Entries in ‘Lodging’ Journal

Historic Broadmoor: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Friday June 20, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 20 Comments

"Broadmoor" Colorado Springs

Historic Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO

The historic Broadmoor reins supreme as the grand dame of Colorado Springs in Colorado. The resort holds the titles of the longest running Forbes five star and AAA five diamond property in the country – they have held this distinction since The Broadmoor’s official opening on June 29, 1918. Located on 3,000 acres with three golf courses, 779 rooms, 19 restaurants, cafes & lounges and a Forbes five star spa, the historic Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado radiates luxury.

Broadmoor Wilderness Experience

Situated in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor serves as an upscale base camp for outdoor explorers and sports enthusiasts.

While I’m not the golfer in the family, The Broadmoor offers several top-notch golf courses on property. In the summertime, complimentary golf clinics are offered certain days of the week, as are complimentary tennis round robins. While not exactly a wilderness experience, the kids (and kids at heart) might want to take a spin on Cheyenne Lake in a paddle boat. Check with the concierge for further details.

Golf course view from Broadmoor Spa

Golf course view from Broadmoor Spa

I have made a promise to myself that I will return to The Broadmoor with my husband to experience The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley. This exclusive ranch property is just a 30 minute drive up the mountain from The Broadmoor. Surrounded by the majestic Pike National Forest, the all-inclusive ranch offers fly-fishing, hiking, biking and horseback riding in beautiful Colorado Springs. Cloud Camp, an all-inclusive 54 guest resort that sites on the site of the original Cheyenne Mountain Lodge, is another Broadmoor Wilderness Experience I have yet to try.


"Broadmoor" "Penrose Room"

Dining at Broadmoor’s Penrose Room

Broadmoor restaurant dining

I mentioned in another post that dining at The Broadmoor is like one continuous progressive dinner party. If you like barbecue and enjoy hands on cooking classes, you’ll want to sign up for Barbecue University at the Broadmoor. I could be cut off from the outside world and be perfectly content living off The Broadmoor with its 19 restaurants, cafe and lounges. As long as I’m left behind with the head baker, chocolate maker and spa director, I know I’ll be in good hands.

"Broadmoor" Spa

The Spa at The Broadmoor

Spa at The Broadmoor

Speaking of good hands, my massage therapist, Deanne from Mississippi, delivered a 50 minute session of deep tissue heaven to my body. Make sure to pack a swim suit and arrive early or stay late to take advantage of the co-ed indoor and outdoor swimming pools and outdoor hot tub. Additionally, there is a steam room, sauna, aromatherapy room (recommended for acclimating to the Rocky Mountain altitude of 6000 feet above sea level) and fireplace lounge. The co-ed mountain view room and terrace, looking over the golf course, is a great place to relax and recharge before your spa treatment.

"Broadmoor" hotel room

Broadmoor West Premier King

Broadmoor West renovation

The Broadmoor resort is composed of several hotel buildings; Broadmoor Main, Broadmoor South and Broadmoor West. Walking to different parts of the resort is easy via the Cheyenne Lake Bridge. There is also 24/7 complimentary shuttle service available for hotel guests.

During my stay, the Broadmoor West had recently undergone a complete renovation. My lovely premier king, room #4443, with Juliet balcony and view of Cheyenne Lake, rented for $465 per night (check the website for current rates). Pets are welcome at The Broadmoor with a charge of $50 per pet, per night (maximum two dogs per room.) The pet fee includes special Broadmoor bedding and pet food bowls, as well as a treat for your four-legged friend.

"Broadmoor" hot tub

Soak in The Broadmoor hot tub

Broadmoor resort fee

Love them or hate them, resort fees are here to stay. The Broadmoor $32 daily resort service charge includes wireless high-speed internet access, local telephone calls, daily newspaper, Fitness Center access & two daily fitness classes, incoming faxes, Little Theater movies, in-room beverage service, daily housekeeping and nightly turndown service, bottled water and arrival gift. Being from California, where we are experiencing drought conditions, I was a little miffed to see that sheets and towels were changed on a daily basis. Housekeeping quickly fixed my environmental dilemma, replacing my hand written note requesting my bedding not be changed with a pre-printed no sheet-changing card.

