Staying on Disney property is certainly our recommendation. At the end of the day Disney is about telling a story, painting a picture, and creating a complete experience, right? Well, the resorts on property certainly aren’t an exception. Each has been carefully crafted and immerses you in a story – and we LOVE that. Plus, staying on property comes with perks that hotels off site just don’t have. Added value! However, there are SO many resorts (more than 25!). So, how do you select the one that is best for your family? Well, we’re here to break it down for you, and as we go, remember the story! A hint or indicator of it is usually in the name.
Disney separates its resorts into four categories - value, moderate, deluxe and villas (usually part of the Disney Vacation Club but can be booked for cash). Pricing usually follows this model as it sounds – value is a better price per night as compared to deluxe. Same goes for features onsite and availability of certain amenities. Let’s do a quick breakdown!
The bulk of rooms in this category are standard and approximately 260 square feet. There is a basic bath setup (sink often in the open and toilet and shower/tub in a separate room) and bedding could be two doubles or a king. Some rooms in this category are family suites coming in at approximately 520 square feet. They have a similar set up as a standard but double the baths and add in some convertible sleeping options. From here things at both are about the same. Views can differ from parking areas and wooded areas to swimming pools – and naturally the better the view the higher the price. Speaking of swimming pools, the pools here are typically themed and could be interactive, but here’s your warning – no slides! Other forms of recreation can be limited – think poolside games, a playground, and an occasional movie outside at night. Dining options are slim too with your only options being a foot court or pool bar. Finally, transportation provided by Disney (a perk of staying onsite!) will usually be via bus. The only exceptions to this are the Art of Animation Resort and Pop Century, which recently were added to the new-ish Skyliner route.
Includes: All Star Movies, All Star Music, All Star Sports, Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Standard rooms in this category are in the 300 square foot range with a similar bath set up as a value resort, but maybe an additional sink. Two queen beds or one king is the standard, but there might be a spot for a potential fifth person (otherwise four is max). Views are similar as well but throw in the possibility of a room facing/near a natural body of water. Pools, other recreation and dining options are a little more robust with the addition of “quiet pools,” water recreation, bikes, a health club (Coronado Springs), at least one table service restaurant and a lounge. Transport here is typically bus as well, but there might be a boat service from some resorts to Disney Springs. Includes: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, and Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
There are a variety of rooms and sizes here. We’re talking anywhere from 344 to 440 square feet. The bath situation can vary too and includes what you’ll find in a moderate, but probably in a different configuration for more privacy. If the room is larger, there might be several baths. Bedding configuration is like a moderate property with nothing smaller than a queen. However, it’s the views, recreation, dining, and transportation that sets a deluxe apart. Pools will have slides, hot tubs, or other water features. Spa services might even be available. There are more table service restaurants, room service and maybe even character dining onsite. Lastly, these resorts are typically in close proximity to a park (very attractive to some), so transportation options open up. Buses, skyliner and boats could still be available, but add walking and monorails to the list.
Includes: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Polynesian Village, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club.
We’ll keep things simple here. Villas are a part of the Disney Vacation Club program but can be booked for cash. Villas can be found at some deluxe properties, but there are also three that are dedicated to Disney Vacation Club. Rooms are villa-style with more amenities and can range from a studio all the way to a three bedroom. Bath and bed configuration can vary by room size, but everything else is similar to a deluxe property.
Includes: Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary, Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Villas at Jambo House and Kidani Village, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Riviera Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Villas at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Evaluate each category as described and make your selection based on the needs of your family. From there, think about the story of the resort and what resonates with you most – maybe it’s animation, the Caribbean, or the South Pacific, and so on. With the breakdown above and these two tips, you’re on your way to selecting the resort that is perfect for you!
If you have any questions or would like to obtain a quote, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here today!
Watch the magic of storytelling unfold, as Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is being reimagined and transforms into Pixar Place Hotel at Disneyland Resort! Today we are excited to share some new artist concept renderings and details, as you can begin to see touches of Pixar popping up here and there at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, with much more to come!
This 15-story high-rise hotel overlooks Disney California Adventure Park. Guests may have already noticed the hotel’s exterior has a bright new look! While Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel continues to welcome Guests during this transition, Disney wants to share a colorful glimpse of what Pixar Place Hotel will look like in the future once the transformation is finished this winter. When complete, Pixar Place Hotel will be the only fully Pixar-themed hotel in the United States!
