THE “LUXE TRAVEL GURU” MAKES HIS PICKS
FOR WHERE TO TRAVEL IN 2009
Mike Thiel, President and Founder of Hideaways International™, Inc., has one of the coolest jobs on the planet. He spends the better part of the year traveling the world checking out hotels, resorts, and cruise lines to vet the best spots to recommend to members of his Hideaways Aficionado® Club.
As the 2009 travel season gets into full swing, Mr. Thiel makes his recommendations for the best places to discover or rediscover this year:
THE BEST PLACES TO DISCOVER
Riviera Nayarit is the new name given to the stretch of beautiful beaches, luxury resort developments, and yet-to-be developed fishing villages north of Puerto Vallarta. It offers many sporting attractions (fishing, diving, surfing, wildlife viewing) and a wide selection of settings and accommodations, from large luxury resorts and villas to boutique hotels nestled in impossibly romantic settings.
While Europeans have long known the many appeals of Croatia, Americans are just starting to make the acquaintance of this land of captivating contrasts, from Greek ruins to castle towns and even a wine-growing region. Here, travelers can enjoy the Dalmatian Coast, with its “as far as the eye can see” beaches, chic and cultured cities like Zagreb (the “city of museums”), and the peninsula of Istria, with its well-earned reputation as the country’s gastronomical capital.
If Belize and Honduras make travelers think, “been there and done that,” they are going to love Guatemala. This Central American country is bordered by Mexico, El Salvador, Belize, and Honduras – as well as the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean – and is just starting to see the development of luxury lodgings.
WASHINGTON WINE COUNTRY
California may be the best-known destination for U.S. wine and wine-country getaways, but Washington State has quite an impressive number of toast-worthy offerings, and is often much more affordable than Napa and Sonoma (both per bottle and per night). The town of Woodinville, less than 30 miles north of Seattle, is truly toast-worthy with its rugged Pacific Northwest backdrop, lovely Sammamish River, and nearly two dozen tempting vineyards.
While not technically a “place” to discover, cruising is definitely a travel experience worth having in 2009. With “unheard-of” specials and “once-in-a-lifetime” deals, those travelers who have been thinking about cruising should take the plunge this year. Current offers go well beyond a simple discount and, often, include substantial shipboard credits, free airfare, and even complimentary shore excursions. [When travelers book a cruise with Hideaways, they receive a free one-year membership in the Hideaways Aficionado® Club and a welcome gift in their cabin.]
THE BEST PLACES TO REDISCOVER
This is an island that is definitely worth rediscovering. You can horseback ride, play golf, hike to waterfalls on an eco-tour, or just relax on the beach. Travelers can even choose their own luxurious staffed villa, either a private vacation home or one that is part of a villa resort and has access to complete resort facilities, perfect for a family or group vacation.
THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Once thought of as a budget traveler’s destination, the Dominican Republic (also known as the DR) is now offering a very appealing side for the more discriminating traveler with new luxe resorts entering the scene. This up-and-coming beach vacation destination offers up some of the best golf in the Caribbean as well as horseback riding, water sports, and other fun-in-the-sun pursuits.
Although it still has the rather staid and proper image of afternoon tea and businessmen in knee socks and Bermuda shorts, Bermuda continues to be a classic choice for honeymooners and romantics as well as the more mature, sophisticated traveler. It’s an emerald-green, reef-fringed isle with a cheerful island attitude, lively Caribbean tunes, and a proper British accent.
This is a smart choice for those looking or a basic sun-and-fun place to get away and recharge. The beaches along Aruba’s southern coast are magnificent, and the beachfront hotels offer a full range of water sports. Travelers can explore the island’s historic ruins and rock formations with a four-wheel-drive tour, or get a soaking with a horseback ride beside the waves.
RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO
“Riviera Maya” refers to the coastal fringe of the State of Quintana Roo. Like the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula, the interior of this area is a vast limestone plain covered with dense low jungle, home to a labyrinth of underground caves and rivers, as well as relics of Mayan civilization. The coast is dotted with small bays, inlets and lagoons, and beautiful stretches of sugar-white sand, and provides some of the most fabulous snorkeling, diving, and fishing in the world.
ABOUT HIDEAWAYS INTERNATIONALTM
Hideaways International is a luxury travel company in business for 30 years, catering to savvy, discerning consumers with a passion for travel. Hideaways International operates the Hideaways Aficionado® Club, with members worldwide — ranging from notable celebrities, musicians, publishers, authors, and politicians to ordinary folks with extraordinary taste — all a part of this lively community with a passion for luxury travel.
For more information on Hideaways International and becoming a member of the Hideaways Aficionado Club, visit: www.Hideaways.com.