Guest Post By Mark Tomich
Australia is a truly magnificent continent – the vast plains of the Outback, the untamed nature, the beautiful flora and fauna that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. And all of it in a modern country ranked among the top three in the world when it comes to living standards.
Australia also presents us with unique opportunities of exploring the exiting and enchanting wilderness of the Outback, without having to subject ourselves to its harsh conditions, live of the land, sleep in a tent and ride in a jeep for hours on end.
The modern Outback experience can be as luxurious as your wallet can handle – it is safe, fun, accommodating and relaxing.
The thing that really hooks people is the amazing paradox of being away from civilization, in the midst of a vast empty space where nature remains unaffected by our human presence; and yet having all the commodities that a luxury resort has to offer and being able to safely admire ones surroundings.
What separates the Outback resorts form similar nature tours?
There is a distinct difference between going on a safari – where you dress in your finest 19th century British hunter outfit, ride in an old terrain vehicle and have very basic accommodation options – and enjoying all the luxuries of a modern vacation resort while surrounded by untouched, albeit scarce nature.
You start to feel almost like an adventurer from a technologically advanced race who is on a mission to explore an alien planet. It is pretty much like the Star Trek crew landing on an unexplored world: a feeling of awe washes over you as you admire the scenic view and proceed to carefully explore the vast wilderness, but you are safe in the knowledge that you are one short ride away from all the high-tech gadgetry, tasty meals and other comforts that the modern world has to offer.
In fact, you can stare into the untamed bushland as you lay back on a soft pillow, a glass of wine in hand. The whole thing feels like a nature documentary that you are directing.
How difficult is it to get to these Outback resorts?
A trip to the Outback doesn’t have to involve a camel caravan or a long uncomfortable drive in a terrain vehicle. The easiest and least stressful way to get to your destination is by plane.
Remember, Australia is a huge continent and a bus or train ride can take quite a while (for example, a trip from Sydney to Perth would require a non stop two day drive). It is much better to spend a little extra money, travel in style and save loads of time.
That being said, plane tickets can be reasonably affordable, particularly if you fly often. Members of a frequent flyers club have a number of great benefits that include advanced seat selection, upgrades, priority boarding and complimentary baggage allowance.
In the Australian Outback helicopter rides are a great travel option as well, since they are fast and give you a great vantage point from which to observe and admire the breathtaking sights.
What are some good resorts?
There is plenty to see in the vast Outback, but I will name a couple of very popular and accommodating resorts just to give you some good vacation spot ideas.
First of all you can visit the Ayers Rock Resort with several luxury hotels and 65 different wilderness tours, including breathtaking scenic helicopter tours, intriguing camel back rides, and even adrenaline filled big cruiser bike rides out into the bush.
The Prairie Hotel is located in Parachilna, SA, in the midst of wide desert plains. The hotel offers exceptional accommodation with deluxe and executive rooms, as well as exceptional traditional cuisine.
There is also the beautiful and newly refurbished Captain’s Cottage located about 30 km outside of Parachilna, perfect for those looking for a more private and rustic setting.
The Berkeley River Lodge hosts one of the worlds most famous pools. During your leisurely swim in this pool you are able to look far within the dry wilderness and experience the dissonance of plenty and lack all at the same time, making you aware of how lucky you are to enjoy a life of luxury and deepening your appreciation for life.
The Australian wilderness is a unique gem, an unspoiled natural surrounding that is as beautiful as it is vast.
It is quite a privilege to be able to get out of a comfortable bed, have a tasty breakfast and some strong coffee, and then head out into the wild like it’s your backyard. It is an experience that I wholeheartedly recommend.
Byline: Mark has the biggest luxury life can offer – a lovely wife, awesome children and a place to call home. He has been all over Australia and visited plenty of other countries too. Catch up with him on G+ (here)
All statements of fact, images and opinion are those of the guest authors.
Shelley and Pat were set up on a blind date, appropriately enough at a San Jose Sharks hockey game, both being huge hockey fans. It was my good fortune to be at the game that evening and I had the pleasure of witnessing the inception of something beautiful.
