The Eiffel Tower, Oaris - The Luv Aviatrix's Airbnb Review

The Coolest Airbnb in Paris

Bonjour! If you know me, than you know I love Paris. It’s my favorite city in the entire world, and I’ve done quite a bit of traveling. Perk of the job. There’s just something about all the history, all of the art, and the slow way in which the locals enjoy a coffee or a meal. As a writer, I love meandering the same cobblestone streets that Ernest Hemmingway, Oscar Wilde, and countless other writers have called home and been inspired by. Or if you prefer art, what artist did not live in and love Paris?

 

The Eiffel Tower, Oaris - The Luv Aviatrix's Airbnb Review

 

But I’ll not get too carried away discussing the hundreds of reasons I love Paris in this post, instead, I’m going to tell you where to stay. My goal today is to enlighten travelers about the unique option while in Paris, of staying at an “Airbnb” instead of a hotel. I like Airbnb, although I’ll be honest, I have had hit and miss occasions. This occasion in Paris was a hit, and I’d love nothing more than to tell fellow travelers about my unique experience.  But wait, you haven’t heard of Airbnb?

 

Airbnb for Dummies.

What is Airbnb?  In a nutshell, Airbnb is accommodation via personal homes and apartment rentals. Via the website, the user can choose to rent only a room, or an entire apartment or home. You can search for homes all over the world, some Airbnbs renting for as little as $7 USD and some as expensive as thousands of dollars per night. This is because Airbnb offers everything from a camp rental or room rental, to giant beach front vacation homes. Generally, I don’t rent anything over $200 a night.

 

My Favorite Airbnb in Paris

There were two key reasons why this apartment is amazing.

1. Location. In the heart of Le Marais, the historical heart of Paris with winding, cobblestone alleys and quaint bistros. The apartment is located right on St. Catherine’s Square and strolling distance to Place des Vosges. You can walk everywhere in Le Marais, but if you do choose to venture farther, a metro stop was less than two minutes walk from this Airbnb. Some of the best food I’ve had in Paris was less than a block away from our stay at this wonderful Airbnb. If you want quintessential Paris, then to be able to stay in Le Marais is a must accommodation-wise. Having a metro stop is even more significant, because the transit system is super easy to navigate and can get you everywhere in Paris.

2. Unique Parisian Feel. Let’s be honest, the only reason to avoid a chain hotel, is because you want a unique experience and homey feel. When you stay in Paris, you want to feel like a local. What better way than to rent a local Parsian’s home or apartment. Everything about this Airbnb screamed Paris, but also artist. From the winding staircase up to the apartment door, to the giant wall-size map of Paris in the living room, you’ll be transported. Don’t even get me started on the Absinthe shop beneath the apartment. So cool! The quirks continued inside the partment with lighting in the shape of…well scroll down and you’ll see 😉 My favorite touch beside the giant wall map of Paris would have to be the wood beam ceiling. Just magical and as you can see by my pictures, this Airbnb was full of Parisian charm.

 

This Paris Airbnb is full of charm - A Luv Aviatrix Review

 

This Paris Airbnb is full of charm - A Luv Aviatrix Review

 

This Paris Airbnb is full of Parisian Charm - a Luv Aviatrix Review

 

I never met the host (as in some Airbnb cases), but I was given the location of the key to let myself into the apartment. All of the normal amenities were available, such as shampoo, conditioner, ect. Another perk of an Airbnb, is having a full kitchen in the apartment. The kitchen was complete with everything we need and we made quick use of the wine opener to celebrate our arrival into our cozy Parisian nest.  Our bed was incredibly comfortable (or maybe it was the French wine) and we slept in late into the following afternoon. Nothing beats a lazy day in Paris!

 

Le Marais, Paris, Airbnb Review

Perks of Airbnb

I stay in hotels a lot as a flight attendant, and it can feel quite stale. Every hotel looks similar. You walk in and out like a tourist or business person. Airbnb lets you live like a local! Not only that, but there is the perfect Airbnb for every personality. I loved the very unique and Parisian feel of this Airbnb, but maybe you’re into a sleek, modern look-Airbnb has so many hosts that there is a home for every style. Are you a cook back home and you want a gourmet kitchen in the middle of Paris? Airbnb will help you find what you need. There’s just something more personal about staying in an Airbnb and no matter what city I’m in, the accommodation definitely makes my stay all the more memorable. Just like hotels, Airbnb accommodations get cleaned, and probably better than hotels because they rely heavily on reviews. Sometimes you will see this small cleaning fee either included, or on top of the apartment/home charges.

Airbnb not your thing? Start pricing hotels in Paris. After all, planning is half the fun!

