Page 1

th ary 20 iver

Ireland

n

Scottsdale, Arizona

An

Natural Bridge Caverns

Call a for yo Hote lGuide pecia rat

Accommodations • Attractions • Events • Destinations

Outrigger Aina Nalu

A Maui Treasure

ss a P a

to nd rie F

Spring 2 Edition - 2014

Outrigger Aina Nalu, Maui


Table of Contents

10

Natural Bridge Caverns New Braunfels,Texas

On A Whole New Level. Imagine a place that towers overhead, even though it’s deep underground. A place filled with delicate formations of solid stone formed by single splashes of water. A place that’s eons old, but feels brand new every time you see it. From giant chambers that echo with mystery to passages with discovery around every bend, come see what makes Natural Bridge Caverns… Naturally AmAziNg. NaturalBridgeCaverns.com • 210-651-6101

Coach Carla’s Corner

8

Hideaway Cove, HI

28

Natural Bridge Caverns

10

Outrigger Aina Nalu, HI

29

Guinness World Records 12

Phoenician Resort - Scottsdale, AZ

30

Lone Star Court 14

Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland

32

Aldaco’s Restaurant

16

Fun in Port Arthur, Texas

18

Experiences 40

Mansion at Judges Hill - Austin, TX

22

Legoland - Florida 41 Christa’s Corner

mORE TO EXPLORE:

42

Destinations 27 About the Cover:

Venture to one of Maui’s nicest retreats at the Outrigger Aina Nalu. (Photo: Nicole Connolly) 2 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

3


...beautiful ...magical ...memorable www.riosanantonio.com

Ride the Rio

River Taxi • Private Charters • Special Events

Connect. Share.Engage

(210) 244-5700 (800) 417-4139

The Publisher

A Word From

T

he Springtime is always a great time for rejuvenation and re-birth. This edition is one of our largest to date and filled with incredible places to visit and stay. Starting with San Antonio’s own CitySightseeing Tours which is a doubledecker city tour. History, charm and fun all in one tour. Want more Texas appeal? Visit the lively city of Port Arthur or make your way to Denton for a life all it’s own. Spring brings a myriad of things to do as well. Venture to the wonderful state of Hawaii and experience some of the finest and memorable escapes. Chronicled by our travel writers, Nicole and Michael, you can’t go wrong. Looking for that “wow” getaway? A must-read comes from our senior travel writer, Christa Thompson as she journeyed to the mystical lands of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way. Embark on a 8-page visionary and editorial journey to a place filled with intrigue and demanding of your attention. Don’t forget to read about the visit to Legoland in Florida as our newest member of The Hotel Guide editorial team makes his debut - The Little Fairytale Traveler. You will get to learn from a kid’s perspective what makes a destination or hotel “kid-worthy.” Great job from our five-year-old journalist. For great story ideas or to be a part of our “Experiences” section, send me a personal e-mail by clicking here. Looking for great hotel deals? Remember that you can book all of your travel from our website or by simply clicking here. Happy Travels!

@riosanantonio

4 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

Edward R. Leos Publisher

Jennifer Leos

Associate Publisher

Christa Thompson

Senior Travel Writer

Nicole Connolly Michael Wright Travel Writers

Daniel Leos Illustrator

Deanna Barrett Carla Ferrer Little Fairytale Traveler Margo Gonzalez Huckabay Chriselda Pacheco Nan Palmero Contributors

Contact Information:

The Hotel Guide P.O. Box 592418 San Antonio, TX 78259

Toll-free

(877) HTL-GDE1 phone (210) 857-2003 info@thehotelguide.com www.thehotelguide.com

Special Thanks to:

• Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority • Denver Convention & Visitor’s Bureau • Texas Department of Tourism • Texas Department of Transportation • Texas Hotel and Lodging Association • Texas Travel Industry Association • Las Vegas CVB • Austin CVB • Tyler CVB •GalvestonCVB • Houston CVB • Corpus Christi CVB • New Braunfels CVB • El Paso CVB • Lubbock CVB • Granbury CVB • San Antonio CVB

5


TEXAS

Texas

S! YE

FREE

TEXAS

Online Health Assessment

Personalized Nutrition

A nutrition plan designed for you specifically courtesy of IDLife. Take the guesswork out, complete our assessment and get on a focused nutrition program. HIPAA-compliant. Take the steps to a better life.

Products:

• ID Nutrition • Meal Replacement Shakes • Appetite Chews • Energy Chews • Sleep Strips

Troy Aikman,

Super Bowl Champion & Official IDLife Spokesperson

Organic • Non-GMO • Lactose, Gluten and Caseine FREE

Visit: www.IDLife2.com 6

www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

7


TEXAS

Coach Carla’s Corner Struggling with Your Weight?

By Coach Carla Ferrer

hat about the innumerable health risks associated with obesity, including but not limited to, heart disease, diabetes, joint disorders, and even cancer!   Can you hide from these dreaded culprits, too? The answer is of course, no. So then, what’s preventing you from taking better care of yourself?   What is it that drives you to eat compulsively and/or excessively, choosing foods that by content and/ or preparation could pretty much not be any worse?  What is it exactly that goes through your mind in that moment as your reaching for the serving or two or three that says, “this is okay, I don’t deserve or need to do better?” YOU Deserve Better... Fact is, you DO deserve better …and you certainly need TO DO better; that is, while the choice is still yours ~ and you still can! Changing the self-defeating course you’re on won’t happen overnight, but it will change for the better if you choose to do better with each bite, each drink, each step, each day going forward!! Listen, I get it!!  It’s not as though you purposely took an extra slice of pizza, or ordered that second burger because you could hardly wait to feel out of shape, short of breath, and feel as though you don’t fit in! Been There, Done That Keep in mind that I really do understand.  Though it’s been over 18 years since I lost 135 pounds…. I have been there, done that, figured it out, and am here to tell you that if you’re ready for a change… stop thinking about it, there will never be a ‘right time’….  just do it! Be very clear, weight loss is nothing more than a decision waiting to happen!  It really IS that simple!  Question is however, ARE YOU READY?      If you are ready, then it starts here and now with first Declaring your decision… Committing to your decision… and seeing it through to Success!   (There may be bumps along the way, but stay true to yourself; quitting is not an option! Obstacles may arise, but they should not change your destination!)

