QSuites Aesthetic

Review: Qatar Airways QSuites Business Class Chicago to Doha

On the way to my stay in the Maldives, my husband and I took QSuites Business Class known as “the world’s best business class” from Chicago (ORD) to Doha (DOH) and it cost 70,000 American Airline miles. The flight was QR Chicago (ORD) Flights 725/726 Boeing 777-300ER. In my opinion, Qatars QSuites product is the best Business Class product in the sky and is far superior to many first class products.

The suite seat was not only incredibly spacious but it was so stylish. There are several different seating configurations in Qsuites. There are six paired seats in the center of the cabin, which allow for a double-bed setup, and the first five sets of seats can be booked as a Quad seat arrangement. The window seats are private.

Qsuites Honeymoon Seats
Qsuites Honeymoon Seats

My husband and I had the honeymoon seats in the middle odd numbered rows and were able to combine our suites when it was time to sleep so we could rest together. The seats lie fully flat and are able to be conjoined as to mimic a double bed. However, if you’re in one of those seats and next to a stranger, there’s still a partition you can put up to maximize privacy.  

QSuites Conjoined Double Bed
QSuites Conjoined Double Bed

The design and aesthetic of the plane is incredibly pleasing and you can tell the seats are made of the highest quality fabrics. The pillows were soft and adorable and had fun messaging. You also receive a quilted mattress and a thick soft blanket (one of my favorite business class blankets). Pajamas are complimentary, and once you are ready to sleep you can turn on a ‘Do Not Disturb’ indicator to ensure no disruptions. The suites also have two air nozzles, a reading light, and a coat hook.

Cute Quites Pillows
Cute Quites Pillows & Thick Blanket
QSuites Footwell Space
QSuites Footwell Space
QSuites Reading Light
QSuites Reading Light & Coat Hook

The suite is designed to give you the optimal amount of storage and features a cocktail table, large TV monitor, a tray table underneath the TV, and then a counter near the aisle. On the side panel of the counter was most of the seat and entertainment controls were there as well. That included a handheld entertainment controller, 110v outlet, two USB outlets, and a headphone jack.

QSuites Entertainment Control Panel
QSuites Entertainment Control Panel

Next to the seat was a storage ottoman where there was Evian bottled water, airplane magazines, generic headphones, and extra room to store more things. To give you an idea of how much space “extra room” means, I stored my entire breast pump device and bottles. One of my favorite parts about the suite is the door, you can have the ultimate privacy.

QSuites Storage Ottoman
QSuites Storage Ottoman

Having flown many other business class cabins, I have to say I was greatly impressed with the style and functionality of the suites. The designers went above and beyond and paid great attention to detail. It is sleek and fun, the purple and gray, the stylish overhead lighting, detailed seat stitching pattern, and the rose gold detailing did not go unnoticed.

QSuites Aesthetic
QSuites Aesthetic

FOOD: The food was great and the menu items were on request so you could order whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. No restrictions on drinks, etc. There was more than enough to eat and the options were great. As soon as you are seated, they will offer you, your drink of choice, your choice of warm or cool towel, and an assortment of nuts (you can also have Godiva chocolates). I recommend the mint lemonade and saffron karak chai to everyone, if you get anything to drink make sure it’s that. For dinner, they went all in with the tablewear including stylish water glasses and a fake candle.

QSuites Menu
QSuites Menu

I also appreciated how well organized the transportation was to the terminal. They had separate premium cabin buses so we weren’t too crowded on the bus and it only took a few minutes from bus onboarding to the terminal. The drive to the terminal took just a few minutes.

Overall, the experience exceeded even my highest expectations and it is a fact Qatar Airway Qsuites is the world’s best business class.

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Atlanta Midtown

What to do during your Atlanta Layover & Review: Canopy by Hilton Atlanta

Have a long Atlanta layover and want to leave the airport? I have some great ideas for you!

On my way to Dallas from Cleveland, I had an almost 24 hour layover with the kids (not by choice, flights were cancelled due to weather). I decided to make the best of it and have some fun in the city. If you’re reading this and you have kids you know exactly why I didn’t just stay at the airport with 2 kids or wait for the sooner flights on standby with them. Fortunately, I used to live in Atlanta for 4 years when I went to school at the illustrious Spelman College. Coincidentally, it was actually my Spelman College reunion. Of course, I stopped by campus and I gave my husband and the kids a tour of one of the most influential places in my life, that shaped part of who I am today. 

