Totem Travel (425) 821-4100   (800) 321-7907

Sandals Overwater Bungalows open in St Lucia May 2017


Hot off the press! Sandals Resorts long promised overwater bungalows will open in St Lucia May 2017.

Jamaica’s first overwater bungalows opened at Sandals Royal Caribbean last fall and I was fortunate enough to see them inside and out shortly after opening. They are gorgeous and, for the moment, the only overwater bungalows in the Caribbean, but in my well traveled opinion Rodney Bay’s calm turquoise water is a far better setting for an idyllic overwater bungalow experience so I am thrilled to see overwater bungalows opening at Sandals Grande St Lucian this year.

Bora Bora still has my vote for the best overwater bungalows anywhere but there are no adult only resorts or truly all inclusive resorts in Bora Bora so that fabulous combination of features has been brought together along with Sandals butler service for those seeking a romantic couples only vacation, luxurious honeymoon or special anniversary.

And speaking of anniversaries… Sandals offers one free night in addition to all the other great deals for couples traveling within 30 days of their anniversary. Restrictions do apply but they are not onerous so call or email if we can help you plan a special getaway. Perhaps an overwater vow renewal ceremony is in order? Check prices and specials or call or email us with questions. We’ll make it happen for you!

Patagonia here I come!


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As a lifetime travel junkie I’m always most excited about a place I’ve never been, so suffice it to say I can’t wait to touch down on a new continent later this year! I’ll be exploring some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders in South America including Iguassu Falls, Moreno Glacier, Mt Fitz Roy and Torres de Paines National Park.

As a not so sneak preview I am sharing Conde Nast’s 50 most beautiful places in South America which includes four of my planned stops in Argentina and Chile. Check out #1, 9, 10 and 22 then watch for lots more photos and my personal accounts toward the end of the year. Soooo excited!

Best of the Best Sandals Travel Agency for Seattle’s Totem Travel


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Totem Travel was once again recognized as Best of the Best Sandals Travel Agency at Sandals’ annual STAR awards ceremony held at a favorite adult only beachfront all inclusive resort, Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica. Totem Travel, located in Kirkland Washington, also retained Sandals’ prestigious Chairman’s Royal Club standing given to a small number of travel agents generating top sales for Sandals and Beaches Resorts located throughout the Caribbean islands.

Totem Travel remained one of Seattle’s top travel agencies for 2015 as recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal and participates regularly at the Seattle Wedding Show where owner Linda Martindell and top agent Patty Houghton help honeymoon couples choose the best all inclusive honeymoon based on their wish list and budget. Totem Travel’s specialties are tropical destinations worldwide, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Requests for a customized quote can be made online and appointments are available for complimentary in person and phone consultations. Call (425) 821-4100 or (800) 321-7907 or email linda@totemtravel.com.

Travel medicine and travel health


Most of our clients are headed to destinations like the Caribbean, Fiji, Costa Rica or Belize that require little more than a valid passport, but for an exotic locale like Africa or the Amazon medical precautions are often required and almost always advised.  So where to start? Our suggestion is the CDC web site and a travel medicine clinic such as SafeGard for a comprehensive evaluation based on your individual itinerary and medical history.

Their online questionnaire can be completed in a few minutes and for a minimal fee (mine was $49) you’ll receive a written recommendation covering everything from yellow fever to typhoid, malaria and traveler’s diarrhea with prescriptions that can be filled at your doctor’s office or pharmacy of choice. I was referred to SafeGard by a doctor friend that travels extensively and found their customer service outstanding. Highly recommended!

Helpful Hint – I saved hundreds of dollars by having immunizations done at an “in network pharmacy” rather than my doctor’s office and a nearby Safeway pharmacy carried the hardest to find travel immunizations.

Cruise Free on Royal Caribbean this fall!!