 

 

The coolest Airbnb in Paris    Final Verdict

This Airbnb has got to be the coolest place to stay in Paris. And it cost less than $100 a night! It’s so unique both inside and outside the apartment and full, from floor to ceiling, or Parisian charm. You’ll feel like a local when you step outside onto the quaint cobblestone street, only minutes away from bistros and the metro. So go to Paris, stay like a local, and cram as much macaroons and cheese into your suitcase as you can 😉

 

New to Airbnb? Get $35 USD in credit when you sign up or stay using my reference code here. It’s free to sign up.  Get on the site, but prepare to get addicted! There are so many amazing places in the world to stay and so many incredible Airbnbs!

 

 

Happy Travels

xoxo

The Luv Aviatrix

 

This is an honest review done of my own will and opinion and was not paid for by Airbnb or it’s host although this post does contain affiliate links which I may make a commission from.

 

Start planning your next trip to Paris and pin this image for later 🙂

 

The Coolest Airbnb in Paris - Stay like a local!

 

P.S. Want the travel book in that photo I took at the café? It’s one of my favorite walking guides to Paris. There’s no better way to get to love Paris than to walk. I’m not sure if they still make that specific books anymore, but Frommers is always putting out new editions.

P.P.S. Prefer fiction? Check out my post A Flight Attendant’s Bookshelf for my favorite travel reads!

 

Frommer’s Paris day by day (Kindle Edition)


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Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan view from Pyramid of the Moon

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Not far from Mexico City, travelers can climb one of the tallest pyramids in the world. If you’re the adventurous sort, and I know I am, you’ll get out of the city and head to the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan. Before you even arrive, you’ll see the giant Pyramid of the Sun in the distance. In my humble opinion, I think Mexico City is one of the most interesting cities in the world. Whenever I hear people say they are going to visit, I tell them that an excursion to Teotihuacan is a must. Whether you climb the pyramid or simply gaze at it, you’ll be transported to another era. An era of cacao, of gold, and of human sacrifice.

 

If you follow my blog you know I’m a flight attendant. I always wanted to be a flight attendant, but I still went to university to study subjects that I thought would be useful in my travels. This led me to major in cultural anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology. This is what gave birth to my obsession with ancient Olmec, Maya and Aztec civilization and I spent a summer backpacking around, adventuring to many of the ruins. I still have plenty of ancient cities on my list, but that summer I put a good dent in it. Teotihuacan, unlike some ruins, is very easily accessible.

 A Flight Attendants Guide to Teotihuacan Mexico

ng the Pyramids at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, Getting There

By Bus, or By Bus Tour…That is the question. Some people argue that it’s better to take the bus on your own because it’s cheaper, with more time at the pyramids. This is certainly true, but I have to say, I did take a tour through a Mexico City hostel and it was incredibly memorable. Many of the bad reviews for the bus tour was the opposite of my experience and personally,  you get what you give in life. So let me tell you about my excursion.

 
Flight Attendant Tip: First of all, even if you’re not staying at a hostel, you can always get the same excursions, BUT CHEAPER, by purchasing from a hostel. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle…especially my ladies, I feel like the men actually enjoy it when we haggle with them. 🙂 My Spanish and smile have gotten me amazing discounts. In the states, I’m sure the same haggling would have gotten me throttled. My haggling is usually something like, “Oh bummer, my budget was (insert amount here). That’s too bad because I really wanted (insert object of affection here).” Haggling has never failed me and allowed me to remain budget doing excursions, buying jewelry, getting taxi rides, you name it. And don’t forget, you get more flies with honey, so always smile! I paid $15-20, which seems like a steal to me for transportation, a guide, a tequila workshop and snacks.

 

Pit stop: The tour I did stopped at a Tequila tasting shop and our group (of about 15) got to see how the ancient Mesoamericans used the Maguey plant and local flowers to make bright tapestries. They used the same plant to make drinking mescal. Tasting the mescal, and pulque was quite intense, made from the Maguey plant we were shown when we first arrived. I really liked the sweet Almedrado, an almond flavor tequila liquer. I’ve heard some people complain that it was a complete waste of time and that they hardly got any tequila. My group was there about fifteen minutes, so it definitely didn’t cost too much time at the pyramids. And let me say, they were verrrrrry generous with their pours. I didn’t want too get too tipsy before climbing one of the tallest pyramids in the world, so I was careful, but let me say that before we even left the Tequila place, some of the guys in our group were puking in the bushes. 😉 Caution: Tequila taste at your own risk.

 

Making textiles out of Maguey

The Ruins of Teotihuacan

The main event! Two giant pyramids, the Sun and the Moon tower above the Avenue of the Dead. Walk down the ancient road lined with rocky temples and you can’t help but feel like you’re in another world. Teotihuacan was once home to over 125,00 people and when you take a tour, you really gain incredible insight into the city, which even had technology such as ancient plumbing and aqueducts. This is absolutely incredible if you keep in mind that the Pyramid of the sun was believed to have built in the second century AD. I knew some from my collegiate studies, but really our guide was a wealth of information. That’s a great perk about tours, but also, I met memorable friends from Germany and Brazil that I still keep in touch with.

