So you’re probably wondering, why Kentucky and why Bowling Green? Four words; Mammoth Cave National Park. As summer drew to a close and fall swung into full gear, a few friends and I decided to go have one last outdoor adventure that far enough from home that we could disconnect, close enough we could drive, and impressive enough that it was worth it. Thus we pre-booked our cave access tickets, planned our route, and bought a lot of snacks for a 6-hour long journey of I-spy and Abba karaoke.
The Tru by Hilton brand launched in 2016 and is aimed at the economical young traveler with a trendier aesthetic - read: millennial - with furniture and amenity spaces that are skewed toward matching this demographic while still fitting within the select service arm of the industry. For comparison among Hilton Brands, Tru is similar in offerings to a Hampton Inn - which Melanie & Tom reviewed over the summer - albeit in a trendier outfit. For this new concept, Hilton redesigned their room standards - shrinking the size by removing elements like desks and closets - to fit more rooms per building and offer economics that could lower the cost per night. This formula aims at carving out a new trendier niche in the select service market.
The quaint city of Bowling Green, Kentucky’s 3rd largest city and where our hotel was located, is home to the Corvette Factory and the National Corvette Museum - a great site to check out while in town. The hotel itself is located right off I-65 in a sea of gas stations, chain restaurants, and next to a dying mall with a Cinnabon. The area left a bit to be desired, but was within a 10 minute drive to downtown Bowling Green through some residential streets. Downtown had some cute dining spots as well like Mellow Mushroom Pizza, which was our favorite, and is filled with some interesting vintage buildings and automotive history. But the real star is around 20 minutes away: Mammoth Cave National Park. Established in 1941 and considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site - as well as an international Biosphere Reserve. Within its boundaries are only a small amount of a jaw dropping 400+ miles of the world’s longest cave system, not to mention some beautiful hiking trails and campgrounds.
I booked this hotel directly on the Hilton website and reserved a 2 Queen Room for $77/night with fees and taxes totaling $175 for our two nights and earning 2,772 Hilton Honors points. Paying with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns double points on travel, I also earned 350 Ultimate Rewards Points for my stay.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
After hours of screaming Mamma Mia at the top of our lungs on the drive from Chicago, we pulled off into a quintessential highway off-ramp neighborhood to start our vacation. Check-in was a breeze, it took under 5 minutes, and the staff were all extremely courteous and masked up which we appreciated as we did not see much of that around the area. We were handed our room keys and told a bit about the hotel procedures including the limited breakfast options and hours.
After a summer of COVID, and sensing the pandemic would continue to rage on, my friend Julian and I felt the desire to get out of Chicago before being cooped up for the winter. Given that we’re both in the unfortunate state of unemployment, we found ourselves fairly flexible on the scheduling front, so we decided to save some money and book a road trip out of town for a few week days. After thinking through some options, we landed on Grand Rapids for its proximity to fall color hiking, outdoor food and drink scene, and - then - lower rates of COVID infection. After looking at a few options, we landed on the AC Hotel, a brand I quite enjoy, due to its upscale feel and affordable price.
The AC Hotel brand is a relatively new Marriott concept on the shores of the US. With its roots across the Atlantic in Europe, the hotels offer an upscale refined vibe to the select service sphere - hotels that offer reduced amenities and smaller footprints. One of the moments I enjoy most about the brand is it’s activated lobbies: the bar really becomes a social centerpiece where people gather. The design and furnishings of the hotel are another key selling feature for me. In my mind, AC’s are more of a compact full-service hotel rather than select for this reason.
The Grand Rapids property fits the mold of what I’ve come to expect, but this time packaged in a restored industrial brick building that had an awful 1980’s facade covering its charm. The hotel is quite cool from the street and leaves a good impression. It’s location didn’t hurt either - located right downtown, it was a scenic walk or a quick car ride to anywhere we’d wanted to go, and just steps away from one of my favorite coffee shops: Madcap.