The lobby will continue to evolve over the next few months and will begin to blend beloved Pixar imagery with the hotel’s contemporary setting. When the transformation is complete, iconic images from Pixar films will be at the front desk, with characters pictured larger than life in curated artwork.
This winter, as Guests enter the hotel lobby, they will be greeted by the Pixar Lamp playfully balancing atop its ball! A whimsical, colorful character-inspired mobile will hang above, welcoming Guests to the new, reimagined lobby atrium.
Later this summer, overnight Guests can splish and splash at an all-new water play area inspired by Nemo and his friends, where Crush the sea turtle goes with the flow atop a 186-foot-long waterslide and Hank can be seen hanging out at the pop-jet splash pad.
Later this year, a family play court will be added to the deck with activities inspired by Pixar’s famous short films. Interactive games and imaginative free play celebrate favorite friends from “La Luna,” “Bao,” “For the Birds,” and “Burrow.” And when it’s time to relax, Guests may enjoy food and drinks under the love-struck umbrellas from “The Blue Umbrella.”
By night, the pool deck is the ideal spot to take in amazing views of the Disneyland Park fireworks, and lounge by cozy character-inspired fire pits with family and friends.
This fall, the hotel will unveil a new restaurant at the resort, Great Maple. This Southern California-based modern American eatery specializes in playful takes on upscale comfort food. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day, the ground-floor restaurant — with a beautiful outdoor patio — will be easily accessible to Hotel Guests, local diners and theme park goers!
Signature dishes to start dreaming about? Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Maple Bacon Doughnuts, the Cajun Shrimp & Cheddar Biscuit Benedict, and the Soda Pop-Braised Baby Back Ribs! Great Maple will also have a full bar including beer, wine and cocktails.
Great Maple’s culinary creativity will abound throughout the hotel, offering food and beverage service at the pool, as well as a new grab ‘n’ go coffee shop and café near the lobby, and eventually at the hotel’s new concierge lounge.
During the refurbishments of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, overnight Guests still enjoy the great benefits of staying on property at the Disneyland Resort such as early park entry and a special entrance to Disney California Adventure Park, along with close proximity to Disneyland Park and the Downtown Disney District.
Stay tuned as we continue to share more exciting details of what’s in the works for the upcoming Pixar Place Hotel, including a date for when the transformation will be complete!
*Applicable theme parks, days and times of operation, and attractions, experiences, and offerings for the early entry benefit may vary, be subject to availability, capacity, change and cancellation without notice, and are not guaranteed.
For more information, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today.
What’s your favorite Disney Thrill? Whether it’s giving a beloved character a big hug, showing off the perfect pair of Minnie ears or giggling your way through an exciting adventure with your entire family, everyone can enjoy all kinds of thrills at Walt Disney World Resort.
Today, we’re excited to share all the new experiences coming to Walt Disney World over the next few months!
New Character Greetings Debuting Soon
Let’s start with one of the most magical moments: meeting Disney favorites face to face. We recently saw the return of fan-favorite character experiences including Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto and Pete’s Silly Sideshow at Magic Kingdom Park. New friends will make their debut soon. Just in time for the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Moana will greet fellow voyagers on Discovery Island for the first time, starting April 22.
Later this summer, Guests will get the chance to hug long-time EPCOT icon Figment at the Imagination! pavilion. And this fall, Mirabel from the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film “Encanto” will greet Guests in the Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom, which will be transformed with whimsical décor inspired by La Familia Madrigal.
EPCOT Transformation Comes to a Crescendo Later This Year
If you’ve been to EPCOT recently, you’ve likely seen the amazing progress happening around World Celebration and World Nature as part of the park’s multi-year transformation. Well, get ready because it will all be completed later this year!
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will debut this fall in World Nature. This self-guided exploration trail will take you through the natural water cycle – from the skies to oceans and all the way back again. Just like Moana, Guests are encouraged to become a protector and friend to our natural resources.
When CommuniCore Hall opens in World Celebration later this year, it will be the center of festival programming throughout the park. In new renderings released today, Guests can see this will be home to a new character greeting location called Mickey & Friends. Guests will be able to meet Mickey Mouse and some of his best pals in this colorful space.
CommuniCore Hall will also be the home of a dynamic exhibition space that will transform with each festival throughout the year, as Guests can see here in one possibility imagined for EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. Playing with light, shapes and reflections, the architecture of this building was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering to celebrate the legacy of EPCOT and the original CommuniCore buildings.
