Southern California may be best known for red carpets and movie stars, but there’s more to see than celebrities, especially if you’re traveling with kids who aren’t unlikely to dazzled by the sight of fame in over-sized sunglasses and a trucker hat. Take advantage of a spring special from a beach-side hotel in Redondo Beach and take in larger-than-life sights of the sea.
Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach & Marina Hotel is a business class hotel in the small beach town of Redondo Beach west of Los Angeles. You’re unlikely to run into anyone famous in the lobby, but the clown fish in the aquarium by registration bears a striking resemblance to Nemo.
The Crowne Plaza doesn’t quite live up to its advertised “resort” title, but it is a comfortable hotel with spacious rooms and balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Better still, access to that ocean requires just a short walk across the street and down the pier, making the hotel a perfect home base for a Pacific vacation.
Activities within walking distance include:
- Whale watching tours
- Paddle boat rentals
- Shopping on the pier
- Eating fresh caught seafood
- Swimming in a unique sea lagoon
Guests at Crowne Plaza can receive a discount on whale watching tours, as well as bike rentals and day passes to the Gold’s Gym next door. On site, enjoy a heated pool and Jacuzzi tub, perfect for cool spring nights.
Rooms at the Crowne Plaza in Redondo Beach start at $99 a night.
The Exterior of the Mountain View Grand
While much of New England doesn’t have very much snow coverage, the mountains of northern New England have plenty of man-made and natural snow. If you are thinking of heading up north to ski, one of my favorite New Hampshire hotels, the Mountain View Grand in the White Mountains, is offering a ski and stay package from now through April 1, 2012.
The ski and stay package at the Mountain View Grand starts at $198 (double occupancy, tax not included), and includes one night stay in a classic room, ski tickets for Cannon Mountain (good for skiing Monday through Friday), and allowance of $12 per person toward breakfast at the hotel. Additional guests and children may be added to the package for an additional fee. Guests are able to use the ski tickets the day after arrival. This package is available mid-week, but blackout dates may apply. To book, call 866.484.3843 and mention the code “Ski and Stay”.
The Mountain View Grand Resort offers AAA four-diamond accommodations and dining, evening turndown service, complimentary WiFi, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, several restaurants, and an on-site farm.
Mountain View Grand
Mountain View Road
Whitefield, NH 03598
Photo credit: Jodi Grundig
The Atrium at the Gaylord National
I’ve raved before about how much I love the Gaylord Hotels, and I’m so thrilled that they’ve recently partnered with Dreamworks to create a more family-friendly experience at their hotels. Now, they are offering Family Fun Nights with Shrek and Friends on special nights in February and March 2011. These nights are the perfect way for kids to really enjoy themselves in a family vacation experience!
The Family Night Nights start at $99 per person, double occupancy, and include the following:
- Accommodations at a Gaylord Hotels resort for a family of up to four
- Admission to DJ dance party with appearances by Shrek, Fiona, and Puss in Boots
- Admission to a DreamWorks movie shown on a big screen
- Puss In Boots Quest for the Magic Beans Scavenger Hunt
- Swamp Juice and Ogre Treats
- A souvenir photo for the families
- A DreamWorks craft activity
- The daily resort fee
- Self parking
The Family Fun Night with Shrek and Friends takes place on Feb. 18, 2012 at both Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN., and Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL., and on Feb. 25, 2012 and March 10, 2012 at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD.
The Gaylord National
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
The Gaylord Opryland
2800 Opryland Drive
Nashville, TN 37214
The Gaylord Palms
6000 W Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, FL 34746
The Gaylord Texan
1501 Gaylord Trail
Grapevine, TX 76051-1945
Photo credit: The Gaylord Hotels
The Exterior of the Walt Disney World Dolphin
I recently decided to plan a last minute trip to Walt Disney World to cheer on some of my friends at the marathon. Since it’s a popular weekend, and I was booking very last minute, my hotel options were fairly limited. As an American Express cardholder, I was able to get a great prepaid deal at the Walt Disney World Dolphin – a hotel I hadn’t visited before.
While the Dolphin isn’t an official Walt Disney World hotel, it does have some Disney perks. Guests are able to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours as well as Disney transportation. However, Magical Express transportation is not available.
We had booked a two double-bed room, as there were three of us sharing the room. However, when I checked it at 10pm, my room wasn’t available. Instead, we got a king bed room with a sofa bed and a pull-out couch, along with a one-time $50 credit and complimentary breakfast for three. I was a little disappointed, but the room was actually very nice.
The restaurants at the Dolphin (and sister hotel the Swan) are fabulous, if a bit expensive, and the pool area is wonderful. But you can’t beat the location – walking distance to Epcot’s World Showcase and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Walt Disney World Dolphin
1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Photo credit: Jodi Grundig