The Homestead

Do you ever need that weekend away to simply relax?  I do! I love that over night or long weekend when you get away from home, sleep in, and simply enjoy some needed peace and quite.  The Homestead, also now known as the Omni Homestead, is one of my favorite places for a quick trip away to recharge.

Nestled in the Virginia mountains, it has been there in one form or another since 1766.  Known for the hot springs in the area it was a place to “take the waters” – and you still can!

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The rooms are beautiful, the people phenomenal and the food a gourmand’s delight.  And, oh, did I mention the spa?  You can hike, swim or ski, depending on the season, golf, enjoy zip lining, falconry, hiking, or, my personal favorite, curl up with a book or a deck of cards in the library or on the front porch.  Then there is the great hall where you can enjoy the fire places.  I’ve enjoyed many an afternoon playing cards – yes, I mean playing with an actual deck of cards – with my Mom and enjoying a refreshment.

The spa is excellent; the garden pool, adult only, features a lovely heated pool and hot tub along with one of the original hot springs.  The aqua thermal suite is the perfect place for an afternoon and then a massage.  There is also a gym, indoor pool, and, in the warm weather, a family pool with a lazy river.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the food.  It is spectacular.  I feel like I roll away when I leave the table.  The breakfast buffet leaves nothing to the imagination.  Dinner options do not disappoint.  The wedge salad at Jefferson’s is a favorite.  I’ve eaten in the dining room, formal, Jefferson’s, casual, room service, and Sam Sneeds.  Each meal was to die for.

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Pamper me Sunday taken to the Greenbrier!

Did I ever need Pamper Sunday.  Last week was one of those weeks that wouldn’t stop.  Saturday I spent the morning cleaning out the basement.  By noon, I was covered in grime but had the basement sorted into trash and charity with the Christmas decorations finally put away.  Mission accomplished!

A good friend and I had long planned for a girl’s day at the spa at the Greenbrier.  As I stood there in the basement covered in yuck,  all I could think about was my long-awaited day at the spa.  The Greenbrier is located in an area rich with mineral springs and is famous for  its spa as well as the bunker.  A short drive this morning and I was looking at the great white hotel decorated by Dorothy Draper and Carlton Varney.  After a wonderful lunch at Drapers in the hotel, we headed to the spa.

Note about Drapers.  It is wonderful.  Famous for its sweet southern ice tea and chicken salad, the ice cream counter will make you drool.  I opted for a BLT with a delicious tomato. That is a miracle given it is the middle of winter.  I passed on dessert and we headed to the spa.

The first hour of our experience was spent in the relaxation room.  There I began to let the toils of the week evaporate.  Next up, a sulphur bath from the springs, then followed a scotch spray that reminded me of a water massage and finally a Swedish massage.  Now I was relaxed.  Back to the relaxation room where I quickly found my comfort zone in a lounge chair with a soft blanket and I was in my happy place.

Despite the fact that the day was a rainy, grey, winter day, it IMG_0267was perfect.  Time with friends and a wonderful visit to the Greenbrier.  I think I’m ready to face Monday!  I’m also plotting my next trip to the Greenbrier.

A Visit to Colonial Williamsburg

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Are you ready to take a trip back in time?  Colonial Williamsburg is the restoration of the town of Williamsburg, pre Revolution.  In other words, welcome to a living history museum set in the 18th century.  You literally take a trip back in time.  The buildings are restored and the docents are in period attire.  If you’ve not been, I can recommend you visit.

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I love visiting. Colonial Williamsburg operates multiple hotels on the property for visitors to enjoy.  My favorite is th Williamsburg Inn.  Every time I visit I feel like I’ve died and gone to pampering heaven.  The rooms are beautiful, the service designed to make you feel like a princess, even the Queen has stayed there.

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The Inn and the nearby Lodge are perfect for access to the historic area.  What better for exercise than a walk or run around the historic district? Merchant’s Square is a fun stop for shopping and eating.  The Cheese Shop is a must visit for a quick bite. The Fat Canary great for supper, although my personal favorite is the Blue Talon.

The Blue Talon restaurant is a French bistro within east walking distance to the Inn.  Their mac-n-cheese is to die for and the garden salad the perfect accompaniment.  The menu is replete with excellent choices and the wine menu is to die for.  Added fun are the replays of The French Chef, Julia Child’s tv program.  My favorite is that I can have a wonderful dinner and walk back to the Inn.  The Inn also has a wonderful breakfast.  Sunday brunch is legendary and don’t forget to grab a cocktail from the Restoration Bar or the patio bar, depending upon the weather.

No visit to CW would be complete without a visit to the spa. I always opt for a massage and leave time for the whirlpool and the steam room.

