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Travel & Leisure - Island Adventures


The Islands of Tahiti




The 118 islands and atolls that make up the Islands of Tahiti were just named the top pick in the 2014 BRIDES Best Honeymoons. 

This year marks the first time the Islands of Tahiti, officially known as French Polynesia, has taken the number one spot in this yearly listing.

“On behalf of Tahiti Tourism and the Islands of Tahiti, we are honored to be recognized as the best honeymoon destination in the world,” stated Jonathan Reap, Managing Director, Tahiti Tourism North America. “The islands truly offer the ultimate in romance from the stunning backdrop of lush mountains and turquoise, lapis and aquamarine lagoons, iconic overwater bungalows, world-class resorts and quaint French-inspired restaurants, all add up for the ultimate private honeymoon. Also, we are closer than many think, just an 8-hour flight from Los Angeles.”  

BRIDES conducted a survey in conjunction with Virtuoso, a network of thousands of luxury travel agents, to determine the most romantic honeymoon escapes in the world for 2014. Published by Condé Nast, BRIDES is the country’s leading bridal brand and most trusted resource for brides.


 Nanuku on Fiji



New “Celebrate In Paradise” Package

Invites Guests To Experience All-New Resort

Setting a new benchmark in luxury in the South Pacific, Nanuku Resort & Spa Fiji welcomed its first guests when it opened recently in Pacific Harbour Fiji, the only all inclusive “all-villa” boutique resort located in “Fiji’s Adventure Capital” on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu in the South Pacific.  www.nanukufiji.com.   Fiji’s newest resort to open boasts its own airport and two miles of private beach.  The resort represents an investment of approximately $25 million.

                Nanuku Resort & Spa Fiji requires a three-night minimum, priced from $2,268.00 USD, for two people, double occupancy, based on space availability.  As part of their stay, guests receive, three meals a day with fresh, local produce and ingredients; and non motorized activities, including paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling.  A favorite among guests will be the Resort’s Cultural Program which highlights a range of activities, including Fijian village visits, kava ceremonies, Lali drum at meal times, and torch lighting at sun down.   The stay is inclusive of private car transfer to/from the resort.  Guests pay additional for spa treatments, game fishing and scuba diving.

                Fiji’s newest exclusive luxury resort, located amid lush tropical gardens overlooking the pristine Beqa Lagoon, on one of the mainland’s spectacular white sandy beaches, is only a 1 hour and 50 minute drive from Nadi International Airport in the Fiji Islands.  The Resort, located on 55 acres, offers couples and families two-tiered choice of accommodations – the Vunikau Residence perched on a volcanic edge overlooking the lagoon, and striking Beachfront residences.  Resort service is key at this private island where rest and relaxation reign supreme.  Personal butlers, personal fitness trainers, private nannies and customized experiences sets the resort’s service standards apart from other resorts.

                “The resort blends contemporary luxury with traditional Fijian design, and provides travelers with an unforgettable experience, one that is romantic, adventurous and rich in culture,” says Resort General Manager Karen Taylor.

Getting There - GETTING THERE:

Travelers can book flights via the airlines new website which boasts updated features and service options and an improved reservations platform. On board, Fiji Airways has introduced new (A330) and refreshed (B737) interiors. Revitalized service, including new meal options, new crockery and linens, have been introduced to offer an improved long-haul dining experience.  Information/reservations:  www.fijiairways.com.

For more information about Nanuku Island Resort & Spa Fiji, visit www.nanukufiji.com, contact reservations at reservations@nanukufiji.com or call 011 679 345 2100.



Sense of Style

OMNIA Indian Garnet

Sophisticated and feminine veils the Omnia woman's mystery

and enchantment at fleeting dusk.


By Air & By Sea

More Cities to Serve You 
From Mexico to … Way Beyond
Our route map may be crowded, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for more. From the Arctic Circle to the Yucatan Peninsula, the nation's capital and beyond, somewhere adventure awaits you – and we can take you there. 

Alaska Airlines adds two new Mexican destinations

Alaska Airlines seeks government approval for new services Portland to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. 

An application has been submitted to commence non-stop flights between Portland, Oregon and the two popular Mexican resorts.


The planned seasonal service will operate between Portland and Los Cabos from November 3 to April 27, 2015, and between Portland and Puerto Vallarta from November 4 through to April 26, 2014.


Both routes will be operated by B737 aircraft and strengthens a Mexican network that already includes Guadalajara, Mexico City, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Loreto and Zihuatanejo.


