By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
The newest hotel service trend: Water Waiters
Gaining a competitive advantage has always been part of the hotel business, but as the number of properties worldwide continues to increase and marketing efforts such as “beachfront,” “all-inclusive,” and “luxurious” become diluted, resorts are now going to the next level in order to distinguish themselves from the pack.
Enter the latest move by the Four Seasons Punta Mita, which recently launched water waiter pool service. That is, waiters who wade into the water so you don’t have to leave the edge of the infinity pool to retrieve a fresh drink. The new service is like clockwork. Beginning at noon, these “amphibious waiters” suit up and make a delivery to swimmers every half hour, whether it’s a smoothie, coffee, or adult beverage.
Estero El Salado
Day trips and tours can add a new experience to any Puerto Vallarta vacation. Connecting with nature is the theme for an excursion to Estero El Salado, an urban estuary that is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Visitors should have their cameras and binoculars ready to spot some of the more than 100 species of birds, 29 species of amphibians and reptiles and 10 species of mammals that inhabit this nature reserve. The estuary is administered by a nonprofit government organization that aims to document and protect the natural setting. The organization also oversees guided tours for visitors.
The best view for the Northern Lights
The Krystall hotel, a floating, snowflake-shaped hotel expected to open in 2017 in northern Norway, will give guests a unique view of the Northern Lights. Developer Dutch Docklands promises that the 86-room hotel that will float in a fjord will provide prime viewing of the lights through its glass roof.
The most expensive luxury suites in the world
Five-star hotel suites are most expensive in London, with a night at the Mayfair costing US$19,700 per night, according to a new study from the property agents, Wetherell. On average, guests can expect to pay just over US$3,450 per night at London’s top hotels.
Four Seasons opens resort at Walt Disney World
There’s now a new luxury option at the House of Mouse, with the August 1 opening of the 443-room Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World. One of the highlights of the resort is the five-acre Explorer Island, which features two water slides, a Splash Zone, a lazy river, a rock-climbing wall and beach volleyball. While many Orlando-area resorts charge for their kids’ camp programs, it’s complimentary at the Four Seasons.
Guests looking for an adults-only escape can opt for The Oasis, which is set lakeside and includes an infinity pool. The property’s standard rooms are the largest in the Orlando market, measuring 500 square feet, all with balconies.
Set on 26.5 acres, the Four Seasons also boasts a renovated 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed Tranquilo Golf Club, scheduled to open next month, three Har-Tru tennis courts, and a spa.
Christmas market cruise
If you’re searching for a yuletide experience unlike any other, picture yourself exploring Europe’s traditional Christmas markets aboard a river cruise on the Danube. You’ll travel from market to market in luxurious comfort, seeing wondrous cities like Nuremberg, Vienna and Budapest dressed in holiday spirit.
Kick off your festive celebrations in Prague and head to Wenceslas Square Market. Try the traditional cylindrical pastries cooked on a spit and served with a dusting of cinnamon and ground nuts, and then head to the stalls with a glass of glühwein in hand.
The AMA Waterways 10-night Christmas Time Cruise then moves on to Nuremberg, the German city on the Rhine-Main-Danube canal where more than 200 stalls dressed in red and white awnings are piled high with traditional treats. Try the edible Christmas figures made of prunes.
Continue to Regensburg, an impeccably conserved old town that enjoys World Heritage status. Stroll the markets and squares to see German craftsmanship at its finest: handmade toys, pottery, silk paintings, and wood marionettes (there’s no doubting authenticity − a law ensures no modern materials are used).
Seven cruise dates from November 22 to December 10, 2014; from US$1,619 per person cruise only; up to 40 percent discount. Must be booked by August 31. Countries visited: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary.
Deal of the Week
2015 Timket Festival, Ethiopia
Experience one of Ethiopia’s most significant and spectacular celebrations, the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. You’ll journey through the Historical Route, stopping at Addis Ababa, Bahar Dar, Gondar, Sankaber and Axum, and witness the Timket Festival in Laibela with its solemn vigils and vibrant and magnificent processions. Ten days, January 12-22, 2015, US$3,995 per person based on double occupancy, single supplement US$570.
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in designing tours, cruises and independent travel for discerning travelers. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone at 415-111-8765, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or view the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.
Sources: Hotel Chatter, TravelAge West, The London Telegraph, The Telegraph, Hudson, N.H., Travel Pulse, AMA Waterways,