Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa Review (Big Island) [2023]

After staying at five different hotels on our last trip to Hawaii, I realized that none of our hotels were located right on the coast.

So wanting to experience what it would be like to enjoy magnificent ocean views while in Hawaii, we made sure to find a hotel situated right on the coast this time and the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa fit that bill.

Below, I’ll take you through our experience staying at the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, including what it was like staying in one of the top suites at the property. I’ll cover the food, lounge, facilities, and of course, the manta viewing.

Location: Keauhou Bay (Kona Coast)

The Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa sits perched upon the rugged lava rock coast near Keauhou Bay, the historic birthplace of Kamehameha III.

The surrounding area definitely has a “vacation country” feel as the property is set among a large stretch of resorts, vacation rentals, and country clubs, interspersed with barren lava fields.

Found about 15 minutes south of Kailua-Kona, you’ll need to drive to get to nearby stores but there is the Holoholo Market located on site for your convenience where you can find all sorts of snacks, souvenirs, and other necessities.

Also, on Wednesdays and Fridays you can attend the Ho’oulu Community Farmers Market & Artisans Fair, which takes place right in front of the property’s parking areas.

Something that makes this hotel’s location special is its connection to manta rays. The waters just outside of the resort are home to “Manta Village,” one of the premier places to view manta rays. Much more on that later!

Video

Check-in

Our room wasn’t quite ready whenever we arrived which wasn’t a major problem.

For one, it’s not uncommon for large suites like this to take a little extra time to get ready especially at a property that offers the option for guaranteed late check out (which we took advantage of).

But we also had an extremely personable check-in agent that really made us feel welcomed. She went through all of the different features of the hotel and as soon as our room was ready she came over and notified us.

It was a great start to the stay and the superb treatment by the staff continued on through the duration of our stay.

In fact, I had a few exchanges with housekeeping and they were some of the most friendly and proactive housekeeping crew I ever interacted with.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa front desk

The lobby made an immediate impression on me. Large floor to ceiling windows open up wide allowing the seabreeze to flow right through the lobby while giving you sweeping views.

We had just flown in on a connecting flight from Honolulu that gave us some trouble so it was nice to finally be able to relax with such a beautiful view.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa lobby
Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa lobby

The Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

We booked the 900 square foot Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite, which often goes for around $799 a night for a pre-paid reservation. You can save $400+ bucks by pre-paying which makes this a much more attractive deal.

When you factor in the lounge access (free breakfast and evening drinks/food) and free valet, it’s actually pretty solid value in my opinion.

These are the biggest rooms available at the property and they only have a few open each night.

Near the entrance of the room, you’ll find a large half bath. It’s directly across from the large balcony so if you have people over out on the balcony, it’s very conveniently located.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa bathroom

You have a large living area with plenty of seating options and great ocean views. There’s a table for four along with a wet bar where you will find a small sink, microwave, coffee maker, and mini fridge.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa The Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite living area
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

The main sofa also functions as a sofa bed which means you can sleep up to four in this room.

One thing you will probably notice at the resort is that it does have a dated feel. I knew this going into this stay and so I just focused more on the major highlights of the property like the views and the great service.

But something you’ll be happy to hear is that they recently began renovations and so eventually the property is going to be completely overhauled. So it won’t be dated for long!

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

We had a large 55 inch TV in the living area that came with a nice welcome message from Mario Lopez.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

The actual bedroom is super spacious and we had some good sleep in the bed which we found to be very comfortable. The temperature was great and easy to control.

If you open up the balcony door in the bedroom, it will cut off the AC but opening the door on the other side does not.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

There’s a nightstand with a lamp on either side of the bed and you’ll have plenty of easily accessible outlets.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

In the corner of the room you’ll have a workstation.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

Next to the workstation, there’s a dresser with another TV. There is a second mini fridge in this dresser which is easy to miss!

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

There’s a little walk-in area on the side of the room where you will find the bathroom, the closet, and also some extra space for a dressing area.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

The bathroom is pretty spacious although it only has one sink.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite bathroom
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite bathroom

The toilet and bath tub/shower are located in the same space and it’s definitely one of the more interesting bath designs that I’ve seen.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite bathroom

In the closet, you have multiple hotel safes along with robes.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite safe
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite robes

Now onto the room balconies!

This room has more square feet in the balconies than I think I’ve ever seen in a hotel room.

First, there is the large balcony that you can access from your bedroom or from the living area. On the balcony there will be a small table with a couple of chairs so you can enjoy some drinks or a meal while checking out the view.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony

From this side, you have a good view of the main pool area and the beautiful lava rock coast.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

There’s something just so captivating about watching and listening to waves crash into lava rock cliffs. I definitely did not take this view for granted!

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

Then there is the main balcony which has a sliding door that opens up from the entryway of your hotel room. The balcony is gigantic and it comes with a few different types of seating options and umbrellas.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony

From this balcony, you can look out to the bay and also to the manta ray viewing station.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

While you do have some great ocean views on both balconies, the biggest thing that stands out with these rooms is the manta ray viewing that’s possible to do right from your own balcony.

A little bit before sun set, you’ll start to notice boats of all sizes coming in to the area and setting up for viewing.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

They will place some lights in the water to attract plankton which will then attract the manta rays.

We actually did a scuba dive with the mantas the next night but they took us to a different location, closer to the airport. That entire experience was epic to say the least and you can read about it here.

Anyway, from the balcony, your best bet is to have a pair of binoculars to help you zoom in on the action.

When the manta rays appear you can usually hear the snorkelers shouting in amazement and that’s how you can know where to look. You may be able to spot a shadowy figure moving around in the water and that is likely a manta ray. In between sightings, you can just admire the sunset which we had a perfect view of from our balcony.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view manta rays

Even if you are not into spotting manta rays, just the sight of all of the boats and the lights is a bit of a spectacle.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view manta rays

While it was fun viewing from the balcony, you may also want to check out the viewing station which I’ll talk about below.

Voyager 47 Club Lounge

The Voyager 47 Club Lounge exceeded my expectations on this stay.

Sometimes club lounges at resorts in tropical locations can be pretty underwhelming, especially if you don’t drink alcohol. But this club lounge was absolutely worth it.

First, the staff running the lounge did a tremendous job. They were very welcoming, warm, and personable.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite Voyager 47 Club Lounge

During the evening you can go for happy hour where you can also get a bite to eat. The snack lineup was pretty extensive with poke bowls, charcuterie, chips, fruit, and sweets.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food

The views from the lounge were pretty impressive although they were essentially the same as the views from our room.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge views

Brad had a lot of good things to say about the drinks they were serving up, especially the blue manta.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge drinks

The lounge is located in the Ahiahi (red) wing, which was great for us because our room is located just one floor beneath the lounge.

On the other hand, it did mean that we would have reduced privacy on the balcony since the lounge balcony overlooks ours.

It’s something to think about but I didn’t mind because the balcony gave us a premier vantage point for manta ray viewing which was such a unique room feature.

While you can get breakfast at the Wailele Cafe, if you have lounge access you can enjoy your breakfast up there.

I found the breakfast options to be very solid in the lounge and each morning we were able to start our day off with a nice, well-rounded breakfast. Here’s a look at all of the breakfast offerings.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

Yogurt parfaits were perfect breakfast items to take with you on the go.

The staff in the lounge was very clear that we could take items with us which I really appreciated because sometimes you feel like you’re smuggling items out of the lounge.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

The fruit slices from the fruit bowl were very fresh.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

Multiple four-slot toasters and pre-made and packaged condiments made it easy to enjoy bagels in the morning.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

The pools

The property has two pool areas and the hours are 8 AM to 10 PM.

The slightly smaller pool (called the inner pool) is the adults only (21+) pool which is located in the courtyard of the resort. This is still a pretty decent sized pool and it never got too crowded during our stay.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool
Outrigger Kona Resort pool
Outrigger Kona Resort pool

One of the cool features of this pool is the waterfall which you can actually get underneath.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool

The much larger pool is family friendly and this pool stayed busier.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool

It’s also the pool where you can find a pretty legit waterslide.

We did the waterslide a few times and it’s a lot of fun for both kids and adults.

Just keep your arms held in when you hit the water because this thing sends you crashing into the water a little bit faster than you might think.

The hours for the slide were 9 AM to 6 PM and there is an attendant at the top to make sure people go down it safely.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool slide

If you have small children, you’ll enjoy the beach entry for the pool located on the other end of the swimming pool.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool kids
Outrigger Kona Resort pool

They also have a couple of large hot tubs in this pool area.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool hot tub

You can rent cabanas by scanning the QR code on your guest reference hand out.

A deluxe cabana for two goes for $100. Meanwhile, you can rent a shaded umbrella with pool lounge seating for up to two people for $20. Compared to other resorts, I thought these prices were pretty reasonable.

I really liked that some of these had real ocean views as some hotels sometimes inexplicably put their chairs and cabanas right behind large bushes that obscure the view.

Manta ray viewing

The Outrigger is a special place to view mantas because this is where it all began.

About 50 years ago, when this property was known as the Kona Surf Hotel, the hotel set up some lights on the water so that guests could enjoy that sights of the ocean at night.

The lights ended up attracting a lot of plankton which also started to bring in the manta rays.

Initially, people didn’t know what the shadowy figures were swooping around but after a bold scuba diver jumped in, they realized these were majestic manta rays coming in to feast on plankton.

Over time, this developed into a tourist attraction with regular scuba dives for people to come check out the mantas. And eventually, a few other spots were found on the Big Island where mantas could reliably be seen.

So when you visit the Outrigger, you get to enjoy spotting manta rays from where it all began!

The viewing area is a pretty cool facility and it’s also where a restaurant was once located.

Reportedly, this restaurant should be returning at some point which a lot of people will be happy to hear because it was apparently a pretty popular joint.

Outrigger Kona Resort manta ray viewing

You’ll find a deck with railing and a row of chairs which do fill up so you may want to get there a little bit early to get a spot.

Outrigger Kona Resort manta ray viewing

We arrived at the viewing deck after our scuba dive so things were slowing down but it’s a really cool vibe from that spot — definitely a unique hotel feature.

Outrigger Kona Resort manta ray viewing

Dining

Our first dining was at Holua which is located between the two pools.

Outrigger Kona Resort food

I went with the spicy chicken sandwich which did not have much spice to it but had a fresh chicken breast and good flavor to it. Brad went with the smash burger which did not disappoint.

Outrigger Kona Resort food

Because of our schedule with the diving we didn’t really have an opportunity to sit down and experience Wailele Cafe as we arrived back to the property a little late.

However, despite approaching closing, the staff was still happy to serve us some food to go like the Korean braised short rib and Thai red curry beef and it all hit the spot.

Outrigger Kona Resort food
Outrigger Kona Resort food

Fitness center

You’ll find the fitness center on the first floor of the Helani wing which is located close to the manta ray viewing area. It’s a well equipped gym with some cardio machines having ocean views.

Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym cardio machines

You’ll also have a good range of other equipment to utilize.

Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym

The resort does put on a luau which is called the “Feast and Fire Luau Show.”

It takes place on the Hawaii Lawn and it looks like they put it on a couple of times a week although that might vary depending on the time of year.

Unfortunately, we had planned a scuba dive with the manta rays on the evening when the show was going on so we were not able to attend. But I’ve heard good things.

If you’re a tennis player, there are a couple of courts for you to enjoy.

The hotel also has a full basketball court with manta ray logo at center court which was a nice touch. I really do love that they brand themselves so closely with the mantas.

You’ll find a pathway that takes you along the coastal portion of the hotel. It’s worth taking a walk around because it gives you a really close view of the beautiful lava rocks.

You can also sign up for a free historic Keauhou Land tour which is a guided walking tour along the shoreline. Take in the beautiful scenery while learning about the historical village of Kaukulaelae which is the birthplace of King Kamehameha III.

Events

The resort puts on a lot of events and you just need to check the activities calendar to see what is going on when you visit.

You can partake in things like lei making, slide races, hula lessons, beginner ukulele, and other activities like yoga classes at the chapel lawn.

If you need equipment rentals for the tennis courts you can get those complimentary and they also offer a daily paddleboard rental for up to two hours free of charge. For those who need snorkel gear or beach chairs and umbrellas, you can get 20% off.

And finally, if you want to learn more about the manta rays, join a manta talk at the mantle learning center, which I believe they put on a little while before sunset.

Final word

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.

The service was top-notch from beginning to end, and I couldn’t get enough of the views. I’m really big on unique hotel features and the manta ray viewing that can be enjoyed from here ranks pretty high on my list of unique hotel attractions.

The food did not disappoint and neither did the lounge experience. The only drawback to the property is that it is dated but with the renovations just beginning, that will soon be remedied.

So I would gladly return back to this resort!

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables Review: Grand & Historic, Yet Charming

Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Hotel Colonnade at Coral Gables is a beautiful historic property that has a broad appeal to a range of different travelers.

It’s full of grand architecture features and has done a good job of implementing modern design while still preserving its roots.

Below, I’ll take you through a tour of the Hotel Colonnade at Coral Gables and show you what this charming hotel has to offer!

Hotel Colonnade history

Coral Gables is the product of George Merrick and its history dates back to the City Beautiful movement of the 1920s. Merrick drove the town’s development and turned a tropical wilderness into the city of Coral Gables, now known for its carefully planned development and strict zoning.

His taste for lavish design is evident in different buildings in the area as they embody the unmistakable Beaux Arts style which made its way into the US in the late 1800s at places like the Library of Congress in Washington DC and Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

The historic portion of the Hotel Colonnade was designed by architect Phineas Paist and was completed in 1926, meaning that this property is soon approaching its centennial.

Initially designed as the sales center for the community, after completion the building served a lot of different purposes ranging from a pilot training facility, a movie studio, and even a parachute factory during World War II.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables

Location: Miracle Mile of Coral Gables

The hotel has a great location along the famed Miracle Mile of Coral Gables. Restaurants, bars, and shopping spots fill the blocks just outside the hotel’s door steps making this a great place to get around on foot.

The Coral Gables Museum is just a couple of blocks away and the University of Miami is under 10 minutes away. Expect it to take you about only about 10 minutes to get from Miami’s airport (MIA). And if you want to head over to South Beach, it’s about a 25 to 30 minute drive.

If you like to stroll around and just soak in a city’s vibe, the tree-lined boulevards of Coral Gables are a perfect place to do just that.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables

First impressions

When I first entered the hotel I was immediately impressed by all of the beautiful interior features.

The grand staircases, shimmering chandeliers, and towering columns come together in a masterful way at this historic property.

It quickly became apparent to me why so many people like to have weddings and special events at this former Westin. It’s got some serious glam.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

Some of the building caters to commercial offices like the rooms found in the stunning rotunda, which is complete with an indoor fountain in the middle.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

If you look closely, some of the fine details will amaze you like these birds native to Florida that are found practically hidden in the molding atop the Corinthian columns.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

The hotel is constantly connecting with members of the community and putting on special events like special art nights where they feature things like local art galleries. So before your stay, it might be good to check with the hotel to see what will be going on.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

Check-in

After marveling at some of the architecture, it was time to head upstairs to the check-in desk.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables  lobby

Two agents were attending to the check-in desks and everything went very smoothly for us.

Once again, I had luck with early check-in which was such a wonderful thing given how much traveling we had been doing.

We’d just arrived on a redeye flight from Santiago, Chile on AA’s 777 after spending a couple of weeks in South America exploring places like Easter Island. It was an amazing trip but we were running on E (empty, not the other type of E). So early check-in couldn’t have come at a better time.

The hotel issued us an entire suite of benefits which included free breakfast (via elite status), and then included in the $22 resort fee was: a $25 food and beverage credit, $15 Uber credit, two free citrus sangrias, and some additional perks like a complimentary bike rental.

We ended up putting all of those to use except for the bike rental. As fun as it sounded, we didn’t really have the time or energy and I didn’t notice bike lanes nearby which didn’t give me a lot of confidence considering it’s been a while since I’ve ridden a bike.

Tip: Make sure that you head to the right elevators when going up to your room. The elevators for the rooms are located to the left of the check-in desk (when facing the desk). There is another set of elevators but those are for the commercial tenants.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables lobby
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables lobby

The executive bi-level loft

I don’t know what it is about bi-level hotel rooms but I’m just a major fan of them.

There’s just something so cool and charming about having a staircase in your hotel room and I’m always sort of a sucker for them.

So when I saw the executive bi-level loft I knew I had to go for it and I’m glad I did because it is such a beautiful room.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

As soon as you enter the room, you’ll find a closet on the left with a hotel safe along with a branded robe and iron/iron board.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Then there’s a workstation which came with a couple of (non-complimentary) spring water bottles.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

There’s a phone along with branded hotel stationary which I’m always a fan of.

I’ve really noticed that historic properties (especially recently renovated ones) tend to do a superb job with executing their branding and this hotel was no exception.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Next to the phone, there was this cool little outlet station with a handful of power outlets.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

And finally, a large TV.
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room tv

In the corner there was a chair next to the night stand and you’ll find outlets in the wall for your power needs.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

On the other side of the bed there’s some outlets along with a round nightstand and an interesting light fixture hanging above.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Another thing I loved about the room was that it had some great views of Coral Gables from the 5th floor.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room view
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room view

Downstairs a modern bathroom with a walk-in shower is situated next to a beautiful vessel sink with a good amount of counter space.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room bathroom
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room bathroom

After getting a feel for the downstairs, it was time to explore upstairs.

These stairs are pretty steep so if you have issues with steep stairs, going up and down the stairs (especially at night time), could be an issue.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room stairs

Upstairs you’ll find a sofa with a coffee table and large TV. There is a family version of this loft that features bunkbeds on the second level which I think would be perfect for a family of four or five.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

There’s also a full second bathroom upstairs, which once again would be good for families.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Just outside the bathroom you’ll find a sink, microwave, mini fridge, coffee maker, and some counter space along with some cabinets.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room mini fridge
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

The game room

The hotel has a game room downstairs that I thought was pretty interesting.

Inside you’ll find a foosball table, pool table, darts, and some other games.

This is definitely something you don’t often see at a hotel and so I appreciated the uniqueness (and swankiness) that went into this room. I also just enjoy when a hotel doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables game room

Dining

Platinum elite members and above can get a free entrée and a free non-alcoholic beverage for breakfast.

We were able to partake in breakfast one day at Aragon Cafe and I was thoroughly impressed with the dining.

I wanted to try something different so I went with their breakfast tacos that had some different ingredients in it like pickled onions and it was such a good choice.

Brad also thoroughly enjoyed his meal, the Colonnade sandwich.

So if you have a breakfast perk from your status, I think you’ll be able to put it to good use here!

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables dining
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables food

For the other meal, we tried out the bar on the second level, where we cashed in the tickets for the food and beverage credit and citrus sangrias.

The hotels offers happy hour events where they offer things like discounted fresh oysters so you can check those out when you visit.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar

Both Brad and I were surprised at how good the fried chicken sandwich was and how well it hit the spot. Perfect food item to split when you’re not overly hungry.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar

The pool

The pool is located on the rooftop terrace where it’s lined with shady green cabanas and palm trees.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

One unique feature about the pool is that they have pool side rooms.

I don’t recall seeing those type of rooms on a rooftop terrace before and I could see it being pretty fun if you were visiting with a group and rented all of those out. You could practically jump into the pool from your room.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

Apparently the pool is due up for some renovations sometime soon but I honestly thought it was still a very nice rooftop pool area.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

On the other side of the terrace there are chairs and tables set up with umbrellas. Perhaps this area is blocked off for certain events?

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

There’s also a nice viewing deck out there with great views. It was the perfect place to watch the sunset one night on a breezy evening.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

Fitness Center

You’ll find a very well equipped gym at this hotel with a free weights section, multiple benches, workout station, and multiple cardio machines, including a couple of Peloton bikes.

With 157 rooms, the hotel had a good ratio of equipment to rooms so it shouldn’t be hard to find an open station during your workout.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym

Final word

I was a major fan of the Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables. First, it’s just a beautiful historic property that’s impressive to admire from both the outside and the inside.

We received great service during our stay and I thought the bi-level executive room was unique and charming. The dining and drinks were solid and made even sweeter with some elite benefits.

So I would definitely recommend this property especially for families and for others looking to put on special events, including weddings or even romantic getaways.

Kona Koa Lodge Review: Private Bungalow on Easter Island

During our time at Easter Island, we tried out a few different types of lodging.

We were drawn to the Kona Koa Lodge because it looked like it was a bit more of a remote and quieter experience than the hotels that we booked in town like the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa. And I could not have been happier that we gave it a shot!

In total, we stayed four nights at the Kona Koa Lodge and this is how that experience went in this private bungalow!

Location

I really loved the location of Kona Koa Lodge. It’s basically a 10 minute drive into town which isn’t bad at all and you only have to deal with bumpy dirt roads for a short portion of the drive.

Even though you are only 10 minutes away, it feels like you are much farther away because of the peacefulness. It’s pretty quiet too although the roosters and dogs definitely let their presence be known!

There are a few attractions really close to the lodge including the Mirador Hanga Kioe and Ahu Tahai — two outstanding places to watch the sunset. The museum is only a couple of minutes away and if you want to explore the caves they are also pretty close.

There’s also a really cool blowhole to check out nearby on the coast and if you want to find out more information about the spots, be sure to check out our in-depth Easter Island guide.

Related Easter Island content:

Check-in

The check-in experience began at the airport where we received leis once we exited.

There was a little bit of rainfall happening but as far as airport greetings go, this was definitely one of the more memorable ones!

The owner’s daughter, Fidji, helped us with our luggage and took us to her truck and then we were off!

We needed to make a quick pitstop to the market and so she took us through the market so that we could purchase some essentials.

It’s a great feeling to have a local pick you up and give you a quick tour of the city to help you get familiar with your new surroundings.

