Tag Archives: Travel

Got Jet Blast? Maho Beach, Baby!

Where do two aviation nerds go for a romantic getaway? I was thinking sand, sun, tropical waters, rum drinks and…the roar of jet engines. Where else could my love and end up besides Maho Beach, the famous beach in Sint Maarten where planes land right over a gorgeous stretch of beach. Nothing beats the way the ground shakes and your body bows against the sheer power of a 747 descending right on top of you. For my non-airline friends who aren’t sure what an epic sight that is-behold KLM and I on Maho during my last visit.

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To get to SXM (Sint Maarten for you non-aviation readers) from where we live in the Bay Area, we took Delta SFO-JFK. I made homemade airplane cookies for the crew, but they got crushed before they made it to the plane, but the crew still had a great smile for my tragic cookies anyway. First class was empty since all the business travelers were home for the weekend and it became employee central. 🙂 Yipee for Nonrev victories!

Jet Blue and DL both do JFK-SXM, but we ended up taking DL to SXM and then all the way back home. BIG SHOUT OUT TO DL FOR SPOILING US ON OUR ROMANTIC GETAWAY.

We wanted to be right on Maho and the only hotel that could satisfy our inner aviation geek is the Sonesta Maho. There are many other hotels on Sint Maarten, but none of them actually sit on the famous Maho beach. So ask yourself, do you want to plane spot from your hotel room or would you rather get away from all the jets? Clearly, we chose to plan spot with all-inclusive drinks in hand and powdery sand at our feet.

Sonesta Maho Best Available Rate: $372

Sonesta Maho Crew Discount: $174

$174 for two guests, all-inclusive meals and alcoholic beverages is insanely cheap! This is a crew discount that I can get onboard with. I spotted the deal on ID90, then called the hotel to confirm and they booked the room for me. I ended up upgrading to an ocean view room for $200 which is still a steal in my opinion.

Below: View from our balcony at the Sonesta Maho

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We could plane spot from our balcony, the pool and all the restaurants.

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My Review of the Sonesta Maho Beach:

The positive: If you love planes, this is an unbeatable locations. You can see aircraft of all kinds coming in at all hours. You don’t hear them from the hotel rooms so you can still have peace and quiet when you want it. The hotel has tons of activities from Mixology to Dance to Water aerobics, whatever you can think of. My man and I ended up participating in the newlywed game and it was a hilariously good time. The pool is lovely and has a swim-up bar to get your all-inclusive fix of tropical drinks. There are four restaurants on the premises and three of them have stunning beach views. The rooms are nice and come with two bottles of booze and a fridge with mixers. The bathroom is stocked with sun block and big spray (which thank goodness I didn’t have to use) but it was a nice touch.

The Negative: Almost everyone that works here (with the exception of the entertainment crews) will treat you like crap. This hotel probably has the worse service I’ve ever experienced. From the check-in desk to the bar, not a smile to be seen in sight. Want a drink, prepare to be scorned. The food at all of the restaurants is…okay. I would never ever have any kind of special even here due to the quality of food and customer service. Also, no room service, no coffee in the lobby. Just basic hospitality things are missing. On my last day when a convention was being hosted, the hotel put out coffee. Guess the rest of the guests don’t matter.

Final Verdict: For me, the location on the beautiful Maho beach outweighs all the negatives. The beach has powdery sand and clear turquoise waters, and the fact that you can swim in them as KLM descends over…just amazing.

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Besides the incredible moment when KLM descends over Maho, probably one of my favorite plane spotting moments was DHL, whom I will forever more call the Badasses of the Sky! Check out this pic I took below of them giving some of the beach goers a buzz cut.

 

Once you get outside the resort, the people of Sint Maarten are super friendly and will welcome you with open arms. We took a beautiful sailing excursion, but the snorkeling visibility was non existent due to the wind. We were there four days and it was definitely not enough! I can’t wait to go back and this time will try to make it to Anguilla!

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Have you been to Sint Maarten? Worked it? Let me know what you thought and if you have any other tips because I’m looking forward to going back!

I’ll leave you with a photo of my expression when I get buzzed by a 787

XOXO JAYE

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Isle of Skye, Scotland…A Fairies Paradise

Sometimes I get the itch. The air blows over my skin, but it’s not fresh enough, it’s a breeze I’ve felt before. It’s time to get away.

Since the summer weather left me disenchanted with the concept of sweat, I decided to get away to some place a bit cooler, wetter. Someplace where I’d be able to smell the trees, feel the fog curling around me. There could be only one place for that-Scotland. But the great cities of Scotland wouldn’t be enough, I needed to visit the Isle of Skye, famed for its nature.

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Have 4 Days to get away? Here’s some tips to see the Isle of Skye

Fly into Glasgow. If you arrive in the morning like I did, around 7:30AM, you have plenty of time to take the airport shuttle for seven pounds and end up at the Queen St Station. This is also where you’ll catch the scenic train ride to Mallaig. Buy the combo ticket which includes the ferry ride to Armadale on the Isle of Skye. Expect this journey to cost about 50 pounds and take 7 hours. I promise that every moment of it is so beautiful that’ll take your breath away. The train ride is so famously gorgeous, passing through glens and by lochs, it’s second only to the Trans Siberian railway in fame.

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Recognize this bridge? If you do it’s because it was featured in Harry Potter as the train to Hogwarts.

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Once you get to Armadale, you can take a bus to Portree, or if you’re lucky like me, you can meet someone nice on the ferry and hitch a ride with them. If you’re on a budget, arrange to stay at the hostel in town center. The beds aren’t comfy by any means, but the showers are clean, it’s right in the center of Portree, and its a great way to meet fellow travelers. 18 Pounds a night. Be advised, B&Bs can also be as cheap as 38 pounds.

