Posted January 9, 2011 by BookingBuddy
There's a reason Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and it goes far beyond the weather. This southeastern state provides a wide variety of activities, entertainment, and natural beauty that is sure to make you smile. From the excitement of theme parks to the relaxing atmosphere of secluded beaches, Florida offers something for everyone and is a prime vacation spot. There are many cities that thrive on tourism in Florida, so be sure to shop around before choosing your destination, including checking out deals for flights to Orlando, Miami or some of the smaller, ocean side cities like West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Naples.
Michael's Genuine: With a seasonal menu that changes daily, Michael's Genuine in Miami provides a taste of the local culture. The bistro-style restaurant serves contemporary American dishes and offers 90 indoor and outdoor seats in a laid-back atmosphere perfect for a relaxing meal. Dinner entrees start at about $20 per person. Be sure to compare Miami holiday packages to save on flight plus hotel deals.
The Breakers: When it comes to seaside luxury, very few hotels can compete with the Breakers in Palm Beach. Serving guests for the last two centuries, the hotel has recently undergone a major renovation and now brings elegance to a new level. Here, you can enjoy the 140 acres of beachfront property by taking a dip in one of the five pools, lounge in one of the 20 daytime beach bungalows, or dine at one of the nine restaurants.
Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall: Florida is known for its outlet shopping, and Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise just happens to be the largest outlet shopping mall in the U.S. With more than 350 brand name stores and restaurants, the mall is a bargain-hunter's dream. Retailers include Brooks Brothers Factory Outlet, Barney's New York Outlet, and A/X Armani Exchange, among others.
Posted January 9, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Will Smith sang about it. Television series have celebrated it (and its many vices, of course). Fashionistas are drawn to it. People around the world flock to holidays in Miami, Florida for this city's sultry nightlife, laid-back beach culture, and world-class shopping. Leave your stresses behind and hit the dance floor; you'll find Miami may just be the best place to unwind.
Carnivores will want to make a stop at Grimpa Steakhouse, a Brazilian-style rodizio where fifteen cuts are served tableside every evening. Sample beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and salmon for entrees; there's also a generous salad bar and buffet of side dishes to round out your meal. Not so hungry? The restaurant recently added a la carte offerings for those with smaller appetites.
Hotel Urbano in downtown Miami offers a quiet setting for your holiday to explore the city and outlying areas. Hotel rooms feature private balconies or lanais, high-speed Internet access, walk-in showers, bathrobes, and luxury toiletries. The hotel also has a pool, private poolside cabanas with flat-screen televisions, a restaurant, and a fitness center. Rates start around $145 per night.
Many come to Miami for the latest in fashion, and you can find more than 100 major designers in one visit to the Bal Harbour Shops. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Chloe, Harry Winston, and Oscar de la Renta are just a few top names luring shoppers seeking both timeless and trendy fashions.
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Posted December 23, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Skyscrapers, Broadway, and Central Park. Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, and Yankee Stadium. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Fifth Avenue. New York is the city of icons. Whichever ones you choose to see up close for yourself, you're guaranteed to be bowled over on a holiday in New York City.
Head to the East Village for a memorable meal at Cafe Mogador, a restaurant specializing in Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. Enjoy a variety of tagines (slow-cooked stews), grilled meats, and cous cous dishes, all flavors bold and vibrant. In winter, the restaurant serves as a warm and friendly respite from the cold; in summer, sit out on the terrace and watch the world go by. Remember to bring your appetite—the portions here are generous.
New York has been critiqued for its matchbox-sized hotel rooms (often at sky-high prices). Not so at the Hotel Indigo Chelsea, a spacious and affordable option on West 28th Street. Guest rooms feature flat-screen televisions with cable, wireless Internet access, and bathrooms with luxury toiletries. The hotel also has a 24-hour fitness center, a restaurant, and a rooftop bar. Rates start around $180 per night. Package holidays can also help with managing the price of New York vacations by booking flight plus hotel deals.
Find a treasure trove of shops and eateries at Chelsea Market. Situated on Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th, the Market offers one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs, plus housewares and specialty items. Find any type of kitchen gadget at Bowery Kitchen Supply, fine wines at the Chelsea Wine Vault, artisanal cheeses at Lucy's Whey, and trinkets of all kinds at Chelsea Market Basket. And with several delectable cafes and grab-and-go eateries sharing space with the stores, it's easy (and encouraged!) to nosh while you shop.