 

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun:

 

If you’re afraid of heights, this is not for you. I’m not afraid of heights and still on occasion I was like “What the hell am I doing!?!?!” The steps get pretty steep and towards the top it gets very windy! Once you get to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, you’ll be surrounded of course by fellow adventurers. If you check out my selfie below, you’ll notice the edge in ominously close and I can’t help but wonder if any tourists have fallen off the pyramid before. Eek!

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun

 

Flight Attendant Tip: If you want to feel a bit more like you’re the only one atop the mountain, head over to the Pyramid of the Moon and climb that one too! I did and was rewarded with a very peaceful rest at the top. Although the Pyramid of the Sun is more famous because it’s taller, the Pyramid of the Moon has an even better view because it rests at the very end of the Avenue of the Dead, offering a very dramatic view of Teotihuacan and the Pyramid of the Sun in the Distance. And if you’re sitting at the top and it feels like you’re just as high, it’s because you are. The Pyramid of the Moon sits on a higher landscape so although it’s not as tall, you still climb just as high.

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan view from Pyramid of the Moon

Bottom Line:

Whether you’re a history lover, or just love a unique adventure, Teotihuacan is a must if you’re in the Mexico City area.

 

So, have you climbed a pyramid lately? If you did, were you deathly afraid or was it invigorating? For me, it was a little of both, but mostly amazing!

 

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Maui: A Flight Attendant’s Guide

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Mai Tai Service

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Aloha! I count my lucky stars that I’ve been able to explore Hawaii so much. As a flight attendant, travel is a major perk of the job, so it’s a crime not to get around. I love all of Hawaii, but Maui might possibly be my favorite island. Each island has their own vibe though, so really I suppose my favorite island just depends on what I’m in the mood for. But whenever people ask, my initial response is always Maui. Maui is amazing because it has the romantic, quiet beaches, it has epic hikes, snorkeling, whale watching, and an unforgettable highway that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. But I’ll get to Maui’s Road to Hana in a little bit.

Maui, the Basics

 

Maui is known for whale watching, rainbows, gorgeous beaches and amazing fresh seafood. To get to Maui, you”ll have to fly into Maui’s Kahului airport, OGG. There are many airlines that service the airport. For those of you who know me, I started off my flight attendant career with the Alaska Airlines air group. This means I’m particularly biased when I recommend flying Alaska Airlines into Hawaii. One of the perks is the welcome to Hawaii complimentary Mai Tai service. Yep, a free Mai Tai to get you ready to arrive in Paradise. That being said, I’ve heard Hawaiian is great, and my friends at Virgin America and Delta have always treated me great well. XOXO

To get around the island (and to fully appreciate it) I whole-heartedly recommend renting a car, preferably a four wheel drive to better navigate the Road to Hana as some roads are not paved. Although it’ll be expensive, I recommend visiting during whale-watching season. Whether I was driving, dining or laying on a beach, I was always seeing whales breach and it was incredible. Check the weather because part of Maui’s magic is that the weather is always changing. One minute it’s raining, the next minute you’re getting sun-kissed and gazing at rainbows. Pack accordingly with a light rain jacket and bug spray never hurts in these climates.

 

Rainbows in Maui, a Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

My Favorite Beach

 

Maui is always on every “Best Beaches” list, whether it’s Conde Nast, Frommers, you name it, Maui will have multiple beaches on that best beach list. Maui has white powder sand, black sand, every shade of stunning sand you can dream of. Some beaches lay in front of fancy resorts and some you can hike to. There’s so many unique beaches and that’s why when I announce my favorite beach, I’m sure I’ll get someone disagreeing with me. Kaanapali is super popular, and very beautiful, but Oneloa, also known as Big Beach, is definitely, hands down my favorite beach on Maui. I’ve been there a few times and it’s usually less busy, and sometimes it even feels like you have the place to yourself. Big Beach is beautiful to just relax, or if you’re feeling active, boogie board or snorkel. I snorkeled here and although sometimes the waves are a bit heavy, I still saw lots of beautiful fish. Most of all, I love the way the beach curves and you can get a great view of it by climbing up a hill to Little Beach. That’s right, climb over a hill and down on the other side is Little Beach, a clothing optional beach 🙂

 

Big Beach, Maui Hawaii

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Big Beach, Maui Hawaii

 

Visit this Big Beach, because I insist, but don’t forget some of the other famous beaches. Like I mentioned, Kaanapali is probably Maui’s most famous beach. Chances are, if you’re staying in a big hotel on Maui, you might be staying on Kaanapali. Personally, I prefer the Kihei area because there are a lot of things that are walkable and it feels less resort-like and like more of a town. If you’re on honeymoon, go with romantic resort areas on Maui like Kaanapali or Wailea.

