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Spain’s Island Destination for Charm and Style

By Bonnie Carroll


The Airberlin flight from Dusseldorf to Mallorca is a short trip, and arrival on the island is like landing on Kauai; your whole body response is one of immediate relaxation. Sightseeing begins in the morning and a good night sleep on this island is a synch; ocean winds sing you to sleep.


A short ride to the city center takes you to one of the most interesting and charming shopping venues, filled with boutiques filled with delightful summer fashions, pearl shops - the renowned Mallorca pearls can be purchased in duty free shop here, and they are quite lovely looking for man made pearls, and you will also find wonderful café’s that serve delicious coffee and pastries if you need a break. I was told that this city is also a great place to peruse by segway. Art is everywhere in this relaxed paradise. On every street there is actual artwork or examples of outstanding Spanish architecture. The inner gardens of these properties, along with the historic art are a glimpse to the past and the present of Mallorca.



The Cathedral d Mallorca, known as the Cathedral of the Eucharist, the Sea, Light and Space. In 1904 and 1914 Antoni Gaudi restored the interior under orders of Bishop Pere Joan Campins. Recently the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was totally reformed by Mallorcan artist Falinitx Miguel Barcelo. The Gaudi ceiling above the altar is extremely Gaudi and extremely beautiful. The Barcelo altar is very modern in design and depicts scriptures from the bible. Five roses windows preside over the naves, dating from the 14th century depicts a Morning Star, which is the symbol of Christ resurrected. During a short period during solstice the light through this large window is reflected on the Cathedral wall. The Cathedral Museum holds exquisite religious articles and paintings from various historic periods. This is an impressive site and should not be missed during a visit to Mallorca. Call 902 022 445 or Visit catedraldemallorca.org for information and Mass schedules.


The Alcazar Real in Majorca “citadel outside the city walls” is the LA Almundaina Palace and was the seat of the independent kingdom of Mallorca during the reigns of Jaime I, Sancho I and Jaime II until it became part of the kingdom of Aragon under Pedro IV. The castle visible today is the result of modifications to the Moorish fortress constructed from 1281. The building has a rectangular tower, the King and Queens Palace, Tinell Hall, a Royal Chapel and patios. A collection of fabulous tapestries and furniture from varied periods in history available for viewing are outstanding. It is currently used by His Majesty the King of Spain as a residence for official summer ceremonies. Visit: palmainfo@a-palma.es.


                                PUROBEACH - OASIS DEL MAR


Dining is an art on the island, and the diversity in food options and flavors is incredible. A favorite of mine was the Purobeach Oasis del Mar at Palma Bay. This is a super chic restaurant and spa where the young and beautiful hang out by the sea and enjoy great healthy food and drinks in a Zen atmosphere, The menu offers delicious chicken wraps and Asian noodle dishes and more. The bar offers photo ready pink mojito’s and Bellini’s. Guests may enjoy DJ selected music from early afternoon until late night. The Sunsets are unrivalled here, and this amazing venue offers Puro spa treatments that are done by the pool, overlooking the sea. Indian, Thai, Lomi Lomi, Reiki and reflexology massages are on the menu along with the pleasure of sunbathing next to the ultra-sophisticated white pool area. They are open daily from 11 am to 6 pm. Visit: purobeach.com.


The beaches and the night life rock on Mallorca, and there are an endless number of night clubs to let loose in. The balmy weather makes walking in the party areas a pleasure, and the people are all having fun. The fashion police would not find anything to complain about here. Everyone on the island is beautifully dressed, and the men all smell good. Designer clothes and colognes are abundant. For additional information visit: fomentmallorca@biteles.

What an amazing place this is. An island with all the ease of any beautiful island, but with european style that at times makes you

forget you are not in a major city in Spain or Italy. What a pleasure that there are direct flights to assist travelers who persue an escape to Mallorca. Visit: www.airberlin.com.




