Category Archives: Lodging

A Trip To Melia Golf Resort In Cozumel

A few weeks ago, my family weighed the pros and cons of leaving for vacation in Mexico. There were no travel bans and we had no idea where this virus was going. The vacation was paid for and it was something we had been looking forward to for many months. We decided to go forward with the trip.

The destination was Cozumel, Mexico. The resort, Melia Golf. This particular article is going to go in a slightly different direction than my usual entries. I want to give my readers a review, but also explain what the week was like.

When we got on the plane, it was nearly empty. Maybe a quarter full. I was slightly nervous, but we were heading to a place where the heat and sunshine would hopefully be to our advantage. Our arrival went smoothly. The taxi cost five dollars per person and our hotel was only a short distance from the airport.

Upon arriving at the resort, we were quickly checked in and shown to our suite. We chose to stay through RCI and would be located in the tower. Our room had a king-size bed, mini kitchen with a glass-top table for four, a bathroom with a shower, couch, television, and a balcony overlooking the ocean. We were on the twelfth floor and also had two chairs with a small table and a whirlpool located on our balcony. The room was clean and comfortable.

There were two places to eat during regular day-time hours. The buffet, or the grill. At night you could go to the buffet, or one of three restaurants which required a reservation and served Italian, Mexican, or International cuisine. My favorite of the three was the Mexican restaurant. I am gluten-free and it had the safest options and was also delectably satisfying.

The hotel offered two pools. One for adults only and one for families with children. Melia is home to a golf course as well as several other activities such as croquet, mini-golf, shuffleboard, and tennis. There is an arcade, wellness center with spa, and activity center for kids. You have three bars to choose from which include, the lobby bar, the beach bar, or the pool bar. There are quite a few chairs around the pool as well as located on the beach with umbrellas. At night there are plenty of activities to entertain your whole family.

This resort is maintained and clean. I never once felt as if anything was not clean. The food at the buffet is a limited variety, but quite satisfying. You can get ice cream if you know to ask for it. Their coconut ice cream is to die for. The staff is friendly and accommodating.

Now, on the flip-side of things. After we arrived Covid-19 changed rapidly. I barely slept for a few days before the trip and several days into it. We had family and friends messaging us and telling us that there was talk of closing the borders, which quickly became a reality. We needed to leave or risk being trapped in Mexico. The resort became more and more empty each day. We arrived on a Monday and by Thursday people were filing out. On Saturday morning we decided we needed to leave. We booked a flight home for Monday; we couldn’t get out any sooner. I finally slept that night.

The day before we left, the place was desolate. The only dining option was in the buffet, which became a cook to order situation where you were given a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The grill was still running, but that was it. We heard that the resort would be closing down on Tuesday. My heart goes out to all the workers who were told they would be going on vacation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Being on an island during such a crazy time was interesting. We had the place nearly to ourselves. I have never seen so many empty beach chairs in my life. We made some new friends and I know I will never forget this trip. I cannot tell my readers how packed this place is during normal circumstances. It is a small resort with limited seating, but it’s beautiful and clean. I hope to return in the future during normal circumstances.

For more information on the Melia Cozumel Golf Resort, please visit: https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/cozumel/melia-cozumel/index.htm

Number 3 On TripAdvisor List

Just today I received an email informing me of the top ten, high end rentals, in the world, listed by TripAdvisor. Recently I have taken a greater interest in such things. It is nice to know where your travel territory stands on the list. My particular travel territory only includes one of the nominated destinations, though at some point in the near future I hope to expand to overseas.

I’m only going to give away the details of one specific location; I will list the origin for the others, but not the title of the accommodations. If you want to know the rest of the specifics, you will have to go to TripAdvisor and check it out. I will include the TripAdvisor link at the bottom.

The third location on the list is The Miner’s Clubhouse in Breckenridge, Colorado. I had no idea this place existed, but the photos are enough to make me want to grab the family and go. The views are stunning and the accommodations are quite exceptional. For those who love the mountains and snow, I can see how this place received a top spot on the list.

This particular domain will run you around $5.8k for a week. It has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, and it sleeps fourteen people. You have all the amenities of home, plus a hot tub that gives you an unimpeded view of the mountains and ski slopes. It even comes with a pool table for endless hours of entertainment. Check out the pics on TripAdvisor, they are totally worth it.

There were no other locations listed within the United States. The other locations were as follows: Italy, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Ionian Islands, Spain, and Indonesia, if that gives you any indicator of what the type of place people are looking for when it comes to luxury. I feel that the Miner’s Clubhouse stands completely alone as far as the type of location and experience it provides.

While none of these locations will be on the budget based side, they will definitely provide some memories and experiences of a lifetime. For more information, please visit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-VacationRentals-a_Mode.expanded

 

 

Vacationing The Summer Away In Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Summer is in full bloom and vacations are upon us. Living in the Midwest you never know what the weather is going to be. It could be hotter than Hades, or it could be cold and rainy. You might have humidity that makes you want to cry, or you could end up with a day that feels like fall is moving in. Take heart in knowing that you can escape the madness by adventuring to either coast, or leaving the country completely.

If you are looking for a great summer destination with beautiful weather and great scenery, in the month of July, allow me to recommend Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Steamboat is a great location for your summer vacay, because this city has a little bit of everything. You will be surrounded by great hiking territory and a quaint downtown area that has lots of great food options as well as shops.

There are tons of lodging options in Steamboat. You can choose a hotel, a condo, or look to VRBO, which is what my family did on our vacation. We managed to rent a five bedroom home overlooking the mountains, on the outskirts of town. This particular location was beautiful and felt like home away from home. We had a hot tub, a horseshoe pit, a grill, and large open living spaces. Check out VRBO.com, sometimes they give last minute deals to fill their rentals.

If you plan a trip to Steamboat, and you like rodeos, you should check out their Pro Rodeo Series. They host a special rodeo event on the 4th of July. My family had a blast, and it was a fairly inexpensive and entertaining way to spend an evening.

Other fun things to do while in Steamboat are as follows: The alpine slide, gondola rides, bike trails, fishing, tubing, kayaking and canoeing, climbing, zip lining, the water park, and the hot springs. If you like the outdoors, you will find plenty to do in and around this town; there are many more options than what I named above.

While we were out hiking in July we did see quite a few wild flowers. There are nearby hikes that include waterfall destinations. If you don’t feel like hiking, there are also some scenic drives that will provide you with some great views and photographs.

While I have only visited Steamboat once, just thinking back to our last trip there makes me want to return. The feel of the town is small, but also clean and crisp. You can breathe in that mountain air and enjoy the river running along the edge of town. The feeling is serene.

For more information on Steamboat Springs, please visit: http://www.steamboatchamber.com/discover-steamboat

http://www.steamboatchamber.com/discover-steamboat/western/rodeo

 

Summer Fun At Gilligan’s In Chetek, Wisconsin

Summer is here and what’s not to love? You have your sandbars, your outdoor music, great grilled foods, cold beverages, camping, and laughing it up with family and good friends. This past weekend I went camping with family at Six Lakes Campground in Chetek, WI. We chose this particular spot because it was a mere four blocks from Gilligan’s, which is the bar my father’s band, 40 Fingers, was playing at this past Saturday.

Gilligan’s is a great time for anyone who loves being outdoors and listening to good music. The bar staff is attentive and they will check up on you to see if you would like to place an order for their wonderful food, or if you need your drink refilled. If you prefer to get your own beverages, the tiki bar is quite large and located out back by the music, for your convenience. The bar features brightly colored bar stools and on a nice day you can sit in the sun and watch the boats come and go on the lake, while taking in some live music.

The food at Gilligan’s is pretty great. This time around we ordered pork nachos and gourmet cheddar cheese curds. The cheddar curds are the size of golf balls, and they are delicious. I feel the need to indulge in them any time I visit Gilligan’s; I’m a Wisconsin girl all the way.

The drinks at Gilligan’s can be ordered in a keepsake drink mug, if you like that sort of thing, which I personally do. The mugs come in a variety of bright and fun colors. Mine is hot pink, but you can also get blue, neon green, purple, etc. I bring my mug with me to refill, each time I visit. This bar also has a variety of specialty summer drinks. I recommend trying them out if you are adventurous and open to new flavors.

Gilligan’s has music on weekends. My father’s band, 40 Fingers, will be at Gilligan’s again this coming Saturday, if anyone is wishing they hadn’t missed this past week’s performance at this particular location. This upcoming weekend features the Bear Creek Band, on June 28th, Your Mom, on June 30th, and 40 Fingers, on July 1st.