Some of my favorite places I recommend on any visit to Atlanta as a 4 year Atlanta resident are: 

Then we went to Two Urban Licks which I recommend everyone frequent on any trip to Atlanta. It’s definitely not the best place to bring children but we still brought them anyway and we had an amazing time nonetheless. 

  • Georgia Aquarium – you can even swim with whale sharks
  • World of Coca-Cola – Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • High Museum of Art
  • Piedmont Park
  • Atlantic Station 
  • If you have children, definitely check out the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta

WHERE TO STAY: My family and I stayed at the Canopy by Hilton Atlanta Midtown. The room was large and the decor was very stylish. Not only that but, the rooms were also recently updated and very modern so the furnishings were refreshed, large bathroom with walk-in shower, and a balcony. The complimentary breakfast for Hilton Diamond Members includes hot breakfast which includes waffles, pancakes, made to order omelets. It also includes a wide continental breakfast spread, as well as lattes and smoothies. It is a great location for getting around to the biggest attractions in Atlanta and if you have children it’s by Atlantic Station which is a shopping center that has a movie theatre, shops, and most importantly a TARGET. Anyone with kids knows how important a Target is haha. The room had free WiFi, a 55-inch TV, refrigerated drawer, Nespresso® machine, and bedding designed exclusively for the Canopy Brand. You can grab water anytime at the filtered spring water stations on every floor.

Canopy at Hilton Midtown
Canopy at Hilton Midtown

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NYC VIEW

NYC Overnight Layover

Do you have an overnight layover in NYC and are unsure what to do? I have some ideas!

FOOD: – NYC is the place to eat. One of my favorites are Miss Lily’s which is a Jamaican restaurant whose chef was actually a competitor on Chopped! The food is incredible and I do not frequent NYC without stopping by.

Another place, I had the pleasure of just recently frequenting is Kura. It is in every New Yorkers top 10 sushi restaurants in NYC if they have good taste buds and on top of that it’s mildly affordable. It is omakase only, which means you eat what the chef gives you. It has a very intimate vibe, there is under 20 tables and seating is right under the chefs table as they make your sushi.

Kura Entrance
Kura Entrance: There is no sign to tell you, you arrived at Kura. In fact, we looked for it, for a good 5 minutes before we came across this curtain and realized there is a door behind it!
Kura Menu
Kura Menu

Of course, you can’t forget dessert. Grace Street is both a coffeehouse and an Asian sweets spot in Korea town. They serve teas, Asian donuts, shaved ice, waffles, and matcha everything. It is always busy, always delicious, & worth the wait!

THINGS TO DO: Besides, eating at the places aforementioned above we decided to take a stroll down the touristy Times Square and head to a comedy club. The Gotham Comedy Club was great! Even though Chicago is the real Gotham City, I’ll let them call themselves whatever they’d like. My husband and I went to an 11:30pm show so if you have a late overnight layover this would be a great idea. We had such a great experience there and will definitely be back again.

When purchasing your tickets for the show, any seat is a good seat, there is honestly no need to purchase a VIP ticket, the way the seats are set up everyone has an incredibly great view. The staff was so hospitable and even warmed up a tea I got from a cafe I went to prior. There is a 2 drink minimum but if you don’t drink alcohol you can get Non-Alcoholic Beer, juice, water, etc. We went to go see Ramy Youssef from the self-titled show Ramy on Hulu about his personal Muslim-American experience. There were 4 other comedians as well who did an excellent job. We had such a great time, and the staff and the view were so incredible they put the Gotham Comedy Club on my list of Must-Do’s every time I’m in NYC. 

I hope this gives you a couple of things to do during your overnight layover. If you have an opportunity to stay for a weekend for family fun check out How to Maximize A Weekend in NYC.