Alaska’s SVP of communications and external relations, Joe Sprague, commented: “Alaska Airlines is committed to offering the most non-stop services from the Pacific Northwest to places our customers want to explore, and Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta are hot spots.”


In April the airline announced plans to resume its seasonal non-stop service between Seattle and Cancun from November 6, with the route granted approval at the beginning of May.


It flew the Seattle-Cancun route for almost a decade before suspending flights in 2010 citing profitability issues. 


Fly the 'Allergy-Friendly' Skies: Airline Aims to Ground Allergens

Relief is on the way for travelers with food intolerances and allergies. Beginning in May, Swiss International Air Lines is instituting an "allergy-friendly" policy.

"We have seen a steady increase over the past few years in our customers' need for an air travel environment that pays due regard to any allergic conditions," said Frank Maier, Swiss's head of product and services. "So we've been working with [the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation] to provide a concrete response to these demands to make everyone's air travel experience as pleasant and problem-free as possible."

The changes -- which make it the world's first airline to get a seal of approval from the foundation -- address environmental allergens and food intolerances, but not food allergies.

Gentle Soaps Added, Air Fresheners Removed

Changes will include making available gluten- and lactose-free snacks and drinks in flight and "allergy-friendly" foods in Swiss lounges in Switzerland. Passengers with food intolerances will be able to order special meals in all seating classes during long flights, but only in business class within Europe. Requests for special meals must be made at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure.

In addition, changes will be made to the cabin environment, such as air filtering, gentle soaps in the lavatories and pillows stuffed with synthetic materials rather than down as an option in first and business classes. Further, the cabins will no longer have fresh flowers or air fresheners. Cabin crew members are trained to respond to allergic emergencies.

Clifford Bassett, an allergist and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, applauds the airline's efforts in addressing the growing population of individuals with food intolerances as well as those with environmental allergies and asthma.

He notes the airline is not yet addressing the needs of the up to 5 percent of adults have food allergies. These passengers need to make an action plan with their allergist and travel with foods that are safe for them to eat, as well as two to four epinephrine auto-injectors. Passengers with airborne food allergies should request a barrier of 10 to 15 rows in front and behind their seat to reduce exposure, although ideally there would be no food allergens, he says.
Qantas this week celebrates the 60th anniversary of its first trans-Pacific services to the USA.
On May 15, 1954, a 60-passenger Qantas Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft departed Sydney for San Francisco and Vancouver. The journey to San Francisco took around 30 flying hours and involved fuel stops at Fiji, Canton Island and Hawaii.
Qantas named this the Southern Cross Route in honor of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew who made the first flight in 1928.Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey said the sixty year milestone highlighted Qantas’ ongoing commitment to the USA.
“Qantas is proud of its flying history to the US. Some of our most historic moments have been on the trans-Pacific route including the start of the jet age in 1959 with our first Boeing 707 services and introducing the largest commercial passenger aircraft, the A380, on the route in 2008,” said Mr. Hickey.
“The milestone comes in a year where Qantas is investing significantly in the customer experience to the US, including the opening our new First and Business Lounges in Los Angeles and the introduction of A380 services between Sydney and Dallas from September.
“Today, Qantas customers have more choice than ever before when it comes to flying between Australia and the United States. We offer 38 return services each week, with codeshare connections to more than 100 destinations with our partners across the US, Mexico and Canada,” added Mr. Hickey.
The airline first established itself in North America in San Francisco in 1954, when it took over the operations of British Commonwealth Pacific Airline in September 1947.
This year also marks thirty years since Qantas began non-stop flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles beginning in April 1984. These services were operated by the long-range Boeing 747SP with a flying time of around 16 hours. Today, the flying time is around 13 hours.
Qantas is the only carrier to operate A380 services between the US and Australia.


