Archive for the ‘US’ Category

BOGO Lodging to Celebrate National Parks Week

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Let’s go BOGO. Who doesn’t love a buy one get one free lodging bargain? When it’s combined with free entrance to a U.S. National Park during the week of April 17- 25, your spring vacation is a budgetary winner. Sure, you could camp at Shenandoah or Yellowstone, but look at these bargains:


Far View Lodge

At Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado, explore the ancient cliff dwellings of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visits to Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House require a ticket on a ranger-led tour. Be sure to save some time for hiking one of the many trails or visiting the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum. From your room at Far View Lodge, high on the mesa’s shoulder, the view encompasses three states and all the stars you can count in the dark, night sky. Rooms are priced at $99 with a consecutive night free. This offer is valid from April 22 – 30, 2010. And, entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is free through the end of April.

Experience Virginia’s beautiful spring with a stay at Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park. The historic resort, built in 1886, offers inspiring views of the Shenandoah Valley. But don’t spend all of your time looking out the window from the highest point on Skyline Drive — take a hike, go biking or visit one of the local wineries. Book one night for $125 and receive the second consecutive night free. Offer valid from April 18 – 29, 2010.


Kalaloch Lodge

Olympic National Park in Washington encompasses rain forests, rugged beaches and mountain splendor. Confused about what to see first? Why not split your visit into two Olympic experiences? First take in the rugged Pacific coastline from your accommodations at Kalaloch Lodge. The bird-watching paradise includes hiking, biking and beach-combing opportunities. Next, head 12 miles into the heart of Olympic National Forest for a stay at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Soak away tired muscles after an invigorating hike through an old growth rainforest. Both Kalaloch Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort are offering accommodations priced at $157 with a second consecutive night free. This offer is valid from April 17 – 25, 2010.

Shenandoah, Mesa Verde, Olympic — I’m having a hard time deciding which National Park BOGO lodging adventure to choose. How about you?

Photos courtesy ARAMARK Parks and Destinations.

Review by Donna L. Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet.

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

One of Mammoth Cave's Natural Wonders

As a Kentucky native, I first visited Mammoth Cave National Park, the world’s largest cave network as a child. There are some trips you never forget.

Years later, on a return visit to this natural wonder that was established as a national park in 1941, I found some things had changed and others were just as I remembered them.

Historic Opening of Mammoth Cave

Famous For: Cave tours that traverse portions of the cave’s 367 miles of already explored underground chambers and caverns. Cave tours, (the first were offered in 1816, 4000 years after humans first entered the cave’s labyrinth) have been developed to accommodate a variety of visitors’ ages, abilities and interests.

Kids will like: For the 8-12 years of age crowd, the Trog Tour is a chance to explore the underground without parents. The tour is an 2 ½ hour“off-trail adventure” with two park rangers.

Whole Families will enjoy: “Introduction to Caving,” a tour that teaches about caving and offers the chance to go through parts of the cave that are not usually included in other tours.

Pre-teens and teens will like: Any of the tours. Many of the cave’s stories passed along by the ranger guides are fascinating, particularly the story of how one section of the cave was used as a hospital for TB patients in an experiment that failed. Plus, Mammoth Cave is so vast, mysterious and sometimes creepy, what’s not to like?

What’s changed since my first visit?: “Lost John,” the remains of a Native American who had become trapped under a fallen boulder are no longer on display. In the 1970s, his remains were interred in an undisclosed location after it was deemed inappropriate to have him on view.

Due to adverse environmental impacts, there are no longer boat tours on Echo River, one of the cave’s underground marvels where eyeless fish swim. You can still see the river on the “Making of Mammoth Tour.”

Admission: Cave tours cost: $5 to $45 depending upon the tour. The longest, the Wind Cave tour takes 6 to 6 ½ hours. The shortest tour, the self-guided Mammoth Cave Discovery tour, takes 30 minutes.

Admission into the park is free.

Other Mammoth Cave offerings. Above ground there’s plenty to do. Horseback riding, hiking, swimming, boating and fishing are also available.

More than thirty miles of Green and Nolin Rivers are in the park. Rent a canoe or raft from one of the several outfitters close by.

A Historic Woodland Cabin

Where to stay:

Inside the park, The Mammoth Cave Hotel is a network of hotel rooms and cottages. Two locations– the Heritage Trail Rooms and Sunset Terrace Rooms have 62 rooms between them. The 20 Woodland Cottages have one to four bedrooms. The 10 Historic Cottages accommodate 1 to 2 people. Reservations to either options can be made online.

Mammoth Cave also has three developed campgrounds and more than a dozen primitive camping sites.

Make reservatoins for campsites and many of the tours online or by calling 877/444-6777.  

Lodging nearby: In Cave City, Mammoth Cave’s gateway, there are several lodging options ranging from privately owned and chain hotels to B&Bs to campgrounds.

Where to eat: For plenty of comfort food dining, try the park’s Travertine Restaurant. For more casual fare, stop in TrogloBITES.

