FAIRMONT KEA LANI – JAMIE’S IN MAUI PART 2

As the remainder of my time in Maui was spent mainly in conference meetings at the Fairmont Kea Lani, I think it is important to comment on their meeting and convention facilities. The meeting rooms were very nice and unlike some, the A/C was very adjustable – one day was too warm, but they were able to cool the room quickly and one day the A/C was too cold, but they were able to turn it down and warm the room quickly, making the setting comfortable for attendees, which is important. We had several coffee breaks with fruit and baked goods, all of which were good – a nice selection of coffee and tea as well. The three lunches we had were lovely, set either on the patio outside out meeting room or on the lawn – beautiful settings, a nice break from being inside and good food as well. The staff were friendly and attentive, always saying hello and asking if they could help. The WIFI worked quite well through most of the hotel, although a little spotty in my room, which was at the end of of one of the wings. Although I wasn’t the organizer, from what I could tell, everything went very smoothly. Fairmont is a high quality product and everything was well done.

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One evening we had a sponsored dinner in Lahaina. Although I have been to Maui before, I had never spent much time in Lahaina and was looking forward to going. We had a bit of time to wander Front Street and shop for a few souvenirs and the setting felt very Hawaiian with the ocean on one side and the green mountains on the other. I don’t think I found any great bargains, but I did manage to pick up a couple of things I was looking for and have a nice stroll around the area. We all met at the Pacific’O Restaurant for a sunset dinner.

The Sunset was gorgeous and the setting was perfect. Beachfront, ocean views, a nice evening with warm weather and no wind. It couldn’t have been any better. The staff at the restaurant were great, very attentive and quick at bringing drinks, taking drinks, bringing around trays of pupu’s. For dinner, we had a choice of fish, lamb or beef. As I had fish the night before, I thought i would try the beef filet with Gorgonzola cheese on top, even though it was Hawaii and fish is usually the way to go. I was pleasantly surprised! The filet was as good as any I have had at a steakhouse back in Canada. It was the best meal I had the entire time I was in Maui – a big thumbs up and the next time I go to Maui, I would make a point of going back.

I would usually rent a car on Maui as it’s necessary to get around, but as I knew I wouldn’t have time to be out exploring, I decided to use a car service instead. I used a company called Maui ATS – Maui Airport Taxi Service – for a rate of $49 USD each way, it was less than taking a taxi. The drivers were waiting on time both ways and the drivers were friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone needing car service in Maui.

Sadly, my time in Maui was not longer, but I was lucky to be flying Air Canada Rouge in Premium Rouge class. It made the longer flights and night flights much more comfortable. The staff was friendly and the meal service was good. I also had a 7 hour layover in Vancouver and decided to get a day room rate at the Fairmont Vancouver airport. For a rate of $129, I had a room for 4 hours. I was able to get another 3 hours of sleep after not getting a lot of sleep on the night flight from Maui and have a shower and change my clothes before having to continue my journey home. It was well worth it and I felt significantly better for having spent my time there.

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Czarina’s Huatulco Holiday – Part 3

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Tangolunda Bay

Our last days were quickly approaching so we thought it was time to visit one of the small towns nearby.  The town of La Crucecita is a quick 5 minute drive/$5USD cab ride from Dreams Huatulco.  It’s the closest resort town near the Huatulco hotel zone.

We arrived around 6pm to the main square on the weekend.  At first it was a little intimidating since there are lots of people walking around this smaller square area.  After a couple of minutes, the small bits of worry were gone when we saw all the neat stores and restaurants.

If you are looking for good deals on trinkets this is your “jam”.  I didn’t even have to barter back in forth with the sales people.  Everything is so darn cheap!    I love it!  Though I have loads of junk at home, we always bring back small gifts for those back home.  This year everyone will receive a magnet… J

No visit to La Crucecita is complete without a stop at La Crema Bar!  It’s a pizza joint run 25139283_10159643156795024_1444285742_oby some local hippies.  It was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had and I’ve been a pizza connoisseur since the 80s.  An extra large Hawaiian pizza with 3 large lime margaritas and 1 chocolate milk cost us an even $24USD.  Not bad at all for a great meal!

