Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Island
Barcelona is a city unlike any other – it has Gaudi’s modernist masterpieces, vibrant Catalan culture, and even a beach – making it a wonderful place to visit time and again. It also makes a great base for exploring other nearby destinations that complement rather than compete with its charms. Two great add-ons to a stay in Barcelona are Lisbon, Portugal, another intriguing city yet with a very different vibe, and the sunny Spanish island of Mallorca. I recently visited both and here are my recommendations:
LISBON This hill-bisected city on the River Tagus is often described as “melancholy.” Sure, its buildings are a tad weatherworn, a few of its streetcars are certifiable antiques, and its soulful fado singers can make you cry, but Portugal’s capital city is far from a sad place. Rather, it is an inviting collage of lively neighborhoods, each with its own charm and character: Baixa, its central hub, is home to wide, pedestrian-only Rua Augusta stretching from the graceful fountains of Rossio plaza (shown above) to the elegant arch on Praca de Comercio; Bairro Alto, or “high neighborhood,” is a 16th-century maze of narrow cobblestone streets that comes to life at night with its numerous bars; Alfama, a dense warren of steep medieval lanes, leads up to the viewpoints from Castelo de Sao Jorge; and Belem to the west is home to the 16th-century Manueline-style Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and Torre de Belem.
The Luxury With just four two-bedroom cottages set on a secluded West Bay beachfront, one-year-old Cotton Tree diverges from the typical Grand Cayman resort. The spacious cottages boast contemporary furnishings designed by Adriana Hoyos, Elemis bath products, a kitchen full of amenities, free Wi-Fi, and Wii consoles. The beach is a protected sea turtle nesting zone, with babies hatching in October. While a bit rocky for swimming, the famed Seven Mile Beach is just a 10-minute drive away. Guests can use the free shuttle service or one of the hotel’s loaner bikes.
Summer’s not over until the South Seas Island Resort says it’s over. The resort, located on Florida’s secluded Captiva Island (which is famous for shell-strewn beaches), has extended its Summer Escape package, allowing vacationers to stay in a sunny state-of-mind through October 31, 2010. Included in the package is a fourth night free when booking three consecutive nights (rates start at $149/night), a voucher for a free fourth night on a future stay, and 20 percent discounts on food and beverages, golf, water sports, sailing lessons, and the tiva kids’ camp!
THE VALUE: The 20 percent discounts alone can add up to over $250 of savings!
THE CATCH: The free nights do not include taxes, gratuities, or service charges and the voucher is only valid through December 20, 2010.
THE DETAILS: To book your stay visit www.southseas.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to help find low rates on flights to Florida.
Use our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Travel Guide to help plan your vacation.
The best time to enjoy any seasonal destination is just after high season ends, when the crowds have dispersed and room rates have been slashed by a third. So now is the time to book a sexy, sun-kissed October splurge on the incomparable island of Capri. Located in the Mediterranean, just off of Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast, this beautiful botanical Eden (shown at right; courtesy of Capri Tourism) has been a vacation spot ever since Caesar Augustus built a villa here way back in 29 BC.
Two millennia later, must-see Capri draws a mix of wealthy Italians who flock here in high season to relax in private villas, and day-tripping tourists who converge on the island via ferries from Naples and Sorrento. When tourist numbers wane, and the island is yours to wander as you please, this magical spot is romantic beyond your wildest dreams. October temperatures remain in the low 70s and dip to the still-comfortable mid-50s post-sunset, making it a truly pleasant time to visit. If October is too last minute, look into a visit next April or early May.
Setting the stage for the erratic dance of the four most-recent tropical storms, the Atlantic has been a less-than-friendly cocoon for leisurely cruising in the last nine days. The hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 through November 30, has carved four more notches on its belt, blanketing coastal areas of prime cruise destinations such as Bermuda, the Caribbean islands, and the Eastern U.S. and Canada in hurricane warnings at breakneck speed. Cruises headed toward these regions are altering their course to err on the side of caution, some switching from the Eastern to the Western Caribbean, others idling in harbors longer than planned, and more still canceling port calls completely.