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CW offers so much from golf and tennis to museums to history to shopping.  There is something for everyone.

Destination Beverly Hills

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I’ve never been to Southern California, so when selecting a destination for a long weekend, I decided it was time to explore California.  This was going to be a quick trip, leave on Friday morning and return Sunday night but a get away for fall break.  I love iconic hotels so I explored my options on booking.com and through Amex’s travel concierge.  I ended up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It seemed perfect for my brief trip.  Built in 1912 and famous as a hotel of the stars, it had all the qualities I wanted for this vacation. A great pool, spa, yoga, and options for retail therapy.  What more could a girl want?

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I arrived Friday afternoon and was immediately checked into a gorgeous room.  Since I was starved, I dropped my bags and headed to the iconic Polo Lounge for lunch.  So many delicious options from which to select.  I ended up with a French 75 cocktail and the McCarthy chopped salad.  Thoroughly satiated, and tired from getting up at 4:30 AM, I headed up to my beautiful room and my favorite feature, the lounge chair on the private balcony. I happily curled up on the lounge for a bit of sun and the remainder of the book I’d started.

 

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Yoga was one of the reasons I’d chosen the Beverly Hills Hotel. Amy Rose offers yoga classes in the garden on Saturday mornings.  You need a reservation so I’d called early and reserved my mat and blocks.  It was a wonderful class.  The morning was cool, perfect for a workout.  Amy was excellent.  If I lived close, I’d be there every Saturday morning.  Even better, the hotel supplied everything I needed in the line of equipment so no need to pack and carry anything.  After yoga, I headed to the spa for a massage.  Complete indulgence and a wonderful way to conclude the morning.  I rounded out my Saturday with a bit of retail therapy.  The hotel has courtesy cars that I was happy to use to drop me off on Rodeo Drive.  The weather was beautiful.  I strolled  in and out of boutique after boutique browsing.  I scored a birthday gift for my wonderful cousin and new sunnies for me!

I ended my day with a delicious dinner at the hotel.  This time lobster tagliatelli, a glass of red wine, and chocolate soufflé.  Delicious!

Sunday was another beautiful day but a bit on the cool and foggy side to start.  I opted for a bit of a sleep in, after all it was a mini vacay!  I’d marked Sunday as lounge by the pool day.  I arrived around 10:30AM and opted for the hot tub as it was still on the cool side.  It quickly warmed up and I enjoyed a morning and lunch by the pool before time came to check out and head to LAX.

The hotel was amazing.  Everyone there went out of their way to make my stay wonderful.  My only regret?  I needed another day.  I’d planned a tour of homes but ran out of time!

Work and Play at the Waldorf Astoria Beach Resort in Boca Raton

 

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I occasionally get to travel for work and recently I decided to take advantage of a presentation I was making on a Monday and spend the weekend in south Florida at the beach.

The Waldorf Astoria Beach Resort is a beautiful hotel designed by Addison Mizner as part of his plan for Boca Raton. The resort is divided into two by the intercostal waterway. The original hotel is designed in a mediterranean cloister style with a more modern hotel on the beach side. You can take advantage of the beach, multiple pools, golf, tennis and a world class spa. I also recommend walking around the grounds. The grounds are manicured with lush vegetation.

If you elect to stay in the “old” part of the hotel you can take advantage of either Mizner’s Dream, a boat to shuttle you to the beach club, or the resort shuttle. There was something so fun about taking a five minute boat cruise down the ICW to the beach club.

I took advantage of both the pool and the beach spending a lovely weekend day submerged in the Atlantic and the pool. The ocean was so clear that I could see my feet. I was fortunate to have a calm ocean with gentle waves but just enough to make it fun.

Since I’ve not met a resort spa I was willing to pass up, I booked my weekend with the Sip, Sun, and Spa package. This gave me credits for the spa, dining, beach chairs and a free drink at the Monkey Bar. If you are a gin drinker, try the homemade infused gin at the Monkey Bar. I’m not, but a friend is, and they highly recommended the home infused gin. I opted for the Southern Hospitality at Bar Luna.

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The spa package included a “ritual bath” that was to die for. My favorite parts of the ritual bath are the sorbet and the plunge pool with the rain shower. I think I could have remained in the plunge pool for ages. The entire spa experience was out of this world. I followed my ritual bath with time in the steam room, the inhalation room, and an artisanal massage. The facility was beautiful and the staff lovely.  They also have a private pool and waterfall jacuzzi. I arrived at 9:30 spent the morning in a lounge chair under an umbrella with sporadic dips in the pool.  Around noon, I opted for lunch by the pool.  If you need to pamper and indulge, I highly recommend a visit to the spa. It was the perfect prelude to a long day of work on Monday in the wonderful conference center!