Checking Out the Iberostar Grand Paraiso


After four nights at the Valentin Imperial Maya, my boyfriend and I spent a few nights just down the road at Iberostar Grand Paraiso. This is one of the fanciest and most expensive resorts that I sell to clients, so when I won three nights at a convention last year, I intended to take full advantage. Needless to say, my expectations were HIGH.

Since I won the stay, I didn’t get my choice of room category and therefore was just expecting a standard room. However, when we got there we got an oceanfront upgrade! Sweet.


We had an amazing balcony right on the ocean… too bad it was too hot to enjoy!


Yes, please.

We were ready for three nights of bliss, but I have to say there were some little things that just didn’t quite work for me there. First of all, I was mostly disappointed in the breakfast. Coming from the Valentin where there was freshly squeezed juice each morning, the juice at the Iberostar was downright awful. Tasteless and from a can, Kool-Aid would have been better. Other than that the food was fantastic, but that made a big impact on me.

Otherwise the resort was just a bit too… hoity-toity for us. A week here normally costs about $5k or more, so you can understand that they set pretty high standards. The clientele, of course, are the type that are typically older and retired, so we really didn’t talk to other guests at all.


Decorations are cute but I hate those ugly bedspreads.


Getting ready for dinner.

The food at the Iberostar, however, was downright fantastic in comparison to the Valentin (not that the Valentin had any bad food). Our first night’s room service dinner was great, and our second night at the gourmet restaurant so SO GOOD. I had some scallops (my favorite food) and lamb shank, and I’m not sure which I liked more. Once again we ordered every dessert and we weren’t sorry.





Even though I wasn’t completely in love with the Iberostar like I was with the Valentin, our three nights there were way too short. It was our first time having a week long vacation together and every day was better than the last.


Last day enjoying the beach 🙁


No more daily crab for a looong time 🙁


Our highlight of our stay at the Iberostar – found this guy crawling around my clothes in the bathroom!

Would I go back to the Iberostar Grand Paraiso? Probably not. Even though it was adult-only, it’s part of a larger campus of resorts that are all family-friendly, so you can bet the beach was still crawling with kids (I like my pool bar child-free). I also hated that we had to make advanced dinner reservations, and when working on that it can be very annoying as most of the time the restaurants you want are never open when you want them. The Valentin was reservation-free.

I just liked the vibe at the Valentin better, too, as we found more people to talk to and the staff more approachable.

Thanks for the overall lovely visit, though, Iberostar! You have a great product but it just isn’t quite for me. 🙂

4 Nights of Bliss at Valentin Imperial Maya


Well, I’ve found my new favorite resort. My (lucky) boyfriend and I spent half a week at the amazing Valentin Imperial Maya in August. I’m a travel agent and we sell this resort quite frequently, so I had enough points to score four nights in a Diamond Suite. To get an idea of what this place looks like, here’s a Youtube video I found of the room. Read more

Visiting Maryland? Check out these boutique hotel options for your trip!


Image via Trover by Doug Lauver

From Ocean City to Annapolis, Maryland has a lot going on. In addition to the state’s many historic sites, visitors can also enjoy Maryland’s beaches. Whether you visit for the sea or the histoy, Maryland has something for everyone.

When you’re traveling to Maryland for a history-themed trip, go in the autumn when the weather is cool. If you’re heading there for a beach getaway, plan for the summer instead. Set your sights on the following destinations in Ocean City and Annapolis.

Ocean City accommodation with something for everyone

Set right in Ocean City, Tidelands Caribbean Hotel and Suites has a lot to offer guests in terms of amenities and location. Each room comes with a microwave and a refrigerator, and some rooms include kitchenettes and Jacuzzis. The hotel also has two swimming pools, a pool bar, free Wi-Fi, and beach views. Nightly rates run between $129 and $159, as well as a small daily resort fee of $8.75. The hotel is also easy walking distance to Ocean City Boardwalk, which has plenty of shopping, restaurants, amusement parks, and even a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum.

Cheap beach access in Ocean City

Sea Bay Hotel offers easy beach access in Ocean City and is relatively cheap at just around $80 per night. The Ocean City Boardwalk and the Jolly Roger Amusement Park are close to here, too. The hotel has two outdoor pools, and guests can relax in the lounge chairs that surround them. The hotel is quite basic, providing microwaves and refrigerators, and is a clean home base for your trip in Ocean City. Free street parking is provided nearby. Those looking to spend more time outside their Ocean City hotel should check out the Sea Bay Hotel first.

Luxury in Annapoils

With a name like Loews Annapolis Hotel, guests know they’re in good hands. The brand lives up to its name and provides guests with modern décor, crisp white linens, and comfortable rooms. Situated in downtown Annapolis with access to nightlife, shopping, and restaurants, nightly rates at the hotel can climb up to $300, so book early. The hotel also offers complimentary Wi-Fi, its own restaurant and taproom, valet parking, a business center, and a lending library. Nearby is Chesapeake Bay and the Naval Academy. The hotel’s restaurant, BAROAK, is known for its fantastic seafood, so this is a great option for pescatarians.

A bit of Ireland in Maryland’s capitol

The O’Callaghan Annapolis Hotel, a charming and older property, offers rooms set in Irish décor, so the hotel is quite different from others in the area. Rooms are furnished with imported furnishings, and guests are provided Wi-Fi, LCD HDTVs, 24-hour room service, an on-site restaurant, a fitness room, and a safe in each room. Rates starts around $140 per night for a lead-in category room, and guests have an option for upgrade to a balcony room or even a spacious suite. Nearby is the Banneker-Douglas Museum, the United States Naval Academy, and St John’s College. Artists and clay thowers will enjoy checking out the Annapolis Pottery.

Quick Tips for Great Mobile Travel Photography


Hi all – today I’ve got a great guest post from Kavita Goyal, a blogger at Sense or Nosense. She’s got some great tips on mobile photography, which I know I myself need to improve and I’m sure you can use some advice too.

Travel has always been about soaking in the local sights, local food and experience the adventure in the variety. Within it, there are broadly three types of photographers – one that pose in front of monuments and show the world that they’ve been there, done that. The other kind capture a glimpse of local sights from a foreign perspective to give others a world view.  The third typically end up only clicking photos and forget to take a moment to live the place and enjoy. Read more

Hipmunk Hotels: Summer Beer Festivals in the Mountain States from Boise to Reno

This post was originally posted on Around the World in KT Days by Katie McGrain.

The Mountain States have a reputation for being hotspots in the winter. As some of the best skiing destinations in the U.S., their wintertime popularity makes sense. But that doesn’t mean you should disregard the Mountain States in the summer. The shoulder seasons might be chilly and fraught with unpredictable weather, but the Mountain States are worth a visit in the summer. Read more

Hipmunk Hotels: Discovering the America Less-Known in Fajardo, Fayetteville, and More

This post was originally posted on by Bram Reusen on July 6, 2016.

The United States is such a big country that it’s basically impossible to visit and experience all it has to offer. While it is, of course, almost mandatory to see places such as New York City and the Grand Canyon at least once in your life, I think it is also essential to explore the less-known America. Read more

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