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Overwater Bungalow

Review: Conrad Maldives at Rangali Island

The Maldives has been on my bucket list for awhile so when given the opportunity to stay at the twice voted “Best Hotel In the World” that features the “First Underwater Restaurant in the World” I jumped at the chance to stay at the Conrad Maldives. The Conrad Maldives is a ritzy island paradise surrounded by the Indian Ocean in South Asia commonly known for its overwater bungalows. This idyllic tropical resort is actually two islands connected by a bridge. The resort offers huge beach villas, overwater villas, an extremely expensive underwater residence, a world-class spa, award winning restaurants, and a plethora of excursions and activities. 

How To Get There: To get to the Conrad Maldives you have to take a seaplane from Male International airport which Conrad arranges and charges for at $560 per person. While waiting for the seaplane they have a Conrad Lounge that offers 15 minute complimentary massages, food, wifi, and drinks. As an honest reviewer, I will say that the lounge is extremely outdated and needs to be revamped. The couches definitely need to be replaced. When I arrived at the lounge and saw how run down the furniture was I was nervous about what to expect when arriving at resort. The seaplane luggage is 25kg per person plus 5kg of hand luggage. Any excess baggage costs $5 per 1kg. 

Seaplane to Conrad Maldives
Seaplane to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

The seaplane ride was great and the views were phenomenal. It was an awesome way to see the other Maldivian islands. 

Arrival: The seaplane flies to a dock that has a small waiting area where you meet a staff member who is personally assigned to you for the duration of your stay. Your bags are gathered, they offer you a welcome slushy and you are then taken to the main lobby where your personal Conrad “butler” takes you to your room via buggy or walking dependent on how close your room is. The scenery, design, and atmosphere of the Conrad Maldives is incredible and beyond what I could imagine.

Conrad Maldives Seaplane Dock

The Conrad Lounge at the airport definitely does not do the resort any justice because you would have no idea that you would arrives to such an idyllic paradise based on the airport lounge. Upon walking down the bridge that connects the 2 islands, I knew we were in for a real treat. Our “butler” gave us the details about the resort and our room. Surprise! Surprise!  We received an upgrade from the water villa to the Retreat Water Villa. The Conrad Maldives does not have to do this for Hilton Diamond members because of the status of the resort, however they did so and we were more than ecstatic. Paid upgrades are available if you don’t want to take the chance of not getting upgraded upon arrival. 

We took a buggy with our “butler” to our Retreat Water Villa on the Spa Retreat side of the island. The ride was so exciting and I could not wait to see what our humble abode was going to look like.

We were placed in villa 417 which was located at the end of the boardwalk, allowing for us to have maximum privacy. It was absolutely gorgeous. he interior of this villa is unbelievably huge measuring at 1615 Sq. Ft., featuring two rooms, one with its own double spa treatment room as well as a jacuzzi on the large sun deck with steps leading down into the ocean below.  The villa has large glass windows, glass doors, glass, walls, glass everything. You can see turquoise lagoons and coral reefs anywhere you look, you are completely surrounded by it. Compared to the basic water villa, this villa is beyond impressive. The tall ceilings, the wood, the blue and white tones, create a sanctuary of bliss. It was at this moment, touring the villa with the Conrad staff member, that I knew I was going to have a very hard time leaving. The bathroom was huge and featured an obscenely large bathtub and a rain shower that also led to the sundeck. Let’s just say the villa was unreal. I saw pictures of all of the villas prior to arriving and pictures do not do it justice, I was in awe at the largeness and beauty of the villa.

Retreat Water Villa
Retreat Water Villa Exterior
Retreat Water Villa Tour

Retreat Water Villa: 

Cost: ~ USD 1350 a night 

Size: 1615 Sq. Ft.

Occupancy: 3 adults

Dining and Amenities: As aforementioned the Conrad Maldives has the first underwater restaurant in the world. It’s a very cool experience but it is also incredibly expensive. We had dinner there for $390 per person. For a more affordable option you can have lunch or cocktails and canapés there instead. However, the dinner was great and I’m glad we went to the dinner as the lunch menu didn’t interest me as much and my husband and I don’t drink so the cocktails and canapés didn’t interest us either.

