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TRAVEL BLOG

The French Side of St. Martin for the Holidays

St. Martin’s chic and relaxing side draws plenty of inspiration from its French roots with gourmet cuisine, fashionable boutiques and an air of elegance. We recommend hiring a private chef to cook up authentic French fare in the comfort of your own villa at least a few nights, and dine in the area at some of the finest restaurants in the Caribbean. Enjoy a serious slow-down as you stroll through sophisticated town centers and sunbathe on secluded beaches.

Villa rentals in Saint-Martin boast as much laid-back luxury as their surroundings: crisp white estates have pools overlooking the ocean, palm-lined sun decks, breezy indoor/outdoor living areas, and space and amenities for families and groups, or romantic retreats. We will warn, the area is affected by “island pricing” and tend to be high.

St. Martin is a wonderful destination for a relaxing week on the beach, in beautiful French culture… without the chill of Winter. A few properties are offering a seven night stay for the cost of five during the holiday season. Hurry! Spaces are filling up quickly, and offer is only available until November 15, 2016. Mention offer code HOLIDAYFREE16. No cash value. 7 nights minimum stay required. May not be combinable with other offers. Subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply; please call for full details.

Get inspired below with views from participating villas.

Petite Plage View Located in Grand Case, St. Martin

Petite Plage: 5 bedroom, sleeps 10,  beachfront, waterfront, pool, A/C from  $2,357 per night

La Vie en Bleu:  2 Bedroom, sleeps 4, beachfront, waterfront, pool, A/C from $1,214 per night

La Vie en Bleu: 2 Bedroom, sleeps 4, beachfront, waterfront, pool, A/C from $1,214 per night

Casa La Laguna: 6 bedrooms, sleeps 15, 8 bathrooms, beachfront, waterfront, staffed villa from $3,200 per night

Casa La Laguna: 6 bedrooms, sleeps 15, 8 bathrooms, beachfront, waterfront, staffed villa from $3,200 per night

Call your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor, or reach our to Andrew in our Montecito office

Andrew Seligman

Andrew Seligman

Travel Advisor, Montecito

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau
1485 East Valley Road #9
Montecito, CA 93108

Email: aseligman@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.969.7746

Advisor Trip: Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

Two seasoned travel advisors of Santa Barbara Travel, Kathy Reimer and Tina Slimp, recently visited the world’s premier health resort, Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona for four glorious days.  A true destination resort, Canyon Ranch is located in the sunny Sonoran desert with close access to canyons and the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains where outside activities such as hiking, biking, swimming and outside dining are possible all year-round.  The all-inclusive resort offers a variety of wellness packages that include accommodations, all you can eat dining, activities and classes, use of all facilities, gratuities and airport transfers between the Tucson airport and the property.

Beautiful Landscape Views from Canyon Ranch

Beautiful Landscape Views from Canyon Ranch

With a plethora of spa services, exercise, health and lifestyle sessions to choose from, you can make your stay what you want it to be.  You will have the opportunity of pre-planning your Canyon Ranch vacation with a program advisor one month prior to your arrival.  Depending on what you enjoy and what you would like to focus on, a program advisor will customize your daily schedule.

Canyon Ranch Desert Landscape

Canyon Ranch Desert Landscape

Both Tina and Kathy opted for a private consultation with a doctor to learn about a healthier lifestyle and integrating exercise into their busy schedules.  They also took advantage of the resort’s daily cooking demonstrations offered by entertaining, yet informative chefs.  They learned how to cook with alternative oils and ingredients, in place of butter and fattening marinades.  Healthy entrees such as the Canyon Ranch’s mouth-watering Asian Braised Flank Steak with Bok Choy made low calorie cooking look easy.  Tina felt that portion control was essential for healthy eating, and noticed that all food served throughout the resort was served in measured portions.

Relax by the Pool Area with Lunch

Relax by the Pool Area with Lunch

The largest spa ever!  Kathy was in awe when she first laid eyes on the 80,000 square foot, luxury spa.  Housing state-of-the-art cardio and weight rooms, private sunbathing decks, dance, yoga, and Pilates/GYROTRONICS® studios, polar bear dunk, infra-red sauna…the list goes on…just where does one begin.  Luckily classes begin at 6 a.m. and go into the evening allowing you plenty of time to exercise and relax.

Serene Grounds and All-Day Spa and Exercise Options

Serene Grounds and All-Day Spa and Exercise Options

Taking advantage of the outdoors, Tina and Kathy chose to work out each day on the underwater treadmill in the “L shaped” pool, one of Canyon Ranch’s 4 pools.  Kathy enjoyed the early morning 2 mile desert walks as well as strolling through the calming meditation garden. The desert flowers and cacti are in full bloom in the spring with a spectacular show of colors.