"Cheyenne Lake"

Paddle boats on Cheyenne Lake at The Broadmoor

Insider tips

The Broadmoor is a member of Historic Hotels of America. The historic Colorado Springs property offers complimentary art and history tours on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Western art aficionados take note, as Broadmoor owner Mr. Philip Anschutz owns one of the largest collections of Western art. Horticultural tours are offered seasonally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. Golf clinics are offered free to hotel guests on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

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

If You Go:

The Broadmoor  (855) 634-7711

1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

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 Broadmoor. All opinions and experiences are my own. I’d love to hear about your visit to the historic Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

Atlanta, Georgia Walking Tour

Wednesday June 11, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"CNN" "Atlanta" "Georgia"

Discovering Atlanta, Georgia

Being a competitive ballroom dancer I am able to explore new cities all the time. I recently competed at the Atlanta Open in none other than downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I had never competed in the Atlanta Open before or even been to the South, so my mother and I decided to take a few extra days after the competition to explore the 1996 Summer Olympics host city with our own Atlanta, Georgia walking tour.

We checked into the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta late on a Thursday evening. Because of the time I expected the hotel to be quiet and the check-in process to be quick and easy. The check-in went smoothly but the hotel lobby looked as if it was hosting its own party. The entire lobby was packed with guests, the hotel’s restaurant Sway was closed but the bar Twenty-Two Stories was full of chatty businessmen, dancers and Atlanta natives.

The hotel had a large open concept with four elevators that looked as if they came right out of the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The all glass elevator allowed us to watch the people in the lobby get smaller as we ventured up to the 19th floor.

Of course room service was available for us in the morning, as we tend to cozy up in our beds in the morning rather than get dressed up to dine in the restaurant downstairs. The menu from Sway was filled with Southern comfort food. Grits, a Georgia delicacy I had never tried, along with Georgia Peach yogurt parfaits, cornbread, warm biscuits and gravy were all potential options for our morning feast. Of course we did not try everything in one meal but eventually we got around to tasting every bit of the South that we could.

"Margaret Mitchell House"

Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia

Discovering Atlanta, Georgia
We had hoped to visit the historic Sweet Auburn Village but our cab driver accidentally dropped us off at the opposite side of town. Being the spontaneous women that we are, we decided to walk around the area for a bit, that small walk turned into a 3-mile trek back to our hotel. If the hot sun and humidity is something you can handle throughout the day it is completely worth venturing through downtown and midtown Atlanta. We saw almost ever nook and cranny of the Atlanta streets that one would completely miss by catching a cab. Historic treasures such as the Georgian Hotel, Fox Theatre and the Margaret Mitchell House (the place Gone with the Wind was written) were just some of the old Victorian buildings that were hidden by modern-day skyscrapers.

"Coca Cola" Atlanta, Georgia

Coca Cola Factory in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Southern comfort

After our hike through downtown, the only energy we had left was used to walk across the street to a five-star restaurant where we could rest our feet. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, located on Peachtree St., is a gourmet Southern Comfort restaurant. The atmosphere is that of a rustic yet classy Southern home. We dined on braised beef, homemade tomato soup and warm whole-grain bread for our appetizer. Since we were celebrating Mother’s Day, my wonderful mother decided to treat herself to a Filet Mignon steak, which was perfectly cooked and full of savory flavors. A side of mashed sweet potatoes was served in a small cast-iron skillet along with her meal. I ordered the baked chicken, which was yet again perfectly cooked and full of sweet Southern flavor.

CNN Newsroom

CNN Newsroom, Atlanta, Georgia

CNN studio tour in Atlanta

Our next day of adventure included the renowned Coca-Cola Factory, a tour of CNN and a walk through the Olympic National Park. We arrived at the Coca-Cola factory at about the same time as 100 elementary school children. We felt as though we had just become chaperones on an end of the year field trip. We quickly escaped the crowd of little humans and ventured through the factory on our own. Filled with copious amounts of historic Coca-Cola memorabilia, an inside look at the bottling process, a small museum on the history and even a tasting room, this Atlanta staple is a not to miss attraction. The tasting room was where we found all of the children so we ventured back down to the museum where we both got to hold the 2014 London Olympic Torch, as Coca-Cola is the Olympics’ largest sponsor.

For a more serious tour, thinking it wouldn’t be filled with more children, was the Inside the Studio CNN Tour. Being a journalism major myself, you could imagine my excitement as I walked into the international epicenter of news. I assume I felt the same way those kids did in the Coca-Cola tasting room. Walking into CNN you can feel the buzz of a newsroom, but the tour is where we really got a feel for the news station. We toured three of the recording studios, took a turn reading off the teleprompter, viewed the news rooms of CNN and HLN and even saw Monte Ball recording his “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” top picks for the season. Because of our love for 24/7 news, my mother and I decided to have lunch at CNN, underneath the giant TV screen and pretended we were journalist, just for the afternoon.

"Atlanta" Georgia

Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta’s Olympic National Park

We ventured out once again into the sticky Georgia air to end our day with a stroll through the Olympic National Park. On our way there we couldn’t miss the Atlanta Skyline Wheel of Excellence, 3-story Ferris Wheel. Our quick decision to ride the Ferris Wheel came as we noticed storm clouds rolling in and realized we had a short time frame before we were stuck in a glass bubble 40ft off the ground during a thunderstorm. Once my mother got over her brief fear of heights, we saw Atlanta in a way I would have never imagined. Just the other day we were walking down every street in downtown and now we were seeing the whole city from the sky. Located next to the National Olympic Park, the Wheel of Excellence gave us a more than perfect view of the architecture of the park that held hundreds of Olympians only 18 years earlier.

With its rich history, unique culinary taste and importance to the entire nation, Atlanta was truly a city to experience. Even after four days of an Atlanta, Georgia walking tour, there was still so much more to discover in this sweet southern city.

This is a guest post by Natalie Crandall. Natalie last wrote about Oahu, Hawaii.

Morro Bay Lodging

Friday May 2, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

mini cooper, morro bay roadtrip

Mini road trip to Morro Bay, California

As the Mini Cooper rolled down Morro Bay’s Main Street, the ocean sea breeze spilled into my open sun roof. It had been three years since my last road trip to California Wine Coast Country in San Luis Obispo County. That trip was for our teenager to check out Cal Poly as a potential college. This road trip found me footloose and fancy free as a solo boomer traveler – my husband is saving his vacation time to help our senior move to Oxford, Mississippi in the fall. After three plus hours of easy driving from San Francisco, I was ready to stretch my legs. My Morro Bay lodging for the next three days would be Estero Inn.

Waterfont Estero Inn hotel

If you think the Mini Cooper had a nice view of Morro Rock, wait until you see the view I enjoyed from my queen bed.  The owner of this four year old boutique hotel is a building contractor; clearly he put a lot of thought into the building of each of the eight hotel rooms. As the Kelp Forest Suite was on the first floor, I worried that I would have to close the blinds in the evening for privacy. Turns out, the windows looking out to the waterfront are one-way windows allowing me to enjoy the water views, while protecting my privacy from the outside of the hotel.

Another feature that I enjoyed at Estero Inn was the in-room gas fireplace. While many hotel guests don’t travel with laptop computers, those of us who have to work on the road appreciate a comfortable desk, bathed in natural light and the shimmering water from Estero Bay, the fireplace radiating heat on a blustery day. And did I mention fast, free Wi-Fi throughout the property?


"Estero Inn" breakfast

Complimentary breakfast at Estero Inn

Estero Inn amenities

The Estero Inn is a romantic hotel designed with couples in mind. From the pillowtop king and queen beds, to the soft linens and welcome package of salt water taffy left on the bed, guests are meant to feel right at home. The in-room coffee maker features SLO Roasted Coffee from Central Coast Coffee Roasting Company.

The rooms include flat screen tv’s, granite vanities with combination tub and shower, hair dryer, mini fridge and microwave. Also included in your hotel stay is a complimentary breakfast buffet available from 7:30 – 11:00 a.m. The sparkling clean breakfast room offers yogurt with local farmers’ market fresh fruits, bagels and cream cheese, mini cinnamon rolls and muffins, as well as SLO Roasted Coffee, orange juice, hot cocoa and make your own waffle station. Estero Inn also offers complimentary parking on site, but street parking was not an issue during my April stay.

"Estero Inn" "Kelp Forest Suite"

Estero Inn Kelp Forest Suite, Morro Bay

Estero Inn specials & packages

If your stay in Morro Bay is a romantic getaway, Estero Inn offers specials and packages from champagne and chocolates to a boating or fishing trip on the bay. I rented a kayak in Morro Bay and went horseback riding on Morro Strand State Beach in Cayucos during my visit. Estero Inn offers a great location on the Embarcadero with most of the restaurants within walking distance.

Estero Inn offers discounts to hotel guests for the on-site Awaken Harmony Massage and Spa treatments. I headed up Main Street to Serenity By the Sea day spa and thoroughly enjoyed 60+ minutes of serenity with a deep tissue massage following my horseback riding outing. Sweet!

"Estero Inn"

Estero Inn, Morro Bay, California central coast hotel

Hotel room rates at Estero Inn range from $129 – $329 depending on the room and time of year. There is not a two night minimum on the weekends at Estero Inn. Sorry pet lovers, dogs are not welcome at Estero Inn.

Check in: 3:00 p.m.

Check out: 11:00 a.m.

Insider tip

The 8 room Estero Inn is geared to couples, but there is one family-friendly room (The Marine Suite) with one king bed, one queen futon and a single futon for families.

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

"Estero Inn"

Estero Inn, Morro Bay lodging


If You Go:

Estero Inn  (805) 772-1500

501 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, California 93442

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 Morro Bay Travel. All opinions are my own.

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