Yucatán Revisited: The Magical Chablé Resort and Spa

Chablé Resort and Spa
Chablé Resort and Spa

I almost don’t want to tell you anything about Chablé Resort and Spa. I certainly don’t want to let you know how absolutely amazing it is, because I don’t want it to be entirely sold out for my next stay. And there will definitely be a next stay. Trust me, you will feel the same when you go.

This part of Mexico holds a special place in my heart. This was my second time flying into Mérida, my fourth hacienda hotel stay in the Yucatán, and my fourth visit to the general area. You can see all of my past Yucatán posts here.

Arrival into Mérida (MID) couldn’t be easier. If you have visions of Cancun in your head, let them go, because the Mérida airport while equally modern, is pretty much the exact opposite. You will clear immigration and customs in about twelve minutes, even with a checked bag, and I am being generous. Walk down a short hall and your driver will be there waiting for you.

It’s a quick 30-35 minute drive from the airport to the hotel which is located southwest of Mérida, just outside the small town of Chocholá. I arranged my transfer with the hotel, and my driver was courteous and the SUV was brand new.

Ixi’im Restaurant
Ixi’im Restaurant

Chablé is all about duality, and you can see it right from the start. Cool pod swings hanging from ancient trees next to original hacienda walls that are left partially and beautifully in ruin. Haute cuisine that could compete with any restaurant in Mexico City made with herbs grown twenty feet away in a traditional raised bed Mayan garden called a Ka’anche’s.

And then there are the rooms. While some of the original hacienda structures have been rebuilt and modernized for public spaces, the rooms are 100% completely new construction. The hard product is stunning. Every one of the 38 rooms and two villas has it’s own plunge pool, outdoor hangout and dining space, and of course the traditional Mayan hammock. The air conditioning is cold, the in-room technology is fun, and the moon shower is romantic.

Chablé is a resort, so you will find all of the usual amenities. A gorgeous main pool that is a centrally located oasis, with full poolside food and beverage service. A large gym, with all of the latest fitness equipment. If they added a couple of Pilates Reformer machines it would be absolutely perfect (hint, hint!). There are multiple restaurants and bars, as well as a small boutique.

Chablé is also a spa, and what a spa it is! I am usually a Swedish Massage person when it comes to spa treatments. It is my standard test, because it is the most basic of spa options. If a spa cannot do one correctly, then there is little hope for anything else. This time, because the spa is truly so inspiring, I went big. I did one of the two hour signature journeys and it was AMAZING. You are going to have to trust me on this. I don’t want to tell you any more, because the spa at Chablé is best experienced with as little preconception as possible.

There is a lot to see and do outside of Chablé , but the truth is that most people end up canceling their plans because the resort pulls you in and it is hard to let go.

My advice? Double whatever length of stay you had in mind, so that you ave plenty of time to be active and to relax.

Contact me today via email or phone at +1-508-485-3061 about booking your stay at this world-class gem in the Yucatán and take advantage of the following complimentary Virtuoso amenities for all stays in 2017 and 2018:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Full Breakfast for two daily, served in restaurant
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary transfers to and from Mérida Airport
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Additionally, there is currently a great promotion that offers your third night free for stays through December 20, 2017!

Stay 3 nights stay in a Casita with private swimming pool and daily breakfast, daily activities, roundtrip transfer to and from Mérida and $100 resort credit.

Casita King or Double starts from $2,259 per package based on 2 people.

**50% Deposit required at time of booking. Cancellation without penalty if cancelled 7 days prior to arrival. If cancelled within 7 days of arrival deposit it’s non-refundable. A 3 night minimum stay is required. Tax and service charges apply.

Disclaimer: My stay was at a reduced rate for travel advisors. 

A Piton Pilgrimage: Luxury in Saint Lucia

Jade Mouuntain
Jade Mountain

On approach into Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in St. Lucia I realized, that the Caribbean of my mind’s eye existed in a giddiness-inducing reality. The gorgeous Pitons rising straight from the depths of the ocean made me feel that perhaps I had in fact flown to a much more far-flung destination, like Phi Phi Island, when in fact I was mere four hours and forty minutes nonstop flying time from Boston.

The Pitons on approach to UVF
The Pitons on approach to UVF

After about a thirty minute wait on arrival, I was greeted by a friendly immigration official who was somewhat dumbfounded that I was traveling alone to St. Lucia for eight nights. The allure of the destination for romance travel (honeymoons, anniversaries, and destination weddings) is virtually unparalleled in the Caribbean. She asked no further questions, hastily stamped my passport, and off I went to retrieve my luggage and find my driver.

My first two night hotel stay in my Piton Pilgrimage to St. Lucia was at Ladera Resort which is located near the top of the Pitons, and overlooks Sugar Beach. The views from this height were absolutely memorizing.

