This category contains 12 posts

The World’s Greatest Pizza Can Be Found in America

The World’s Greatest Pizza Can Be Found in America

If you are a connoisseur of the pizza pie, there’s little doubt that you know the best place to grab a slice no matter which city you’re in. While virtually anyone can make a pizza, it takes a talented individual to make the perfect pie. If you’re looking to mark the next great slice off of your “must-have” list, here are five pizzerias that can’t be missed:

Giordano’s Pizzeria – Chicago

Located in the windiest city in America, Giordano’s has been a neighborhood staple for years. Just in case you don’t live near the original Giordano’s, you can visit one of their other 42 locations in Illinois and Florida. The recipes at Giordano’s are those of the restaurant’s namesake, a beautiful woman from northern Italy. Her dishes were so lauded by the region that her sons opened a pizza shop in her honor when they came to America. Today, residents of Illinois and Florida flock to the pizzeria for a sampling of the best stuffed-crust pie in the nation.

Lou Malnati’s – Chicago

Malnati’s pizzeria is another favorite of the residents of Chicago. In fact, if you browse through Yelp!, you’ll find that diners are almost perfectly divided when it comes to dining at Malnati’s or their next door neighbor, Giordano’s. The creator of this fabulous restaurant got his start in the 1940’s, cooking in one of Chicago’s best pizza shops. It was years later that Lou Malnati and his wife, Jean, opened what would become the most popular pizzeria in a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago. The tradition continues today, with diners often lining the streets for a chance to get belly-up to one of these delicious deep-dish pizzas.

Lombardi’s – New York

It started way back in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi opened a grocery store in Little Italy after emigrating from his home country. Only three miles from Ellis Island, Lombardi’s soon began to sell tomato pies to the Italians who worked their fingers to the bone in the community. Pizzas today are made with the same coal-fired ovens that fed so many immigrants so long ago, and the restaurant is as popular as it ever was.

Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana – New Haven

Your first visit to Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana will definitely not be your last, even after you notice the misshapen pie sitting before you. Instead of being baked in a round pan, Pepe’s pizza are hand-crafted and then baked in a traditional, coal-fired pizza oven made of brick. Stop by this New Haven hangout and try a slice for yourself.

California Pizza Kitchen – Multiple Cities

If you aren’t lucky enough to live near one of these great pizzerias, you can always visit a California Pizza Kitchen. The chain restaurant is often named one of the best by customers and food critics alike. Home to some of the more original pizzas in the nation, California Pizza Kitchen is a favorite for those who want something more unique than pepperoni dotting their pie.

The next time you’re in Chicago, New York or New Haven, you’ve got to stop by one of these pizza joints. If you think you know a great slice of pizza, you’ll be blown away by the cooks at any one of these fabulous eateries. The next time you have a craving for a slice of fabulous pizza, pop by one of these pizzerias; you won’t be disappointed.

Cyndi Ross writes for Delivery.com, a site she recommends for finding the best delivery options in Chicago.

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Top 3 Big-City Parks in the U.S.

A family vacation can be a complex thing – how do you find a destination that has activities that everyone in the family – from tots to teens, and including the parents, too – can enjoy. It’s a cinch that a children’s museum is entertaining for youngsters but boring to the teens, and the concert that the teens are excited about have mom and dad’s eyes rolling.

The answer? A big urban park, with activities for everyone. Three large cities in the U.S. offer just that.

1. Central Park, New York City.

Plunked down in the very middle of Manhattan is a huge park that stretches for 2.5 miles, is a half a mile wide, and covers 840 acres.

There are extensive walking, hiking and biking trails that meander through the woods and along open grassy areas, and plenty of open space for spreading out the family’s picnic blanket.

A 20-acre lake is right there for the entire family to enjoy spending a day boating together.

There are 32 children’s playgrounds, and each one offers something just a little different. The park also contains the Central Zoo, a wildlife sanctuary, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, and bridle paths. In the summer there is a swimming pool (that turns into a winter ice skating rink).

