Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Top-Notch Hotel Nosh

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Eating at a hotel is no longer limited to marginal room service from an institutional supplier.  On the contrary, as hotels continue to find ways to differentiate themselves from the rest, some are adding signature restaurants with star chefs at the stoves and designer spaces.

Here are a few hotels serving up standout culinary experiences from the comfort of a hotel lobby.

0_1672R-54307Las Vegas: é by José Andrés at the Cosmopolitan

We expect culinary greatness from Vegas hotel restaurants. At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a new super exclusive restaurant has taken top billing as the ultimate culinary experience on the Strip. é is the eight-seat bar offering just two seatings a night for a 15-course avant-garde Spanish tasting menu. Plan ahead for a visit to é.

Louisville: Proof on Main at the 21c Museum Hotel

Located in one of the most creative hotels around, Proof on Main is as original of a restaurant as the art that flanks its walls.  The menu is eclectic and elegant and is ranked #3 best hotel bar according to USA Today. 21c Museum hotel is a former warehouse turned eclectic boutique hotel featuring a contemporary art museum that is free and open to the public all year long. The art spills over into the 90 rooms of the hotel and into the award-winning, Proof on Main restaurant.

Austin: The Driskill Grill at the Driskill Hotel

Nestled in the historic Driskill Hotel, The Driskill Grill has been charming guests since 1886 and it never gets old. Try the tasting menu, it’s as unique as a stay at this landmark hotel, which by the way, is said to be haunted. With well-trained staff and an ever-changing menu, The Driskill Grill has earned each of its four diamonds.

New York City: Gemma at the Bowery Hotel

On NY’s Lower East Side, you don’t have to stay at the Bowery Hotel (but you’ll want to) to enjoy the impressive Italian fare and cozy setting. The Italian trattoria is a great spot to see and be seen. During the summer, sitting outside is really something special and so is the pizza at Gemma. Try the weekend brunch to feel trendy with all of the Lower East Side hipsters.

Portsmouth, NH: SALT Kitchen and Bar at Wentworth by the Sea

Newly opened last summer, SALT is a contemporary restaurant in a historic setting as part of the more than 100 year old Wentworth by the Sea Resort. SALT features great locally inspired, seafood cuisine and small plates. Grab a seat at the chef’s bar to watch the masters in action or entertain friends in the glassed-in wine room that seats 12.

 
 

 

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4 Financial Safety Tips When Traveling

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Scott Turner is an avid traveler and writer who shares tips about money management, frugal living, and life hacks. 

When you’re traveling, it’s easy to let your guard down regarding financial safety – you’re out and about, sightseeing, and enjoying your family – it’s understandable that such concerns would slip your mind. Unfortunately, travelers are frequently targeted for financial scams and thefts. Here are four safety tips to keep you and your money safe while traveling.

Traveling Basics1. Limit the Cash You Travel with
There’s no need to bring a ton of cash with you while traveling. Use travelers checks or your debit card instead. If you know you’ll need cash from time to time, locate the nearest ATM affiliated with your bank to avoid hefty fees when making withdrawals. This way you’re only carrying the cash you need, instead of cash for your whole trip.

2. Protect Your Identity
Be aware of your surroundings whenever entering your debit card PIN while on vacation. At the very least, stick your other hand over the machine so no one can watch you enter your information in. Sign up for alerts from your bank to receive text messages or emails whenever a transaction occurs above a preset limit.

Before you leave for your trip, remove any personal documents from your wallet or purse that contain financial information, such as insurance cards with your social security number on them. If you think you’ll need these cards, take photo copies and cross out your personal information, then carry the photo copies rather than the official documents. These tips are essential to protect yourself and prevent identity theft.

3. Alert Credit Card Providers
Contact your credit card companies before you travel. Many have heightened security protocols in place for unusual purchases, and if your card gets flagged because of an overseas or out-of-town expense, you might end up with a temporary hold on your account. Spending a day trying to get your credit freed up again could take some of the fun out of your trip.