As part of our booking process, Julian and I knew we wanted to keep costs low, so we explored hotels where I had a Free Night Certificate available. In this case, I had an outstanding certificate from when I’d had the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, which I’d closed when I opened my American Express Platinum Card. By booking directly with the hotel, and using a free night certificate, our total for two nights came to $173.65 - not too shabby. This netted me 522 Ultimate Rewards Points by booking with my Chase Sapphire Reserve and 1,685 Base + 421 Elite + 250 Extra Bonvoy Points with my Gold Status.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
After an easy drive in from Chicago, but one in which we’d forgotten about the time change, we were glad to pull up to the generous loading area in front of the hotel to get our vacation started! Upon entering, both of us were immediately struck by the moody elegance of the entry space, especially the show stopping front desk, but then we hit a hiccup… The front desk agent was a bit odd, and didn’t seem to want to be there. Dressed in a yellow t-shirt, she was quite robotic and not very talkative. She didn’t ask any questions, thank me for my loyalty, or mention any information about the hotel. She was also unable to answer most of our questions and seemed to just want us to move on. Luckily, when we returned down a few moments later, a super friendly suited agent was at the desk, and Julian spent a great deal of time getting answers to his questions and inquiring about upgrades while I waited in the lounge.
As part of an effort to briefly reunite our family during the summer, my parents and I made the trek out to Colorado to visit my sister, who studies at Colorado State University. After a stay at the Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, we continued on to check out Boulder for its hiking, Red Rocks and, of course, breweries - if you're ever in Broomfield, I recommend Wonderland with its mini-golf course!
Hyatt House is the select service extended stay brand of Hyatt Hotels, which is intended to occupy an upper scale segment in the market. If your head just spun, don’t worry these terms can be confusing, but do highlight what to expect at a property: select service is a category of hotels that offer rooms and a few select services such as morning breakfast and a fitness center, while extended stay hotels are those that offer amenities such as rooms with kitchens and living areas. For comparison's sake, Hampton Inn - which Melanie and Tom stayed at earlier this year - is a household name in the select service market, and Ian's visit to the Residence Inn may ring a bell in the extended stay arena. Hyatt House’s history starts in 2006 when Hyatt acquired the Summerfield Suites chain, ultimately rebranding them in 2012 to evoke the name of the original 1957 Hyatt House property at LAX - the first ever airport hotel, but that’s a different story. Today, the brand is synonymous with contemporary design, apartment style living and a comfortable relaxed atmosphere. Our Hyatt House began its life as a Summerfield Suites, apparently quite an awarded one based upon the plaques displayed in the lobby.
While the Hyatt House has Boulder in its name, don’t let it fool you, the Broomfield portion is really the only accurate part. It is quite a ways from Boulder, about a 25 minutes drive, which we all found a bit deceptive. We chose this property over the Hyatt Place in downtown Boulder in hopes of avoiding crowds, which we did successfully, but I wish we’d done more research on the area. While a nice hotel, it sits in a work in progress residential development that lacks walkability; there is a liquor store and a Starbucks in the parking lot, but the development is essentially its own island. There were a number of excellent breweries just a quick drive away, and trading walkability for the amount of space we had felt like a fair trade off amid COVID.
We had previously booked this hotel for another weekend, and had a change of plans. Upon searching our new dates, the 2-Bedroom Suite was no longer available, so we booked two individual rooms. Then, at the last minute, a 2-Bedroom Suite popped up and we snagged it! The nightly rate clocked in at $215 plus taxes and fees, for a total of $708.54, a steal for such a big space. On the points side, we earned 1,428 Southwest Rapid Rewards points by charging to my parents Southwest Premier VISA Card. Meanwhile, I earned 3,288 Base World of Hyatt Points and 323 Bonus Points for my Discoverist Status. I also earned 3 tier nights towards 2021 Status.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
We pulled right up to the Hyatt House after the drive in from Fort Collins, the hotel offers free parking to all guests, and unloaded in the large port cochere. Check-In itself was smooth and efficient, and the agent explained all of the COVID changes that were in place at the hotel in addition to answering all of the questions that our group had. She also thanked me for my loyalty and directed us to the H Market for our daily two free bottles of water.
I think I’ve shared this before, but as many know, my sister currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado while in grad school. It’s a truly great place, with proximity to the great outdoors the state is known for, an enviable number of breweries, and a perfectly walkable downtown that feels larger than its population. At the heart of it is the historic Armstrong Hotel, which opened its doors in 1923; it also housed the first chapter of AAA. Over the years, the property saw the booms and busts of the city, and in 2019 it was stunningly refurbished to rightfully become a jewel of downtown as the last remaining historic hotel.
