All new promotion at Secrets, Dreams, Now, and Zoetry Resorts – up to $350 Air Credit and $400 in Resort Coupons!

Stay 4 nights $200 Air Credit per room
Stay 7 Nights $350 Air Credit per room

Plus up to $400 in resort coupons
Reserve your getaway by May 31st!

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An all-new sale just launched for some of our best selling resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico! Now, book your 2013 travel package at any one of the Secrets Resorts, Dreams Resorts, Now Resorts, or Zoetry Resorts, and receive up to $350 Air Credit, plus up to $400 in Resort Coupons! Now may be the best time to book your vacation package.

Choose from the adults-only luxury of Secrets Resorts, the family friendly upscale Dreams Resorts, the upbeat and outgoing Now Resorts, or the laid back and relaxing Zoetry Resorts.

Let us put together a vacation quote, customized just for you!

Just to whet your appetite for vacation, how about a few pictures from our recent tour of Dreams Riviera Cancun, one of our top family resorts!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Berwick Travel is building our own ISLAND!

After long years of negotiations (and a lot of bribes!), Berwick Travel is proud to announce that we will be building our own ISLAND in the southern Caribbean, which will feature six all-inclusive resorts, a marina, an airstrip, one gas station, two Wal Marts, a Best Buy, one outhouse for the community to share (plumbing is a challenge on a newly constructed sandbar), and our very own cobranded brick oven pizzeria

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It’s a few miles west of Aruba, and we’ll be offering connecting flights through Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba on our own fledgling airline, BTAir.

As you can see from the attached photo, construction has already begun. We’re hoping to take reservations for the all new Berwick Resorts in the fall of 2014!

We haven’t named the island yet – any suggestions?

Introducing Couples Barbados!

Opening in June, an all-new Couples Resorts experience on the beautiful island of Barbados! Visit our Couples Barbados page for more information!

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Located on pristine Dover Beach where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic and endless sunshine is accompanied by gentle ocean breezes, Couples Barbados invites you to surrender to the calypso rhythms of paradise.

As the only resort on the island dedicated exclusively to couples, Couples Barbados provides an idyllic refuge for you to recharge and reconnect with the one you love. And with more inclusions than anywhere else on Barbados, your worry-free holiday begins the moment you land on the island.

So why not spend your days with white sand between your toes. Learn how to kayak, scuba dive or snorkel in azure blue waters. Get lost in 10 acres of tropical gardens. Play golf amidst tropical surroundings. Play tennis under the stars. Indulge in an invigorating or romantic massage for two. Enjoy the freshest seafood and best rum punch this side of heaven. Or simply relax to the sounds of Green Monkeys playing in the palm trees at sunset.

After all, this is paradise Couples Barbados-style—where every enchanting day and magical night encourages you to live life well.

Let us put together a Couples Barbados vacation quote, customized just for you!

Enjoy these Couples Barbados photos!

Travel + Leisure Magazine shout out for Live Aqua Cancun

Travel + Leisure Magazine gave a nice little shout out (part of World’s Best Hotels in 2012!) to Live Aqua Cancun, the newest addition to Berwick Travel’s portfolio. Live Aqua Cancun is truly upscale, adults-only all-inclusive luxury in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Consider it for your next trip!

From article (original here):

When Live Aqua Cancun reopened in 2008 (it had less than a year’s false start before 2005’s Hurricane Wilma plowed through), it proved the Cancún scene could handle a new breed of upscale alternative hotel—and in November 2010, it went all-inclusive. The staff puts a lot of work into maintaining a chill, anti-stress vibe, from the spa to the meditation bells or mini Japanese gardens left in your room at turndown to the pervasive aromatherapy—in public spaces, guest rooms, and the sense garden. The 371 rooms are modern and minimalist, done in neutral tones and natural materials to enhance the relaxation without competing with the Caribbean blue views from the balcony. There are three celebrity chef–helmed restaurants (one each by Michelle Bernstein, Franco Maddalozzo, and Martha Ortiz) and eight swimming pools—plus the beach. (The hotel itself offers no water sports, but can set you up with local outfitters.)
Room to Book: The 29 Aqua Club deluxe rooms on the fifth floor share with the hotel’s suites access to an exclusive lounge with nibbles, books, and honor bar; a private pool and bar; and other perks.
Insider Tip: Tai chi sessions, 10-minute foot massages by the pool, and other basic spa services are free, but it is worth paying a bit extra for the spa’s more elaborate offerings, ranging from yoga classes and Watsu floating massages to Mayan-inspired treatments and traditional temazcal sweats.

