All Inclusive Nuevo Vallarta – Marival Residences & World Spa


I learned about this incredible, luxurious, all-inclusive resort at an all day event put on by WESTA, the consortium that my host travel agency belongs to.  I have to say, I was blown away!  When I checked out the prices, especially with the 40% off special they are offering right now, I was even more excited to let my clients know about this fabulous resort which is located in the heard of Nuevo Vallarta, just 10 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport. 

The 1 – 4 bedroom residences start at 1400 square feet, sleeping 3 – 11 guests.  There are only 162 residences total, so you won’t feel crowded like you do in some mega-resorts.  The 7 villas, each with a private pool, have three bedrooms and are an incredible 3940 square feet.  Although this is a fully all-inclusive resort, the residences do include a full kitchen and all the modern comforts & amenities you would find in a luxurious home. 

Marival Residences & World Spa the inclusions:5 star Gourmet Dining in your choice of 3 restaurants.

  • All beverages, including national & premium brand drinks.
  • Featured house wines at the Brunello wine bar
  • Complimentary water, soft drinks & beer in rooms.
  • UNLIMITED rounds of golf (not including cart fee).
  • One FREE tour, with additional select tours for $30 per person (catamaran sailing, Zip Lining, City Tour, Dolphin Encounters, etc.)
  • PrivateVIPBeach Club with full food & beverage service & concierge services.
  • Second all-inclusive resort included with exchange priveliges at Marival Resort & Suites including free shuttle service.
  • Kids 0-6 stay free. 

Also available for additional fees are the Melange World Spa, beauty salon, tennis lessons, babysitter service, and Bug’s Kids Club. 

Additional amenities include:

  • Bathrobes & Slippers
  • Luxury bedding & pillow menu
  • Private adults only pool
  • Kids pool
  • Flat screen TV’s & IPOD docking station 

Marival Residences & World Spa has some Perfect Perfect Romance packages, starting with a FREE Wedding Package valued at $2500.  The package includes judge fees & Nwedding certificate; decorated location; tropical wedding toast with Margaritas & Martinis, Bride’s bouquet & Groom’s bouttoniere; 3 course dinner for wedding group; 30 massage for the bride & groom; and more.  Honeymooners and Anniversary couples will also merit special treatment. 

That is a start of what you will experience when you visit Marival Residences & World Spa.  

And, I don’t want to forget to mention, that they are offering some special amenities to travel agents that are members of WESTA – including a $100 Spa Credit.  

(One of the vendors I met with on Saturday represents a Luxury all-inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta, with suites starting at 1400 square feet.  Not only are all your meals and beverages included, but you get unlimited golf at 3 difference courses PLUS one free tour with additional tours at only $30 per person.  And exclusive benefits for members of my consortia include a $100 spa credit and room upgrade if available.  I always learn so much at these events!  I want to go now.  Oh, and did I mention, they are offering 40% off for winter and spring stays.)

Perfect Paradise Vacations can get you all of these amenities and disounts.  Call 206-433-0721.

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Playing Tourist in my Own Back Yard – The Olympic Peninsula


Exploring the Olympic Peninsula

When I had some time off a few weeks ago, I took several day trips on the Olympic Peninsula.  It’s sad to say, but I really don’t get out and explore our own local area as often as I should.  I think I take it for granted that I can always do that when company comes to town, or I don’t have other plans, or it’s a nice sunny day and a friend might want to do something fun.  I decided that since I was off work and most other people were working, the weather was fabulous, that I would go exploring.

I live in Tacoma, so I started by heading over the Narrows Bridge towards Gig Harbor.  I always love the view from the Narrows.  Following Highway 16, I went past Gig Harbor and Port Orchard, turned onto Highway 3 going North at Bremerton.  I took a detour to drive through Poulsbo because I hadn’t been for years.  This is a pretty little town with lots of shops and restaurants and I filed it away for a day when I can make it my destination.  At Port Gamble I turned West onto Highway 104 and crossed the Hood Canal Bridge.  Hood Canal Bridge    Hood Canal Bridge

What a beautiful drive so far!  Incredible views of the water, lots of trees, and very little traffic.

I took another detour into Port Ludlow because I had heard about The Resort at Port Ludlow but had not seen it for myself.  I stopped in and the front desk people were kind enough to let me take a look around and even gave me keys to look in 3 different rooms.  This is a lovely resort right on a marina with beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains, Admiralty Inlet and the mouth of Hood Canal.  The Inn at Port Ludlow has just 37 rooms and suites; they have meeting space for up to 60, and would be the ideal setting for an intimate, waterside Wedding.  It would also be a great romantic weekend getaway location for guests from the Seattle / Tacoma area.  The Fireside Restaurant is warm and inviting, and weather permitting; you can sit out on the deck.      There is a beautiful lawn area on the water side of the resort with chairs and benches; I could see myself sitting out here enjoying the sun and salt air with a good book for a few hours.  One of the meeting rooms looks out onto this view; it would be hard for me to keep focused on business details while looking across this beautiful expanse of lawn.