Hotel Mar Monte Becomes Hyatt Santa Barbara; Embarks on

$9 Million Renovation of Oceanfront Landmark Hotel

 As of today, Hotel Mar Monte, Santa Barbara’s much-loved, 80-year old oceanfront property, will proudly raise the Hyatt flag as it becomes Hyatt Santa Barbara. This landmark hotel, a community and visitor’s destination for generations, has been undergoing extensive renovations to all guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces since February.

The first phase of renovations, including 92 guest rooms, as well as the hotel lobby, landscaping and décor around the pool and deck area, has been completed for the summer. In October, the renovation will resume on the remaining 79 guest rooms and all function space. Renovations are expected to be completed in 2012 when the property will be fully refurbished to a classic fusion of Spanish Colonial architecture, casual elegance and modern conveniences.

Ensuring a seamless transition, Hyatt Santa Barbara will retain the Hotel Mar Monte’s traditional charm and hospitality. Offering a wide range of amenities and services, the new Hyatt Santa Barbara will be home to 171 stylish guestrooms, each graced with ocean or mountain views, the Hyatt Grand Bed®, a flat screen HDTV and iHome Stereo with iPod® docking stations. Hotel amenities and services include a heated outdoor pool and whirlpool, fitness center, spa, business center and Bistro 1111 restaurant. In addition, bicycle rentals, winery tours, beach activities, day trips and much more can be coordinated with the hotel concierge.

Santa Barbara is well known as a destination for weddings and conferences. Hyatt Santa Barbara’s ten thousand square feet of indoor/outdoor unique and flexible meeting space with state-of-the-art technology ensure business and private functions are seamlessly executed. With postcard-perfect ocean views, bougainvillea draped patios and fine cuisine, weddings are dreams come true.

For casual upscale dining, Bistro 1111 offers a stylish Santa Barbara experience for hotel guests and locals alike. With an ocean view setting, the restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine with California flair. At the restaurant’s center is a cozy lounge where guests may enjoy cocktails, light fare and a daily happy hour.

Hyatt Santa Barbara is the newest addition to a collection of 23 Hyatt brand properties offeringrestful and contemporary rooms and the expertise of enthusiastic insiders to help guests make the most of their stay.

Santa Barbara, also known as the American Riviera, is one of the nation’s most renowned destinations. With a reputation for showcasing the quintessential California coastal life, world-class cuisine and subdued glamour, Santa Barbara attracts visitors ranging from presidents, royalty and movie stars to surfers, beach combers and families. And as a classic wedding destination, Santa Barbara offers romance, breath taking views and superior service.

 About Hyatt Santa Barbara

Hyatt Santa Barbara has 171 guest rooms offering ocean and mountain views. Nearly half of guest rooms have been fully updated, with the remainder going under renovation this year. All rooms are equipped with iHome stereo with iPod® docking station and pampering products. Amenities of the hotel include heated outdoor pool and whirlpool, bicycle rentals, fitness center, high speed internet, 24-hour business center, valet parking, concierge services, FastBoardTM and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. Bistro 1111 is open daily for breakfast lunch and dinner.  Hyatt Santa Barbara is located at 1111 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Reservations can be made by calling 805-882-1234. www.santabarbara.hyatt.com.


Hotel Lone, Design Hotels™ first member in Croatia is now open. The 248-room property is located in the picturesque Mediterranean town of Rovinj, in the exclusive Monte Mulini neighborhood. Built to resemble a sleek white ocean liner floating on the hillside, the hotel offers a wide range of places to wine and dine including three restaurants, three bars and a night club. It also features a Mediterranean-inspired wellness center, a 600-seat auditorium and nine other meeting and conference spaces with state-of-the-art technology. Hotel Lone’s design focus, together with first-rate event and leisure facilities, create the perfect symbiosis of work and play.

