Saturday, April 30, 2011

Travel Expert Featured in Woman’s Day Magazine

While reading the May 2011 issue of Woman’s Day Magazine’s article on Girlfriend Getaways, you may see a name you recognize. Casey Wohl, known as The Getaway Girl®, is a Central Florida-based TV and radio travel correspondent, as well as author of the Girls Getaway Guide: Leave Your Baggage at Home® travel book series.

The article highlights the importance of Girlfriend Getaways, why women need them, ways to plan them and how to not feel guilty about enjoying them. Wohl was interviewed by the magazine in January the day after she returned from her own Girlfriend Getaway to London and Dublin. The article begins with Wohl’s unique story of personal and professional heartache and how Girlfriend Getaways helped her cope with the most difficult time in her life.

“After a divorce and getting fired from my job, I was depressed and felt like a complete failure,” Wohl said. “Within a few months, I went from married with a great job to single with no job and no income. It was a very difficult time for me and traveling was my therapy.”

To read the article, click here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rum Renaissance Festival April 28-May 2

For the third year in a row, the Rum Renaissance Festival, an international week-long celebration that showcases more than 100 rums from the Caribbean and around the world, will return to sunny South Florida April 28 – May 2 where attendees can learn about the unique celebration of the fine art of distilling, maturing and blending of fine cane spirits to share with your readers.

This year's festivities include rum tastings, watching mixologist competitions, witnessing behind-the-scenes Rum XP blind tasting process, evening VIP parties hosted by top rum companies at South Beach’s finest venues and a chance to experience the “rum” lifestyle.

Stay tuned as The Getaway Girl works hard to taste her way through this festival.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Girls Getaway to Panama City, Panama - The Donald

My last stop in Panama City was to the Trump Ocean Club, which is expected to open in July 2011. It is a 72-story building that is a combination of residences (92% are sold) and 369 hotel guest rooms located on the Punta Pacifica peninsula with boutiques, restaurants and a casino located below. The property is amazing. I cannot wait to see it when it is completed.

Many thanks to Newlink Communications and the Autoridad de Turismo Panamá (ATP) for hosting me in this great city and showing me the best of Panama City.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Girls Getaway to Panama City, Panama - Old World Meets New

The next day we visited Panama Viejo, or Old City. The Panama Viejo Historic Monumental Complex, and specifically the Tower of the Cathedral, is one of the main symbols of the nation. The Old City was the center of expeditions during the Spanish conquest and colonization, as much as the central point in the trade routes of the times. Today, the Archeological Site is one of the most important offerings of the historical-cultural tourism of the country. Since July 2003, the Archeological Site of Panama Viejo has become part of the World Heritage list of UNESCO. To add stark contrast to the morning, our next stop was the MultiPlaza Mall that carries every major luxury brand you can imagine from Tiffany & Co. to Dolce & Gabbana to several non-U.S. brands. I made one purchase in the Felix B. Maduro Department store and had to get out of there as my credit card was already feeling some purchasing pressure.

After my shopping spree, we drove to the Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, which is located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country. The resort is absolutely beautiful and caters to large groups with its various pools, watersports, and sandy beach. We enjoyed oceanfront lunch and I found a beachside canopy bed so I could soak up some Panama sunshine. Please note: I am a trained not try this at home ;)!

Dinner that night was at Luna Restaurante, which served contemporary cuisine with indoor and outdoor seating and a fabulous atmosphere and menu. I became an instant fan once I learned they had La Crema wine available. But the food was just as good as the wine, and we were not disappointed with high marks for the steak, fish and pork.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Girls Getaway to Panama City, Panama - Monkey Business

The next morning we drove to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort for the tour of Monkey Island. I was looking forward to seeing the monkeys, but thought we’d be far away and they would look like black specks to the naked eye. I was surprised to find out that we could park our boat under certain trees on various islands and the monkeys were right above us. In fact, we got so close to one group of Capuchin monkeys that one jumped onto our boat and stole someone’s bread. Upon hearing the “thud” and realizing the monkey was on the boat, I had flashbacks of the women whose face was mutilated by a monkey and I moved to the back of the boat. But everyone was pleased to find out that the monkey only wanted the bread and then quickly darted off the boat.

We enjoyed lunch on the Causeway Amador, which are three man-made islands that were created from fill dredged from the Panama Canal. The islands are each quite different in what they have to offer visitors: Flamenco has marina with restaurant and discotec; Perico has stores, cafes, boutiques, bars; Naos home of Mi Ranchito Restaurant that also features a bar and hotel. In addition to the current activities offered on the Causeway, building is underway for a Frank Gehry-designed museum on some land before you arrive on the islands.

After lunch we went to the Handicraft Center, which is located behind the YMCA, that sells all kinds of souvenirs, hand crafts, and clothing made by Panamanians. I was looking for a genuine Panama Hat, but was surprised to find out they are actually made in Ecuador and ranged in price from $25-$120 depending on quality...who knew? But I got a lesson on how to spot a genuine Panama Hat and was thrilled with my new purchase.