I’ve fallen in love with Huatulco and will definitely return again to experience this lovely destination!

If you are interested in visiting Huatulco or have any questions about this amazing part of Mexico please feel free to reach out to me at 306-934-3400 or czarina@uniglobevacation.com. 

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Czarina’s Huatulco Holiday – Part 2

Huatulco is proving to be very quiet and relaxing… even with a 2 year old!  I’ve spent years dreaming about visiting this destination so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to view other resorts in the area.  The travel agent in me is always curious about other hotels.

I scheduled a visit to the Barceló Huatulco and the Secrets Huatulco.  Both are popular chains that we love to send our clients to.

Barceló is located right beside the Dreams Huatulco so it was an easy walk over.  The Barceló is very welcoming right from the get-go.  It has beautiful bright warm colors and the Mexican vibe that I love to see in an authentic Mexican property.  I loved the fun pool area including slides for the kiddies.  You can count on Barceló for a good time with fun resort music playing by the pool and lots of smiles all around!  Plus, they share that beautiful beach and bay with Dreams so you can enjoy a long walk on a stunning powdery beach or a swim in crystal clear water.

Barceló offers old world charm, Secrets on the other hand, is a modern day marvel.  With sweeping views of their own private bay, I could not believe the breathtaking beauty of Hux 3this adults only cliff slide resort.  Every room is oceanview!  You cannot go wrong with this hotel.  It’s quiet and relaxing with so many great dining options.  Secrets has less rooms than Dreams or Barceló but is three times the size so it can be a little bit more of a trek for those looking for a smaller hotel.  Trust me when I say the larger size should not deter you from staying here.

It’s everything a couple would want if they are looking for a peaceful sanctuary!

Secrets and Dreams are part of the same chain within the AM Resorts brand. I was pleased to learn that they are doing everything in their power to be environmentally friendly including not cutting down the mangroves between the beach and pool area at Secrets.  They also do not use straws unless guests specially request them.  Makes it hard to drink a Pina Colada but I’m totally okay with it if it saves a baby turtle!

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FAIRMONT KEA LANI – JAMIE’S IN MAUI PART 1

This is my third time to Maui, second time to the Fairmont Kea Lani.  The first time I stayed at this hotel was about 8 years ago and I remembered it being an oasis of calm and beauty after the busy-ness of Honolulu.  I was not mistaken.

24775145_10155009822345009_385372031145172010_nAfter a long day of travelling, stressing over almost missing a connection and making it through a very bumpy landing (not my favorite), I walked outside the airport to meet my car service and 30 minutes later stepped out of the car to be greeted with a fresh orchid lei welcoming me to the Fairmont Kea Lani, a grand lady of a hotel that sits oceanfront in Wailea.  She is a large, white, elegant and classy looking hotel, with sweeping green lawns, flowers everywhere you look and endless shiny marble floors, columns and staircases.  She is really something to see.

As always, Fairmont provides exceptional service.  I was checked in within a matter of minutes and they had all my preferences on file and even welcomed me back, knowing exactly when I had last been here.  They sent me a text message so I would have that message on my phone and could just reply to the message if I needed any help with anything during my stay.  Instead of having to go to the front desk to ask, I could text and they would come to me.  WOW!

Due to the time change, it felt more like bedtime than dinner time when I arrived, but the Fairmont has a deli/bakery that is wonderful and allows you to pick up fruit, deli meats and salads, cereal, milk, yogurt, baked goods, wine, beer, etc.  So, I picked up a few things and had an early night.

The rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani are fantastic.  For the most part, all rooms are one bedroom suites and very large.  A full bedroom, large bathroom with soaker tub and separate shower and a living room with sofa bed, plus a beautiful large lanai with a sunbed and table and chairs.  There is also a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker, allowing you to have a simple breakfast or small meal in your room, if you like.  The breakfast items from the deli are perfect.  I don’t usually eat a large breakfast, so there isn’t much point spending around $40 USD for a breakfast buffet when all I really want is toast or cereal!

