Dreaming of Spring with the March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

We’re thrilled to welcome you to our multi-award winning March – April 2019 edition where we are Dreaming of Spring.

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The March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

Find a Hotel to Fit Your Travel Needs

When most people plan a trip, the focus is on the purpose of the journey, whether it’s a work-related jaunt or a vacation with loved ones. Researching and organizing travel for an upcoming trip is important, but so is finding the perfect place to make your journey easier, more productive and successful.

Proximity will almost always be a factor in selecting the right hotel, but the travel experts at Hyatt Place recommend paying special attention to a few essential details that can make an impact on your overall travel and hotel experience.

Guest-centered accommodations. It’s often the little things that make the biggest impact when you’re traveling far from home. Keep the core purpose of your trip in mind as you explore hotel accommodations, and look for those that are most thoughtfully designed around your needs. Seek out hotel options that can make it easier for guests to blur the lines between business and leisure travel with dedicated spaces to work, sleep and play and features like comfy sectional sofas, separate sleeping and living areas and contemporary bathrooms.

Better basics. Waking well rested after a long night is a start, but an exceptional breakfast experience can make your day even better. As part of its upgraded breakfast buffet, Hyatt Place hotels across the U.S. now feature regional recipes. For example, hotels in the South feature a turkey sausage and pimento biscuit sandwich, and hotels in the Atlantic region feature cinnamon French toast with apple butter. In addition to five regional offerings, hotel guests will find an expanded breakfast buffet featuring cage-free scrambled and hard-boiled eggs, all-natural bacon and sausage, Greek yogurt, fresh-cut fruit, steel-cut oatmeal, a rosemary-garlic potato medley and artisanal breads.

Lifestyle options. Whether you want to relax with your morning paper or mix and mingle following a day’s work, it can be liberating to know you have options outside your hotel room. No matter the time of day, public areas, like a spacious lobby and lounge, 24-hour fitness center or indoor or outdoor pool, can provide a chance to enjoy new scenery.

Convenient amenities. Many hotels offer the basics, but with an option like Hyatt Place hotels, amenities are purposeful, making your trip as productive and seamless as possible. From free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and guestrooms to a business center with remote printing and freshly prepared food offerings available throughout the day, guests’ travel and dining needs are covered.

Thoughtful service. It goes without saying that quality customer care is an expectation for any stay, but there are some hotels that take service to an extra level. The front desk staff is often the best trained, but it’s pretty simple to spot a hotel that puts a real emphasis on the guest experience. Checking in feels more like a welcome than a process with hosts offering a friendly smile, a greeting in the hallway or a friendly conversation. If you’re traveling to a new city, try reading reviews to get a sense for a hotel’s approach to guest services.

Start planning your next trip at hyattplace.com and discover why you’ll never have to settle. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Hyatt Place

What to Consider When Planning a Cruise

Everyone loves going on vacation, but planning your getaway is another story with questions like where and when to go, how to get there and how much it will cost.

While wading through the options can be a daunting task, opting for a cruise is a fun, convenient and hassle-free option. However, every cruise line has its own perks and offerings based on experiences desired, time of year and destination.

One cruise line known for its unique brand of all-ages fun, varied activities and affordable prices is Carnival Cruise Line, whose newest ship, Carnival Panorama, debuts from Long Beach, California, in December 2019. To commemorate its upcoming launch, Carnival Cruise Line showcased the Carnival Panorama with a 55-foot long cruise ship-shaped float during the 130th annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

The float was made from more than 100 kinds of flowers, representing the home countries of Carnival employees, and included many of the ship’s signature features, such as the classic red and blue funnel, a water park and a Lido Deck party. The float also saluted the armed forces with a special appearance by former Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, godmother to Carnival Vista, sister ship to Carnival Panorama currently sailing out of Galveston, Texas.

“It was a big thrill to be a part of the Rose Parade and be a part of Carnival’s first-ever float,” said Barber, the first active member of the military to serve as Miss USA. “Judging by this spectacular float, the real Carnival Panorama will be truly extraordinary and people will definitely want to experience it for themselves.”

