Hotel Review: Overleaf Lodge & Spa, Yachats, OR

For almost a decade, we’ve been spent every Thanksgiving week driving from California to Washington state and back.  We usually do this on I-5, and spend a couple of days getting there, and a day back.  We have pretty much stopped everywhere along the way, so when Mike suggested that we find a place to stop this year, I actually ventured to look beyond I-5.  Behold! Oregon has a long and drivable coast, which we have missed altogether!

It turns out that there are practical reasons to miss the Oregonian coast in November.  It’s cold, rainy and foggy – but the day we spent exploring it left us wanting for a more thorough trip, probably in the summer.

The Overleaf Lodge & Spa is one of a myriad of high-quality hotels that spot the Oregon coast.  It offers amazing views and quality accommodations at a price.  Even the day before Thanksgiving, a night there was around $150.

The hotel itself was both comfortable and nice. The room was simple, but the beds were comfortable, there were plenty of pillows and we slept well.  They had nice toiletries.  Our room was in the first floor, and had a door onto a path to the beach.  The weather wasn’t great when we were there, but the kids enjoyed spending time by the seashore.  It was pretty messy, however!

The hotel has a beautiful lobby, with a small giftshop, a comfy fireplace area and a well appointed breakfast room.  Breakfast had plenty of choices, and focused on whole-grain/natural foods.

When we stayed, guests seemed to be mostly retired people, even though we are in our 40’s, we felt a bit young for the hotel.

Overleaf Lodge & Spa
280 Overleaf Lodge Lane
Yachats, OR 97498
800-338-0507

Hotel Review: Best Western Arcata Inn

Simple and clean accommodations.

Two months after our one-night stay at the Best Western Arcata Inn, I have trouble remembering what the hotel looked like.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  We arrived late on a Tuesday night during Thanksgiving week, and left early the following morning.  What we wanted and needed was a clean, comfortable, hassle-free place to sleep – and that’s what we got.

The beds were comfortable, the pillows, in particular, were great.  The beds didn’t have ugly, unsanitary comforters, which is a big plus for me.  There was basic furniture and a large flat-screen TV.  The bathroom could probably have used more towels, and it was on the small side, but there was good water pressure.

Breakfast was adequate, with a waffle machine, toasters and cereals.  The breakfast area was tiny and crowded, however.

I paid $77 through a TripAdvisor deal.  We stayed mid-week in November, 2014.

Best Western Arcata Inn
4827 Valley W Blv
Arcata, CA 95521
800-568-8520

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Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Express, Vancouver North / Salmon Creek

We usually spend Thanksgivings with Mike’s family in  Vancouver, WA.  Sometimes we stay with his mother, but more often we stay at a hotel.   This year there were 8 kids 12 and under for the holiday, which I’m sure makes the reason self-explanatory.

We’ve stayed in several hotels in the area, and the Holiday Inn Express is definitely one of my favorites.  It’s closer to the house than the ones near downtown Vancouver, it’s clean, comfortable and hassle free.  We stayed for three nights in November, 2014.

The room we got was clean and comfortable. It had two queen beds, a single desk with a chair, and a dresser with a flat-screened TV, a hidden fridge and a microwave. The room was large enough so that our family of four didn’t feel crowded. The bathroom was fairly large, as was the closet. And there was a little area for coffee, out of the way.
At first I thought the mattresses were lumpy and would be uncomfortable, but I slept very well. The mattress wasn’t too soft, but not terribly hard either. The pillows were great.

My two complaints with the room were relatively minor. Our first night, it was impossible to log into the hotel’s internet. I’m not sure if it was down or too crowded, but I couldn’t get a connection until after midnight. It worked well after that, though I had to re-authenticate at least twice a day.

The hotel was also pretty tight with the toiletries. We got a tiny bottle of shampoo and conditioner each day, sufficient for one person with long hair or two with short, but definitely not for a family of 4. Yes, I could have asked for more, but I never remembered to do so until it was too late. We also could have used more towels. On the plus side, the toiletries are from Bath & Body Works and smelled great.

The hotel itself is nicely appointed and functional. It has a large lobby with elegant but serviceable furniture, we used it for breakfast when the dining room was full, and to read the newspaper (available for free) while our room was cleaned.  The breakfast area remains open during the day, so if you need a table and chairs to work, you can go down there. The pool and gym are open 24-7 (you get in with your room key), and my kids enjoyed them. The water in the pool looked murky, but the kids didn’t complain. There is a small business office, but I didn’t use.

Breakfast was very good for a hotel at this price point. It had the usual continental breakfast items: fruit, yogurt, cereal/oatmeal, bagels, bread as well as a few hot items seating under a heat lamp. These were generally turkey sausage patties and biscuits with sausage gravy (didn’t try them). A couple of the days they had omelets (didn’t try them either) and one day they had bacon (very crispy, but not too bad). They have a pancake machine too. The best part, however, were the hot cinnamon rolls.  In the drink department, they had all the usual stuff – except for hot chocolate.

