From Snow-Covered Mountains to White Sand Beaches
February 28, 2018 at 4:56 PM
From the moment I get an idea about a new trip I start to feel excited. The planning and researching stage for me is just the start of what I love about travel!
The day arrives, and you head out to the airport with so much anticipation and excitement for the trip ahead. I have just returned from a whirlwind trip and what I have fondly named - a game of two halves - Skiing in Colorado and relaxing in Punta Mita, Mexico.
I love the thrill of getting on the flight, settling into my seat, selecting the movies I might watch and settling in for the trip. We flew on American Airlines’ new Dreamliner aircraft direct into Lax - what a great experience, the televisions in business were the largest I have seen, Bose headsets, and plenty of storage was a treat and you can actually sit next to your loved one. We were also lucky enough to experience AA's five-star service upon landing in LAX - cost is around $250 per person and really worth it, particularly if you have a tight connection as you are met at the aircraft door and escorted through customs, baggage claim etc. If like me, you hate queues then this is the service for you!
We landed in Eagle and headed to Beaver Creek for our first two nights - staying at the Park Hyatt. Best location in this gated ski community. We had a ski instructor for two days which I also recommend, not just to improve your skiing but they also act as a guide to the mountain. From here we travelled 20 minutes to Vail - staying at the Arrabelle in the Square… again we picked this for location, both are ski in/ski out and as a beginner skier, I was fast learning how important this can be! From here we drove two hours to Aspen and spent a few nights at St Regis and a few nights at The Little Nell.
So a quick summary, Beaver Creek is wonderful for families and if you want to learn to ski as lovely green and blue runs. Beautiful ski village feel. Vail is a lot larger and has so many choices for fabulous ski runs, we stayed at Lionshead end of Vail, a custom Built ski village taking on the feel of a Swiss Alps ski villages, very pretty.
Aspen is just another level, whilst the ski season hadn't seen much snow the mountains are built around an existing town, a great vibe, fabulous restaurants and a lot more shopping! St Regis is the larger of the two resorts we stayed in Aspen and has an elegant luxury about it. The Little Nell is the closest to Aspen Ski Mountain and definitely has a chic vibe, the private wine cellar tour is incredible! You are also spoilt for ski mountains with Aspen Mountain, snowmass, buttermilk and highlands all within 20 minutes of each other. If you are new to skiing, start at buttermilk, then Snowmass and finish at Aspen. Aspen is definitely for intermediate or advanced skiers.
Second half - with the skiing over, and the fabulous nights out at some fantastic restaurants, we flew via Denver to Puerta Vallarta. We love to experience new destinations and this was another one for us, we have been to Cabo San Lucas and I would suggest that if you love to swim in the sea, snorkel, and get out on the water then Puerta Vallarta is a perfect choice.
The humpback whale season runs from December to March and you are spoilt for viewing from any of the hotels along this coastline. We also took a private boat out to the hidden beach at Mariatas Island and stopped to view whales and dolphins along the way, at one point I thought I could have reached out and touched a big whale who was cruising just under the surface beside our boat. An incredible once in a lifetime experience and to me what travel is all about. We spent time at both the St Regis resort and the new W Resort - very cool vibe at this hotel, while St Regis offered relaxed luxury beautiful pools and some amazing meals. I recommend heading into town for a meal at Tuna Blanca in Punta Mita.
Travel is all about excitement, new experiences, taking some time to be in the moment and to connect with people - from snow-capped mountains to getting up close and personal with humpback whales, mother, father, and baby - this is why I love to travel.