By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
Carnival brings back year-round Mexican Riviera sailings
Carnival is offering the line’s first series of year-round cruises to the Mexican Riviera since 2012. The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle recently departed from Long Beach, California on the first sailing of the series, which includes three itineraries with up to three stops at Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
Fodor’s names world’s top hotels
A Mexican beach getaway, a royal castle retreat and a charming Santorini hotel all made the winners list of the recently announced fourth annual Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards.
While top hotels in 43 countries on six continents made the list, the United States had the most hotels of any country with 20 properties. The European continent had 29 hotels, and London and Paris tied for the cities with the most hotels listed, with three each.
Winners were listed in one of eight categories: enduring classics, beach getaways, country retreats, trips of a lifetime, all-inclusive vacations, boutique chic, small hotels and modern city hotels.
These eight hotels represent a handful of this year’s Fodor’s 100 Hotel Award winners.
St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is a winner in the beach getaways category. This resort offers personal butlers, two golf courses on the property and separate adults-only and family areas.
The private island resort of Cayo Espanto in Belize is one of the top hotels in the all-inclusive vacations category. There’s “over-the-top luxury and service,” says Fodor’s Arabella Bowen, including welcome champagne and private splash pools for villa guests.
Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ireland, is a winner in the country retreats category. “When you’re thinking about that perfect castle vacation, it’s hard to beat the ancestral home of the high king of Ireland,” says Bowen. The castle offers old- fashioned luxury, amazing staff, “astonishing” grounds and sumptuous country living.
Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah, is a top hotel in the trips of a lifetime category. The setting alone in the high Utah desert qualifies this Aman Resorts property. With incredible views, the resort was constructed around a central swimming pool that takes advantage of its stunning location. There’s also a 25,000-square-foot spa.
The Esperas Hotel in Santorini, Greece, is a top pick in the small hotels category. While these hotels must have fewer than 50 guest rooms, they must also wow their guests, and the Esperas does. Their personalized guest rooms, cozy sitting areas and private terraces “encourage you to sit back with a glass of local wine and watch the sunset,” says Bowen.
The Widder Hotel in Zürich, Switzerland, is the definition of boutique chic. It consists of nine adjacent medieval houses that were joined together in Zurich’s historic quarter. The hotel blended its historic features with steel and other modern touches, leading to a “tightly curated décor and style,” says Bowen.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in Vietnam is a winner in the enduring classics category. This historic property offers a French colonial aesthetic, world class service, a great restaurant and tours of the hotel’s wartime bomb shelter.
The definition of a “modern city” hotel, the Langham, Chicago “is really, really hot right now,” says Bowen. Architect Mies van der Rohe designed the 52-story landmark tower, which is located near the city’s hot shopping district and the lakefront.
The two days you should never, ever fly
There are two days of the year one should never, ever fly. Hint: Many of you are going to fly them anyway. Both no-fly days are in November and both are around Thanksgiving:
• Wednesday before Thanksgiving (November 26)
• Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 30)
Don’t fly these dates because airfare-wise, they are the most expensive days of the year to fly. They also happen to be the year’s most popular travel days and that’s no coincidence; when people really want to travel, the airlines can and do charge what they want.
If you fly at Thanksgiving but avoid the traditional Wednesday-Sunday itinerary, savings can average from 30 to 50 percent.
Qantas debuts world’s biggest plane on world’s longest flight
Qantas Airways flew the world’s largest passenger jet on the world’s longest scheduled commercial flight – all 8,577 miles of it – when an Airbus 380 departed Sydney for Dallas/Fort Worth on September 30. Total time in the air was 14 hours and 50 minutes; add another 40 minutes to that for the return trip from DFW to Australia.
It’s a phenomenal piece of aviation history as Qantas switched aircraft on the route from the Boeing 747 to the 484-seat, double-deck Airbus. Qantas has a codeshare agreement with American Airlines that offers travelers more than 50 U.S. destinations from Dallas.
Deal of the Week
Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina
Private small group tour (from 6 – 12 persons). Tour dates: September 21 – October 4, 2015.
Your adventure awaits touring Ljubljana – Bled Lake – Lipica – Rovinj – Istriatour – Zadar – Krka Np – Split – Hvar – Korčula – Ston – Dubrovnik – Mostar. Unique and culturally enriching excursions, four-star and five-star hotels, private tours and transfers, 24-hour concierge service, 17 meals included. Package price: US$5390 per person.
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: USA Today, CNN, Travel Pulse