Category Archives: Hotel Reviews

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.



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 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.

10 Luxury Hotels with the Best Kids Programs

Teen Lounge at Grand Wailea


A family vacation does not mean discerning parents need to do away with luxury accommodations. World-class resorts have smartly developed kids programs to keep the little ones entertained while providing their parents with much needed R&R of their own.

Here are ten luxury hotels with amazing kids programs where guests will easily create family vacations to remember.

The Cloister at Sea Island – Sea Island, GA

Sea Island’s Camp Cloister is fun-filled with activities for the kids, like baking classes, archery lessons, themed dinner night, baby sea turtle viewing, fishing, nature walking, swimming, scavenger hunts and storytelling.

There are also endless activities for teens like sailing, paddle boarding, swimming in the ocean or the pool, beach volleyball and more. Teens 15 through 18 years old will also enjoy Waterfront Lounge, Sea Island’s haven made just for teens where they can watch the game, play pool or shuffleboard and meet other teens from different destinations.

Grand Summit Hotel at Mount Snow Resort – West Dover, VT

Grand Summit Hotel is owned by the Mount Snow ski resort making all ski school programs very conveniently located. A full day of ski school is offered to kids ages three (Cub Camp), found through six (Snow Camp) and seven through 14 (Mountain Camp for skiing, Mountain Riders for snowboarders). Non-skiers can enjoy snowshoeing and tubing.

In warmer months, there is Adams Farm, a working seven-generation farm with seasonal activities and agricultural experiences. Kids can enjoy feeding the farm animals, wagon rides, sleigh rides, paintball, and with many other seasonal special events. There is also bowling, fishing, boating, miniature golf and more.

Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort – Wailea, HI

The Grand Wailea kid and teen program, Camp Grande is a supervised children’s program for kids ages five to 12 years old. The program is held at The Rock, a 20,000 square foot facility that also houses Ohana Hale – the gaming lounge with countless video games and The Spot – a lounge for teens 13 through 17. At The Rock, kids can find activities like fresh orchid lei making, hula lessons, video games, the Lego wall and much more. There are also a whale-shaped outdoor wading pool, a play kitchen and tool set, a private movie theater, snack bar, craft room and a full-sized soda fountain. The game room offers foosball, ping-pong, pool and an arcade.

Photo by Hawks Cay Resort

Hawks Cay Resort – Duck Key, FL

Hawks Cay Resort offers kids’ activities for young ones five to 17 years old. Camp Hawk at Hawks Cay Resort is for children five through 12 years old offers activities like nature hikes, scavenger hunts, swimming in the resort’s two pools, snorkeling and kayaking in the resort’s saltwater lagoon, and feeding tarpon from the marina’s dock.

Teens (ages 12 through 17) can play basketball, volleyball and kickball. They can also hit the ocean and kiteboard, kayak, snorkel and fish. For teens looking to just unwind, the five pools are perfect for laying out and video games in the play area are where they can make new friends.

Hotel Del Coronado – Coronado, CA

At the DelVentures activity center at Hotel Del Coronado, children four through 12 years old can enjoy beach-themed activities and play rooms, underwater murals, funhouse mirror and more. Exciting 1-hour activities and 3-hour evening adventures are popular with this age group, The free adventure pack provided at check-in includes a treasure map and compass to use to explore the property and uncover the hidden clues, leading kids to a “treasure” at the end.

The resort also has a space dedicated to teens ages 13 to 17 – VIBZ, a hip lounge with computers, karaoke and foosball tables. Teens over 14 years old can also visit the spa for special massages and facials.

Summertime activities for the whole family include dive-in movie nights, surf camps and family s’mores night.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa – Santa Ana Pueblo, NM

Hyatt Regency Tamaya takes great care to develop its children’s program with local culture and flavor. The 500-acre property is located on part of a Native American Pueblo and provides kids three to 12 years old the opportunity to experience the art and history of this culture within prearranged activities at Camp Hyatt. Camp Hyatt works with National Geographic Kids to construct eco-friendly and locally inspired activities.

