Secrets The Vine – Best Resort Hands Down in Cancun!

As told by Erin Miller, Apple Vacations Business Development Specialist

My Husband and and I were really excited to get away with some of our close friends. Since we were only going for a short stay we had to be a little picky about where we were going to stay. I mean, who wants to spend their vacation being transferred from airport to hotel and vice versa?!

Here was our criteria:

Adults-Only – Check

Close to Airport – Check

Beautiful Beach – Check

Delicious Gourmet Food – Check

Tropical Libations – Check

Where did we end up?

Secrets The Vine. Here’s my quick review our fabulous trip to Cancun, Mexico.

The overall ambiance is impressive. When we arrived in the main hotel lobby, I looked all the way up at this massive glass building in front of me, and I thought to myself, WOW! The chic atmosphere and upscale décor was so unique, I could tell I was going to like it here.

The infinity pools and the beautiful white sand beach was just what we needed. The super attentive wait service was incredibly welcoming and they were always right there if we needed something. My personal favorite restaurant was the Blue Water Grill. In particular, I recommend the Ahi Tuna, just scrumptious!  All the restaurants were great. In fact we were eating so much we wanted to hit up the gym. I was blown away with the view yet again. The gym is on the 12th floor and has a breathtaking ocean view. What a nice distraction to look out at beautiful blue waves crashing onto the white sand while working out!

The accommodations were pretty fancy too! Our room was very spacious and contemporary. Our room had a great view of the Marina and the Ocean. Two beautiful views in one room!

One night, we ventured downtown to visit Coco Bongo Cancun for some fun and excitement. It was just a little five minute bus ride from the hotel. Super convenient!

I have to admit, we really had an amazing time and we can’t wait to go back!

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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Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta & Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

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Secrets Vallarta Bay

Everyone wants to tell us about Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta & Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. Both Resorts have so much to offer and are Apple employee favorites!  James Reese, our Philadelphia Regional Sales Manager just returned and here is his review for you!

Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta & Now Amber Puerto Vallarta are both beautiful 6 Golden Apple Resorts.  They are “sister resorts” separated by a lush, landscaped knoll that runs from the main building to the ocean. 

The rooms at each resort are warm and inviting. All have a coffee maker, laptop size safe, in-room Jacuzzi tub, DVD player, iPod docking station, stocked mini fridge, Secrets Box and Incredible Views. Of course, the standard 24-hour room service, no restrictions or reservations for dining and no wrist bands. 

The beach is a little bit rocky but the pools more than make up for that! 

From The Secrets Resorts side, some may expect to hear families from the Now Resorts side – NOT SO!  Both sides are perfectly defined and each offers its own unique pool settings.

Secrets offers Bali Beds throughout the pool area. Both resorts have ample pool side lounge chairs.  Between the two, there are  9 Restaurants and 5 Bars.  Complimentary WiFi  available throughout the resorts.  One thing of note at Now is that there is COMPLETE PRIVACY available for the bathrooms in the suites for families.  Guests staying at Secrets have full exchange privileges at Now while adult guests at Now can use all facilities at Secrets.  Complimentary Greens Fees for Golfers.  Lovely Spa!

I was thoroughly impressed with these resorts!  Be sure to hit either lobby to enjoy the sunset!  Incredible!

In addition to our nationwide scheduled air service, Apple Vacations offers exclusive vacations flights to Puerto Vallarta from Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Lansing, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. And new for Winter 2014 we will add flights from JFK, Philadelphia, Rockford and St. Louis! Getting to Puerto Vallarta just got a lot easier!

 

 

A Return to Puerto Vallarta

Joyce Malkenson, our Cincinnati Regional Sales Manager, just returned with the team from Puerto Vallarta.   We were able to get her impressions of Puerto Vallarta.

I was so excited to be visiting Puerto Vallarta.  It had been years since I had been there, but I had strong memories of how much I loved this destination and how truly distinct it was.  I stepped off the plane and was immediately impressed as to how modern the airport was and how easy it was to navigate.

As soon as we began driving toward the resort, I was instantly reminded of the unique charm and beauty of this destination.  Charming is the operative word……..from the cobblestone streets of the waterfront area to the unique shops and restaurants you are enticed.  There is no lack of things to do if you want to spend time away from the resort and in fact, I recommend a day and an evening exploring all the town has to offer.

Pulling up to Secrets Vallarta Bay/Now Amber was breathtaking.  From the moment I walked in to the entry and felt the bay breezes and saw the inviting lobby bar, I was hooked!  Clean, light and airy is the feel throughout these properties.  The suites only add to the building enthusiasm.  You open the door and see immediately out to the lapping waves of the bay and the incredible pool areas.  The suite itself is all about comfort and openness and I wanted to jump onto the beautiful chaise lounge and immediately relax…so I did! The room has amazing views from all angles, a Jacuzzi tub and a huge, fluffy bed.  This was one of the nicest rooms I have ever experienced.

The highlights of the trip came at night when I sat on the balcony looking over the pool area— the many pools were lit up and the turquoise colors were amazing.  A special light near the water reflected on the backs of the perfectly aligned beach chairs and it all looked like a piece of artwork.  You could see the whitecaps and hear the waves lapping and it was always a perfect ending to each wonderful day.

Having the two resorts side by side, one for adults only and one for families provides a perfect venue for any wedding, reunion or family group.  I will be recommending them to everyone I can. What a great resort! 

Thanks Joyce! Stay tuned to this blog for a review of Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta & Now Amber Puerto Vallarta from our Philadelphia regional sales manager.

