Small Ship Review: UnCruise

Friday October 17, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 6 Comments

"Safari Endeavour" crew

The crew of Safari Endeavour. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


It’s not often that you meet a hotel manager while cruising on a small ship through Alaskan waters. In fact, I had no idea that the role of hotel manager existed on the high seas. Yet when you think about an 84-guest passenger ship, it really should be considered a floating boutique hotel.

I was one of 84 guests to experience an UnCruise Adventure aboard Safari Endeavour while exploring Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park. The 232 foot luxury vessel Safari Endeavor is Un-Cruise Adventures top-of-the-line ship. Similar to an all-inclusive resort, meals, alcohol, airport transfers to and from the ship, as well as all shore excursions are included in the price of the adventure. Something else that is included in the price of the cruise; one complimentary massage per person. You won’t find that at any luxury hotel!
 

"Safari Endeavour" stateroom

Commander Stateroom #318. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Like the television show Fantasy Island, passengers are individually shown to their staterooms (offering five accommodation types) and sparkling wine awaits guests in the main lounge. The crew is friendly, energetic, knowledgeable and professional. From expedition leaders to waitstaff, wellness instructors and Safari Endeavour Captain Barrett Whitten, the mindset is “how may we make your experience unforgettable?” The goal of Un-Cruise – un-plug, un-wind, un-stress.

My stateroom on the third floor deck featured two single berths, a desk and chair, full-length closet, as well as several cabinets and drawers. The bathroom was small, but clean and functional. I loved coming back to my cozy room after an expedition and reading a book while the scenery passed by.
 

"Safari Endeavour" "Philip Bley"

Safari Endeavour Chef Philip Bley. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Onboard dining

After touring the ship’s all electric galley kitchen, I have new respect for preparing hot meals for 80+ passengers in one sitting. The pastry chef worked her magic throughout the 7 day voyage and the executive chef prepared fresh Alaska salmon, as well as rack of lamb, among other menu items while sailing along Glacier Bay National Park.

“Our food service is based around the expeditions,” said Hotel Manager Kathy Madison. “The guests come to experience southeast Alaska. Our role is to support that adventure.”

 

"Kathy Madison" "Safari Endeavour"
 
Insider tip

For anyone concerned about food allergies or special dietary needs, Un-Cruise aims to please. Notes are kept in the kitchen with any special requests from guests, as well as birthday or special occasion celebrations. I also took advantage of the healthy snacks and granola bars available 24/7 for guests to enjoy in the lounge. I travel with my own water bottle, but the hotel staff had placed eco-friendly water bottles, as well as binoculars in each stateroom.
 

"Alaska" salmon

Fresh Alaska salmon. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

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

If You Go:

Un-Cruise Adventures (888) 862-8881
3826 18th Ave
W. Seattle, Washington 98119
 

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Kathy Madison photo courtesy Un-Cruise. I was a guest of Un-Cruise Adventures.

Marilyn Monroe Spa Review

Wednesday October 15, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

I love everything about a trip to the spa; from the aromatherapy scents that hit my nostrils upon entering the spa, to soaking in a hot tub after a deep tissue or hot stone massage and the sense of calm that envelopes my body at the end of a treatment. When the folks at Marilyn Monroe Spas offered me a facial, I only hesitated for a second. That’s because I always opt for a massage over a facial. In this instance, I’m glad that I went for the facial treatment.
 

"Marilyn Monroe Spas"

Aromatherapy scents hit your nostrils at Marilyn Monroe Spas. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Marilyn Monroe Spas

Marilyn Monroe, while a tragic figure, knew what made her happy. “Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I’m just a girl who wishes for the world,” said Monroe. There’s no denying that name recognition works when it comes to branding the Marilyn Monroe Spas chain. The first Marilyn Monroe Spa opened in northern California at Hyatt Regency Monterey and continues its expansion with luxury nail salons, hotel spa resort locations and Glamour Rooms.

While Marilyn Monroe Spas are fairly new players on the scene, the corporate team behind the brand are seasoned operators, with Disney Resort Spa experience under their collective belt.
 

"Marilyn Monroe"

“I just want to be wonderful!” Marilyn Monroe. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

As I mentioned, I’m not a facial gal. It’s not that I have anything against facials, it’s that I sit hunched in front of a computer all day and my shoulders are always in tight knots. If money were no object, I’d treat myself to a facial AND massage once a month.