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Kaanapali Beach

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Black Sand Beach

 

 

A note on snorkeling in Maui: There are many “trips” that you can pay for, but snorkeling is great just about everywhere and you can certainly just go on your own if you bring a snorkel or rent one. The bummer about paying for a snorkel tour is that you’re subject to weather influencing the visibility. Maui water is super clear, but bad weather is bad weather, unfortunately. I have done the Molokini Crater trip and I was very disappointed. The visibility was bad due to wind and on top of that, it was so crowded I didn’t get the feel of being in another world like I usually do when snorkeling. I highly recommend renting or bringing your own snorkel gear and going for a swim whenever the mood strikes you. I used my favorite Maui book, Maui Revealed for all the best snorkeling spots.

 

My Favorite Place for a Drink

   Hint: It’s everything you expect for a romantic, Hawaiian evening Lilikoi Martini

 

For my birthday, I wanted nothing more than a good view, good sushi, and an amazing cocktail.  I got all three at the 5 Palms in Kihei. The 5 Palms is at the Mana Kai resort in Kihei and it rests right on the beach, offering amazing views from both inside and outside the restaurant.

My to-die-for drink is the Lilikoi Martini. When I ordered it, I didn’t know what Lilikoi was exactly, but it sounded Hawaiian so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. I was so right. To this day, it’s my favorite cocktail I’ve had anywhere. It probably didn’t hurt that the sunset I was gazing out at, and the whales breaching in the distance, all made the drink taste even more magical.

The 5 Palms doesn’t disappoint, which makes it very popular and a reservation is absolutely necessary! Trying to walk in? Expect to be turned away or asked to wait for some time. Waiting can stil be fun though because you’ve got a great view. The second time I went to the 5 Palms, I waited about 30 minutes to get in, but was able to watch the whales breaches just off the beach. Amazing. This place isn’t cheap, but it’s not super expensive. Budget wise, I’d say it’s a once-per-trip visit kind of establishment. 😉

 

The Road To Hana Coconuts on Maui Hawaii

 

If you go to Maui for no reason other than to experience the Road To Hana, you must go. The Road to Hana is quite possibly one of my favorite world experiences and it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. I recommend dedicating at least an entire day (we’re talking set you’re alarm to wake up early) to three days depending on what your travel goals are while on Maui. But what is the Road to Hana? Basically, it’s Hawaii’s answer to California’s Highway 1. Both famous drives cling to rocky cliffs, offering earth-shattering ocean views. What makes the Road to Hanna even more special is that every couple seconds, you’re passing waterfalls. I promise your neck will hurt from taking this drive because on one side you have beautiful ocean vistas, on the other side is jungle and waterfalls galore. The road to Hana is so spectacular, I dedicated a post to it here.

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

 

 

In Summary, Don’t Leave Maui Without…

Whale WatchingTaking Snorkel Selfies in Maui, Check out this Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Chasing rainbows

Eating and drinking as much as you can:

fresh fish (ideally macademia encrusted), Hawaiian shaved ice, tropical drinks, repeat

Driving the road to Hana

Checking out each Maui beach, whether it’s black sand or white powder. Grab a snorkel!

Have you been to Maui? Tell me, what’s your favorite thing to do on the island?

Aloha and Happy Traveling

XOXO The Luv Aviatrix

 

P.S. Notice how I haven’t put any accommodation recommendations? Let me know if you have any! I’ve always stayed in AirBnBs there and while I’ve had luck everywhere else in the world, I haven’t had success in Maui. Every place I’ve stayed has been lackluster. I even had one host greet me by insulting my shoes. Yep. That happened.

P.P.S. Planning a trip to Maui? Below are my two fav Hawaii/Maui travel books. Please note that these are affiliate links, which mean I get a commission, but I promise, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Pretty much anyone who’s been to Maui will recommend the book, Maui Revealed 🙂

 

Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook (Kindle Edition)


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Lonely Planet Hawaii (Travel Guide) (Kindle Edition)


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Jeep in Kauai

7 Reasons Why Hawaii Should Be Your Bachelorette Party Getaway!

Hawaii Bachelorette Party Ideas

Aloha! As a flight attendant, I’m fortunate to be able to travel a lot. Hawaii is an easy getaway for me since I’m on the West coast. I’m ashamed to admit that the first few times I went to Honolulu, I scoffed at the idea of visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center. I finally went after taking my mom to Honolulu and maybe it’s because I have a dirty mind, but it was like Magic Mike Live, but in Hawaii. My face is literally getting red just thinking about it. The entire time I was there I thought, this needs to be my bachelorette party getaway…if I ever get married lol. So far all you gals that ARE engaged, this is my argument for making a Hawaiian getaway part of your bachelorette party getaway plans.

