Welcome to the Resort LIFE blog!
My name is Amanda, and I'm a travel enthusiast and film buff. I've traveled across the U.S., lived in continental Europe, studied abroad in the United Kingdom, and had some incredible vacations and life-changing adventures. Because I've spent the majority of my life in school, my point of view is that of a Millennial scholar, scientist, and humanist. But don't be fooled! My Bachelor of Science in Human Development isn't all "B.S." - the knowledge I gained in four years at an Ivy League university is combined with my school of life know-how to shape the ways in which I look at the world and, more specifically, travel.
So how do I look at travel? I think travel should be fun, interactive, and most of all, educational. And this is why:
I think it's safe to say that if travel is not fun, it's miserable. Delayed or cancelled flights, obnoxious companions, bad food, and uncomfortable lodging situations are all things that can potentially ruin a trip, and I know from personal experience.
- When I was 16, I spent my New Year's Eve in the air, flying from Manchester, New Hampshire to Kalamazoo, Michigan because there had been a problem with the plane's landing gear. Not exactly the way a high-schooler wants to spend the most social holiday of the year, especially if there's a chance she might die when the plane tries to land...
- On a different high school trip to Spain, a travel companion took advantage of the country's legal drinking age and got a lot of people (who didn't deserve it) in a lot of trouble, and is the source of the only bad memories I have of that trip.
- When it comes to cuisine, if the food is bad, I don't eat, and when I don't eat, I get cranky. You do the math.
- On a trip to Belgium alone, a man who I believe was mentally ill checked into the room across the hall from mine in my hotel. I could hear him talking to himself through the walls, and when he started to get really upset about there not being three towels in the room, I was so uncomfortable with the situation that I paid extra to switch rooms. But I was so unsettled (it was my first time traveling a foreign country completely on my own) that I spent the next two days anxious to move on to my next destination, and I didn't get as much enjoyment out of that trip as I would have liked.
When travel is not interactive, one is simply an observer. You look at things, you listen to things, but you don't take part and you don't get a whole lot out of your trip. It is in the true doing of things and discussion with people that you have experiences and create memories. Interactive travel is when you have fun (refer to #1), when you experience, and when you learn.
I have found that when travel is educational, I get the most out of it. But like I said, I'm a scholar. I love learning about a local people's history, culture and traditions - that's how I experience the most fun and personal growth. When I travel, my goal is to learn about myself, about a specific culture, and about the effects we have on each other as global citizens. And because I have the most fun when I'm interacting with that culture - listening to tour guides & asking questions, chatting up the locals, participating in their traditions and ways of living - educational travel, for me, produces the most rewards. I think when most people hear the word "educational," they think of school and its associations - boredom, rules, work. But trust me, when you actually get something out of your travel experiences, when you return home with different ideas, opinions, or a new understanding of how different and similar we all are, you won't want to go back to that passive, observant, purely touristic mindset.
I said I was a film buff, so here's a little illustration of my thoughts via the film The Accidental Tourist (based on a book of the same name by Anne Tyler). In the film, William Hurt's character writes travel guide books for businessmen, for whom constant traveling often becomes burdensome. He returns home from yet another business trip all ambivalent and as though his job is a hassle - even though there are a million people in America who would love to be travel writers. His wife is bothered by his attitude and complains:
"There's something so...what do you call it...muffled...about the way you experience things - it's as if you were trying to experience life unchanged. It's not by chance you write those silly books telling people how to make trips without a jolt, so they can travel to the most wonderful, exotic places in the world and never be touched by them, never feel they've left home. That traveling armchair isn't just your logo; it's you."
One thing she's saying is that William Hurt's character and his readers have become passive in their travels - they've lost that sense of joy that most feel when they have the opportunity to go somewhere new. In this sense the film touches on an interesting subject with the analogy of the traveling armchair with wings:
"While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put."
People who sit in their chairs at home because they don't have opportunities to travel long to go somewhere new and exciting, while people who travel all the time often long for the stability of home. Like the main character's wife, I believe that travel shouldn't be passive, that we should never lose that sense of excitement and joy when boarding a plane or meeting new people. Travel should be really experienced, and we should grow with those experiences. The point of travel is to have new experiences and to escape the monotony of a life spent in one place, untouched and unchanged.
So for my first post I leave you with this general advice: To have a great travel experience, make the most of your trip - be open to change, have fun, interact with the culture, and learn some new things about yourself and about the world - and don't take your wings for granted.
BUCUTI & TARA BEACH RESORTS KEEPS GUESTS CONNECTED AT NO CHARGE
Aruba Resort Provides Travelers with Complimentary Netbooks, Cell Phone Chargers and
Wi-Fi Without Charging Exorbitant Fees
EAGLE BEACH, Aruba (October 30, 2012) – Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba’s premier adults-only resort, is giving guests even more reasons to smile from the moment they arrive right up to the minute they check-out, by providing complimentary Netbooks, cell phone chargers and Wi-Fi in each room. As the number-one ranked TripAdvisor resort, Bucuti continues to set the standard for guest satisfaction, a distinction the resort has achieved by continuing to add value while at the same time subtract the surprise fees travelers face today. As a result of these practices Bucuti continues to welcome back guests year after year earning the resort a remarkable repeat guest rate of 65 percent.