W

8

Getting Started So how do you get started? Start by creating safe zones within your kitchen, your stash drawers at work, etc.   Go through your pantry and get rid of everything you know is not good for you, or that is not in alignment with your goal to get healthy, get fit, and lose weight once and for all.  Clear it all out!!   Better it be in the trash than on your butt, legs and thighs!   And while I’m on the topic of butt, legs, and thighs…. know this, that every time you think you’re taking a harmless ‘BLT’ sampling of something, i.e.,  just a little bite, lick, or taste…. remember what I’ve said, it’s going straight to your tush!    When thought of in these terms, that too fleeting moment of indulgence simply won’t be worth it! Ugly Facts Fact is, on average people are consuming approximately 300-500 extra calories per week with those ‘harmless little tastes’ here and there….that has for many, sneaked up on them (you) ~ in what feels to be overnight! As such, learn to be very mindful of all you choose to put into your mouth because if you don’t, you can absolutely plan on gaining more and more weight with each passing year; that is until you’re either forced by poor and declining health to strictly diet the excess weight away, or worse still. It’s been said, the ‘Teacher will appear when the Student is ready’  …the time and opportunity for you is now!   Ready to get started? First Steps to Change Okay, weigh yourself tomorrow morning, first thing.  You need to know exactly where you stand ~ in order to recognize the milestones you will surely see and accomplish along the way to your desired goal/destination!  In as much, weigh yourself preferably either in the nude at home, or in clothing that you’ll consistently be able to wear to weigh-in just ONCE a week  going forward!  (And I do stress that you weigh no more frequently than once a week ~ or you’ll go crazy with the scale over time ~ as natural fluctuations can be maddening!) www.thehotelguide.com

Then, take heart and take inventory of your food stores, be they your kitchen, office, car, desk…whatever and wherever, and get rid of ALL the junk …and as you’re doing so, really take a look at what you’re eating and ask yourself, what would be a healthier substitution? Make a list ~ Write it down ~ and Go Shopping!   Have this week’s focus simply be to upgrade your nutritional intake; never mind portions for now.  Let’s take this in baby steps! Baby Steps to Get Started Your goal for this week should be to simply eat only the things that are naturally whole and nutritious and good for your body., i.e., lean proteins (97% fat free beef ground round, turkey, fish, skim cheeses, etc.) and lots of complex carbs (salads, vegetables, and fresh fruits), with healthy choices of Skim Milk or Almond Milk, as you prefer. Make your best effort to eliminate all the junk (processed and/or fried foods); choosing to replace it all with healthy, natural foods that are fresh, steamed, grilled and/or baked.  Also, commit to increasing your water intake to at least eight 8 oz glasses of water daily; and give your best effort to moving more, i.e, park further at the mall and grocery store!!  Nothing gets my goat faster than watching people circle the parking lot for 20 minutes looking for the closest spot to the door possible ~ when they could have just easily parked and WALKED!   Or worse still, something falls of the desk… and they SLIDE ACROSS in their caster chair to grasp it, rather than just getting up out of the chair, walking over and bending down to pick it up!!!    IT’S THESE BEHAVIORS, AND COUNTLESS OTHERS JUST LIKE THESE, which have lead you to where you are today.

www.thehotelguide.com

TEXAS

Just Keep Moving... Adding injury to insult, it wasn’t so long ago that we use to have to at the very least, get in the car to go pick up some rental movies for the night; now, without moving an inch ~ all we have to do is push a button on the remote and presto ~ almost magically ~ appears the movie selection screen!! Thus, all these conveniences are really not lending themselves to our overall fitness and well-being; thus  it’s up to you to intentionally plan how, when, and where it is you can reasonably incorporate much needed increased physical activity! Simply put, you’ve got to make healthier food choices, eat less overall, and move more!!! Bottom line, if you’re wanting to once again be that person you were back in the day, or even become someone you’ve never been, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO THINGS YOU’VE NEVER DONE! You can do this!!!!   I know you can!!!   Just remember to stay mindful, be patient, and take this one bite at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time!! Declare it!  Do it!!!  Smile and be glad …YOU still have choice in the matter! You’ve Got The Power! In love & light, Coach Carla www.CarlaFerr

9


TEXAS

Natural Bridge Caverns

pick Texas’ Largest Underground Adventure ’s

sher ubli

P

TEXAS

A

fascinating trip awaits guests of NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS, the largest show cave in Texas. What makes the Discovery Tour so awe-inspiring? The caverns, located in the Texas Hill Country and minutes from San Antonio, contain cave formations that are centuries in the making and still growing today. In March of 1960, four college students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio obtained permission to explore the area. Lured by an amazing 60-foot limestone bridge and a large sinkhole, the explorers made numerous attempts to find the large underground passages they theorized were there. On their fourth expedition, Orion Knox Jr. felt a cool draft from a rubble-filled crawlway. Such air currents often indicate the presence of additional rooms or passages. Upon clearing this 60foot crawlway, the explorers made their way through two miles of vast cavern passage before returning to the surface to tell the landowners of their amazing discovery. The discoverers knew immediately what an astonishing find they had made and the land owners decided to develop the first ½ mile, the most spectacular part of the caverns, for the enjoyment of guests from around the world. Natural Bridge Caverns’ Discovery Tour was developed with two main goals in mind: preservation of the cavern system and comfort of its guests. The result is one of the world’s premier show caverns. The Discovery was opened to the public on July 3, 1964 and dedicated by Texas Governor John B. Connelly as a “Jewel in the crown of Texas’ attractions.” Natural Bridge Caverns has also been designated a State Historical Site and a Registered National Natural Landmark.

Guided Tours Your guided tour, which takes approximately 75 minutes, will take you through vast underground rooms. Discover Sherwood Forest, the Castle of the White Giants and the Hall of the Mountain King, a room the size of a football field. Amazing delicate crystalline formations and gigantic stone monuments fill these beautiful underground chambers. Since Natural Bridge Caverns opened to the public, hundreds of thousands of guests from all over the world have enjoyed the Discovery Tour. You are invited to see this spectacular natural wonder, too. For more information, visit Natural Bridge Caverns online at www.naturalbridgecaverns.com.

10 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

11


TEXAS

Guinness World Records

Sight See San Antonio!!

Break a Record in San Antonio I

nterested in breaking a world record? You can World RecordsTM record with a certified representative become an officially recognized Guinness World of Guinness World Re One HourRecords. Tour, co co mm mm With Commentary, e Ma Fo end RecordsTM record-holder at the newly-reno“The GWR Museum in San M “I was here for a convention so didn’t have much time but PAY ed ax For nded xim r No Booking Needed i F The GOLD STANDARD m l ex FREE u e the City Sightseeing Double Decker Tour was a fantastic u Just Hop On !!! xib tom m Guinness World Records Antonio, Texas is proud ibi vated ilit lity DOWNTOWN way to see it all in an hour - just do it!” y! Adult $26.99 ON ! Museum in San be the first attraction in the MAP! Child (6 -12) $12.99 BOARD! Antonio! world to allow guests the Family* $79.99 210 224 8687 ● Air Conditioned Buses Phillips Entertainopportunity to be able to SALES SALES TAX ment, Inc. has break world records year TAX The STANDARD INCLUDED INCLUDED unveiled this week round,” stated Davis PhilAdult $23.99 its newly renovated lips, and CEO Child (6 President -12) $11.99 $1 1.99 “Attempt Arena” of Phillips Entertainment, Family* $71.99 to the public. With Inc. “Our guests will nd up tothis 3 Children) (*2 Adults and up to 3 Children) new concept, have FREE a unique opporUnder 5s travel the Guinness World tunity to both attempt boarding! Simply pay the driver onand boarding! Records Museum will world records certified Buses nedfeature Busesfun and in210 224 8687 have ● Airthem Conditioned teractive exhibits that on site, as well as to e operate partially allow all guests the opwatch the show. It is a portunity to actually atfun experience for the covered double deckers tempt to break a world entire family.” and fully open-top record. The new AtGuests will have tempt Arena showcases plenty of chances double decker tour buses 7 interactive “challenge for a fun and unique all day every day stations” for guests to experience RSas they E DEhow C K Ethey LONDON ST YLE DOUBLsee practice for their record measit where you like, breaking attempts. Each sure up to different guest can practice their records – whether it’s all awesome fun! record attempts and have it’s stacking golf Tel: 210 224 8687 (TOUR) their scores posted on the tees on top of golf balls City authorities do notEach allow usguest to mark leaderboard. The top conor beingPlease ablenote to text the fastest. our bus stops but we do stop as advertised! tenders on the leaderboard will has the opportunity to walk away a Guinness World Example Popular Bus Stops: then be able to officially at- tempt to break a Guinness RecordsTM record-holder! Alamo Plaza Menger Hotel at 9.30am, 9.45, 10.00, 10.15, 10.30, 10.45, Re

