Where would you take someone special for a special week-end, Holiday or event? Having faced, and solved this question before, I really want to try someplace new, and am open to suggestions. It can be anywhere, but I am leaning toward cold places with fireplaces, your thoughts?
Is Vail the answer?
The only place that we have used for such an event in 'the cold' is the Dalmahoy in Edinburgh. We went there for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we did a New Year Package there one year ... that was just brilliant! I seem to recall a big open-fire in one of the lounges but not in the rooms. I always request a room in the historic part of the house ... they have creaky floors but much more atmosphere.
We've never travelled in the USA in the cold season, so I have no idea of suggestions there.
Good luck with your searching ... I shall watch the replies.
I haven't been to the property (but certainly hung out enough in Sonoma to know it's a grand time), but some friends of mine had a wonderful weekend at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance and Spa (so something for everyone).
They specifically mentioned the fireplaces, so wine aficionado that you are, it's probably worth at least a look on the web site. I'll live vicariously thru your photos and toast your write up.
Check out the hotel website for the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, specifically the photo gallery. It looks like a terrific property, surrounded by amazing things to do, visit, experience. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether or not rooms/suites have fireplaces. I love Victoria. I think it a very special place each time I visit.
Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour - The restaurant offerings look divine.
Also, as I was looking for Chris' Dalmahoy to take a peek at, I came across an amazing plethora of like properties in the UK known as 'Marriott Hotel and Country Club' series. Check out these amazing properties. I am so glad for Chris' response to this post, as it has opened my eyes to a whole new world of wonderful places to stay/visit. My husband won't set foot near a large city, but I think he would love these places. Take a look at their photo galleries. Many have some excellent last minute deals. Many are also not too far a drive out of London or else closely situated near rail. Of course for us Yanks, these places would require more than a weekend of time, but it looks to be well worth the time.
Forest of Arden - Food offerings looks good.
Hollins Hall Marriott Hotel and Country Club
Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel (appx. 20 miles from Bath)
St. Pierre, Marriott Hotel and Country Club - Jerry, this place looks amazing.
Durham Marriott Royal County
Chris' Dalmahoy - looks exquisite
Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel and Country Club
Jerry, here are a couple of hotels situated on a waterfront that look intriguing. Perhaps not for that special stay, but they do look like a bit of fun.
Swansea in Wales
And I concur with Erc, the Sonoma Lodge is a great choice as well.
Another very special place to take a very special person is Carmel Highlands, but alas there are no Marriotts there. But absolutely beautiful, with spectacular northern California rocky coastline and Pacific view. Unforgettable scenery, and world class dining on the peninsula. Check out Tickle Pink Inn, named after Senator Edward Tickle.
Message was edited by: pluto77
That's great research on the UK Marriott Country Clubs. We've stayed in most of them and give an insight if anyone decides to do a visit. Our favourite is the Dalmahoy ... I've just suggested to my wife that we should look at their New Year packages for this year. She wasn't keen given that we have such a major trip coming up in February!
Breadsall Priory is another favourite ... it is pretty stunning and has a lot of history. One that you did miss off your list is Sprowston Manor near Norwich. I used to be a near permanent resident here for about 2 years when I was on a contract in Norwich. My wife and I find it a great place for exploring East Anglia ... Norwich is a very historic city and the cathedral is stunning. East Anglia is very flat (much of it is recovered fenland) and is ideal for walking.
I think a special weekend depends on the interests of the people traveling.
Sometimes it just how its executed like making it a surprise or a mystery. A surprise, by sending the luggage on ahead or hiding it in the trunk, so the person thinks its just going out for dinner, and then after dinner when you least feel like traveling home, finding out your not, you are staying, and everything at home has been taken care of. Or a bate and switch, staying at the FI or CY due to budget, but checking in at the Ritz. Or a mystery, like telling them to pack a bag of csual or dressy, warm or cold weather, or all these items, and then getting in the car or on a train or plane.
Anyways, some of the trips I have enjoyed the most
Just a thought ... I have always liked the look of the JW Resort and Spa - Rosseau Muskoka - in Ontario Canada. I've not been there but it does look special and pretty stunning ... it should also be pretty chilly up there in February! Maybe one of the other MRIs can give some insight into this resort. I'll be watching for any responses.
Was just reviewing some of the properties, and I think Scottsdale, Camelback Mountain was one of the most interesting. Like Sonoma, they have casita's, many with fireplaces. The decor is southwest, the main lodge is very nice. Spent one New Year's there, and it was chilly but not cold, so at night you can enjoy the fireplace, and during the day the sun is warm but a jacket is still necessary. Lots of interesting things to do. Many people I met at the bar where there to golf, as there is a golf course there, and you can also use the course at Shadow Mountain. The spa is very nice, and had hotel customers, as well as locals that were members. My favorite thing was the morning breakfast horseback rides around the mountain followed by breakfast cooked out doors.
I would have to agree with the JW Camelback and throw in the JW at Desert Ridge. Both of these resorts can operate as "stand alone" but are close to a lot of local attractions if you want to get out. My wife and I enjoy sitting by the fire rings at JW Desert Ridge during the "cold" winter months, drinking some wine and seeing who we end up meeting. Presently have reservations at the JW Desert Ridge for Oct. 25th to celebrate our anniversary (# 31), Thanksgiving night (great Thanksgiving buffet), with the next 7 days at the Westin Kierland timeshare resort in Scottsdale as well as Dec. 14th at JWDR to celebrate my wife's b-day. I tried to mix the JW Camelback into those dates, but they just could not match the specials at JWDR.
