Entries in ‘Lodging’ Journal

Hotel in La Malbaie, Charlevoix Quebec

Friday December 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

Looking for relaxation and good food in the Charlevoix region of Quebec? I recently discovered Auberge des 3 Canards in La Malbaie, Canada. The inn has a unique history, dating back to 1892, with a United States connection.

Auberge des 3 Canards, Quebec, Canada

Auberge des 3 Canards photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

In 1892, Madam Lucy Connnely, the widow of a Maryland industrialist, bought land in Murray Bay with plans to build a summer home. After her passing, the Baltimore architect who designed the home bought it. Upon his death and after his daughter’s ownership, three doctors purchase the inn, thus the three ducks (or 3 Docs) reference.

Today, the inn continues operation with 40 rooms, eight suites and one guest cottage. As is the case with older properties, there are pluses and minuses at the Auberge. If you are a light sleeper, you might prefer the third floor, as upstairs neighbors movements on the wood floor boards is apparent. However, you’ll need to keep in mind that the Auberge does not have an elevator on site. You’ll be lugging your baggage upstairs.

Auberge des 3 Canards, La Malbaie, hotel

Fireplace room. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Fireplace room

I stayed in room #130, a gas fireplace queen room with a St. Lawrence River view and a firm mattress ($155 Canadian dollars). The four star property offers rooms with private balconies or patios, a seasonal swimming pool and lovely golf course nearby. For those who enjoy horseback riding on the beach, or sleigh rides in the snow, Les Ecuries Entre Monts et Marees is minutes away.

Auberge des 3 Canards, scallops, restaurant

Scallops and regional specialties. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Auberge des 3 Canards

The Auberge connection to quality food and regional cuisine is apparent at first glance on the five course menu. With fresh fish, scallops, grilled Quebec red deer and goat sweet breads on the menu, I was over-whelmed with choices – in a good way! The soupe aux gourganes, a regional specialty of Quebec, was a treat, as was the sugar pie with frozen yogurt and milk jam. You won’t be hungry after this meal, but if you are in need of a snack, I highly recommend the Quebec and Charlevoix cheese plate featuring regional cheeses sourced from Flavor Trail producers.

Auberge des 3 Canards, fireplace, Quebec, Canada

Toast bread in the hearth. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Insider tip

Breakfast is not included with the price of a room, but is available for a reasonable $17. Canadian and includes coffee, fresh juice and six hot breakfast items from goat cheese omelette to maple butter crepes and a selection of meats, cheeses and yogurt.

The toast buffet caught my attention. The chef offers three different home-baked breads, in addition to three house made butters. Guests slice their bread selection to a desired thickness and then set the bread over the fireplace grill. Try and wait until the butter melts to enjoy this yeasty goodness!

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown.

Auberge des 3 Canards, hotel, Quebec, Canada

Fireplace lobby. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

If You Go:

Auberge des 3 Canards 418 665-3761 or 800 461-3761
115, Côte Bellevue
La Malbaie ( Pointe-au-Pic ) Quebec, Canada
G5A 1Y2
Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Tourism Quebec. All opinions are my own.
You might also like Things to Do in the Charlevoix region of Canada

Morro Bay Lodging, Los Osos, California Central Coast

Wednesday December 10, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

Everything about the bayside community of Los Osos and Baywood Park is off the beaten track. If you like stepping off the tourist path and being surrounded in nature, I have a secret to share with you. Her name is The Green Cottage and she is a charming little gem. In fact, she reminds me of a treasured piece of sea glass. Worn by the waves, recycled by the sea, this immaculate guest house, built around 1920, is a family treasure filled with antiques, nautical-themed art and heart.
 

Morro Bay, Green Cottage, Los Osos

Morro Bay from Green Cottage, Los Osos. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Perched on the southern tidal estuary of Morro Bay, The Green Cottage has been in Pandora Nash Karner’s family since the 1950’s. Pandora has thought of everything to make this vacation rental feel like home.

“We try to make our guests feel like they are staying at their favorite aunt’s cottage while she is away on some exotic sailboat cruise in the South Seas,” say Green Cottage owner Pandora Nash Karner with a grin.

 

 
The Morro Bay and Morro Rock views are lovely, the quiet profound, and the birding is spectacular for Audubon afficionados, as well as the casual shore bird watcher.