The project is led by Croatian architect Silvije Novak of 3LHD and inspired by the typology of 1970s Croatian hotels. “The Croatian coast has several architecturally-impressive hotels from forty years ago, and their appearance is still modern today,” says Novak. “Many of them are terraced hotels with large lobbies, and this is exactly how we have organized the space of Hotel Lone.” A “Y”-shaped structure is created along the coast to give all rooms spectacular sea or park views, and a dramatic hotel lobby opens up towards the sky with an atrium spanning six levels. Respect for the environment is shown in the interior design, with integration of the natural surroundings into many of the hotel’s public and private spaces through large glass walls and mirrors.  

Inspirational Events
Within the hotel are ten meeting and conference spaces, the largest of which can hold 600 people. Together with its sister hotels in the surrounding area, it is capable of hosting major events with over 3,000 participants. The aesthetic and inspirational spaces are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and are ideal for tailormade meetings and workshops.

From Gastronomy to Wellness
With seven restaurants and bars, each with a different concept and cuisine, the hotel is a must-visit for food and wine enthusiasts. A la carte restaurant “L” offers traditional Croatian cuisine and over 200 old and new world wines. “ON” focuses on Mediterranean and central European cuisine through buffet and live cooking stations. Restaurant “E” features traditional Eastern cuisine infused with Mediterranean flavors; a highlight is the seafood tapas.

The Wellness Center boasts eight treatment rooms, some with large glass walls with stunning views. The offerings are varied including facial and body treatments, massages, invigorating baths and sauna with scented steam, Finnish, Turkish, salt and infrared sauna options.

Inside the Wellness Center is also a gym, an aerobics room, a relaxation room, water beds, experiential showers and a swimming pool with hydro-massage therapy. There is also a specially designed space dubbed “sunken room” where guests float on hydro massage beds and chairs.

Bespoke Art and Furniture
Hotel Lone features a collection of bespoke furnishings such as chairs and lamps from renowned designers like Patricia Urquiola, Richard Schultz and David Rowland. Specially commissioned visual art installations can be found throughout the hotel’s public spaces. “We wanted guests to feel comfortable in vast spaces without being intimidated,” explains Croatian artist Silvio Vujicic. On the walls as well as along the lobby, spatial mixed media installations draw guests into the story and concept behind Hotel Lone. The rooms and suites are also decorated with graphics by Vujicic. As a screen-printing, textile and mixed media impresario, Vujicic drew his inspiration from Istrian cultural heritage and 15th century frescoes.

Location and Rates
With a private location near the sea of the Golden Cape Nature Park, Hotel Lone is surrounded by the historical Mediterranean Park Forest Zlatni Rt and is a 15 minutes walk from Rovinj’s historic town center and marina. 

Rates range from EUR 186 – 1813. The hotel is currently offering a 3 for 2 Summer Special. Available for a short time only, from now until September 1, 2011, guests booking three nights will only pay for two. www.designhotels.com/lone



National Holidays In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s Festival Capital, Offer an Authentic Look into the country’s Rich Cultural Heritage 

Visiting a foreign country on a national holiday presents a culturally rewarding experience and a chance to see the country through the cultural traditions of its people. Often referred to as Mexico’s Festival Capital, Puerto Vallarta proudly celebrates Mexican national holidays with exciting sights, tastes, sounds, and experiences for locals and tourists alike.

