Fun in the Winter: Warming up in Camana Bay

With winter in full swing, now is the perfect time to plan a getaway to Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands. Camana Bay, a development by Dart Realty, is found along the Seven Mile Beach corridor.

Camana Bay is a short drive away from George Town as well as Owen Roberts International Airport. Camana Bay is in a prime location because you are able to access the best that the Grand Cayman has to offer, and it should definitely be at the top of every visitor’s Cayman Islands things to do list http://www.camanabay.com/the-town/things-to-do-grand-cayman/! Pristine beaches, world class restaurants, and beautiful weather are just some of the many things that Grand Cayman has to offer.

Events are a vital component of the vibrant culture of the Camana Bay community. Camana Bay is truly a community that takes the needs of your entire family into consideration. Not only are there events and activities for adults to indulge in, but fun and stimulating things for children to participate in as well. Mojito Madness on Monday’s, a Farmers’ Market on Wednesday’s, and an array of activities for children on Toddler Tuesday help make Camana Bay a fun and inclusive community.

Designed by Dart Realty, Camana Bay has cultivated a thriving community. World Class restaurants such as Abacus, Ortanique, and Mizu are located within Camana Bay’s town center. Furthermore, The Cabana a Lilly Pulitzer via shop, Le Visage, and Island Company as well as the other shops in the town center sell anything that you could possibly need for island life.

Life at Camana Bay is the way that life is meant to be lived. No day is the same with the exception that every day is filled with endless possibilities. From dining in one of the community’s many restaurants, to taking an excursion to the beach, every day at Camana Bay is a splendid one http://passengerpicks.blogspot.com/2014/04/camana-bay-cayman-must.html!

Untamed Wilderness: Hiking The Darien Gap

Pain suddenly shot through my arm, awakening me in the middle of the night. That was soon followed by no feeling at all. Poison had rendered it completely useless.

Hanging between two trees deep inside the Darien jungle, I was now unable to move my arm.

Surprise. Disorientation. Shock.

Struggling in the dark (with only one arm) to break free of my camping-hammock cocoon, I was finally able to step down into ankle-deep mud and search for help in the pouring rain.

What the hell just bit me?!

Gabriel, my travel companion from Brazil, along with Isaac, our Kuna Indian guide, had both chosen to sleep inside a wooden shelter here at the Rancho Frio ranger station in Darien National Park. I was the only stubborn one who insisted on sleeping outside.

My reason? Listening to the rainforest animals at night. Now I was paying the price for that decision… the animals were attacking me.

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Source: expertvagabond.com

Record Tourists Visit the Sunshine State in 6 Months

With a record 54 million tourists in the first six months of the year, Florida is on its way to exceeding its goal of 100 million visitors this year. The 5.8 percent increase from the first half of 2014 creates a promising future for tourism during the rest of 2015.

Occupancy in Broward County hotels raised to 77 percent from April through June, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, an increase of 1.3 percent over the previous year.

With Aventura Mall’s status as Miami’s premier fashion destination, the Turnberry Associates owned and operated shopping center should benefit from the increased visitors. Under the supervision of Turnberry Co-Chairman and CEO Jackie Soffer (CrunchBase), Aventura Mall features a growing collection of upscale boutiques and more than 300 of the world’s most iconic, recognized retailers.

As one of America’s most visited shopping centers, the projected increase in tourism for the last half of 2015 should bring new guests to Aventura Mall.

Anchored by six department stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, and Macy’s, the shopping center includes Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany and Co., Fendi, Burberry, Bally, Emilio Pucci, Omega and Brooks Brothers, among other shopper favorites.

It is expected that the increased number of visitors will lead to growing visitation to the center’s various shopping, dining and entertainment options.

Satisfy your Taste Buds on your Grand Cayman Vacation

It is well known that Camana Bay offers the most quality fare on Grand Cayman, with innovative brunch menus and traditional dinners ranging from casual beachfront to a sophisticated vibe. Yet the new urbanism community also offers plenty of cafes, eateries, markets and shops for those who just want to grab a bite or an ice cream. Quality and fresh dining doesn’t always have to be during breakfast, lunch or dinner—there are choices for happy hour snacking, midmorning pastries and frozen yogurt.

