Monthly Archives: September 2015

How to Arrange a FREE Wedding in Paradise

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Honeymoons and Weddings | No Comments

A Free Wedding in Paradise is Possible…Find Out How

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Everyone knows that Sandals Resorts are the top pick for Honeymoons and Destination Weddings throughout the Caribbean – here’s another reason why…. FREE WEDDINGS!!

A Destination Wedding is certainly not for everyone, but it is definitely a great choice for a growing number of people, and why not? Think of it like this-

  • Toes in the sand
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Casual
  • Easy
  • Affordable

So how is it possible that all this is free? – Good question…and good DEAL!

It really is a bonus… when you book 6 nights in any room category at any Sandals resort you are entitled to not only the free Beautiful Beginnings wedding package but also an additional $500 in credits to enhance the experience

Use credits (some restrictions apply) for things such as

  • Room upgrade
  • Honeymoon Highlights video
  • Beach cabana
  • Catamaran cruise
  • & more

If you are going to have a Honeymoon in the Caribbean consider combining it into a Destination Wedding with friends and family – see more about all of the possibilities at this link

**Sandals Resorts are reserved exclusively for adult couples – but if your wedding will include children or singles then the family-friendly Beaches Resorts are another great option…location possibilities include-

  • Jamaica
  • Bahamas
  • St Lucia
  • Turks & Caicos
  • Grenada
  • Antigua
  • Barbados

Whichever option is the best fit for you, rest assured that “your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad are here to help make your occasion as excellent as possible and save you some money along the way

 

Reviewing Sandals Barbados

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Honeymoons and Weddings, Romance, Uncategorized | No Comments

Sandals Barbados – a Review

Like all Sandals resorts, this property appeals most to adults couples looking for a stress-free luxury Caribbean vacation. Excellent for Anniversary celebrations, Vow Renewals, Destination Weddings and Honeymoons

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If you haven’t been to one of the NEW Sandals resorts – or one of the the resorts that they have recently upgraded then you might not understand how much they have stepped up their game. Simply put, this resort is fantastic. From the grounds and layout to the rooms to the general decor to the staff to the cuisine I am having trouble finding fault.

(Note- the photos contained in this post are all my own, so photo quality and staging are not professional but for a fantastic pictorial look professionally put together then check out Sandals Barbados “Flipbook” at this link )

As a Certified Sandals Specialist I feel it is critical to my business and credibility to visit and completely understand not only Sandals resorts – but all resorts that complete in the adults-only all-inclusive genre throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. I have been to, experienced and come to understand each of their great resorts throughout the Caribbean and I can say without hesitation that this is certainly one of, if not THE best in class.

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The grounds and layout – are terrific. It feels great to walk the gardens between the lobby, bars, spa, various room blocks, restaurants & beach.

 

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The quiet pool has a chic and luxurious feel with red & white striped cabanas.

 

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The active pool at the beachfront includes a swim-up bar, ample and comfortable lounge chairs and plenty of floats to chill in the pool as you move to the groove of the music and vibe – or have fun and get some exercise playing pool volleyball

 

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The lagoon pool is totally chill and open to all guests but mostly for the use of the Club Level and Butler Level guests with swim-up suites surrounding the meandering pool

As I sit at the poolside bar writing this review I am struck by the gorgeous view past the pool and beach to the blue ocean just beyond

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steak lovers will appreciate this supper club with classic decor and a great vibe

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at night the pub is one of the centers for socializing

Dining options are plentiful with reservations required at both Kimonos Teppanyaki Grill and  the widely acclaimed Butch’s Chophouse but other good specialty dining options which do not require reservations include

  • Portofinos’ (Italian)
  • Bombay (Indian)
  • Schooner’s (Seafood)
  • Soy (Sushi)
  • Bayside (International)
  • Merry Monkey (British Pub)
  • Mariner’s Grill (Seaside Grill)
  • Dino’s (Pizzeria)
  • Cafe du Paris (Pastries, Coffee and Ice Cream)

Oh yes – and there are several bars serving top shelf international liquors and wines

Rooms-

a glass window between the shower and main room space can be closed off by the sliding photo - a great feature!

a glass window between the shower and main room space can be closed off by the sliding photo – a great feature!