The Stables at Tamaya, where over half of the horses at are rescue animals from the Tamaya Horse Rehabilitation Program, is another popular place with kids. The stables offer free pony rides to kids three through eight years old and lead-arounds for children ages four through eight.

Photo by Langham Huntington

Langham Huntington – Pasadena, CA

Modestly priced at $30, The Langham Huntington Kids Program offers kids 12 years old and under a teddy bear backpack filled with goodies like a special kids’ craft from Little Junebugs, Langham newsletter which includes family-friendly dining and activities in the area, free kids’ dinner in The Terrace restaurant (must dine with an adult who orders an entrée from dinner menu and a complimentary Langham chocolate bar from the Flavours of Langham Luxury Gift Boutique.

There is also the Imagine Tea, designed for kids and featuring junior performers from the famed Magic Castle who do close-up magic while the kids dine on a specialty tea menu of sandwiches and fun desserts, accompanied by pink lemonade, milk and a selection of fruit-infused, caffeine-free teas.

Photo by Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House – New Paltz, NY

The Mohonk Mountain House, a National Historic Landmark resort, is nestled in the private woods of the Hudson River Valley. The resort’s castle-like appearance is sure to fascinate kids and parents alike and the kids’ program is built in a way that puts children in touch with nature and area wildlife through a variety of outdoor activities. Mohonk accepts children two years and older and the full-day program is available from mid-June through Labor Day for kids two to 12 years old. Activities range from nature hikes, to pony rides, to swimming and boat rides.

There are also activities for kids from seven to 12 years old that include learning rock scrambling, tennis and golf clinics and sporting events and tournaments. The Teen Lounge accommodates teens from 13 to 17 years old and entails listening to music, watching movies, playing video games and simply hanging out. In the winter, children can take ice-skating lessons, go snow tubing or snow shoeing.

Photo by Resort at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, MT

At The Resort at Paws Up, families will get reacquainted, reconnected and revitalized. The resort offers activities ranging from horseback riding, fly-fishing, river rafting, paintball wars and chuck wagon riding. Families can stay on luxurious homes with wrap-around porches or plush family tents outfitted with separate sleeping quarters for the children and full bathrooms with heated floors. The property has a newly added perk of complimentary kids club – Kids Corps of Discovery, an immersion program that “replaces screen time with serene time” for children. Age-appropriate itineraries are available for toddlers, teens and tweens.

The Ritz-Carlton Naples – Naples, FL

Ritz Kids at The Ritz Carlton Naples is a nature center with 11 aquariums and touch tanks (home to eels, baby alligators, sharks, and jellyfish), a laboratory and a computer room. The program, available to children from five to 12 years old, is a place where kids can learn about and discover nature in a colorful, living eco-sanctuary.

The full and half day program provides hands-on discovery activities in the Nature’s Wonders facility that use a science-based curriculum and kid-sized lab featuring microscopes and visual stimuli like preserved reptile skeletons—all the tools to help a budding marine biologist explore a new world.

Happy travels!


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.

Hotel Review – Homewood Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown-Convention Center


Lobby Photo by Homewood Suites Downtown Denver

I recently stayed at Homewood Suites by Hilton® Denver Downtown-Convention Center for a business meeting and can’t stop raving about this neat property.

The Property

The stylish, contemporary property is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Denver, and as the name suggests, near the Denver Convention Center. The all-suites hotel is a stroll away from the Denver Center for Performing Arts, the 16th Street Mall and the Denver Art Museum. I walked to several downtown Denver restaurants during my stay.

As is true of Homewood Suites, a hot full breakfast is served free of charge each morning. There are also complimentary evening socials from Monday through Thursday evenings. The hotel has full kitchen in its suites and smartly offers a complimentary grocery shopping service – brilliant! For on-the-go-items, there’s a 24-hour on-site convenience store. There is also complimentary internet access. Guests can re-energize in the fitness center, I did and it’s a great spot, or refresh with a dip in the indoor pool or hot tub.

