Archive for the ‘Hotel Hookup’ Category

How to Stay in Style: Tips for Staying for Less in a Fancy Hotel

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Is 2014 the year of the vacation? Maybe so, because it seems like everyone is planning one.  And that is such a welcome economic change from just a few short years ago.  But with so many folks planning their getaways, are there deals enough for everyone?

In top cities, prices will be up in popular seasons and availability may be less, so how do you still score great deal at stylish hotels? Here are my top travel tips for staying for less on your upcoming vacation.

Luxury for LessCB063916
Visit destinations that are more deal-prone.  According to’s latest Hotel Price Index (HPI), you can find five-star luxury for less than $200 a night in European cities such as Warsaw, Budapest, and Lisbon.

Where else can you find hotel rooms for affordable prices? Not only is Las Vegas the most popular city for American travelers, it’s also one of the most affordable cities to visit. Orlando, Atlanta, Portland and Denver are right in the mix for both popularity and price, according to the HPI.

Social Media
Don’t just share your vacation photos on your favorite social media sites, use them to help you have a better trip BEFORE you even leave.

  1. Follow your favorite hotels, restaurants and airlines in cities you want to visit to stay on top of any special deals that may become available. Hotels often broadcast deals on social media first. You can also do a keyword search with (hotel name and #deal) on Twitter.
  2. Be social and interact via Facebook and Twitter with the hotel and other places you plan to stay or visit on your trip.  Sharing your excitement could land you an upgrade.

Club Level Value
If I’m going to stay at a hotel that offers a club level floor, I often try to book a room on it regardless of my loyalty program status.  Sure, the prices are higher than a standard room but the perks that come along with it are often a better deal than paying for WiFi, drinks, breakfasts and snacks a la carte.  Don’t be fooled: club-level rates at brands such as Sheraton, Radisson, Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont, and Marriott may be higher, but they can offer real savings so consider all your costs before you book a less expensive room.



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City of the Month: Where to Stay in Costa Rica

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Whether you want to live lavishly at an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica or rough it in the scenic landscape of the tropical rainforest and beaches, there are accommodations for every traveler’s taste and budget.

0_55844284The most common accommodations in Costa Rica are smaller hotels that are often family-run and full of charm and hospitality. Hotels can be found in the corner of a steamy rainforest to the base of a volcano and beachfront villas. Travelers who really want to be immersed into the culture of Costa Rica and the traditional Tico (local) lifestyle will enjoy staying in one of the country’s eco-hotels. Recommendations for Hotels in Costa Rica

Eco-hotels sometimes even run on solar power, and these lodging options often cater to people who want to do yoga on the beach, go hiking in the cloud forest or surfing along the coast.

La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort – Portalon

La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort is located in a rainforest, with 149 Acres of land, in the Central Pacific Coast of Portalon in Costa Rica. This resort is considered one for the most beautiful and well kept, and is just right for wildlife lovers.

Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa

This Guancaste luxury boutique hotel that features private bungalows and villas even features its own hot springs, volcanic mud, and steam rooms. If you want tranquility, this is your spot!

Finca Rosa Blanca

0_73170348If you are looking for a little Costa Rican romance then stay at this organic coffee plantation and luxurious inn near San José. This eco-resort features award-winning restaurants and el Targua Spa. And as for the obvious, the coffee tour is not to be missed at Finca Rosa Blanca is a two-hour journey to coffee connoisseurship and sustainable eco-tourism.

If you want to have everything at your fingertips, an all-inclusive resort might be the best option for you.

Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort – Adults Only-All Inclusive

At this all-inclusive property meals and beverages at onsite restaurants and bars are included in room rates. Taxes and gratuities, recreational activities, and entertainment are included.

Barcelo Langosta Beach – All Inclusive

Located in Northwest Costa Rica in the town of Tamarindo, this all-inclusive resort is fun for the whole family. It’s an ideal spot for sports and nature lovers.





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City of the Month: Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Niagara Falls is really a fun weekend getaway. It’s easy, it’s affordable, and you can even get a stamp in your passport!

There are many hotel options on both the US and Canadian sides of the Falls. You are guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for from water park hotels to quaint B&Bs to casinos or a great view of the Falls. In my opinion, the best hotel options are all on the Canadian side of the Falls, because they offer the best views of the falls. So, if you are US citizens, then you will need your passports. To see all the area has to offer, check out Niagara Falls hotels on Here are a few hotel recommendations to get you started.

Hotels Near Niagara Falls

For Romance

Both the Prince of Wales and Queen’s Landing Hotels are part of the Vintage Hotels Collection and are located in the historic Niagara-on-the-Lakes region. The luxurious Prince of Wales has been a treasured landmark since 1864. The hotel features its own spa and an indoor swimming pool If you aren’t staying there, at least stop by for afternoon tea and experience the Victorian elegance of this timeless hotel. It’s sister property, Queen’s Landing, is equally elegant and romantic. Both are nicely tucked away from the crowds of the falls

The Sterling Inn & Spa, also in Ontario, caters to couples and even provides complimentary breakfast in bed and free parking. Just three blocks from the Falls, this converted milk processing plant (you don’t see that every day) is as unique as it is charming.

Fall-tastic Views

Be close to all the action when you stay at the Marriott Niagara Fallsview Hotel & Spa

Located in Ontario, Canada. Be sure to book a Fallsview room if that is important to you. There is a premium fee on these rooms but most visitors say the breathtaking views are worth it. This hotel is also directly across from the new Niagara Falls Casino.

The Tower Hotel is a 42-room boutique hotel perched 500 feet about Niagara Gorge. The hotel was recently renovated in 2011 and features sweeping views of the falls and even has its own wedding chapel.

Family fun

Great Wolf Lodge, Ripley’s Waterpark Resort is just three miles from the falls and only 23 miles from Buffalo, NY. And although it may look like a child’s campsite paradise, this resort features an Aveda concept salon and spa, restaurants, even a conference center.

From one mom to another, the family suites can’t be beat.

Sheraton on the Falls is located directly across from the famed Rainbow Bridge. With more than 600 rooms, this hotel has room for you and your friends and offers amenities that everyone can enjoy. Plus, it is connected to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. A winter visit to Niagara can even feel tropical when you escape inside this water oasis.

Have a great Niagara Falls travel tip to share? Tell us here on Travel Smart Blog!

And check out this awesome infographic courtesy of :

Niagara Activities

Niagara-on-the-Lake is located in the prettiest corner of one of Canada’s top tourist destinations – the Niagara Region. Here are a few recommendations to help you plan your getaway.

Top 5 things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Top 5 Wine related activities in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Top 5 Art activities in Niagara

Top 5 Romantic Spots near Niagara-on-the-Lake

Top 5 Niagara-on-the-Lake outdoor activities

Top 5 Niagara area Golf Courses

Top 12 wineries near Niagara-on-the-Lake

Top 10 tourist attractions in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Top 10 Dates not to miss in Niagara on the Lake

Top 5 adventure activities in Niagara on the Lake


  • Niagara Falls
    A visit to the falls is never a disappointment. And with so many tourist attractions, the short, beautiful drive from Niagara-on-the-Lake is always worth it. Family friendly activities, exciting attractions and corny but fun museums await.
  • Jordan Village
    Situated amidst the wineries of the Niagara Escarpment, Jordan Village is brimming with things to do and see – culinary delights, galleries, fabulous shopping, antiques, history, award-winning wineries, hiking & biking paths.
  • St. Catharines + Port Dalhousie
    Filled with magnificent gardens, beautiful waterfront and over 1,000 acres of lush parkland. St. Catharines offers trails, fishing charters, cycling tours, sky diving, wind surfing, beaches, boating, marinas, sports fields, arenas, tobogganing, rowing, skating and cross country skiing venues. Visit the charming Lakeside Park Carousel, rides are only a nickel!
  • Grimsby
    The Art Festival on Nelles Boulevard in early September and Grimsby Art Gallery, lure hundreds of artists and craftspeople, and thousands of visitors from all over Ontario and the United States to view the work of some of Canada’s most outstanding artists.
  • Welland
    Visitors marvel at the area’s natural beauty as they enjoy any number of festivals, sporting events, and outdoor activities. Known officially as the Rose City, Welland is home to over 350 acres of fine parks and has one of the finest rose gardens in the country. It is also home to the Welland Recreational Canal — once part of the St. Lawrence Seaway System – and Merritt Island, an outdoor paradise nestled along the waterway.


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City of the Month: Atlanta – Hotel Highlights

Friday, September 27th, 2013






Hotels in Atlanta – Where to Stay When You Are There to Play

Atlanta is equally matched with a great selection of accommodations as it is with great things to do while you are visiting the Cultural Capital of the South. lists 487 choices for hotels around the metro Atlanta area. Narrowing it down to just a few wasn’t easy, but here are the Travel Smart Blog recommendations for hotels in Atlanta.

Best Royalty for a Weekend Hotel: St. Regis Hotel - This five-star luxury hotel has more accolades than I can list, including being #1 on US News list of Best Hotels in Atlanta and is tops on the list of Best Hotels in the US. The hotel’s décor and amenities are fit for a king. Located in the chi-chi Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Buckhead is one of the loveliest — and busiest — parts of town, offering exceptional nightlife, dining, and shopping. It’s near the Atlanta History Center and the Swan Coach House.

  • AtlantaTSB Insider Tip: Swan Coach House - This historic carriage house turned restaurant in one of my most favorite girly places in the US. If you’re in Atlanta for a girlfriend’s getaway, looking for the perfect mother-daughter lunch spot, or shower locale, experience the southern hospitality and elegant cuisine of the Swan Coach House.

Most Attentive Staff: Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is the former Mansion on Peachtree Hotel and takes the cake when it comes to guest service! This luxury residence hotel employs three staff members to every overnight guest. Where else does a private butler come with every hotel room? And don’t overlook the views! The views from this 40+ story hotel are unparalleled.

Most Fun on a Saturday Night: Where do the locals go for fun on a Saturday night? Loews Atlanta Hotel has a fantastic lobby bar attracting locals and visitors alike. Located two blocks from Piedmont Park and a five minute walk to the Woodruff Arts Center, the Loews Atlanta is the centerpiece of 12th and Peachtree, a new, luxury, shop-eat-play area in Midtown Atlanta.

Best Hotel for Families: Residence Inn by Marriott Atlanta Buckhead -This reasonably priced all-suite hotel offers accommodations large enough for my family of five. Plus fully equipped kitchens, washers and dryers, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, barbecue grills, and basketball, volleyball, and paddle tennis courts. Complimentary breakfast is served every morning. Many rooms even have fireplaces. And it’s close to Legoland Discovery Center and Lenox Square Mall.

Best for Pets: Leave no man or pet behind when you stay at the trendy Hotel Indigo - All pets are welcome — no fees, no weight limit. If you’re in town on Tuesdays, don’t miss Canine Cocktail Hour in the bar. And you are dog-walking distance to the famed World of Coke and Georgia Aquarium.

Best Aparthotel: Twelve Atlantic Station is a premier all-suite boutique hotel that offers guests the experience of staying in an upscale urban condominium, while enjoying the vast range of shopping, dining and entertainment options that are available in exciting Downtown Atlanta. Twelve Atlantic Station is within walking distance of anything you could possible want to do. Don’t miss the Museum of National Patriotism and The Whole World Theatre.

  • TSB Insider Tip: Whole World Theatre - If you enjoy Improvisational Comedy then spend a hilarious evening with the talented company of the Whole World Theatre.





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Kidcation Sweepstakes 2013

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 is sending a family of four to San Antonio, Texas to attend Kidcation!

Kidcation Week, which is brought to you by the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau takes place August 12 – 18, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas. With dozens of activities and events planned for the kids, it’s bound to be a blast for the whole family!