The rooms are beautiful, with fireplaces, mini-fridge, and large bathrooms with jetted tubs, oversized robes and fabulous views.  I toured a suite that had a huge deck and fabulous view.  The bedroom itself was a little small, but the living area, huge bathroom, and incredible deck more than made up for it.  I also toured 2 Queen Rooms, one with a full bay view and one with a partial view.  These rooms were spacious with a seating area by the fireplace, and the bathroom could be opened up to look out into the room – opening it up even more.

Queen Suite

The staff was very friendly.  The Port Ludlow Golf Club is right there and they offer packages including golf.  They also offer spa treatments right in your guest room.  And the rates are very affordable, starting as low as $129 per night.

Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula

After my tour of The Inn at Port Ludlow, I headed up to Port Townsend.  The Wooden Boat Festival was going on that weekend, so the town was crowded.  I was fortunate to find a parking spot on the street for 2 hours, and set off on foot.  This is an historical town with beautiful architecture was founded in 1792; it is full of shops, restaurants, museums, parks and more.  I was pretty hungry by this time, and wanted to eat where I could look at the water.  I wandered into the Belmont, which was established in 1889 and has a restaurant and hotel. The food and service were very good, although the restaurant itself looked a little tired.  The view was fantastic, and I would recommend eating here if you’re visiting Port Townsend.

After lunch, I wandered around, in and out of shops, took some pictures of the fabulous old buildings, and was intrigued to find a couple of interesting little hotels.  The Swan Hotel is right on the marina and offers wonderful views of both the Olympic and Cascade mountains as well as sea views.  They were completely full so I wasn’t able to see the rooms, but from the outside it was very inviting.  Their sister hotel, The Bishop Victorian Hotel & Gardens is located a couple of blocks inland in the Downtown Historic District.  They, too, were full, but the owners were very inviting and gave me some information and history on both hotels.

Depending on the time of year you visit, you might see whales, bald eagles, and deer.  There are some great wineries in the area, for those wine connoisseurs out there.  There are numerous events and festivals happening throughout the year, including Farmers Markets.

I timed my drive so that I would hit rush hour in Bremerton on the way home.  My advice would be either plan to stay at least until after dinner, or even better spend the night or even a weekend.  You really need that much time to explore this area.

Aloha Beachside B&B – A Little Bit of Hawaii in The Pacific NW


Aloha Beachside B&B Located in Wauna

I had a little time off a couple of weeks ago and decided to do some exploring in my local area.  I had seen signs for the Aloha Beachside Bed & Breakfast, but had never actually seen it.  I wasn’t sure exactly where it was, but it turns out I had driven right past it quite often.

I pulled in without having made an appointment, hoping that I would be able to take a look around.  The owner, Lalaine Wong, being full of the Aloha spirit took the time to show me around, even though she was in the midst of cleaning up after a busy weekend. 

I learned that there are 5 rooms at the Aloha Bed & Breakfast, and all come with a full breakfast.  There are 3 rooms in the main house, and 2 more in the Cabana which is below the main house closer to the beach.

The best room in the main house is the King Kamehameha Room which has views out over the water (even from the tub in the huge bathroom) and direct access to the deck.  This is also called the Honeymoon Suite.  My next choice would be the Queen Liliokalani room which has a nice chaise lounge and working fireplace.  This is a small room near the front door, but it does have it’s own private bath.

The views from the deck on this level are stunning. 

Aloha Beachside B&BAloha Beachside B&B

If you’re traveling with family, the Ohana Room is downstairs and includes a queen bed plus 2 twins; a full living room; a full kitchen and dining area.  It also has a working fireplace. 

The Cabana would be the perfect place for a family or 2 couples traveling together.  It has 2 bedrooms and a shared living room, full kitchen and dining area.  There is a small gazebo outside which would be a perfect place to sit with a book and relax for awhile.  There is also a natural waterfall that can be seen from the deck of the Cabana. 

Aloha Beachside B&B

There are charming touches throughout the property, including a bench at the entry to the cabana. 

Aloha Beachside B&B – Great Choice for a Romantic Getaway

If you are looking for a place close to home to just get away for a night or 2, Aloha Beachside Bed & Breakfast is a great choice.  It is close to Gig Harbor with it’s charming waterfront full of galleries, shops and restaurants.  It is about an hour from Seattle, but will make you feel like you are an ocean away.