The venue has two bars, one indoor and the tiki bar, out back. The bands play outside just off the lake in the tiki hut. There is a dance floor, but the floor is all sand, so it can be difficult to dance. The majority of the sitting area is hard floor and my family and friends tend to hang out up top near the tiki bar and dance on the more solid ground.

Gilligan’s is the place to be for good food, good music, and relaxing lakeside. For more information, please visit: http://gilliganschetek.com/

 

 

Get Your Groupon On!

Whenever I am getting ready for a trip, or I need a night out for dinner, or a massage to relax, there is one place I look to without fail. That place is Groupon. I am sure that many of my readers will recall hearing me speak of Groupon in the past. Groupon is a site where you can get goods and services, as well as vacation packages, for a fraction of their original cost.

Groupon is located all over the US; some cities have caught on more quickly than others. My home town for instance, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has some Groupons available, but not enough to make me happy at this point. Places like Las Vegas, however, have all sorts of Groupon services and items to choose from.

To use Groupon, all you have to do is add the app to your phone, or go to their website: www.groupon.com. You then type in the location you are interested in, and voila, all sorts of things will pop up. One thing to note is that most goods can be ordered no matter your location, but the voucher will say if it has any stipulations.

When we go to Las Vegas or anywhere on vacation, I always check to see if there are deals on hotel rooms, restaurants, or things to do. Most often we will find several restaurant options. Something important to understand is that most likely the business providing the offer is only making a quarter of what they normally would on the service or item they are offering. Groupon gets the other quarter of the price, because the price is half of what it would normally be. With this in mind, please tip well if you are going to dinner, or to get a massage, etc.

If you purchase a Groupon, always make sure you keep the expiration date in mind. You want to make sure your voucher is good during the dates you are traveling before you purchase it. If your voucher expires, however, you can still use the amount you originally paid, toward the service.

For the business owner who is looking to use Groupon, there are things you should keep in mind. The purpose of Groupon is to help businesses bring in new clientele, however, depending on whom you are and what you offer, most often the people who buy Groupons do not return. They are simply looking for a deal and providing you with fast cash, though it is a fraction of what you would normally make on your provided service. If you are a massage therapist, this could be great for you. If you are a Reiki Practitioner, like me, and people don’t necessarily know what Reiki is, this will bring in some clients, but not necessarily the amount you would hope for.

As a business on the selling end of Groupon, I have had a lot of frustrations with the company. They wouldn’t give me what I wanted in my advertisement; they didn’t like to return my calls or emails. I requested a different account manager and never had my request met, and then suddenly my account manager was gone from the company and I was never told about a replacement. I am not saying this will be your experience, I am sure others have had great experiences; mine just didn’t go how I had pictured.

If you are dealing with Groupon as a client who has an issue, they are pretty great. They tend to rectify issues quite quickly. Usually if there is a problem with the Groupon, they will refund your money. Sometimes they will give you a credit. I have never been let down by the final outcome of my request for remedying an issue with a business.

If you love online shopping and deals, check out Groupon. They can save the average person quite a bit of money on a daily basis, especially if you are open to trying new things. Just be careful, Groupon can become a little addicting when you start receiving discount codes on a regular basis.

For more information on Groupon, please visit: https://www.groupon.com/

 

Fun At Big Swedes Resort In Holcombe, Wisconsin

This past weekend, while visiting family for Memorial Day, my father’s band, 40 Fingers, played in Holcombe, Wisconsin at Big Swedes Resort. I had never been to this particular resort before, but a lot of fun was had by everyone. The band played from 4-8pm. We danced, we had some drinks, and we enjoyed some wonderful food.

Big Swedes is a resort located on the lake. You can rent cabins, play volleyball, or sit and listen to music on weekends. This is a great place to celebrate the summer holidays.

The main bar and restaurant are decently sized and have booths, regular tables, and bar seating. You can sit down and enjoy a nice meal, or just have a cocktail or two at the bar. They also have some games available for those moments when you feel like doing something a little different.

The secondary building is a pole barn type structure that can be opened on all ends, if desired. The band played inside this area. There is a bar located in the opposite end from where the band is. Several tables and chairs are there for your listening enjoyment, but they do fill up fast, so arriving early would be to your benefit. The dance floor is decently sized and seemed to be plenty of space for those who wanted to shake their tails.

The staff at Big Swedes was nice, but not always very prompt. It felt at times as if certain staff behind the bar were too busy day-dreaming to notice someone wanted something. In one instance it appeared that my wanting to order food was an inconvenience, which is a little frustrating. I had better luck getting beverages out in the pole barn. The woman working outside was very helpful and prompt, she definitely earned her tips.