Reasons to have your bachelorette party in Hawaii

 

Kauai, Hawaii

1. Hawaii is never a bad idea. Let’s be honest, it’s paradise!

 

Exhibit A above. The beaches, the weather, the smiling people and aloha spirit. I’ve never been to Hawaii and not had the time of my life. Nothing is more memorable than leaving footprints in pristine Hawaiian sand or gazing out at a fresh rainbow after a brief, warm sprinkle. Have your bachelorette party in paradise and I guarantee it’ll become a tradition, a Hawaiian girls getaway that you and your closest friends can remember forever. After all, you and your hubby-to-be deserve a romantic honeymoon, but don’t you and your besties deserve a special vacay? I think so!

 

2. The Polynesian Cultural Center…Hawaii’s Gift to Women

Like I mentioned before, on many of my previous visits to Honolulu, I’d shunned the idea of taking the time to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. It’s not that I’m not interested in culture, I majored in Anthropology, so I love it. But if I’m on a quick getaway, I always just assumed the PCC would be stuffy and full of tourists. I avoided the Polynesian Cultural Center like I avoid the Mona Lisa exhibit in the Louvre. Big Mistake. I think everyone should visit the PCC…especially women. There was so much history…but goodness, it’s like they hire the best looking men of the islands to reenact the historical practices. I literally felt like a predator watching them show me how to make a woven basket or build a fire. And don’t even get me started on the Haka. What is a Haka, you ask? It’s an incredibly testosterone driven war dance, as equally sexy as it is terrifying. Maybe it’s the romance novel writer in me, but seeing these guys pounding on their chests and sticking their tongues out nearly rendered me to a puddle on the floor. The only reason I didn’t melt was one of the Hawaiian Shaved Ice vendors helped me cool down with the yummy treat! The ladies of your bachelorette party are sure to get into trouble here. I know I got a couple numbers while I was there 😉

 

Feast your eyes on some Polynesian Culture Center  studs. Like Magic Mike, but sexier…a bit primal. 🙂

 

Polynesian Cultural Center HonoluluPolynesian Cultural Center HonoluluPolynesian Cultural Center Honolulu

 

Polynesian Cultural Center Honolulu

 

3. All the exotic drinks..Honolulu Mai Tai

 

Tiki Bars, need I say more? There’s going to be drinking at a bachelorette party, so why not drink fresh Mai Tais and beautiful Orchid-topped Pina Coladas? Or how about Pineapple juice and champagne, a Pimosa so to speak 😉 If anyone in the bachelorette party is a non-drinker worries, you’ll still feel exotic drinking fresh coconut milk. Yummm…

 

Kauai Pina Coladas

 

4. Take a group surf lesson!

 

This idea is for the epic bride-to-be. It’s so fun, but it’s not for the hung-over bachelorette group. So if you’re planning on doing a lot of vacation drinking during your bachelorette party getaway, maybe steer away from this option. Does this warning sound like it’s coming from personal experience? That’s because it is. LOL. On my last girls getaway…well, let’s just say what happens in Hawaii stays in Hawaii 😉 Drink too much the night before at your own risk though because yours truly got seasick during her surf lesson. Getting rescued by the studly surf instructors was definitely not on my to-do list. Speaking of instructors…The surfers are all super sexy, especially at Waikiki beach. All the girls will enjoy a little hands on action with the instructors. Nothing beats leaving Hawaii knowing you tried something different, and maybe even caught a wave!

 

5. Instagram material for life 😉

 

Let’s be honest, the vacation didn’t happen if you didn’t take a bunch of pictures and post them on social media. Whether it’s exotic beaches, exotic drinks, bikini selfies or food porn pics, Hawaii provides plenty of photo ops.

 

Hawaii Flora   Hawaiian Shaved Ice kauai napali

       Kauai Sand             Honolulu View

6. Rent a Jeep, take the top off and sing!

 

When in Hawaii, you definitely need a ride. I whole heartedly think that a jeep is the only way to go. Cram all your girlfriends into it, take the top down, and blast some of your favorite tunes. Singing cheesy pop songs at the top of our lungs and having the Hawaiian breeze whip through our hair created iconic moments that I’ll never forget. Depending on how many girls are in your bachelorette party, you’ll need one or two. Have a bachelorette caravan if you have to! This was such a great memory from my last girls trip in Hawaii!