Ithaa Dining
Ithaa Dining

 

It’s important to note though that all of the restaurants are pretty expensive and even a burger costs around $40 dollars at the resort. I would definitely recommend a dinner at Ufaa by Jeremy Leung and the Fishermans BBQ.

ufaa by jereme leung
ufaa by jereme leung
Fishermans BBQ
Fisherman’s BBQ
Fisherman's BBQ Dinner
Dessert at Fishermans BBQ
All you can eat Fishermans BBQ

Some of the other restaurants are: •

 Sunset Grill

Mandhoo Spa Restaurant

Vilu Restaurant and Bar

The Quiet Zone

Rangali Bar 

The resort also offers so much to do in regards to excursions and activities.  There are two spas and of course we went to both!

• A large spa positioned over the water at the northern tip of the main island (opposite Mandhoo spa restaurant) called the Spa Retreat. This was my favorite spa and the Private Heat Therapy is a MUST! Click here for more details and photos of Spa Retreat

—>https://jordanaroundtheglobe.com/2019/05/01/retreat-spa-at-conrad-maldives-rangali-island/?

• A smaller, 4-room spa off the smaller island called the Over Water Spa. 

There is also an ocean dive centre, snorkeling excursions, jetpacks, jet skis, yachting, and so much more. All non-motorized water activities are free of charge, this includes are stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling at the house reef. All snorkeling equipment can be rented free of charge. We had so much fun snorkeling in the backyard of our villa and at the house reef we found no need to do a snorkeling excursion offsite. The water in the Maldives is the most clear and beautiful blue water I have ever seen in my entire life. Snorkeling and swimming in the Maldivian water on Rangali Island was such an amazing experience that I will never forget! Not to mention, I can never forget the soft white sand, huge palm trees, and gorgeous weather. 

Snorkeling in Retreat Water Villa
Excellent snorkeling at house reef but also in you backyard in the Retreat Water Villas

Another cool thing about the resort is that it is a shoeless resort so you can be barefoot your entire vacation. The lobby, restaurants, and walking paths all have sand floors. There is sand everywhere, the ritziest restaurant there even makes you take off your shoes before entering! I brought way too many shoes for no reason! 

Conrad Maldives Transfer Boat
Conrad Maldives Transfer Boat: This boat takes you between islands
Island Lounging

How To Stay For Free: 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night or 380,000 Hilton Honors points for 5 nights with fifth night free which makes it 76,000 Hilton Honors points a night 

To sum this one up this resort is fantastic and you should not hesitate booking! The service was incredible and everybody was beyond friendly. The food was great and the villa was pure luxury. Not only that, but the location and the atmosphere was unreal and something out of a dream you once had of what heaven looks like. I will definitely be staying here again when I visit the Maldives for a second time which I absolutely must!

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Conrad Maldives Retreat Spa Hallway

Retreat Spa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

The Retreat Spa at the Conrad Maldives is absolutely gorgeous! The decor and aesthetics exude a feeling of tranquility and relaxation. You enter into a narrow hallway built of wooden thatches that lead to a tranquil pond. The hallway is filled with doors on each side that lead to a treatment room. We went through a door that led us to an overwater private heat therapy suite that featured a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, 2 rain showers, and a massage treatment room. It was completely private and perfect for couples.

Spa Entrance
Private Heat Therapy Suite
Private Heat Therapy Suite
Sauna in Private Heat Therapy Suite
Sauna in Private Heat Therapy Suite
Toilet with a View
Toilet with a View
Jacuzzi in Private Heat Therapy Suite
Jacuzzi in Private Heat Therapy Suite

We  spent 30 minutes in the heat therapy suite and then followed up with a 90 minute muscle relaxation massage in the massage treatment room. If you are a Hilton Diamond member you can receive and extra 15 minutes of your massage treatment. For our treatment, they used a warm lime and berry infused oil that smelled absolutely divine. I chose medium pressure and received deep and my husband chose deep pressure and received super deep. Whatever you would normally choose for your ideal pressure type I would advise you to choose the pressure below. Their technique was great and my muscles were indeed relaxed and we couldn’t stop raving about how great we felt after. The massage was phenomenal, I didn’t want it to end, and even fell asleep. Between the idyllic atmosphere and blissful massage, it was one of our best spa experiences to date. When visiting the Conrad Maldives on Rangali Island, I definitely recommend you visit the Retreat Spa.

