Posts Tagged ‘Spa’

Review: Secrets the Vine, Cancun, Mexico

Friday April 11, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 15 Comments

champagne, "Secrets The Vine"

Guests receive champagne upon arrival at Secrets The Vine Cancun

Wine tasting in Mexico? Yes, ma’am. While most people associate Tequila, Corona and guacamole with Mexico, I’m going to let you in on a secret – Mexico makes some good wines. Mexico is staking a claim in the vineyards of Baja California. I learned about the wines of Mexico will staying at Secrets the Vine Cancun, an adults-only resort with a wine theme woven throughout the luxury property.
 
 

 
Secrets the Vine – honeymooners to baby boomers

"Secrets the Vine" pool

Fan coral designed by Artist Jan Hendrix blends into the hotel facade at Secrets The Vine Cancun, Mexico.

From jet-setters to baby boomers, Secrets the Vine Cancun caters to a wide range of travelers. I couldn’t help notice the honeymoon and birthday banners draped across the doors of a select few hotel rooms. This 495 room all-suite property appeals not only to special occasion celebrations, it’s also for the art and wine lover.

 
Secrets the Vine wine theme

Secrets the Vine Cancun features contemporary design elements from the fan coral by Artist Jan Hendrix in the hotel’s exterior facade, to murals painted by Marta Ramirez and wine art on display throughout the hotel.

A bottle of Mexico’s tinto vino (red wine) was waiting for me when I checked into my Junior Suite in Cancun. Don’t miss Secrets The Vine Bar. Outside the 4,500 bottle wine cellar is where Master Sommeliers lead daily complimentary wine tastings at 1:00 & 3:00 p.m. If you wait until 5:00 p.m. the price moved from free to $20.

 

"Secrets the Vine Cancun" Vine bar

4,500 bottle Vine Bar at Secrets The Vine Cancun

 

Secrets the Vine Preferred Club status

For a luxury vacation, it’s a good idea to upgrade to Preferred Club status.  It’s not much more expensive and offers a good return on investment including access to Concierge service, daily continental breakfast, cold and hot hors d’oeuvres and private bar in the private lounge level and your own butler.

All rooms are ocean view, offering Caribbean Sea or Nichupte lagoon vistas. Sunsets are best viewed from the Hard Rock Hotel side, while more shade is available on the balcony next to Sandals resort. My Preferred Junior Suite #2618 looked out to the ocean and lagoon and rented for $700 per night during March. Check the website for current hotel rates.

While I’m not a big drinker, I do love the fact that I have access to the mini bar and won’t be charged for a small tin of Pringles chips or small bag of peanut M&M’s. The mini fridge is loaded with beer, juice, soda and water. Of course, your butler will stock it with all your favorite goodies if you ask.

More perks, free phone calls to the United States and Canada when placed from your hotel room. Insider tip – make sure to call to a land line, as calls to mobile phones are charged at higher rates. All rooms offer free WiFi and preferred guests receive two complimentary items ironed, unpacking and packing service and complimentary shoe shine is available.

 

"Secrets the Vine" junior suite

Secrets The Vine Cancun Preferred Junior Suite

 

Secrets Spa by Pevonia

What beach vacation is complete without a trip to the spa? A day pass to Secrets Spa by Pevonia is $75 if you feel tired and jet-lagged from travel. If money is no object, indulge in a wine therapy treatment. Arrive early to your spa appointment and soak in the hydrotheraphy pool after steaming in the sauna. Follow this with a Pinot Noir Escape exfoliation ($105) d’vine wine massage ($175) and d’vine wine facial ($99) Heaven!

"Secrets Spa by Pevonia" spa

Relax at Secrets Spa by Pevonia

Secrets the Vine dining

If beach and pool time trump spa time, there are several pools and hot tubs to keep you happy, as well as seven restaurants at Secrets The Vine. I sampled crab rangoon, spring rolls and shrimp pad Thai at Dragons Oriental Dining, an Asian fusion restaurant. Bluewater Grill is popular with steak lovers (try the shortbread cookie with caramel filling and ice cream for dessert.) Olio features Mediterranean cuisine and is open to all resort guests for lunch, while dinner is reserved for preferred club level guests. For the seafood lovers and those wanting a bite poolside, Sea Salt Grill offers a tasty shrimp cocktail with a view of the ocean.

"Sea Salt Grill" shrimp cocktail

Shrimp cocktail at Sea Salt Grill Secrets The Vine

Check in: 3:00 p.m.

Check out: 12:00 p.m.