For those who prefer homemade vegan and raw fare, Jessie’s Juice Bar is a local favorite when it comes to choosing from the various restaurants in Grand Cayman. This local food joint offers a wide array of smoothies and dishes that feature fresh, seasonal produce. From gluten-free options to what may be the best coffee on the island; Jessie’s is the place to go. The restaurant also brews Kombucha in-house, and you can purchase a bottle of it to take home or enjoy the cafe’s relaxed environment with a cup of it over ice.

For late afternoon snacking, KARoo’s extensive tapas and cocktail menu will satisfy any craving. While the menu offers American favorites like Philly cheesesteaks, artisan pizzas and fries, it also incorporates mouth-watering choices like Siracha tuna sashimi, ½ shell oysters, ceviche and Malaysian chicken satay. With its modern atmosphere, specialty ales and waterfront view, KARoo is the perfect choice for a mid-afternoon bite.

Lastly, frozen treats are surely an integral part of any tropical vacation so it is no surprise that Grand Cayman is home to a sundry of choices that can satisfy any craving.

Gelato & Co., located in the Crescent, offers “a taste of la dolce vita” with authentic house made Italian ice creams, often coupled with freshly-made baked goods. Haagen-Dazs, the leader in premium ice cream, also has a storefront in Jasmine Court, where visitors can indulge in decadent favorites like Dulce de Leche. On the lighter side, Ginger Lily in the Paseo features tart frozen yogurt with tempting toppings like gourmet granola and seasonal fruits.

Jet Blue Expands Its South Florida Connection

One of the country’s most customer-friendly air carriers, JetBlue Airways has become a favorite of South Florida fliers. As a result, the carrier is expanding its presence in the region, making Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport one of its busiest destinations.

Already JetBlue’s third-busiest airport – behind only JFK in New York and Boston’s Logan International – the carrier recently announced new flight schedules between Fort Lauderdale and Quito (Ecuador) and Mexico City, along with connections to several new Midwest and Eastern Seaboard cities in the U.S. In fact, the carrier expects to top 100 flights a day from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport within two years.

With Aventura Mall situated just a short trip south of the airport, the Turnberry Associates-owned and operated shopping center should benefit from the increase in Latin American and domestic visitors. Under the discerning eye of Turnberry Co-Chairman and CEO Jackie Soffer, Aventura Mall features a growing collection of upscale boutiques and more than 300 of the world’s most iconic, recognized retailers.

In addition to maintaining its status as Miami’s premier fashion destination and one of America’s most visited shopping centers, Soffer is appealing to new guests – including a burgeoning wave of international visitors. Anchored by six department stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s, the shopping center includes Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany and Co., Fendi, Burberry, Bally, Emilio Pucci, Omega and Brooks Brothers, among other shopper favorites. The center is planning a major expansion that will bring enhanced shopping, dining and entertainment options.

Meanwhile, JetBlue is in the midst of an aggressive, long-term expansion at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. As part of that expansion, the carrier plans to add more Caribbean and Latin American flights – many of the same markets Soffer is attracting to Aventura Mall.

With the carrier’s primary South Florida base of operation “just up the road” from Aventura Mall, it would appear the business plans of both players are definitely in sync.

5 things you can do to increase your San Diego’s home value

Real estate is a lucrative business that Than Merrill has helped generated thousands of dollars for home owners, due to the increased demand for housing facilities which caused a surge in purchases. San Diego FortuneBuilder real estate business students have also noticed an upward trajectory in real estate sales in other major cities. The business is signaling a promising future and the prospective home owners planning to sell their homes in the future are sparing no efforts in improving their homes in a bid to increase their value. Some ways San Diego’s home value can be increased are.

One way in which home value can be increased is by getting a new and classy landscaping model. A landscaping model that gives the home new looks, enchanting and an exquisite look should be adopted. Colorful plants and flowers that add a terrific appeal and beauty should not be spared.

Another way to improve home value is by remodeling. Remodeling a home to conform to the present day standards will definitely increase its value. One should ensure old housing model is done away. Modern side fittings, modern kitchen facilities, and other things that are key to good looking home should be adopted.

