The 49th Annual Seafood Festival

 

fullsizerender-172 weeks ago, I took a group to the Maryland Seafood Festival for the second year in a row. Just like last year, we had a really great time. Unlike last year, I decided that instead of going to the festival both days (Saturday and Sunday), we would take a tour of Washington DC on Saturday and only go to the festival on Sunday. Here are a few pictures from that weekend.

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Such a great time! I can’t wait to go again next year 🙂

Hotel Elysee

FullSizeRender (8)Last weekend my boyfriend Phill and I had the pleasure of staying at the fabulous Hotel Elysee in NYC (www.elyseehotel.com) for his birthday. As much as I would like to take the credit for finding our new favorite NYC hotel, Phill was the one who found it and reserved our stay. Even before we arrived, we knew that the service was going to be top notch but the hotel staff far exceeded our expectations.

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When we arrived, we were greeted by Wilton at the front desk (who Phill had spoken to previously about our upcoming stay and getting MOMA tickets). Wilton advised us that the hotel gave us a complimentary upgrade and that he guaranteed that we would love our room. When we got to the room and I opened the door, I immediately screamed “omg omg” LOL. The hotel had upgraded us to the presidential suite! Now sidebar as you may know, I travel a lot and stay at some of the best hotels in the world but this suite blew my mind. It was gorgeous! We felt like we were back in Paris again (I will be writing about that in my next post I promise..I have a lot of catching up to do lol). The huge suite had an old world charm and elegance to it. It had a fireplace, a piano, a huge bed and a cute little Parisian balcony that over looked NYC. Oh and because the upgrade wasn’t enough, the hotel sent us a bottle of red wine and a box of chocolate…and with that, they officially had us lol.

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After we checked in and lounged around our room for an hour or so, we headed downstairs to the club room where the hotel was hosting a free cocktail hour for it’s guests. We had some more wine and snacks before heading out to enjoy our night in the city. The next day after we woke up I literally did not want to get up out of bed. We laid in bed contemplating spending a few more days at the Elysee but we couldn’t because we both had so much to do that day. We headed back down to the club room to have a quick breakfast (which is complimentary) and then checked out.

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All in all we had the most fabulous time and I would highly recommend staying here. Phill and I will definitely be back soon.

Pros

  • Free continental breakfast
  • Free Wifi
  • Complimentary cocktail hour daily in the club room
  • Large club room
  • Prime Midtown East location
  • Lavish furnishings with an old world feel
  • Top notch service

Cons

  • None in my opinion

Overall Rating: 5

Would I stay here again: Absolutely!

3 Reasons Not To Use A Travel Agent

I saw this video on Youtube a few days ago and found it to be both hilarious and 100% accurate. Please check it out:

Le Phare Bleu Hotel and Marina Review

 

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I fell in love with Le Phare Bleu (www.lepharebleu.com) from the moment that I walked on property to do a site inspection back in November. I loved it so much in fact that I immediately booked 3 villas on site for the upcoming Grenada Music Festival (that we went to last month). What I like most about this resort is that it’s like a secret hideaway. The grounds are absolutely beautiful, the service is great and the rooms (and villas) are well furnished and comfortable. This is a perfect place for a romantic getaway or for anyone who just want to leave the hustle and bustle behind and just completely relax. Here are my pros and cons for staying here.

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Pros

  • Beachfront property
  • Great service
  • Amazing food
  • Daily breakfast included
  • Small and intimate
  • Great for anyone who is staying there and have a boat
  • The villas were perfect

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Cons

  • Somewhat isolated (can be a pro for some)
  • Spotty wifi
  • Tiny beach

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Overall Rating: 4.5

Would I stay here again: Absolutely!

Have questions regarding this resort? Contact me here.

Grenada Music Festival 2016

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Last month I brought a group down to the beautiful island of Grenada for the Grenada Music Festival. We spent 5 days exploring the island, dining on amazing foods, snorkeling, hanging out with locals and listening to great musicians from all over the world. To say that we had a great time is an understatement. Here are just a few of my pics from this trip.

Hotel Review: Riu Palace Las Americas

 

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The Riu Palace Las Americas is one of my favorite hotels. It’s absolutely beautiful and have some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! This all inclusive property is located on a beautiful beach and is just minutes from downtown Cancun.  Since the first time I stayed there I’ve been so impressed by the gigantic lobby that is full of glimmering chandeliers and the resorts regal decor which includes tall fountains, beautiful swimming pools and gorgeous flowers throughout.  The resort has 372 spacious suites that have amenities such as a turn down service, minibars filled with alcohol, a lounge area with a sofa, and flat-screen TVs. I love the fact that most of the suites have balconies with incredible ocean views and that there is so much to do on-site activities. Some of the activities that you can do there is play volleyball, go snorkeling or watch nightly live shows.

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Pros

  • All-inclusive beachfront resort
  • Spacious suites with balconies and ocean views
  • Over 5 restaurants to choose between on-site
  • Variety of activities including snorkeling and volleyball
  • Located minutes from downtown Cancun
  • Walking distance to shops and nightclubs
  • Exchange privileges with 3 other Riu resorts in Cancun

Cons

  • Some people may find the decor a bit dated

Overall Rating: 4.5

Would I stay here again: Absolutely!