Insider tip

While all-inclusive resorts are not necessarily known for fine dining, Secrets the Vine is an exception to the rule. If you find yourself in Cancun in March don’t miss the Wine & Food Festival Cancun – Riviera Maya.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow SecretsTheVine on Twitter.
If You Go:

Secrets The Vine Cancun +52 (998) 848-9400

Cancun, Qintana Ro

Mexico 77500

Article written by and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Secrets the Vine Cancun. All opinions are my own.

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Passports with Purpose: Alderbrook Resort helps Africa

Monday November 25, 2013 at 9:09 PM | 4 Comments

Alderbrook Resort

Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Imagine sitting on the deck, a glass of wine in hand, while watching and eagle catch thermals above the canal.

With your $10 donation, you could be kayaking on Washington’s Hood Canal, enjoying dinner at The Alderbrook Restaurant or relaxing at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa. This is just one of  the travel prizes up for grabs at this year’s Passports with Purpose.

Passports with Purpose is celebrating their sixth year of fund-raising for a cause. I’m pleased to say that this travel blogger has supported Passports with Purpose from the start and I continue to be involved in 2013.

Last year we raised $100,000 for Water.org to fund five water wells in Haiti.

This year, close to 150 travel bloggers from around the world will participate in Passports with Purpose 2013.

Together with your support, the money will fund buildOn to help construct three primary schools and fund three Adult Literary Programs in the Sikasso Region of Mali, Africa.

buildOn

Building schools in Africa with buildOn

Passports with Purpose Prizes

To see a list of prizes on the Passports With Purpose website check here. Each donated prize will link back to a full description of the prizes on the blogger’s website.

Your purchase of a $10 raffle ticket will help support Passports with Purpose and ultimately build three primary schools and several Adult Literacy Programs in Mali, Africa. For each $10 in donations that you make to Passports with Purpose, you will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. The fundraiser begins on November 26th and closes at midnight on December 9, 2013. On Monday, December 16, 2013 Passports with Purpose volunteers will notify prize winners. All proceeds go directly to buildOn.

Alderbrook Resort & Spa, located a convenient two hours from Seattle on Washington’s Hood Canal,  is donating a one night stay in a Canal View guestroom, a $50 dining credit at The Restaurant at Alderbrook and $50 spa credit at The Spa at Alderbrook.  The suggested retail value of this Alderbrook Resort & Spa package is $385. Thank you Alderbrook Resort & Spa  for your generous donation.

Certificate is based on availability
Valid Sunday through Friday
Not valid on holiday weekends
Certificate includes resort fee and applicable room tax
Promotional Certificates are not replaceable if lost or stolen

Article written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip

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South Point Casino Hotel Spa, Equestrian Center in Las Vegas

Friday September 27, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 6 Comments

South Point Casino

South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa Review

Everything about Nevada is big; from Hoover Dam, to the casinos on the Las Vegas strip. One thing I didn’t expect to see in a Las Vegas casino hotel was a larger-than life bronze statue of legendary poker player, mobster, casino owner and cowboy Benny Binion, sitting on top of his roping horse, near the entrance to South Point Casino’s equestrian center on the casino floor. This really shouldn’t surprise me, as South Point is famous for its arena and equestrian center.  South Point Casino is the only hotel I know of where you can drive up in your horse trailer, unload your horses and check into your hotel room all at the same time.

 

 

South Point Hotel suite

South Point Hotel suite #2481

Stay and play at South Point Casino Hotel and Spa

The South Point Casino, located on the tail south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, features 2,163 hotel rooms, 11 restaurants, a movie theater, bowling alley, weekly entertainment in the showroom, a swimming pool and Spa Costa del Sur, in addition to the equestrian center, arena and exhibit halls. In other words, you can stay and play at South Point without leaving the grounds.

After a day of watching cutting horses work with cattle (many of the equestrian events are open and free to the public) I checked into my king suite #2481, with a city view and view of the parking lot. My non-smoking room rented for $79. plus tax during the weekend and $49. on a week day – check the website for details. The room included a Serta Perfect Sleeper Point Plush mattress, 300 thread count linens and Archive bath and body amenities.

South Point Hotel pool

South Point Hotel swimming pool in Las Vegas

Rooms offer LED screens, high speed internet, separate bathroom with combination shower and bath, large closet with safe, desk and in room coffee maker. There is a daily resort fee of $14. per room that covers in room Wi-Fi, fitness center, local and toll free in room telephone calls, boarding pass printing, airport shuttle (based on availability) and casino discount booklet.