Coffee and homemade desserts are served at the Crystal Lake Coffee Shop.

Before you leave the park: Stop in Kentucky Home Gift Shop where you can purchase items made by Kentucky craftsmen and artisans. Even if you don’t buy, it’s a treat to look.


More info can be found at the always helpful site:

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Cheap Hotels in San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Find cheap hotels near the golden gate bridge in San Francisco, CA. ……

Looking Up the Golden Gate Bridge

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Dine About Town in SF

Photo by sfguy (more...)

A Weekend in the Wine Country

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Sonoma Grapes

For Valentine’s my boyfriend and I went to Sonoma, CA for a long weekend of wine tasting and eating fantastic food. Before stopping in Sonoma (where we were staying), we kept driving to Napa so that we could try out a few wineries before our check-in time. I am normally directionally challenged, but the beauty of Napa is its simplicity. The majority of the wineries are on the main freeway in Napa (I-29) so it makes navigating easy!

Rutherford Winery

We ate a great lunch (which we picked up along the way) at Rutherford Winery of deli sandwiches, fresh fruit and a glass of chardonnay where we were situated in olive groves with a view of the rolling hills of California.

Rutherford Olive Grove

After walking around the grounds and stopping in the tasting room, we took the scenic drive over the mountains to Sonoma where we arrived at our hotel, the Lodge at Sonoma Resort and Spa. Before dinner, we went to the lobby which was serving complimentary champagne and sat by the outside fireplaces with a blanket provided by the front desk (Heaven? I think so!). Then (and this is my favorite part) we head to the legendary restaurant, The Girl and the Fig, to enjoy one of the best meals in my life.

The bread was fresh, the wine was delicious (of course), and the appetizers were unforgettable. But nothing compares to the entrée I ordered. I ordered the sea bass (a recommendation I took from our cab driver) which was accented with lime sauce and served on buttery mashed potatoes-there is no other word to use but “Yummmm”!

Oak Barrels

After many recommendations from friends I booked a spot for two with Platypus Tours the next day which has different buses in Napa, Sonoma and Healdsburg. Not only did we have the nicest couple take the tour with us but we had the funniest and most knowledgeable tour guide, Ken. I recommend this tour over others I have taken in the Wine Country because it comes with a personality, and not just that, Ken would bring us to places where he knows the owners so that we were helped immediately.

I understand that since I only live a few hours away it is much easier for me to visit the wine country, but I think that even if you live on the east coast this trip would be well-worth it. Nowhere else in the world are you going to be able to try the best white and red wines at the same vineyard!

Wine Grapes

California provides the best weather for grapes and for weekend getaways, so why not make the trip??

Photos (in order of appearance):

  • Vineyard by wharman
  • Rutherford Hill Vineyards, Napa Valley, California by jimg944
  • Olive Groves by Brittany Chandler
  • Beringer Vineyards, Napa Valley, California, USA by jimg944
  • Wine Grapes by tibchris

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Celebrity Hotel of the Week: The Standard, Los Angeles

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Walking distance from the fashion district is The Standard Hotel

Leonardo is part-owner of The Standard

The Standard Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles
550 South Flower at Sixth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Phone (213) 892-8080

CELEBS SPOTTED: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Benicio del Toro

Smack dab in the middle of downtown Los Angeles – a stone’s throw from the fashion and jewelry districts – is The Standard Hotel. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is close by, as is the Museum of Contemporary Art and Dodgers Stadium.

Celebs galore hang at The Standard. Leonardo Dicaprio loves the Rooftop Bar, complete with incredible views of L.A., heated pool, outdoor fireplaces, the bar and restaurant.

You think this is cool? Wait till you see it at night.

Cameron Diaz enjoys the 24/7 Restaurant, literally open 24/7, with it’s cheery yellow decor and outside patio area. The Standard sets a…well, standard for casual chic.

The 24/7 is all bright and cheery-like

There's Something About Cameron

Yes, Leonardo and Cameron are part of the investors in the hotel, but they have reason to love the place, anyway. It’s cool, baby, cool. The indoor lobby area has pool tables, the outdoor lobby has a flaming fountain (yes! Flames and fountains together!) – there’s even a photo booth. And my favorite thing in any hotel, of course: free wifi throughout. That’s class.

Platform beds and great lighting

The Medium room, at 300 square feet, comes with queen-sized platform bed and glass-enclosed shower. A great desk, along with iPod stereos, too. It starts at $245/night. A few notches up, you have the Gigantic room, which measures in at 480 square feet. Sports  a king-sized bed, five great windows (corner rooms), double closets, and a bathtub, along with the other amenities. The Gigantic runs $350/night and up.

Some rooms have separate living rooms

But let’s look at how Benicio del Toro likes his room. The Bigger Penthouse (yes, that’s what it’s called) is the cream of the crop. Starting at $1,300/night, it’s 1,000 square feet, and has a separate living room (with dining table). Huge shower, bathtub, TWO toilets, and a big vanity area. Plus, amazing views of the arts and financial districts.

