Giveaway: SPG Starpoints Travel Experience

As a blogger I am always really thrilled to be able to bring my awesome readers unique inspiration and the inside scoop on fabulous opportunities. That said, today I am so excited to tell you about the most incredible giveaway! American Express and Starwood Hotels and Resorts are giving one lucky The Sweetest Occasion reader 100,000 Starpoints redeemable at any of the Starwood properties to plan the vacation of your dreams! (Insert some pretty serious squeals of joy over here.) I am an absolute travel fanatic so the opportunity to share that experience with you is killing me with glee right now!

Wondering how to win? It’s simple! American Express and Starwood are also giving me 100,000 Starpoints to take my own dream vacation and I’d love your input on where to go, what to see, where to eat and what to do. Have a favorite restaurant in Montreal or beloved memories of a ski resort in the Rockies? Tell me all about it! Comment here with your travel inspiration for my upcoming trip between now and Monday, August 22nd at 9am EST and one lucky winner will be announced that day!

But the awesome doesn’t stop there! Between now and August 22nd American Express will be running a promotion providing new Starwood Preferred Guest Cardmembers with up to 30,000 in Starpoints (10,000 at First Purchase and 20,000 more by spending $4,500 in 3 months). The limited time offer also includes $0 introductory annual fee for the first year. So basically, if you’re a travel junkie like me and you want to plan a killer trip, apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest card, charge up the batteries for your camera and start making memories!

For my own trip, I’m loving The Liberty Hotel in Boston, one of my absolute favorite cities. I can never get enough of strolling along the Freedom Trail, visiting the museums, wandering through Quincy Market and eating some of the best seafood and pastries you’ll find anywhere. (Mike’s Pastry in the North End is not to be missed.)

{What I’d wear in Boston: Striped tank, flare pants, flats, bag, sunglasses, necklace, belt.}

I’ve also heard the most amazing things about San Antonio lately where the Sheraton Gunter Hotel looks right up my alley. I already know I could get lost for hours exploring the River Walk and the Alamo.

{What I’d wear in San Antonio: Dress, bag, boots, glasses, scarf, belt.}

That said, I think I have my heart set on jetting off to the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, a Westin resort in Key West. I mean, it’s Key West! After a really busy, life-changing summer I’m thinking long lazy days of sunshine, icy cocktails and the slow pace of island life are just what I need.

{What I’d wear in Key West: Bathing suit, sandals, cover up, tote bag, sunglasses, sun hat.}

(Editor’s Note: To give you a sense of how the points translate, 10,000 Starpoints alone could get you a free night at a Category 4 hotel, such as a Westin or W hotel, and 30,000 Starpoints could get you up to two weeks-worth of free nights at a Category 1 hotel such as the Four Points by Sheraton. In other words, the winner is going on one heck of a honeymoon or vacation!)

This post was sponsored by American Express.

123 comments

Comments

Miranda

Oooh, this is such an awesome giveaway!! Thank you for the opportunity!

The best vacation spot I’ve ever been to was Kailau-Kona, Hawaii on the Big Island. It was still the essence of Hawaii without the majority of the touristy feel to it! The scenery is beautiful and the people are the nicest you’ll ever meet! I’d recommend staying at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa there. The atmosphere is WONDERFUL and you meet so many interesting people from so many different walks of life! The air is fresh, the food is fantastic and the lifestyle really allows busy city-livers like myself to SLOW down! We ate at Fish Hopper and I had the best seafood I’ve ever had in my life there. And the drinks were to die for! Make sure you go around the island, it would be a day trip (especially since the majority of the speed limit is 55) to go to Hawi, Hawaii where you can go to Kohala Coffee Mill and grab some delicious Kona Coffee from the island and some amazing vanilla bean ice cream! If you continue your way around the island, you can see the cliffs and trek towards Hilo and see some really awesome sea turtles up close and personal (but don’t touch, it’ll cost you major in fines!! there are warnings everywhere) and enjoy the black and green sand beaches. The black sand beach is able to be driven to, but if you want to experience the beauty of the green sand beach, you’re going to have to park your car and HIKE three miles to get to it! It makes for a wonderful trip! And if you decide to stop at Hilo, they have an amazing candy shoppe called Sugar Coast Candy that has all the flavors of saltwater taffy you could ever dream up AND truffles, chocolates, and more!!!

This was my most favorite vacation I’ve ever taken and I’d LOVE to have someone else enjoy it as much as I did! Bring your cell JUST to call whoever you’re going with if you happen to separate for a day (my husband went 4-wheeling when I went to the spa, amazing!) and leave the computer at home and RELAX!!!!

I immediately thought of where I went to university, in San Luis Obispo, CA. Stay in SLO, eat at the downtown evening Farmer’s Market, nap on the beach in Avila, hike Bishop’s Peak, go wine tasting, head to a lake for some sailing, and eat at all the wonderful restaurants. I love it there, and it’d be a great vacation!
.-= Tracy Osborn’s most recent blog post: One Bella Design =-.

Come to Chicago! I recently moved to Chicago (November of last year) and have had a wonderful time getting to know my new home!

While Chicago has something for everyone, I would encourage you to save your points until December so you can see Chicago around the holidays. The nip in the air, bundled up, walking down State Street is sure to put you in the holiday spirit! Drink mulling spices and look at the homemade crafts at Christkindlemarket, visit the famous State Street Macy’s shop windows, decorated entirely in paper, visit Zoo lights (Lincoln Park Zoo covered in twinkling lights), and do some shopping on Michigan Avenue (check out my blog for pictures of all of these things).

And there’s plently of non-holiday things to do – have a drink at Trump Tower, visit the Art Institute or Shedd Aquarium (the best in the country, in my humble opinion), take an architecture tour, and visit more arts, crafts, and design stores than I’ve been able to visit since I moved here nearly a year ago!

PS. The pictures of what you would wear would include: puffy north face coat with fur around the hood, hunter boots, and some cute scarves and gloves :-)

Mont Tremblant, Canada is one of the greatest towns to visit in both the summer and winter. It is a great ski resort and they have a huge blues festival during the summer. It is also close to Montreal so you can hit them both in one trip.
.-= Devin Boyle’s most recent blog post: DC’s New Restaurant Round-Up =-.

Rosaleen

One word: VIEQUES!
Stay at the W Retreat & Spa (part of the Starwood Caribbean Collection) and make sure you rent an all wheel drive car to visit some of Vieques’ gorgeous, but more secluded, beaches like Navío, Red and Blue Beaches. Go horseback riding through an old plantation, explore old Navy bunkers or kayak through mangrove channels. But the real star of Vieques, and this is me burying the lede, is its bioluminescent bay (swim in starlight). I would highly recommend you take the All-In-One Biobay Tour with Abe’s Snorkeling. As for food, I always eat in the Malecón, but I’ve been to Chez Shacks too and it’s pretty tasty.

You’re welcome!

PS. I’m getting married in Vieques in January!

Rachel Dallaire

Come to the Pacific Northwest!!! There is so much to do here. Great food, tax-free shopping (in Oregon), waterfalls, mountains, vineyards/wineries, the ocean….the possibilities are endless! :-) Portland is a pretty awesome city to base out of-close to everything, and a pretty awesome town to boot!!!

You have to go to Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a month-long theatre festival all over the city. I went in 2008 and I had the absolute best time ever. I am dying to go back. Maybe next year. So many amazing plays, one-acts, originals and classics. Music, performance dance – something for everyone. Two things I would have done differently: researched better plact to eact (although I did enjoy the deep fried cheeseburger that was all we could find after 10 pm one night) and get the show schedule ahead of time. It is impossible to get a hotel in the city during August. These points would serve someone well!

Rosaleen

I have to recommend another amazing, fun and romantic place. And this one is closer to home: Quebec City!