The bungalow

The property has a few different bungalows or cottages (whatever you want to call them) and we had a bungalow with a king bed. We found the bed to be pretty comfortable and enjoyed having outlets nearby.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

The bungalows they have built here are beautiful and I love what they did with the natural wood features. They definitely have a unique rustic charm to them.

Kona Koa Lodge

You’ll have your own little kitchen where you can put together breakfast every morning. The kitchen comes with a sink, some cooking and cleaning supplies, a stove top, and mini fridge. You’ll also have some cookware along with plates and cups.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

You’ll also have some spices on hand.

Kona Koa Lodge

We ran through a crazy amount of water during our stay and luckily they did have filtered water for us. We still ended up purchasing a couple of large jugs because we knew how much we would be drinking and I’m glad we did!

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

We had a little patio with a pretty good view of the ocean and because we were facing west we also had pretty good sunset views.

At the same time, all of the vegetation gives you a feeling of secluded privacy — not to mention the feeling like you’re in a lush tropical paradise.

Sitting out on the patio while a rain storm blows in from the ocean is the ultimate exercise in relaxation.

Kona Koa Lodge

There are shades you can pull down on the patio to block out the sun if it gets too warm.

Kona Koa Lodge

But make sure you pull them back up for sunset!

Kona Koa Lodge

I thought the bathroom was really well done as well. It’s got a good-sized window for ventilation and plenty of counter space along with a beautiful glass sink.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

The shower is also very spacious. It’s pretty interesting how the water just drains through a whole but you should be able to get comfortable in the shower no problem with a small bench and even a port hole. We never had any issues with water pressure or temperature.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

Now let’s talk about the internet situation.

When we visited, the lodge had recently installed Starlink and it was absolutely amazing.

We had a strong connection and I was able to get work done and even had a video call without any loss in quality — something I did not expect to be able to do on Easter Island.

Some of the pretty expensive hotels in Easter Island did not even have an internet connection this solid so it was a nice surprise and an underrated benefit!

Kona Koa Lodge

Breakfast

One of the nice perks about this lodge is that you can request breakfast.

You need to make a request the afternoon before so that it will be prepared but your breakfast will consist of: eggs (you cook them), bread, pastry, fresh fruit, and deli meats and cheese, along with milk and juice.

I really did love this breakfast and it’s a great way to start your day!

Kona Koa Lodge

Rental cars

We had our own rental car which was a four-door Suzuki and I really liked having that. I knew the tour guide would be accompanying us so having four doors made those full day tours a lot more comfortable.

However, if you want to rent your car through them you can ask about the Jimmy.

The only issue with the lodge…

So the area surrounding the lodge is beautiful, the bungalows themselves are lovely, and the service that you get from the owners is top notch.

The only issue, which can be a big one depending on your preferences, was the power situation.

I believe because the lodge is so sustainable, it doesn’t have enough electricity to power a fan through the night.

There is no ceiling fan inside the lodge and while the owners were gracious enough to give us a fan to use during the day, we were not able to power it through the night.

This may not have been a big deal during other times of the year but we were visiting during the hottest month of the year.

This made it very difficult to get comfortable at night because we were sweating so much. For people who keep their homes warm or who live in warm and humid environments, this may not be a big deal.

But for people like us who like to sleep in crisp conditions, it can be a major challenge.

If I could go back in time, I would have brought along a fan that could be charged via my computer. Or perhaps some other type of battery powered fan that I would not have to plug-in all night.

That would have made a huge difference!

Final word

I am a huge fan of the Kona Koa Lodge. The personalized attention was phenomenal and you really cannot ask for better service. It was great having a solid breakfast and I enjoyed the peacefulness of the location. If I could have just figured out the fan situation it would’ve been perfect but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Kona Koa Lodge.

The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Review: Easter Island Luxury Hotel

The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa is one of the two luxury hotel properties located on Easter Island.

We recently stayed at the hotel after they had only been open for a few months since the reopening of Easter island and here’s how the stay went!

Location

The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa is located in Hanga Roa and sits very close to the coast. Though there is a road that runs along the coast, it’s nice to get out and explore the rocky coastline along Mirador de las Olas and just listen to the waves pounding the shore.

Mataveri Airport is only about a mile away and it’s only about a 10 minute walk to the town’s main street where are you will find lots of markets, restaurants, and shops. So overall, Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa has a great central location.

Related Easter Island content:

Check-in

We arrived at the beautiful lobby area ready for check-in in the early afternoon.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa lobby

The check-in experience what is a little bit rough.

My booking through Expedia was not properly showing up for the hotel and so they did not initially offer us the all-inclusive package we had booked (and paid for).

It was about midway through the introduction when I realized we were not getting all-inclusive instructions and we looked into the issue.

I then had to dig through my emails to find reservation codes and wait for the situation to be resolved.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa lobby

So it took a while to get that straightened out but then I ended up finding out that we each had two excursions per day that were part of our package.

Expedia didn’t mention anything about these so these were a surprise which meant we had to do some replanning in a hurry so that we could take advantage of them. It ended up mostly working out but I really wish I would have known about these when we were planning our trip!

And that brings me to my only real complaint about the hotel.

I tried to initiate communication via email a couple of months before our stay and also called Nayara but could not get a response or get through. This led to a communication breakdown so that the staff was waiting for us at the airport even though we had already been on the island for several days.

Once we got all of the confusion cleared up, the staff was tremendous and really did whatever they could to help us out throughout our stay so I don’t have any complaints about the service.

I also understand that they had been closed for a while and had only opened up a few months before we visited so they were still working out some of the kinks most likely.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa drinks
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa welcome drinks.

The room

Our room had two twin beds with an ocean view which initially I thought would be somewhat of a disaster because I had not slept on a twin bed in forever.

But these appeared to be larger twin beds and each of us had plenty of room so it wasn’t hard to get comfortable.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa room

There was a comfortable sofa across from the bed with some interesting driftwood art above it. I also thought that the re-utilized cypress trees in the room and throughout the hotel were an interesting feature they gave the property a unique feel.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed sofa
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed room

A small desk was built into the corner of the room.

One of the first things I noticed about the room was the portable AC unit. Apparently, they like to bring this in for Americans who are more accustomed to colder rooms.

This was absolutely perfect for us.

We had just spent four nights in a lodge with no AC and no fan which was a bit of a struggle at night considering we were visiting during the hottest time of the year. But temperature was never an issue in this room thankfully!

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed room ac unit

The bathroom is divided by some blinds which add an interesting feel to the room. Just next to the blinds you’ll find the beautiful black soaking tub, which was made from artisanal clay.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed room
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed bathroom
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed bathroom

I also thought the sink, crafted from volcanic stone, was unique along with the entire counter set up and leaf shaped mirror. You definitely don’t feel like you are in an ordinary hotel room when you stay here, which is one of the draws.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed bathroom
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed bathroom

They had an interesting shower which was very spacious. It had this cool little port hole that looked out to the ocean view, which was another unique touch to the room.

The hotel provided plenty of quality shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed bathroom

The toilet was a private room with a thick door and walls for good privacy.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed bathroom

Inside the closet there was a small mini fridge with complementary beverages for us since we did have the all-inclusive package. These beverages included water, soda, and beer. We were able to swap out still water for sparkling water, as that is all we really drank.

The room had a spacious patio with a couple of chairs and a view of the ocean. The only drawback is that the view has a road running through it so you do have to deal with occasional traffic driving by. But the patio still did feel pretty private and gave us some decent sunrise views.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed ocean view patio
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa twin bed ocean view patio

Overall, whenever you are dealing with a high price tag you have pretty high expectations for your room.

I did feel like the price tag was not totally in line with the quality of the room but there are a couple of things to say about that.

For one, I noticed the price was lower for different dates after our stay so it looks like you could book this hotel for around $500 per night which is a couple hundred less than what we paid. That price seems more in line with the experience.

Also, it’s admittedly difficult to compare a hotel like this to others because Easter Island is such a different and remote place. Hard to compare apples to guava.

Still, I did think the room was pretty beautiful.

The premises of the hotel or also very well-kept. You’ll find shaded pathways which give you a nice respite from the heat. Everything is pretty close by so it’s not hard to get to the restaurants or the spa.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa premises

You’ll also appreciate how the architecture blends in with the natural environment of the island. The hotel’s architecture was inspired by Orongo, the ancient village found atop the Rano Kau

volcano crater and it’s not hard to see the resemblance in the shapes and composition of the buildings.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa premises
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa premises

Internet

Our room did come with complementary Wi-Fi which did not work very well.

Some places on Easter Island have Starlink which provides an amazing high-speed connection. Indeed, the first lodge we stayed at had Starlink.

But otherwise, your internet connection may be dreadfully slow.

It was barely tolerable to do anything on my apps or social media and I did not even attempt to stream anything.

So if you were planning on getting work done or any kind of video calls or streaming with the hotel’s internet connection, you may need to rethink that. Hopefully, they can upgrade soon.

Easter Island head moai chocolates

The Vaitea Pool

The hotel boasts what appears to be the best pool area on Easter island. The Vaitea Pool is a pretty large area that is just across the street from the ocean. Perfect for cooling down on a hot summer day.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa pool

You’ll find some lounge chairs to relax on along with a few shaded spots (although they could probably use a couple more). If you need to shower off have several outdoor showers.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa pool
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa pool

There’s even a moai overlooking the pool which I believe is an actual moai?

Excursions

Whether you go with the all inclusive package or you just want to book excursions through the hotel, the hotel has a great staff to help you out.

I really liked the excursion area of the lobby with a huge map on the wall that helps you plan out your outings. The staff member helping us out was also very knowledgeable about the different excursions which can include things like:

  • Tours of the archaeological sites
  • Hikes
  • ATVS
  • Exploring the caves
  • SCUBA or snorkeling

Basically, if an activity is offered on the island you can probably book an excursion for it with the hotel.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

We chose scuba diving and an excursion to the caves.

We were put with a great tour guide who took us to one of the caves and it ended up being one of the highlights of our trip to Easter Island!

Some of the English speaking guides may not always be the best guides, so it was very refreshing to get placed with such an amazing guide during our stay.

I really liked how they arranged shuttle transportation and everything is taken care of.

You could stay here and not have to rent a car and still be able to get around to various sites which is a major advantage of staying here.

Manavai Spa

For one of our excursions we also each chose a spa treatment at the Manavai Spa.

I went with a full body 60-minute massage with geranium rozanne oil and experienced one of the best massages I’ve had. I’m not a huge spa person and I’ve only had probably six or seven massages but I feel like she really knew what she was doing in there — so relaxing!

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa spa room

Unfortunately, Brad did not have the best spa experience.

He doesn’t speak as much Spanish as I do though so sometimes things like this don’t go over as well for him because he can’t fully voice his preferences. I think some things got lost in translation.

Gym

The hotel has a small gym that is still relatively equipped with cardio equipment and a couple of machines. They also have three showers in the gym.

Interestingly, they only allow two people at a time inside the gym.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa gym
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa gym
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa gym

Make sure you don’t miss the hidden hot tub!

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa hot tub

Dining

We really wanted to take advantage of our all-inclusive dining so we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the hotel during the two nights/three days of our stay.  

During the first night, dinner was a little bit hectic.

That’s because one of the private National Geographic excursions (where you pay 100 grand to travel the world in a private jet) was staying at our property during the first night.

This meant that there were a lot of guests and the staff was pretty overwhelmed. National Geographic also rented out the restaurant so we were forced to eat dinner in the Vaikoa Bar. It was a nice area with good views, so I can’t complain too much.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa bar

But when you are a paying guest at an expensive hotel and told you can’t access the restaurant, there’s a certain level of distaste that accompanies that decision.

Still, we were able to watch the special dance show they put on for National Geographic (from a distance) so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

The good news is that after that dinner we were able to experience the Poerava Restaurant on the other days.

I actually think there may be a third restaurant or dining area (Kaloa Restaurant) that was not open during our stay, so it’s possible that if you visit there could be an additional dining spot.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa restaurant

As for the food quality, overall I enjoyed it but it needed a little bit of improvement. The biggest issue was just that some of the protein was not cooked to standard and the tuna had a substantial amount of tissue in it.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa restaurant dinner

But there were several dishes that we did enjoy.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa restaurant dinner

Before each dinner, we ordered a salad, usually a shrimp or chicken Caesar salad which was delightful.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa restaurant dinner

I will say that for lunch we went with a pizza which was an amazing choice. They have to have one of the best pizzas on the island!

In addition, I absolutely loved all of the desserts. We had an amazing chocolate mousse along with a trifecta of ice cream perfection. I feel like you couldn’t go wrong with any sweet here!

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa restaurant dinner

Also, as you can probably tell the food had amazing presentation. You’ll definitely feel like you are enjoying fine dining when your plate is delivered.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa restaurant dinner tuna

Breakfast consisted of a pretty extensive buffet. You had a lot of the basic breakfast food items like a variety of fruits, cereals, pastries, sweets, and pieces of crepes and waffles. You can also request for an omelete to be made.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa breakfast
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa breakfast
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa breakfast
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa breakfast
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa breakfast
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa breakfast

Each morning, I was able to put together a pretty solid breakfast. However, in terms of the quality, I did expect a littler more for the price point. Perhaps some more quality protein would’ve been nice? full-sized crepes? Just felt like it was missing something.

Then there was the service during our dining.

The service really was great throughout all of our meals. They were friendly, attentive, and always a pleasure to deal with.  

Whether you are eating around sunset or sunrise, you can opt for a seat by one of the large glass doors or windows or just simply eat outside. It’s a nice vibe.

Final word

Overall, the hotel stay did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. I have to cut the hotel some slack though because I know they were still just getting back on their feet after being closed for so long.

The entire stay did feel a bit overpriced but it looks like you can take advantage of lower rates at different times of the year so in those cases I think the experience would be more in line with the price.

With that said, it is a beautiful property and being able to experience some luxury while on Easter Island is special in its own right.

The biggest thing that stood out during the stay was the service.

I truly appreciated how the hotel helped us handle some of our random requests including things like managing our rental car, contacting other properties, etc. That’s always a mark of a quality hotel.

I also really loved the excursion system they have with a huge map area for planning and of course the quality guides.

I think that if you consider the rental car savings and you go with an all inclusive package that includes excursions, there’s a good value opportunity there (and big convenience).

And if you decide to not head out to explore anything, you can always stay back for a nice spa treatment!

The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park Review: Historic, Unique & Wonderful

When I review hotels, even hotels I really love, it’s extremely rare that I have an experience where I can’t find at least a couple of things that could be improved or that fell just a little short.

But that’s what recently blew me away when I stayed at The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park in El Paso, Texas. It was only a one night stay but everything about the hotel was on point and I left this property really wanting to spend more time there.

In this review article, I will walk you through this memorable stay and give you some insight into this historic gem of a hotel. As with the vast majority of hotel stays we review here, this was not a sponsored stay.

Hotel overview

The history of The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park dates back to 1899 when the Sheldon Hotel was opened here.

It served as an unofficial headquarters during the Mexican Revolution and it’s where President William Howard Taft stayed during his historic meeting with Mexico’s President Porfirio Díaz.

Unfortunately, the hotel burned down in 1929 but entrepreneur Conrad Hilton had plans to build an even bigger hotel.

Things got off to a rocky start as the stock market crashed just days after construction but Conrad pushed on and opened the new high-rise hotel in 1930 with its famous art deco design.

It was actually the first high-rise Hilton hotel and you can still find signs of that like the original Hilton logos found on the elevator doors.

High profile guests were drawn to this El Paso beacon over the decades including Elizabeth Taylor, who lived in the hotel during the filming of the 1956 blockbuster, Giant. 

After some ownership changes, El Paso businessman Paul Foster purchased the property in 2008 as part of a greater effort to revitalize Downtown El Paso.

A lot of work was done to restore the hotel to its original art deco glory and it was re-opened in 2020 after major renovations.

The independent hotel now houses 130 rooms and suites and you’ll find traces of its past along with inspiring local artwork as you explore its wonderfully restored corridors.

Location

The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park is located right in the heart of Downtown El Paso. It’s just across the street from another historic hotel, Hotel Paso Del Norte (full review).

You’ll find San Jacinto Plaza adjacent to the hotel which during the holidays is beautifully lit and a good spot for grabbing some hot cocoa.

Other nearby sites include: the El Paso Museum of Art, the Plaza Theatre, the Judson F. Williams Convention Center, the Abraham Chavez Theatre and Southwest University Park.

And Mexico? It’s only eight blocks away.

Parking and Check-in

The hotel offers valet parking for a modest $25 + tax and comes with unlimited in and out access. If you want to use self parking, that’s available at 100 East San Antonio Avenue for $20 + tax with unlimited in and out access.

Our check-in experience was top notch.

We arrived around 2:30 PM and were greeted by the friendly valet staff and then taken care of by the front desk. Without any hiccups, we were given a room key and then on our way to the 16th floor!

I was first struck by the beautiful historic elevators and hanging art installation meant to mimic the night stars.

You’ll notice there’s an old post office mailbox between the elevators. During renovations, they opened the chute and found old letters from the 1930s. You can find those letters on display in the lobby and see what some travelers were writing about almost 100 years ago!

The hotel uses a modern touchscreen app to operate the elevators which is an interesting juxtaposition to such historic elevator doors. But this trend of seamlessly merging the historic with the modern is something that they do very well at this hotel.

The Landmark Suite

This stay capped off a long road trip from Arizona to Southeast Texas and back so we were really looking forward to being able to enjoy one night at a nice luxury property.

So we decided to book The Landmark Suite.

The hotel has six of these and they are very well done and spacious with 755 square ft.

Your first enter the entryway where you will find an impressive half bath with plenty of space and even a nice view.

Just by the decor, lighting, and countertops of the half bath, I really could tell the room was going to live up to expectations.

Next, in the entryway you’ll have your selection of snacks and alcohol from the minibar if that is your thing. From Grey Goose to Don Julio, you have a pretty good selection of liquor and tequila.

They also offer a Nespresso machine when many hotels simply go for a basic coffee maker.

Below that, you can find juices and soda in a mini fridge along with wine and champagne.

You’ll then enter the corner-room living area of the suite which offers a luxurious feel with burgundy and champagne and cream furnishings. A large 55 inch TV hangs on the wall surrounded by comfortable seating for a handful of guests.

Although it was just Brad and I and Elroy (our corgi) on this stay, I really got the sense that the suites would be great for larger groups congregating for things like weddings and other special events. It’s just a really nice place to hang out.

Speaking of our pup, the hotel went out of their way to provide accommodations for him including a dog bed and food and water bowl. We got the sense that the hotel was truly “pet friendly” and not just an “accepts pets” hotel.

You’ll then make your way into the work area, which sort of forms a junior suite with the bedroom.

There’s a workstation with a comfortable chair and a couple of nice touches.

Connect your phone to the Bluetooth speaker (easy to do) and you’ll be surprised how loud and quality this sound will be from this small Tivoli speaker box.

I liked the custom stationary found on the workstation as you rarely see both pens and pencils furnished and I’m always a fan of a well-branded property.

Across from the desk is another couch with some interesting wall decor placed above it.

You’ll find that the suite combines a West Texas feel with historic 1930s patterns and local artwork in a very complementary way. You’ll also have no shortage of outlets wherever you go.

Then there is the king bedroom.

Once again, well done with an elegant color scheme of champagne, cream, and burgundy accents.

It’s home to an ultra comfy mattress with high quality sheets and bedding.

I usually struggle to get good sleep on a one night stay because it takes me a couple of nights to get acclimated to a new bed and surroundings. But this was one of those rare occasions where I got some great rest.

One side of the bed has the Arne Jacobsen-designed alarm clock and on the other side you’ll find the phone along with two interesting water bottles.

If you’re looking for the outlets, they are inside of the end tables. Just pull out the top drawer and you’ll see them.

It was nice having the 55 inch TV with Chromecast.

The bedroom also has a spacious powder room with good lighting, mirrors, and plenty of counter space.

This is also where you will find the slippers and Matouk robes for those headed to pamper town.

One thing I haven’t even mentioned yet are the smart features in the room.

Motion sensors will turn on the lights as you make your way through the room, which made us feel right at home since that is how we have set up our living space.

Powered blinds and shades, operated from controls on the wall, easily reveal sweeping views from your room or quickly shut off the light if you need to.

Then there is the bathroom. Like everything in the suite, it’s spacious.

You’ll find a double sink counter with beautiful mirrors, light fixtures, and marble-clad counters.

I loved the Brizo fixtures found in the bathroom and the H20Kinetic massage and handheld shower heads. And of course, quality (and plush) Matouk towels could be found along with Le Labo bath products.

Dining at Ámbar Restaurante

In order to make the most of our one night stay, we opted to have dinner at Ámbar Restaurante and I’m very glad that we did for a couple of reasons.

First, if you are into the history of the hotel it’s a great place to check out because you’ll once again get a great sense of that history as you get seated at a table located on the original flooring of the property.

Second, the service and dining were top-notch at this unique wood-fired Mexican restaurant.

We kicked off the dining experience with a virgin Mojito and Brad went with the Divorcee, the signature cocktail with cilantro.

And then we were faced with a major culinary decision. Our server insisted that we should try out the bone marrow the hotel is known for.

I’d seen the bone marrow pop-up before in my research on the property but I didn’t necessarily think I’d be trying it when we stayed because it just seemed a little bit “primitive” for my liking.

But we are always trying to not back down from new experiences so it didn’t take much for us to agree to give it a shot.

Scooping out goopy marrow from the core of a large bone may make you feel like a caveman and have you second guessing your life choices.

But when you pair it with the grilled bolillo and spice it up with some salsa macha, it’s not hard to down the marrow at all — you might be surprised about the flavor it packs. (Bone marrow is also a super food in case you were wondering.)

