The Mayton Inn recently opened its doors in quaint Cary, currently the second largest town in North Carolina. Owners Colin and Deanna Crossman revealed the boutique hotel in February. Although the building is new, the Crossmans kept the colonial feel in mind when designing the property, fitting perfectly with the Cary Arts Center down the street. The bed and breakfast includes a full hot breakfast from their restaurant, The Verandah, run by Executive Chef Jeff Gompers.
Builders today have various opportunities to incorporate sustainable features into buildings, and the Crossmans took advantage of that. The property houses a 20,000 gallon rainwater cistern, which collects rainwater and is then used for irrigation and outdoor watering.The Mayton Inn guest rooms have fully integrated energy management system, which can sense when the room is occupied and allow the thermostat and power to be shut off (aside from charging when the room is vacant. Guest rooms are also equipped with low-flow bathroom fixtures and LED lights to save energy and water.
Strategically located in the basement of the hotel to avoid noise, Tonic Remedies is the in-house spa. Since they just opened, the spa offerings are limited to massages, but will eventually expand into a variety of services. I recommend the Signature Mayton Remedy, a 70-minute Swedish massage tailored to your tension areas. Add in aromatherapy to personalize your wellness experience.
Each room at this property has a unique touch to it. The decor continues from the lobby and hallways into the guest rooms, completing the southern colonial experience. The king size bed is adorned by heavenly 400-thread count sheets. At most bed and breakfasts (and hotels for that matter), noise from your neighbors is a usual complaint. Rooms at the Mayton Inn have an adjustable sound masking option, allowing white noise to drown out the sounds of the rest of the hotel.
Traveling to Austin and want to “Keep Austin Weird” at a non-traditional hotel chain? Lone Star Court isn’t the typical modern hotel that comes to mind when you think of a luxury property. This hip, retro-inspired hotel can still hold it’s own in this tier. Before you even get to the parking lot, you’ll notice the turquoise Buick Roadmaster with the backdrop of a barn turned restaurant, The Water Trough. It’s the unique combination of retro, modern and Texas Hill Country, and somehow it works perfectly.
Some hotels stay true to the brand, so when traveling from city to city it may seem like you haven’t traveled at all. With Lone Star Court, you immediately receive an Austin welcome. In the lobby, your eyes are first drawn to the Texas flag over the fireplace. Once you get the panoramic view, you’ll notice antler chandeliers, cowhide chairs and vibrant model cars on the mantle.
The property sits on the outskirts of The Domain, an outdoor shopping arena housing all the favorites: Neiman Marcus, Calypso St. Barth, and Tiffany & Co. to name a few. The close proximity to shops also means great food options. The ever-growing Domain space includes Whole Foods, Fleming’s and Capital Grill. Everything is in walking distance so no need to rent a car.
I have one word: glamping. This property gives you a camping feel without the need of a tent or camper, giving the property luxury status. The hotel actually offers a glamping package, complete with room accommodations for two, S’mores amenity for two, upon arrival to enjoy by the campfire and two Chill Cowboy drinks in The Water Trough. Lone Star Court perfectly balances the retro feel of teal Smeg refrigerators with a Texas twist: cowhide chairs and pine armoires.
In the heart of Woodinville Wine Country, amidst the towering Douglas Firs, sits Willows Lodge. This luxury retreat is only 30 minutes away from Seattle, but the drive transports you and makes you feel miles away from a major city. The lodge is centered around sustainability, re-using natural materials for the foundation and decor of the property. While wine is a huge draw to the region, guests can also explore distilleries, breweries and take part in outdoor activities like hiking along the Sammamish River Trail and a bike tour from Woodinville along Lake Washington into Seattle.
At the main entrance when driving in, the landmark you’ll notice is the shell of a large tree, the 1500-year-old “Cedar Snag.” This particular trunk was brought to Willows Lodge as a reminder of what the land was used for before development: logging. As you walk around and explore the rest of the property, you’ll find secret gardens perfect for reflection, including a large herb and edible plant garden and fruit trees used by the two restaurants on-site. If you are in need of more relaxation, the full service spa is sure to do the trick.