With my “Purchase Genuine Panama Hat” checked off my To Do List, we headed to Casco Antiguo, or Old Quarter, which is a part of town where the city was relocated to in 1671 after an attack by English pirate Henry Morgan. The move of the city to a more appropriate place in terms of defense was carried out and the Old City was left behind. The look and feel of this area is reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans with beautiful architecture and various town squares with statues in the middle. This is also where the President of Panama lives with three white herons that also reside in his “White House.” You can find merchants selling art and crafts in many areas in this part of town, which added some shopping time to my cultural exploration.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Girls Getaway to Panama City, Panama - Those Hips Don't Lie

I arrived at the Tocumen Airport in Panama City and was transferred to my hotel for the next three nights, the Riu Hotel Plaza Panama. After checking in and dropping my luggage off, we headed to lunch at Miraflores Restaurant and visited Miraflores Visitor Center. The Panama Canal is a lock-type canal, approximately 50 miles long, that unites the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans at one of the narrowest points of the Isthmus of Panama and the American Continent. The Canal officially opened its doors to international trade in 1914, and since then, more than 1 million vessels have traveled the waterway. The Canal’s three locks, each of which have two lanes, operate as water lifts to elevate ships 85 feet above sea level to the level of Lake Gatun during their transit through the Canal, and then lower them back to sea level. A project to widen and deepen the Canal is currently underway. The new locks will be 1,400 feet long and 182 feet wide, the size of four football fields. About 10,000 people work for the Panama Canal Authority, and ships pay anywhere from $50,000-$300,000+ to pass through the Canal.

That evening we were excited to attend an outdoor Shakira concert at the Figali Convention Center. I was escorted to the front, next to the stage as credentialed media were allowed to stand at the stage for the first three songs. Shakira unexpectedly started the concert from the crowd as she walked around the stage on the ground right in front of us. I have seen her perform on television, which is very different versus standing under her as she gyrates those hips with moves that could turn a gay guy straight. She is amazing, talented, beautiful and super flexible (at least in the hip area). The Figali Center is home to regular concerts featuring acts such as Journey, Ozzy Osbourne and Andrea Bocelli.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mother's Day Getaways

Nothing lets mom know how much you love her more than sending her on her very own Mother's Day Getaway! And here are some fabulous places, which are sure to make her special day unforgettable.

Montego Bay, Jamaica
If you are looking to celebrate Mother’s Day with the whole family and include a special treatment just for Mom, then look no further than Round Hill Resort (see photo) located in Montego Bay, Jamaica (and where fashion designer Ralph Lauren vacations). This special Mother's Day package includes:
·Master Villa Suite for up to 4 people for 3 nights in an extra-large luxury oceanview suite with semi-private villa pool and air-conditioned bedrooms with luxurious open-air livings rooms
·Welcome gift basket designed especially for Mom
·Breakfast served daily en villa by Jamaican Cottage Housekeepers
·Nanny service for 5 hours one afternoon
·$100 Gift Card to use at The Resort Boutique at Round Hill
·The Spirit of Jamaica Spa Ritual – An afternoon of pampering for Mom (facial, massage, lunch and cocktail)

This offer is valid for the entire month of May for 4 days / 3 nights - $2,750 inclusive of all taxes and service charges. This represents more than 25% savings! Or, just want to get away to Round Hill? May rates begin at $324 per night.

Berlin, Germany
For the mom who loves unique shopping, art and history, there is no better place to take her than Berlin, Germany. This city is packed with modern history, and tons of artistic types have flocked there since the Berlin Wall came down. Berlin is full of art galleries and great shopping, both boutique and department store. The lovely Concorde Hotel Berlin has tailored the new Concorde Shopping packages to connect shoppers to each city’s most renowned boutiques—giving moms exclusive deals and many reasons to shop in this incredible city.

The Concorde Shopping offer includes:
  • Rates starting at $200 per night
  • Accommodations in a double room, including complimentary breakfast for two
  • An exclusive “Shopping for the Insiders” booklet that includes a map and guide to the shopping secrets of each city
  • List of city-specific promotions at retail partners of Concorde (i.e Berlin: 10% off store purchase, plus a free gift at KaDeWe Department Store)

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
For the mom who needs some down time, there is no better place than Hilton Head Island, which is 12 miles by 5 miles wide; has 250 restaurants; 200 shops, stores and outlets; and 50 miles of public bike and nature trails.
The (Diva) Digital Detox Package is Hilton Head Island's newest package where mom literally "checks her cell phone or Blackberry at the door" and cleanses her body, mind and soul by the seashore. She can de-stress while hitting the beach, taking leisurely bike rides along winding paths, or chilling at the oceanfront pool - - all 'sans cell.' In the late afternoon, mom can indulge in an Indigo Wrap or a Queen for the Day/Sea Goddess Escape Massage, and then dine on delectable seafood with sunset views over the water. Of course, the cell would be available for emergencies, and of course, friends and family would know where she is, but how healing could it be to truly unplug your life for a long weekend? 

Hilton Head Island boasts not only world-class hotels, but also large oceanfront or seaside homes for rent. Gather up your girlfriends and rent a beach house for a long weekend or the week. This is like having a big slumber party with your best friends - but you are an adult now and the party is at the beach!