In extension improving the inside quality of a home also gives it an upper value. Things such as painting of walls, laminating floors with tiles or expensive carpets, installation of modern bath tabs, quality wash rooms definitely gives a home an added value. Regular maintenance and repair ensures that quality is sustained all time through. Neglecting a room or parts of a home lowers its worth.

Adoption of modern luxury facilities in a home can also improve its worth. Luxury facilities such as modern swimming pools, sauna and spas being installed definitely make a home worth every penny. In addition having a bar lounge, an entertainment lounge with home theatres and home cinemas will pay off well when selling.

Moreover one can increase the home value by maintain its cleanliness. A clean home adds an appeal to buyers and makes them feel the value of their money. Neglecting a home will give it a sullen look that will not attract a good return. Keeping a home clean all the time is investing for the future. Getting rid of litter as soon as it appears will keep away things like mold. Trimming flowers and trees into beautiful shapes pose an inviting gesture to buyers.

The 8 Best Restaurants in Berlin

For a nation not famed for its cuisine, Germany can now lay claim to some of the best dining in Europe.

In the last twenty years, Michelin inspectors have beaten a path to Berlin and dealt stars left, right and center. Head to the Mitte district for award-winning German, French or Asian fare or stray further afield for some of the best Turkish food outside Ankara.

1. HUGOS

French Mediterranean

Style / Ambiance: Michelin-starred chef Thomas Kammeier has put Hugos firmly on the map among Berlin’s gourmet restaurants.

Kammeier’s creations have been impressing diners since he took over the kitchen in the late nineties, with his seafood creations winning particular acclaim. The wine list will please even the most demanding buffs, and the views of the city are astounding. Located on the 14th floor of the Hotel InterContinental, Berlin vistas don’t come much better than this.

2. LUTTER & WEGNER

Bavarian

Style / Ambiance: A gastronomic institution, Lutter & Wegner has been serving traditional Bavarian fare on the Gendarmenmarkt since 1811, and a better schnitzel you will not find.

With a wealth of foreign foods in the city, Lutter & Wegner harks back to more Teutonic tastes and the princely wood-clad building throngs with locals and tourists alike. Highlights include the Wiener schnitzel and the sauerbraten (marinated roast beef), and as one of Berlin’s most revered wine merchants, Lutter & Wegner will find you the perfect tipple for your dish.

3. FIRST FLOOR

French

Style / Ambiance: Climb one flight of stairs at the imposing Hotel Palace Berlin, and you’ll find First Floor, a place of inspirational nouvelle cuisine.

First Floor consistently wins over the Michelin inspectors, who have awarded chef Matthias Diether a star every year since 1997. The spacious dining room seats 40 guests, and the same number of bottles can be found on the ‘water menu’. Indeed, mineral waters from 18 different countries await the more sensitive palates, from 12,000-year-old Canadian glacier water to Tasmanian rain water. For more traditional libation, First Floor keeps a heavenly wine cellar, and head sommelier Gunnar Tietz recently won Gault Millau’s Sommelier of the Year 2011.

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Source: Elite Traveler

NYC Hotels and Accommodations

New York City is filled with fun activities, historic buildings and statues, and of course the best hotels and restaurants. Whether one is into modern design or history, there is a perfect place to stay for everyone.

Historic Hotel

Historic hotels are those that were originally built centuries ago and are now named landmarks for the city or state. A popular historic hotel in New York City is Hotel Chelsea. Located at 222 West 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Hotel Chelsea gained popularity mainly due to its notable residents. Many celebrities have stayed at the hotel, including musician Pink Floyd. Hotel Chelsea, part of Chelsea Hotels under CEO Ed Scheetz, is also a common place for artistic filming. Andy Warhol directed the movie Chelsea Girls at the hotel. If someone wants to stay at this historic and beautiful hotel in New York City, it is recommended to book the room fast. Visit www.chelseahotels.com. Availabilities fill up pretty quickly.

