Inn at Perry Cabin: a Getaway Spot on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Inn at Perry Cabin on the Eastern Shore in Maryland makes for a perfect east coast getaway with a good mix of Americana Charm, sense of history and place, a little sporting and activity, delicious local seafood, and plenty of downtime for relaxing.

Inn At Perry Cabin

Sometimes what we need for the soul is something small, quaint and personal; a place where you can turn off your phone and listen to the ducks while enjoying a cup of coffee. East Coasters, especially those of us in the Mid-Atlantic region, are lucky to have just such a place right in our back yard!  As a Talbot County resident, I thought I knew the in’s and out’s on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; that all changed after my weekend of restoration at the Inn at Perry Cabin.

Located in St.Michaels, MD, the Inn at Perry Cabin has a true Americana essence, which fits perfectly in a town that takes pride in fooling the British during the War of 1812.  From the excellent spa services to a world-renowned Sailing experience “the inn” celebrates the natural beauty and magic of my home town.

Inn at Perry Cabin

With a total of 78 rooms and 30 suites, no room category is exactly alike. When I arrived, I was greeted by the aroma of Australian Sandalwood and my luggage was quickly relocated to my Deluxe Partial Water View room.  As I plopped onto my bed with its many layers of down feathers it did not take long to realize this was the most comfortable bed I’ve ever encountered.  A nice bath bomb amenity was the perfect treat to enjoy a very large soaking tub. Throughout my stay, the housekeeping services were excellent and my room always felt fresh and tidy.

The Inn at Perry Cabin is a perfect spot for a relaxing and romantic weekend getaway for couples and features a balanced blend of spa and sport.  I personally enjoyed an 80 min custom massage, private golf lesson, and four-hour sailing excursion.  Other activities on the property include tennis, kayaking, paddle boarding, garden tours and lounging by the pool. The location is also a major perk as you are within walking distance to downtown St. Michaels for additional shopping, dining, and even a Rum distillery visit.

Being a waterman’s daughter, farm/pier to table dining has always been important to me and Perry Cabin values the vast resources that Delmarva has to offer (for you non-residents, Delmarva stands for Delaware, Maryland, Virginia).  Dining at STARS, the inn’s main restaurant was excellent; the menu favors fresh local seafood and responsibly farmed cuts of meat, paired with seasonal vegetables and delightful deserts.  If you’re enjoying a getaway with friends, you must schedule a private dinner in The Miles Room for a truly unique experience of wine pairing and education over a family-style dishes of the chefs choice.  Breakfast was my favorite meal during my visit and I was drooling over the options of homemade pastries, smoked salmon and custom omelets. The beautiful view was the perfect way to start my day of sport on the water.  After my first night, the staff already knew my name and I truly felt at home.

Inn At Perry Cabin

The Inn at Perry Cabin has had its share of management and amenity changes over the years,  but I am so happy to report that something has finally “clicked” and the service was cohesive and very comfortable.  It’s exciting to see the rise of Perry Cabin especially for our beloved golfers.  “Links at Perry Cabin” is the latest addition and was the last design by the legendary Pete Dye.  The Inn is adding additional rooms on the course, which will eventually be known as the “Lodge at Perry Cabin” and are designed for golf trips, groups of friends, or wedding parties.  Apple trees have been planted along with wildflowers for guests to pick and beekeeping is now on the property.

Book with Ourisman Travel (or online with the Virtuoso booking tool) and enjoy the following complimentary amenities:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast served in the restaurant for up to 2 in-room guests (maximum $30 per person, per day)
  • $100 USD Hotel/Resort credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

This historic landmark on the Eastern Shore is picking up momentum and the future for the Inn at Perry Cabin is bright!

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Bawah Reserve: A Private Island with a True Sense of Community

My visit to Bawah Reserve is one of the most incredible travel experiences I have ever had. Each moment of each day at Bawah brought me a sense of wonderment, exploration, serenity, and joy. I can’t shut up about it and I will tell anyone who will listen! I thought writing this particular trip report would be easy because I have so much to say, but I felt great pressure to get it just right. Please read on as I share more about my time at Bawah Reserve. I hope my passion for this special island will inspire you to seek your own incredible travel experiences! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me and the team if you want to learn more!

Bawah Reserve: Hotel Inspection Report

See more pictures from Bawah Reserve here

6 islands, 3 lagoons, 13 beaches

The real highlight of Bawah is the beautiful natural environment. While it isn’t a perfect direct comparison, I find myself likening a stay at Bawah Reserve similarly to an African safari. Instead of game drives, your taking boat rides; instead of a walking safari, you’re snorkeling, and instead of sundowner gin & tonics, your enjoying sunset mojitos at Jules Verne bar. This is a “choose your own adventure” type of format and you can do as much or as little as you want.

All of the facilities were built by hand using as much local materials as possible so the creation of the lodging would not harm the natural setting. This also gives all of the buildings a rustic, organic look – nothing looks out of place. There are so many options for how to spend your time whether it is enjoying the spa (1 complimentary treatment per person, per day included in your stay), hiking in the rain forest, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, oceanfront yoga, beach picnics, stargazing etc. etc.

Bawah Reserve: Beach Picnics, Kayaking, and Snorkeling

My days quickly fell into a simple routine: sunrise kayaking (I even circumnavigated the island!) followed by a light breakfast and a spa treatment, relaxing and reading by the pool or on the beach, lunch with my feet in the sand at the Boat House, afternoon snorkeling, sunset cocktails and a leisurely dinner. I was perfectly content and wish every day could follow this routine!

