OCTOBER 2015 newsletter and special offers

SPECIAL TIME-SENSITIVE TRAVEL OFFERS!

October 2015–Special Offers & Travel News

Hi all:October has brought around some great last-minute offers for those of you with flexibility!  And the dollar is still strong against the euro:  as of this writing 1E = $1.14.  And Africa is still a tremendous value, particularly South Africa!  1 $USD  = 13 Rand, unbelievable.  And with good deals on air out there–such as British Airways Business Class RT Wash DC  to Barcelona in mid-June 2016 for $1500 USD, October is a great time to be thinking about and even booking your travel for 2016.  See below for something that might strike your fancy!

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30th Anniversary of Out of Africa30th Anniversary of Out of Africa

This seven-time Academy Award Winner enthralled all of us with its depiction of the true love story between Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton set amidst the timeless beauty of Kenya.

And now Virtuoso supplier A&K is offering a very special Out of Africa experience for our clients!  10 days in Kenya and Tanzania, including a visit to Karen Blixen’s house and museum via vintage car, a picnic on the very location site featured in the movie poster shown here, a photo op with the biplane movie prop and a visit to Finch Hatton’s grave, along with safari game drives and first class accommodations.  From $9,999 pp. land only.

CRUISE NEWS & PROMOTIONS

CRUISE NEWS & PROMOTIONSThere are expiration dates on all of these so call me for details.

AMA Waterways:  FREE AIR for the last 2015 sailings and early 2016 sailings, plus significant savings on  staterooms.  CALL ME for details if interested.  Ama will have 2 brand new ships in 2016 that will feature connecting staterooms and 350 sq ft suites,  and a brand new “Taste of Bordeaux” itinerary that I am ready to go on myself:)

CRYSTAL CRUISES POP UP SALE:  Save $300 per person in Veranda category and receive $100 spa credit per stateroom.

OCEANIA:  November 1, 2016 sailing will be hosted  by legendary chef Jacques Pepin and will feature special menus, excursions and culinary classes.  From Venice to Rome, from $3,899 pp including air!   Cruiser Foodies, this one’s for you!

REGENT:  $200 shipboard credit for any booking until 10/31/15 in honor of “Plan a Cruise” month

SEABOURNE:  2016 Europe on sale, free Verandah Suite upgrade, reduced deposits, must be booked by 11/15/15.

WINDSTAR:  Save up to 60& off cruisefares and get 2 FREE hotel nights pre-post cruise on select departures!

UNIWORLD:  $200 shipboard credit for any 2016 booking as our exclusive Virtuoso amenity!

HOTEL SPECIAL PROMOTIONSHOTEL SPECIAL PROMOTIONS

MANDARIN ORIENTAL HOTELS:  Stay 3, get 1 Night FREE promotion from 1/4/16 to 4/3/16.  Must be booked by 11/15.
COMPLIMENTARY AFTERNOON TEA in LONDON:

Stay at participating hotels for 4 nights or more and get treated to afternoon tea on us!  Includes The Goring, The Milestone, The Ritz, Rosewood London and more.

ST. REGIS ASPEN:  4th night free until 12/20!

SALAMANDER in Middleburg, VA: 3rd night FREE promo until 11/24/15.  Check out our website next week as I will be touring this new resort and posting pics on my Travel Blog.  Seems like a great option for a couples long weekend or Girls Getaway.

 

Some Final ThoughtsSome Final Thoughts–

  • The good old USA has plenty to see!  Every year I have clients go on a Tauck National Parks tour, such as America’s Canyonlands, and they rave about it.  Tauck has expanded their Parks itineraries for 2016 and  have Ken Burns tours as well.
  • The Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train through the Pacific Northwest and also the Canadian Rockies that people are also crazy about.
  • There are wonderful family-friendly resorts and romantic boutique properties throughout the US that will surprise and delight you.  I will be visiting Salamander next week, down in Middleburg VA so check out our website in the Travel Blog section as I will write a review and post some pics.

I have a lot of travel coming up in Nov/Dec and will be posting on the website and in various social media so look out for me!  Updates on Disney World, South Beach, the brand new NCL megaship ESCAPE, and a flying safari through Botswana are all on the way.

As always, we are ready for all your luxury travel  planning needs.

Enjoy the cool crisp weather of October!