Culture Comes Alive el Dia de Charro
September 14 marks el Dìa de Charro, or Cowboy day, where men and women ride through the town to honor the Mexican cowboys. Locals will ride on the ornate shorseback through the streets wearing sombreros and brightly embellished jackets representing the colors and culture of Puerto Vallarta. The festivities continue into the evening with rich food, celebratory dances, and traditional charro style calf roping.
¡Viva México!
On September 15, the Eve of Mexican Independence Day, thousands gather below the balcony of the Municipal Square to listen to the Mayor proclaim el grito de independencia, or the cry for independence: “Mexicanos, Vive Mexico” at 11 PM. El Grito is an event not to missed as it is followed by much celebration, food, drink and fireworks. Widely celebrated throughout Mexico, el dìa de independencia on September 16th commemorates the day that Miguel Hildalgo announced the Grito de Dolores, starting the Mexican revolt against the Spanish rule.  Businesses and government offices are closed and locals hold festivities with plenty of food and dance to celebrate their liberation.
Join Puerto Vallarta on November 20 to commemorate “el Dia de la Revolucion,” or Revolution Day, the start of the Mexican Revolution ignited by Francisco Madero. More commonly known as el veinte de noviembre, Revolution Day is celebrated in Puerto Vallarta with colorful grand parades, festive parties as well as patriotic speeches and official ceremonies.
Enjoy the origin of Puerto Vallarta at the Fiesta de Guadalupe
One of the most celebrated holidays in Puerto Vallarta is the Fiesta de Guadalupe on December 12, honoring the appearance of the “Queen of Mexico” in 1501 as well as the day that Puerto Vallarta was founded. The midnight ceremony is televised nationwide as she is serenaded with Mariachi and dancers who chant to the spirits and continue to dance the next day in front of the Basilica. Hotels throughout Puerto Vallarta commemorate this famous image on property with statues and flowers. After the religious ceremony, join the celebrations on the Malecon with fireworks, and a variety of street food vendors offering Mexican delicacies.
Christmas Overseas
La Navidad, or Christmas, is widely celebrated in Mexico. In Puerto Vallarta, the nine days before the religious holidays are celebrated in joyful anticipation of the special day with Las Posadas, or processions, throughout the streets to symbolize Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. People of all ages gather in El Centro on Christmas Eve at Our Lady of Guadalupe church with piñatas and colorful clothing to listen to music and partake in the exciting festivities that carry on into the night.
Shortly after Christmas, the festivities continue on into the New Year when Puerto Vallarta gathers on the Malecon, the preferred spot to watch the fireworks display. After the fireworks, follow the crowds and celebrate the night with music and dance in the street in the Romantic Zone. Puerto Vallartans celebrate New Year’s Eve by honoring the Catholic traditions of the Spaniards who came centuries ago by eating the 12 grapes of happiness, one grape every time the clock strikes at midnight.
Travelers visiting Puerto Vallarta will have the unique and memorable opportunity to experience these cultural celebrations first hand. The local community welcomes tourists to join all of the festivities and learn about the cultural heritage of Puerto Vallarta.
Additional information on Puerto Vallarta is available at www.visitpuertovallarta.com

New passenger’s rights go into effect August 1st  - airline passengers need to understand the fine print.

Will the Department of Transportation’s move to impose new airline passenger protection rules really make traveling easier? Ian Ford, a travel expert and business owner with more than 15 years in the industry, believes the four major components to the rules are a step forward. But, he also sees the “fine print”.

Ford points out:
§  That airlines that lose a passenger’s luggage will now be required to reimburse the passenger for baggage fees and actual luggage cost.

§  There will be an additional charge for unreasonable delays in getting passengers their bags, though ‘unreasonable’ and when a bag is considered lost isn’t clearly defined. Airlines may still delay weeks in getting a person their bags or money with the new rules.

§ Passengers bumped from a flight will be eligible to receive double the amount of the ticket they paid for -- up to $650 for short delays.

§ Those passengers subject to longer delays would be eligible for payment up to four times the price of their ticket, up to $1,300.

However, Ford says this isn’t as good as it seems. He says anyone that has tried to jump over to another airline after being bumped, will find “walk up” prices are astronomical usually starting at $800. 


The great summer party on the most romantic terrace of the Adriatic Riviera.

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Great come back of the most  exclusive mid-summer party on August 15th! On the backdrop of the famous Liberty façade, the beautiful terrace of the Grand Hotel Rimini welcomes the guests in a romantic atmosphere, under the vault of heaven.

Appointment at 20.00 with the Grand Aperitif in the hotel’s gardens, followed by the Grand Regal Buffet especially prepared by the Chef Claudio Di Bernardo and his brigade. Thousands of flavours from the land and the sea presented in a blaze of scents and colours accompanied by the best wines from our cellar and nicely presented by our sommelière.

During dinner and after dinner, musical entertainment by the Amarcord Band with a mix of the most beautiful songs of all times, to make you dream and dance.