Retreat Spa Massage Treatment Room
Massage Treatment Room
Conrad Maldives Retreat Spa
Conrad Maldives Retreat Spa Pond

For more information on the Spa Retreat at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island visit —> https://www.conradmaldives.com/relax/spa-retreat/

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Emirates Business Class

Review: Emirates Business Class ORD–>JNB

Chicago —> Johannesburg, South Africa

THE LOUNGE: The Business Class Lounge in Dubai during our layover was incredible. It is truly one of the most luxurious flight experiences you can experience. Not only does it take up an entire floor but there is more to do than you would even have time for during your layover. It is truly a great way to begin your journey or relax during your layover.

There are quiet lounges, a plethora of gourmet restaurants, a kids club/daycare, multiple showers, nap chairs, bars, personalized barista experience, an ice cream cart and more. With partnerships with Moet & Chandon and Voss Water, I had our waiter bring as much Voss water as my heart desired and canapés crafted by Michelin starred chefs from the Moet & Chandon lounge. The service was great and so was the food from the buffets stations. I had teriyaki chicken, lamb, and rice. I relaxed and ate all of it while my husband took a shower and brought me tea and dessert. Safe to say the business class lounge was what Emirates calls a “seamless journey”.

Emirates Business Lounge Lobby
Emirates Business Lounge Dessert

THE FLIGHT: As if it could even get better than the lounge!!?? It does! We flew on one of their all new 777’s.

It has a 2-3-2 cabin layout, which the older one had before, it’s incredibly spacious. The interior is aesthetically amazing and the plush beige leather seats reminiscent of a Bentley Bentayga. The seat also features a privacy screen and one of the largest entertainment screen offered on any plane operating commercially. I absolutely loved the water and pellegrino in a glass storage box in front of me below the tv (super convenient). Also, the reading lights, storage space, fully flat bed, and Emirates classic woodgrain seat finishing was nice too. The seat was incredibly comfortable, I got a great sleep and the seat cushion (similar to a padded mattress cover, they lay on top of your seat for increased comfort) and blanket were big, plush, and thick. I could not have asked for a nicer seat besides not having a bar like on the A380 but besides that and the 2-3-2 configuration (configuration didn’t bother me as I sat beside my husband, so couples win!) the new 777 is a better product and I don’t drink alcohol anyway!

Additionally, the food and service was top notch! The food options were great and delicious and there were many times I was offered beverages or snacks that I declined because I was too full. I seriously got to the point of “jeez are people really still eating more food!” Needless to say you won’t go even a bit hungry.

Emirates Business Food

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my business class experience on Emirates new 777 and can’t wait to fly aboard again!

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Spa Walden Pyramid Suite

Review: The Spa at Inn Walden

Spa Walden is a world class spa oasis in the least place you’d expect!

SPA WALDEN

1119 Aurora Hudson Rd., Aurora, (330) 995-9SPA

yourwalden.com

Let’s talk about the ultimate pampering experience! If you’re looking for a top notch spa weekend that features relaxation, privacy, and ultimate ambiance; Spa Walden is where you should plan to go! When planning a spa getaway at Spa Walden I would consider the Spa and Stay package which allows you one signature spa treatment per person for 2 people and a night in one of their spacious and luxurious guest rooms that feature huge luxurious Kohler massage bath tubs and massive Kohler showers. The rooms and Inn in general are incredibly designed and are truly a reward for any guest.

Spa Walden Pyramid Suite
Spa Walden Pyramid Suite
Spa Walden Pyramid Bed
Maximum Comfort Reached in the Walden Pyramid Suite Beds
Spa Walden Guest Rooms and Suites
Huge Loft Guest Rooms at the Inn Walden

Huge Kohler Massage Showers in Loft Guest Suites bigger than some peoples apartments
Walden Pyramid Suite Living Room
Walden Pyramid Suite Living Room

The service at the Inn and the spa was impeccable. The staff caters to your every need to make sure your stay is beyond unique and special. Not only that, but the spa tailors treatments to fit your individual needs so you experience the ultimate pampering.

Each Spa suites has its own Kohler bubble massage tub and a personal steam room and a Swiss shower for full-body shower massages. If booking a couples treatment, couples can enjoy in their spa treatment room an additional fireplace, extra-large hot tub, and a light lunch.