8

Free map “I was here for a convention so didn’t have much time but the City Sightseeing Double Decker Tour was a fantastic way to see it all in an hour - just do it!”

FREE DOWNTOWN MAP!

One Hour Tour, With Commentary, No Booking Needed Just Hop On !!!

PAY ON BOARD!

210 224 8687 ● Air Conditioned Buses

W

RD!

PAY ON BOARD!

Tours All Day, Every Day Every 15 Minutes!

San Antonio

Across From The Alamo

Timetable

1

11.00, 11.15, 11.30, 11.45, 12.00, 12.15pm, 12.30, 12.45, 1.00, 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15, 2.30, 2.45, 3.00, 3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.15, 4.30, 4.45, 5.00, 5.15, 5.30.

7

El Mercado Farmer’s Market 10.00am, 10.15, 10.30, 10.45, 11.00, 11.15, 11.30, 11.45, 12.00, 12.15pm, 12.30, 12.45 1.00, 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15, 2.30, 2.45, 3.00,3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.15, 4.30, 4.45, 5.00.

9

HemisFair Park 10.15am, 10.30, 10.45, 11.00, 11.15, 11.30, 11.45, 12.00, 12.15pm, 12.30, 12.45, 1.00, 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15, 2.30, 2.45, 3.00, 3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.15, 4.30, 4.45, 5.00, 5.15.

om

ect to change

Stops Including

8 English Commentary

HemisFair Park

Guiness World Record Museum Ripley´s Haunted Adventure

Across From The Alamo Tel: 210 224 8687 (TOUR)

Please note City authorities do not allow us to mark

our bus stops but we do stop as advertised!

Example Popular Bus Stops:

Alamo Plaza Menger Hotel at 9.30am, 9.45, 10.00, 10.15, 10.30, 10.45, 11.00, 11.15, 11.30, 11.45, 12.00, 12.15pm, 12.30, 12.45, 1.00, 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15, 2.30, 2.45, 3.00, 3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.15, 4.30, 4.45, 5.00, 5.15, 5.30.

7

El Mercado Farmer’s Market 10.00am, 10.15, 10.30, 10.45, 11.00, 11.15, 11.30, 11.45, 12.00, 12.15pm, 12.30, 12.45 1.00, 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15, 2.30, 2.45, 3.00,3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.15, 4.30, 4.45, 5.00.

9

HemisFair Park 10.15am, 10.30, 10.45, 11.00, 11.15, 11.30, 11.45, 12.00, 12.15pm, 12.30, 12.45, 1.00, 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15, 2.30, 2.45, 3.00, 3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.15, 4.30, 4.45, 5.00, 5.15.

Tour takes approx. 45-50 minutes if you stay on board.

Market Square - El Mercado San Fernando Cathedral

Prices and Timetable are subject to change

S LONDON ST YLE DOUBLE DEC K ER

1

The Alamo

La Villita

www.city-sightseeing.com

12 www.thehotelguide.com

9

San Antonio Timetable

Alamo Plaza

Operator: City Sightseeing Double Decker San Antonio Tel: 210 224 8687 (TOUR) E-mail: csssanantonio@yahoo.com N

Click & Save.

Every 15 Minutes!

Famous Haunted Menger Hotel

NOTE - Timetable subject to construction delays and route changes.

AS SEE ON TV

S LONDON ST YLE DOUBLE DEC K ER

River Walk

Tour takes approx. 45-50 minutes if you stay on board.

ker San Antonio R) o.com

San Antonio San Antonio Tours All Day, Every Day

NOTE - Timetable subject to construction delays and route changes.

King William Historic District

210 224 8687 ● Air Conditioned Buses FUN BUS

If you don’t go, you’ll never know!

www.thehotelguide.com

PAY ON BOARD !

2 AS SEEN ON TV

13


TEXAS

A

Lone Star Court

Austin’s Authentic Americana

new upscale, retro-inspired, motor court concept is coming to Austin courtesy of the Valencia Group. Nostalgia will meet modern at the Lone Star Court, with an aesthetic that’s authentically Austin and Texas Hill Country from the art in the rooms to the unique outdoor environment. According to Doyle Graham, Jr., President and CEO of the Valencia Group, “This is the most exciting new concept in the hotel industry. Lone Star Court will be a 21st century re-interpretation of the nostalgic motor court. At the same time, it will capture the essence of Austin and the Texas Hill Country; it will be one of a kind and totally unique to Texas’ capital city.” True Texas Lone Star Court will have 123 retro-inspired guest rooms with high-tech amenities. True to Austin, Lone Star Court will feature live music by an outdoor fire pit, a dipping pool reminiscent of Hill Country swimming holes, and an onsite food trailer court. Lone Star Court will draw business as well as leisure travelers to its unique “ranch-tech” property, and the restaurant and bar will be a destination for Austinites as well as visitors. A Place to Meet The property will have approximately 2,000 square feet of interior meeting space, an outdoor covered pavilion of 1,600 square feet, and an adjacent open air lawn that adds 1,800 square feet to the total available meeting space. The Valencia Group Lone Star Court is a new concept created by Valencia Group, a Houston-based company known for its luxury independent Hotel Valencias in San Antonio and San

Jose, the Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston and recently Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Why the Vintage Concept? During the early days of auto tourism beginning in the mid 1940s, roadside campsites led entrepreneurs to create quaint, cabin-like places for travelers to stay. Simple cottage camps began to evolve into more sophisticated full-service motor courts, and the number of motels in America tripled to more than 60,000 by the 1960s. The new, more modern motor courts along great American highways featured “air cooled by refrigeration,” television, coin-operated radios, tiled bathrooms, easy chairs, and Serta Perfect Sleepers. After decades of booming business, mom-and-pop motels began to disappear in 1956 with the Federal-Aid Highway Act that funded construction of the interstate highway system. With little means to move their facilities or re-route traffic, these gems of the road gave way to corporate chains staking their claims along the new highways. Lone Star Court will take visitors back to the heyday of the roadside motor court experience, where guests can discover an era of authentic Americana along with modern amenities and the excitement of Austin. More Information To find out more about Lone Star Court, visit them online at www.lonestarcourt.com.

