WOW! Happy Vacations Hawaii 40% off Summer Birthday Celebration

February 26, 2009

hawaiian hulaOur 40th gets you 40% off Huge Summer Air Sale -Reserve your summer vacation & pay now for travel June/1/09 -August/18/09 and get 40% off United air to Hawaii.

Promotion valid from Thursday, February 26, 2009 through Thursday, March 5, 2009. Minimum five night hotel package, only valid in certain classes of service (not applicable to 1st class), taxes not included in discount.

Call us at 800 644-6659 for details! Or email - Your Friend in the Islands - I love a good airfare sale!

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The Feast at Lele is 1st Class Dining Hawaiian Style!

February 19, 2009

Hula dancersWhat could be better than spending an evening enjoying one of the most authentic Hawaiian luaus? My friend Petra and I were treated to a night out of island music, great food, drinks and entertainment at the Feast at Lele held beach-side at 505 Front Street, Lahaina, Maui. Whether you arrive by land or by sea - this is a special island treat.

The Feast at Lele is a first class luau under the stars, complete with intimate dining and white table linens - not the usual fare at most luaus. Every table had a great view of the dancers with the backdrop of the setting sun over West Maui. Couples enjoy individual table side service while feasting on 4 courses of local island cuisine and a very entertaining and educational trip thru the South Pacific. We tasted island cuisine from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand while the dancers performed in traditional attire.

The grand finale is a spectacular fire/knife dancer - and you thought your job was tough! Open bar, including those fun and colorful drinks are included. It’s been ages since we enjoyed an “umbrella drink” so decided to have a chi-chi - which is a cocoanut, pineapple juice and vodka drink - delicious! A wonderful way to end the evening with a happy opu! (full tummy!)

If you too would like to enjoy the best Luau in Hawaii
Call Me at 1-800-644-6659
Your ‘See the South Pacific Specialist’ at Luxury Hideaways

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Romance in the Fiji Islands at an affordable price - Viwa Island Resort

February 11, 2009

Viwa Island Resort - the best romantic holiday I’ve seen in a long time!

Viwa Island Resort is one of the newest resorts to open in the Fiji Islands. Located in the Yasawa Island chain, Viwa Island resort is an intimate & affordable boutique resort catering to adults only, offering just 11 delux beachfront bures (cottages).

The island is surrounded by a blossoming rich colourful coral reef that is abundant with a variety of aquatic life, making it a fantastic location for diving, fishing & snorkelling. The resort features an amazing swimming pool overlooking the beautiful beach, a restaurant with a variety of cuisine specialising in fresh seafood caught locally and fresh produce grown at the resort. The Yasawa Island chain is world renowned for having the biggest white sand beaches in all of Fiji. Check out the incredible deals:

The 7 nt package includes:

Stay 7 nights/pay for 5 nights
Welcome drink on arrival
Fruit plate in room on day of arrival
A romantic candlelight dinner for 2
A 30 minute massage per person
Cultural village trip
Non-motorized watersports are free ( snorkeling, handline fishing, kayaks etc.)
Snorkeling equipment provided complimentary during your stay
Free introduction to scuba class. Join their instructors in the pool to learn the basics
Need to add mealplan but it is approx $50.00USD per person/per day.
Transfers to/from airport to resort - taking a launch to resort (boat)
If you want helicopter you need to add about 300.00 USD per person and they only fly on tues/thurs/Saturdays

Total is killer rate of US$2114.00 - this is per couple NOT per person!
Great price on the package eh!!! This deal is valid until the end of March, 2009

If you too would like to visit an exotic island in the South Pacific
Call Me at 1-800-644-6659
Your ‘See the South Pacific Specialist’ at Luxury Hideaways

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No worries, we’re in Hana now

February 11, 2009

ancient hawaiian weather stoneUpon our arrival at Hotel Hana Maui, we were greeted by a lovely woman dressed in a beautiful muu muu with flowers in her hair. She was carrying a wooden tray laden with guava juice & refreshing cool towels. She welcomed us with her warm spirit of aloha and presented us with a fresh & fragrant tuberose & orchid lei.