I’m not sure of the exact moment when it happened for Shelley, but I fell in love with Pat from the first moment I met him (for my friend Shelley that is). It was apparent to me from the start that these two were meant to be together. They were two pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly.
Fast forward to a picture perfect day at the beach, setting the stage for a beautiful wedding.
What make Shelley and Pat so special is that they are both really grounded, kind, caring people. There is no false pretense with them, they are genuine to the core and their wedding reflected all those warm characteristics.
What I found so endearing about this wedding is that it was not the standard cookie-cutter wedding. It was slightly unconventional and very reflective of the bride and groom.
The wedding was officiated by a good friend who spoke from his heart and with humor; the favors were tiny live succulents that also doubled as table name tags; and the tables were identified with numbered rustic wood pieces that were hand-painted by the groom.
The setting is gorgeous at the Seascape Resort and as the evening progressed the sky turned to a stunning backdrop.
I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, that is one happy bride and one proud looking groom.
Shelley and Pat, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the honor to celebrate your very special day with you…and to share it with everyone else ~ I did get the Bride’s permission.
There is no doubt that I have been lucky enough to stay at some pretty incredible resorts throughout my travels. In recent reflection, I started to realize some of the amazing views I’ve had from the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. I thought it might be fun to share some of these with you (not listed in any particular order). If you’re up to it and would like to share what you consider some of your favorite views from your travels, please do so and feel free to add links to your photographs.
1. Amangiri ~ Canyon Point, Utah
To this day, I still consider Amangiri one of my favorite resorts. It is such a unique property all the way around, but one of the most amazing aspects of this property is how they built this resort by incorporating it into the existing landscape. This is completely evident when you see the indoor/outdoor aspect of the rooms which makes you feel like you are one with the gorgeous surrounding landscape. The outdoor patio bed is a great place to watch for shooting stars…and you will see many!
2. Amangani ~ Jackson Hole, WY
I’ll go ahead and stick with Aman Resorts and list Amangani as another favorite (this makes me a Aman Junkie as their fans are known). But really, why wouldn’t I be ~ Amangani boasts a gorgeous view of the Teton Range and where else can you stand on your balcony and watch moose and elk walk right up?
3. Mandarin Oriental ~ San Francsico, CA
The Mandarin Oriental has one of the most amazing views of San Francisco. They offer a category called the Bridge to Bridge room and that is exactly what it is ~ this room has a view from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge with views of the TransAmerica Building, Coit Tower and Alcatraz in between….simply stunning!
4. Four Seasons Las Vegas ~ Las Vegas, NV
I could not find my images from any of my stays at the Four Seasons Las Vegas so I had to cheat and steal this image from their website, but it is exactly the view I had from my room. I was having a hard time deciding which hotel to highlight for Las Vegas because there are so many that have great views of the strip, but I ended up choosing the Four Seasons (located on the top five floors of The Mandalay Bay) because this hotel is located at the end of the strip and has a view of the entire strip vs. other hotels that are located in the middle. It’s a pretty amazing view.
I will say though, that The Cosmopolitan is the only hotel in Vegas that has balconies and they have a great view of the Bellagio water fountains and the strip. I threw this image in for fun and you can decide.
5. The Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain ~ Marana, AZ
Unfortunately, this image is a little too dark and doesn’t begin to express the dramatic view I had from my room. When the moon came up over the mountain ridge with the fire pits blazing by the blue waters of the pool, it actually took my breath away when I first saw it. I can only imagine how stunning this must be when it’s a full moon.
6. Four Seasons Hualalai ~ The Big Island, HI
I was going to make this a list of my 5 favorite views but when I realized I didn’t even have a water view on the list, I had to make it a list of 6! Staying at this resort has been one of my favorite vacations in general. This hotel has a retro Hawaiian feel to it that is so relaxing. I would wake up each morning, make myself a cup of coffee and sit on the balcony listening to the birds chirping and watching some early morning canoers glide by. Great way to start your day!
So there you have it, some pretty incredible views. I can’t wait to add some European hotels to the list…Paris, London, Barcelona….the list could go on and on.