Modern Design Hotel

Historic accommodations are not for everyone. Some people like to have a modern feel to their rooms: newly designed bathrooms, urban lamps, fashionable pillows, and so forth. For those looking for a modern hotel to stay at in New York City, The Pearl Hotel is an excellent option. Located at 233 West 49th Street, The Pearl is in the heart of Broadway and the iconic theater district. All 94 rooms and suites are nonsmoking. Each room has a flat-screen television, large wooden desk and set of leather managerial chairs. In addition, your stay comes with complimentary WiFi and breakfast, as well as access to the fitness center.

Other Accommodations

Some other accommodation options are mom-and-pop bed and breakfast locations or rooms via AirBnB. Mom-and-pop bed and breakfast locations are usually in a house that the hosts own. Guests would stay in an actual bedroom and wakeup to homemade breakfast each morning. This is an attractive option for someone who likes to meet new people. The setting of these types of bed and breakfast places is intimate and it encourages social interaction. You can find mom-and-pop bed and breakfast homes in New York online. Just visit www.bedandbreakfast.com/manhattan-new-york.

AirBnB is another resource to find bed and breakfast locations. However, www.airbnb.com features a lot more accommodations than just bed and breakfast places. One can rent out a room in a house or apartment for a month. One can even rent out an entire apartment for just a week. With AirBnB, the customer has control over all aspects of the accommodation – for example: exactly what part of the city, how many other guest and the meal options available.

To wrap up, New York City offers a wide range of hotels and accommodations. The city has a lot to offer in terms of historic landmarks, theatre, museums and restaurants as well. Guests may find themselves only sleeping at the hotel and their days filled with day trips to different tourist spots in New York City. The hotels and accommodations are as diverse as all the activities one can participate in New York.

Hakkasan Unveils Sizzling Summer Special

Celebrate summer with a delectable season-long tasting menu at Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s AAA Four Diamond award winning restaurant, Hakkasan. The modern Chinese establishment will be offering a sumptuous four-course, prix fixe menu through Aug. 31.

Diners will delight in the restaurant’s Summer Tasting menu offered at $128 per person, (excluding tax and service charge). Jeffrey Soffer, owner of Turnberry Associates and the Fontainebleau, believes this special will give Hakkasan fans an enticing reason to visit the restaurant this summer.

Based on a two guest per table minimum, guests will indulge in the family style menu with various starters, a shared appetizer, a diverse selection of entrées and dessert. A complementary wine pairing skillfully selected by head sommelier Brian Grandison will also be available for a supplemental $68 per guest.

Created by Hakkasan’s Chef de Cuisine Jian Heng Loo, guests will enjoy a variety of family-style small eats such as steamed vegetable dumplings with black truffle and mushroom; crispy lobster with green tea sauce; and steamed soup dumpling with sea urchin and salmon roe.

Guests can then feast upon a sharable appetizer of succulent, traditional-roasted half Peking duck. Featured shareable entrées will include wok-baked tiger prawn with orange sauce; baked Chilean sea bass with Chinese honey and champagne sauce; stir-fried Wagyu beef with black pepper sauce; and seafood fried rice with XO sauce.

Hakkasan is located at 4441 Collins Avenue in Fontainebleau Miami Beach and is open daily for dinner beginning at 6 PM.

Tour the world of Wolfgang Puck

Arguably America’s most famous chef, Wolfgang Puck has long been wowing diners all over the world, and last year his empire expanded beyond our borders. Puck debuted at LA’s Ma Maison (where he was chef and became a part owner), then introduced his flagship, Spago, in 1982 in West Hollywood. There he earned three James Beard Awards: Outstanding Chef of the Year in 1991 and 1998 and Restaurant of the Year in 1994. Spago, since relocated to Beverly Hills, has earned two Michelin stars, and his steakhouse CUT was awarded one in 2008 and 2009.

“I’m most proud of Spago, as it was the first flagship restaurant I opened,” says chef Puck. “I try and always dine at the Beverly Hills location with my family and friends.”

He opened close to 50 restaurants over the following three decades, spanning two dozen cities and six airports. Puck’s second concept, Chinois, combined inspiration from LA’s Chinatown,Koreatown and Thaitown and is credited with kicking off Asian fusion in the U.S.

“I also love Chinois, because I think it laid the groundwork for fusion cooking in America,” says Puck.

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Originally published on usatoday.com