Dining is all-inclusive (alcohol is for purchase separately) and you have a nice variety of options considering the size of the property. Treetops is the main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a beautiful rainforest treehouse setting. Jules Verne Bar is upstairs from Treetops and is perfect for sunset cocktails. The Boat House is next to the water activity center and has tables in the sand for casual lunches and BBQ dinners. Grouper bar next to the pool and boat jetty is the social hub where everyone gathers before and after their activities and tours.

35 luxury suites

Bawah Reserve: Beach Suite vs. Overwater Bungalow

During your time at Bawah, you can choose to stay in an overwater bungalow, a beach suite, or a garden suite. While the overwater bungalows are tempting, they were not my favorite. I didn’t like the placement nor the floorpan of the bungalows. Due to tide fluctuations, they need to be placed on tall piers over the water and there is quite a drop from the bungalow to the water at low tide and the units are places very closely next to each other so there isn’t a lot of privacy on your deck and the bedrooms don’t get great air circulation.

I say skip the bungalows and head straight for the beach suite which are locate right on the sand with your own little garden for sunbathing and mere steps from the ocean. These are tented suites on low platforms with canvas walls and roofs. Just because you are sleeping in a tent doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice on the creature comforts. During the day, they get a refreshing ocean breeze and the tents can be closed up and air conditioned at night for ultimate comfort. The bathrooms are outfitted with gorgeous hammered copper tubs and sinks as well as a separate shower (good to know: there is no air conditioning in the bathrooms).

Bawah is not a resort, it is a community. The hotel component of Bawah Reserve supports the non-profit efforts of the Anambas Foundation which created programs like educating the local residents about sustainable farming and fishing practices, building modern waste management and recycling facilities, and rehabilitating local coral reefs. Guests at Bawah Reserve are welcome to volunteer and participate in these programs as much as they like, but you can also relax on the beach knowing that you are already doing a small part to contribute to the foundations efforts.

Where is Bawah Reserve?

Bawah Reserve is made up of 6 tiny islands within the Indonesian Anambas Islands in the Riau archipelago located in the South China Sea northeast of Singapore. Getting there is not easy, but the Bawah staff make it as seamless as possible and the journey is part of the experience!

Bawah Reserve: Getting There

Is Bawah Reserve right for you?

This is the trickiest question for me to answer because I am so much in love with Bawah and I recognize my bias. In my mind, everyone should go to Bawah!

Bawah Reserve: Sunrise Bungalows

I know that’s not actually true; not everybody would love the accommodation style and not everybody is that comfortable being so close to nature and being out in the ocean all day long. So, if I’m trying to be pragmatic, Bawah Reserve is an excellent choice for your next vacation if you are seeking a barefoot luxury experience jam packed with time in the ocean and on the beach. It is a good fit for active couples and well-traveled families. You also need a good amount of time to invest in a trip to Bawah to justify the long flights to Singapore and the cars, ferries, and seaplanes required to get you there.

I am already scheming a return trip for myself, this time with my husband in tow. If these pictures and this description catch your eye, I encourage you to add Bawah Reserve to your bucket list. I want as many people as possible to have the same incredible experiences that I had!

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Dining at Baha Mar, Our Top Picks

Baha Mar is a very large resort complex made up of 3 hotels, a casino, 7+ pools, a giant gym and spa, and over 30 restaurants and bars. Needless to say, experiencing the Baha Mar resort is a lot to digest and, as we learned our way around, it quickly became clear that the dining at Baha Mar was going to be a top highlight of our stay.

Dining at Baha Mar_ Header Image

Related: Read our general overview of Baha Mar here

As one hotel seamlessly flows into the other, it isn’t immediately clear which restaurants and bars belong to which resort and that is fine because guests at any of the 3 hotels have signing privileges at all resort outlets. One thing, you should know is that most restaurants will require advance reservations for dinner, so make a plan before you arrive! You can see a complete list of dining options on the Baha Mar website or on the individual hotel websites. 

Here are our top picks for dining options at Baha Mar:

Dining at Baha Mar | Breakfast:

Regatta Buffet – Buffets can be hit or miss, but Regatta runs a smooth operation with many options to keep everyone in the family happy. We were fans of the omelette station, the build-your-own quesadilla options, and the fresh fruit smoothies. We declined the splurge, but we heard the crepes were a crowd favorite! Regatta is a perfect breakfast option if you’re traveling with your family or a group. Ourisman Travel clients staying at the Grand Hyatt will have the Regatta Buffet included daily with their reservation (for 2 adults per room).

Commonwealth – Ourisman Travel clients staying at the Rosewood will receive complimentary breakfast at Commonwealth. This classic breakfast buffet is smaller and more curated than Regatta, but the ambiance is quieter and more up-scale.

Cafe Madeleine – If all you want is a good cup of coffee and a pastry or quick breakfast (quiche, croissants, etc), then this French inspired cafe is the perfect spot. they offer indoor/outdoor cafe seating or grab-an-go options.

Starbucks – don’t worry, the old standby has a location at Baha Mar!

Dining at Baha Mar | Lunch:

Dining at Baha Mar _ Costa at RosewoodCOSTA – Dining at COSTA for lunch (twice) was hands down one of our best meals during our stay at Baha Mar. This restaurant is nestled in the Rosewood courtyard garden so it might be hard to find if you aren’t staying at Rosewood, but it is worth the hunt! The menu features latin flavors and the restaurant as an island oasis setting, the dining “cabanas” look like they are floating over a giant koi pond. Mexican cuisine in the Bahamas seems like an odd choice, but the chef comes from Rosewood Mayakoba and the food is incredible, so it works!  Fresh tuna and red snapper ceviche, paired with great guacamole, Mexican street corn and mushroom ‘al ajillo’ provided the perfect blend of nutrition and flavor. While sipping our Grand Marnier margarita’s, we were even treated to a parade of baby flamingos!

