Category Archives: Places to Stay

5 Historic Hotels Southerners Love

The South has some legendary grand hotels, and many Southerners would love to keep them all to themselves. These are five of my favorites, all elegant, renovated, and award-winning:

The Hermitage Hotel | Nashville

Lobby of the Hermitage Hotel, NashvilleThe Hermitage Hotel is really the grand dame of them all. The architecture and décor are the very best of Southern elegance. From the minute you step into the beautiful lobby staff is attentive and friendly. Our room was lovely, spacious and totally modern in every amenity and function. Famous Green Men's Room at The Hermitage Hotel, NashvilleWe started the evening with local friends in the hotel’s iconic Oak Bar (with a quick side visit to see the famous Men’s Room). Then out the door of this conveniently located hotel to hit some of the cities great nightspots and hear some excellent music. Read the rest of this entry

Favorite Instagrammable Hotel Pool

The amazing pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore.Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel

We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel so we could swim in their iconic rooftop pool, located 57 floors high and it was worth the experience. Warning – the water is freezing (at least for this Miami girl), so I didn’t stay in long.

The only way to get in this pool is to stay at the hotel, otherwise, visitors can go up to the SkyPark or dine in nearby restaurants. Spago is adjacent to the pool and has good views, so if you don’t care about getting in the water, that’s a good way to go. BTW – You can get drinks and food when you are by the pool, but it comes from Spago and is expensive. Read the rest of this entry

Get the Royal Treatment in Ireland

 

One part of the massive Ashford Castle in Ireland.Probably like many little girls, I have had a fascination with castles and country estates that has stayed with me for a lifetime. My first stay in such royal surroundings was the wonderful Castle Sababurg about a 45-minute drive from Kassel, Germany, in Brothers Grimm territory.  It is widely believed the brothers were inspired by Sababurg, using it as the model for the castle in Sleeping Beauty, and I believe it. Sadly, it has recently closed.

When our daughter was young, we stayed in a delightful luxury family hotel, Woolley Grange near Bath in England.  One huge benefit was the on-site nanny to watch over children so parents could enjoy a quiet gourmet dinner. And one of my all-time favorite memories was a stay in the English Lake District at Farlam Hall Country House Hotel, a beautiful Relais & Chateaux manor home with resident cats Gin & Tonic and amazing dinner service.

On a more recent trip to Ireland, we loved our visits to Ashford Castle (pictured at top), Dromoland, and Ard na Sidhe. Read on.

 

Ashford Castle | Cong, Mayo

 

I can’t even think of enough adjectives to describe Ashford Castle. Dating from 1228, this property did indeed start out as a castle. In the mid-1800s it was owned by Sir Benjamin Guinness. In 2013, the property was rescued from receivership by the Red Carnation luxury hotel group. They bought it for less than half of its previous sale price and then proceeded to invest somewhere between $50-70 million in renovating the hotel and estate. Read the rest of this entry

Santa Fe Logistics & La Fonda Hotel

Artist rendition of La Fonda.

We chose the historic La Fonda Hotel for our girls’ trip west and it was a hit. Some rooms have fireplaces and you should get one if available.  Staff brings up wood and starts it for you, with plenty of reserve wood so you can keep the fast-burning pinon wood-fed fire going.  They also bring up hot chocolate and New Mexico’s official state cookie (for real, first state to have an official cookie).  Evolved from recipes of the first Spanish colonists, the Biscochito is a crispy butter cookie with sugar, cinnamon, and anise. Wonderful.

Staff was great and saved us when we had to deal with missed flights, late arrivals, and missing luggage. They also enthusiastically accommodated our request for an area to play cards and set us up in a perfect spot.

Now that’s a light fixture. From a ballroom at La Fonda Hotel.

The hotel is right off the main Plaza and very central, for easy walking to shops and restaurants. Be sure to take the free tour of the hotel, if you are in residence when scheduled on Thursday mornings.  The property is chock-full of interesting art and history.  It’s also haunted . . . . but we had to find out that info in less official ways.

Restaurant La Plazuela at La Fonda. A site of at least one ghost story.

There are no longer any cabs in Santa Fe, Uber and Lyft chased them out. There is a free van-based transportation system that can get you around town, but we never tried it.  We just walked or took Uber.

Take note that the Santa Fe airport is extremely small.  No TSA-Pre, you will have to take off coats and take out computers, Kindles, iPads, liquids, even snacks.  It was a mess getting through security.  There are no jetways so you will be walking on open ramps, not steps, to get on and off planes.  Delayed or canceled flights have little opportunity for substitute options.  If your bags don’t make it, well you might be out of luck til the next day. Some of our group had to rush off to Albuquerque to get another flight when theirs was canceled.  Best bet is probably to fly into Albuquerque to begin with and take the one-hour ride to Santa Fe.  Happy Trails.