A Clean Sweep! Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts And Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts All Receive Certificates Of Excellence From Tripadvisor

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~ Every Resort in the Company’s Portfolio Receives a 2012 Certificate of Excellence for Top Performance ~

All Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts and Fowl Cay Resort have recently been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.  This outstanding achievement is a testament to the ongoing commitment to excellence and superior service displayed throughout all of the company’s resort locations.  With an impressive total of 20 certificates, plus six previously-announced Traveler’ s Choice Awards, this year’s top honors include:

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Montego Bay – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Carlyle Montego Bay, Jamaica – Travelers Choice Award & Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Royal Plantation Ocho Rios, Jamaica – Travelers Choice Award & Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Negril Beach & Resort Spa – Certificate of Excellence

Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa – Travelers Choice Award & Certificate of Excellence

Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Emerald Bay Great Exuma, Bahamas – Certificate of Excellence

Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Halcyon Beach St. Lucia – Certificate of Excellence
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort – Cert ificate of Excellence
Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club – Travelers Choice Award and Certificate of Excellence Award

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa – Travelers Choice Award and Certificate of Excellence Award
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa – Travelers Choice Award & Certificate of Excellence
Beaches Sandy Bay Resort – Certificate of Excellence
Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua – Certificate of Excellence
Grand Pineapple Beach Negril – Certificate of Excellence
Fowl Cay Resort, Exumas, Bahamas – Certificate of Excellence

TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence award honors hospitality excellence. The accolade is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award. Travel Choice Award calculations are based on information submitted from over 20 million reviewers, which are presented in the form of top 10 and top 25 lists.

Congrats to Sandals and Beaches Resorts for outstanding properties!

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10 Affordable Things to Do in New Orleans’ French Quarter

New Orleans ~ French Quarters

You don’t need an endless budget to have a great time in New Orleans. Here are a few ways to experience the French Quarter without breaking the bank.

1. Savor beignets at Café Du Monde

Beignets: Are they breakfast or dessert? Does it matter? Pick up a small café au lait and a bag of three delicious French donuts smothered in a cascade of powdered sugar, all for under $4 at New Orleans’ famous Café Du Monde. Happily snack as you stroll through the French Quarter.

2. Attend a free festival

We all know New Orleans can throw a helluva party, but some of its best shindigs won’t even cost you a dime. From Mardi Gras to the French Quarter Festival, there are tons of free events that take place throughout the year.

3. Snap a photo at St. Louis Cathedral

With its gleaming white façade and silver spires, St. Louis Cathedral is at the heart of the French Quarter, and there are plenty of inexpensive activities to keep you busy. Make your way to Jackson Square. Have your portrait drawn, listen to some street-corner musicians or snap a photo of this New Orleans landmark.

4. Eat fresh seafood for cheap

Mudbugs, crayfish, crawdads – there are a ton of nicknames for these lobster-like crustaceans, but we just like to call them “delicious.” Keep an eye out for free crawfish boils, which are offered at a number of nightlife spots and festivals during spring’s crawfish season. Or head to Deanie’s Seafood to sample an order of crawfish tails for under $10.

5. Tour the Old Ursuline Convent

For only $5, you can take a guided tour of the French Quarter’s Old Ursuline Convent, the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. You’ll see hand-crafted woodwork, colorful oil paintings, lush gardens and religious sculptures.

6. Join a piano sing-along at Pat O’Brien’s bar

Make your way to Pat O’Brien’s, where there’s no cover charge to enjoy the lively atmosphere and to sing along with the live piano show. While you’re here, you might as well try O’Brien’s famous signature cocktail, the Hurricane, for $8.

7. Browse the Flea Market

Shopping is hardly ever budget-friendly. But when you’re looking for some retail therapy without the hefty price tag, explore the open-air Flea Market inside New Orleans’ historic French Market. This spot is great for scoring unique finds and trinkets without spending a fortune.

8. Walk the French Quarter

Where else can you enjoy two hours of history, architecture and entertainment for only $15? When you take a guided walking tour by the Friends of the Cabildo, you’ll get to explore five historic buildings while learning about the city’s rich past.

9. Gander at voodoo potions at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Satisfy your morbid curiosity with a trip to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, the location of the first licensed apothecary in the country. For the $5 admission, you’ll get to browse an extensive collection of antiquated medical equipment, preserved leeches and, yes, authentic voodoo potions.

10. Step back in history with the New Orleans Historic Collection tour

Get a glimpse into the New Orleans lifestyle – or what it was like hundreds of years ago – with the New Orleans Historic Collection. You can choose from three different $5 tours: the Louisiana History Galleries inside the Merieult House, the elegant Williams Residence or an architectural walking tour.

