We’ve asked our treasure trove of advisors to share their best-kept secrets on how and where to travel. Virtuoso travel advisors have the connections, experience, and knowledge to help craft that perfect trip – which is all you need to know.
What’s Your Dream Beach Vacation?
Our travel advisors pick five great spots.
Close to Home: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
A mile-long stretch of shimmering white sand fronts the exclusive Mayakoba resort community, which also claims Mexico’s only PGA Tour golf course. Advisor Alyse Bertagnoli of Chicago recommends staying at Banyan Tree Mayakoba
: “The resort is fantastic and highlights local culture in every detail.”
Far-Flung: Laucala Island, Fiji
One immaculate beach after another rings this 3,000- acre private island resort, Laucala Island
, which offers guests plenty of ways to take the plunge with its PADI dive center and two-person submarine. Advisor Brian Payntar Harris of Aspen, Colorado, is a total convert: “It honestly doesn’t get any better than this anywhere in the world.”
Nude (Yes, We Said Nude): Plage de Tahiti, France
There’s plenty of glitz, glamour, and gloriously bronzed skin on this Saint-Tropez beach, one of the world’s top nudist spots. “Plage de Tahiti
is famous for starting the ’60s topless bathing craze,” says advisor Kim Schneider of Delray Beach, Florida. “It’s now a celebrity haunt, which just adds to the whole French Riviera vibe.” The tony Hôtel Byblos Saint-Tropez
is just a short drive away.
Surfing: Playa Naranjo, Costa Rica
This golden stunner provides access to off-the-Richter waves at Witches Rock and Ollie’s Point (both with starring roles in The Endless Summer II
). The closest resort, Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
, features its own upscale surf school
where, says advisor Yvette Godoy of Riverside, California, “their goal is to give you a ‘life-changing’ surf experience.”
Romantic Strolls: Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
Emerging from the sea millions of years before its sister islands, Kauai boasts the softest sands in the Hawaiian archipelago. Set on Hanalei Bay, The St. Regis Princeville Resort
is fronted by a silky-soft cove which, for advisor Frank Echols of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, “gives you a more intimate and private feeling than a long stretch of beach.”
Five Essential Tips for Family Travel
Best Dining Options on Cruise Ships
- “Always keep your travel documents updated and available. Remember that kids’ passports need to be renewed every five years. To ease through long customs lines – and secure TSA precheck status – I recommend U.S. citizens get Global Entry for everyone in the family.” – Jason Swaye, Toronto
- “To keep children engaged, travel actively, not passively. Think hands-on experiences such as scavenger hunts, bike or Segway tours, and cooking classes.” – Jack Ezon, New York City
- “Take recent grads on a trip where they can practice the foreign language they studied in school. If, for example, your child took German, travel to Germany to polish those skills. How exciting to study a language for years and then be able to visit that country!” – Suzie Heid-Skilling, Seattle
- “For extended family trips, coordinating picky eaters, young children, and those with dietary restrictions can be a big challenge. That’s why I usually recommend cruising – it takes away this difficult piece and lets you focus on the fun. Plus, there’s always room for everyone at cruise-ship dinner tables.” – Darrin Cancellieri, Vancouver, British Columbia
- For multi-gen travel: “It’s imperative to have a single decision maker for the group. This person may be the one who is paying for the trip, or it could be someone the family votes to be in charge. Most important, they need to be in tune with the family and their desires and needs. The travel advisor is the one who takes the decision maker’s guidance and turns it into a dream family reunion.” – Suzanne Bouldoukian, Palo Alto, California
- “I always recommend Nobu Matsuhisa’s Silk Road on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity and Symphony. My favorite dish is the lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce.”– Karyn Farr, Virtuoso travel advisor, San Diego
- “One of my favorite dining experiences was on board Silversea Cruises’ Silver Shadow, where I enjoyed a special paired menu at Le Champagne, the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea.”– Shannon Nelson, Virtuoso travel advisor, Seattle
- “Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se) brings his impressive creativity, ingenious plating, and high-quality ingredients to dishes on Seabourn ships. This spring, Seabourn Quest debuted The Grill by Thomas Keller, a signature restaurant that’s now planned for all of the line’s ships.” – Ralph Bias, Virtuoso travel advisor, Miami Beach
- “One of the most unique dinners I’ve ever had was at Qsine, a specialty restaurant on board many of Celebrity Cruises’ ships. After the main course (ordered from an iPad), guests choose dessert from a Rubik’s Cube (my favorite is a giant fortune cookie filled with chocolate cream).” – Margie Zeiger, Virtuoso travel advisor, New York City
Originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.
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Photo Credits: (RAFTING) KUMAR SRISKANDAN/ALAMY, (PLAGE DE TAHITI) JOHN HARPER/GETTY IMAGES, (Acadia National Park) AURORA PHOTOS/ALAMY