Check in and check out was hassle free. Traveling in November, I appreciated staying in a hotel rather than a motel (we’ve done the Shilo Inn before), as we didn’t have to face the cold to reach the hotel amenities.

I paid $77 a night + tax in November, by buying it through a Priceline express deal.
Two months after our one-night stay at the Best Western Arcata Inn, I have trouble remembering what the hotel looked like. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We arrived late on a Tuesday night during Thanksgiving week, and left early the following morning. What we wanted and needed was a clean, comfortable, hassle-free place to sleep – and that’s what we got.

The beds were comfortable, the pillows, in particular, were great. The beds didn’t have ugly, unsanitary comforters, which is a big plus for me. There was basic furniture and a large flat-screen TV. The bathroom could probably have used more towels, and it was on the small side, but there was good water pressure.

Breakfast was adequate, with a waffle machine, toasters and cereals. The breakfast area was tiny and crowded, however.

I paid $77 through a TripAdvisor deal. We stayed mid-week in November, 2014.

Holiday Inn Express Vancouver North – Salmon Creek
13101 NE 27th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98686
(360) 576-1040
http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/vancouver/vanwa/hoteldetail

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Golden Nugget – Las Vegas – Hotel Review

Golden-Nugget-Las-VegasMy first introduction to Las Vegas came through a TV show that I watched as a kid in Argentina called Vega$.  Dan Tanna, a private detective played by the very good looking Robert Urich, went around the Las Vegas casinos solving crimes and helping get people out of trouble.  The show had plenty of scenes involving show girls, cocktail waitresses and gambling rooms, and that’s what I think of when I think of Las Vegas.  Staying at the Golden Nugget brought a little of that back, though the hotel has been modernized significantly.

Our real reason for staying, though, was that my youngest daughter, Camila, wanted to go to its pool.  The Golden Nugget has a very cool pool. It has a large, tall aquarium in the middle, which is full of pretty fish and sharks.  A 3-story high slide circles around the aquarium, depositing you in the pool.  The pool itself is pretty small, but I liked the in-water lounge chairs.  As things turned out, neither my husband nor Camila were particularly impressed with the pool.  The line to go up the slide was very long, which meant they only could go once, and the trip down is too fast to see anything.  My 12-year-old, however, really liked swimming around the aquarium, and said that changing hotels for a night was worth it for that opportunity.  The pool, by the way, is open until 8 PM in summer, though only until 5 PM in other seasons.

We stayed in the Rush Tower.  Our room was large and very nicely appointed with stylish furniture. There was plenty of storage space, though not as many easily accessible outlets as I wished.  I particularly liked the modular sofa/lounge chair in the room.  My oldest daughter was able to sleep there for the night, though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone tall.  The room doesn’t have a fridge, though apparently you can rent one. It has a TV but with few cable channels and no children channels.

The room was fairly, but not completely, clean and ready.  There was no toilet paper in the bathroom (though some was brought up immediately after we asked for it) and a dirty towel had been left in the bathtub.  What would have been of larger concern, had we stayed more than one night, was the “view”.  Our room was in the fifth floor and faced the roof of a building.  There were too flood lights on these roof which were turned on at night, fortunately the curtains were heavy enough to not let any of the light come through.  However, even with the curtains open, the room was very dark.  We had to turn on the light to be able to see around, even during the day.  I’d recommend that if you stay here, you ask for a room on a higher floor, and on the other side of the building (an even number room).

The king size bed was quite comfortable, as were the pillows.  All in all we all slept quite well.

What I didn’t like about the Golden Nugget is how they nicked-and-dime you.  Internet was $13 extra a day; the room had a coffeemaker, but if you wanted coffee you had to pay $10 for it.

Mike and I did a little bit of gambling at the hotel’s casino, and I found it enjoyable enough, even though I lost.  It’s a smoking casino – as are most – but the smell wasn’t too bad.  It probably took 1/2 hour before a cocktail waitress approached me, but she was very nice and efficient when she did.  I had to wait less later when we were playing roulette.

We had dinner at Grotto, one of the more affordable (and yet, still expensive) choices at the Golden Nugget.

I don’t know that I’d stay at the Golden Nugget again, mostly because I prefer the strip, but it’s a definitely a good choice if you want to stay downtown.  It does feel much more intimate and comfortable than the hotels in the strip – but perhaps I perceived it like that because by the end of our four days in Vegas, I was tired.

Golden Nugget Hotel
129 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 386-8221
http://www.goldennugget.com/lasvegas/

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