Archive for April, 2013

Photography by Getty Images

Unkown Caribbean Islands

Aruba, Jamaica … Bermuda, Bahamas … for better or worse these Caribbean islands have been forever etched in our minds thanks to the musical stylings of the Beach Boys. But because of their staying power and relative proximity, these islands have become slightly blasé. They’ve “been done.” But don’t worry — before you jet off to somewhere more exotic like Tahiti or Koh Phi Phi — the Caribbean still has a few unknowns to consider.

Our writer says “from St. Martin’s sister island Saba, run by openly gay council members, to family-friendly Isla Mujeres in Mexico, there’s an island for everyone, especially those who seek solitude in a tropical setting.” Check out 6 islands to visit now before they’re completely taken over by crowds.

Courtesy of Calistoga Ranch

Every dream wedding needs a dream honeymoon to follow. After the Big Day has come and gone, where will you start your happily-ever-after? Every couple’s idea of a perfect honeymoon is different — some dream of lounging on a private stretch of sand, some dream of exploring a foreign city hand-in-hand. From a secluded island getaway to a romantic city escape, here are some unforgettable honeymoon spots.

Your Own Private Paradise in the Maldives

Start your happily-ever-after basking in the beauty of this romantic archipelago with crystal-clear water and pristine white beaches. You’ll find that many of the tiny islands have been converted into luxury resorts with private overwater bungalows. For a honeymoon that includes equal parts paradise and pampering, stay at Komandoo Maldives Island Resort.  In this adults-only resort, you’ll be in a world of your own with the ocean on your doorstep. For perhaps the most romantic meal of your life, enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach with just your and your new hubbie or wife. Watch the sunset while you dine on a meal chef-tailored just for you.

Say Aloha to Romance in Hawaii

Hawaii has always been a popular honeymoon destination … and for good reason. It may still be in the US, but with its beautiful beaches, active volcanoes and lush rainforests, it seems a world away. And with 8 major islands, there’s something for every type of couple — from the beach bums to the adventurers.  For the couples who want to enjoy secluded beaches and adventure activities, Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort offers it all.  The only resort on Oahu’s famed North Shore, Turtle Bay offers a secluded location far from Waikiki’s crowds with breathtaking ocean views and 5 miles of pristine beaches. There’s no shortage of outdoor adventures on this 880-acre paradise: Go horseback riding, snorkeling, standup paddle boarding or hiking. Plus, the North Shore is one of the best surf spots in the world — so perhaps you can learn to hang 10 as a couple on the islands where surfing was invented.

Old World Charm Meets Modern Luxury in Portugal

Portugal has recently topped the list as a popular honeymoon destination.  Brimming with Old World charm and traditions, Portugal is the perfect European escape for newlyweds who crave culture.  You can’t spend your entire honeymoon sightseeing — most couples want to relax after the wedding is over. For a mix of modern luxury and historic charm, honeymoon at the The Yeatman hotel, a luxurious wine-spa hotel located on the banks of the River Douro in Porto. After a day of port wine tasting (this is where port comes from, after all) and taking in the classic architecture of one of the oldest European cities, you can relax in hotel’s infinity pool, in-suite Jacuzzi or on your private terrace.  With a glass of world-class port wine, of course.

For more inspiration for planning your dream honeymoon, check out our picks for the Top Honeymoon Hotspots and 2013’s Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations.

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Photo Courtesy of Le Méridien Bora Bora

So maybe your last relationship went the way of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ … divorce. (Finally.) That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little spring fling of your own. In fact, you definitely deserve a spring fling — maybe to one of the world’s sexiest beaches. Or how about a getaway inspired by a family of expert jetsetters? Well, we’ve got you covered.

Drinking in the Dominican Republic
Last summer, the Kardashian clan took a memorable trip to the Dominican Republic — who can forget Kourtney’s hormonal mood swings or Kris’s Jet Ski joyride? Relive the happier moments of this luxurious vacation at Casa de Campo, the Kardashian clan’s resort of choice, with their gourmet meals, horseback riding on the beach and water sports at Minitas Beach … all minus the forced family bonding (and TV crews).

Playing Tourist in London
The Kardashian sisters let loose in London during a press tour last year, with Kim telling the press she’d love to have tea with Duchess Kate. That definitely didn’t happen, but Kim reportedly reached out to Kate with a note wishing her luck in her pregnancy. Again, no response. But there’s no shame in being a little obsessed with the Royal Family or in hitting up the touristy spots while in London. Take a ride on the London Eye, tour Windsor Castle or have high tea with your girlfriends (not including Kate). Maybe even do a little celeb spotting at one of these hotels known for accommodating the rich and famous.

Shopping in Paris
Kanye’s been shacking up in Paris to work on a new album, and the rumor is that Kim wants to give birth in the City of Lights. So during a recent visit, the couple did what they do best: they shopped. And what better place to go shopping than in the fashion capital of the world? Make the most of your splurge with these Paris shopping secrets. Nothing cures heartbreak like a little retail therapy.

