Unlimited Luxury for All

As told by Jeff Farinosi, Senior Graphic Designer

I have a SECRET to tell you NOW (whispering): you can call me AMResorts’ #1 groupie. The past 5 trips I’ve taken were all at Secrets and NOW Resorts if that tells you something! During my travels I’ve been in relationships and have also been FREE (happily divorced) in others! Besides my relationship status changing, my love for AMResorts has not.secretsbanner

Most people would throw a label on Secrets Resorts as being mostly catered for couples and romance. That is far from the truth. They are wide open and friendly to any type of human being or group of people. Whether a Dolce & Gabbana cologne-doused metrosexual or a gun-rack-in-the-back-of-your-pick-up-truck redneck, you’ll see all sorts or personalities sharing and enjoying the public areas together, whether it’s the lobby or the swim-up bar. I ought to know since I accompanied the metrosexual, the redneck and his wife on a few of my trips! At the end of the trip, all of them wanted more with no complaints.

So when selling the Secrets brand, I say go for it and describe that the resorts cater to all and not just the ones deeply in love. There are plenty of opportunities to get romantic and the resorts are overall quiet when compared to the kid-friendly resorts. But there’s never a feeling of being a “third wheel” when staying at a Secrets Resort & Spa.

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Hot Wedding Destinations in 2013

 

Considering a destination wedding in 2013? These 5 romantic spots are ideal for tying the knot in style!

1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Caribbean islands are blessed with all the trappings for a spectacular destination wedding: powder-fine sand, crystal-clear waters and romantic resorts aplenty. But lately the tropic sun seems to shine brightest on the resort area of Punta Cana, thanks to new direct flights from wallet-friendly airlines AirTran and Frontier, it makes getting to this breathtaking (and affordable) stretch of paradise a cinch. The plethora of choices extends to lodging as well. No matter your style, there’s a resort for you: All-inclusive ease!  Resorts in this popular wedding locale come with staff planners to handle the work and packages that make pricing a breeze.

Travel Tip — Welcome your guest! Leave a gift bag in each room full of goodies for your guest. Don’t forget suntan lotion and trinkets to remind them of your wedding destination when they’re back at home.

2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Fiestas don’t get any more authentic than in Puerto Vallarta. It’s the perfect spot to welcome guests with icy margaritas and exchange “I do’s” as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Sheltered by the jungled landscapes of the Sierra Madre Mountains to the east with romantic views of the Pacific to the west, Vallarta provides an exotic blend of cosmopolitan culture, Mexican flavor and nature at her best. Vallarta is home to Banderas Bay, where you can enjoy the thrill of whales up close from December through April. Vallarta is divided into two general areas: Puerto Vallarta to the south and Riviera Nayarit to the north.

3. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Exchange vows on this island paradise where reggae, romance and the Caribbean sun come together. Pioneers of the all-inclusive vacation concept, you won’t find an island that does it better. For many, it’s positively addictive. The country’s pulsating heartbeat is embodied by soulful cuisine, lively reggae and generous smiles from locals who love to show off their country. Getting married here is so simple that more visitors than Jamaicans are wed on the island every year.

Travel Tip – Planning an off-season wedding or honeymoon (May – Dec) can help you save big on hotels & other costs. Jamaica’s tropical climate does not vary from season to season so marry in the “off-season” and save!

4. Maui, Hawaii – U.S.A.

Maui is a hassle-free place to make a tropical wedding a reality. Both independent wedding planners and onsite coordinators at big resorts can pave the way to I do. There are countless reasons brides and grooms flock to this ever-popular Hawaiian isle. For starters, everything about it seems to cater to couples seeking one romantic experience after another (think unlimited sunsets and picture-perfect beaches). Although Maui’s certain to exceed your expectations as a tropical paradise, its unique inland offerings will give you the opportunity to turn a fantastic beach vacation into an unforgettable adventure. Plus, with direct flights from the mainland, the island is easily accessible for wedding guests.

5. Riviera Maya, Mexico

This 112-mile stretch of coastal paradise, with its white sand beaches fronting turquoise waters, tropical jungles and ancient Mayan ruins, provides the perfect setting for your fairy-tale wedding and heavenly honeymoon.

Travel Tip – While a tropical climate might be great for your tan, it can wreak havoc on big, fluffy satin dresses. Consider lighter-weight fabrics, a shorter hemline or a strapless gown to keep you cool on your wedding day.

 

Black River, Jamaica

 

When I think of Jamaica, I think of dreadlocks, white sandy beaches, steel drums, and endless fruity rum drinks.  I imagine everyone in cornrows and tye-dye clothes, singing to the rhythms of Bob Marley while yelling ayyy, no worries, mon!!  While this is my fantasy (minus the cornrows because my scalp is too white), there is a lot more to this incredible island country than most of us expect.

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Pool

 

While visiting Jamaica, I traveled with a group on several incredible tours through the middle of the country for the Black River Tour.  Most tourists only see the incredible beaches and turquoise waters of the north side of the island, stretching between Negril and Ocho Rios – but we traveled to the southern side of the island for a completely different experience. Our bus wound through the lush mountains just south of Montego Bay, and we ended up in the town of Black River. In Black River, there are beautiful churches, manicured lawns, and incredible houses that dot the expansive shoreline. The town is named after the black river, a name that misleads those who haven’t experienced its beauty. This crystal clear river flows from the center of the island out to sea, and is home to lush mangroves and plentiful wildlife.

