My Head is Stuffed with Information….


I attended a travel industry last Saturday put on my WESTA, the consortium my travel agency belongs to.  It was a great day, with almost 40 vendors doing short presentations, a trade show, lunch, and drawings for cool prizes.  I won a 4 night stay at the Hale Mahina Beach Resort on Maui!  I love it when I win.

One of the cool things that WESTA does differently than most trade shows, instead of going around and picking up a bunch of materials at each booth and then having to sort through it all when you get home, each vendor puts what they think is most important for you to have in a box and you take home one box at the end of the day. 

There were several suppliers there that I was not familiar with, and some that offer some really cool products.  I can’t wait to work my way through my box.  The first one I’m looking at offers fabulous vacation packages to the South Pacific –Fiji, Tahiti, Cook Islands, and Samoa.  I started with them because I’m working with Honeymoon clients now that are looking for something a little different, but don’t really have a Tahiti budget.  Sunspots International really knows the South Pacific and they have some fabulous specials right now – I’m hoping one of them will work with my clients wants and budget. 

One of the resorts I’m looking at is on a small island just 3 minutes by boat fromFiji’s main island of Viti Levu.  Imagine, the luxury of a private island with 24 hour access to explore all of the attractions offered on the more populated main island.  Or maybe one of the resorts on Raratonga in the Cook Islands would work better.  Hmmm….I need to do more reading. 

For those who think these South Pacific islands offer only relaxation on the beach along with snorkeling and scuba diving, there is really a lot more to do.  Of course, those things are probably the highlights for most people, but the local people are the true treasure of this region.  Visiting the local villages and learning about the culture is a must!  There are also lots of natural attractions that you can easily see from horseback, by bicycle, boat, maybe island bus, or even renting a car (remember to drive on the left!).  And dining – can you say FRESH seafood!  Mmmmmm….wish I was planning for myself. 

Another thing I love about Sunspots International is that they only work with travel agents.  So, if you see something on their site that interests you and you don’t already have a travel agent, e-mail me at beth@tropicaltales.com or call me at Anderson Travel at 253-853.8687 (make sure you tell them that you are looking for Beth – I’m not in the office all the time).

By the way, I’m not ignoring Australia and New Zealand.   I know they are also very popular spots in the South Pacific, but I have another vendor that I use for them so I will talk about them when I get to them in my box.

Sandals in the Bahamas


Sandals Royal Bahamian offers not only the sophisticated British elegance of the main resort, but a laid-back off-shore private island giving you 2 vacations in one!

The main resort offers 19 room categories including those in the secluded Royal Village – you’ll feel as if you are in your own private retreat.  Cottages are nestled beneath fantail palms and fruit trees – expansive bedrooms are divinely plush, intimate pools are places throughout the Royal Village.  You may also choose a room in either the Royal Windsor Suite Tower or the Bahamian Manor Tower. 

There are 10 restaurants at Sandals Royal Bahamian, including the exclusive “Gordon’s On The Pier” exclusively for Butler Level guests.  9 bars, 6 swimming pools and of course the offshore island, will keep you happily relaxed or as busy as you’d like to be. 

The exclusive Offshore Island has 2 beaches, one for swimming and snorkeling and the other for high energy watersports.  There is a lagoon style pool with a swim up bar, Café Goombay for some authentic Bahamian dishes, and the Red Lane Spa zen garden. 

Sandals Emerald Bay is the first All-Butler Resort in the Sandals line.  This was originally built as a Four Seasons resort, has 183 all suite accommodations, 5 gourmet restaurants and 5 bars, 3 pools including a one acre freshwater pool, an 18 hole Greg Norman designed championship golf course, and a 17 acre marina. 

Sandals Emerald Bay is on Great Exuma in the Bahamas.  All oceanfront and all butler (trained by The Guild of Professional English Butlers, as are all Sandals butlers). There are 16 room categories from the Exuma Honeymoon Luxury Suites all the way up to the top of the line Royal Estate 2 Story 1 Bedroom Beachfront Suite with Pool- prime location, sweeping views of the ocean & beach and a private infinity pool. 

While in the Bahamas, you might want to enjoy some off property excursions like Diving with the Sharks (you can learn to dive at all the Sandals resorts), Swim with the Dolphins, Deep Sea Fishing or Catamaran Cruises.

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios


This is one of the most romantic of the Sandals resorts, set on the incredible stretch of beach called the Caribbean Riviera.  This resort encompasses 100 acres and includes exotic gardens, gorgeous beach, a Grande Promenade stretching out over the sea, and a hidden grotto pool tucked into the shade of a secluded garden. 

You can enjoy complimentary golf at the Sandals Golf & Country Club located here, as well as not one, but TWO Red Lane Spas.  You have your choice of an incredible 11 restaurants and 10 bars, 7 main pools, 93 villa pools, 22 whirlpools.  There is a scuba diving center, Rock Climbing Wall, and 22 room categories.

The Ciboney Villa Suites are nestled among lush tropical trees and flowering plants and offer the exclusivity of a private villa with all the advantages of a world class resort.  These are perfect for a private party – many villas feature 4 luxurious bedrooms and a private pool.  The Romeo and Juliet Suites are perfect for Honeymooners, each with a private pool. 

This resort offers a vacation with everything – spa, beach, pools, sight seeing, shopping, and golf.  There are fabulous tours available including the a trip to Nine Mile – Bob Marley’s birthplace, Dophin Encounter, Jamaican Bobsled experience, or a Bicycle Adventure in the Blue Mountains.