Have questions regarding this hotel? Contact me here.

Update: I’m the New NYC CCRA Chapter Director, NY Travel Festival and more!

Hi everyone,

so much has been happening in the last few weeks that I wanted to share with you all. First thing is that I will be speaking at the NY Travel Festival this weekend! I can’t believe that I forgot to post that here. It’s been a very busy few weeks for me and I’ve been traveling a lot (I’ve gone on 2 trips since my last post.. Raleigh for a yoga teacher training and I just came back Sunday from Grenada) but I finally found some free time today to catch up on my blog.

The New York Travel Festival is a series of events for those whose lives are touched by travel: members of the travel industry, travel media, lifelong travelers, long-term travelers, college students, and people in career transition. I will be speaking on 3 panels this weekend:

Friday:

The Staffer, VIP, and Bid Breakfast from 8am-945am

Women Entrepreneur from 3-4pm

Saturday:

Attracting Diverse Travelers at 5pm-550pm

This is a great event for all travel lovers and for anyone in the travel industry. If you are in NY this weekend, you don’t want to miss it. You can find more infomation and purchase tickets at www.nytravfest.com 

My second exciting news is that I just became the NYC Chapter Director for CCRA (www.ccra.com). YAY!!! I am so excited about this. CCRA (formerly OSSN) is the premier travel industry trade association representing and supporting travel agents all over the USA. CCRA is a diverse family of brands, or a network, designed to facilitate commerce between travel professionals and industry suppliers.

My job as local director is to make sure every agent located under my chapter is getting the most out of their membership with CCRA. My goal is to help them grow their businesses and continue to succeed in the travel industry by providing them with education and support.

And finally, I will be going to Jamaica on Sunday to train for Sandal’s Resort Weddingmoon Specialist Program. I’ll be staying at the Sandals in Montego Bay and Negril for 4 days to learn the ins and outs of their program. Even though I was born in Jamaica and I have sent countless clients there, this will be my first time actually staying in a hotel there (my family owns a home there so we never stay in hotels) so as you can imagine, I am elated at this opportunity.

So that’s it for now. I’m a little behind on hotel reviews and blog posts but I will be posting a few more in the next couple of days so please stay tuned 🙂

xoxo

Sam

 

 

Cancun Weekend Getaway

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This past weekend my friends and I went to Cancun for a quick weekend getaway. I was really excited about this trip for a long time because even though I travel quite often, 9 out of 10 times it’s for work (yes I know I have the best job ever lol). This trip on the other hand was solely to get some R&R with my friends. We spent the majority of the time lounging on the beach and the pool, dipping in the Jacuzzi at night and eating some of the best food in Cancun. We even went sailing and visited Isla Mujeres where  I bought the cutest handmade crochet dress (to be debuted on date night with the boyfriend). All in all I had a great time. I love Cancun because it’s a quick flight away and you can get the party vibe if you want to or go there and enjoy some serious downtime. Here are a few pics from my trip:

Until next time,

xoxo

Sam

What Is A Travel Consultant and Why You Need One!

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Hi everyone,

I just relaunched my official site  (www.samtravelchick.com) Monday night! Yay! I’m really excited about my new site because I think that it now conveys exactly what I do for a living as a luxury travel consultant. A lot of times I get inquiries like “what is a travel consultant?” “Can you find me a deal?” “Why should I book with you instead of Expedia?” etc. So to answer those questions, I decided to write a post on exactly what a travel consultant does and why you would need one.

So what is a travel consultant? In a nutshell a travel consultant provides you a professional personalized service.  He or she has the resources, connections and expertise to add great value to your travel plans. They will work with you to select and plan travel experiences that are tailored to your unique wishes and budget. Because of their relationships with various hotels, cruise lines and travel vendors throughout the world, travel consultants are able to offer their clients preferred rates, amenities, upgrades, VIP status and credits that they cannot access on their own, through the Internet or by booking direct.

So who should use a travel consultant? I really don’t think everyone needs one. If you are the type of person who loves to spend hours researching on your own and only care about finding the cheapest deals possible, then a travel consultant may not be for you. However if you are planning a big trip like a honeymoon or an African Safari and would like an expert to help you invest your time and money wisely, then a travel consultant is definitely for you. They offer great value that adds a richness of experience to your vacations plans and also make the entire process less stressful and time consuming for you.

I hope this helps clarify what a travel consultant does and if you ever need one, please contact me via www.samtravelchick.com and I would love to work with you to make your vacation dreams come through 🙂

Until next time,

Sam

 

 

The 48th Annual Maryland Seafood Festival

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Last September, I took a group down to the 48th annual Maryland Seafood Festival. It was both my first time attending the festival and my first time organizing a bus trip! We stayed at the Hampton Inn BWI and I really had a great time. Here are a few of my pics from the trip:

We are doing this trip again next year except this time I added a city tour of Washington DC. If are a seafood lover and would like to go on a quick weekend getaway, you should join us! You can find more info here: http://jusadventures.com/washington-dc-city-tour-and-the-maryland-seafood-festival/