Information shared with us from the New Orleans Tourist Board

The 10 Must Do’s in Cabo

Los Cabos truly has something for each type of visitor. From beaches to activities, shopping to relaxation, here’s a checklist of “musts” so you can enjoy all that Los Cabos has to offer.

1. FIND YOUR FAVORITE BEACH.

Whether you’re seeking a secluded spot for a romantic escapade or a snorkeling piece of shoreline that’s also great for the kids, Los Cabos and its surroundings offer a multitude of beautiful beaches. Those low-key roads veering off onto the sea often hide a bonanza of prime waterfront.

2. NURTURE YOUR INNER ARTIST.

You’d be wise to take your camera, pencil or even pastels every time you leave your hotel room, as Los Cabos’ natural beauty and man-made élan provide ample options for a lifetime of memories.Whether it’s the orange traces in the sky as the sun goes down or fishermen coming back from a day at sea, Baja’s beauty is meant to be captured in some way or another.

3. VACATION LIKE A CELEBRITY.

Indulge in a day’s worth of luxurious spa pampering, whip out your sunglasses and stroll about like the Hollywood stars. Don’t be too surprised if you spot a famous singer or actor (or even some paparazzi) “hiding out” beside you, enjoying the warm days and lively nights of Los Cabos.

Even decades after the likes of John Wayne headed here for a little R and R, the glitterati still love this spot of sassy sophistication.

4. BECOME ONE WITH NATURE.

From December to March, Baja California Sur welcomes a flurry of whales seeking warm waters in which to give birth. Visitors may arrange For a tour that takes them just inches away from these gentle mammals, or even spot them from beaches or a strategically built bar overlooking the ocean. You may also spot seals sunning themselves on the rocks around El Arco and loudly complaining about the presence of kayakers nearby.

5. GO ON A ROAD TRIP.

Don’t neglect Los Cabos’ earthly treasures just because there’s so much to discover at sea. A drive around Baja is an adventure in itself. Having your own wheels will give you access to miles of regal cacti, a forgotten fish taco stand with ice-cold beer and other unexpected surprises.

6. HEAD EAST.

To the East Cape, that is. This relatively undeveloped area is a favorite spot for surfers looking to get away from the crowds and those who love to fish. With more rustic surroundings and camping sites than its more sophisticated neighbor, the East Cape is a dream come true for nature types, including divers who want to reach the Cabo Pulmo natural reef system.

7. GO FISH.

Even if you don’t consider yourself the fishing type, you must try your luck here. Many hotels and outfitters offer fishing packages and assorted options for fun days at sea. If you’d rather run with the big boys, sign up for one of several championship tournaments.

8. TEE OFF.

As one of the world’s most famous golf destinations, Los Cabos glitters with amazing greens.Championship courses have been carved out of an arid landscape that often looks out into the blue beyond. Everyone from Tom Fazio to Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf and Greg Norman has helped design and build what are now some of the area’s most appealing attractions.

9. COME HUNGRY.

Leave your diet behind and get ready to savor some of the best seafood and Mexican delicacies in the entire peninsula. From toe-tingling Pacific tuna to shrimp tacos with a spicy kick, Los Cabos’ range of culinary options offers something for everyone.

10. TIME2CABO.

You’re in Cabo! Leave your cares behind and embrace the beauty and activity around you.

Now that see all that you can do in Los Cabos, give us a call at 310-722-3099 or email us at Info@carterelitetravel.com to book your getaway to Los Cabos Mexico TODAY!

Tips for planning a Destination Wedding

Beach Wedding at Lady Hamilton Resort in Lucea, Jamaica

• Eliminate the stress of wedding planning when you plan your
destination wedding through our agency with the LIFESTYLE
Collection featuring Romance from Delta Vacations®.
• While selecting a destination, check with the country’s
tourism board or consulate for all legal wedding requirements,
including paperwork.
• Find out how many witnesses are required and how early they need
to arrive before the ceremony.
• This is the trip of a lifetime, so pamper yourself by flying first-class,
upgrading your room to a suite, or by considering hotels that cater to
destination weddings.
• Go for the all-inclusive wedding/honeymoon package! With your
food, beverages, accommodations, and amenities taken care of, it’ll
be one less thing on your mind for your big day.
• Check to see whether your resort is family friendly or adults-only, as
that will impact your guest list.
• Attention brides! If your passport is issued in your maiden name,
make sure the information on your flight and hotel reservations
match your passport.
• As soon as you purchase your destination wedding, send your guests
a save-the-date reminder, as well as a Delta Vacations discount offer
created specifically for your guests.
• As you plan your wardrobe for your wedding, consider the climate of
your destination and any airline baggage requirements.
• If you can, try and visit your chosen destination before your wedding,
so you can meet with your wedding coordinator.
• It’s required that you arrive at your destination a few days before the
wedding ceremony, and the number of days varies per destination. This will give you time to meet with the wedding coordinator and to
double check on everything you have planned for the big day.
• Take care of yourselves, and make time for just the two of you. Plan
fun activities both before and after the wedding, such as sightseeing, touring the island and so much more.

