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International travel

Spring Break family escapes

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 4, 2014 07:39 AM

It doesn't feel like Spring yet, but warmer weather is right around the corner (we hope). If you're eager to get out of the cold and into the sun and sand, here are five Caribbean resorts perfect for parents and kids:

vsb-pool-4398-1280x720.jpgWhere: Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia

Why: The range of supervised activities for children ages 4-12: glass-bottom boat excursions, arts and crafts, and guided hikes up the Gros Piton, the mountain at the center of the island, with a chance to splash in a thermally heated waterfall.

Best family accommodation: The plantation-style Two Bedroom Grand Luxury Villas, which have indoor and outdoor living rooms, a private deck and plunge pool, and butler service. Butlers can arrange anything, from a babysitter to a private beach BBQ.

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TripAdvisor travelers pick top travel destinations for 2014

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 25, 2013 10:22 AM

brooklyn-bridge sign.jpgBrooklyn, N.Y. was chosen as one of the top destinations to visit in 2014

Eager to escape in 2014 but not sure where to go? You might find inspiration from the TripAdvisor community, who recently voted on the best destinations to travel to in 2014.

TripAdvisor’s new Travelers’ ChoiceAwards for Destinations on the Rise picks 54 places across the globe based on data collected from millions of TripAdvisor user searches and reviews. These were the places that have seen the “greatest increase in positive traveler feedback and traveler interest”, said the travel search engine.

The most intriguing place to travel in the new year went to Havana, while Kailua-Kona, Hawaii nabbed the top U.S. destination.

Take a look the top Global and U.S. destinations below, as voted on by the TripAdvisor and then tell us, where do you want to go in 2014?

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Sailing down under: Travel tips from Emirates Team New Zealand

Posted by Melanie Nayer October 11, 2013 07:47 AM

0CC1490ECC61712DF5B993C66975480C.jpgPhoto credit: New Zealand 100% Pure | Official Travel New Zealand

"There's nothing in the world -- and no place in world -- like sailing in the South Pacific," said Warren Douglas, head of communications for Emirates Team New Zealand team.

San Francisco recently played host to the world's most prestigious sailing competition, the 34th America's Cup. Before the teams set sail on one of their most challenging rides of the year, I sat down with a few of the Emirates Team New Zealand members to get some travel tips for sailing down under.

First up, debunking the myths.

Most people know New Zealand as the tiny island off the coast of Australia.

"What people don't realize is how large New Zealand really is," said Doug Reid, a host of Emirates Team New Zealand and part of the shore support team. "They think it's tiny and you can see everything in three days. Spend one week in Australia and three weeks in New Zealand and you'll almost see it all."

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Next, new world's tallest hotel to open in Dubai next year

Posted by Melanie Nayer September 8, 2013 06:09 PM

At what point is a hotel too tall? We'll probably never know, because they keep building them taller and taller, and taller. Last year, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai opened and took the tallest crown from the hotel at the Burj Khalifa. Now comes word that a new hotel will soon bump the JW from its number one spot.

According to Gulf Business, Marina 101 Hotel & Residence is set to become the world’s tallest hotel and residence when it opens in Dubai Marina in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The approximately 1,417-feet (432-meter) skyscraper will be 252 feet (77 meters) taller than the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.

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PHOTOS: Vivienne Westwood designs new uniforms for Virgin Atlantic employees

Posted by Melanie Nayer July 22, 2013 08:17 AM

Virgin_Atlantic_Uniform_Vivienne_Westwood_Branson.jpgFashion legend Vivienne Westwood, known for her punk couture designs, is giving Virgin Atlantic crew members something to feel good about: new uniforms.

Pilots, flight crew and clubhouse workers started sporting the new fashion ensembles last week, sashaying their new threads down airplane aisles and through airlines around the world. The new fashion line for the friendly skies puts an emphasis on durability, functionality and environmental accountability, says a press release from the airline.

The test uniforms are being worn now and will be assessed on fit, comfort, breathability, ease of movement, creasing before and after shifts, look and feel after laundering and how the uniform handles marks and stains.

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What heat wave? Now is the time to plan for winter ski trips

Posted by Melanie Nayer July 9, 2013 02:21 PM

TignesVal_dIsere_2.jpgBoston might be in the middle of a heat wave, but the Boston Ski & Sports Club is planning for colder months, and giving winter weather enthusiasts a jump-start on ski season. Whether you want to hang local or hit the slopes in Switzerland, there's a ski trip waiting for you. Here's a look at what's on the upcoming ski-trip schedule:

Tignes & Val d’Isere, France
January 24 – February 2, 2014
Whether you’re seeking long cruisers, steeps, chutes or bowls, or easy, relaxing and scenic trails, this trip has something for skiers of every level. Enjoy fine cuisine right on the mountain, fun Aprčs ski and lively nightlife. Lodging is at the Hotel Diva with ski in/out convenience, across the street from lifts and train.
Trip includes: roundtrip air Boston/Geneva on Lufthansa, private bus transfers airport/hotel, 7 nights at the 3-star Hotel Diva, daily breakfast & dinner, 1 night at a hotel in Annecy with breakfast, a BSSC trip leader, departure taxes and fuel charges.
Price: $2499; non-members add $40

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Sky-high style: The Virgin Atlantic lounge at Boston Logan

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 7, 2013 07:55 AM

sanjuan.jpgI have fond memories of flying when I was a little girl. My mom would ensure my sister and I were dressed up and had something warm to take on the plane, double check that our favorite stuffed animals and travel games were packed (Mad Libs for me, coloring books for my sister), and get us to the airport in plenty of time so we could watch the people come and go.