The Suite

I stayed in a spacious one-bedroom king urban studio with panoramic mountain view suite and it was fabulous. My bedroom had gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountains and large windows were prominent throughout the suite. One of the bedroom features I loved during my stay – a ceiling fan over the bed! The bed linens and pillows were of premium quality, an important element to a comfortable stay. There’s a large flat screen TV in the bedroom.

I had a fully-equipped kitchen with a twin burner stove, microwave, full-sized refrigerator, coffee maker and a dishwasher. While I didn’t have an opportunity to cook in my suite, I appreciated being able to store beverages and snacks in the refrigerator. This is a great feature for families traveling with kids as well as business travelers not wanting to dine out each night.

The work area with comfortable desk chair is adjacent to the living room featuring a sofa bed. I found myself stretching out on the sofa and watching TV on the flat screen a few evenings during my stay.

The modern bathroom was clean and spacious with a walk-in shower and a granite vanity. Kudos for the great water pressure and the small foot rest perfect for leg shaving.

I’m looking forward to visiting Denver again so I can stay at this great property.

Happy travels!


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.

Wentworth Mansion – Charleston’s Grand Dame


Wentworth Mansion

The Wentworth Mansion, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is a historic hotel in downtown Charleston. Through my social media efforts, I won a three-night stay at this illustrious property and our stay was simply perfect on all levels: luxurious accommodations, gracious hospitality, an award-winning restaurant and exclusive amenities.

Richard Widman purchased The Wentworth Mansion in 1997 and proceeded with an extensive $7 million renovation that preserved and restored historic features including the original staircase, the inlaid floors, and Tiffany glass while adding modern conveniences.

Wentworth Sunroom

We loved that the property, which had been a private residence, was not in a commercial and bustling part of Charleston, yet, it was just steps from award-winning dining, art, history and shopping.

The property’s grounds are lush with green lawns, century-old trees and flowers. There is a private, complimentary parking lot that was welcoming as street parking is common in the neighborhood. A bell person is available to gather belongings from the car and transport them to guest rooms.

All guests receive a complimentary house-made breakfast and nightly chocolates from the restaurant in the mansion’s original carriage house.

When I hear that my room comes with complimentary breakfast, I am not often excited but at Wentworth Mansion, breakfast is an absolute treat. More on Circa 1886 in a bit.

In proper southern hospitality, the property offers afternoon hors d’oeuvres & wine in the Charleston Parlor. There, we had an opportunity to meet other guests and unwind before heading out for the evening. Upon returning from our evenings out, we were greeted by evening port, sherry and brandy.

The Accommodations

Each of the 21 guest rooms has a unique size, shape and architectural features. The property offers pet-friendly guest rooms for patrons with pets have easy access to the lawn and homemade dog biscuits.

Our room was one of the Mansion Rooms, once the bedrooms of the family that built the Mansion. The elegant guest room is spacious (averaging about 475 square feet) and beautifully appointed with a king-size bed with premium linens, an expansive bathroom with oversized whirlpool tub, a walk-in shower and luxurious bath products and a gas fireplace. There was a sitting area where I enjoyed reading a book and a desk where we could have worked comfortably, but did not. There is nightly turndown service.

Rooms also feature refrigerators with complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, flat screen televisions, DVD players, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards, cozy robes and safety deposit box. Rooms and common areas offer complimentary internet access.

Wentworth Lobby

The Food

Tucked away in the gardens behind Wentworth Mansion in the original carriage house, Circa 1886 Chef Marc Collins honors Charleston traditions while creating contemporary cuisine beautifully crafted with the finest, locally-sourced ingredients from the area’s fields, pastures and waters.

The delicious breakfast that comes with stays at Wentworth Mansion features homemade pastries, delectable coffee and local favorite dishes. Service is friendly and polished but not stuffy and the setting is beautifully appointed.