Tips for Planning a Honeymoon

Wedding Couple

• Ensure the best honeymoon experience for you and your spouse

when you work with our agency to purchase a honeymoon package

through Delta Vacations® and the LIFESTYLE Collection featuring

Romance. We will help you find the destination, activities, amenities,

and locale that you will both enjoy.

• Purchase your complete honeymoon in advance, including your

flight, hotel, and activities.

• Make sure to leave at least one day in between your wedding day

and your honeymoon trip. Most flights leave in the early morning, so

you’ll want to give yourself enough time to get to the airport.

• Make your honeymoon an unforgettable experience with fun

activities for you and your partner to enjoy, such as sightseeing,

swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling, and more.

• Attention brides! If your passport is issued in your maiden name,

make sure the information on your flight and hotel reservations

match your passport and any other required travel documentation.

• Bring a copy of your marriage certificate. Many hotels require proof

of marriage to take advantage of special amenities exclusive for

honeymooning couples.

• This is a trip of a lifetime, so pamper yourself by flying first-class,

upgrading your room to a suite or by considering hotels that cater

to honeymoon couples.

• Go for the all-inclusive honeymoon package! With your food,

beverages, accommodations, and amenities taken care of, it’ll be

one less thing on your mind as you travel and re-connect with each

other after your big day.

• To give yourself enough time to prepare for your honeymoon, start

shopping and packing about 1-2 weeks before your trip.

• Once you arrive at your honeymoon destination, remember: enjoy

yourselves! Indulge in this time with each other. Relax, rejuvenate, make sure both enjoy your honeymoon.

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Tips shared with us with Delta Vacations…

Why travel to Antigua…

Antigua beaches

 

As a beach destination, Antigua is hard to beat with one of the driest climates in the whole Caribbean region, making it particularly popular among sunseekers. Antigua and Barbuda enjoys an average of eight and half hour of sunlight every day.

A vacation package to Antigua, one of the two Leeward Islands, has all the right ingredients for a fabulous holiday. Antigua was once the hub of British sugar cane production and the remnants of that time period remain today. Sail-less windmills and 18th century forts grace the landscape. One major center for activity is English Harbour where visitors will find wonderful restaurants and shops with colonial architecture overlooking the marina.

Jolly Beach Resort and Spa - Antigua

 

Antigua’s hotels are spread along a magnificent coastline. There are 365 beaches in Antigua, a perfect beach for every day of the year – most are quiet and protected by reefs, so feel free to explore them all! Scuba diving and snorkeling are also quite popular on Antigua.

Honeymooners or families will find plenty of adventure, from horseback riding and windsurfing to golf and fishing. Antigua is known as a sailor’s paradise, and is a popular mooring spot for a variety of vessels, including luxury yachts. You can charter your own yacht, complete with crew, at most Antigua hotels and spend a day sailing with the rich and famous.

 

St. James Club Antigua

 

Antigua provides culture and tranquility for visitors from all over the world, both young and old, who come for the beaches, but get so much more

Dosing Your Dosha in Ancient India

Camels in India

In India, it is the “science of life” that is practiced through ancient healing ways. The healing touch, the gently applied oils and scents, the absorbing of delectable aromas within a meditative steam or soaking session would not be considered pampering per se, but a way of life and a way of keeping the body in harmony with nature in common rituals handed down through the centuries.

This is the discipline of Ayurveda, possibly the oldest wisdom of the body and its healing ways. To experience a spa in India is to experience 5,000 years of Ayurveda practice.

The Sanskrit tradition purports that each person is made up of space, air, fire, water and earth and balancing these forces is the job of a practitioner. Each person thus falls into one of three possible body types or doshas: Kapha (earth/water), Pitta (fire/water) and Vata (air/space) and for each dosha, a system of treatments is devised to help the person detoxify, heal and thrive.