Oasis resize Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has terrific promo for the fall of 2014. The savings is unbelievable! Book 4 people in a cabin, and the 3rd and 4th go free! Free is good…very good!! If there’s just the 2 of you, no worries. RCCL has a great special for you, too. The second person in the cabin goes for ½ price….Sailing dates available through this promo run from October 15, 2015-through May, 31, 2016. As an example:

  • 3rd & 4th Free Promo: Freedom of the Seas, November 9th , Balcony cabin for 4 people: $3470 including all port charges and taxes! That’s for 4 people, not per person! Without the promo, this fare would be $4465! That’s a thousand bucks, folks!!
  • 2nd Guest ½ price: Freedom of the Seas, November 9th , Balcony cabin for 2 people: $2485 including all port charges and taxes. That’s for 2 people, not per person! Without the promo: Balcony cabin for 2 people: $3285

This particular sailing is a Western Caribbean itinerary, with ports of call in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Similar savings are available on all Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ships, except Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. There are several different itineraries, including Europe and Hawaii! The savings is available in most cruise cabin categories, too! This is the perfect time to get those BFFs together, or even a bachelor or bachelorette party! A family reunion or even a class reunion! How about a wedding at sea? Royal Caribbean has many beautiful wedding options, and how romantic…getting married at sea! And bring the whole wedding party with you on the honeymoon! A cruise to New England and Canada for the fall colors? So many choices… If you have been waiting until rates went down….now’s the time….bookings must be made by September 15th. Don’t miss out! Please contact sandi@totemtravel.com to get the ball rolling…or should I say get the ship sailing? 425-821-4100

Seattle Wedding Show and Honeymoon Travel Events


Victoria House Wedding

This weekend starts the official honeymoon planning season in Seattle with the Pacific Northwest’s largest wedding show held at the Washington State Convention Center. Totem Travel will be there with up to 65% off Sandals all inclusive honeymoons, free nights and complimentary spa treatments plus up to $250 off Fiji honeymoons. We will have giveaways for all so we hope you’ll stop by and see us Saturday 10:00-5:30p or Sunday 10:30-5:00p.

Following the Seattle Wedding Show we are hosting a series of honeymoon planning events and travel seminars at Totem Travel’s Kirkland office, at Savvy Traveler in Edmonds and via Meet Me Conference Call. These are relaxed low key, information events with no cost to attend and no obligation to buy. Destinations and resorts include

Click for dates, times and details then call or email to RSVP. Our travel agents are fortunate to have seen much of this wonderful world first hand and we enjoy sharing the magic and excitement of travel. So when it’s time for you to find the perfect honeymoon, plan your next adventure or choose the best family vacation we are here to help. Call us!

Maui’s newest luxury resort: Andaz Maui at Wailea


Andaz Maui

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Are you looking for a new resort in Maui? Consider the Andaz by Hyatt a brand new boutique hotel with only 290 guest rooms and suites in the upscale beach resort area of Wailea Maui.

Andaz is very appealing for those guests who enjoy that crisp, modern approach and personal service. Andaz doesn’t have a traditional front desk, their guests check in with a personal host. No standing in line, just a nice sofa, with a cold drink, and personal attention.  I particularly like the modern, sleek décor of the rooms and suites. Quiet colors, hanging lamps, platform beds, a rain shower in the bathroom all contribute to a relaxing atmosphere. Need a little snack or a beverage but don’t want to leave your room: complimentary snacks and beverages are provided in your room so no worries about an $7 Hershey bar or $8 soft drink!!

My flights always seem arrive before check-in time and depart well after check-out time and Andaz has a solution for that as well with a lounge just for early arrivals and late departures. Bathrooms, showers, TV lounge, and video games will ease the tedium of waiting!

Andaz strives to preserve and share the Hawaiian culture by providing activities for guests which include authentically Hawaiian crafts such as lei making, and Niu (coconut) leaf weaving. Guided walks through the property and to the beach will help guests understand Hawaii’s custom of Ohana (family) and working together. Even the dining options at Andaz are committed to providing locally produced ingredients in specialty dishes and cocktails! Be sure to try the fresh sashimi and sushi and Maui caught fish.

Of course, this is Hawaii…and Hawaii means beach and water sports so try stand-up paddle boarding, row an outrigger canoe or take a surfing lesson. More of a pool person? Four beautifully landscaped, cascading infinity pools add to the luxurious atmosphere and in the evening, romantic fire pits create a wonderfully intimate ambiance. The perfect location for a glass of wine before dinner.

Andaz is a beautiful venue for a destination wedding on the beach, with a reception around the pools, in one of the unique restaurants with local cuisine. Maui has always been a favorite honeymoon destination and Andaz will add an intimate, boutique resort option. Couples looking for a romantic get-a-way with great food and drink and families wanting an upscale, luxury property for the adults, and fun beach and pool activities for the kids, are going to love Andaz Maui at Wailea.

