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14 Travel Options That’ll Spoil You Superbly | Part 1

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With America having suffered a pretty harsh winter from coast to coast, would-be wanderers are rejoicing as the weather warms and vacation venues beckon with stellar offerings. In fact, industry growth this travel season is indubitably (and understandably) poised to impress as outlined in the Skift Global Travel Economy Outlook 2019 and numerous other reports. But as the hospitality trade has exponentially upped their game across the board, it’s getting much more difficult to hone in on travel destinations and service purveyors worthy of our hard-earned dollars, and, more importantly, treasured downtime. With that in mind, here’s an apt assortment of travel purveyors that’ll pamper you with a purpose.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui 

Photo Ownership/Copyright Fairmont Hotels


First, we’ll start all the way out in the west most United States—a journey across the Pacific Ocean—to the uber-fabulous Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, Hawai’i’s only all-suite and villa luxury resort. They currently offer discerning travelers an expertly curated and indulgent itinerary featuring Maui’s most luxurious experiences through its “Luxe Villa Adventure” package. This elite bundle features a sumptuous stay in the resort’s exclusive collection of residentially appointed two- and three-bedroom private villas boasting 1,800 and 2,200 square feet of living space, each replete with the creature comforts of home. This includes a full gourmet kitchen with appliances and service ware, dining area, outdoor barbecue grill, multiple flat screen TVs, walk-in closets, oversized marble bathroom, and large soaking tubs. They each also boast a sizeable private, furnished courtyard with plunge pool for a more secluded respite from their numerous large-scale community pools with cabanas (one adult-only).

However, that’s just the beginning of this sumptuous stay. Travelers reveling in the richness of this celebrity designed package will also enjoy a signature in-villa barbeque by a private chef, with options for the desired menu items. For my visit, it was surf and turf all the way (Black Angus beef filet with grilled lobster tail), served with a savory tomato shrimp penne dish, wasabi-laced potato salad, grilled island-grown asparagus, and wild mushrooms all finished with a delectable crème brûlée. The package also proffers two Willow Stream Spa wellness experiences, plus access to other spa amenities like steam rooms, saunas, various Hawaiian rain experience showers, and a heated stone mud bench and footbed. Rounding out this incredible package is the private yacht charter aboard ‘Satisfaction’—Maui Yacht Charters’ 58-foot power yacht. On my recent excursion on this three-bedroom nautical beauty, I nibbled on cheese and charcuterie as a pod of migrating whales escorted our ship out to sea for a memorable Maui sunset.

Hawaiian Airlines

Speaking of Hawaiian vacations, I do want to make a quick mention about Hawaiian Airlines because they’re really going above and beyond with incredible guest services, making them my favorite way to fly to Hawai’i. Beyond the engaging and warm hospitality, they are known for at each touchpoint, once on board a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft, their signature in-flight hospitality engages throughout the experience with a friendly celebration of the culture, people and Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands. On a recent flight, I was nary in my seat for a few minutes when I was offered a delicious guava mimosa from an extremely affable flight attendant.

In striving for excellence, this airline shares the tastes of Hawai'i as the only domestic carrier to serve complimentary meals to guests in all cabins on transpacific flights that are designed exclusively by Chef Lee Anne Wong. Definitely a unique and tasty benefit there! In the first class cabin, a representative, amply-portioned brunch menu includes the infamous pre-departure signature Mai Tai cocktail; beverage service with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts; a first course of seasonal fresh fruits and warm croissant with butter and jam; a main course of Shiitake mushroom, sundried tomato and cheese quiche; and a dessert course of chocolate hazelnut cheesecake offered with coffee, tea and liqueurs. Speaking or first class, Hawaiian Airlines’ unique “Bid-Up” program allows guests to bid at their discretion for first class upgrades, starting around $245—a bid I successfully “won” at that low starting rate for what was a highly enjoyable voyage.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar San Diego 

Photo Ownership/Copyright Fairmont Hotels


A touch northward in San Diego lies the incomparable Fairmont Grand Del Mar. As one of only 11 properties in the world with a trio of Five-Stars, and named the number one luxury resort in California as voted by TripAdvisor travelers, Fairmont Grand Del Mar captures the elegance and comfort of an old-world Mediterranean estate paired with impeccable service and unrivaled luxury. Magnificently situated on 400 acres in a pristine coastal canyon just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, this architecturally-breathtaking resort features luxurious treatments at its Five-Star spa and exquisite dining at Addison under the direction of celebrated Relais AND Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley. Quite notably, Addison is Southern California's only Five-Star and Five Diamond restaurant where guests can enjoy elegant fine dining and creative contemporary cuisine.