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, Guide checking out the crocs on the black river

Our group boarded a boat in Black River, and embarked on a journey upstream.  Within moments, we spotted a prehistoric beast beyond anything we had ever seen.  We found ourselves face-to-face with an 18 foot crocodile, lumbering along through the water.  He noted us curiously, but lazily floated by.  After growing up watching Croc Hunter, part of me expected him to leap out of the water and try to steal one of my arms.  (I crossed them tightly just in case).  But he didn’t want to bother our boat, and kept his eyes on the birds darting down to the water for fish.  I had a strange moment of understanding as I watched this dinosaur relic- he wasn’t the killer Id expected him to be, he just wanted to be left in peace.

So, away we went, speeding away down the river in our pontoon boat.  This area of the country is breathtaking.  A small mountain range surrounds the valley through which the black river flows, and is blanketed by a dense, dark green jungle.  There was no trace of humanity around, and whenever the boat engine quieted, we could only here the soft chirping of birds and the gentle lapping of water against the mangroves.

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, Crocodile Black River Jamaica

We spotted another crocodile, then another.  Our wild guide even kissed one croc on the nose, while we all screamed and flailed and made a huge scene over it.  After a while, we started to realize how many there are in this area of Jamaica.  But, we soon learned that while they are plentiful on the river, they are highly endangered and only found in a few places.  Luckily, they are a protected species and can no longer be hunted- so we hope the species will return to a healthy number in the near future.

On the rest of our journey, we spotted several more crocodiles, flocks of egrets, and giant ferns (imagine Jurassic Park sized ferns) that were crowding the riverbanks.  This place was truly incredible.  Part of me expected a pterodactyl to swoop down from the sky and carry me away with its talons- but instead, we all popped open a Red Stripe and kicked back to take in the incredible scenery.  After a few hours of excitement and breathtaking beauty of the lush valley, we turned back towards the town of Black River.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, In the town of Black River

I never expected such an incredible and remote area to be hidden in the middle of Jamaica, but alas, this natural wonder proved to be an incredible hidden gem.  If you are lucky enough to take a trip down to the carefree island of Jamaica, set down your rum drink and change out of your flip flops for and adventure down to Black River- you will discover a spectacular valley and a charming town that you will never forget.

 

94.1 WYSP’s Danny Bonaduce takes on Jamaica!

One of the exciting parts of my job is when local personalities, DJ’s and sports stars call and say. ‘I want to go on an Apple Vacation.’ Recently, our friend Danny Bonaduce from 94.1 WYSP called and said just that. We sent him on an Apple Vacation to review one of our favorite hotels, Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay in Jamaica! We knew that Secrets Wild Orchid would have all of the things Danny looks for in a vacation – amazing resort, great food and lots to do.

Danny was gracious enough to hang out with many of his fans in resort. As you can see here, he is always willing to snap a photo and mingle with the other resort guests. Danny has even kept in touch with some of them for 10 years!

Here’s what Danny and his wife, Amy, had to say about their recent Apple Vacation to Jamaica.

I make important decisions all day long when I’m at work. So when I want go on vacation, I only need to make one decision and that is “call Apple Vacations.” Apple Vacations offers beautiful places, romantic nights, wonderful restaurants, and sometimes lifelong friends. Ten years ago on an Apple Vacation, I met a very nice couple celebrating their honeymoon. They just invited me to their tenth anniversary. That’s pretty amazing!

When I start to think about taking a vacation I ask myself, ‘Where do I want to go? What do I want to eat? What do I want to do at night?

A few simple answers point me in the right direction. I’ve determined that I want to go somewhere warm, I want French food for dinner, and I’d like to go to a nightclub. I bet you could spend a week trying to work out that perfect night, or instead you can just call Apple Vacations and pick any one of the Secrets Resorts & Spas they offer. Apple Vacations should change their slogan to “No Problem.”

I have encountered so many exciting things on an Apple Vacation. For instance, the first time I went scuba diving was on an Apple Vacation or the first time I saw an active volcano was on an Apple Vacation. I have no idea what I will see next, but I know I will see it with Apple Vacations!

Why Secrets Resorts & Spas Jamaica?

stjamesThe decor, the location, the luxury, the staff, the service… Secrets Resorts & Spas has it all, and now they have it in Montego Bay, Jamaica!  Now that the resorts have been opened for a few months I sat down with their Director of Sales to find out what he thought the key reasons why these hotels are the #1 choice in Montego Bay. This is what he had to say…..

Secrets Resorts & Spas have 2 separate adults only resorts in Jamaica. They each have their own distinct personality. Secrets St. James exudes true Jamaican enchantment. The décor reflects the island’s British Colonial history: rich, dark wood floors and furniture.  Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay has warm neutral tones, and native works of art are in balance with its island surroundings. The décor was inspired by the lush tapestry of flowers, which dot the landscape at the hotel. Continue reading