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Posted December 23, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Come to Vegas to be entertained on your holiday. Of course, there's the usual: Gambling, nightclubs, shows, and shopping. But in recent years, the city of Las Vegas has branched out: It's established itself as a culinary powerhouse, with celebrity chefs opening award-winning restaurants here. Spa culture is thriving, too, with big names catering to your pampering needs. And then there's just the spectacle. Where else can you ride a roller coaster through the New York skyline, see skyscraper-high fountains dance to top-40 hits, or witness pirates conquering a ship (and multiple times each night, at that)?
While full board holidays are sometimes the cheapest option, Las Vegas has an incredible number of options for restaurants, feasible on any vacation budget. Thomas Keller's Bouchon, in the Venetian Resort, transports travelers to a French bistro. Casual yet elegant, Bouchon offers such classic French meals as duck confit, steak frites, and poulet roti. Be sure to save room for dessert, as decadent options including profiteroles, chocolate mousse, and creme caramel, are too good to pass up.
Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon offers a reprieve from the gargantuan resorts that dominate Las Vegas today. Located right on the Strip, this hotel offers rooms with flat-screen televisions, triple-sheeted beds, and coffeemakers. The property has a casino, two restaurants, a lounge, and a nightclub. Additionally, all guests have access to the pool at the Flamingo resort next door at no extra charge. Accommodations start around $40 per night. Be sure to compare cheap holiday options by searching for flight and hotel package deals.
The Miracle Mile stores at Planet Hollywood are a shopper's paradise: Here you'll find women's and men's clothing retailers, home goods, luxury beauty and bath products, and specialty food stores. There are 170 businesses in all, so you can spend a good portion of your vacation here for retail therapy. Be sure to check out Sur La Table for unique kitchen decor and tools, ph the Store for a souvenir, and Bettie Page for vintage and retro finds.
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Posted December 23, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Like rock and roll, the blues, or soul? Then plan a holiday in Memphis, TN, the birthplace of these three distinctively American music genres. Pay tribute to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, at Graceland; hear live music along Beale Street; visit the Gibson Guitar Factory; and tour Sun Studios, the recording studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and other legends got their start. This tuneful city is also known for outstanding barbecue, so be sure to come hungry.
Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken may not look like much, but one bite and you'll know the investment is all in the food, not the ambience. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the outside, with minimal grease, Gus's fried chicken may just be the gold standard. Add on sides of fried pickles and fried green tomatoes, then wash it all down with a tall glass of sweet tea. Your taste buds will thank you.
The Peabody is a historic, well-appointed hotel, but what really makes it memorable are the ducks. Yes, you read that right! Twice each day, at 11 a.m. and five p.m., the hotel's trained ducks march through the lobby in a procession, part of a tradition dating back to the early 1930s. Accommodations feature flat-screen televisions, high-speed Internet access, and 24-hour room service; some rooms are pet-friendly. The hotel has several restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, and gift shops. Rates start at $245 per night.
The Center for Southern Folklore sponsors a gift shop featuring work from local artists and craftspeople, with all wares celebrating the region. Works for sale include sculpture and pottery pieces, photography, albums, books, and the like. Take home holiday memorabilia such as a blues album from an area musician, praline pecans, or even fresh-picked cotton.
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Posted October 20, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Fly away to sunny Santa Monica for a fun beach break! You’ll find a laidback city with beautiful beaches and a pleasant climate. Its proximity to Los Angeles means that you can also spend some time visiting the major attractions in L.A. The 100 year old Santa Monica Pier remains a popular destination. Enjoy the rides at the amusement park, take in the exhibitions, or just enjoy a seafood feast from one of the restaurants here. For more intellectual amusements, make your way over to Chess Park and while away a good few hours watching the aficionados at their game. You may even be challenged to a game, so be sure your skills are up to scratch!
Third Street Promenade – Third Street Promenade is the vibrant cultural heart of downtown Santa Monica. There is a farmers’ market here on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where you can pick up fresh, tasty produce. Browse the bookshops and newsstands if you’re after bestselling beach reads, as well as plenty of shops where you can pick up some souvenirs. Visit the art galleries lining the street to views works by local and international artists, or just spend some time enjoying the street performers on the promenade.
Border Grill – Head to the Border Grill for Mexican food that’s more than the standard nacho/tacos fare. The offerings here include a wild mushroom quesadilla with manchego cheese and spicy mizuna salad, a sweet yet spicy grilled pear and endive salad, and cochinita pibil – pork slow roasted in banana leaves and flavoured with onion, orange and cinnamon.
Viceroy Hotel – Head to the Viceroy Hotel for a luxurious and indulgent break. The rooms are dressed in a soothing, neutral palette, with large, comfortable beds and lots of space. All rooms have a sitting area too, and some benefit from wonderful ocean views. It’s only a short stroll to Santa Monica Beach and the famous Santa Monica Pier. Room rates start from £235.