Fi’lia – Carpaccio, Caprese, and Calamari! This italian eatery has all you need for a relaxing al fresco lunch. We recommend the local conch arancini and truffle pizza. Add in a glass or two of rosé and your lunch is complete!

One of the fun features of Baha Mar is all of the food trucks and street food style “shacks” dotted around the resort. So, while you’re relaxing out by the pool, you don’t have to throw your cover-up on and head to a restaurant for lunch, you can just wander over to a food truck for tacos, burgers, hot dogs, etc. Our favorite was Da’ Poke Bowl Shack for giant bowls with rice, crisp veggies, and delicious marinated tuna.

Dining at Baha Mar | Dinner:

Carna – The restaurant was recommended to us by the GMs of both the SLS and the Grand Hyatt and it was backed up by every staff member with spoke to. So, with high expectation, we saved our reservation at Carna for our final dinner at Baha Mar. We wanted to round out our site inspection trip with a proper steak and full-bodied red wine. Located in the hub of the casino, Carna’s vibe is warm and modern.  Clear display cases of different cuts of meat provide a rustic butcher feel followed by plush seating and excellent service.  We decided to go a classic route; Wagyu beef, brussels sprouts with a surprising soy kick and mashed potatoes that had more butter than potatoes.  But a little decadence is what vacation is all about.  Pairing the meal with a bottle of Brunello was the perfect way to round out all the flavors Carna provided.

Cleo Mediterraneo – Who doesn’t love tapas?! Cleo is located in the SLS lobby and word quickly got out that it is a top favorite at the resort. The meze platters, kebabs, and pita bread and dipping sauces kept our group happy and well fed! The crowd favorite dishes were the brussels sprouts, haloumi cheese, and spicy cigars.

CommonwealthLocated on the lowest level of the Rosewood, this brasserie offers a variety of dishes that take you around the world; each dish is inspired by a different country in the British Commonwealth. Try the honey glazed prawns, tuna & green apple tartare, and burrata to start, followed by flavorful pork shoulder, grilled Canadian lobster with mustard and cognac, or local grouper fish and chips. The classic beef Wellington is one of their top choices as well.  If you’re feeling adventurous for dessert try the Sky Juice ice cream, which is a take on a traditional Bahamian beverage of coconut water, condensed milk, spices and gin.

Other good dinner options are Shuang Ba (we regret we didn’t get a chance to try this as it comes highly recommended), 3 tides for good seafood, and Katsuya for sushi.

Cocktails at Baha Mar:

Dining at Baha Mar _ Manor BarManor Bar – if you’re feeling moody and want a dramatic atmosphere with classic old-world cocktails and a large rum list, this is where you want to start your evening. The decor in this room has a feel of a gentlemen’s club with deep velvet sofas, leather arm chairs, jewel tones, and dramatic lighting. The menu is inventive and the servers are friendly and chatty. The room is small so it fills up fast and service was sometimes slow, so give yourself plenty of time if you’re on the clock for a dinner reservation.

Monkey Bar – if you go to Manor Bar when you’re feeling moody, then go to Monkey Bar when you’re feeling fun and social. This is the lobby bar at the SLS and it is definitely the best casual hang out space in the entire resort. The drinks are simple and the people-watching is fantastic! The large lobby is divided into small conversation areas so the buzzy atmosphere never gets too crazy and you can still comfortably hold a conversation.

SkyBar – Want more energy than the lounge bars but not quite ready for the nightclubs? The rooftop bar at the SLS is the perfect in-between option. It still has a “see and be seen” vibe, but it is still pretty laid back and the views overlooking the resort are worth seeing! Note: during slower times, SkyBar is only open on weekends.

We weren’t sure what to expect from Baha Mar, but we were pleasantly pleased with all of the dining options! We did have some complaints about slow service, which isn’t surprising in a young resort like this. Otherwise, our meals were all good quality with fresh ingredients and there is enough variety so you can have something different each day, even over a week-long vacation.

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Everything You Need to Know about Baha Mar in the Bahamas

As soon as it opened, Baha Mar quickly became one of our top-selling resorts for 2018. The convenient location (especially for east coasters), excellent value, and variety of choice in hotel accommodation are all nice features drawing a lot of attention. But, we don’t recommend booking this one blindly! Because this resort offers a little something for everybody, you have to know what you’re buying to make sure you’re getting the option that is the best fit for you!

Jessica and I recently visited Baha Mar to see for ourselves what the fuss is all about and to gather insight on how best to manage reservations here so our clients continue to get the best service and the best value. Read on for a round-up of our take-aways and advise for making the most of your stay at Baha Mar.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Nassau, Bahamas – only 10-minutes from the airport
  • Three Hotels: Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood
  • Dining: over 30 restaurants, bars, and lounges – read more on our top picks for dining
  • Highlights: On-site Casino, ESPA Spa, multiple pools, buzzing nightlife, and sea life sanctuary

Top Tips:

  • Know what you’re buying: The best comparison we can think of is the Mayakoba resorts (Riviera Maya, Mexico) smashed together with the Bellagio casino in Vegas. This resort is not for everyone, but they offer a little something for nearly all travel styles! For us, the biggest draw is location and convenience. This is not where you go for a grand celebration type of trip, but it is a great option for an easy beach getaway!
  • Pre-book your arrival transfer: The hotel airport transfer service is seamless and speedy. They have an arrivals lobby right outside baggage claim and they will whisk you away to your car. Definitely arrange your transfer with the hotel concierge so you can start your beach vacation as fast as possible.
  • Pre-book your dinner reservations: This is a must if you are staying over the weekend! While there are many restaurants to choose from, the best options for sit-down dinners will book up fast and there will be long waits for any walk-ins. It is best to have a dining plan already set before you arrive.