The winner of the Kidcation Sweepstakes will win:outside

1)  A voucher for a two (2) night hotel stay for a family of four in a Luxury Double Suite at the Hotel Contessa – Luxury Riverwalk Suites in San Antonio, Texas. The voucher is only valid for stays during August 12 – 18, 2013.

2)  $500 USD VISA or MasterCard cash gift card for use toward travel expenses.

3)  Four (4) passes to The Witte Museum in San Antonio.  

4)  Four (4) passes for the City Tours Inc. “Reflections Tour” in San Antonio. 

5)  Four (4) passes to the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum and Texas Ranger Museum in San Antonio. 

To enter the Kidcation Sweepstakes:pool

Leave a comment on this Kidcation Sweepstakes 2013 blog post, about the one thing you and your family would most want to do at San Antonio Kidcation week.

To leave a comment, you must provide your first name and email address (your email address will not be published).

In order to win, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements as mentioned in the Official Terms & Conditions.
Click here to see the full Official Terms & Conditions.

For more information, visit the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau –
and for more on Kidcation Week, visit -

The sweepstakes ends on August 2, 2013, so be sure to comment on this post by then!

We’ll see the lucky family in San Antonio! Comment below and pack your bags for Kidcation Week!



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Hotel Hook-Up: Scents of the Season with Milliken Creek Inn & Spa

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Milliken Creek Inn & Spa

Happy New Year! Have I got a gift for you! So a few weeks ago, you read about Giving the Gift of Travel and that’s exactly what we want to do today! Travel Smart Blog and the amazingly hospitable Milliken Creek Inn & Spa want to give one lucky Travel Smart Blog reader an amazing gift….keep reading!

Nestled on the banks of the Napa River in the heart of Napa, California’s esteemed wine country, you’ll find the luxurious Milliken Creek Inn & Spa. Originally an 1857 stagecoach inn, Milliken features 12 individually designed, spacious suites with thoughtful touches such as plush king-size beds with the finest linens, oversized hydrotherapy bathtubs, flickering fireplaces and private balconies with charming views.

Like most of the Napa Valley wines that improve with age, Milliken is a cherished retreat that continuously offers enhanced levels of serenity and relaxation to its guests.

Now is the time for you to experience the hotel that redefines luxury, intimacy, charm and the authentic Napa experience.

Now through the end of January 2013, Milliken is offering a “Scents of the Season package” for just $199.  This special accommodation includes:

  • One night’s accommodations in a Milliken room
  • L’Occitane gift bag with sample size products of Citrus Verbena Eau de Cologne, Effervescent Revitalizing Sugar Cube, Pillow Mist, Cade After Shave Balm for Men and Mains Shea Butter Hand Cream
  • Harney & Sons tagalong of Hot Cinnamon Spice and Holiday Blend teas
  • A $50 spa credit to use towards a decadent peppermint massage treatment or any other Milliken Creek Spa offering
  • Gourmet breakfast for two each morning served in-room or anywhere on property
  • Concierge assistance in planning Napa Valley outings including winery visits and dinners
  • Two guest passes to Synergy Wellness and Fitness Center
  • Daily sunset Magic Hour wine and cheese reception
  • Late-night cordial bar

Here’s the best part – Travel Smart Blog is giving away a Scents of the Season Package* to a lucky TSB reader!! Just comment on this post “I love the Scents of the Season from Travel Smart Blog and Milliken Creek Inn” and a winner will be randomly chosen, and announced here on TSB next week! How’s that for a little New Year magic?

*The contest ends Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced the week of January 14, 2013.

**The Scents of the Season package is valid for stays Sunday through Thursday through January 31, 2013. For complete package details or to reserve your stay please visit or call 800.822.8418.



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Where to Go for a Winter Wonderland: Westin Snowmass

Monday, November 26th, 2012

If you are ready to strap on your skis this winter, look no further than the all NEW Westin Snowmass for your snow-tastic vacation! After a monumental $55 Million renovation, guests now have the luxury of a full-service ski-in/ski-out Westin Resort in one of Colorado’s most prestigious ski towns, Snowmass Village.

