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10 Graduation Trip Ideas for Every Budget and Travel Style

Travel + Leisure
April 4, 2024
By Lydia Mansel

When it comes to graduation trips, there are no hard-and-fast rules about how or where you should travel; they can run the gamut from quick beach weekends to week-long, multi-country adventures. It all depends on your preference, budget, and availability. To help narrow down your choices, we spoke with two of Travel + Leisure’s trusted A-List advisors, Maria Diego of Diego Travel and Jean Sanz of JSB Journeys, to curate a list of the best graduation trip ideas.

St. Barts

While Diego notes that she wouldn’t recommend St. Barts for a high school graduation trip, it is a special, celebratory destination that could be a good option for those graduating from college. In Diego’s words, it’s an “island that outshines them all,” and if you visit in the late summer (as opposed to the popular winter season), you’ll often see lower prices and fewer crowds. “Eden Rock is always a popular choice if you want to see and be seen, or if you’re looking for more of a hideaway with an ultra-chic clientele and [a] lower-key beach club, I recommend Le Toiny,” she says.

National Park Road Trip

“A road trip is always a great way to celebrate a milestone. We have some of the most beautiful parks and animals on the planet in our own backyard,” says Diego. If you’re planning an extended graduation trip, spread out over several weeks, you could try to plot out some of our nation’s biggest national parks out West— from the Great Sand Dunes to Zion — and check them all off on an epic road trip. But if you’re only planning on traveling for about a week, and you still want to see some impressive wildlife and scenery, head to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, which are about an hour’s drive from one another. Most travelers fly into Jackson Hole Airport, the only commercial airport within a U.S. national park, and use Jackson Hole as their base camp for exploring Grand Teton National Park over a period of two to three days. Yellowstone takes a bit more time; plan on spending three to four days traversing the park and checking off your top highlights and points of interest.

Rwanda

“I think Africa is the perfect option for a graduation trip, particularly gorilla trekking in Rwanda,” says Diego. “In order to do the chimpanzee and gorilla treks, the minimum age requirement is 18, which would be a fantastic age to have this experience.” She also suggests starting your trip at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the capital of Rwanda: “While extremely sad, it is very educational and sets a context for the entirety of the trip.  Once you see the history of what this small country has gone through, and overcome, it changes you in a very impactful way.  I can’t think of a better gift to share with a young adult than the entire experience that is Rwanda.”

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10 best babymoon destinations to fit in some last-minute relaxation

Babycenter
March 19, 2024
By Sarah Bruning

Whether you’re craving some pre-kid adventure or just want to lay on the beach and do nothing, these parent-approved options have you covered.

Experts say: “The Alila is one of the only hotels on the water in the area, with a short hike down to the beach. The pool is on the smaller side, but the hotel has an adults-only vibe even though they do welcome children. I love that the spa at this hotel uses all local skincare products, and everything is organic. The property loans out bikes, so you can take your cruiser through Leucadia, Encinitas and even down to Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach to visit local shops and restaurants. For travelers on a budget, I love sister properties the Sea Bird and Mission Pacific. They’re both Hyatt Prive properties in Oceanside, located on the beach right next to the pier. The small house where Top Gun was filmed is situated right between the two hotels. They both have fantastic dining and pools, but Mission Pacific has a slightly more adults-only vibe and a more modern aesthetic. I also love nearby downtown Carlsbad for exploring beyond Oceanside.” – Maria Diego

Experts say: “My favorite hotel for a Miami babymoon is Four Seasons at the Surf Club, located just south of Bal Harbour in North Miami Beach. This historical landmark underwent a massive renovation with new additions to the original Surf Club, and offers a quiet reprieve to the buzz of South Beach. The spa is phenomenal, the service is arguably the best in Miami Beach (I lived there for 20 years and tried them all), and the aesthetic is old-world chic Floridian.”– Maria Diego

Experts say: “Charleston can be experienced in so many ways, so for a babymoon, I really like the location of Hotel Bennett, which is slightly outside of the central tourist district in downtown Charleston but still walking distance to everything. They also have a rooftop pool, which is a nice place to relax after a day of shopping and dining in Charleston’s fantastic restaurants. I also love Zero George, which is a small boutique hotel that has been beautifully restored in a historical building.” – Maria Diego

Experts say: “For upstate New York, I love Wildflower Farms, a new wellness-oriented Auberge Resorts Collection property. It offers 65 free-standing cottages – perfect for privacy and romance – and it’s also easy to get to from New York City. Troutbeck is another Hudson River Valley favorite, which recently debuted The Barns, a wellness center that offers mamas-to-be both massages and an acupuncture-style facial.” – Maria Diego

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Hotel Review: Four Seasons Hualalai

Diego Travel Hotel Review

Four Seasons Hualalai

A Big Island, Hawaii Luxury Resort
MARIA DIEGO

Located on a half-mile stretch of beach along the Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, Four Seasons Hualalai happens to be the driest part of the island. The resort features 252 newly renovated rooms and suites, a Jack Nicklaus championship golf course, a world-class spa and fitness center, a marine biology center, tennis, on-site ocean activities, retail shops, eight pools including Kings Pond, cultural experiences, and many restaurant options. Of all the Hawaiian resorts, Four Seasons Hualalai offers the most variety of things to do and see.

Perfect For: Families | Weddings | Multi-Generational Families | Groups | Couples | Golfers | Honeymoons

Four Seasons Hualalai

Four Seasons Hualalai Pool

Location:
  • 19.8278417,-155.991648

    Four Seasons Hualalai Pool

    Four Seasons Hualalai

  • 19.743906,-156.0422959812206

    Kona International Airport

Only a 13-minute drive (or 7 miles) from Kona International Airport (KOA), Four Seasons Hualalai is easily accessible as a non-stop option from many major hubs in the continental Unites States. We recommend renting a car if you plan to explore, or we can set up airport transfers for you, if you’re just looking to relax and stay on property.