Denise

Denise Burcksen| LUXURY TRAVEL ADVENTURES | 301-217-0027 | denise@luxurytraveladventures.com | www.luxurytraveladventures.com

Luxury Travel Adventures September 2015 News & Special Offers

I’m settling back into a routine after several weeks of travel, including our annual Virtuoso global conference. I had almost 400 meetings with hotels, tour operators and suppliers from all over the world! So in this newsletter I will provide my takeaway of trends in travel, as well as the best offers out there right now.

I am headed to site inspections at Disney World & South Beach in Nov, and then a flying safari through Botswana with a quick Christmas stop in London so let me know if you have any questions about these specific destinations. I hope this inspires you to travel more in 2016 and beyond!

Lastly–we just went live with our newly re-designed website.

Please take a look! It’s now full screen and mobile friendly.

www.luxurytraveladventures.com

Travel Trends from Virtuoso Travel Week

travel weekVirtuoso’s “Top 10 Destinations” for 2015 based on bookings:

  1. Italy
  2. Mexico
  3. UK
  4. South Africa
  5. Australia
  6. New Zealand
  7. France
  8. China
  9. Germany
  10. Canada–the fastest growing destination!

More interestingly, here’s the Virtuoso “Hot 10”–the ones to watch as bookings are on the rise:

  1. Vietnam
  2. India
  3. French Polynesia & Fiji
  4. Spain
  5. Argentina
  6. Canada
  7. US Virgin ISlands
  8. Peru
  9. Costa Rica
  10. The Netherlands

And here’s my two cents: Ireland is having a moment! I expect to book more Ireland business in 2016 due to a favorable Euro but also because of the warm and friendly people and beautiful countryside that clients always rave about! And, Ashford Castle in County Mayo won HOTEL of the YEAR!

BEST OF THE BEST AWARDS

HOTEL OF THE YEAR: ASHFORD CASTLE in Galway, Ireland

And we can provide you with some wonderful extra benefits if you want to stay a night or few! Check it out: http://www.ashfordcastle.com/

BEST CULINARY EXPERIENCE: Epicure at Le Bristol in Paris

BEST SPA: The Dolder Grand Spa in Zurich

BEST FAMILY PROGRAMS: Four Seasons Resort, Orlando at Walt Disney World

BEST AIRLINE: Emirates (flies out of Dulles)

BEST TOURISM BOARD (for engagement): New Zealand

BEST SAFARI OUTFITTER: Micato Safaris

BEST TOUR OPERATOR: TAUCK

BEST RIVER CRUISE LINE: AMA Waterways

BEST CRUISE LINE: Crystal Cruises

All earned their accolades!

Girlfriend Getaways

 

I met with many small boutique hotels and spas at Travel Week, and all are right here in the USA. Some are even all-inclusive, such as Miraval and Lake Austin Spa Resort. Yes, that’s right–Austin, TX!

There are a handful of really nice places in Cape Cod that I would also recommend. We can provide additional amenities and benefits–like spa credits– that you can only get from us!

  • Inn by the Sea in Maine
  • The Ocean House in Rhode Island
  • Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham MA
  • Blantyre in the Berkshires, looks just like an English manor house

And if you want a warmer climate, this is a favorite of our staff: – The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, near Charleston SC.

For Golfers:
Rosewood Tuckers Point in Bermuda–great rates in low season!

For Tennis Players:
Boca Raton Resort & Club Waldorf Astoria–Jimmy Connors is their new tennis pro. Really.

For Skiers:
The Sebastian in Vail

For Foodies:
Blackberry Farm in TN. WOW.

For Wine Lovers:
The Carneros Inn, CA

For “GLAMPERS” (you know who you are:) )
The Resort at Paws Up
The Ranch at Rock Creek, both in Montana

Call me if interested in putting together a girl getaway!

Best Hotel Offers

There are several high value Free Night offers out there and you can only get them from us!

  • St. Regis Aspen: 4th night free
  • Salamander Resort: 3rd night free. This is right in Middleburg, VA!
  • Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji: Provides a personal nanny for each child guest, included in rate!
  • The Lanesborough in London: 93 rooms and every one gets its own butler!