TSB Insider Tip: Book now for the early-season and save BIG!

Tim Johnson, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Westin Snowmass took the time to answer our burning questions about the new resort opening its doors this week!

TSB: The Westin Snowmass is officially opening its doors this month, what do you want guests to know when booking with your resort?

TJ: Reservations opened for arrivals starting November 21, 2012, just in time for opening day of the ski season and the upcoming holidays!

TSB: What is your favorite feature, spot, amenity or service at the resort?

TJ: There are many to highlight! Our new restaurant, Snowmass Kitchen is going to be over the top. Great menus prepared by our new Executive Chef, Ronnie Sanchez and our Chef d’ Cuisine Jamie Flatt and great views of the Snowmass Mountain from the dining room. Other amenities that stand out are the in-house new Westin Spa, our Westin WORKOUT fitness center and our in-house Kids Club. The rooms are beautiful and they all feature the Westin Heavenly Bed and the Westin Heavenly Bath.

TSB: New Belgium Brewery will have a restaurant at the resort. Tell us what we can expect from that dining experience.

TJ: The Bar at Wildwood in collaboration with New Belgium Brewery is going to be a fun, energetic environment. It is located in Wildwood Snowmass, which is adjacent to the Westin Snowmass. We will have 10 taps pouring the seasonal New Belgium brews and great menus with entrees paired with the brews.

TSB: Why is the Westin Snowmass great for families?

TJ: Westin is committed to providing a full-service environment, including our signature Service Express Concierge Service to make their experience here at The Westin convenient and worry-free. Our ski-in/ski-out location is second to none in Snowmass. Our private Ski Valet service stores boots and equipment in a slope-side location, so getting the kids ready for the slopes is easy and hassle free. Our in-house Kids Club is the perfect opportunity for parents to get some “me-time” while they know the kids are well taken care of and entertained onsite at the hotel.

TSB: If there is one thing that you could tell people not to miss when they visit Snowmass, what would it be?

TJ: Krabloonik Fine Dining and Dogsledding – World class dining and an unforgettable adventure. It has been around for nearly 40 years and is SO unique!

Check in to the Westin Snowmass this winter!



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Hotel Hook-Up: Experience the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa penthouse. (Photo courtesy of

We’re starting a new feature on Travel Smart Blog called the Hotel Hook-Up and I’m super excited about it. Each month I get to do what I enjoy most, which is to tell you about a fabulous place to stay and then give you the opportunity to try it! Sounds great, right?

The first hotel I’m spotlighting is the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Once a military training center for a battalion of 1,000 Army troops, this secluded Ojai, CA (near Santa Barbara) resort has an illustrious history dating back to 1923. Today, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is a five-diamond resort, consistently ranked as a top Spa by every magazine you could imagine.

But this resort is so much more than that! It has the ability to become whatever its guests need in that moment: the perfect backdrop to a wedding, the fourth friend on a girlfriend’s getaway, a health and wellness retreat, or a family’s relaxation vacation.

The renowned Ojai Valley Spa features 31,000 square feet of bliss. The chefs of the resort’s six restaurants orchestrate meals and snacks using California harvested and produced cuisine. Maravilla is Ojai Valley Inn & Spa’s signature restaurant. The restaurant serves prime steaks; chops and the freshest seafood prepared using garden-grown and homemade ingredients. And it doesn’t stop there! There’s tennis and golf, pools and even Camp Ojai for kids ages 5-12.

Leave us a comment telling us why you’re in need of some spa time and you could win 10 Welcome Rewards™ credits, which entitle you to one free (excluding taxes) room night up to $250 at your choice property. To be eligible to win, you must have a valid Welcome Rewards™ account or sign up for one on

Comments will close Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 11:59pm ET. The Travel Smart Blog team will choose the winner at random and will be in touch with them directly via email Tuesday, November 12, 2012. Good luck!




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