Quebec is beautiful in the summer, spring and fall, but it really shines in the winter (you might want to check out the winter festival in February). Walk the cobblestone winding streets of the old city, go dog sledding at the Île d’Orléans, walk the streets of the hip St. Roch, ice-skate in D’Youville Square and the food, oh the food…

Our favorite restaurant is Le Cercle, yum!, but you can’t leave town w/out trying some poutine, crepes and beaver tails…writing this makes me wanna go back. And did I mentioned the amazing city walls, fort and the Chateau Frontenac?

I love Quebec City!

Remy

I totally recommend Cape Town, South Africa! My husband and I went on our honeymoon in April, and we want to move there it’s so beautiful! Shark diving, paragliding, wining, safari-ing (I just made that a word I think), there are so many things to do around Cape Town! I suggest a day at Camps Bay Beach followed by people watching while drinking cocktails on the strip in Camps Bay :)

Wow! What an incredible giveaway! Lately I’ve been feeling the travel bug and after a recent trip to London for a friend’s wedding, I am definitely feeling like a trip within the US to explore a little more of good ol’ home sweet home. I would recommend the East coast and possibly a venture up to Niagra Falls! I would love to see New York and Boston in the Fall! Your Boston outfit is ADORABLE. You should definitely go somewhere where you can enjoy the seasons. :) Whoever wins this one will be one lucky duck!

Okay, okay. One more suggestion! PARIS! The Eiffel Tower, Montmarte, cobblestone streets, fresh bread and wine! Ahhh long dinners and lots of cheese, the blue skies and maybe a quick stop in the south of france for some winery relaxation! Oh and take me with you! ;)

Holly

Between paying for my college degrees (undergrad and masters) and moving to a new city with my husband after graduation, we have not had the money, nor time to travel the way we would both like to travel. We both are currently working brand new jobs, accruing precious vacation time, and getting on our feet financially. That being said, we both have a laundry list of places we’d love to see. Tops on my list are Whistler, BC, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Hilton Head, SC.

Places to which we have travelled and enjoyed include a slew of mid western locations including Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Madison, etc. A far off locale we visited and loved was Portsmith, New Hampshire, which is up in your neck of the woods.

Amanda

Savannah, GA! It is one of my absolute favorite cities in the world. It is so charming and has that small town feel, but there is so much to do. When my husband and I went last time we stayed at the Mansion at Forsyth Park and were very impressed. We ate at lots of really good restaurants, walked around downtown, and took some tours. Tybee Island is also really close, and as a nice beach. Savannah is such a fun place to get away to!

St. Lucia is the most amazing vacation spot if you want to relax! It is so so beautiful, the locals are so friendly, and the food is delicious! I love the bay gardens beach resort for an affordable place to stay- and then SPLURGE on adventures!! snorkling, scuba, helicopters, water falls. You can do everything there. You can also just sit on the beach and soak in the amazing scenery.

sam

I have loved these adorable bungalows south of San Fran since my boyfriend showed them to me last year: http://www.costanoa.com/site.php

It’s like fancy camping!

He moved to Austin last year to be near me and I know he misses the Bay, so I would start there and wind our way down the coast on highway 1… scenic all the way. I would love to stop in every little coastal town possible… I know every place has a little gem. It would be wonderful if every hotel we stayed in had rooms that opened to the sea. I love a place where you can wear sweatshirts in the summertime.

Alvin Shimoju

Currently at the 1.2mill lifetime miles mark, I would love to add 90,000miles AA miles before the Million Miler Program rule changes to “miles flown” like the other airlines. IF I am the lucky one to win this 100k SPG points, I would probably plan out a trip throughout Eastern Asia. Here is what I came up with:

1. Transfer 75,000 to AAdvantage and receive 90,000 after the 5000 x 3 points bonus. Not only the 90,000 will count towards my lifetime miles but this will allow me to use the One World Award.

2. Use 90,000 to book the One World Distance Zone 5 award which allows me to fly 14,000 miles in coach.

3. I was able to come up with an itinerary starting in Honolulu and ending in Nagoya. I chose to end the ticket in Japan since it will be a great opportunity to visit my family and I would probably stay there for long period of time after the trip. Booking a last-minute ticket out of Japan to US is quite cheap.

HNL – HND JL 3,831 miles
HND – GMP JL 758 miles
ICN – TPE CX 914 miles
TPE – HKG CX 511 miles
HKG – BKK CX 1,049 miles
BKK – SIN CX 899 miles
SIN – CMB CX 1,709 miles
CMB – HKG CX 2,534 miles
HKG – PVG CX 773 miles
PVG – NGO JL 919 miles

GRAND TOTAL 13,897 miles (remainder 103miles) :D
*Miles calculated using OneWorld trip planner

4. Use the remaining 25,000 SPG points to book hotels in Thailand or Taiwan for 6-8nights (Category 2 redemption). I would probably try to use it at Le Meridien in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai and maybe the Aloft in Bangkok.

I would probably spend a good 4-6months for this trip so flexibility will be the key. Also, I read on FlyerTalk that the ticket is good for 1yr and changing dates after departure is FREE so as long as I can book every segment before I hop on the first HNL-HND flight, I can change the date as I go.

I’m used to budget travels being a regular backpacker so 6-8nights randomly at a Starwood property will be my guilty pleasure when I can’t stand the hostel bunk beds! :p

10 Flights
7 Countries
Avg. 9000 AA mileage redemption/flight

NOT BAD EH!?

Shannon

My husband and I had the opportunity to live on Oahu for several years. A week in Kauai proved to be the very best week we’ve ever experienced! We stayed in a rented home and because we had little money, did the basics: a lot of hiking and swimming and laying out. When you’re in a location that is a magnificent and beautiful as Kauai, that’s all you need to do.

Nearly two years after our wedding, we finally planned our much delayed but anticipated honeymoon to St. Barthelemy (St. Bart’s). While our purse strings were defintely tightened, every single moment was breath taking. Le Tiony Resort with it’s private villas & pools and the fabulous Le Gaic restaurant. The breathtaking views combined with out of this world dining at Eden Rock, and being embraced by the locals at both Maya’s and the Hideaway. The beaches, soft, the water crystal blue, and the island, a dream.

Ryan Sutherland

One of my favorite cities to visit is Aix en Provence in southern France. The city itself, like most european cities, is centered around one of the most beautiful old cities surrounded by the original medieval wall. The streets are cobbled and narrow. The buildings are old and look like they are slightly leaning in over the streets and there is nothing better than waking up to the sound of the daily farmer’s market in one of the cities squares. There is this one sweet shop that I remember specifically because it was one of the few times that I actually felt like a kid in a candy store. A really fancy, french candy store. It is the epitome of the old European city.

What sets Aix apart from all the others is it’s location. There are so many options for day trips it’s just ridiculous. About 30 minutes by car and you’re at the French Riviera. Two hours and you’re in the French Alps. If you’d like to just go for a drive along the coast you could visit Cannes or the Principality of Monaco not to mention all the small French cities along the way.

I don’t even think I need to mention the food it’s that good. Even if you’re travelling on a budget, a couple of cheeses from the corner store, a baguette from the small bakery down the street and the cheapest wine you can find is head an shoulders above any of the other food I’ve had in my travels.

i don’t even know if you can use Starwood points to stay in Aix but if you can, I highly recommend it.

Davonne Head

I would love to visit Alaska in the summer! I could go fishing and whale sitting and camp out in the beautiful mountains. It is a dream of mine and my fiances, our first date was hiking through the Texas Hill Country. And we would love to spend a month enjoying the wilderness and going birding. It would beat the heat here in Texas!

Christie

I would so LOVE 100,000 SPG points! I would either head to Bora Bora The St. Regis or Greece with my hubby of one year! We had wanted to visit Greece or Tahiti on our Honeymoon, but we decided to keep it close with Kauai and the St. Regis Princeville did not disapoint! :) Such a great giveaway! I am an SPG junkie- SPG Amex Member and SPG Gold! I stayed at the Liberty in Boston last night for business and was SOOO Impressed! Definitely add that to your must visit! Such a cool property! Crossing my fingers for this one! :)

Annie

I’ve always loved going to Monterey and Carmel in California. There is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is always an amazing way to spend a few hours. There are also some amazing little foodie boutiques, and The Sardine Factory is worth checking out (especially if you do the secret locals menu).

A nice picnic on the beach in Carmel is always on my list of things to do; check out The Cheese Shoppe for an amazing selection of cheeses and other picnic goodies. Also, if you’re a fan of golf, this is pretty much a golfing HOTBED.

There are some amazing luxurious hotels, but I like to use VRBO to get a cute beach house or stay in a B&B right on the water front (the 7 Gables Inn is always a favorite).

Anne L

This giveaway is INSANE!! Wow… One of the best vacations I’ve ever taken was to San Francisco. It’s just a gorgeous city! And you get a workout in while being a tourist too, with all those hills :) We loved the Ferry Terminal, the Mission district, the cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, I could go on and on. Oh, and don’t miss Alcatraz! The audio tour of the island is actually really amazing with former wardens and prisoners telling their stories.

One thing I missed out on – a friend later went to San Francisco and went to the park where the opening of Full House was shot. And there was a guy with life sized cut outs of the Tanner family and you could take a picture with it! Ha!

My favorite would be to fly into San Francisco, hit Sonoma and Napa for wine tasting, tour the city being sure to hit Twin Peaks. Then a nice leisurely drive down Highway 1 hitting Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and ending up in LA!
.-= Michelle’s most recent blog post: The Apple. =-.

I’ve been dreaming of returning to Italy since my honeymoon two years ago. I cannot recommend it enough as a dream trip! Fly into Florence and spend a few days, rent a car and drive to the Cinque Terre, stopping in Lucca for the day on the way. After a few days in the Cinque Terre, drive to Rome. Drop your car off outside the city at the airport and spend a few days exploring Rome (go to the Collusium and the ruins, but don’t forget Prada and Gucci!) Take a train to Venice and spend your final days walking along the canals. Splurge for a gondola ride, even though they are ridic expensive. Train it back to Florence for a final day (my favorite of the Italian cities) and fly home. That was my honeymoon :) If you do go, I can give you some great hotel and dinner recs! And bring me a bottle of wine and balsamic back from Florence too pretty please.
.-= chandra ~ oh lovely day’s most recent blog post: {Lovely Giveaway} 75 Flat Wedding Invitations from Minted =-.

Oh my- what a giveaway! With a toddler running me ragged each day, the best vacation I can think of is one that allows for total R+R. So might I suggest a week at a spa in Scottsdale, AZ? I visited this southwest gem on a work trip several years ago and the calm of the dessert was overwhelmingly zen. Unfortunately I never had much of a chance to enjoy it. So if I were you (or me), I’d enjoy a week at the W Hotel and recharge with sun and spa treatments.
.-= Becca’s most recent blog post: Little Handcrafted Super-Girls =-.

shiori

Since this probably a once in a life time chance, I’d choose one or two or all of the following: Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai (Dubai, you may think NO but it’s beautiful and it’s made within the last 10 years amazing changes), Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa, Mauritius (just because it’s Mauritius and stunningly beautiful) and when is the next time you’d have the opportunity to go?) and of course, Schloss Fuschl Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg (Austria? HELLO! Think Julie Andrews “Sound of Music”!!! The mountains are spectacular!)

While it’s not necessarily exotic and at the risk of repeating what you’ve already said, I have to say that one of the best trips I ever took with my husband was to Boston. We are both homebodies and love living near our families in PA, but Boston is the one city we may consider leaving home for if the opportunity arose. We are absolutely in love with the city, and the spirit of the people there. We enjoyed delicious dinners in the North End, took in a Red Sox game (my hubby’s first time in Fenway after growing up a Red Sox fan — we both teared up a little, and sung our hearts out when Sweet Caroline played during the 8th inning!), walked the Freedom Trail, took an awesome Duck Tour, and did lots of other touristy things without too much of an agenda. We had the most wonderful time and that city will always hold a special place in my heart!
.-= brooke @ claremont road’s most recent blog post: living simply to live fully =-.

Shantuck

My ideal getaway would be to go to back to Napa/Sonoma and stay at the Westin there. Dinner at the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma Square followed by a few days of wine tasting. We would pick up lunch at the Oakville Grocery in St. Helena, french macarons at Le Bouchon Bakery, and go kayaking on the Russian River in Healdsburg…

Kim olson

Kauai has been my favorite vacation to date! My tip: make sure you stop at JoJos shave ice!

Jessie

My advice is always the same whenever I hear anyone’s going to New Orleans: Head to Frenchmen’s street for the evening. Grab some (UBER delicious) dinner at Adolfo’s, hit up the Frenchmen’s music scene, and then grab a late night snack of beignets & cafe au laits at Cafe du Monde on the way back to your hotel. (late night= one of the few times of day that you can actually find a table to relax while you enjoy your little snack @ Cafe du Monde!)

ashley

while i would LOVE love LOVE(!) to go to greece… i would actually probably spend quite a bit of time in scottsdale, az! :)
we have our first baby on the way, and my husband has to spend the winter in phoenix for work and it would be so super awesome if i could go and surprise him whenever i wanted!
but… considering how many points it is, maybe we would just have to do both! such a cool giveaway!

Tiffany

Get out – this is the best giveaway! If I had the Starwood points my husband and I would go back to Hawaii – where we went on our honeymoon. Always have wanted to go back, we had such a great time in Honolulu, but would love to try another island! P.S. LOVE the Fendi belt in Boston Style.

Katie

Definitely, definitely San Fransisco and Napa Valley. Start with dinner at Isa in the Marina district (and a bottle of wine if you’ve flown cross country, of course). Take a bike ride across the Golden Gate to Sausalito and have lunch, then take the ferry back. Head to wine country and take a family operated tour (smaller, flexible, more fun!) and make sure to hit Mumm Napa for sparkling wine and a great patio! Have fun!

My hubby and I went to sunny Barbados (BEAUTIFUL, I think the 7 days we were there it rained for about 2 minutes) for our honeymoon, spent lazy days on the white sandy beaches, swam with the sea turtles and fish, took the bus with the locals to the markets, stayed at a cute quaint little hotel, watched the fisherman bring their catch in from our balcony, ate the best pizza we have EVER eaten ( my hubby LOVES, LOVES pizza), drank with locals, spent valentines day watching the sunset as we ate our meal at Pisces Rest. (YUM, YUM) we watched a little crab run in with the tide. We are planning on going back every 10 years to the same spot. There is still so much we wanted to do and explore but time ran out. One of the most beautiful places I have been!
Kyla

Kimyee

What an amazing giveaway! My dream vacation would be GREECE! It’s seems so tranquil and so, so beautiful1!

Leigh

I just went to Arizona in the spring and I highly recommend it. We traveled from Phoenix up to the Grand Canyon, stopping along the way and it was beautiful!

Jean

what an amazing giveaway! it’s the opportunity to go on THE trip of a lifetime!! here are my suggestions for a DREAM vacation:

*Hop to and from the many Starwood properties for a grand tour throughout India! Amazing food, sights, culture.

*Stay at the Le Meridien in Seychelles or Mauritius for a once-in-a-lifetime tropical vacation

*A historic and atypical European stay in Brussels, Vienna and Budapest!

I’d love to recommend places to eat and things to do in these places, but I haven’t been on my dream vacation yet! Perhaps soon :)

Francine

I went the “About” section of your blog, though I am a daily reader I never looked to see when you are based. I went to Syracuse and I know the lack of sunshine and copious amounts of snow is a great reason for you to go somewhere the complete opposite! I was initially going to suggest London, but the exchange rate is not so hot and there might be gray skies. I am not sure if your airfare is included in your trip, so I am going to suggest the Bay area so you can keep the flights reasonable.

The temperature of the Northern California is so freeing. It’s not too hot or humid like it is here on the east coast. We rented bike and a tandem trailer for the kids and bikes along the coast of Monterey. Carmel is just as beautiful. Berkley has amazing food. I can’t stop thinking about the artisanal pizza at The Cheese Board. They only have one type of pizza a day, on our day we had roast cremini mushrooms with ricotta salata cheese and argula pizza….mmmm.

Looking a the Starwood Hotels website, you could stay in Downtown San Jose, there is a westin (love their beds) in palo alto…or you could go north and stay the st. regis in SF…

Christina

What an amazing giveaway! I always love Chicago. There’s so much to see and do – the museums, a game at Wrigley field (beautiful even if you don’t love baseball), live shows at historic theaters like the Vic and the Aragon, drinks at Al Capone’s Green Mill… or I also love San Diego, where I used to go as a kid. It’s so beautiful there, perfect weather, and lots of historic charm!

Katie Greenlaw

What a fantastic giveaway!

My husband and I took a river cruise in France with our families. We started in Paris and ended in Nice. I would go back to Nice in a heart beat, rent a car, and then drive into Northern Italy. I camt wait to hear what kind of trip you plan!

megan

definitely go to richmond, va! eat at julep’s downtown for great southern comfort food, stroll along the james river, and go shopping at the unique stores in carytown. such fun!

Melanie

My vote is for Key West – a little margaritaville lifestyle is just what you need after a busy summer! While many of these destinations are great, the Sunset Guest cottages look incredible! Enjoy your trip!

I haven’t been on vacation since our honeymoon almost ten years ago… I know sad, right? ;) So I’m afraid I can’t comment on any exotic locals BUT I have the privilege of living near the Northern California wine country. We love it! Yountville is amazing… a picnic on the square in Sonoma… so many tasty wineries… gorgeous hotels and spas.

If I won I would take my husband on a trip for our tenth anniversary… maybe somewhere exotic! That would be amazing :)

I highly recommend using this on a European vacation! We are planning ours right now and the Starwood hotels in Paris and Rome are beautiful, but definitely out of our budget. It would be so fun to stay there for free! If you are looking for a domestic trip, Phoenix/Scottsdale in the winter is wonderful – especially if you enjoy golf and sporting events (Fiesta Bowl, golf tournament in February). Also the Desert Botanical gardens are the best right before Christmas with the luminarias. Starwood has some gorgeous resorts here in Phoenix and if you can use these points at the spa, WOW, what a trip!! I’ve also always wanted to be in NYC around Christmas time. That would be a wonderful experience as well!

Can’t wait to see what you decide on!
.-= Jana’s most recent blog post: weekend highlights =-.

Why stay domestic?! Get out of the country and live in luxury for a bit on the island of St Maarten! Just a short plane ride away from the US, and you are truly in a whole ‘nother world! I’m an island girl at heart (with my mother hailing from Bermuda and all!) so I know what a good bit of R&R in the sun can do for a girl! Take a break, enjoy a good steak and beer at the Peg Leg Pub, get in some fabulous shopping at anywhere from Polo Ralph Lauren to Guavaberry Emporium (with all those points you’ve got!) and enjoy some fruity island drinks while working on your tan as the waves crash on the sandy beach at your feet…

Aaah, I can smell the saltwater now.

What a fantastic giveaway! And I love the outfits you’d wear- I’m all for sun and sand but I’d go to Boston just to wear that outfit :) I’d recommend the prettiest places I’ve ever been, both in Italy: the Amalfi Coast and Venice (the Hotel Danieli is gorgeous!).
.-= Jenna @ Heartcarry Press’s most recent blog post: font friday #24: satura =-.

Tricia

Napa. Hands down. Went for our honeymoon, did everything, would love to do it all again…and again…hot air balloons, wineries, amazing dinners, reading by fire, amazing. The Cottages of Napa Valley could make a “staycation” great though – amazing plqce.
.-= Tricia’s most recent blog post: Summer Celebrations: Beers and Baseball – A Free Party Suite =-.

Clarissa

Come to the west coast, the Pacific NW to be exact! I’d love to swap coasts with you, as I love visiting the east! and would love to go to NY for my 30th birthday in November to have a fun get away with the hubby (we have 2 lovely little girls that we adore and its always so busy!). If you visit the PNW, wander the streets of Seattle, of course Pike Place Market to buy some fresh food, flowers, and to watch flying fish! Then go down to Portland, Oregon for some tax free shopping. And if you love to ski or snowboard, or try something new and fun, visit lovely British Columbia to the north and go to Whistler. And I promise, its not always raining here :)

Sarah B

My husband took me to the Inn at the Biltmore (Asheville, NC) last fall and I think it was one of my favorite vacations ever! It had a little of everything, beautiful views, amazing food, awesome winery, relaxation, comfy and posh rooms, as well as a quaint town surrounding it! I am already planning our next trip!

Liz

Switzerland!! You could stay at the hotel in Geneva and then take a train (I recommend the glacier express – amazing views!) to central Switzerland where the scenery is out of this world. Not to mention delicious chocolate :)

Rachel

You should pick between these two cities: Portland, OR or Boston, MA. Now the outfit you have mapped above for Boston will work for both. My husband and I learned on our recent trip to Portland that Portland is in fact the West Coast’s Boston. The city planners/designers of Portland were from New England, and at one point Portland was going to be named Boston, OR. The argument for Portland goes as follows:
Portland is a lush, interesting, funky, delicious town that has the charm of New England and the casual, fresh Pacific North West vibe. Not only are there microbreweries, distilleries, spice shops, oil and vinegar shops, clothing stores and any type of food you could possibly hope for (try an epicurean tour to get a taste of many places), the transit system is phenomenal for exploring all of downtown or taking it up to Washington Park with the Zoo and amazing gardens! There is hiking and biking and boating. IF you do make it to Portland please stop by Grüner. A German restaurant at SW Adler and SW 12, that is phenomenal. (also ask for their house made mustard to go with the pretzel and brown bread they bring you it’s a beautiful burn). Finally they are implementing F.L.O.S.S in a majority of their eateries (Fresh, Local, Organic, Sustainable, Seasonal).
Now if you decide you need the Atlantic Ocean, Boston has the most exceptional place in my heart. My grandfather was born and raised there and we have now visited four times. The magnificent mix of the classic, established, traditional beauty and the new exciting and contemporary trends and designs makes a wonderful marriage in the architecture, food, shopping and entertainment. From the museums, the North End, the freedom trail, the best clam chowder anywhere, and the fabulously easy transportation using the T. You can get a cannoli at Mike’s (although I really enjoyed the ones we had at The Florentine Café for dessert after the velvety butternut squash raviolis in a sauce of brown butter, sage and walnuts, it’s at 333 Hanover Street). You can take in a game at the beautiful Fenway (look for a brick that says “IN MEMORY OF ROBERT W. HAVEY A RED SOX FAN”). Finally you can take the T and explore Harvard.
Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong and will have a fabulous vacation.

Most amazing giveaway, ever. So my pick is Greece!! Santorini, looks like it would be incredible. I have never been, but the beach, culture, amazing food. Seems like an amazing mix of adventure, and relaxation!
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I would say go BIG! Go to Rio de Janiero, BRAZIL and stay at the Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort (a Starwood Category 4 hotel). I mean–who wouldn’t want to meander through the Hippie Market on the beach (and maybe get a real brazilian bikini?), wade in the waves at Copacabana beach, or be the mysterious girl from Ipanema? I would encourage you to take a hiking tour with Riotours and to linger over an espresso and pastry at Cafeitaria Colombo. But most of all, you MUST have dinner at the Zsa Zsa Bistro Tropical in the upstairs Moroccan room. There’s a reason it’s a favorite for celebrities. It has low tables, tons of silk pillows, and the wait staff encourage you to lounge and take your time enjoying your meal. Oh, and did I mention that the monetary exchange rate is in your favor??? If you “splurge” on a multi-course meal, wine, and all the bells and whistles you’ll still only spend around $65-$70. Last, but not least, I suggest getting some fine leather shoes at Mr. Cat. You’ll get sweetly comfortable and fashionable shoes that will last you YEARS. My husband is still rockin’ a pair we got almost 10 years ago–and this from a man who wears through shoes like he’s still a teenage boy! Really, there’s so much to do and you’ll get to make so many fabulous memories. We still reminisce over our vacation there.
.-= Shirliza’s most recent blog post: Mini Pancake Muffins =-.