We also enjoyed dinner at Circa 1886. We opted for the five-course Chef’s Tasting Dinner. The typical cost of this $75 dinner is reduced for hotel guests. It is a considerable value for food that is so fabulous.

More about Circa 1886 in an upcoming post.

The Spa

Originally the Mansion’s stables, The Spa provides everything guests needs to rejuvenate and replenish amid 14-foot vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and rustic beauty.

A stay at Wentworth Mansion is an absolute treat and pampering experience and I look forward to returning.

Address: 149 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401.

Happy travels,


Hotel Ivy, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Minneapolis

I’ve been a frequent guest at Hotel Ivy in downtown Minneapolis when I’ve traveled to my company’s headquarters. The hotel is outstanding on many levels: service, accommodations, location, amenities. The property is centrally-located near the convention center.

About Hotel Ivy

This luxury Starwood hotel incorporates the historic Ivy Tower and features 136 rooms with 21 luxurious suites. The staff is polished, warm and helpful. The lobby is simple and classy and is where the check-in desk and the lounge are. The hotel offers meeting space also.

About the Rooms

While there are several room categories to select from, I’ve always stayed in the Superior Room which is the hotel’s “entry level” room. The room design is much like the whole feel of the hotel – understated elegance. It’s about 400 square feet and features a soothing color palette of creams and blues accented by dark wood. There’s a sitting area, a desk perfect for getting some work done, an ultra-comfortable bed with premium linens and a flat screen television. There’s also a clever custom armoire that creates a sense of division between the bathroom, wardrobe area and bedroom. The bathroom is tiled in limestone and offers both an enclosed glass shower and deep soaking tub. I opt for a king bed but a two queen bed layout is also available.

By the way, the hotel is pet-friendly.

About the Amenities

I’ve taken advantage of three of the hotel’s amenities while visiting: the spa, the lounge and the fitness center.

The Spa Club is luxurious without being showy. It features 14 treatment rooms offering specialty massages, body treatments, facials, nail services, and more.

The lobby lounge is named Venetia and features creative mixologists who make drink that rival any of the hippest bars in town. There are also many wines by the glass and a fun beer list, including local favorites. There’s a great happy hour daily from 3PM – 7PM.

There are also a restaurant, the very popular Monello, serving classic Italian fare.

Ivy Fitness Club is beyond a business traveler’s hotel gym dreams. The club has more than 5,000 square feet of state-of-the-art fitness equipment. There are also classes (more to come in a separate post).

Address: 201 S 11th St, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Phone: (612) 746-4600

Happy travels,


Feeling Like Royalty at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess


I’ve visited the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess over Thanksgiving for the last two years. I’m in the travel industry and see MANY nice properties in the course of a year, yet, this gorgeous resort is at the very top of my list.

About the Property

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is a AAA Five Diamond resort situated in the Sonoran Desert. The property features 750 guest rooms, six pools, two newly-renovated TPC championship golf courses, five top-ranked restaurants and lounges, an award-winning spa with a salon and a wellness facility, catch-and-release fishing lagoons and the popular Trailblazer’s Kid’s Club and  Family Adventure Center.

Top Notch Food & Drinks

Having a solid food and beverage program is something that’s a must for us when staying at a hotel. The Princess excels in both with award-winning restaurants and specialty lounges/bars.

For a casual breakfast or lunch, we like Ironwood American Kitchen which serves classic American cuisine in a casual indoor/outdoor bistro atmosphere. The all-day offering ranges from flatbread pizzas, sandwiches and salads.

Our dinner favorite is La Hacienda, celebrity chef Richard Sandoval’s modern Mexican restaurant. We adore the classic-yet-refined Mexican cuisine and the tequila bar that features 240+ varieties of tequila from 36 different labels presented by a Tequila Goddess – amazing mole, guacamole and margaritas!