As part of their commitment to guest satisfaction Bucuti understands the importance of keeping their guests connected and recognizes how expensive international roaming fees can be, which is why the resort now offers guests complimentary Netbooks upon arrival for use throughout the duration of their stay, as well as cell phone chargers. Each of the compact portable computers is equipped with video capabilities and Skype, allowing guests to video chat, place VoIP calls to other computers, landlines and cell phones, and stay connected with their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, Bucuti offers free wireless Internet service throughout the resort along with a free wired connection in guestrooms, making it a breeze to hop online wherever, whenever.
“As a frequent traveler myself I understand the importance of staying connected to family and friends and sometimes it is necessary to connect with work, even in paradise,” said resort owner and CEO Ewald Biemans. “While we hope our guests are able to achieve total relaxation during their time with us in Aruba, we also want to provide them with the convenience of an easily accessible Internet connection so they can touch base with friends and family, or even the office if need be.”
Guests are also connecting with home through another popular offering that has been a major success with guests for years, the Bucuti Cam. The resort’s two live webcams broadcast live streaming videos of Eagle Beach from the Tara Suites wing and the Bucuti wing 24 hours a day, allowing guest to wave to those back home or take a virtual trip back to Aruba after their getaway is over.
For more information about Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, please visit: www.bucuti.com.
About Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts is Aruba’s premier boutique resort for couples. The award winning, owner managed resort caters to adults only and has been named one of the world’s most romantic resorts by TripAdvisor as well as honored as a recipient of the Certificate of Excellence. Located on the white-powder sands of Eagle Beach, designated as one of the “Dream Beaches of the World,” Bucuti offers 104 guestrooms, suites and penthouse suites; a freshwater infinity pool; and the Intermezzo Spa, among other amenities. Bucuti is also recognized as a Five Star Diamond Resort by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
The resort, which is certified Green Globe 21, ISO 14001-2008 and ISO 9001, is a leader in sustainable tourism throughout the world and has been recognized by notable organizations such as the Caribbean Hotel Association, American Express and the International Hotel and Restaurant Association for its environmentally responsible hotel operations. Bucuti is actively involved in a variety of environmental initiatives on the island including monthly resort-sponsored beach clean-ups, the Turtugaruba sea turtle protection group and Donkey Sanctuary Aruba. The resort is also TAG Approved® as a gay friendly hotel. For more information, visit www.bucuti.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @Bucuti.
12400 HWY 2 East
P.O. Box 210
West Glacier, MT 59936
The Glacier Outdoor Center in Montana is one of many places to stay near Glacier National Park. The locally owned and operated Center is known for its summer activities, including fly fishing and rafting. In addition to the groomed trails on their property, the Center offers guided snowshoe tours into the Park for guests and passers-by. Glacier Outdoor Center guests can rent a pair of snowshoes for $15 for a full day and $12 for half a day. For guided tours into Glacier National Park, the Center charges $155 a person for an exclusive guided tour for half a day. A full day is $200.
Since its opening, the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa has achieved a great deal in the way of eco-friendly services for its guests and surrounding community. As part of the Aqualea Resort & Residences complex, the condo hotel has a unique vision for a signature hospitality destination on Clearwater Beach.
One example of the resort's eco-friendly emphasis is its daily provision of fresh fruit for spa-goers, as well as its Sandava Spa's exclusive use of natural products in their practices and treatments. And not only does the resort demonstrate environmental responsibility to its natural surroundings, it cares for the surrounding social community as well. Rather than hosting an elaborate party to celebrate the resort’s first-year anniversary, resort executives gave back to the Clearwater community through a Hyatt Hotels corporate grant. The resort contributed $15,000 to the Homeless Emergency Project (HEP), an organization committed to providing Pinellas County’s homeless and low-income families with housing, food, clothing, and support services to obtain self-sufficiency and an improved quality of life. “When we were seeking a charitable partner, we were particularly drawn to HEP as it helps better the lives of local children,” says Brian Kramer, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa.
But the good deeds don’t stop there. In addition to caring for its neighbors, the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa demonstrates ample ability to care for its guests. Just nine months after its debut, the resort secured an AAA Four Diamond ranking as evidence of its commitment to delivering the highest quality accommodations, hospitality, and service. Less than four percent of more than 31,000 properties achieve this standing.
The Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa sets the bar high in exceptional resort and recreation service and amenities.
Along with significant contributions to the Clearwater community, the resort is a recipient of honors for exceptional quality, service, and ecological responsibility. The 250-suite condo hotel resort recently received a three-key rating from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, a graduated rating system which honors hoteliers committed to improving their environmental and fiscal performance.
Available to hoteliers at www.resort-recreation.com, the Green Key Eco-Rating Program is a comprehensive self-assessment which reviews five main operational areas of a property and nine areas of sustainable practices. Based on assessment results, hoteliers are awarded a Green Key rating on a scale of 1-5. Three green keys are designated to hotels that have made significant advances in environmental protection practices.
Kramer feels particularly honored to have received this elite three-key rating in the resort’s first year of operation. "We are dedicated to protecting this beautiful destination for future generations of travelers to come."