Just back from Punta Cana, and we’re not sick!

We just returned from a nine-day trip to the Dominican Republic, spending a very nice week under the sun at Dreams Punta Cana and Excellence Punta Cana. We had excellent service, the food was very good, the beach was large, the ocean was inviting, the pool was crystal clear, and the people were top notch.

But *gasp* it’s the Dominican Republic! It’s on the same island as Haiti! It’s the epicenter of worldwide malaria outbreaks! You can’t drink the water! It’s where pirates were based for Pete’s sake!

Oh my, if I had a nickel for every time someone said to us, as an agency, that they didn’t want to travel to the DR for one reason or another, I’d have quit the business long ago, bought a catamaran, and sailed off into the Caribbean sunset…along with several bagfuls of extra nickels.

I was there with my family (wife, two kids, and parents) for an entire week. And you know what? No one got sick…no one was mugged…no one contracted malaria, or dengue fever, or the plague, or whatever other rumors may be out there… It was just an excellent vacation week in one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems, Punta Cana. And this was my kids’ fifth trip to the Dominican, without even a runny nose.

But *gasp* you’re in the travel business, you know how to avoid the plague, the pirates, the earthquakes! Well, not entirely. I do know how to avoid the pirates, yes, but that’s another story.

No, we all drank the water, we all had showers and brushed our teeth with the water from the tap, we all had some type of frozen drink (using the ice, another terrible rumor…anyway, can you imagine a frozen margarita without ice? *Shudder*). We even, and I love this rumor, ate actual salad that had probably been washed in water!

Yes, it’s true that many people get sick on vacation – and you may be one of them, and it may have happened in Punta Cana. However to immediately chalk that up to unfounded scary rumors about the destination is unfair to the destination, the hotel companies, and maybe most importantly the people working in those destinations. And they are rumors, not facts. Don’t drink the water? Puh-leeze. If that were true, and drinking the water/eating the ice or salad made people sick on a consistent basis, the hotels, and the destination, would have gone under years ago. Seriously…if Montezuma’s revenge struck even 1% of people traveling to Cancun, they’d close up shop before you can say Chichen Itza…or Chicken Pizza.

Think about it…the hotel we stayed at has 600 rooms, and were over 90% full, averaging just over two people per room. That’s (brain ticking and smoking) somewhere around 1,200 people here…each week. At this hotel alone, which is one of over thirty 4-star and up resorts we feature on our site. So (brain still smoking) let’s call it 16,000 people per week (keeping in mind only at hotels we send guests to, so I’m shooting low) during peak time. Keep calculating…call off-peak 60% occupancy (and I’ll have to do the complex math for what weeks are peak…trust me), that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 600,000 guests per year. Guess how many people contracted malaria (the ‘big’ media scare for the Dominican Republic) in the resort areas during the last so-calledoutbreak year” of 2004? 5,000? 1,000? Maybe 600, or one-tenth of one percent? Nope, you’re still a little high. It was 17. Yep, 17. Which is less than one-third of the number of cases reported every year in Florida.

Do you know what causes most sicknesses while on vacation? I’ve actually asked several on-site nurses in different destinations over the years…I’m by no means a doctor, but I sometimes have to play one (along with weatherman) for our clients. Most guest illness is caused by overdrinking combined with oversunning. Yes, the five mojitos at the pool bar, combined with the six beers on the beach, added to the three glasses of wine at dinner, topped off with tequila shots in the lobby bar that night, all heaped on top of that funny burnt smell you’re giving off (SPF-4 will work, right honey? It’s what we use in Wisconsin!) is probably what made you sick. NOT the bad ice, the mosquitoes, the lettuce, not even brushing your teeth in the sink.