After a day of exploring Montaña de Oro State Park, walking El Moro Elfin Forest’s boardwalk loop and wandering the nearby Audubon Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, I was looking forward to a restful sleep in the king size bed in the cottage.
 

Green Cottage, Morro Bay, California

Take a peek inside this Morro Bay cottage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Green Cottage, quilt

Pandora made this quilt! Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Switching on the electric fireplace, I plopped on the couch and opened the binder to review the over 400 DVD selection. You won’t find TV’s or telephones at the cottage – this place is all about re-connecting with nature (and your partner) but there is WiFi in the cottage and a desk in the quiet room if that’s important to you.
 

Green Cottage, Morro Bay, California

Quiet room photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Green Cottage kitchen, Los Osos, California

Breakfast by the bay. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
My morning started with fresh ground SLO Roasted coffee from San Luis Obispo, a basket of fresh fruit and yogurt left for me in the fridge, as well as a large selection of tea. If you plan to cook in the cottage, there is a petite kitchen garden on the deck, spices and pans in the pantry, a dishwasher, stove and a microwave oven, too.

 
The rental fee for 2 nights is $490.00 with a two night minimum, in addition to a $100.00 cleaning fee and $250.00 refundable security deposit. San Luis Obispo County charges an 11% tax ($64.90).

Insider Tip

If you find yourself in Los Osos on Monday, there is a friendly Farmers’ Market in Baywood Park. It’s a 15 minute walk or 3 minute drive from the cottage. Open from 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., the market is located between Santa Maria Street and 2nd Street. There are cloth market bags in the pantry.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.
 

Green Cottage, Morro Bay, California

Green Cottage photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

If You Go:

The Green Cottage (805) 528-1718
356 Mitchell Drive
Los Osos, California 93422
 

You might also like Things to do in Los Osos. Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of The Green Cottage. As always, all opinions are my own.

Review: Embassy Suites Napa Valley

Friday December 5, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Back in the day (we’re talking late 1980’s) downtown Napa was not the happening spot that it is today. My husband and I lived in the apartments next to Embassy Suites Napa Valley and would walk over to order their killer cheese bread. The bread is long gone from the Napa Valley menu – it was probably called killer cheese bread due to the artery-clogging goodness – and along with the updated healthy menu items comes a $4 million+ re-model of the entire hotel.
 

"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", hotel review

Embassy Suites hotel review. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

What I like about this property; the all-suite hotel is conveniently located in downtown Napa, so if you want to do Napa like a local, you’ll be able to walk, dine and drink without driving. You’ll need your car to explore further up valley, but if Napa is your focus, the hotel is right next to Highway 29 – the first downtown Napa exit. Additionally, as a business traveler, I love the free, fast wifi! Good water pressure in the shower of this well lighted bathroom, too. FYI, no bath tub, but there is an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, as well as a small fitness center.

 

 

The 205 room hotel is pet-friendly and charges a one time $75 pet fee. Dogs receive a goodie bag upon arrival! All rooms are suites with king or double bed options and include a desk and sleeper sofa in the front suite. The updated rooms include plenty of electrical outlets for charging your electronics. If you are a light sleeper, I recommend requesting a third floor location. My neighbors above me were walking around until 11:30 p.m. and up early the next morning.
 

"Embassy Suites Napa Valley" swans, hotel, "Embassy Suites"

Swans in the hotel courtyard. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", hotel, pool

Outdoor pool. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", swimming pool

Indoor pool & hot tub. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
In addition to a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast, guests are welcomed to a complimentary reception for evening cocktails served nightly from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Breakfast is served in the atrium Monday – Friday from 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
 
"Embassy Suites", "Napa Valley", breakfast

Cooked to order breakfast at Embassy Suites. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Embassy Suites Napa Valley", atrium

Cocktails served nightly in the atrium. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Insider Tip
In addition to being pet-friendly, Embassy Suites has lovely grounds with water features, fountains, ducks and swans. If you are traveling with kids, the birds are fed in the morning for good viewing. See if you can spot the black swans!

For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter.
 

"Embassy Suites" suite, "Napa Valley"

King Suite Pool View. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

If You Go:
Embassy Suites Napa Valley (800) Embassy or (707) 253-9540
1075 California Boulevard
Napa, California 94559

Hotel review, video and photos courtesy of Lodging Editor Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Embassy Suites while researching an article for another publication.