Partying in Miami
Kourtney and Khloe are no strangers to Miami; they even had a whole series named for their adventures in this sultry city. While Kourtney stuck around the house with her baby, Khloe hit the social scene, particularly LIV at Fontainebleu, a complex of dance floors known for its high-energy nightlife, and The Plunge, a poolside bar on the roof of the Gansevoort Hotel. But you might need a Cuban coffee (Khloe’s obsessed!) to make it through the night – find one at El Pub in Little Havana or Cacique’s Corner in downtown Miami.

Bungalows in Bora Bora
Last April, Kris and Bruce brought the whole family to Bora Bora for their vow renewal. But a trip to celebrate a divorce or a breakup can be just as fun, if not more so, especially with a stay in an overwater bungalow. Imagine being surrounded by turquoise water on all sides with glass floors offering prime views of the diverse sea life. You should have no problem forgetting your ex on a trip like this.

Courtesy of Alila Villas Uluwatu

You’ll feel as though you’re drifting around the Indian Ocean when swimming in the seamless infinity pool at Alila Villas Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula in Bali. More »

Before you jet off on your Spring Fling, you’ll need to book a sexy hotel. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re planning to spend most of your trip at the spa, the bar … or in bed.

Sexy Hotels

1. Slip under the crisp, white sheets of your 4-poster bed at Jamaica’s Round Hill Hotel, where the rooms were designed by Ralph Lauren. Like what you see? This is just one of the many Sexy Hotel Beds we’ve come across.

 

2. Cozy up with a good read at New York’s book-themed Library Hotel, one of America’s Most Romantic Hotels.

 

3. Looking for a great hotel for a one-night stand? Your in-room private “love tub” at the Dominican Republic’s Tortuga Bay Hotel will put you in the right mood.

 

4. The spa at the LA’s Terranea Resort is a whopping 50,000 square feet and has 25 treatment rooms as well as its own pool and outdoor hot tubs, making it one of Oyster.com’s picks for the Sexiest Hotel Spas.

 

5. The 1970s-inspired lounge at the Dream in South Beach, Miami, is complete with a rooftop infinity pool and sexy seating arrangements, making it one of our picks for the Sexiest Hotel Bars.

 

6. The Ventana Inn and Spa in Big Sur, CA, makes our list of hotels with the Hottest Amenities. Take advantage of their free yoga classes, discovery walks and afternoon wine and cheese. Plus, one of their pools is clothing optional. Now that’s sexy!

Photography by Getty Images

Up, up and away. Take flight above the otherworldly terrain of Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey known for its “fairy chimneys,” minaret-like rock formations shaped millions of years ago by volcanic activity and erosion. More »

 

Tonight on the season finale of Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern travels to the eclectic city of Portland, OR . While in Portland, Andrew visits the not-to-miss bakery of Voodoo Doughnut, along with Olympic Provisions, a quality meats shop that produces 12 kinds of salami!

See all the places that Andrew visits tonight in our Portland Travel Guide. Plus, go behind the scenes for a sneak peek of tonight’s Portland episode in our Portland Pictures slideshow.

Watch a Sneak Peek: Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut

With spring in the air, are you feeling a little romantic? Here’s an idea: Think of someone you’d like to get to know a little better and plan an outdoor spring fling – this week you’ll have plenty of options for exploring a national park near you, and at no cost for admission.

Today through Friday, April 26, admission is free to all 401 national parks from coast to coast in celebration of National Park Week. With so many parks to choose from, and with at least 1 national park in every state, chances are good you’re 100 miles or fewer from an outdoor wonderland.

Your spring fling will have (almost) limitless possibilities: America’s national parks comprise 84 million acres of land; along with 43,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, 12,000 campsites, 100 million museum items and countless natural wonders such as Utah’s Delicate Arch (pictured). The tough part will be deciding which national park to see first.

Start by checking out this directory to Find a Park.

Also be sure to check out the National Park Service’s Download Center – yes, you will be prompted to enter your name and email address … but it will be worth it. In return, you’ll get ideas for crafting a national park adventure uniquely your own, courtesy of downloadable guides to 25 unforgettable national hikes; 35 national park adventures for kids of all ages and more.

Plus, check out this Event Calendar – it will keep you informed of national park events taking place throughout the week, from Junior Ranger days to bicycle tours of national battlefields. Just imagine, you and someone special taking a bike tour along a wide open green field — the setting for a memorable spring fling, right?

And with Earth Day today, combine your love of the outdoors with protecting America’s natural and historical legacy. Consider a donation to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks — donations go to support projects such as park ranger-led nature walks and preservation of history-rich acreage and monuments at places like national Civil War battlefields.

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Get active – discover these Top 10 National Park Activities.

Test your knowledge — take our US National Parks Quiz.

Enjoy a family outing at one of these Top 5 National Park Family Programs.

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