Where to Stay in Maui: Westin Ka’anapali

Way back in February of 2016, when I was still collecting a paycheck and reporting to a cubicle, I received an offer from the Westin Vacation Club that seemed too good to be true. 5 nights in a vacation villa at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort, a $75 resort credit and a 6-day rental car credit – all for $798. I immediately called a travel-savvy friend to double check that it wasn’t a scam, and then reserved my spot! After a 2008 trip to Oahu, I’ve always wanted to explore other Hawaiian islands. As I started planning my trip, I didn’t have to worry about where to stay in Maui!

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Villas at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort

The basic package was a studio suite, which was perfect for me as a solo traveler. Of course, I would have loved an ocean view wraparound balcony, but you pay extra for those! So I settled for the island view and a juliette balcony. The room was pretty standard for a Westin property – Heavenly Bed and White Tea toiletries, with the added convenience of a kitchen and laundry.

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

I stopped at Wal-Mart on my way into town and stocked up on breakfast supplies, only to find out that the hotel gives you breakfast buffet credits for each day that you decline housekeeping service. I usually don’t use housekeeping anyways for stays of less than a week, so this was a nice bonus!

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

You don’t have to buy into the ownership program, or receive this special preview offer to stay at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. You can reserve a villa through SPG.com. I’m told it’s pretty random how they select who receives the offer, but being a Starwood Points member is most likely how I got on their mailing list. Shockingly, the offer I received did not even require a vacation ownership presentation. However, for an additional $100 resort credit, I did take a tour and review the program with a sales representative. It’s an interesting program, and something I would definitely consider in the future. You know, once I’m working again and have a primary home established, lol!

Amenities at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort

Beach at Westin Ka'anapal Ocean Resort Villas

While the beach here is not the best for lounging (narrow and steep) the pools here more than make up for it! In total, there are six outdoor pools, including two children’s pools and one for adults only. Gazebos and umbrellas are available for an additional fee, as well as water-sports rentals or beach loungers.

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Spa Helani is a great place to use your resort credit for a relaxing day at the spa. With your spa treatment (I enjoyed a massage) you will also have access to the relaxation areas (indoor and outdoor) for the rest of the day.

Hanali SpaWestin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Another great amenity at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort is the complimentary shuttle bus that will take you to Whaler’s Village, Lahaina, or any of the other Starwood properties in Ka’anapali. Even though I had a rental car, it was just so much easier to hop on the shuttle and not worry about parking or gas for the whole week. There are two shuttle routes, and the schedules are posted clearly at the shuttle stop. They run about every 20 minutes. Super convenient for going out to dinner, or heading to a luau for the evening!

Restaurants at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort

Westin KOR has 3 on-site restaurants to choose from, where you can dine in convenience by charging everything to your room. There is also a convenience store in each tower with some grocery and snack items, although if you plan on cooking, you will save a lot of money by grocery shopping before you arrive at the resort! (There are gas grills available for guest use, too!)

French Toast at Sheraton Maui

  • Auntie’s Kitchen – I enjoyed several meals at Auntie’s kitchen, including the breakfast buffet served daily. There is one night each week designated as Crab Fest, when you’ll need a reservation and the full menu is not available. Check the schedule so you’re not caught off guard and hangry like I was!
  • Pulehu Italian Grill – this is an award-winning fine dining experience in the North resort. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesday, open only for dinner hours.
  • Pailolo Bar & Grill – food-truck style sports bar near the north pool

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Activities at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort

Upon check-in you’ll receive an extensive list of ongoing activities for the week. This is also posted throughout the resort. You will find craft fairs, BINGO, fitness classes, craft classes and local tours. Some activities require a reservation, so you may want to spend a few minutes after you get settled to decide what you’d like to participate in during your visit.

Have you visited Maui? What resort do you recommend?

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Hotel Review: Basecamp Tahoe South

In all my years of travel, I have never made it to Lake Tahoe until now! So, when I planned my career break road trip, I knew Tahoe had to be on the route.

When planning your Tahoe visit, you first have to choose between North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. (How to choose?) Both areas have plenty of dog-friendly lodging options. Ultimately, I chose Tahoe South’s Basecamp Hotel for a change of pace from the long line of chain hotels I’ve been staying in.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Basecamp Hotels

Technically, Basecamp is a chain hotel…of 3. They have locations at Tahoe South, Tahoe City and Boulder, Colorado! Their mission is “to take under-appreciated buildings in great destinations and infuse them with soul to give an alternative option on the hotel landscape.” What does that mean? Vintage, travel-lodge style motels refreshed with a funky, hipster vibe. Very similar to the Trumbull & Porter Hotel where I stayed in Detroit.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Tahoe South Basecamp Location

The Tahoe South Basecamp is in a great location on State Line Road (albeit on the higher taxed California side!) and within walking distance to both Lake Tahoe itself and Lake Tahoe Blvd with shopping, dining and casinos. Most importantly for your ski trips, the Heavenly gondola is just a short stroll away.

Basecamp Tahoe South

While waiting for our room to be ready, Bailey and I walked over to the lake, but the beach there does not allow dogs, so plan accordingly. To find the dog-friendly Tahoe beaches, we ended up driving a bit. In any case, it was a nice walk around the neighborhood and a glimpse into glamour of Tahoe’s past. (The neighborhood is an interesting mix with several older motels that have not yet been renovated)

Tahoe South Basecamp Amenities

The unique details of the Basecamp hotel are evident the minute you walk into the lobby. The hotel has a heavy emphasis on shared space, with a great courtyard/beer garden and common areas in the breakfast area and the lobby.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Even the jacket for the room key was so thoughtful and detailed – an 8-fold pocket-sized brochure that includes a map, restaurant recommendations, tips for the best photo spots, hike and bike trails and a small animal & plant identification guide. So much info stuffed into a little packet!

The hotel includes a basic continental breakfast (bagels, waffle machine, juice and oatmeal) that is served in the “barn” where you can also purchase coffee and food throughout the day. At night, there are cocktails and live music to enjoy in the courtyard.

Basecamp Tahoe South

The courtyard features an Airstream (conference room), fire pits, sand volleyball and ping pong tables.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Tahoe South Basecamp Rooms

Much like the common areas, the rooms at Tahoe South Basecamp are decorated with  minimalist, hip decor. I loved the bedding and the tapestry/map hanging behind the bed. The bathroom was new and modern, and there was a small fridge and microwave in the room.

I had a “Pet Friendly Indie King” room. For families or groups, there are lots of room configurations including some rooms with bunk beds! Weekend rates range from $159 to $199, but appear to jump significantly during ski season and holidays.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Wifi – my biggest issue here is the unreliable wifi. If, like most people, you’re coming to Tahoe to ski or hike, and just plan to check social media, you’ll probably be fine. If you’re a travel blogger and plan to get any work done, expect to be frustrated. Internet is fast at times, nonexistent at others.
  • Recycling Options – this has been the biggest challenge for me while traveling full-time, so it’s not exclusive to Basecamp, but what happened to hotels including a recycling bin in your room? Offer your guests a way to feel like they’re being environmentally responsible.
  • Kick housekeeping up a notch – there were several little things that indicated the room hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned. Dusty nightstands, food bits on the counter, water left in the tea kettle, etc. The room wasn’t dirty by any means, but a little more attention to detail will go a long way.

Have you ever stayed in a refurbished vintage motel? Tell me where in the comments!

Looking for dog-friendly fun in the Bay Area? Check out this pet-friendly glamping in Petaluma!

Need a dog-friendly hotel in South Lake Tahoe? Check out @basecamphotels #welltraveleddog Click To Tweet

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I received a media rate in exchange for my review of the Basecamp Hotel. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

Mövenpick Zürich-Regensdorf Hotel

I spent my last night in Switzerland at the Mövenpick Hotel Zürich Regensdorf. Regensdorf is a suburb of Zurich, so it’s not in the heart of downtown, but the public transportation is really thorough in Switzerland, and the hotel is less than 6km from both the airport and Zürich’s city center. I’ll be honest, this was my 14th hotel in 16 days, so I didn’t leave and explore Zürich at all. Sorry, not sorry! This is why I shouldn’t stay in nice hotels – I become a caterpillar in a cocoon and I don’t want to leave! So, sightseeing in Zürich will have to wait for another visit! (I know, I’m the worst traveler ever!)