Commemorating Disney100 at Walt Disney World
EPCOT will host the Disney100 celebration at Walt Disney World Resort to commemorate this monumental milestone later this year. As well as all the new attractions and experiences I've mentioned, there will be even more magic.
As we honor the legacy of Disney storytelling and unforgettable characters that have entertained and inspired people of all ages for a century, now is the time to relive those beloved Disney memories and delight in making new memories with friends and family in our theme parks. Enjoy all-new experiences as we celebrate this momentous anniversary and the culmination of the EPCOT transformation – from meeting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their platinum attire to snapping a selfie with a platinum sculpture of the one who started it all and watching Spaceship Earth illuminate the evenings with a special lighting design.
Plus, a new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT later this year, inviting everyone to gather around World Showcase Lagoon for a show that will unite us through commonalities of the heart in a dazzling display of fireworks, lasers, music and light. Featuring an original composition along with select songs from the Disney songbook, this new spectacular will remind us that we’re more alike than different, connecting our hearts together as one.
Celebrating 25 Years of Innovation & Conservation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
We can’t wait to celebrate 25 years of magic at Disney’s Animal Kingdom next month on Earth Day! Since it opened on April 22, 1998, this one-of-a-kind theme park has offered awe-inspiring animal encounters, thrilling attractions and larger-than-life musical stage shows. Since 1995, with support from The Walt Disney Company and guests, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed $120 million to support nonprofit organizations working with communities to save wildlife, inspire action and protect the planet. Additionally, the Disney Conservation team leads best-in-class scientific programs to conserve wildlife in Disney’s backyard and beyond, connects people to build a network for nature, and cares for the planet through everyday actions.
In April, there will be new ways to join in the celebration for Earth Day and this milestone, including new sweet and savory treats, specialty merchandise and limited-time character sightings in the park. There will be more surprises on April 22, when the park officially turns 25.
Summer House on the Lake Opens Later This Year at Disney Springs
A stunning new restaurant will open at Disney Springs in late 2023. Summer House on the Lake embodies a breezy, beach house vibe that will pair perfectly with the sweeping views of Lake Buena Vista.
Guests will be able to enjoy a California-inspired menu featuring simple, sustainable ingredients – from pizza and pasta to fresh salads and sandwiches. Plus, Guests can savor the restaurant’s exclusive Summer House Rosé along with a selection of wine, beer, handcrafted cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Just imagine sipping a favorite drink on one of three expansive outdoor patios with a lake view. Those of us with a sweet tooth will be delighted to hear about The Cookie Jar, a dessert-focused market within this space serving up freshly baked cookies and house-made pastries.
Corkcicle Opening First-Ever Retail Location at Disney Springs
Just announced today, Corkcicle is coming to Disney Springs! A local Orlando business, Corkcicle creates innovative, obsession-worthy, high-performing insulated drinkware, coolers and accessories in a variety of gorgeous colors that elevate every sip and bring delight to everyday moments. This kiosk will be Corkcicle’s first-ever retail location and will open later this spring.
Tiara-topped Water Tower Coming Soon to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom
Construction on Tiana's Bayou Adventure continues to take shape, and later this summer, a tiara-topped water tower emblazoned with the Tiana’s Foods logo will make its way to Magic Kingdom.
Disney Parks guests will get to experience Princess Tiana’s story like never before following the attraction’s debut at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in 2024, and what a party it will be! The story will pick up where the film left off as guests join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis on an adventure down the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration during Mardi Gras season where everyone is welcome. Along the way, Guests will encounter familiar faces, make new friends and travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film. Lots of memorable fun in store!
TRON Lightcycle / Run Launches April 4, 2023
You may have heard that one of the fastest coasters at any Disney park is launching soon in Magic Kingdom. Starting April 4, Guests will be able to race across the Grid in TRON Lightcycle / Run presented by Enterprise. As members of Team Blue, this will be the chance to board a high-speed Lightcycle and compete against a fierce group of Programs known as Team Orange
Merchandise fans can gear up for the Grid with racing-inspired apparel, collectible pins, must-have toys and light-up accessories inspired by the TRON films and the attraction itself.
For more information on booking your next trip to Walt Disney World, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
3/13/2023 0 Comments
What Is There To Do In Costa Rica?
