The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘Hotel’

Nativo Lodge

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on May 9, 2010

For those of you who have been following our cross country move recap, you know that we tried to stay in unique hotels along the way.  Using the Preferred Hotel Group’s Sterling Hotel selection, we found the Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque.  This boutique hotel combines Native American influences with cultural aspects of the Albuquerque area.

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As we pulled into the parking lot, we immediately began to notice the unique touches of culture at this hotel.

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Check in was smooth and we headed to our room to drop off our stuff and freshen up.  Like many of the other hotels this week, the room was quite spacious.

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IMG_2879 The bed was super soft and comfortable.  We had a great night’s sleep, which was particularly important with our unexpected sleep in the car the next night 🙂

Each room appeared to have a balcony, and a large one at that.

IMG_2880 The bathroom had a large counter and sink outside and the requisite toilet and shower on the inside 🙂

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They had Aveda bath products! I’m a huge Aveda fan 🙂 I actually immediately put the products in my bag so I could use them at a later time.  Yep, I love Aveda.IMG_2882 Unfortunately, we weren’t at the hotel long enough to enjoy any of the amenities, but we enjoyed our stay overall.  For the price and quality, the next time we’re in Albuquerque we will  likely stay here again.

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Cambria Suites – Oklahoma City

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 30, 2010

(Apparently I’m slacking in my blog post writing so the Husband has lapped me in his posts.  Today we’re taking a quick step back to Oklahoma City 🙂  )

When searching for a hotel in Oklahoma City, we had some difficulty finding a unique and/or boutique hotel in our price range.  When that search seemed to be failing, I decided to check out the Choice Hotels website to see if they had any of their boutique partner lines in the city.  Unfortunately, they didn’t, but one of their newer lines – Cambria Suites – was in the city.  It feel within our price range, had availability, and wasn’t a line we had tried before so I went ahead and booked it.  I’m glad we did 🙂

The hotel was located south of the city, near the airport I believe, but a reasonable distance from the city itself and the sites we planned to see.  Check-in was simple, the lobby was spacious and modern, and we saw a pool and decent sized fitness center.  We headed to the room to see what we got.

As soon as we walked in, we were impressed.  Immediately as you enter the room, there was a decent sized sitting area, with a couch, armchair, and nice flat panel television.

IMG_2715 Just past the sitting area, there was a desk and an artistic use of space for a separating wall.IMG_2716 The bed was plush (seriously, really, really comfortable – though perhaps too many pillows) and there was also a flat panel television.  The closet happened to be on this side of the room and when we poked our heads in, it was huge and had a very large (relatively speaking) safe (not that we used either).

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The room came with a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker.IMG_2721

And last, but not least, a spacious bathroom.  The toiletries were Bath & Body Works, which I loved.

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IMG_2720 We were actually so impressed with the room, I asked the next morning at check-out if this had been an upgraded room (being frequent travelers, we sometimes qualify for upgrades at Choice Hotels).  It wasn’t! This was the standard room and we told them we were impressed.  While we didn’t interact much with the staff and stayed only the one night, we thought the service we received and both our room and the hotel were quite nice.  It was also in a location with a number of interesting restaurants to check out.  If we’re ever in Oklahoma City again, I can imagine us staying here another night.

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Peabody Hotel Little Rock

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 28, 2010

As I think I mentioned in the Nashville post, the Husband and I were looking to try unique and/or boutique hotels along our road trip west to our new home in Nevada.  The first website I used to look for hotels was the Preferred Hotel Group website.  It was here that I found the Peabody Hotel Little Rock, the first hotel I booked for the trip.  It looked like it would be a nice hotel, in a good location, at a reasonable price.

The hotel was easy to find and as we pulled up, we saw that parking was valet (we didn’t see any other place to park).  From the moment we got out of the car to the time we checked out, we were VERY impressed with the customer service.  All of the employees at the Peabody Hotel were incredibly friendly and welcoming.  It was wonderful.

Check in was simple and quick and we headed to the room to drop off our stuff.  We had a King room which was very spacious.  We later learned that the bed was incredibly comfortable.  We didn’t have much of a view from our room but when we’re staying in a room just one night, that doesn’t concern us.

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IMG_8497 The bathroom was spacious but not overly so.

IMG_8498 The toiletries included a soap duck. 🙂

IMG_8499 So, the ducks… the Peabody is famous for them! I hadn’t heard of them before, but the Husband had and we were impressed with how they were intertwined with so much of the hotel.

IMG_8501 No ducks in this photo, but I liked the touches in the lobby.

IMG_8503 Okay, so back to the ducks.  The Peabody Hotels have mallard ducks who are resident at the hotels, march to and from the main fountain at 11am and 5pm daily, and hang out all day for visitors to see.  The tradition started over 70 years ago when some guests who had gone hunting had tried to sneak in their decoy ducks they brought hunting with them.  When they went to bed, the ducks snuck into the fountain and as word spread, the other hotel guests had gathered to watch them in the morning.  Since then, the hotels have sponsored ducks in their fountain to bring entertainment to the guests. (I think I got the story correct – off of memory from the presentation the next morning).

Each morning at 11am, the ducks at the Peabody Little Rock, walk from their Duck Palace to the 2nd floor elevator and make their way to the first floor.

IMG_8572 With John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March playing in the background, the ducks (one male and four females) follow their Duck Master along a red carpet (an actual carpet) to their fountain.

IMG_8577 Up the steps they go to fountain for the day.  The way they ran to the fountain, you’d think that they were starved.  (They aren’t – prior to this march, they’d had a head of lettuce – guess they’re just excited to get into the fountain!)

IMG_8582 The fountain has two platforms of bird seed for them to enjoy, and enjoy they do!

