hotels Posts

Great, Greater, Greatest!

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After 25 years of owning a brick-and-mortar travel company, Great Getaways Travel has decided to work remotely and become a “virtual” travel company, joining the 21st century finally! We are still a thriving company and are here to help you with your travels. Our phone number remains 913-338-2244 and we look forward to talking to you.

One of our favorite sayings is “Don’t let the good get in the way of the better and don’t let better get in the way of best.” We practice that philosophy in everything we do personally and professionally.

Because our objective is to create the most memorable vacations possible for you, we’ve decided to affiliate with Largay Travel, in Waterbury, Connecticut. It’s great, greater, and greatest news!

GREAT: We now have even more support and resources.

GREATER: Largay will handle all the pesky back office details freeing us to devote 100% of our time to planning your travel.

GREATEST: By affiliating with Largay Travel we are able to give you increased benefits when you travel, as we now have preferred status with several hotels, cruise lines, and tour companies.

PRICELESS: We are still very active and proud to be part of Virtuoso — you’ve experienced the benefits of that association.

So, where do you want to go in 2017? Give us a call, 913-338-2244, and start packing!


O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?


Guest Post by Damien Martin

Italy Specialist, Great Getaways Travel


Lovers of Italy, have you been to Verona?

I’m a trivia lover (Did you catch me on JEOPARDY last year?) and will share some Italian trivia with you. In the famous quote that is the title of this post, do you know the meaning of the word “wherefore”? Hint: It doesn’t mean “where”.  Juliet wasn’t asking where Romeo was, she was questioning his purpose. Speaking of purpose,  I want to share my love of Verona with you, the setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Verona is for lovers. The setting of three Shakespeare plays about love, most notably Romeo & Juliet, and birthplace of the Roman romantic poet Catullus, Verona exudes ancient and medieval charm.

Lovers of Italy and History Unite!


Situated on the banks of the Adige River, Verona is home to a Roman theater from A.D. 30 that is still used for operas and concerts to this day. With a capacity of 30,000 (though for safety, attendance is capped at about half that), the arena boasts a super-sized stage so large that sets need to be custom-made and once accommodated live elephants during performances of Aida.

Juliet lovers, check this out!


The city’s other famous landmark is the Juliet’s House, a 13th-century home that belonged to the real-life Capulet family (as evidenced by the symbol of the hat, the family crest). Profess your undying love from Juliet’s balcony, hang a letter to your sweetheart from the walls of the courtyard or even rub the breast of Juliet (a statue, not a person) for luck. But try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the throngs of star-crossed lovers pressing up close in the, shall we say, intimate courtyard.


2 hotels for you’ll love


If the balcony is a little cramped for your declarations of love, the rooftop terrace at Virtuoso-preferred Hotel Due Torri (a 14th-century palazzo just steps from a Roman bridge and theater) provides sweeping views of the city and surrounding hills and is a perfect place to hold a wedding or just enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Outside the city, Relais & Chateaux property Villa del Quar is built on a site that has been offering rest to weary travelers since A.D. 47. A stretch of the Roman road Claudia Augusta still runs through the property, along vineyards growing yielding three varieties of Valpolicella wine.
Within easy reach are the Alps, Lake Garda, Bologna and Venice, Verona serves as a gateway to Italy’s northeast if your passions run farther afield. So raise a glass to your loved one and toast to Verona, city of romance.

April in Paris – a time for love

By Alison Luengo and Barbara King


Paris – the city of Love

It’s called the city of love and there is a good reason for it. One of the most romantic destinations we book is Paris. People love celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, honeymoons and special occasions in the City of Light. We’ve rounded up a few very special experiences in Paris that we think you should add to your bucket list for your next romantic trip to Paris.

Day 1 - Sightseeing Tour of Paris (2)

Love having dinner in the Eiffel Tower

You can absolutely not get any more romantic than booking a table at Le Jules Verne on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. The views alone will melt your sweetheart’s heart, and that’s before you taste the food. Founded by Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse, you can’t miss this restaurant when visiting Paris. The menu is just incredible with selections such as marinated gilt-head bream, pan-seared duck foie gras and truffled macaroni au gratin. You can enjoy five courses for around 200USD and six courses for around 250USD. Eating dinner at Le Jules Verne is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we highly encourage putting it on that bucket list of yours.

