Traveling to England was my first real foreign travel, and my first real solo trip. During college, I went to Mexico and the Bahamas with friends, but since I did not get a stamp in my passport it never seemed foreign (enough). Traveling to the UK is a rite of passage for many Americans, usually following high school or college graduation. Like me, it is often the first stamp in our passport and we finally get to travel abroad by crossing the pond, aka Atlantic Ocean. The UK is notoriously expensive, but it is a great destination to take off those travel training wheels and start to explore this big, beautiful world. Warning – I have made this crossing many times over the last 20 years and it is absolutely to blame for my wanderlust now.
As I find myself back in England after an eight year break, I am reminded of everything that I wish I knew before my first trip to Merry ole England. Here is my Beginner’s Guide to London/UK, specifically for Americans.
I have been to the St. Regis Bahia resort Spa several times, but this was our first overnight stay at the property. I booked a 4 day, 3 night reservation over Thanksgiving weekend, which also happens to be our Anniversary. November is still considered off-peak for tourist season, which officially kicks off mid-December through April.
Outside of San Juan, just a few minutes from the Airport, is beautiful Isla Verde district of Carolina, Puerto Rico. Close enough to Old San Juan for the tourists, convenient for business in San Juan city center, and perched on the northern coast beach. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, but any of the beach front hotels in Isla Verde or Condado are a good choice. The area is a popular destination for business conventions, family vacations, and weekend getaways from the Mainland South and East Coast cities.
A rental car is not necessary, but Enterprise rental car is down the block for any island adventures outside of San Juan.
The beaches are clean with perfect temperature water year round. All beaches are open to the public and there are many beach gazebos and facilities.
Unlike many islands in the Caribbean, we did not see any vendors on the beach. It was pleasant not to be disturbed by t-shirt sellers and various hawkers.
Each of the resorts offer beach chairs and umbrellas to guests. There are jet ski rentals and surf schools all along the beach.
Isla Verde offers plenty of delicious, local restaurants walking distance from the beach.
After extensive research, I am happy to report that Platos Restaurant serves excellent pork and the best Pina Colada in San Juan (even better than Barrachina – home of the Pina Colada!). Other local restaurants worth eating at are Piu Bella, Metropol, and Las Canarias Bakery (24 hour bakery, serving sandwiches & breakfast).
Aji spa and salon tour, plus review. Spoiler Alert: This is my favorite spa in Phoenix, Arizona.
Aji Spa is the best kept secret of Sheraton’s Wild Horse Pass Casino and Resort. The spa is positioned away from the cars, crowds, and casino, hidden behind the edge of the golf course and tennis center. Little did I know that Aji spa would be such a hidden oasis and my new favorite spa, but it almost wasn’t.
The Venetian and Palazzo Resorts are currently my favorite on the Las Vegas strip! This self-contained resort is my favorite for gambling, shopping, dining, spa, pools, and sleeping accommodations. This visit, I tried a bit of everything.