While waiting for Rocky, our bellman to unload our luggage into his golf cart, we observed the “Ancient Hawaiian Weather Stone”:

1. Dry stone means its not raining;
2. Wet stone means it is raining;
3. Shadow under stone means the sun is shining;
4. If the stone is swinging, there is a strong wind blowing;
5. If the stone jumps up and down, it means there is an earthquake
6. If it is ever white on top, believe it or not, it is snowing!
This is characteristic of the gentle mood and laid back attitude of Hotel Hana Maui. No worries, you’re in Hana now.

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Take a step back in time - visit Hana, Maui

February 6, 2009

hana coastlineHana is a sleepy little village located on the back side or east side of Maui shrouded in the mists of ancient Polynesian song and story. Safe anchorage for canoes, fertile soil and good fishing made it a natural haven for early Pacific navigators.

When you travel to Hana, you are stepping back in time and visiting a part of the island that few tourists rarely get to enjoy. The drive to Hana is absolutely lovely and an experience in itself. The residents of Hana (and Maui for that matter) have no intention of making the treck any easier as this is a way of protecting “old Hawaii”. However, it is worth the effort.

You will be traversing over 54 one way bridges and 600 hairpin turns (including roads so narrow you should honk your horn as you travel around the corner just in case someone is coming from the other direction) it takes to travel 34 miles to Hana town. Waterfalls, bamboo forests, banana trees, lilikoi, guavas and papayas and every color of green will greet you as you make your way down the road. You will also enjoy the shorebreaks, views from cliffside vantage points, and waves crashing along the craggy shorelines.

Plan on spending the day driving to Hana as the trip will take you at least 3 hours if you dont make any photo and/or hiking stops. Also, there aren’t any little cafes, etc along the way so I suggest stopping off at a deli, purchasing an inexpensive cooler, loading it up w/ice, sodas, snacks and perhaps sandwiches.

While you are loading up your cooler, keep in mind there are very few restaurants in Hana. Hotel Hana Maui offers a wonderful happy hour as they will have beautiful hula and song. The 2nd (and only other choice) is outdoor dining at the Hana Ranch. I like their breakfasts of fish, eggs and rice (very local).

The key to Hana is take your time getting there - it really is the time to “stop and smell the flowers!” Have a fabulous time - you get to experience old Hawaii - no golf courses, tv or radio!

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Life in the Italian countryside town of Frontignano, Umbria

February 6, 2009

Todi ItalyNOTE - This is a continuation on my trip to Italy.
This morning we experienced an age old tradition in Italy - Sunday Mass in Italian - steeped in history and tradition, the small local chapel of approx 500 sq feet, complete with bell tower, confessional, alter with small domed ceiling, statues and pictures could comfortably hold 60 people. The bell began ringing at 9am so we scooted over there (2 houses down) at 9:20am to find the doors still locked. Giancarlo and Massimo were standing around and we were finally able to translate that the doors didn’t open until the Priest arrived. Father pulled up in his little car at 9:29am and everyone followed him in.

Casa betti is located in a quaint little village of Fragnatano, set in the countryside with rolling hills, comprised of approx 10 homes, 1 church, up on a hill, surrounded by small vineyards for the familys private wine stash and fruit/walnut trees.

We were met by Michaela, the house Manager, she speaks very good English and is most helpful and informative. When renting Casa Betti, I can see why we must have a car as it is approx 7 miles to the nearest town of Todi.

Albert and Arlene purchased Casa Betti in 2005 and have completely restored the first floor which includes 2 bedrooms, nice size bathroom, big open kitchen with views of the fruit/walnut trees. The villa is well stocked with everything we would need and well heated.

We’ve discovered a few ways life in Italy is different then America:wine and cheese
1. No dryer for your clothes & it takes 1 1/2hrs to wash clothes - water needs to be heated first
2. No one turns on their heat until 1/November
3. When purchasing fruit/vegetables in the grocery, you must wear plastic gloves to touch the fruit, place your purchase in a bag, weigh it, enter the bin number where you picked out the fruit and a little sticker will pop out to stick on the bag.
4. Public restrooms cost money to use, so always have coins on hand

The neighbors are very friendly and are as curious about us as we are about them. We’ve met the neighbors Elsa, Giancarlo, Massimo and John Pierre.