 

"Marilyn Monroe Spas"

The relaxation area in Monterey, California


 

"Nancy D. Brown" "golden glow facial"

Marilyn Monroe Golden Glow Facial

 
Marilyn Monroe facial
The Golden Glow Facial treatment, priced at $175. was 80 minutes of me time.  The oxygenating facial opened up my pores and re-hydrated my very dry skin. The Green Tea Refining Mask was cold on application, but my Esthetician Lucy patiently explained each step of the facial treatment. While the antioxidant ingredients went to work restoring elasticity and hydrating my face with moisture, I also received a hand, foot and shoulder massage – yeah! After this relaxing treatment I did feel refreshed and like Marilyn Monroe, I felt just wonderful.
 
"Marilyn Monroe Spas"
 

Did you know that Marilyn’s favorite scent was roses? As such, many of the organic spa products are infused with roses. I tried the rose cream cleanser, the rose hip cell renewing facial polish, the rose firming and brightening serium, rose hip firming de-puff eye cream and the rose hip cell renewal seed oil capsules. This last item is used as a nightly treatment instead of moisturizer.
 
Next time I’m near this spa, I’m trying Marilyn’s Signature manicure/pedicure treatment.
 

"Marilyn Monroe Spas"

Manicure, pedicure anyone?


 
Insider Tip:
Love spas, but tough on the budget? Mad About Marilyn is a rewards program offering “Mad Money”. $30 month will get you $30 toward a spa service. For every $10 you spend (including your monthly membership fee) you earn $1 in Mad Money, plus 10% discounts on products & 20% discounts on all services at hotel spas. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Marilyn Monroe Spas on Twitter @MarilynSpas.
 

If You Go:

Marilyn Monroe Spa (831) 657-6734

1 Old Golf Course Road

Monterey, California 93940

Article and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Marilyn Monroe Spas while researching a hotel review. All opinions are my own.

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Monterey

Friday October 10, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 3 Comments

Author John Steinbeck would have been happy to stay at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel during his Travels with Charley, as this hotel is very pet-friendly. They have an entire building dedicated to people traveling with their pets, as well as offering outside dining and fireplace access to pets and their owners.
 

"Hyatt Regency", Monterey

Hyatt Regency Monterey Lobby. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

What I liked about Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa; the 22 acre resort will keep everyone happy. With two heated swimming pools, tennis courts, shuffle board, 24/7 gym, jogging paths, on-property 18-hole Del Monte Golf Course, several restaurants and the Marilyn Monroe Spa, there truly is something for everyone! My Golf Course king room opened up directly to the golf course.
 


 
 

swimming pool, "Hyatt"

One of two heated pools. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

"StayFit gym"

StayFit gym available 24/7. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Is there a better way to spend the day in Monterey than Pebble Beach golf, followed with a spa treatment, dinner at TusCa Ristorante, a dip in the pool and s’mores by the fire pit? Make that a weekend with horseback riding in Pebble Beach and I’m one happy camper.

Traveling with your pet? This Hyatt Regency is pet-friendly and charges a one-time $100 fee. The fee includes a pet bed and bowl to borrow, doggie treats and privacy hanger alerting house-keeping so no one spooks the dog. Outside dining options include heat lamps and fire pits, keeping man and his best friend toasty warm.
 

"Hyatt Regency Monterey" king bed

Monterey Golf Course King. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

fire pit, "Hyatt Regency Monterey"

Pet-friendly fire pit. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Upon Request
Monterey county is tough on water wasters; this includes hotels and restaurants. When you dine in Monterey restaurants you’ll need to ask for a glass of water, as it is only served upon request. Want a bathrobe in your room or nightly turndown service? You’ll need to ask at the Monterey Hyatt. I learned of these two options after I had already checked out of the hotel – but they are available to all guests – upon request.
 

"Hyatt Express Check-in Kiosk"

Hyatt Express Check-in Kiosk. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Insider Tip
Hate waiting in line to check in or out of your hotel? The Hyatt Express Check-In Kiosks might be just the ticket for you. Guests are able to utilize web check-in online and receive e-mail notification when their room is available. Bypass the hotel lobby line by heading straight for the Express Kiosk. Swipe your credit card and your confirmation will be printed, along with keys and directions to your hotel room. Hyatt Gold Passport members (free to join) are able to request specific hotel floors and receive points for their stay. Points may be redeemed for hotel or restaurant rewards.

Hyatt Regency Monterey charges a $20 resort fee. The daily fee covers Wifi, parking, airport and Fisherman’s Wharf shuttle, as well as access to Hyatt StayFit gym open 24 hours, pools and tennis courts. My Monterey Golf Course King room rented for $179. plus tax. Check the website for current rates and package deals.
 

"Hyatt Regency Monterey" flowers

Flowers photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

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

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

If You Go:

Hyatt Regency Monterey (831) 372-1234
1 Old Golf Course Road,
Monterey, California 93940

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 Hyatt Regency. All opinions are my own.