Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hotel stay Highlights of 2018 -from a few of my favorite destinations


It is a continuing journey for me to be on the lookout for hotel deals, to stay at a brand i've wanted to try out, or experience a city in a unique and or more convenient way based on the hotel I choose.

In 2018 I was able to find wonderful and convenient stays in a charming southern city, a lovely and historic Ontario beach town, one of the most dynamic and bustling cities in the UK, and one of the entertainment capitals of the world.

New for me was to finally stay at an Andaz property. Staying at the Andaz Savannah offered a comfortable, spacious, cool (with some quirky decor) but not over the top room with a truly comfortable bed and a vibe of relaxation. The onsite bar and restaurant are a great place to unwind, and the location steps away from City Market and the Riverfront offer convenience and ease to wander through sultry Savannah. Tip: Check out the Prohibition Museum a few minutes walk away.

For my second ever London trip, a friend and I decided a budget property with good value and excellent location were what we were looking for. The cute but quite compact boutique hotel M Stay Hyde Park offered a clean and cosy stay, but it was very well situated by being 2 minutes from Bayswater station. It was great to experience London again, and for a short stay (and minimal luggage) this chain would do nicely if you can get a great deal. Tip: You are only one tube stop from beautiful Notting Hill.

There were not many beach days happening for me during summer of 2018, but there was a quick getaway to one of Ontario's most charming beach towns with a Scottish influence, Kincardine, in August. This has been a second stay at the Towne Place Suites, just a few minutes drive away from the main town.  This fairly new Marriott property has very well designed and spacious rooms. While both stays were booked on points, I find the property is reasonable in cost compared to some other beach accommodations in different towns which get booked solid in summers. We decided to take a cab (they aren't plentiful but are available) for dinner at the Bruce, which offers a great view of the lake on their spacious patio. Tip: be sure to catch the sunset and take a stroll on the boardwalk.

Another early summer getaway for just a few days was to amazing Austin, Texas. A city that had been on my list to see for a few years, the timing finally worked out when a friend would be in the area and we arranged to meet. I ended up booking through points the well located and designed Element Austin Downtown. It has a welcoming, bustling but low key but cool atmosphere. When you enter the front doors the beautiful coffeehouse on site catches your eye and offers the relief of not having to guess where your next caffeine fix will come from if you are new to visiting the city. There is also a full service restaurant, roof top bar and game yard. The rooms are modern and comfortable and offer heavenly beds and kitchenettes. Tip: walking distance to the stunning Texas State Capitol

To round out the year, I made one of my annual / bi annual visits to Las Vegas. This was my second December visit and it's a great time to go, cooler temperatures but still nice sunny days, festive spirit in the air and the chance to watch some live Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey. This was a good reason alone to choose the newly remodeled Park MGM (the former Monte Carlo) which backs onto a short path leading to T Mobile arena. This is also a great location for proximity to the pedestrian promenade The Park, and easy access to Bellagio via tram, and two of my favorite hotels, the Aria and Cosmopolitan. But Park MGM now offers not only a refreshed look, but some great new restaurants and bars on site, including the pretty and charming Primrose, Bavette's, and Juniper Lounge. Even the new Starbucks stands out with its spacious and pretty design. And when time to rest, the beds here are excellent, with cozy pillows and premium bedding. There is definitely alot going for Park MGM given the price point and amenities. Tip: Sundays and mid week offer the best value

Those are just a few of the hotels that helped enhance my travel experiences near and far in 2018. Looking forward to more discoveries in the New Year!


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