Four Seasons Hualalai Location

Vibe:

Four Seasons Hualalai Vibe

The most luxurious resort option on the Big Island, and arguably all of Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resorts have long been a Hawaii-fan favorite of the luxury travel jetsetters. With four crescents and another set of rooms and villas along the 18-hole golf course, the Four Seasons Hualalai feels like four boutique hotels within a resort. There is truly an area for everyone, whether you are traveling alone, with your loved one and want peace and quiet, or with kids and need multiple rooms. At this resort, it’s important to select the right area of the resort that fits your needs, and we are here to do just that.

After a renovation in 2019, the Four Seasons Hualalai is an exclusive enclave for golf, sunbath on one of the many sandy beaches, bike along the black volcanic rock, or dine at one of the five restaurants around the property. While the resort is large, it is spread out, so you will have ultimate privacy and every amenity for the most selective luxury traveler.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Four Seasons Hualalai Bedroom

There are rooms, suites, specialty suites and up to 5-bedroom villas. The main differences in room view categories – poolside are the ground floor rooms, ocean view will be set back, but still have ocean views, prime ocean view rooms are set on the upper floors of the two-story bungalows, while the oceanfront views will be front and center to the ocean. Rooms are all 635 square feet, so massive by Hawaii standards.

Four Seasons Hualalai Bathroom

We recommend staying in a specialty suite, where you’ll be taken care of by your own concierge team with customized inclusions, and each suite has its own Peloton bike and fitness equipment. My favorite was the 3-bedroom Hawaii Loa Presidential Suite, where you can walk straight out to the beach, or watch passing humpback whales from bed. Perfect for entertaining or for privacy, you’ll receive daily breakfast and a $200 hotel credit with your Four Seasons Preferred Partner amenities when you book your stay with Diego Travel.

LETS SET UP A CALL

FOOD & BEVERAGE:

  • There are five options for dining at Four Seasons Hualalai, which is more than most properties on the Big Island. With an emphasis on local ingredients, more than 75% off what is served comes from a combined 160 local farms. In addition, you have the Hualalai Trading Company, a casual grab-and-go for snacks, morning coffees or afternoon ice cream, and they sell cute apparel and beach items as well.

  • Restaurants La Reserve Paris

  • BookFour Seasons Hualalai

  • ‘ULU Ocean Grill (and sushi bar) is their award winning fine dining, where you can eat under the stars on dishes infusing fresh, local ingredients with flavors found around the Pacific Rim. We loved our poke bowl at Beach Tree, a casual beachside restaurant where you can dine on the sand or at one of the open-air tables on the patio. Finally, Miller & Lux is an intimate seafood and raw bar experience on the golf course, led by Chef Tyler Florence.

ACTIVITIES:

  • One of my family’s favorite things about Four Seasons Resorts is the Four Seasons Kids for All Seasons programming they offer, which incorporates engaging, fun and educational activities included with your stay! For kids ages 5 to 12, they’ll be entertained with arts and crafts, outdoor activities and sports, swimming and meeting kids from around the world. At the Kumu Kai Marine Center, they’ll learn about ocean health and marine life and the team really sparks a passion in your kids’ curiosity. While most resorts forget about the older kids, Four Seasons Hualalai offers ages 9 to 17 time at Camp Manitou, an exclusive partnership with one of the nation’s foremost summer camps, offered during peak family vacation times. Campers will explore beyond the resort to visit secret beaches, exploring lava tubes and waterfalls, and making friends, so they get off their phones and enjoy new experiences.

  • Four Seasons Hualalai Pond

  • Paris Seine River

  • While the kids are playing and entertained, the adults can play pickleball and tennis, golf, bike, hike or enjoy water sports like canoeing, surfing or stand up paddleboarding. The property literally has it all, and if they don’t you’ll find helicopter tours just off property, which can jet you to anywhere on the island in no time for advanced hiking, seeing volcanos, waterfalls or farms.
  • A private boat charter is always one of the highlights of any trip to Hawaii. Four Seasons Hualalai offers both a zodiac for shorter snorkeling trips and an outrigger boat for exploring a bit further to go whale watching, or find private beaches for a picnic lunch.

  • Paris Seine River

  • Hawaii Whales

  • Off property, there is so much more to explore beyond on the Big Island of Hawaii, such as night time manta ray diving, private helicopter tours, or snorkeling in the Kealakekua Bay. You also won’t want to miss the Lu’au that happens every two weeks and is exclusive to Four Seasons guests, so be sure to reserve your dining in advance so you don’t miss out on this cultural experience.

  • Services & Fees

    Services & Fees

WELLNESS:

Perhaps my favorite part of Four Seasons Hualalai is the 28,000-square-foot Spa and Apothecary, which feels decidedly Hawaiian. They offer whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and cold plunges, along with a lap pool, which has become in high demand when the Big Island hosts the annual Ironman competition.

Four Seasons Hualalai Spa
Four Seasons Hualalai Spa

Entering into the spa, you’ll walk through winding paths tucked between lava rock walls and trickling waterfalls, where you’ll be invited into a freestanding open-air cabana. I recommend the signature Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, a sacred healing art handed down from generations. I love that they use local ingredients and fragrance-infused oils in all their treatments. You’ll feel like you’re melting into the earth and never want to leave.

What  Sets  It  Apart:

Four Seasons Hualalai Lagoon

As I already mentioned, King’s Pond is a unique attribute that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Four Seasons Hualalai recently added an elevated, infinity-edge pool that overlooks the pond, where you can marvel over its thousands of fish and resident eagle ray, swimming around the pond. The marine activity center allows you and your kids to become little marine biologists in the making, which is truly a unique experience to Four Seasons Hualalai.

In addition to King’s Pond, Four Seasons Hualalai offers exclusive experiences, such as visiting a local coffee farm with a Hawaiian blacksmith to create a unique, personalized knife, or snorkeling along the Kona Kohala coastline with a champion freediver.

Four Seasons Hualalai Suites

Diego Travel Loves…

In addition to everything already mentioned in this article about Hawaii’s most exclusive hotel, Four Seasons Hualalai, we want to share with you the hotel’s newest bungalows, Kekaha and Kahawai, which has walk-out access to the beach.  These bungalows can be combined to create a 6-bedroom villa, perfect for families traveling together. 