Adults in the family will enjoy  “Shakespeare in the Park,” held during the summer in the open-air Delacorte Theater, and is free. Another free entertainment venue is the Central Park Summerstage. Your teens will enjoy the fact that many top musical performers give awesome concerts there.

2. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

This urban park is over a thousand acres, and is three miles long.

In the middle of the park is stunningly beautiful Stow Lake, with the splashing  Huntington Falls waterfall, and a gazebo designed like a pagoda.  Rent a rowboat or a fun paddle boat, pack a picnic, and head out to the center of the lake for lunch on popular Strawberry Island.

Here also is America’s oldest public playground, the Children’s Playground. It is now officially called Koret Children’s Quarter after a recent $3.8 million renovation that includes many new activities from spinning cups to slides, to a 50-foot climbing tower to ziplines. It even sports a classic carousel, built in 1912, with organ music and ornate animals to ride.

Golden Gate Park is also the only park in the country with its very own bison herd. Get up close and personal with these iconic American animals at Buffalo Paddock.

3. Balboa Park, San Diego.

The largest urban park in the U.S., Balboa Park covers over 1200 acres. The land was put aside for a public park by far-thinking city fathers way back in 1835. It is home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues including the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theater, hiking and biking paths, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

The Model Railroad Museum in the Park will have all ages, including Dad, mesmerized. And there’s a train for the toddlers, too – the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad will take them on a ½ mile ride through several acres of the Park.

Every Sunday during the summer a free concert is presented at the Spreckels Organ. This amazing 1914 pipe organ is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, and has been giving free concerts since 1917. The local U.S. Navy Band also gives free summer concerts on this outdoor stage.

These huge urban parks are a budget-friendly way to enjoy a family vacation where every member of the family can have a good time. And another budget-friendly way to have your family vacation in these three cities is by renting a timeshare, which you can typically get for up to 50% less than the cost of downtown city hotels.

Alice Perkins is a timeshare travel blogger for RedWeek.com,the largest online market place for timeshare rentals, where vacationers can find luxury accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel room.

Georgia State Parks You Don’t Want to Miss

If you’re planning a summer getaway to the mountains of Northeast Georgia, there are a few places that are “must-sees”. Wineries, the shops of Helen, and Babyland General Hospital all fall into that category. But to truly appreciate the splendor of Northeast Georgia you don’t want to miss the state parks. Here’s a quick list of the “must see” state parks to visit on your trip.

1. Unicoi State Park – Settlers knew what they were doing when they set up camp in the area that would become Unicoi State Park. Surrounded by majestic mountain scenery and bountiful wildlife, it’s easy to see why this park is one of the most popular in Georgia. Perfect for hiking, biking, paddling, or just relaxing, the Unicoi State Park is truly a natural gift.

2. Smithgall Woods – An angler’s paradise, this park is considered the place for trout fishing. Fisherman will fully appreciate the quiet solitude, bountiful trout running in Dukes Creek, and spectacular scenery of Smithgall. For an added bonus, this state park limits the number of anglers at one time ensuring the best trout fishing experience possible.

3. Hardman Farm – Located just outside of Helen, Ga. Hardman Farm is a must-see for any and all. The property was originally purchased in the 1870s and converted into a working farm that supplied milk to neighboring Atlanta and Gainesville in the 1920s. Come and explore the two story barn, mansion, 20-plus structures, and the absolutely remarkable white gazebo balanced atop a Native American mound. It will be clear quickly why Hardman Farm is considered one of the most recognizable landmarks in Northeast Georgia.

4. Black Rock Mountain State Park – Sick and tired of the summer heat? Then look no further than Black Rock Mountain. Located a whopping 3,640 feet above sea level, it’s the highest of the peaks in Northeast Georgia which also means cooler temperatures. Get ready for amazing 80 mile vistas, hiking trails, and gnarled oaks. A lesser known state park, Black Rock Mountain is the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

One of the best things about state parks is the conservation. Because it’s protected land you can be sure that you’re getting the best natural experience possible. By limiting the number of anglers at Smithgall and restoring Hardman Farm, state parks offer the best in what Northeast Georgia has to offer. So be sure to take time out of your busy schedule to relax and enjoy nature.

