5 Things to do in Orlando

In a place with unlimited activities and attractions, there is obviously more than 5 things to do in Orlando. This Florida city often crops up on people’s bucket lists. Filled with theme parks, fun and adventure it’s the perfect destination for anyone looking for a fun, stress free trip with lots of laughs. Whether you are looking for an action-packed week away with the kids, or the chance to explore on your own, Orlando has plenty to offer.

With so much going on it’s essential that you choose the right base. Somewhere like Marriott’s Grande Vista is the perfect place to relax at the end of long days, getting a good night’s sleep and preparing for your next great adventure. But, wherever you stay it’s a good idea to do a bit of research first. With so much to do it’s easy to miss things that you would love. So, here’s a look at 5 of the things that you should put on your to-do list for your trip to Orlando.

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Disney’s Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom was Walt Disney’s first theme park and remains one of the most popular theme parks in the world to this day. No matter how old you are, a little bit of Disney magic can be a great way to relive your childhood. You can’t help but smile as you look up at Cinderella’s castle or watch the evening fireworks. This theme park includes rides, roller-coaster, simulators and various Disney themed areas. A must for any Disney fan.

Universal Studios

If your movie love is a little wider than just Disney, Universal Studios is the place to be. Home to rides and attractions based around all of our movie favourites this is a fantastically fun day out. If you prefer a bigger adrenaline rush or are traveling with older children, you might want to buy a “park to park” pass so that you can also head over to the Islands of Adventure park.

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld is always a big hit with kids and adults alike. Home to various different species of sea life and fish, SeaWorld lets you get up close and personal with your favourite creatures, while learning more about their environments and lifecycles. There are also talks, displays, shows and aquatic themed rides.

The Kennedy Space Centre

If theme parks aren’t your thing, and you’ve got no desire to spend your days on roller-coasters and rides, Orlando still has plenty to offer. Just a 45-minute drive away from Downtown Orlando on the Eastern coast of Florida is the Kennedy Space Centre. At the Kennedy Centre you can see actual rockets that have left the earth’s orbit, you can learn more about space and space crafts and you can walk on the same ground as many of NASA’s greatest astronauts.

Aquatica Park

Yes, Orlando has lots of theme parks and plenty of museums and historic sites, but it’s also known for its water parks. Aquatica park is perhaps the biggest and best of them all. Home to head to head slides, flumes, rapids and the famous Dolphin Plunge it’s a fantastic family day out.

5 Best Luxury Hotels To Stay In Sharm El Sheikh

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Sharm El Sheikh is a resort town popular for vibrant sunshine whole year through and wonderful coral reefs.  Situated at the southern peak of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, this beautiful getaway brings a lot for the tourists. Because of the place’s stunning corals and diverse marine life, it has become a favourite holiday destination amongst snorkelers and scuba divers despite all the safety issues in the region. There are a number of luxury hotels At Sharm El Sheikh that offer everything from high-end facilities to elegant guest rooms. If you have decided to explore the wonders of this beautiful resort town, here are some of the best luxury hotels for you to enjoy a perfect stay in Sharm El Sheikh.

1. Four Seasons Resort

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Designed as a five-pearl hotel, the luxurious Four Seasons apartments can accommodate visitors with its 136 expansive rooms. The resort is equipped with amazing swimming pool, finest dining and a captivating view of the sea. Elegant, spacious rooms are built with private outdoor terraces where you can enjoy the lovely sea sight with your family and friends. A small private beach offers exciting activities for guests including snorkelling and diving opportunities. Likewise, there are two yachts which are exclusively available to the hotel guests. Additional amenities are also offered to make your stay more comfortable and pleasing. These include a kids’ club, tennis center and a spa.

2. Royal Albatros Moderna

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Royal Albatros Materna is built to give you a lively and luxury experience with its 680 rooms, huge enough to cater visitors’ specific needs. The resort has direct access to fun-filled holiday engagements such as a water park, beach, drinking and dining opportunities at various international bars and restaurants. Amazing range of amenities can make every family enjoy their time here in Sharm El Sheikh giving you access to live entertainment, kids’ club, pools with cushioned beds and spa with whirlpool tubs. All the comforts of a real home can be felt because every guest room, apart from being stylish and clean, is equipped with air-conditioning unit, flat-screen LEDs and TVs and balconies with access to the lovely view of the sea.