The best that Costa Rica has to offer…
You want to visit Costa Rica! Awesome, we can help get you there. But one of the questions we’ll ask in helping you do so is what you’d like to see and do there. Relax? Explore nature? Seek adventure? All the above and more? Probably. There is just so much available, we’ll need to have a serious discussion on what your priorities are. To help we’ve put together a list of eight of the best activities to do during your visit. After reading let us know what’s on the top of yours!
The 8 Best Activities Costa Rica Has To Offer
1. Hiking – An activity that likely is top of mind when you think of Costa Rica and there certainly is no shortage of places to do so. Volcanoes, beaches, cloud forests – the choice is yours. Once that’s settled, think about the level of difficulty you’re comfortable with. These two things will help in the best recommendation. Additionally, it is suggested you consider guided hikes. Your expert leader will be able to provide general assistance and a trained eye to spot wildlife.
2. Surfing – Surfers from around the world frequent Costa Rica year-round because of its warm waters and waves. Choose your coast – Pacific or Caribbean, select your level of experience – beginner, intermediate, or advanced. We can even make some recommendations. If you’re in need of a lesson, they’re typically easy to find, even just by stepping foot on some beaches!
3. Snorkeling and Scuba – Wildlife sightings aren’t limited to land. There are 7,000+ marine species that can be found in Costa Rica’s surrounding waters. So, it is no surprise that it is on the top of the list for water activities. If you’re a snorkeler, think about if you’d like to do so by boat or shore. If a diver, we can help recommend dive sites. Just let us know your level of experience.
4. Whitewater Rafting – Costa Rica provides a stunning background for this adventure. There are a few areas that would be recommended if this is something you’d like to do. Beginner or advanced, let us know what intensity of rapids you’re comfortable with, and we can point you in the right direction. If the kiddos are up for the challenge, there are some options that are suitable for them too. It’s a great family activity!
5. Visit Waterfalls – Some of the most picturesque sights in Costa Rica can be found at its numerous waterfalls. After all, there’s something so magical about water cascading over a cliff to the pools below. There are plenty of options to choose from, just keep in mind a few things. Some falls will require a hike to access, entrance fees will vary, and some allow swimming while others do not. Also consider a guided tour if you won’t have access to a rental car during your stay.
6. Zip Lining – If you’ve Googled “excursions in Costa Rica” you’ve likely seen a picture of someone effortlessly flying over green canopy, rivers, and cliffs. It’s a very popular activity that can be found all over the country. You should expect a safety demo and a short hike. Then you’ll glide line by line, each getting a little longer than the one before. If you’re an adrenaline seeker this is a must do! If not, we wouldn’t recommend it. Do not invest money in something if you’re not 100% comfortable with.
7. Bird Watching – It isn’t unusual for people to travel to Costa Rica for this very reason. Some enthusiasts even build a whole itinerary around this activity. There are 900+ species and most often seen will likely be toucans, macaws, and hummingbirds. Because the country is so eco-diverse, make a couple of watching stops. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera!
8. Yoga – Yes, you read that right! Costa Rica is indeed a haven for yoga lovers. You could see or take a class quite literally anywhere – a resort, beach, volcano, or rainforest. If you’re a beginner, give it a try at least once. If you’re a wellness enthusiast and it’s your reason for travel, it belongs on your list. Think wellness retreat, group trip for your studio, location for instructor training or continuing education.
There you have it, some of the best that Costa Rica has to offer! Of course, there’s a ton more that isn’t listed, so if you have any questions let us know. If you’re ready to explore all that Costa Rica has to offer, reach out!
Wellness travel, voluntourism, sustainable travel. Especially in a post-pandemic world, we are hearing these kinds of buzzwords more and more as we were forced to slow down, connect in different ways, and shift our focus.
But what really is wellness travel?
According to the Wellness Tourism Association, wellness travel is travel that allows a traveler to maintain, enhance, or begin a healthy lifestyle. It supports or increases your sense of well-being, both mentally and physically. This is achieved through the experiences you have while traveling. The goal and benefit are to feel energized and rejuvenated.
Some of the most common wellness travel styles include spa retreats or spa enhancements, fitness trends like certain hotel brands adding Peloton spin bikes to their gyms and adding physical activities to a vacation that support a healthy lifestyle.