White County Chamber of Commerce is proud to promote local organizations and businesses including our Helen hotels and GA state parks.

Editor’s Blog – Cycles and Seafood in Key West

Back when my husband and I were still dating, he suggested going away.  Not in a ‘let’s-go-on-a-date-to-the-cinema’ kind of way, but in a ‘I-really-like-you-so-I-want-to-show-you-my-favourite-place’ kind of way. I thought he meant a weekend trip to Edinburgh, perhaps a tour of the castle, and a meal in the sort of restaurant that would make his wallet go into cardiac arrest.  So two weeks in Florida came as a surprise.

It was a fly-drive and the itinerary was our own to organise. With such freedom it made sense to see as much of the state as we could, so we crammed over 3,000 miles into that trip, taking in every town and city we could find on our newly-aquired road map; Orlando, Daytona, Clearwater, Sarasota, Miami and Key West to name just a few. But the most adventurous by far, was the short stopover in Key West.

We stayed in the old part of town; all whitewashed colonial style buildings, swaying palm trees and water as far as we could see. It was spring break, and it was manic. Everywhere you looked pretty 18 year old college students in skimpy Roxy bikinis were strolling along palm-lined Duval Street, pretending to sip on full-fat cokes but actually trying to avoid the calories. The conch train, a popular tourist attraction, rolled by on its regular timetable, and the smell of the salt air lured wandering tourists towards the shore. We arrived in the late afternoon, and finally found, and booked into, our guest house.

The Authors Guest House is found on White Street, in the old part of Key West. The traditional part, not the modern urban sprawl that’s taken up much of the north of the island. The old part is built on a grid system, with rectangular blocks leading towards the popular main streets near the southwest of the island. The only break in its strict town planning, is when you reach the cemetery, although in an eerily strange way, it too is uniformly laid out.

The benefit to staying so far away from the main sights is that you’re forced to walk nearly everywhere you go. Travelling by car in Key West (old town) is virtually pointless since there are so few places to park anyway. But walking means you get to see far more of this fantastic connurbation than you otherwise would. The wizened old lady sweeping the paint peelings off her faded wooden porch, the local tour rep scurrying late into work, the teenagers stumbling home after a late night at one of the many beach parties. One of my favourite sights was when we came across the occasional cycle rickshaw ridden by sweating, straining men (and the occasional woman), while their passengers sat back and admired the passing view.

The thing about Key West is that if you don’t venture into the modern, shop-filled, fast-food jointed northern end, it’s actually quite a small place. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. Our short stay here left us wishing we’d booked more time. There were restaurants we hadn’t visited, seafood we hadn’t tried and snorkeling trips we wished we’d gone on. And all that laid back semi-Caribbean feel that the Keys has about them makes it harder to rush to fit everything in. More than 24 hours here and you can’t help but fall into the local pace of life.

The main part of the town, the area tourists naturally migrate towards, is a long wide street overflowing with shops and cafes. Nearly all have a seafaring theme, whether they’re selling surf gear or local trinkets and souvenirs. A street or two down, and the harbour comes into view. By day, fish are brought into market, crates and creels tossed up noisily onto the boardwalk from the decks below. By night, the area is transformed into an outdoor myriad of seafood restaurants all touting that morning’s fresh catch.

Mallory Square provides the location for some perfect after dinner entertainment. From dawn onwards you overlook the busy dock, where imposing cruise ships line up to decant more passengers onto this tiny island than you’d think it could hold. But when evening falls, street artists take up their spot along the boardwalk, eating fire and walking tightropes to delight the heady crowd. I remember watching an incredible mime artist while sipping a pina colada at this very spot, the cool drink keeping my temperature down on what was a sticky, warm night.