4. Carry a Money Clip
Store the cash you carry in your front pocket inside a money clip or mini wallet. This makes it more difficult for thieves to gain access to your goods. You can pick up a cheap money clip on eBay or Amazon.

When you return home, log in to your credit card and bank accounts to make sure there were no unauthorized purchases. Keep your receipts from your vacation for reference and carefully check restaurant bills. If you notice inaccuracies, contact the business or your account provider immediately. Taking steps to avoid theft is important, but it’s equally important to address any potential account compromises as soon as they arise.

How do you protect yourself financially while traveling?

 
 

 

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Mulled Wine, Snowshoes and Ice Climbing – Best Ways to Brighten Your Winter Months

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Skiing and snowboarding may be winter’s top activities but there are plenty of other fun ways to embrace the cooler temps. If you’re looking for something to do this winter, whether with friends, on a date, or just some family fun, try a few of these winter must-do’s.

  1. Drink hot buttered rum and mulled wine – and hot chocolate for the kiddos, of course.
  2. Hot tubbing – Kick back in an outdoor Hot Tub. Is there really anything better?
  3. Take a carriage ride through downtown – Assuming that the weather outside is above zero, take a romantic carriage ride through a downtown near you.  By day or by night, there’s something special about snuggling with blankets and the gentle jingle of bells tinkling to the stride of strapping horses.Snowmobiler Driving Through Snow
  4. Ride on a snowmobile – A snowmobile is winter’s convertible.
  5. Take a trip to Reno - The city’s proximity to ski resorts and other recreational areas make Reno a top winter vacation spot. You can find 18 ski resorts in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area.
  6. Stay in the Québec Ice Hotel - The Hôtel de Glace is a must-see attraction to discover each winter. With its huge snow vaults and its crystalline ice sculptures, the Hôtel de Glace impresses by its dazzling decor. From January 5th to March 23th, enter this magical universe and live an incredible experience by visiting this ephemeral work of art.
  7. Strap on some snowshoes – Even your backyard can become a new adventure.  Local outdoor stores have hourly rentals for a one-time extravaganza.
  8. Try ice climbing – Learn to climb waterfall ice in New Hampshire. There are multiple guide companies to help you get your crampons.
  9. Visit Old Faithful and Yellowstone National Park - The famed national park is even more splendid in the. For a very unique experience stay at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The only way to get there is by a commercial snow coach.
  10. Watch the 2014 Olympic Winter Games – A great excuse to veg out on the couch and cuddle up by the fire in the dreariest month of the winter.

 

 
 

 

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Warm Weather Escapes to Beat the Winter Woes

Friday, January 10th, 2014

The New Year has certainly started off with a chilly beginning. The record freezing temps that terrorized much of the US earlier this week may just be the beginning of what Ol’ Man Winter has in store for 2014. That leaves me with the need for a warm weather escape. If you’re feeling the same way, pack up your sunglasses and swimsuits and chart a course for warmer weather at one of these amazing hotels.

Montage Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach, CA
The Montage Laguna Beach makes it easy to put your winter woes behind you. This craftsman-style luxury resort in arts-oriented Laguna Beach offers ocean-view rooms and suites, seasonal artisanal cuisine, and a nature-based spa. The service and staff of the large resort make it feel like a boutique property. The resort also has children and teen programs.

The Atlantic Resort & Spa Hotel
Fort Lauderdale, FL
The Atlantic Hotel is a great place to put your frostbitten toes in the sand. The beachfront hotel has 124 guest rooms with private terraces with ocean views, as well as kitchenettes and BOSE sound systems. The guest reviews are overly positive raving on the stellar customer service, amenities, and overall stay experiences. Will you join them?
TSB INSIDER TIP: Flying into Fort Lauderdale’s airport (FLL) can often be easier and more affordable than flying into busy Miami International (MIA).

