African river safari on the elegant “Zambezi Queen”

ZQ

“See the hippos!” Our guide, Gilbert, points to a jumble of large round boulders in the mud flats.

One boulder moves. We make out red-rimmed eyes and little piggy ears. Sure enough, it’s a hippo.

It stands up, waddles sideways, and then plops down on top of other boulders, creating a grey ripple of hippo flesh.

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Cruising French Polynesia: As romantic as it gets

Far and away

Ever since Paul Gauguin painted Tahitian landscapes with raven-haired beauties, French Polynesia has seduced visitors with its turquoise lagoons and islands blooming with hibiscus.

The 118-island nation invented deluxe overwater bungalows – which perch on stilts over the sea. Try to stay in one if you can. (We slept over the water in Bora Bora.)

But cruising is often the most affordable way to see this region.

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Cruising the Pacific Islands: Blue Fiji

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They may be specks in the vast blue Pacific, but the Polynesian islands pack a powerful punch. You can swim in Bora Bora’s blue lagoon, watch whales in Maui and chug potent kava with a village chief in Fiji.

And their beaches are about as close to paradise as you can get.

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Eva Air Review: We’ll fly Eva Air again!

Eva Air review

We’re not often impressed by airline customer service in economy class. But paying $1,250 on EVA Air for return flights from Vancouver, Canada, via Taipei to Bali (where we fell in love with the cultural heart, Ubud) turned out to be a bargain – and a pleasant flying experience to boot.

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Sweet Sleeps

Casa de Sierra Nevada

Colonial living at Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Checking in at Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada? Don’t look for a cookie-cutter hotel building. The 37 rooms and suites of this Belmond hotel (rebranded from Orient-Express) are…

Kenwood Inn and Spa

Kenwood Inn and Spa amid Sonoma’s vineyards

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Planning all your days tasting Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs at award-winning wineries in Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon? Rethink that if you stay at the Kenwood Inn and…

Madrona Manor 2007 300dpi 6x9 JPG

Madrona Manor: A romantic B&B in Sonoma

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

After biking one day in Sonoma’s wine country, all we wanted to do was cool off with a dip in Madrona Manor’s pool in the rose garden. Refreshed,…

A dip in your private pool? photo Kayumanis Nusa Dua

Kayumanis villas make a splash in Bali

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Our own pool? Complimentary airport transfers, 30-minute welcome massages and private anytime shuttle service to town? Breakfast and afternoon tea served in our villa? Oh yes, we were…

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Travel inspiration

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” -- Jawaharlal Nehru