If you’ve never been to the Keys, then I have to encourage you to go. These tiny islands that stretch into the ocean like a string of stepping stones to Cuba, have a lot to offer visitors. I have a few special memories of my time there. Little individual moments that will stick in mind for various reasons. My next post explains more…

Why a Holiday in Washington, D.C. Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Washington, D.C. is a great place to visit and spend a couple of days or weeks in. Many political buildings are found in the America’s capital which have appeared in numerous films and television shows. If the budget which a family or solo traveller has who is passing through on their way to neighbouring States is minimal, there are many options to choose from because Washington, D.C. has a considerable number of attractions which cost nothing in order to enjoy.

Seeing Washington, D.C.’s many attractions on a budget

The Lincoln Memorial is open throughout the year. During the summer, Washington, D.C. experiences very high temperatures and there are many months when hardly or no precipitation falls. Seeing this landmark doesn’t cost a penny and it is open throughout the year. Even late at night, the Lincoln Memorial can be experienced. Washington, D.C.  has many museums as well and many of them do not charge admission fees, such as the National Postal Museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Portrait Gallery. Hosting many exhibitions throughout the year, these and many other fascinating museums are thoroughly entertaining.

Alexandria, VA is very popular as well because of its historical significance. First built in 1749, Alexandria was once a thriving port that played an influential role during the American Civil War. Much of Alexandria has been restored and it now has cobbled streets and churches which will enable any photograph to be cherished. As visiting Alexandria doesn’t cost anything at all, exploring this historic part of Washington, D.C. will be both memorable and cost-effective.

Further helping a budget

When staying in Washington, D.C., there are many hotels to choose from. As with hotels which are in capital cities, the amount of money which is charged for staying in a hotel that’s in Washington, D.C. can cost hundreds of dollars for a single night. However, this isn’t the only type of accommodation which is available. Executive Apartments Inc. (http://www.executiveapartmentsusa.com) offer affordable fully furnished corporate apartments that are very popular with travellers. Situated nearby Washington, D.C. (in Arlington, VA) and very close to major transport links, executive apartments are very comfortable because impressive-looking furniture is found in each. Executive apartments have many amenities as well, such as a fully working kitchen and a washing/drying service. When staying in a hotel, extra money has to be paid to clean clothes or request room service but this doesn’t happen when staying in an executive apartment. This is because a meal can be prepared and clothes can be cleaned and dried whenever guests want to.

Washington, D.C. continues to attract people who want to experience this marvellous city for themselves; staying in an executive apartment is the first choice of many travellers. It doesn’t matter what the reason is for staying in Washington, D.C. because there is much to recommend this wonderful city.

About the author: Russell Hill

Get Real, Get Big, Get Real Big With Chicago

A Slight Change of Plans

So you don’t know what to do in Chicago? Your scout troop canceled on you? The business convention got postponed? Your fiancée bolted and the tickets to Chicago were non-refundable? You’re luckier than you could have imagined. Most tour guide articles are either generically applicable to any of the above three situations or written for German men in their 20s with an interest in Klimt and microbrews specifically.

However, because Chicago offers world-class architecture, art, food and accommodations, you can explore more than a bit of a given subject while leaving your evenings free for explorations into the nightlife or restaurants that your daytime companions will undoubtedly recommend. Even more, being so earnestly a Midwestern city means Chicago’s residents actually act as though they have a responsibility to ensure that you have an enjoyable stay. Free tours and other social forays are all available to you with just a wee bit of pre-planning.

An Expert Tour Guide for Free

Due to great city organization, the Chicago Greeter Program means that visitors with at least ten days’ foresight can be paired up with an expert in whatever aspect of the city in which they might be interested: architecture, history, neighborhoods, modern art, public sculpture—as long as it’s not criminal, it’s fair game. This is a wonderful way to receive the gift of a free two to four hour tour based solely on your interests—as general as “city architecture” or as specific as “Frank Lloyd Wright”—and provided by an expert in the field.

