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Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Inn at Avila Beach

The Inn at Avila Beach  -  I Dream of Going Back!!

If you are looking for the perfect spot to spend the weekend you want to check this privately owned hotel out.  A perfect day is from the upper deck of the Avilla Inn.   Complimentary breakfast and coffee in the morning and snacks in the later afternoon make this a perfect place to stay. The food and coffee are delicious!  Sip your coffee while overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.  Take in the sights and sounds of beach life and sea life such as dolphin sightings and sea lions.   Avilla staff are warm and friendly and very hospitable.
The Inn at Avila feels like a best-kept secret and I’m sure some would hate to get the secret out of this amazing hotel.

The Inn at Avila Beach
Live Rooftop Camera! See What You are Missing
The rooms vary in differences and decor but the owners have done a great job to make this quaint Hotel feel like you are in a European Beach Villa.    The rooms are spacious and most come with soaking tubs and nice walk in showers.  A  handful of ocean rooms are available with breathtaking views and a large balcony but don’t worry if you don’t get one, the rooftop deck is a perfect alternative.    A few things about the Avila Inn… don’t go expecting the Hilton or the finest of Hyatts, this place is privately owned similar to a bed and breakfast feel..  The grounds are not completely perfect and there might be a little chipped paint on the rails, but it’s charming and cared for.    Spend a fantastic day in Avila and then come back to the hotel for warm pie and cookies before nights end.   Sunset Magazine quotes:

The Inn also provides bikes, beach chairs, beach towels, movies, and games for their guests to enjoy.

The Inn at Avila Beach
Live Rooftop Camera! See What You are Missing

A Weekend In Avila Beach California

Where Peacefulness and Fun Get Together.

Avila Beach is a perfect spot to find sunshine and relaxation.  Located in California's central coast off Highway 1, the beauitful drive to this cozy cove is timeless. The peaceful ocean waters border this quaint town lined with restaurants and shops.  There’s nothing like waking up to the sound of the ocean, taking a walk along the beach, watching the surfers tackle the waves and hopefully catch sights of dolphins and sea lions.   Summer months are definately more busy so if you can get away to Avila in the Spring and Fall you might have better luck finding that peaceful spot on the beach.

For a nice activity take a run, walk, or bike along the Bob Jones trail. This trail winds through the peaceful landscape over bridges which have seasonal babbling brooks (when not in draught).  Mostly flat, this trail is suitable for all conditions and abilities.

The Avila hot springs are a popular stop if you are into mineral soaking and rejuvination.  Camping and cabins, provide various spaces to stay.  Rent bikes and go along the Bob Jones Trail.  The fresh water heated pool with water slides is fun for all ages.   Here's you guide to soaking it up Avila Hot Springs.

The Farmers Market on the Prominade happens Friday Nights from 4pm-8pm April throught September! There's nothing better than local farm produce, wine tastings, various musical performaces and booths lines with the finest of goods with the backdrop of the ocean.  The Avila Farmers market has so much to offer be sure to check out the offical site Avila Farmers Market. 
The Wine tasting and wine exploring was very promintate in Avila beach.  Who deosn't want to look at waves while drinking a gorgeous glass of wine.  The wineries are a fun destination place to ride your bikes, especially moterized bikes, to one of the fantastic Avila Winerys on a nice day.

Becuase of the way Avila Beach faces.. south.. you don't get thos awesome sunsets.  But never fear you can go just south down to Pismo Beach where you can spend the evening on the pier waiting for the sunset.  Walk along the promenade and enjoy the many restaurants and shops.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

New York New York Las Vegas

New York New York -Las Vegas

Our flight is late, we strangely get into the wrong Uber but make it to our Hotel New York New York in Las Vegas.   We are not regulars to the Vegas area so gambling is not our draw obviously and my $20 I bet on slots gets nursed along for about an hour.   But checking into the NYNY hotel we won the jackpot.  It was 11pm our room should have been ready, but it wasn't, which is so weird.  After the host was on the phone for a while he finally attended to us and said "well you have 2 options..you can either wait for 20 minutes for your room, or you can stay in the Penthouse for the evening.  We thought about it for about -10 seconds and both said: "UM Penthouse please"!  It was then I was re-thinking my choice not to spend more than $20 on the slot machines.   So this review will cover two types of rooms the Penthouse suite, which I have no idea how much it goes per night, because it's not anywhere on the internet, and the regular King size room.

The Penthouse:  DANG!!! Who stays like this.. probably people who spend more than $20 at the casino.   Gorgeous and huge it had everything but great instructions on how to use the surround sound system.  We struggled but soon were having a dance party in one of the rooms.   The views were amazing, the bathroom was bigger than my dining room and entry and the bed was super comfortable.  We slept well and sadly had to check out at 11 to a more standard room.  BUT it was fun while it lasted and I'm happy to oblige again.  Thank You Front Desk Man & NYNY LVegas!