Baha Mar

Immediately on arrival, it is clear that this is a resort on a grand scale! Each of the three hotels have their own entrance, which helps immediately disperse the crowds. The casino is central to nearly everything within the resort and guests staying in the Grand Hyatt will have to walk though the casino to get from the front desk to their rooms (unless they are staying in the Reserve; more on that later). It is important to know that it is not easy to avoid walking through the casino and there is indoor smoking; while the air circulation is very good, the noise and smells from the casino could be a turn-off.

In our opinion, the best feature of Baha Mar is the variety of restaurant and bar options. No matter which hotel you are staying at, you can charge back to your room from anywhere within the resort. Each hotel offers a different vibe and we loved being able to change the scene depending on desired ambience.

Three Hotels Within One Resort

SLS:  The SLS lobby quickly became our favorite hangout space. We loved Monkey Bar in the lobby  and Sky Bar on the roof for pre-dinner cocktails. All of the spaces in the SLS have a young and fresh feel with unique decor and chill vibe.

The rooms here are very stark and not our top pick but the price point is great. This is a good option for young couples and groups of friends. SLS is known for their nightclubs around the world, so it was fitting for them to host the nightclub, Bond as a party option on the lower level of the resort.

Grand Hyatt: Taking center stage at the Baha Mar Resort, the Grand Hyatt is the largest of the 3 hotels. It has 2 tower wings with the Casino and dining options in the middle. The west tower offers rooms that are crisp and modern while the east tower features a more dramatic, moody decor. All rooms are a comfortable size and most will feature balconies.

The Reserve at Grand Hyatt creates a luxury hotel within a hotel with separate entrance, private reception lounge, and private elevators. Complimentary light bites and wine, tea, and coffee are also served to guests each afternoon in the Reserve lobby. This option is the best value of all of the hotel options at Baha Mar.    

With Hyatt Privé amenities, our clients enjoy a $100 property credit, potential room upgrade, complimentary breakfast for two at Regatta, and a few other perks throughout the stay.

Rosewood:  If you want a true luxury hotel experience, you must stay at the Rosewood. There is a major shift in decor and atmosphere as soon as you enter the Rosewood territory. It is quieter with serene color tones and comfortably relaxed, yet still classically formal decor; it even smells nicer. Away from the hustle and bustle, Rosewood is a place for guests to enjoy the finer things the resort has to offer. Though the dining options and Manor bar are open to all guests, access to room floors and pool area are strictly for guests only. When the main Baha Mar resort complex gets loud or busy, it is nice to have the Rosewood pools to retreat to for a calmer pool-side experience.

At the Rosewood, it is clear that staff understands it is often the little touches in service that can make or break a 5-star hotel experience. Guests will enjoy special moments like a complementary ice cream cart and a flamingo parade for the kids (or kids at heart), complimentary sun screen by the pool, and special turn down treats on your pillow at night.

Our reservations at Rosewood Baha Mar include Virtuoso Amenities with potential room upgrade, complimentary breakfast for two, and $100 resort credit. You can even book this one yourself using the Virtuoso hotel booking tool!

The Public Spaces

There is so much to take in at Baha Mar from the casino, to the Vegas-style water fountain show, to the multitude of dining options and galleria shopping. After grabbing a cup of coffee at the French bistro, you can wanter through the art studio and chat with local artists about their latest projects and the importance of supporting the local community. Next door was an area where guests can paint and complete crafts on a possible rainy day. There’s also a large function space for weddings and conferences but they keep that area nicely tucked away so it won’t disturb vacationing guests.

Guests at all 3 hotels have access to the ESPA spa and gym. Advance reservations are recommended for the spa; the 24 treatment rooms fill up quickly. The gym is very large and well equipped and even has outdoor exercise equipment so you can work out with an ocean breeze!

The pool complex offers several options so nothing ever feels crowded and everyone will find their home. Nestled amongst the pools and along the beach, you will find an array of food trucks, pool-side bars, and gift shops. The Exploration Center has a sea-sea-life exhibit with nurse sharks, sea turtles, and a touch pool with starfish and baby rays. This area was a highlight for kids and grown ups! With 30+ restaurants and bars, the dining scene at Baha Mar deserved its own details write-up; read our thoughts on the dining options here

Bottom Line:

Will we return to Baha Mar and recommend it to our clients? Absolutely!

The Baha Mar resort has a lot to offer and we are excited to have strong relationships at all 3 hotels so we can offer our clients the best possible value. You definitely need to know what you’re getting into when planning a vacation to Baha Mar and we’re here to guide the way!

Ready to go? Let us know how we can help!