The outside dining area is divine

Add in a gym, 24-hour room service, and live music every Tuesday in the lobby…the stars love The Standard, and you will, too. You know, if you’ve got the scratch.

Nearby Restaurants: Restaurant at Standard, Chaya Downtown, Water Grill, Cafe Pinot

Photo Attribution:

Exterior Hotel Shot: / CC BY 2.0

Rooftop Shot: / CC BY 2.0

Celebrity photos: Celebutopia

All other hotel shots from The Standard web site.

Top Las Vegas Nightclubs

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Welcome to Las Vegas!

Las Vegas has always been at the center of the most exciting and extravagant clubs, hotels and restaurants in the United States. The city captivates its visitors with endless lights, delicious drinks, never-ending skyscrapers and beautiful people. With an infinite amount of things to do in Las Vegas, I am hoping to help narrow down your choices when you make that sinful trip to the city that never sleeps.

Las Vegas Strip

Being in my twenties, I have already made a handful of trips out to Vegas, and I can tell you with certainty that the five I describe below are the ones I will always visit. Every one of them has captured me with talented DJ’s, large crowds and, most importantly, unbelievable drinks. These nightclubs make you feel like a celebrity and make 4am seem early, so take the time to read my recommendations and book that flight to Sin City!

1) Rain Nightclub

Rain Nightclub

Rain Nightclub, situated in the heart of the Palms Hotel, is a preeminent club to visit while in Vegas. With go-go dancers lining the floor, you can dance and drink to the most talented DJ’s this city has to offer. Clad out in leather seating and a raised center dance floor, Rain welcomes all who are willing to forget their worries and dance the night away!

Hours of Operation:

Friday & Saturday 10pm-5am


Palms Casino Resort

4321 West Flamingo Road

Las Vegas, NV 89103

For more information, visit Rain

2) Tao Nightclub

Tao Baths

Located in one of my favorite Vegas hotels, The Venetian, Tao is equipped with one of the most vibrant and lively club scenes in Vegas. Not only are there rose filled baths with bathing women lining the entryway, but Tao is themed entirely after both Asian design and decorum. This enchanting club will be the perfect destination if you are looking for an exceptional and unforgettable night out.

Hours of Operation:

Thursday-Saturday 10pm-5am


The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino

3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

For more information, visit Tao

3) Tryst Nightclub

Tryst's Magnificent Waterfall

Decorated in a sweltering red tint, this high-energy club draws guests in by its enchanting and exuberant atmosphere. Tryst continues the expectations that Wynn Hotel sets for the Vegas clubbers with both excellent service and a mind-blowing atmosphere. With the option to party inside and outside the club, Tryst has accomplished what no other club has by including an extraordinary seventy-foot waterfall. Yes, a waterfall in a club! Is there any other reason to visit?

Hours of Operation:

Thur-Sat. 10pm-4am


Wynn Hotel

3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

For more information, visit Tryst

4) The Bank Nightclub

Bank Nightclub

The Bank, located within the pristine Bellagio, is a highly acclaimed nightclub that will amaze even the most disbelieving. This black and gold themed club welcomes its visitors with endless crystal chandeliers and professional dancers. Following true to its name the Bank Nightclub is swanky, expensive and will take your money!

Hours of Operation:

Thu-Sun. 10:30pm-4am


Bellagio Resort & Casino

3600 S. Las Vegas, Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

For more information, visit The Bank

5) Studio 54

Studio 54

Situated in one of the most well-known hotels in Vegas, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Studio 54 remains one of the more exclusive and trendy clubs on the strip. This chic and contemporary nightclub equipped with four dance floors and bars, Studio 54 brings in tourists and celebrities alike. With multiple bars on both the floors, waiting in line is not as big of an inconvenience as it would be elsewhere. Also, the dance floors are surrounded with go-go dancers so you won’t have to be as worried about your lack of dancing skills!

Hours of Operation:

Tues–Sat. 10:00pm-4am


MGM Grand Las Vegas

3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

For more information, visit Studio 54

What the end of the night will look like...

Las Vegas will inevitably take your money and your dignity, but no one can deny that it is one of the most entertaining destinations in the US. I hope this article will help excite and inspire you to make a trip out to Vegas this year because after writing it, I know I want to! Happy travels!

Related Posts:

Best Las Vegas Hotels

Best Penthouse Suites in Las Vegas

Photos (in order of appearance):

“Welcome to Las Vegas”

“The Las Vegas Strip” by jeffwilcox

“Rain” by Matthew.Hickey

“Tao” by idealisms

“Waterfall outside Tryst” by tlianza

“The Bank Nightclub – Bellagio –Las Vegas” by kaloozer

“MGM Grand Casino – Studio 54 – Las Vegas” by kaloozer

“Stackin” by Helga’s Lobster Stew