We'd board the plane, fight over who got the window seat, and meet the cabin crew. If we asked nicely, we could go visit the pilot and even get a pair of wings to pin our clothes and show off to our friends when we returned home. We counted the clouds in the sky, and wondered how close are were to the stars. Flying was a delight. It was exciting and thrilling. It was civilized, dignified and something to look forward to. Flying made travel fun.

While flying has certainly changed over the years - even I can admit it's not as fun as it was when we were kids - the team at Virgin Atlantic aims to bring back a little of the glory days of flying.

2013-02-06 16.30.19.jpgI checked into my flight to London and was handed a red card with directions to the lounge on it. I had about two and a half hours before my evening flight and wanted to grab a bite, check emails, and freshen up. The Virgin Atlantic lounge is located in Terminal E on the bottom level, just next to the Aer Lingus lounge and below the gates. In true Virgin style, the lounge made a fashionable first impression.

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Virgin Atlantic launches art gallery in the air

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 6, 2013 06:25 AM

Finding the perfect memento from your trip overseas doesn't have to be difficult. To help ensure you bring something unique home, Virgin Atlantic launched a commercial art gallery - in the sky.

Upper Class passengers flying between New York and London can view and purchase a series of one-of-a-kind paintings by renowned British street artist Ben Eine straight from their onboard seats onboard, and at Virgin Atlantic’s clubhouses at JFK, Newark and Heathrow.

Eine’s signature style of typography started on the streets of London, and became famous in the US when David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave President
Barack Obama an Eine original on his first trip to Washington DC.

Virgin Atlantic Gallery in the Air 4.jpg

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Hottest hotel openings for 2013

Posted by Melanie Nayer January 14, 2013 11:07 AM

bsouthbeachfall2012.jpgNot sure where to stay on your 2013 vacation? Make this the year to try something new.

HotelChatter released its very extensive annual calendar of 2013 expected hotel openings. There's a lot to digest here, so take some time to thoroughly read through this list. The hotels range from big and beautiful to luxury boutiques and B&Bs and the destinations are far and wide around the globe. (Pictured right: the B Hotel South Beach, opening in February.)

If you need some inspiration, check out my picks for the top places to travel in 2013, and then head over to the HotelChatter Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings and make your reservations.

PHOTOS: Top destinations for 2013

Happy travels!

Ringing in the New Year in Bermuda

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 30, 2012 08:32 AM

Bermuda_plane.jpgThe view of Bermuda on arrival to Hamilton International Airport.

It's the dreaded question that creeps up every year after Thanksgiving: "What do you want to do for New Year's Eve?" This year I planned ahead. I was prepared for the question and I had an answer, along with airline tickets and a hotel room. Within a week, I had two friends in tow. We were going to Bermuda to ring in the New Year.

And why not? It's a quick 2 hour and 15 minute flight (non-stop from Boston, thanks to Delta), the US dollar is 1:1 against the Bermudian dollar, the beaches are pink, the water is turquoise, and even in the winter it's still warm enough to swim in the ocean that surrounds this 22-mile long island. It's home to some famous faces (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Bowie and Iman, Ross Perot, to name a few), it's calm waters make it a great spot for water sports, and the hotels offer everything from golf lessons to spa services to breakfast on the beach.

For less than $350, I grabbed a round-trip ticket from Boston to Bermuda, booked a hotel room at The Mandarin Oriental, Elbow Beach, and was on the beach by lunchtime.

I'll continue to post about the happenings from this luxury boutique island over the course of the next few days but in the meantime, here are a few photos to get you thinking about booking a Bermuda vacation in 2013:

Bermuda_bedroom.jpgThe bedroom at Elbow Beach. All the 98 guest rooms are situated in "cottages" with ocean views, and range in price based on their location to the ocean.

Bermuda_beach.jpgThe on-the-beach view from one of the guest rooms at Elbow Beach.

Bermuda_kite.jpgBermuda has great waves for kite surfing. You can organize water sports activities with any hotel or resort on the island.

Bermuda_Marvin.jpgMeet Marvin, one of the bartenders at the Sea Breeze Terrace at Elbow Beach. He's famous for remembering the preferred drink choices of guests.

Bermuda-deck.jpgOcean view dining at Sea Breeze Terrace. Add a dark and stormy for the ultimate Bermuda experience!

About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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