Shermanstravel Blog

Spa

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The last thing you want to think about on vacation is how to eat well. But overindulging while away can mean extra work to get back in shape when you return home.

The good news? There are lots of little things you can do to minimize the damage and take advantage of your destination’s local fare at the same time. Registered dietician Cheryl Forberg — who’s the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and a brand nutritionist for Omni Hotels and Resorts — offers specific tips for different types of escapes.

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It seems like “green” hotels are becoming more mainstream than ever before, with properties old and new adopting an overall ethos of eco-friendliness. But to the average traveler–someone who might not self-identify as environmentally conscious–what’s the real draw? Below, check out five hotels with perks that appeal to every type of traveler.

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Holiday Inn Resort Aruba

Fresh off a large-scale renovation earlier this year, the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba is not what you’ve come to expect from the global mega-chain. The brand’s standards are still there — its signature green sprinkled throughout the property and commitment to family-friendliness — but the resort’s spectacular oceanfront views and longest stretch of beach on the island are just as inviting to those looking for a romantic escape or group getaway. No matter which three of these categories your vacation falls into, you’ll return home dreaming of the soft white-sand beaches. Read more

Red Mountain Resort Utah

They say idleness is the mother of all vices – so it’s a good thing we had so much to keep us busy during a recent jaunt through rural southern Utah. Heading for St. George, a small, oft-overlooked town in the state’s bottom-left quarter that’s just under two hours from Vegas, we packed in a full three days of hiking, kayaking, outdoor yoga, and even a little art gallery browsing. And the best part: We even had time left over for some poolside lounging. Here’s how you can do it, too:

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You know you can ask the concierge to arrange a jeep tour or recommend a local restaurant. But did you know they’ll also hunt down the perfect souvenir or replace those dress slacks you forgot to pack while you lounge by the pool?

Most concierges want to do whatever it takes to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. The best part is that the concierge’s time and expertise is usually complimentary, though you’ll of course be charged for items and services purchased on your behalf. Gratuities aren’t mandatory but are always appreciated (a simple thank you in person or a sincere email when you return home go a long way, too).

Here, some surprising requests that you can ask of your concierge:

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mandarin oriental san francisco spa  happy hour

As much fun as a spa weekend can be, if you can shift the pampering to a weeknight, the savings are huge at some big-city spas. From San Francisco to Atlanta, happy hour-style spa specials mean general price reductions as well as mini-treatments for a fraction of the price of full-length ones. Here are four great promotions:

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As much as we appreciate hotel loyalty programs, accumulating points from just one hotel brand can feel like quite a slog, and a little uninspiring — who, besides the very frequent business traveler, wants the same brand experience each and every time they check in?

Just over a year ago, Preferred Hotel Group introduced a loyalty program, iPrefer, that honors stays at the more custom, bespoke hotels over the big box brands; it’s the world’s only loyalty program available at a global collection of truly independent hotels. Here’s how it works, and how you can join.

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Jamaica InnTaking a vacation in Jamaica doesn’t necessarily mean napping in the sun for a week. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more vacations that include fitness classes, adventure treks, dance lessons, and other kinds of physical activity. For a week of soothing, and highly focused fitness, check out this beautiful yoga retreat that we recently discovered.

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Captiva Island, Phil BramwellWhen it comes to island vacations, the fun begins before you even get to your hotel, or to the island itself: first, you have to cross the water that surrounds it. The hour-long drive to South Seas Island Resort over the Sanibel Causeway is a picturesque introduction to what’s to come: exotic birds, other-worldly plant life, and dramatic sky.

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bigcedarlodge

The Ozark mountain range is so vast that it not only covers the southern half of Missouri, it also extends to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. And even though it’s referred to as mountains, the area is actually a plateau. Covering 47,000 square miles, the rugged Ozarks are filled with forests, and hiking trails, and beautiful views. Here are some ideas for exploring:

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CuracaoWillemstedThe latest news from budget-friendly airline JetBlue is that they are beginning service to a new destination this winter. Starting December 2, the airline will fly from New York City to the Caribbean island of Curaçao twice a week, operating one round-trip flight each Tuesday and Saturday, making it the only airline to offer a direct service between New York and Curaçao. This opens up more appealing flight options, flights with Avianca take over 10 hours and require a stop in Bogota, while flights with American Airlines take more than seven hours with a layover in Miami, as well as more attractive fares, December flights with Avianca and American cost $653 and $689, respectively, while you can fly round-trip with JetBlue for less than $400. Read more

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Volcanoes and tropical rainforests are all well and good, but to get a taste of Costa Rican culture at its core, head into the countryside. That is, after all, where fiestas and horse parades came to fame. It’s where the only “traffic” might come from a feisty cow that’s strayed from its cattle, with a sabanero (cowboy) hot at its heels — where horseback actually is a popular mode of transportation, and where any local can howl exactly like the ubiquitous monkey clans that rove the trees.

If this sounds like a far-reaching haven, don’t worry. Along the northern Pacific Coast, Guanacaste is easily accessible via Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, serviced by 12 airlines from North America. (JetBlue, for one, flies direct from New York JFK from less than $400 roundtrip.) For an affordably pampering home base, check into JW Marriott Guanacaste. With its spacious rooms and tropical hacienda look — not to mention palatable off-season rates right now — it’s a fine extension of the laid-back, grounded spirit of the region.

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AC-Beach

Atlantic City has long been popular with visitors looking to try their luck at the casinos. But a couple of years ago, hotels like Revel started the non-gaming trend, when it brought Beyoncé in and set a new tone to the gambling destination. Suddenly there were more bars, nightclubs, restaurants by famous chefs, and even an outlet mall. Unfortunately, almost just as quickly as it opened, Revel and two other casinos are facing closure by this summer’s end. The Atlantic Club has already shut its doors, and the Trump Plaza and Showboat are next on the chopping block if a windfall doesn’t come.

Luckily, the fate of Atlantic City doesn’t have to depend on its casinos, and it remains affordable for those who know where to look. Here are your options for both accommodations and entertainment:  Read more

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A small, emerging destination in the Caribbean, St. Kitts still truly runs on island time. The moment you land on this breezy West Indies gem, you’ll want to adjust your pace and embrace the slow, peaceful way of life. To help you acclimate, here are five expected and unexpected places to truly unwind on St. Kitts:

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By Jackie Strause for Yahoo! Travel

The Suite Life: 15 Over-the-Top Las Vegas Hotel Suites

“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign (Photo: Thinkstock)

Hey, high rollers, big spenders, and “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” shouters: We’ve got some suites for you.

When it comes to Las Vegas, a suite is more than just a suite: It’s a villa, a penthouse, a bungalow — sometimes (ahem, Bellagio) it’s an estate.

We’re not kidding! For the best of the best, you can enjoy in-room elevators, 24-hour butler service, glass-enclosed lap pools and Jacuzzi hot tubs, movie theaters, full spa and salon services, fireplaces, rain showers, terraces with plunge pools, and courtyard gardens without ever leaving your “room.”

So cash in your chips and get ready to cash out with one of these 15 überluxurious dream pads. It’s no gamble: You’re sure to feel like you’ve died and gone to Sin City once you do.

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