Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
Some trips, some places, some moments are just special. I don’t mean special as in someone else made your coffee and you didn’t have to go to work that day special, though of course that is special. What I mean are the places that are really and truly breathtakingly special. They are the places where you feel at home even though you may be thousands of miles away from your own bed. They are the destinations that imprint on your soul. They are the moments when your heart rate and your breathing slow down and you feel at peace with everything around you.
I hope most of us have found some of those special places, but if you don’t have yours yet, you have something to seriously look forward to when miles and points take you to your own spot.
This morning I was reminded of one of my own special spots in the world when I read a post by The Frequent Miler as he debated the best use of his SPG points for an upcoming family trip. He is very analytical and numbers driven, which in the miles points world can be a very good thing. As such, his post outlined lots of equations pointing towards the best overall use of his points. He was debating many options, but one major decision was between the St. Regis Princeville on the North Shore of Kauai or the Grand Hyatt Kauai on the southern side of the island…among a few other contenders.
None of the math will point towards the St. Regis Princeville being the best use of points (or cash for that matter), and yet as I tweeted him after I read the post, what the numbers and analysis can’t quantify is that there is something special and magical about Princeville that should not be missed if you have the opportunity to go.
Based on previous discussions I have had both online and off with those who have also gone there, and a quick look at the comments on his post, I know I am far from alone in that belief. The location of the St. Regis Princeville and its dramatic view of Hanalei Bay, the Na Molokama mountains, epic sunsets, and more is beyond memorable. It is a spot and a moment that can imprint on your soul and become a part of who you are.
I have been yearning to return to that spot since the moment we drove away over two years ago, and even though the math will probably never point to that hotel offering the best return for points or dollars, I know that it provides something special that cannot be quantified in a spreadsheet. I know that I want to return.
The vista over Hanalei Bay is not the only spot where I yearn to return. I have similar feelings about being on top of a snow covered mountain in The Rockies where the only sound you hear is the sound of your skis slicing into a turn.
Or driving down the “Sea to Sky” winding Highway 99 from Vancouver to Whistler where the lakes, the sky, the waterfalls, and the mountains are almost too much to take in…and that’s all before you even get to Whistler and experience its own majestic mountain magic.
There were also special moments on trips that weren’t just a feature of being in a special place, but more a combination of being in the right place at the right time with the right people.
Taking a ride around a classic carousel with my four year old ride in Boston as fall fell upon the city falls in this category.
Taking a kid-free relaxing vacation around the world with Josh in a period of calm before a number of stressors would hit our family is in this category of special moments.
Having a light snowfall start just as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City ushered out the turkey and welcomed Santa and the Christmas Season was special. If that wasn’t special enough, it was also the last trip I took with just Little C before we shared the news with her that a sister was on the way.
Experiencing the emerald magic of Ireland with Josh for the first time.
I have also had lots of special moments where the ocean meets the land, especially as the sun brilliantly announces the beginning or end of that day in your life.
Note that none of these places or moments were tied to how many square feet were in your room, whether breakfast was an included benefit on your stay, or if your upgrade cleared…though those things can set the stage for a more rested and relaxed state of mind, so they are not to be totally discounted. Just as Frequent Miler did, do the math, calculate the value of your redemptions on paper, stretch your dollars and your miles as far as you can, but don’t forget to factor in the intangible. For me, what makes a trip special is something that you will never find on a spreadsheet. It can only be found in the moment. I look forward to our next special travel moment, and I’d love to hear about some of yours!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.