Sunday, February 28, 2010

Miami - South Beach

The South Beach area of Miami, Florida provides the perfect weekend getaway for all types of travelers!

Are you the "see and be seen" type? Head to the Gansevoort Miami Beach. The largest private shark tank aquarium provides a backdrop to the colorful and stylish lobby, perfect for people-watching. The rooms and suites are large and decorated with the same modern theme. The party starts at the rooftop swimming pool and bar area, Plunge. There are plenty of sun chairs for hotel guests, and cabanas are available for those that don't want too much sun. Walking into the David Barton Gym, the fitness center of the hotel, I wasn't sure if I was in a nightclub or a workout facility. The lights are dim, but they have all of the state-of-the-art cardio machines and a great variety of classes with edgy names like "Pain and Pleasure" and "Fight Club". I opted for the more mundane Vinyasa Yoga, which was a perfect start to my day.

Is privacy what you desire? The Setai is the place for you. The Asian-inspired decor presents an oasis of calm in the public areas as well as the guest suites. All suites have large soaking tubs, in addition to separate rainfall showers, in case you wish to have a spa treatment in the privacy of your room. Of course the spa is very luxurious and offers a wide array of Oriental rituals and body treatments. They take security very seriously here and this is one reason why it attracts the rich and famous. You can stay like a celebrity too! The Setai is offering Winter escape rates starting from $595/night.
Book with us, and you will receive the Virtuoso amenities of an upgrade upon arrival, based on availability, complimentary buffet breakfast daily, and a $100 spa credit!

Traveling with the kids? The Loews Miami Beach hotel is the perfect spot for you. This hotel recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation to the lobby and all guest rooms. It is looking very sharp and has some great venues for food and drink. There is an adorable new ice cream parlor off the lobby that serves the creamiest gelato and decadent desserts. The pool area is expansive and very family-friendly. The Loews has lots of activities available, from the kids club to the fitness center and spa. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming throughout the resort.

Tip: Loved the international flavor of Lincoln Road. This is a great outdoor walking promenade filled with upscale shops and cafes. There are wonderful restaurants to choose from, many with outdoor dining areas. I enjoyed Sushi Samba, with its eclectic menu of sushi, Peruvian and Brazilian specialties - all of my favorites!

Call us to book your next warm weather escape!
Bee Kalt Travel 248-288-9600

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Machu Picchu

The Peruvian government announced that Machu Picchu will be closed until April of this year. This is a result of the recent torrential rains which brought mudslides to the area, damaging sections of the rail lines which provide the only access to and from the World Heritage Site. I feel for the locals, and my friends and partners in travel who are dependent on the tourism industry. Hopefully things should be up and running again by the time high season arrives this Spring!

Update! Machu Picchu will reopen to tourists on April 1, 2010.

I was fortunate enough to have visited Machu Picchu with my family exactly one year ago. We were all left in awe by the incredible beauty of Peru: the lush, green hills of the Sacred Valley, the colonial charm of the town of Cusco, and the incredible vastness of the Colca Canyon.

We stayed at the top hotels in the area: the Miraflores Park hotel in Lima, the Monasterio in Cusco and, my absolute favorite, Las Casitas del Colca, located in the Colca Canyon in the southern part of Peru. We also traveled on the ultra-luxurious Hiram-Bingham train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. I definitely recommend this as a special once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Peru has so much to offer and is one of the most biodiverse of any South American country. It is also becoming a capital of gastronomy. Lima is easily reached from most U.S. gateways with no jet-lag to contend with. Please contact me for any information on this fabulous destination!

Fun fact: Did you know the potato originated in Peru? There are over 4,000 varieties, many of them only found in Peru!

Tip: Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Colca Canyon are located high in the Andes mountains. To avoid altitude sickness, it is important to stay hydrated, don't exert yourself too much upon arrival, and drink the local Coca tea (it really helps, although the taste leaves something to be desired!)

Last Minute Valentine's Day ideas

Haven't thought of what to give your sweetie for Valentine's Day? Forget the chocolates and flowers - surprise the one you love with a romantic getaway! Give her a certificate good for a weekend spa vacation, or an indulgent week in Italy to enjoy fabulous food and wine. For a really last minute idea, take him downtown for an overnight at a local hotel! We can recommend some great packages to make your stay romantic and memorable.

Give us a call today! Bee Kalt Travel 248-288-9600

Tip: I love the guestrooms at the MGM Grand Detroit. They have the most comfortable beds and gorgeous bathrooms with dual rainshower fixtures in the oversized showers. Their romance package includes champagne, chocolates and a late check-out!