People are often described as primary or secondary wellness tourists. The primary wellness tourist is a person that creates a trip around the idea of wellness while a secondary wellness tourist includes wellness activities while traveling.
There is no one size fits all in wellness travel. But to feel energized, relaxed, and have a sense of joy in your travels, consider some of these activities for your next vacation.
• Surfing or Paddleboarding
• Tai chi
• Massage therapy
• Spa experiences at mineral baths or saunas
• Voluntourism – book activities that support a local community
Many travelers that try these activities while vacationing tend to disconnect from technology more, feel reduced stress, and notice improved moods. What does wellness mean to you? Do you have a favorite activity to do while on vacation to relax and recharge?
For more information on booking your own wellness adventure, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
1. Four Seasons Resort Lanai
In season two of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the group heads to Lanai to celebrate the birthday of Kyle’s husband Mauricio, who may be one of the best househusbands across the entire franchise. They shack up at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, and it is gorgeous. Lanai itself is a true treasure with only 3,100 residents and only one town: Lanai City. The five-diamond resort has botanical gardens, lagoon-style pools, a beautiful spa and three great on-site restaurants, including Nobu Lanai, a name most familiar to the ladies of Beverly Hills.
2. Fairmont Orchid
Reality TV lovers should not sleep on Bravo’s Married to Medicine and luxury lovers should not sleep on Fairmont Orchid. In season four, arguably one of the best groups of women on TV take the long journey from Atlanta to Big Island for Dr. Simone and Cecil’s 20th anniversary celebration. The resort is located in Kamuela’s historic district and is within ten miles of Hapuna Beach State Park and Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. But you don’t really need to leave the resort to experience Hawaii’s natural beauty. The award-winning Spa Without Walls integrates the island’s natural sounds and scents into treatments and the seasonally inspired menus at the onsite restaurants celebrate the island’s cuisine.
3. The Four Seasons Maui
Another great group of women from Atlanta, the ladies of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, go on what was supposed to be a girls trip (but ends up otherwise) to Maui in season nine, staying at the luxurious Four Seasons Maui. Cynthia and Peter’s relationship is a little rocky at the time, but luckily the sprawling resort offers many opportunities for them to avoid each other, like rooms with private lanais and balconies, one of the largest golden sand beaches on the island and plenty of poolside cabanas. There are lots of beautiful places to visit off the resort too, as it’s nearby Wailea Beach, Makena State Park Beach and Keawakapu Beach.
4. The Modern Honolulu
Season nine of The Real Housewives of Orange County starts off on Oahu with Vicki, Tamra and Heather staying at the super chic The Modern Honolulu. They’re on a fun girls trip while Heather films for a TV show (a show other than the reality show). Things get a bit wacky so let’s focus on the hotel. The Modern Honolulu is sleek and contemporary and overlooks the iconic Waikiki Beach. Room views include city view, marina view and of course ocean view, and room types vary from double rooms to spacious two-bathroom suites. A garden-set restaurant, two bars, two pools, a fitness center, on-site yoga and an overall focus on sustainability make The Modern Honolulu a great pick for a chic housewife like Heather Dubrow.
5. Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
The ladies of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills really love Hawaii. In season nine, the gang lands on the Big Island and this time they’re visiting to attend the wedding of a former castmate (the pernicious Camille Grammar) and staying at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. This 290-room resort has many accommodation options, from a classic hotel room to a suite with a fully equipped kitchen. Two golf courses, a white-sand beach, sunset luaus and three outdoor pools make this resort a true gem on the island. Sure, Camille Grammar’s Hawaiian home is beautiful, but it’s got nothing on this amazing resort.
Hawaii isn’t the only destination reality TV stars choose for their vacations. Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and even the U.S. have seen some over-the-top yet attainable reality TV star escapades. To book your next vacation and feel like a true VIP, reach out to one of our Starstuff Travel Planners today!
Article Credit to Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass
Walt Disney World Resort is ending the year in style – foodie style that is – with plenty of treats to ring in 2023 with a satisfied stomach.
All across the resort, there are multiple delights to indulge in. From the Clock Strikes 12 dessert from Toledo - Tapas, Steak & Seafood to the 2023 Celebration Mickey Piñata at the All-Star Resorts, and the Champagne Beignet at Scat Cat's Club – Café, your tastebuds will be so excited to welcome the new year.
And for Guests who don’t have a dining reservation at a table-service restaurant, there are plenty of quick-service locations at the Disney Resorts with delicious dishes and sips to enjoy!