3. Coral Sea Sensatori

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Catering to the needs of huge number of guests, the Coral Sea Sensatori is a luxury resort with 470 rooms that offers specifically designated zones for couples and families with kids to create sort of a separation. The resort’s atmosphere is contemporary and it brings you some sophisticated rooms along with private spaces outdoors, all with wonderful views of the sea. It offers fine dining experience with sumptuous cuisines on offer. Compared to other resorts in the area, leisure activities and pools at Coral Sea Sensatori are considered above average. One big plus is the resort’s Wi-Fi which never goes down contrary to other resorts.

4. Iberotel Palace

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Overlooking the El Maya Bay and situated at the south of Shem El Sheikh, the Iberotel Palace is a lovely 263-room luxury resort. The atmosphere is more soothing and classy but the resort has come up with an adult-only policy of late. Though pretty small compared to other resorts around, the rooms here are spacious and stylish. The exciting line of amenities in the resort includes an indoor pool, a huge pool with sea view, nice range of bars and four restaurants. Direct access to the waters and amazing water sports opportunities are also provided with the resort’s private beach.

5. The Royal Savoy

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An exclusive wing of a luxury five-pearl Savoy complex, the Royal Savoy boasts of a key location sitting  next to Soho Square Center that provides an elegant experience  with overflowing nightlife, restaurants and fun-filled activities. A small beach and three pools are available to guests including direct access to each amenity. Sprawling with sophistication, all 36 rooms are spacious enough and are guaranteed to offer a deluxe feeling being decorated with lovely flowers. Here you can also experience some classy villas and furnished balconies overlooking the beautiful gardens and giving you access to private pools.

So, experience an amazing holiday at the Sharm El Sheik and book your stay in one of its luxury hotels! Make a top pick and you won’t regret your decision.

How to Make the Most of Your Hotel During a Work Trip

Work trips are often packed with numerous strenuous activities that happen one after the other. Usually, when you are on a work trip, the only time you can relax and get some rest is when you are already in your hotel.

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If you are staying at one of the best beachfront hotels during a work trip, you can ensure you can stay productive and, more importantly, enjoy a break from your busy schedule by following the tips below:

1.    Check in early and check out late

To have a longer stay at your hotel, arrive early and leave late. If you are still booking a room, find out if you can check in earlier than the designated time. You will have a higher chance of having this request granted if you are a member of the hotel’s loyalty program.

By arriving early, you can get some rest before you start working. You will have time to refresh yourself and prepare for the day ahead.

If you are allowed to check out late, you will have some spare time to relax before your flight or your long trip back home.

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2.    Know what comes with your nightly stay at the hotel

Before leaving for your work trip, make sure you know all the perks that come with staying at the hotel you’ve chosen. Find out what amenities and services are included in the daily rate and which ones come at extra fees.

By doing some research in advance, you will avoid being surprised by your bill when you check out.

3.    Take advantage of all freebies and perks

 Once you know which amenities and services come for free, make sure you use them. Enjoy their free complimentary drink upon check-in. Take advantage of the free breakfast buffet and coffee every morning, too.

If you are allowed free use of the hotel workspace or co-working space, get some work done in these areas. You will enjoy faster Wi-Fi connection and additional services including printing and secretarial assistance.

Lastly, create an itinerary of all the free, fun things you can do at the hotel such as cooling off in the swimming pool, visiting the garden or working out at the gym. If your work trip is in the UAE, don’t forget to take advantage of the wonderful spa deals in Dubai.

With an itinerary, you will be sure to enjoy all the pleasurable things your hotel has to offer.

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4.    Get some work done in your hotel room

If you are more productive when you’re alone, then get your laptop out and work in your room. You will definitely be able to concentrate and be more productive in your room. If you love watching TV or listening to music while working, you will be able to do so without worrying about disturbing other people.

In case you need to get a lot of work done and you can’t spare time to go out to have lunch, dinner, or a snack, take advantage of the hotel’s room services. Aside from having a delectable meal or snack, you won’t have to eat in a rush to get back to your work.

5.    Don’t be embarrassed to ask for extras

Do you want an extra pillow, blanket, or robe? Call the front office.

 Most hotels do not advertise this, but you can enjoy certain small freebies and extras. All you have to do is ask.