King Size Standard Room:    At $95/night not bad.  Hard not to compare our new digs to the wonderland upstairs but suddenly we feel rich again.   Same quality bed honestly, just no Jacuzzi tub living room, marble floors, and wet bar.   Sadly the standard room does not even come with a coffee maker which made it clear why the Starbucks line was around the corner.   Our room back up to the NYNY roller coaster that wraps around the entire hotel.  We were lucky to be by the first drop so as you can imagine there were some screams.  Thankfully they close the rollercoaster at 11pm so it's not a distraction for sleeping.  The Roller Coaster is $15 to ride, which I thought was pretty steep for LV.  Someone once told me that Las Vegas was so reasonable with food and entertainment but we are either really cheap or don't get out much because we found it to be the opposite.

New York New York Las Vegas is right across the bridge from the MGM Grand which takes about 40 minutes for the average walker.. end to end.  My fit bit was congratulating me 7 times over in a day.  Don't worry about eating a donut, you will walk it off just walking from your room to the front desk.    Back at the NYNY ranch, I liked the smaller footprint of this hotel.  The cobblestone streets, anchored by the New York Style building were a nice touch.  A Ton of people enjoyed the dueling pianos at the Irish Pub.  NewYork Style Pizza, Italian, the Hershey Shop, Sushi and MORE!
give you lots of options for dining.   The Casino in the middle is smaller, nothing like some of the other Hotels and mostly machines.  Of course, how can you compare to the Bellagio Tables, that was sure a different experience. 

Overall the New York New York didn't disappoint10 pools.  But hey, I got a chair and it was refreshing. I'd love to check out The Tank at the Golden Nugget!

.  We thought the service was nice (of course we did get the penthouse) and it was easy to navigate.  The pool was just okay.. not a real draw compared to the MGM across the street, or some of the other top

Sunday, March 3, 2019

3 Day Cruise To Mexico - Carnival Style

3 Day Cruise To Ensenada 

If you have never been on a cruise and live on the West Coast of the United States, the 3 or 4 day cruise to Ensenada Mexico is a good one (4 days if you add Catalina Island).  It is short enough that if you find you hate cruising, you are only stuck for a few days.   Carnival uses one of their older more simple lines for these 3 day-ers and I wasn't too excited about the pool or the size of the hot tubs compared to some other ships I have been on.  Lots and Lots of brass and gold everywhere, but more power to them they ship was packed. 

Ensenada, not exactly the most tropical of Mexican cities you can visit, but it has some fun excursions to do for the day.  They have slowly been fixing up their port area and I'd highly suggest you try the churros right off the ship to the left.. hopefully he's still there because they are the best churros in all of Baja I'm sure.   Surprisingly, many of the tourists got off the party boat Carnival ship and went straight to Papa's and Beer which was, unfortunately, blaring the American song "Yeah" by Usher and everyone was going nuts. I don't know, call me silly, but when I'm in a different country I kind of like to hear their music.  We passed the party boat restaurant and the lady in the oversized sombrero.. from the boat.. for a more authentic taqueria that was simply amazing.   Now I feel like I'm in Mexico.

Obviously, one afternoon in a city isn't really enough to get a real grasp of its culture other than a ton of touristy shops trying to sell you fine gold and the latest day of the dead skulls.   A few streets over from the main drag we found another great little Cantina that served really great inexpensive margaritas, chips, and salsa for the win. 

Taxi's-  I was so scared to take a Taxi mainly from other people freaking me out about them.  If you take one of the yellow Taxies in town you are fine.  Unless of course, the guy doesn't know how to drive, but twice now we have had perfect luck and they are always super nice.   Of course on the radio the American Disco Music.. because that must be what we want, and down some paved roads until they weren't paved,  which literally was an intersection of difference.   Our destination was the canopy tours https://lascanadas.com/.  We've only been here off season so the crowds were low but really fun. Other options for afternoon adventures in Ensenada are jeep tours, kayaking, horseback riding, ATV's through wine country (that sounds pretty amazing) and of course bar hopping so you can drink cheap margaritas and listen to Usher.

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Dana at Mission Bay

The Dana at Mission Bay

This hotel is located right near San Diego's Sea World, in fact we got a free firework show thanks to the closing of the day at SW.   The Dana is a beautiful hotel with 2 pool areas and a tropical feel.  The room entry is similar to Motel style where doors are on the outside, which I'm not a huge fan of however inside the room were really nice and spacious.  There are many rooms with balcony's but we had a normal double room with no balcony but a nice corner view of the Marina.

Just steps from the rooms are the pool, gardens and walking path along the arena.  The resort offers a wide variety of events and specials throughout the week.   The pool with bar cabana made for a great feel of summer fun in the tropics.   The Dana is located in a great central location close to everything fun at Mission Bay and Mission Beach, Seaworld and Belmont Park.

Hotel Front Desk: Sorry to say but this was not impressive or a good experience at all.  The front desk person was so rude and unaccommodating.  We were hoping for an extra room and she said there were none left.  I went outside, went on Hotels.com and booked a room.  Came back in and said apparently there was one left as I just booked it on Hotels.com.   She still wouldn't pull up my reservation until an hour later.  I almost complained but thought I'd be passive aggressive and complain on my blog.  LOL no really I just had it was done and just wanted my key.

Public Reviews:   There is a mixed bag of reviews at this hotel.  For the price you pay on high season you'd expect there not to be so many complaints.   While there are a ton of great things about the Hotel, but I'm not sure I'd risk the money to try it again with all the terrible reviews and our Management experience.   I think the best thing for me was the poolside menu as it was reasonable and really delicious.

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