We ended up at the Armstrong as part of a longer trip that would bring us to Boulder, one that we had planned and replanned and planned again due to the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Finally, in late September, driven in part by a great rate at the Hyatt House in Boulder, we pulled the trigger and committed to the trip. Before continuing on to Boulder, my family decided we’d love a night in Fort Collins as it’s a city that we love to visit and hadn’t been in a while.
We originally booked this hotel through an online travel agent due to it displaying a lower rate, but upon mentioning to my mom that I’d rather the hotel get the full amount for the stay, we made a phone call to the property and they happily matched our rate. You can also, of course, book directly on the hotel's website at: www.the armstronghotel.com. Our rate was $149/night plus taxes and fees, a steal for this hotel - a sad indicator of COVID’s impact on its occupancy. We paid with my parents Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card, earning 2x points per dollar spent at hotels.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
We pulled up to the Armstrong in our rental car after flying into Denver International Airport and driving up I-25. The only thing different than usual was the smoke from the nearby wildfires - it obscured what was usually a stunning view of the mountains to the west - a strong indicator of the disaster bearing down on the state. Upon arrival, the loading pull off was clearly marked, but we were initially a bit confused as to where the hotel entrance was as the Ace Cafe, one of the restaurants, occupied a considerable portion of the street frontage; however, before long we found our way inside and were pleasantly greeted by every staff member we passed. The check in process was smooth and friendly, and oozing with hospitality. The agent made plenty of local recommendations as well, which immediately forged a connection with us as guests.
The lobby was equally as charming! It struck the perfect chord, for me, of quirky and refined as well as trendy and timeless. Great furnishing was thoughtfully placed throughout the space, much of it being used for the Cafe as well, and the scale of the room felt perfect. Although not a huge space, the variety of zones made it feel incredibly comfortable and welcoming. The array of artwork, textures and colors just felt right, not to mention somehow uniquely connected to the location. And I loved the staircase with the signature wallcovering that has worked its way into the hotel’s branding - seen on most print materials.
Some of you might be asking: Cleveland? Well, you see, it’s a long story as to how we got here, but the short version of it is that Ian and I recently had to cancel a Los Angeles trip, due to wildfires, and for later this year an Asia / Middle East trip, due to the impact of COVID-19. We were, of course, still inkling to get some travel in and began to look into some road trips that we could take from our home base of Chicago. There were many contenders, but ultimately we landed on Cleveland as we had both never been, had heard good things, and I wanted to check out this hotel.
The Hyatt Regency - Cleveland the Arcade, is a full service historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Cleveland. It traces its roots back to 1890 as a Victorian Era Arcade building, of which Cleveland has several, and is widely believed to have been one of the earliest examples of a shopping mall in the states. It was built by Eisenmann & Smith and the Detroit Bridge Company, and now finds itself on the National Register of Historic Places.
Its location is truly stellar, located just next to the 4th Street Entertainment district, walking distance to all sports venues, a skip and a jump to Lake Erie and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a short drive from many of Cleveland’s neighborhoods, as well as Cuyahoga National Park.
I booked this hotel directly at www.hyatt.com using a Hyatt Friends & Family discount code, similar to my Colleague Rate at Hyatt Regency Sonoma & Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. By booking in this manner, I achieved a great discount off of the advertised rate of $169/night. I booked using my American Express Platinum, as part of a spending challenge for a statement credit, and earned 5x Points for the total cost of our hotel stay, but did not earn any World of Hyatt Points due to the stipulation of my rate.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
Ian and I drove in from Chicago in a rental car, after snagging a great rate using the tips in our Beginners Guide to Car Rental. The ride was relatively easy, save being pulled over in Indiana for doing 65 in a 55, up until arriving near the hotel. The entrances were clearly marked, but the roads around the building were like a bowl of spaghetti with many turns, one way demarcations, and dedicated bus routes - not a problem, but something to be aware of if arriving by car. We ended up being able to snag a street parking space just outside the rear entrance of the hotel’s Arcade, which is actually one of the more lively streets in the area, and ended up leaving the car overnight as we would be up for an early morning hike before parking enforcement began.
Upon walking in the entrance of the hotel, we both were immediately struck by the space. I think the both of us dropped our luggage and started snapping pictures. After our iPhones were back in our pockets, we began our search for the front desk, which isn’t clearly marked from the entrance we came in, but was intuitive to find. Had we come in at the front entrance, our entry sequence would’ve been much clearer - there is both an elevator lobby and a grand marble staircase to bring guests up to the registration area.