 

Jeep in Kauai

 

 

7. Take a Hula dancing lesson

 

Besides being a blast, learn some skills that you can take back home and impress your man with. After all, the art of hula dancing is by far, one of the most beautiful, sexy, graceful dances in the world. Do a private group lesson for your bachelorette party, get dolled up, and learn how to hula. Some companies will let you request a location, I’m thinkin’ beach. Some instructors, like Sarah Chang will even help choreograph a wedding dance!

Bottom Line… There are endless Maui Hawaii Embry Riddle Hatreasons to create a memorable bachelorette party in Hawaii!

 

 

I’ve left you with 7 since it’s a lucky number. And honestly, even if you’re not planning a bachelorette party, take your best girls to Hawaii and start an annual tradition anyway! Sometimes life gets busy and where better to reconnect with friends than paradise?

P.S. Looking for a Honolulu hotel? Check out my review of the Aston Waikiki, here.

Aloha & Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

Honolulu Aston Waikiki

Hotel Review: Honolulu, Aston Waikiki Beach

Hotel Review for Aston Waikiki Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

As I flight attendant, I stay in hundreds of hotels, so I’ll admit, I have high expectations. So I’m always excited to let my fellow travelers in on what I think about the places I’m staying.

Flight Attendant Tip: Don’t forget, if you’re flying to the island (and you probably are), Alaska Airlines has a complimentary Mai Tai service to get you ready for your exotic vacay!

Honolulu, especially the Waikiki Beach area, hosts thousands of tourists every day. Hawaii is an idyllic vacation and I always say that Honolulu is for Hawaii beginners. What do I mean by that? The Hawaiian islands all have unique characteristics that make them special, whether your plan is to venture around volcanos, hike to waterfalls, or lay on the beach with your lover all day long, each Hawaiian island is sure to please. The island of Oahu, has a little something for everyone and is a great starting point for Hawaii newbies. Is it my favorite island? Not by a long shot. Is Honolulu my favorite Hawaiian getaway? No way. Is Honolulu amazing and do I tell everyone to go there? Yes!

 

Where to Stay and what will it cost me?

 

An arm and a leg. Sad, but true, almost every hotel in the Waikiki area is expensive year round. That’s because there really is no high and low season for Hawaii. This is because like Paris, Hawaii is always a good idea! Although it’s expensive to stay in Waikiki, I do think it’s important for first time visitors to experience the Waikiki area. This is because it’s easy to navigate on foot. Due to of all the tourists, Waikiki has a lot of the beautiful, sometimes cheesy things that first time visitors look for, whether it’s free hula dancing shows or fire dancers in the park, you’ll never run out of fun things to do. Including hustlers trying to throw fliers into your hands for the tour excursion they’re selling. They’ll promise you it’s the best deal, but be wary. But I digress…onto our featured accommodation.

 

Aston Waikiki Beach

 

Ocean view rooms start at a little over $200, unless you get lucky with a crew special (which often are sold out). It’s located right on Kalakaua avenue, which hosts many restaurants, hotels and shops and more importantly, it’s right across from the beach. Even better for families, the beach in front of the Aston Waikiki has a barrier to block the waves, creating a protected ocean pool to swim.

 

Honolulu Waikiki Beach

What I liked about the hotel

 

For the price (because $200 for an ocean view in Waikiki is actually pretty decent), the view is amazing. I love that the room I had on the forward right side of the building had a sweeping view of the entire avenue and beach front. I’ve been centrally located before, facing forward and it’s a gorgeous view, but I think I favor this one. I love that this hotel is located down at the end of the main drag because it’s a little less crowded and a little more quiet. Also, I feel like admitting this is cheesy, but I liked the restaurant/bar at the hotel. It’s an indoor/outdoor tiki bar that faces the ocean so it’s got a great view. It also has fun drinks, yummy food and entertainment in the evening. I would definitely go back to that tiki bar even when I’m not staying there. It’s called Tiki’s Bar and Grill.

The beds and amenities were good/average.

 

 

Honolulu Aston Waikiki

 View from my room

 Honolulu Aston Waikiki

What I didn’t like

 

The pool was very lackluster. Honestly, that’s not a huge deal to me because when I’m in Hawaii I prefer to be on the beach anyway. If you are a pool person, probably pass on this hotel. The pool is a bit old school, small and always filled with kids. Not very many places to lay out in the sun. I didn’t have many complaints about the hotel, but if I had to come up with something else, it’s that it didn’t have a very Hawaiian feel about it. Some hotels in Waikiki go above and beyond with gorgeous fragrant flora and pineapple juice upon arrival and this hotel didn’t really give me that same welcome to Hawaii feel. The view from the balcony was great, but I guess I should mention that it was a bit small compared to other Honolulu hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. But that’ll cost a bit more.

Bottom line: The Aston Waikiki is a great hotel, not my favorite in Honolulu, but a solid choice. No matter where you stay, make sure you have an ocean view. It makes waking up all the more magical. At the end of the day, anywhere you stay in Hawaii will be brilliant, because it’s an amazing place.