The lavish, Addison Mizner-inspired resort is well-suited to San Diego’s warm climate and outdoor lifestyle, with an abundance of activities like golf at the city’s only Tom Fazio-designed course, tennis, hiking and four sparkling pools (with one adult-only). After sunset, Club M provides nightlife and entertainment just step from the resort’s 249 elegantly-appointed guestrooms and suites. Accommodations feature spacious marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, expansive balconies and terraces and spectacular views of the resort gardens, Grand Golf Club or Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Here you can relax, soak or dine in the comfort of your private and tranquil Southern California retreat.


InterContinental San Diego Hotel 

Photo Ownership/Copyright InterContinental Hotels


Next, we’ll trek to the most southern city in California where the InterContinental San Diego hotel awaits. Having just opened in September 2018, this scenic Bayfront property has brought a new wave of sophistication to the downtown area while creating a social epicenter for locals and travelers, alike. The 400-room property is located on the historic grounds of Lane Field—the San Diego Padres’ former baseball stadium from 1936 through 1957. From my corner suite, I was able to enjoy the glow of fiery SoCal sunsets because all of the chic and sophisticated accommodations here feature full-length, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the bay—oft also with the famous San Diego skyline and iconic Coronado bridge in view.

Location-wise, this property is perfectly situated for those wanting to get out-and-about on the town. The InterContinental San Diego Hotel is just steps away from the Embarcadero, which docks both the famed USS Midway and Maritime Museum of San Diego, plus several cruise ship ports. It’s also close to downtown hotspots, including Little Italy, the San Diego Convention Center, Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village and more. Guests can enjoy spectacular dining experiences at the hotel, which boasts San Diego’s only Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, as well as Vistal restaurant, which serves coastal California-inspired cuisine spearheaded by award-winning chefs.


Theatre Box San Diego Dining & Entertainment Complex 

Photo Ownership/Copyright Theatre Box San Diego


Speaking of downtown San Diego, when you’re in the area you’ll do well to hit Theatre Box—San Diego’s new dining and entertainment complex that occupies one city block, two stories and 73,000 square feet in the famed Gaslamp Quarter. The first phase unveiled TCL Chinese Theatre’s first eight-theatre, luxury dine-in cinema, where guests can order sashimi, personalized boxes of candy, cocktails and more at just the push of a button from the comfort of their individual cushy leather recliners.

The adjoined Sugar Factory retail and café offers over 500 types of candy, a gelato bar, house-made doughnuts and a vast array of other tantalizing treats. In the evening the Sugar Factory American Brasserie is a must, as this glamorous, high-energy restaurant is known for extravagant dishes and drinks like Rainbow Sliders, Insane Milkshakes, and Smoking Candy Goblets. Then there’s the Chocolate Lounge, an intimate 21-and-over lounge featuring chocolate martinis, chocolate fondue and other sugar-spurred decadence galore. Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out Sports Bar and Arcade as well as Pitbull’s rooftop lounge, iLov305, will reportedly open as part of a second phase.


Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula 

Photo Ownership/Copyright Pechanga Resort & Casino


Next, for a spirited respite is the one-of-a-kind Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California, which recently completed a $300 million expansion making them the largest west coast casino-resort property. Their beautiful two-story spa and salon, the largest in the Temecula Valley, was just rated Four-Stars by Forbes Travel Guide—not surprising since their unique treatments are all inspired by native botanicals and elements from the local area. This 25,000 square foot sanctuary of luxury, wellness, and serenity is designed for year-round rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit, boasting luxurious treatment rooms and relaxation areas with panoramic views of the surrounding hillside. Its numerous amenities, such as steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, a fitness facility, and outdoor patios, are specifically created to offer an intimate escape into wellness and tranquility.

