Posts Tagged ‘Westin’

Barefoot Dining

August 9, 2013

On our anniversary, we had dinner on the beach in Aruba.  Like many beach resort areas, Aruba has a number of dining on the sand options.  
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The Westin sets up tables for the number of guests who have booked.  They have a great view of the sunset and a very nice menu but all the beaches in Aruba are PUBLIC so there are people frolicking in the surf and on the sand right in front of your romantic dinner.

This is actually a factor to consider at several of the dining spots.  One of the more popular dining on the beach options is Passions.  Part of the Amsterdam Manor all-inclusive resort, it accommodates both guests and outside diners.

The palapas also can be a factor when selecting a romantic dinner on the beach location. Many of the resorts have these thatched roof “umbrellas” to provide shade on the beach for their guests.  We had dinner one night at Matthews Beachside restaurant and found both the busy beach and the palapas greatly reduced our enjoyment of what was otherwise a lovely meal.  The palapas, unlike a traditional umbrella, cannot be closed or taken down. In the case of Matthews, we couldn’t appreciate the sunset because we couldn’t see it through all the palapas!
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Our favorite beach dining location was Barefoot.  Billed as “Elegant dining in flipflops” it was all that and more!  Located far enough from the busy resorts to have minimal beach traffic and an unobstructed sunset view, it was the perfect setting.  Yes, it is close to the airport and you can see a plane or two come in for a landing but that is, in itself, rather interesting.  It’s Aruba so we’re only talking about a couple of planes in an evening – not a couple of planes every few minutes.  The food was outstanding.  The service attentive without being intrusive.
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My personal favorite takeaway from the evening;  the Royal Mojito.  A typical Mojito but with champagne in place of the traditional soda water.  Oh yeah!  I’ve been ordering all my Mojitos “royal” (yes, I have to explain what that means but all the bartenders get it and think it’s a great idea) ever since we got back.
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How do you find the perfect beach dining experience on your next vacation?  Use the internet.  Once you’ve identified options, look at the photos on their websites.  You can usually review the menu on line as well.  Read reviews of both the food AND the settings on 3rd party review sites.   If you arrive a few days ahead, go check it out in person to be sure when the special night arrives you’ll have the romantic experience you were expecting.

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Where Do You Want to Go?

August 24, 2012

I’m convinced many people don’t travel because they don’t make a PLAN to travel.  If you’d like to, but just don’t seem to, here are some ways to improve the odds you will go somewhere.

Top of mind awareness.  A couple of times a year, buy a travel magazine and put it in your bathroom.  Flip through the pages while answering nature’s call.  Turn down corners or tear out pictures of places that interest you. (I just bought something from an on-line retailer and got a free 1 year subscription to Travel & Leisure!)

Give a gift of travel.  This past weekend we hosted an engagement party for a young couple.  As a gift, I gave them a copy of 1000 places in the USA and Canada to See Before You Die.  I know it may be a decade or more before they can afford international travel but anyone can load up their car and spend a few days exploring sites in your state or a nearby state.

Use Pinterest.  Create virtual dream boards for various cities and countries you’d like to visit.  Go to the websites for the pictures you’ve torn from the travel magazines and “pin” those pages to boards for future use.

As the Travel Queen I’ve begun to use this new technology to collect and share places to see and things to do in a variety of cities.   Feel free to “re-pin” anything that sparks your interest.

Subscribe to a travel blog.  If you ran across this blog by accident, enter your email address to get the weekly posts delivered to your inbox each Friday.  Read them over your lunch hour or save them for sharing over happy hour with your spouse or friends.

Use a travel related credit card.  We have Alaska Airlines and American Airlines mileage cards.  One of my friends in the Midwest has a Southwest Airlines cardEvery year, your everyday purchases will help you to earn free airline tickets.

If you like to drive, you may be able to convert miles to hotel points for free hotel stays.  Check the partner arrangements before you decide on a card or just get one of the hotel branded credit cards.  American Express offers one in partnership with Starwood (Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, St. Regis).  Citi has one with Hilton (Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Waldorf Astoria, Grand Wailea).

Once you have some places on your wish list, you can begin to price trips and look for special deals.  Your free airline ticket or free hotel nights will no doubt help with the travel budget!  Once you’re booked, you can also sign up for Groupon and Living Social to take advantage of dining and activity discounts when you visit!

When we surround ourselves with images of interesting places, they become more accessible in our minds and this increases the probability that you will actually GO.


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