Bahamas

Shot taken from the Quantum of the Seas on a recent cruise to the Caribbean. This overlooks Paradise Island.

The Art of Dining at The Diplomat Beach Resort

 

Diplomat Prime. Photo credit: The Diplomat.

I recently spend an R&R weekend at the newly re-imagined The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida and must say that the food program has been taken to a whole new level. The resort boasts a variety of food outlets to please everyone from families to couples to groups.

The 10 food venues range from the signature steakhouse Diplomat Prime to celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Coastal American restaurant Point Royal to award-winning Monkitail to grab-and-go spots and waterfront casual places.

Knowing the outstanding restaurant lineup would draw a crowd of local foodies, the resort smartly extends four-hour complimentary valet or self-park at Point Royal, Diplomat Prime or Monkitail and four-hour complimentary self-park at Bristol’s Burgers and Portico Beer & Wine Garden. For those arriving by boat, all dockage at Diplomat Landing, where Bristol’s Burgers and Portico Beer & Wine Garden are located, is complimentary for up to 4 hours.

Point Royal

Point Royal. Photo credit: The Diplomat.

Point Royal is the popular Geoffrey Zakarian-backed Coastal American Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating with approachable food and the property’s only raw bar. In the mornings, Point Royal offers a buffet with an array of breakfast and lunch favorites (an a la carte menu is also offered). For dinner, the buffet transforms into a bar serving fresh juice-based cocktails and one of the largest wine lists on property. Point Royal is open for breakfast and dinner daily. View the various menus here.

Diplomat Prime

Diplomat Prime is the resort’s luxury steakhouse by Executive Chef Nicolay. The restaurant boasts a dinner menu of prime beef aged in-house, some of the freshest seafood dishes in the area and signature dishes. The wine list showcases old world and new world wines by the glass and by the bottle and a creative offering of classic cocktails.

Monkitail

Just a few months after opening, Monkitail was voted Best Hotel Restaurant 2017 by USA Today and Best New Restaurant 2017 by the Sun Sentinel. The accolades are due to celebrity chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson’s take on modern Japanese food. The menu features classic ‪izakaya with a modern flair‪, sharable small plates and sushi. There’s also an open robatayaki kitchen with a 15-seat sushi bar and a private dining area overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Located near the Monkitail entrance is Nokku, a discreet cocktail lounge with four private rooms, each outfitted for karaoke. NOKKU is open Thursday to Saturday – 9PM – 2AM.

Playa

Playa. Photo credit: The Diplomat.

Playa is a fun, casual poolside and beachfront Nuevo Latino restaurant by chefs Sue Torres and Darren Carbone. Playa’s popular bar highlights Rum and Tequila specialties to compliment well-executed tacos on house-made tortillas, an array of fresh salsas, guacamoles and more. View Playa’s menu here.

Counter Point

Open all day, every day, Counter Point is an extension of Geoffrey Zakarian’s Point Royal offering various coffees, fresh juices, smoothies and a daily selection of house baked breakfast pastries, salads and sandwiches for dine-in or take out.

Canteen

The Canteen is a market offering convenience food and beverage items to-go. The market sells beer, wine, fruits, chips, nuts and other snacks as well as prepared salads and sandwiches, cookies and brownies and more.

Bristol’s Burgers. Photo credit: The Diplomat.

CANDY AND CONES

CANDY AND CONES features freshly-churned ice creams that can be folded into sundaes or one of hundreds of varieties of ice cream sandwiches and pops. There’s also a modern penny candy wall with dozens of candies sold by the pound.

Bristol’s Burgers

Bristol’s Burgers is located at The Diplomat Landing Marina overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. The menu features world-class burgers made using a proprietary signature blend of beef, addictive shakes and an extensive selection of shareable appetizers. Bristol’s Burgers is a modern take on a fast-casual burger restaurant with an open kitchen, red leather booths and tables indoor and outdoor. The space also has a free arcade near the entrance to amuse big and small kids.