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To get around the Isle of Skye, it’s very necessary to rent a car. I recommend doing so for two days. Expect to pay 38 pounds a day plus about 20 pounds for insurance. Just remember to keep to the left!

Day one: Drive north and plan on hiking to see the Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, the Fairy Glenn and the Quirang.

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The hike up to the Man of Storr is somewhat steep and if it’s raining, expect it to be slippery. Wear good hiking shoes. It’s only about a forty minute hike, but it took me a lot longer because I took so many pictures. 🙂

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Kilt Rock, pull off the highway about 10 minutes after The Man of Storr.

After that, hike the Quirang for more breathtaking views.

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Day 2: Fairie Pools, Castle Dunvegan, Neist Point, Coral Beach

Get up bright and early to pack all this into a day. The highlight for me was the Fairie Pools and I spent about five hours there. If you’re a photographer, you might very well be there all day. Bring a tripod if you plan on shooting some major waterfall porn.

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Autumn at the Fairie Pools is awe-inspiring. The glenn was painted with one hundred shades of yellow and green, dotted with hints of purple heather beginning to blossom. The sound of rippling streams accompanies you as you venture across the highland trenches. I was there all by myself and it was easy to be transported to another age within the mystical highlands.

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On the drive from the Fairie Pools up North to make the ring back to Portree, hit up Dunvegan Castle, pictured first on blog, as well as Neist Point and Coral Beach.

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Once at Coral Beach, enjoy a short climb up the hill for a great view on the crystalline waters. Keep your eyes out for seals and dolphins that come to play in this picturesque cove.

The Isle of Skye is an incredible escape that everyone should experience before they die. Scotland is rich in history and culture and the rocky mountains and green hills will capture the breath right from your lungs.

XOXO Jaye

P.S. For my fellow FAs, I ended up flying UA EWR-GLA AND UA EDI-EWR on the return.

30 Hours in Bermuda – Got Paradise?

After jumping on Virgin America and being treated like a rock star for five hours from LAX to JFK, I used a ZED to get on the almost completely empty flight from JFK – BDA. For those of you who don’t speak airline, that’s Bermuda. For those of you who do ZED, I paid $30 plus an obscene amount of taxes (about $75), but it was all worth is to spend 30 hours in paradise.

Hands down the beaches were far more intoxicating in beauty and comfort than those I’ve been to in Hawaii and Mexico. At first glance, the pink sand beach at Horse Shoe Bay doesn’t seem all that impressive. Upon arrival, the sand merely seemed so blindingly white that it cast a peachy glow. As I strolled and the sun began to set, the sand glowed a deeper shade of pink, matching the sherbert sunset sky. The calm turquoise water stretched out into the horizon, ten different shades of blue and crystal clear enough to only be found in paradise. As I stepped through powder sand and the warm bathwater that is the Bermuda beach, I was intoxicated by the beauty of the pastel technicolor dream scape.

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I think what I love most about the majority of Bermuda beaches is that they aren’t overcrowded. Near the entrance of Horse shoe Bay there are some volleyball nets if you want to get active, but if not, simply stroll along the beach and navigate giant limestone sculptures to find your own secluded stretch of sand. Keep walking and you’ll even encounter other beaches like Elbow Beach or Church’s Bay which are known for their snorkeling reefs. Or, if you don’t feel like snorkeling, rent a kayak. Even beginners can easily navigate the calm waters of Bermuda. If you can, rent a glass bottom kayak. The water is so crystal clear that you don’t need a mask and fins to see exotic fish in blindingly bright colors.

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The people of Bermuda humbled me with their incredible kindness and welcoming smiles. I’ve never felt more welcomed anywhere. My first night, Troy, a bellhop who apparently is off duty when the moment strikes, convinced me and my partner to join him at the local hot spot, the Swizzle Inn for a taste of Bermuda’s national drink, the Dark and Stormy. How could we say no to that? The bar stayed open late just for us and I finally got to taste the Bermuda concoction of ginger beer and black rum. Let me tell you, it was so refreshing! The Dark and Stormy was a perfect way to end my first night in Bermuda listening to the charming and comical tales of a local.

Speaking of dark and stormy, for those of you who want a different kind of thrill, instead of swimming in the bright beach waters, opt for a cave swim. Bermuda has more caves per square mile than anywhere in the world!

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The limestone formations create eerie yet beautiful sculptures that drip from the ceiling into a crystal clear pool. I had this cave all to myself and it was both peaceful and chilling to dive in. Many cultures believe cenotes or caves are pathways to the underworld. If I dived in, would a mermaid grab hold of me and take me to another world? I dove in to find out, but I only found soft waters that left my skin feeling silky smooth once I got out.

Looking for a place to stay in Bermuda? I wholeheartedly recommend the Grotto Bay Resort which also has an all-inclusive option. The resort has a beautiful pool with a swim up bar, perfect for having fun island drinks. Just a few steps from the pool is a private beach. A friendly staff member will be standing by to put an umbrella wherever you wish. Gaze at the crystal clear turquoise waters and you may even spot the outline of the sunken ships.

Note to crewmembers: we do get a discount at this hotel and also at the kayak rental place on the beach.

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In 30 Hours I swam in a pool, in a cave, in a bay, in a beach, ate delicious fresh caught Mahi Mahi, drank a Dark and Stormy with a local, kayaked a nature preserve, visited Hamilton’s street fair, bused around town with the locals, witnessed a street brawl, chilled in a bar to listen to local music, and had a security guard carve me up some fresh aloe. Bermuda is full of unexpected surprises.

What can you do in 30 Hours?

XOXO JAYE

Jaye does Bermuda