South Point dining options

It was my good fortune to be in Las Vegas during Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week in Las Vegas is not only a good value at participating restaurants, $5 of each meal purchased is donated to Three Square to help end hunger in Southern Nevada. After dining at four of South Point’s restaurants, I have come to the conclusion that large portions are key to the casino’s success. In listening in on diners conversations with waitstaff, most everyone walks away satisfied.

Cowboy sculpture, "Saturday Night" Kelly Graham

Cowboy artwork hangs outside Cinch Saloon at South Point Hotel and Equestrian Center

As I walked into Silverado Steak House, I was thrilled to be surrounded by cowboys here attending the Las Vegas Cutting Horse Association Futurity. Call me an equestrian groupie; I like the smell of horses and leather and the jingle jangle of spurs hitting the floor as cowboys and cowgirls amble along.  After an appetizer of Thai crab salad, my Kona crusted flat iron prime rib with cafe de Paris butter arrived sizzling on the plate, accompanied with asparagus, a hand tossed salad and perfectly baked potato. A flavorful Merlot from Lodi, California was included with the meal, as was a chocolate molten cake paired with vanilla ice cream. A satisfying meal for any cowgirl.

Lunch at the Big Sur Oyster Bar was overkill. A Las Vegas local recommended the lobster grilled cheese on sourdough with white cheddar ($24.) While the waitress suggested the Maryland jumbo lump crab cocktail ($16.) Like a kid in a candy store, I ordered both and instantly regretted my decision as soon as the crab cocktail arrived. With its all meat lump crab, this was a wonderful meal in itself for seafood lovers. Then came the lobster sandwich, stuffed with slipper meat from China or Indonesia and house cooked potato chips. According to the chef, Maine lobster is cost prohibitive.

prime rib, South Point Steakhouse

Kona prime rib at Silverado Steakhouse, South Point Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Don Vito’s Italian restaurant was also participating in Restaurant Week. My dinner began with bacon wrapped scallops, followed by heirloom tomato salad, Scampi Puttanesca over spinach tagliatelle, concluding with warm chocolate bread pudding. The house Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied the meal with $5 per meal given to Three Square. Service was attentive. Again, large portions – the cowboy seated across from my table wasn’t able to finish his meal either.

Breakfast the next morning found me at Coronado Cafe, open 24 hours, this restaurant reminded me of Denny’s – friendly service, value-pricing. I ordered the three cheese omelette with buttered wheat toast and hash brown potatoes ($7.95.)

Costa del Sur Spa, South Point Hotel, Las Vegas

Make time for Costa del Sur Spa at South Point Hotel, Las Vegas

Costa del Sur spa

I’m not a fan of Las Vegas casinos, nor the accompanying cigarette smoke. I’d rather spend my money in the spa. To date, one of my best spa experiences was found at Costa del Sur. This 40,000 square foot spa features 28 treatment rooms, a relaxation room, jacuzzi and eucalyptus steam room.  I recommend you arrive at least 30 minutes early – why not make it a spa day – to enjoy the entire spa experience! Daily spa passes are offered to hotel guests for $30. My insider tip: ask for Denise – she has been with Costa del Sur since it opened at South Point in 2006.

My 80 minute Goddess of the Sun Ritual body treatment started off with a full body exfoliation with sugar scrub. This followed with a hydrating body wrap, along with a cool stone facial and warm Moroccan oil scalp massage ($170.) If you want to really knock your socks off, combine the Goddess treatment with a hot stone, deep tissue sports therapy massage (additional charge) and throw in Reflexology, using pressure points on the feet. Be warned; this custom spa treatment will leave you so relaxed you’ll be headed to bed early. As Denise says, “it’s all about getting the body to exhale.” Amen to that!

slot machines, South Point Casino, Las Vegas

Hotel room artwork and slot machines feature horses at South Point Hotel

Insider tip

Gambler or not, make sure to sign up for the South Point Club Card – it’s free (must be over 21) and gives you discounts. And who doesn’t like to save a buck, go bowling for free or get a complimentary dessert with dinner? For the night owls, Coronado Cafe offers graveyard specials from midnight until 6:00 a.m.

Need to know

South Point Casino, Hotel and Spa does not accept pets. The South Point Equestrian Center does not board individual horses, nor do they offer horseback riding to the public.

Check-in time: 3:00 p.m.

Check-out time: 12:00 p.m.

If You Go:

South Point Hotel Casino and Spa (702) 796-7111

9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89183

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Top photo courtesy of South Point Hotel. I was a guest of South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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