OK, ending with a preposition is not proper but to make it sound Dr. Seuss-ish I hardly could have made it “Oh, the places at which I stayed.”
In any case, I shared my year in food and beverages in an earlier post. But 2013 was also a good year in terms of exploring places to stay. Here are the highlights of my year in accommodations!
While in Moshi working with the Kili Centre orphanage, we stayed at two different hotels: one before climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and one after. Each is special for different reasons.
The Honey Badger Lodge had a great feel in the grounds and other public areas (bar and pool area) as well as spacious rooms / cabanas. The owners and staff were incredible. It was amazing to be greeted by the friendly wait staff by name every day!
After coming down from the mountain, we went to the Springlands Hotel. This place was special because it is where we got to celebrate our success in climbing the mountain (100% of our group of 16 summitted!).
One of the biggest pulls on me to consider doing Kili again are some of the great views afforded by some of the camps in which we stayed. Shira Camp on day 2 and Karanga Camp on day 4 were just stunning for me. Tell me what you think!
I stayed at a few different hotels over my two years of constant travel up there for work. The Mayflower definitely was my number one choice though some of that is because it was the closest one to work.
The Sofitel D.C. was not usually in range of my approved budget but even if I did not get to stay there, I loved trying the specialty cocktails of Le Bar. I got to check out the W Hotel, right near The White House. Though the room’s window did not close properly and it took a while to resolve the situation, the hotel was gracious in making it up to me. It was a nice touch. I love the modernity of the rooms (as with any Ws) and the great view from the room I finally got settled into!
Other mainstays of my time there were the Renaissance on 9th St NW, near Chinatown, and the Renaissance in New Hampshire. Of the former, I really liked the lobby, a space where I would happily sit for happy hour or a Friday night out with friends. It also had the nicest executive lounge in the U.S. properties of hotels affiliated with Marriott. Of the latter, I loved its location: closer to Georgetown, right by residential areas, walking distance from the Kennedy Center, and easy access to running trails without having to deal with too many street crossings and heavy traffic. Also, very close to Dupont Circle which was nice in terms of having a broad range of dining options – and watching the unique character of the area!
In Jordan we stayed all over the country and in many different types of accommodations. I wrote specifically about all these different type of accommodations experienced here so I will not duplicate here what I have already shared (but do check that post out!). However, I will share here more about the Six Senses Spa where we stayed two nights because I don’t feel I shared how unique a place this is, in the middle of nowhere (it feels), nestled in a narrow canyon that hosts the hot springs the place is known for.
While management’s attention to the guest needed a little bit of polishing, the staff itself made every effort possible to deliver a great experience. The rooms’ use of wood panels instead of curtains on the balconies’ doors was very unique and provided a warmth to the room that I really liked. But take a look at the spa area from behind the falls!
Manila, The Philippines
In my short trip to Manila, I stayed at two hotels, The Bayleaf Hotel and The Manila Marriott. I wrote previously about how the former provided the best location to explore the Intramuros district of Manila whereas the latter was a paradise of relaxation. While The Bayleaf had less glamour than the Manila Marriott, its convenience to learn about Manila’s history was great. Both shone because of the incredible attention to service and the customer by their staffs.
While visiting Minneapolis, I stayed at The Hotel Minneapolis, from Marriott’s Autograph Collection. It was my first time trying a property from the Autograph Collection so I was curious how it would be. I really liked its spacious lobby and its location, close to the river, the theater district, and the business district. I walked everywhere downtown from the hotel. The rooms, though not huge, were well-enough sized. The building dates from the earlier 20th century when it was built as a bank. I was really impressed by how cleverly the time and function of the building were tapped and applied to create great public spaces in the hotel. If I were there on a business trip, I would definitely enjoy lounging in the lobby spaces after working hours. The friendliness of the staff topped off what was a great stay.
Hope everyone has a great holidays and I wish you the best in 2014!
I was hosted at the Jordan, Minneapolis and Manila hotels. All opinions are my own based on my experiences and observations.