Dream Wedding

When you picture your dream wedding, what do you envision? Do images of crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and a tropical paradise come to mind? If so, then Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa is perfect for your special day! One of Apple Vacations Destination Weddings’ most revered resorts and November’s “Destination of the Month,” Dreams Riviera has it all.

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Nestled in the secluded Riviera Maya, Dreams Riviera incorporates the best of both worlds. Its prime location makes it especially attractive for both younger couples and families. Half an hour away from Cancun yet minutes away from Playa del Carmen, this resort is within close proximity of the area’s best attractions and landmarks. Tropical gardens, a beach setting suitable for a photo shoot, and limitless activities combine to create a truly unique and magical destination wedding experience. Looking for a quiet evening with your new spouse? Take a walk to the on-site spa for ultimate relaxation. Want to head out for a night on the town? Enjoy the many authentic waterfront restaurants, bars, and shops. Theme parties, live entertainment, nightclubs, euro-bungee jumping, an ocean trampoline, yoga, cooking and dance lessons, Spanish lessons, bocce ball, ocean kayaking, and tennis are just a few of the activities at your fingertips when staying at Dreams Riviera.

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

When it comes to reciting your vows, Dreams Riviera has it covered. Whether you want to gaze into your lover’s eyes and say “I do” on the beach at sunset or in a lavishly decorated and extravagant indoor venue, your wedding is sure to be memorable. Make a statement and provide your guests with a vacation and wedding they are never going to forget.

Your day is special—Apple Vacations Destination Weddings and the Dreams Riviera Cancun resort are here to make sure your wedding runs smoothly and stress-free. Book with us today!

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

‘Dia de los Muertos’ is a grand celebration of life itself!

The Day of the Dead is otherwise known as ‘Dia de los Muertos’ or ‘All Soul’s Day’ and can be traced back for thousands of years. This day is held to honor and remember family members and relatives who have passed away. During the day on November 1st and 2nd, people gather together to pray for lost loved ones. Altars are created to honor the dead and gifts are taken to the graves of the departed. The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence. Here are some great places in Mexico that really embrace the Day of the Dead tradition:

Mural from Secrets Hualtuco Photo Credit: Stephanie Diehl, Travel Designed

Mural from Secrets Hualtuco Photo Credit: Stephanie Diehl, Travel Designed

1. Huatulco

Huatulco is one of Mexico’s newest and very unique tourism development areas. The state of Oaxaca has a rich cultural history and guests of Huatulco can take full advantage of interesting opportunities to experience some of Mexico’s charm. Although the Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico, Oaxaca has become known for the ornately richness of its celebrations.  The festivities begin a week before November 1st with the commencement of the “Plaza de los Muertos”, an elaborate initiation held in each city market, and a contest is held to judge the best of the city’s ofrendas.

 

2. Cancun & Riviera Maya

Marketing department at Apple Vacations

Traditional Day of the Dead Face Painting – Photo Credit: Jeff Farinosi

Xcaret is normally a hybrid action-eco-archeological-adventure park about an hour south of Cancun. From October 31-November 2, it transforms into an all out Day of the Dead celebration a.k.a. the Xcaret, “Life and Death Traditions Festival”. For those that really want to embrace the culture, complimentary face painting stands are set up through the park.

 

3. Los Cabos

Encompassing the two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Lose Cabo, The Day of the Dead Festival is a key festival in Los Cabos throughout the Mexico. Families and loved ones pay their respects by creating spectacular altars that are elaborately decorated with photos, candles and food offerings. The altars are then displayed in the towns main square of Plaza Amelia Wilkes, where the best decorated alter is granted a prize.

 

Dia de Los Muertos skulls - Photo Credit: Travel Designed, Stephanie Dieh

Dia de Los Muertos skulls – Photo Credit: Travel Designed, Stephanie Diehl

4. Puerto Vallarta

There’s plenty to do in Puerto Vallarta to feed your adventurous spirit. Often called the “crown jewel” of the Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, a small fishing town located just 35 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, has become a popular destination. The roots of Mexican culture are deep and complex, as is evident even in a place seemingly as simple as Sayulita: once a fishing and farming pueblo, now a magical, compelling tourist destination. Sayulitans set up alters around town to honor the deceased and there are lovely masses held in the cemetery.

 

5. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

A varierty of learning opportunities await you in and around Ixtapa for those who enjoy experiencing the real destination behind the resort.  Ixtapa Zihuatanejo hosts a complete festival with lectures about the tradition, photographic exhibitions, traditional dance and music.  Building “altars” with flowers and tokens of the deceased is part of the tradition.  Local vendors will compete for the “Best Altar.” Activities start at the Zihuatanejo Bay with lighting of the area.

Have you visited Mexico for Day of the Dead? Where did you stay?  Feel free to share your comments and stories about your experiences with Day of the Dead traditions in the comments. Or continue this conversation on our facebook page!

Special Thanks to Travel Designed by Stephanie for letting us use her great photographs!

Champagne and croissants should be office staples

Coffee and doughnuts are overrated. After last week, I say champagne and croissants should be office staples. With production well underway, last week I was asked to jump in and help tackle content for our forthcoming Europe brochure.

Eiffel Tower -  Photo Credit: Apple Vacations

Eiffel Tower – Photo Credit: Apple Vacations

 

Sounds simple enough, right?  Unfortunately, I developed a bit of an affliction along the way; a temporary condition I deemed “Chronic Creative Fixation”.  My symptoms included rapid-fire googling, endless image-scrolling, and gross abuse of adjectives.