Check here for Santa Monica travel information.
Posted September 8, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Get some movie magic into your life with a trip to Los Angeles. The City of Angels is a popular destination for many, and has no end of attractions. The Hollywood sign is a familiar sight as it towers over the city. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is one of the most famous theatres in the world, with many celebrities leaving their hand and foot prints in the concrete outside the theatre’s forecourt. Love shopping? Then give your bank account a real workout at the high end boutiques along Rodeo Drive, or get a great bargain from the Downtown area. It’s not just glitz and glamour here though. Los Angeles has a huge, multicultural population, which can be seen in neighbourhoods like Koreatown, Little India, Little Ethiopia, Little Armenia and other ethnic enclaves throughout the city. With so many creative types squeezed into this city, you’ll also find that Los Angeles has more than its fair share of museums. If it all gets too much, just escape to a beach, or hike up into the hills surrounding the city for some fresh air and spectacular views.
La Brea Tar Pits – See giant mammoths, wolves, camels and lions in the middle of Los Angeles! No, this isn’t the newest blockbuster from the Hollywood studios, just some of the exhibits inside the Page Museum. Thousands of skeletons and fossils have been unearthed from the tar pits over the last few decades. Visitors can watch volunteers and palaeontologists at work in boxes around the tar pits. The museum also features life-sized exhibits and dioramas of animals that have frequented the pits in the past.
The Brentwood Inn - Located in Brentwood, the Brentwood Inn is not far from the most of the city’s attractions, but offers guests a measure of tranquillity after a hectic day in Los Angeles. This charming inn has 21 intimate rooms that come with complimentary bottled water and internet access. The rooms have a very laidback feel, with clean white walls and simple, but luxurious furnishings. It’s not far from Santa Monica, making it very convenient if you decide to head to the beaches. Room rates start from £120, and include breakfast.
Grill ‘Em All Truck – This heavy metal-themed burger truck (their name is a pun on Metallica’s album Kill ‘Em All) has been winning plenty of praise from burger aficionados recently. Their burgers sport names like ‘Carcass’ and ‘Behemoth’, but don’t let that put you off. The ‘Behemoth’ lives up to its name by being a monster of a burger – cheese buns are stuffed with a thick, juicy beef patty, then topped with cheddar, beer soaked onions and slices of bacon. Enjoy it with a side of ‘H100s’ – deepfried potato and cheese bites – and you’ll be ready to rock all night. The truck moves around the Los Angeles area, but fans can find out where they’ll be next via Twitter.
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Posted August 10, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Despite being devastated by Hurricane
Katrina a few years back, New Orleans is still a popular destination for
visitors. The Big Easy is one of the most atmospheric cities in the US, and
boasts a long, colourful history. Don’t miss a trip to the French Quarter, the
city’s oldest (and best-known) neighbourhood, where the buildings feature
beautiful iron-worked galleries wrapped around their facade. The notorious
Bourbon Street is the city’s party central, filled with bars, clubs,
restaurants and drunken revellers. For a macabre look at the city, take a trip
through New Orleans’ old cemeteries, or join a walking tour and discover the
city’s most haunted spots. Don’t leave the city without tasting some of its
world-famous cuisine, which ranges from the traditional – gumbo, po-boys – to the,
shall we say, exotic, such as nutria, a large rodent much like a beaver.
Le Pavillion Hotel – You won’t be far
from the action at this elegant hotel. Located only a few blocks away from the
French Quarter, it’s close enough that you won’t feel like you’re missing out
on the fun, but far away enough that you can be sure of some peace when you
need a rest. The hotel itself is a throwback to the age of beautiful, grand
hotels – full of marble floors, huge chandeliers and grand staircases. The
rooms are just as luxurious – expect plush four-poster beds, sumptuous draped
curtains and thick, soft carpets. Room rates start from around £75.
Cafe du Monde – This coffee shop on
Decatur Street in the French Quarter is a landmark New Orleans dining spot. There
are probably other items on its menu, but most people are there for only two
things – their beignets and cafe au lait. The beignets – square, doughnut-like
pastries dusted with powdered sugar, are world-famous, and can lead to long
queues outside the cafe. Enjoy it with the classic Cafe du Monde coffee, made
with chicory and made creamy with fresh, hot milk.
Audubon Nature Institute – The Audubon
Nature Institute, is a haven for nature-lovers. Marvel at the jewel-hued
insects in the Insectarium, or enjoy a game of golf at the Audubon Golf Course,
set among beautiful old oak trees. You’ll spend many happy hours admiring the
mix of exotic and familiar animals at the Audubon Zoo, often voted one of the
country’s best zoos. The Aquarium of the Americas features an impressive Gulf
of Mexico exhibit which holds 400 000 gallon s of saltwater as well as hundreds
of sea creatures.