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Elevate Your Travel Experiences

Ultra-luxury is now ultra personalized.  Our travel industry partnerships and our team’s signature intuitive creativity work together every day to design unique and curated experiences for our clients.

elevate your travel experiences

If you’re looking to elevate your next trip and truly travel like a VIP,  check out our top tips for how to take your next trip to the next level:

Don’t Be Shy: Booking with Ourisman Travel means automatic VIP status.  So why not request the little things that will make your booking more comfortable. What helps you feel at home in a hotel room? Do you have a favorite scent, late-night snack, or preference for certain firmness of pillow? Tell us! You may not realize just how important this simple information can be and it often leads to some creative thinking from our team and our partners.  By letting us know of an anniversary, job promotion celebration, or even a baby-moon, you are helping us elevate your stay with celebration-oriented gifts and amenities! Luxury is personal, so let us get to know you!

elevate your travel experiences

Ride in Style: A simple concierge request to be picked up from the airport in a luxury vehicle is a basic utility.  But we like to think outside the box and turn a mundane transfer into a highlight of the entire trip.  How about arriving in a helicopter, speedboat, yacht, or hot air balloon? You can even make an entrance by sky-diving!

The arrival, is only the beginning. Sometimes, the journey itself is the highlight. Carve your way through the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies onboard the world-renowned Rocky Mountaineer Train, float above exotic landscapes in a hot-air balloon, or take a horseback safari through the African bush, galloping from camp to camp.  Elaborate transportation is a sure-fire way to plan a trip that  you will never forget!

elevate your travel experiences

Seek a Unique Experience:  Yes, a five star hotel option is an experience within itself, but take your travel plans to the next level and set out a day of intention.  Schedule a private early morning museum tour before the doors open.  Watch sumo wrestling in Japan and pair it with a dinner eating Nabe, the traditional stew wrestlers eat.  Or, receive a sloppy kiss from a giraffe! Not many people get to brag they met face-to-face with a giraffe.

elevate your travel experiences

Pick Up A Hobby: Have you ever wanted to test out your photography skills? Why not  pick up a photography class during your stay in a new destination! We can help you find classes that will bring out that inner photographer. Speaking of photography, if  you want breathtaking photos of your adventures, but don’t want to be the one behind the lens, we can set you up with a professional photographer for a photoshoot on location so you can go home with amazing photographic memories from your trip.

When it comes to learning something new while traveling the world, the opportunities are endless. In addition to cooking and photography, we also help our clients learn new skills like painting, pottery, wine-making, clothing design, horseback riding, or learning a new sport.

All about the flavor:  If you are a foodie, travel is the perfect time to awaken your taste buds.  Learn about unique local ingredients and preparations with a market tour; take your shopping spoils to the kitchen to try your hand and making some local favorites.  A cooking class with a renowned chef can  be fun and educational while also giving you the opportunity to extend your trip once you return home by recreating your favorite dishes long after the trip has ended.

If you don’t want to get hands on in the kitchen, we know the real indulgence is often in the tasting, not the cooking! This is when we recommend a progressive dining tour or a street food tasting tour. Visit a famous hawker center in Singapore with a local who can tell you exactly where to go for the best chicken rice, or follow your stomach through the many vibrant neighborhoods of Mexico City on a taco tasting tour. The possibilities (and flavors) are endless. Looking for something really special? We can help with restaurant recommendations for some of the most celebrated restaurants around the world.

Express yourself:  Pick up an art class in Rome and draw the Spanish Steps, or walk the footsteps of some of Mexico’s most revered artists including Frida Kahlo. Perhaps you’d rather express yourself through movement and a tango class in Argentina or flamenco in Spain is more your style? The new cruise line Virgin Voyages even offers Squid Ink tattoos from famous tattoo artists, so you can express yourself and come home with a life long souvenir. The possibilities are endless!

Create Life in Balance: Whatever your intention, we can help you discover an array of mindfulness-based activities to open your eyes, mind and heart. Practice yoga atop the mountain peaks of Peru or in the vineyards of Napa Valley, meditate in the desert or on the shores of a serene pond, or try something new like equine therapy.

By nourishing your curiosity, you leave no room for regret. Celebrate opportunities to embrace new destinations and new experiences and treat yourself to new luxuries along the way!  Take time to be with family and friends, find space for your wellbeing on adventures to remember, in places you’ve never been, revealing depths you didn’t know existed.  Let us elevate your travel experience and you’ll never wonder what could have been.

elevate your travel experiences

Find Your Path: Trek to lost temples, snorkel coral reefs or live like a local. Tours are often a great way to discover culture and experience.  With our resources, you can experience private tours in the ruins of Jordan, walk the streets of Colonial Mexico City with a local so you can see the spaces people often miss out on.

Seas The Day: When you’re traveling to a coastal region, the best views are often on the water looking back in. You’ll gain a whole new perspective of your destination and be rewarded with unique skyline and landscape views. We can help you coordinate a sailing or speedboat excursion in some of the best destinations around the world. Think sunsets in Santorini, incredible rock formations in Los Cabos, or a day trip to Capri in Italy. The world is your oyster, so why not test out your sea legs on a private yacht!

Recover:  Re-entry into the real world after an amazing vacation, can be rough and the least celebrated luxury is often time itself. To really pamper yourself, try scheduling for recovery time when you get home.  Sometimes jet lag alone is enough to keep you in bed for the day, but there is also an added benefit to allowing yourself some time to unpack, do laundry, and relish in your recent travel experience by taking a moment to reflect and organize your travel photos.

elevate your travel experiences

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Meet The Wanderer – Ansley Davis

Whether it’s a planned vacation or a last minute trip just outside her city, Ansley is always looking forward to venturing to new places and experiencing new things. She’s accustomed to and confident in traveling alone, and finds joy in maneuvering her way around new cities, making new friends, and fully immersing herself in other cultures/customs.