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Scottsdale, AZ
You’ll forget you are in Arizona when you set foot in this five-star, 35-acre, Spanish-inspired retreat. Made up of four “villages” featuring fountain-filled courtyards, pools, a full-service spa and health club. Set up against Camelback Mountain, you’ll be winter warm poolside at this Scottsdale retreat.

Jake’s Hotel
Treasure Beach, Jamaica
An eco-chic bohemian hotel that is as fun as it is functional and affordable, Jake’s Hotel is on Jamaica’s southern coast and is a unique family-run hotel features 35 hippy-chic cottages on Jamaica’s Treasure Beach. The restaurant at Jake’s uses only locally-sourced ingredients and serves up some of the tastiest meals on the entire island. The hotel’s Driftwood Spa is naturally elegant and therapeutic. It’s a true treasure on Treasure Beach!

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Honolulu, HI
Want Hawaii on a budget? It can be done. The Aston Waikiki makes it possible with rates that tend to range between $100 and $150 a night. Free breakfast, ocean front views, and lots of attractions such as the Zoo and Aquarium are within walking distance.
TSB INSIDER TIP: Set up a fare alert on airfarewatchdog.com from your origination city to Oahu to get the jump on Hawaiian airfare deals.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Hotel
Vero Beach, FL
On Florida’s Atlantic Coast, and less than two hours southwest from the Magic Kingdom is where you’ll find a Disney beachfront family oasis. The resort features four restaurants, mini putt-putt, a sing-a-long campfire, pools, and more. And in the winter, temperatures rarely drop below 65° in this balmy Florida city. 

Hotels.com is featuring some great deals in California and Arizona for warm-weather hotels and resorts. So, shovel out the driveway and get planning your winter vacay today!

 
 

 

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10 Ways to Leave A Vacation Destination Better Than You Found it

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

We all want to have fun on our vacations, relaxing by soaking up sun and sipping cocktails on a tropical beach. However, traveling to a foreign country for vacation should be much more – a chance to learn the culture and connect with the amazing people who live there, and somehow leaving the place better off because of your presence. Here are 10 suggestions to do just that:

0_1139286641. Pick up litter.
I carry a few plastic bags in my backpack when I go sightseeing, visit natural attractions, or walk on the beach so I can pick up trash and carry it out. The locals usually look at me like I’m crazy, but that quickly turns to big smiles when they realize what I’m doing. Remember – it’s not just about cleaning up after yourself, but for those who aren’t so thoughtful, and setting a good example in the process.

2. Talk to the locals.
Don’t be afraid to say “hi” to the local people. Start out with a smile, ask their name, about their family, and joke around a bit. You’ll be amazed how warm and endearing people become once they see you show genuine interest in their lives. Some of the coolest people I’ve ever met around the world have humble jobs in tourism, but once we made a simple human connection we became lifelong friends.

3. Leave good reviews.
The tourism industry, like so many others there days, is dominated by online content from sites like Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, LoneyPlanet, Yelp, etc. Reviews can make or break a business so when you’re having a good experience at a hotel, restaurant, or bar, take the time to snap a few photos and leave a nice review on these sites. Be sure to let the management know so they can give good feedback to their employees, but if you don’t like a place for some reason, also tell the management before you leave a bad review, giving them a fair chance to fix it.

4. Make a donation locally.
Before your vacation is over and you get back on a plane, leave a donation with a local charity or community organization. It doesn’t matter how much you give because the simple, gracious act of wanting to help people goes a long way. Donating to a big organization online is great, but next time actually go meet face to face with someone at the church, community center, or town hall and learn about the people you’ll be helping.

5. Tip.
Tipping isn’t required in most countries outside the United States, but it still can make a big difference in someone’s life. In many tourist destinations the locals work 12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week for only a couple hundred dollars a month. Leaving a dollar or two may be insignificant to you, but it could mean the world to them and be the difference of a good meal. If a waiter, bellboy, taxi driver, or tour guide was friendly and made your stay better somehow, remember to tip them. I give a big tip to the hotel when I leave to spread evenly among the whole staff, so the more backstage, humble workers like maids and maintenance men get rewarded too.

