Friday, February 27, 2015

Raving about the Riviera, Palm Springs!

As often occurs, I needed a quick getaway to see the sun. If you've ever experienced a prairie winter, I need not explain further. For those who don't know, sometimes the cold just bites you in the face and the only relief is to get out of dodge.

I had some travel credits to cash in and I chose the desert heat of Palm Springs. A simple Westjet flight out of Brandon at 1:15pm and I was sipping a cocktail in Palm Springs at sunset.

Looking for a hotel on this jaunt, I wanted old-school California. Some place with history, and hollywood lore. It also had to be budget and family friendly since I was vacationing with my favourite travel buddy, my 9 year old son. He wanted to make sure it had a great pool, good food, and 'something else fun for kids'.

We chose the Riviera Palm Springs. (Not to be confused with the 'Desert Riviera of Palm Springs') It had everything on our wish list and more! We did our due diligence and read the Trip Advisor reviews. Then, I even took it one step further and e-mailed the hotel itself. They responded with all the answers I needed in a gracious and welcoming manner. So that was a good first impression!

Once we arrived, I was blown away with the STYLE! Wowzas! Does the Riviera have old-school style! The lobby is gorgeous.... 5 star gorgeous!  I stood there with my mouth gaping open and took a moment just to take it all in.

At the front desk we met Richard, who would become our new best friend! He had answers to everything we asked. Can we sign out tennis racquets? Which way to the outlet malls? What should we try at breakfast? Are kids allowed in the piano lounge? Can kids play on the billiards table? Where's the fitness room? He was fabulous, a real asset to the resort and the best ambassador to the area. If I was starting my own hotel, he'd be the first person I would hire.

The hotel itself has been around for decades, but has recently undergone millions of dollars in renovations. It is clear to me that the Noble House hotel and resort chain values and maintains their properties. Every day we saw at least a dozen people working in building maintenance and grounds keeping. Even though the buildings themselves are older, they are very well kept.

The furnishings and the decor are outstanding! I have never taken more photographs of chairs and chandeliers than on this vacation. My son even remarked on the chandeliers. You simply can't miss them.

As far as value, I can say with certainty that I got great value for my money. Rates will vary by date and occupancy rates, but you will do well to get this resort in the range of $130 a night. They also offer packages which include spa or dining credits. I didn't use the spa, but did take a quick tour and it also looked first class.

The layout of the resort reminded me of that 60's style family camp as shown in the movie Dirty Dancing. It has several stand-alone buildings that all centered around recreation facilities, a main house and tennis courts. I've included a graphic of the resort layout.

I can imagine that in the heat of the summer the pool is party-central. It's very spacious, and surrounded by a healthy number of loungers, chairs and cabanas. The beverage service pool-side is excellent. I had one of the best, if not THE best margaritas I've ever tasted.

I'll have to start a new page for the restaurant and lounge as they are certainly noteworthy in their own right. In the meantime, I'll let the building and grounds photos speak for themselves.

All photos are my own, and taken on an iPhone.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Royal Bargain to Turks n' Caicos

The perfect couple's destination!  And the Royal West Indies is hardly ever discounted by Westjet Vacations.  A very nice deal if you can jump on it. This hotel boasts excellent reviews and a prime location on the beach.

Through Westjet Vacations

Though the dates are 12 days apart, you can see the bargain with Westjet on this one.

Jamaica me crazy with these deals

Air Canada with direct flights from Winnipeg to Montego Bay....

These screen grabs were taken February 26th in the evening. They are from the website.

As always, I urge you to read the most recent Trip Advisor reviews so you have a well rounded base of information to use in your decision making. Don't let price be your only deciding factor.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Disney or Daytona

Fly and stay with Allegiant Air at the end of April, and you can enjoy 4 nights with air, hotel and tax included for under $400 per person.

If you'd rather find your own accommodations, flights are a ridiculous $156 taxes in, return per person. (Does not incl baggage fees)

Flights are out of GFK (Grand Forks, North Dakota).

Another last minute 5 star

How about a 5 star weekend at the ultra chic & exclusive Nobu hotel at Caesar's Palace?
It includes direct Westjet flights!

This is a bargain that won't last long!

5 Star Curacao this weekend for $909

Hell of a deal. I'd like to go! This is Air Canada Vacations, out of Winnipeg.