Los Angeles Sightseeing during the Rose Parade

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Each year as part of Cartan Tours’ fabulous Rose Parade tour, clients from both the Ayres Hotel and the DoubleTree Hotel are taken on a sightseeing tour of greater L.A. that includes downtown Hollywood, the Farmer’s Market/Grove shopping mall and the ever-famous and picturesque Santa Monica Pier.

Our morning started with a trip to downtown Hollywood and a lovely visit to the historic I.T.C./Grauman’s Chinese Theatre built by Sid Grauman.  Whether you hoped for a picture of the star belonging to Cary Grant, Doris Day, John Wayne, Michael Jackson or Johnny Depp, (and the list goes on and on; as does the entire Hollywood Walk of Fame), many iconic stars can be found right in the forecourt at Grauman’s.  There are many photo opportunities here, as well as the next scenic view – The casting couch and the fabulous Hollywood Sign that sits atop Mt. Lee.  Because I’ve done this tour several times, I’ve learned the best place to see the sign, and get the best picture for our clients!  Also in this area, guests are able to get a quick glimpse of the Dolby Theatre (previously known as the Kodak Theatre) where the Academy Awards are held each year, and the El Capitan Theatre, home to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Then we were off to the next adventure.

Our next stop was the famous L.A. Farmer’s Market and “The Grove” shopping mall.   The Farmer’s Market offers an eclectic group of stands selling hamburgers, bakery items, ice cream, gluten-free and vegan choices, produce of every kind, and a large choice of ethnic foods from around the world.  The market is an eater’s treasure-trove.  “The Grove” shopping mall, (adjacent to the Farmer’s Market), is home to a variety of popular stores (i.e. – American Girl, the Gap, Nordstrom’s, Barnes and Noble and so many more…)  There are also many places to enjoy sit-down dining or quick bites.  Snacking or eating outside also leaves time for those who wish to ride the delightful Grove trolley to see the famous Christmas tree of L.A. The tree at the Grove is the official city tree and the lighting of the tree is televised annually.  You also never know who you may see shopping at the Grove because this is one of many spots, where celebrities choose to shop in the L.A. area.

The last sightseeing destination during our tour is one to savor, and one of my favorite stops of the entire day – the world-famous Santa Monica Pier.  This year, we were able to enjoy the beautiful blue skies and ocean surf for several hours.  Some guests chose to beachcomb, some went to the 3rd Street Promenade for even more shopping and eating, some walked the pier to view the trapeze school and the artists that were performing/practicing, some rode the ferris-wheel and others snapped picture after picture because this iconic pier is often used as a backdrop in many television shows and movies. It is also here at this beach, that many a “Baywatch” scene was filmed, when they did not film in Malibu. After a full day of fun and sightseeing, Santa Monica Pier allows our guests to end their day on a crescendo, ready to sleep well to prepare for all that is to come the next day, the beautiful Rose Parade in Pasadena.

For more information on our Ayres and DoubleTree Hotel Rose Parade packages for 2014-2015, please contact Travel Benefits By Design at 816-595-6000.  Travel Benefits By Design is an authorized partner with Cartan Tours.

by Warren Hanson, Cartan Tours

Guest Blogger


The Dominican Republic’s Newest Resort – Breathless

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If you are ready to take a vacation that will not only help you get away from the monotony of your everyday hectic schedule but transports you to a luxurious paradise then Breathless Resorts & Spa is exactly what you need. Located on the beautiful northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, nestled on a 700 yard stretch of pure white sand beach, Breathless Punta Cana is perfect whether you are alone, with a companion or looking for the perfect destination wedding location.

This all suite resort offers thirteen gourmet restaurants to choose from, whether you are in the mood for Lebanese, Italian, French or something fresh off the grill, Breathless Punta Cana has something to satisfy everyone’s cravings. What better way to finish off your dinner then by stepping into one of our seven bars or lounges and enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail made with our top-shelf spirits. If you would rather have drinks in your room, we offer 24-hour room service and each room has a complimentary mini-bar.

Get out and soak up the sun, there are several outdoor activities to choose from. Spend a lazy day relaxing by the pool or sunbathing on the beautiful stretch of private beach. Play a round of golf on the nearby gold course, get out into the teal blue waters and take in the world that lives under the sea by snorkeling. If you are more of an above the water type of person, we offer sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Live shows in the theater, live music and dancing, themed party nights and movies on the beach are just a few ways to spend some time relaxing.

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation then take a trip to the Breathless word class spa. Stimulate your senses with a seaweed wrap, Swedish massage or one of our exclusive facials. We offer relaxing couples massages, laying side by side in a serene private escape you can relax with a hot stone massage, a spa manicure and pedicure or a deep tissue massage. Our spa also offers salon treatments, basic manicures, paraffin dips, waxing and gel polish just to name a few.

If a dream destination wedding is what you desire than Breathless Resorts & Spa Punta Cana can make that dream come true. Our on-site wedding coordinator will help you plan every detail to make your wedding day the most perfect day. With several packages to choose from, we take care of everything you can think of and even some things you don’t. We handle everything from the flowers and wedding cake to dinner for your reception. 

Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa is the prefect destination for people who enjoy luxury at a reasonable price.


All Inclusive Resort Sale – Jamaica – February 21 to March 6, 2014

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FunJet AI Specials Feb 20141http://www.funjet.com/Specials/All-Inclusive.aspx?&plcode=8165956000

Click on the link or any image for more information


Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa

Whitehouse, Jamaica

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Valid Departure Date: 4/01, 4/02

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Azul Sensatori Jamaica

Negril, Jamaica

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Valid Departure Date: 3/05 – 4/21, more

3 nights Hotel Only from $806.00


Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Exclusive Savings up to 25% when Booked with Air!

Valid Departure Date: 3/01 – 4/17

3 nights Hotel Only from $306.00


Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa

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Valid Departure Date: 4/01 – 4/28

4 nights Hotel Only from $596.00


Couples Tower Isle

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Exclusive 5% Savings when Packaged with Air!

Valid Departure Date: 7/01 – 8/25

3 nights Hotel Only from $585.00

Dream, Design, Deliver

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Inspired by these “3 Ds”, Travel Benefits By Design set out to approach the travel agent profession with a forward-thinking and unique mindset.

We strongly believe that travel planning is not only a necessity, but it’s part of a design; it’s part of what will contribute to unique and unforgettable experiences while traveling.  Granted, you might argue that the true essence of adventure lays in its unpredictability, but who said making plans – or better, designing a trip – means to get in the safe zone?

Unlike many travel agencies out there, we don’t simply “plan travels”, but we pride ourselves to be “designers” of experiences.

Traveling is one of the most fascinating, enriching and enjoyable life experiences possible, but it has got a very individualistic side to it: when we travel, we like to focus on different things. Some enjoy art museums, some enjoy nightlife, some want to explore the local culinary tradition…you name it.

We are all different individuals, and our hearts beat for different things, even when we’re on the road, in a completely new and exciting environment.

Our agency is committed to bridge the gap between the universal appeal of traveling and the personal attitude of the travelers; bringing unique interests, hobbies and passions to the forefront of the picture.

The destination is there. It’s up to you to choose how to experience it. Let us design your next travel experience!