My husband and I stayed at the Elm Hurst Inn and Country Spa in Ingersol Ontario, and truly enjoyed our stay. It was certainly a quiet hotel, and had crisp, clean rooms to accommodate us. We were there for a Christmas party and the decorations made the Inn look that much more picturesque in the snow and lights.
Having to fly unexpectedly to Scottsdale, Arizona recently for a family emergency, I found myself scrambling to locate a hotel with enough amenities to satisfy my parents and my wildly diverse siblings with their extended families. Not being familiar with the area, but wanting to get a hotel with the basics to satisfy me, I can report that the Wingate by Windham in Scottsdale is where I plan to return to whenever I am back in town.
The Wingate by Wyndham is part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of hotel brands that includes Ramada, Days Inn, Travelodge, Howard Johnson and more.
This Wingate is targeted to the business traveler, with a 24 hour fitness room that I used daily, and a well stocked breakfast set up every morning from 6:00 until 9:00. I stuck to the cereal and eggs, but my sister raved about the “make your own waffles”. With the heat, my brother skipped the gym and used the pool. He swam every morning, reporting to me how nice and clean the water was.
They offer great deals for seniors and AAA members. We had nicely appointed queen rooms for $89 a night. My room had two queen beds and huge flat screen LG television. With my sister in a room on one side of me and my mother on the other side, how quiet my room was at night was perfect.
We all agreed that the Moen Revolution showerhead was a nice perk and my father loved how new the ironing board and iron were. He likes a a very sharp crease in his pants. Each room has a single-cup coffeemaker with Wolfgang Puck coffee that comes in handy if you stay up late like my niece or get up at the crack of dawn, like my mom.
With members of my family unable to drive but needing to get to the mall and other destinations, we were pleasantly surprised by their free shuttle service. They have a few vans available from 7:00 to 7:00 everyday, that will take you anywhere you want to go within a 5 mile radius of the hotel. Amanda, one of the front desk agents drove us a couple of times and expertly got us to our destination. Given my parents back seat driving and the hundred temperatures, I couldn’t tip her enough.
The Phoenix Airport is too far but the Scottsdale Airport is close enough use their free shuttle. If you need to print your boarding pass, they have a 24 hour Business Center too with free internet access and printer. The Wingate by Wyndham in Scottsdale has an amazing staff who offered our family so much warmth. If you travel to Scottsdale for business, a round of golf or maybe a girls spa weekend, this hotel is in a great location off the 101 Loop.
All photos taken by my iPhone.
Valentine’s Day is coming and what better place to escape to but the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. This luxurious hideaway is found along a ridge high above the Pacific Ocean and perfect for that quiet and romantic getaway.
The entrance and 98 acre property is hidden or rather tucked out of sight along the western edge of Highway 1 just south of the village and near Pfeiffer State Park.
Big Sur has been attracting creative types to its wild landscape and isolated location for decades, starting with authors Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac.
After Highway 1 was completed in 1937 the area was sought after by Orson Wells and his wife Rita Hayworth, who bought a cabin here in 1944. And one of my favorite Beach Boys album is Holland which features the song “California Saga/Big Sur”, written by Mike Love – it is the best.
Romantics as well as those looking for a peaceful retreat come to this area every year, and with the Santa Lucia Mountain Range dropping almost directly into the Pacific Ocean, secluded bays and unpredictable surf – Big Sur is the perfect secluded location.
The Post Ranch Inn has earned its reputation with the 2008 Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Hotel in the United States and the Conde Nast Traveler 2008 Gold List for World’s Best 700 Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines. And if that isn’t enough to convince you that this beautiful place is worth a visit, they were named one of the top “Ten Greenest Accommodations in the World” by Trip Advisor.
When I stayed here, the first thing I noticed was how secluded the property was away from the highway then how well organized it was. We parked our car below, on a lower part of the property and then were driven up to the registration. After checking in we were taken to our beautiful room overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The amenities are very high end and just enough to make you feel pampered rather than overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I loved touches like the little iron tea kettle in the mini-refrigerator, filled with cream for your coffee or tea. The rooms are furnished with fireplaces and a big fluffy beds that have a clerestory window above for star gazing.
I loved the way our Coast rooms were set along the ridge so that you may be close to your neighbor but when you go out onto your deck, you cannot see anyone near by – all you can see is the sunset, maybe a California Condor fly overhead (there are several pairs that live in the area), or possibly whales on their biannual migration north or south.
During our stay I got up every morning and walked across the property down towards the pool, to the yurt for a yoga session – where we were never more than six guests, that was luxury.
Afterward there was still plenty of time to slowly walk back up the hillside for the free and delicious buffet breakfast in the restaurant. As a guest you will get preferential treatment for all of your meal reservations at their gorgeous Sierra Mar Restaurant – which showcases organic and seasonal foods.
A wonderful surprise treat you will find are the lovely sculptures situated throughout the property, sometimes in unexpected places.
And did I mention the rooms do not have a television? This makes the experience even better and very special. Soak up the impressive landscape and views, meditate or read a little, snuggle up with that special someone, walk the uninhabited beaches near by – or if you prefer book some time at the spa.
Big Sur is special place in California and in the United States. Its fragile ecosystem was tested last year when the Basin Complex Fire forced a two week evacuation of the area just before the 4th of July holidays. However, this resilient area is again thriving and ready for visitors whether to stay in this luxurious hideaway or to enjoy the local parks and beaches.
If you are looking for a unique place to escape to that will rejuvenate you during this unsettled time or a wonderful and romantic getaway for that special Valentine’s Day this year – the Post Ranch Inn is it.
Now I realize this isn’t for everyone but I consider the higher price tag an investment in my well being and spirit – there is something about Big Sur and this part of the California coast that speaks to the artist in me.
Photo credits to sfcphotography