Happy traveling.

XOXO

The Luv AviatrixThe Luv Aviatrix in Honolulu

 

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, My Fav Italian Getaway

Cinque Terre

Why Cinque Terre, Italy needs to be on your travel bucket list…

 

Imagine the primordial Ligurian cliffs towering three thousand feet over the Italian Riviera, the pale rock, shining in the sun. Now picture the turquoise waters of the famous Riviera stretching out in the distance, marred only by the tiny glittering reflections of Italian sunshine. Sounds idyllic, right? Add to that amazing landscape, hundred-year old, brightly colored homes built along the cliffs and you have a picture that more resembles more of skittles spilled onto rocks that a present day city. When you are walking the cobblestone streets of Cinque Terre, passing locals selling homemade Limoncello or fresh caught sardines, you have no choice but to be transported.

 

Manarola, Cinque Terre

 

 

Getting to Cinque Terre by Air:

 

     Milan (MXP) is my go-to because it’s close in proximity to Cinque Terre

By Train From Milan: Only about two and a half to three hours by train and you’re at La Spezia, the landing point for Cinque Terre. Train tickets will cost between 9-25 Euros depending on train type. Once you’re in full-on prep mode, check out time tables at TrenItalia.

     Rome (FCO) is a solid choice if you have more time cinque polaroid textand want to see more of Italy.

By Train from Rome: Expect a three and a half or four and a half hour ride, there are some trains that do the trip pretty fast, but it’ll cost more.

No matter where you decide to take the train from, all visits to Cinque Terre begin at La Spezia. Think of La Spezia as the landing of Cinque Terre. You can choose to stay here, but I much prefer to immerse myself amongth the “Five Lands” of Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterroso.

 

   Don’t leave Cinque Terre without…

 

Hiking between the five villages of Cinque Terre

My first visit to Cinque Terre was in 2006 and I never took the train once I’d arrived in the first stop from La Spezia. I hiked between every village, working off the fresh pesto I’d consumed with glee. Hiking between the villages through olive groves and along cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the Riviera was hardly a chore. Hands down, I think this Cinque Terre hiking itinerary needs to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Unfortunately, in 2011 there was massive flooding in the area and much of the hiking routes were damaged and is still recovering. Don’t let this stop you from visiting, but definitely check for updates on the popular hiking routes in Cinque Terre before you visit.

Soak up some sun with some amazing gelatocinque terre ice cream

 

OMG. I don’t even know what to say to describe the bliss that comes from homemade gelato on a hot day as one gazes out at the Italian Riviera. Truly, it’s a memory I’ll never forget. As a matter of fact, I probably had more than one a day my entire trip. Even flavors I don’t normally like, I LOVED! I call this Cinque Terre treat, Vitamin G 😉

 

 

 

Fish with the locals, or at least watch ;)Vernazza, Cinque Terre

You can’t be a local, but you can just sit back, relax and partake in the relaxed way that Cinque Terre locals get things done. Every day at sun rise, head to the harbor at Vernazza, grab a slice of pizza or a gelato, and cop a squat and watch the fisherman reel in their trophies. Don’t miss out on the cat’s that also flock to the harbor for their dinner as well.

 

Eat your fill of fresh Ligurian pesto!

The moment I stepped off the train in Riomaggiore, Italian men were offering to make me dinner. No kidding. Any woman that has been to Italy will believe me. Farther south, Italian men will offer to make Bolognese. In Cinque Terre, the men of Liguria will make you pesto-from scratch. I took my new friend up on his offer of a home cooked dinner and I was not disappointed. I watched Georgio use a mortar and pestle to hand grind together all the fresh ingredients. I promise you that dinner was amazing, but also, that every where I ate in Cinque Terre, food was prepared by locals with the same care. Maybe it’s the fresh ingredients, but everything in I consumed in Cinque Terre was amazing. I highly recommend the pesto pizza!

 

Still not convinced?

Here’s another glimpse into my past adventures in Cinque Terre

 

cinque terre italy cinque terre cathedralcinque terre olive grove

 

Cinque Terre Kittycinque windows

 

 

Now that you’re convinced you need a vacation to Italy, Cinque Terre perhaps, you’ll need some in-flight reading to leave you inspired…Recognize the cover? Yep, That’s Cinque Terre!

 

Beautiful Ruins

The story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel (Kindle Edition)


List Price: Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

*This is an affiliate link which means I get commission for referring it, but I promise it’s an amazing read and guaranteed to transport you to the Italian Riviera if my post didn’t do the trick 😉

Or how about a Roman Time Travel romance? Read my review here.

