Travel

Riu Palace Peninsula Cancun - Hotel Review

Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula Review: Luxury and Ease in Cancun

Note: Riu Hotels provided my stay, however all words and photos are mine.
Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula - Cancun Resort Travel I was lucky enough to add a day at the beginning and end of my recent trip to Tulum to visit Cancun for the first time - and two Riu resorts: The Riu Palace Peninsula and the Riu Palace Las Americas, which I will cover in another post. I know - it's crazy that we often visit Mexico and I have never been to this hub, right? What I discovered is how EASY it is from Denver. I got early morning direct flights to Cancun, a quick shuttle ride and I was on the beach by mid-afternoon. I'll be honest, Cancun has always intimidated me because of its "party" reputation. We, of course, like to have fun and go out a lot ... but we aren't interested in an insanely wild location (usually, ha). Maybe during Spring Break Cancun is a bit different, but I found the Riu hotels we visited to be exactly what I was looking for. Luxury for adults-only, on the beach, with good food and amenities - plus a nice, friendly atmosphere. Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula - Cancun Resort Travel
Concert Photos from Lost Lake Festival Phoenix 2017

Photos: Lost Lake Festival Phoenix Day One

The people behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands (as well as another festival coming to Denver next year) have created a new event in Phoenix called Lost Lake - not to be confused with our local dive bar Lost Lake. Lost Lake, the festival, attracted over 45,000 attendees in its first year to see over 50 performances. Headliners included The Killers, Chance The Rapper, Major Lazer and Odesza. I was thrilled to photograph the 3-day extravaganza that also highlighted local chefs, breweries, and artists. Having attended many music festivals, I was super impressed with Lost Lake's organization and staff. The three stages were nicely stacked one after the other so you could easily flow back and forth, with food and drinks lined up along the way. Cell service was a little spotty - much like it always is when you cram that many people in one place - but you could hang out in sponsor Miller Lite's pop-up bar to charge your phone, upload photos and, oh yeah, chug beer. People warned me the weather would be scorching hot in Phoenix, and sure it was warm, but 80s-90s is perfect for music spectating - especially in October as the temperatures start to drop here in Denver. Beyond that - the lineup was insane. As with any good music festival, I discovered new (to me) bands that I now love like Striking Matches and Playboy Manbaby... and just as I expected, groups like Haim and Pixies plain old killed it. Thanks for the fun, Lost Lake and Superfly - we'll be back next year!
Tulum Mexico Luxury Hotel

Tulum Mexico Hotel – La Zebra: Luxury in the Heat

I just returned from Mexico and it's exactly what I needed. Rest, relaxation, sun, great food, drink and, most importantly, friends. The lovely Andrea was about to turn 40 years old and had a terrific idea. "How about I gather as many gals as possible from around the world to a beautiful beach?" I had been to Tulum several times before and it's one of my favorite places in the world - and Andrea is one of my favorite people in the world - so, of course, the answer was a resounding yes. Lucky for us, Andrea did the legwork for the trip and found our hotel in Mexico and took care of the logistics. We stayed at the gorgeous La Zebra, about 20 minutes from the ruins. It's a small luxury hotel and restaurant right on the beach, where rooms have splash pools and beautiful views. (I spent most of the day alternating between the pool and the ocean ... my idea of heaven.)
Montreal Festival - Quebec Canada Travel

A Festival a Day to Celebrate Montréal’s 375th Anniversary

Note: Tourisme Quebec provided this trip, however, all words and photos are mine (unless noted).
Last year I attended 97 concerts, and in that tally - music festivals were counted as just one. When Tourisme Quebec asked me to join them in Montréal for a "festival a day" over one long weekend, I knew I could do it - but that I would be sad not to have more time at each one. That suspicion proved to be correct as we trekked all over the city at breakneck speed. Verdict: I can't wait to go back and spend more time in Montréal! While Canada turned 150 this year, Montréal stretches back 375 years with a culture that combines First Nation, French and English history. Locals speak French first and foremost but easily switch to English when they realize the only words you may know are "bonjour" and "merci." But even above and beyond affinity for French, Montréal has a passion for the arts. It's apparent everywhere, and most especially in how they chose to celebrate their birthday. I was in town during the world-famous International Jazz Festival, and my lovely hotel was within walking distance - so I did get to that particular festival more than once.

But there are hundreds of events going on all year, every year, so check out Alive 375 and the Montréal Tourism site for things to do every day.

Montreal International Jazz Festival - Photo by Jean-François Leblanc
Photo by Jean-François Leblanc
Here are the festivals we attended over our four days. Take a deep breath... it's a lot!
Universal Studios Florida - Harry Potter

Universal Studios Orlando Florida Tips: It’s Not Just Harry Potter!

Note: Universal Studios Orlando provided two of our six tickets to the park. However, all words and images are mine.
Yes, I will admit it. Our original goal in visiting Universal Studios was 100% Harry Potter. We went with our Denver "framily" and all six of us are serious fans, including the newly-indoctrinated nine year old. With the lead up to the first book's 20th anniversary, our Potterfever was at all all time high when we visited Florida for Spring Break this year. What we realized: There is so much more to Universal Studios than Harry Potter. Here are some advice from all of us to make your trip more fun.

Tips for visiting Universal Studios Orlando in Florida

Tips for visiting Universal Studios Florida - Family Travel
Travel to Boise for Treefort Music Festival

Treefort Music Festival is a Great Way to Discover Boise

Note: My trip was sponsored by Visit Boise. However, all words and images are mine.
I had heard of Treefort Music Festival in recent years because Denver bands have been steadily playing it, and speaking highly of it. I was thrilled when the Boise Visitor's Bureau asked me to come in, cover the festival and explore what the city had to offer. Treefort Music Festival - Boise Travel Boise is a small city nestled in the Idaho mountains, with a ton of charm. Its population is approaching 225,000 - so there is enough hustle and bustle to feel the energy but not so much to be overwhelmed. Especially "during Treefort time," a phrase I heard many locals say as they met up for drinks before bands started each day.
Great Wold Lodge Colorado Springs - Family Travel Fun

Family Fun at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

Note: Our stay was sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge. However, all words and images are mine.
We had never been to a Great Wolf Lodge before they asked a bunch of Colorado bloggers to visit for the opening weekend of their Colorado Springs resort a few months ago. They chose the Centennial State as their 15th location and I had always heard it was a vacation all in of itself, with the water park as the front and center attraction... but I didn't realize there was really so much more to do. Great Wolf Lodge - Colorado Springs Family Travel

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Yes, of course, we loved the large indoor water park (with nearby pool bar) that includes a huge water tree fort (Colorado style) and various water slides for various ages. My teen's favorite was the Wolf Tail, a tube where the floor literally drops out from underneath you. My 47-year-old self was happy to sit in the wave pool and watch all that business from afar. Very far afar.

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