Hotel Review: Fairmont Frontenac

Wednesday November 12, 2014 at 8:08 AM | 0 Comments

I had not yet set foot in historic Old Quebec, when I was warmly greeted by a Fairmont Hotel representative on Twitter, a social media platform. That’s the kind of customer service I have come to expect from Fairmont Hotels, and my stay at Château Frontenac was no exception. Bellmen welcomed me on a drizzly, gray night in early October. Texton, the tail-wagging Fairmont Ambassador had retired to his dog house and I was ready to dive into my bed, as well.

"Château Frontenac", Quebec, Canada

Hotel review: Château Frontenac. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Château Frontenac

This 611 room iconic castle has recently undergone a multi-million dollar restoration and I was fortunate to stay in one of their renovated city view rooms. With nine miles of corridors running throughout the urban luxury hotel, replacing carpets and updating suites is no small task.
I like the way Château Frontenac blended the blue colors of the St. Lawrence River while hints of gold offered a historic European feel to the property.

"Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac", Quebec, Canada

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Lobby. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


"1608 Wine & Cheese Bar", Quebec, Canada

1608 Wine & Cheese Bar. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Centrally located within the walls of Old Quebec, guests will feel comfortable strolling this pedestrian-friendly city day or night. I was also quick to notice that Canadians felt very welcome at the hotel when accompanied with their dogs. This was also true of my stay in the Charlevoix region at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu.

"Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac", pool

Indoor swimming pool on 6th floor. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

I didn’t have a chance to try the spa, with its seven treatment rooms, nor did I manage any laps in the indoor swimming pool, but parents traveling with children should expect to spend some quality time on the 6th floor of the resort.
My king city view room (#4129) rented for $319 Canadian dollars. You’ll want to check the hotel website for current pricing and specials. I loved the feather and down pillows on my bed, but I was not thrilled with the location of the coffee maker on the bottom of a pull out shelf by the television. The Fairmont offers one of my favorite teas in room, Organic Kea Lani Orange Pineapple from Hawaii – maybe your coffee maker will be in a better spot?


"Le Chateau Fairmont Frontenac", hotel, hotel room

King City View. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

While there are plenty of things to see and do in Quebec City, one doesn’t have to go far for a good meal or cocktail. 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar is the place to congregate for wines from around the world, and, of course, local cheeses. Champlain Restaurant offers a lovely breakfast buffet ($24.62 Canadian dollars during my visit) with views of the St. Lawrence River, but the dinner service will keep meat lovers happy. I ordered the Quebec beef, a signature dish of the hotel – no regrets.
" Le Champlain", restaurant, Quebec beef

Quebec beef Le Champlain. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tip
Whether you are a guest of Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac or simply enjoy history, you might enjoy the Historic Virtual Tour app available for download online. Like complimentary internet access and free local telephone calls? Don’t forget to enroll in the Fairmont President’s Club – it’s FREE!

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

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

If You Go:

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac +1 418-692-3861 or (800) 257-7544
1 Rue des Carrières
Québec, QC G1R 4P5, Canada

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.

Review: Hotel Molokai, Hawaii

Friday November 7, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 4 Comments

If Hotel Molokai were any closer to the water, it would be considered a floating hotel. Literally steps from the Pacific Ocean, resting on the shores of Kamiloloa Beach, this Polynesian-styled hotel offers 57 air-conditioned rooms in Molokai, Hawaii.

"Hotel Molokai"

Hotel Molokai in Hawaii. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Four ocean front rooms offer the best views, while standard rooms deliver the best value. Kitchenette rooms sleep up to four people – ideal for families or couples traveling together on vacation.


Authentic Hawaii

With Polynesian decor and shake roofs, the boutique Hotel Molokai is popular with locals and island visitors. Time your stay with a Friday night and you’ll experience Na kapuna – the elder’s jam poolside with guitar and ukulele. The singing and dancing takes place from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

“We’re all about service,” says Hotel Molokai General Manager Michael Drew.

"Hotel Molokai" pool

Take a dip in the pool. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


"Kamiloloa Beach", Molokai, Hawaii

Kamiloloa Beach steps from your room. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


sunrise, "Hotel Molokai", Hawaii

Molokai sunrise. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


There is a $5.00 daily resort fee, but it includes internet, a computer kiosk in the lobby, free phone calls to anywhere in the United States, a light continental breakfast, movie lending library and the use of snorkel gear and beach towels. I liked the hammocks scattered about the property, the swimming pool and the Philosophy bathroom products.

"Hotel Molokai" king room

Ocean front king room. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


My king ocean front room, #136, rented for $269. per night. Check the website for current pricing and special package deals for this authentic Hawaiian hotel.

Insider Tip
Let manager Michael Drew buy you a drink on Monday evening at the hotel bar next to Kamiloloa Beach. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Hotel Molokai on Twitter @hotelmolokai.

"Molokai" hammock, hotel

Relax in Molokai. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

If You Go:
Hotel Molokai (808) 553-5347 or (877) 553-5347
1300 Kamehameha V Highway
Kaunakakai, Hawaii

Hotel review, photos and video courtesy of Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Molokai Visitors Bureau, however, all opinions are my own.

Wild Zone Bed & Surfing

Wednesday November 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 0 Comments

The adorable bungalow at Wild Zone Bed & Surfing in Bracciano, Italy.

The adorable bungalow at Wild Zone Bed & Surfing in Bracciano, Italy.

For anyone who thinks surfing in Italy is an oxymoron, think again.

On my visit to Italy last summer, my family and I were invited to spend our last night in the amazing city of Bracciano at Wild Zone Bed & Surfing, a tidy, little bungalow that seemed much more likely to be found in Santa Cruz than 30 minutes north of Rome.

A hidden waterfall in Lazio, Italy.

A hidden waterfall in Lazio, Italy.

Barbara Minotti and Sacha Marziali, who own Wild Zone, an adventure company and surf school, recently made the bungalow on their stunning property available to travelers.

They also took us on an amazing off-road excursion in the “Surfari” to romp beneath hidden waterfalls deep in the backroads of Lazio, inaccessible by most vehicles.

Wild Zone offers surf lessons, surf school and camps, stand-up paddleboard instruction, kite surfing, and yoga in an airy,  bright, new  studio. The studio has great vibes and made me want to organize a yoga retreat!

The bungalow is nestled among lush gardens, with stone sculptures, privat nooks for quiet reflection, and welcoming patios to enjoy a meal or kick back with a cool drink.

Barbara and Sacha are consummate hosts — picking up our crew from the beach, hoisting our luggage in and out of the jeep, bringing us freshly baked pastries in the morning, and even driving us to the train.

When you’re weary from the museums, churches and sites of Rome, head to Wild Zone Bed & Surfing in Bracciano for a completely different type of Italian adventure. This place is a true gem.



The yoga studio has great feng shui.

The yoga studio has great feng shui.

Lisa Crovo Dion was a guest of Wild Zone Bed & Surfing. Photos by Dan Dion.

Wild Zone Bed & Surfing

For info and reservations: +39 392880522, +39 3491032684

Private nooks dot the gardens at Wild Zone Bed & Surfing.

Private nooks dot the gardens at Wild Zone Bed & Surfing.