Archive for March, 2012

Package Deals: Portola Hotel & Spa – Monterey, California

Monterey, California - The Portola

Pst. Head’s up. This month, The Portola Hotel & Spa is featuring the Discover Monterey – Family Fun Package which offers the opportunity to explore the best of the best when it comes to family-friendly entertainment in Monterey, Cali. The two-night package includes:

  • A two-night stay in a nautically inspired (we like the sounda that) room of your choice
  • Warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie upon arrival
  • Complimentary breakfast for two at Jacks Restaurant each morning (children five and under eat free)
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium 2 day admission for two adults
  • MY Museum tickets for two adults
  • Complimentary Portola Pirates Adventure & Gifts (for children three – 10 yrs old)
  • Outdoor heated pool, relaxing cabanas & jacuzzi all included.

Rates @ $440/night

Cannery Row - Downtown Monterey

They’re also featuring a Girlfriend’s Getaway Package, which includes:

  • Two night stay in a two Harbor View Rooms
  • 4 $25 Spa on the Plaza gift cards
  • Dinner for four at Peter B’s Brewpub

You can also enjoy shopping just minutes away or, perhaps, a little wine tasting at one of the many boutique-winery tasting rooms located throughout the Monterey Bay area (duh). Or, how about you spend your evening sipping fabulous cocktails at Portola’s Jacks Lounge? Then, take-in the nightlife of downtown Monterey, only steps away from the Portola.

Rates @ $519/night

Lost Hotels Brings Eco-Adventure to Last Minute Deal Hungry Travellers

Hukumeizi - Colombia

“Be a traveler, not a tourist.”

Embodying this mantra, we just uncovered Lost Hotels, a website that intends to unite a sense of adventure with cultural destinations, nature and authentic experiences. Here, travelers will taste the local beer and food, experience local customs, test out the native tongue, make new friends and garner stories.

Tango Mar Pool - Costa Rica

Each week, time-sensitive deals to unique destinations curated by Lost Hotel’s staff of world travelers are extended to subscribers via e-mail or by visiting Think independent and green properties, small-to-medium size, cool urban boutique hotels, Amazon jungle lodges and expedition cruises. This isn’t Paris in spring at Ritz. This is Tango Mar in Costa Rica, Sacha Lodge in the Amazon rainforest, Ariau Amazon Towers in Brazil, Titilaka in Bolivia, Hukumeizi and Casa Navegante in Colombia and Casa del Suizo in Ecuador.

Brazil's Ariau Amazon Hotel

In addition to its weekly deals, Lost Hotels will offer a travel guru service, where experts help plan getaways to any of its properties. This service includes being matched with a trip authority, mapping out the stay, finding accommodations and booking these suggestions at the best available rates. Lost Hotels was founded in 2000 by Ernesto Ruben under the name Ecorepublic. Ruben, who grew up in Colombia, longed to offer travelers a chance to explore unspoiled nature and cultural enrichment through quality accommodations.

Casa del Suizo - Ecuador

Former Groupon Colombia executive Jonathan Dreszer, Lost Hotels’ chief marketing officer, joined the team and in 2004, Ecorepublic transformed into Lost Hotels, the online resource for travels looking for the road less traveled. Currently, Lost Hotels is debuting its products in the Americas and the Caribbean. Other worldwide destinations are soon to follow.

So grab your camera and your sense of adventure. It’s time to get lost!

The Best Luxe Eco-Trip for Families: The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

Now THAT's a view. A Luxury Beach Villa at The Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Ever since Clark Griswold packed his wife and kids into a ramshackle station wagon, family trips have conjured images of National Lampoon’s Vacation: restless kids and frustrated parents cooped up in a confined space. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, families live like Malaysian royalty in luxury Beach Villas, complete with a private garden and plunge pool, and just steps from the white sand beaches of the Andaman Sea. And though there’s plenty of time for R ‘n R, this isn’t your typical “fly and flop” destination.

The Reflection Pool - in case you and your honey feel like stretching out the family kinks while your kids are playing at The Kids for All Seasons Club

And just in case you want to discover more about each other, you can also explore a series of adrenaline-fueled eco-activities on land and sea. Take your little monkeys on the Mangrove & Monkey Safari, where you’ll go deep into the Kilim Karst UNESCO Geopark and get up close and personal with eagles, monkeys, bats and even otters. Or, cast sail for the Secrets of the Sea tour, which takes you to the folklore-rich Cave of Legends and then on a swim under secluded waterfalls.

Langkawi Falls

The activity doesn’t stop back “home” at your 2,369-square-foot Villa, either — it’s equipped with toys, board games, a PS3 console and even sandcastle-making kits. Of course, The Kids For All Seasons club is ready to keep the kids busy while mom and dad nap on the outdoor daybed, with kite-making, yoga and nature excursions.