My golf-avid husband loves to lunch after playing at Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar located at the Clubhouse overlooking the 18th hole of the famed TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course. The restaurant has a Pan Latin menu and he enjoys lunch of ceviche paired with one of the 151 varieties of rum available.

Another restaurant I’ll be dining at on my next visit is Bourbon Steak, a Chef Michael Mina restaurant.

Well & Being Spa

When my guy’s at golf, I’m at Well & Being Spa. This place is AMAZING and I’ll write about it in more details in a future post, but it includes more than 70 treatments to choose from, has a top-of-the-line fitness center and tons of daily fitness classes. I love starting the day with a yoga class then enjoying a few spa treatments.

Seasonal Experiences at the Princess

One of the reasons I enjoy visiting this property over Thanksgiving is because of its Christmas at the Princess event. The place transforms in a winter wonderland, yes, in the desert, complete with ice skating rink, giant decorated trees and millions of twinkling lights. The place is festive and beautiful and sets the tone for the holidays to come – I highly recommend it.

The resort features seasonal and holiday experiences complete with specialty menus, decadent brunches, concerts and family-friendly activities. Here’s a bit of info about the four main seasonal experiences:

Winter Escape to the Princess

Spring Blooms at the Princess

Summer at the Princess

Fall Adventure at the Princess

Note that there’s a daily resort service charge of $30 per room, per night (plus applicable tax). Resort service charge includes half day access to Trailblazers Family Adventure Center for up to three children (ages 5-12, lunch fee additional), self-parking, basic internet access, access to the hotel gym (not the spa fitness center) and more.

Who Should Stay at This Property

The best part of this property is that it truly caters to all: foodies interested in dining at four top-ranked Arizona restaurants, meeting/conference attendees, spa fanatics (like me) looking to partake in the innovative spa and fitness programs at Well & Being Spa, sun worshipers ready to soak in the sun at one of the six sparkling pools, and golf enthusiasts ready to tee off at two newly-renovated 18-hole championship golf courses, including one that’s home to the Annual PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 East Princess Drive

Scottsdale, Arizona

United States 85255

Telephone: (480) 585-4848


Happy travels!


Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park


I’ve shown my love for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts on this blog and via social media in the past, and am, once again, doing that, this time for the beautiful, elegant Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, a AAA Four-Diamond property.

I recently stayed at the 687-room, 45-story property while I attended a business meeting within the conference space.

The front-desk staff was beyond courteous and addressed me by name and acknowledged my President Club status. These employees really set the tone for the level of service I’d be experiencing during my stay – simply delightful.

My king-bed room was on the 36th floor and overlooked Grant Park and the water. The furnishings aren’t brand new but are pristinely-maintained. The bedding made it so I never wanted to get up in the morning and the bathroom linens were top-quality.

I appreciate a hotel with bedside electric outlets and the Fairmont didn’t disappoint. The work desk was also well-appointed to fit my business needs with suitable outlets.

The check-out process was on-point with the proper level of appreciation for my business, which will ensure return visits.

The Fairmont Millennium Park Chicago is the perfect property for leisure or business.

Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park – 200 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, Illinois, United States 60601. Telephone: (312) 565-8000.

Happy travels,


Kimpton Hotel Monaco Alexandria


A couple of weeks ago, I went down to Alexandria, a great town by the way, for a team meeting. Since near the headquarters office, we stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco, a boutique hotel in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, right on King Street.

I’ve been a big fan of Kimpton hotels for years as they put the fun in functional hotels with quirky décor, upbeat staff and welcoming atmosphere.

About the hotel

The Old Town boutique hotel recently went through a multimillion-dollar redesign by acclaimed Los Angeles designer, David Hill., The remodel helped re-invigorate the legacy of Monaco Alexandria, its guestrooms and suites and its fun and welcoming communal spaces.

Some of the amenities offered by this Old Town Alexandria hotel are a 24-hour fitness center, a heated pool, in-room spa services, free use of Gaiam yoga mats and custom-designed, PUBLIC bikes.