For the ultimate romantic getaway, book a couples nest, which runs you $350/day but includes a dedicated server and cocktails and can include a massage for an additional cost.  Book the Palm Grove Crescent, which is the adults-only area of the hotel.  We can also arrange a special beach dinner for you, which comes with a personalized menu, tiki torches, a blessing from an ‘uncle,’ ukulele player, and hula dancers.

Four Seasons Hualalai Suites

How Much Does it Cost?

Rates start at $1200/night for the poolside room, but as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner client, you’ll have access to exclusive promos like upgrade at time of booking (going on now) or 3rd night free. Before booking, you should always contact me to ask about our promos, which you won’t find direct on the Four Seasons website.

BookFour Seasons Hualalai

Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:
  • Daily full breakfast for two people per bedroom, served in a hotel restaurant or through In-Room Dining
  • Hotel/Resort Credit* (based on room category booked):
  • Guest Rooms: USD 100 credit per stay
  • Suites and Specialty Suites: USD 200 credit per stay
  • Private Retreats: USD 200 credit per bedroom per stay
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in**
  • Welcome box for new Diego Travel clients with custom trip planning

    Book Four Seasons Hualalai Now With Perks

    Diego Travel Insider Tips:

    Average length of stay is 4-5 nights, but we say 7 is just perfect in order to allow you to completely disconnect and fall into the rhythm of island life.

    When booking your spa appointment, ask for an outdoor treatment room; they can be closed off from the elements, and the open ocean air is divine during a treatment!

    Reef-friendly complimentary sunscreen is offered throughout the resort, so if you forgot your sun protection at home or back in your room, they have you covered.

    BookFour Seasons Hualalai

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    Hotel Review: La Réserve Hotel and Spa Paris

    Diego Travel Hotel Review

    La Réserve Hotel and Spa Paris

    An Insider’s Address Just Off the Champs-Elysées
    MARIA DIEGO

    One of the best kept secrets of in-the-know travelers who frequent Paris, La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is the Parisian address you want on your radar. With 40 rooms and suites, this boutique hotel is the smallest of the famed Palace hotels of Paris. Refined without feeling pretentious, elegant without feeling stuffy, every detail of your stay is thoughtfully looked after and ultra-personalized.

    I’m embarrassed to admit that La Réserve had not been on my radar, prior to an invitation to a travel industry event, in which I was invited to stay at this luxury hotel for four nights. With very little prior research before my stay, I can now say that I have never enjoyed myself more in the City of Light than I did while staying here.

    The essence of La Réserve is the combination of warm hospitality from its attentive, yet unobtrusive staff, and the cozy, yet ever-so-chic venues like the Duc de Morny Library and the irresistible Bar Le Gaspard. I found myself returning to my newfound home away from home each evening, exhausted after long days of meetings, yet not wanting to retreat to my suite. Instead, I found myself a velvety-tufted seat alone downstairs enjoying the background buzz of French chatter, live music softly playing in the next room, and the cozy warmth of a crackling fireplace. The bartender managed to get it just right each time I told him to surprise me. After the first night of a midnight solo dinner of filet de bœuf with sauce au poivre, the waiter greeted me every subsequent night with a warm smile and a heavily-accented, “The usual?” I’m hard-pressed to think of a more romantic hotel in Paris, or one that makes you feel so at home.

    Perfect For: Romantic Getaways | The Business Traveler Who Wants Personalized Service | Families | First-Time Visitors to Paris | 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-Time Visitors to Paris | Anniversary Trips

    La Réserve Hotel and Spa Paris

    La Reserve Paris

    Location:

    48.8696988,2.3132448

    Florida Keys

    La Réserve Hotel and Spa Paris

    Midway between Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, La Réserve Paris – Hotel and Spa overlooks some of the city’s key sights: the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, and the Grand Palais. It’s located on the Right Bank of Paris, in the 8th arrondissement.

    La Reserve Paris Location

    Vibe:

    It wasn’t long into my stay before I realized that the well-traveled, and well-heeled guests staying at La Réserve were not your typical first-timers to Paris. Perhaps they’d tried the Hotel George V or The Ritz and wanted something a little less flashy and a lot more discrete.  Perhaps they appreciated the gesture of the extra phone charger left in the room when they had forgotten theirs at home, without ever needing to ask.  Perhaps they all had a mutual understanding and respect for discrepancy and the shared values of the art of sophisticated travel.  Guests seemed they type to appreciate the old-world butler service, where your suitcase is meticulously unpacked, and your shoes are shining when you return to your room after a long day of sight-seeing and shopping.  I loved this subtle sheen that illuminates every surface of your experience at La Réserve.

    During my stay, there was a president of an unnamed country staying at the hotel, along with his large team of security and staff.  Even though it is a small property, their presence did not take away at all from the experience of other guests.  The only nuisance was that the street was closed off by French policy, so was inaccessible to taxis or car services.  The friendly bellman saw to it to personally accompany me the block over to hail and taxi for me, and to carry my bags upon my return. It was very apparent during every moment of my stay that their team truly cares and gets to know their guests, which in turn creates a repeat customer, lending itself to that home-away-from-home feel.

    ACCOMMODATIONS:

    La Reserve Suites Photo Courtesy La Reserve Paris

    The entry level room at La Réserve is quite spacious by Paris standards, boasting 430 square feet. All rooms and suites come with an Italian marble bathroom with double basin sink, bath tub with separate walk-in shower, which bath amenities in the signature La Réserve scent (it might just be worth a stay only to snag a bottle of this heaven scent)! Beyond that, there are 12 different room and suite categories, with 25 of those being suites. Some look onto a leafy and quiet courtyard, while others have panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower. My favorite was the Grand Palais Suite, a palatial suite of 2,153 square feet that sleeps six people. In 1900, the Grand Palais had been built to magnify “French art” at the World’s Fair. Today, this suite also pays tribute to a proud French heritage, with its authentic Napoleon III furniture, its antiques lovingly collected over the years, as well as its historical or contemporary works bridging the centuries. You can have it as your own, and enjoy the stunning views of the Eiffel Tower from your private balcony with personalized butler service.