Enjoy the Aloha Spirit – Visit Aloha Beachside B&B

And remember, Perfect Paradise Vacations can help you with your plans to stay here.

Anderson Travel Academy – Why Open a Travel School?


Anderson Travel Academy – New Travel School in Gig Harbor 

With all of the options available on the Internet for booking travel, many people are surprised that travel agents still exist.  The truth is, people are coming back to using travel agents big time.  Many people have found that it takes hours of research to plan their trips and that it doesn’t cost extra to use a travel agent, or travel consultant/vacation planner as many of us call ourselves these days.  Just as you would hire an expert in other fields, such as real estate, attorneys, financial planners – hiring a good travel consultant can save you money, time and headaches.

But why would a travel agency owner want to start a travel school.  Wouldn’t the graduates of Anderson Travel Academy become competitors of the agents who work for Anderson Travel?  Marti Anderson, the owner of Anderson Travel, believes that there is plenty of business to go around and I agree.  Also, many traditional travel consultants have been in the business for years and either are retiring or cutting down their hours.  The industry needs new blood. 

Why Would You Attend A Travel School?

Why would someone need to attend a travel school?  There are many host agencies that will let anyone join, there are affiliate programs that have links to online travel agencies, and there are even MLM opportunities that let you buy your own travel website.  Well the truth is, there is a lot more to advising people on their travel and vacation choices then just sending them to a website. 

By attending Anderson Travel Academy, the only travel school in Washington State, you will learn how to work with clients.  You will learn how to access vendors and travel wholesalers and what value they can bring to your business (such as insider secrets, perks for your clients, and travel agency specials that aren’t available to the general public). 

There are so many facets to selling travel.  Many travel consultants specialize in a particular niche – such as a specific destination, cruises, Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, business travel, adventure travel, accessible travel, and more.  The world is a big place and there is no one agent or website that can truly give you the best advice, pricing and planning for every destination. 

So, by attending this new travel school, you can learn how to decide what area of travel you want to specialize in, as well as how to get the best training and contacts for that particular speciality.

Anderson Travel Academy – Article About the new Gig Harbor Travel School

Anderson Travel Academy is designed to teach you the basics of the travel industry, as well as give you some direction as to how to get started in the business.  I work with Anderson Travel as my host agency, but I am really a home based travel consultant with my own business, Perfect Paradise Vacations.  Marti Anderson has been a huge help to me in helping me reach my business goals and I have learned a lot from my association with Anderson Travel.

If you want to learn more about this new Washington State Travel School, check out their website

 

 

Unspoiled Tropical Vacation Paradise – Samana


Most popular tropical vacation destinations that people think of in the Dominican Republic are in Punta Cana or La Romana on the east coast of the island of Hispaniola.  These are beautiful areas with white sandy beaches and big beautiful resorts.

If you are looking for a more unspoiled, natural tropical vacation, you might want to think of the Samana Peninsula, on the north side of the country.  Here’s a short video that shows some of the beauty of this area.

If you like the large resort, all-inclusive atmosphere, you can find that here too, but you can also find small, intimate properties.

Perfect Paradise Vacations can help you get here or to any tropical vacation paradise you choose.

A Day in Gig Harbor?


Have you been to Gig Harbor lately?

It’s a fun place to spend a sunny day or two.  There really is a lot to see and do in this charming little town.  You can stroll along the waterfront exploring the interesting shops and art galleries.  They have their Art Walk on the first Saturday of every month with spotlighted artists in the galleries.  You can spend most of the day just poking around, from the antique mall, to Java & Clay. to looking at the boats in the marina. to checking out the Harbor History Museum and much more.

If you want to get out on the water you might want to take a tour with Destiny Harbor Tours.  Captain Tom Drohan is an expert on the history of the area, and makes it fun and entertaining.  You will go out of Gig Harbor, under the Narrows Bridge.  Narrows Bridge - Close UpYou’ll also cruise by the interesting community of Salmon Beach and past Point Defiance Park before turning around and heading back to Gig Harbor.  If you’re lucky you might see some eagles Bald Eagleor harbor seals.

Back on land, you’re probably getting hungry.  If you’ve brought the kids, Kelly’s Espresso and Café is a great place to eat.  It’s bright and friendly with a varied menu so there’s something for everyone.  If you like Mexican food, El Pueblito is right across from the water on Harborside Avenue.  If it’s just the grownups, you will definitely want to go to The Tides and sit out on the deck of this historic eatery.  You might also want to venture up the hill away from downtown and check out The Wine Studio – a charming, warm and inviting wine bar and shop.  They have tastings on Friday night and Saturday afternoons.  You might also check out Gig Harbor’s own 7 Seas Brewery.  Both of these are located next to The Inn at Gig Harbor, a good choice if you decide to stay the night (which after tasting wine and beer might be a good idea).  You can book this hotel as well as the Best Western Plus Wesley Inn and Suites on my website.