Love, Eternally (Book One of the Roman Time Travel Series 1) (Kindle Edition)


List Price: Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

 

So have you been to Cinque Terre, tell me how much you loved it! The Luv AviatrixIf not, what areas of Italy lave you craving a getaway?

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

P.S. Unfortunately, more recently Cinque Terre has seen an alarming increase in tourism due to cruise ships docking near by. This is bad timing since they were already trying to recover from devastating landslides and Cinque Terre is getting a reputation for disliking tourists. I say, travel there on your own, not with a cruise, and make an opinion for yourself. During the times that I have been there, and friends even recently, have said that locals are still welcoming if you are humble and respectful of the land and damage that has been done by large crowds in these tiny towns.  This is an important message that all travelers should keep with them anyways, no matter where they are.

How to do Yosemite In A Day

Romantic Yosemite


Yosemite draws tourists and vacationers from all over the world. It’s no wonder why, because Yosemite truly is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring places in the world. A vacation destination fit for adventurers, artists, romantics and adrenaline junkies. Whether you want to take a calming nature stroll and keep a vigilant eye on the unique fauna that thrive in the valley, or strap on some climbing shoes and show some massive granite who’s boss, Yosemite holds a perfect attraction for anyone.

yosemite valley

 

Personally, as someone who loves to take a bazillion pictures, love the photographic quality if the amazing landscape. I love to hike, and there can perhaps be no better, more unique and diverse hiking in one place than at Yosemite. And you better believe I always have my camera with me. Are you a photographer ala Ansel Adams? Prepare for mesmerizing waterfalls that will pound the ground, shaking it beneath your feet and spraying your face and body with a cold mist. And while Yosemite has many challenging hikes and climbs such as Half-dome, I promise there are nature walks for every skill level.

My favorite intro hike for Yosemite Beginners, or even for seasoned Yosemite-lovers that just need a warm up—is theYosemite mist Mist Trail. The hike begins with more of a slowly inclining nature walk that’ll lead to a bridge at the base of Vernal Falls. If you’re not much of a hiker, this might be your photo op and turn around spot.

If you’re feeling like a bit more exercise, continue on and prepare to be amazing. You’ll start an immediate climb, hugging the mountain so that you have constant views of the valley too your left, and towering trees on your right. You catch glimpses of the waterfall you’re hiking toward. Finally, you’ll breach the trees and be treated to the waterfall’s spray. My last hike there was during the most powerful snowmelt in years and I was left drenched. It’s a good idea to bring a rain slicker on this hike!

 

If you only have enough time for a half-day hike, turn around at the top of the falls, it’s an incredible hike in itself. If you’re feeling like you have a couple more rounds of hiking left in ya, continue on up the mountain in the steps of half-dome hikers toward Nevada falls.

yosemite falls 2 text

Tip: If you’re on a layover and only have one day, I recommend doing the half-day hike version up to Vernal Falls, and then turn around and take a scenic drive through the valley and up to Glacier Point. Glacier Point and many of the vistas on the way up are iconic and simply not to be missed on a first visit to Yosemite.  You’ll have amazing, epic views of Yosemite icons such as Half-dome, el Capitan and even the waterfalls you hiked to on the Mist Trail. If you’re traveling with your other half, this is a spot for some very romantic canoodling pics.❤

yoseemite 1.jpg

Accommodations: Camping can be rough, not because it’s not enjoyable, but because so many people want to do it in Yosemite. Book in advance, or arrive EARLY, we’re talking before the butt crack of dawn for one of the first come first serve camp sites. If you are able to book in advance, there is a great camp site just steps away from the Mist Trail hike. If you decide to stay in town, about twenty minutes from the Yosemite gate is a small town called Groveland with the oldest saloon in California. It’s pretty damn cool and I highly recommend experiencing the tiny town and to stay at the Groveland Inn for a night. Nightowls be warned, nothing is open past five or six pm.

For Flight Crew: Close airports…you have many to choose from! FAT, SMF, SFO, OAK, SJC…you could even do some farther airports such as STS and RNO and make a road trip out of it. I’m closest to the OAK airport and it’s a beautiful three hour drive.

Venture out to California and experience Yosemite and I promise you wont be disappointed. If you only have a day, do the Mist Trail Hike to the top of Vernal Falls, and tour the Yosemite Valley and up to Glacier Point for an unforgettable whirlwind trip. If you have more than a day, make sure to add the famous Sequoia grove to your list and well as Mirror Lake and many of the other incredible sites in this grand national park.

Do you love Yosemite as much as I do? Let me know where your favorite spots are!

 

XOXO The Luv Aviatrix

30 Hours in Bermuda. Got Paradise?

Need a vacation idea? Bermuda blew me away. Here are my tips to getting the most out of your Caribbean vacation in Bermuda. Cave swimming, kayaking, pink sand beaches and tropical drinks await!