Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Tryall – Family Fun

Beach, Family, Travel Tips

Jan
12
2011

Montego Bay, Jamaica

December – January 2011

the gazebo and beach club - home to daytime and nightime fun!

Tryall's infamous Gazebo and delicious beach club with the driving range behind

This winter marked my 20th time to the Tryall Club, a Beach and Golf resort just outside of Montego Bay in Jamaica. My count may even be under two or three times, but since I am fortunate enough to have celebrated almost every birthday there since my thirteenth, in addition to extraneous trips for celebratory events, I know I’m not that far off. (Lordy, I believe I just advertised my age, online)

Anyway…this time was special regardless of its number simply because it was the FIRST time my son, Winslow visited. What has long become an annual fixture vacation for my family, Tryall has now seen its third generation of my family, making its mark utterly indelible. It was also pure delight to see firsthand what a real family spot Tryall truly is. Clearly, having spent years growing up there myself, I can ascertain how welcoming the resort is to families of all ages, but now, as a new mom, I am thoroughly convinced that this is a spot I want to share with my own family and continue the tradition for as long as possible.

Screen shot 2011-01-12 at 5.35.29 PM

Comprised of 84 villas set around 2200 acres of luscious Jamaican hills, a manicured 18-hole championship golf course, a full tennis performer5 coupon code facility and gym, an 18th-century clubhouse complete with daily tea service and a mile and a half of sparkling waterfront, Tryall Club surpasses other family-friendly resorts with its scenery, level of hospitality (the Jamaican way), level of amenities, cuisine (Jerk, anyone?) and overall feel. I am lucky to have been introduced to Tryall by my family and even luckier to still be invited to go along. Although I write about places like this for a career, I feel that having had Tryall as a consistent benchmark for the family vacation, my sensibilities and critical eye are that much sharper towards the competition. For more personal and in-depth details on Tryall, please check out a copy of my Caribbean Hideaways book. The intro reads like an homage (as does the above, in fact) while the description of a particular villa gives an insider perspective into villa life at Tryall.

Tryall's Great House, nobly positioned at the top of the hill

Tryall's Great House, nobly positioned at the top of the hill

Over Christmas week, Richard and the folks at Tryall were kind enough to host a booksigning of Caribbean Hideaways. I am happy to say we sold out of the inventory and I hope those that purchased the book are happy with their own totem to this very special spot in the Caribbean.

My books on display at the greathouse

My books on display at the greathouse

Posted in: Beach, Family, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Wednesday, January 12, 2011 No Comments

Bermuda for the Shoulder Season

Family, Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Nov
17
2010

I’ve just returned from what might have been the easiest travel experience to a clear blue water paradise I’ve yet to find – Bermuda. Yup, that colonial island known for its constant breeze, pastel shorts, Goslings dark rum and the inevitable scooter mishap has quickly jumped to the top of my list on where to head when the temperatures threaten nasty and the memory of summer’s flip-flops and sand between your toes has dimmed beyond recognition.
Of course, with Bermuda, the timing is everything and it’s definitively not the destination for the dead of winter (January, February, even March) however, its popularity in early fall and early spring make it ideal for shoulder season (late October, November and pre-holidays December and then April and early May) travelers who will delight to find hotel deals, uncrowded beaches and eager restaurants.
While this past weekend wasn’t my first time to Bermuda, it was my first time as a Mom. Having already logged a few trips with my newborn son (the plight of a travel writing mum – his passport is already four stamps full in just four months) I was delighted to realize the flight to Bermuda was a mere two hours from JFK and with a departure time of 11am, deliciously convenient to nap times and void of the early morning rush.
Upon landing we sailed through customs and hopped a taxi direct to our destination; the estimable <a href=”http://www.tuckerspointhotelandspa.com” target=”_hplink”>Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa</a>. I had heard from pretty much everyone who had already been that Tucker’s Point was a triumph; it’s rooms luxurious, its spa soothing, the gift shop well-sourced and the Point restaurant incomparably elegant with original murals from the old Sky Club. I can now personally attest that all of those adages are indeed true. I was smitten at first glance (particularly with the restaurant, which would make an enviable location for a rehearsal dinner and the locker rooms at the spa, whose english pale blue and cream color scheme was equally tranquil and fresh!)
What I hadn’t yet heard though, was how Tucker’s Point is for kids. Mind you, my child is young and thus kids club doesn’t quite yet pertain, however, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scoping it out. I was very pleased to see multiple children squealing and scampering in the pink sand of the attractive and well-appointed Beach Club. There was even an impressive sand castle constructed with the help of the club’s buckets and tools. I was also thrilled to learn that the hotel offers sailing lessons for kids out of their impressive water sports area which also includes kayaks and small motor boats available for rent making private water excursions with the family a feasible treat. In fact, there were so many families during this november weekend, happily enjoying the beach club and use of the four separate pools, especially the one specified children’s pool at the Beach, that I quickly inquired after the hotel’s twenty four villas and fractional condo availabilities for next year – thinking it might just be the perfect spot for my husband and a few friends with kids to sneak away before the holidays.
When I went to look into rates I found out that there’s a fantastic shoulder season promotion offering every third night free for guests visiting between November 26, 2010 and January 5th, 2011. It’s called the<em> Bermudaful Holiday Escape </em>package and rates start at $375 per night and include a commemorative, hand painted Tucker’s Point Christmas ornament as a holiday keepsake and a festive eggnog and Christmas cookie amenity upon arrival. If its one of the 64 Manor House hotel rooms that appeal, I highly recommend those in the corner tower,  #17 on each floor.
Curious about such deals, I checked in with the Bermuda tourism board and learned that other hotels on the island also offer enticing shoulder-season specials including this Bermuda-wide offer from the Bermuda Department of Tourism that guarantees every third night free when booking a minimum three-night stay between November 15, 2010 and March 15, 2001 at 16 participating hotel properties. The accommodations range from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to beach clubs and historic beach-front properties, so you can’t go wrong, while rates range from approximately $125 – $460 per night. Check out <a href=”http://www.bermudatourism.com/compliments” target=”_hplink”>Bermuda Tourism site</a> for more info.
So, while the over-water villas of the Maldives will always beckon with exoticism, the crystalline waters of Bermuda are similarly brilliant and the plane ride is far more approachable, especially with impatient little ones.