There is a lot more to do here.  There are parks and beaches, which are always fun for the family.  You can drive out to Key Peninsula to visit Blue Willow Lavendar Farm. There is the Maritime Gig Festival in June, the Gig Harbor Food and Wine Festival in July and more.  Outdoor music in the park on Tuesdays and Movies in the Park on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer.  A good place to find all the happenings is at www.gigharborguide.com.

So get out and play tourist in your own Pacific Northwest.  I love to explore out area.  We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place with so many exciting places to see and things to do.

Beth’s Top 10 Travel Tips (plus a bonus)


Define the purpose of the trip.  Are you looking for pure relaxation, cultural activities, active pursuits like hiking and biking, shopping, nightlife, kids activities?  Choose your destination and hotel/resort/cruise based on these desires.

Involve everyone in the planning.  Each person should contribute one must do thing for them during the trip that everyone can share in. 

Plan your travel days to be part of the vacation.  Instead of finding the shortest connections for your flights and having to run through the airport to make the connection, give yourself enough time to get off the plane and have some lunch.  Wander around the airport and get some exercise.  A lot of airports have interesting art or exhibits you can look at.  Take family or group photos at the airport.  This way you won’t feel like you’ve “lost” part of your vacation to travel days.

Packing.  It is really true that you should take half the clothes and twice the money than you originally planned.  Take clothes that coordinate with each other and that you can wear more than once.  Wrinkle proof fabrics.  Shoes are big space takers, I take my walking shoes, some flip flops (because I always go somewhere warm) and one pair of dressier shoes.  I also roll my clothes – they fit better in the suitcase, and if you flatten them out well first, then roll them they don’t wrinkle.  My hero is my Aunt Ann who can take a carry on for a 6 week Safari trip – when I grow up I want to pack like her.

Join Loyalty Programs.  Hotels, airlines and car rental companies all offer these and some even give you some perks on your first stay.  Even if you don’t travel often, it’s worth the couple of minutes it takes to join. 

Read the fine print!  If you are booking your own travel make sure you read all the fine print.  If you are using your travel agent, make sure they tell you about any exclusions, as well as inclusions.  Have them send you a copy of the terms & conditions for the supplier they are using.  Check for resort fees, parking fees, taxes that might not be included, airport transfers, that sort of thing.

Look for Value not price!  I can’t stress this enough.  This is your vacation that you have saved all year (or more) for, you’ve planned and researched for hours.  Choose a hotel or resort property that offers you the most value for your money.  If you are taking the kids it should have a great pool and activities that they enjoy (no one wants to hear “I’m bored” for a week!).  Look for free nights, breakfast included, etc.  (This is where your travel agent can be your best friend, I might have specials that you will never see.)  Don’t end up at the budget property with the broken floor tiles, refrigerator door hanging off the hinges, and the local’s dogs swimming in the pool.  Yes – that happened to one of my clients because she insisted on saving $100 for a week.  She always takes my advice now!

Pre-book any excursions that you really don’t want to miss out on!  But don’t over schedule.  Leave some time for relaxing, exploring with no time frame, and just seeing what the day brings.

Buy Travel Insurance!  I know what you’re thinking – we will go no matter what.  Then, on the way to the airport your taxi gets in a fender bender and you miss your flight.  What are you going to do?  Or, you get to your destination and your luggage went somewhere else?  Or…….well, there are a million things that can happen so why not protect your investment?

Use All of Your Vacation Days!  You’ve earned them and you need them.  You will be more productive if you take them (even if you just stay home).  American’s earn fewer vacation days per year than other industrialized countries AND THEN YOU WASTE THEM.  448,000,000 days were wasted last year.  (That is 448 MILLION days)  That is like giving $67 Billion (yes, I said BILLION) back to your employers.  Do you love them that much? 

Bonus Tip – Use a qualified Travel Agent.  Again, I know what you’re thinking.  She is a travel agent so, of course, she wants me to use her services.  And I do, if you’re planning a vacation to a tropical destination, taking a cruise, or going pretty much anywhere in theWestern Hemisphere.  If not me – find another qualified travel professional who specializes in the area you are planning to travel.  Most of the time it won’t cost you any more than booking it yourself, it will save you hours of research, and you have an advocate if you have a problem.  Even if you do have to pay a planning fee – isn’t it worth it to make sure that your precious vacation that you have saved & planned for comes off perfectly and stress free?