If your organizational abilities fail to meet the needs of your interests, the Chicago Greeter program also offers an hour-long weekend “Instagreeter” on a first-come, first-serve basis to provide visitors a general overview of the city. Either of these two options offers you the ability to obtain the information a tourist needs without having to tolerate other tourists and their silly questions.

70 Different Walking Tours

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers over 70 different walking tours, individually priced between $10 and $15 for a two-hour lesson in some aspect of the city famous architectural history, architecture, architects and buildings. These lessons range from downtown to outlying ethnic areas, once “suburbs” to the older city center. Trained docents who are experts in their field guide all the tours offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Two Different River Tours

Both the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Chicago History Museum offer river cruises that focus exclusively on Chicago architecture. The Foundation’s tickets run just under $40 per person and are available through Ticketmaster. The History Museum’s ticket prices depend upon the type of cruise you choose– such as the cocktail cruise—but generally run about $40 per adults and can be accessed through the Museum’s website for a $2 discount. Both cruises last at least 90 minutes and provide a unique educational and entertainment experience.

See Ya!

Chicago is a city of remarkable history and has taken great pains to make this information easily and entertainingly available to visitors. Take advantage of it by paying a visit to the Windy City and pursuing sites and events off the beaten tourist path.

Written By:  Grady Winston

Eat Eclectic in New Orleans

Eating isn’t a casual pastime in New Orleans, and it’s certainly not something we do out of necessity. Food is a ritual, an occasion, a chance to pour wine and savor a taste born of hundreds of years of combined culinary traditions. Creole, Cajun, Southern Coastal, soul–these are the flavors of New Orleans, transcending class and race lines to bring the city together for a meal (or two, or three).  In an ancient part of New Orleans hide our most venerated and accomplished restaurants. They lurk down tiny alleys or behind delicate signs; some have served the same dishes for a hundred years. Why mess with perfection?

Here in the Vieux Carre is the South’s oldest restaurant, Antoine’s, founded in 1840 and still creating the landmark Creole dishes it made famous: Oysters Rockefeller, Pompano Pontchartrain, Eggs Sardou.  Here is forward-thinking Le Meritage, pairing exquisite Southern Coastal dishes like the summer menu’s Foie Gras and Fig Terrine or Pan-Roasted Halibut  alongside wines creatively characterized by flavor profile. Here is Brennan’s, creator of the world-famous flaming Bananas Foster dessert. Or breakfast, if that’s when you prefer it; Brennan’s doesn’t mind.

The French Quarter is home to these institutions and more–the confectioner’s sugar-dusted patio of Cafe Beignet comes to mind (educate yourself: a beignet, pronounced ben-yay, is a hot, crunchy pillow of fried dough, buried in a mountain of powdered sweetness). So does the legendary shrimp remoulade of Tujague’s, the second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans, or the chilled, salty savor of oysters on the half-shell at Acme Oyster House. A buttery brown sugar aroma, carrying hints of sweet Southern pecans, drifts from the doors of the Royal Praline Company, infusing Royal Street with candied air.

Like window-shopping, reading about New Orleans’ storied cuisine is only a fleeting pleasure. Tasting it, though, creates a lifetime of memories. It would be a shame to spend your New Orleans travel budget on inedible things, or those you couldn’t even take home. Hotels in the beautiful, historic Vieux Carre can eat up money faster than a NOLA local can suck down a snowball! Luckily, a comfortable, economical alternative lies just outside the bounds of the Quarter: the Hilton Garden Inn. Next to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and downtown’s eclectic nightlife, the Hilton Garden Inn is known for its contemporary comfort and gracious Southern hospitality.

Your stomach is rumbling, and now you have no excuse. We’ll see you soon in New Orleans.

