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Travel News

Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Sleep over the Sea in Glass-Bottomed Bungalows

If you’re spending your days dreaming up ways to escape the approaching winter, there’s a brand new option for you to consider. Earlier this month, 30 overwater bungalows popped up in the turquoise waters of Riviera Maya. In this heavenly corner of the Caribbean, the weather is warm and the water, crystal clear.

The overwater bungalows are part of the El Dorado Maroma resort, located on the northeastern shoreline of the Yucatan Peninsula.  According to Karisma Hotels, these are Mexico’s first overwater bungalows, which are typically found on South Pacific islands like Bora Bora and Tahiti.

They jut out from the famed Playa Maroma, a white sand beach with calm water and bright blue sea as far as the eye can see. Each unit has a panoramic view of the ocean and beach, as well as its own ladder, so you can hop in the water whenever you want. Each one also features an outdoor shower, private infinity pool, Jacuzzi, and sun deck.

And, if being surrounded by ocean isn’t enough, you can even see the water from inside the bungalows, through glass panels in the floor.  The resort also features an overwater spa and restaurant, just steps away from the bungalows. And if you’re looking for a vacation that goes beyond sunbathing and relaxation, there is plenty of adventure near the resort.

Breathtaking, absolutely. But bliss doesn’t come cheap— drinks, and some of the resort activities come with your stay.


International News

Rome’s Spanish Steps Reopen

Rome recently reopened its famous Spanish Steps after a US $1.7-million renovation and a controversial statement from one of the landmark’s funders.

Earlier this month, Paolo Bulgari, chairman of his family’s luxury jewelry brand, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he was worried “the steps will go back to being used as a camping site for barbarians” once they are revealed to the public.

Over the years, heavy foot traffic and tourism wore down the Spanish Steps. The renovations began in October 2015, and for nearly a year workers scrubbed the 135 steps, pulled weeds from between cracks, and installed a new drainage system and video surveillance.

The steps were built in the early 18th century and became world famous in conjunction with the film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. In recent years, they also became known as a hotbed for homelessness, late-night drinking, and litter.

Bulgari funded some of the steps’ restoration as part of a government tax-break plan and in honor of the brand’s 130th birthday. Several other Italian brands, like Tod’s and Fendi, also funded restorations at iconic Italian landmarks as part of the government program.


Trump Taj Mahal Closes on Atlantic City Boardwalk

On October 10, the Trump Taj Mahal officially closed its doors for good, 26 years after Donald Trump opened it on the Atlantic City boardwalk.  The Trump Taj Mahal closed after officials couldn’t come to an agreement with union workers about health care and pension benefits.

In total, almost 3,000 employees have lost their jobs in the shutdown. The Trump Taj Mahal is the fifth casino to close in Atlantic City since 2014. Unite-HERE Local 54 union reached contract agreements with four of the five casinos it had targeted for a possible strike but couldn’t make a deal with Trump Taj Mahal officials.



Cruise News

Christmas & New Year Escapes in Burma

Get away from the tinsel and stress of traditional Christmas and seek out the company of like-minded travelers in the breathtaking surroundings of the great river valleys of Burma.

Single travelers, couples, friends, and relations will love the special—but Santa-free—onboard atmosphere of Pandaw’s holiday season expeditions.  All of the festive season sailings do include chefs’ specialty lavish menus on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.


Mandalay Pagan Packet:  Discover Burma’s historic royal capitals with two nights moored at Pagan and three at Mandalay, as well as exploring small towns and villages of the mighty Irrawaddy River. Departing December 24, 2016, from US $1,925 per person, with no single supplement.

Chindwin River Expedition: A New Year adventure to remember from Monywa to Kalewa (and reverse). The river carves its way through mountains and forests with stops at delightful, unspoiled little towns. Kalay Pandaw departs December 31, 2016, 7 nights from US $3,500 per person.


Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.”¾Eugene Fodor


Deal of the Week

Christmas Markets of Austria

Enjoy the beauty and traditions of Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck at the most magical time of the year. One departure November 27–December 3, 2016. 7 nights from USD $2,215 per person.  Includes:


  • 3 nights in Vienna at the Hotel Kaiserhof or a similar hotel
  • 2 nights in Salzburg at the Hotel Villa Auersperg or a similar hotel
  • 2 nights in Innsbruck at the Grand Hotel Europa
  • Sightseeing tours in Vienna and Salzburg
  • Advent concert at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna
  • Private walking tour in Innsbruck
  • Train tickets: Vienna–Salzburg/Salzburg–Innsbruck/Innsbruck–Munich Airport
  • Private transfers as per itinerary
  • Welcome dinner in Vienna
  • Daily breakfast.


Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world.  She designs journeys that are tailored to suit a client’s interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo; hours Mon–Fri, 11am–4pm.  View the latest travel specials on the website


Sources: The Huffington Post, Travel+Leisure, TravelPulse, Pandaw Cruises, EuropeToo



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