Adventures in Aspen

Dawn, of Fox World Travel, recently went on a trip to Aspen, Colorado. This getaway included everything from a fishing tour, to a private party at playmate, Barbi Benson’s, mansion. Hear all about Dawn’s trip here!

We stayed at the lavish St. Regis Resport and Spa. This amazing property is situated in st regis aspenAspen just steps away from the signature ski slopes that Aspen is famous for.   It is also within walking distance to downtown shops and eateries, right in the heart of the historic town center of Aspen. The building stands majestically at the base of the slope looking like a castle.

The interior of the property is as grand as the first impression that we had driving up. Librarystr244gb.103155_xx Marble floors, dark oak woodwork, and exquisite crystal chandeliers are located throughout the property. The rooms are beautifully decorated with custom furnishings and very comfortable bedsstr244gr.119376_xx. str244gr.133407_xxThe views from the rooms are breathtaking.   The guest rooms are also outfitted with spacious marble bathrooms which included large claw-foot tubs and stand-alone showers. We enjoyed the extra special touch of turndown service every night upon returning to our room.

The property also houses the stunning Remède Spa which is open seven days a week. One thing this spa currently features is an innovative new spa treatment: Farm to spaMassage Table. This concept uses locally-sourced and natural ingredients to engage all of the senses in a multi-dimensional five course spa experience including a 30 minutes glow scrub, a 60 minute customized massage, a eucalyptus warm compress, scalp massage, and a body butter application. You even leave the spa with a complimentary salt-scrub made fresh, just for you!

It is a very invigorating experience to say the least. That is one thing we found of interest – from dining to the spa – the St. Regis is very interested in supporting the local economy and utilizing local products and ingredients. St. Regis Aspen’s outdoor heated pool and three outdoor hot tub areas were a treat in and of themselves. The warm waters in the pool allow for year-round enjoyment. The view is breathtaking as you look out over the mountains on the backside of the hotel.

Dining at the St. Regis was another special treat. The Executive Chef crafted local recipes Shadow Mountain Loungeand utilized seasonal ingredients. There are several restaurants and lounges on site to choose from.

Aspen Outfitting Company offers the area’s only Certified Guide Program. They have their headquarters in the St. Regis. We spent a beautiful afternoon fishing on one of the local waterways with an extremely knowledgeable guide who provided us with great tips and strategies to try to land the big one. Unfortunately, we didn’t pull anything mountable in, but we each did have the opportunity of landing several smaller trout. It was a very enjoyable afternoon. Don’t worry about having to bring poles and gear. They provided everything we needed. Part of our fishing package also included a wonderful boxed lunch catered by the hotel. Aspen Outfitting Company holds exclusive leases on the area’s largest selection of private water. Fishing opportunities are available year round. The guides are local and very familiar with the surrounding waterways. We found each has their “favorite lucky spots”. The company also offers recreational activities to include Clay Target Shooting, Pistol Shooting and Upland Bird Hunting.

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The peak of Aspen Mountain is 11,212 feet. We rode the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of the mountain. The views were stunning as you are able to look about for miles in all directions. If you are a skiing enthusiast your ride to the top of Aspen Mountain in the Gondola will give you access to over 75 trails. For those of us who aren’t skiers, we can still ride the Gondola with the purchase of a “foot pass” sold at the ticket office. At the top of the mountain is the Sundeck Restaurant where we listened to live music and enjoyed lunch. There is a very large deck where you can sit outside if weather permits. While we were there, the place was being set up for a private Moonlight wedding function at the Sundeck Restaurant that evening. The Sundeck has a very rustic feel and is a great location to lounge or have a private function like the one that was being set up.

dawn fam 3Because we were so close to the downtown area and Aspen’s pedestrian malls we took a walk around to see what could be found. One thing we noticed right away is that these shops were more dedicated to local artisans and wares. We saw very few “chain” retailers. Choices for shopping ran the gamut from consignment to Prada, local artists’ wares to fine art.  There were several areas where local musicians were playing or singing to the crowds milling about.

We were told there are over 100 dining options in the immediate area to include restaurants, coffee shops, lounges or delicatessens. There were many culinary options to choose from and something for everybody’s taste. Something that is very popular is the Farm to Table menus. There are also many options of microbreweries. Even while we were there in April many of the outdoor patios were open and being utilized. Finbarr’s is a modern gastro pub that we attended an event at on Saturday night. This pub is owned by a local Aspen resident. True to its name the atmosphere was very Irish. But this pub also is well known for its sports bar atmosphere as well we had a very rowdy crowd watching the Badgers game that night. Finbarr’s is well known for their Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and other Irish classics along with their gastro pub menu offerings. Finbarr’s features 9 beers on tap including Guinness and Smithwick’s.