Great pics gemprinces.
Sonoma also has cozy casitas with fireplaces and a great spa. Its chilly but not freezing cold. Great for wine tastings, and wine dinners. Take the moonlight wine train in Napa Valley that leaves at sunset by evening, and the Sonoma Wine cable car for turing during the day. That way you can enjoy tasting without worrying about driving, directions and GPS. Then return to the cozy casita and a fire in the fireplace.
Lodge Outside Area
Casita Sitting Room
Spa Relaxation Room
Private Cabannas and Jacuzzi
No offense taken. California is a large state filled with wondrous variety, and if you have covered most of the state, our hats are off to you, as that takes some effort! And as for your characterization of CA, well you have a strong ally in my husband. He can't wait to get out of here (He's stuck here waiting for me to retire). And I'm sure you've heard the news... gas prices are expected to hit $5/gal. thanks to a 'refinery fire.' Forgive me for the digression, as this has turned out to be another fantastic MRI discussion thread worthy of a bookmark. The suggestions here have been phenomenal, and I hope more will be added.
This is why I try to travel domestic, via cruise ship, or stay with friends internationally.
Exchange on the dollar is horrible, and it costs a fortune these days to leave the US.
In Norway, went into the grocery store on shore leave and bought one bottle of water, and one yogurt and it cost me the equivalent of $20 USD
This is why I have started traveling by cruise ship. We get off for a few hours, then get back on to eat unless we find interesting local food that is cheap. Food can cost as much as lodging. In BCN we went to one of those nice waterfront restaurants in the old port. A bit touristy, but wanted my sister and her kids to try it. Cost of the mean, just entrees without appetizers, dessert or wine was almost as much as one night at the hotel.
Yes, you are so right. I have only been on one cruise (Alaska), but the point you make about the cost of meals is so true.
I don't know why people say Platinum means nothing? When I get CL breakfasts and snacks, as well as an occasional glass of wine, that is equal to at least $100 per day for two people in most cities.
I think what they are saying is if you DO NOT get free breakfast, a room upgrade, stand in line etc, its making them feel like their loyalty program status is meaningless.
For instances, when I was at the St. Pancras, I did save alot of money, with breakfast, high tea, shorties and dessert included. And I had my cousin's wife stop by for tea, and she is high maintenance. If I had to take her out for tea, it would have cost me a couple of hundred cause she would want to go to the Savoy or something like that. And it was relaxing cause I never left the train complex. I arrived, checkedin, ate, shopped and departed in the same complex.
but It would have been perfect had they given me a meaningful upgrade into one of the suites in the old wing, which the bellman told me was available, but the front desk told me I could only be upgraded to if I booked a room in that part of the hotel, else I could only be upgraded in the new wing where I booked (significant price difference between rooms in the old and new wings).
This sort of triage never use to happen. We always got the best room available. Sure they can say they gave me an upgrade, but was it noticeable or meaningful to me upgrade? No! I could barely tell the difference between the room category I booked and the one I got. and it had a lousy view to boot. Now had the hotel been full, or a bunch of Platinum Premiers shown up before me, I might understand.
Opportunity lost to really wow the customer. Will I stay there again? Probably if I am traveling by train and need to connect, else I will head back to Grosvenor House or County Hall that have always upgraded me.
The St. Pancras room rates are 300-400 GBP (480-640 USD) for 300-340 sq ft and a view of an inner courtyard roof top. Spending a month monitoring room rates and they finally dropped to 200 GBP ($320 USD).
Now compare that to the Bangkok Oriental at 12,755 Baht (475 US) where the smallest room is 428+ sq feet and all have river views, beautiful public rooms, and service.
Why would I want to spend minmally $320 (and up to 640USD) to stay somewhere that I can barely tell what type of upgrade I got, as there is no difference in the room and no view versus spending $475, a room 1/3rd again larger with a guaranteed river view, and getting royal treatment??? And the St Pancras rate is after researching it for a month, while the Bangkok Oriental rate is randomly picking a date. I am sure if I spent a month researching it, I could find an even better raate.
Please take a look at the pictures of the Bangkok Oriental (including the fleet of Rolls Royces and chauffers). Once my room rate start heading north of $200, I start thinking maybe its time for a week at the Bangkok Oriental, and cooking school.
Great points, I would like to share that I have been to St. Pancras is just "Way to busy" for me. It is a wonderful property, but it reminds me of the Marquis in NYC. Give me County Hall (The crowds are huge, but not in the hotel.
Like you, I would stay at St. Pancras if I was planning on using the Eurostar, but would not want to particularly want to make that my London HQ.
Lastly, I am traveling this week (Alone) to recoup for Niagara Falls trip last week. Next week I am looking forward to seeing NUHusker in Burlington, IA!
Previously I had always stayed at Grosvenor Square as they always upgrade me to the Duchess suite.
I did try County Hall once, and they were absolutely wonderful to me.
So I thought I would try St. Pancras cause it was convenient.
For the most part it was very nice, none of these properties can compete with the Bangkok Oriental in accomodations or service.
Luckily they are thousands of miles apart, cause when the room rates are close, its a no brainer for me, if my destination is open to choice.