Photos of the Day: Life’s a Beach

It’s been less than a week and I’m already missing the beach.¬† Something about water calms me…it’s like an instant shot of happiness ūüôā¬† Maybe I need to get an “ocean waves” app or something…but then I’m nervous that it will make me want to pee all the time.¬† Hmmm…I guess the next best thing to being there is staring at pictures!!!¬†¬†As I started looking thru my online photo albums, I realized that I’ve been BEYOND BLESSED to visit so many amazing places!¬† And I’d like to share a few of them with you.¬† So, get your pretend swimsuit, a very real cocktail,¬†sunglasses and let’s go!!!

Mimosas on the beach? Yes...please & thank you! (Cancun)

Mimosas on the beach? Yes…please & thank you! (Cancun)

A Hilton Head sunrise...best way to get your day started!

A Hilton Head sunrise…best way to get your day started!

(Santorini) A view of an infinity pool AND the Mediterranean Sea? Heaven!

(Santorini) A view of an infinity pool AND the Mediterranean Sea? Heaven!

The Norwegian fjords! While it was cold enough for Frosty the Snowman when I visited in March, it's absolutely breathtaking during the summer!

The Norwegian fjords! While it was cold enough for Frosty the Snowman when I visited in March, it’s absolutely breathtaking during the summer!

I know this may be a stretch...but I fell in love with this dam in the Scottish Highlands...and this was before I had any Scottish whiskey :) So serene & peaceful!

I know this may be a stretch…but I fell in love with this dam in the Scottish Highlands…and this was before I had any Scottish whiskey ūüôā So serene & peaceful!

The famous Santorini caldera sunset...

The famous Santorini caldera sunset…

The sunset over a lagoon in Cancun

The sunset over a lagoon in Cancun

Beautiful Lake Bled (Slovenia)

Beautiful Lake Bled (Slovenia)

The amazing Amalfi Coast in Positano, Italy!

The amazing Amalfi Coast in Positano, Italy!

The marina in Monte-Carlo

The marina in Monte-Carlo

Waves on rocks in Monte-Carlo

Waves on rocks in Monte-Carlo

Sunset over Chateau de Chillon

Sunset over Chateau de Chillon

Photo of the Day: It’s So Hard to Say Good-Bye

What an absolutely amazing week in Cancun! I was blessed to spend it with family & friends experiencing some amazing adventures. Waking up this morning to the now familiar sound of crashing ocean waves makes leaving bittersweet. So, as we bring this spectacular vacation to a close, we decided to eat our breakfast on the balcony and enjoy the sunrise one last time. Adios, Cancun!!!

Photos of the Day: Swimming with Dolphins

You know how you see your friend’s photo on Facebook where he/she is all hugged up on a dolphin and you think, “How cool! I wanna do that!”? But instead you are hugging your pillow whining about how you need a vacation…ok, maybe that was just me?!?!?!? I finally got the opportunity to “swim with the fishes (well, they were actually dolphins but I’ve been itching to use that line from The Godfather for a while…ha!). Our dolphins, Pablo & Lucas, were just like puppies! So cute, so friendly and addicted to treats! When you arrive to the pool, you are told that you can only wear a bathing suit (no jewelry, sunglasses, hair clips, etc.). I will go a step further and tell you not to wear hair pieces/wigs because sorry for you if that sucker comes off and your dolphin is now wearing a Bobbi Boss lacefront wig. Ha!

Once you get in the pool, you greet the dolphins by waving (and they turn on their sides to wave back…so freaking cute!). Then after you pet your dolphin,you swim out into the middle of the pool and wait for the dolphin to join you. The dolphin will swim around behind you then flip onto its tummy for you to grab its fins and off you go zooming towards the shallow end! So fun!! A little later, you get to “dance” and “kiss” your dolphin. I want a pet dolphin so bad…but i guess I’ll just have to content myself with trying to teach my dog how to wave his paw & pose for kisses. I’m pretty sure he’s going to give me the side-eye and sigh like “stop the madness, lady…and get me a treat while you’re up.”

Honestly, if you’ve ever debated on whether or not to swim with dolphins, I highly recommend you do it. They are so gentle and fun…and it will be an experience you will talk about for a long time!

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Photos of the Day: Parasailing in Cancun

I had the pleasure of parasailing for the first time. What a great experience!!! It’s also an excellent way to get some awesome photos!