On our final night in Aspen we were invited to a private party at the “Copper Palace”, a futuristic house owned by Barbi Benton (former playmate) and her developer husband copper palaceGeorge Gradow. The house got its name for the seven miles of copper used to cover walls, architectural features inside and outside of the house. This house is located right in Aspen and was completely and utterly amazing. It is comprised of five copper pods connected by various stairways.  The building is over 25,000-square-foot, set on 40 acres and cantilevered in sections to provide views from all areas of the house.

Each pod was unique and distinct of the other both in décor and function. Included in the grand scheme a 1,500 square foot disco, a custom-designed 29-person couch that cost $100,000, a 40-foot steel pocket door that opens to reveal an 80-person ballroom, a theater, a gym and two heated lap pools, office space, a dark room, a master bedroom (with a revolving bed) offering views of Mount Sopris and the Roaring Fork Valley, a projection room and so much more. Each room is flamboyantly hand decorated by Barbi Benton.

Aspen is picturesque, natural beauty with something to offer not just ski enthusiasts, but travels of all interests.  Learn more about the destination here or Contact a Vacation Travel Consultant today.

Some photos courtesy of St. Regis Aspen online and Aspensajourner.com

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Spain & Portugal Travel

Spain is a mix of old and new, modern and traditional and offers something for everyone. For the tourist, Spain may be defined as Spain - Barcelonabullfights, massive cathedrals, world-class art, Muslim palaces, vibrant folk life, whitewashed villages, and bright sunshine. Yes, you’ll find those things…but this country’s special charm lies in its people and their unique lifestyle. From the stirring sardana dance in Barcelona to the sizzling rat-a-tat-tat of flamenco in Sevilla, this country creates its own beat amid the heat.

Nestled between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal contains striking landscapes ripe for exploration, from the exceptional beaches of the Algarve to the lush vineyards of the Douro River Valley. Beyond the Algarve’s cliff-flanked beaches, Portugal is a country of bucolic landscapes and culture-rich cities. The distant strains of fado music, scents of Portugal - Rossio Squarefreshly grilled fish and a party-loving spirit suffuse the Moorish alleys of Lisbon and Porto’s medieval Ribeira. But don’t stop there. Head inland to stroll cork and almond forests, sip port in the Duoro’s tumbling vineyards and hike in the Peneda-Gerês National Park’s Lake District. Everywhere you’ll be greeted with a heartfelt bemvindo (welcome).

Words from our Vacation Travel Consultants:

“Explore a hidden gem as a side trip from Madrid: Escorial & the Valley of the Fallen. This is an all day tour, but one not to be missed! Escorial was conceived by Philip II as a monastery but now the Royal Pantheon has become a symbol of the greatness of the Spanish Empire. Visit the Basilica, Royal Palace, Royal Pantheons, Infantes Pantheons and the Chapter Rooms. You will also have the opportunity to visit The Valley of the Fallen, a monument built as a memorial of those who died during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.” -Lynn Timmers, Vacation Travel Consultant & Branch Manager

“I have been to Central Portugal (Lisbon, Lieria and Cascais) and loved it. It’s full of winding streets and steeped in history and charm. The coastline is amazing. The food was not my favorite, however, the wine was delicious! I was totally impressed with the pottery – there were three basically different styles coming from the South, Central and Northern regions…the delicate, ornately painted pieces, the all-green leaf pattern pieces and the heavier clay-type pottery.” -Connie Rogers, Vacation Travel Consultant

Are you interested in traveling to Spain or Portugal? We have two custom Select Group Vacations traveling to this area in 2015. Our first being a land escorted tour: Northern Spain traveling July 10-21, 2015; and second a river cruise: Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley traveling August 5-16, 2015. For more information on these two trips, contact a Vacation Travel Consultant at 888-369-8785.

*Photos from 2013 Select Group Vacations Trip to Portugal

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Receive $1500 per Couple Air Credit on Select 2015 Departures!

Avalon Scenery; Rhone River; France; Europe; river cruise; river cruising;Receive a $1,500 per couple air credit on the following select spring 2015 Avalon air-inclusive  Europe river cruises!  Learn more about this special offer here or Contact a Vacation Travel Consultant today.