You can also ask for extra shampoo, conditioner, lotion, razor, toothpaste, coffee, creamer, or sugar. Most hotels will be happy to accommodate your requests. Just make sure you ask for what you need.

6.    Use your hotel loyalty or travel credit card points

Lastly, if you are a member of a hotel loyalty program, check how many points you have. See if you have enough points to get a free room upgrade. If not, check what other perks you can have access to such as late checkout or a free drink at the bar or lounge.

 In case you have a travel credit card, see if you have sufficient points you can apply to the room. You can also use it for other services such as a hotel breakfast or to get a massage at the hotel spa. You may even be able to use your points for free laundry or dry cleaning services and avoid the task of hand-washing your clothes.

When you follow these tried-and-tested tips, you can go through your work trip productively and smoothly. You will be able to find time to get some much-needed R&R, too, even if you have a hectic schedule.

  JA Resorts

AUTHOR BIO

Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”

 

 

Surprisingly Fun Towns You Don’t Want to Miss Like Lake Geneva, Wheeling, and More

The post below was originally published on Awe Inclusive on September 7, 2016 by Michalea Hall.

New travelers might be tempted to leave small town America off of their travel wish list.

It’s easy to think that lesser known cities don’t have the draw that larger ones do.However, small cities offer more than meets the eye.

Here are a few cool spots that I’ve recently discovered. I think you’d enjoy a visit to any one of them.

Photo by Sarah via Trover

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Fire-breathers, glass walkers, and human pretzels.

If you thought Wisconsin Dells would be your average city, you’re mistaken. Along with the extraordinary wonders that you’ll find here, visitors will be delighted to discover many other attractions.

From indoor water parks to wildlife adventure parks, you won’t run out of things to do in Wisconsin Dells. Stay at the Cedar Lodge & Settlement for a spectacular view of the Wisconsin River and lots of fun at its indoor water park.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

If you’re a beer lover, Milwaukee won’t disappoint.

For everyone else, you’ll find plenty of places to visit beyond the breweries. Borrow one of the bikes available through the local bike share program, and enjoy a day exploring Milwaukee in a new way.

A few places of interest include the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Public Market. For an unforgettable stay, book at the Brumder Mansion Hotel. Guest rooms are in limited supply, so don’t wait too long to make a reservation!

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

You’ll have around 21 miles of lakefront to explore if you’re lucky enough to vacation in Lake Geneva.

Visitors can enjoy sunbathing at one of the many beaches or participating in water sports on the Lake.

Other not-to-be-missed attractions include museums, theaters, and wineries.

Stay at the Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark. Not only do guest rooms feature fireplaces, whirlpools, and kitchens, but your reservation also comes with water park entry.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Without droves of tourists to crowd the major attractions and skyrocket prices,Wheeling is the perfect town to live as a local.

Take your time exploring your surroundings at your leisure, and connect with those who call Wheeling home. From Oglebay Park to the Suspension Bridge,visitors will not tire of scenic attractions to traverse.

The Wheeling Island Hotel is a sure bet for a stay that will never get boring. Enjoy on-site attractions, including a racetrack and casino, for nonstop fun and entertainment.

Herndon, Virginia

Located 24 miles outside of Washington, DC, Herndon is a welcomed reprieve from the extreme business of urban life.

Not only will you find enough restaurants to maintain variety in your trip, but you’ll also enjoy a wide selection of novel attractions, like the Herndon Escape Room and the Perils of the Lost Jungle Miniature Golf.

The Candlewood Suites Washington, Dulles Herndon isn’t your typical airport hotel. Guest rooms are well-equipped and include a spacious kitchen and workspace.

Even though these towns aren’t featured on many folks’ top ten lists, lesser known cities can surprise you with their unique attractions and fun accommodations.

Carve out some vacation time to see what everyone else is missing!

The Charm of Old Quebec City

I’ve been to Quebec City a few times. The first time as a youngster on a driving vacation with the family. The first overnight stop from Toronto was Quebec City. I remember walking through the gates of the old city and feeling like I had stepped back in time. Thankfully the old city is still there today. And it’s a real treat.

Old Quebec is the only walled city in Canada or the U.S. and is designated as a World Heritage treasure by UNESCO. It’s a mix of history, architecture, heritage, art, and culture and is widely viewed as the home of French civilization in North America.