IMG_8589 Keith, the Duck Master of the day, was very friendly! He explained the history to the group and then answered any questions the guests had.  If you look closely at his cane, it has a duck head 🙂

IMG_8594 We spent a handful of minutes enjoying watching the ducks swim, bathe, and eat.  We learned from Keith that the ducks are raised on a local farm for all of the Peabody Hotels.  They’re raised in teams of five – one male and four females.  They spend about a year at the hotel before heading back to the farm for a number of months (if not longer) of rest and relaxation.  They stay in reserve at the farm in case anything happens to any of the other teams.  For example, the current team worked previously at the Peabody Little Rock and had been back at the farm when the last team had a female who began limping.  You can’t replace one duck on a team as they are territorial so the whole team leaves and another one comes back.  We found this to be fascinating!

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IMG_8616 As we headed back to our room to get our things to check out, we saw the sign for the reserved elevator for the ducks.  Apparently, they used to have a nicer sign that also had the history on the back, but it mysteriously disappeared a few weeks ago when a high school group was staying at the hotel 😉 They’re working on getting a replacement. IMG_8620 On our way back down, we caught some photos of the view out the back of the hotel…

IMG_8621 As well as some from the lobby.  The lobby itself reminded us a lot of the hotel we stayed in in Greenville, SC.

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Overall, we had a very lovely stay at the Peabody Little Rock.  We highly recommend it if you find yourself in the city!

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Aloft Nashville-Cool Springs

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 26, 2010

When planning out our cross country move, the Husband and I looked at our route, decided which cities would be good to stay in based on distance driven per day, and began searching for hotels to stay in.  While we could have driven each day and just found a hotel along the way, we were hoping to find unique hotels to experience and blog about.  Booking a hotel in Nashville in our price range was a bit difficult, likely because (as we found out later) the Country Music Marathon was the same day that we would be arriving.  I perused TripAdvisor.com as well as Hotels.com to get reviews and general price ranges before going to individual hotel websites to see what was available.  One hotel that caught my eye was the Aloft Nashville-Cool Springs.  It looked to be a bit farther outside of the city than I had hoped, located in Franklin, TN, but after lots of contemplation, I decided to book it.

The reviews on Trip Advisor were quite mixed, but I was interested to see what it was all about after seeing Aloft hotels pop up in Charlotte and Washington, DC.  The drive down to Franklin felt a lot longer than I expected, but it was a nice commercial area once we  got off of the highway.  We found a close spot outside of the hotel and headed in to check in.

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The lobby itself is was very overwhelming.  It’s both dark but brightly colored.  There were a lot of children running around and it made it feel like we were walking into Chuck-E-Cheese.  We didn’t want to judge right away as it could have been just poor timing on our arrival.  The reception desk was a circular section, oddly placed just off the the left but in the middle of the room.  I looked around a bit first to make sure I was headed to the correct counter.  Our once over of the lobby noted a bar, a lounge area, a seating area, and a place to order food.

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As some of the reviews I’d read said, it felt like they were trying too hard to be trendy.  Check-in was quick and easy, though, and we were soon headed up to our room.  The elevator was dark (were we in a club?) with a bright blue floor.

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The bright color theme could be found throughout the hotel including the hallways to the rooms.

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When we made it to our room, we were generally pleased with it.  One of the negative reviews of the hotel mentioned that the bathroom was in the room.  Perhaps that reviewer had a very different room than we did, but we really liked the layout of the room.  When you walked in, the bathroom was immediately on your left with plenty of mirrors and counter space.  The mirror on the far end slid closed to section off the toilet and very large shower.

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Across from the sink, was a “closet” – behind the current were numerous hangers, all the space you really need, if any, to hang clothes for a few nights.  There was a magazine rack, safe, coffee/tea maker, and a selection of coffees and teas (plus a free bottle of water). IMG_2624

IMG_2627The next morning, as a quick side note, the Husband made coffee and I had some tea.  The coffee/tea maker is a pod single-serve which apparently I’m not very good at using! So, for those of you like me out there who haven’t used one before, make sure the cup that holds the pod on top is seated properly AND that your pod itself is seated properly in the holder.  Otherwise, you’ll end up like me with tea not brewing directly down and dripping off to the side, losing half of your tea to the counter before you realize it.  Yep, keep an eye on it 🙂

Ok, back to the room! I’m a fan of checking out the toiletries hotels provide.  Aloft had foaming face wash (loved it!) and some body lotion and the usual soap at the sink. IMG_2625

In the shower, there were large dispensers of body wash (also a fan) and shampoo/conditioner.  While I didn’t use the shampoo/conditioner (I prefer separate, not 2-in-1), I love the earth friendliness of the mass dispenser (like a cruise ship). IMG_2626 On the other side of the wall (closet, tea maker, magazine rack) we found the king size bed and the rest of the room.  Personally, I love soft squishy beds and this wasn’t one of them.  It was a bit firmer than my taste but not bad.  I believe the Husband liked it.

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Facing the bed, there was a shelf, a bench and wall mounted television, and desk.  There was sufficient room to walk around and we were generally impressed with the economical use of space. The only frustration was that our tv would randomly lose sound, but we didn’t let it bother us (not enough to call the front desk and ask for help).IMG_2629

The hotel had free wi-fi, which we loved and appreciated.  Why don’t more hotels do that?!?! So very frustrating.

Overall, this was a unique hotel.  While we didn’t love it, it met our needs for the night.  We believe, based on our first walk through and our return later from dinner, that this is a very kid friendly hotel.  In the lobby, they had shelves of board games and good sized tables for families to sit down and play together (and the adults could enjoy some drinks if they so chose).  If you’re in the Nashville area and are looking for a fun atmosphere for your kids, this might be the place for you.

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