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Category Archives: Hospitality

tips from our travel experiences

The Suites at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco CA

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The Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and trolly cars.  There are few places in San Francisco where you can stay and see all three distinctly San Franciscan sights, all from the same location.  The Suites at Fisherman’s Wharf, part of the Shell Vacations Hospitality group, offer 24 one and two-bedroom suites, both for time share members as well as the standard tourist/traveler.  To be in the thick of of things just a block between Ghiradelli Square, Russian Hill Park, and the Cannery Shopping Center.

welcome basket for elite members

welcome basket for elite members

If you are a time share member, particularly an elite member, expect a welcome basket with items like snacks, bottles of water, Le Belge chocolates, postcards, and a cute magnet.  Believe us, the snacks and water came in handy between our meals out in other parts of the city.

kitchen

kitchen

Some who come to San Francisco are here for an extended stay, and you may not want to go out for every meal.  All the way down to the dishwasher, the suite’s kitchen has everything you need to prepare and serve your own meals.

sitting area

sitting area

The spacious seating area connects the kitchen to the bedroom.  A sectional couch, four person dining table, a desk (for writing those postcards), and a 42″ flat screen TV make you feel like it’s your own home, with plenty of room to spread out.

bedroom

bedroom

When it’s finally time to tuck in, the plush bed with soft sheets and lots of pillows will keep you comfortable.  We had a hard time getting up each morning during our stay!

It doesn’t get much better for the tourist experience than being in the heart of San Francisco, on the corner of Hyde and North Point with the trolly stop at the front door.  Check out our video on YouTube for a walk-through of the suite, and we hope you consider this historic establishment when making your travel plans.

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El Castell Motel, Monterey CA

Monterey is a destination for many travelers and many reasons.  We were in Monterey last weekend for the Cooking For Solutions festivities, but there was no way we could commute that far for each day’s events.  We did research to find a comfortable and affordable room, and El Castell Motel came into our sights.

comfortable king size bed

comfortable king size bed

Most of the rooms are on the first of only two floors, and parking is right in front of your door.  Walking in, the room is welcoming.  The bed was appointed with plush pillows and blankets that provided just enough warmth for the cool coastal nights.

The bathroom was spacious and well laid out.  Considering that there was no room service at this motel, we appreciated the microwave so that we could heat leftovers.

coffee pot, flat screen tv, and fast wireless internet

coffee pot, flat screen tv, and fast wireless internet

Technological upgrades made this room more like home than we realized.  Coffee and wireless internet have become such important factors when booking a room.  The speed with which we uploaded photos from our Cooking For Solutions events was impressive.

covered pool

covered pool

We did not test the pool ourselves, but early in the morning we got a shot of it when the kids weren’t playing.  Clear, heated water and pretty floor made for a nice sanctuary in the center of the motel.

Every morning, a small breakfast spread is available.  Of course there is the standard cereal, yogurt, fruit, danishes, and hot beverages, but the waffle machines were particularly popular.  Who doesn’t love a fresh waffle?

If you’re planning a trip to Monterey, this is a very well maintained facility with easy access to other parts of the city.  It is family run, and they take pride in their business.  There is no need to stay in one of the snazzy hotels close to the aquarium when you can have just as comfortable a room a mere ten minutes away.

The Club Deluxe Room at the New Tropicana, Las Vegas

Not everything in Las Vegas has to be about excess.  If you’re looking for an affordable yet well-appointed room on the Strip, the remodeled Tropicana has just the spot.  The gorgeous pools always were and still remain the focus of the resort casino, so to give the rooms a beachy, relaxed vibe, the remodeling was structured around that focus.  Our marvelous host Joanie Robinson let us peak into some of the rooms and snap pictures during our stay for Vegas Uncork’d, so that we could share with you all the wonderful new upgrades in a variety of rooms.

quite cozy

quite cozy

The Club Deluxe Rooms are in the three-story wings flanking the two main towers of the Tropicana.  Most rooms have a view of the pool and some have a balcony, like this one, but not all do, so make sure to request a view when making a reservation.  The Euro-Top Serta mattress is very comfortable, as is the ample work space at the desk – in both those parts of the room, there is space to spread out.

The shower is a stall, and there is only one sink, but having two sinks is a total luxury and wholly unnecessary; just scoot closer to your honey and brush your teeth together.

This room, being the most basic, costs around $55 for the weekdays and $95 on the weekends (defined as Thursday through Saturday), and frankly that’s cheaper than “Greatest Western” or “Holiday Motel” yet your stay would be so much more pleasant.  If, for you, the purpose of Vegas is to eat, drink, and be merry, and the room is not so important to you, then look into these quarters at the Tropicana.  Free wi-fi, immediately nearby guest parking, and the Beach Cafe right around the corner are just additional perks on top of the pool access and view.  With everything so new and clean, you’d think you were the first to lay your head down there!  It’s considered the basic room, but you will still feel like a million bucks.