Portico Beer & Wine Garden

Portico. Photo credit: The Diplomat.

Portico, also located at The Diplomat Landing, is a waterfront beer and wine garden that serves sharable, light-Italian favorites with an exclusively on-tap beer and wine program. Seating is both covered and uncovered with canopies draped throughout the area. Several styles of seating are available including Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and round tables. View the Portico menu here.

Note that private dining is available at all food outlets making it convenient to entertain in a variety of settings from casual to upscale.

Room service is available from 6AM – 11PM from any of the restaurants.

For your next getaway where you simply don’t want to have to leave the hotel, The Diplomat Beach Resort is a delicious option.

The Diplomat Beach Resort – 3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood, Florida, 33019. http://www.diplomatresort.com/

Happy travels,

Veronique

 

I’m a travel industry veteran currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.

Last Chance – Cruise for the Cure

 

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is offering a cruise in support of the Susan G. Komen mission on Saturday January 20th, 2018 for just $230* pp (ocean view stateroom, based on double occupancy).

$100 per cabin is donated to various local charities, with 75% of fund raised supporting breast cancer needs in South Florida and the remainder supporting various other programs.

Cruise fare includes:

  • Special Welcome ‘Perfect Pink’ drink upon boarding
  • 2 drink tickets per person for use anytime on the cruise
  • Special Komen Gift Bag
  • Opportunities to learn more about the Komen organization and how you can support
  • $1,000 hotel and merchandise savings certificate

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is a proud sponsor of the Susan G. Komen 8th Annual Perfect Pink Party aboard our ship, Grand Celebration. This dual ticket event allows special guests to experience this major fundraising gala, as well as the opportunity to join the 2-night cruise to Grand Bahama Island. The gala will be held on Saturday January 20, from 6-11pm while the ship is docked at the Port of Palm Beach.

For complete details, CLICK HERE.

Happy sailing,

Veronique

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

 

Christmas Village in Philadelphia (http://www.philachristmas.com/) is back for its 10th anniversary season. I visited the Christmas village on Black Friday and it was simply magical. The event started on Thanksgiving Day and runs daily through Christmas Eve. Philadelphia’s LOVE Park (15th and JFK Boulevard) is transformed into a traditional open-air German Christmas Market.

There’s fun shopping for international and local gifts and decorations, lots of food and drinks, live music and cool children’s activities, including photos with Santa Claus. Admission is free!!

New surprises for 2017 Holiday season:

  • Dog Fridays with specials for our furry friends
  • Meet St. Nikolaus and get your boot filled with treats
  • Guided tours through the market for senior citizens
  • New mascot Phil, the 10th reindeer of Santa
  • Anniversary weekend with a huge birthday bash and a cake sponsored by Whole Foods
  • New vendors
  • New restaurant partnerships for HoHo Happy Hour with The Little Lion, Dim Sum House, Tir Na Nog and Revolution Taco
  • Collector Mug with a new design for 2017

Theme Weekends

Theme weekends will be filled with music, performances and entertainment. Full schedules and additional info can be found here: http://www.philachristmas.com/events

  • November 25 and 26 – Opening Weekend
  • December 2 and 3 – 10th Anniversary Weekend
  • December 9 and 10 – German American Weekend
  • December 16 and 17 – Charity Weekend with Make-A-Wish® Foundation
  • December 23 and 24 – Christmas Weekend

Love Park – 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Weekender’s Food Guide to Providence

 

I’m excited to say that my article about food hot spots in Providence, Rhode Island was published by Hilton for its #HiltonSuggests helpful compilations. Here’s the fun article:

Weekender’s Food Guide to :

Have you been to this great town?

Safe travels,

Veronique

5 US Hotels with Museum Grade Artwork

 

On a business or leisure trip without much time to spare yet wanting to take in some arts and culture? Some hotels in popular travel destinations are home to very extensive art collections worthy of top museums.