14 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

15


TEXAS P

Aldaco’s Stone Oak

pick Award-Winning Food and More ’s

sher ubli

margaritas lunch & dinner

an Antonio has long been known for incredible Mexican food and for the past 20 years, Aldaco’s has kept up the tradition. Founded by it’s namesake, Blanca Aldaco, the restaurant has won many awards for their food, delectable desserts, tasty margaritas and unforgettable ambiance. After launching the original Aldaco’s near Sunset Station and subsequently moving into the facility adjacent to the Alamodome, the restaurant has earned local, regional and national acclaim. Appetizers with a Flare If you are looking for little bit everything then you must try “La Botana” which comes with two quesadillas al carbòn, three flautas, four fried cream jalapeños, four bean & cheese nachos,guacamole and sour cream. As you gear up for dinner, the choices range from incredi-

S

ble enchiladas to steaks to freshly-prepared seafood. Try the incomparable, Chile Relleno or their scrumptious Fish Tacos. Aldaco’s also offers a Gluten-Free and Celiac menu for their guests. Delectable Desserts Your dining experience isn’t complete without a serving of Blanca’s famous Original Pastel Tres Leches dessert. It is sinfully delicious and melts in your mouth. Another “dessert” that Aldaco’s is known for are their award-winning margaritas. You have to try the infamous Avacado Margarita or the Margarita Pour Off winner. Either way, if you love these tasty treats, Aldaco’s has the answer. Groups The restaurant also has a private dining room that holds up to 100 guests for those intimate gatherings. For more info, visit www.aldacos-stoneoak.com.

patio dining

Free shuttle after 5 pm 100 Hoefgen @ Sunset Station San Antonio, TX 78205 www.aldacos.net 210.222.0561 A San Antonio Tradition for 20 Years.

20079 Stone Oak Parkway San Antonio, Texas 78258 (210) 494-0561 www.aldacos-stoneoak.com Delicious Food• Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner • Award-Winning Drinks • Delectable Desserts 16

www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

17


TEXAS

TEXAS

Port Arthur, Texas

Texas Hospitality Meets Cajun Charm

oaring bridges spanning scenic waterways lead to outdoor adventure filled with birding, fishing and wildlife. Port Arthur unites land and sea in Southeast Texas, where our motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler.” That translates to “let the good times roll,” and it’s our attitude for welcoming tourists to the shores of Lake Sabine. Tons of Water Nearby Port Arthur offers wetlands and Gulf beaches, salt and fresh water fishing and a comfortable year-round climate that is perfect to enjoy Sea Rim State Park, a completely natural beach. Experience our strong Cajun and other cultural influences through cuisine and music. Lots to Do... Catch the excitement at the Zachary Breaux Jazz Festival and the Buu Mon Lotus and Bamboo Festival. Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Jurassic to Joplin experience includes a replica of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche and tributes to The Big Bopper, Jimmy Johnson, Robert Rauschenberg. Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine and Queen of Peace Shrine & Gardens highlight our faith trail. Local Attractions: Museum of the Gulf Coast -Janis Joplin, Jimmy Johnson and The Big Bopper are in music and sports hall of fame here. Visit a replica of Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche, the largest indoor mural of the southwest, the original Sabine Lighthouse lens, a Robert Rauschenberg art gallery, regional history and glass and shell collection are highlights. Visit themuseumofthegulfcoast.com Pompeiian Villa - Barbed-wire King Isaac Ellwood built this pink stucco mansion in 1900. The grandiose home is a replica of a Pompeiian home of 79 A.D. with a three-sided courtyard and antiques. Hundreds of Santa

S

18

figures adorn the mansion at Christmas.Nature Abounds Port Arthur offers wetlands and Gulf beaches, salt and fresh water fishing and a comfortable year-round climate that is perfect to enjoy Sea Rim State Park, a completely natural beach. Visit Sea Rim State Park’s West Dune Boardwalk or Gambusia Nature Trail. Sail or fish on Sabine Lake. Bird Sabine Woods, The Mcfaddin National Wildlife Refuge, and the nearby TexasPoint National Wildlife Refuge. We’re a nature lover’s paradise! Larry’s French Market and Cajun Restaurant Legendary throughout Southeast Texas for its Cajun and Creole dishes, Larry’s French Market and Cajun Restaurant is the place to come hungry and ready for zesty taste sensation. Try house specialties such a spicy crawfish etouffee, chicken and sausage gumbo, boiled seafood, boudain or fried offerings such as alligator or frog leg. The dance floor comes alive with sounds of swamp pop, Cajun and zydeco music Thursday through Saturday. Visit larrysfrenchmarket.com The area’s distinctive Cajun flavor, both musical and culinary, is on full display at Larry’s French Market and Cajun Restaurant. The feel good rhythms of live zydeco music and a large dance floor will prove irresistible to most. Larry’s draws a wide range of patrons and offers a glimpse of authentic Cajun culture, from its delectable food to its joyous, life-affirming music. Get moving to live music on the dance floor and get your mouth set for gumbo, boudain and crawfish. Visit larrysfrenchmarket. com continued on page 20 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

19


TEXAS Our Lady of Guadalupe Visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Shrine which reflects the Hispanic Culture of the region. An inspiring 17-foottall bronze statue rests atop stones brought from Mount Tepeyac in Mexico City, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego. Other Area Attractions: Shangri La Botanical Gardens is a world-class outdoor showplace that connects nature lovers with birds, bayous, herbs and butterflies. Visit Shangri La and rekindle your sense of wonder. Explore the welcome center museum, 252 acres of botanical gardens, Gift Shop & Café. Visit shangrilagardens.com Gator Country Beloved and feared, alligators are Texas’ most fascinating native creatures. GC is home to about 200 gators, including Big Al, the largest gator in captivity at 13ft long and topping 1,000 lbs. Hold a baby gator at this wildlife adventure park that is also home to crocodiles, turtles and snakes. Visit gatorrescue.com

The Spindletop Gusher spurred the largest oil boom in the USA. Visit the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum and relive the past in the reconstructed boomtown complete with oil derricks, shops, businesses and a replica gusher that blows water hundreds of feet into the air. Visit spindltop.org Swamp Tours Cruise the Blue Elbow Swamp in 22-passenger airboats. Day and night tours available. Great group discounts. Visit airboatridesinc.com Port Arthur Hotels The city has a myriad of hotels to choose from, including The Holiday Inn Park Central, The Holiday Inn Express, The Hampton Inn and Suites, La Quinta Inn and Suites, Best Inn and Suites and Comfort Inn and Suites.As well, the Jack Brooks Regional Airport is serviced by American Airlines via American Eagle. Alligator Wedding Shh.. Save the Date! Surprise your group with Port Arthur, Texas’ Alligator Wedding Ceremony and Cajun Dining Experience at Beau Reve (Beautiful Dream) fine dining restaurant More Info? For more information on Port Arthur, visit www. VisitPortArthurTx.com or e-mail Callie Summerlin, Director of Sales at 409-985-7822, Callie@poartharthurtexas. com