For Ansley, the most exciting and intriguing part of travel is simply to escape the ordinary, day-to-day routine. She admits, “I fall into work mode and let the social and fun parts of life slip through the cracks all too often, so when I take time to travel, I have the space to slow down, value my surroundings and experiences, soak in the world’s beauty, and focus on being present.”

Ansley enjoying Florence with her mother

The most memorable aspects of every trip happen when Ansley steps outside of her comfort zone. Whether it’s trying popular foods from a specific area, befriending a local and letting them guide an experience, or seizing the opportunity to do what she loves in a new setting, exploring and truly seeing the world is what draws her to travel. ”I am a ball of energy – so I’m always on the go! On recent trips, I have filled my time with activities like yoga classes, dance classes, hiking, and cooking classes, but I also like to walk around and see all the small, less obvious traits that make a particular place unique and special.” Even at home in Chicago, Ansley often fills her free time hopping on the train and heading out to explore a new neighborhood to walk around and explore. “I love to feel like a tourist in my own city!” she says.

Ansley showing off some moves in a canyon

Ansley, like many Wanderers, tends to find herself packing the night before a trip. Though that doesn’t mean that she leaves home completely unprepared. Ansley likes to do some research before traveling to educate herself on cultural customs, local hot spots & to get a general lay of the land. Ansley’s mantra while traveling is “how can I challenge myself today” & she strives to experience new things wherever she goes. Aside from the usual travel essentials, you’ll never catch Ansley without her travel yoga mat, affirmation cards (The Universe Has Your Back – Gabrielle Bernstein), and quality headphones!

As a Wanderer, it’s difficult for Ansley to pinpoint a specific place she wants to travel to next. For her, it’s less about location and more about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. “Any vacation where I can spend part of my time in a city, while also having access to the outdoors, is the ideal place for me. I like to have the balance of fun and fast-paced life that metropolitan areas have to offer, but also be able to relax and thrive in the outdoors. Being on the water is a plus, always!” However, if she had to narrow it down to a top three for her destination bucket list — Thailand, New Zealand, and South Africa are at the top!

No trip is complete without a little shopping!

Tips for a Wanderer from a Wanderer? – “TRY IT! Even if you’re hesitant. You never know what’s through that door!”

Are you a Wanderer? Take our quiz and find your travel personality along with recommendations for destinations, hotels, and activities that fit your style!

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Meet the Wanderer – Charlotte Nagey

When it comes to travel, Charlotte likes to live without an agenda – it’s all about spontaneity and adventure, taking the path less taken, and discovering parts of the world that are so rare to find. “I also like to get a map and do what Joey from “Friends” would do-stand in the map and just roll from there. Give me a backpack, a map and a good travel companion and I’ll be set to have the most unforgettable trip! Who needs a plan when the world is waiting and full of adventure, stories and excitement.”

“I like to spread my wings and see what adventures I can find on my own without a plan in mind.”

Because of her spontaneous nature, Charlotte’s preparation before traveling encompasses gathering the bare bones of travel plans so that she has wiggle room to explore. This includes researching, either on Google or, surprisingly, Instagram. In scrolling through pictures of destinations, this helps her to get an idea of what to do while on a trip that may spark adventure or inspire dinner plans. Additionally, once the trip is booked, she locks down a game plan for travel connections, checks the weather, and explores alternate options if changes occur. “I think I’m always the most excited to get to my destination, to step off the plane or train and start to feel settled. It’s the planning beforehand and the physical travel that seems to stress me out – probably because I’m always so excited to get the trip started and am THAT person asking ‘ARE WE THERE YET?’”

Regardless of where she travels, Charlotte always packs a pair of gym shoes and some workout gear. No matter the destination, she enjoys going on morning runs through the area because, not only is it he preferred form of exercise, but it also a method for her to get a better view of the town. It also helps her to settle in and discover places that could be missed when driving or walking the main paths.

“I prefer not to rent a car when on vacation. It’s so much more fun walking from one place to the next or riding a bike.”

She finds that her most memorable trips happen as a result of her being able to “live like a local.” “I don’t like to sit still, so I spend my time exploring and discovering sites off the beaten path. Hiking, good wine and new cool food illustrates the ideal way to spend a vacation.”  When Charlotte has the space and time to get to know the region, city, town, or area and can fully immerse herself in the culture. She wants to be a part of it all, and what better way to do that then by experiencing the day to day lifestyle of the people who live there every day? In her view, “You only have so much time on vacation, so why not stray from the tourist trends?” In fact, her favorite travel memory was when she and her fiancé rented a car and drove down the coast of California, stopping whenever they saw views that caught their eye, or noticed a spot that might make for a good nature hike.

Charlotte plans to travel to Eastern Europe next, for her honeymoon. She and her fiancé plan to backpack across Eastern Europe, starting in Croatia to visit the National Parks and take the Game of Thrones tour.

“Open your eyes to the world around you. It’s beautiful! We get too caught up in life sometimes and forget to awe at the beauty the world has to offer.”

Final advice from this Wanderer? “Don’t chain yourself to an itinerary. Things happen that may lead you to want to make changes. Do the tourist things you want to do, but be sure to get lost and be spontaneous, we don’t get the chance to do that often.”

Are you a Wanderer? Take our quiz and find your travel personality along with recommendations for destinations, hotels, and activities that fit your style!

