I know everyone’s mind is on Spring Break but you like to travel (like I do!), then now is the time to start thinking about summer travel planning. Thanks to my parents, I caught the travel bug early and I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of it. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my favorite vacation spots and where to stay and what to do while you’re there. FYI, there will be lots of restaurant recs because FOODIE!
When I was a kid, we visited Naples so much that my parents ultimately bought a condo there, that we still own! Naples is super charming, upscale, family-friendly and has gorgeous beaches! Naples is known for the Ritz Carlton and the property is obviously stunning (and right on the beach) but if you want something more affordable, I’d recommend the Inn at Pelican Bay! If you stay at the Inn, be sure to go to the Ritz for a drink. They’ve recently renovated the bar and it is beautiful and has a great vibe!
When you’re ready to take a break from the fun in the sun, head to Old Naples for a day of shopping! There are incredible shops, everything from boutiques to more upscale shopping. Also, make sure you do dinner at Campiello’s and have the lobster ravioli. It is to die for!
New York City
I grew up going to New York City twice a year. My parents loved it and every visit included shopping and seeing a couple of shows! My love of Broadway started early!
We’ve stayed at a ton of different places (remember my high school trip to NYC?) but I really like the Sofitel on 44th between 5th and 6th. The location is great because it’s within walking distance to Time Square but it’s far enough away that you don’t hear the craziness at 3am! Another favorite is the Michelangelo, a boutique hotel on 51st between 6th and 7th. It’s the same story as the Sofitel, close to Times Square but not TOO close. If you want something a little funkier, the Dream Hotel in either Midtown or Downtown is really cool. And if shows aren’t your thing, stay downtown so you’ll be close to all the good shopping in SoHo and The Meatpacking District.
Now, I know you want to know all about the food and you could literally throw a rock and find somewhere great, but I’m about to let you in on my best kept NYC secret … Barrio Chino. It’s a Mexican restaurant on the Lower East Side (Broome and Orchard) that has some of the best Mexican food EVER. I know what you’re thinking. Mexican in NYC? But, yes, trust me. The restaurant only seats about 15 people tops, so go really early or really late. The menu is written in Sharpie on a cardboard box but it is absolutely to die for. All the tequilas in the margaritas are house infused and incredible – I recommend the habanero! And definitely try the chicken enchiladas. SO so yummy!
Napa is one of my favorite cities to visit because it’s beautiful and WINE! I love to stay at The Silverado but I’ve heard the Meritage is wonderful, as well as the Andaz! My favorite wineries are, obviously, Silver Oak (My dad’s favorite!), Alpha and Omega (gorgeous scenery for a tasting), James Cole Estate and Peju! Oh, and be sure to have a meal at Mustards Grill. It’s in a French inspired cottage and they have a roast chicken that I literally dream about!
New Orleans is always a blast for a girls’ trip or couples weekend and there are so many great places to stay and fun things to do.
Let’s start with where to stay! I love Hotel Monteleone, The Roosevelt and the Royal Sonesta! Once you get settled in, head down to Bourbon for a Hand Grenade. After you’ve had one or two (because that’s all you need!), visit the Carousel Bar (it’s inside Hotel Monteleone) for a dirty martini followed by a yummy, yummy meal at Brennan’s, a NOLA staple. The Bananas Foster is a must-have since it was invented there! And make sure you grab a muffuletta at Central Grocery. It’s one of my absolute faves, but beware! The sandwiches are literally the size of your head so do yourself a favor and order the quarter! Also if you’re on Bourbon, go for karaoke at Cat’s Meow and belt out “Sweet Caroline” just for me! And don’t forget to drop into Pat O’s for a Bloody Mary!
JW Marriott in San Antonio Hill Country
The JW Marriott is a gorgeous resort with a rustic feel. If you have kids, go in the summer. If you don’t have kids, don’t go in the summer! LOL! There are a ton of great kid-friendly activities (they have an awesome lazy river) so it’s very popular for the kiddos. But my dad and I visited in April and it was PERFECT. The spa is absolutely incredible, there’s a great sports bar and several wonderful restaurants and since it wasn’t summer, it wasn’t overrun with people! Perfect for a quick getaway!
Now that you know my faves, tell me some of yours! Where are you going and where are you staying? It’s always a good time to expand my travel list!