To make planning your cruise as easy as possible, consider these factors:

Timing

Outside of budget, planning a time of year to take a cruise can be one of the biggest considerations. Fall tends to be the best time to sail while summer is always popular with families. Winter is a great time to escape the cold and relax in the warm, aqua-blue waters of the Caribbean.

Destination

From a trip along the Mexican Riviera to a jaunt around the Carribbean, there are cruises available to meet nearly any desired destination. In 2019, the Carnival Panorama – the first new cruise ship on the West Coast in 20 years – will launch week-long cruises visting destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta from the newly renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Carnival Cruise Line will also offer new voyages to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico out of San Francisco beginning in 2020, making it the number one cruise operator on the West Coast.

Rooms and Amenities

Cruise ships offer accommodations for all types of travelers, from family rooms to luxury suites.  Carnival Panorama offers several options, including Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Cloud 9 Spa accommodations that surround the ship’s 22,750-square-foot health and wellness center.  There are also extra-roomy Family Harbor staterooms that can accommodate up to five guests and offer two bathrooms.

On-Board Activities

Today’s cruise ships offer many on-board attractions and features for guests of all ages. For example, Carnival Panorama will include indoor and al fresco dining experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and the Smokehouse Brewhouse with BBQ favorites from Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri and craft beers brewed right onboard. It also offers a massive aqua park and recreation areas, including a suspended ropes course, and the first-ever trampoline park at sea in partnership with Sky Zone. Grown-ups can sample the Serenity adults-only retreat, mixology courses and more.

To learn more and start planning your cruise, visit Carnival.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Carnival Cruise Line

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Discovery: Fountain of Youth Cocktail

With November marking the beginning of a high-stress season, locals are encouraged to sit back and unwind with the ultimate pre-holiday elixir – the Fountain of Youth!

Boasting vodka for vigor and fresh thyme for those of us with not enough time, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach encourages locals to gift themselves a little R&R before the year-end holidays kick in. Included is the hotel’s recipe and ingredients below for this specialty drink:

Ingredients:

1 ounce Tito’s Handmade Vodka

1 ounce Acai Spirit

1/2 ounce Pom Wonderful

3/4 ounce simple syrup

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

4 blueberries

Sprig of fresh thyme

Directions:

Muddle blueberries with syrup, lemon and pomegranate juices.

Add vodka.

Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with fresh sprig of thyme and blueberries

Travel Deals: Winter Savings

As the winter season sets in and travelers start thinking about their holiday escapes.  Check out the travel deals we’ve collected for you.

Special Opening Rates Introduced at Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo in Costa Rica

Just in time for Costa Rica’s peak season, known for stunning weather and outdoor adventure, the new Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo has launched special introductory rates, starting at $243 per night, for travel from January 6 through April 30, 2019. This offer is available for booking through November 30, 2018 – making it the perfect gift for the holidays and the ultimate reprieve from the harsh winter season. Nestled between lush mountains and the Pacific Ocean shoreline, Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo is the ultimate tropical escape where travelers can enjoy the serenity of lounging at the pool with a signature frozen concoction from the swim-up License to Chill Bar, or the exhilaration of embarking on a nearby tour of the Arenal Volcano, one of Americas’ most active volcanoes. To make a reservation, or for more information, visit www.MargaritavilleBeachResortCostaRica.com or call 1-844-569-8851.

Winter Sale Launched at Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

To make the winter months feel a little less stressful, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach is offering 30% off the best available rate when booking three nights or more before December 3, for travel now through December 25. Boasting spectacular oceanfront views, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach sits on Fort Lauderdale’s famed golden coastline, just minutes away from the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District, Port Everglades and Broward Center for Performing Arts. With ample opportunity to bask in the Florida sunshine, either poolside, beachside or through numerous outdoor adventures, guests are encouraged to stroll through the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, take a tour of the historic Bonnet House – outfitted to celebrate the holidays or enjoy a festive local excursion ideal for families, The Polar Express Train, an hour-long round-trip journey.  To make a reservation, or for more information, visit www.Sonesta.com/FortLauderdale or call (954) 315-1460.

It’s Our 7th Anniversary!