Another Paris restaurant to love

Recommended as one of the most romantic restaurants in Paris by one of Great Getaways’ advisors, you can’t miss this next restaurant! Often considered a sister property to Le Jules Verne is Ducasse’s bistro – Chez Allard. Once a simple wine shop, this classic restaurant has been a must in the city of Paris for nearly 80 years. However, it wasn’t until the end of World War II that it became all the rage to visit this restaurant, and it eventually sold to Alain Ducasse in hopes of keeping its original personality and character. Just reading the menu makes one’s mouth water with such dishes such as confit duck, seared scallops, and frog legs with scrumptious sides like potatoes and in-season vegetables. Top it off with a vanilla floating island, a to-die-for dessert. More reasonably priced than the chef’s other restaurant, especially with an a la carte menu — you can eat nicely for 150USD, you might just hit up this spot more than once while in Paris.


Four Seasons GEORGE V – a hotel we love

Of course restaurants aren’t the only venues offering special packages for romance. Enjoy some quality time with your honey at the Four Seasons Hotel George V with the Romance Package. Besides the most luxurious hotel spa in Paris and extravagant accommodations offered by this amazing hotel, this package boasts daily American breakfast, one EUR 100 voucher for the spa, a bottle of champagne and a floral bouquet in your room, and one copy of Flowers by Jeff Leatham, their artistic director. It is definitely a splurge at around 1400USD/night, but well worth the investment for a honeymoon or special anniversary. This Four Seasons will sweep any guest right off their feet, and could definitely be a choice for any romantic getaway.

These are special experiences, ones that create lasting memories. You can’t go wrong with any of these suggestions, so keep them in your back pocket for that extra special surprise you have for your significant other on the extra special occasion.

We thought you’d enjoy watching the trailer for the 1952 movie, “April in Paris” followed by the song of the same name.

Are All-Inclusives all-inclusive?

Grand Velas2

By Alison Luengo

We get a lot of questions about all-inclusive resorts. After all, they are a popular destination in the Caribbean, and families tend to flock to them during school holidays.  And let’s be honest, they offer a lot of appeal.  However, are you really getting all you are paying for at these so-called all-inclusive resorts or should you be looking elsewhere?

All-inclusives are convenient

First, let us look at the all-inclusive’s convenience factor that you’re paying for, and you are getting a lot of convenience.  Some food and beverage will be included and some water sports will be included (we will get into that “some” word in a moment). If you’re wanting to lie on the beach and drink house wells all day, then you’re set.  All-inclusive is the way for you to go.

Grand Velas

About those extras that aren’t all-inclusive…

However, if you have more on agenda for your vacation, then you had better read the fine print.  Your all-inclusive resort might not include a lot of perks which you go there expecting.  As an example, are private airport transfers, room service, or motorized water sports included?  Your answer is probably not.  Premium food and beverage is probably not included either.  You’ll be stuck paying the price—literally—when you order that steak and lobster accompanied by that Crown Royal.  Also, look at things you’ll want to do on the beach, especially if you’re taking your family.  Are jet skis top of your list?  There is a charge for that.  Scuba diving?  Yup, a charge for that too. So while there is a convenience factor to the all-inclusive idea, you need to make sure everything on your to-do list is on the resort’s list of included perks.

Are resort fees included?

Look closely at that bill when it comes to your room on the last morning.  See that resort fee they just charged you per day during your stay?  There is another hidden cost to your all-inclusive resort stay, and they can be pricey little fees too.  While you thought you were surfing the internet for free, visiting the gym for free, and enjoying the morning newspaper for free, resorts are really charging you for all those little amenities you thought nothing of during your stay.  Those resort fees add up and add up fast, so make sure to check into this before you book your stay.