The group I was with ordered several different food items. We tried the cheese curds, the nachos, and a thin crust supreme pizza. All of the food was wonderful. I especially loved the pizza.

The music was great and the atmosphere of the pole barn was nice. I will definitely visit Big Swedes again sometime. Hopefully the slow service inside was an isolated incident.

For more information or to book your weekend at Big Swedes Resort, please visit: http://www.bigswedes.com/

 

A Look At Stillwater, Minnesota

Minnesota is a beautiful state, full of wonderful things to do during any season. One of my favorite towns to visit, especially during the summer, is Stillwater. This city is located right on the St. Croix River and really is a great place to visit any time of year. I prefer summer months because of the river and being able to sit out on patios while enjoying a glass of wine or a meal.

Stillwater has a ton of options for staying. There are many Bed & Breakfasts to choose from as well as hotels. One particular place I love to stay at is the Water Street Inn. I have stayed at this Inn on three different occasions and every single experience I have had was memorable and fun. The Water Street Inn features fireplaces and whirlpools in each room. You also have a community patio that faces out toward the river. You won’t be staying on the water at any of the other Inn’s in town. They also have their own restaurant and bar and they are located right in the middle of downtown. Location, location, location; it doesn’t get much better than that.

If you prefer something more secluded for your stay in Stillwater and you don’t mind driving, you could definitely choose any of the other B&B locations around town. I have previously stayed at the Outing Lodge at Pine Point. Not all rooms have a whirlpool, but this Inn has great food and a bar in the basement that showcases live music at times. It is set back in the woods and has a very nice romantic feel to it. This makes a great place for staying in the winter; you can easily go snowshoeing or skiing on the trails nearby. The owners make your stay very homey, at one point they brought around fresh made chocolate chip cookies, talk about winning some points there.

For those who are into good food and wine, downtown has a lot to offer. Northern Vineyards is a great place to go and take part in some wine tasting, they also have a balcony in the back where you can sit and drink wine while looking out at the river. If you are looking for great food and a view of the river, The Freight House is a wonderful experience, though on the pricier side. To enjoy some tasty Italian, Buona Sera features some great food, which I very much enjoyed; reservations are recommended. For a more low-key outing away from the high end food, there is also any number of pubs on Main Street to choose from, some of which have music on weekends.

During daylight hours you can easily wander Main Street and find plenty to do. There are quite a few antique shops, bookstores, and art stores to keep you busy. Stillwater frequently is the place to be for outdoor craft fairs as well. If you would like to spend some time on the water you can take a trip over to the St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., and sign up for one of their scenic river boat cruises. Whatever you do, be sure to end your day watching the sunset. You won’t regret this beautiful view over the St. Croix River.

For more information on Stillwater, please visit the following sites: http://www.discoverstillwater.com/

http://waterstreetinn.us/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=GMB

http://outinglodge.com/

http://www.stillwaterriverboats.com/

http://northernvineyards.com/

 

 

 

 

Explore Breckenridge, Mud Season And All

Colorado is no doubt a beautiful state. My husband and I visit as often as possible; at the very least, once each year. One of our all-time favorite cities to call a temporary home is Breckenridge. While most people go to Breck for the skiing, we go for other reasons.

Breckenridge is beautiful and has a great area for shopping and eating. The town is located at the bottom of the mountains which makes it an ideal location for snow sports. There are several condos at the foot of the ski hill, so snow enthusiasts can virtually step out their door and walk to a lift. We have stayed many occasions through VRBO rentals of the condos in Breck. All of our stays have been pleasant and relaxing.

Neal and I frequently visit in May, during mud season. At this point in time there are a lot of places in town that closed, but some of our favorite haunts, such as Downstairs at Eric’s, are still open. Eric’s has great food and cold beverages. We have eaten there many times and always been pleased with the food and the service.

On certain days during the summer, you may be able to ride the gondolas for free, to the top of the mountain. This is always a fun ride. It’s worth it to see the view.

The main reason we visit Breckenridge is because of the great hiking and off-roading that is nearby. We also visit because it’s a quiet retreat from the craziness of everyday life. Summer, winter, or mud season, you can always have fun in Breckenridge, and there is always something beautiful to explore.

For more information on Breckenridge, please visit: http://www.gobreck.com/?gclid=CO6ao_f_vdMCFQiIaQodahUATA

Visiting Mt. Charleston

A visit to Las Vegas, Nevada does not have to be all about the casinos and the crazy night life. You can also plan other daytime activities such as hiking and exploring the mountains around Las Vegas. Mt. Charleston is a wonderful place to day-trip to, or even stay for a while. The views on this mountain are very different from Red Rock Canyon and are very much worth checking out.

My husband, Neal, and I, have visited this particular area many times. We love to hike and wander the trails of the mountain as well as stay at the Resort on Mount Charleston. This resort is quite rustic and pretty comfortable, though a little bit dated. Dependent on the time of year it may also be very quiet. I love how this resort has such wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. The altitude here is much higher than Las Vegas, so the air is quite a bit cooler and can make for a nice getaway in the heat of the summer.

If you like waterfalls, there is a waterfall hike at Mt. Charleston called Mary Jane Falls. Certain times of year are much better for the waterfall; you would want to go earlier in the year, maybe April, rather than midway through summer. Even if you aren’t there during peak waterfall time, the hikes are beautiful and relaxing. On one such hike I got separated from my group and happened across a photo opportunity that I still love looking at, to this day. The picture is of a single tree, illuminated by the sun, on a cliff looking out at storm clouds over the desert. The photograph was a great take away from that particular trip. You will see many great photo opportunities while hiking Mt. Charleston.

The Resort on Mount Charleston is a great place to relax after hiking. They have a great restaurant on location, as well as a bar that serves food. You can have your wedding ceremony and reception at the resort if you so choose. I also considered Mt. Charleston as a wedding location; it would have provided beautiful scenery for saying our vows. If you want a little romance, a pet friendly room, a ski package, or a hiking package, check out their special offers. Every now and then I will see a Groupon deal for the Resort on Mount Charleston; this is a great way to try the place out and see how you like it before committing to a longer stay.

If the Resort on Mount Charleston isn’t for you, there is also a lodge on the same street. I have not stayed at the lodge, but perhaps one day soon I will check it out. I have provided their website below.

For more information on the Mt. Charleston area, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Charleston

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/nevada/mary-jane-falls-trail

http://www.mtcharlestonresort.com/mount-charleston-nevada/mt-charleston-lodge-packages/mount-charleston-hotel-vacation-packages.php

http://mtcharlestonlodge.com/

 

Utilizing VRBO for Your Next Vacation

Sometimes when my husband and I go on vacation we want something more than just a hotel. We want privacy and space. We want to get away from the commercial feel that comes with being in a busy tourist location.

Two years ago, in June, we put together a pretty amazing honeymoon in Sevierville, Tennessee. We wanted to check out the Smoky Mountains, but we did not want to stay in any tourist areas. We decided to do a search on VRBO.com, (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

If you want an amazing getaway, VRBO is the way to find something unique. We wanted a luxury cabin, which can be a bit pricey, but well worth it for your honeymoon. Our stipulations were as follows: space, privacy from neighbors, a kitchen, a game room, a hot tub and/or whirlpool, as well as a fireplace. We wanted something that was located just outside of the tourist areas, and yet, it needed to be near the hiking and outdoor attractions we were craving.

We were happy to find that VRBO had tons of luxury cabins to choose from, at a range of different price levels. We went with something that was at the higher end, because we felt this event was worth it. The cabin we chose was called, Turtle Dove, and it had both, a whirlpool and a hot tub, as well as all of the other amenities we desired, including two fireplaces.

The only thing we were concerned about upon arrival was that we could see other cabins nearby. While you could see other cabins, we were never disturbed during our stay. The location was perfect for maneuvering to all of the activities we had planned.

VRBO is a website that can help you find lodging in any state. We have utilized VRBO to find large town homes and condos for our family to vacation in Colorado. We have used it to find a house with a pool, off the strip, in Las Vegas. Whatever your need, you can find it on VRBO.

One great thing about VRBO is that you can negotiate with owners on prices. If you know it is the off season in Colorado, for instance, an owner is more likely to work with you on pricing. We have run into some amazing deals for travel during off season in Colorado. If you do choose to go somewhere during off-season, be sure you check to make sure the activities you are interested in are still available. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere during the off-season, only to find that everything is shut down for the next month.

To view the actual cabin we stayed in, please find it at: https://www.vrbo.com/441961

To check out your own possibilities on VRBO, please visit: https://www.vrbo.com/