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02 Apr

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Top 10 Resorts to Check Out This Summer

April 2, 2015 | By |

Trying to find the newest, hottest resorts to stay at this summer? Search no more, as we have shortlisted the top 10 resorts to check out this summer in Mexico and the Caribbean. These include some brand new and recently renovated properties, as well as properties that have been newly added to the Air Canada Vacations lineup. From villa accommodations to boutique hotels, these are 10 resorts you definitely want to check out.  

1) Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria (Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba)

Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria

Snack La Caleta

The beach at Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria is an absolute pièce de résistance, with its pure white sand and turquoise water. If you want to maximize your intake of ocean views, make sure to dine at the Mediterranean Aire de Mar Restaurant, or stop by Snack La Caleta, a poolside snack bar that also overlooks the Caribbean Sea. A variety of activities are on offer at this resort, including non-motorized water sports, 2 tennis courts, a kids club and a yacht club.

2) Beach House Turks and Caicos (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos)

Beach House Turks and Caicos

The 21-suite Beach House Turks and Caicos is a boutique hotel with an intimate setting. As a guest, you are entitled to dedicated lounge spaces on stunning Grace Bay Beach. Ranging from 1,150 to 1,580 square feet, guest suites feature a kitchenette, as well as a balcony or terrace with a day bed. The on-site Beach House Restaurant is a popular dining spot in Providenciales and showcases a creative Caribbean and contemporary menu. For additional dining options, you can take a shuttle to the hotel’s 2 sister properties, Alexandra Resort and Blue Haven Resort.

3) Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa Vallarta (Riviera Nayarit/Nuevo Vallarta)

Bel Air Collection Nuevo Vallarta

Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa Vallarta has your wellbeing in mind. Its Asian-style spa is perfect for some R&R: in addition to various spa treatments, it offers daily yoga and meditation, as well as a special low-calorie diet program for the health-conscious. Its infinity pool overlooking the beach does nothing but inspire relaxation, and a variety of special services like tea time and a nightly turn-down service with petits fours adds to the serene experience offered by this resort.

4) ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas (Willemstad, Curaçao)

ACOYA Lakefront Villa

Lakefront villa

Lush lodging is the name of the game at ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas. Deluxe rooms feature a private patio surrounded by a tropical garden. Suites range from 2 to 4 bedrooms and are appointed with a large private balcony, fully equipped kitchen, living room and dining area. Featuring a garden, pool or lake view, villas come fully furnished and offer the ultimate private sanctuary. On-site amenities include a swimming pool, a spa and fine dining at Restaurant Seasons.

5) Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall (Montego Bay, Jamaica)

Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall Spa

The new, adults-only Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is the epitome of luxury. Stylishly decorated, each guest room features handcrafted furniture, a furnished terrace, designer toiletries and plush bathrobes. Dining is a regal affair as well with access to 3 exclusive restaurants, as well as 6 restaurants that are shared with its sister property, Hyatt Ziva. When you want to go for a swim, you can choose from a total of 14 pools, including 9 swim-up pools and 5 whirlpools, and when you’re in the mood for relaxation, indulge in a service at the oceanfront spa.

6) Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta

Lobby

It’s amazing that Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta can provide an oasis so close to bustling downtown Puerto Vallarta. The hotel lobby itself is like a mini sanctuary, housed in an enormous palapa and adorned with a calming, rushing waterfall. The resort is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains and it offers a beautiful private beach on the Bahía de Banderas, the second largest bay in the Pacific Ocean.

7) Be Live Collection Canoa (La Romana, Dominican Republic)

Be Live Collection Canoa La Romana

Be Live Collection Canoa offers a convenient location in La Romana, right on Bayahibe Beach. It also facilitates day trips to neighbouring Del Este National Park, where you can explore over 400 caverns (some of which contain ancient pictographs), a variety of flora and fauna and Saona Island. The resort’s amenities cater to all ages: a lagoon-shaped pool, multiple dining options, a spa, fitness centre and kids club make it perfect for either a couple’s getaway or family vacation.

8) Point Grace (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos)

Point Grace Beach

Featuring a remote location on the point of 19-km Grace Bay Beach, the 28-suite Point Grace offers a quiet, peaceful setting. Appointed with British Colonial architecture, this boutique hotel offers guest suites that are over 1,000 square feet in size, and that include a kitchen, terrace and upscale bathroom. It is also home to 2 Caribbean restaurants, as well as the oceanfront Thalasso Spa which incorporates the properties of sea mud and sea water into its treatments.