AdventureSmith Explorations in Concert
With Coral Princess Cruises
Offers Distinctive Australia/South Pacific Programs

Explorationshttp://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com announces that its clients may now request to sail the fragile eco-system of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in one of two cruising vessels purpose-built for this destination.
Through a new booking/promotional relationship with Coral Princess Cruises, these Australian owned, registered and Aussie- and New Zealand-staffed small ships bring the spirit of “Down Under” onto open waters.
Coral Princess and Coral Princess II are 35-meter, twin-hulled catamarans accommodating 50 and 46 guests respectively, built with strict environmental regulations for cruising the Great Barrier Reef. They can anchor directly over the edge of the Reef, thus allowing snorkeling to take place directly from the ship’s snorkel deck. (On bigger ships guests use tenders to transport guests to the snorkelling area as the ships must anchor away from the Reef.)
A sister ship, the 72-guest Oceanic Discoverer, is the most recently launched ship of its type operating in Australian waters today, purpose-built for this part of the world. Its shallow draft of just three meters means it can go into waters larger ships cannot access. (In Papua, New Guinea, for example this ship can go some 60 nautical miles up the Sepik River to the remote villages of Bien and Angoram. Other ships draw significantly more water and are not able to access the mouth of the river, meaning their exploration on zodiacs is limited.) Guests in this region are often drawn to witness the underwater world through a special glass-bottom tender that can be employed from this vessel.
On Australian itineraries, as Australian owned, flagged and operated ships, this fleet does not need, as do foreign vessels, to visit an international port as part of a voyage. This translates to more time exploring home territory.
Barrier Reef cruises operate January to December and Northern Australia / Kimberly cruises go from May to October. AdventureSmith Explorations announces the following small ship cruise programs with some departures offering special booking discounts:
Coral Princess will ply Australia’s coastal waters in October 2014 under the care of a 12-member crew. Cape York & Arnhem Land is a 12-day exploration combining “the Top End” of Australia, Great Barrier Reef, Cape York Peninsula, Arnhem Land and the Cobourg Peninsula. The per-person double rate is from $7,390. From May through October, The Kimberley - Cruising to the Australian Outback is an 11-day experience exploring the heartland of Australia’s northernmost unspoiled outback. The per person double rate is from $7,390.
Coral Princess II operates year-round on the Great Barrier Reef. Departures are from $1,596 per person double for four days. On four-, five- and eight-day Great Barrier Reef Cruises the second traveler can save 50 percent on the most comprehensive Great Barrier Reef itinerary available if booked during the month of May 2014.
Oceanic Discoverer in October exploresCape York & Arnhem Land for 12 days starting at $8,990 per person double.
This ship conducts two additional itineraries: 11- and 13-day Papua New Guinea explorations from $8,990 per person double for 11 days in November. Also in November is a 14-day Islands of the South Pacific cruise from $11,390 per person double. On these two itineraries guestssave 25 percent and there is no single supplement if booked by May 31, 2014.
A January New Zealand - Aotearoa - The Natural Elements 9- or 13-day cruise can be obtained at a 25 percent savings or no single supplement if booked by May 31, 2014. The per person double rate is from $5,990. The cruise explores the east coast of both the North and South Islands aboard Oceanic Discoverer.
On all three ships, modern Australian dining is a standout feature of the Coral Princess experience, with talented chefs making use of only the freshest of locally sourced produce in their sumptuous menus.
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. In 2012, owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious 14th Annual Travel Specialists List as the world’s expert on small ship expeditions. A distinction he received again in 2013. For information, availability and 2014 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit www.adventuresmithexplorations.com.





CMH and famed Post Hotel & Spa combine to offer

Heli-Hiking feast for the senses September 1-4, 2014

 CMH, the world's leading Heli-Hiking and Heli-Skiing company, and the legendary Post Hotel & Spa have come together to offer the ultimate Canadian Gourmet Getaway.


From September 1-4, guests of the CMH Bobbie Burns Lodge will enjoy an exclusive Heli-Hiking adventure capped by three evening culinary celebrations courtesy of the Post Hotel's Executive Chef Hans Sauter and CMH Chefs David Weslowski and Jonathan Goulet-Abitan.


Long-recognized and lauded for its culinary excellence and award-winning wine cellar, the Post Hotel & Spa, a Relais & Chateaux property in Lake Louise, Alberta, has also been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List for the "Best Food in the Americas" thanks in large part to the guidance of Executive Chef Hans Sauter who has led the renowned hotel's kitchen since 2005.


"We're excited to welcome Chef Sauter to the Bobbie Burns Lodge for this exclusive event," said Joe Flannery, President of CMH. "His imaginative dishes and creativity will undoubtedly add a unique, distinctive touch to the whole CMH experience which our guests typically hail as amongst the most memorable of their lives."