It’s time to countdown the treats coming to Walt Disney World Resort this new year in 3, 2, 1…
Available at Various Resorts Celebration Charcuterie & Cheese featuring cured meats, duck confit, aged cheeses, savory cookies, and accompaniments (Available Dec. 31 and Jan. 1); Available at the following:
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, and Disney’s All-Star Sports ResortWorld Premiere Food Court, Intermission Food Court, and End Zone Food Court (Available Dec. 31 only)
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort Landscape of Flavors and Everything POP Shopping & Dining (Available Dec. 31 only; mobile order available)
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Centertown Market and Spyglass Grill (Available Dec. 31 through Jan. 1; mobile order available)
Toledo - Tapas, Steak & Seafood
Disney’s Polynesian Village Pineapple Lanai (Available Dec. 30 through Jan. 1)
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (Available Dec. 31 through Jan. 1; mobile order available)
Disney’s Riviera Resort Topolino's Terrace (Available Dec. 31 through Jan. 1)
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort The Market at Ale & Compass (Available Dec. 30 through Jan. 1; mobile order available)
Available at Various Lounges through Resorts (Available Dec. 28 through Jan. 1)
(Note: All offerings are subject to change and availability.)
Want to book your next Disney adventure? Contact a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
During the year our agency participates in many trainings and site inspections to learn more about the destinations we send our clients to. Earlier this month we spent a few fun filled days in Puerto Morelos, a small fishing village in Riveria Maya, and a quick twenty minute drive from the Cancun airport. We were hosted by The Fives Oceanfront and would soon find out it would become our new favorite hotel in the area by far. Many of our clients request a vacation to Mexico. When clients think of a vacation to Mexico, they think of the typical beach and an all inclusive getaway. Our visit to the Fives Oceanfront set some new standards for the typical trip to Mexico.
Upon entering their lobby, you'll marvel at the contemporary and creative design with Boho-Chic details. They offer a truly different approach as they skip the normal check-in area full of desks and seats. Instead, they have someone standing in the lobby that will come to you as you relax on the couch in a very informal setting, almost like visiting with a friend. I found this welcoming and very classy. This is not your typical giant cookie cutter all inclusive, this is a great quaint luxury boutique resort.
This specific resort offers some great options for our foodie friends for many different reasons. They do offer both an all inclusive as well as European dining plan. This is a AAA Four Diamond property so you better believe the food here is amazing, but so are the beautifully crafted cocktails. There are only a few food options in the resort itself, however they are top notch. One of the reasons we consider this a foodies dream is because the food they offer at the hotel is amazing, but the resort is also within walking distance to town where there are many additional great restaurants and bars to choose from.
We had a one bedroom suite and thought it was extremely spacious and clean. We loved the fact that it had a full kitchen since you can also stay with a European Plan. This way you can food shop and cook or just have a place to warm up last nights dinner. We also had a lovely balcony that you could access from the bedroom and the living space. You can review our room tour video below.
The Fives Oceanfront has two beautiful pools. One is more of a quiet infinity pool on the rooftop and it is truly stunning. There is also an amazing rooftop bar up there as well where you can enjoy one of their beautiful artisan cocktails. The other pool is closer to the beach. Both pools are on the smaller side but since this is a smaller boutique resort they never felt crowded.
It is hard to find a decent beach in any area of Mexico these days due to Sargassum, a wicked type of seaweed that haunts most beaches in the area. The smaller beach at The Fives Oceanfront seems easier for the hotel to maintain therefore we enjoyed a pretty clean beach. They have really nice cabanas you can rent for the day and if you have the all inclusive plan, you can have your food delivered for free. We enjoyed an absolutely amazing seafood platter the day we reserved ours.
The Fives Oceanfront is perfect for those who seek a quiet getaway or a place to lay their head at night after they explore Mexico all day. You can enjoy our property video tour below.
When you are ready to explore Mexico, let one of our experienced Starstuff Travel Planners help you.
There have been a few major events in history that have impacted the travel industry. Things like 9/11, the invention of the internet, and the Coronavirus pandemic have caused travel agencies to make changes in order to stay relevant and serve their clients well. What are those changes, and how do they affect you? Let’s look at a few key items so you can see why using an advisor is more relevant than ever.