Grand Velas3

Lastly, make sure to check the refund policy for your all-inclusive resort before booking.  Caribbean resorts are plagued by hurricane season June through November, and while you can get some fantastic rates during this time period, and maybe go and have a great time, there is that high chance that your trip will be interrupted by a hurricane or at least some serious rain.  Is your trip refundable even if your resort isn’t in the direct line of that monster hurricane causing such dangerous winds and surf you can’t get on that beach?  Chances are that if you’re not in the direct path of a storm, you’re not getting your money back either, and even if you are, that might be tricky too.

Your best bet for booking an all-inclusive resort is to talk with your travel advisor (hopefully one of us at GGT) before you book.  We know best which resorts to hurry up and pack for and which to steer clear of, and can ensure that everything you’re looking for is included.  All-inclusive resorts are wonderful and could be perfect for your next vacation, if you can navigate the tricky waters like Great Getaways Travel pros can.

The Weather Outside Is Frightful, But The Fire Is So Delightful

Triple Creek Ranch Photo


Winter Weather Wonderlands

Grab that gorgeous, fluffy throw, cuddle up on that overstuffed couch, and swig that deliciously rich hot chocolate. Maybe you’ve spent the day seeing and being seen on the slopes, or you have been delightfully lazy with your new favorite author, but either way it is that time of year where snuggling up next to the fireplace is not only a luxury but a necessity. So, to take the guess work out of the best places to snuggle up by the fire this winter, we’ve rounded up the most fabulous hotels and resorts whose fireplaces are so nice you’ll think twice before trekking outside.

Winter Weather Option #1: Triple Creek Ranch

Voted the #1 Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure readers in 2014, our first pick for hotels perfect for staying by the fire is Triple Creek Ranch located in Montana. In your private log cabin (with your own hot tub) you can pick a plethora of outdoor or indoor activities to fill your day including all your snow sports, skiing, or simply staying in your plush bathrobe for a lazy day. Maybe the most alluring feature of this hideaway, which is situated it the Bitterroot Mountains, is that it boasts an adult-only crowd. Who cares about the weather when you’re enjoying Triple Creek Ranch?

Winter Weather Option #2: Twin Farms

Being one of only 23 lodgings in the USA and Canada that can toot their own horn about having a Twin Farms PhotoForbes 5 star rating since 1996 is our next cozy winter retreat, Twin Farms, which is located on 300 acres in Vermont just north of Woodstock. Enjoy six private ski trails, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, and tobogganing in winter, or relax and unwind in their Woods Spa. Our guarantee is that your waist line will not be ignored (unfortunately or fortunately) while staying at this resort, as Twin Farms’ seasonal meals incorporate the property’s own herbs and is customized for each guest to be complimented by vintages from the 26,000-bottle wine cellar.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Photo

Winter weather option #3: Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Situated on the base of the Blackcomb Mountain, as one of the world’s premier ski resorts, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a ski-in/ski-out resort that is one hot place to be seen during those cold winter nights. The largest all-inclusive resort constructed in Canada since the turn of the century, has 494 guest rooms with 56 suites. With plenty of fireplaces to keep you warm and cozy, you’ll debate traveling the few feet outside to Whistler Village, but we promise it is worth it.

Winter weather option #4: Montage Deer Valley

The votes are in and ranked as one of the Great Getaways Travel Advisors’ favorite winter retreats is Montage PhotoMontage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. This brand new hotel, opening in December of 2010, is described as one of North America’s finest mountain resort destinations. Another ski-in/ski-out resort with a self-described 35,000 square foot “alpine oasis” in the form of the Spa Montage, this 220 room winter paradise definitely packs a punch with Utah’s famous powder snow at your fingertips. However, if you’re not interested in that famous snow, hunker down in Daly’s Pub & Rec which features an open kitchen, bowling, billiards, and nostalgic arcade games.
Really, no matter what you wish for your next winter escape these four resorts have it all. From winter sports to cuddling up by the fire, we guarantee that your days will be filled with relaxation and pampering if you choose one of these fabulous resorts as your destination of choice.