Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Becky in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a gorgeous Central American country known for its exquisite beaches, lush jungles filled with incredible biodiversity, and overall natural beauty. Our advisor Becky has recently returned from her Costa Rica escape, which she spent at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort.

Becky began her journey arriving at the Liberia airport, and it was a quick 45 minute drive to the Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. Room types offered by the resort include standard guest rooms, suites, and private residences. Each is unique in what they offer, ranging from elegant plunge pools, rainforest canopy or ocean views,  or private chef services. The diverse room types are available for romantic getaways and families alike.

The Four Seasons Costa Rica Resort offered incredible amenities and experiences that any kind of traveler could enjoy. Whether one is traveling with young children or is planning a romantic getaway, Four Seasons has exceptional accommodations for the kind of vacation you are seeking. With separate family and adult only pools and their "All Seasons" kids program, there is something for every type of traveler.

The resort does a wonderful job of offering their guests a range of activities and experiences. Activities that Becky participated in included a sunrise yoga class, a sunrise kayak, sunrise hike excursion, and a catamaran snorkeling tour. She enjoyed the wonderful spa with its full treatment menu available to guests, and indulged in a 60 minute rainforest aromatherapy massage. The "Taste the Stars" experience offered exclusively at Peninsula Papagayo was an amazing stargazing experience that included a speciality menu of cocktails and treats that are infused with real meteorite dust. The championship golf course that the resort boasts is named one of the "Top 100 Golf Courses Outside the United States", and was designed by Arnold Palmer. 

The resort has four restaurants, each offering different yet deliciously prepared meals in an elegant setting made with fresh, local ingredients. The unique and innovate menus specialize in delicious Latin & Italian Cuisine.

Becky loved her trip, and is eager to return to the paradise that was Costa Rica. With so much to do and see on and off the property, this is an amazing trip whether it be a 3 night stay or a week long vacation. For more information or help planning your next amazing getaway, contact Becky at becky@sanderstravel.com or your Sanders Travel advisor today. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Joe in New York City: a Broadway review

UPDATE JULY 9th: It Shoulda Been you has announced their show will close August 9th. Hurry & see it before it's too late!

When traveling to NYC, it is always hard to pick what to do and what to see. One of the questions I get frequently asked by those traveling to New York is what shows to see. On my recent trip to the city, I saw five amazing Broadway shows, and am here to share my thoughts on why you should see them.
I stayed at the newly renovated Kinckerbocker which is located right off of Times Square. The location is great for first timers travelling to New York and wanting to be in the heart of the action. For us show-goers it was very convenient to walk or subway to the theaters we visited. The room was very contemporary and had new, advanced technology for controlling the room’s features (such as lights and window shades). The rooftop is not to be missed! There is a new bar on the rooftop called St. Cloud with spectacular views of the city and a really fun vibe. This would be an ideal spot for New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop!
My first day in the city, I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Darren Criss. The show is located at the Belasco Theatre and runs approx. 1 hour & 40 minutes with no intermission. The story revolved around an East German transgender rock goddess and told the story of her life in a concert-like way. The show was phenomenal! It had great lighting and an amazing cast, especially Darren Criss (through July 19 only!) and Rebecca Naomi Jones. Very enjoyable but it is definitely not your grandmother’s show.

On Day 2 in the city, I had the opportunity to see two amazing shows, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and It Shoulda Been You. Curious Incident is located the Barrymore Theatre and runs 2 hours and 30 minutes including an intermission. The show was incredible. The staging and the cast were truly brilliant. It tells the story of a 15 year old autistic boy who is trying to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor’s dog. Alex Sharp played Christopher Boone, the leading role in the show, and he is giving the performance of a lifetime. He really tugs on the heart-strings of the audience. This show is not to be missed.

The second show I saw that day, It Shoulda Been You, is located at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and ran approx. 1 hr. 40 minutes with no intermission. This show was hilarious! I had the absolute best time! It is fun, short, and have I mentioned funny yet? The show all takes place on the day of a wedding and primarily revolves around the feud between the mothers from each family. It Shoulda Been You is pure chaotic bliss. It’s your classic wedding story but with a HUGE twist that will have you falling out of your seat. This show is a great show for a date night, but would be best for ages 13 and up.

Day 3 was another two show day! I saw Something Rotten! and Chicago starring Brandy Norwood. Something Rotten! is located at the St. James Theatre and runs approx. 2 hours and 25 minutes including intermission. This show is every musical theater lover’s dream. It is smart, funny, and overall clever. It tells the story of two Brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, in the 1590s who are struggling to come up with a new idea for a play in the shadow of Shakespeare. Desperate for a hit, Nick pays a Soothsayer to tell him which of Shakespeare’s plays will be the most famous in the future. The Soothsayer tells Nick that the next best thing is a MUSICAL! The show then begins to show the creation of the world’s first musical. Obviously, the show is not actually about the first musical ever written, but is more of a satire about Shakespeare and the Renaissance. I would describe it as The Book of Mormon meets Spamalot in its comedic-satire sense. Something Rotten! is this season’s must-see musical! 

Chicago is located at the Ambassador Theatre and runs 2 hrs and 20 minutes including intermission. If you’re not familiar with this long-running show, Chicago tells the story of the city Chicago in the 1960s and revolves around two murderesses named Roxie and Velma. Brandy Norwood as Roxie Hart was incredible. She steals the show with her charm and talent! She will play Roxie until August 2nd, and her performance is not to be missed!