The Arcade is truly stunning, but the lobby itself is small, and a bit cluttered - which appears to be because of a temporary relocation of Hyatt Regency’s Market and the removal of traditional lobby furniture. Regardless, we strolled up to the World of Hyatt Check-In and were quickly helped by a friendly employee. He thanked me for my loyalty, explained that he’d upgraded us to a City View Room and answered all of the questions we had.
Having finished up a site visit in Hudson, Massachusetts for work, I decided to extend my stay in Boston through the weekend. Initially I had been looking for airbnb apartments for rent, but had stumbled on a very attractive booking through the AirBn app for a stay in a boutique hotel. Due to COVID’s impact on tourism, the rooms at StayPineapple - A Delightful Hotel were comparable in price point to apartments for rent in the neighborhoods I’d wanted to stay in - so I thought it would be a nice change of pace as my only major trip of the year.
Hotel is in a retrofitted 19th century building, presumably an office or tenement tower. And quite fitting of the Staypineapple brand, which typically occupies buildings that have been adaptively reused. As a brand, you can count on a boutique experience, with upper tier amenities in the heart of your destination - with a cheeky and playful touch.
Located on the south end of Boston’s Back Bay Neighborhood, it is walking distance from amazing food options & surrounded by a beautifully preserved historical neighborhood. It was an incredibly walkable area, with charming brick buildings & plenty of interesting storefronts. Restaurant options within a 15 minute walking distance abound, and because of proximity to the Back Bay MBTA Station the rest of the city is also conveniently accessible. I spent most of my weekend walking around the neighborhood - using my feet as opposed to public transit in order to get a feel for the city as I visited points of interest. I had the chance to see everything between Boston City Hall and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as a walk through MIT’s Campus.
As mentioned above, I booked through Airbnb - and I didnt have a sugar daddy at the moment so it was paid out of my own pocket. I used my CitiBank thankyou Preferred Card - through which I earned 1x points for every dollar I’d spent on the booking. With 3 nights at a rate of $169 a night, I earned around 580 Citi ThankYou Points. Airbnb also charged an additional $50 fee for cleaning & amenities.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
I dropped off a rental car near the airport and took a train to the Back Bay metro station. The walk from the station to the hotel was incredibly convenient & quick, and barely a block away.
Check in was quick and easy.There were no noticeable changes due to COVID, other than the hotel restaurant being closed & face masks being required. Every hotel room had a sticker to confirm that it was cleaned & disinfected before arrival.
The lobby was sparse and small, but inviting & fairly unintimidating. To the left of the lobby was the elevator bay, and to the right an entrance into the hotel bar/restaurant. At the far side from the door a mirror wall backs a fairly small & sparse reception Island, barely bigger than a cafe table. The overall interior scheme was fairly subdued - not really giving any hints about the campy decor waiting for you in the guestrooms.
If you know me, you know that I’m a proud Floridian, and that for some reason I dislike the Tampa Bay area, yet find myself there too often. Perhaps it's because I’m a Florida Panthers fan and had to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning be lauded in the playoffs by locals, but during my time back home amid COVID-19, I once again found myself in the greater Tampa Bay area for a family getaway.
This trip was originally scheduled to occur the weekend prior and then hurricane Isaias decided to give Florida a bit of a scare that week, thus we postponed for the following weekend and I once again extended my stay in Florida. As a family we highly prefer the beaches of the Gulf Coast as they tend to have warmer waters, white sand, and stunning wildlife from sea turtles and dolphins, to manatees and sand dollars - we saw it all on our short escapade.
When I originally booked this property, what really drew me in was not only its location near the stunning Fort De Soto State Park, once voted one of America’s most beautiful beaches, but also the fact that it was cheaper than most in the area and brand new having opened in January. Unclear to most travelers, but true of most Residence Inns, this property was franchised and had outside management, which ended up being crucial with all the turns the trip took.
I booked this hotel directly on the Marriott website and had originally reserved a Bay View 2 Queen Studio Room for $195/night totaling to $430 with resort fees and taxes. However, due to circumstances you’ll read about in the next section, we ended up paying $100/night and with taxes and fees totalling $226 for both nights of our stay. I earned 1,000 Bonvoy Points and since I paid with my Chase Sapphire Preserve, which earns double points on travel, I also earned 550 Ultimate Rewards Points for my stay.