    La Reserve Paris Rooms Photo Courtesy La Reserve Paris

    Beyond the main hotel, La Réserve also offers Paris apartments, which are perfect for those longer stays or when you’re traveling with the whole family or large group of friends. From 1 bedroom to 4 bedroom options, these apartments in Paris come with a dedicated butler, 24/7 concierge service, valet and indoor parking, 24/7 security, dedicated housekeeping to take care of your daily shopping, laundry and ironing, a gourmet welcome amenity and daily breakfast served in your apartment. I get many requests for apartment stays in Paris, and La Réserve apartments are quite possibly my favorite selection.

    Plan my trip to Paris

    FOOD & BEVERAGE:

    • As I mentioned in the introduction to the hotel, the culinary experience at La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is perhaps at the forefront of your stay and a large part of your unforgettable experience. Even the locals frequent the restaurants, as I witnessed myself each night. While each day I opted to have breakfast on the patio of my room, which is always included with your stay when you book with Diego Travel, the options were endless and authentically delicious.

    • Restaurants La Reserve Paris

    • Restaurant La Pagode Paris

    • Led by the Michelin two-starred Executive Chef Jérôme Banctel, Le Gabriel offers a three, seven or nine-course menu, which is great to share amongst friends or for that special celebratory dinner with your loved one. La Pagode de Cos is the more casual and contemporary option, prepared by that same Michelin team. I already mentioned the library and bar in my intro, but it’s important to note that all spaces can be privatized, which I also witnessed with the presidential stay during my time there.

    ACTIVITIES:

    • One of my confessions as a travel advisor is that I am my own worst travel planner. As I always prioritize my clients’ travel needs, I rarely anticipate my own and find myself with unsettled plans wherever and whenever I travel. I suppose it was my own way of testing out the Clefs d’Or concierge service that La Réserve provides to their guests, but I nonchalantly passed by the desk one morning on my way to meetings to request a highly-sought after appointment at a nearby designer boutique. Before 10 AM, I had a text message to my phone, confirming my pre-opening appointment at the famous Chanel on 31 Rue Cambon. Now that’s magic!

    • Chanel

    • Paris Seine River

    • The activity options in Paris are endless and will totally depend on what you’re into – art, culinary, history, fashion, cycling, etc. Typically, I pre-plan my clients’ trips to Paris with a full itinerary of these activities, tailoring each day to their personal needs. However, if you’re just booking your hotel stay with me, I wouldn’t hesitate to use their concierge team to provide exceptional and unique Paris experiences.
    • Another key point I was thoroughly impressed with was their ability to curate your stay, whether you are traveling alone, with a romantic partner or with young children. They customize your welcome amenity each time, and provide personal details and offer activities according to you.

    • Plan my trip to Paris

      Plan my trip to Paris

    WELLNESS:

    The spa at La Réserve offers a 16m indoor pool that is heated to a comfortable temperature year-round, along with a hammam, fitness studio and 3 treatment rooms. While on the smaller side, the emphasis again is on personalization. They offer personalized fitness instructors and can personalize your facial to best suite your needs, using Swiss anti-aging beauty products from Nescens.

    La Reserve Paris Pool-Photo Courtesy La Reserve

    What  Sets  It  Apart:

    Isla Bella Beach Resort Marketplace

    If I haven’t made my point yet, this hotel is all about the personal touch, and making you feel comfortable and at home while at the same time being elegant, sophisticated and Parisian chic. I don’t know if it was just because I was so tired every night from working, but I don’t think I have ever slept in such a comfortable bed. I actually dream of returning to Paris, just to sleep here! While the room, furnishings and finishes were classically beautiful, I think what set it apart was truly the level of service that their team provides.

    Isla Bella-Diego Travel Guide

    Diego Travel Loves…
    La Réserve receives our vote for the most romantic hotel in Paris. From its central yet quiet location, to its lush finishes like silk walls, velvet drapes, and brocade taffeta, the romanticism is an endless experience at this Paris hotel. I also love that there are many interconnecting options for families, which is hard to come by in a historical building such as this one. The authenticity of the La Réserve experience is second to none.

    Isla Bella Beach Resort Marketplace

    How Much Does it Cost?
    Rates start around 1,600 Euros per night for the Prestige Room, which again, based on size, is comparable to a mid-level room at any other hotel. During high season, that same room can go for 2,800 Euros per night. Some suites can go for 21,000 Euros per night. As a member of Virtuoso, our clients receive exclusive access to promotional rates, as well as daily breakfast, a $100 hotel credit, and priority upgrade with your stay. We also have a personal relationship with the hotel, where we can assist in hand-picking the right accommodation for your special time in Paris.

    Diego Travel Extras at La Reserve Paris

    Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:
    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Full Breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
    • $100 USD equivalent Resort credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
    • Complimentary round-trip airport/train private transfers in an E-Class Mercedes
    • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
    • Welcome box for new Diego Travel clients with custom trip planning

      Book La Reserve With Perks

      Diego Travel Insider Tips:

      Utilize the insider access of the concierge. They will recommend local eateries, entertainment, and the last-minute key to Chanel when needed!

      Some suites include a selection of 30 refreshments in your in-room bar.

      La Reserve Paris-Photo Courtesy La Reserv

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      Tips for Booking Your Clients’ Pet Vacations

      Travel Market Report
      September 19, 2023
      By Briana Bonfiglio

      Pet owners love their furry friends and hate to leave them behind when they travel. But while bringing a cat, dog, or other animal along on vacation may sound enticing, some pains come along with it. This can be where travel advisors come in to work out practical solutions and manage clients’ expectations for traveling with a pet. 