Guest rooms at Willows Lodge have the perfect balance of true Northwestern outdoors atmosphere mixed with modern touches. The layout of the guest rooms were intentionally designed to be facing gardens. Enjoy the oversized soaking tub to continue your rejuvenating stay. The beds are outfitted with luxury linens, allowing a peaceful night’s sleep.
Willows Lodge is home to two restaurants: The Barking Frog and The Herbfarm. The Barking Frog, fearlessly led by Executive Chef Bobby Moore for the past 14 years, melds staples of the Pacific Northwest with a French flair. The Grand Marnier Prawns, the legendary dish that Moore once took off the menu but had to bring back because of protests, are crispy, saucy, tangy and most importantly, delicious. The Herbfarm, an internationally distinguished as one of America’s outstanding dining destinations, focuses on 9-course meals paired with five to six wine selections. Be sure to make reservations and arrive 30 minutes early for a pre-meal garden tour.
As the middle-range resort of this property, IBEROSTAR Paraiso Maya is a five-star all-inclusive beachfront resort. While checking in you are greeted by a welcome cocktail and warm, smiling faces. During the day, there’s several pools and a lazy river, or you can migrate to the beach to listen to the waves and catch some rays. Save some energy for the nightlife – dining, shows and a dance club (discoteca).
The resort has over 400 suites, so you have plenty of space to spread out and stay awhile. Each room has a spacious balcony overlooking either the pool or a community garden area. Traveling with your family? Opt for the Family Superior Junior Suite, which has 1 king bed and a guaranteed connecting suite with two double beds, each with a pullout sofa, and private balcony with garden view.
As with many all-inclusive resorts, food is a make-or-break part of the stay. With five a la carte restaurants (including an interactive Japanese hibachi-style restaurant) and a massive buffet with just about every type of food you can imagine, the quality does not disappoint. With all-inclusive resorts, you also have the upside of libations at every corner. Did we mention there’s a circular bar in a large open room as soon as you walk into the lobby?
With the advantage of two other resorts on the same property, it has a community-like feel. With a shopping square (accessible by walking or tram) complete with clothing and jewelry boutiques, a liquor store and Star Wars-themed discoteca, you don’t even need to leave the property to enjoy a well-rounded vacation in Mexico. You’ll also find a variety of wildlife from peacocks to flamingos, and don’t forget about the towel animals!
As Seattle’s only waterfront hotel, the views certainly won’t disappoint. Driving up the the The Edgewater, you’re greeted by warm fireplaces outside and inside. The property has a lodge feel, with natural wood interiors, woodsy furnishings and river-rock fireplaces. The rooms have a similar atmosphere with gas fireplaces serving as heaters, a view of either the city or waterfront, custom bedding with down blankets and a teddy bear and bath amenities complete with a rubber ducky. This property makes you feel right at home. The hotel’s claim to fame: it has hosted many famous names in the music scene from The Beatles to Blondie.
Six Seven, the on site restaurant, has view of Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline, so you can choose between city dining or overlooking the water, all without leaving the hotel. The dynamic menu features seasonally inspired cuisine crafted with only the freshest and finest organic and naturally raised ingredients. Boasting awards like one of Seattle Magazine’s Top Restaurants of 2016 and Food and Wine’s Best Hotel Bars for 3 years in a row, you know you can’t go wrong.
With the lobby practically sitting on the edge of the coast, grab the table by the window for a unique view of the open water – it feels like you’re on a boat. Hop on wifi to transform the lobby into your office. The meeting facilities also have stellar views and the banquet dining is delicious.
The Edgewater is located on Pier 67, so you’re within walking distance of several iconic Seattle attractions, including the Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle and Pike Place Market. The hotel also offers shuttle service within the downtown corridor of Seattle at no additional charge if you want to do more exploring.