William Jackson, Found & Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

William Jackson, Founder & Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

On the one hand, it feels like I’ve been doing this for a lifetime, while on the other, I find myself wondering “Where did the years go?” It’s been a year of excitement, highs and lows, long work days and restless nights, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

This past year has taught me so many useful lessons, and one that really stands out is just how important it is for individuals to be patient, long-suffering, and kind toward others; without judgement.  In a culture where freedom of speech is widely encouraged, many seem to have lost sight on the importance of having something of positive and encouraging to say, tempered with applying the “Golden Rule”.  As a reminder, the “Golden Rule” admonishes us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Of course, the lack of applying the “Golden Rule” is almost always to our detriment.

In previous Publisher’s Notes, I shared my own struggle with trying to ensure I live a well-balanced life and making such a priority. Although, I still have room for improvement, I’ve been making slow but steady progress. I recently began adding the practice of yoga to my regular health & wellness routine, something I never would have imagined in a thousand years. But thankfully, it’s doing wonders for me. I feel calmer, am resting better, and my days are less hectic.

It’s with this newfound sense of balance and calm I wish to collaborate with you as we begin our seventh year. On that note, I’m thrilled to welcome you to our Seventh Anniversary Edition!  One of our Exclusive Interviews is with Hanna Jaffe Bosdet.  The well-known Philanthropist, human rights activist, speaker, and author opens up about her new acting role in NETFLIX’s first Mexican reality series Made in Mexico, and what’s she’s doing to raise awareness of important topics such as human rights, immigrants, refugees, peace, and the importance of education.  Being that this also our Style Edition, of course we had to bring you many topics related to style and its impact as we strive to live well.

I invite you to feast your eyes on this stunning Seventh Anniversary Edition and enjoy reading the rest of the amazing features we have for you in this Edition.  May this Edition inform and inspire you to continue living your best life.

From my very being, I thank you for being a dedicated reader. Seven thrilling years would not be possible without you.  I’m so grateful to and inspired by the entire InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, andTeen InFluential teams, who work tirelessly to bring you our award-winning publications. I’m truly excited about the future of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential, and I believe the best is yet to come.

Fondly and with Great Enthusiasm,

William Jackson

Founder & Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

Family-Friendly Labor Day Travel Deals

With summer coming to an end, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort and Massanutten Resort wants to invite families to make one last summer trip with two Labor Day travel specials.

Great American Summer Package at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

This summer, kids 12 and under eat free with the “Great American Summer Fun” package, available on bookings of two nights or longer, now through September 30. The package includes one youth-sized Margaritaville t-shirt per each visiting adult, upon check-in. With every adult entrée purchased by a current resort guest, one child eats free at Margaritaville Restaurant, LandShark Bar & Grill and 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill. Nightly rates start at $259++.

Ultimate Summer Saver Package at Massanutten Resort

Valid during Labor Day Weekend (August 30 – September 3), the “Ultimate Summer Saver” package includes a $50 dining card and two all-day Indoor/Outdoor WaterPark passes. Starting rates begin at $310. Set on a breathtaking 6,000 acres of land in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Resort offers expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The resort features a variety of amenities, including a Family Adventure Park, the Massanutten Mountain Bike Park, two golf courses, various dining venues, along with a day spa for complete relaxation and rejuvenation.

The Reef 28 Unveils Beach-Chic Hospitality in Downtown Playa del Carmen

Wrttten By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor and Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine 

Photography courtesy of The Reef Resorts.

The Mexican state Quintana Roo is perhaps best known as the home of the venerable tourist city of Cancun, which is revered for beautiful white coral sand beaches, hot nightlife and everything in-between. Thousands of tourists flock to this destination monthly. However, travelers would do well to take just a 45 minute ride by car from Cancun International Airport to check out what its sister city of Playa del Carmen has to offer. This Caribbean beach town, which is located on the easterly side of the Yucatan Peninsula, is growing in popularity since it boasts its own share of dreamy Riviera Maya beaches along with fabulous golf, bars and restaurants, shopping, and super-cool things to do like explore Mayan ruins or snorkel in the Cenotes caves and caverns.