Overall, this is one of the best spas I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to first class spas around the world. This is truly a hidden gem on the outskirts of Cleveland, OH and I definitely recommend it for the ultimate Spa experience.

http://yourwalden.com

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How to Maximize a Weekend in NYC

Have A Free Weekend And Want To See The Big Apple?

What to Eat | What to do | How to Enjoy

The crew and I ( Adham, baby Amirah, and I ) decided to take a family weekend trip to New York City and it was awesome! Of course the travel planner and Virgo (like Beyoncé) in me wanted everything to go by the itinerary, however, with a baby its just not that easy. I’ve been to NYC plenty of times but never had I been traveling with an infant and she showed me that I had been doing NYC wrong the whole time anyway! She has taught me that if you truly want to enjoy NYC have a light itinerary, I now believe it is incredibly advantageous to leave quite a bit of room in your itinerary to go with the flow. There are so many things to do in New York City and you can make yourself feel like you have to do everything in one weekend or even in a week. However, YOU WON’T and you shouldn’t.

 

For example, normally when I am in NYC I have so much that I want to do and see (so I can tell you all what to do when you get there), but also because people tend to make you feel like if you don’t do “this or that” in NYC then you missed out on something. However, we went to go have a picnic in Central Park, which I recommend you all do and baby Amirah just didn’t want to leave. I had a Michelin star restaurant I wanted to try for lunch but Amirah had her bottle, a blanket, the shade under the sun and she just wasn’t in the mood to leave. So of course, we stayed, Her and my husband both fell asleep and I ended up reading a book and people watching. When both of them woke up, I wasn’t disappointed at all that we skipped the restaurant! It was relaxing, it was peaceful, and even though it wasn’t a museum or a must-eat restaurant, it was still a very New York City thing to do.

Picnic in Central ParK

Adham and Amirah Asleep in Central Park

Later that night, we ended up going to a Midtown Michelin star restaurant, Cafe China, that was incredibly delicious and surpassed our expectations. Midtown’s Cafe China is unassuming, traditionally Sichuan, delicious and its the only Michelin star Chinese restaurant in NYC. The 1930’s Shanghai decor is sure to make you feel like you’ve taken a short journey to China. Our favorite dish their was the Chungking chicken which is only for someone with an appetite for spice, and by spice I mean an abundance of dried chilies.

At around midnight, while many people are out clubbing (I used to do this well) or grabbing drinks with friends. The foodie, parents, and Muslim in us decided to grab desserts instead. We continued to stay with our various Asian cuisine palette for the day and go to Grace Street Coffee and Desserts. Everything we ordered was nothing short of amazing so we ordered our first order twice. I recommend the Ho-Dduck Korean Donut (vegan option available), Apple Cider, Hong Kong French Toast, and he Mango Madness Shaved Snow.

The next day, the crew still wanted to take it easy, I obviously ignored their request because we ended up in Times Square. Walking around with a stroller and a baby in Times Square was not fun to me but my husband thought it was and seemed to think navigating with the baby in Times Square was a fun challenge as if he was in a video game. They ended up loving their navigation adventure and I throughly enjoyed taking pictures and people watching. Sponge-bob Squarepants on Broadway was showing at the Palace Theatre, if you are a Sponge-bob fan I would definitely see this. I preferred Aladdin, which was showing at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Times Square

After a great show, you must eat and we decided to go to Miss Lily’s. Miss Lily’s is one of my favorite places to eat in NYC. The food is incredible and I have never had a bad experience food or service wise. Everyone there is extremely sweet and accommodating and they want you to have a good meal. I actually found out about Miss Lily’s a couple of years ago while watching Chef Andre Fowler’s of Miss Lily’s win ’Chopped’ on the Food Network. He brings authentic, and vibrant Jamaican flavor to Manhattan and crowds do indeed flock to experience it.