As for the main dishes, I went with what was essentially a beef fajita dish and Brad went with a tenderloin steak. We left extremely satisfied with our meals and just enjoyed the overall dining experience. In fact, we returned for breakfast the next morning and had another satisfying meal.

If you are a drinker then you will obviously want to check out the beautiful bar area.

It’s home to one of the largest tequila selections on the continent where bartenders have to harness in to retrieve some of the bottles. Housed in a large historic atrium, you almost feel like you’re visiting some sort of agave cathedral and perhaps you are.

The hotel also puts on special tequila tastings where you can learn how to sip tequila and pair it with food items.

The rooftop terrace

While the hotel does not have a pool, they have a beautiful rooftop terrace area where you can grab drinks and select food items. It’s located on the 17th floor and it is where you will find the bar, La Perla.

Beautiful archways showcase the hotel’s renown Pueblo Revival Art Deco architectural style and it’s a great vantage point being the highest outdoor viewpoint in El Paso.

One of the cool facts about the rooftop terrace is that it is the former area that made up the hotel’s old penthouse. It’s where Elizabeth Taylor stayed during the filming of one of her movies that took place in Marfa, Texas.

We ventured up there around sunset and enjoyed a beautiful desert sunset with memorable views of the Franklin Mountains, surrounding El Paso area, and even out to Mexico. The plaza lit up beautifully below us.

The fitness center

The hotel has a state of the art fitness center. (You may need to ask around to find the stairs down to it because it was a little bit difficult for us to find but you’ll be pointed in the right direction.)

Inside you’ll find free weights, treadmills, machines, elliptical, and some floor space to get things done.

One thing that stood out is they had one of those mirror work out apps that I don’t think I have seen in many hotels yet.

Final word

I may be a little bit biased because of how much I enjoy staying in historic properties but this hotel is truly a gem.

It’s hard not to compare it to the Paso Del Norte because they are so close to each other and are both iconic historic hotels that were recently renovated.

I don’t know if I can choose between the two because I loved both but I do think that the Plaza Hotel stood out to me in that I could really feel the history when staying here. I think this is a tremendous venue for groups who want a place to congregate and of course tequila fans could not do any better.

I would not hesitate to recommend the hotel.

Marriott Seattle Airport Review: Open and Accommodating

Over the past few years, airport hotels have started to really grow on me.

It’s hard to beat the convenience they offer when dealing with early or late flights and I’ve found them to be very accommodating properties as a whole.

In this review, I’ll cover the Marriott Seattle Airport and give you a sense of what you can expect if you choose to stay at this hotel.

Location

The Marriott Seattle Airport is located about one long block away from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the SeaTac/Airport Station (for trams).

It’s close enough that you could walk from the airport terminal to the hotel but if you have a lot of luggage it’s probably a lot easier to just take the shuttle.

The hotel is only about 22 minutes away from attractions in Downtown Seattle so staying at this airport hotel is still relatively convenient if you want to get out and spend the day in Seattle.

In our case, we only had one night in Seattle so we decided to Uber to some of the tourist attractions like Pike Place Market since this was our first time in Seattle.

It was an abnormally warm day that normally would not stick out because of what we are used to in Arizona but coming from Alaska it felt pretty hot!

We grabbed some pizza from a local joint as soon as we arrived and it definitely hit the spot.

We would spend the next few hours wandering around Pike Place Market, trying out different foods, and just exploring the city a bit. Seattle made a pretty good first impression.

Related: Are Airport Hotels Good Options? (Pros & Cons)

Getting to the hotel

After arriving from Juneau, Alaska, on a super early flight we arrived at SEA and then we made our way over the cat walk to the parking garage where you also find the complimentary hotel shuttle busses.

Each hotel shuttle bus serves a different “island” (station) or multiple stations in this area so you want to make sure you’re standing in the right area.

A huge tip is to wait at the station where the bus will be first arriving because otherwise it might be filled up by the time it gets to you.

(Some of the hotels only have one bus running so don’t assume that a secondary bus will come and pick up the slack.)

The shuttle bus for this hotel is hard to miss so you don’t have to look very hard.

Marriott Seattle Airport shuttle

It didn’t take long for our shuttle bus to arrive and we had it completely to ourselves. It’s always nice when public transportation turns into private transportation.

Marriott Seattle Airport shuttle

Booking

We booked this hotel stay with one of our Marriott free night certificates, which came out to pretty awesome value. With taxes and fees, the total came out to around $400 per night which was excellent.

Prices aren’t normally that expensive though so I think we were just visiting during a peak time.

Marriott Seattle Airport cost

Check-in

I was immediately impressed by the beautiful and cozy lobby at the hotel. Since we were arriving so early at around 9 AM, it was very quiet.

Marriott Seattle Airport lobby

Check in went about as smooth as you could ask for.

We arrived around 9 AM fully expecting to not have a room ready for us but we were delighted to find out early check-in would be available.

The downside was that we were going to be put in the section of the hotel that is not connected to the lounge.

This meant that for every lounge visit we would have to go down to the lobby, walk to a different set of elevators, and then head up those.

Considering we would only be making two lounge visits on a one night stay, that was a small inconvenience to pay for such a massively convenient early check-in.

However, if I had multiple nights to spend here I would get a little annoyed with the up and down.

Marriott Seattle Airport lobby

The room

Our king room was spacious and modern with a beautiful oversized headboard.

Marriott Seattle Airport king room

We found the bed to be comfortable and got some good rest after we finished up at the the lounge

Marriott Seattle Airport king room

The room came with a large flatscreen TV which was mounted above a dresser and large counter.

Marriott Seattle Airport king room

We also had two water bottles waiting for us.

Marriott Seattle Airport king room

There was a box with all of the coffee cups, coffee packs, and some tea near the workstation.

Marriott Seattle Airport coffee tea

This is also where the coffee maker is although we always use our own tea kettle.

Marriott Seattle Airport coffee maker

The workstation came equipped with stationary, a phone, and lamp. Outlets were built into the side of the frame holding the TV.

Marriott Seattle Airport desk
Marriott Seattle Airport desk

There’s also a mini fridge underneath the TV.

Marriott Seattle Airport mini fridge

One thing I really liked about the room is that we actually had a pretty decent window view from up on the fifth floor.

Marriott Seattle Airport room

It doesn’t get much better than an amazing mountain view of Mount Rainier — such an impressive mountain.

Marriott Seattle Airport view mount rainier

The bathroom is really nice in these rooms, too. You’ll find a single sink with plenty of counter space under a brightly lit mirror.

Marriott Seattle Airport bathroom

The bathroom came stashed with thisworks amenities.

Marriott Seattle Airport bathroom
Marriott Seattle Airport bathroom

It’s a nice shower too.

Privacy glass makes up one wall although it is partially translucent (just in case you are sharing a room with someone you’re not that close to).

Marriott Seattle Airport bathroom

The toilet is also right next to the shower and the sink which is a little bit of a tight fit.

Marriott Seattle Airport bathroom

Lounge

Because we were able to check in so early, we had enough time to grab breakfast in the lounge.

I was pretty satisfied with all of the offerings which included: muffins, fresh fruit, eggs, protein, toppings such as cheese and salsa, oatmeal, cereals, and water bottles and soft drinks.

Marriott Seattle Airport lounge breakfast items
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge breakfast items
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge breakfast items
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge breakfast items
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge breakfast items

We had just flown without really having an opportunity for any type of real breakfast so being able to enjoy a full breakfast spread in this lounge was pretty amazing. It’s amazing how good basic food can be whenever you are starving and exhausted.

Also, while we were trying to rush before breakfast ended, the staff up there was really friendly and was not rushing us at all. Kudos to them.

Marriott Seattle Airport lounge breakfast items

We would head back up to the lounge in the evening for snacks. At that time they had salad, meats, cheeses, and a platter of vegetables. Can’t forget about the cookies, either.

Marriott Seattle Airport lounge snacks
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge snacks
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge snacks
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge snacks
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge snacks

The hotel also has its own restaurant, Aqua Terra, a farm-to-table restaurant serving seafood and American fare although we did not get the chance to try it due to taking advantage of the lounge.

I thought the bar area looked pretty nice so it’s probably worth checking out.

Marriott Seattle Airport bar

Here’s another look at the lobby which once again I really liked.

Marriott Seattle Airport lobby

During our stay, we explored some of the hotel facilities which I thought were really interesting because they were so different.

First, they have this large atrium with 45 ft skylights that houses a few things.

One part of it is a wide open lounge area with a large multi-panel TV along with some comfy seating. Would be a cool place to catch a ball game during your travels.

Marriott Seattle Airport lobby
Marriott Seattle Airport lounge

The other part is event space where they put on special events out in the open (suitable for up to 800 people).

It’s a little strange to me to be putting on events like weddings or receptions while nosy hotel guests are watching from their rooms but I guess it works?

Marriott Seattle Airport atrium

Then, there is the 24-hour fitness center which is right in the middle of all of this. It’s interesting because it has this fish bowl feel with its glass walls.

For those who like to work out out in the open, you’ll really love this gym. For those who like to sweat it up in privacy, this may not be your cup of tea.

Marriott Seattle Airport gym
Marriott Seattle Airport gym

With that said, it’s a very equipped gym with plenty of cardio equipment.

Marriott Seattle Airport gym
Marriott Seattle Airport gym
Marriott Seattle Airport gym
Marriott Seattle Airport gym

Final word

This was a very solid airport hotel stay.

Getting handed early check in at around 9 AM was a major win and it was nice being only about 20 minutes outside of Seattle so that we could do a little bit of exploring.

While the lounge is pretty small, I enjoyed the breakfast up there and considering how much value I got for the free night certificate, it was hard to complain about anything for this stay.

Review: El Tovar Hotel, Amazing Grand Canyon Lodge!

The El Tovar Hotel has been on my radar for quite a long time.

Situated on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, this is the place to stay for national park lovers and those who want easy access to the wonders of the Grand Canyon.

I finally got to experience what it was like staying at this historic hotel and below, I’ll tell you all about it.

Hotel Overview

There are a handful of hotels/lodges that you can find located right on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

These include:

  • Bright Angel Lodge
  • Maswik Lodge (1/4 mile from rim)
  • Thunderbird Lodge
  • Kachina Lodge
  • El Tovar Hotel

Each of these can offer a different type of room ranging from cozy historic units with a shared bath to standard lodge rooms with a private bath and satellite TV.

The “crown jewel” of these hotels is the El Tovar Hotel.

That’s mostly because of the ability to book special suites with great views and its history dating back to its 1905 opening.

The El Tovar was part of the initial wave of “destination resorts” that were built in newly-accessible areas like Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.

These were made possible by the railroads like the Santa Fe Railway, which played a major role in the creation of the hotel.

A former Harvey House hotel, El Tovar also has the most interesting and unique architecture out of any of the properties with a fusion of rustic Western-Swiss themes and southwestern Indian accents.

There’s a reason it was featured in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) and why it was visited by presidents like Theodore Roosevelt.

It’s just a special place.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon

Booking

The El Tovar Hotel is home to 78 rooms and has a lot of different room types including quite a few types of suites.

We booked a queen room for $400 per night including all taxes and fees (when we booked, we were required to make a 50% deposit).

I really wanted a suite but we did not find availability when we were searching for rooms several months out.

While it would be pricey at about $900 per night, I’d love to stay in the El Tovar Suite, which has a massive private balcony with rim to rim views from the third floor.

You can see some of the balconies in the image above. I’m pretty sure the views from these would be pretty solid. But it’s ridiculously hard to find open dates for that suite.

Grand Canyon Sunset rainbow

Location: South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The El Tovar Hotel is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which you don’t want to confuse with the North Rim that is located approximately four hours away (where you can find the Grand Canyon Lodge).

If you want to get even more specific, the El Tovar Hotel is found just feet away from the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village.

If you’re trying to soak up every bit of the Grand Canyon that you can, it really is hard to beat the location of the El Tovar Hotel.

It’s right next-door to the Hopi House, Verkamp’s Visitor Center, and also very close to the Grand Canyon Rail where you can board vintage rail cars in true western style.

Find interesting gifts and architecture at the historic Hopi House.

If you want to venture down into the canyon, it’s a super convenient place to stay for an early start on the Bright Angel Trailhead.

If you’re feeling really adventurous you can go for an epic hiking adventure down to the river and back but most people should probably settle for going down no farther than Indian Garden or even the 3 mile house.

The bottom of the Grand Canyon.

And of course, it’s located right on the Rim Trail which you can take in either direction (east or west) for sweeping views of the canyon.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon

This location means that as soon as you step out of the hotel you are only steps away from admiring the magnificent views of the canyon.

While the Grand Canyon is pretty amazing in the daytime, it truly is something special at sunrise and sunset.

It’s not always easy to linger around here during twilight hours, so being able to basically roll out of bed to admire these views is priceless.

Grand Canyon golden hour

Plus, you never know what kind of wildlife might come roaming up to the property for some early morning grazing.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon elk

Check-in

We arrived a little bit prior to the official check in time but were able to get a room at about 1:30pm. If you’re not able to get early check in, you could just relax on the patio or go for a stroll along the rim. Getting a bite to eat is always an option, too.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon patio

When you arrive, you’ll make your way through a dim lobby lounge and the front desk area will be on your left.

Since we were visiting in October, the lobby was accented with fall leaves and I’m pretty sure they get into Christmas as well. They’re pretty festive around here.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon lobby
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon lobby

There are two things you need to know about check in.

The first is that there is no guaranteed parking for your vehicle.

We were visiting on a busy fall day and struggled to find parking anywhere in the vicinity of the property.

Eventually, we found a spot but it was at the Bright Angel Trailhead.

For that reason, you might want to arrive before the afternoon rush and try to avoid moving your vehicle once you find a spot.

Luckily, the shuttle busses can get you just about anywhere you would want to go so you don’t have to drive to get to some of the various look out points, trails, etc.

The second thing to be aware of is that there are no elevators!

The hotel will offer you bellman to assist with your luggage so it should not be a problem for some people. But if stairs are a problem, book a room on the first level.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon lobby

The queen room

Our room was on the smaller side but honestly I thought it was a pretty solid hotel room considering this is essentially a basic room at a historic lodge in a national park.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

It appeared that the “queen” bed was a bit on the small side, though.

We measured it out and it came out to a few inches under the standard dimensions for a queen bed of 60 inches.

That was a bummer because it made it difficult for us two to get comfortable. So unless you think you’ll be fine with a smaller queen, I would definitely try to book a king or two queens.

Nevertheless, the bed was comfy in a very fluffy type of way.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

The room came with your standard hotel features including: a phone, alarm clock, glasses, ice bucket.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

It also had a TV with standard satellite TV programming.

By the TV, you can find a room service menu, which offered pizza delivery from 4 PM to 8 PM. The pizza comes from the Maswik Food Court, which is located at the Maswik Lodge about a quarter mile from the rim.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

There was a table with two sitting chairs where you could find the coffee maker.

Outlets were not plentiful near the bed so we had to move this table closer to us so that we could plug electronics into the lamp’s outlets. (You can use the alarm clock on the other side of the bed which has some outlets.)

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

There’s a closet with an iron, iron board, safe, and room for your luggage.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

One thing I was worried about was the Wi-Fi as I had seen reports of it being pretty spotty.

However, I was able to get work done without any problems at all.

If you want to do a bunch of downloading or streaming that might be a different story but I was still able to watch YouTube videos for example.

We also had solid cell phone service which made up for any potential shortcomings of the Wi-Fi.

So this was a very different experience from my recent lodge experience in Glacier Bay National Park where we were without Wi-Fi and cell phone service in our room.

As for the view, we did not have a view of the Grand Canyon but instead we looked out over the parking lot. There’s also a ladder that ran directly outside the window to the roof which was an interesting site.

Sidenote: there is a back entrance to the hotel in this parking lot which can make it a little bit easier to navigate when coming from the parking lot in the back.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

The bathroom surprised me in a very good way with its classic look.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bathroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bathroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bathroom

Dining

We tried out the different dining spots located both in the hotel and in the nearby lodges. Overall, I would say that you can definitely get some quality meals although not every place was a hit.

The first restaurant we tried was the Fred Harvey Burger, which is located at the Bright Angel Lodge. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Fred Harvey Burger

I ordered the Fred Harvey Burger, which came with fries and a potato bun.

It was a nice meal to have after being on the road for six hours but I wouldn’t rank this as one of the best burgers out there.

Keep in mind that there could be a long waiting time so I would head to make a reservation a couple of hours prior to your desired meeting time.

In our case, the waiting time was about one hour.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Fred Harvey Burger

Next, we tried out the Arizona Steakhouse, which was in a beautiful venue that offered partial views of the rim wall. It’s also located at the Bright Angel Lodge.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Arizona steakhouse

It’s still a little confusing to me because they don’t have steaks listed on the menu but instead offered one as a special. Just a little odd for a steakhouse if you ask me.

The menu also features beer and wine selections produced from local artisan brewers and vintners.

Reservations are recommended here and we made them for the earliest time available which was when they opened for lunch. However, it looked like people without reservations were able to get in without an issue.

I went with something light which was a turkey wrap ($16.50) that I thought was a perfect quick option for lunch.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Arizona steakhouse

Brad tried the New York strip steak ($38), which he enjoyed but it was wayyy over cooked for a rare steak.

Then, there was the El Tovar Dining Room, which offers fine dining.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Dining Room

This is the premier dining venue at the South Rim, where they also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It’s also the most formal of all of the dining places.

While it sounds like you need to dress up for dinner from the restaurant’s description, casual dress was accepted just fine during our visit.

We enjoyed a really nice dinner during our stay. I went with a special short ribs dish (~$41) while Brad went with the lamb shank ($~37).

The portions were more than plentiful, food very flavorful, and the service was top notch making this a pretty memorable experience. I would recommend not passing it up.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Dining Room

To make your experience even better you should do two things.

First, definitely make reservations as far in advance as you can because all of the slots can fill up for both lunch and dinner.

Also, when you make a reservation you can request one of the tables with a view of the canyon if that’s the type of thing you’re into.

Here’s a look at the view:

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Dining Room view

Personally, I would avoid booking a reservation during sunset so that you can take in the views from outside.

Grand Canyon South rim sunset

Shops

Inside the lobby, you’ll find a gift shop and a smaller news stand where you can pick up snacks and drinks.

There is definitely no shortage of gift shops anywhere in the Grand Canyon but it is nice having one in the lobby so close to your lodging.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon gift shop
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon gift shop
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon gift shop

Here’s a look at the news stand.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon newststand

Final word

The year prior to this visit we hiked from the rim to the river and back up to the rim in one day which was definitely a memorable and challenging hiking experience.

We were hoping to do something similar during this day but unfortunately life happened and made that an unrealistic option for us.

Despite the disappointment that came from that, I really loved this stay.

Hanging out at the rim during sunset is a really cool vibe and there’s something to be said about just looking off into the vast openness of the canyon that’s hard to explain.

Now that we live in Arizona, we try to make an annual visit to the canyon and I think this is a perfect place to stay for such an occasion.

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas Review

On a recent trip to Hawaii, we stayed at six different hotels and got a nice taste of what each one had offer. But out of all of the properties, the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas was our favorite hotel we stayed at.

It offers the perfect laid-back vibe along with some beautiful views from spacious balconies. Plus, it’s just an overall gorgeous setting.

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know before heading to this resort.

Booking

On a recent 10 night trip to Hawaii we spent a large portion of the trip tracking down all of the Jurassic Park filming locations.

This meant that we would be focusing a lot on the island of Kauai since that is where most of the filming went down.

We would be doing a lot of hotel hopping at hotels like Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club so we wanted to have at least one stay where we would stay three nights and the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort seemed like a perfect spot.

We booked the hotel for 50,000 Marriott points per night and with rates going well over $500 per night that amounted to over one cent point for Marriott which is always a great deal in my book.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Location Overview: Princeville

Princeville is located on the north side of the island of Kauai and about a 45 minute drive from the airport (LIH). It’s a beautiful and scenic area full of condominiums, golf courses, and resorts but it still feels pretty rustic and remote.

It’s perfect for exploring the north part of the island (Queen’s Bath, Kilauea Lighthouse, Limahuli Garden, etc.) but less ideal if you want to spend a lot of time in places like Waimea Canyon State Park or Allerton Garden.

You’ve got a few local places to eat nearby like Saenz Ohana Breakfast and The Spot North Shore Kauai. Also, if you need to head to the market there is the Foodland Princeville very close by (5 minutes by car).

If you head a little bit more west to Hanalei you’ll also find eatery hotspots like Kalypso Island Bar & Grill, Holey Grail Donuts, and others. Those places are about 10 minutes away.

The closest beach to the Westin Princeville that you can walk to is Wyllie’s Beach but you have to do a little bit of work to get there. The trail head is near the front of the hotel next to the golf course.

It’s a short but pretty steep hike to the beach. Very doable just be prepared for a steep walk on the way back.

Related: Luau Kalamaku Review (Kilohana Plantation, Kauai)

Hike to Wyllie’s Beach.
Wyllie's Beach
Wyllie’s Beach.

Check-in

We arrived after check in time so we were not able to request early check-in although it probably would not have mattered anyway.

This is a resort where Marriott status is not honored so even as a Titanium Elite member, I would not be entitled to benefits like early check in, late check out, free breakfast, and upgrades.

That’s honestly the only knock I would have against this property is that as an elite member you miss out on your benefits.

Okay, I guess one more slight knock would be the parking situation since it’s hard to find parking near your villa.

There’s a double-decker parking garage out front and also some side parking lots but we always struggled to find a spot in the side parking lots. It’s still not a very long walk to the villas so not a huge deal.

After we checked in, we made our way to our villa and I was pretty impressed by how well kept the premises were. Also, every staff member we encountered was very friendly.