Foodie couples should circle these two fall festivals on their travel calendars to savor gourmet cuisine paired with fabulous wines (and more) – all while enjoying soothing tropical settings that epitomize romance.
Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival From November 19-22, 2010 you can be the first to sample the unique flavor combos on offer at the inaugural food festival on this charming, Zagat-rated Caribbean island (shown above; courtesy of Barbados Tourism) that also happens to be the birthplace of rum. The four celebrated chefs invited to show off their skills are acclaimed New York chef and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio, award-winning international innovator Marcus Samuelsson, Asian-cuisine impresario and “Simply Ming” host Ming Tsai, and talented Texas chef/restaurateur Tim Love. Events range from a moonlit mingle wine- and rum-tasting with the chefs to hands-on cooking demos to an epicurean extravaganza featuring the invited guest chefs plus top restaurants, such as The Cliff from all around this food-centric island.
When summer “unofficially” ends and the kids go back to school, Massachusetts’ historic coastal resorts beckon as an ideal couple’s getaway – especially midweek when incentive rates make even the priciest properties quite affordable. Here are four seafront luxury resorts where romance blossoms as the leaves begin to fall.
The White Elephant This landmark 1920s resort, located on the harbor in Nantucket (shown above; courtesy of Nantucket Island Resorts), is ideal for couples who want a low-key ambience with easy walking or biking into the island’s postcard-perfect town, where boutiques and eateries offer up wool sweaters and creamy clam chowder to ward off the evening chill. Sunlit rooms have cheery ivory décor with elegant sea-inspired touches while the Brant Point Grill serves steak and seafood with a harbor view. Weekday rates start at $265/night in late September and $195/night in mid and late October. Read more
With Labor Day fast approaching you can almost hear the collective squeal of tires across America as families earnestly cram in a final getaway before schools cease being out for summer. Another noise you can almost make out, since we’re pretending to hear things, is the sound of Caribbean resorts dropping prices against the backdrop of their hurricane season, which runs through November. Good news is, if you’re willing to risk a trip during this period and pull the kids out of school for a few days, you can nab a shoulder season vacation that may have been unaffordable this summer and might be just as unattainable come winter.
The phrase “Brazilian beach resort” conjures images of tanned bodies wearing as little as possible and cavorting in the endless tropical sunshine – a forever-young-and-single paradise. But one Brazilian beach resort, Ponta Dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort in the southern state of Santa Catarina, is decidedly more couples-centric, a Zen-like five-star enclave where rustic-chic bungalows and gourmet cuisine satisfy a more subdued and sophisticated appetite for life. That’s not to say a stay here isn’t sexy. Cozy fireplaces, samba CDs and soothing Jacuzzis with sweeping sea views insure that private time is more than memorable, too.
With just 25 bungalows spread over a private peninsula dense with rainforest vegetation and rustling bamboo, this adults-only Relais & Chateaux resort, which opened in 2001, is the kind of place where busy couples check in unable to stop glancing at their BlackBerries or iPhones and check out a few days later unable to stop glancing at each other, their high-tech toys turned off even though the resort is fully Wi-Fi capable. The magic elixir: a combination of stunning setting – a boulder-strewn shoreline lapped by emerald water – culinary innovation and sensual pampering that leaves no sense unstirred.
Bocas Del Toro, the paradisiacal archipelago off Panama’s northern coast, is just a quick half-hour flight from Panama City. We landed on Isla Colon, home to the island’s main stomping ground, Bocas Town. The small, colorful town consists of a jumble of dirt streets lined with mangled buildings housing restaurants, dockside bars, surf shops, hotels, and hostels. On or around the main drag is where the action is come nightfall (check out La Iguana, a hippie-centric waterfront bar playing mostly reggae beats, and El Pecado, a tasty seafood joint with great Sangria). Our hotel, Bahia Del Sol, straddled the best of both Bocas worlds: Its location is close enough to town (a 15-minute walk), giving us easy access to local life, but far enough removed, fronting Zaigon Bay, so that privacy and a tropical lilt reigned supreme. Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals