Category Archive: Accommodations

What’s a Hotel Fail for You?

Just as first impressions are important in business and personal relationships, so are they important in setting the tone for a hotel stay.  That impression starts the minute you walk into the lobby, if not before, and just like with your interpersonal relationships, first impressions are usually spot on.  Throughout a stay, however, a hotel has numerous opportunities to impress or fail and often this is what separates the so-so hotels from the really great ones. Here are a few things that I think are hotel fails – do you agree? Lines.  Lines are a fact of life.  But when there’s a line all the time, or the line moves so slowly that people start to get restless (in a not so happy way), it’s a sign of a larger problem.  If the lobby is always full of lines, it’s […]

Read More

Hotel Review: ARIA Hotel at City Center, Las Vegas

Earlier this month, while I was in Las  Vegas for Blog World & New Media Expo, I had the pleasure of staying at the ARIA Hotel at City Center. Over the years, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in Las Vegas.  It’s a haven for conference, convention, and trade shows, and at only a couple hours out of Seattle, it’s a popular choice for a quick getaway weekend.  I’m not jaded at everything that the city has to offer, it’s just that I’ve seen most of it and so it takes a lot to impress me. But impress it did! Like most hotel properties on the strip, ARIA is best reached from the airport via cab.  The fare from the airport to the hotel will run about $15-16, including tip and the required airport add-on fee.  The […]

Read More

Hotel Reviews: What They Mean

It seems like it’s feast or famine when it comes to visiting hotels and resorts, and I have a lot of reviews that I’m working on right now.  To make sure that you know what your getting when you read my reviews, I’m going to spell out my process, what I look for at a hotel, the standards I use, and my thought process. I’ll also spill my personal biases because, after all, preferences are a very personal thing. When I visit a hotel, I take down lots of details.  I write notes, record audio and video, and take lots of photos.  I ask questions sometimes, and other times I sit back and observe.  Both levels of involvement tell you different things.  I wander the hotel at different hours of the day and night, call the front desk at various […]

Read More

5 Extras for Your Beach Hotel

If you’re a sun-loving vacationer, you probably pay attention to weather reports, predictions, and warming trends at the destination where you’ll be.   In fact, that information may be critical in deciding whether you’ll be going to a particular destination and a particular time. If you idea of a vacation paradise is to spend your time by the pool, on the beach, or picnicking in the warm sunshine, you still need plan for the possibility that it might — gulp — rain.  Or be cloudy, or cold, or worse.  And that means you’ve got to have plans for some indoor activities.  Even if the weather is outstanding, you’re going to have to come out of the sun at some point. I hear many people say that they don’t want to spend much money on their beach hotel because they’re never going […]

Read More

20 Tips for a Safe Hotel Stay

With so many heightened travel alerts in effect, it seems like a good time to review some basic personal security precautions.  It’s very easy to think that once you’re at your hotel that you’re safe.  And you generally are.  However, it’s still wise to take precautions at your hotel — being proactive decreases the likelihood of becoming a victim. I first wrote these hotel security tips nearly four years ago.  They are just as true today as they were then, and I have included a little updated information. Here are some easy, commonsense tips to protect yourself at your hotel: When checking in, make sure that the front desk does not say your room number aloud.  If they do, insist on a room change and remind the staff member not to announce the room number.   This practice seems to […]

Read More

REVIEW: Riviera Resort & Spa in Palm Springs

If you’re looking for a romantic spot for Valentine’s Day, the newly re-opened Riviera Resort & Spa offers several options that are worthy of your consideration. The Palm Springs resort covers 24 acres, and was once the playground for the famous and infamous.  Elvis Pressley and the Rat Pack spent time here, and back in the 60’s this was the largest and most famous of the Palm Springs resorts. Re-opened in 2009, the resort has a vibe reminiscent of its former glamour days.  Sleek line, bold graphics, abstract details and vivid colors combine with retro furnishings and mirrored walls to make this a hip place to see and be seen. I love the improvements that have been made, and the efforts to restore the Riviera to its rightful place in hotel lore.   You enter the resort through a bright […]

Read More

Luang Prabang, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today I have a guest post from a recent friend, Sue Henly.  Sue and I met at a travel event, and charmed me with her Australian accent.  I think she’ll charm you with her writing as well. — In the soft grey light of early morning, we sit quietly on a bamboo mat, wicker baskets of sticky rice beside us, across from a shuttered colonial mansion heavy with bougainvillea.  Birds chatter in the flame trees until a gong sounds, momentarily startling them into silence. Around a corner, dozens of barefoot monks and novices appear in a swish of saffron, golden bowls hanging from orange shoulder straps.  Beside us, locals show us how to earn merit.  Men adorned with scarves over one shoulder as a mark of respect and kneeling women in traditional shawls put fistfuls of rice into the monks’ […]

Read More

LAX to the Beach (and Back) for Only $3

Being stuck at an airport is never any fun, whether it’s long ground time between flights, or a flight cancellation and serious delay.  Wandering an airport can be fun. . . for the first couple of hours, at least.  But when you’ve checked out every last gift shop, book store, restaurant or bar, and what have you, it’s easy to become bored to tears. So what are you going to do?  Well, at LAX, if you have enough time to get away, you can leave the hustle and bustle of the airport and head to the beach! The Ocean Express trolley service operates every half hour, roughly between 9 am and 9 pm, with extended hours in the summer.  It serves the LAX area hotels and businesses along Century Boulevard with several stops, and provides transportation to the Manhattan Beach […]

Read More

Hauntings at Boston University

Haunting stories come out during Halloween time, and some interesting ones come from college campuses.  Whether they’re reports of true paranormal activity, or merely urban legends, I’ll let you decide. Boston University students, both former and current, have had their share of haunting habitats, with two sites rumored to be sources of paranormal activity.  Of course, this time of year the re-telling of these stories and legends circulate a little more widely! The Charlesgate Hotel (20 Myrtle Street, Beacon Hill area of Boston) was built in 1891, and since the beginning has been rumored to be a site for paranormal activity.  Once a Boston University dormitory, and later a dorm for Emerson college, there were many reports filed by students who claimed the building was haunted during the 1970-90’s.  Today, as the Charlesgate, an upscale residential property, the rumors seem […]

Read More

Back to Basics: Return to Ground Level

If you’re leaving your hotel room a little bleary-eyed from too much partying the night before, you may not be seeing straight.  Or maybe you’ve lost a contact, or forgotten your glasses.  Or maybe you’re in a country where you don’t understand the floor numbering. Don’t worry!  You can always get back to ground level, usually the location of the hotel lobby and front desk, by looking for the star sign.  The star sign is universal elevator-speak for ground floor.  And that piece of information can help keep you grounded.   Photo credit:  flickr _____________________________________

Read More