  • Tulip Time – 8 days Amsterdam/Amsterdam

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  • Tulips of Northern Holland – 8 days Amsterdam/Amsterdam
  • Magnificent Europe – 15 days Amsterdam/Budapest
  • Romantic Rhine – 8 days Amsterdam/Basel
  • The Blue Danube Discovery – 13 days
  • Budapest/Prague Capitals of Central Europe – 12 days
  • Budapest/Prague (or reverse 10 days)
  •  The Legendary Danube –11 days

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    Prague/Budapest

  •  Burgundy & Provence -11 days Paris/Cote d’Azur (or reverse)
  • Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches – 8 days Paris/Paris
  • Blue Danube to the Black Sea –14 days Bucharest/Vienna (or reverse)
  • Austrian Highlights & Bavaria – 9 days Vienna/Munich

*Exclusive Promotional Offer for Select Agency Partners. Book a select 2015 Avalon Waterways air-inclusive Europe rivercruise to receive the $750 per person air credit. Must be booked, under deposit and discount applied between August18 and September 30, 2014 for travel in 2015. Not applicable on instant purchase air. Air credit will apply to the perperson air price and is non-transferable. Offers not valid with any other offer except Journeys Club Repeat Traveler benefit. Applies to new 2015 bookings only and offer will not be applied to pre-existing bookings. Offer may be withdrawn

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Save Big on Your Romantic Getaway: Free Secrets Eternity Honeymoon Package

"VFMLID=54458479"Complementary Secrets Eternity Honeymoon Package

Planning a honeymoon or a romantic getaway?  When you book with Fox World Travel and Apple Vacations receive a complementary honeymoon package when booking the required room category or higher for a minimum of 7 nights

This package includes:

  • Sparkling wine, fresh fruit and flowers in room upon arrival
  • Breakfast in bed with Mimosas one morning of stay, reservation with concierge required
  • Tension Release Massage for two in couple massage suites (25 minutes)
  • Choice of either a European Facial or a Salt Glow Scrub body treatment for two (25 minutes)
  • Private beachfront dinner one evening – upon return from dinner you will find a romantic turndown service (includes a bottle of domestic wine and silver menu for two)
  • Private petit fours each evening at turndown service
  • Free Anniversary Nights (stay a minimum of 5 nights over first anniversary date and receive 2 additional nights free or stay 4 nights over first anniversary date and receive one additional night free)

Select your Secrets Resort & Spa:

"VFMLID=54194344"Cancun

-  Secrets The Vine Cancun

-  Secrets Playa Mujeres Resort & Spa

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Cozumel

-  Secrets Aura Cozumel

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Riviera Maya

-  Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

-  Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

-  Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun

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 Huatulco

-  Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa

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 Jamaica

-  Secrets St. James Montego Bay

-  Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay

"VFMLID=53446885"Los Cabos

-  Secrets Marquis Los Cabos

-  Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort

Punta Cana

-  Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana

 Puerto Vallarta

-  Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta

Some terms and conditions apply.  Learn more: Contact a Vacation Travel Consultant Today!

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Lavish Castle Hotel Opens in Dalian, China: You Won’t Believe Your Eyes!

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The Luxury Collection, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has announced the opening of The Castle Hotel, Dalian.  Featuring an array of mountain, ocean, and city skyline views with lavish amenities such as rainforest showers, separate soaking tubs, cuisine prepared by celebrated executive chefs, and pristine ballrooms for special events, this retreat is like something from a Disney movie!  Learn more about this lavish retreat here:

Live Link a King: Starwood Resorts Opens Amazing Castle Hotel in Northeast China:  http://onforb.es/YcjUed

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Livin’ It Up in Punta Cana

Tammy of Fox World Travel recently took a trip to Punta Cana which she described as  “breathtaking”, “lively”, and “immaculate”.  Hear about her trip details and inside advice on the Puna Cana area and the Breathless Punta Cana Resort and Spa.

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My trip planning began when I had booked my flights with Apple Vacations on their Charter and flew Frontier Airlines. I had purchased the Preferred Perks with seat assignments which includes fresh meal/snack box & two standard alcoholic beverages per adult (21+) on each flight, access to the preferred check-in security line, separate preferred check-in line at the ticket counter, preferred boarding, and preferred baggage handling.  This was the first time that I personally did this, and I believe that this is entirely worth the extra cost! I would highly recommend this for all travelers.

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Master Suite Bathroom

We finally arrived at our resort, the Breathless Punta Cana Resort and Spa, and at check in we received an upgrade to the Xhale Club Privilege Ocean Front Junior Suite Room. It was an absolutely beautiful room and the views were gorgeous. With the Xhale Club Privilege, I got to experience personalized check-in and checkout with concierge service. We had access to two private Xhale Club Pools, which also had pool concierge and service. We had a Jacuzzi on a private beach, and also had an upgraded min-bar and room service menu.

