Tag Archives: Lodging

*Deal* – Sheraton Steamboat Resort – Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Jump on this Deal

Sheraton Steamboat Resort

Jump on this Deal Get a jump start on summer plans with this stimulus deal at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. “Room Rates Equal to Your Birth Year” celebrates the year you were born with a special offer on your second and third night stays. First night rates from $109, second and third nights equal to your birth year; for example if you were born in 1950 you’ll receive the second and third nights of your stay for $50. Invite mom or grandma – the older the better!


Details:Sheraton Steamboat Room

  • Valid for stays between June 4 – December 31, 2009.
  • Rates for second and third night stays will be confirmed at check-in upon presentation of valid ID.
  • Maximum three consecutive nights on this promotion, best available rate prevails thereafter.
  • When booking, use promo code NBR.


Additional summer packages offered by the Sheraton Steamboat ResKayaking in Steamboatort include:

  • Golf ‘Til You Drop
  • Reserve & Relax – and save up to 20%
  • Better Tomorrows: Stay one Night and the Next is 50% off
  • Weekend Getaway Package
  • Romance Package
  • Family Package – Kids Eat Free

Need more space? Check into the newly renovated luxury villas with full kitchen, separate dining area, private balconies and two or three bedrooms.

Summer in Steamboat I love Steamboat Springs in summer. Countless outdoor activities keep visitors as busy as they choose – biking, golf, hiking, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, tube through town on the Yampa River. Want to just relax? Soak in one of the hot springs, browse the shelves of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, wander pathways in the Yampa River Botanical Park, attend a Strings Music Festival concert or schedule a spa treatment. Combined with great dining options, special events, festivals, fresh air and sunshine you’ll be delighted you jumped on one of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort’s affordable summer packages.

Find It!

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Staybridge Suites – Las Cruces, New Mexico

Too Short a Stay

logo-staybridgeThis was our first visit at a Staybridge Suites, designed primarily for extended stays. Although we stayed only one night at the Las Cruces Staybridge I see thoughtful details that would be fully appreciated during a longer stay. For instance, the clothes basket in the closet great for collecting dirty clothes as well as trips back and forth to the laundry room.

The laundry room is larger, better equipped and brighter than the typical motel facility. Too often they are tucked under the stairs or in a closet-sized space, poorly ventilated and just a bit spooky.

In Las Cruces the registration area is small but other common areas seemed well proportioned and maintained. The Great Room with gas fireplace, comfortable furniture and televisions opens to an appealing landscaped living area. We also find an outdoor pool, hot tub, putting green and grill. The well-equipped fitness center stays open 24-hours a day, there’s no excuse for neglecting the workout routine.

The business center offers several computers, printer/scanners and plenty of work space. In case you have a bit of free time and didn’t bring anything to read there’s a small library, also a few games. Internet access in the business center and guest rooms is free and high-speed – and it worked!

Special features at the Las Cruces Staybridge Suites are a Home Theater on the 2nd floor, Internet Cafe on the 3rd floor and a public/private meeting space on the 4thfloor. The Home Theater is furnished with recliners with drink holders, extra large digital HD screen, surround sound, DVD and Blue Ray players  – and a popcorn machine.

las-cruces-staybridge-suitesAlthough we reserved a one-bedroom suite we were given a two bedroom/two bath. Being able to set up the laptop in the extra bedroom and work early in the morning while Bob still slept was an nice bonus. Quality bedding and linens contributed to a much needed night’s rest.  The equipped kitchen included a stove top, microwave oven, full refrigerator and dishwasher. My only negative comment is that there is no ice machine in the hotel. They expect you to use the ice maker in your frig; however, if it’s not turned on when you check in it can’t keep up with demand – even for two people.

The morning breakfast buffet served a number of hot items and more selections than we’re used to at Holiday Inn Expresses. I immediately noted the fact that we were eating on pottery dishes with real silverware  – a welcome up-grade. The layout of the buffet and separate drink corridor was also appreciated.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings the hotel hosts Evening Sundowner Receptions with food, drinks and a chance to socialize from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

We’ve stayed in hotels, motels, historic inn and B&B in Las Cruces. By far the Staybridge Suites gets my vote for the place to return to. Next time we’ll plan more than one night.

Find It!

Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico

When You Go: The Staybridge Suites – Las Cruses is located near I-25 exit 6 at 2651 Northrise Drive on the north side of Las Cruces.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Make Your Reservations

Lodging Available in National Park Lodges

New opportunities exist for summer travelers to several National Parks in the western United States. More travelers are making reservations on the web closer to their date of travel and many families are being careful with travel plans because of the current economic situation. Rooms in lodges within the National Parks traditionally fill months ahead of travel dates. Savvy shoppers may not only find available rooms but also money saving packages.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates lodges in six of the most visited National Parks.

Old Faithful Inn - Yellowstone

The company also operates the Grand Canyon Railway, between Williams, Arizona and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.


El Tovar - Grand Canyon

The U.S. Travel Association predicts nearly three-quarters of all Americans will visit a national park in 2009. Dave Hartvigsen, marketing consultant for Xanterra, offers planning tips for 2009 national park vacations.

  • Booking online is usually the quickest way to secure a reservation.
  • Be flexible. Be as flexible as possible with dates and choice of lodging for the best chance of getting a room on short notice.
  • Consider traveling during the first two weeks of June, the last 10 days of August or the first two weeks of September. Individual parks have unique soft spots. For example, Yellowstone has considerable availability during the entire month of May and late August through the end of the season in mid-October.
  • lake-yellowstone-hotel4

    Lake Yellowstone Hotel - Yellowstone

  • Be timely. Group tour operators reserve blocks of rooms. If all the rooms are not sold, operators must release them for resale approximately 30 days out. Want reservations for July 30? Try booking on June 30 or July 1.
  • Be persistent. Rooms open up due to a variety of reasons. You might be the lucky one to re-book that room.
  • Watch out for third-party reservation web sites. Xanterra’s reservation services are FREE.
  • In addition to lodging, book activities and dinner reservations. Popular activities like the Old West Dinner Cookout at Yellowstone’s Roosevelt Lodge fill up quickly. Find information on making reservations on the Xanterra web sites.


    Old Faithful Inn - Yellowstone

  • Look for packages. The Grand Canyon Railway offers a variety of packages including train fare, lodging in Williams and Grand Canyon South Rim, and some meals. Yellowstone Summer Getaway Packages represent discounts up to 25 percent that include specially priced lodging and, in some cases, tours of the park.
  • Just show up. Travelers who arrive between noon and 6 pm often find last-minute rooms available. Once in a park, the front desk at any lodge can check availability for all rooms with the park.

Nancy’s Notes: I’ve tried them, many of these tips work. If you decide on the “Just Show Up” option have a plan B, gateway communities to the national parks often fill to capacity. Happy planning, safe travels.

Holiday Inn Express – Benson, Arizona

Guest Satisfaction

What do you do when you’re dissatisfied with a lodging? Do you complain, fill out the comment card or go away vowing never to return?

The Holiday Inn Express in Benson, Arizona has been rated the #1 HIE hotel in Arizona for 10 years in a row. They hold recognition from the parent company with the Quality of Excellence and Torchbearer Awards and are ranked in the top 17 HIEs in the country. This is not a cookie cutter of every other HIE, we see evidence in many areas of this being a cut above.

We’ve stayed at this hotel on other trips and included them on this year’s itinerary because of past satisfaction. During our visit in late February I became extremely frustrated, especially with the Internet service. It was slower than molasses during an Alaskan January. I was trying to post nightly travel blogs which was impossible from the Benson facility.benson-hie-exterior-h

I, of course, filled out the comment card and turned it in upon check-out. It’s a month later and the phone rings today, it’s the general manager of the Benson HIE calling.  From my comment they had some testing done and did find a problem in the area of the hotel where our room was located. Their Internet provider had failed to notify them of the problem but I was assured corrections have been made. I was amazed he took the time to make a personal phone call, to him I was only a name on a card. Although we’re repeat guests our stays are far enough apart that we’re not remembered from one trip to another. And, he has no idea I write a travel blog and may put my opinions out to the world via cyberspace.