Could you get sick? Absolutely. The same way you can get sick at Disney World, or skiing at Aspen, or at the craps table in Atlantic City (don’t ask). We’re not saying you can’t get sick in a foreign country; what we’re saying is in most cases it’s not contaminated food or impure water.

Our advice? Go easy on the booze, heavy on the sunscreen, and even heavier on the water (most of the resorts we handle provide plenty of purified bottled water). Love those mojitos? Who doesn’t – but order one, plus one bottle of water. When you finish the mojito, order the second round while you drink the water. You’ll enjoy your week MUCH better.

Oh, and one last suggestion. Don’t think the burrito you’re getting at the Mexican restaurant is the same burrito you got at your local Taco Bell, and don’t think the jalapenos piled onto your nachos are the same ones you got out of a jar in your fridge. Take the food in moderation, your American stomach may not be accustomed to the ‘true’ local foods and spices.

Your thoughts always welcome!

Review of Azul Sensatori

Azul Sensatori at NightWe’re just back from an amazing week at one of our top resorts, the luxurious Azul Sensatori by Karisma in the Riviera Maya. Beautiful property, nice location, gourmet dining, lots of fun for the kids, below-average beach, plenty of pools, and above all some really great people. Ready to wade through the entire review?

Overview:
The landscaping of Azul Sensatori is gorgeous – this resort really has come a long way since it opened in late 2008. Palm trees and hibiscus flowers are everywhere you look, lawns are lush and green, and low lighting provides a beautiful scene each night. Azul Sensatori, although having almost 500 suites, is not so large as to need a golf cart, and guests can walk from one side to the other in five minutes – so getting dressed for dinner and walking to the restaurants doesn’t require another shower after arriving!
Azul Sensatori SuitesSuites:
Azul Sensatori is an all-suite resort, even the least expensive lead-in category, featuring jacuzzi tubs, minibars, 24 hour room service, LCD televisions with DVD players, and in-building concierges. Very modern decor – bright greens and oranges, modern artwork, very squared-off architecture. Oddly enough unlike some luxury competitors, Azul Sensatori doesn’t offer jacuzzi tubs on the balconies/patios, with the lone exception of the Premium Swim Up, which has a jacuzzi tub flush with pool level. Most suites have some type of oceanview, but some being set back or lower floors will be obstructed (if you want oceanview, book an oceanview category which will be closer to the beach and higher floors).
Azul Sensatori PoolsPools:
Three distinct pools run throughout the M-shaped Azul Sensatori – the Family Suites pool, the Premium pool, and the Adults-Only pool, and each have their own swim up bar. Numerous Bali-style pool beds surround each pool (although unfortunately, the beds and chairs in the Family Suites section do tend to ‘fill up’ with guests’ items early in the morning). Waiter service around the pools throughout the day make it unnecessary to leave your chair for anything you’d need. In the Premium section, pool concierges bring around drinks and towels, plus gourmet bites at noon. They also will set up your chair or pool bed with towels upon request – a very nice feature for the upgraded categories.
Beach:
Azul Sensatori BeachWell, the good reviews had to end somewhere, but this isn’t the fault of the resort (unless you can blame them for choosing to put their resort here). Very narrow stretch of beach, small swimmable area, and good amount of seagrass (depending on season as with any resort). Azul Sensatori has done a good job in using what they have – a full-service beach grill with covered seating, many beach beds and chairs, beach waiter service, and beach night shows a few times a week, including an amazing fire and water Caribbean show, but the beach is certainly not why you’d want to come to Azul Sensatori. Some resorts can be termed a beach resort or a pool resort – this is a pool resort by far.

