10/27/2019 0 Comments
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is a historic landmark located right in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, a block away from the famous TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California. It opened on May 15, 1927, and is the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles, which is why I have been totally obsessed about staying here for many years!
The hotel is jam packed with Hollywood history from the very start. The first Academy Awards ceremony that lasted only ten minutes was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929, inside the Blossom Ballroom. The Blossom Ballroom was recently restored to it's original grandeur. The pool at the Roosevelt Hotel actually has it's own history as well. It was featured in a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy when the Ricardos and Mertzes came to Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe also posed for her first commercial photography shoot by that same pool. In 1988, famed British painter David Hockney completed a multi-million dollar mural on the bottom of the Tropicana Pool. Both the hotel and the pool have been designated Historic-Cultural Monuments by the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission..It is quite eerie to walk thru these areas and know such amazing things happened.
There are many notable residents and guests that have walked in and out of the doors of this historic hotel. Marilyn Monroe had lived in the hotel for two years early in her career, Montgomery Clift stayed in the hotel for about three months in 1952 during the filming of From Here To Eternity (and is said to still roam the halls today), Errol Flynn is said to have created his bootleg gin here, and even I Love Lucy's Mrs. Trumbull, Elizabeth Patterson, lived in the hotel during her 35 year long film and television career. One of my personal favorite stories is the Shirley Temple one. This is the hotel that she learned her famous stairstep dance routine on the hotels beautiful staircase for her movie “The Little Colonel” (1935) in which she stared with Mr. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The picture does not even do this staircase justice. It is truly a beautiful work of art. I was so excited to walk on these very stairs myself!
The Hollywood Roosevelt has some very fun dining and cocktail options too. With an exclusive cocktail lounge, a game parlor with vintage bowling lanes, a 24-hour burger joint, an Italian steakhouse coming in Spring 2020, the Tropicana Pool Cafe and in-room dining, there is something here for everyone. No matter where you are in this hotel you never lose that old Hollywood charm either. If you are not interested in staying in the hotel for dinner there are some really great formal dining as well as casual dining options within a walk-able distance as well because of the great location of the hotel.
When selecting our room category when booking the reservation it was important to me to stay within that classic vibe so we went with the Cabana Balcony Room. The 350 square foot balcony room overlooks the David Hockney pool at the Tropicana Pool & Cafe. These rooms give you that vintage 1950's feel most people coming here are looking for (Marilyn Monroe actually lived in one of these Cabana rooms). If your looking for something more modern you will want to book a room in the tower part of the hotel. The hotels’ tower, built in 1927, has undergone a $25 million dollar renovation with rooms designed by Yabu Pushelberg, the firm that also worked on the Four Seasons Toronto and Park Hyatt New York, which both have been awarded Forbes Five Star status.
The hotel offers massage services right in their tranquil outside garden. The Massage Garden is open from 9:00am to 9:00pm by appointment only, and may I tell you the surroundings are absolutely breathtaking and perfect for a peaceful experience.
Simply put, my stay at this hotel was nothing short of spectacular. The hotel oozes a tremendous amount of Hollywood history. The building is allegedly haunted by Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Errol Flynn which makes it that more interesting to visit! Today, the hotel still hosts many different celebrities, but it’s just as well known for countless bars, an epic nightlife scene, and unbeatable pool parties. This is a bucket list stay for all of you classic Hollywood buffs or those interested in the paranormal (luckily I did not experience anything out of the norm during my time here).
To book your adventure out to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
10/20/2019 0 Comments
My 1st Visit To Kaua'i
Aloha: is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy, that is commonly used as a simple greeting but has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance to native Hawaiians. This week I truly found out the meaning to Aloha while visiting Kaua'i. Nicknamed "the Garden Isle", Kaua'i is covered by rainforest on much of its island. Many Hollywood films have been shot near the Na Pali Coast, while the island also offers amazing hiking for nature lovers. Visiting Kaua'i is truly an experience that is life changing.
