Tag Archives: family-friendly

Four Things for the Perfect Hotel Stay According to My 4-Year-Old

Hotels as told by Audrey. // (c) Janeen Christoff 2013
Hotels as told by Audrey. // (c) Janeen Christoff 2013

What makes a hotel perfect in the eyes of a child? Four things, according to my 4-year-old daughter. I asked her to enlighten me so that I could choose a hotel that would meet her high standards for our trip to Boston. Here is what she said:

1: A Jumpy Bed. She prefers her hotel bed to be springy and large – perfect for jumping on and flopping about. The Westin Heavenly Bed seems to be a winner in this respect.

2. Food Delivery. By this, she means room service and nowhere did my daughters’ eyes light up more than at the Four Seasons Vancouver where the macaroni and cheese was a highlight of the menu.

3. A Giant Pool. Since she is 4, I am giving her some leeway on this, since pretty much every pool is giant to her. For Boston in the fall, this will be a challenge, I think…maybe somewhere has an indoor pool?

4. A Bathtub. For the simple fact that she hates the quick shower and had to take one at the last hotel that we stayed at, she told me that hotels should all have bathtubs. I couldn’t agree more.

Making Black Bean Tamales

One of my favorite activities on my recent trip to Veracruz, Mexico, was learning to make and wrap black bean tamales. Our experience, orchestrated by tour operator Yambigapan, started at a local farm where we picked the banana leaves that would wrap our tamales for cooking.

We chose the leaves we wanted to wrap our tamales in. // (c) Janeen Christoff
We chose the leaves we wanted to wrap our tamales in. // (c) Janeen Christoff

After a light hike nearby, we headed to Yambigapan’s rural home-stay facility, located on a bluff over looking a small valley.

We hiked through an abandoned textile factory and along a river. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
We hiked through an abandoned textile factory and along a river. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

From the home, you can walk to the Laguna Encantada for boat rides or hike to a variety of destinations including the Volcan San Martin. Our group was their to experience local culinary traditions – specifically tamale-making.

Tamales are made in a traditional kitchen. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Tamales are made in a traditional kitchen. // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

We started by chopping chepil, a Mexican herb that is somewhat similar to coriander.

Chepil // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Chepil // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

Then we kneeded the masa (tamale dough). You are gonna need a lot of muscle for this.

Kneeding the masa // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Kneeding the masa // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

Then came the hard part, folding the tamales in the leaves. It’s actually not that hard. You just plop a blob of masa onto the leaf and then fold the tamale like an American flag.

Tamale folding demonstration // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Tamale folding demonstration // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

Pop ‘em in the oven for a while, launch some globos (paper lanterns, which we also learned how to make), listen to some jarocho son music and voila, you have dinner.

The finished product: yummy black bean tamales // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
The finished product: yummy black bean tamales // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

http://www.yambigapan.com

Pets Get Their Own Hotel at the Grand Canyon

Traveling with pets is easy at the Grand Canyon // Creative Commons
Traveling with pets is easy at the Grand Canyon // Perry McKenna Creative Commons

Furry friends rejoice, the Grand Canyon’s pet resort means that you can lap up luxury while your humans soak up the scenery.

Nearly everyone who boards the Grand Canyon Railroad (GCR) in Williams, located next to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, arrives by car and many travel with their family dog or cat in tow. While pet parents enjoy a trip into the canyon or an extended stay at the hotel, pets can stay at the GCR Pet Resort, which boasts an entire residential wing for pets: 28 spacious rooms for dogs and 16 condos for felines. Served by a caring and attentive staff, The GCR Pet Resort is a modern retreat for pet parents who want to experience the iconic Route 66 in the town of Williams, a historic train ride and take in the splendor of the Grand Canyon without leaving their four-legged family members at home or in a kennel far away.

The pet resort is located adjacent to the GCR Railway, Hotel and RV Park. Daily rates begin at $16 for cats and $23 for dogs, with the option of adding a second cat or dog to the same kennel for just $12 and $16 respectively. Extended stays of seven nights or more are available for a weekly rate of $98 for cats and $140 for dogs. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their pet’s favorite foods, beds and toys. All animals must have paperwork to provide proof of current shots.

www.thetrain.com

La Quinta Offers Summer Savings on Weekend Getaways

Swimming at one of La Quinta's 41 pools // (c) 2013 La Quinta
Swimming at one of La Quinta’s 41 pools // (c) 2013 La Quinta

I know that it’s hot, and heading to the desert may not be at the top of the list, but there’s still nothing like a weekend by the pool – 41 pools to be exact — and a late Sunday checkout.

Following the introduction of its popular new 5 p.m. Sunday checkout, La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West has introduced another added benefit for summer weekend travelers.

Between now and Aug. 25, the Palm Springs-area resort is offering Friday and Saturday night rates starting at $129 for casita accommodations and $149 for poolside casita locations. The preferred rates are available for all weekends prior to Labor Day and present summer guests with the opportunity to experience the property’s 41 legendary swimming pools.

The pools are located just steps from most accommodations and have become a key day and evening destination for vacation travelers. In addition to the lively Main Pool and adult-themed Plunge Pool, La Quinta Resort & Club features swimming pools named in honor of the historic greats of Hollywood, many of whom visited the property in its first years. Today’s stars of music, sports and entertainment stars continue to flock to La Quinta Resort, and its swimming pool offering has become an especially coveted guest experience during the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

The new $129 and $149 summer weekend rates at La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST complement summer weekday rates starting at $99 per night. The resort has also created a special Beat the Traffic package providing 50 percent savings on Thursday or Sunday reservations for guests booking a two-night Friday/Saturday summer stay. All seasonal guests have access to the property’s Hot As Heaven summer offering of day-long Happy Hours, pool parties, dive-in movies, swimming lessons, Kids’ Kamps, kitchen tours, golf and spa specials, nightly child care and more.

www.laquintaresort.com

Free Disneyland Tickets at Hotel Menage

Hotel Menage is offering free Disneyland tickets
K Hotels' Hotel Menage is offering free Disneyland tickets // (c) 2011 K Hotels

K Hotels’ Hotel Menage, a boutique hotel in Anaheim, is including free Disneyland park-hopper tickets as well as two free nights at the hotel for guests who book a two-night stay. The property, located near the Disneyland Resort inAnaheim, is a good fit for families. Its 244 rooms offer plenty of space. Parents can choose from a king bed with a pullout queen sofa, a queen and king room, a double queen room or select from several themed suites.

The resort also features a 24-hour tropical pool from which the Disneyland fireworks display can be viewed as well as Build Your Own Burger (BYOB), which features more than 60 accoutrements for hamburgers. Several other family-friendly dining options are available and, for adults, there are a variety of bars perfect for a post-theme park beverage. (www.k-hotels.com)