Miss Lily’s Restaurant

The weekend wasn’t over yet and even though there are so many incredible museums to see and many people purchase the New York City Pass, which includes admission into NYC’s top attractions, if you are only there for a weekend all of the attractions can be a bit overwhelming and it might not be worth the money. One of the museums that the New York City Pass includes is the Guggenheim museum which is a must see but due to my tight schedule this time we went to the Brooklyn Museum as I like the Brooklyn museum a bit more. It is NYC’s second largest museum and it features electrifying art, inspiring and educational exhibitions, and right now a David Bowie tribute display.

Brooklyn Museum

Every time I come to NYC I find so much more do and so much more to eat and I recommend that you visit the following on your next visit:
* You can find many discounts to attractions on Groupon as well

Central Park
Such a great time as aforementioned with bike and pedestrian paths, jungle gyms, ball fields, a zoo, picnic areas, carousel, and awesome city views,

Times Square
In the heart of the Theatre district where you should find a good show, do some shopping, and people watch .

The Empire State Building
Sweeping city views, museum, and history.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
National Monument, museum, history, and guided tours.

Brooklyn. Museum (my favorite)
Incredible large art museum as aforementioned above

Grand Central Terminal
Iconic train station, shopping, dining, and feeling like you’re on the set of NYC romantic comedy as you can’t watch one that doesn’t feature a scene in this station.

Brooklyn Bridge
Picturesque bridge that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan

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One Week Maui | Hawaii Itinerary

Your 7 Day Guide to Maui

There are so many different types of travelers and vacation styles and everyone knows someone who they “just can’t vacation with”. This could be because they don’t like the person entirely or they just don’t have the same travel style. The below itinerary is for someone like myself with an adventurous personality with a luxury budget who still needs R&R (rest and relaxation). If you don’t have a luxury budget, I have included alternative options as well. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what your budget is if you have an adventurous personality but still love to just lay out and soak up some sun at the beach (it is Maui after all)….this 1 week Maui Guide is for you!

I understand how overwhelming planning a vacation to Maui can be and each link provides additional information to help you further plan and experience all that Maui has to offer.

I recommend 2 weeks in Maui, however I understand most people don’t have 2 weeks time to take off. Check out Maui Must Do’s for more to add to your schedule for a 2 week Maui Vacation.

First Day: ARRIVAL
I recommend staying at the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. If you don’t have a luxury budget, check out “How to go to Maui for free”. Upon arrival, check in and enjoy all this massive resort has in store and if you get in early, hang out at the beach.

What to eat: Mama’s Fish House Restaurant and Inn

Second Day: HALEAKALĀ CRATER
Hiking Haleakalā Crater is one of my top things to do in Maui. If you aren’t a hiker you still must go and at least see the incredible views. Not only that but, if you arrive at Haleakalā Visitor center 30-45 mins before sunrise, you can watch the beautiful colors of the sunrise and then follow the Hosmer Trail. You will not take a more scenic photo in Maui than on top of Haleakala Crater.

What to eat: Paia Fish Market

Take the rest of the day to enjoy the amenities of the Grand Wailea resort and lay out at the beach or one of the Grand Wailea’s 7 pools. I prefer the adult only Hibiscus pool, I have a small child and when my husband and I are on vacation together by ourselves we truly want it to be adults only. All of the pools either have a restaurant or bar right next to or inside the pool that you can swim up to or order from your pool lounge chair.

Third Day: ALI’I KULA LAVENDER FARM
Don’t let the name “lavender farm” fool you into thinking this farm is all about lavender. It is true there is a gorgeous lavender field with views out of this world overlooking mountains and sea cliffs. However, this farm also has many other species of plants as well. Forget the nurseries you’re used to, this lavender farm makes you feel as if you are Alice in Wonderland and all you are missing is a friendly rabbit.

If you have a green thumb and are really interested in gardening and different species of plants then you can take a guided tour. If you are like me and just want to enjoy the scenic views of Maui from the lavender field and surround yourself with the aromatic smells of plumeria and lavender then you can self-tour and leisurely enjoy the atmosphere.

What to eat: Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman

Fourth Day: SUNRISE and SNORKELING/BEACH HOP

What to eat: Plantation House

Fifth Day: ROAD TO HANA
For my adventurers and photographers, the Road To Hana is a long but incredibly fun and sometimes scary drive filled with stops that feature Maui’s most picturesque waterfalls, gorges, streams, caves, fresh fruit stops and cool food stops.