If you are ready to experience this new resort or would like to discuss other great Hawaii vacation ideas I would love to help you plan your vacation in Maui. Please contact me at sandi@totemtravel.com, or by phone: 1 800-321-7907.

 

Honeymoon + family travel down + hurricanes = killer deals!


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It may be 90 degrees in Seattle, but summer is over for kids in school and most 2013 brides are posting their pictures on Facebook not planning a honeymoon. Add the threat of hurricanes and thunderstorms in some of the most popular vacation destinations and you have a very predictable slump in travel. But planes are still flying so airlines scramble to fill seats and fall is often the best time to buy an airline ticket and plan a vacation or destination wedding in the Caribbean, Mexico, Tahiti or Fiji.

Take as an example airfares to Jamaica and Punta Cana, both are about as low as they ever go and one airfare search site gives it a 70% probability that fares will rise in the next week. With all due respect, the experts at Totem Travel expect fares to stay low for about the next 60 days and can almost guarantee that if you book after Labor Day and travel by mid December avoiding the holidays you’ll get the lowest price of the year for an adult only all inclusive resort vacation, family getaway, Fiji island package or overwater bungalow on Bora Bora.

So think about your wishlist, check out some of our favorite deals then call or email us. We’ll make sure you get the best deal possible and come home smiling from the best vacation ever!

 

Totem Travel top agency in Seattle & best of best Sandals travel agency


Star Awards 2012

The last year has been a good one for Totem Travel awards and recognition. Some of the recognition came from the Seattle area business community where we were again named one the top travel agencies in the Pacific Northwest by The Puget Sound Business Journal.  Our travel agency has been located in Kirkland Washington since 1984 and we provide honeymoon and vacation planning services nationwide within our specific areas of expertise such as all inclusive resorts, tropical island destinations and Europe.

More awards came from Sandals Resorts where Totem Travel received yet another Best of the Best travel agency award and was selected as the top agency in Western Region for butler suites. Additionally, our three Preferred Sandals Specialists were reinstated as members in the prestigious Chairman’s Royal Club. Each award from Sandals Resorts recognizes specific areas of expertise and top performance as compared to travel agents and travel agencies located throughout the world.

Congratulations to all!

New all inclusive Couples Resort open on Dover Beach In Barbados


Couples Resorts which is a family owned chain that operates four “couples only” all inclusive resorts on the island of Jamaica has opened a Couples Resort on the island of Barbados. Couples is the first “adult only” all inclusive resort on the gorgeous island of Barbados. Couples Resorts International took over the Almond Casuarina Beach Resort located on 10 acres on the white sand Dover Beach late last year. The Almond Resort had been operating as a family all inclusive resort on the island of Barbados and now as of May 31, 2013, it officially COUPLES BARBADOS!

Couples Barbados spent quite a bit of money to transition the resort from kid friendly to “romance” friendly. Changes were made to the pools, rooms, dining areas and spa which combined with the stunning white beach and turquoise water should be a big hit with couples looking to getaway to another romantic destination. Like the Couples Resorts in Jamaica, water activities such as diving and snorkeling will be included and some fun tours like guided hike to see the green monkeys, swimming with sea turtles, a visit to Oisten’s Fish Fry etc. will be offered as well.

Couples Resorts is currently offering a fantastic promotion for those who are travelling between June 15, 2013 and January 1, 2014. If you stay 7 nights, you get an instant $1000 Air Credit which is a straight discount off your room. On this current promo, an oceanfront room during summer 2013 is only $2311 for 7 nights! Or if you can only stay 5 or 6 nights, you still get a $500 Air Credit.

Barbados has always been a hidden gem in the Caribbean and popular with beach and water lovers alike. Air service on American Airlines is fairly affordable from most U.S. cities. With Sandals “Couples Only” All Inclusive Resorts opening a new Sandals in Grenada and Couples Resorts in Barbados, I’m excited to have two new fun and romantic destinations to recommend.

We have three Caribbean, Couples and Sandals Specialists in the office and we are happy to help you choose the best destination for your special trip to a tropical destination. Give us a call at 1-800-321-7907 or you can request a quote form on our website at www.totemtravel.com and we will get in contact with you via email. Happy Travels

 

 

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