, but it would be fun finding out.  We did not have time to golf, but I saw a few holes during my walks on the beach, and they are, of course, beautiful.  One green is located on a rock formation out in the water.  I was able able to walk out to it as it was closed while the golf cart path was being cleared of coral gravel.

I took so many pictures, but of course, none of them can really catch the beauty of Four Seasons Punta Mita. It should really be on everyone's list of places they need to visit to personally experience it's beauty and, dare I say, perfection.  I have posted a few of my favorites from our trip to give you a flavor of this wonderful resort.

Four Seasons Punta Mita

EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FROM FOUR SEASONS RESORTS

As a Preferred Partner of Four Seasons, TopFlight Travels is able to provide its clients with wonderful savings and added-value amenities at Four Seasons Resorts around the World.  These amenities include a full-category room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, free internet and either a spa credit or food & beverage credit.  In addition to these exclusive benefits, TopFlight Travels gets its clients special deals that Four Seasons offers only to its Preferred Partners.  You can contact me for information on all the special offers. My favorite current offers by Four Seasons are listed below to help you narrow down your options:

1.  Four Seasons Hotel Chicago: Enjoy holiday shopping on Chicago's Magnificent Mile and stay at the amazing Four Seasons Hotel Chicago!  I can guarantee you an upgrade to an executive suite for all new standard guest room reservations for travel through December 10, 2013. If you book a suite, you will receive a guaranteed upgrade to the next suite category at time of booking.  This is an incredible savings!!!
 

2.  Four Seasons Hotel New York:  Four Seasons Hotel New York is giving premier access to a limited number of guest rooms during Super Bowl 2014. Because of my Preferred Partner status, I can book my clients into Four Seasons Hotel New York before anyone else. This pre-sale opportunity is only available until November 27, 2013. Next year marks the first outdoor cold weather Super Bowl at Met Life Stadium on Sunday, February 2, 2014.  A limited number of rooms per category are available with Rates beginning at $1,595 plus tax in the Grand City View King for a four night minimum with full prepayment. Of course, TopFlight Travels' clients also receive the added value Preferred Partner amenities (daily breakfast for two people; USD100 spa credit). 
 

3.  Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis:  Enjoy a staycation at this fabulous hotel!  For stays through March 31, 2014, I can get you a guaranteed room upgrade at the time of booking.  
  

4.  Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler:  Book early to ski free! Reserve the Early Bird Ski Whistler package by November 15, 2013, to receive two complimentary lift passes and a host of other valuable amenities. In addition, book the package for seven nights in a Four Seasons Executive Suite or higher accommodation category and you'll also receive transfers to and from Vancouver International Airport. With access to over 3,200 hectares (8,000 acres) of skiable terrain, all levels of skier will have something to celebrate at Four Seasons Resort Whistler, North America's largest ski resort. 
 

5.  Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, Uruguay:  Try something new this holiday season!  For stays through January 2, 2014, I can provide you with a $150 resort credit, in addition to the room upgrade, $100 food and beverage credit and free wifi.

 

Why should you book through TopFlight Travels?  We can always get you the absolute best value and VIP amenities from our friends at luxury hotels Worldwide.  These are just a sampling of exclusive offers I can obtain for you.  Call Julie at 314-608-4553 or julie@topflighttravels.com for additional information.

Staycation at the Four Seasons St. Louis
419055_10151032233176541_2132484985_n.jpg

Although this cold weather makes it seem like summer will never get here, I am gearing up for lots of fun summer vacations.  I have a few trips being planned with the kids, and I'm having lots of fun planning family vacations for clients.  Europe seems to be a really popular choice this year.  However, all that traveling can get exhausting!

One of my favorite summer traditions is the weekend my husband and I spend at the Four Seasons St. Louis.  It is really a fabulous hotel!  Even though our travel time is no more than 15 minutes, it feels like we are getting away.  

We always start the weekend with an outstanding massage at their spa.  If you haven't been to their spa, you must go.  It is truly the best spa in St. Louis.  It isn't cheap, but it is a bargain compared to many resort spas I've experienced.

The Four Seasons Pool is fantastic!  It has a great atmosphere with good music, service and drinks.  It has a very nice pool with lovely views of the Arch and downtown.  Since the pool is located in the 7th Floor (I think), there is always a nice breeze to camouflage the sweltering St. Louis heat.  

Sometimes, we stay at the pool all day, even enjoying dinner on the pool deck.  Other times, we will enjoy a delicious dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant, Cielo, and spend a bit of time at the casino or at a show there.  Last summer Tracey Morgan happened to be in town.  We were able to get free tickets in preferred seating due to a no show.

The hardest part of this staycation is finding a weekend that isn't already booked.  The summers seem to get shorter every year.