      This part is first and foremost, and it means to know your stuff. Every single airline, hotel, and destination (if traveling to another country) has different policies regarding pets. Airlines have limits on the size and breed of the animal, as well as whether they can be in the cabin or need to be in a crate. Hotels, if they allow pets at all, also have restrictions for pets and may or may not allow guests to leave the animal unattended in the room. 

      “Call around to the properties and ask those questions,” Maria Diego, a travel advisor at Departure Lounge, told TMR, in terms of what advisors can do when booking travelers with pets. “It’s important to know what their particular policies are.” 

      Although traveling with a pet has its challenges, certain destinations are particularly pet-friendly and great for dogs. Diego said more of her clients began bringing their pets on domestic road trips during the pandemic. 

      In one case, a client brought their bird along for the ride to Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico – and had very particular requests. 

      “I had a client who traveled with her 26-year-old love bird who had certain temperature and human dietary requirements,” Diego said. “[The bird] could only eat filet mignon and carne asada – those were her two meals. I had to call the hotel and see if the room could be climate-controlled and if the chef could cook those things. She also had to have a balcony room for the bird to get fresh air.” 

      Diego recommends standalone accommodations near nature preserves or beaches that allow dogs and other pets. Her personal favorites are San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California, and the Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina. 

      Read the Travel Market Report Article

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      Balancing Motherhood and a Career in Travel Isn’t Easy, But These Advisors Make It Work

      Travel Age West
      March 21, 2022
      By Mindy Poder

      Being a travel advisor is the best career for a working mother. Or, is it actually the worst?

      According to the IRS, independent contractors (ICs) decide “what will be done and how it will be done.” For many moms, this kind of flexibility is a necessity.

      “Prior to working as a travel advisor, I worked remotely on a company that I started with my husband in 2008, which was a Mexico-based tour operation,” said Maria Diego of Diego Travel, an independent affiliate of Departure Lounge. “I needed a career that would allow me the flexibility to always put my kids first, especially because at that time, my husband was still traveling to Mexico every week.” 

      Ultimately, travel advising is a job that lets moms be in the driver’s seat.

      “You can put as little or as much into this career as you want,” Diego said. “You are in control of your schedule, and how you allocate your time for both work and family life.” 

      Diego admits that setting boundaries so that work did not negatively impact her time with her family was difficult for her, but concedes that this is the plight of most working mothers.

      Read the Travel Age West Article

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      Pro Tips For Finding All Your Lost Airline Luggage

      Pro Tips For Finding All Your Lost Airline Luggage

      Forbes 
      July 16, 2022
      By Christopher Elliot

      If an airline loses your checked luggage, how do you find it?

      Don’t rely on the airlines’ unreliable luggage handling systems. That’s the advice of travel professionals like Maria Diego, owner of Diego Travel. She’s been advising her clients to buy a tracker like an AirTag and tuck them into a side pocket.

      Diego speaks from experience. Her airline lost her husband’s surfboard on a recent trip to Melbourne, Australia.

      “After we waited an hour and a half, the baggage desk person had no idea where his surfboard was,” she remembers. But thanks to an AirTag attached to the surfboard, Diego showed the agent the location of the board.

      “They got a hold of the right person to have it put on the plane the next day. Had we not had the AirTag, there’s a huge chance the entire trip would have been ruined for him,” she adds.

      She sticks to three insurance companies: Allianz, Travel Guard and Travelex. “They’re my three main go-tos for travel insurance,” she says, “but each company offers different levels of coverage.” 

      Now comes the hard part: matching your insurance needs to one of the policies you’re considering.

      “There is no one size fits all,” she says.

      She’s right. Even if you work with a travel agent — and this is worth repeating — you need to take the time to pore over the boring fine print on each policy.

      Read the Forbes Article

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      Hotel Review: The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

      Hotel Review

      The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

      A modern reinvention of an iconic century-old desert oasis resort in Paradise Valley
      MARIA DIEGO

      After a significant reinvention completed in 2022, the iconic Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore has brought together the best of the past with elements of Hollywood glamor and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, combined with modern luxuries, extensive amenities and innovative guest services for the ultimate experience in desert luxury.

      Perfect For: Families | Couples | Luxury Travel | Large groups or Multi-generational Families | Honeymoons | Weddings | Foodies | Spa Seekers | Adults-Only Trips | Meetings and Events | Private Gatherings or Celebrations

      • 33.523623099999995,-112.02368914025973

        Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore

      • 33.43284865,-112.00679145657891

        Phoenix International Airport

      The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Location: Located in Paradise Valley, the most exclusive neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona, The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is a desert oasis next to Downtown Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale.

      Getting There: The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is conveniently located just 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore Vibe

      Vibe: The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is a sprawling desert oasis which is conveniently located close to downtown Phoenix but also manages to feel a million miles away from everything, surrounded by mountain ranges and palm trees. 

      The luxury Phoenix resort recently underwent a renovation that has created a masterful blend of family-oriented areas and dedicated adults-only areas and amenities, from amazing foodie spots to jam-packed activity options to the 12-room spa and Sol garden. The reinvention of the Arizona Biltmore has put intuitive hospitality and its 100-year history at the heart of the incredible services it provides. 

      With nothing being too much trouble and with 7 pools, over 700 rooms, an extensive spa, 9 dining options, resort activities for the whole family or romantic spaces for a special getaway, the Arizona Biltmore makes it easy to design a vacation that feels unique and personal to you.

      Accommodations: With over 700 rooms and 30 room categories, there is no shortage of rooms, suites, villas and cottages to choose from. Diego Travel will help you hand-select the right room category and location for your needs.

      The resort’s famous cottages were built in 1929 and combine Hollywood glamor with the laidback desert chic which has become symbolic of the resort. Each cottage was lovingly restored in 2021 and offers a unique design covering 400+ square feet, cozy interiors and private outdoor spaces including a fire pit. These spaces can accommodate up to 10 people, while balconies can also be combined for adjoining cottages for up to 20 people.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Rooms

      There are a range of room options available. Those in the Valley or Garden wing are larger and we can arrange for the best room to suit your party and needs.

