Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

What’s new in Mexico hotels

Hotel Escondido, a Grupo Habita property and member of Design Hotels, opened its doors in December. Here it’s all about a minimal style and natural design elements. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the mountain range on the other, Hotel Escondido is located in the small port town of Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca. Puerto Escondido airport is about 12 miles from the hotel.

Guests will find 16 traditional palapa-rooftop beach bungalows with king-size beds or two double-queen beds, as well as a private pool, wooden floors, stucco walls and concrete bathrooms; onsite dining venues serve guests brick oven pizzas, seafood and Oaxacan traditional cuisine made with local ingredients. There’s also a spa, and outdoor activities include horseback riding on the beach and kayaking, as well as surfing and motorcycle rides on the sand dunes. Room rates start at US$255 a night.

Palace Resorts & Le Blanc Spa Resort honored by AAA Diamond Awards

Palace Resorts, the company that bills itself as the standard in luxury, all-inclusive resort accommodations, announced that three of the brand’s properties – Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, Beach Palace and Le Blanc Spa Resort — have been honored with the prestigious AAA Diamond Award.

International News

Adventures with a softer landing

G Adventures (formally Gap Adventures) is offering a new level of adventure travel called a “Comfort Trip,” providing great adventures with a few extra frills along the way. These trips have upgraded accommodations and more included extras – meals, activities, insider access and under-the-radar encounters with local people and their culture. With a maximum group size of 15, you’ll have all the genuine experiences and lots more comfort.

Featured trips: Kruger Encompassed, seven days starting at US$1899; Taste of Turkey, nine days starting at US$1499; The Best of Costa Rica, 10 days starting at US$1149; Marvelous Morocco, nine days starting at US$1649; and Highlights of Thailand, eight days starting at US$1299.

Cruise News

Cruise-ship speed limit set to protect whales in Alaska

Humpback whales have returned to Alaska’s Glacier Bay, and a new speed limit on cruise ships has been implemented to protect them. The 13-knot speed limit went into effect June 17 in some areas of Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, according to park officials. Cruise ships also are being restricted to a mid-channel course, or one nautical mile offshore.

At least 14 humpbacks were sighted in lower Glacier Bay in recent days. Specifically, the whales were seen feeding in waters extending from the mouth of the bay to an area parallel with the northern tip of Strawberry and Lars islands.

Seabourn joins UNESCO in new alliance for World Heritage sites

Ultra-luxury, small-ship cruise operator Seabourn has signed an agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a unique alliance to help protect World Heritage. Seabourn has committed to raising US$1 million for UNESCO as part of this multi-year agreement.

For Seabourn’s guests, this alliance means that their travels on Seabourn’s intimate, all-suite ships will be enhanced by deeper insight and behind-the-scenes information about current and future World Heritage sites and projects.

Speakers with special knowledge about World Heritage will sail on Seabourn’s ships as a part of the line’s enrichment and entertainment program. In addition, fares for Seabourn optional excursions that include UNESCO World Heritage Sites will include a small donation to UNESCO’s World Heritage Fund.

The company will also create special World Heritage Discovery Tours at a number of ports worldwide, with exclusive enhanced content on World Heritage.

Air News

United uses dynamic pricing to shore up Economy Plus revenue

After pioneering a version of the ‘premium economy’ concept in the US market roughly 15 years ago, United Airlines is fully accustomed to pricing its extra legroom product based on travel demand patterns. But it continues to “tune-up technology,” says CEO Jeff Smisek, as it looks to support increased sophistication in managing various products now sold outside of the ticket price, including premium economy, priority boarding and food and beverage sales.

United’s Economy Plus seats are now priced by “specific seat, by specific location on specific aircraft for a specific time of day and specific day of week.” On certain aircraft, United has up to 16 different pricing options for Economy Plus.

The move to match premium economy pricing with demand is sweeping across the industry landscape as airlines solidify their respective merchandising strategies to further maximize ancillary revenue.


Deal of the Week

Golden Treasures of Myanmar

Book by June 30! Your journey begins with two nights in Yangon, followed by a 10-night upstream cruise embarking in Pyay. Visit sacred sites, small villages, craftsmen’s workshops, markets and Buddhist monasteries, and enjoy a full-day tour of Bagan and its rich collection of stupas, temples and pagodas. Take in the stunning view from atop Mt. Popa and visit the Golden City of Mandalay before returning to Yangon via plane for another overnight stay.

The cruise dates are March 26–April 5, 2015, with the optional two nights in Yangon pre-cruise and one night in Yangon post-cruise, aboard AMA Waterways’ newest ship, the AmaPura. The 56-passenger AmaPura is a custom-designed, all-suite ship with a choice of spacious staterooms and every suite features a private balcony.

Special Group Promotion available from Perfect Journeys: US$1000 off per stateroom double occupancy or single supplement waived on the cruise-only portion. From US$3,799 per person cruise only and US$4,739 per person cruise and land, for bookings made and deposited by June 30, 2014. Intra-Myanmar airfare US$190 per person and port charges US$190 per person are additional.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in custom-designed tours, cruises and independent travel for couples, singles, and groups of friends. Perfect Journey’s next outstanding small group tour is “In the Footsteps of Shakespeare,” departing September 20, 2014. It is a fundraiser for the San Miguel Theater Company. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone at 415-111-8765, email, or view the latest travel specials on the website

Sources: Recommend, Travel Pulse, G Adventures, USA Today, Runway Girl Network, AMA Waterways


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