There are three pools, one is adults only, one is geared for smaller children and one is more active and has a small water-slide.  The beach has nice sand, but is smaller.   There is some lava rock and some areas good for snorkeling.  I spent some time at the beach and pool yesterday morning.  They have cold water stations and towel stations throughout the property and I had no problems getting chairs at the beach or pool front, even at 9am.  I had lunch of shrimp quesadillas and a delicious cocktail called a Hibiscus margarita – and the cocktails come with orchid flowers in them, instead of umbrellas….how can you not love that.   The service around the pool was great, they were very quick to bring drinks and offer menus, etc.

We had a private dinner in one of the outdoor spaces last night.  It was also well done – a Hawaiian Duo with a pair of hula dancers for entertainment and some buffet food stations with the best Hawaiian Poke I have had.  It was a lovely day, in one of my favorite places.  Until next time, Aloha!

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Czarina’s Huatulco Holiday – Part 1

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Huatulco is a sun lover’s dream come true! It has been nothing but pure sunshine and heat so far!

We’re staying at the beautiful Dreams Huatulco. For anyone looking for a small, compact resort – this is your place. Size is tremendously important to us particularly with our toddler. We are steps away from the pool, beach and restaurants with our lovely walkout.

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Oceana Seafood Restaurant – Dreams Huatulco (photo courtesy of AMResorts)

Dreams always impresses with great food, friendly staff and those helpful extras like free wifi, no limits on a la cartes and no wristbands.

Last night I ate mahi mahi stuffed lobster at Oceana restaurant! It was delicious! In fact, I was very surprised to see so many seafood options on each menu… until I saw beautiful Tangolunda Bay! It’s filled with massive fish swimming near the shore. We’ve been walking with the school of fish everyday to watch them swim between our legs. They are so big! Not at all afraid of people since they are waiting for tourists to come by with bread or bananas to feed them. Crabs are often spotted on the beach too! My son loves seeing all the neat creatures.

I’ll be visiting Barceló and Secrets in the next couple days and can’t wait to check out those resorts too.

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LOS CABOS WITH KYRA – PART 2

 

IMG_6824As we were in Los Cabos over Halloween and Day of the Dead, the staff at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos invited us to a special Halloween/Day of the Dead party!  It was such a great experience!  They set up a haunted house for us to walk through which was pretty cool!  The party area was decorated beautifully with Day of the Dead decor and they even had professional Sugar Skull face painters for those who wanted to get their face painted!  Those who got their face painted looked fantastic!  Unfortunately, I did not get my face painted as it would not have gone with my costume.  They also had a live band performing for us, games, and a huge buffet with a ton of delicious food!  The setting was beautiful, the atmosphere was fun and lively, and the food was just amazing!

I highly recommend staying at the Secrets Puerto Los Cabos and if you have the chance, to travel over Halloween!  It was so much fun!   For more details about the Los Cabos hotels I visited or to book your next vacation please feel free to email me at kyra@uniglobevacation.com!

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DREAMS LOS CABOS WITH KYRA – PART 1

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It’s October 30 and we just checked into Dreams Los Cabos! I have never been to Los Cabos or stayed at a Dreams resort before. I had an idea of what to expect, but wow! Both the resort and destination have exceeded my expectations!

Dreams Los Cabos is a breathtaking resort that goes above and beyond! Being the picky eater that I am, the employees at Dreams went above and beyond to accommodate my dislike for seafood! One waiter said he would make sure my salad did not have seafood then another waiter brought me a salad with shrimp. Before I could even take a bite, the first waiter came by and noticed I had received a seafood salad; he brought me out a new salad immediately!

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a “shrimp-free” salad

The service here is truly top notch! It’s the little things that make all the difference! Some of other small gestures the resort does is provide every room with items such as a fresh fruit platter, your housekeeping maid’s name and how to reach her, tooth brushes and tooth paste, razors, SPF lotion, bathrobes, and slippers! This resort is amazing! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!