This is where the real improvements are taking place. Even the entry level rooms all feature comfortable 4 poster king sized beds, coffee maker featuring Blue Mountain coffee, patios or balconies and all the normal equipment but the decor and styling are a huge cut above both the competition and many of their own sister resorts. Features like no-slip showers and very comfortable lounging space – super-quiet and efficient A/C, Smart TV, Complimentary WiFi (that works pretty well) and many more subtle styling features

  • Upgraded suites feature a wide range of enhancements such as
  • Beachside & Oceanviews
  • Swim-up Suites
  • Tranquility Soaking Tubs on Balconies & Patios
  • 1 Bedroom Suites
  • and of course many of the rooms & suites come standard with the legendary Sandals Butler Service
butlers prepare your cabanas with towels and coolers with your favorite beverages

butlers prepare your cabanas with towels and coolers with your favorite beverages

Butler level guests will often reserve space in the terrific cabanas which are first-come first-served

The Playmakers entertainment staff keeps everybody engaged if they want to be, but are not in your face over loudspeakers every 10 minutes so everyone can enjoy the fun…or not, depending on their inclination

Location –

The location is terrific as well with a prime location  on the Maxwell coast only about 15 minutes from the airport and easy and safe walking distance (about 10-15 minutes) to several of the local restaurants, bars & clubs in St Lawrence Gap or a short taxi ride to Oistin’s Fish Fry (a must visit on Fridays) or Bridgetown for shopping & more. Streets are lively at night but as clean and safe as anywhere

Clientele tends to be slightly more British and skews a bit older than many other lower priced options but plenty of young Americans are still actively enjoying their

Keeping it real….at the time of my recent visit the beach was undergoing some reconstruction – a breakwater was being installed in an effort to improve water conditions and will be completed in late October. The beach would have been a weak spot for many but every other aspect of the resort was fantastic!

For much more info reach out to Scott or one of the other EZTravelPad consultants who are especially skilled at making sure that your vacation is as AWESOME as you dream for it to be (and maybe even a little more)

Tips on Finding Your Ride at Cancun’s Airport

By | Mexico, Travel Tips | No Comments

Finding Your Ride at Cancun Airport

 

One of the big challenges of negotiating the airport in Cancun is successfully avoiding the time-share people…. they are numerous and aggressive

Trust me, you WILL want to avoid any contact or you could find yourself in a presentation for hours!!

I give every EZTravelPad client a suggestion on how best to avoid the time-share people who are located in the airport just past the customs area, but here’s a quick video to illustrate the best way to get past the gauntlet.

Remember – just keep walking!!

For expert advice and best deals around it’s EZTravelPad and Funjet – see some of the latest Funjet deals at this link

 

 

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St Thomas – a Review

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St Thomas, USVI is good choice for All Inclusive Resort

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A large part of my job as a travel consultant/adviser with EZTravelPad revolves around touring, experiencing and understanding a wide variety or resorts to better be able to help people with deciding what their best choices are on their next vacation

Often there is a great deal of similarity between resorts and even between destinations, but sometimes I find something that is unique, and I believe Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St Thomas to be one of those – a family friendly resort that is not fancy, but delivers on their promise of being a laid-back spot, managed by the owners and it’s definitely the kind of place WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR NAME!