20 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

21


TEXAS

Mansion at Judge’s Hill Elegance in the Texas Capital

history as storied as the city T ait dwells in.

he Mansion at Judges’ Hill has

Originally built in 1900, the Mansion was a wedding gift to Goodall & Ella Wooten by Thomas Dudley Wooten, one of the founders of the University of Texas. The two both had a passion for life and they used the Mansion as a fountain of new ideas. In fact, in 1929, they hired Neiman Marcus at a cost of $10,000 (today’s estimate of $1 million) to re-decorate the home. Since its inception, this grand venue has combined the elegance of its historical roots with the vibrancy of its future. “Fluffy. Not Stuffy.” At the Mansion, you are whisked away to a timeless era with the hint of today. Each room in this fabulous boutique hotel is different, uniquely-appointed with an inviting appeal. All the rooms have a personality all their own. Even the bathrooms have texture and color to give it more style and panache. Amenities in these incredible accommodations include: 310 thread count Egyptian cotton linens, hypo-allergenic down and duvets and pillows, complimentary L’Occitane and Gilchrist & Soames custom bath products, private stocked honor bar, complimentary wireless & high-speed internet access, cable television and dvd players. Additionally, there is twice daily housekeeping services. Food for Thought. The Mansion has its own dining room that boasts a five-star chef and an impeccable array of delicacies. Here you will find an exquisite blend of International Modern and Classic Cuisines. The food is always fresh and the plates are designed to allow you to experience many tastes all in one meal.

The 1900 Lounge is open everyday from 4 pm - 11 pm and features stunning carved wood accents, intimate tables, vivid draperies and the attentive and friendly atmosphere the Mansion has come to be known for. Here you can enjoy a delicious martini, tempting frozen margarita or a glass of wine from our selections. Special Events and More. The Mansion offers groups the perfect backdrop for their events. Regardless of the formality, tastes or budget, they can weave a tapestry of simple elegance into any function. Whether it’s a business meeting, wedding reception, or conference, they can create the right atmosphere for you and your guests. The venue can accommodate up to 250 people. Contact Us For more information on this world-class, boutique hotel, visit them online at www.judgeshill.com or call (512) 495-1800.

22 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

23


TEXAS

5 Hotels within 50 Miles

WE’VE GOT HOUSTON, KEMAH AND GALVESTON ISLAND, TX COVERED!

THE WOW FACTOR

HAS A NEW ADDRESS. Dynamic. Innovative. Impressive. Everything you want your meeting or event to be is found in one place. The Hurst Conference Center is minutes away from everything DFW has to offer. Restaurants, shops, sporting events, attractions, airports and more. Our state-of-the-art facility has over 50,000 square feet of flexible event space, with seating for up to 900 in the Grand Ballroom and 300 in Meeting Rooms. Full audio-visual presentation equipment and production is available in-house, plus wi-fi is readily accessible throughout the building. Everything you need to make a lasting impression is right here in our amenity-rich facility. Find out how the Hurst Conference Center is central to your success by contacting our sales team today.

713.228.1520 innattheballpark.com

281.334.9880 kemahboardwalkinn.com

409.744.1500 sanluisresort.com

409.744.5000 galvestonhilton.com

409.740.5300 holidayinnresorts.com/ galveston-bch

24 www.thehotelguide.com

(817) 581-0044 / info@hurstcc.com / www.hurstcc.com

www.thehotelguide.com

25


destinations

Be a part of the Texas Travel Industry Association. Join today. www.ttia.org

26

www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

27


HI

Outrigger Aina Nalu

Luxury in Maui

A Hawaiian Retreat

Hideaway Cove

he south shore of Kauai is home to a number of excellent beaches that are good for a vast array of watersports, but another reason to come to the island is for the outstanding sunsets. With that said, Poipu Beach is right in the center of all the action on Kauai. In fact, the beach has been rated the best in America for three consecutive years (20022004). There is an onsite playground, grassy areas, picnic tables, and bathroom facilities for guests to use. Poipu Beach additionally has plenty of parking spaces for guests. Whales and more... Whales have been known to lurk offshore and sightings are not uncommon here. Guests should bring binoculars if they choose to come to this beach, in order to better spot these indigenous marine mammals. Tortoises and monk seals are typical onshore sights. The snorkeling at this beach is also quite good and offers those who do so will spot a good variety of marine life. Kayaking is another popular activity at this location. Hideaway Cove When it comes to accommodation choices there are many at Poipu Beach. However, for those looking for intimate luxury and tranquility, Hideaway Cove the answer. This upscale property is the perfect place to stay while visiting the Poipu Beach area. The air conditioned vacation condos are located a short five minute walk away from all the fun at the aforementioned beach. Once visitors arrive, it is not uncommon for them to be greeted with fresh fruit and juices, as well as a personalized note and some activity suggestions. Should the recently arrived travelers be suffering from the effects of a long layover, they will find that it is simple to grab a quick nap. The soft mattresses on all the beds are covered with Egyptian cotton sheets and fat duvet comforters are perfect for a restful sleep. Great Amenities The condos have comfortable furniture and special touches throughout, such as HDTVs in the living room and also in all the bedrooms. The rooms are quite spa-

T

28

cious and there are high vaulted ceilings on upper level floors. Views from the upper floors are considered to be much more scenic than those on the lower levels. Not only are the condos spotlessly clean, they are also exceptionally well-stocked with all sorts of useful supplies. A cooler is provided for days that guests want to bring lunch along on their travels, as are beach chairs. However, that is only the beginning. Along with the usual cutlery, cooking paraphernalia, and bath products, these condos come fully equipped with everything one could possibly need on their trip to Hawaii. Local and 800 numbers can be called without any additional charges, and there is a phone and answering machine for guests to use during their stay. Detergent and drier sheets can be found in the laundry room, sponges and dish towels are located in the kitchen, and Q-tips and cotton balls are among the bathroom supplies. There are a variety of culinary gizmos, such as cookie sheets and garlic presses, located in the kitchen. Each condo also has a private deck and outdoor furniture, as well as a stainless steel, gas barbeque grill. For guests whose condos do not have laundry facilities, there is laundry room provided for their use. Irons and ironing boards can be found inside each of the condos. Stylish Condos The condos are roomy, stylish, and excellently outfitted with all manner of useful amenities. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. There is also an outdoor Jacuzzi and a beautiful tropical garden. The Hideaway Cove condos are located on a quiet road that is a quick walk from the nearby Poipu Beach area. Snorkeling, swimming, and body boarding are popular beach activities. There is an extensive list of things do in the surrounding area, which can easily be found on the condo’s extensive website. Hideaway Cove is a wonderful retreat for families, couples and solo travelers. Written By: Nicole Connolly & Michael Wright www.suitcasestories.com www.thehotelguide.com