Mövenpick Hotels

When I landed in Switzerland, I saw the Mövenpick name everywhere. On ice cream cartons. I assumed I was confused about my hotel name and decided I’d figure it out later. But actually, Mövenpick is first and foremost a food brand, dating back to the original Mövenpick restaurant started in 1948 in Zürich.

Passionately Swiss is the tagline for Mövenpick hotels. With over 80 hotels around the world, Mövenpick has mastered the art of Swiss hospitality on a grand scale.

Mövenpick Hotel Guest Rooms

My room was very comfortable and just what I needed after a hectic day of travel. I loved all the quaint guesthouses I stayed in throughout my visit, but sometimes you want the consistent quality and service of a hotel chain. Being my first Mövenpick experience, I had no idea what to expect, but was so relieved to open the door to this oasis. (So relieved I kicked off my shoes before snapping any photos, oops!)

For an additional 15CHF, Mövenpick offers “Sleep Individually Different” rooms. In addition to an adjustable firmness mattress, these rooms include sleeping masks, ear plugs, lavender pads and blackout stickers for electronic devices. A pillow menu is also available to guests, with 7 options ranging from a neck roll to a horse hair flat pillow.

A media hub in the room allows you to connect your electronics to the room’s audio system, or the television.

And eco-friendly bath products were a nice touch!

Mövenpick Hotel Restaurants

I enjoyed a leisurely Italian dinner at the Trattoria Ciao restaurant in the hotel. My dinner took a bit longer than expected, and the waiter kindly brought me a plate of antipasti to enjoy while i waited. Finally used to Switzerland dining prices, I was surprised at the reasonable prices of the wine list. (My glass of Pinot Grigio was under 6 CHF) My pesto & shrimp pasta dish was delicious, and I topped it off with a scoop of Mövenpick ice cream; coconut, of course!

Dinner at Ciao - Mövenpick Hotel - Zürich Regensdorf

The breakfast buffet (included in the room charge) had many options and was my first hot breakfast since landing in Swizterland! After 15 days of granola, croissants and cold cuts, a hot egg dish was just what I wanted! (Of course, I still had a croissant, too!)

The hotel also has the Mövenpick Hotel restaurant, Swing Swing Lounge and room service for various dining options.

Mövenpick Hotel Amenities

As a business hotel, you will find all of the expected amenities such as free wireless, a business center and an airport shuttle, which is always a plus in my book.

The hotel adjoins the Migros-Fitnesspark, which is available to hotel guests for an additional 25CHF fee. I did leave my room briefly to go for a swim, and enjoyed the outdoor sun deck adjoining the indoor/outdoor pool. I made a mental note of the swim aerobics schedule, but promptly forgot all about it until it was too late! (Mental notes don’t do me any good, ever. I carry Post-It notes everywhere. Except the pool.)

Mövenpick Hotel Location

The hotel is located about 10 minutes walk from the Regensdorf-Watt railway station, which is served by the S6 line to Zurich or Baden, running every 30 minutes. I had a bit of frustration at the train station, as I was told there would be signs directing me to the hotel. There are several exits at the station, so I was really turned around and frankly, just tired from all of the travel I’d been doing. I eventually found a ticket office and asked for directions, which turned out to be super simple. I was later told at the hotel that the sign in the station had been removed. So, save yourself the frustation and just ask for help!

I am so glad I got to experience a Mövenpick hotel on this trip. It’s definitely a brand I will look for again on future international travels. At around 200 CHF, this hotel is a great value and won’t break the bank as many Swiss hotels might!

Have you stayed at aMövenpick hotel? Where?

@MovenpickHotels is a great choice for a visit to Zurich-Regensdorf Click To Tweet

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Movenpick Zurich Regensdorf

I was a guest of Mövenpick Hotel Zürich Regensdorf. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.