What’s also notable about Playa del Carmen is the emerging breed of luxury all-inclusive hotels and resorts attracting jet-setters worldwide to this exotic paradise. Paramount among these is a sexy new adults-only beach-chic oasis called The Reef 28, which is the newest all-inclusive offering from the family-owned hospitality operation The Reef Resorts that opened in May 2018. According to Corrina Terenstra, The Reef 28’s Director of Sales and Marketing, this particular hotel is a passion project for the owner and his family—and it shows in the painstaking design and décor details, and apparent attention to quality at every guest touch point.

Another noteworthy, this destination exemplifies that a hotel need not be sitting on top of the beach to be fabulous and in high demand. “This property manages to have the Caribbean feeling and atmosphere, while still being downtown, in the heart of everything,” Terenstra notes. And she’s right, as my own visit to The Reef 28 confirmed it’s comfortable walking distance to the famous Mamita’s Beach Club as well as a wide assortment of bars, restaurants, and the kinetic Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) offering both world-class shopping and luxe boutiques in tandem with small indigenous shops replete with art and culture from the region. Guests can also shuttle to the two other nearby Reef properties in Coco Beach or Playacar to enjoy those beaches and all-inclusive amenities. Tours and excursions of every sort are also just a short drive away from the hotel. Indeed, The Reef 28’s location provides amazing access to pretty much all that Playa del Carmen has to offer—the beach plus so much more.

Relative to what the hotel, itself, has available…it’s much. First, The Reef 28 is a decidedly high-end luxury offering for discerning travelers who also prefer the warmth and personalized service that a boutique property can proffer. What I also personally adore about this location is its authenticity. I’ve stayed at some resorts in Mexico where you would never know you’re actually in the country, let alone one specific city or another. However, The Reef 28 reflects the area’s authentic culture. Terenstra points out that the privately-owned property hires indigenous talent and that every detail is thought through and created by a detail-oriented native team. This certainly extends to its food and beverage program that includes Mexican chefs and cooks who add a delicious Mexican touch to most if not all cuisine.

And speaking of cuisine, this is another feature helping this property make its mark in the region among locals and tourists, alike. The hotel has two elegant on-site restaurants featuring fresh Mexican and Asian fusion flavors, Cachito and El Asiatico, as well as the more casual Ventiocho’s that serves a wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet along with service that’s second to none. These eateries defy what’s expected of typically underwhelming all-inclusive fare. Rather, the restaurants boast inventive gourmet cuisine rivaling the world-renowned eateries peppered throughout Playa del Carmen. And no worries about those vacation calories as there’s a rooftop fitness center as well for those so inclined.

Three bars are also resident—La Cantina Del Mezcal, Lounge Bar 28, and the stylish ARRIBArooftop bar—where guests can sip and savor premium cocktails and even delight in al fresco breakfast or lunch with a view. The loungy ARRIBArooftop is also especially noteworthy as here, the seductive infinity pool is surrounded by plush cabanas, loungers and other comfy seating while local DJs set a festive vibe while patrons socialize and soak in the sun or starlight. “We wanted to create a space that was more about connecting than escaping,” Terenstra adds.

 

I would also be remiss to not mention the sleek and modern guest rooms and sophisticated hotel interior in general, which all takes inspiration from the colorful Caribbean and the unique characteristics of marine life. This is an all-suites destination, so every room is either a Junior Suite or a Master Suite. Conveniences abound, from hair irons to high speed Internet to in-room Nespresso machines and daily stocked mini bars. Other luxuries also allow for moments of intimacy and relaxation, like plush bedding, towels and robes to a bedside Jacuzzi and private patios or terraces in the Master Suites.

According to Mr. Montalvo, CEO of The Reef Resorts & Spa, “It was time to embrace what people really want from a vacation. Adults are looking for their own adventures and their own way to feel a part of a genuine—even transformative—experience. At The Reef 28, they get to be a part of the party, the culture, the cuisine and fun that makes Riviera Maya Mexico’s thriving Cote d’Azur.” The property is designed to help guests move at ease from beachfront to rooftop bar lounge.

It’s clear The Reef 28 has set its sights on offering a new kind of “all-in” experience in Playa Del Carmen.” So leave the kiddos at home and escape to this romantic adults-only all-inclusive retreat where your own play-date in paradise awaits.
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Merilee Kern, MBA

Merilee Kern, MBA


As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Enjoy a Fabulous Staycation at InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel

Governor's Dining Area

Governor’s Dining Area

As you’re gearing up for Memorial Day, we want to share a Summer Savings Package, perfect for a staycation at Austin’s own InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel this weekend.