Here are Five U.S. Hotels with Museum Grade Artwork.

Photo Credit: Boca Raton Resort

Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Boca Raton, FL

The Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, in partnership with the Baker Sponder Gallery, established a collection of museum-quality sculptures by internationally renowned artists.  Works by artists like Fernando Botero, Lynn Chadwick, Jim Dine, Claude Lalanne, George Segal, Manolo Valdes, Boaz Vaadia and Bernar Venet can be viewed throughout the property. Each sculpture features a sign with interesting facts about the artists and with a telephone number that guests can dial to listen to additional information. Sculptures are continuously-rotated and are available for purchase.

Conrad New York – New York, NY

 

Photo Credit: Conrad New York

The Conrad New York, in downtown Manhattan, features over 2,000 works of art throughout its public spaces and in over 463 luxury guest suites. From commissions such as Sol LeWitt’s amazing Loopy Doopy (Blue and Purple) in the Atrium and Pat Steir’s Topsy Turvy at the Gallery Ballroom, to the more intimate, specially commissioned Mary Heilmann, Elizabeth Peyton and Sara Sosnowy lithographs in the guest suites, the Conrad New York exhibits a remarkably diverse collection by some of the world’s most prominent contemporary artists.

Hilton Anatole Dallas – Dallas, TX

 

Photo Credit: Hilton Anatole Dallas

Hilton Anatole Dallas is known for its extensive collection of art and antiques – the largest ever assembled in an American hotel. This unique collection includes pieces that have graced the palaces of kings, emperors and czars. Guests can plug into AnatoleArt.com on their cellphone or tablet to enjoy a variety of art exploration activities like a walking tour of the hotel’s 100 most iconic pieces, including the kinetic sculpture Nebula. The hotel also offers a new dining experience called The Anatole Art Dine-Around where 15 of the hotels’ most iconic art pieces have been paired with savory food and beverage items from their country of origin.

The Curtis – Denver. CO

 

Photo Credit: The Curtis

The Curtis, a Doubletree by Hilton in Denver is a vibrant destination for pop art with an eclectic mix of artworks created by local Colorado and nationally renowned artists. Guests are treated to pop art throughout the lobby and the halls. There are fun guest rooms themed after TV Mania, Sci-Fi, One Hit Wonders or Perfect Pair. All Together Now is a 42-foot high sculpture by nationally renowned artists Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt. Inspired by the famous Beatles song, the piece is a stack of steel 3-dimensional building blocks in a variety of vibrant colors spelling out “All Together Now.”

Hilton Cleveland Downtown – Cleveland, OH

 

Photo Credit: Hilton Cleveland Downtown

The Hilton Cleveland Downtown features artwork throughout its public spaces, specifically, nearly 200 original works from mostly all local artists. Highlights include pieces from Cleveland native and Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Michael Cartellone, along with the metal sculptures in the lobby. There’s also what’s thought to be the first crowd-sourced hotel mural composed of 2,800 selfies depicting all that’s great about Cleveland.

Do you have favorite US hotels with museum grade artwork to tell us about today?

Safe travels,

Veronique

I’m a travel industry veteran currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.

Our Summerlin Vacation Rental Home

 

We just went on a family vacation to the Las Vegas area. Since we were 7 guests and had two kids ages 11 and 13, we didn’t want to stay on The Strip, so we opted for a vacation rental home in nearby Summerlin. Here’s a link to the house we rented for a week.