Early Canadian and French history abounds with numerous historic buildings and museums including the Musée de la civilisation . There are many art galleries and boutiques with a French flair. Restaurants and pubs have a warm and intimate feel and most feature Quebec fare including rabbit, deer, and duck confit poutine.

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While there’s a variety of hotels to choose from within Old Quebec and Quebec City itself, my favorite is the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, the Auberge sits on an historic site dating back to the 16oos. As a member of Relais and Cheataux, the hotel has a strong focus on service and luxury. There are only 60 rooms with no 2 rooms alike, and each contains artifacts that were found on site. Their Panache Restaurant is incredible with Michelin star chef and imaginative menu.

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Quebec City is like 2 different destinations in the winter and the summer. In the winter, it can hit -30c. So cold it’s painful but beyond beautiful particularly during the Carnaval de Québec (the Winter Carnival from January 27 to February 12, 2017).

In the summer, there’s the Festival d’été de Québec (July 7-17, 2016), Canada’s biggest outdoor music event. Quebec City is warm and inviting with quaint streets to wonder down and walking trails to explore along the St.Lawrence River. Outdoor cafes abound and you’ll find yourself stepping back in time… and thinking about your next visit.

Florence Unpacked: Make the Most of Your Time in Tuscany

 

The small and beautiful city of Florence is the beating heart of Italian culture. Known as the location of the birth of the Renaissance, the city is shrouded in ancient history and art, with a range of famous sculptures, masterpieces and prolific architecture at every turn.

Close to the beautiful Appennine Mountains in the stunning rural region of Tuscany, the region’s capital is a city for the senses. Enjoy delicious local cuisine, history walks and marvellous museums in this magical cityscape.

Florence Sightseeing Tips

Enjoy free Florence. Many of Florence’s top sights can be seen for free from the ground. Make sure you spend your first day in the city soaking up the sights around the station, including the Medici Chapels, San Lorenzo, and the must-see Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Not only this, but the city’s many bustling outdoor piazzas can be accessed without a ticket and are an integral part of Florentine culture.

Get a Firenze card. The Firenze card costs around 70 euros and gives you access to most of the museums in the city, free local bus rides, and allows you to skip the queues – so you can see more in less time. The ticket is valid for 72 hours and includes one of the world’s greatest museums, the Uffizi, as well as the Pitti Palace, the Accademia, and the Bargello.

Shop locally. Florence is known for its shopping, like so many Italian cities, but some of the best shopping can be done at the local flea markets, such as San Lorenzo, delle Pulci, and the Mercato Nuovo.

Attractions in Florence

Florence is known for its rich history, which dates back as far as the Roman times. But the pinnacle of its history really came when the Medici family took the reigns which encouraged the cultural movement of the Renaissance from the 14th to the 17th century. The rebirth has remained one of the most famed cultural progressions in modern history, and its writers, painters, philosophers, and architects are still recognized in the city today. So much of its history can be felt and reimagined in its buildings, both in its world famous museums and on its streets through the incredible architecture, piazzas and sculptures that define the city and its past.

Be sure to check out these must-see sights during your time in Florence:

Uffizi Gallery

It may be one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florence, but you cannot visit Florence without seeing it at least once. One of the most famous museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery has one of the best collections of Italian paintings in the world, including some pretty giant Botticellis.

Il Duomo di Firenze

Enjoy the best views of Duomo Square and the stunning cityscape that surrounds it by climbing to the top of the Duomo Dome. Designed by Brunelleschi, the dome is enormous and involves climbing a winding staircase to reach the top.

Visit the City’s Famous Tombs

So many of Florence’s greats are buried in the city itself, from Machiavelli to Michelangelo, and not to mention the Medici Chapel, which is a masterpiece in itself. Be sure to visit these impressive tombs on your way around the city.

Explore the Markets

Florence has several markets that are worth visiting, but some of the most famous are the leather markets. Take a trip to the market next to San Lorenzo Church and visit the large indoor Mercato Centrale afterwards.

Piazza della Signoria

At the heart of the city’s historic center, you will no doubt enjoy the views from the large Piazza della Signoria a number of times, just make sure you stop to appreciate impressive town hall with its majestic public and private rooms that are open to visitors while you are here.

Shopping in Florence, Italy

The city may be small and easy to walk around, but the vast array of shops and boutiques is endless. Whether you want souvenirs, fashion pieces, or antiques Florence has it.