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Xhale Lounge

The Breathless Punta Cana resort has 13 gourmet restaurants and eight stylish bars and lounges. We did take advantage of some of them. We got to eat at the Coco Café which offers premium coffee and pastries. (They have the best cappuccino here; A must for any coffee lover!) We tried he Culinarian, which is the international specialty restaurant; the Coquette, which serves French cuisine; and the Strip, which specializes in the gourmet grilled fare. The most delicious restaurant, in my opinion, was the Silk City Pan-Asian Cuisine. The food was delectable and the restaurant décor was fabulous.

Pan Silk City Restaurant

Pan Silk City Restaurant

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Coco Cafe

The grounds at the Breathless Punta Cana Resort are breathtaking and well kept up; the pools were immaculate as well. They always had lots of activities taking place throughout the resort daily, which included a foam party in the pool area during the daytime and live entertainment in the evening. Also, one of the nights they had a DJ performing on the beach, and it was so much fun to see so many people dancing and enjoying themselves.  As for the beach, it is gorgeous and the ocean was a breathtaking turquoise color.

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Unfortunately, it was not the best place for swimming in the ocean.  It’s quite rocky and has so many coral reefs, thus we never saw anyone swimming in the water at this resort. Also, if anyone is looking to do some shopping, it’s an easy walk from the resort to a little market shopping area, which was fun to check out some souvenirs shops.

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Breathless Resort Pool

Overall, the resort was wonderful. The service was excellent and the staff was very hard working and accommodating. I would highly recommend this property to younger adults only due to the liveliness of the resort.

Learn more and contact a vacation travel consultant today!

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7 Can’t-Miss Travel Sites in Denver, CO

Wanda, of Fox World Travel, recently went on a trip to Denver.  She says that there are 7 stops that you absolutely cannot miss! 

1.  Historic Cripple Creek:  A visit to the World’s Greatest Gold Camp is a look into the past and an adventure in the present. The area’s rich and colorful history comes to life in one of the many museums or tours.

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2.  Echo Canyon River:  A great place to visit if you have an adventurous side.  Eco Canyon River Expeditions offers gorge trip, zip-lining, ATV adventures, camping, rafting, and so much more!

echo-slider-floating3.  Historic Manitou Spring:  Manitou is a wonderful community home to world class artisans, musicians, attractions and public art displays. With 11 natural springs throughout the town, many Native American tribes found the area to hold special healing powers!  Manitou had some of the best shopping and local dining establishments around.  The Historic District is lined with unique art galleries, one-of-a-kind gift shops and trading posts with handcrafted Native American treasures. Manitou Springs is home to dozens of artists and art galleries.

Manitou-Springs-slider14.  Garden of the Gods:  The world-class Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is your gateway to the Park. This most visited attraction in the Pikes Peak region offers guided nature walks and free interpretive presentations daily.garden of the gods

5.  Cheyenne Mountain Zoo:  Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is America’s ONLY mountain zoo and home to one of the largest giraffe herds in the world! With incredible views, a large collection of incredible species of animals, hands-on learning activities and much more, your family will love this adventure!CMZoo-Tiger-942x463

6.  Cave of the Winds:  With two amazing cave tours and daring attractions atop breathtaking Williams Canyon, Cave of the Winds is the perfect adventure for your family! Your family can explore deep inside the mountains with their really cool cave tours and then experience the thrill of high-flying action outside with their rides, especially the new Terror-Dactyl open now!

caveslider17.  Pikes Peak:  Grab your family and bring your own car to take this 19-mile scenic journey above the clouds! The safe, scenic highway provides you the opportunity to enjoy Pikes Peak Mountain and the Pikes Peak Highway at your leisure. From the gateway at an elevation of 7,400 feet, you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world as you wind your way through an alpine wonderland of scenic beauty, mountain reservoirs, beyond timberline, overtaking the clouds…all along the way to the 14,115 foot summit of America’s most famous mountain.

Along the way, you’ll discover the North Slope Recreation Area, Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, Historic Glen Cove Inn, and the Summit House. There are three lakes for fishing, picnic areas, hiking trails, and breathtaking views. Stop and watch one of our “Meet the Ranger” Interpretive Programs and learn about the history, myths, flora and fauna on the mountain. All offer visitor services and basic necessities to make your day both enjoyable and memorable.

PikesPeak-slider2Some content and photos courtesy of Pikes Peak Country Attractions.

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