There are four major geographic areas in Kaua'i that I have listed below. Each area just as beautiful as the next with so much to offer when you visit:
South Shore- including Koloa, Lawai, and Poipu
North Shore- including Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea
East Coast- including Kapaa, Wailua and Lihue
West Side- including the towns of Waimea and Hanapepe
During my time on this fascinating island I was lucky enough to take part in many amazing activities. The first one took place in Lihue doing mountain tubing with Kaua'i Backcountry Adventures. During the adventure we were in a tube for about an hour as we floated down the open canals, through several amazing tunnels and flumes engineered and hand dug back in 1870. During our time in each tunnel, we would turn our headlamps on (I would not recommend this for claustrophobic peeps). At the end of the adventure, we were guided to a nearby picnic area lunch and if we wanted to take a dip in their natural swimming hole we were more than welcome to. This is something that is suitable for all ages to take part in.
While I had the choice of either zip lining or kayaking, I went with selecting the Lydgate Farms Chocolate tour. Lydgate is in the area of Kapa'a. Our three-hour guided tour began with a stroll through their gardens, where we sampled some of their honey, and all different tropical types of fruit (many I have never even heard of). We learned all about Cacao and tasted it’s ripe fruit, as well as learning the secrets of turning raw cacao seeds into finished chocolate.
Our tour finished with an extensive chocolate tasting where we tried about 9 different types and had a small fun quiz of what we were tasting. Although the portions were small, we had so much chocolate I actually felt a little sick for the rest of the day. The guide was full of energy and was extremely knowledgeable. Another great spot for kids and adults of any age.
Another bucket list adventure I was lucky to take part of was the Deluxe Waterfall Safari helicopter tour with Safari Helicopters (also in the Lihue area). To say I was nervous would be an understatement, however the pilot had such a calmness about him, within moments I felt completely safe. The tour lasted 60 minutes and we were blessed to view the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and so much more from a birds eye perspective all while listening to a beautiful soundtrack while the pilot gave us incredible information about each area we flew by.
Some really fun stops along the way during our days in Kaua'i were stopping at the rum tasting room at the Koloa Rum Company before enjoying the Luau Kalamaku, lunch at the Living Food Market that served local and organic bites, taking part in the Taro Farm Flood Recovery Ecotour, and the Spouting Horn.
A must do while in Kaua'i is the Napali sunset cruise with Holo Holo Charters. This is the perfect cruise for those who want to see the Napali coast and enjoy the possibility of catching the views of a whale or some dolphins but not looking to snorkel. They also serve a wine, beer, and mixed drinks along with dinner and a champagne toast at sunset. This is a 3 hour tour that is seriously the best cruise/catamaran I have ever been on. Sadly, I did not take motion sickness medication because I had never gotten ill on a boat ride and unfortunately was extremely ill half way into this trip. I highly recommend taking some Dramamine out of caution because it is not a memory you will want to miss! There were about four rainbows we witnessed and I know I would have enjoyed it much more if I was not worried about getting sick if I moved my head. That being said the crew was so attentive and made sure I always had anything I needed (which included a bag of ice for my head).
On the last day of our stay we did a downhill Waimea Canyon bike tour with Outfitters Kaua'i. We started at an elevation of 3,600 feet and biked down to sea level going about 25 miles an hour. We made frequent stops to witness the dramatic canyon cliffs, learn about the area, and look out over the majestic Pacific Ocean. The guides were amazing, and although it was quite petrifying at moments with oncoming traffic, the guides always made sure we were safe.
There was a song I learned while I was on the island of Kaua'i called "These Islands" by Danny Couch. The song asks "Have you seen these islands? Have you seen the beauty of the land? Do you know it's people, brothers sisters, walking hand in hand" and eventually goes into the chorus of "This is aloha, This is aloha, This is aloha, This land of Hawaii" and when I left Kaua'i, I can truly say that I felt I knew the genuine meaning of aloha in my heart.
Please enjoy these two video tours of resorts I stayed at while visiting Kaua'i.