Best Cruise Offers

  • WINDSTAR CRUISES: FLASH SALE right now until Sept 17th with insanely low fares. How low? $1299 to $2009 per person for sailings that usually cost $3,599 to $7,599 pp! Mediterranean and French Polynesia included thru end of year.
  • REGENT SEVEN SEAS: Just lowered fares on 23 cruises and is still offering $499 Biz Class Air upgrade on 23 sailings. Inquire for specifics.
  • UNIWORLD RIVER CRUISES: $200 shipboard credit plus fruit basket on ANY Uniworld cruise you book with us!
  • SPRING BREAK 2016: I have group space blocked on 2 sailings during MCPS Spring Break. For those who do not want to drive, I can offer NCL BREAKAWAY 3/27- 4/3 Round trip from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas with $50 shipboard credit and great pricing on mini-suites! Also have blocked space on Celebrity REFLECTION 3/26-4/2 RT Miami to Western Caribbean. Great pricing on Balconies and Sunset Verandas PLUS $50 credit, martini or wine tasting and chocolate-covered strawberries for everyone!

Call me if interested.

Top Industry News

  • CRYSTAL CRUISES is getting a lot of new ships! New ocean ships, yachts and even river cruise ships. And, Crystal will have two private jetliners for trips around the world. Millions+ infusion of cash investment from their owners, Genting Hong Kong. Look for new ships in 2017, with sales opening on 12/1/15.
  • The brand new Viking ocean ship STAR is an absolute stunner and a game changer for Viking. Getting RAVE reviews. Sold out for the rest of 2015 but selling 2016 and beyond.
  • Regent Seven Seas new ship EXPLORER launches Summer 2016 and is promising to be absolutely spectacular, and with the most expensive suite at sea. Pictures of the ship so far are incredible. PLUSH.
  • For East Coast cruisers, there will soon be a new game in town: Royal Caribbean’s brand new ANTHEM OF THE SEAS will be arriving in its year round home Cape Liberty NJ in Nov 2015.
  • Norwegian’s brand new build ESCAPE will be arriving in Miami in Nov 2015 (I will be sailing the pre-inaugural and will report on it).
  • CUBA is still not really open for business outside of scheduled group tours. Will have to wait a little longer for truly independent travel.

Don’t hesitate to call us for more information at 301-217-0027. We are here to help!

The Hotel Hershey: The Sweetest Place on Earth?

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Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico July 2015

whalesharkcloseup How is this for a close-up?

We went swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres this past July, and it was an amazing experience.  Two days before I had swam with a dolphin at Xel-Ha, and it was a totally different experience.    Swimming with the 17-yr old male dolphin was great fun, but in a controlled environment.  We were in a penned lagoon with the dolphin’s trainer.  Swimming with the whale sharks was in open water about one hour off the coast, and though we did have a professional diver/guide accompany us, these gentle giants are not trained animals!  Not much is known about whale sharks…..they come to Isla Mujeres for only 3 months of the year, June through September, to feed off the plankton and krill.  They are solitary, even though there were lots in the area we were diving in.  So we jumped in, only two at a time with our guide, to swim alongside the shark.   Most were about 25-30 feet long–approximately the size of a school bus!  The whale sharks could care less about humans–they glide along very close to the surface,  keeping their giant mouths open to filter all the plankton.  They look like giant catfish, but make no mistake that they are sharks, as their dorsal fins cut through the blue water.  You can get so close to them that you can almost touch them, and you have to make sure to stay out of the way of their huge swishing tail.   A real sea safari experience I heartily recommend!

 

Swimming with Dolphins at Xel-Ha

Swimming with dolphinsSwimming with dolphins is on everyone’s bucket list, isn’t it?  We had the opportunity to swim with a 17 year old male rescue dolphin named Kaleche at Xel-Ha, and it lived up to all our expectations, and more.

We were a small group–only 6 people total–with a trainer and the dolphin.  At first, the trainer had Kaleche just swim around us to get used to our group.  Then we were taught  several hand signals that Kaleche understands, and before we knew it he was playing ‘Ring around the Rosie’ and splashing us.

48814-49The highlight for most was swimming with Kaleche while holding his dorsal fin, as you can Chelsea doing in the picture above.   We each got about a 10 yard ride, after which we gave the hand signal and Kaleche actually “stood up” and gave us his side fins to “dance” with.  One more hand signal, and he very gently gave us a peck on the cheek.

The trainer told us that dolphins enjoy physical contact ( just not around their face), and Kaleche certainly seemed to.  His skin was very smooth, not rough as I expected.  I was surprised at how fast and gracefully he swam, with hardly any motion.  It is easy to see why everyone loves dolphins!