It is true, Italian men love to flirt with girls and stand around and argue about many important subjects. Nothing gets done unless its been thoroughly discussed with a great amount of arm waiving and drama. In the meantime, the women just keep working.

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CASA BETTI - Living in an Italian Villa

February 3, 2009

NOTE - This is a continuation of my recent trip to Italy
View in Todi Italy I really enjoyed the Umbrian area, rolling hills, olive trees, right now its grape picking seasons; one of the farmers gave us a few batches of grapes, they are so sweet and small, when I bite into them a burst of flavor pops out.

The small farms have a great little system in place where the farmers with small vineyards pick their grapes and transport to a co-op; the grapes are weighed and the amount of grapes donated to the co-op will equal the amount of bottles of wine to be paid to the farmer; this wine will last the year! The local table wine is very tasty; we’ve been living on wine, cheese and pasta (the diet begins when I return home.)

We have rented a small villa called Casa Betti. Casa Betti is an old two story country house that sits on anCasa Betti acre of land (with fruit and walnut trees) in the beautiful county side of Umbria in the village of Frontigano which is 6KM from Todi, Italy. Casa Betti has been newly built, but still retains its old world charm flavor. The vacation rental has its own private entrance and features two bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen with dishwasher. The house will sleep up to 6 guests.

It just so happens the owners are also here. They are Americans and live most of the year in the U.S. Casa Betti is very comfortable and boasts an incredible view of the valley. The Owners drove us into the nearest town of Todi to do a little looking around, actually we found the best shopping there; narrow streets, steep hillls, 4 story tall brick buildings; everyone in a family lives in the same stone house only its divided up into individual apartments.

Grapes in ItalyWe found a few great little gifts to purchase so I ran into the store - figured I’d be in there 5 minute - no chance; when the young man discovered the hand painted ceramic wine stoppers were gifts for my friends in Hawaii, he insisted on wrapping them individually in bubble wrap, then each had its own bag and he was able to create a little ribbon out of the top of the bag using a stapler and sticker. Of course we chatted while he was doing his decorating and whenever I asked a question like does he have children (yes a 4 yr old daughter named Anna) he stopped to show pictures and tell a story….I finally realized I had to quit asking questions as everyone out side was waitng for me, but they were in no hurry either as this is the way to shop - no matter what you do in Italy, socialiazing is most important.

I find everyone friendly and more then helpful; the locals that know a little english enjoy practicing their english and are very patient with us trying to remember our little bit of Italian we are learning.

Note - Read ‘Living in a Foreign Language’ by Michael Tucker prior to your visit to Italy!

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Maui is beautiful from every angle!

February 2, 2009

double rainbowLast weekend I soared thru the clouds, swooped into the deep valleys and over the Pailolo channel, circling the Eastern coastline of Molokai and Maui’s Northwestern shore. I enjoyed an exhillerating helicopter ride with Sunshine Helicopters in one of their state of the art Black beauties.

I experienced the “West Maui Deluxe” which is a 60 minute ride. Little did I know West Maui is home to one of the wettest places on earth. Also I didn’t realize over 90% of the State of Hawaii is accessible only by helicopter.

We visited Maui’s tallest waterfall, Honokohau Falls, with over 1,100 foot drop. We entered West Maui from the North, flying past the small village of Kahakaloa, past the Kapalua airpot, and continued on to view the resorts of Kapalua, Kaanapali and Lahaina town.

We then headed to Molokai, flying thru a double rainbow! We visited Hawaii’s tallest waterfalls (including theMaui valley 1,750 foot Kahiwa Falls) along Molokai’s remote and isolated north shore. We viewed gigantic sea cliffs, the tallest in the world! We discovered Halawa Valley with two large and beautiful waterfalls flowing down the mountains. Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula, which for years has been home to people suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and saw Father Damien’s monument.

Sunshine Helicopters has been in business since 1985 and offer aerial tours of Maui, Molokai, Big Island Hawaii and Kauai. I am excited to glide thru the air with them again in the near future! Like my 80 year old Mother said after enjoying her first helicopter ride “Why did I wait so long?”

If you too would like to visit Maui (from every angle!)
Call Me at 1-800-644-6659
Your ‘See the South Pacific Specialist’ at Luxury Hideaways

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