I’ve been wanting to do a post on how to make luxury travel more accessible and just never quite got around to it. Then today, I came across this post from A Luxury Travel Blog and really felt that they covered all the major points that I would have addressed. The author is based out of the UK so she references the UK, however, her tips can pertain to any geographic area. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would share this post with you. The images are my own.
Want to find a luxury holiday for less? Don’t despair – you don’t need a bottomless budget to enjoy luxury travel. With this helpful guide, it’s entirely possible to find a decadent getaway with a price tag you can actually afford. Without further ado, therefore, here are my 10 top tips for affordable luxury travel.
1. Booking your holiday as far in advance as possible will give you the most choice. Plus you’ll be able to take advantage of early bird discounts.
2. If you have forgotten to book in advance then last minute special offers can still offer discounts, as long as you are open-minded on where you could jet off to.
3. Be flexible with your travel dates and flight times. Most people prefer to travel mid-morning, which means you can find cheaper deals if you’re willing to travel before sunrise, in the late afternoon or evening.
4. Booking out of season often makes travel much cheaper. End of season breaks tend to be less expensive than those mid-season. Europe is a great place to visit in Autumn. It’s still warm, not too crowded and you can find much cheaper accommodation.
5. Consider reducing the length of your trip. While ten days in a luxury hotel may be unattainable, five days may be more realistic.
6. Think about flying with a budget airline so you have more money to splash out on your hotel. Once you’re lounging by a de luxe five star pool, the no frills plane journey will be but a distant memory.
7. Don’t rule out all-inclusive options. While you may pay more upfront, you’ll save a ton of spending money, reducing your overall holiday cost.
8. Look closer to home, including in the UK. Flights are getting more expensive with rising fuel costs. And a luxury holiday cottage in a UK national park can still allow you to kick back in style.
9. Check reviews. Where possible, research a hotel or travel provider before you book to avoid disappointment.
10. Research the Web. The best place to find luxury travel deals is online.
Sylvia Nankivell is Director of Indulgable UK.
SKEdaddle is now on Bloglovin. If you have not discovered Bloglovin yet you should take a look at the site ~ www.bloglovin.com. It’s basically the same concept as the WordPress community but you can add blogs from all different sites. It’s a great way to organize and read all your favorite blogs in one location.
If you are already a part of the Bloglovin community, add me to your list please!
Click this link to follow SKEdaddle on Bloglovin
One of the reasons I like inviting people to guest post on my blog is because I can’t have knowledge on all resorts and areas. This post is a good example as it is geared toward family travel, something I don’t normally cover. Thanks Anand for your contribution and for expanding my horizon.
3 Best Luxury Resorts Near Disney World, Florida
Guest Post by Anand Srinivasan
A holiday to Disney World in Florida is a time to indulge yourself in the vast excesses that this part of the country has to offer. Disney World, including the neighborhood places like Kissimmee and Orlando have some of the most luxurious resorts in Florida. Given that most vacationers to Disney World travel with their kids, these resorts are also extremely family-friendly.
This is a holiday destination in itself and it is not uncommon for families land up at Star Island Resort for a week-long vacation. The resort has some amazing amenities including beautiful pool side villas, private Jacuzzi’s and an in-house spa resort that really help you take your mind off the daily chores. Those who travel here with kids should also enjoy time at the karaoke besides enjoying a multitude of activities that kids enjoy like kayaking, paddle boating, splash fountains, bingo games and several water activities.
Rated one of the best resorts in the Disney World neighborhood by Tripadvisor, the Tuscana is located at a convenient 15 minute drive from the Disney World and Universal Studios. This is a resort with magnificent and spacious condos that are equipped with smart TVs in every bedroom. You may the several amenities available for customers including an Olympic sized pool with heating, Jacuzzi, a pool side bar and an in-house spa. This is a pet-friendly resort that is a great place to check-in if you are also bringing your dog.