Benson is located on I-10 east of Tucson. The incredible Kartchner Caverns State Park is 10 miles south, an excellent reason to stop in Benson. Also nearby is the Singing Wind Book Shop (see blog), a must visit for book lovers of every genre. Benson can serve as a hub for touring many highlights found in Cochise County – Tombstone, Chiricahua National Monument, Cochise Stronghold, Armerind Foundation, Bisbee, San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Sierra Vista, Fort Huachuca. Cochise County fills the southeast corner of Arizona and offers a long list of reasons to visit.

benson-hie-roomFrom the warm cookies at check-in to the specially selected carpet and materials in a tasteful Southwest theme there’s been attention paid to detail throughout the hotel. I love the cowboy boot fabric covering the valance. In the bathroom we find not only the obligatory bath mat but also a sparkling white throw rug – perfect for bare feet in front of the sink. New flat-screen televisions are wall mounted. A wood cabinet holds the microwave and mini-frig; they’re not just plopped in an available space as an afterthought.

Conveniently located at exit 302, the hotel is set back far enough to eliminate much of the road noise. Grounds, fountains and landscaping are kept well maintained as are the heated outdoor pool and hotel interior. There’s an obvious commitment to excellence.

I still have a couple of things I would like to see addressed. In place of a desk they’ve chosen small square tables in the guest rooms. I suspect that’s sufficient for most guests – which I assume to fall into the tourist category instead of business. I would much prefer a desk.

benson-hie-lobbyThe lobby is a large lovely space with stone fireplace and deep cushy chairs. The breakfast area is not large enough to accommodate the number of guests wishing to eat at one time. It wouldn’t be quite as eye pleasing but adding some tables would increase convenience and comfort. One of the problems is that a fair percentage of the guests are retirees (at least during winter months) who tend to have little morning agenda other than socializing and the crossword. They claim a table and sip coffee for the duration. I understand the hotel can’t ask them to move along but more space and tables are needed for a successful breakfast buffet experience.

There’s no doubt in my mind that management does care about guest satisfaction. We’ll have to return to check on that Internet connection.

When You Go: Holiday Inn Express, Benson, Arizona is located at I-10 exit 302 and Hwy 90. They’re often filled to capacity, make your reservations before heading to Benson.


Southwest Inn – Sedona, Arizona

Getting It Right

As travelers we stay in a wide variety of lodging facilities. Criteria for perfection changes with each person. Rarely do we find one that truly gets it as close to perfection as the Southwest Inn in Sedona, Arizona.

sedona-southwest-innI spent a lot of time researching Sedona lodging options before making reservations. Many options are expensive resorts, even the national brand hotels tend to be more expensive than in the majority of destinations. I read reviews and comments from lots of sources. One facility caught my eye – Southwest Inn. From making our reservations to check-out our experience was all that we desired and expected.

25+ Reasons to Stay at Southwest Inn

  1. Quiet – well situated to mute road noise and well insulated between rooms
  2. Clean – no linty corners and even passed my “behind the bathroom door” test
  3. Location – on 89A at the west end of town, away from the worse of the congestion and  traffic
  4. Corner, gas fireplace – A bit of evening March chill chased away with nice ambiance and on a timer
  5. 3-way lamp switches with 3-way bulbs – you choose lighting level
  6. Frig in cabinet – mini-frigs aren’t the latest in attractive decor, behind closed doors in a wooden cabinet much more pleasing
  7. Clock/music player with pre-programmed music and iPod dock – softly playing when we enter
  8. sedona-si-roomPillows – plenty of pillows in good condition, I hate worn-out, lumpy pillows
  9. Bedding – comforter warm without being heavy and quality sparkling white sheets.
  10. Chair & Ottoman – A comfortable place to relax (if one spends any time in their room)
  11. Free bottled water – staying hydrated in this climate is important
  12. Coffee maker and mugs – pottery logo mugs, not squeaky Styrofoam cups
  13. Flat screen wall mounted television – up to date with wide channel selection
  14. DVD player – watch one of the many movies filmed in Sedona Red Rock County
  15. Rental movies & microwave popcorn – DVD rentals available in the lobby, a free bag of microwave popcorn with each rental
  16. Friendly helpful staff – everyone appeared to be pleased you’re their guest
  17. Concierge – Well informed with excellent recommendations, dining to activities, good follow-up
  18. sedona-si-fireplace2Towels – an abundance of thick absorbent towels
  19. Jacuzzi tub + roomy shower stall – large, well equipped bathroom
  20. Bath mats for both tub and shower – smart thinking by someone
  21. Robes – two terry-lined robes neatly folded on the bed at check-in, large enough for a man to use without looking silly
  22. Heated Pool & whirlpool with towels – clean and well maintained
  23. Price – not inexpensive but excellent value for the Sedona market
  24. Wireless Internet that works – easy log on, good speed
  25. Decor – Southwestern style without getting cute
  26. Iron and ironing board – an amenity that’s almost standard today
  27. Ceiling fan – preferable to the noisy fan in the normal AC/heater unit
  28. Private patio – chairs and table for a private outdoor spacesedona-si-pool
  29. Complimentary breakfast – hot items, plus the typical Continental  buffet fare, hard-working attendant keeping food fresh and tables clean between uses
  30. Restaurant menus – a large album of area menus to help make a dinner decision
  31. Three computers, printer available  – guest computer room available with workable equipment
  32. Hot drinks – available in the breakfast room all day
  33. Parking – plenty of parking space for the number of guest rooms
  34. Two luggage racks – details, details, details
  35. Maintenance – when we had a small computer problem it was promptly taken care of
  36. Scenery – this is Sedona!