Beverly Hills, California
Shopping, shopping and more shopping! Beverly Hills is one of the world's most sought-after locales with beautiful year-round weather, acclaimed hotel accommodations, sumptuous dining, world-renowned designer boutiques and incomparable shopping. Synonymous with Hollywood glamour, Beverly Hills enjoys an international reputation as the home and playground of A-list movie stars. The city is not only known worldwide for its grand mansions and chic shops along Rodeo Drive, but also for its multitude of art and architecture, spas and salons, and walkable drives. Mom can enjoy lunch at The Ivey, shopping along Robertson and a day of art at the Getty Museum.

Now that awards season is over, this is a great time to visit Bev Hills. Until June 30, participating hotels are offering their fabulous "BREAKFAST IN BEVERLY HILLS" packages. Visitors who book the package receive a free night and complimentary daily breakfast for two.
For example, The Beverly Hilton is offering stay three nights and receive the fourth night free along with daily complimentary breakfast for two. Rates start at $275 per night.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Girls Getaway to Panama City, Panama

Panama City is the capital of the Republic of Panama and is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. The city has a dense skyline of mostly high rise buildings, and it is surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest.

Follow The Getaway Girl's adventures as she travels to Panama City and takes in a Shakira concert April 12-15.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Girls Getaway to Palm Beach - Day 3

On Sunday we window shopped along Palm Beach’s famous Worth Avenue. Here you will find every high-end fashion designer, as well as some great boutiques featuring shoes, clothes, jewelry and more. After walking the Avenue, we headed to the International Palm Beach Polo Club for an afternoon of action-packed polo. Imagine champagne, truffle popcorn and hot, South American men running full speed on horses clamoring with each other to hit a little white ball. How can you not have fun? We enjoyed learning more about the game itself (we now know what chuckers are), making new friends in the Ritz Carlton Box, and walking onto the field during the half to fix the divots and enjoy on-field champagne. To watch a video of the polo action, click here. A special thanks to the Palm Beach Ritz Carlton for providing these great box seats.

We had a fantastic time in Palm Beach! Our only complaint about the trip was that we wished we had one more day. Many thanks to the Palm Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau for setting up this wonderful trip!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Girls Getaway to Palm Beach - Day 2

On Saturday we enjoyed brunch at Cafe Boulud located at The Brazilian Court. The Cafe Boulud Benedict, which is their signature brunch dish, sounded too good to resist. In fact, we both ordered it and devoured the fried eggs with spinach, crabmeat and tomato hollandaise on grilled sourdough...AMAZING!

We stopped at the Norton Musuem of Art and fell in love with the “Fabulous Fakes: The Jewelry of Kenneth Jay Lane,” who has outfitted First Ladies and Hollywood royalty in his fakes, and his early pieces now fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. The exhibit was incredible and is on display until May 29.

After a stressful week for both of us, we were perfectly happy to spend the afternoon resting by the beautiful Brazilian Court pool, which is nestled in its own private courtyard. It is so relaxing that I fell asleep for about an hour. Good thing I had on sunscreen.

Later that evening we traveled to Downtown Delray Beach for a tour of The Seagate Hotel, a brand new luxury boutique hotel and resort located on Atlantic Avenue and just blocks from the popular entertainment district and near the beach. After our tour and visit with Kate Connor from the hotel, we met Marjorie Ferrer for dinner at Vic and Angelo's Enoteca, which is famous for its huge meatball that was incredible! You cannot go wrong with any of the food here, and the atmosphere was great with seating inside and outside. After dinner we enjoyed shopping along Delray Deach’s Atlantic Avenue’s antique stores, boutiques and art galleries with faves Martier, Avalon Gallery and Lady Katie. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming...we cannot wait to come back!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Girls Getaway to Palm Beach - Day 1

After a long week, I was anxiously to go on a much-needed Girls Getaway to Palm Beach. Our home for the weekend was the Brazilian Court Hotel, a four-star hotel that features discreet courtyards and a convenient in-town location making it a favorite celebrity vacation retreat. With its beautiful surroundings, we were thrilled about our stay at The Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club. Plus, this resort is home to tons of Palm Beach history and has housed some very famous celebs...if only these walls could talk ;).

After a tour of the hotel, we met Carli Smith from the Palm Beach CVB for drinks and dinner at Pistache French Bistro, which is located on popular Clematis Street. She provided us with an overview of the city and of our itinerary for the weekend. With fabulous cocktails and delicious food, make sure you stop at Pistache for brunch, lunch or dinner.

After dinner we stayed on Clematis Street and had cocktails at Skybar309 located on the rooftop of Roxy’s where we happened to make new friends with some Irish fellas visiting from across the pond. This popular gathering place features an open air, rooftop bar with great views of the city as well as a DJ with some great dance music.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Travel Destinations on Daytime TV Show

Looking for fabulous Spring Travel Destinations? From family fun to R&R to European adventure, check out The Getaway Girl's top picks on this Daytime TV Show segment.