Category Archives: Hotels

The Crown Paradise Golden in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Many of my readers may know that my family likes to visit Mexico each spring. Often we spend our vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico, but this year we tried something different. It took a good deal of research to choose the next vacation destination, but the research paid off.

Last year in Ixtapa we found our hotel overrun with children. They were everywhere, including the adult’s only pool. They screamed, they ran amuck, and they were extremely rude. Don’t get me wrong, I like children. I simply do not want them on my vacation if they cannot behave and follow rules.

Since I didn’t enjoy the free-for-all last year I looked into all-inclusive adult-only resorts. I found several great places in Puerto Vallarta but in the end we went with the Crown Paradise Golden. This hotel is located next to its sister hotel which allows children and has a huge pirate ship themed pool area and several children’s activities. If you stay at the adult’s only hotel, you can still enjoy all the restaurants and activities next door. You get the best of both worlds.

The food at Crown Paradise Golden was exceptional. The themed restaurants require reservations and I do one-hundred percent recommend them. They can be a little slow, so plan for up to two hours when dining, but it’s worth it. The restaurants are Mediterranean, Italian, American, French, and Asian inspired. Most people seem to love the Asian restaurant, so it was a little more difficult to get into. My favorite restaurant was Salvador’s, which is gourmet cuisine. The staff was delightful, and the food was exceptional. All the restaurant’s menus change nightly.

If you are looking for quick and easy food and beverages, then look no farther than the buffet which changes daily. Most people do not realize this but during off hours you can get a menu in the buffet and order specific foods. Next to the buffet is a grill which has brats, pizza, burgers, and fries. There is also a beach bar which has fresh foods such as tuna salad, fruit, Panini, and other items. In the realm of alcoholic beverages, they can be found quite easily at the poolside bar, lobby bar, or two beach bars. You definitely will not go hungry or thirsty.

Outside of food the hotel offers many fun activities such as BINGO, beach volleyball, pool volleyball, beer pong, random silly games, nightly shows, and much more. On Saturdays they have a pool party and fill the pool with bubbles. With the music blasting and sun shining it would be hard to not enjoy one’s self.

Outside of the hotel you will find boats ready to take you parasailing, beach massage stations, and plenty of white sand to walk on while the waves lap at your feet. You will also find people wandering the beach selling an assortment of items. They will wander up to the beach bars, so if you are not interested, simply say no. If you show interest every single salesman will come directly to you.

At the front of the hotel across the street is a spa. This place had the best prices for massages and they gave an amazing pedicure. I highly recommend them. If you are looking for the boardwalk and restaurants off the grounds, you can get a taxi that will take you downtown for a mere $6 each way, though check ahead because this can change. You are also in walking distance to Walmart, the peer, and a grocery store in case you forgot to bring anything.

Keep in mind that March is the end of Puerto Vallarta’s winter so it can be cloudy and sometimes cool. April is probably a better time weather-wise, but we always go in March and intend to go back for ten days this next year. No matter the weather, it’s still one of the safer locations in Mexico and there are plenty of things to do at the Crown Paradise Golden.

For more information on the Crown Paradise Golden, please visit: http://www.goldencrownparadisevallarta.com/

Ladies Night At The Historic Afton House Inn

If you live in eastern Minnesota or western Wisconsin and you are looking for something fun to do with your ladies, or maybe even your significant other, come on out to Afton, Minnesota the third Thursday of each month and take part in Ladies Night.

Start your evening off right by checking into, The Historic Afton House Inn. You cannot go wrong with one of their whirlpool suites. Men will feel encouraged to join in if they know all of the excitement and fun involved. This Inn has twenty-one uniquely decorated Jacuzzi suites. Some of the rooms have river views as well as fireplace, and a patio, or balcony. I personally like to use this event for date night because honestly we both have a great time.

