The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge - A Starwood Resort Charlotte, NC
I had lived in Charlotte for six years and always wanted an opportunity to visit the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. I had driven by it many times and couldn’t help but notice the spacious grounds and the beautiful green golf courses. FINALLY my company decided to have a corporate event there so I was able to attend and spend a night at what is now my favorite resort in Charlotte.
The resort is a member of the Luxury Collection by Starwood Hotels and is also recognized by Forbes as a Four-Star and AAA Four-diamond category hotel. I am not surprised at all! The spa is incredible. If you live in Charlotte it is a great girls outing to go to the spa for the day. If you are traveling to Charlotte on business it is an ideal place to hold your meetings or corporate events.
I have several friends who have been fortunate enough to have weddings at the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge and the pictures are beautiful. If you are looking for a place to hold your wedding and / or wedding reception definitely look in to this location. Your guest will be in heaven with the indoor and outdoor pools, spa, fitness center and championship PGA golf course.
It is very easy to access being just 18 miles from the Charlotte airport. and very close to major shopping areas like Southpark Mall. Southpark Mall has more than 100 shops including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Book your stay at the Ballantyne by clicking here.
Dana talks about London
Marriott London Grosvenor Square
My friend and I just took our first trip to London. Deciding where to stay was tough because London is such a big city. To put it in perspective London covers about 600 square miles and has a population of 7 million + while NYC has a population of 8 million + within about 300 square miles. After doing our research we picked The Marriott London Grosvenor Square located in the chic Mafair district. We could go on and on about our great experience!
After spending four days exploring London my friend and I agreed that if we get the opportunity to return we would stay at the Grosvenor Square again. I won’t go through all of the hotel facts or the list of amenities because you can find that on their website. What I will say is that I am completely enamored with the Mayfair area and loved that the Marriott was in walking distance of the very best restaurants, pubs and shopping. It was also only a few blocks from The Tube. I’ll also say that our room exceeded our expectations…very stylish. I think my favorite thing about the room was the outdoor fireplace and patio.
We had a fireplace inside and out!
Another major plus is that the Marriott is home to Maze and Maze Grill which are Gordon Ramsay Restaurants. The food was truly delicious and the restaurant itself was stunning. I see Victoria Beckham was there…….of course we didn’t see her
I always notice service that is above and beyond. When people go out of their way to do something they aren’t required to do, it is worth mentioning. I was in the hallway looking for the ice machine (I must have looked lost) and Danielle took the ice bucket and insisted on getting ice for me. Thank you Danielle! By the way..I’ve always wished my name was Danielle instead of Dana. I also want to say thank you to Louise who took the time to sit with us and recommend some local restaurants and pubs. The suggestions were much appreciated!
We can’t believe that we were able to see almost everything that we had on our list for the trip! One of the reasons we were able to cover so much ground in such a short period of time is that we took our conceirge’s (Harry) advice and hired ParkwardCar Service. Thank you so much Harry for this recommendation and for arranging this service! I highly recommend that you splurge and hire a driver for at least one day of your trip. Our driver’s name was Jamal and he could not have been more accommodating. My friend recently had surgery on her foot which made it a challenge to get around. Jamal was so helpful and made sure that we saw everything we wanted to see and then some.
Harry was also able to pull some strings and get us in for dinner last minute at one of London’s iconic restaurants, The Wolseley. It was incredible! We were so appreciative because we found that it is not easy to get a dinner reservation in London. We learned a lesson about planning ahead.
I hope that you decide to visit London and the Marriott Grosvenor Square! I’d love to hear about your trip and favorite spots.
To those of you who have asked …YES…we did see Big Ben and Parliament…..pictures coming soon on that! Unfortunately we did not see this guy…..
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
I can’t say enough good things about the Sonoma California area.Why in the world did it take me so many years to make it to the beautiful California Wine Country? I am not surprised that I fell in love with it. Here is my recommendation on a memorable place to stay if you are making a trip to Sonoma. The Sonoma Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa is not only convenient and beautiful but it is one of the only luxury spa resorts in that area. I could not get over the incredible plants and trees on the property. The flowers, palm trees and lush landscaping made for some fantastic photos.
The service was impressive too! I was staying there for a company meeting and I decided to check in a day earlier that the rest of the team. What to do with a solo day in Sonoma with no car?? The conceirge suggested “Sip and Cycle”. That sounded interesting. It turns out I could rent a bike on their property for 24 hours for $25. They provided me with a map of local wineries along a 12 mile path in and around Sonoma. You must do this if you are out there. It was so fun to combine a little exercise (the 12 mile path was flat), sight seeing and WINE! It turned out to be one of my best days in the wine country.
Thank you to the entire staff at the Fairmonot Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa for such an experience. Our entire team had a great time and they are still talking about it!
Book your stay here
And thanks to Dana for sharing her trip to Sonoma with us. Dana loves to travel and will be sharing many more adventures with us! Stay tuned!
Carley and Aaron talk about Greece
Who: Carley and Aaron Wallace
What: our honeymoon
When: October 2012
Where to start! We traveled to Greece for our dream honeymoon and we can honestly say it felt like we were dreaming the whole time. It was our honeymoon, as I said, so of course we spared no expense. Our trip had three parts. The first was a day and night in Athens. It was our chance to see the Acropolis, Pantheon, Hadrian's Arch etc. We checked into our wonderful room at the King George Palace, a 5 star hotel located in the heart of Athens, and headed out for our guided your of the historical sites. We reccomend doing the tours yourself. They are cheaper, you can go at your own pace and most of the information they give you- you can read online before you go. The real fun in Athens came for dinner when we wandered the streets and got a feel for what the city was really like. A must do? Find one of the many bakeries and get yourself baklava- it's to die for!
Our seccond part of the trip was Mykonos. This was magical. We stayed at the beautiful boutique hotel Bill and Coo. We absolutely loved it. The pool was an infinity pool, just as you see in pictures, on the side of a cliff overlooking the Aegean sea. Breakfast is included in almost all hotel stays and are delicious,very large and healthy. Mykonos is well known as the 'party island' but we saw none of this since we were there at the end of the season. The weather was perfection- high 70's but with direct sunlight it was great to lay out in all day. We were told it was unseasonably warm so maybe go earlier in the season (June-August).
On to our third stop. We planned on heading to Santorini. I say planned because we never made it. The ferry that runs between the islands was cancelled two days in a row so we just headed back to Athens after extending our stay in Mykonos.
So to sum it up. Greece was beautiful and amazing. You literally forget the world completely. The islands are the best and the most romantic place for couples so spend most of your time there. Eat as much fish and baklava as you can and lastly be flexible. International travel is always unpredictable (Greece might be more so than other places right now) but it can also be life changing, it's that good.
Thanks to Carley for sharing her Greek experience with us. You had me at baklava... The hotels they stayed at looked amazing! Check out a few of their honeymoon pics and pics of the hotels below. And make sure to click on the hotel links above for more info and booking.
King George Palace - Athens
Bill and Coo - Mykonos
About our other bloggers -
When life keeps me from traveling as much as I'd like, I live vicariously through my friends. Fortunately I'm surrounded by people who love to see new places as much as I do. I've asked some of these fellow explorers to share their experiences and advice with you. I hope you enjoy hearing about their travels as much as I do and I hope they inspire you to hit the road. - Tega