Whether at a resort spa in the southern backwaters of Kerala, an international hotel in the resort beachlands of Goa, a business property in Mumbai(formerly Bombay) or a day spa in New Delhi, the pampering a guest will receive will be influenced by these ancient traditions with herbal oil massages and plant-based medicines that will keep the body in line. It was the ancient Hindus that discovered the energizing properties of peppermint and eucalyptus oils, and the mood soothing elements of frankincense, rose, myrrh, sandalwood and patchouli oils. They used lemon, grapefruit and cypress as well as coconut, sesame tamarind, datura, ginger, dill and salt to detoxify, cleanse and boost circulation. Today, as then, these attars are put to work in such treatments as the “shiroabhyanga,” that massages the head while oils are carefully and slowly poured on the third eye; or the “abhyangam”—an hour-long oil massage administered in sync by two therapists; or the “pizichil”: an oil bath given in tandem by two therapists as the vaida or doctor orders precise movements. Each session might last an hour or might last four. Special teas and foods will be suggested and offered according to their heat properties and special prayers or mantras may be chanted. The oils will stick and feel uncomfortable, but the cleansing that results will feel indescribable.

Because Ayurveda is as much a part of the India experience as saris, curries and bicycles, these treatments will be found at the best hotels, including Oberoi, one of India’s top-tier hotel chains, which features spas by Banyan Tree, a world-renowned luxury spa company based in Singapore.

There are several such spas in India, including Oberoi New Delhi, Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra, Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur, Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambore, Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur and Wildflower Hall in the Himalayas in Shimla.

The Oberoi New Delhi is modern and centrally located, overlooking the immaculate greens of the Delhi Golf Club. In Agra, the Oberoi, Amarvilas is less than a half-mile from the Taj Mahal with unobstructed views of this wonder from nearly every room, including treatment rooms at the spa.  “Noor-E-Jahan” a signature spa therapy at Amarvilas was created as a tribute to beauty traditions from the royal palace of the Mughals.

Meanwhile, Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur sits on 32-acres of gardens, pools and fountains. Signature spa experiences include “Royal Splendour” and the “Spirit of Ayurveda,” based on strict Ayurvedic formulas.

The Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambore has a jungle locale where tiger safaris are the attraction. The resort combines exhilarating jungle experiences with the luxury of specially appointed spa suites and a range of exotic treatments and therapies, such as the signature “Tree of Life” and “Secrets of the Forest.” In Udaipur, Oberoi Udaivilas, is themed in the romance and splendor of a bygone era. The spa wing at The Oberoi Udaivilas overlooks Lake Pichola and includes five double spa suites, a separate Ayurvedic treatment room and a steam room.  Specialties include daily yoga, meditation and Pranayam sessions in addition to an extensive menu of spa therapies. Finally, Oberoi Wildflower Hall in Shimla located high the Himalayas, is situated on a magnificent perch 8,350 feet into the Himalayan foothills. Two Spa Forest Pavilions on property’s 22 acres of thick cedar and pine forests. The indoor heated swimming pool and outdoor infinity pool provide majestic views of the Greater Himalayas.

Oberoi Wildflower Hall is running a four-night adventure/spa retreat package through March that  includes premium lodging, daily breakfast, a white water rafting trip with guide, transport and picnic lunch, a one-hour biking trip with a guide or three-hour forest walk with a naturalist, daily yoga and meditation sessions, complimentary use of spa and fitness center and a 60-minute spa treatment. The inclusive rate per couple is $1,520.

Ananda in the Himalayas, a Preferred Hotel, is another treat for the senses. The mountain hideaway is dedicated to restoring balance and energy through a holistic approach that uses yoga, Ayurveda and aromatherapy, along with contemporary spa technology, all seeking to balance the five elements of nature and create harmony between the mind, body and spirit. Rates per couple range from $490 for a Deluxe Palace View Room to $1,225 for a night in the Vice Regal Suite  and include scheduled aerobics, yoga, or meditation classes; scheduled hiking trips in the Himalayan foothills; use of spa areas such as the sauna, steam bath, and Jacuzzi; complimentary use of the gymnasium and swimming pool.  Additional suite inclusions are breakfast for two served in the suite or restaurant; choice of two aromatic baths; and railway station or airport transfers. Guests staying for at least three nights receive a night on the house.  All inclusive Wellness Packages packed with blissful healing treatments start at $2,090 for two people for three nights.

The resort, which opened in September 2000 and has been hot-listed by Conde Nast Traveller UK, Travel & Leisure and Gourmet magazines, is set within 100 acres of virgin forest in the Himalayas on a Maharaja’s palace estate just north of New Delhi. By air, Ananda is a 45-minute flight from New Delhi followed by a one-hour drive. By rail, it’s a four-hour journey from New Delhi to Haridwar railway station followed by a one-hour drive. The driving time between New Delhi and Narendra Nagar is approximately five and a half hours.