Tucker’s Point

Bermuda

November 12-15

The brilliant beach club - where I easily wiled away two straight days

The brilliant beach club at Tucker's Point

I’ve just returned from what might have been the easiest travel experience to a clear blue water paradise I’ve yet to find – Bermuda. Yup, that colonial island known for its constant breeze, pastel shorts, Goslings dark rum and the inevitable scooter mishap has quickly jumped to the top of my list of where to head when the temperatures threaten nasty and the memory of summer’s flip-flops and sand between your toes has dimmed beyond recognition.

Of course, with Bermuda, timing is everything and it’s definitively not the destination for the dead of winter (January, February, even March) however, its popularity in early fall and early spring make it ideal for Shoulder Season travelers (late October, November and pre-holidays December and then April and early May), who will delight to find hotel deals, uncrowded beaches and eager restaurants.

Bermuda-3

While this past weekend wasn’t my first time to Bermuda, it was my first time as a Mom. Having already logged a few trips with my newborn son (the plight of a travel-writing mum – his passport is already four stamps full) I was thrilled to realize the flight HGH to Bermuda was a mere two hours from JFK. And with a departure time of 11am it’s deliciously convenient to nap times and absent of the early morning rush.

Upon landing we sailed through customs and hopped a taxi direct to our destination; the estimable Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa. I had heard from pretty much everyone who has already been that Tucker’s Point was a triumph; it’s rooms luxurious, its spa soothing, the gift shop well-sourced and the Point restaurant incomparably elegant with original murals from the old Sky Club. I can now personally attest that all of those accolades are indeed valid. I was smitten at first glance (particularly with the restaurant, which would make an enviable location for a rehearsal dinner  and the Spa’s locker rooms, whose tailored, English pale blue and cream color scheme was equally tranquil and fresh.)

The Point Restaurant with its terrace views out to Harrington Bay and glorious, original murals

The Point Restaurant with its terrace views out to Harrington Bay and glorious, original murals

I was also similarly pleased with my visit to the SPA. The aloe massage and honey bee scrub, the spa’s signature/indigenous treatment, assured my vacation-y state-of-mind, even if the honeybee scrub was a bit too sticky for my liking. After the scrub I was ushered into the spa’s headlining, Silver TAG Shower Experience (one of only three in the world! Pictured below.) where faucets galore spray alternating temperatures of water at all points of your body according to your chosen program. I chose SHAPE, which promised to tackle cellulite and firm up weakened muscles and though I’m saddened to report that my gluteus maximus still looks rather weak, the shower was indeed invigorating and  guaranteed there wasn’t a trace of honeycomb left on my body prior to my massage. For the aloe-soaked treatment,  I was lucky enough to have Pakul, a native Thai, as my specialist, who keenly tackled my sore shoulders and lower back. Afterward, clad in my plush robe, I laid down in one of the cushioned chaise lounge chairs lining the spa’s separate lap pool and allowed myself a few more indulgent moments of relaxation (with an US Weekly in hand, of course).

The illustrious TAG Silver Shower

The illustrious TAG Silver Shower

What I hadn’t yet heard or read about at Tucker’s Point, though, was how it is suited for kids. Mind you, my child is young and so the Kids Club doesn’t quite yet pertain. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scoping it out for future reference. I am happy to report that I witnessed multiple children squealing and scampering in the pink sands of the attractive and well-appointed Beach Club. There was even an impressive sand castle constructed with the help of the club’s buckets and tools. As sailors, My husband and I were thrilled to learn that the hotel offers sailing lessons for kids out of their  Castle Harbor water sports area, which also includes kayaks and small motor boats available for rent, making private snorkeling excursions with the family a feasible treat. In fact, there were so many families during this past November weekend, happily enjoying the beach club and use of the four separate pools, especially the one specified children’s pool at the Beach, that I quickly inquired after the hotel’s twenty four villa rooms and fractional condo availabilities for next year – thinking it might just be the perfect spot for my husband and a few friends with kids to sneak away before or in between the holiday madness.