Related: Doing A Doors-Off Helicopter Tour in Kauai, Hawaii? (Read This First)

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

We made our way up the elevator to the third floor and headed down to the end of the building where our room was.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

The villa was not the biggest but still a beautiful room and more than enough space for our needs.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas room

As you would expect at the Westin, the bedding was top notch.

Check out: Hawaiian Airlines First Class Guide

There’s a small sofa, ottoman, and some chairs and a table to utilize if you end up going the in-room dining route like we did.

You also have a large flatscreen TV with a Bose stereo system.

The room comes equipped with a nice kitchen so you can always head to the nearby market and pick up some groceries to make your own meals.

You’ll find a medium sized refrigerator, full-size microwave, electric stove top, small sink, and appliances like coffee maker, blender, etc. They also have glasses, plates, and other dishes you might need.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas kitchen
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas kitchen

The room also comes with its own stackable washer and dryer which is super convenient.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas washer and dryer

In the closet, you’ll find the safe, iron and iron board, robes, extra bedding, and even a vacuum cleaner.

I really like the open and spacious bathroom.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas bathroom

The shower comes with a waterfall shower head and is pretty spacious. You’ll also appreciate the soft and plush Westin towels.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas bathroom

The bathroom had an enclosed toilet for added privacy.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas bathroom

The whirlpool tub was definitely a highlight of the room. You can swing open the panels so that your view opens up and looks out from your balcony. I found the panels a little bit tricky to work with, though. (It helped to pull from the very bottom to get them to open.)

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas bathroom
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas bathroom
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas bathroom

As for the balcony, we were in love with the views from the third floor. We were at the end of the building and so we had a great view of the coast as well as the interior of the property. You’ll hear a lot of birds in the morning and of course roosters will be everywhere!

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas balcony view
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas balcony view
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas balcony view

The property

The resort property as a whole is really a beautiful place that is very well-kept. Take a stroll in the evening through the torch-lit paths and enjoy the cool, breezy evenings.

Dining

Dining is a bit limited as there is really only one restaurant at the resort: Nanea Restaurant & Bar. They have both indoor and outdoor dining but we just ordered to-go every time.

They have a variety of American cuisine and we were pretty happy with the food we ordered which included things like burgers, chicken tenders, etc. The sides like macaroni salad and rice weren’t bad either.

Just be aware that this place does close at 7 pm which makes things a little bit tough for dinner.

Also, we arrived around 6:15 pm the first night for dinner and this place was absolutely swamped.

It took us a very long time to even place an order at the bar and so I do think the hotel needs to do a better job of providing servers for the bar/restaurant. It was actually kind of ridiculous.

There’s also the Princeville Market.

This is a good stop for snacks and also a place that you might be hitting up for breakfast as they do serve Starbucks coffee and they have breakfast sandwiches.

From what I could gather, it’s mostly just heated-up items so it’s enough to get you by but nothing extraordinary.

It opens up at 6:30 am.

Here’s a look at some of your options. I will say that the muffins were on point and croissants weren’t too bad. Just don’t get your hopes too high.

Pools

You’ll find three pool areas around the property including one that is an adult only pool.

The main pool is the one pictured above which is found in the middle of the resort. Nearby the main pool, there’s also a more kid friendly pool with a slide.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas kids pool
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas kids pool

Here’s a look at the adult only pool which is where are you can also find hot tubs. It’s more tucked away in the back of the resort between building two and three.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas pool

Heading out to the pool areas around sunrise can make for a pretty spectacular way to start your day. I especially liked the infinity pool, which is between building six and seven. Just take a look at these sunrise views yourself!

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas infinity pool sunrise
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas infinity pool sunrise
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas infinity pool sunrise
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas infinity pool sunrise

In the middle of the property there’s a nice lawn area where you can go on a relaxing stroll especially around sunrise or sunset.

If you’re in the mood to throw something on the grill there are several grill stations to choose from.

Gym

The fitness center is very nice and it’s in a spacious and well-lit room.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas gym

They have plenty of equipment in the gym so you should be able to have great workouts.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas gym
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas gym

Some of the cardio machines lining the windows have some impressive views looking out to the ocean, overlooking the pool.

It’s always a shame when a great view goes to waste and I love that this resort did NOT let that happen with the gym.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas gym
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas gym

I was also a bit surprised to see that the gym had both a sauna and steam room.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas sauna
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas steam room

Final word

Out of the six hotels we stayed at on this trip to Hawaii, this hotel was by far my favorite. It’s just a very relaxing vibe at the resort and while the dining options are a bit limited, I just loved the premises and our view from the balcony. I’d definitely recommend this resort to anyone staying in Kauai.

Review: The Laura Hotel Downtown Houston

The Laura Hotel in Downtown Houston is one of the newest luxury properties to open in Houston.

It’s part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and so it is sure to draw a lot of Marriott loyalists.

But who is Laura and what is she all about?

We stayed at the property about eight months after its opening date and in this article, I’ll break down the experience and tell you everything you need to know about the hotel.

The Laura Hotel Overview

The Laura Hotel is a new luxury property in Downtown Houston that opened in early 2022.

The property is home to 223 guest rooms, a Southern restaurant, rooftop terrace pool, gym, and spa. They also put on pool parties, monthly wine tastings, cigar events, and more.

Formerly the Hotel Alessandra, it’s named after the Laura, which was the first steamboat to arrive in Houston on January 22, 1837.

Built in 1835, they used the Laura to prove that the once impassable Buffalo Bayou was a navigable river. This helped validate Houston’s commercial potential and thus played a major role in its history.

It’s not surprising then that throughout the property you’ll find nautical-inspired branding and even design.

Booking The Laura Hotel

We used a combination of Bonvoy points and a Marriott free night certificate to complete our booking.

Rooms were going for 30,000 points per night and about $400 per night with all the taxes and fees factored in. So I thought this was pretty good value for both the points and the free night certificate.

I applied two suite night awards which both were confirmed as we were bumped up to a corner room.

Unfortunately, I would end up declining the upgrade as I did not feel like the corner rooms were an upgrade to what we already had (more on that later).

Entrance of The Laura Hotel.

Location: Downtown Houston

The Laura Hotel is located in the middle of Downtown Houston. It’s directly off Dallas and Main Street where the METRORail light rail runs through the heart of downtown.

It’s safe to walk around this area during the daytime but just a heads up walking around Downtown will expose you to a fair share of homeless people.

I used to live only a few blocks down from here and you get used to it but some visitors get uncomfortable when approached by people on the streets, especially if they appear drugged up.

The building is connected to the Downtown Greenstreet, a mixed-use area near a lot of restaurants and bars, including the House of Blues.

It’s within walking distance (5 to 15 min) to the big Houston venues like Minute Maid Park, the Toyota Center, and George R Brown Convention Center but you can find many hotels closer.

There are parking garages nearby but you can also valet.

Valet is $46 per night though which I thought was on the higher side for Houston.

Related:

View from guest room at The Laura Hotel.

Check-in: Great service with a minor hiccup

You’ll enter the hotel on the first level and you’ll need to either take the elevator or the gold-accented grand staircase to get to where check-in is located on the second floor.

It’s kind of an odd set up but visually I thought it was a beautiful entryway lobby. The marble really does it for me.

Stairs leading to the lobby of The Laura Hotel.

While many will opt for the elevator, it was nice getting a little bit of work out when utilizing these fancy stairs.

Stairs to the lobby of The Laura Hotel.

Up on the second floor is where you can find the check in desk, restaurant, bar/café, and different types of lounge seating areas.

Seating area in lobby of The Laura Hotel.

The bar area is pretty cool with some open lounge seating and floor to ceiling windows that wrap around the building.

It functions as the espresso bar from 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM on most days of the week. Then it transitions to the Laura Bar which is open from 3PM to midnight on most days and 1AM on the weekends.

They also serve food here starting at 4 PM.

The espresso bar and Laura Bar at The Laura Hotel.
The espresso bar and Laura Bar at The Laura Hotel.
The espresso bar and Laura Bar at The Laura Hotel.

The check-in desk is in a pretty beautiful area of the lobby.

Front desk at The Laura Hotel.

Initially, we were able to get early check in but there was a little problem.

The agent checked us into a different type of room than what we were upgraded to via our suite certificates.

Basically, they upgraded us to a deluxe room instead of utilizing the suite night upgrade that would have placed us in a corner room.

They did this because a high-floor corner room was not available since we were arriving a little early.

Normally, I think in this situation the staff should first confirm that you want to give up your upgrade for early check-in.

But they didn’t do that so we unknowingly ended up in a Deluxe Room that was not a corner room and I phoned down to see what was going on.

They explained that they had just put us in a Deluxe Room because of our early check in and I voiced that I would prefer the corner room instead.

So we made our way down to the elevator into the corner room only to be disappointed by that room (for reasons I go into below).

Because of that, they ended up moving us back to the Deluxe Room and I was able to get my suite night awards refunded (after calling in).

Throughout all of the back-and-forth the staff was very gracious so I appreciated them working with us so that we could truly be happy with our stay.

The room on the 16th floor

Our room was on the 16th floor and we had a pretty great view, although it did not face any of the iconic skyscrapers in the city.

Guest room at The Laura Hotel.

As for the bed, it was very comfortable.

Bed in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

The nightstands by the bed had both power outlets and USB ports.

Night stand in guest room at The Laura Hotel.
Outlets in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

They also provided branded stationary.

I love hotels with their own identity and branding and so it was cool to see that done very nicely here.

However, they still need to work on the finishing touches.

For example, look at the pen that was in our room when we arrived. It’s all smeared with ink and that’s not the attention to detail that you expect to find at an expensive luxury hotel.

TV remote in guest room at The Laura Hotel.
Opened night stand in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

Next to the bed is a little curved couch and a table so you can enjoy room service while admiring your view. I love easy to access window views and so I really appreciated the layout of this room.

Couch in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

In the middle of the room you have a large flatscreen TV with your workstation directly under it.

I’ve never been a huge fan of desks under TVs like that because if one person wants to watch TV and the other person wants to get work done, it’s not a very practical set up.

TV in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

They have two closets on other side of the TV and workstation.

One side is the true closet where you’ll find hangers.

Closet in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

The other side is made for your luggage and has the iron board.

Ironing board in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

There’s a coffee maker station and they provide you with a couple of coffee cups and a free bottle of water.

Coffee bar in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

I did notice that the drawers and the mini fridge were completely empty and they had no teas available.

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I stayed at a quality hotel that didn’t have tea available in the room.

I would’ve expected these to be filled eight months after opening but I guess they are still in somewhat of a soft launch stage.

View of downtown Houston from guest room at The Laura Hotel.
Mini fridge in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

The hotel really knows what they’re doing when it comes to the bathrooms.

We had a nice and open bathroom with a soaking tub, large mirror, plenty of counter space, and a private toilet space.

Doors swing open if you’d like to soak in the tub with a view.

Bath tub with Downtown Houston view in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

Or, if you’d like some privacy you can close things up.

Bth tub in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

The other side of the partition is made up gold-framed mirrored walls.

Bathroom in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

Here’s a closer look at the sink.