      There are two suite options, a one bedroom suite is 1200 sq ft and a two bedroom suite is 1600 sq ft. These spacious options are great for more privacy or space for families or a special getaway for couples.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Suites

      Villas are a true, home-away-from-home experience with 77 villas in total, although some are privately owned. With one- and two-bedroom options, each villa comes with a full kitchen, vaulted ceilings, a private patio or balcony and bespoke amenities for the ultimate indulgence.

      The Arizona Biltmore also offers a Citrus Club Lounge add-on available with some of its accommodations. This is an exclusive, top tier, adults only experience available at an additional rate per person per day. It includes lunch, drinks and dessert all day, dedicated concierge, buffet dining and bar selection all day and priority access to resort amenities such as the spa or dining. The Citrus Club service and attention to detail makes it a great addition for a special trip.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore Room Bathroom

      Food & Beverage: 

      One of the highlights of the Arizona Biltmore is the dining options available, from casual poolside bars to sophisticated private dining. Renata’s Hearth is a standout serving modern Latin cuisine with a sophisticated interior and lively atmosphere. It’s also family friendly which is a great bonus.

      McArthur’s is a casual restaurant and bar in the heart of the resort serving American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Restaurant
      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Restaurants

      For a sophisticated sundowner, The Spire Bar is the perfect spot for evening drinks as the day cools off. While the Wright Bar is your ideal after dinner spot, combining Biltmore glamor in an intimate space with live entertainment on weekends. This is the bar where the Hollywood Golden Age is embodied at the Biltmore.

      Cup & Cone is a casual, family friendly cafe with desserts and coffee galore. While poolside dining and in-room dining are both available. We personally loved the Lobster rolls by the pool!

      Wellness & Spa: Perhaps the most impressive part of the resort was the new spa facilities at the Waldorf Arizona Biltmore. The Tierra Luna spa focuses on an intuitive and holistic approach to wellness. There are 12 treatment rooms and two couples rooms available for a vast array of spa treatments using locally sourced oils, herbs and native scents. A spa treatment also gives you access to the Sol Garden and Soul Sunday’s are offered once a month for a 3-4 hour experience.

      For a more active wellness experience, there is an extensive 3000 sq ft fitness center, a Shred Shed with CrossFit equipment as well as three tennis courts, four pickle ball courts and seven pools meaning you have plenty of choice for staying active on the resort.

      Personal training and fitness classes for yoga or water aerobics are a great option if you’re looking for a more restorative experience and steam rooms are available in the changing rooms.

      Spa at Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore
      Spa at Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore

      Phoenix and Scottsdale are well-known for world-class shopping, and the Arizona Biltmore is located right next to the Biltmore Fashion Park, with great dining and shopping options.

      Also nearby is the Scottsdale Fashion Square which is home to 200+ retailers including nearly 50 exclusive stores not found elsewhere in the state such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Prada, Gucci, Bulgari, Salvatore Ferragamo, CH Carolina Herrera, Escada and Dior.  Diego Travel clients receive the Visitor Savings Pass and receive special offers and amenities courtesy of participating retailers.

      Activities: Even a quick glance at the resort calendar shows you how much is on offer at the resort. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing resort vacation or an action-packed trip, the Arizona Biltmore does a great job at catering to your vacation style.

      With seven pools, a diverse array of dining and beverage options, state-of-the-art fitness and spa facilities, you have so much to do at the resort itself. As well as daily activities such as yoga, pilates, tennis lessons, pickleball and tennis lesions and TRX classes. The resort is also a golf lover’s paradise, being home to the Links Course and Adobe Course.

      The resort also offers daily history tours, live music sessions at the Wright Bar and seasonal activities such as Winter Solstice sound bowl meditations or dried flower centerpiece workshops.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Pool

      What  Sets  It  Apart: For almost a century, The Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria Resort has stood as an Arizona landmark and one of the world’s most recognized resorts for its Frank Lloyd Wright architectural style, intuitive hospitality and storied history.

      Its recent renovation and reinvention has elevated the resort to another level for luxury vacations in Arizona and indulgent escapes where the staff and services go above and beyond so you truly feel like you’re immersed in a desert paradise. With a sophisticated adult pool, a fun family pool, an incredible outdoor bar, and fresh spa & fitness facilities and dining options, the resort has been given a new life while honoring its century-old heritage.

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Paradise Valley
      Bouganvillea at Rancho San Ysidro

      How Much Does The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Cost? Standard rooms start at around $300 per night during low season, and during peak  season can start around $900 per night.

      All Citrus Club Lounge options are in addition and charged per day, per adult.

      Diego Travel Loves: The truly seamless blend of the resort’s glamorous history with updated amenities and incredible resort services. With such a diverse range of activities, events, accommodation, dining and recreation, you’re truly able to build a vacation and an itinerary that works for you and your travel group. Plus, as a Preferred Partner with the Arizona Biltmore in combination with Virtuoso, your stay gets additional perks such as exclusive shopping discounts at three local shopping destinations, daily breakfast, resort credit, and priority upgrade.  

      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore
      Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore Hotel

      Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

      • Daily complimentary breakfast
      • A one-time resort credit of $100
      • Priority upgrade
      • Welcome amenity
      • Receive a Visitors’ Saving Pass for Scottsdale Fashion Square

        Insider Tips:

        Cabana Suite $3 at the family pool is the best one, so be sure to book it as soon as we book your hotel reservation.  

        The poolside rooms usually book up first, for easy access to the pool and a nice reprieve with air conditioning during summer months.  The caveat here is that they can be noisier during busy times.

        With a Citrus Club stay, they’ll provide shoe shining and press your garments for no additional charge.

        The poolside lobster rolls are to die for!

        With three tennis courts and 4 pickle ball courts, there is plenty of space to get court time in while on vacation.

        Did you know that the insignia design in the concrete blocks was designed after the trunk of a palm tree?

        When you book your stay at the Arizona Biltmore with Diego Travel, we’ll provide our local’s recommendations for restaurants and shops, coming from a native Phoenician.  

        Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore-Rooms

        Summary of Our Stay:

        I think it really is unique to see such dedication to the heritage of a property and the thoughtful design, reinvention and concept are all a testament to the commitment of the Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore.

        To be able to effortlessly combine family-friendly and adults-only amenities into one resort is an achievement that the Arizona Biltmore pulls off seamlessly. We felt their attention to detail and personalization of our stay was spot on.

        To plan your next getaway to this luxury Phoenix hotel, contact Diego Travel to start planning your trip.  Whether you’re looking for a room block with a group rate for your corporate travel group, or you want one room for your leisure vacation, we are here to help.

        Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore Hotel

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        Hotel Review: ALiLa Napa Valley

        Hotel Review

        ALiLa Napa Valley

        A Luxury Adults Only Hotel in Napa Valley
        MARIA DIEGO

        Located just minutes from downtown St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley, ALiLa Napa Valley is the perfect base for a romantic getaway or vacation with friends to explore California Wine Country. Originally a physician’s home built in 1905, the historical building is now known as Acacia House, and welcomes you in for a delicious cocktail and mouthwatering meal, both made with fresh local ingredients and served up by their expert mixologists and chefs. The historical “gateway” into the property is a warm juxtaposition next to the modernized wings where the rooms and suites are located.

        While there are many fantastic hotels and resorts to choose from in Napa and Sonoma Valley, the location of ALiLa Napa Valley make it ideal for daily outings to the local wineries, and the warm and friendly staff make you feel like you’re coming home after each day of adventure.

        Perfect For: Honeymoons | Weddings | Bachelorette Groups and Parties | Bachelor Parties | Romantic Getaways | Incentive Trips | Corporate Groups | Adults Only Groups | Friend Getaways | Corporate Meetings | Spa Seekers | Foodies

        ALiLa Napa Valley Location: Located in the heart of St. Helena, ALiLa Napa Valley is also in the center of Napa Valley.

        Getting There: The nearest airport, Santa Rosa Airport (STS) is just 17 miles from ALiLa Napa Valley, or San Francisco Airport (SFO) is just over 2 hours. Other nearby airports include Sacramento (SMF) or Oakland (OAK).

        • 38.5093871,-122.478475

          ALiLa Napa Valley

        • 37.622451999999996,-122.38398938548363

          San Fransisco International Airport

        Alila Napa Vibe

        Vibe: Because ALiLa Napa Valley is adults-only, the atmosphere lends itself to being more peaceful and zen-like. The staff is approachable and friendly, and I found strangers gathering in Acacia House, sharing stories of winery visits and restaurant dishes before or after dinner. The property is small and intimate, but the rooms themselves are spacious and offer complete privacy. Whether you’re the type of person who likes to mix and mingle with fellow travelers, or keep to yourself, I think you can accomplish both things here at ALiLa Napa Valley. It is less spread out than other nearby properties like Auberge Stanley Ranch or Carneros Resort and Spa, but the intimacy delivers a touch more charm in my opinion.

        While Napa is packed with more bars and restaurants, St. Helena is the best place for wine enthusiasts looking for a more elevated experience. ALiLa Napa Valley just happens to be the best hotel in St. Helena!

        Accomodations: The room categories for the 64 luxury hotel rooms and suites at ALiLa Napa Valley are quite straight forward and easy to understand. The Historic Farmhouse Rooms are the entry level rooms located on the second floor in the Acacia House, and I do not recommend booking, unless you’re looking for a more B&B-style experience. From there, rooms move to either the estate view wing or the vineyard view wing, and offer only king beds or queen/queen bed options. While both buildings offer pretty views, if I’m going to be in Napa Valley, I want to be looking out over an expansive vineyard. All rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, making the most of this gorgeous view with a mountain in the backdrop. Depending on whether you want a full separate living room, or if you’re okay with just a bedroom, should determine whether you’ll require a room or suite. Popular with small groups or gatherings is the Corner King Vineyard View with Balcony. There are only a few of these, and with a large wraparound balcony, there is ample space to order hors d’oeuvres and bottles of wine to enjoy the view overlooking the pool area and vineyard either pre- or post-activities. The largest room category is the Vineyard View Suite, featuring a king bedroom with separate living room and approximately 1,480 square feet of space. When you book your stay with Diego Travel, as a Hyatt Privé member, you will receive an upgrade at time of booking along with other Hyatt Privé amenities like breakfast included and a resort credit.

        Alila Napa Bathroom
        Alila Napa Terrace
        Bouchon

        Food & Beverage: Perhaps one of the best things about ALiLa Napa Valley are the foodie options in and around this hotel. Acacia House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and their award-winning mixologist serves up pairings for each meal. With dishes such as Golden Saffron Risotto & Brentwood Corn or the Iberico Pork Schnitzel with crème fraiche and caviar, the dishes are unique but maintain simplicity with their locally-sourced ingredients. The Lounge is the newly opened outdoor social bar, which offers cocktails, wine and light bites with a seasonal menu. Beyond the offerings at ALiLa Napa Valley, you are in close proximity to famous staples located in the nearby towns of Yountville and Calistoga. From The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Ad Hoc in Yountville to Press, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, to the casual Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena, eating and drinking will be at the forefront of your trip. The concierge team at ALiLa Napa Valley does an excellent job of curating a program for you that includes all the best spots for both food and wineries, but also exploration, shopping and adventures along the way. While the wine train is a popular way to see wine country, I prefer to send my clients with a private driver, so that they can go at their own pace. However, we can tailor your trip to include whatever you want!

        Wellness/SPA: The wellness program and Spa at ALiLa Napa Valley was one of my favorite aspects of the hotel. Experiences range from forest bathing at the nearby redwood forest national park to sound bath healing using a guided meditation through use of crystal sound bowls. They also offer yoga, pilates, sip-and-paint classes, astrology readings and of course exceptional spa treatments. We did a Scents of the Valley journey, where a local perfumer led us through an hour-long educational and interactive scent experience, and we got to go home with our own creations, made with the local flora of labdanum, lavender, pink peppercorn and fir. I highly recommend this class for groups of girlfriends who are wanting some fun downtime together as a pre- or post-activity to spa treatments.