The view from Ladera Resort
The view from Ladera Resort

Next, I took a quick fifteen minute taxi ride down the hill to the base of the Pitons for two night stay at the aptly named Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. The beach has soft white sand, beautiful views of the Pitons on either side, and plenty of shade from thatched umbrellas.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

A boat was the preferred mode of transportation for my transfer around the base of the Petit Piton and on to my next resort for two nights, the absolutely incomparable Jade Mountain. With views like this from bed, I was almost too relaxed to bother leaving my room.

View from bed at Jade Mountain
View from bed at Jade Mountain

However, while at Jade Mountain, I could not resist the opportunity to visit their sister beach resort, Anse Chastenet, which has a great traditional Caribbean vibe, lots of dining options, and a beautiful natural sand beach.

Anse Chastenet Beach
Anse Chastenet Beach

The last stop on my trip was another boat ride away from the Pitons for a two night stay on the north end of the island at the casually elegant Cap Maison. The food was delicious, the public spaces felt both intimate and secluded, and the service at the beach was amazing. The wine cellar dinner was one of my favorite all-time meals.

Dinner in the wine cellar at Cap Maison
Dinner in the wine cellar at Cap Maison

My last transfer was the most exciting, a fifteen minute helicopter ride over the rain forest to Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) to catch my flight back to Boston.

Helicopter transfer to UVF
Helicopter transfer to UVF

I loved my experience in Saint Lucia, and I can’t wait to share my in depth trip reports with you on each hotel. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you have questions about the resorts, the complimentary Virtuoso amenities, or are ready to book your vacation to Saint Lucia, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email or phone at 508-485-3061.

I can’t wait to see where you go next!

A January Week in Iceland

Northern Lights
Northern Lights

Is Iceland on your list of must-visit destinations? I spent six nights in Iceland in January 2017 and I had an amazing time. Definitely one of my top five all-time favorite places, and one that I would love to return to soon.

 

How was Iceland in January? I have lived in Boston for the past thirteen years and I am finally more or less acclimated to the cold. Of course, every year is different, but when I was looking at the weather the week before I left, Boston was usually colder than Reykjavik.

Hraunfossar, Iceland
Hraunfossar, Iceland

The first three days it was cloudy and rained, which made adjusting to the time change a challenge since I never saw the sun. Typically at that time of year sunrise is around 10:30 AM and sunset is at 4:30 PM. My last few days were sunny and cold and absolutely beautiful.

 

Gulfoss, Iceland
Gulfoss, Iceland

My reason for traveling was to attend the Icelandair Mid-Atlantic Trade Show. This was a great opportunity for me to meet with boutique suppliers (from Alaska to Scandinavia) who wouldn’t necessarily attend my usual luxury travel conferences, make personal contacts, and experience as many hotels, sites, and activities as possible.

 

Of course, I flew Icelandair’s Business Class product called Saga Class. From BOS-KEF I was on one of their new 767-300s which has 2-1-2 seating. On the return from KEF-BOS I was on the 757 which has 2-2 seating. The seats themselves (all with seat-back entertainment) and the amenities were the same, regardless of aircraft type.

 

I loved that the WiFi on Icelandair is gate to gate and is complimentary for those sitting in Saga Class. I pre-ordered my vegetarian meal and was pleasantly surprised that unlike most airlines, it was actually vegetarian and not vegan.

 

I started my trip with a long nap, as I was unable to get any sleep on the short five hour and five minute flight. Then I set out to meet up with a small group walking tour in the evening. It was a great orientation and introduction to charming Reykjavik.

 

The next morning I worked from my hotel room before heading to one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, the famous Blue Lagoon. I booked the Luxury Package (of course!), which truly is the only way to go.

 

I had my own private changing room with shower, access to an exclusive lounge with private indoor access to the lagoon, souvenir flip-flops and amenity kit, one free beverage of choice, complimentary towels and bathrobe, two faces masks included, and much more.

 

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Blue Lagoon, Iceland

After my relaxing Blue Lagoon experience I went out for a night on the town with a small group Beer Tour. It was one of the best experiences of my trip. I learned a lot about the history of Iceland, met a fun group of people, and tried numerous traditional and micro-brew beers, as well as the traditional Icelandic spirit, Brennivín.

 

Polar Beer
Polar Beer

I also did a full day Golden Circle tour with a foodie spin, the Into the Glacier tour, and a successful Northern Lights tour in a Super Jeep.

 

 

Plus five hotel site inspections, twenty-five travel supplier meetings, two hotel stays, and one quick souvenir shopping excursion.

 

This all added up to one amazing travel experience. I can’t wait to go back to Iceland, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do so in any season. If you go in winter you will have a chance to see the Northern Lights, there will be fewer crowds, more availability, and rates will be lower. However, anytime is truly a great time to go to Iceland.

 

Aurora Borealis in Iceland
Aurora Borealis in Iceland

 

I would love to utilize my expertise and personal contacts to help you plan a wonderful vacation in Iceland. Please get in touch via phone at 508-485-3061 or email to get started today!