Sarah

I would head out to the midwest for some late summer hiking and adventuring

I fell in love with Savannah,GA when I got married in November 06. After taking a short trip there I wanted to plan our wedding there so my friends and family could fall in love with it too. The weather was breezy mid 70′s, people were welcoming, beautiful squares/landscapes, wonderful history and fantastic FOOD!
But my ultimate getaway would be Paris, France!

It may take up a bit more points than you’re hoping to use, but I by far recommend going to France and kayaking the Gorges du Verdon, driving the Luberon Valley, and seeing Gordes and the other hill cities. It will all take your breath away.
.-= Kallie B’s most recent blog post: Blueberry Season =-.

My boyfriend and I just went on a trip to San Francisco and Napa and it was one of my favorite trips (above a lot of travel to Europe), I also took a wonderful bike trip in France a few years ago which was up there with San Fran/Napa (both wine countries so it makes sense) but I would do anything to be in London for the Summer Olympics next year so I’d probably go for that.
.-= Hollis ‘s most recent blog post: For the past few months I’ve been helping a sweet couple… =-.

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Come to San Francisco/Berkeley in the Fall. The weather is the best and the shopping and dining are unmatched! You can come to our restaurant Zut! in Berkeley and we’ll treat you to the most fabulous meal!

Melanie Ryan

What a great giveaway! I’m planning my honeymoon right now, so this is perfect! A great vacation spot is Park City, Utah. You can do outdoor activities; hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding. There is also some amazing and unique shops all along historic Main Street. There’s a million amazing restaurants and the best chocolate in the world on Main Street as well. Another fun thing in Park City is the Olympic Village. You can ride the Alpine Slide, do the Zipline, or ride the Bobsleds. It’s basically my favorite vacation spot ever!!!

New York City is always a good choice. See good shows (I would love to see Come Fly Away!), eat great food, shop, always so much to do! And fall would be the perfect time to go. Sounds like so much fun!
.-= Stacy’s most recent blog post: Lovely! =-.

Amanda

What a great give away to bless someone with, there’s nothing better than a little vacation! A great place to visit is Portland Oregon, it is quaint but has so much personality. Although it is not a Starwood Hotel, Ace Hotel is the most original hotel I have ever seen. It is comfortable and understated, you feel like you have your own little studio apartment for the time you are in Portland. Our trip was organized chaos to say the least, we planned some adventures but really let Portland take us by surprise. To sum up the trip we started with dinner at Portland City Grill for some epic views of the city that would be our home for the next couple of days. The next morning we went to Mother’s for breakfast for some giant melt in your mouth cinnamon rolls. Shopping was on that days agenda so Pear District was a must (no sales tax); then on to Gilt Jewelry for some local charm mixed with some estate pieces. The rest of the afternoon was spent in Powell’s City of Books getting lost in rows and rows of books (we even sent a box of books home)! One of my favorite stops that I wish was in my home was Oblation Papers, they have their own paper mill and letter press and so many colors and patterns my creative mind was on overload. One day we went for a hike in the Multonomah Falls, you can’t be mad about the amount of rain Portland gets because it made everything so green and breath taking. Farmer’s Markets are one of our favorites so we went to the PSU Farmer’s Market and then walked along the waterfront to the Saturday Market. It was such a simple day filled with amazing quality time. We had so much good food but of course I have to mention VooDoo Donuts where I got my new favorite breakfast treat the maple bacon bar. Also our favorite was the food trucks since it reminded us of college when we had to stop for a snack on the way home after a night out at the bars. Those were just a few treasures that we found in Portland, it will always be one of our favorite places!

Louis

Looking into the starwoods program, it looks like the best way to spend those points is with the 50% off hotel room rate promotion. Using this option can make each SPG point worth 28 cents or more… (for example the http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3081 goes for about 680 a night. 50% off costs 1000 SPG points, but it saves you $340, which means 1SPG point is worth 34 cents! (Assuming this offer includes suites and not just rooms, I have to investigate that…)).

Want to stay in the states? The most amazing hotel (The St. Regis Bal Harbour) opens next January. You could be on the first to experience Starwood’s finest.

http://www.stregisbalharbour.com/

You should go! Your “Key West” inspiration board would be perfect. Add an evening look and you’re good to go. Enjoy!
.-= Stephanie’s most recent blog post: The Baker’s Hat: Candy Land =-.

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Tad

there is a great brewpub in the Strahov Monastery in Prague that serves the best leberwurst anywhere

susiem

There are so many places that I want to visit! The fiance and I wanted to book a minimoon to Paris before our real honeymoon but because of the costs being so high, we were unable to! So I would definitely use these points for a stay in Paris! I’ve always dreamt of going to France ever since I studied the French language in middle school!

Chantal

I love the outfit you picked for Boston! And I also think it’s a great city to visit! Although I could be a little biased since I live in Boston =) I’ve traveled all over the world and love to see new cities, but I am always so happy to come home to Boston! So, even though I love Boston, since you’ve already been, how about a new city? My fiance and I always try to visit at least one new place every year. We have our favorite places: St Maarten (where we got engaged!), Vegas (always a fun weekend getaway!), Bahamas, Italy, etc… but I enjoy going all over and maybe even adding on another favorite place! So I would pick a destination you’ve never been but has always intrigued you! This would be the perfect opportunity to go on a dream trip! Starwood has some of the best hotels in the world, and I’m a big fan of AMEX and all their travel benefits! So what a perfect combo for a giveaway! If I won, we would use the points to go to French Polynesia. We really wanted to go there for our honeymoon, but unfortunately it’s a little out of our budget right now, so it has become our dream anniversary destination =)

Jennifer

Oooohh… Key West is so much fun! We love the fishing, boating and the snorkeling/scuba is amazing! Plus, a flight to Miami is only about a half-hour and $100, perfect for one night to enjoy a show at the Arsht Center and dinner at any of the fabulous restaurants downtown!

Christina

This is easy for me – I’d pick Chicago! Great Food, Friendly People, Plenty to do – both in doors and out! Don’t miss Garrett’s Popcorn, a movie or free concert in the part, and a boat tour around the city. If you want to get out of the city for the day – head to the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the suburbs or escape to the Chicago Botanical Gardens (gorgeous!) or Starved Rock (for plenty of hiking!). I grew up in Chicago and haven’t found a place to compare, yet!

I love your San Antonio wardrobe (naturally, being a Texan myself!) I am hoping hoping HOPING to go to PARIS next year. It has always been my dream vacation!!! We did just go to Hawaii though, and it was amazing!
.-= Jess’s most recent blog post: CUTE! =-.

TiffanyJean

Oooh this is awesome! Ok. I HAVE to say Morocco because, why wouldn’t you want to go to Morocco!?!?! It’s absolutely gorgeous. From there, you can travel north through Europe EASILY. Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, Poland…you get the idea. If you want to stay state-side, I recommend Savannah, GA. It’s a quaint, adorable city with so much to see and do. It’s relaxing and exciting at the same time. You can take a trip to Tybee Island to relax on the beach or take a boat or canoe over to Little Tybee (a less populated island right off the coast). Camping is allowed right on the beach there. You can pitch a tent, build a bonfire for roasting marshmallows, and listen to the waves.

Our ten year anniversary is in a few months so I am lovin this giveaway! I say key west…I pretty much always pick the beach!
.-= Amber’s most recent blog post: Dege =-.

Tammy Rose

SOOOO many places!!! I love LOVE Oregon, anytime of the year! The coast, the mountains, the hiking, waterfalls… love it. Colorado also a good place in the fall-ish late summer time of year.
But my fav coastal town??? Laguna beach :) love that beach…

E.MARIE

Wow! What an amazing getaway! I would LOVE to plan a trip to Boston and New Englad – that’s a part of the country I have yet to explore. I could also see myself lounging away on a beach somewhere! For you, may I suggest Chicago? Chicago in the fall is absolutely lovely and there are so many amazing things to do…and tons of amazing things to eat! Just don’t forget a classic trench and some riding boots for the chilly breezes.

Brandy

I’m heading to Peru soon. But, my favorite place to visit outside the US is Paris!! Inside the US is Savannah!

Jessie

Drive down the CA coast starting in Mendicino, a small artsy town, stay at the Joshua Grindle Inn. Make sure to go to Glass Beach where the sand is sea glass. Stop in little towns along the way like Calistoga, Carmel, etc. Staying at fun bandb’s. Thre are so many fun, beautiful, sweet places to explore. End on Coronado Island, CA and stay at the Glorietta Bay Inn.

What a great giveaway! For my trip suggestion you’ll need a passport-to Taveuni Island in FIji. Oh my word-heaven on earth. We stayed at the Taveuni Island Resort for our honeymoon after not really knowing we what were getting into, and were stupefied when we were welcomed by song, drinks, and ushered to our living quarters-a huge compound with 2 living areas, outdoor shower, canopy bed, and more. Meals were gourmet, the staff was friendly.The capacity is only 12 or 14, each with their own compound, so it’s very intimate. If you want to fall off the grid, it’s worth the 67 hour flight. Amazing.
.-= Erin’s most recent blog post: A Weekend SPENT =-.

Deidre

We’ve been trying to plan a trip to Alaska in the summer and Maine in the fall!

Heather S.

Thanks to this post, I have a ton of places to add to my bucket list!

Someone mentioned Salzburg, Austria…but there is oh so much more to the country! Talk about R&R and so. much. inspiration. Starwood has several options both in Salzburg (in the east) and Vienna (“Wien”). English is popular in this German-speaking country. Cafes are on every corner. Take a lazy day with wine (or beer for your honey), coffee, and laughs all afternoon into the late hours. Stunning architecture and inspirational spots–immense palaces (http://www.imagevienna.com/english/schoenbrunn1.htm), cobblestone streets, Mozart’s old flat in Vienna plus his birthplace in Salzburg, day trips to the countryside, and delicious spots like Demel (http://www.demel.at/index_flash.htm). For more food and adventure inspiration, Anthony Bourdain has some good ideas in one of his “No Reservations” episodes.

If you want to take the famous train ride through the Alps, you can add Innsbruck, Austria and Lucerne, Switzerland to the trip. The train runs all the way from Lucerne to Salzburg. Yes, this is where “the hills come alive with the sound of music.” Read: breathtaking.

Austria is definitely my favorite international place to visit! “Dankeschön” for all of your wonderful posts!

Heather S.

oops! I meant to say that Salzburg is west of Vienna, in the middle of the country. Thank goodness my fiance reads maps and not me… :)

Amanda

One of my favorite places in the world is Leysin, Switzerland. Perfect weather, breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, and lovely people. I lived in a Chalet on top of the mountain and have the most wonderful experience. A must see!!

How fun! I’d say if you’re traveling in the US then Seattle or Napa would be my picks. And if you’re planning a trip abroad I think Greece, Italy and of course Paris would be fabulous! How exciting to pick your dream vacation….thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

STACEY MILLETT

Spain. My fiance and I are a little obsessed with Spain. Tapas, wine country, dancing, beaches, urban life, architecture, the weather, the country life… Our dream hotel in Spain would be the Hotel Marques de Riscal in Elciego we love the work of Frank Gehry and it would be a fantastic dream to wake up inside his work of art with my love.

Like a jewel box, San Francisco is a small city that boasts many treasures. Her wonderful diversity is seen in distinct neighborhoods like Chinatown, Pacific Heights, and SOMA (south of Market). Visit, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square where you will find treasures of your own. Some of her gems tell a story of her unique history – punctuated by the earthquake and devastating fires of 1906. From the storied Palace Hotel to the trolleys, your visit here can feel like you have stepped back in time. Known for her fantastic suspension bridge, she also boasts a string of other significant landmarks including Alcatraz, Coit tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and the winding descent of Lombard Street. Not only are her views stunning and the sites fantastic, she will dazzle you with the flavors of her international cuisine. A stone’s throw from some of the world’s best wine-makers, San Francisco knows how to pair food and drink. Like every great city, the arts are her crowned jewels. By day, you can walk the gardens in Golden Gate Park and visit SFMOMA, the Palace of Fine arts or the Exploratorium. By night, the city is home to the second largest opera house in North America, America’s oldest professional ballet company. Discover this California gem.

Patty

If you want total R&R in a beautiful, pristine location, go to Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina. You take a ferry….no cars on the island……all travel is by golf cart. It is among the most beautiful places on earth…..the shelling is great, the beaches are gorgeous…..there’s no nightlife, but it’s the epitomy of relaxation.

Teresa

I am dreaming of a roadtrip. US 17 Coastal Highway. Starting somewhere on the coast of North Carolina and ending somewhere in Key West. A little camper, tent, bicycle, camp stove, great music. Camping on or near the beach, with an occasional hotel or resort stay to mix things up. Swimming, biking, soaking up the sun, relaxing, sight seeing, getting to know the locals, just hanging out. Toes in the sand, margarita in my hand. An adventure a day.

This is my idea for you, and my dream. I can barely contain myself.

Melissa

My husband and I got married last summer but weren’t able to honeymoon until this past May. We had gotten engaged on Maui and decided to return there for our honeymoon. Cannot recommend it enough! This time we stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas and it was insanely amazing. The view from our room every morning was like a postcard – beach framed by palm trees with a view of Lanai in the background. Highly recommend going up to the winery on the side of Haleakala. And of course you cannot skip the road to Hana with all it’s bridges and waterfalls. We also spent a few days on Lanai and stayed at the Hotel Lanai in Lanai City. It was so restful and the hotel was built by Dole in the 1920′s. In the mornings you go down to Hulopo’e Bay to swim with hundreds of spinner dolphins. Definitely once in a lifetime trip. And if you want to go to Oahu, stay at the Moana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach. One of the oldest hotels on Waikiki and it is stunning! The beach is perfect, the hotel is grand, and since it is a Westin you know it’s an amazing place to stay. Hawaii is always a perfect spot to vacation!

Ashley B.

For the perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, and awe-inspiring beauty, I would suggest a trip to Colorado’s Western Slope–a few days of outstanding al fresco dining (at Zocalito, and Main Street Bakery & Cafe) upscale shopping and endless entertainment in Aspen, followed by some peach picking and wine sipping in Paonia, and topped off with a mountain bike-topped frolic through the wildflowers of Crested Butte. A remote little adventure that is just the way to unwind!

JS

Spain! For the amazing food and wine, beautiful architecture, its history, friendly people, and the art! Although the Euro is pretty strong, we found Spain to be more affordable than we expected. Stay at Casa de Madrid in Madrid, a charming B&B tucked away in a historical building that makes you feel like you’re staying with a family friend. Visit the Prado museum in Madrid after cafe hopping and pastry tasting. Try the tapas at El Quim, a tapas stall at the Boqueria market in Barcelona. If you are a fan of modern architecture, do a walking tour of the Gaudi buildings and see the amazing Sagrada Familia. Drive down to Alhambra for the beautiful Islamic architecture (if you’re renting a car, I hope you know how to drive stick shift!). There is so much to do all day and night, but some of my favorite memories were the long, leisurely paced dinners, surrounded by tapas, carafes of red wine, cheese plates, and of course, chocolate dipped churros.