When I started I guessed there would be 25 reasons I thought so highly of this lodging; I over achieved. We had a comfortable Southwest Inn stay and will definitely return the next time we’re lucky enough to be in the Sedona area.

Holiday Inn Express – Belen, New Mexico

Fine Tuning

A night at the Holiday Inn Express in Belen, New Mexico brought the following observations.

First – five pieces that need fine tuned:

  • Wireless Internet service non-existent during our visit, cable connection SLOW
  • Single-ply toilet paper
  • Yellowish 60-watt light bulbs
  • Poor bathroom/sink vanity design – major overhaul
  • Dry eggs on breakfast buffet, poor fruit selection

Ten positives:

  • Friendly, courteous staff
  • Clean
  • Locally Owned
  • Free Sunday Albuquerque paper
  • Breakfast buffet well organized, kept clean
  • Spacious room
  • Quality bedding
  • Easy chair and ottoman
  • Nice sized desk and executive chair
  • Quiet – far enough from Interstate to reduce traffic noise

This was a return visit and we would probably stay here again, I would like to see the facility live up to it’s potential.

Holiday Inn – Trinidad, Colorado

Trinidad Holiday Inn

During our 2009 Southwest sojourn you’ll see lots of lodging reviews at members of the InterContinental Hotel Group. Over the pass few years we’ve become rather fond of the Holiday Inn Express brand. Generally finding a clean, comfortable stay at a fair price and consistency of quality from one location to another. Reservations through their website are easy to make and the lowest Internet price available. I have found calling the hotel direct sometimes gets a better rate.

I’ve found Priority Club membership a rewarding program  – easy to earn and redeem points. On this trip we’re using points for six nights and earning bonus points by accumulating  eight or more additional nights. Please follow along as I blog brief reviews of each facility we use.

The Trinidad, Colorado Holiday Inn is located at exit 11 on Interstate 25 (11 miles north of the Colorado/New Mexico border) . The three-story Holiday Inn is a totally new facility that opened in 2008. We made this reservation only a few hours before leaving home. The king room was comfortably furnished with night stands on both sides of the bed, easy chair with ottoman, flat-screen television, desk and wireless Internet that worked. Bathroom was large with everything functioning. All was new and clean.

The swimming pool and fitness center remain open until midnight. The hotel is designed so that these activity areas are away from guest rooms. A full service restaurant and bar is on site. On check-in we received a $5 coupon good towards breakfast in the restaurant.

The next time we need a room in the Trinidad/Raton area we’ll happily stay at the Trinidad Holiday Inn.


Highland Haven Creekside Inn – Evergreen, Colorado

Leave Your Mark of Love


Okay lovers – of every age – it’s too late for Valentine’s Day 2009 but romantic getaways shouldn’t be limited to one night a  year.  I suggest escaping any time of  year to Highland Haven Creekside Inn in Evergreen, Colorado. Less than a half hour from Denver, when at Highland Haven one feels a world away from the city. Tall pines and rocky outcroppings shelter lodge and cabins; Bear Creek tumbles in front of the property.

 Sunset named the inn as a Top 10 Romantic Cottage, in a “Denver’s Best Stuff ” issue of 5280 magazine Highland Haven earned the title of Top Place to Pop the Question. Accolades abound for the unique property.