9) Meliá Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco, Cuba)

Melia Jardines del Rey

Opened in January 2015, the Meliá Jardines del Rey is a beautifully styled hotel that blends contemporary décor with a design that emulates a sugar cane plantation. It is home to 9 restaurants, 6 bars and a sweet corner called Macao, which offers a variety of ice cream and snacks. There is a boulevard that extends from the lobby to the beach, and guest rooms are located in 3-storey bungalows.

10) Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort (Riviera Maya, Mexico)

akumal-bay-beach

Though Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort is now sporting a brand new look after a recent renovation, it has preserved what is at its core: a laidback, beachy vibe and unspoilt natural surroundings. Rooms are now ultra-sleek junior suites with outdoor hot tubs, but have retained their main focal point: an amazing view of Akumal Bay. The resort also offers pop-up beach bars and access to a world-class snorkelling site that is home to sea turtles and a beautiful coral reef.

 

Looking for more resorts like these? If you did not get a chance this past season, you may still wish to look at our Top 10 Resorts To Check Out: Winter Edition, or consult our full listing of properties in the Caribbean & Mexico.

 

22 Dec

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Top 15 Destinations to Visit in 2015

December 22, 2014 | By |

Wondering what the world has in store for you in 2015? With a new year, comes new resolutions. And with new resolutions, comes the need for new experiences. This upcoming year, make your new experiences about seeing new places, eating new food, meeting new people. Not sure where to start? From luxury destinations to foodie favourites, these top 15 destinations should give you a very good glimpse at what 2015 holds for you.

1) Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

The hustle and bustle of Nassau never gets old. As both a popular cruise ship port and the commercial hub of the Bahamas, this city has an undeniable pulse. Bay Street is particularly bustling, with its myriad duty-free shops, restaurants and the famous Nassau Straw Market. In 2015, the buzz will be around the opening of Baha Mar, the biggest project to be undertaken in the Bahamas since Atlantis. In addition to 2,200 luxury rooms, this new mega resort will house a Vegas-style casino and approximately 40 restaurants.

2) Saint Lucia

Who knew there was such a thing as a drive-in volcanic crater? Whether you knew of its existence or not, you should know that Saint Lucia has one. It’s called La Soufrière Volanco (or Sulfur Springs) and you can drive up to its crater to witness it emit steam and sulphur. If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, you can even have a warm sulphuric mud bath (though you should be warned that as much as it softens the skin, its rotten egg smell may not be well received by your nose). If first-time experiences are what you’re after in 2015, then this may be something to add to your wish list.

3) Osaka, Japan

In 2015, you may want to familiarize yourself with the expression kuidore (Japanese for “to eat yourself bankrupt”). Osaka’s food scene is booming and if you have appetite to spare, then you may want to sample Osakan fare. Takoyaki (octopus balls), Kushikatsu (a deep-fried meat or vegetable skewer) and Okonomiyaki (pork- or seafood-filled pancakes) are among street food favourites. And don’t forget to check out the multiple Michelin-star restaurants scattered around the city.

4) Turks & Caicos

Marina at Blue Haven Turks and Caicos

Marina at Blue Haven Turks and Caicos

Turks & Caicos is all about luxury – world-class hotels, spas, golf courses. In the last couple of years, it has undergone even more development in the luxury department. In 2015, make sure to check out some of Providenciales’ newest boutique hotels, including the all-suite Beach House Turks & Caicos and the Blue Haven Turks & Caicos, which has its very own marina!

5) Panama

Panama City Skyline

Panama is a country of stark contrasts: it is highly industrialized on the one hand, yet an eco-friendly haven on the other. If you’re looking for a city pulse similar to Miami, Panama City has got it: its abundant high-rises, dining and nightlife are why it has been dubbed the “Miami of the South.” If nature is more your thing, you can hike through the national parks of Coiba and Darien, awe at the cloud forests of Chiriqui or check out the Panama Canal.

6) Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Pura Vida (literally translated as “Pure Life” in English) is probably the most commonly used expression in Costa Rica. While its uses are varied, the meaning is universal: life is beautiful and you should know it. And if there is any place in the world where you can see Mother Nature’s beauty on full display, it has got to be Costa Rica. This is a country with some of the richest flora and fauna in the world, impeccably fresh produce and amazing vistas. If you have not yet had the chance to visit this mecca of natural beauty, make sure to add it to your 2015 bucket list.