The package includes a two-night stay in a Deluxe King Room with an organized tour of Austin and credits to enjoy local dining destinations including Roaring Fork and Moonshine as well as sips and snacks at the hotel’s own Terrace Bar.

Located on the second floor of the hotel, The Terrace Bar provides breathtaking views of the Capitol building and bustling Congress Avenue while offering authentic Texas bites such as brisket quesadillas, bacon wrapped quail and tortilla crusted gulf shrimp. Guests can also enjoy a world-class selection of wines by the glass, cordials, craft beers, premium cigars, and handcrafted cocktails.

Summer Savings at InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel - $915

To book: Please call Sales/Catering Coordinator 512-721-4230

  • 2 night stay in a King Deluxe Room (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun)
  • $60 credit for Cocktails at our Stephen F Bar
  • $150 credit for Dinner at Roaring Fork
  • $75 credit for breakfast at Moonshine
  • One breakfast for two in the Club Lounge
  • Organized tour of Austin
  • Package valued at $1,143 | A 20% savings

 

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Encourages Florida Residents to Sneak Away to the Beach, With Special Summer Staycation Rate

Sunshine State Residents Can Stay, Play and Save All Week Long

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach announced participation in a special offer for residents of its home state, extending those who book and travel now through May 31 a discount of 20% off the best available rate on weekdays, with 15% off on weekends. Inspiring Florida residents to take advantage of their beautiful state, the Florida Resident Special is the perfect escape to enjoy the springtime in the Sunshine State, and is available at the oceanfront Fort Lauderdale property, as well as Sonesta ES Suites Orlando, Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami and Sonesta ES Suites Jacksonville.

“We are lucky to live and work in such an incredible destination, where so many come from around the world to vacation each year,” said Eduardo Fernandez, general manager of Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach. “With this special rate, we want to remind our neighbors that they don’t have to look far for a memorable getaway, encouraging them to explore all that exists right in their backyard.”

Overlooking Fort Lauderdale’s pristine coastline, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach fulfills travelers’ dreams of a serene, close-to-home getaway. The 240-guestroom hotel features modern, yet elegant oceanfront accommodations and on-site amenities that are open to guests throughout the day and night. The hotel is also in proximity to some of Fort Lauderdale’s most popular attractions, including the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District and Himmarshee Street’s lively night life.

For more information about the Florida resident promotion please visit: https://www.sonesta.com/florida-resident-special.  When booking, use rate code FLA.

For more information visit www.Sonesta.com/FortLauderdale or call (954) 315-1460. For the latest news and information, become a fan on Facebook or follow the hotel on Twitter and Instagram @sonestafortlauderdale. 

About Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence rated oceanfront Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, features 240 guest rooms including 23 spectacular suites, all of which boast panoramic views of the seven-mile stretch of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach provides a new level of hospitality to the Fort Lauderdale market by offering travelers a sense of place, not just a place to stay. Catering to both business and leisure travelers, the hotel is centrally located on the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and A1A, only 8 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and just minutes from the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District and Port Everglades.  Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach offers an authentic, local experience to guests and locals alike, brought to life through the brand’s signature Food is Art, Liquid Art and Daily Delights programs.

About Sonesta Hotels

Sonesta is a growing, global hospitality brand with 80 properties in seven countries, centered on a corporate dedication to delivering a guest experience that provides more than just a place to stay. With a portfolio of diverse and distinctive properties as individual as its guests, there is no typical Sonesta. Offering a full range exceptional experiences found in many of the most memorable destinations in the world, Sonesta proudly exceeds guest’s expectations time and time again.

Discover Royal Sonesta and Sonesta Hotels & Resorts in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Hilton Head Island, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, St. Maarten (2), Chile (2), Colombia (8), Ecuador, Peru (5), and Egypt (3 + 3 cruise ships). Sonesta ES Suites is an extended stay hotel brand managed by Sonesta found in 42 locations across the US. For more about Sonesta, visit Sonesta.com or call +1.617.315.9200 or 800.Sonesta (800.766.3782) in the U.S. and Canada.

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