After check-in wander through the inn to Current Restaurant for Happy Hour, where you will find great specials on appetizers and drinks. I can personally vouch for the food at Current, it is quite delectable. The low lit room provides a nice ambiance for reconnecting with loved ones, and the service is excellent.

If you are a wine lover, you absolutely must head over to Swirl, which is located inside the inn. They offer a free wine tasting for Ladies Night, but don’t worry men, you won’t be excluded. The tasting consists of a variety of different red and white wines. My favorite by far was the, 2012 Amayna Sauvignon Blanc, which is a nice crisp and refreshing Chilean white wine. Despite having a clear favorite, I greatly enjoyed all of the different wines on the list. Aside from the wine, Swirl has a great atmosphere with wonderfully attentive sommeliers. They also serve food, which I hear, great things about, but have not yet had the pleasure of trying. Rest assured I will be back to visit in the near future and I will do a more in-depth article on this lovely little wine bar.

Other fun things included in this evening are door prizes and games, as well as a variety of sidewalk vendors. You can even take in some free music on the patio outside of Swirl. This month ladies night will take place on July 19th and the giveaway will be for 187ml bottles of Blanc De Bleu.

After you have had your fill of the wonderful Ladies Night activities, you can purchase a bottle of wine to take back to your Jacuzzi suite and enjoy as you soak away any stress from the week. You will sleep well on the comfy beds which feature, My Pillows, and wake feeling refreshed and ready for the inn’s included, hot and tasty breakfast. Breakfast often features: coffee, tea, juice, fruit and yogurt parfait, and some form of egg omelet or frittata.

I have a history of traveling to many different towns and trying out the bed and breakfasts. This particular experience is one of my favorites, because this inn has a certain charm to it and there are so many things to do in one setting. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself.

For more information, please visit the following websites:

https://aftonhouseinn.com/

http://www.swirlmywine.com/

Updates On St. Croix Casino Hotel, Turtle Lake

Previously I have written a couple of different articles about St. Croix Casino’s hotel at Turtle Lake. This article is an update on the hotel’s current condition and what to expect upon checking in. I am going to be very straight forward and honest in this article, so bear with me.

My husband and I have stayed at this hotel many times over the past six months. We always have a good time. The hotel is clean, and it has an appealing look to it. The rooms are finally finished being updated and I very much like the look of them. The couches and chairs are elegant and have nail head accents on them. The furniture is simple, but nice and I like the colors they chose.

What I am not pleased with is the fact that I walked up to the front desk to check in; there was no one in front of me and three people working behind it, and no one acknowledged me for about five minutes. They just let me stand there while they were messing around with I’m not completely sure what. It looked like spilt change and cell phones.

I don’t have a problem with waiting, but if you aren’t on a phone helping a customer or helping someone who is in front of me, then the courteous thing to do is to acknowledge me, the patron, who has just arrived. There is no excuse for poor service, especially when there are three people available to help.

Aside from the fact that I think the front desk help needs some serious work, this wasn’t the first time this had happened to me, the rest of the actual stay was mostly comfortable and pleasant. The image I used for this article does show that the bed could have been put together a little bit nicer; it looked that way when we checked in. It was however comfortable and I liked the whirlpool, and the various other amenities in the room. One thing I will note is that you can hear people in overhead rooms at times, but they didn’t really bother us. Other than a little light noise, I slept great, and enjoyed myself.

The last thing that I found to be distasteful about this stay was the breakfast. The first time we stayed and partook in the morning breakfast, there was no hot food, but they weren’t completely done with their modifications either. This time they had eggs and sausage, as well as waffles, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, bananas, toast, and cereal. The issue I have is that the eggs were powdered eggs. If you are going to serve breakfast at a hotel that you just took the time to remodel and bring up to a more pleasing standard, then the least you can do is serve actual scrambled eggs.

I truly hope that Turtle Lake realizes that these issues exist and takes the time to quickly remedy them. I won’t stop visiting, but I don’t like reporting such practices to the community either. On a side note, we ate the broiled chicken dinner in the café, at the casino, and that was very good.

For further information on, Turtle Lake Casino, St. Croix, please visit:  https://turtlelake.stcroixcasino.com/

 

Updates At St. Croix Casino, Turtle Lake, Hotel

If you like Turtle Lake Casino, St. Croix, and you stay at the hotel there; you know what the rooms were like. While they were not the worst, they really weren’t the best. For those who haven’t visited recently, requests have been heard and the hotel is going through some changes.

While changes can be a bit frustrating while in progress, the outcome will be completely worth the hassle for future visits. I recently stayed during Valentine’s week and we stayed in the Egypt suite. The whirlpool tub was brand new, as were the counters and sinks. The look is much nicer, though the sinks do seem to spray water all over the place; it didn’t seem to matter how lightly I turned the water on.

The hotel room was not finished. Several of the installations have been a work in progress and should be near completion by this point. All I know is that I cannot wait to go back and see the final product. I shall send further updates and show you the outcome of the next suite we stay in, which will most likely be in April.

While I cannot vouch for the completed room feel, I can vouch for the front desk area. The room is much more appealing with a fireplace and area for sitting. The feel is much cleaner and I feel at peace while going through the check-in process.

For more information on Turtle Lake Casino and Hotel, St. Croix, please visit: https://turtlelake.stcroixcasino.com/

Regular Rooms At The Isle Of Capri

While visiting Colorado in October my husband, Neal, and I, ventured away from Winter Park for an evening to visit Black Hawk. Black Hawk is like a mini Las Vegas. The town is completely made up of casinos.

I have written about the Isle of Capri before, but in my previous post we were staying in one of their suites; this time around we stayed in a regular room with a King size bed.  This stay was not nearly as pleasant as the previous experience.

As far as I can tell the temperature is only controllable by opening a window to the outdoors, unlike some hotels where you cannot open a window, you can in these particular rooms. The thermostat did nothing to cool things down. Despite having the window open all night, and despite it being cold outside, we felt like we were being roasted. I wanted to go back to Winter Park just to get away from the uncomfortable temperature of that room.

Our prior stay at the Isle of Capri was in the middle of July, and we were completely comfortable. The temperature was great and we both slept well. I have no idea what the actual difference was between these rooms. Perhaps the upgraded rooms have some sort of special cooling system. Next time we visit, I will be sure to look into this situation further.

Beyond the temperature issues, we greatly enjoyed our visit. The food at the buffet was tasty as always. They had updated their dining room since our previous visit; it is now more secluded from the rest of the casino, which I greatly appreciated.

For more information on the Isle of Capri, please visit: https://www.isleblackhawk.com/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=isle%20casino%20hotel%20black%20hawk

A Stay At Silverado II in Winter Park

Throughout my travels, I have stayed at some pretty nice places. I really can’t complain too much, because usually I have a room with a view, comfy bedding, plush common areas for lounging, and a whirlpool tub or hot tub. Now with that said, I also have been known to go on camping trips and I do stay in tents and commune more closely with nature. These two experiences are completely different and have different expectations.

When I travel to places such as Colorado, I want to enjoy the outdoors, but then have a place to relax and recuperate after a long hike or day of exploration. This last trip was to Winter Park and my family stayed at a condo called Silverado II.

Now upon first sight, it is a lovely place to be. The views are nice and the exterior looks well kept, but there are pluses and minuses to this particular accommodation. I am going to tell you about the negatives first, and then try to end this review with a more positive look at this option.

The room we received was on the third floor of building five. Every single day, we walked up and down the stairs to get to the condo, and for someone from outside of Colorado, this made the altitude a little more agonizing. The odd thing about this was that we seemed to be one of only two families in the building, so I don’t know why we were on the third floor.