To book your adventure in Kaua'i reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today by clicking here!
10/13/2019 0 Comments
Our Holland America Alaskan Cruise
It took me a few weeks after our cruise to work on this blog, and after revisiting our photos once again, I am completed overwhelmed by the beauty of Alaska, Holland America Cruise Line, and the memories we created during our trip.
For many reasons we decided to go with Holland America for our very first cruise to Alaska. I had done some recent training and research and knew the destination was what we needed to be focused on, not exactly the ship per say. Holland America is known for getting closest to the ports in Alaska, having the most permits in Glacier Bay, and for having ships that can do a full 360 degree turn at Hubbard Glacier so everyone on the ship has access to great viewing no matter where they are. You can learn all you desire by doing online training, however when you travel first hand, it is a completely different story.
We flew into Seattle the day before our cruise to ensure we made it to the port on time. The Port of Seattle was convenient to get to and was so easy to navigate inside the terminal. Honestly, I could probably say was the smoothest embarkation we have ever had to date. We opted for an ocean-view verandah cabin, which is a must when you are cruising to Alaska. It is all about the scenery right?
Our first official visit was to Juneau, the capitol of Alaska. We had booked a gold panning/salmon bake excursion ahead of time which was wonderful. Afterwards we made a pit stop into the Red Dog Saloon for the infamous Duck Farts shot that became famous on the television show Deadliest Catch before heading back to the ship. Next time we cruise here we will skip all excursions and enjoy walking all around the area. Everywhere the ship docks on this specific itinerary is full of sightseeing things to enjoy without having to book anything in advance.
One of my favorite days sailing was the one we visited the Hubbard Glacier. We had ordered a specialty hot coffee with Baileys and Kahlua the very first day on board that was delivered to our cabin as we were pulling up to the glacier. We enjoyed viewing from our private balcony with our hot coffee before we headed up for viewing on a higher deck. Watching the calving of the glaciers was truly spectacular. Calving is when chunks of ice break off at the terminus, or end, of a glacier.
Our next stop was Sitka, Alaska. Sitka was extremely unique. It was purchased by the USA for 0.02 cents an acre from Russia. Before Juneau was the states capitol, Sitka was the capitol. It is also the area Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock visited in the movie The Proposal, although most of it was not even really filmed here. My favorite spot in Sitka is St. Michael's Cathedral, built in the nineteenth century while Russia was still in control. There was an accidental fire that destroyed the cathedral in 1966 but many original items were saved by generous people and it was rebuilt. Sitka is a very small area rich with history and the people are full of pride
Our last stop in Alaska was in Ketchikan which faces the inside passage.This was one of our favorite stops. After visiting Saxman Totem Pole Park (which was phenomenal) we enjoyed walking around Creek Street. When we take this cruise again we are going to focus more on getting off of the ship and just using our time to wander. It is such a great place to walk around, shop and dine!
Before heading back to Seattle to conclude the cruise, our last stop was Victoria, British Columbia. This stop was such a pleasant surprise. Truth be told we did not expect much from this area. We felt it was just a filler on the way back home but we were so very wrong. We loved the area so much that we want to return and do a land only stay at some point next year.
Victoria, is the capitol of British Columbia and sits on the southern end of Vancouver island. It has the perfect growing climate and is known internationally as the City of Gardens. We enjoyed a food and wine tour with a knowledgeable tour guide from the area who took us to all of the best local spots. After having a delicious crab cake dinner (and trying one of the local wines) we headed over to try the areas most talked about snack, Poutine. Then headed over the enjoy the best ice cream we ever had at a new hot spot for dessert called Perverted! With a stop at the Empress and the marina we barely had time for all there is to do here.
We have not even touched on all there is to do on the actual ship or the amazing customer service the crew provided! But that means you will have to find out for yourself. We have a group cruise available to our Starstuff Travel clients for next summer 2020 for the same exact itinerary on the same exact ship. We loved it so much and can't wait to go back again! If you are interested head over to our event page on Facebook by clicking here.
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