A Tucker

A Tucker's Point Superior Room with views of Castle Harbour

When I went to look into rates I found out that there’s a fantastic shoulder season promotion offering every third night free for guests visiting between November 26, 2010 and January 5th, 2011. It’s called the Bermudaful Holiday Escape package and rates start at $375 per night and include a commemorative, hand painted Tucker’s Point Christmas ornament as a holiday keepsake and a festive eggnog and Christmas cookie amenity upon arrival. I must say, its awfully tempting, even if I already do have Christmas plans with the family…

TUCKER’s TIP: If its one of the 64 Manor House hotel rooms that appeal over the villas then I highly recommend booking those in the corner tower,  #17 on each floor. They offer the most panoramic views and have wonderfully spacious decks allowing for comfortable meals and all-day lounging on the terrace. If those are booked, then book a Poolside Deluxe which includes a reserved, cushioned daybed by the pool, which more than compensates for the ground-level views. But if its views you’re after and the tower is booked, then Superior Room 11 will do just fine with its dead center perspective across the sparkling blue waters.

The poolside deluxe daybeds

The poolside deluxe daybeds

Curious about such deals in general and already swayed by Bermuda’s accessibility, I checked in with the Bermuda tourism board and learned that other hotels on the island also offer enticing shoulder-season specials; including this Bermuda-wide offer from the Bermuda Department of Tourism that guarantees every third night free when booking a minimum three-night stay between November 15, 2010 and March 15, 2001 at 16 participating hotel properties. The accommodations range from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to beach clubs and historic beach-front properties, so you can’t go wrong, while rates range from approximately $125 – $460 per night. Check out the Bermuda Tourism site for more info.

So, while the over-water villas of the Maldives will always beckon with exoticism, the crystalline waters of Bermuda are similarly brilliant and the plane ride is far more approachable, especially with impatient little ones. I know I’m sold. And I haven’t even touched on the spectacular GOLF….!

Posted in: Family, Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Wednesday, November 17, 2010 No Comments

Traveling with a Tiny – The Family Row

Family, Travel Tips

Oct
21
2010

Early October

So, if you’ve flown with an infant before you are well aware of what the airlines dub, “the family row”. As a frequent flyer I have spun many a yarn at the gate desk trying to ensure I was seated in either the exit row or a bulkhead seat (bad back, fear of flying, etc.) but, until now, I never knew that the bulkhead in the center row of seats is actually reserved for passengers flying with children under 2 years of age. (looks like Exit Row seats just got even better) You see, there are four little grommet-like snaps on the center bulkhead wall that allow for two collapsible basinets to be snapped into the wall giving parents lap-relief for the majority of the flight.

baby_1-round1

Given that our angel slept the ENTIRE (yes, I’m gloating, though I’m aware this has little to do with me) flight, this snap-on-bassinet thingy was fantastic. I just brought extra blankets (even I won’t dare use an airline issued blanket, preferring to bring a shawl and big sweater) and cushioned the contraption to suitable plush baby standards. It was easy, hassle-free and best of all, allowed me to watch Invictus and the latest Twilight saga without having to worry about the baby being in my lap, I highly suggest to go and learn more about his product.  Now, ensuring you are seated in the family row requires some effort as it is NOT guaranteed nor reservable.

In order to be seated in the family row you must:

1. Arrive early to the airpot and request the family row with the ticketing agent – who, will likely tell you only the gate agent does that, but it’s free online casino slot games worth it to ask her to put it in the computer (Plus, sometimes, depending on the person, the ticketing agent will do it, because in fact, they can do it. For example, in JFK she couldn’t do it, but in Amsterdam, she could! As my old boss often said, ASK and then ASK again.

2. Get to the gate as soon as they open the desk (usually an 1 hour before the departure time) and play nice with gate agents to ensure you do indeed get seated in the family row. Showcasing your angelic child is often an aid in this argument (as does looking extra haggard!)

3. Pack for the family row. Be sure to have the extra blankets for the bassinet and an organized diaper bag that will allow you to take from it what you need easily since there is no under seat storage in bulkhead.

4. The middle seat of this center row (which in 747s is only three seats) is pretty miserable. Try and grab the aisle seat if you can, though don’t expect a sound night sleep of your own since the row is right next to the bathroom and traffic can be fairly heavy.

TIP: I felt far more comfortable having my child sleep with his head towards the center of the row – head away from the aisle. This way he wasn’t being gawked at from an awkwardly close proximity or worse, leaned into as people milled in the area awaiting their turn at the bathroom (yech is right!)

**This advice is deemed from my sole experience on a KLM flight, Roundtrip JFK to AMS

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Posted in: Family, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Thursday, October 21, 2010 No Comments

about meg

About Meg

imgres

Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

books and apps

follow meg

The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.