Guest Post: Written by Lianna Patch

Best Student Beach Destinations in the USA

Used under creative commons licence courtesy of Flickr.com

All semester, long students dream of the perfect summer vacation with no study groups, lectures to attend or papers to write. Regardless of the size of a college student’s financial budget there are plenty of summer vacation destinations to choose from, and once summer is in full swing students are left with a tough decision of where to spend their summer vacation. If it’s sun and sand that you’re are seeking, heading for any one of the white sandy beaches located in some of the best destinations across America for some ‘fun in the sun, sand between the toes and margaritas on the rocks’ is a sure way to get the best study break you deserve.


With over 1000 miles of exquisite coastline, California offers some of the nicest beaches in the States. Northern California offers traveling students a chance to decompress from the previous school year by camping amongst the sand dunes, exploring the redwood forests, or hiking the glorious trails along the Lost Coast. While this area is surreal and pristine, it is the ideal setting for students to enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, and horseback riding. Beaches in Southern California are the perfect destination for the students who want to dance and party the night away during their summer vacation. The air is filled with salt water and suntan lotion; students can find a wide range of nightlife entertainment available, from the diverse bars and nightclubs including pool halls, rooftop lounges, and a vast amount of dance clubs to the local improv comedy shows and rock and roll events.

Used under creative commons licence courtesy of Flickr.com


Parasailing, snorkeling, and jet-skiing are just a few of the thrills available for adventure seeking students vacationing on the beautiful sunny beaches in Florida. Panama City Beach is known to the locals as “Party City” and boasts a 24 hour a day party life, beach bars and a ‘super club’ that hosts 9 different night clubs under one roof. South Beach clubs located on Miami Beach are typically open until 5 a.m., allow students 18 and up into the clubs and let you party like the rich and famous. Daytona Beach is a popular location, where students can relax in the sun during the day and dance until the sun comes back up. Florida is known as the Sunshine State with calm oceans and tropical weather welcoming students to spend their summer vacations on the lively beaches.

Elsewhere in the USA

Other notable summer beach vacation destinations include Myrtle Beach in South Carolina with fun filled water parks, festivals, casino cruises and amusement parks for students to experience; Outer Banks located in beautiful North Carolina is a paradise only dreams are made of, with adventures that include wind surfing, paddle boarding and hang gliding over sand dunes; Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a gem with crystal clear ocean waters for surfers and several historic tourist attractions available for students to be inspired by, including a former Coast Guard watch tower.

So plan your summer beach vacation destination, pack a towel and sunscreen and head off on a vacation memories that will last a lifetime!

Guest Writer: Murray Donaldson. This article was written with the help of research paper writing service

Get Fresh in Las Vegas

Welcome to the middle of the Nevada desert, home to the bright lights and big fun of notorious Las Vegas.  With such a liberal attitude to entertainment the city has earned itself the arguably well-deserved title ‘Sin City’, and it features regularly in Hollywood movies with equally relevant scripts.  But let’s not dwell on the glitz and hype because under the bright lights is a real city, with real people and real places to go.  If you bypass the endless wedding chapels (apologies to all you romantics out there), manoeuvre around the Blackjack tables and wend your way through the sea of slot machines in search of the less obvious side to Vegas, you’ll uncover one of the newest and most exciting restaurants for miles around – and it’s still on the Strip.

Oyster with Tequila - another favorite

Located in Aria, a new hotel complex on Las Vegas Boulevard, Sage is an American diner with a difference.  When Chef Shawn McClain moved from Chicago, he brought with him an ethos which involved using only farm-fresh produce, and seafood with truly sustainable sources.  Now, perhaps these concepts together are a bit of a novelty for the inhabitants of a desert where water would be scarce were it not for the formidable Hoover Dam but, nevertheless, McClain’s philosophy has certainly taken off.

Opening at 5pm and closing at 11pm (but don’t bother going on a Sunday when it doesn’t open at all), Sage boasts a temptingly written menu which excites the appetite as much as the food itself.  With a starter of Maine Lobster Ravioli costing $20, and a New York Strip weighing in at $49, this won’t be the cheapest of the local restaurants, but if you can persuade that part of your conscience which has a firm grasp on your wallet that this farm-fresh food is so good for you that it’s worth every cent, then let go and enjoy the heavenly experience of perfectly cooked, melt-in-the-mouth beef and scrumptiously tasty shellfish.