€ 120,00 per person, beverage excluded
€ 70,00 children up to the age of 6, beverage excluded

Grand Hotel Rimini****L
Parco F. Fellini, 1
47921Rimini (RN)
Tel. +39 0541 56000
Fax + 39 0541 56866

Set in the heart of Marina Centro, inside a magnificent park and overlooking the sea, the Grand Hotel Rimini is one of the most famous symbols of Romagna. Major renovation works, carried out under the supervision of the Ministry of Fine Arts, have brought the Grand Hotel Rimini back to its ancient splendour. The elegant building is composed of 170 rooms (of which 15 suites) - between the main building and the adjacent Residenza Parco Fellini - 5 restaurant rooms, American bar, a large swimming-pool surrounded by the centennial park, private beach with swimming-pool and bar-restaurant. During the summer, the magnificent terrace with view on the gardens, hosts dinner-dances, cocktails, weddings and social events. A modern conference centre and an excellent oeno-gastronomy complete the unmissable offer of the Grand Hotel Rimini. Open all year long.


    Anglophile Alert: A Safety Message Regarding the London Riots – A Message for Tourists in London

We normally avoid covering the negative aspect of things in Britain – but this is something we can’t avoid. The recent riots in London have gotten bigger and out of hand and now pose a safety threat to tourists in London.

It saddens us greatly to see a city we love so much in flames and descending into chaos. We’re not going to talk about what’s driving the riots, the government’s inept response – much copy will be spilt on that by people more qualified than us.

What we will do is try to provide some safety information for any of our readers and tourists whom are in London right now or will be soon

The rioting started out in the northern suburbs of London – areas where tourists would not normally tread – but starting last night, violent disorder spread all across London – even to some areas where tourists frequent (like Camden). This is a FAST CHANGING situation – we can’t tell you how it will be in London tonight or tomorrow – only provide some tips on avoiding or getting out of trouble.

If you’re in central London, in the more touristy areas – you should be relatively safe and be able to continue on with your trip as you would normally. Normal safety procedures should apply, watch out for suspicious groups of people, watch your pockets, stay near large crowds, avoid dark alleys, etc. If you witness something you shouldn’t see, turn around and get away from it as quickly as possible.

If you see something worthy of calling the police – and keep in my they were deluged last night with 20,000 calls – remember that in the UK, dial 999 for emergencies (not 911).

Most of the violence is happening in residential areas on the streets in the evenings, the safest place you can be is your hotel if violence breaks out in your area.

If you have questions or concerns, as a tourist your first stop should be the Britain and London Visitor Centre on Regent’s Street. The address is: 1 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4XT. The phone number there is: 0870 1566366.

For Americans – if you get into trouble or get scared, memorize this adress: 24 Grosvenor Square. This is the address of the US Embassy and you should head there if violence spreads to the tourist areas of London or you get yourself into a dangerous situation. Any black cab driver will know how to get you there. The 24-hour phone number for the embassy is: 020 7499-9000 (24 Hour Switchboard).

There were transport disruptions last night as louts torched busess and disrupted train services. Check the Transport for London website for updates or call their 24 hour information line: 0843 222 1234. If public transport is disrupted and you need to get around, find a black cab.

Keep your cell phone charged in case you get into a dangerous situation. If you witness rioting or looting, do not stick around. Give the police room to work and don’t become a witness. Don’t try to film it on your phone or take pictures or get in the way in in anyway. Get away from any disturbances, do not linger.

Much of this may seem like common sense, but we’re telling you all this for good measure.

If you have a trip planned to London in the next few days or weeks, I wouldn’t worry too much as this will mostly have died down in a few days. By all means, don’t let it affect future plans to come to London – that’s the last thing the London tourist industry needs on the cusp of another economic downturn. We have a trip planned for October and that’s not going to change.

We won’t provide pictures, videos or live updates of the ongoing troubles – we’re not that kind of website. If you would like to follow the changing situation, try these sources:

London can take it. Be safe.

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved