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Featured Posts

An Always5Star Afternoon at Testarossa Winery

Testarossa Winery is located in Los Gatos, California. It is about a 20-minute drive from the San Jose city center and San Jose airport. The winery is family owned and operated. The owner’s, Rob and Diana Jensen, began their wine making in their garage in 1993.


The winery was originally built in 1888 by Jesuit fathers and brothers from Santa Clara College (now Santa Clara...

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🌟5StarTip: Saving on the Cost of Wine at Fine Dining Restaurants

There are a couple of ways that I use to save money when enjoying fine wines while dining out. Enjoying nice wines can be a wonderful experience and can really enhance a meal, but it can be quite expensive.

Buying good wine in a restaurant can be quite expensive!

There are times to really enjoy wines and not focus as much on the cost. Certain moments are special such as a meal ...

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Always5Star’s Top Ten Romantic Travel Destinations

Aaaahhh, Romance! Don’t we all need more romance in our lives? The word “romance” is one of my favorite words. Wikipedia defines it as “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love and remoteness from everyday life.” I think of it as a moment in time that you not only experience love with someone else, but you are creating it for yourself as well.

Because of my passion for...

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An Always5Star Photo Journey Of Romantic Sunsets Around The World

“Sunsets are proof

that no matter what happens,

every day can end beautifully”

  • Kristen Butler

I have always been drawn to the magnificence of sunsets. I often set aside that part of the day to enjoy the sun setting wherever I might be. Even before I became passionate about traveling and taking pictures in various places in the world, I would focus on sunsets. I was drawn...

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An Always5Star Guide to Ridge Vineyards Winery

Ridge Vineyards Winery

Do you love tasting California red wines? Do you enjoy a winery rich with history? Then I highly recommend that you take a personalized tour of Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello.

The beginning of my personalized tour

I was looking forward to learning about and tasting Ridge Vineyard wines. I choose to visit the Monte Bello location in Cupertino, California. T...

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Hotel Valencia in San Jose, California - A luxury boutique hotel!

I really appreciate a luxury boutique hotel! And if you do too, San Jose California has one that you will love. Hotel Valencia is a lovely boutique hotel that is ideally located in the middle of Santana Row in San Jose. Santana Row is a district that is designed with upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment, etc. The area exudes an Old World European charm, but at the same time, has a m...

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Fly like a Rock Star with JetSuiteX

Have you ever dreamed of traveling like a Rock Star?

How great would it be to arrive at the airport as late as 15 minutes before your departure, and not have to hassle with long lines or TSA screenings? Then you need to fly JetSuiteX ! And the bonus to this dream, is that you are paying about the same price as most standard commercial flights to the same destinations!



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Always 5 Star guide to Moët & Chandon Champagne

Moët & Chandon Champagne

One of the most prestigious champagne’s in the world is Moët & Chandon. You know from the moment that you see the label that you are about to partake of something special. The name is synonymous with luxury. Moët & Chandon is one of the world’s largest champagne producers. It is admired internationally as a premier luxury brand champagne.


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The Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown - An Always5Star experience in DC

The Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown

The first thing you need to know about the Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown, even before you walk into the stunning lobby area, is how ideally it is located to the historic Georgetown area. Fashionable and chic, the hotel's location offers you the ability to easily access and explore the shops, restaurants and beauty of this upscale area.


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5StarTip🌟: TSA pre-check - tips for your boarding pass

I have had my Global Entry card for a few years now. I cannot recommend getting Globay Entry approval enough. One of the many perks is the TSA pre-check, which is identified on your ticket. This allows you to breeze thru TSA security by going through the TSA pre-check line. You do not have to remove your shoes, liquids and gels, or laptops from your bag! You are allowed to wear a light outer...

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5 Top Luxury Tips for Killarney

I have always wanted to travel to Ireland. I have been motivated by the seemingly mystical landscapes I’ve seen in movies, read about in books, and seen on television. These greenest greens and the sweeping vistas would seem almost too Hollywood to be real. This year I finally had the opportunity to go. As a travel writer/influencer/blogger, I saw that TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) was o...

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Music and Dance - The Celtic Steps Experience in Killarney

A wonderful experience is attending a performance of the “Celtic Steps”! This is a live performance that is very energetic with an extremely talented cast of dancers, singers, and musicians. A quintessential Ireland experience that simply must not be missed!

You will be amazed at the talent of the performers!

The show runs from Sunday to Friday. The performance hall is located at th...

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VIP Private Driving Tour and Experience Killarney

There are several ways to enjoy Killarney, Ireland and all the surrounding beauty of the countryside. You can rent a car, ride on a tour bus, take a taxi, or utilize a private driver. I choose to hire a private driver. I found this to work best for my needs and it created that Always5Star enhancement to my trip.

I was traveling with my daughter Brittany, and since we are both use to driving...

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Pink Lounge at the Ross Hotel - Champagne luxury moment!

When traveling to destinations around the world, I look for those special champagne moments wherever I go. When I was in Killarney, Ireland that moment presented itself at The Pink Lounge in the Ross Hotel.

A delightful and fun interior design!

Opened in December of 2015, the Pink Lounge Gin and Champagne Bar is a wonderful find in a city of pubs. Its uniqueness and decor are a welco...

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Killarney National Park – Nature’s Luxury

Killarney National Park sits right next to the wonderful town of Killarney. The park has 25,425 acres of diverse landscapes including waterfalls, lakes, wildlife, etc. It is the most wide-ranging native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is beautifully maintained and is the highlight of any stay in Killarney.

Join me on an Always5Star photo journey that cronicles my visit to the park. E...

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A Luxury Hotel In Killarney – The Brehon Hotel

There are many wonderful luxury hotels to choose from in Killarney. I selected The Brehon hotel because of the TripAdvisor reviews and location to the convention center. The reviews were accurate and I found our room to be very comfortable. I could walk to the town center (around 20-30 minutes), and found the location ideal for visiting the Killarney National Park. Taxi access was convenien...

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West End Bistro restaurant - A fantastic Ritz Carlton Washington D.C. Brunch

The West End Bistro restaurant for brunch is quite special. First the location: the restaurant is on the first floor of the Ritz Carlton Washington D.C., and within walking distance of the stylish Georgetown area of Washington D.C. The menu design matches the trendiness of the neighborhood. The interior is designed with an emphasis on modern contemporary, however, it still manages to emanat...

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Always5Star Guide to Gloria Ferrer Winery & Their Sparkling Wine Brut Rosé

Everyone knows that I am passionate about champagne. I also find that there are several sparkling wines that offer wonderful and satisfying experiences as well. I like to search out locations that offer fine sparkling wines. One such area is Sonoma, California. In Sonoma, you can find the Gloria Ferrer Winery. It is a wonderful winery that offers several different types of tasting experi...

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Open Table an Always5Star phone app for Restaurant Reservations!

Whether you are traveling or not, arriving at a popular restaurant at the last minute can lead to a long wait. How many times have you waited for a table for more than 30 minutes? You can find yourself waiting in the cramped entry/lobby in the restaurant. You then realize that you get up every few minutes to check where you are on the waiting list. It is not a very pleasant way to begin a ...

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Always 5 Star check list before checking out of a hotel room

How often have you left an item or two behind in a hotel room?

Every traveler can relate to this dilemma, especially if you have a busy travel schedule or are running a bit late.

I know that in the past I have! Because of this I decided to develop a quick 10 step check list that I follow without fail. The good news is that it has helped me from ever leaving items behind. The check list...

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Why the AMEX Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts Benefit is a great value!

What is the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program and how good are the benefits?

The beautiful St. Regis Houston, Texas – My room upgrade with the Fine Hotels & Resorts program

One of the many perks you will love about the American Express Platinum credit card is the Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefit program. For my business trip to Houston, Texas, I booked my hotel room wi...

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What is the right amount to tip? Problem solved! Including a free printable chart!

Ever wonder what is the right amount to tip when you are traveling domestically or internationally? The answer is here!

I don’t know about you, but I have found the proper etiquette to tipping to be somewhat baffling. I believe in tipping and rewarding for good service. It is known that most people working in the travel industry (especially abroad) rely on tips for the majority of their inc...

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Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay Resort For Any Occasion!

When looking for a luxury hotel/resort to celebrate a special occasion, I know that I can trust the quality of a Ritz-Carlton property.

The beautiful Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay golf course with amazing coastal views

I have stayed at many Ritz-Carlton’s around the world and am a big fan of this brand for several reasons.

Here are my five-star points as to why I enjoy staying at Ritz-Ca...

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Always 5 Star guide to Taittinger Champagne

Taittinger Champagne

Enjoying a glass of Taittinger before a flight in the First Class Lounge at LAX in the American Airlines Advantage Club Lounge

When you think of champagne, one of the many top names that will come to mind is Taittinger Champagne. It is one of the many established houses in the famed Champagne region of France. Jacques Fourneaux founded Taittinger in 1734 and for ...

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The Marilyn Monroe Luxury Spa Day at the Hyatt Centric Time Square

How about a spa day that is not only luxurious but leaves you feeling pampered and rested? Where you can channel your inner “Marilyn Monroe”?

Beautifully set up for a manicure or pedicure!

What better way to do it than by spending a morning, afternoon or the day receiving a spa treatment. What makes it even more exciting is by having that spa day take place in a New York Times Squar...

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Charlie Palmer’s in Washington D.C .- A very chic DC culinary experience!

Charlie Palmer Steak DC restaurant in Washington D.C. is located very close to the Capitol building. The restaurant is famously known for aged Angus rib-eye steak and locally sourced seafood. Something you may not know, the views of the Capitol from the restaurant’s private event rooftop terrace are probably the best views of the Capitol building anywhere.

Picture taken from the privat...

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Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill’s Presidential Suite

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill’s Presidential Suite is a very special suite indeed with a definite “Presidential” feel!

Enjoy this tour of the suite through pictures and videos to inspire your reservation of this beautiful room!

The minute you walk into the entry of the Presidential Suite you see a stunning sculpture.

Entry and foyer area are decorated with special touches to c...

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