Also, if you’re looking to maximize your Starpoints, I suggest looking into cash & points awards for your hotel stays. I love their flexibility, so if you book your flights by transferring Starpoints into airline miles, you can extend your Starpoints by using them along with cash to pay for hotel rooms.

Kim

I’d escape the heat and humidity of the southeast and jet up to Vancouver. Outdoor adventures AND good eats? Yes please!

Dru

Morocco, gorgeous, gracious, exciting, exotic. Shopping, dining, culture. Start in Casablanca and the Casbah, visit Fez, the Atlas Mountains, the ocean for surfing, hit Marrakesh, walk the sand dunes.

Hi, I found your blog relatively recently and am loving it. I thought I would suggest a place that not many really think of for dream vacations – Seoul, Korea. There are a lot of things I wanted to mention (too long for a comment), so I wrote a blog entry about it here: http://theawkwardrobot.tumblr.com/

Thank you for the opportunity!
.-= Janet’s most recent blog post: life is but an anthro dream =-.

Kellie

My favorite vacation spot is Olympia Washington. Seattle is an hour North and the usual destination while in WA but the capital city is fantastic, the town is situated around the capital building and some of the finest dining around is near there, the dockside bistro & wine bar, Gardners Seafood, there is so much to do and see in this city! The farmers market is my favorite place, all around that are 5 star restaurants, the shops in this area are the best I have ever encountered, hip little boutiques that reflect the tree hugging to chic styles; everything is walking distance from the marketplace; I highly recommend it!

My favorite trip so far has been to Jamaica- beautiful, and I didn’t want to leave. But my dream vacation is to England!
.-= Erika’s most recent blog post: Passing It On =-.

irene

How about Australia, it seems like a beautiful country with lots of things to do, on land or in the water! And it’s hop over to New Zealand, which seems just as amazing. One thing to keep in mind is that the seasons are opposite from ours in the U.S. Thanks!

Tami W.

WOW!! What an awesome giveaway. I would highly highly recommend Maui. The Westin Resort there is awesome and my favorite. The spa is amazing and the location is perfect. It’s right by whaler’s village that has lots of shops and restaurants. My favorite little restaurant is the Hula Grill. Be careful because their Mai Tais are addicting. Sitting on the beach in a cabana sipping a fruit drink sounds awesome right about now. Trust me you won’t regret that vacation!

Louis

It looks like you can use the ’50% off for hotels” on suites, though only certain properties support this (at least according to the terms and conditions). If you can find the right property, this could make for a tremendous deal…

If you’re looking to stay on this side of the pond, I’d have to suggest Montreal. If you’re looking abroad… Santorini! Unfortunately, I’ve never been to either but from what I’ve heard, you can’t go wrong!

Lily

I can’t believe no one has mentioned New Zealand – that country has something for everyone! Check out a volcano on White Island, cruise the fjords of Milford and Doubtful Sounds, climb Mt. Tongariro (with a view of Mt. Ngauruhoe, a.k.a. Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings films), take a wine tour in the Marlborough wine region, surf sand dunes at Ninety Mile Beach, go bungee jumping in Queenstown at the first commercial bungee site in the world, sail on an America’s Cup yacht, see sunbathing seals in Abel Tasman National Park – there is no end to the number and diversity of activities you can pursue there!

My boyfriend and I have been DYING to go to London. We are hoping to be able to afford to go there next summer to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. I’ve already started planning though! We are going to ride the London Eye, pack a picnic that includes world famous Laduree macaroons and other amazing food from Harrods and take it down to Hyde Park, see a show at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, walk along Abbey Road (my boyfriend is a HUGE Beatles fan), immerse ourselves in all the compelling art that the British Museum has to offer, and of course try to get a glimpse of the Queen.
.-= Jade Sheldon’s most recent blog post: =-.

Ashley

Thailand all the way! Not only is the food un-bel-iev-able, the people are overwhelmingly kind and gracious. Start out exploring in Bangkok, head to Chiang Mai for a different flavor and then relax from all your sightseeing on the beach at Phuket.

Hannah

If I could only travel to one destination the rest of my life, I would pick St. John in the Virgin Island and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s the perfect beach vacation. Luckily, most of the island is a National Park, so development of the island is limited. My favorite beach is Cinnamon Bay–it’s exactly how you would imagine a Caribbean beach! Across the island there is plenty of snorkeling (my favorite spot is Waterlemon Bay), adventures (plenty of easy hiking trails) and awesome people. No trip is complete without a trip to Skinny Legs for burgers, Uncle Joe’s BBQ (trust me) and a rum punch on the beach. I can’t wait to go back!

Cyndi Schultz

If you were to ask ME.. I would say Australia. And when? I’d say November. Grab a new book or movie to watch on the way over and before you know it you’ll be escaping the harsh winter in the states to the beautiful “G’day” weather Down Under. Fly into Sydney to get some fabulous shopping in the boutiques of The Rocks neighborhood. With all your new Aussie threads go take pictures of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour on the Manly Ferry before hopping over to the Harbour itself! Soak in the rays and the beautiful beaches and safe water swims at Sydney Harbour or Coogee Beach. Now bronzed and feeling very Aussie yourself, what’s better to do than go hold a Koala Bear (and get your picture taken to remember the little guy forever and ever) at Sydney Wildlife World? Feast on delectably fresh seafood and healthy options at both Fish on the Rocks or Universal. A trip to remember forever.

Brittany Stroup

What a dream it would be to win this! I would go stay in Rome, Italy. I’ve never been and I’m dying to go!

I always recommend Hawaii to people. I’ve been on 4 islands and stayed in four different Starwood hotels (only because my parents have a timeshare with them). My favorite is The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali on Maui.

Rebecca Cross

I would recommend Sight Seeing in Sedona! There is a a great shopping district there and fun hiking and driving.
http://www.tlaq.com/

So I recently heard that Banff National Park in Canada is one of the prettiest places, so images of that would be a huge inspiration for travel. Rustic cabins and mountain hikes, morning coffee on a porch in the forest. Sounds amazing to me!
.-= Amanda Joy’s most recent blog post: lovely bundle {ombre} =-.

Joanna W

Hearing that you enjoy the history in Boston, Richmond VA would be a wonderful vacation spot. Right between Williamsburg and Charlottesville, Richmond is a great place to stay if you are in to American history. Charlottesville in particular (only an hour from Richmond) is the home of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello…one of the most amazing tours) and the University of Virginia, and boast some pretty incredible restaurants. This would definitely be a different type of vacation, but my husband and I absolutely LOVE this area!

Yayyy this is fabulous! My fiance and I were just sitting here discussing where we want to honeymoon because we have NO idea. But we do know we’ll be going somewhere with a Starwoods hotel since we do have some points saved up already (can someone please tell me WHY you would want to have any other credit card?!?!). Anyway, this giveaway would help us plan our dream vacation… which is obviously in Bora Bora :) But we’d also be thrilled for anywhere in the Caribbean.
So, I live in Boston and can say for sure that the Liberty Hotel is AWESOME. Beacon Hill is such a great place to stay and there are so many fabulous restaurants and shopping spots nearby. That said, I can see why you’d want to go to Key West. Boston is fun, but Key West is relaxing and tropical and, of course, way different than Boston (and you can go all year round!). So, for a trip that you’ve completely won, I’d go for totally luxurious and calming. Oh, but I also heard a new Westin is coming to Abu Dhabi and think that would be an absolutely amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip… Life is too short to visit all of these incredible spots all over the world :)
.-= Susie’s most recent blog post: Susan Anderson
Food/Music/Fashion/Boston/Lifestyle Writer and…
=-.