6. Respect the people who live there.0_BBK67D
Remember that you are in someone else’s home, so think of yourself as a special guest and act accordingly. Of course you want to have a few drinks and have fun, but you can loosen up and still be conscious of the local people around you who make a living in tourism and treat them like gold.

7. Learn to say “Please” and “Thank you,” in the native tongue.
Just by learning a few basic words in the language you’ll open the door to new friendships and opportunities. The locals will love it that you’re showing appreciation and respect for their culture.

8. Patronize locally-owned businesses.
Too often, tourists frequent the bigger chain hotels, restaurants, and attractions, owned by corporations or foreign investors. So make an effort to seek out some smaller local establishments, too – you’ll be directly supporting someone’s family and probably get a better meal or room at a lower price, as well as a taste of the authentic culture.

9. Keep in touch.
Exchange email addresses and add people you meet on Facebook. It’s fun to keep in touch and build lifelong friendships with some of the great people who live there. Who knows – you might come back, or they might come visit you in the U.S. one day so you’ll get the chance to return the hospitality!

10. Practice a random act of kindness.
Before you leave, do something nice for a local person or family you’ve met. Leave a big tip for the cleaning ladies, take a local family out for dinner, or fund a class field trip at the local elementary school. Get creative and have fun with it – the good karma you create will remain long after you’ve gone home.

This is a guest post contributed by Norm Schriever. Norm is an Amazon.com best selling author, pro blogger, expat, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone who hopes to leave this planet a little better than how he found it. 

 
 

 

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Hotels To Inspire Your Travel for the New Year

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

If you’re like me, then you’re already thinking about all the places you want to visit in 2014. But we can all use a dose of travel inspiration. And maybe it’s not where you go, but where you stay that needs that inspiration. Hotels.com® recently recognized some of the most outstanding hotels based on insights from the more than 10 million verified Guest Reviews found on the leading hotel booking website.

Best Ski Hotels

YMs68xaP7RI-C_SFKLgT1iF9fPYsbEzLYY_0k22nVtkThe Arrabelle at Vail Square in Vail, Colo. was rated 4.8 out of 5 by Hotels.com guests and for good reason; it has an ice skating rink on site! Hotel Madeline in Telluride is another excellent choice in Colorado, rated 4.7 by Hotels.com Guests, featuring everything from a ski valet to a wintertime hot chocolate bar. In Jackson, WY, The Rustic Inn Creekside Resort and Spa is the place to go, with several acres to explore on ski, foot, sled, or snowmobile – it’s the winter outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Best Spa Hotels

Relaxation-seekers will be hard pressed to find any better places to kick-off 2014 than at any of the top spa hotel picks from Hotels.com. The Guerlain Spa at The Roosevelt New Orleans (4.6 rating) is one of only three in the country and has a 180 year tradition in beauty and relaxation. New spas, like the one in the 2-year-old Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta (4.8 rating), are also offering unparalleled services that receive high marks from Hotels.com guests. In San Diego, the 4.9 rated Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa is an award-winning wellness oasis that includes a Yoga Pavilion, Pilates studio, advanced exercise programs and retreats.

Best Casino Hotels

The Wynn Las Vegas (4.7 rating) is among the most glamorous destinations on the Las Vegas Strip. Along with its sister property Encore at Wynn Las Vegas (4.6 rating), the two hotels offer a luxurious high-limit gaming experience with quality complimentary drinks and a number of high limit table games. The all-suite Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino (4.6 rating) is the largest building in the U.S. after New York’s World Trade Center Towers (according to The Real Deal real estate magazine in New York City) and offers the most standard accommodations on the Strip.