And just to ensure your niggling conscience doesn’t get the better of you, relax in the chic yet comfortable surroundings and take the edge off with one of their hand-blended cocktails, made with fruit that has received the same VIP treatment as the rest of the produce.  This high-roller menu is competing, elbow to elbow, with the best restaurants in the city, so grab a reservation when you arrive and make plans to savour some of the best food in town.

Written by:  Fiona Galloway, Editor

The Langham Huntingdon, Pasadena, Los Angeles, California

Part of the Langham group of hotels, The Langham Huntingdon and Spa Hotel in Pasadena is an outstanding spa hotel located in the Los Angeles suburbs with superb views over the San Gabriel Mountains.  This hotel epitomises luxury at every turn, with an elegant facade, high-end furnishings and tasteful decor. 

The hotel offers 23 acres of beautiful grounds that house a myriad of treats for its discerning guests.  Floodlit tennis courts, swimming pool, pool bar, golf course and even bicycle hire is packed into an area that is perfectly hidden from the equally well manicured private lawns of the surrounding San Marino locale.

Every room is beautifully furnished and comfortable, and our modest Lanai room was still more opulent than most 5 star hotel rooms I’ve had the pleasure of staying in.  The perfectly white linen, Italian marble bathroom and french doors onto the private balcony made the room delightful, peaceful and secluded.

The Langham Huntingdon is known as a spa hotel, and although I didn’t try any of the treatments while I was there, it’s no surprise that it plays host to visits by the rich and wealthy.  This is a place you can come and relax in tranquility, although you pay a price to do so.

The bar is a wonderful mix of traditional stylings with a contemporary feel, and the doors open onto a boarded outdoor space that is a fabulous place to while away the evening.  Waiters deliver a range of interesting cocktails swiftly and without intrusion, although the extensive beer list is sure to be an enticement for plenty of its visitors.

Our visit to this hotel was a near perfect as any flying visit can get, and the taste of hospitality we enjoyed here was enough to make us wish we’d stayed for considerably longer.  One of my favourite touches was the obligatory car valet service.  At first I felt a little irritated by the mere fact that I was forced to use a service without choice, until I realised that with parking so limited the valets were taking cars right off the grounds and parking some distance away before walking back, so I quickly changed my tune.  What I will say in its defence though, is that I was regularly impressed by the speed of the service and the civility of the valet staff, who even went to the trouble of turning on the air conditoner before bringing the car to us, or placing two complimentary bottles of ice cold water inside on particularly hot afternoons.  Service like that I can definitely live with.

Without doubt The Langham Huntingdon and Spa hotel in Pasadena is one of the finest hotels I have stayed in, and I would be delighted to return there someday.

This hotel receives a great recommendation from the candidtraveller team.

Aspen: What came first, the town or the tree?

Fiona Galloway: Candidtraveller Editor

Travelling in Colorado means finding the time to visit Aspen, a sublime little city in Pitkin County that’s been famous as a ski resort for decades.  It’s a favourite haunt of celebrities, the apres-ski scene is hot and the views are stunning, and that’s all fine, but what happens if you don’t ski?

Outstanding View

My first and only visit (so far) to Colorado was in late September and it saw me stop over in Aspen on a road trip from Denver to Las Vegas.  Choosing to stay here, although slightly off our route, was one of the best decisions my husband and I made on that trip.  It was beautiful.

Arriving in late evening meant driving through Independence Pass while it was dark.  Even though the view was non-existent, you could tell by the sharp drop of the cliff edge that if we’d just planned our trip a little better we would have been staring into a dramatic canyon.  I’ve since seen images of that mountainous range, and they have only served to make me wish I’d been more thorough with my road trip research.  My new mission in life is to go back and drive that rocky, winding pass in daylight.