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Meet the Adventurer – Claire Capuano

With Claire’s background in sports and outdoors, it’s no surprise that she is an Adventurer through and through! For her, travel is all about local cuisine and a spectacular view of nature. “I’m a foodie at heart, but love a little adventure to work up an appetite & justify the indulgence! My perfect day would be spent doing something active on the water, followed by finding a local watering hole & tasting a bit of everything!” Although she loves the rush of a day spent outdoors, Claire’s overall outlook on travel & sense of adventure is much broader than activity of the moment. It has always been important for Claire to embrace a world different than her own. Her key values are cultural competence, constant individual growth, and self-development. “I am humbled knowing that the world is so big, and I have an incredible drive to see as much of it as I can! Hopefully I have the time to see as much as possible.” Additionally, she hopes to improve upon her Spanish, as well as learn Italian.

Can’t make it to Korea? BBQ in Los Angeles Korea town is the next best thing!

When Claire looks back on her past travel experiences, the most memorable parts come from the unexpected. “Sure I love laying down on silk sheets and top notch hospitality is a requirement, but it is the unknown that is truly thrilling about a vacation.” Baracuda fishing with a local fisherman tops her list of favorite travel memories, although how long it will hold the number one spot no one can say. “The water was so clear we could follow the fish to catch. Then we took our catch to a restaurant and the chef made us a personalized three course meal of his family’s recipes that were not on the menu. Salt water, family, delicious food and great tequila… it was paradise.”

Before setting out on her next travel endeavor, Claire gets most most excited about the anticipation of getting to her destination. “There is something so exciting to me about waking up early knowing I am about to embark an adventure.” Her preparation is all in the packing—she packs very light for the most part and strategically plans for the weather. As far as her must-haves go she doesn’t leave the house without her headphones. While she’s on vacation, she generally finds herself relaxing at the start. “I like to prop my feet up and relax. Being such an active person physically, there are moments my body really needs the rest. But that only lasts about two days, then I like a boost of adrenaline.”

“The only reason I work out is to eat more delicious food!”

Claire’s future travel plans and ideas span far and wide. Italy is next on her radar, as she plans to meet family that still lives there and learn more about her roots. However, the top destination on her bucket list is Japan – both in the city and also the country side. She’s also interested in traveling to the Azores, Galapagos Island and the South of France. In fact, her dream vacation is sailing on a yacht in the Mediterranean.

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

Advice from an Adventurer to an Adventurer? – “Get outside of your comfort zone! Many times I get dragged into situations I would not normally put myself into by friends or family. Those are the experiences tend to be my most memorable.”

Are you an Adventurer? Take our quiz and find your travel personality along with recommendations for destinations, hotels, and activities that fit your style!

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Meet the Voyager – Jake Mooney

As a voyager, Jake loves to travel big. “I am at the stage of my life where I want to go as far possible. I would like to do as many big and long trips while I am younger and save some more slower paced trips for my later years.” In past travel, he has tried to make his experiences the one big focal point of each year. In fact, he has his travel plan mapped out over the next five years, and that gives him something to look forward to everyday. “I want to go as far as I can for as long as I can. I know the more time you spend somewhere you can really embrace the culture.”

“Life is short and world is wide!”

Jake’s favorite aspect of traveling is finding the unexpected in any place/town/city. “I get excited about really exploring another country’s culture. I love to see the how other people live throughout the world. I love to hear of their customs and how as a culture they have decide to do things in a certain way.” He traveled to Spain a few years ago and visited Madrid and Barcelona – two staples in any Spain itinerary. Even with two big cities in his plans, he also had some time built in to explore the Spanish countryside – and it was during that time that he ended up thirty minutes or so outside of Madrid in the town of Segovia. “Segovia was the Spain you might not aways see in the magazine, but it was unique and authentic as a different side of Spain and Spanish culture. After that trip is really when I caught the travel bug and pursued a job in the travel industry.”

Jake and his wife explore the Pitons and beautiful island of St.Lucia.

As this voyager prepares for travel, his first step before going anywhere is reading up on the area. He collects as much information on a destination as possible so that he can decide if the destination would mesh well with his travel style/expectations. “I try to play out the trip in my head and say what we would do on certain days, and then come up with a good baseline of ideas.” Then, he takes in the logistical stuff like flights/hotels to see what is even feasible. He believes that, although seemingly boring and tedious, it is essential to feeling prepared prior to departure.

Just as efficient as Jake is with his research, he is the same with his suitcase. He prefers to travel as light as possible, but one of his must-brings is a bathing suit, no matter the destination. Even with his love for activity and adventure, this voyager prefers balance in his itinerary. He generally sections his vacations into travel days and relax days. “I will plan adventures and excursions for so many days of the trip followed by days to just relax and really take in the culture of the country.”

Jake sees a trip over the pond in his near future. “My family has always discussed a trip to Ireland being that we are all super Irish. I would love to add Scotland and even possibly England to this trip, time permitting. We are currently in the early stages of researching and will see what members of the Mooney clan will be joining us.” In addition to his UK plans, his dream destination is Bora Bora. “I would love nothing more than to just relax on those amazing beaches and swim in the bluest water in the world – not to mention Bora Bora has some of the most unique resorts in the entire world.”

Jake treks up to Montserrat to take in the amazing view of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea.

From one voyager to the next, Jake’s advice on travel is not to over-plan/overthink the vacation. “My advice is to leave room to find things you never knew existed. If you plan your trip from the minute you touch down until the airport ride home there is no room for anything new to surprise you.”

Are you a Voyager? Take our quiz and find your travel personality along with recommendations for destinations, hotels, and activities that fit your style

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You Book, We VIP! – Book Online with the Virtuoso Booking Tool

Are you a DIY traveler? Do you enjoy last minute getaways, weekend breaks, or other short trips? Then the Virtuoso self-booking tool is for you!