Best Golf HotelssqJqTapHKWzo6Xj9V35EtH7Fzbohv6ucpw7LsXHz-Ws

The Mediterranean-inspired Grand Del Mar – San Diego (5.0 rating) offers everything from practice facilities and an instructional golf academy, to golf-hotel packages and a junior course for youth. The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (4.8 rating) features two striking golf courses that traverse around granite rock and boulder piles outside of Scottsdale, Ariz. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (4.8 rating) boasts three 18-hole championship golf courses amidst the island’s natural beauty and even offers unique activities such as yoga for golfers.

Best Bed & Breakfasts

The Almondy Inn (4.9 rating) in Newport, R.I. is one of the top bed and breakfasts in New England, serving up afternoon wine and cheese within steps of famed Bannister’s Wharf. Visitors to Cape Cod’s Provincetown can stay in the luxurious rooms of the Revere Guest House (4.9 rating). Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn (4.9 rating) in San Antonio offers guests in-room massages, as well as afternoon and evening desserts.

Feel Inspired? I sure do. Happy and Safe Travel for the New Year!

 
 

 

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Travel Sticky Situation: Delayed/Stranded by Winter Weather

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Tis the season to be traveling, so as we prepare for another holiday travel week, let’s review the top winter travel tips. The good news is that The Weather Channel is not predicting any major snowstorms in the U.S. over Christmas. Nevertheless, Mother Nature is never beyond a good storm surprise, so let’s be ready for whatever she throws at us this winter.

Trouble Ahead! Travel To-Dos

AA046865When winter storms approach, airlines begin preemptively waiving change fees in order to avoid stranded travelers.  If you have a trip on the horizon, DO stay tuned to national weather forecasts and check the travel advisories of your airline for delays, cancellations and rescheduling policies to see how any of it may affect your trip. You may not need to cancel your trip yet, but you should be aware of the possibility and begin considering alternate plans.

You are your best advocate. DO always have the hotel phone number, airline number, all of your confirmation numbers, and directions ON PAPER in addition to stored in your smart phone. You never know when you’ll be without battery, coverage or a charger.

If you are heading to your destination and get delayed, DO be sure to keep your hotel informed of your situation so you do not incur unnecessary charges for a no-show. If you are heading home and find yourself needing to stay an extra night, check availability as soon as you can to avoid having to scramble for other accommodations.

If You Get Stranded…

Remember when weather puts your trip to sleep, it doesn’t mean the airline owes you a good night’s rest in a hotel.   If you are already at the airport when delays or cancellations occur, DO be sure to have enough of the essentials to get you through a day… or two. For me, that’s contact solution, my phone charger, laptop and cord.

  • DO pack your patience: you are not the only one trying to cancel and rebook – be kind, don’t give up.
  • DO claim any reimbursement you are entitled to (for example, accidental charges for change fees) in writing and keep a copy. File claims as soon as possible.
  • DO forward copies of all documents to your travel insurer, if you have one.

Road-Trip To-Dos

And if you are behind the wheel this winter, possibly one of the best to-DO suggestions is to make a trip plan.  Pilots file a flight plan before takeoff, so driving our cars shouldn’t be any different. Make sure you DO advise someone of your trip plans.  DO call ahead to your destination and let someone know when you intend to leave, what route you will be traveling and your expected time of arrival.  If someone at your starting point and someone at your destination know your plans, help can reach you much more quickly, in the event of an emergency.

Safe Travels throughout the holidays and a merry and bright 2014!

 
 

 

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Where to Stay in Charlotte: TSB City of the Month

Monday, December 16th, 2013

From gleaming high-rise banking hotels to local B&Bs and water park resorts, Charlotte’s mix of hotel accommodations matches the city’s diversity of business, art and culture. So no matter what you are looking for when planning a visit to Charlotte, you’re sure to rest comfortably in ‘The Queen City.’

For Shopping

In the affluent SouthPark neighborhood, the Hampton Inn & Suites SouthPark at Phillips Place is just steps from shopping, wining and dining. Not to mention this gem is affordable too, with rates from $145/night on Hotels.com.  In the same area you may also want to consider a stay at the Marriott Charlotte Park Hotel.

For Sports

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If you want to get in the middle of Charlotte’s Center City, and close to Bank of America Stadium, reserve your room at the Westin Charlotte. It

has 700 rooms offering beautiful views; there’s even an indoor pool.

The Embassy Suites Charlotte/Concord Golf Resort & Spa is the “official” hotel of Charlotte Motor Speedway and is actually within walking distance. Many NASCAR drivers and teams actually stay here. But fast driving shouldn’t be the only reason to consider this resort; it also features a spa and golf course.

For Romance

It’s hard to not feel the love at the Charlotte landmark hotel where southern charm meet modern luxury. Duke Mansion was built in 1915, features 20 roomsand is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It’s played both home and host to plenty of prominent figures. The hotel operates as a non-profit with proceeds going to preserve and protect the Charlotte treasure.

For Business

A business traveler’s home away from home, The Hyatt Place Charlotte – City Park offers free parking, free Wi-fi, a convenient café/coffee shop for snacks on the go and conference rooms equipped with A/V resources.

2733328_25For Families

Smart parents know that when you are traveling on a site seeing vacation with the kids, planning some “quality kid time” is critical to the trip’s success. Charlotte’s Great Wolf Lodge is a great family destination and even makes for a great staycation for families living in the surrounding communities. A stay at this hotel includes access to the property’s 80,000 square foot water park.

 
 

 

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Things to do in Charlotte, NC: TSB City of the Month

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Charlotte is a fast growing city with much to enjoy for people of all ages. While most visitors head to ‘The Queen City’ between the spring and fall, there’s still plenty to do during the winter months; and right now during the holidays is no exception.

Holiday Happenings in Charlotte

Just 15 miles west of Charlotte is the small town of McAdenville (population 700). For the past 50 years, McAdenville, otherwise known as “Christmastown USA” has kept the Charlotte area merry and bright with its amazing light display that drawls more than 600,000 visitors each year and has even garnered the attention of TIME Magazine. There’s only one way through town so you can’t miss anything. Locals say the lights are best experienced on foot.

An animatronic orchestra of computerized bears, the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra, is one of Charlotte’s favorite Christmas attractions. The “Bearstein Bears” complete with singers play favorite holiday classics at Founders Hall for free daily throughout December.

200177110-001Things to Do in Charlotte

One of the city’s oldest cultural institutions is the Mint Museum. The historic building used to house the United States Mint – hence the name – but today its two-campus set-up houses both an impressive art collection and a popular craft and design museum.

North Carolina is regarded as the “Birthplace of Aviation,” and the Charlotte region is steeped in flight history. Located on the grounds of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum has a collection of over 50 aircraft and a large collection of smaller historic items related to aviation in the North and South Carolina.

The museum even recently added the body of US Airways flight 1549, the famed “Miracle on the Hudson” plane.

For the theme park enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled to know that Charlotte is home to Carowinds. This theme park actually crosses the borer between NC and SC, so you can be in two states at once. And, if it’s a water park you are looking for, Charlotte is also home to a Great Wolf Lodge, doubling as a great hotel option for your visit, too.

The first actually documented gold found in the United States occurred in the nearby Reed Gold Mine in Midland, NC. There’s no charge to tour the mine or see the museum and it is $3 to pan for gold.

Food for the Soul in Charlotte

Charlotte’s unique blend of business and southern hospitality seem to be the right ingredient for culinary success in the city. You can find just about anything in Charlotte to please even the most discerning palettes. Here are a few dining recommendations for your visit to Charlotte.

Mert’s Heart & Soul serves southern cuisine that is as authentic as it comes. All I can say is “Yum”. Mert’s has the best fried chicken, shrimp & grits, fried catfish around. Be sure to stop by for all the fixins.

The North Carolina Barbecue Society created a BBQ Trail all the way to Tennessee featuring 24 historic barbecue pits. I’m not sure whether to file this under “things to do” or “where to eat” but either way it would be deliciously fun.

Soul Gastrolounge is a hip and delicious choice for dinner. It stands in the top ten of Zagat’s best restaurants in Charlotte list. And, you can even catch a glimpse of the restaurant as it’s a backdrop spot in the new TV series, The Novice.

Be sure to make dinner reservations early enough in the evening so you’ll be able to get downtown for the Bobcats game at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. The new team brings a lot of new excitement to the area.

We’ll round out the week with a few hotel recommendations for when you visit Charlotte whether on business, pleasure, for romance or with family.

 
 

 

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The Digital Detox: Can You Really Disconnect on Vacation?

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Thanks to WiFi and 4G and the Internet, it’s nearly impossible to escape the going-ons of life, whether for work or social pleasures.  That’s why “digital detox” vacations are becoming more popular as people find themselves wanting to unplug and go off the grid for awhile, and actually enjoy some quality time with family or friends.

A number of great hotels and resorts in America are ready to help travelers disconnect while on vacation whether its through their remote locale or their take-no-prisoners approach to removing that cell phone from your hand.

Do you need a digital detox?

The hoteliers I spoke to say that it takes a few days for most guests to stop feeling antsy as a result of the separation from their devices. Physical activities, like surfing and yoga, help make the transition easier.

Off-the-Grid at Amangiri Resort

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Located in Southern Utah, just shy of the border with Arizona, sits the luxurious and unparalleled off-the-grid desert oasis, Amangiri Resort. With 600 protected acres looking out towards the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this resort and its minimalist architecture blends spectacularly into the landscape. The resort pampers its guests with exquisitely prepared meals, the 25,000 sq. ft. Aman Spa, and a pool sunken into the rock formations that will take your breath away.

Escape to Little Palm Island

No phones, no TVs and no shortage of fun and romance with a private beach, outdoor pool, and fitness facility at Little Palm Island (a Noble House Resort). Located on Little Torch Key, the only way you are getting to or from this resort is by seaplane or boat. The cottages are lovely (outdoor showers, freestanding soaking tubs), the beaches are private and magical, and the opportunity to unwind and disconnect is yours the minute you make a reservation at this Florida Keys resort.

Silence in the City

Chicago is anything but off-the-grid, yet one hotel is helping some guests achieve silence in the city. The Hotel Monaco Chicago provides guests with a “black-out” option, whereby they surrender their gadgets to reception upon checking in. Guests can fight their gadget addictions and enjoy their stay sans digital intrusion with the help of the hotel’s attentive staff.

Disconnect to Reconnect at the Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

Guests at the Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo can have both an eco-adventure in the Costa Rican jungle and a serene surfing sanctuary. Through a partnership with iPhone case company, Uncommon, guests can choose to surrender their iPhones for 24 hours. And then the resort provides them with a list of 24 things to do without technology during that time at the resort. Phones are returned after the allotted time with a choice of four Costa Rican-themed iPhone cases. Activities include a Costa Rican coffee scrub treatment at the spa, and sipping fresh coconut water by the pool.

Tech-free Zones at Marriott Caribbean and Mexico Resorts

The JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa is one of nine Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean and Mexico Resorts featuring “tech-free zones” throughout their properties. These zones are designated to encourage guests to leave their digital devices in their hotel rooms and relax, read, or enjoy quiet conversation. I’d spend my time in the

14-foot dive pool with the artificial reef!

Focus on the Family at the Renaissance Pittsburgh

The Renaissance Pittsburgh is trying to keep families connected with its
“family digital detox package.” Instead of families occupying the same rooms but not sharing in the experience, the hotel encourages them to reconnect with one another. All laptops and mobile phones must be surrendered on check-in, and the television, telephone, and iPhone docking station are removed from the guest room. Instead, families are provided board games and playing cards.

How willing are you to disconnect on vacation?

 
 

 

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