When colleagues suggested Leila Jover apply to go on Travel Weekly’s Cover Stars trip, she wasn’t convinced.
“I’m not someone who likes going in front of the camera – I tend to avoid it if I can,” says Leila, a sales consultant at Affinion International Travel.
“I was nervous, but my colleagues egged me on. I’d never had a professional photo taken before and, generally speaking, I don’t like having my photo taken.”
So it was with much trepidation that Leila went for her photoshoot in a hotel cocktail lounge.
“I got more and more nervous about it. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it, but Steve the photographer made me feel so relaxed that I did actually start to,” says Leila.
The trip itself turned out to be one of the best she had been on. “We were treated like VIPs,” adds Leila, whose only previous visit to the US had been to New York.
Her trip started in true VIP-fashion, with an upgrade to Upper Class on the Virgin Atlantic flight.
“We went to the VIP lounge first, there was no queue to get on board, and we were given champagne when we got on,” recalls Leila.
“It was enjoyable being on the flight, which I wouldn’t normally say, and it didn’t feel like flying. I would definitely recommend it if people have the budget.”
Not only was Leila able to enjoy a three-course dinner at a table with her colleague on the flight, they also sat at the bar and enjoyed a cocktail after their meal.
Once in Massachusetts, Leila was wowed by the autumn colours, history and culture of Boston, and the rugged and remote sand dunes of Cape Cod and traditional New England properties in Provincetown.
“Boston is quite quaint with the cobbled streets of Beacon Hill and lovely garden areas. You certainly don’t feel like you are in a huge city,” she says. “Cape Cod was a total contrast. We got to see seals in the sea and to drive over private sand dunes to the beach.”
As a foodie, Leila loved the variety of restaurants and the options available to diners.
“I often eat gluten-free foods and there were so many menu options, it was great going out every evening. I thought it would be typical American food, but there was so much choice. There were lots of seafood restaurants, so I ate lobster whenever I could.”
But some of Leila’s most memorable moments were taking in the coastal views in Cape Cod.
“Even though it was November and freezing cold, it was still sunny. Watching the sunset, drinking a Cape Codder cocktail at the Sea Crest Hotel in Falmouth and being on an empty beach were special moments,” she adds.