Becky Rockwell

No questions- Westin St. John in the US Virgin Islands! Absolutely one of THE most beautiful places I have ever been! The white sand beaches of Trunk Bay, the casual laid back vibe of the entire island, and the crystal clear water make this one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I would lay on the beach and listen to the waves crash on the shore. This island can make you forget any real life problems for however long you are visiting. This Westin property is hands down one of the best resorts on one of the prettiest islands in the entire world!

JGarcia

Guatemala! Check out jungles, active volcanos, beaches, mountains, one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, Mayan ruins, natural limestone pools, and artisan shopping all in one country!

Louis

I’m impressed with how many different ways people would spend these points. This seems like a smart promo from SPG’s point of view. Kudo’s to them! All the places that people have mentioned sound like fun to me; my only problem is learning to travel with two small children.

TK

In 2008, my company took every employee and a guest on a suprise all expense paid trip to Vail, Colorado for Labor Day weekend. It was awesome! Even with a group of about 200 people, there was something for everyone. I always like my vacations to have a good mix of adventure, great food, shopping, and relaxation and found it all here. My boyfriend (now fiance!) and I went rafting, went “into town” for some shopping, sampled german beer at one of the festivals, and visited Glenwood Springs Caverns. He chickened out, but I decided to go for the mountain roller coaster- nothing like something you’d find at Six Flags. After taking a lift up to the top of the mountain, I got into a tiny car box car and circled the mountain for a minute or so and enjoyed one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. If you decide to go, definitely check out the Riverfront Resort and Spa and try the Austrian Apple Strudel at Swiss Chalet!

Wow. What an impressive giveaway. Hmm, if I was you I’d either go to Hawaii and learn how to surf in style, OR I’d go to India and eat my way all the way to the Taj Mahal. I know they’re completely different, but they’re both dreams and you couldn’t go wrong with either :)
.-= Salina’s most recent blog post: Lemons. Lemonade and other tales of turning frowns upside down. =-.

I’m a total workaholic and my fiance has a pretty crazy schedule, so I personally am always inspired by pictures of tranquil beaches and hotels with a laid back atmosphere. I had to admit that seeing “spa and retreat” in the title of the Starwood property (the W) on Vieques made me really excited.
.-= Jeannine’s most recent blog post: J. Crew Warehouse Sale report =-.

Sarang

I would definitely recommend India. There is literally thousands of years worth of history, art, culture, and food to experience in any part of the country. On a first-time trip, I would definitely recommend a trip through the capital New Delhi (the Red Fort, the “Lotus” Baha’i temple, and the ~900 year old Qutub Minar tower are must-sees), Agra (the Taj Mahal, of course, and Agra Fort), and Jaipur (the Pink City and its many palaces and beautiful surroundings). All three have Starwood hotels to stay in and will make for the experience of a lifetime.

Katherine

This is such a great giveaway! My fiance and I would love the opportunity to win SPG points for our upcoming honeymoon next spring!

While not the most exotic of places, I think you would absolutely love Austin, TX – the city where my fiance and I met and where we’ll be getting married! The charm of this city is like none other in the great big state of Texas. You can definitely find something for everyone. If you love the outdoors, you can go pack up a picnic, go for a hike, or take a swim around the beautiful Hamilton Pool reserve for a day. Then you can spend another day wandering up Mt. Bonnell to take a look at the stunning views of Austin, drive over the 360 bridge for more breathtaking views, and go kayaking or paddling on Town Lake. Or if you want something a little more adrenaline packed, go jet skiing on Lake Travis! After spending some time out in the sun, take a stroll down South Congress and grab a few bites from the ever-so-popular food trucks around the city – Mighty Cone for their famous chicken and avocado cones or some tasty fries and Bananarchy for a frozen banana dipped in chocolate covered in the toppings of your choice! After freshening up at the W in downtown, head to my fiance and I’s favorite restaurant in Austin, Eastside Cafe. In a small house near the UT campus, Eastside Cafe’s vegetable garden and chickens are just one of the few reasons we love the restaurant! Staying at the W downtown puts you in prime location to take a stroll to the beautiful Capitol during the day and to the wide array of lounges, bars, and restaurants in downtown Austin. If you’re in town on a Wednesday night, go check out the 80s cover band, The Spazmatics, for a great dance party and head on over to 6th street for a few more drinks. During the day, you’re just down the street from the headquarters of the delicious Whole Foods, where you can spend hours browsing the organic foods of this amazing grocery store filled with ready to go foods as well. End your trip by spending a couple days driving out to the Texas Hill Country wineries for even more R&R. The possibilities are endless and I would be more than happy to give you more recommendations for our favorite city ever :)

Miss Cupcake

You must fly to Portland, Maine for vacation!! Eat at Fore Street for a fancy dinner. Make sure to order the mussels. Walk about the Old Port for photos and shopping. Don’t miss Angela Adams’ store or funky art at Abacus. Make sure to have a scone and fougasse at the Standard Baking Co. Breakfast at Becy’s dinner is a must as well. A grilled blueberry muffin NEEDS to happen. Get a massage at The Inn By the Sea’s spa and take advantage of their crazy shower. Stop by Portland Head Light for lighthouse photos then catch a ferry to Peak’s Island where you can rent a bike and ride around before heading back to Portland for a delicious meal at Duckfat. Make sure to get a milkshake And the fries. This is no time to skimp. There’s sailing and lobstering and kayaking…..more eating….I could go on for days!!!!

Nikki H

One of my favorite vacations i’ve taken was when my hubby and i went to Maui. We loved the beaches, shopping, relaxing drinking Pina coladas, driving the Road to Hana in our rental Jeep, awesome food at multiple restaurants like Aloha Plate and the luau, and spending time together. We really loved the Pina coladas from the little shacks on the Road to Hana! We still talk about them to this day(5 years later) and say none can compete with those. I can’t want to go back for another!

Thanks for this awesome opportunity!!
Nikki!

What a lovely giveaway :) I would definitely go to Buenos Aires!! What is not to love about this joyful city. There are so many things and different neighborhoods that you would never be bored. You can walk all the city and enjoy of the european architecture of the city and watch the contrast between the old and modern designs its truly a wonderful combination. If you are interested in design and handmade goods you definitely should go to palermo soho its a really cozy neighborhood surrounded by the best stationary paper stores, clothes stores and small little goods surrounded by coffee and restaurant all over the streets!! Its a really happy place!! If you prefer a quieter place you can walk through the recoleta neighborhood enjoying all the great avenues surrounded by lovely trees and great restos. If you are in a mood of the modern neighborhood you can walk all over Puerto Madero the old Buenos Aires port now filled with top restaurants!! The best meat you’ll find it at La Cabrera, The best ice-cream at Persico, The best vietnamese food at Sudestada, The best sushi/peruvian at Osaka, the best bar Thames 878 a hidden bar full of creativity!! It is a great place to get new ideas surrounded by lots of creative young artists! You could also head up to mendoza and enjoy the wonderful wine tour a really lovely trip not to miss! And the best part you can practice your spanish ;)

Eve

One of my favorite childhood memories was visiting the Deer Valley Lodge in Park City, UT with my brothers and dad. That place is beautiful any time of year. We visited late summer and it was warm and I remember going to this outdoor theatre with him for see a play. I would love to do the same thing with my family now!

Catherine

Choices, choices, choices! If you are able to pick a place to visit, anywhere in the world, Rome, Italy would have to be your destination of choice. Rome has everything – great food, beautiful landscapes, and a rich history. There are so many wonderful places to visit and exciting things to see and do. Visiting the Colosseum at night is just as breathtaking as a visit during the day, and the Trevi Fountain will amaze you by its shear size and beauty. The Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica are also extremely powerful and a must to visit, as they embody the spirit and essence of all of humanity. Rome is an amazing city and will open your eyes to the beauty that the world has to offer. Wherever you visit, enjoy – and travel safe!

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