Via Tornabouoni

Most of the high end luxury fashion brands and designers can be found on Via Tornabouoni. Establishing itself as early as the 14th century, here you can find Gucci, Prada and Cartier among many of others in gorgeous boutiques that are just oozing style.

Via Maggio and Via de’ Fossi

If you like to shop for antiques then head to Via Maggio, close to the Pitti Palace, and Via de’ Fossi. Look hard enough and you can find valuable art, sculptures and collectors’ items.

Florentine Leather Shopping

The markets are the place to go if you want to buy some good quality Florentine leather. San Lorenzo outdoor market is probably the most famous, and sells everything from leather jackets to leather purses. It’s also possible to bargain with some of the sellers for a better deal!

Ponte Vecchio

For window shopping and jewelry shopping head to the famous Ponte Vecchio. Along the bridge you will find some of the most glamorous jewelry shops in the city, perfect for finding something completely unique to take home with you or for someone special.

Street Food and Drink

Florence, like the rest of Italy, is famed for its delicious food and drink, and so many markets offer local and fresh Italian produce to take home or eat there and then. Head to Sant’ Ambrogio Market to find fresh Italian fare and local seasonal produce.

Florence Restaurants

Like every Italian city, food is a vital part of the culture in Florence. From the local Tuscan wines to the aged cheeses and cured meats, Florence is a mecca for food and here’s some of the best of the bunch:

Giacosa Roberto Cavalli

June 2016 Trip Advisor RatingThis cafe may be not an obvious choice, as it’s tucked away at the back of the designer store of Roberto Cavailli, but it’s certainly a pit stop to remember. Sip on some delicious coffee and tasty pastries as you experience Florentine chic at its best.

Vestri

June 2016 Trip Advisor RatingThis famous gelato place offers some of the best in the city. Unusually, there is nothing on display so you have to make your selection from the menu – we can promise that the chocolate is always a winning choice at this quaint store.

Da Nerbone

June 2016 Trip Advisor RatingThis small quirky restaurant in the market has just five tables but is well worth the wait. The food is simple, local and the best place to eat like a real Florentine.

Osteria de’Benci

June 2016 Trip Advisor RatingThis fun and vibrant restaurant is the ideal place for some laughter and some great food, particularly the pasta and meats. Usually filled with a younger crowd, the place is sometimes so busy that they let patrons drink outside in the piazza.

Enoteca Pinchiorri

June 2016 Trip Advisor RatingNot for the budget traveler, Enoteca Pinchiorri is for pure indulgence. With a wine cellar of more than 150,000 bottles, a three Michelin-stared chef and some incredible Tuscan and modern dishes, it will be a night to remember.

Il Latini

June 2016 Trip Advisor RatingBe sure to book ahead for this one, Il Latini is an institution in Florence that offers two sittings and an incredible array of food, course after course. A Tuscan treat that isn’t overpriced but may be a little overcrowded.

Hotels in Florence, Italy

The city offers a range of hotels from small self-catering rooms to large and luxurious accommodation. Stay in the center of the city and enjoy close proximity to the city’s main attractions, including the cathedral and churches.

Merdiana

3 Star HotelClose to the railway station and the motorway, the Hotel Merdiana is located in the city center with easy access to the Duomo, the Palazzo dei Congressi and the Fortezza de Basso.

Palazzo dei Ciompi

4 Star Hotel Stay in the old city of Florence at Palazzo dei Ciompi. Located in the old square, the hotel is a beautiful design and offers self-catering apartments just a few minutes walk from the historic sites of the city.

Palazzo Ruspoli

3 Star HotelStay in your very own art gallery at the Palazzo Ruspoli. This large beautiful hotel is within walking distance from most of the city center’s main attractions, and has an array of stunning sculptures and paintings inside the hotel for some true Florentine beauty.

Berchielli

4 Star Hotel Enjoy private views across the River Arno, just a few minutes away from the city’s boutique shopping district, including the famous Ponte Vecchio. The interior is modern and elegant, with a touch of serenity, making it the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing.

Bernini Palace

5 Star HotelExperience unrivalled luxury at the five-star Bernini Palace, close to the Piazza Della Signoria and city center. This incredible hotel dates back to the start of the 16th century and  has been renovated to bring together its majestic past with decadent furnishings and features with modern amenities, such as air conditioning and a spa.