“Sign us up!” you say?

Here’s a link to booking your Family Beach Villa at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi where you can turn “Are we there yet?” into “I don’t wanna leave yet!”

The World’s Best Street Food

Street Food... nom nom nom!!

Alas… Lonely Planet reveals The World’s Best Street Food in a  new book which shows readers where to find, and how to make, some of the world’s most authentic dishes. Yippeee! The World’s Best Street Food explores 100 of the world’s must-eat dishes from markets, hawkers, and bazaars across the globe. Each street food delicacy has two dedicated pages detailing the history and culture behind the food, where to find the best examples when you’re on the road, and an easy-to-follow recipe to make the dish yourself. Accompanied by Lonely Planet’s expert destination knowledge and stunning photography, The World’s Best Street Food also includes a foreword by internationally renowned food writer and personality Tom Parker-Bowles, a glossary of exotic ingredients with easy-to-find alternatives, and Lonely Planet authors’ secrets to discovering the best examples of street food while traveling… including how much to pay, where the best stalls are, how to order, and what to avoid.

Recipes include:

•  India’s Masala Dosa

•  Vietnam’s Bún Cha

•  Israel’s Sabih

•  Brazil’s Acarajé

•  Hungary’s Chimney Cake

“I travel to eat, preferably on the street,” says Parker-Bowles. “Because this is where you’ll find the real soul of a cuisine, somewhere among the taco carts and noodle stalls and baskets of herbs…some of the finest things to ever have passed my lips have been eaten standing up, or sitting at the most rickety of roadside tables, surrounded by diesel fumes, cigarette smoke and noise.”

Gastronomic bliss awaits.


Taiwan Travel Tips for the Eco-Goddess


Just one of the many different Orchid in the world

We bet you didn’t know… but Taiwan’s lush-green mountains tower over 13,000 feet and, with sub-tropical climate weather, Taiwan offers a variety of incredible natural resources. Recently named by Lonely Planet as one of the “Top 10 Best Countries to Visit in 2012,” the island is progressively transforming itself into a “Nature Wonderland” for international travelers to enjoy. In March, Taiwan will host two popular green events; the International Orchid Show in Tainan from March 3 – 12, and Yilan Green Exposition in Yilan from March 31 – May 20, to demonstrate its commitment to eco-tourism.

“Taiwan’s mission to provide green sustainable living has been recognized by our international peers,” said Trust Lin, Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau Los Angeles. “Our island is considered a ‘green trendsetter’ because of our continuous effort to develop impactful events focusing on green living. To us, this style of living is the only way to preserve Taiwan’s natural treasures, and a healthy sustainable environment for our people and travelers.”

Water like this and the moist mountains? That's right, Taiwan's your secret paradise.

The Taiwan International Orchid Show in Tainan from March 3 – 12 is considered the most popular horticultural event for the past 10 years because the county has consistently produced 40% of all orchids grown in Taiwan. Tainan’s rich botanical resources for cultivating orchids has secured the island as the world’s largest orchid exporter, and recognized by orchid collectors worldwide as the “Orchid Kingdom.” And with an expected attendance of over 3,000 international floral exporters and buyers at the show, the “Orchid Kingdom” plans to unveil its newly developed breeds – Phalaenopsis and Oncidium (Dancing Lady Orchid) – for the world to admire.

In continuation of its commitment to green living, the island is hosting the 13th annual Yilan Green Expo from March 31 – May 20. Lasting two months, the popular expo plans to incorporate the “Organic” concept into three key exhibit areas – Garden, Food & Lifestyle and Farm.

And, just in case you're not pulled to Taiwan for the love of flowers, how about a green onion pancake from Yilan?

In the Garden area, visitors will learn the importance of how and which of the Five Chinese natural elements – metal, wood, water, fire and earth – define their personality. Then, the fun will begin when they let their defined personalities guide them to experience and enjoy a variety of food, music and gardening throughout the expo.

For the interactive visitors, the Food & Lifestyle area will provide demonstrations on how to save food during the cooking process. In addition, visitors can roll-up their sleeves to learn how to grow an organic family garden through recycling kitchen waste.

Taiwanese Famers - Oolong, Taiwan

As for visitors interested in learning about how the traditional Taiwanese farmers lived, enjoyed and maintained a true healthy sustainable green lifestyle, the Farm area will include a traditional farmstead mansion, a terraced field and a rice paddy field specifically designed and built for the expo to educate local and international visitors on the various aspects of farm life.

Taiwan International Orchid Show:
Traveling to Taiwan:

And last, but never least, click here for suggestions on: Where to stay in Taiwan from The New York Times

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