Accommodations range from guest rooms and junior suites to private cottages and luxury suites with cozy fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs or private  hot tubs. Whichever you choose the decor reflects what innkeeper Gail Riley terms “Colorado Chic.” You and your sweetheart are sure to appreciate the attention to detail and comfort.hh-interior1

Innkeepers and staff stand ready to enhance the romance with flutes of chilled champagne, imported chocolates, flowers, music or poetry. The inn says, “Love is in the air, in the trees and on the lane!” Several years ago a standing dead tree was stripped of branches and bark, lovers added their mark with hearts, names, intials and/or dates. Gail loves to tell the tender stories of individual carvings. The Sweetheart Tree was so popular a second has been added. A local artist does the carving – contact the inn to make arrangements to leave your mark. Lovers Lane is a stepping stone walkway across the broad lawn from inn to creek. Memorialize a special date or loved one with an engraved stone along the path.

Although it’s too late for a February 14, 2009 reservation it’s not too late for a gift certificate or a copy of Gail’s book  Colorado Cravings – Recipes and Romance. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or popping the question you’ll long remember Highland Haven.

hh-creek-sculpture2 hh-exterior1 hh-sweetheart-tree1

Brown Palace Hotel – Denver, Colorado

“Affairs of the Heart” Tours

brown-palace-exteriorHistoric tours of Denver’s venerable Brown Palace Hotel focus on “Affairs of the Heart” during February. Oh, the tales Debra Faulkner, hotel historian and archivist, has to tell. After 117 years the “Brown” reveals stories of intrigue, romance, love triangles and even murder. Public tours are offered every Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm and last 45-60 minutes. Tours are free, however reservations are required.

Besides “Affairs of the Heart” and general history tours, specialized  themes include a presidential tour (Every U.S. president  since Teddy Roosevelt in 1905, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge, has visited The Brown Palace.), an architectural tour and the ever-popular ghost tour (October tours often fill to capacity). Groups of 10 or more must make arrangements for a private tour. Private tours – for a fee – can be arranged for those requiring a time outside of the normal scheduled tours.

brown-palace-lobby-teaI suggest making reservations for Afternoon Tea following your tour. Served in the eight-story atrium lobby the traditional afternoon ritual includes tea sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream shipped directly from England and tea pastries. All accompanied by a harpist or pianist. 

Is your valentine a chocoholic? If so, make reservations at the hotel’s elegant Palace Arms restaurant for a special Valentine’s Day dinner. Thanawat Bates, executive sous chef, has created a six course decadent dinner ($150/couple + tax and gratuity) with chocolate incorporated in each course.

Extend the celebration to Sunday, February 15th, with Ellyngton’s Dom Perignon Sunday Brunch. An extensive buffet offers selections from waffles to sushi and incredible desserts. Prices start at $54.95 per person.

Affairs of the heart isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day, the Brown Palace offers specials and packages for romantics year round. Check the website to find the right one for your occasion – Cupid’s Cuddle, Royal Romance, Light Up the Night or Tranquility With a Twist. For spur of the moment getaways try On A Whim. With the fine dining options, room service and pampering at The Spa at the Brown Palace you may never what to leave.

When You Go: Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th Street, Denver, Colorado. 

*Deals* – Grand Canyon Nt. Park – Arizona

Spring Breakaway at Grand Canyon National Park


A Spring Breakaway Package at two South Rim lodges has been announced by Xanterra, the operator of lodges, resturants and activities in Grand Canyon National Park.

For $139 per night, guests receive accommodations in a Maswik Lodge North room or a Yavapai Lodge East room, one breakfast for two and a Harvey Car motorcoach tour to Hermits Rest or a Sunrise tour for two. The package is available Feb. 9 – March 5, 2009 at Maswik Lodge and March 6 – 26, 2009 at Yavapai Lodge. Room rates for overnight accommodations only are normally priced $153 -$170 per night. Rates do not include taxes.

In addition the package also includes a coupon for 10 percent off purchases between $50 and $150 and 20 percent off purchases of more than $150 in Xanterra gift shops. A welcome stimulus to souvenir shoppers.

Visitors can book their Spring Breakaway online by entering the promotional code SPRING or by calling toll-free 1-888-297-2757 or 1-303-297-2757 from outside the United States.

Note from Nancy: Spring is our favorite time to visit Grand Canyon National Park. One may encounter snow on the rim but hike just a few hundred feet below the rim and you’ll want to be in shirt sleeves. It can be quite warm at the bottom even in March. Easter sunrise over the canyon inspires. Plan your “Breakaway” now.