There are several things we loved about this rental, including:

  1. We liked that it was near enough to The Strip but far enough from it also. The neighborhood was quiet but near major highways. It was also close to tennis courts and great golf courses. For me, it was near a renowned spa where I took a $6 Uber to get a massage.
  2. The backyard was ideal for a large family getaway. The pool is super with its diving board and slide – kids loved it. At night, there were lights that changed colors in the pool and hot tub that were so relaxing! The kids are avid basketball fans and the court was the greatest for them. My golf-crazed hubby practiced his putting on the brand new putting green. There were plenty of pool toys, basketballs, putters and golf balls also.
  3. The kitchen was huge and included everything this cooking aficionado could have dreamed of. From pantry items like spices, coffee and paper goods to small appliances like a crockpot, a blender and even a toaster oven, this was a dream kitchen and I enjoyed cooking and grilling almost every night (there are numerous restaurants nearby and delivery menus if cooking on vacay isn’t your thing).
  4. The amenities were super like premium bedding, plenty of towels – both bath and pool, tons of pillows and more. There was laundry detergent and we did a bit of laundry during our stay.
  5. There is a double car garage with a remote door opener where we could park our car to keep it cool(er).

We could not be happier with our stay in this ultra-clean home. The host was there to greet us, even with our flight being 2 hours late. She walked us through how things work (TVs, pool, hot tub, etc…) and was great at communicating with us during our stay.

We highly-recommend this house and look forward to staying here again.

Cheers,

Veronique

JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex at Hilton Anatole

 

View from Conference Room

I recently stayed at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX where I learned of the recent opening of its $20 million JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex. Since I was at a business function, this was my view of the amazing-looking complex!

About JadeWaters at the Anatole

Exclusive to hotel guests, JadeWaters features:

  • 4,000 sq. ft. Leisure Cove Pool (adults only on weekends)
  • Beach entry family pool
  • Splash zone for kids
  • 630-foot long lazy river
  • Two 180-foot winding water slides
  • Private cabanas and daybeds
  • 23-seat swim-up bar
  • JadeWaters Grill & Bar

JadeWaters offers scheduled activities for families on the weekends, such as cooking experiences, duck races, gold plunges, family movies on Friday and Saturday nights and s’mores parties.

Hours of Operations

2017 Summer Season — May 26 – Sep 4, 2017 (Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day)

JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex: Open daily from 9:00am – 9:00pm

JadeWaters Grill & Bar: Open daily from 11:00am – 8:00pm

Visiting JadeWaters

JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex is an exclusive amenity for Hilton Anatole guests. Per reservation, guests receive:

  • Up to two wristbands per King guest room
  • Up to four wristbands per Queen double-bed rooms or guest rooms with King and sofa bed

*Guests will receive wristbands at the hotel, which will be required for daily entrance into JadeWaters.

*Up to an additional two wristbands per room are available for purchase for $25 each per day.

Cabana and Daybed Rental

Cabanas and daybeds are available to hotel guests for daily rental at JadeWaters during the summer season.

Cabanas — $325 per day and include:

  • 4 reserved chaise lounges
  • Table and chairs
  • 55-inch TV
  • Mini-fridge
  • 8 bottles of water
  • Locking drawer
  • Ceiling fan
  • 8 towels
  • Tropical fruit platter

Note: $425/day Friday – Monday on following holiday weekends: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day

Daybeds — $195/day, with seating for 2-4 guests.

Hilton Anatole – 2201 North Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207.

Happy travels,

Veronique

I’m a travel industry veteran currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.

Eerily Watch Jaws While Floating on a Lake

 

Creepy!!

You can now watch one of the most epic thrillers, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, while floating on a tube in the dark waters of Lake Travis in Austin, TX. Austin’s popular Alamo Drafthouse is reintroducing its Jaws on the Water viewings where the audience floats on inner tubes on the lake while watching the shark cult classic.

I’m not 100% sold on this idea…you?

DoubleTree by Hilton Serving Up Global Cookie Cookbook

 

To celebrate reaching a milestone of 500 hotels worldwide, the hotel brand known for its signature welcome and warm DoubleTree Cookie, unveils its first-ever cookbook – titled “We Have Cookies: Taste the World of DoubleTree by Hilton.” The e-cookbook is a collection of 33 recipes reflecting the distinct flavors of the brand’s 500 hotels. Curated by DoubleTree by Hilton hotel teams, each recipe contains the warm DoubleTree Cookie and reflects the distinct flavors of the brand’s 500 hotels.