Check here for New Orleans travel information.
Posted August 3, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Instead of taking your kids to Thorpe
Park or Alton Towers, why not treat them to a day at world-famous Disney World
in Orlando? It’s hard to find a more family-friendly holiday destination anywhere
else – Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Florida are a couple of popular
attractions also found here. But there’s more to this city than rollercoasters
and cartoon mascots – you’ll discover a great selection of museums and a huge
Science Centre here. The surrounding wetlands make great destinations for
outdoorsy types – rent a canoe and explore the lakes and swamps, and perhaps come
face to face with an alligator.
The Point Orlando Resort – Luxury doesn’t
have to come with a hefty price tag if you’re staying at this boutique hotel.
The Point is conveniently located on Universal Boulevard, so you’re minutes
away from one of Orlando’s favourite attractions, Universal Studios. The
comfortable, spacious rooms boast fully equipped kitchens which include ovens, dishwashers,
fridges and microwave ovens, so you can save on dining out. However, if you’d
prefer to dine out, simply step into the hotel’s cafe, or head to some of the
city’s finest restaurants just minutes away from the hotel. Room rates start
Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida
– Give your retinas and eardrums a break from brash colours and over cheerful
music with a visit to this safari-themed park. The park itself is divided into several
zones, each showcasing the beauty and diversity of Florida’s wildlife. Explore
the park on horseback or on special amphibious vehicles. Thrillseekers can also
experience a bird’s eye view of the park, while flying along a zipline set
among the treetops.
Everglades Restaurant – Sample tasty,
unique dishes from around the region in this quirky restaurant, where diners
feast under manatee sculptures hanging from the ceiling. The menu is a
mish-mash of influences, with surprising twists on classic dishes. Your steaks and lamb
chops will come broiled to order, so you can enjoy them just the way you like. Mashed potatoes are served with a drizzle of rich, earthy truffle butter, and the shrimp cocktail comes with a tangy guava barbecue sauce.
Check here for cheap flights to Orlando.
Posted July 28, 2010 by BookingBuddy
Seattle has a reputation for being
grey and dreary, but don’t let that unfortunate image put you off! This city in
the Pacific Northwest has a thriving art and music culture, with many popular
bands over the last 20 years coming from here. Seattle is also well-known for
its coffee – ubiquitous coffee chain Starbucks was founded here, but you can
also sample the brews from many smaller, independent shops. Beer enthusiasts
can also tour the city’s microbreweries, where you’ll find many unique beers. For
stunning views over the city, take a ride up to the top of the Space Needle,
itself a famous attraction. Enjoy the city from ground level by strolling
through its many parks, or even go for an underground tour to catch a glimpse
of subterranean city-life.
Pike Place Market – Mingle among the
locals here to discover the freshest, most delicious food, as well as grabbing
some one of a kind artwork or souvenirs for to bring home. Pike Place Market is
over a hundred years old, and remains one of the most popular markets in the
city. Hundreds of stalls are distributed over a number of buildings. You’ll find
fishmongers, fruits and vegetables, meat, craft stalls, and even a couple of
massage stalls. The streets surrounding the stalls are often filled with
artists and musicians, so you’re likely to catch a performance while shopping
or having a meal. Look out for popular stalwarts like Thomas the Balloon Man,
who sells balloons twisted into animal shapes, and often appears in a balloon
The Inn At The Market – This charming
boutique hotel places you a stone’s throw from Pike Place Market, and is close
to Seattle’s waterfront. Enjoy fantastic views from your room or the hotel’s
rooftop terrace – you won’t have to squeeze your way up the Space Needle with
the others. The rooms themselves are luxurious in an understated manner, with
clean, classic furniture. While you’re there, treat yourself to a meal at its in-house
restaurant Campagne, often voted one of the city’s best dining spots. Room
rates start from £150.
Boat Street Cafe – This casual,
elegant eatery showcases Seattle’s finest produce in a French influenced menu.
Choose dishes to share so as to enjoy more variety. Start with some oysters on
a half shell, or a pickle plate to whet your appetite. The pate, served with
cornichons, Dijon mustard and pickled prunes, is not to be missed. Their crab cakes
have a wonderfully satisfying crab to filler ratio, and are served with a hot
pepper confit for an unforgettable kick. If seafood is your thing, don’t miss
out on the manila clams, served with chorizo, or the succulent Vancouver Island
scallops, with spinach and bacon.
Check here for cheap flights to Seattle.