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Photo of the Day: Hard Rock Cancun

So, it was time for another vacation…this time to Cancun! I find the beach to be an instant stress reliever :). One of my favorite places to stay was the Cancun Palace Resort…which is now the Hard Rock Cancun Hotel. With this balcony view, who can’t love it?

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Nikki’s Nest: Cancun Palace Resort (Cancun, Mexico)

I’m often asked about recommended places to stay.¬† So, I’ve started this series titled “Nikki’s Nest” which will offer lodging recommendations for the cities I’ve visited throughout the U.S. and abroad.¬† If you have a question on where to stay, let me know.

My first resort recommendation is the Cancun Palace Resort¬†in Cancun, Mexico.¬† It’s about 25 minutes from the Cancun airport and close to the main hotel zone (where all the attractions, restaurants & action is).

This is an all-inclusive resort so you don’t have to leave it if you don’t want to (and I didn’t).¬† I spent a lovely week at this resort the last week of November 2010.

Promotions

Cancun Palace usually runs some sort of promotion deal (typically $1500 resort credit for a stay of 5-8 nights).¬† This credit can be used towards spa/beauty salon services, room upgrades, tours, etc.¬† It’s a great deal if you want to take advantage of the spa and see some of the Cancun sites (swimming with the dolphins, adventure ziplining, visiting Chichin Itza, etc).

Rooms & Suites

Each room or suite has a jacuzzi, flat screen tv as well as a mini refrigerator and bar (stocked with premium liquor).  There are 5 types of rooms:  Deluxe (resort view only), Superior Deluxe (Ocean or Lagoon view), Family Deluxe (which is 2 connecting Superior Deluxe rooms), Concierge Level and the Presidential Suite.

We stayed in a Superior Deluxe Room

Superior Deluxe Room (source http://www.allinclusiveholidaysworldwide.com) Superior Deluxe Room (source http://www.allinclusiveholidaysworldwide.com)

and the Presidential Suite

         

The Presidential Suite (photo sourced from http://www.allinclusiveholidaysworldwide.com)

The rooms are so comfortable.¬† You really don’t want to leave!¬† The beds lull you to sleep with the soft featherbed under fresh, crisp linens.¬† The shower is huge…seriously.¬† I could spend all day in there.¬† The Presidential Suite is like a home away from home.¬† It has a dining area, living room, separate bedroom, bathroom and jacuzzi as well as a huge patio overlooking the beautiful blue ocean.

The Fitness Center

I worked out at the fitness center 4 times during my week-long visit.¬† It’s moderate size and can get a little crowded during the morning.¬† However, the equipment is fairly new and you have enough space to use the weights.¬† They also offer classes…I took the spinning class twice and it was a great workout.¬† I even ran into an old¬†college friend during the class.¬† If you want a resort where you can stay in shape during your vacation, you won’t be disappointed.

The Spa

I used part of my resort credit for a mani/pedi, Swedish massage and a chocolate wrap.  This place is wonderful!  The spa is very tranquil with low mood lighting, soft music and zen water fountains.  You will need to be sure to make your appointments the first day you arrive as they do book up rather quickly.  I highly recommend the chocolate wrap!  It is divine.

Dining

The resort has 5 different restaurants (Italian, Mexican, Japanese and US-inspired).¬† We ate at all 5 restaurants and the food was generally pretty good.¬† I loved the Japanese¬†(Miyako), Italian (Leonardo) and US-inspired (The Steak) restaurants.¬† But, the Mexican restaurant was okay…which is odd since we were in Mexico.¬† The food was a little bland.¬† I’d recommend it for lunch but try the other restaurants for dinner.

Activities

The resort has plenty of daily and nightly activities.  From pool games to a Michael Jackson show, you are bound to find something that amuses you.

    

Overall, I loved the Cancun Palace Resort.¬† The main goal of my vacation was to relax.¬† I stayed the entire week at the resort and spent my time working out, eating, going to the spa and hanging out by the pool.¬† If you want to chill out at a fabulous hotel without worrying about how much every drink will cost (again, it’s all-inclusive so everything has already been paid for), check it out!

Nikki’s Rating: Fabulous 4

Rating Scale 1-5 (1 = GET OUT NOW; 2 = Seriously?; 3 = Eh, it’ll do; 4 = Fabulous; 5 =¬†Absolutely Wonderful)