Cookie lovers will delight in the special edition recipe collection, available at www.wehavecookies.com, where they can view vibrant photos, easy-to-follow recipes, local anecdotes and – of course – intriguing facts about the brand’s world-famous DoubleTree Cookie.

A few highlights from the digital recipe collection include:

Happy travels and cookie eating,

Veronique

5 Kid Friendly Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip

 

I’ve traveled to Las Vegas for work more times than I could ever count. Before this year, I’d never thought about taking kids to Sin City, but with family coming to visit from Europe and yearning to visit the west coast, Vegas ended up on the itinerary.

In researching family-friendly hotels in Las Vegas, I found that there were many great options – surprise! There are multi-room accommodations, kid-friendly shows, amazing pool complexes and various activities perfect for the little ones.

We were looking for hotels on the Strip, and found everything from lazy river pools to shark aquariums to giant circus-tents to knights jousting.

Regarding price, there are options ranging from budget-friendly to break-the-bank luxurious, so travelers with any size wallets will find the right property for their families.

Circus Circus

Circus Circus is an iconic Las Vegas hotel has been one of the most family-friendly properties for decades. There is a wide variety of accommodations available from the most basic room to luxury suites to even an RV park. What really attracts families at Circus Circus are the attractions. Adventuredome, a five-acre indoor theme park, offers everything from rides to clown shows to arcade games and will keep kids busy for hours. There is a midway with over 200 games and the popular daily free circus with its daring acts.

Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club Hotel

Photo courtesy of Elara

Elara, a sleek 52-story glass tower offers spacious studios, plus 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom suites and is a member of the Hilton family. The non-gaming hotel is set back a bit from the Strip and offers adjoining access to the Miracle Mile, which has 21 restaurants and bars and 100 retail shops, and is adjacent to the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino complex featuring a renowned casino, nine restaurants and the Mandara Spa. For families, perhaps the best part of staying at Elara is access to kitchenettes in studios and full kitchens and separate living and sleeping spaces in larger units. That means cost savings through breakfast and snacks in the units and adult beverages in the fridge for the parents.

Excalibur Hotel & Casino

It’s hard to miss Excalibur with its center-Strip giant King Arthur themed castle. Accommodations range from standard rooms to 2-bedroom suites, perfect for families. Fun Dungeon, the Excalibur arcade, is a favorite with the kids. The resort has four pools with 30,000 square feet of deck space making it easy to find seating for the whole family. There are also a water slide and 19 well-stocked cabanas with all the essentials to keep cool. The ultimate family dinner adventure awaits at the medieval Tournament of Kings dinner show where guests sit in an arena style theater and watch and cheer on the knights as they battle with sword fights and jousting.

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

Mandalay Bay is a fantastic property for families on so many levels. First, there’s Mandalay Bay Beach, the hotel’s pool area that features a quarter mile lazy river, a gigantic wave pool and a beach area with real sand. Another must-visit attraction is the 1.6 million gallon Shark Reef Aquarium with 15 species of sharks, Piranhas, stingrays eels and many other fish numbering over 2,000 animals. Room types vary from a standard room to multi-bedroom suites and there are dozens of restaurants to choose from for families.

Mirage Las Vegas

The Mirage is perhaps best known for its volcano with waterfalls and palm trees. Kids are fascinated by the volcano show that erupts nightly starting at 8 p.m. complete with a sound effects, 150 fireshooters and a giant eruption finale shooting 60 feet into the air. Children will also enjoy the 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and the tropical rainforest atrium that has waterfalls, a lagoon and lush foliage. Another must-attend exhibit at The Mirage is the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat where guests can explore, learn and play in an enchanting world of bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, white lions and leopards. Accommodations are very wide ranging from standard rooms to three-bedroom villas with their own yards and pools.

Happy travels!

Veronique

Veronique Deblois is a travel industry veteran who’s currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.