About the guestrooms

The hotel boasts 241 suites and guestrooms, including two-level loft suites, 28 terrace rooms with balconies, an 800-square-foot Mediterranean Suite plus the brand-new Eleanor Suite, perfect for wedding day prep. The guestrooms are playful yet sophisticated with subtle hints to the hotel’s location and storied Civil War past. Geometric carpet, cheery accent pillows, studded cream-colored headboards, new ergonomic teal chairs and graphic collages of flickering gas lamps adorn each room.

The fun stuff

I must admit that I primarily wrote this post to send kudos to this hotel for its fun robes and clever drink coupon. Is that strange? Perhaps, but as a road warrior, I feel it’s important to commend travel suppliers when they do something great.

I was tired from my trip in to Alexandria when I checked in and as soon as I went to hang my power suit for the next day, there were the two most fun robes waiting for me. Well done Hotel Monaco.

Let’s roll back to me checking into the hotel. The cheerful front desk agent checks me in and then tells me I’ve just missed their complimentary wine hour. I immediately go into a ‘why tell me that!!??’ mode but then the agent hands me the below drink coupon with some the most clever marketing on it. So, I’ve missed happy hour BUT you’re treating me to a drink anyways? Brilliant, simply brilliant.

In a world of cold and impersonal cookie-cutter hotels, I appreciate the thoughtfulness extended by this property and will be staying there again soon.

Happy travels,


Hotel Review – Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita


We vacationed at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita a couple of years ago and were thoroughly impressed. We arrived from the Cancun airport, a mere 20 minutes away, by private, personalized chauffeured airport transfers.

The Resort

With only 90 rooms, the all-inclusive Cancun resort has an intimate feel that we appreciated as this was a couples’ getaway. For travelers looking for modern, minimalistic guest accommodations with tons of partying and activities, this isn’t the resort for you. The property exudes a much understated, unpretentious elegance with abundant luxury amenities – just what we were looking for.

The resort is part of the AMResorts chain of all-inclusive hotels and as such, offers what it calls Endless Privileges® – a more elevated service than at other all-inclusive hotels where wellness, gourmet meals, top-shelf spirits, fine wines, entertainment and other luxury amenities are part of the experience.

To say the staff was attentive wouldn’t do it justice. We felt like we were staying with friends at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. Guests are addressed by name throughout the resort and small gestures are everywhere – from the spa to the bars to the restaurants.


The Food

Guests can select from three gourmet à la carte restaurants, one sushi & ceviche bar and 24-hour in-suite dining. Private dining is also available in various locations. Organic, healthy, vegetarian and gluten-free food selections are available on all menus.

La Canoa – AAA Four Diamond restaurant offering Cuisine de los Soles, a unique fusion of spices and chilies.

Kaax – International Cuisine with a Mexican Twist.

El Chiringuito – Fresh seafood, chicken and grilled favorites prepared over zapote and mesquite.

Sushi & Ceviche Bar – Ceviche, Sushi and Sashimi

The Booze

Top-shelf spirits are served at two exquisite bars, Hippo’s Pool Bar and Library Bar. Guests can also enjoy a selection of wines from the 5,000-bottle international Wine Cellar, including rare vintage and Mexican wines, prepared exclusively for the resort.

The Spa

The 22,000 sq. ft. certified Thalasso Center & Spa, the first one in North America, blends ancient traditions and modern science to provide a wide range of treatments. The spa also offers an outdoor therapeutic saltwater pool, specialized treatment rooms, a fitness center, saunas and steam rooms, a traditional Temazcal Mexican steam bath, a beauty salon and a spa boutique.  Note that couples massages are also available on the nearby pier.

For golf fans, the amenities of the resort include complimentary greens fees at Grand Coral Riviera Maya Golf Course.

This AAA Five Diamond Award-winning boutique property is worth a visit when looking for a complete luxurious, pampering experience.

Carretera Cancun-Chetumal km 328, Puerto Morelos 77500 , Mexico. 888-496-3879.

Happy travels,