Entries in ‘Lodging’ Journal

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.

Le Manoir Richelieu, Charlevoix, Canada

Wednesday December 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

Winter, spring, summer, fall, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu has it all. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. My visit to this castle on the cliff was timed to coincide with the leaves changing color in the Charlevoix region of Québec. I would have been just as happy to explore this grand hotel in the winter.
 

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, hotel, Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada

Hotel Review: Fairmont le Manoir Richelieu. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 


 
 

spa, Fairmont le Manoir Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Spa Suite with St. Lawrence River view. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Imagine climbing into your in-suite hot tub after a day of skiing or snowmobiling – there’s also an Amerispa on property, as well as a health club. Le Manoir Richelieu is the only Canadian luxury resort hotel that I know of offering indoor, heated underground parking to snowmobiles! Additionally, the chateau offers a free ski shuttle and 110 miles of trails for snowshoeing, making the Fairmont Richelieu one of Conde Nast Travelers top 20 picks for best ski resorts.
 
Fairmont le Manoir Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Jacuzzi suite with water view. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
My room, a king bed, with St. Lawrence River view Jacuzzi suite, rented for $299. Canadian – check the website for current pricing and package deals. There is a $13.95 daily resort fee that covers high speed internet and access to indoor and outdoor swimming pools and such. Amenities include air-conditioning, free wifi (if you are a Fairmont President’s Club member -free to sign up) bathrobes, cable tv & coffee maker.
 

Fairmont le Manoir Richelieu, pool, Quebec, Canada

Outdoor swimming pool. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
pool, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Indoor swimming pool. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu is also ecoconscious, earning green keys awarded by the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, a system recognizing the hotel’s commitment to energy, water and waste conservation, while participating in community outreach and environmental stewardship.

Unlike properties that are LEED certified and built from the ground up with strict adherence to eco-friendly regulations, it’s not easy being green when you opened as a Manor in 1899. The historic property, originally built for Americans traveling by sea, was completely destroyed by fire in 1928, yet like the phoenix rising from the ashes, the hotel was rebuilt and re-opened in 1929. Since then, the 405 room luxury resort has added on with an eye toward conservation, while maintaining the charming elegance of a countryside manor house.

And what countryside manor would be complete without a dog to welcome guests to the property? The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu is pet-friendly. Whether you are traveling with your own dog or you simply like pets, stop by and say bonjour to Jordy, Richelieu’s canine ambassador. The other ambassador at Le Manoir Richelieu is the Beluga whale mascot. Perle is available, with advance notice, to tuck your little one into bed at night.
 

Chef's Table, Fairmont le Manoir Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Reserve an evening at the Chef’s Table. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Insider tip

Foodies will love exploring Charlevoix’s Flavor Trail, as well as the hotel’s many restaurants with seasonally changing menus. My insider tip, reserve an evening at the Chef’s Table. Seventy five percent of products used on the menu come from local producers within a 50k radius. Priced at $85. Canadian for a four-course meal ($135. when paired with wine) guests are treated to dinner with Fairmont Chef Patrick Turcot. Or select the Farm to Table 2-night package. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer @NancyDBrown on Twitter and @FairmontManoir @FairmontHotels.
 

cannon, Fairmont Manoir Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Enjoy this castle on the cliff. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
If You Go:

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu 1 418 665 3703 or (866) 540-4464
181, rue Richelieu
La Malbaie Québec, Canada G5A 1X7
 

You might also like
Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, Québec, Canada
 

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to Québec Tourism and Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu for arranging my accomomdations. All opinions are my own.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North: Cowboy Up

Wednesday November 26, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Cowboys and luxury don’t always go hand in hand, or should I say from cowboy boots to leather gloves? Fortunately, cowboys and cowgirls fit right in at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North. Located away from downtown Scottsdale, Scottsdale Troon North takes its name from its relationship with well-heeled neighbor, Troon North Golf Club. That’s right, guests can wear cowboy boots, golf shoes, spa sandals, hiking boots or high heels in the lobby and no one will bat an eye. But you will be greeted with a warm Sonoran desert welcome.
 

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel

Hotel review: Four Seasons Scottsdale. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Southwest suites

I had the opportunity to stay in one of 22 recently remodeled suites at the high desert luxury resort. The $750,000 enhancements included updated rugs, new upholstery, lamps and the all important “Signature Sleep” bed that is oh so necessary after a day in the saddle. Interchangeable bed toppers – firm to plush – may not be important to you, but anyone with sleep issues will appreciate this Four Seasons option.
 
 

 
 

Four Seasons Resort Socttsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel lobby

Warm Sonoran desert welcome. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Extraordinary Experiences

New to many Four Seasons Resort properties is a collection of Extraordinary Experiences offered only at one particular resort. The Scottsdale at Troon North kicks off Cowboy for a Day in partnership with Arizona Cowboy College. This working ranch experience offers a home on the range, day long adventure steeped in cowboy history with plenty of hands on opportunities for city slickers to get their cowboy boots dusty.
 

Adobe casitas at base of Pinnacle Peak. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Adobe casitas at base of Pinnacle Peak. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Similar to conjuring up a genie in a bottle, guests are able to direct and star in their own Scottsdale spaghetti western reality show. You choose the hat and boots (additional fee), while wranglers at Arizona Cowboy College will match you with a horse based on your riding ability. You will learn to groom, bridle and saddle your horse, as well as ride next to giant Saguaro cactus in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. The Cowboy for a Day pricing starts at $450, check the website for current prices.
 
casita, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona

Southwest king casita. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
The day before my Cowboy College experience, I tried a “Yoga for Horseback Riders” class (additional fee). Yoga Instructor and LPGA Expert Dodie Mazzuca geared my morning toward gentle yoga. “For horseback riding, we want to make sure the hips are healthy and the core is strong,” noted Mazzuca.
 
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, pool, Arizona

One of three pools. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
After a full day of hanging with horses, I opted to return to the resort for an 80 minute “Back in the Saddle” massage. Relaxed in one of 14 treatment rooms, I selected the Turquoise Sage Mountain Arnica Body Oil, good for soothing sore muscles. I could have floated around in one of three swimming pools – children’s, family or adult-only pool with hot tub and 24 hour access, after my massage. Instead, I moseyed on over to Talavera restaurant to take in the Sonoran sunset by the foothills of Pinnacle Peak and sampled lobster and corn bisque, followed with diver scallops, butternut squash, agnolotti and merquez sausage. Good thing this culinary feast was after my horseback ride!
 
frittata, Proof restaurant, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Egg white frittata at Proof. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Insider Tips

While valet parking is expected at this luxury resort ($29), guests have the option for complimentary self parking. A golf cart will follow you upon parking and whisk you to your private casita. There is a $30 daily resort fee that covers high speed internet, breakfast items such as croissants, muffins and coffee, bottled water at the front desk, 24 hour health and fitness center, a 4.7 mile hiking trail that starts on the property and a Kids For All Seasons program open 365 days of the year.

The resort is pet-friendly (30 pound weight limit.)

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @FSScottsdale on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm
 

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, patio, Arizona

Take in a Sonoran sunset. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
If You Go:

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (480) 515-5700
10600 East Crescent Moon Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85262
 

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North for creating this experience. All opinions are my own.