Pechanga also now boasts 1,090 rooms and suites (including 568 new AAA Four Diamond accommodations), a huge nearly 200,000 square foot casino (with over 4,000 slot machines, 154 table games, a non-smoking poker room with 38 tables, a trendy Bingo hall and more), and “The Cove”—its 4.5 acre pool complex that is open year-round. There you’ll find three pools, including a zero-edge Main Pool that features a swim-up bar, a family pool with two waterslides and a splash pad and five spas, cabanas, fire pits, and live entertainment. Their golf course, Journey at Pechanga, is challenging and exciting, as it’s built around ravines and the mountainside.

When hunger strikes, guests can partake in any of the property’s 12 on-site restaurants, including the AAA Four Diamond-rated Great Oak Steakhouse offering superb 100 percent Prime Black Angus beef and many creatively inspired dishes amid a wine list recognized by the editors of Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines. Its Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar, helmed by Chef Kiyokuni Ikeda, who once worked under Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, is another not-to-be-missed epicurean experience. For some fun nightlife, Pechanga also has a comedy club, theater and rooftop nightclub, and lounge where you can dance the night away to DJ beats. There’s truly something for everyone at this remarkable resort.


The Portofino Hotel & Marina Redondo Beach 

If marina vibes are more your thing, the Portofino Hotel & Marina Redondo Beach—one of many distinctive hotels helmed by Noble House—is a perfect respite for both leisure and business travelers. Having recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, this picture-perfect property proffers authentic Southern California lifestyle in a casual, nautical-chic environment replete with maritime, yacht and seascape visuals evoking a true sense of place. The Portofino boasts the breathtaking Pacific Ocean and King Harbor views from sunsets and sailboats to dolphins and pelicans—all framed in the floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies allowing you to bask in the beauty that is Redondo Beach. King Harbor is also home to its own colony of California sea lions, with many rooms offering front-row viewing of the mammals frolicking, feeding and basking in their natural habitat.

The Portofino offers unique amenities, including BALEENkitchen, nationally recognized for serving eclectic cuisine amid stunning marina views. It’s ZAGAT-rated as "One of the Top 10 Best Restaurants for Waterside Dining in LA.” To this I can attest, having reveled in multiple gourmet dining experiences at the eatery, which far transcends that of a typical hotel haunt. Between meals, you can take a dip their heated pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean and work out in their state-of-the-art fitness center with treadmill, elliptical trainer, recumbent bike, free weights and more. One must-do whilst partaking in The Portofino: enjoy their complimentary Beach Cruiser bikes for a ride along the local oceanfront path that runs for over 27 miles up to Malibu! Complimentary bike locks, baskets, helmets and children’s bikes are also offered based on availability. There’s also wireless, high-speed Internet access available in the guest rooms and public areas and a 24-hour business center. Whether you visit The Portofino for work or play, the newly renovated sun-splashed waterfront guest rooms and suites, which feature a casual beach look incorporating hues of blue, yellow and white, are a perfect setting for an unforgettable reprieve.

The Georgian Hotel Santa Monica 

Photo Ownership/Copyright Pacifica Hotels


Continuing north to sunny Santa Monica is the famous Georgian Hotel—a truly unique oceanfront oasis that exudes 1940’s Old Hollywood glamour. As part of Pacifica Hotels portfolio, the largest owner and operator of boutique hotels on the Pacific Coast, it’s a must-visit venue for those looking for a quintessential California hotel experience. Adjacent to one of the best beaches in Los Angeles, The Georgian is a historic hotel with 56 guest rooms and 28 suites plus ocean view dining, making it the picture-perfect location to catch spectacular sunsets while sipping signature cocktails. Art deco-adorned accommodations offer ample amenities like plush bedding, in-room mini bar and complimentary Wi-Fi to boot.

Gastro-wise, guests can dine in style for breakfast, lunch, happy hour or dinner at its on-site Veranda Restaurant for a memorable beachfront dining experience. There, patrons indulge in its globe-hopping, chef-driven, contemporary menu that features breakfast favorites, coastal California cuisine, Mediterranean-fusion tapas, and indulgent desserts. During the day, bask in the beautiful Southern California sunshine and absorb the sounds and sights of the Pacific while enjoying High Tea on The Veranda Terrace. Just steps from the famous Santa Monica Pier and storied shopping at the Third Street Promenade, at The Georgian you've assured a charming stay with classic Hollywood ambiance near all of the beach action.




As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers, and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at
www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Source: https://research.skift.com/reports/skift-global-travel-economy-outlook-2019/

Rating: 5 votes Current score: 4

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