 

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is a family friendly resort located on the island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. As such, a passport is not required for US citizens to visit so this is a popular choice for those people wanting to experience an authentically Caribbean island feel without straying too far from the feel of the US. It is significantly more affordable than the other US island destination of Hawaii, which is also very popular for Honeymoons (but Hawaii does not offer all-inclusive resorts)
Couples wanting to enjoy a tropical island without the need of a passport should consider the US Virgin Islands
On the surface the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is a bit primitive- not fancy or luxurious in the least, but when you scratch the surface and look a little deeper the friendly service and family feel of the resort more than make up for the rather dated accommodations.
Upon entering the resort, honestly, I was a little disheartened with what felt like a motel that hasn’t changed much in the last 40 years – as depicted in this photo of the front desk
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The rooms were very basic, the restaurant and common areas were not grand, and the beach was not vast
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BUT- I had a total change of opinion ofter spending only an hour or so with my resort host Colleen (who quite obviously DOES know everyone’s name)
Sure, Colleen was welcoming and polite and nice, as all resort management always is when hosting a travel agency having a look around – but this went a little deeper. She was more engaged with her staff and more friendly with the guests….and more American (a California transplant to the island many years ago) than most – in short, she sold me on the fact that this place is different – it’s like going to your home…. in the Caribbean!!
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Bolongo Bay Beach Resort may not be fancy – it’s not luxurious – but it is most definitely welcoming and friendly and clean and comfortable, which is not a bad thing!
For so many people comfort and clean and friendly are more inportant than luxury and the “wow” factor, and if this describes you then this might be an excellent choice for your next vacation to the Caribbean
Honeymoon couples staying 7 nights can enjoy inclusions such as
  • a sunset catamaran cruise
  • a catamaran cruise to snorkel with sea turtles
  • a la carte dining including lobster, steaks
  • and much more…

 

Competitive pricing vs. other resorts in the USVI make this resort with an all-inclusive option a strong contender for those vacationers (especially Honeymooners)  who choose not to acquire a passport and would prefer to saty on “U.S. soil”Some fun things to do include

  • Paddleboarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Scuba lessons
  • Hobie cats
  • Water trikes

Oh – and napping under a palm tree – that’s a fun thing too!!

 

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There is much more to convey, so when you are ready to decide on your next vacation turn to EZTravelPad where we like to think of ourselves as – “Your friends….in the travel business”

Multi-Generational Travel is a Hot Trend for Families

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Family Travel | No Comments

Multi-generational travel is one of the most popular trends in the travel industry today.

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With so many families being spread out all across the country living from coast to coast and even beyond, it is tougher than ever for families to get together to spend time, bond and reacquaint with each other.

That is why vacationing together has become such a popular trend these days.


One of the hottest trends is taking an all-inclusive trip to a family friendly resort in the Caribbean or Mexico.

 

Resort brands such as Beaches, Azul or Club Med focus primarily on quality family experiences and offer excellent activities and entertainment for family members of all ages.


At Beaches resorts the quality and breadth of inclusions is unmatched. Beaches Resorts are located in Jamaica or Turks and Caicos. Resorts feature multiple fine dining options yet still offer casual options for those who are so inclined. Water Parks and plenty of water sport activities such as snorkeling, scuba, windsurfing, sailing, paddleboarding, and more are all included in the price. On land there are even more activities ranging from lawn chess to golf and virtually everything in between – all included!

Sesame Street characters participate in activities throughout the day and into the evening. There is even an opportunity for the little ones to be tucked in and read a bedtime story by Elmo himself.


Club Med resorts are located globally in continents as diverse as North America, Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. Club Med offers the only all-inclusive resort in the United States. The Sandpiper Bay resort in Florida features tennis lessons, golf lessons, baby gym, arts studio, talent shows, hockey, zumba and even circus lessons – all for the very young.

Club Med even offers All-inclusive ski vacations in the Alps –

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Azul resorts along the Riviera Maya area of Mexico are yet another all-inclusive option for families to experience excellent gourmet dining choices. Azul Hotels redefine family vacations featuring family-oriented suites, kid’s clubs, infant equipment, child toys, and free family reunion coordination.