xquisite beauty awaits you on the Hawaiian island of Maui. With temperatures ranging between the upper 60s and upper 70s throughout the entire year, Maui is the perfect vacation spot, and Lahaina is in the center of the action. While island visitors typically enjoy surfing or swimming, there is plenty more to do in this former capital of Hawaii. History Lesson Lahaina was once known for its participation in the global whale trade in the 1900s. Those days are long gone, but guests can still visit the Whalers Village Museum in town. While in Lahaina, the young and young at heart might like to try their hand at Maui Paintball. Visitors can also catch Elvis impersonators at the Burn’n Love show or view the diner theatre performances at Warren & Annabelle’s Magic. For a more traditional version of island life, the Old Lahaina Luau is another option. Indeed, there are a variety of show options to choose from in this city. Scenic Lookout For those who want to get an island overview in the literal sense, the Papawai Scenic Lookout is a good place to do just that. A short drive around Maui will bring guests to either Wai’anapanapa State Park or Haleakala National Park, both good choices for a day trip. Of course, there are always the nearby swimming spots at Napili, Kahekil, and Ka’anapali Beaches. Accommodation is abundant in Lahaina and all around Maui, but if you are looking for a true Hawaiian hospitality experience, look no further than Outrigger Aina Nalu. Experience the Outrigger Aina Nalu A home away from home, Outrigger Aina Nalu is an award-winning luxury residential

E

www.thehotelguide.com

HI

style vacation complex. The team at Outrigger have thought about almost everything, and in each condo you will find wonderful amenities including free cable TV in all the rooms. All oneand two-bedroom condos not only include comfortable, modern furniture, but each condo has a full kitchen and laundry facilities. Common kitchen appliances such as blenders, coffee makers, toasters, and more basic cooking utensils are provided for guest usage. Being constructed with vaulted ceilings, the upstairs rooms allows a lovely fresh breeze to pass through. There is air conditioning in both the living area and the bedrooms; however, most days the breeze will be enough to keep the condo at a perfect temperature. Great Staff Although this isn’t a hotel, the desk staff is both helpful and friendly, as are the service personnel. The reception desk is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for checking in and out of the condos. There are two swimming pools—one large lap pool and another great for children—a whirlpool, shaded cabanas, and barbeque facilities available for guests to use. For trips to the nearby beaches, chairs and umbrellas are provided for guests to take with them. The Outrigger Aina Nalu condos are situated off the main street, yet the facility is only a short 2-block walk from all the action on Front Street. There are supermarkets located nearby as well. A small beach can be found within walking distance, but most of the more popular shorelines are easily reachable by car. Written By: Nicole Connolly & Michael Wright www.suitcasestories.com

29


AZ s

sher’

li Pub

pick

AZ

Luxury in Scottsdale

The Phoenician Resort

ince it first opened its doors in 1988, The Phoenician has set the standard for luxury and service in the Sonoran Desert. The AAA Five Diamond resort is a visual masterpiece, spanning 250 acres of lush gardens and dramatic desert terrain against the spectacular backdrop of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona. Tons to Offer Everyone But what truly sets The Phoenician apart is the remarkable diversity guests will find here, allowing them to create the travel experience of their dreams. Accommodations range from luxurious guestrooms to residential-style casitas. Dining can be a casually elegant affair, as found at the Italian-inspired Il Terrazzo; as informal as a refreshing salad enjoyed poolside; or as memorable as a romantic feast just for two under the stars. The world-class recreational offerings of The Phoenician’s golf, tennis and spa facilities are balanced by the more unconventional pleasures of touring the resort’s fascinating Cactus Garden or exclusive $25 million art collection; or feeding Koi at Necklace Lake Lagoon. Spacious, Elegant Accommodations The Phoenician offers guests a choice of 643 spacious accommodations from guestrooms and luxury suites to casitas with private entrances. In the main resort building, there are 450 beautifully decorated guest rooms, plus 12 luxury suites and two expansive, 3,000 square-foot presidential suites. The intimate Canyon Suites, nestled against Camelback Mountain, is a boutique resort within the resort offering guests enhanced signature services, such as a personal wake-up call served with a choice of freshbrewed tea or coffee in a sterling silver set, a seasonal amenity presented by Executive Chef Paul Carter and a Canyon Ambassador to take care of the guest’s every desire. The Canyon Suites features 20 guestrooms, 38 luxury suites and two presidential suites, as well as its own secluded “edgeless” pool and cabanas. A short stroll from the main building adjacent to the Necklace Lake Lagoon, the casitas include an additional 119 guestrooms and suites offering doorstep parking and private entrances. Award-Winning Dining The Phoenician offers seemingly endless dining options that are as diverse as they are inspired. Among the nine restaurants is Il Terrazzo, featuring authentic American-Italian cuisine; and J&G Steakhouse, showcasing a bill of fare created by world-renowned Chef

Capture the moment, as well as the imagination. With elegant accommodations, award-winning cuisine, a stunning golf course and a lavish spa, The Phoenician is where your highest expectations are met and always celebrated in style.

S

LIFE IS A COLLECTION OF EXPERIENCES LET US BE YOUR GUIDE thephoenician.com/offers 800 888 8234

Jean-Georges Vongerichten. For a more casual experience, the charming Café and Ice Cream Parlor serves tempting treats and light meals in a family friendly atmosphere; and the Oasis and Canyon Grills present a variety of poolside favorites; while a complete lineup of signature burgers, appetizers and desserts await at the Relish Burger Bistro. For a more traditional experience, relax to the rich temptations of Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Tea Court. Another popular gathering spot, the Thirsty Camel Lounge, serves luxury spirits, light fare and rare cigars with live piano or saxophone adding to the ambience. And for private dining, The Praying Monk offers an intimate, Renaissance-inspired setting for small parties. World-Class Leisure Pastimes At The Phoenician, world-class recreational options abound. The golf club offers 27 holes of championship play on three, nine-hole par 70 combinations designed by Homer Flint and Ted Robinson, Sr., while the 11-court Tennis Garden is the only resort facility in the Southwest to offer four playing surfaces. Guests in search of enlightenment can indulge in an array of pampering and rejuvenating spa treatments at the 22,000 square-foot Centre for Well-Being, or learn about the resort’s many treasures – both natural and cultural – with guided and self-guided tours of the two-acre Cactus Garden and The Phoenician’s $25 million art collection. More info? Visit them online at www.thephoenician.com.

30 www.thehotelguide.com

RELISH BURGER BISTRO

IL TERRAZZO J&G STEAKHOUSE

THE CENTRE FOR WELL-BEING

©2014 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Luxury Collection and its logo are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.

www.thehotelguide.com

31


Ireland

The World’s Wildest Driving Route had gloves on my gloves. My hands were cupped firmly over my ears and my head was turned down as if I could challenge the wind. It was winning with gusts of 50pmh. The air seemed frozen as it whipped over my

I

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s newly developed driving route stretching 1,554 miles from the medieval fishing ports of Kinsale

chapped lips and rosy cheeks. My hat blocked most of my view leaving me only to see collections of hail along moss covered stones. The contrast of bright green on grey limestone seemed so unearthly, like something from the imagination of an old storyteller. The Burren is so “other-worldly”. There I found myself hopping through an endless field of confusing limestone to the Poulnabrone Dol-

Ireland men, a megalithic portal tomb dating over five-thousand years old. Just as fast as I arrived to the curious monument, the wind stopped, the hail was gone, and the clouds parted to unveil a temperamental blue sky. The Irish say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” This couldn’t hold more truth along the boundless bends, cliffs and summits of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Out for an Adventure

Continued on next page

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

in County Cork in the south, to the legendary ancient land of giants of Inishowen in County Donegal in the north. It is broken into four sections (North West, West, Mid West,

the most scenic, extraordinary, and adventurous terrain in the Emerald Isle, and maybe even the world.