I became 100%, head over heels, smitten with Paris.  Some may say obsessed, I say “creatively fixated”.

Oh Paris, you’re so dreamy. You are everything they say you are.

So steeped in history and culture that it would take a lifetime to take it all in. A culinary epicenter that plays host to everything from the renowned Le Cordon Blue, to quaint open-air bistros. A fashion mecca where names like Hermés, Vuitton and Chanel are not just a brand, but a national treasure. Paris is truly a city that exudes style, romance and elegance like no other.

:Le sigh:

With something to see, experience or taste around every corner, planning a Parisian getaway may seem a bit daunting.  Here are some suggestions when touring the City of Lights.

Already been to Paris? What did you think? Do you have any advice? Any must-sees?

We’d love to know what you think.

Merci!

Travel Wishlist

With more than 500 hotels and resorts in our portfolio, Apple Vacations has options for every kind of vacationer – from basic budget to ultra luxe. We canvassed our immense hotel offerings and picked the top outrageous luxury offerings in the Apple family. From private islands to Lamborghinis, these resort options can definitely knock some things off your vacation bucket list!

Grand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya Stay and Luxury Drive package

Grand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya Stay and Luxury Drive package

 

Cancun Secrets The Vine Taking up more than a third of the 20th floor of Secrets The Vine, the Preferred Club Presidential Suite has dazzling views of Cancun’s modern hotel zone, the Caribbean Sea and Nichupte Lagoon. Featuring two bedrooms, luxurious Italian porcelain bathrooms and a chic, oversized private, furnished terrace, the Presidential Suite also includes all of the resorts Unlimited Luxury amenities and its own personal concierge.

Riviera MayaGrand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa Located on more than 80 acres of protected mangroves, jungle and natural freshwater cenotes, Grand Velas enjoys over 1,000 feet of carefully preserved, pristine white sand beach and is the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to receive AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond rating.Guests who book Grand Velas’ adrenaline fueled “Stay & Luxury Drive” package get the opportunity to race luxury cars and hot rods on the resort’s specialized courses. Guests can drive the car of their dreams, including a Lamborghini Gallardo, Lotus Elise, Ferrari F430, Camaro SS and Corvette Grand Sport. (Travel through Dec. 19, 2013)

Los CabosZoetry Casa Del Mar In addition to deliciously high-thread count sheets and towels, the guest rooms at Zoetry Casa del Mar feature Bvlgari bath amenities, aromatherapy pillows, sparkling wine and fresh fruit daily and a charming souvenir beach bag handcrafted by local artisans. Zoetry Casa del Mar guests receive Endless Privileges® which grant limitless access to almost all the pleasures this intimate jewel has to offer, including daily breakfast, lunch and dinner gourmet dining options with an assortment of organic food and beverage selections

Samana, Dominican RepublicLuxury Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Located on an exclusive island almost a mile long, Luxury Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado is a short ferry ride from the mainland, making it a perfectly romantic, adults-only getaway. On the island, there is only find the resort and a small market, giving you the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind. To leave the island, take the free ferry, or go big with helicopter or private boat service.

Punta CanaHard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana With 15 swimming pools, nine restaurants, the area’s biggest casino, exhilarating nightlife and legendary rock & roll memorabilia, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is a destination in itself. Every spacious guest room features a private balcony, LCD satellite TV and double Jacuzzi, but it’s the ridiculously fun Rock Star Suite that definitely stands out. Featuring three bedrooms, living room and full kitchen, the Rock Star Suite also includes a Baby Grand Piano, a pool table, Paul Stanley and Aerosmith Memorabilia and a digital safe larger than any other room in the resort.

Hawaii’s Big IslandMauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Amidst mountains and the sea on the sunny Kohala Coast on the tropical Island of Hawaii, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is consistently rated one of the “Top Hotels in the World” by Travel +Leisure. Discover true luxury in one of the resorts five stunning Bungalows: Plumeria, Hibiscus, Orchid, Bird of Paradise and Heliconia. The 2,700 sq. ft. of indoor living space features an expansive living area, two spacious bedrooms, wet bar and a private kitchen for the chef at heart. A 1,300 sq. ft. outdoor area offers a private Jacuzzi and heated swimming pool creating a laidback setting for socializing or quiet enjoyment. Each bedroom features a spacious naturally lit bathroom with a soaking tub overlooking an outdoor shower and private garden. A guest bathroom is available off the living area.

Honeymoon Planning – Help!

Aloha Juice Readers!

 Hawaii

It’s been quite some time since my last post, but it’s good to be back.  I haven’t been lounging beachside, I’ve been off planning a wedding.  Thus far things have been pretty easygoing – not too much stress.  That was, until it came time for the honeymoon.

I know, of all things to stress about, the honeymoon?  I work for a travel company.  This should be a cinch right?  Wrong!  The number one question I have been asked this entire time is, “where are you going on your honeymoon”?  This is supposed to be THE trip.  The trip of a LIFETIME. That’s some pretty serious pressure.

So, after some serious back-and-forthing, we’ve made just a few decisions:

Now what?

Maui, Hawaii

Readers, this is where you come in.  Tell us what you think!  Any Honeymooning words of wisdom?  Where did you go? Have you been to Hawaii?  Can you offer a recommended “must see”?

As the trip gets closer, you’ll be able to following along with our planning, and your recommendations will become our reality!  And who knows, maybe we’ll drop you a few postcards along the way.

Mahalo for your help!

Shannon

 

The Big  Island

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!

Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta & Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

secretsPvrBanner

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!