Serene Grounds at Canyon Ranch

Serene Grounds at Canyon Ranch

Canyon Ranch offers something for everyone with a wide selection of engaging wellness programs that can vary from weight loss, health assessment and preventive care, stress management, detox, surgery recovery, spiritual health to continuing education credits for physicians and nurses. Additionally, this desert oasis is equipped to handle small groups (birthdays, family reunions, social getaways) to corporate retreats of up to 80 guests.   Whatever your health-related interest or passion, you are likely to find it at Canyon Ranch.

Vistas so Beautiful, They Look Like a Painting

Vistas so Beautiful, They Look Like a Painting

Contact Santa Barbara Travel to for valued added amenities at Canyon Ranch Tucson such as a room upgrade, $50 credit to use toward a Health & Healing service, and early check-in/late check-out or special group rates.

Downtown Santa Barbara: Contact Tina by calling 805.966.3116 or email her directly

Ventura Office: Contact Kathy by calling 805.650.6999 or email her directly

AMAN RESORTS – BHUTAN and JAPAN

Amanemu Resort, Kumano Kodo, Mie Prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Ago Bay

Amanemu surrounded by the forests of Ise Shima Natl Park

Aman Resorts are renowned for space and privacy, and embracing a sense of belonging at each one of their properties.  Each resort is designed to fit within the destination’s diverse and historical landscape.

AMANEMU – JAPAN’S HONSHU, MIE PERFECTURE

Set in a national park, Amanemu is Aman’s first mineral hot spring destination.  The hillside property offers 24 suites and four 2-bedroom villas offering either garden views or picturesque views of Ago Bay (the Bay of Pearls).  The Aman Spa offers two ONSEN bathing pavilions fed by its own rich mineral spring.  Take a sea expedition and explore the many islets and pearl rafts, visit a pearl oyster farm, or walk the Kumano Kodo, a UNESCO-protected pilgrimage route of sacred sites that crisscross the Kii Peninsula and wind through verdant forests.

Amanemu villa, exterior shot

Amanemu Villa

Ago Bay view with pearl rafts

Amanemu Suite, Suite Onsen, Ago Bay -pearl rafts

AMANKORA

Amankora Paro, Bhutan

Amankora Paro, Bhutan

Bhutan, located in Eastern Himalayas between the Tibetan Plateau and India, is one of the most remote and unaltered areas of the world.  The sole surviving Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom established the GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS INDEX vs the GNP (economic index) based on spiritual value and other Buddhist principles.  Visitors to Bhutan require a VISA and we highly recommend staying in the beautifully appointed Amankora properties.

Aman’s Amankora is a unique circuit of lodges set throughout Bhutan’s central and western valleys.  A suggested stay of at least 11 nights gives you enough time to visit all five valleys and properties.  Amankora Paro is closest to the international airport and features beautiful monasteries and monuments, including the famous Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest” – a magnificent monastery built on the face of a sheer 3,000 ft cliff.  Stay in one of the lodges’ twenty-four (24) suites with the traditional bukhari, a wood-burning stove, witness contrasts of rustic elements with contemporary design.  Amankora Thimphu, located in the upper Thimphu Valley within a blue pine forest, offers 16 suites and is close to the capital of Bhutan’s many attractions, shops, and local restaurants.  Amankora Punakha, originally built as a residence to oversee the surrounding rice paddies and fruit orchards, offers 8 suites located in three rammed-earth buildings, and is situated in one of the lowest-lying valleys in Bhutan. Visit Punakha Dzong (the old capital of Bhutan) which straddles the Mo (mother) and Po (father) rivers, and 21 temples including the monk’s hundred-pillared Great Assembly Hall and other monuments.  Amankora Gangtey’s 8 suite property is set against a knoll offering views across the picturesque Phobjikha Valley – one of Bhutan’s most important wildlife sanctuaries and home to the 300 black-necked cranes.   Amankora Bumthang is adjacent to the 1st and 2nd King of Bhutan’s palace within the town of Jakar in the Choeskhor Valley – known for its cottage industries which produce renowned Bumthang butter, cheeses, honey and fruit spirits. The 16 guest suites are spread among four separate structures, each suite offering the traditional bukhari and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the courtyard and views of the shared palace grounds.

Amankora Lodge photos: Punakha Lounge; Punakha Suite,  Gangtey Living Room

Amankora: Punakha Lounge; Punakha Suite, Gangtey Living Room

Amankora Bumthang Courtyard, Bhutan, Choekhor Valley

Amankora Bumthang Courtyard

Santa Barbara Travel will work with Amankora to create your personalized Bhutan experience with a private car and driver, trekking tours and other excursions, plus flights to/from and within Bhutan. Email Erin (ezetter@sbtravel.com) or contact one of our experienced travel advisors to learn more about Amanemu, Amankora and Aman Resorts’ 31 awe-inspiring worldwide resorts, hotels and residences.

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau

Santa Barbara: 805-966-3116

Montecito: 805-969-7746

Ventura: 805-650-6999