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An itinerary for Panama to maximize your vacation!

Gina West, one of Apple Vacations’ Regional Sales Managers, recently returned from Panama. We were able to get her first impressions and now here is a sample itinerary that’s she suggests when visiting Panama:

First stop, Panama City… it’s actually two cities in one.  The historic area of “old” Panama City is experiencing a renaissance. The ornate architecture of decade old buildings are being painstakingly restored to their original condition.  Old Panama City is invitingly charming and yet eclectic with small boutiques, shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and gathering squares.  While it’s still a work in progress, witnessing its rebirth leaves visitors with a strong desire to return again and again.

The newer part of Panama City is home to over 80 world banks, many corporate headquarters and hotels. Dozens of skyscrapers have gone up just in the past 10 years! The city is host to countless corporate conventions in the dozens of trendy, chic sky-scraping hotels.  Currently the 80-story Trump Ocean Club Hotel is the tallest building in Panama City with magnificent views of the new skyline as well as old Panama and the ships in the distance waiting their turn to enter the Panama Canal. A visit or stay in Panama City is a must.  There’s so much to see and do, great restaurants to visit, quiet or upbeat bars and lounges. Stay in one of the hotels in the newer part of Panama City for two nights but be sure to visit both areas during your stay.

Next, head to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort and the second lock of the Panama Canal is just a short 30 minute drive southeast of Panama City. The tranquil and serene Gamboa Rainforest Resort is located minutes from the Miraflores Lock (the second lock of the three that make up the Panama Canal). The All-Inclusive Gamboa Rainforest Resort, not yet 10 years old, possesses a casual elegance and charm that you feel the moment you arrive.  The panoramic view of the river and mountains gives this resort the look and feel of a spa retreat. Guests of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort unwind and relax as the pace is much slower than the pulse and energy of Panama City.  Treat yourself to this experience. The Gamboa Tarpen Club at the Panama Canal is connected to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Be sure to take the water tour into the canal which takes guests into the canal waterway and its surrounding tiny islands teeming with wildlife. This was my favorite part of my week in Panama. The tour guides on these small 10 passenger vessels are excellent and able to spot various species of wildlife that inhabit this area. Spending a few days at Gamboa Rainforest while in Panama is an absolute must.

Finally to complete your stay, plan on spending your last few nights at one of the beach resorts in Panama. There is a beach resort to fit every desire and budget. The Westin Playa Bonita is just 45 minutes southwest of Panama City. As you drive further south, the beaches of Panama get even better. From the understated luxury and elegance of the Panama Marriott Hotel to the charm and energy of the family friendly All Inclusive Royal Decameron, there are many great beach resort in Panama. Spending the last few days of your visit to Panama relaxing at the beach!   

There is so much to see and do in Panama, but the good news is it can be done in a week with a little planning. In fact, Apple Vacations offers a 7 night package that incorporates a little bit of each part of Panama. Spend some time with your travel agent to make sure your Panama vacation is the best fit for you. 

 I didn’t expect to fall in love with Panama as much as I did, but I did. Besides the diversity of what Panama offers, there was an intangible element of the Panama experience that I couldn’t quite put into words. I consulted Wikipedia and I found that intangible element. According to Wikipedia, in “a 2012 poll, it was reported that Panama City was the city with the happiest people in the world” – So there you have it! Perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Panama. 

Add Panama to your bucket list and visit the city with the happiest people in the world!

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Finding a Unique Resort in Puerto Vallarta

Marival Residences & World Spa is an All-Inclusive 6 Golden Apple Resort. After visiting, the first impression from our staff was – WOW! The luxurious resort is not directly on the beach, but it is close enough to offer ocean-view suites. The resort has a private beach club, and it is only a short walk or shuttle ride away.

The resort is perfect if you are looking for a very luxurious and unique resort, for a longer stay, and also is also perfect for a smaller Destination Wedding. Marival Residences & World Spa is so much more than a hotel, it has everything to be your “home-away-from-home”.

Marival Residences offers penthouse suites which have roof-top private pools.  They also have a 3-bedroom villa with a private gazebo, full kitchen and private pool.  All suites and villas have washer and dryer.

Any Destination Wedding Bride will love the idea of a very intimate and lovely wedding in the backyard of a villa. And, Weddings are free (including judge fee) with no minimum room requirement.

The resort also offers many additional unique value added features including:

Unlimited Golf Greens Fees, 1 complimentary hotel offered excursion per person per stay (with additional excursions at only $30 per person)

6 of the area’s most popular excursions, including dolphin encounters, canopy zip lining and sunset sails are all part of the all-inclusive package.

8 complimentary hours of Nanny service per 5 night stay!

The average tenure of the employees at this property and the sister Marival resort is around 10 years. That is pretty impressive. This is an Apple staff favorite from the recent hotel visits. They all love, love, love this resort!

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Aloha Friday – Step Up Your Stay at Starwood Resorts in Hawaii (Mexico & the Caribbean too)

We are in the final booking week of Sunsational Savings at all Starwood Resorts!

Book by July 22 and travel July 1-December 15, 2013 and bask in the splendor of Starwood Resorts on the sun-drenched beaches of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands. Apple Vacations offers the most convenient and affordable ways to get there.

Apple Vacations is celebrating Starwood with a host of exclusive value-added extras like guaranteed room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, food and beverage credits, spa discounts and more!

Click here for specific resort details.

And check out our Pinterest board featuring Starwood Resorts here.