Aspen is a fabulous little place.  We were visiting out of season, and on a Monday too, when most shops were shut.  Another note to self about planning better in future.  But even though we could walk for blocks and barely see a soul, it was a fantastic experience.  The buildings remind you a little of the wild west, although they’re not made of timber or built on a prairie.  It was more of a colonial feel you got from some of the shops and streets.  And talk about friendly.  The few people we did see were smiling and happy, stopping to pass the time of day, which for me and my usually frenzied life was a fabulous change.

As we walked along one of the shopping streets, which I can imagine would be the focus of retail therapy in the winter season, we were stopped by a man sitting on a deck chair outside his tourist souvenir shop, about the only place open at all, reading a paper.  He chatted pleasantly, didn’t try to entice us inside, and suggested that if we really wanted to make the most of our incredibly short visit to Aspen, we should head up to the Maroon Bells for an hour or two.

The Maroon Bells, as it turns out, is a mountain range located to the west of Aspen, and possibly one of the most photographed set of peaks in the USA.  We drove into the visitor car park and stopped in front of what was possibly the most commanding view we’d seen for a while and one that (almost) made up for that blunder at the Pass.

Rising high about Maroon Lake, the Bells juts through the centre in a rocky, imposing land mass.  Covered in snow, even in the height of summer, it’s an impressive sight.  And covering it’s slopes were thousands, upon thousands of Aspen trees in their vivid yellow autumn colours.  We wandered the trails for a while enjoying the solitude the further away from the visitor car park we got.  It was a feeling of being in a true wilderness.

When we left, finally, after managing to tear ourselves away from the Colorado wilderness, we drove back down Maroon Creek Road and back to town.  We were about halfway down when we saw something moving in the undergrowth.  We stopped our car and watched as a young grey wolf stepped out from the side of the road and trotted in front of us.  It stopped on the verge and looked up, only a couple of feet from our car, but even though I was fumbling for my camera, I missed getting a shot.  Typical.

It seems that the wolves have not been reintroduced to this area for very long, and now that there is a natural predator back in the area, the young Aspen trees, which were previously suffering at the teeth of hungry herbivores, are thriving again, so we feel privileged to have gotten a glimpse of one, and so close as well.

I love Aspen, and it’s become a firm favourite in my list of ‘places I love’.  I’m not determined to go back again, spring or winter, but stay a little longer.  And because I’m a real foodie, I’d love to travel to the city when the Food and Wine Classic comes to town.

Burnsley All Suite Hotel, Denver, USA

I love staying in luxury hotels just because you don’t have to do anything for yourself.  Room service, bed making and cleaning all come as part of the package.  Sometimes a hotel stay just has that little edge over self catering.  But when you can have self catering accommodation that still offers the benefits of a hotel visit, then you’ve got the best of both worlds.  And that’s exactly what you get when you stay at the Burnsley All Suite Hotel in Denver, Colorado.

This hotel is a residence hotel, which means that the individual rooms are designed for longer stays, and although I was only there for three nights, I could have happily stayed for longer.  The bedrooms are spacious and warmly decorated, the living room was comfortable and offered internet connectivity for laptops, and the bathroom was fine. 

luxury hotel denver colorado

The only complaints were that some of the kitchen cupboards were broken, but as we weren’t staying long it didn’t concern us, and the balcony (which every room gets) only had metal chairs without cushions, so sitting outside on a cooler evening or early morning meant your derriere took hours to warm back up again.  The city view was good though. Luxury hotels eat your heart out – we’ve just arrived in the USA and you  need to be good to beat this residence hotel in Denver!

Breakfast is offered in the restaurant downstairs, and the Eggs Benedict are to die for.  Live jazz is played in the evenings in the bar opposite.

All in all a great stay, in a luxury hotel that’s a short walk to Denver city centre and not too pricey either. 

Check out the Burnsley All Suite Hotel by clicking on this link.

candidtraveller gives the Burnsley a huge thumbs up.

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