Bathroom in guest room at The Laura Hotel.
Bathroom in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

The shower is pretty spacious and complete with a waterfall showerhead as well as a detachable showerhead. Be prepared for a heavy showerhead, though.

Using this thing is like trying to bathe with Thor’s Hammer.

Shower in guest room at The Laura Hotel.
Toiletries in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

I liked that they had a private toilet area, since I’m never a big fan of the bathrooms that have everything opened up.

Toilet in guest room at The Laura Hotel.

As I mentioned above we were initially upgraded to a corner room and the only one available was one on a lower floor.

So we checked out that room but just did not really care for it to be honest.

Although technically it has more square feet, it actually felt more confining due to the L-shaped layout.

It also did not have a soaking tub.

Plus our view on the 16th floor was way better so we ended up asking to get moved back to our original room.

I have to give the staff a lot of credit because they put up with us being very high maintenance for a little while and did so without any complaints.

Here’s a look at the corner room that we refused:

Guest room at The Laura Hotel.

Dining: Hull and Oak Southern cookin’

The hotel is home to a restaurant called Hull and Oak that puts “innovative twists” on classic Southern dishes and regularly mixes up their menu.

I love the idea of a Southern-themed restaurant and I thought the nautical aesthetics of the venue were very original.

Framed archways resemble a ship’s hull and circular mirrors line the restaurant like ship portholes.

It was just a cool place to dine and meet up with an old friend.

Servers were a little understaffed but they were extremely friendly and professional.

Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

We arrived around 6:30 PM for dinner and were the only ones in the restaurant.

It stayed slow for a while and then started to pick up around 7:30 PM but never got very busy.

Perhaps this restaurant is still not on the radar a many?

For dinner we tried the macaroni and cheese, steak, and deviled eggs.

The deviled eggs offered a slightly sweet take on deviled eggs balanced out with bacon and mouth-tingling chili peppers that were not playing around. I ate ’em up.

Deviled Eggs at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

Brad went with the prime Manhattan filet.

It came pre-cut and cooked to perfection. Lightly salted wedge potatoes made a nice complement. As did the cooked carrots.

Prime Manhattan filet at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

The crawfish macaroni and cheese was pretty good but a little light on flavor.

Crawfish Macaroni and cheese at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

Brad tried out one of their signature drinks: a Oaxaca Old Fashioned. Both smoky and woody, it offered a bold flavor with a little bit of sweetness.

Next we’ll have to try Smokin’ in the 713, which is a southern take on the Old Fashioned.

Oaxaca Old Fashioned at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

For dessert, we tried the banana foster.

This was not usually something I would ever order, but I was really glad we tried this spongy and powdery delicacy because this platter was crazy delicious.

Banana Foster at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

Each day, we decided to utilize our free breakfast benefit (which gave us each $24 of credit every morning) and I have to say that the breakfast here was solid.

One morning, I went with the biscuits and gravy which was a little different because I’m not used to chicken broth-based gravy on biscuits.

(I’m much more of a sausage gravy person.)

However, the gravy biscuit was delicious and their bacon was a thing of beauty. Just the right amount of crispiness.

Gravy biscuit at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

The next morning I went with the peaches and cream waffles. Wasn’t quite in love with the peaches but I enjoyed trying something different for a change.

Peaches and Cream waffles at Hull and Oak in The Laura Hotel.

Pool

The hotel houses a nice rooftop terrace pool on the 5th floor. It’s a bit small but for a downtown hotel in the central business district I wouldn’t exactly expect a lagoon-sized pool.

On some evenings, they have parties up here so it could be a cool vibe.

Pool at The Laura Hotel.

The pool seems to be pretty popular as every time I look down from my room I could see quite a few people lounging around. (I took all my pictures right at 8 AM before the crowds hit.)

It opens up at 8 AM and closes down at 8 PM.

There’s also a bar out here that opens up at 11 AM and closes at 7:30 PM.

Pool at The Laura Hotel.

They have quite a few pool chairs set out and some of them are shaded which is great because that Houston summer sun can be serious.

Pool at The Laura Hotel.

Gym

In the gym, you’ll find modern cardio equipment like a few treadmills, ellipticals, and other machines. They also have several machines like a leg press, rowing station, etc.

Overall, the hotel gym is a bit small given the size of the property.

You might want to get down there a little bit early if you’re planning on getting in an uninterrupted morning workout.

Gym at The Laura Hotel.
Gym at The Laura Hotel.

They have a small pyramid of free-weight dumbbells but the weights do not go up very high.

Gym at The Laura Hotel.
Gym at The Laura Hotel.
Gym at The Laura Hotel.

The property also is home to a spa on the 5th floor but we did not get a chance to review it.

Final word

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Laura Hotel.

I thought the room was well done with some pretty good views and an awesome bathroom. The dining did not disappoint and other facilities like the pool and gym looked pretty good.

I think they could do some of the little things better but I’ll give them a bit more time since they are still a relatively new property.

Review: Four Points by Sheraton Juneau (Convenient but Pricey)

Juneau, Alaska does not have a whole lot of options when it comes to national chain hotels. One of the options that sticks out is the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau.

But this hotel can be pretty pricey at times so is it actually worth it or will you be overpaying?

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau.

Booking

We paid cash for four nights at the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau and let me tell you that if you are coming during peak season (which is basically just the summer) the prices are going to be up there.

The prices can fluctuate a lot throughout the week so you can always try to time it for the cheaper rates but that’s not always practical.

We paid:

  • $617
  • $332
  • $391
  • $440

Plus fees.

It’s one of those properties where the prices shoot up but don’t align with the quality of the hotel. This is not what you think of when you think of a $600 a night hotel.

Maybe $300 a night.

However, if you want to stay in a nice, national chain hotel this is one of the only options in Juneau.

I did hit Platinum status on this stay and earned 31,350 Points, so that’s something I guess?

One more thing, if you’re coming during peak season you might want to book a little early because the hotel was sold out on several days when we initially tried to book this trip.

It’s a pretty popular hotel.

Related Juneau Posts:

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau

Location: Downtown Juneau

The Four Points by Sheraton Juneau has a great location in Downtown Juneau. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fantastic location, I don’t think we would have chosen this property.

Walking around Downtown Juneau is extremely easy because the entire downtown area is not very big at all and this hotel sets you up for easy exploration.

The location is also nice because it is just far enough away from the cruise terminal that you don’t really feel all the heavy foot traffic from there.

From the hotel, we easily made it to various restaurants and shops, and it only takes about five minutes to get to the heart of the tourist/shopping area on Franklin St.

Attractions like the Alaska State Museum are also nearby.

The large blue building across the street from the hotel has some pretty nice dining spots in it which are ultra convenient.

Inside, there is a large hallway that takes you through the different restaurants so you can escape the elements if needed.

Make sure you try out the Russian dumplings! Yum.

Check-in

The hotel has a small and somewhat cozy little lobby where you can also find a compact lounge area, coffee/tea station, and the market.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau lobby

There’s also a little work area.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau lobby

They also have a concierge station although I was never able to actually see anybody at that desk.

All of the front desk agents made a good impression during our stay and check-in went smoothly although I was a little bummed I did not get any kind of upgrade as a Titanium member.

We did get put on one of the higher floors with a decent view so I guess that counts but Marriott Titanium status has been one of the most disappointing elite statuses I’ve had.

One thing about this stay is that one of the elevators was broken almost the entire time.

This really slowed things down and just got a bit annoying especially considering that they got fixed the day we were checking out….

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau lobby

The Room

Our king room with a Mountain View was a basic room but spacious enough.

It was nice. Not $600 nice, but pretty nice.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau mountain room
Four Points by Sheraton Juneau mountain room

I thought the king bed was comfortable. Not $600 comfortable but pretty comfortable.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau mountain room king

Maintaining temperature in the room was never a problem although they do have some specific controls for the heater.

On one side of the bed, you’ll find a phone and lamp (with outlets) on the nightstand, along with some branded stationary.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room nightstand

On the other side you’ll have an alarm clock with power outlets and USB ports.

Related: Should You Use USB Ports In Hotel Rooms? (Stay Away!?)

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room nightstand

There’s a chair you can relax on in the corner near the window. I like that you could open the windows and get a nice cool draft coming in.

We left our windows open the entire time and I think it helped keep the room comfortable.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room

But just in case you did get a little warm, the hotel does supply a fan.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room fan

There’s a large flatscreen TV in the middle of the room for your entertainment needs.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room tv

I appreciated the water bottle and the clear signage that this was an actual free item. No confusion here.

Below the TV was a mini fridge. No microwave.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room mini fridge

And in the corner there was a nice workstation that had a lamp with power outlets.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room desk

It also had the coffee machine with Café Valet rainforest blend packages. (You can find some teas downstairs in the lobby.)

As always, I brought my portable kettle with me since I don’t use hotel coffee makers.

We had plenty of closet space and even a secondary fan inside the closet.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau king room closet

I did enjoy the view although it is a little weird because there are some houses situated up on the hill and they are right in your backyard.

Whenever the clouds moved out, it was really beautiful looking out to the mountains and all of the waterfalls and mountain streams running down.

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau mountain view

Overall, the bathroom was nice, clean, and spacious enough. No complaints.

Really loved this $600 a night shower.

Dining/Breakfast

There’s a restaurant connected to the lobby called McGivney’s Sports Bar & Grill Downtown.

What’s interesting and kind of annoying is that the hotel does not offer you any kind of food credit for that restaurant and that’s not even where breakfast is.

Instead, you have to go to the Baranof Downtown hotel where you can use your breakfast credit at the restaurant called 127.

It’s about an eight minute walk to get over there, which was a first for me.

This meant we would have to walk in the rain to get to breakfast which sounds bad but you’re mostly dealing with drizzle and so if you have a good rain jacket it’s not a big deal walking around downtown Juneau in the rain.

That might be a different story when it’s freezing cold outside.

Baranof Downtown hotel

You’ll be able to enjoy a basic breakfast buffet which to be honest wasn’t bad at all. Eggs, bacon, potatoes, and pancakes were all part of the buffet. Continental breakfast options like cereal also were available.

You can always order options off the menu but you will have to pay for those.

I’d much rather have breakfast somewhere like Sandpiper but if you want to take advantage of your free breakfast perk this hotel is not a bad place to do it.

Gym

If you’re wanting to get a workout the gym is pretty compact but decently equipped. Not $600 a night equipped but equipped enough.

Final word

Overall, I love the location of the hotel and the service was good throughout our stay.

The breakfast situation is a little weird but doable if you’re okay with doing some walking.

The biggest issue is the price point.

The rooms get very expensive during the peak summer season and it’s just difficult to pay that much money and not receive that much in value from your room.

Perhaps if my Titanium status had gotten me an upgrade to a junior suite or something I would feel different?

I’m not sure but at properties like this you really have to adjust your expectations to avoid feeling unsatisfied over your booking.

In the end, I would recommend the hotel (mostly for the location) but try to time your stay so that you can catch it when the prices are on the reasonable side (closer to $300).

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