Major Highlights:
Twin Falls
, Bamboo Forest, 
Waikamoi Falls, 
Keanae
, Three Bears Falls
, Beaches (Black sand, red sand, Koki)
, Seven Sacred Pools, 
Pipiwai Trail, 
Alelele Falls

Bamboo Forest

What to eat: Bruddah Hutts BBQ truck or Huli Huli Chicken, and Auntie Sandy’s Banana Bread.

Sixth Day: SPA DAY at the Grand Wailea or BEACH/POOL DAY
The Grand Wailea is home to Spa Grande, one of the best spas in the U.S. and once you experience it for yourself there is no doubt about it. We did the “Tropical Paradise For Two” which includes the “healing waters”, sauna, steam room, exfoliation, scrub, lunch, 50 minute massage, and pedicure. This treatment lasts 4 hours and will run you $$$$ (699). However, afterwards my husband and I looked at each other and he said it was “worth every penny” and I concur! If you are not on a luxury budget then I would enjoy some more of Maui’s beaches or have a pool day at the Grand Wailea. One of the things about being an adventurous traveler is sometimes you forget to rest on your vacations but you are in Maui for heaven’s sake, get to a beach or enjoy what the Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Luxury Oceanfront Resort has to offer!

http://grandwailea.com

What to eat: Try Kimo’s

Seventh Day: HELICOPTER TOUR
A helicopter tour is a great way to close out your time in beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Honestly, words cannot describe how incredible the experience is, the lush 3000 ft sea cliffs (highest sea cliffs in US according to our guide) and the many, many waterfalls cascading down the mountains are some of the most beautiful things you will ever see your life.  Sunshine, Air Maui, and Maverick are some of the most common and trusted helicopter tour companies in Maui. My favorite route was the West Maui/Molokai tour. In all of my travels I haven’t seen anything like it, if you love Jurassic Park this is your chance to see it. Feels like a dinosaur could start swinging at your helicopter at any moment.

If you do not have a luxury budget,  parasailing will also give you an opportunity to see Maui from a completely different perspective, flying above the sea and by the mountains.

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Featured

Panorama Route

Planning a trip to the Panorama Route? Thinking about what else to add to your Kruger National Park Itinerary? The Panorama Route is a perfect addition to your safari holiday and South African getaway. You can self-drive the Panorama Route in your own vehicle from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park, which will take you a few days. However, I decided to add it to my Kruger National Park stay as a one day tour.

The Route is incredibly breathtaking and I’m so glad I made it a priority of mine to see it! You get a true sense of the landscape which features the world’s third largest canyon, raging rivers, a plethora of waterfalls, and a dramatic terrain of mountains and cliffs. The most popular attractions to see on the route are God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, Lisbon Falls, The Three Rondavels, The Pinnacle, Berlin Falls, and the Wonderview. Featured below are what you can look forward to on your Panorama Route trip.

BOURKE’S LUCK POTHOLES AT BLYDE RIVER CANYON RESERVE

Bourke’s Potholes Churning Whirlpools
Bourkes Luck Potholes
Bourkes Luck Potholes
Bourke’s Luck Potholes Waterfalls

Bourke’s Luck Potholes is a stunning geological formation in the Blyde River Canyon Reserve. Not only can you walk on bridges above the pools of water, you can also dip your feet in and take a seat in the whirlpools of this fascinating natural phenomenon.

LISBON FALLS

Lisbon Falls is the highest waterfall in the province and I was lucky enough to capture and see it with a beautiful rainbow.

Lisbon Falls
Lisbon Falls

BLYDE RIVER CANYON

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, offers lush scenery, is 16 miles in length, and known as the largest “green canyon” in the world.

Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon

THREE RONDAVELS

You might be thinking, what is a Rondavel? A Rondavel is actually a house or hut of the indigenous people and the three round rocks sitting on top together are reminiscent of such. The view here is absolutely stunning, a must see!! In my opinion it offers the best view on the entire Panorama Route.

Three Rondavels

If you have any more time in the area, I’d recommend checking out https://jordanaroundtheglobe.com/2019/02/19/kruger-national-park/

for more adventure at Kruger National Park to add to your South Africa itinerary!

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