Simple Moves to Make Travel Easier

Cullen Family Carousel Detroit RiverfrontI really shouldn’t be permitted to travel, based on the number of really stupid things I’ve done on the road. On past trips, I have shown up at the wrong hotel and tried to check in for a flight that wasn’t mine. I have gotten on trains heading away from my destination rather than towards it. And when it comes to driving and one-way streets…let’s just say, I can U-turn VERY quickly.

But recently, two things went right. Very right. And they shouldn’t have, considering it was the weekend of the lunar eclipse. Continue reading

Won’t Get Fooled Again

 
But I did. When the alarm clock rang at 5:30 a.m. the first morning in Brussels, I made a mental note to turn it off. Then, in the wake of a full day touring the Ardennes, including stops for strawberries, the obligatory cathedral, cows, caves, a tank, and dinner in Luxembourg, I forgot. Ugh. So today’s reminder? When you check in to your hotel room, before you unwrap the Godiva chocolate, reset the alarm clock.  

Forget Free WiFi. Here’s What I REALLY Want In A Hotel

The Liberty Hotel @The Open Suitcase LLC

The Liberty Hotel in Boston was a prison. The cellblocks overlook the lobby that transforms into a dance club on the weekends. “Jailhouse Rock” anyone?

What defines a great hotel? A billion-dollar location certainly. Would the Plaza Hotel be the Plaza if it wasn’t sitting at the entrance to Central Park? Spectacular rooms? Of course. I’ll take a 4-poster bed with sumptuous pillows and a Juliet balcony at The Gritti Palace in Venice any day.

But I think the hotel industry has forgotten the one feature that can easily take a hotel from good to GREAT. And it’s not free WiFi, heavenly beds, or fragrance butlers. When renovating or building hotels, I’m suggesting that the Marriotts, Hiltons, and Hyatts of the world ignore the rooms, forget modern amenities and bring back a feature of legendary historic hotels: the killer lobby. Continue reading

Escape from NYC: Overnight Options in the Hudson River Valley

What do you look for in a getaway destination? I’m guessing you seek out a place that offers a variety of interesting things to do, beautiful places to stay and yummy spots for eating and drinking. Editors of travel magazines do the same when they compile their annual “Places You Must See” lists. I scroll through these drool-worthy galleries and long to hop on the next plane to Kyoto or Valparaiso or Quito or the Hudson Valley.

National Geographic 2013 coverThe Hudson Valley? Back it up. Yes, folks. NY’s Hudson River Valley was named one of the top 20 places to visit by National Geographic. I love the region and marvel at the beauty of our river, the diversity of the people, the variety of food and our rich history. I know we’ve got it all but I didn’t know the secret was out. Continue reading