7) Hawaii

Kauai Hawaii

If island hopping is on your travel wish list for the new year, then Hawaii should definitely be on your radar. The Hawaiian Islands have got it all: Visit Kaui for some history, Oahu for action-packed Honolulu, Maui for its culinary delights or the Big Island for its volcanic sights. See more Hawaii Highlights.

8) Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

Milan is currently in full swing, preparing to host one of the world’s main events of the new year: Expo 2015. The theme of the exposition is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and will take place from May 1 to October 31, 2015. It will feature more than 60 custom-built pavilions and the city is currently planning special exhibitions and the opening of new museums for the event.

9) Curaçao

Curacao diving

In 2015, Curaçao will celebrate 5 years of its semi-independence as an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its Dutch influences are nevertheless visible on the island – in the colonial architecture of Willemstad, the local specialties at MarsheBieuw (also called Old Market) and in the local patois called Papiamento. Besides it cultural diversity, Curaçao has over 40 world-class dive spots – see our top 5 here!

10) Grenada

Spice Mas Festival Grenada

Also known as “Spice Island,” Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers of nutmeg and mace. Spice is not Grenada’s only gem though; this island is abundant in other natural riches like its beaches, the Annandale Falls, the beaches at Morne Rouge Bay and Grand Anse, and the flora and fauna of Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve. In 2015, get a taste of the island by attending the Spice Mas Festival, Grenada’s colourful carnival that features music, parading and masquerading.

11) Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Move over Riviera Maya, it’s time for Riviera Nayarit to shine. This 320-kilometre stretch of Pacific coastline is definitely a quieter alternative to its Caribbean-sided counterpart. You can golf in one of two Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Punta Mita, surf in Sayulita or relax in the peaceful town of San Blas. Riviera Nayarit will be seeing a significant amount of touristic development in the coming years, so go visit before the crowds swarm in!

12) St. Kitts

St Kitts Sea Turtle

St. Kitts may be small, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked when planning your 2015 travels. This little island has plenty of history, which is visible in the capital city of Basseterre. It also has plenty of natural habitat to explore, from its rainforests to its coral reef systems like Sandy Point and Turtle Bar. See our Top 5 Things to See in St. Kitts for more ideas.

13) Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs has had a mini tourism boom in the last few years and its number of lodgings is estimated to be in the triple digits by mid-2015. In addition to its desert scenery, 10,000-foot mountains and evening spas, the city is now also home to the Architecture and Design Center, launched in late 2014 to preserve the city’s desert modernism movement.

14) Barbados

Foodies, there is one thing you should know for 2015: The food scene is absolutely blossoming in Barbados. Having just celebrated its 5th edition this past November, the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival has become a culinary success. In addition to wine and rum tastings, it features cooking demonstrations by international celebrity chefs such as Mark McEwan, Marcus Samuelsson and Anne Burrell. Stay tuned for the 2015 program.

15) Chile

Patagonia, Chile

It’s never too late to visit the end of the earth. After making a stop in the capital city of Santiago (which, by the way, has opened a number of new museums and art galleries in the last few years), most travellers will either head to the Atacama Desert or to trek through the bare, rigged landscapes of Patagonia (a.k.a “the end of the earth”). Another must for a 2015 trip to Chile is its brand new wine and food festival, which will take place in late September.

11 Nov

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Top 10 Resorts to Check Out This Winter

November 11, 2014 | By |

Tired of staying at the same old places every time you seek sun and sand? Time to switch it up and check out something new! Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 resorts you should check out this winter. These include some brand new properties, as well as recent additions to Air Canada Vacations’ roster of resorts. Located across Mexico and the Caribbean, these places range from design to eco-friendly. Check them out!

 

1) Valentin Perla Blanca (Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba)

Valentin Perla Blanca Tea Coffee Bar

Tea and Coffee Bar

Opening this November, Valentin Perla Blanca is an adults-only resort with absolutely no shortage of bars: there are 10 in total, including a mojito bar, sports bar and tea/coffee bar. Styled in modern décor with splashes of colour, rooms are located in 3-storey buildings and come with a garden, pool or ocean view. In the evening, you can watch live bands and shows at the theatre, or show off your dance moves at Les Club Nightclub.                                      

2) Papagayo Beach Hotel (Willemstad, Curaçao)

Papagayo Beach Hotel Curacao

King Room

Opened in late 2013 in Curaçao’s popular Jan Thiel region, Papagayo Beach Hotel is a design hotel with clean, sleek architecture and ultra modern furnishings. Each of its 155 rooms is equipped with an open bathroom with walk-in rain shower, as well as a view of the ocean, garden, lobby or Papagayo Plaza Boulevard. The hotel is also home to Specialty Restaurant Papagayo, a local hotspot that is celebrated for its international dishes.