As the name suggests, this is a luxury resort targeted at those who are athletic. Located at less than 4 miles from Disney World at Kissimmee, the Champions World is a resort spread over 4 acres of land that includes a multi-purpose sports field, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a jogging park and a kids playground. But it’s not all sports and games at the Champions World. The resort has several pools to spend some quiet time by yourself or your loved ones. Besides, those who are in for some socializing also have the nature park and picnic areas to explore.
Besides these, there are a number of other luxury resorts in Disney World like the Flamingo Waterpark Resort and the Fantasy World Resort that are targeted at bigger groups. In the case of the former, the resort has an in-house waterpark that is best suited for a group with large number of children. The Fantasy World Resort on the other hand is located very close to the Disney World and is ideal at families looking for a more affordable price.
All statements of fact, images and opinion are those of the guest authors.
Image Courtesy : Experience Kissimmee
Byline: Anand is a developer by day and a blogger by night. He loves traveling.
When I received a message from Leo saying he was interested in doing a piece on the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, I was immediately interested. I was in Jackson Hole, WY last year and visited the Four Seasons property and I thought the resort and whole area was gorgeous.
Thanks for the memories Leo and I hope the rest of you now enjoy your visit to the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole.
Know About Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, USA
Guest Post by Leo Josh
The Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is easily one of the best holiday destinations in the USA. As an adventure sports enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for new locations that offer the rare blend of luxury and outdoor opportunities together. I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend there last month and only wish I could have extended my visit by a few days.
While I spent most of my time skiing and hiking, there is so much more to do that you may have trouble choosing which activities to indulge in. While the main attraction for most people is the ski in/ski out restaurant, you can also make the most of:
Safaris and wildlife tours at the neighboring Grand Teton National Park, which are perfect for children and adults alike.
Yellowstone is just an hour’s drive away and nature lovers will love the unspoiled wilderness.
Hiking or biking through beautiful trails (the resort can arrange equipment and supplies if you don’t carry your own).
Water sports in the form of kayaking, canoeing or rafting down the Snake River promise to be an unforgettable experience.
Fly fishing for trout or watching the wildlife around the river (the variety of which is truly astonishing).
Visitors can play golf in lush greens nestled between magnificent mountains, or tennis in one of the open air courts.
Depending on the season, there are many other recreational activities that are available, like hot air ballooning or horse-back riding. Still, I suggest spending some time outdoors or taking a boat down the river – the beauty of the area should not be missed.
This is not just a ski lodge or adventure sports camp, as the resort is fully equipped to handle the demands of rest-seekers:
The rooms are luxurious, mixing the rustic appeal of a mountain lodge with the best of modern technology. They also offer incredible views of the Wyoming landscape.
In-house facilities include a fully equipped gym and outdoor pool where guests can exercise, or spend hours being pampered at the spa.
The service is excellent, with staff that is friendly and efficient, which made every interaction with them a pleasure.
Food and Dining
The meals sent up by room service were delightful, but I also loved each of the restaurants. In my opinion:
The West bank Grill is where most people choose to dine after a day of skiing and it’s easy to see why. The food is probably the best I have ever eaten and the variety of dishes I sampled left my taste buds begging for more.
Images by John Sutton Photography
Lunch at the Pool Café is a relaxing dining experience in the summer. With the mountains for company and the gentle splashes of water lapping at the edges of the swimming pool, this is a beautiful location to drink and dine in comfort.
The Lobby Lounge was, by far, my favorite. The bar and lounge features a fireplace, cozy chairs and comfortable couches. My first visit there decided this for me – the lounge is where I would like to unwind on any cool evening.
My experience staying at the Jackson Hole Four Seasons was incredible and I returned from my weekend sojourn completely rejuvenated. This mountain resort is among my top recommendations for people living in the USA as well as travelers visiting the country. International visitors should check whether they are qualified to apply for visa waivers through ESTA, especially if they travel frequently.
Leo Josh is an avid reader and blogger with a passion for adventure sports.
Images by John Sutton Photography. John is a professional and accomplished architectural photographer and has been featured in many publications. Visit his website at www.johnsuttonphotography.com (If you go to the Four Seasons Jackson Hole website, you might recognize some photos…just sayin’)