We ended up having to rebook this trip due to hurricane Isaias making a dash at the Florida coast the week we were supposed to go. I had the pleasure of talking to the property owner, and as a fellow Floridian she totally understood our worry with driving and traveling during a storm. She very kindly offered to waive all fees to rebook or cancel the day prior to the stay as we awaited to see the storm's path. To be safe we rebooked and she happily changed our days for a week ahead with no extra fees.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
Finally the weekend arrived and after a surprisingly quick three and a half hour drive from the South Florida coast, we arrived at the Residence Inn Tierra Verde, which sits on a small barrier island before Fort De Soto and requires a small toll to enter - be aware of that anytime you travel the Florida Gulf Coast. The lobby was very well appointed and spacious, with plenty of sunlight and water views as well as coastal furniture and beechwood tones. On the ground were creative sand footprint social distancing decals - to promote standing 6 feet apart; the check-in desks had tall acrylic panels and all the staff were wearing masks; however, the same cannot be said about other guests even though it is required.
Check-in was a breeze and the front desk manager was nothing but a delight, we got our room keys and headed up, but upon entering we were facing… the parking lot. As you recall, we had booked a bay view. I went down to the front desk and asked if it had been an error where we ended up or to see what happened. They explained that it must have been an error with the system and our reservation was not showing the bay view, and that unfortunately, they had no more rooms facing that direction and were fully booked for the weekend. After some back and forth - mainly concerning the rate difference between a bay and parking lot view room - she offered to take off $95 off per night, leaving me at the discounted rate above. It was quite the discount and I was beyond happy with the resolution!
Like many of the people that we know, our summer travel itineraries look very different than years prior. While last year was filled with road trips, conferences and weekend adventures, this summer has a little less of that and a lot more creative at-home shenanigans. Of course in the midst of a global pandemic, life doesn’t stop entirely, but the travel experience looks a little different. For us, our family is relocating to North Carolina in less than a year, which means that finding a place to live is a necessity. With that, we travelled to Kernersville, North Carolina to explore the area and find the Standish family a lot to build a house on.
Many are likely familiar with Hampton Inn - a staple of many cross country road trips or visits near and far - so it's likely that no introduction is needed! Hampton by Hilton is a select service brand that offers warm hospitality - or "Hamptonality" as the hotel has branded it, free breakfast, complimentary wifi and other amenities based on a property's specific location. We love them for their signature waffle irons at breakfast and their consistent quality and service - regardless of where in the country you choose to stay in one. For this stay, a relatively new Hampton Inn in Kernersville was our home base!
Truthfully, Kernersville itself is not much of a tourist destination. Tucked away between Greensboro and Winston-Salem (two larger cities in North Carolina) the town itself is reminiscent of a traditional suburban town, and our hotel, the Hampton Inn Kernersville, was located right off of I-40. With each city about 20 minutes away, and our house hunting location about 15 minutes down the road, the hotel was perfectly located for us. Better yet, the North Carolina equivalent of Chicago’s Portillos - Dairi-O - was located right outside the hotel.
Our family booked through the Hampton Inn directly. Our family reports that the process was mediocre at best. When purchasing our rooms at a discounted price, the checkout timed out and the rate was no longer available. When calling the general Hampton Inn number, they could no longer honor the rate. The rate later became available online, but the process was nonetheless unnecessarily complicated.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
We flew into Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which was conveniently located between the first portion of our destination - Wilmington, N.C. - and Kernersville. We arrived at the Hampton Inn after spending some time in Wilmington assisting another member of our family relocating, and were easily able to access the hotel from the highway. After docking our land yacht (our Chevy Suburban rental, which these tips can help you snag too), we were pleasantly greeted and quickly checked in to our rooms for the night. When walking into the hotel, the front desk was situated immediately to the left with a snack bar situated directly to the right of the check-in. To the right of the main lobby was a large sitting and dining area, where breakfast would normally be served. The lobby was very pleasant, with blue and orange accented furnishing throughout. Walking forward through the space, the elevators were on the left hand side and situated adjacent to access for the fitness center and pool.
Let me start out by saying this: Indianapolis gets a bad rep from Chicagoans, so many of us assume that it is a tiny, empty city with nothing to offer. I want to quickly dispel that rumor as I am a huge advocate for the city. I’ve visited a number of times in the past few years to visit friends who moved there, and have loved experiencing more and more of it every time! It is incredibly walkable, has a great cultural trail, and offers a truly excellent food and beverage scene. So, when my dad and I were looking for a weekend getaway to belatedly celebrate his birthday, we landed on Indianapolis as a prime target. The introduction of a mask mandate just days before our departure further affirmed our decision: we’d head out for a self guided Brewery Tour and simply stay where we felt comfortable and pass on places where we weren’t. I’m happy to report that our time at Chilly Water, Hotel Tango, Metazoa, Indiana City, Sun King, and St. Joseph were all rooted in safety and quite comfortable - and yes, we love beer...
The Hyatt Regency Indianapolis is a 4-Star Hotel located in the heart of the city. It sits just across the street from the State Capitol, minutes from Monument Circle, and within walking distance of all of the breweries mentioned above. At the rate we snagged, it was a perfect hub for this trip, and it's COVID procedures helped assure of that we were in good hands.
Much like my recent stay at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma - Wine County, I booked this hotel directly at www.hyatt.com using my Hyatt Colleague Discount while I still had it - unfortunately I’ve been been laid off due to the impact of COVID-19, which has exponentially changed what it's like to travel. By booking in this manner, I achieved a great rate of $59/night, when the going rate was almost $200/night. I booked using my Chase Sapphire Reserve and earned 3x Points for the total cost of our hotel stay, but did not earn any World of Hyatt Points due to the stipulation of my rate.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
My dad and I arrived from Chicago by car, having just narrowly avoided a massive back up on I-65 with an accidental detour. The hotel is conveniently accessible from the highway, but entrance to the self parking was quick confusing - and relatively unmarked. We eventually realized that the entrance ramp was past the valet stand, valet is still in operation at this hotel, and we were soon on our way into the most confusing parking garage I’d ever been in. The route through the spaces truly felt like we were navigating a bowl of spaghetti. We quickly parked and made our way to the elevator lobby where hand sanitizer and a large sign about mask requirements was present - a welcome and relieving sight for the both of us.
Finding myself unemployed and my mom on summer break as a teacher, we looked to find a destination for a socially distant getaway - a temporary escape from reality. After talking through the risks associated with traveling at this time, we landed on Wine Country as our destination. It’s somewhere that we’ve both wanted to visit for quite a while. Knowing that wineries had extensive distancing requirements and that there were several opportunities to spend time in the great outdoors of California; we snagged some cheap flights on Southwest Airlines, booked this property, and off we were!
Located in Santa Rosa, the Hyatt Regency is perfectly located to serve as a springboard for your trip to wine country. It’s conveniently placed at the heart of Sonoma County, just a hop away from Napa Valley and Anderson Valley and a skip away from some phenomenal State Parks and other outdoor recreation areas. Given its proximity to downtown Santa Rosa, you can reasonably walk to shops, restaurants, bars and other business - a real win in my book.
We booked directly with the hotel using my Hyatt Colleague Discount while I still had it - unfortunately I’ve been laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry. Using this, we achieved an excellent rate of $109/night when the going rate was $179/night; in the high season, this property can go for upwards of $300/night. I booked using my Chase Sapphire Reserve and earned 3x Points for the total cost of our hotel stay, but did not earn any World of Hyatt Points due to the stipulation of my rate. This hotel normally charges an additional Destination Fee, but it has been temporarily waived due to changes caused by COVID-19.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
We landed at SFO around lunchtime and after doing some drive through sightseeing in San Francisco - including attempting the Golden Gate Bridge, but only seeing a dense wall of fog - we were on our way to the hotel with what proved to be an easy and scenic ride to wine country. Our GPS routed us to an out parking lot instead of the main entrance where signage was lacking on clear direction. We pulled a ticket and rolled into the lot which proved to be the beginning of our saga around parking - on one instance of trying to exit, we were stuck calling the front desk for several minutes and nearly late for our dinner reservation.
Despite the parking hiccups and an unfinished parking lot, the hotel itself has a pleasant appearance. It’s architecture could best be described as meditterranean influenced, and nicely dressed up a pretty standard building. The most striking feature, though, was the landscape that had soaring topiaries and a plethora of wild grasses and flowers that attracted many bees. Upon unloading our luggage and strolling up to the main entrance, we noticed that all of the front doors were locked, some with chains. By reading the posted signs, we continued to the far door where an employee happily welcomed us into the property.