        Alila Napa Spa

        St Helena

        Shopping: Long considered Napa Valley’s Main Street, downtown St. Helena has a variety of charming shops, galleries and can’t-miss food stops like Model Bakery, which has been in its location since 1908 and whipping up the perfect pastries in their original ovens since the 1920s. Oprah added their Morning Glory English muffins to her Favorite Things List back in 2016, and the bakery has had a line out the door ever since. If you’ll need new pants following your growing waistline post-bakery, you can stop into a personal favorite, elysewalker  for a wardrobe chic enough for the most discerning Napa wineries and galleries.

        BottleRock Napa Valley is another favorite attraction for the area. This annual celebration of the best music, wine and food happens at the end of May, but you’ll need to plan ahead and hotels and tickets sell out.

        The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone  is located less than 1 mile from ALiLa Napa valley and is home to multiple award-winning restaurants that are open to the public, including Gatehouse Restaurant, The Bakery Café, and the Greystone Wine Bar & Herb Terrace.

        Wine Tasting: Within 20 minutes of ALiLa Napa Valley, there are 40 different wineries that range from every type of wine imaginable. These are all the best wineries of Napa Valley. I am not kidding when I say that ALiLa Napa Valley is ideally located for wine tasting. When you work with Diego Travel, we customize your itinerary depending on the types of wines you like and your budget. Whether you’re looking for big name brands or small family-owned and operated homestead wineries, we will point you in the right direction.

        Outdoor Activities: Worth mentioning are the numerous outdoor activities there are to do in and around St. Helena in Napa Valley. From golfing, kayaking, hot air balloon rides, cycling and the Napa wine train, we can customize an itinerary for you that includes a little of everything and makes the most of your time in Napa Valley. No two trips are ever created the same for our clients. Looking to propose or renew your vows on this romantic getaway? We work with partners in Napa Valley to make these experiences one-of-a-kind.

        What  Sets  It  Apart: Aside from the ideal location to the best wineries and restaurants, what sets ALiLa Napa Valley apart from other resorts and hotels in Napa Valley is the attention to detail and care that the staff pours into your stay. From personalized welcome amenities to the genuine friendships you’ll form while on property, I felt truly looked after at ALiLa Napa Valley in comparison to some other Napa properties.

        ALiLa Napa Valley is not a sprawling resort and does not have many of the amenities that other Napa Valley hotels might have, but the comfortable and sleekly decorated rooms make for the perfect place to lay your head at night after full days of Napa activities. If you’re looking for a boutique property in the heart of it all, I truly think there is no better place.

        Alila Napa
        Alila Napa Pool

        How Much Does it Cost? ALiLa Napa Valley ranges from around $900 for an entry level room in low season to around $3,500 for a top suite in high season.

        Diego Travel Loves: Because our clients get Hyatt Privé perks, I love that the ALiLa Napa Valley team always takes care of my clients like they are family. I know when I send someone there, they’ll collaborate on the itinerary with me as if they were planning their own weekend there for the first time, highlighting their favorite spots and insider tips throughout my clients’ stays.

        What we love about the Bel-Air
        Extras you get booking with Diego Travel at Hotel Bel-Air

        Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

        • Hyatt Privé Exclusive Offers
        • $100 USD Hotel Credit
        • Room Upgrade
        • Breakfast for Two
        • Welcome Amenity
        • Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
        • Connecting Rooms

        Insider Tips:

        Don’t miss the opportunity for a cocktail-making class, which we can set up with a mixologist during your dinner at Acacia House. We made lavender and rosemary cocktails using fresh, local herbs, and it was one of many highlights during our stay.

        When planning a group trip, we can assist you with room placement, to ensure rooms are located nearby to one another. As there are separate buildings, you’ll definitely want to consult with us to ensure proximity, as placement can be key here.

        Finally, don’t miss your VIP access to Beringer Vineyards, adjacent to the property and California’s oldest operating winery. We loved B Cellars too, with wine tastings paired with B bites. 


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        MULTI-GENERATIONAL GETAWAYS: FAMILY-FRIENDLY TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

        THE SCOUT GUIDE
        September 14, 2023

        In search of an award-winning spa for your aunt, a lovely shaded cabana for Grandpa, and an epic horseback riding experience for the kiddos, all in one place? If that seems like a daunting task, you’re not alone. We asked five Scouted travel experts for their top picks for luxury vacation destinations, both domestic and abroad, that prove multigenerational travel can be a memorable—and dare we say—a bonding experience for all parties involved. It’s time to pack those bags.

        “One of my favorite places for multigenerational families who may have some non-skiers in the group is St. Moritz, Switzerland. Due to its elevation, it has the longest ski season in the Swiss Alps, yet because it’s a wide valley, it also gets more sunshine than any other ski destination in Switzerland. While there are many great five-star resorts to choose from, we love Badrutt’s Palace for large families, especially over holidays. For New Year’s Eve festivities, a whopping quarter million dollars is spent on the decor alone. Arriving at St. Moritz is an experience in and of itself. Whether you make your way via the Glacier Express train or by private plane, Badrutt’s Palace will pick you up in a car from their complimentary Rolls Royce fleet to transport you like royalty to your accommodations. For a unique experience, don’t miss St. Moritz’ White Turf races. Nowhere else in the world has horse polo and racing on a frozen lake. Night skiing is another unique experience you won’t want to miss. Kids and grandparents can ice skate, go tobogganing, or take horse-drawn carriage rides through the quaint town. Our kids love pizza at Chesa Veglia, an old farmhouse built in 1650 and a St. Moritz staple. For an apres ski experience like no other, visit Paradiso, where they often have designer pop-ups with Gucci or Louis Vuitton. There is no shortage of Michelin experiences in St. Moritz either, and you’ll find premiere shopping for those looking for something to do while the rest are skiing their hearts out down the Swiss Alps.” 

        – Maria Diego, founder of Diego Travel in San Diego, California

        Read the Scout Guide

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