Located just 1.6 km/1 mi. off the southern tip of Guam, Cocos Island is an uninhabited getaway for residents and visitors alike.
As our bus rolled in to the sprawling white ski resort, I imagined pulling up to the bar and having a cocktail or two with any of my favorite bands who I heard were staying at this very hotel — Bombay Bicycle Club, SBTRKT, Travis, Outkast, Lorde, Flaming Lips, Basement Jaxx, St. Vincent, to name a few.
You’ve never seen a Holiday Inn like this. That’s because it’s the first of its kind in the world — a 5-star version of the faithful franchise.
Living on the beautiful tropical island of Guam means staycations are a welcome alternative to jetting off-island to relax. Eschewing the hubbub of Guam’s tourism center, Tumon, we ventured north to STARTS Golf Resort. We were soon seduced by the charm of the place.
We awoke to a stunning view of rolling green hills and the sounds of sheep and goats greeting us as we peered out the large bay window. Incredible. We took our coffee, tea, toast, and local jam in the majestic dining room along with a couple from Australia. Our hosts introduced themselves, the farm, and even let us feed the animals. Can you believe this house was transplanted from Auckland?
I’ve been to New York a dozen times, but never completely on my own. I was alone the first night, waiting for my friend Mandy to arrive from upstate on the train the next day. No problem. Have feet, will walk. I found the perfect midtown hotel from which to start my solo journey…
Santi Mandala Villa & Spa was nothing short of magical. For $100/night we had a private villa with exotic outdoor bathroom at this quiet resort in Ubud, Bali. There’s nothing as serene as sitting on your private deck gazing at a waterfall and watching the birds flitter by. The grounds are lush, hilly, and floral with lots of stone paths to explore on your spa day in, which you’ll need after pounding the pavement for a day or two. The excellent breakfast spread included pink crepes and a pool view.
Our Bali discovery started at the quiet and somewhat spartan Ubud Sari Health Resort, which caters to vegans, vegetarians, cleansers, detoxers, and well, us regular American pudge folk. We were just on vacation, but a room sans phone, WIFI, and TV was just what we needed to unplug and download for a bit. We didn’t mind not eating meat or gluten for a few days either. Even though we couldn’t be classified as serious health nuts, we enjoyed all the fresh, natural foods available in Bali.