#1 Travel Insurance Is Vital, It’s No Longer Just a Suggestion
Pre-pandemic, it was common to chance traveling without travel insurance. But now, with all the changes and requirements of travel, it’s more important than ever before. To accommodate, agencies and advisors have taken necessary steps to learn great products in order to make recommendations based on your needs. This also goes for testing, documentation, and ever-changing requirements. When you work with an advisor, they will be able to recommend the best travel insurance for you, as well as monitor any destination and/or testing requirements so you are prepared and ready to travel without the added hassle or risk.
#2: Planning Travel Is Complicated!
There are so many moving parts to travel though that hasn’t always been the case! Booking a vacation used to be far less complicated than it is now. Thanks to technology and ongoing learning, many advisors are adopting a new way of taking care of their clients. New school methods are client-centric and are about crafting a trip for you, rather than just picking a pre-made trip package. Technology has also allowed advisors to have better, more accurate information than what is “Google-able” by you as a consumer.
#3 Booking with A Travel Agent Is Not Transactional, It’s Relational
No one likes to be ghosted, especially when you’re shelling out your own hard-earned money. Nowadays, advisors tend to establish a working, ongoing relationship with clients. That’s why many in the industry are no longer just called “travel agents” (someone who creates bookings) but now go by something more effective like "planner “advisor” or “consultant” (implying a deeper level of service). They are there to take care of you.
#4 Advisors Have Access to Systems That the General Public Does Not
Travel advisors have an entire world of systems and tools at their disposal, far beyond what you can see as a consumer. What’s more, these systems and tools give advisors access to virtually anything. The trips advisors can create for you are so much more than you could create for yourself. Additionally, advisors make a point to build great relationships with vendors and other advisors, as well as continually learn, train, and network to bring you an even greater experience.
With so many changes overall to the travel industry, it is best to rely on experts for your travel planning. Most people hire an accountant to do their taxes or a mechanic to fix their vehicle, simply because there are too many unknowns and too many risks that come from doing it on their own. Apply this same concept to travel and leave planning to a true expert in the industry. We challenge you to put us to the test! Schedule a complimentary vacation consultation to see what we can do for you.
Let a Starstuff Travel Planner assist you with your next vacation by clicking here!
Known as California Wine Country, Napa and Sonoma are the most iconic wine regions in the United States. And while wine may be the draw, there’s more to the area. Scenic views, incredible food, deluxe shops and spas, and exquisite lodging.
Are you thinking of visiting California Wine Country this year? If so, take our advice to make the most out of your visit. Cheers!
1. Hire a designated driver. DUI-related costs in California can quickly add up to $10,000 or more. California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement are serious about keeping people safe in wine country and are constantly on the lookout for impaired drivers. Trust us on this one. Hire a driver.
2. Make reservations for wine tastings. In the Post-Covid Era, most wineries require reservations, so plan ahead because drop-in wine tastings are few and far between.
3. Pace yourself. Plan on visiting three to four wineries per day. Although you may be tempted, less is more when tasting wines. Take time for lunch by bringing a picnic with you. Also, bring water bottles to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
4. Reverse your trip. Most travelers visit wineries closest to them first and then move to others that are further away. Reverse your plans to beat the crowds. Go to the winery that is furthest from you to start and work your way back to the hotel.
5. Learn to Swirl. Swirling allows the wine to aerate, bringing out its full fragrance. Hold on to the bottom of the wine glass and swirl five to eight times. After swirling, sniff and take your first sip.
6. Spend time talking with your sommelier. Wine can be more fun when you know the story behind the bottle, so ask your sommelier. They love wine and are happy to share and educate. Not only can they share about the specific location at which they work, but they can also let you know the best wineries and restaurants in the area.
7. Hit pause on the wine clubs. Every vineyard and winery you visit will try to sell you a membership to their wine club. Take the information home with you. You will still be able to join after you have returned home from your vacation if you’re still interested.
8. Budget for wine tastings. Tastings can run anywhere from $20 to $50 per tasting. Prices can go higher if you choose to elevate your experience with a class or food.
9. Don’t wear fragrances. Wine is first “tasted” by the nose. It will be impossible to appreciate the aromas of a wine if there are heavy smells of smoke, cologne, or perfume in the air.
10. Have fun! Wine tastings are social, fun events, not tax seminars. Smile. Laugh. Swirl. Sip.
For more information on booking your trip to California Wine Country, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here.
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