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

South West) that take you along

32 www.thehotelguide.com

s

er’ h s i l b

Pu

k c i p

www.thehotelguide.com

33


Ireland

Ireland

Achill Island Co Mayo

Terrain and Activities - Mountains, bogs, cliffs, trails, caves, and beaches provide a range of opportunities for biking, hiking, swimming, surfing, and exploring. Park at Keem Bay and hike over Croaghaun to see the largest sea cliffs in all of Europe. Even larger than the Cliffs of Moher. The Fairytale Report- Visit Grace O’Malley the Pirate Queen’s castle, Kildvnet Tower. Achill Island is home to ancient ring forts, holy wells, standing stones and tombs. It is said in Irish legend that these are the places where the fairies roam.

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Court Tomb Keegan Head Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

The Feel of It - Achill Island is teeming with folklore and fairytales and has become a hub for archaeologists, adventure seekers, and nature enthusiasts. Frozen in time, this island’s unscathed nature coast whispers echoes of legends past through tiny native villages and lofty mountain peaks.

Keem Bay

Claddaghs Quay Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

S

tanding at the ruins of the Deserted Village (left), my eyes were met with a seemingly endless ocean broken only by the massive, craggy cliffs of Achill Island’s edge. I was surrounded, swallowed by treeless mountain ridges covered in blanket bog and scattered with mindful sheep and ancient stones. Hammering winds froze my lips and carried the scent of burning turf from the village fireplaces. This is when I realized that Achill Island may be Ireland’s best kept secret.

From a Local“There’s no T.V., no radio, and no internet at Lynott’s Pub, just good music, friends and pints.” Lynott Pub may be the most “Irish” pub I have ever been in.

34 www.thehotelguide.com

Coastal Sheep Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

O’Briens Tower

www.thehotelguide.com

35


Ireland

Ireland Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Connemara / Clifden Co Galway

Galway City Co Galway

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

G in love, where the bright colors of the

alway is a place where the swans fall

J

ust at the edges of Galway City lies boundless green valleys through sloping peaks interlaced with turquoise shores. The Wild Atlantic Way through this region makes for a fairytale drive through Connemara into Clifden.

village storefronts are laced with yellow dandelions, and where vintage fishing boats on the Claddagh Quay illuminate the grey of the winter’s end. In Galway City (right) the ocean froze my feet and warmed my heart.

The Feel of It- Untouched nature surrounds winding roads through romantic landscapes. Ocean waves crash against ancient lands and tiny antiquated villages.

The Feel of It- A bustling city with a coastal view, there’s no shortage of pints, food or music in this colorful city. The Terrain and Activities- Coastal and city streets. Day strolls, jogging, field sports, and island hikes are among the outdoor activities. In the city you can enjoy shopping, dining, and pub crawling along with local attractions. Check out Claddagh Quay (below) a sleepy old fishing port with vintage boats and swans. A picturesque spot with colorful village homes.

Terrain and Activities- Cliffs, bogs, rolling peat lands, mountains, sandy and rocky shores, and the Greenway provide a vast terrain for the adventurer. Biking, hiking, mountain climbing, and diving can be enjoyed here, especially in the Connemara National Park. Take a well guided tour of the region with Connemara experts, Walking Connemara. www.walkingconnemara.com The Fairytale Report- Legends of fairies and goblins are kin to the Connemara region. Explore Brigit’s Garden with Celtic gardens, standing stones, a fairy fort and enchanted woodlands. Sleep in the Abbeyglen Castle, a well appointed castle hotel in the heart of Clifden. Enjoy nearby Clifden Castle and enchanted standing stones. Visit Kylemore Abbey, a 19th century hillside castle now home to the Benedictine Nuns.

The Fairytale Report - In the city the there’s a medieval late 16th century street, Kirwins Lane. Just outside of the city there is Aughnanure Castle and a ferry to the Aran Islands will take you to Dun Aonghasa, a prehistoric stone fort. From a Local- The Crane Bar on Sea Road has the best traditional Irish music in the city. Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

From a Local Take a drive on Sky Road (right), a 7 mile circular drive west of Clifden. It has been described by Irish locals as the “most stunning” view in all of Ireland.

36

www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

37


Ireland

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

The Burren, Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Co Clare

Ireland

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

D

riving along the crooked roads through ring fort lined limestone fields of the Burren was exhausting. My brain was overwhelmed with the arduous task of processing this seemingly supernatural landscape. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Its silvery ancient stone walls appeared to go on forever. It was here where it became so evident to me as to why the Irish have so many legends. The Feel of It- Old world Ireland. Ruins after ruins of castles and churches, old cottages and stone walls. This region is a time travel through Ireland. The Terrain and Activities- Mountains, limestone fields, rolling peat hillsides, and endless miles of stone walls create a sharp contrast against the lush green earth of Ireland. Hike through thousands of years to ruins and tombs, drive to the Cliffs of Moher (right) or explore some of Ireland’s largest underground cave systems.

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

The Fairytale Report- The colorful tiny seaside village of Doolin is just a couple miles from the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. Spend a fairytale night by the sea with a view of the 500 year old Doonmacfelim Castle at the Sea View House of Doolin. This finely appointed B&B has personal touches and a gourmet locally harvested breakfast that will make you feel like you are visiting family. Just a short drive from Doolin is the Poulnabrone Dolmen (below) with easy access and a car park. This megalithic portal tomb is 5,000 years old. In Celtic mythology it is believed that these sites were built by “the people of the stars” or Sidhe, fairies.

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Pictured from top to bottom: (top) The serenity of the town. (bottom) Waves crashing on the Doolin Coast Line.

From a Local -Gus O’Connor’s pub just down the hill from the Sea View House is a great place for Irish music and food. No driving required.