Nightly entertainment, mojito tastings, a la carte dining and innovative 12-course meals top off the Gourmet Inclusive® philosophy. Rooftop barbecues, s’mores parties on the beach, and 24-hour room service expand on restaurant dining.


The wonderful aspect of all-inclusive resorts is that they offer something for everyone and everything is included at one set price and often tipping is forbidden.

I cannot think of a better way for a geographically diverse busy family to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company in a beautiful and safe environment where preparing one’s own meals and cleaning up the dishes afterward is a distant memory.


At most resorts there are options for multi-room suites where a large family can share a suite with 3 or 4 bedrooms and a common living area.


The easiest and most affordable way to accomplish a multi-generational family vacation is to work with your local travel consultant who is well prepared to help put everything together in a manner that will please everyone from the youngest to the oldest.

Sugar Beach Resort in St Lucia – a Review

By | Caribbean, Luxury, Romance | No Comments

 

Reviewing Sugar Beach Resort – A Viceroy Resort….in St Lucia

 

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The beach at Viceroy’s Sugar Beach resort in St Lucia boasts white sands in an area typically known for a much darker color of sand due to the volcanic nature of the area

The former Jalousie Plantation Resort  located between Gros Piton and Petite Piton in St Lucia has been renamed Sugar Beach Resort and it is surely as sweet as the name implies.

Sugar Beach is luxury at it’s finest with everything you need for a luxury escape without all of the hoopla found at many larger resorts.

What you will find at Sugar Beach is excellent accommodations, superior service, attention to detail and a world class spa

What you won’t find are energetic entertainment staffs encouraging involvement in the party going on…this is about relaxing, rejuvenating, and experiencing one of the most dramatically beautiful settings for a beach resort anywhere in the world

 

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Luxury Villas on the hillside offer many amenities, among which are-

  • Four-poster bed with silky high-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens and romantic voile draping
  • A walk-in closet/dressing room
  • iPod docking station
  • Complimentary internet access (either WiFi or hard wired)
  • Large flat screen TV & DVD player
  • Private bar
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • In-room safe
  • Signature bathroom amenities
  • Large bathroom with Victorian-style claw foot bath and enormous walk-in shower
  • Over-sized plunge pool and private patio
  • Personalized butler service

If lounging next to a gorgeous and relaxing pool is your idea of the perfect escape then it’s tough to find a more gorgeous setting than this…

 

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The resort is primarily an EP style resort (European Plan – as opposed to all-inclusive) where dining is found at any one of 3 restaurants on site, or venture into nearby Soufriere for something very local. One event that is not to be missed is the Friday Fish Fry at Anse la Raye. This is a great evening activity in a small fishing village just a 45-minute drive from Sugar Beach. The main beachfront road is closed and the fishermen bring their catch right up on to the beach and it’s slapped straight onto the BBQ grill.

An all-inclusive dining option is available as an option

Spa

I’m not sure exactly how a spa is defined as world class, but if a setting immersed in the rainforest where individual treatment bungalows are scattered along the hillside and built from the native surroundings then the Rainforest Spa is surely world class…

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    A short list of spa services includes-

    Relaxing Royal Bamboo Massage

    Hot Candle Massage

    Hot Stone Massage

    Lava Shell Massage

    Swedish Massage

    Remedial Massage Deep Tissue

    Reflexology

    Awakening Facial

    C+C Vitamin Body Polisher

    Bamboo Body Polisher

    Honey Body Polisher

    Neuro-Aroma Bath      

     

     

    For more of a sense of the beauty of the resort check out this brief video…

     

    I am sure you will agree that it would be tough to find a more gorgeous setting for a luxury resort, and am confident that if your desire is to experience a superior resort in a tropical paradise then Sugar Beach has to be at the top of your list of possibilities

    So when it’s time for you to plan your next exotic escape look to EZTravelPad where we like to think of ourselves as “Your friends….in the travel business”