The Gourmet Getaway will include two-and-a-half days of Heli-Hiking in the spectacular Rocky Mountain backcountry described as one of Canada's "50 Places of a Lifetime" by National Geographic. Guests will be whisked away from the lodge each day by helicopter to explore ancient glaciers, scenic ridgelines and remote alpine meadows, often highlighted by sightings of wildlife like grizzly bears, elk and moose. Adrenaline seekers will also have the option to scale Mount Nimbus using the famous CMH 'Via Ferrata', a system of iron rungs, cables and suspended bridges. The reward for each day's efforts will include specially-crafted menus inspired by the spectacular setting and incorporating regional produce.


Swiss-born Sauter will create the inaugural evening's meal and he imagines a feast befitting his fellow countrymen who first came to the mountains of western Canada to forge passage through the unexplored region. "Hiking began in western Canada as a result of the Swiss guides who came here to train Canadians on safe mountaineering techniques and to find a passage for the railway," said Sauter. "It was hungry, noble work and deserving of a fine meal to re-energize them; I hope to create a meal in homage to that tradition."


CMH Chefs Weslowski and Goulet-Abitan will create the second evening's meal and then the trio of talented chefs will combine efforts for the final night's feast.


In addition to the Gourmet Getaway, guests will have the opportunity to add pre or post-trip extensions to their CMH adventure with a stay at the distinguished Post Hotel & Spa in Lake Louise, home and namesake to Banff National Park's revered "crown jewel" alpine lake.


Hiking equipment including boots, rain gear, day packs, water bottles and lunch bags will be provided by CMH to all participants. For additional information about the CMH-Post Hotel Gourmet Getaway, please visit www.cmhsummer.com. Reservations for the Gourmet Getaway and all CMH Summer Adventures, including special family adventures and photography or painting workshops, can be made by calling 1-800-661-0252.


Travel & Theatre Gems on PBS So Cal

Support PBS at http://www.pbssocal.org for informatiive, entertaining and educational programs that matter. Watch Rick Steves and go around the world. Watch Masterpiece Theatre for the best performances on television. Get the true historic details of "Mr. Selfridge." Visit: www.pbssocal.org



Pet Travel News . . . Finding a Pet Friendly Hotel or Inn



Take Your Four-Legged Friend Along

By Bonnie Carroll

The charm of Carmel-by-the Sea has been enjoyed by guests at Hofsas House for 60 years, and offers a pleasant ‘flash from the past’ experience for guests and their four-legged best friends. The community is known as a walking community and is an ideal location for taking long and interesting walks with your dog. Several pet boutiques and spas in Carmel are devoted to providing fun items and services for pets.

Hofsas House has been renowned throughout the world for their European style hospitality since their early beginnings, but owner Carrie Theis strives to always be moving forward and offers a portion of their rooms to guest traveling with their pets. The tree filled streets of the Carmel community offer a great work out for pets and their owners.

Carrie Theis, granddaughter of founder Donna Hofsas, seems genuinely happy to be a successful innkeeper in one of America’s most beautiful ocean side destinations. Her warm spirit and desire to make people comfortable can be seen and felt throughout the property. She talks with great pride about her grandmother Donna’s dedication and hard work to create the hotel and her family’s ongoing efforts to continue the history of Hofsas House. What began as three small bungalows in 1947 has blossomed into a successful 38 room tourist destination, offering the only heated swimming pool with a dry sauna in the area.

Places of interest are many, and include the beautiful Carmel Mission, where Father Junipero Serra is buried, and a museum highlighting a history of his life. Just down the road you will find the Mission Ranch and Restaurant, where sightings of owner Clint Eastwood are anything but rare, and if you are seeking wonderful theatre you may enjoy the Forest Theatre Guild performances.

Most Carmel restaurants are pet friendly, and I enjoyed Mundaka, where Executive Chef Brandon Miller is serving up some amazing Tapas, accompanied by freshly made sangria, local wines and signature cocktails. Lunch at Carmel Belle offers delicious healthy salads and home-made soups in a congenial atmosphere. But, If you feel like a short drive to Pacific Grove (ten minutes tops) The Beach House co-chefs Briana Sammut and Guillaume D’Angio will delight you with their California-Mediterranean dishes. The views from this restaurant are awe inspiring.

 On any vacation it is important to have a home-away-from-home to relax in at the end of a busy sight seeing, shopping or beach day, and the staff at Hofsas House make this happen for you. www.hofsashouse.com.


San Carlos Street,

Between 3rd & 4th

Carmel, CA

(800) 221-2548

Get the latest news on traveling with your pets, along with the latest new products at PetTravelCenter.com

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