When you check in, you’re a VIP with the hotel simply because you’ve booked with Ourisman Travel. You can get the instant gratification from booking online and you’ll be an instant VIP. This tool gives you Virtuoso access in a click of a button, on your time, where you can receive instant VIP amenities and upgrades on your own. The Virtuoso Booking Tool gives you the ease and convenience of online booking – plus the value and VIP treatment we know you love.

You can secure exclusive amenities, that we’ve always delivered, at over thousands of Virtuoso properties around the world, such as:

  • Room upgrade on arrival, based on availability
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Hotel credit for food, beverage or spa
  • Early check-in/late checkout, based on availability
  • Special Virtuoso experiences

Step #1: Choose an Advisor

  • All you have to do is sign on and identify Ourisman Travel as your Virtuoso Advisor. If you see rates, but are not able to book online, double check that you’ve selected us, Ourisman Travel, as your advisor. 

Step #2: Book Online

  • Follow the easy instructions in the booking tool. Enter your dates to view rates and availability, select the room you want, provide your contact and payment details, and voila! You’ve made your booking.
  • Please note we do not recommend this tool if you are booking multiple rooms, looking for connecting room options, or have multiple destinations/hotels in a larger/longer trip.

Step #3: Travel like a VIP!

  • Once you make a booking, we get an alert, and we will follow up with you and the hotel as a part of our usual VIP hotel booking process. Your check-in experience will be the same as it ever was and you will receive all the usual recognitions for booking with Virtuoso and Ourisman Travel.

We received a lot of positive feedback from our blog post on how to Get Extra Perks and Avoid Fees when booking with Ourisman Travel, and are very excited to share our “Pro-Tips” for the new Booking Tool! If you are a self-proclaimed “RTB Traveler” (ready-to-book) we guarantee you are going to love this tool!

How to Use the Virtuoso Booking Tool Like a Pro

  • Easy Trouble-shooting:  If you are having issues booking, first make sure you have created an account and are signed in. If you don’t have an account, the site will prompt you to “contact your advisor” and won’t allow you to make a booking.
  • You can’t make bookings in a mobile browser: The Virtuoso Booking Tool is not mobile friendly and won’t allow you to book if you are using a phone or iPad. In order to successfully book through the tool, you must book from a desktop computer/laptop.
  • Not all hotels are participating - You will see that not all hotels are participating in the program and many will direct you to contact your advisor to request a booking. In those cases you can use the web form on or submit a travel request form to us and we'll get you squared away. If you see rates, but are not able to book online, follow our trouble-shooting advice in the first point above.
  • Book any time, any day! – Quite possibly, the best benefit of this tool is that it operates 24/7. While we would love to be available to you 24/7, we do have to sleep! If you are worried about availability or a rate change, this booking tool will allow you to lock your trip in then and there – even if it’s 3 am on a Saturday night!
  • Promotions - Keep in mind that not all promotions are created equal! Some promotions will not combine with Virtuoso rates, so you may not see all of them available when searching rates. If you have your eye on a special promotion, feel free to reach out to us to look into it.
  • To view nightly rates: Use the “View Total" dropdown option to view nightly rates, taxes and total (without leaving the hotel page). This is especially helpful when you’re booking a free night promotion.
  • Currencies: Rates will likely default to your local currency (not the hotel’s). While this enhances convenience for you, keep this in mind when booking foreign hotels. Even though USD pricing may be displayed you will actually be charged in the hotel’s local currency.Last Minute Bookings – There are two things to keep in mind if you are booking a last minute (anywhere from 7 days prior to travel, to time of arrival).
    • If you book via, our last minute fee will not apply. This fee is to cover our team’s time for prioritizing last minute rate inquiries; which of course does not occur if you are booking directly through
    • Please note: The booking tool does not allow for bookings made within 24 hours of travel.
    • While we will do our best to follow our typical VIP process of contacting the hotel directly for any booking; we cannot guarantee this process for last minute bookings through Regardless, you will still receive Virtuoso amenities.
  • You cannot cancel or change a booking via the Virtuoso Booking Tool: please contact us directly if you need to change or cancel your booking.
  • Enter all travelers’ information: Don’t forget to add your guests to the reservation as well so we can be sure we have the full picture of your trip.

When NOT to book via

  • Some programs will trump Virtuoso – As you may know, we are fortunate enough to work with many exclusive luxury hotel programs in addition to Virtuoso. While it’s rare, there are a few programs that we will recommend over Virtuoso. In these instances, we recommend you still request your trip through us to get the best value.
    • Four Seasons Preferred Partner – Higher VIP status and better breakfast amenity (includes room service)
    • Dorchester Diamond Club – Often receives upgrade at booking
    • Mandarin Oriental Fan Club – Credit amenity received is more flexible than the Virtuoso credit
    • Shangri-La Luxury Circle – Often receives upgrade at booking
  • When your hotel booking is not simple – The booking tool is not designed for multiple rooms, special requests, trips involving multiple hotels, or any other "booking complications." Anytime you have a booking request that goes beyond the most basic hotel reservation, it is still best to contact us first!

And of course, this doesn’t change any of the services we already offer! We’re still available to book hotels and take care of your other travel needs. Whether designing a complete, personalized itinerary, or simply securing a hotel-only accommodation, we want to provide you a way to become and stay a part of the Ourisman Travel family!

Enjoy the online booking tool, and we hope to see your reservation in our inbox soon!

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