Dear TravelAnne Explorers 4-2-21
Another Letter to My Current & Future Clients!
After a 3+ week “work-cation” in Florida and southern Georgia, there is no doubt that Americans are either traveling or planning to travel in the next few months! We’re not back to “normal.” I’m not sure when that will happen, but the light at the end of the tunnel is very bright!
By: Anne Heintz
Travel is tricky but not impossible. You need a trusted advisor to guide you along the way.
Spring and cherry blossoms are upon us! We spent a few weeks working and re-charging in Florida. We never tired of the sunrises over the ocean and early morning walks on the beach.
Now it’s back to “reality, “ which I am happy to say feels a lot more encouraging! I am increasingly hearing from more of you that you are ready to travel. A number of you have mentioned how much you are enjoying the website. It is heart-warming to hear! Some of you are even forwarding the newsletter to friends.
Everyone in the hospitality industry is feeling more optimistic. Even the poor cruise lines, who have been hardest hit are finding creative ways to restart this summer.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will be sailing out of Greece and Cyprus , Bermuda and St Maarten. Crystal will station round trip itineraries from the Bahamas. Princess, Cunard and Disney will be doing scenic British Isles itineraries out of Southampton. Lindblad Expeditions will be sailing out of Alaska and the Galapagos. In all cases they are requiring passengers to be vaccinated. Veteran cruisers have responded positively and bookings are brisk.
We spent one of our days in the Sunshine State revisiting the Orlando area. Specifically a few hotels that are not a part of the Disney campus, but are in close proximity. If you feel the “urge” you can hop on the complimentary shuttle service to the parks. Disney is currently operating at 40% capacity. Advance reservations are required and business is brisk! Here’s the dirty little secret though, you DON’T have to if you don’t want to! There are beautiful resorts that offer such a wide-range of activities you will never be idle.
We started our day at the Orlando up to date version of the iconic Waldorf Astoria in New York. I assure you it did not disappoint! I might be slightly biased since we spent part of our honeymoon there all those years ago. In NYC that is.
The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. Hilton as a brand has partnered with RB, makers of Lysol and Dettol to incorporate what they call CleanStay. Of all the hotels we have visited in the last year this one had the freshest smell. Granted the lobby has high ceilings and wide-open spaces, but it was spotless and so reassuring!
Once the rooms are cleaned by housekeeping they are notably sealed off. The room product itself is extremely spacious at around 450 square feet. Bathrooms and closet space are large as well. Not surprisingly they are a bit corporate in feel. If a “road warrior” one would be pleased with the offerings and I dare say like them better than its direct competitor, Marriott!
I loved the throwback lobby clock, marble flooring, black and white photos from the flagship property, examples of old china and silver, and replicas of the same art deco patterned elevator doors. I appreciate the usage of the trademark dining outlets that we all remember if of a certain age…Peacock Alley, Bull & Bear, and Oscar’s. I can’t wait to see what the re-imagined New York outpost looks like when it re-opens in late 2022!
A short fifteen minutes down the road found us at the Four Seasons doorstep. It is located in Mediterranean styled residential community of Golden Oak. The first “wow factor” for me is the sparkling hand-blown Czech chandelier that hangs in the foyer, paying homage to the nightly fireworks.
Once further into the lobby you are treated to a few pieces of their Floridian landscaped art collection, which is found throughout the property. What resonates here is how unique and fun they all are. It is totally unexpected yet enhances the very neutral palette found throughout the hotel.
There are so many different “take-aways” from our visit. During Covid the hotel is operating at 60 percent capacity. There is so much outdoor space to play and roam that it should be reassuring for all. The room product is stunning and spacious. Balconies are good-sized and those rooms with park views can watch the fireworks from the confines of their room!
Another hot tip is that even some of the “lead in” Golden Oak rooms can see the fireworks and are equally as lovely at a more economical price.
To elaborate a bit more on what keeps people coming back and actually AWAY from “Mickey world” is the unprecedented pool complex, 5-acre water park, kids club, teen club, golf course, tennis courts and urban spectacular spa. You don’t have young children or grandchildren to share this experience? NO worries. There is an adult only pool for starters plus all the other aforementioned amenities and superb dining outlets.
Speaking of food, the Four Seasons offers Spanish, Italian, Cuban, “Florida comfort,” and grab and go for those eager to get an early start at one of the parks. We had lunch at PB&G a/k/a Pool Bar and Grill. In the category of “leaving no stone unturned,” the hostess handed us each a pouch with hand sanitizer and wipes to put our mask in while dining. We were impressed. The staff and food were excellent as well! We will definitely make a return visit and stay the next time!
We enjoyed our 3 week re-set and "work-cation." We will no doubt do it again! It felt good to be out and about and have a change of scenery. We really do have a beautiful country with a lot out there to explore. We like to give people hope as a community of travelers.
We would also love to share YOUR travel experiences on TravelAnne. Don’t be shy!
As Always… Happy Trails & Keep Dreaming!
**Anne Heintz is an independent travel advisor based in Washington, D.C. who creates lifetime memories for her clients located all over the world. She loves the fact that the journey creates memories and connections for her clients. She is affiliated with World-Wide Travel Associates in DC and Tzell Travel in NYC. She is co-founder and namesake of TravelAnne.com. Anne can be reached at Anne@TravelAnne.com. Follow her on Instagram @TravelAnneBlog
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