Dining:
Breakfast in Spoon (the main restaurant) gave a choice of ordering from a menu a la carte (with a fairly limited number of choices), or the ‘food display’, as Azul Sensatori terms their buffets. The restaurant was packed on our first trip in, but plenty of waiters to handle it, and our coffee cups and water glasses never quite hit empty. The buffet is on the small side, not a wide selection (and we noticed it didn’t vary much during the week); those hoping for traditional Mexican dishes or sauces may not be 100% satisfied, but the omelets, fresh fruits, and sweet rolls may make up for it. Breakfast was a 7 out of 10. Lunch was basic (they could use more sandwiches), and dinner was above average (a nice basic alternative to the specialty restaurants).

Azul Sensatori Tapaz RestaurantTapaz is a Spanish-style tapas restaurant, serving small unique bites throughout the dinner with no menu. Really unique architecture with the ‘natural’ stone walls and ceiling, family-style round tables with a rotating platform in the middle to pass food items around the table, and the kitchen being in full view to watch the chefs prepare the dinner. We had five courses: three of small appetizer-type foods (crazy-spicy chipotle chicken chips, lamb meatballs, veal turnovers, calamari skewers, among others), then a main course (ours consisted of pork ribs with a tomato sauce, filet with a mustard sauce, sweet and sour pork, and a beef brisket), followed by several dessert selections. Plan ahead – this dinner takes a while, not a short sit-down-and-eat-and-leave meal, and some picky eaters may walk out hungry because of the limited selection. Our waiter (Chris) was excellent and very attentive (he went to another restaurant to retrieve a pinot noir we asked for), and service throughout the restaurant seemed quite good. An 8 out of 10 (some delays and only above-average food bring down the rating a bit, but service bumps it back up).
Zavaz for lunch was perhaps a bit more than we expected – more of a dinner menu than a lunch menu, but our party was more than satisfied with the food quality. Some of the best dining we had was the lunch portions of salmon, grouper, chicken breast, even the scallops and shrimp at the salad bar. Again the Azul Sensatori staff provided excellent service (sensing a theme here?), beautiful location overlooking the pool and ocean. Very limited menu choices (only 6 to choose from), but they do offer that salad bar plus a food display of 3-4 entrees. Nice kids menu – you can tell Azul Sensatori really caters to the family market. Lunch at Zavaz was an 8 out of 10.
Azul Sensatori Le Chique RestaurantLe Chique is an incredible experience that absolutely every guest should take advantage of! Azul Sensatori’s adults-only restaurant is the only one on property that requires reservations, and they will not seat a party more than four to maintain the intimate and relaxed atmosphere. They also won’t seat much later than 8PM, as the best feature of this restaurant is the set menu. The standard dining experience consists of an 8 course gourmet dinner spread out over two hours, with such menu items as gazpacho with chili oil in a seaweed bubble, pate, smoked duck (in a smoky bowl), soups, and more. Incredibly interesting, and a very fun experience, especially with your choice of ten different house wines. For those looking to go all out, Le Chique offers a 14 course wine-pairing dinner ($95pp additional) which is closer to four hours, adds extra course and gourmet bites, and is paired with 5-6 different wines depending on the fare – not to mention several of the dishes are brought to the table by the head chef or sous chef. Easily a 10 out of 10.
Sienna is an authentic-looking Italian cellar, complete with brick walls and a massive candle display, serving excellent regional Italian dishes. We had top notch service and the menu offered many different choices, from chicken to beef to fish to pasta (of course), along with several soups and salads. Again, access to ten different house wines. Great experience, an 8 out of 10.
Zocalo, the Mexican restaurant, may have been our party’s favorite (if it wasn’t for the children in the party, Le Chique would have won hands-down!) as we dined there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Excellent Mexican dishes, a nice food display spread for all three meals, great views over the pool, nice cantina outside for drinks, and a special brick oven pizza kitchen for lunch and dinner. Highly recommended, another 10 out of 10!

For more information, client reviews, current specials, and pricing for Azul Sensatori, click here.