Thursday, July 21, 2016

Diane at The Palms, Turks & Caicos

After spending a week amidst white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, Diane Parks can officially say she has experienced total relaxation. Last month owner Diane Parks took her family down to Turks & Caicos. Here is her recount of her fabulous trip! 

My time in Turks and Caicos was nothing short of memorable, both for me and my entire family. The beautiful weather, breathtaking views, and serene surroundings proved to be the perfect combination for us to unwind.

On the Resort
While in Turks and Caicos, we had the pleasure of staying at the incredible Palms Resort, located right in the middle of Grace Bay. One of the greatest perks of the resort was the availability of space on the beach. Not once did I have to fight for beach chairs, which was just another factor in the all-around relaxation we experienced. The beach is a 12-mile stretch shared with 80 other hotels. This served well on days we were feeling more adventurous and wanted to venture along the beach to another hotel restaurant. We learned very quickly how easy it is to wander farther than you realize since we were so busy admiring the clear waters and palm trees scattered all around us.

The two restaurants on the resort both served delicious food – there was no bad option on either of the menus. We started each day by enjoying a full buffet breakfast and omelet station in the beautiful garden. This is complimentary when booking through Sanders Travel Centre. Breakfast is served until the late morning/early afternoon which allowed us to enjoy a nice sleep-in when we wanted. For dinner, we ate at Parallel 23, a fine dining restaurant. The food was very tasty and was the perfect way to unwind after a day in the sun. Yet, it wasn’t just the food that made for such an enjoyable dining experience. The dining and hotel staff always welcomed us with warm smiles and were very accommodating to ensure that we were having a relaxing and memorable stay. The Palms offered superb service from the beginning to end of our stay.

The breakfast garden

The pools were undeniably one of the best parts of the resort. While we spent a majority of the time at the main pool, there were some adult-only quiet areas between the pool and the beach - a great spot especially for those traveling without kids. Even from the pool or Jacuzzi, you are only a few steps away from the beach and still have an incredible view of the ocean. If you’re looking for some traditional relaxation, the Palms also has a lovely, serene spa with a wide range of treatments. Try to reserve a massage with Earl, a top mentioned name.

The Palms pool

If you’re looking to do some shopping, the boutiques are a great option. Although the island may be more on the expensive side, you do not have anyone on the beach trying to sell you anything.

Off the Resort
For those who don’t know, Turks is the third largest barrier reef in the world, so snorkeling was a must for our vacation. For a minimal cost we booked a spectacular group snorkel/fishing cruise. The crew brought us to a beautiful private island as well as around the reef for some snorkeling and tubing. We had The Palms pack a catered lunch from the resort for us. While lunch is provided by the crew, I definitely recommend getting a packed lunch from the Palms as their food is absolutely delicious. Since Turks is also the bone fishing capital of the world, my boys were eager to take part and had a great time.

While we mainly stayed on the resort for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we did try a couple of restaurants off-property. If you choose to venture out, I would recommend Coco Bistro or Coyaba. Both can be reached by taxi and offer a delicious menu.

Coco Bistro

I really cannot stress the beauty seen throughout The Palms. The incredible Palms builder is also opening a new resort in November called The Shore Club on the other side of the island. For now, this is the only hotel opening on Long Bay. While it will be a smaller stretch of beach, it will be very similar to The Palms but will offer even more - 3 restaurants, 3 pools, a spa and a kids’ area. It seems to be a more family-friendly resort for those traveling with younger children.


For an even more enjoyable travel experience to-and-from The Palms, there is a VIP Flyers Club available at the airport. This can get you access to a private lounge and expedite your customs process. Be sure to book this with your travel advisor in advance. 

Ready to take your family to Turks & Caicos? Contact your Sanders Travel Advisor to get your 4th night free, breakfast daily, $100 resort credit and possible upgrade!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kathy B on Safari

“Trip-of-a-lifetime. Magical. I did not want to leave.” Just a few of the things Kathy B says about her recent trip to Botswana and South Africa. Thanks to our friends at Belmond, Kathy got to take her ultimate, bucket list trip this June. She spent 2 nights at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, and 2 nights at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge with a site inspection of Belmond Khwai River Lodge in between. The trip ended with a few nights at Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town, South Africa. If you want to hear all the incredible details of Kathy’s magnificent trip give her a call. She would love to talk for hours about it! That said below is a somewhat-brief recount of her trip.


Kathy flew from DFW airport to JFK in order to make the comfortable, nonstop flight JFK to Johannesburg on South African Airways. Kathy’s adventure began with a couple short flights, one in the very tiny jumper plane which then brought them to Savute Elephant Lodge. Savute is known for having the largest concentration of predators, and has a dry, sandy terrain. The lodge offered incredible tented accommodations complete with outdoor showers, fine linens and spectacular views. Belmond’s luxury extended throughout the Safari experience including the open air jeeps used for game drives. With tiered seating there wasn’t a bad seat to be had, and Kathy saw some amazing animals. While there were elephants and giraffes galore the highlights were the lion cubs playing and seeing the elusive leopard twice (which surprised even the guides). 

Kathy stopped at Belmond Khwai River Lodge for a site inspection, lunch and short game drive to get a taste for Belmond’s third tented camp lodge. This property is unique because it has a big river that attracts a lot of wildlife. Kathy was fortunate enough to see a den of wild dogs on her game drive.   Kathy recommends that travelers spend at least 2 nights to take in the wildlife and scenery here.

After another thirty-minute flight by small plane, Kathy arrived at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, a stunning tented camp in the flood plains. Be sure to visit this lodge between June and September, as this is the flood season and game drives are done by boat. After three days of game drives on land, Kathy found the boat drives to be a fun way to see different animals. Belmond’s aluminum motor boats zip guests in between the reeds to wildlife unreachable by land such as hippos and crocodiles. You can also get a bird’s eye view of the plains with Belmond’s helicopter safari experience. The colors of the landscape and the thrill of the open-air helicopter just tickled Kathy. She also got to visit a local tribe and interact with residents. She treasures the personal experiences she had dancing with the children and shopping for hand-woven baskets. Of the three lodges, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge has been most recently renovated. Kathy described her tent as uber-luxe with a soaking tub, plunge pool and both indoor and outdoor showers.

As Kathy describes, “The staff were exceptional, and there for your every request. The guides were so knowledgeable, funny and entertaining. Every stop, whether coffee in the morning or “sundowners” at dusk, was done luxuriously with linens, glassware and a full bar all while in the middle of the African Safari.”

Her memorable trip didn’t stop with Safari though. Kathy spent the final days of her trip in Cape Town at the historic Belmond Mount Nelson, a superbly located property within the city allowing guests to walk around town with ease. Kathy was fortunate enough to get to explore their great wine region, which is just two hours away, and ride in a motorcycle sidecar along the coast. To take in all the spectacular views of Cape Town travelers need to be sure to visit Cape of Good Hope and see the oceans collide, and hike (or cable car) to the top of Table Mountain. At the end of each day though Kathy was grateful to come back to the luxury of the Belmond Mount Nelson where she could relax in her spacious suite and take in the views of Table Mountain. 

Kathy hated to leave Africa, but she would love the opportunity to send you there! If you want to create an amazing and memorable trip to Africa contact Kathy B at or call your Sanders Travel Advisor.