3) Barceló Punta Cana (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)

Barcelo Punta Cana

Pool view

This large, almost 800-room resort on Bávaro Beach has something to suit all ages. A kids club, water park, rock climbing wall, trampoline and trapeze are plenty to keep the kids happy. For the adults, the casino and nightclub are great places to cap off the day. Barceló Punta Cana also features 7 restaurants, 3 swimming pools, 3 tennis courts, a full-service spa, as well as daily activities that range from aerobics to water volleyball.

4) St. Lucian by Rex Resorts (Rodney Bay, St. Lucia)

St Lucian by Rex Resorts

Mariners Restaurant and Bar

St. Lucian by Rex Resorts is conveniently positioned in Rodney Bay: it is directly on Reduit Beach, a 5-minute walk from the shops and restaurants of Rodney Bay Village and a 10-minute drive from St. Lucia’s capital of Castries. It offers an array of beach activities, such as sailing, snorkelling and cricket, and boasts a beach view at the on-site Mariners Restaurant & Bar.

5) Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos Spa

Spa with panoramic views of the Bay of San Lucas

The panoramic views of the Bay of San Lucas are a huge draw at Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos. In fact, the entire resort centres around the beach, from beach dining and parties, to an array of beach sports and beach conservation efforts (sea turtles lay there eggs here every summer). Additional highlights of the Sandos Finisterra include its Cupcake Café, the clifftop location and ocean views of the Whale Watchers Bar, and the fact that downtown Cabo San Lucas is only a 15-minute walk away!

6) Grand Palladium Riviera/Grand Palladium White Sand (Riviera Maya, Mexico)

Grand Palladium White Sand entrance

Grand Palladium White Sand

It is so nice to see that a resort complex so large has managed to preserve its natural surroundings so well. Part of the colossal Palladium Riviera Maya Complex, the Grand Palladium Riviera and Grand Palladium White Sand resorts are extremely eco-friendly.  Here you can find flamingo ponds, visit the crocodile habitat and spot other wildlife like coatis and iguanas randomly around the grounds. The complex is surrounded by a mangrove forest and has manicured gardens that complement its ecological appeal.

7) SeaGarden Beach Resort (Montego Bay, Jamaica)

SeaGarden Beach Resort

Lobby/Lounge

SeaGarden Beach Resort is an all-inclusive resort with a “homey” feel. Family-operated, this 140-room resort offers an intimate setting with classic, warm décor and bamboo-lined grounds that are reminiscent of the countryside. It is only a 5-minute drive from Sangster International Airport, a 3-minute walk from Montego Bay’s Hip Strip (a collection of shops and restaurants on Gloucester Avenue) and just steps from the Caribbean Sea.

8) Sonesta Ocean Point Resort (Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten)

Sonesta Ocean Point Resort

Azul Mediterranean Restaurant

Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, the brand new sister property to Sonesta Maho Beach, has a contemporary Caribbean style with a breezy, beachy feel. Its Azul Mediterranean Restaurant is adorned with blue accents to reflect the colour of the Caribbean Sea, while Ocean Terrace Restaurant offers al fresco dining with an ocean backdrop. The sea also acts as the focal point in all of Sonesta’s suites. And speaking of the beach, Sonesta Ocean Point is right near the infamous Maho Beach, where Boeing 727s fly famously low to land at neighbouring Princess Juliana International Airport.

9) Savannah Beach Hotel (Hastings, Barbados)

Savannah Beach Hotel

Courtyard

This restored, 19th-century plantation house provides a glimpse into the history of Barbados. In addition to preserving its colonial style, Savannah Beach Hotel houses Rachel’s Bar & Restaurant, set in the World Heritage-designated Garrison Savannah area and named after a famous Barbadian slave-turned-hotelier. For those who want to delve into the history of Barbados a little deeper, Historic Bridgetown is only a 7-minute drive from the hotel.

10) Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort (Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica)

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort

Exterior

Uniquely designed to reflect Costa Rica’s ecological beauty, Hyatt’s recently opened Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort boasts an open-air concept and architecture that mimics natural shapes like shells and cocoons. Relaxation is key at this resort, where you can unwind at Onda Spa, spend your days on the secluded beach or take in views of Culebra Bay and its jungle surroundings from the comfort of your room. Dining is an equally organic affair at this hotel, where the focus is on locally inspired dishes and farm-to-table ingredients.

 

Want to see more properties like these? Take a look at our complete repertoire of resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean!

 

14 Oct

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JOYA by Cirque du Soleil: A New Attraction in Riviera Maya

October 14, 2014 | By |

Here’s something new to add to your Riviera Maya travel itinerary: JOYA. Cirque du Soleil’s first resident show outside of the US (look out Las Vegas and Orlando), has its own custom-built theatre, a story ingrained in Mexican heritage and oh, it offers dinner too.

Cirque du Soleil with a side of food

Joya Cirque du Soleil dinner

If you’ve already witnessed one of Cirque du Soleil’s masterpieces, you know that these shows engage the senses. But what stands out about JOYA, is that it gets your taste buds involved too. JOYA is the first and only Cirque du Soleil show in the world to offer a culinary element to the theatrical experience. You’ll have the option to add dinner to your show (the menu is said to be international) and champagne too (Mercier is apparently the bubbly of choice).

Custom-built Vidanta Theater

Joya Cirque du Soleil Vidanta Theatre

Then there’s the theatre. Built exclusively for JOYA, the 600-seat Vidanta Theater provides an intimate setting and features design elements that make you feel immersed in the surrounding Yucatan jungle. The project was undertaken by Groupo Vidanta, a leading developer of luxury resorts, and is located near one of its existing resort complexes, the Grand Mayan.

The JOYA story

Inspired by Mexican culture, JOYA outlines the transformative journey of an alchemist and his granddaughter. They uncover a hidden gem (hence the name JOYA, Spanish for “jewel”) in a mangrove and share their recently discovered life secrets with future generations.

Joya Cirque du Soleil BotanikJoya Cirque du Soleil NocturnaJoya Cirque du Soleil Ritual

JOYA launches November 8. Pre-sale tickets are available exclusively with Air Canada Vacations.

 

29 Jan

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A gold star for the whole family

January 29, 2013 | By |

Discover Iberostar’s unique collection of Premium Gold hotels offering an exceptional all-inclusive vacation experience for the whole family. Enjoy spacious accommodation in stunning resorts set on the most beautiful beaches. Feel pampered by courteous concierge service and 24-hour room service.

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29 Jan

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Star bright for adults only

January 29, 2013 | By |

The award-winning resorts of the Iberostar Grand Collection offer the ultimate in all-inclusive, adults-only luxury. Enjoy all-suites accommodations with luxurious amenities, including European linens with Pillow Menu, a personalized mini bar, personalized butler service and 24-hour room service. For added indulgence experience Grand Star Service which includes ocean-front rooms, private check-in, breakfast in bed, luggage packing and unpacking, nightly pressing service and more.

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20 Dec

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Discover the Balmoral Tower at Sandals Royal Bahamian

December 20, 2012 | By |

Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island has unveiled a completely renovated Balmoral Tower—named after the Queen’s private residence in Scotland—featuring all new rooms, suites with oversized balconies, new walkout suites, a new state-of-the-art penthouse gym, and a sophisticated lobby with marble floors and stylish chandeliers.

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20 Dec

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Dive into the Blue Bahamas

December 20, 2012 | By |

Ever since Jacques Cousteau changed the world with his revolutionary Aqualung over 60 years ago, the Bahamas has been at the top of the list of the world’s best dive sites. This archipelago’s 700 islands cover 259,000 square kilometres throughout the Western Atlantic and offer an amazing range of dive adventures, including pristine coral reefs, soaring vertical walls, historic wrecks, tunnels, caverns and blue holes.

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29 Nov

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Cruise the world in Style

November 29, 2012 | By |

Imagine discover the world on luxurious boat of  Royal Caribbean. Explore the South Pacific, Mediterranean and Easter Caribbean in style with Royal Caribbean.

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29 Nov

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Must experience on board Oasis of the Seas®

November 29, 2012 | By |

Live an amazing experience of entertainment on the Oasis of the Seas. Magic, splendid and spectacular will be the words which describe this great boat and all the facilities it has.

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