The inside of our condo had a beautiful kitchen with stainless steel appliances. It definitely looked to be updated, but the rest of the place, not so much. The bathrooms were outright nasty, in my opinion. There were orange spots all over the ceiling and the tubs were discolored. There is no way that I would have opted to take a bath in one of those, I barely wanted to use the shower due to how icky it looked.

The bedrooms looked nice, the linens were fine, but the pillows, in all of the rooms, left something to be desired. The majority of our group commented that they were very uncomfortable and had caused neck pain. Also, the temperature was very hard to control. Despite having the heat off, the bedrooms were very hot unless you opened the door to the balcony to cool things down, but then it was snowing so things became a little too cold.

The only time I saw anyone at the front desk in this place was in the morning. No one ever seemed to be present at night. I honestly have no idea what we would have done if we had encountered any form of emergency with the room. Perhaps there was some book explaining this, but I personally like to know someone is on the property and readily available for any problems encountered.

It should be noted that we did stay during the fall mud season. This being said, the building didn’t appear to have heat outside of our room, or it was not turned on. It was very cold walking from the room down to the hot tubs, which were located on the first floor near the front desk.

Despite the dinginess of certain parts of the condo, and the lack of people working, I did appreciate the layout of the rooms. The full kitchen and updated appliances were very nice. We had multiple balconies which were fun for shooting photographs. I enjoyed the hot tub every night that we were there. I liked the aesthetically pleasing look of the exterior of the condo, and the view of the mountains. I enjoyed the fact that we were close to town and could easily get to grocery stores and restaurants.

Silverado II is an okay accommodation, but I won’t be going back. I like things to look clean and well maintained. I feel that this place needs further updating. If further updates were to be made, maybe I would go back. If you are interested in further information on Silverado II, please visit: https://www.silverado2.com/

 

An Overnight Trip To Turtle Lake Casino

We all know that casinos are out there to make money, and one of the ways they do so, is by taking ours when we go overboard and pump too much into the machines, or we spend too much time on a losing table. I’ve never lost a large sum of money at the casino, because I learned quickly that casinos are there to take money, not give it. With that said, I still love casinos.

Turtle Lake Casino is located a mere thirty minutes from my current home. I have checked it out twice now and I find certain aspects of this particular casino to be quite wonderful. First off, it’s not very big, so you won’t get lost, like you could in some of the Las Vegas Casinos. Secondly, they give you some decent perks for playing their slots. I recently received a free night stay for September and October.

Last Thursday night, my husband and I went to Turtle Lake and we upgraded our free night stay to a whirlpool suite. The room was huge. It had a beautiful carved bed frame, microwave, fridge, walk in shower, and separate areas for sleeping and lounging. The window in our room overlooked the pool area, which was kind of neat. I enjoyed the room. I slept very comfortably, but was not happy about being woken at 4am by the outright brawl going on in the room above us. We did call the front desk and it was quickly dealt with, though it didn’t stop someone from stomping around angrily at other points throughout the night.

This casino is separated from the hotel, by roughly, one block. It is definitely in walking distance, so we chose to walk instead of taking the shuttle. The actual casino has three food options. You can choose to dine at the buffet, the concession stand, or the Me-Ki-Noc Restaurant. If you are staying in the hotel, they also have Heggie’s Pizza available as well as a continental breakfast in the morning.

The only food option I have taken advantage of has been the buffet. It is by no means a large buffet; it is actually quite small. I think the best option is to go on Thursday nights for surf and turf. I have eaten the surf and turf and it is well worth it. The regular buffet however, had what appeared to be frozen Chicken Kiev and instant mashed potatoes. I did very much enjoy the desserts, but they are also hit or miss, and I believe none are actually made on premises.

Despite Turtle Lake’s buffet, I do enjoy visiting and I loved the hotel room we stayed in. The whirlpool was quiet and very relaxing. The view of the pool from our room was a fun addition. I will definitely go back and stay again sometime soon.

For more information on Turtle Lake Casino, please visit: https://turtlelake.stcroixcasino.com/