38

www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

39


Ireland

Dingle Peninsula Co Clare

Ruins on the Dingle Peninsula

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

Ireland

Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

F Peninsula, I couldn’t help but imagine

rom the cliffs of Slea Head on the Dingle

how difficult is was for ancient peoples to survive on this majestic coastal land. High treacherous cliffs, winding coastal roads and rolling green hills below soaring mountain peaks lent a sliver of understanding. This is one of the wildest regions of the Wild Atlantic Way. The Feel of It- This is rugged Ireland. With a booming village on the Dingle Harbor, there is an old world and a natural world feel to Dingle. You can hike by day and have a pint in the afternoon. The Terrain and Activities- Rocky cliffs, rolling hills, mountains and surrounding islands (the Blasket Islands) provide a range of outdoor adventure activities with ferry service to the islands during season. I highly recommend a well guided tour from a local with Dingle’s Coastline Tours www.coastline-tours.com. The Fairytale Report- Have Coastline Tours pick you up from your fairytale night at Ballyseede Castle Hotel (right), www.ballyseedecastle.com a 16th century Irish castle in Tralee. Feel like you are at home in your very own castle with food service all day, a pub and antique sitting rooms where you can relax by the fire and take it all in. There’s even an evening tour with Tim as he tells ghostly tales of the castle’s past. Close to Ballyseede is Bunratty Castle and Folk Park where you can tour a magnificently period furnished 16th century stronghold and walk through the streets of a living replica of Ireland over a century ago. www.shannonheritage.com From a Local- The Dingle Pub and Restaurant in Dingle Village has a large menu and small prices. It is a lively bar at night with trad and traditional Irish music nightly. Photo: Christa Thompson ®2014

A Fairytale Ending perfect way to end a fairytale journey along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is with Dromoland Castle. This 5- star luxury castle hotel has history dating back to the 5th Century - an ancestral home of Gaelic Royalty, direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. There’s plenty of activities offered but, it will be hard to leave your lavishly-furnished pristine room. Whether you take a stroll through the walled Victorian gardens, hit the spa for a relaxing massage, or just explore the castle, there’s excitement, elegance, and beauty around every corner. The staff is friendly and will make you feel like the royal family of the castle. Dromoland loves children and gives a special surprise to their royal kiddie guests.

A

Wild Dingle Coastline 40 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thehotelguide.com

41


Experiences

Family Time

experiences

Ditch the Sand for Legoland by:Christa Thompson, The Fairytale Traveler

t’s that magical time of year in Florida when a tiny window of opportunity opens and you can enjoy the theme parks like they were meant to be enjoyed -with few people, no wait times, and stress-free family time. It’s the end of April, and all the way through Mother’s Day you can find what’s left of the snowbirds getting their end-of-days sunburn on the beach while the kids are back in school. So, being the opportunists that we are, we ditched the sand and head for Legoland.

I

Mom Report: Perfect for 3-6 year olds. A great way to break kids into “big kid” rides with a wooden roller coaster and several other pretty good roller coasters. I really liked that they had more than just one. With it being so empty, we were able to ride them over and over again. Total WIN! Favorite Rides: The Quest for CHI (World of Chima), The Dragon (Lego Kingdoms), Ford Driving School, Flying School, Boating School (Land of Adventure), Project X (Lego Technic). Mom Tip: The World of Chima was a perfect way the end the day, I recommend hitting it in the afternoon when it’s hot out. It was quite refreshing and the kids loved the water fight on the Quest for CHI. Final Thought: I was completely blown away at Miniland USA. It was everything I ever imagined being able to create when I was a kid and then some. I hope to see this indoors at some point, it would be a shame to watch it get destroyed by the brutal Florida heat. 40 www.thehotelguide.com

Experiences

www.thehotelguide.com

Calling All Kids The Real Deal by a Kid for Kids

By: The Little Fairytale Traveler The Little Fairytale Traveler Report: This place was epic! I loved everything! I passed a driver test, a boating test and even a plane test! As soon as we got into the park there was a bunch of tiny cities all made out of legos, it was awesome! Now I want to just make a bunch of tiny cities in my room. Favorite Rides: I loved all of them! My favorite ones were Coastersaurus, Project X, Flying School, Boating School, Driving School, the Dragon, and the Quest for Chi. Kid Tip: Don’t wear sneakers cause when your socks get all wet you get blisters. Flip flops work best! Final Thought: I’m thinking I want to go back to Legoland.

41


Fairytale Traveler Hotel Report

Christa’s Corner

Destination: Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way Achill Island Hotel, Achill Island “What’s the Craic?” This cozy hotel met our bellies well when we finally made it to Achill Island. The food and staff were outstanding. Completely down to earth and happy to lend a hand, they really went above and beyond to make us comfortable. This is a place where you learn about what’s up on the Island. Just ask any of the staff and they are happy to share the local secrets. The huge room with an amazing view of the mountains was a bonus to the delightful locals. Clew Bay Hotel, Westport Conveniently located We loved the convenience of the location. Right next to the car park and in the middle of the bustling city of Westport. Well appointed rooms with a friendly staff and a cozy fireplace, what more do you need! Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden, Connemara Fairytale Views I felt right at home in this historic castle with breathtaking views of the Twelve Bens Mountains stretching to the sea. Abbeyglen Castle is tucked away in the rolling mountains of the picturesque Connemara region of western Ireland. With its convenient location on the popular Sky Road, it was the perfect accommodation on our journey along the Wild Atlantic Way. After an adventurous day of hiking and taking in the astonishing scenery, it was so nice to warm up by the fire, enjoy a gourmet dinner, and hear live music in the pub. The welcome was warm, the food was great, and we loved the personal touches. The attentive but not overly stuffy staff really made us feel at home. Hotel Meyrick, Galway City Glamorous and Elegance This mid 19th century property with its glamorous and elegant style stands tall over Galway City. Conveniently located next to the train station, this was a perfect check in point for us as we traveled from Dublin and began our journey along the Wild Atlantic Way. From the grand lobby fireplace to the outdoor Canadian hot tub in the spa, we found comfort at every turn. The convenience of two pubs and a restaurant on property was well received. Even more convenient is Ireland’s Tourism office two blocks down the street, Failte Ireland. There you can

an adventure travel blog

get all your Wild Atlantic Way goodies, speak to their helpful team, and get fully prepared for your adventure. The Sea View House, Doolin Home Away from Home All the comforts of home with the luxury of a finely appointed hotel and a fairytale view of the ocean can be found at the Sea View House. We fell in love with Niall and Darra, property owners of the half private residence half B&B. Their charm and enthusiasm to deliver the hospitality that the Irish are so well known for was well met with tired feet and the need for a cozy bed. Need I say that, their beds and linen are among the finest I have had in the whole of Ireland. With its convenient location along the Wild Atlantic Way just minutes from the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, this was just the right place for us.

Searching the world for legend, myth and lore

Dromoland Castle Hotel, Limerick You’re the Royalty Be the royal family at this fairytale castle hotel just minutes from the Wild Atlantic Way. From the moment we pulled up we were greeted with enthusiasm and class. The lavish decor and rich details of this 5 star property made us feel like we stepped into a real life fairytale. Between strolling through the walled Victorian Gardens and relaxing in the sauna, we were in heaven. The rooms were finely furnished and spacious. I loved the room so much I wanted to stay up all night just to enjoy it, but the comfortable, cloud-like bed saw otherwise. This was the perfect fairytale ending to our fairytale adventure along the Wild Atlantic Way. The worst part about this property was leaving it. Visit: www.thefairytaletraveler.com

42 www.thehotelguide.com

www.thefairytaletraveler.com www.thehotelguide.com

43


44 www.thehotelguide.com

TheHotelGuide040514  

SpringII Edition of The Hotel Guide. Destinations, Top Resorts, Travel Tips and more.