Along with amazing shows, there is always some amazing food along the way. The first day I ate at the Spotted Pig for lunch and Osteria al Doge for dinner. I highly recommend both for different reasons. The Spotted Pig is for a unique, only in NYC dining experience. Osteria al Doge is great for those attending the theater because it is in the heart of theater disctrict. A great place to have a quick dessert is Schmackary’s. They have the BEST cookies in town! In fact, I visited Schmackary’s three times during my trip and even saw Audra McDonald there! I also recommend Jane for a nice Sunday brunch on the outskirts of the city!

If you have the opportunity to go to New York this summer you can’t go wrong by seeing any of these shows or dining at these restaurants. Look out as cast members and shows change. The Broadway scene in New York is ever-changing, but is sure to be a memorable experience.

Contact your Sanders Travel Advisor and they will help you with everything from the hotel and airfare arrangements to the fun, added extras like show tickets and restaurant reservations. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tina at the Four Seasons Nevis

“Where’s Nevis?” was the question I was most frequently asked when I said I was going there for my first FAM trip hosted by the Four Seasons Resort Nevis.  For those not familiar, Nevis is known as one of the most unspoiled and relaxing islands in the Caribbean, with its signature Nevis peak (a dormant volcano) rising 3,200 feet above the island.  A sister island of St. Kitts, Nevis has an easy going, authentic Caribbean vibe and a pace of life that encourages you to stop and appreciate the lush, natural beauty around you.  Nevis is not for those wanting a huge party scene or luxury shopping experience, but if you want the ultimate relaxation experience to unplug and unwind, this is the place for you!

You can reach Nevis by plane via San Juan or fly into St Kitts and take a private chartered flight or ferry. We arrived at Nevis via the Four Seasons ferry and were greeted on the pier by resort staff who escorted us directly to our rooms for check-in (what a wonderful way to start a trip!).  The resort reopened in 2010 after 2-years of extensive renovations to repair damages caused by Hurricane Omar and the property is immaculate still today.

The Four Seasons is a five diamond hotel with 196 deluxe guest rooms and suites plus over 40 unique, one-to-seven bedroom villas that are privately owned and part of the Four Seasons rental property collection.   I stayed in an Ocean View category room, and the British influence is evident in the colonial style d├ęcor in either a sunny yellow or navy color palette. 

 The resort offers ample activity for any traveler. There are 3 free-form, infinity edge pools, one of which is an adults’ only. You can also reserve a cabana style beach houses on Pinney’s Beach with butler service for a day. Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, The Four Seasons boasts an on-site, 18-hole golf course with dramatic views of the resort, the Caribbean and St. Kitts.  For non-golfers, they offer an entertaining tour of the golf course with guaranteed monkey sightings at dusk, as well as gorgeous sunset views of the Caribbean when you end the tour at Mangos for evening cocktails. The Four Seasons also offers a 2-day, 8-hour Sail Laser program where guests can receive their captain’s certification that is recognized worldwide.

For a truly unique dining experience, the Four Seasons Nevis offers a one-of-a-kind “Dive and Dine” program, which is open only to certified divers.  Guests join a FS chef and a Nevisian dive master to catch the elusive spiny lobster using a handmade lasso.  Once back on shore, you can help prepare their dinner alongside the resort’s executive chef.  Dinner is held at a posh beach barbecue with culinary demonstrations and wine pairings.

For families, Four Seasons offers a complimentary Kids for All Seasons program for children ages 3-9 years old (or younger if potty trained).  The program includes supervised recreational and education activities, such as the Sea Turtle Education Program.  After hours activities are offered such as S’mores night on the beach with dinner and a movie along with babysitting services. 

The Spa at Four Seasons is first class and offers a full menu of treatments including massage therapy, facials, salon services and custom perfume blending.  I experienced the “Four Seasons Nevis Naturally” massage, which infuses herbs, such as mint, rosemary, lemongrass and aloe, that are harvested in their own herb garden.  Treatments were in yellow, gingerbread-cottages and began with a Nevisian drum ritual.  I think you can tell from the picture that I was thoroughly relaxed!

Following a treatment, I would advise staying to relax in the Spa Gardens and Sala Deck or take a dip in the cold plunge pool with views of Mt. Nevis.  After my massage, I had ordered a lunch from the spa menu that includes their signature bento boxes, homemade smoothies and green juices.  Very Zen experience and PURE BLISS!!!

I can’t say enough about the quality and dining options at the Four Seasons….Neve, Coral Grill, Cabana and Mango were all excellent with perfect the Caribbean ambiance. Everything was amazing and seasoned to perfection with herbs grown in their own garden.  And I can’t forget to mention the award winning mixologist in Mango’s bar who was named Best Caribbean Bartender for her creation called the Naked Turtle!

At only 36 sq. miles, you can easily drive around Nevis in an afternoon.  The island is steeped in history and on our island tour we saw the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, a Jewish cemetery with the earliest tombstones dating back to 1769, numerous historical churches, sugar plantation ruins, botanical gardens and the Horatio Nelson Museum.

A review of the Four Seasons Resort Nevis would not be complete without mentioning the greatest asset of this stunning property, which is it’s amazing staff.  I can’t say enough about the attention to detail and the sincere warmth of everyone I came in contact with, from the reservations desk, concierge, our beach butlers, room service, restaurant servers, all the way up to the resort manager.  The staff is truly the reason why families return year after year!! I can’t wait to go back and experience the island with my family!!


To book your trip to Nevis contact tina@sanderstravel.com or your Sanders Travel Advisor!