Incredible hotels | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Hotel, Travel, Unique Getaways, on 25 January 2019, by , 0 Comments

Travel is meant to transport you — to other places, obviously, but also sometimes to other times, other worlds, other possibilities. These four utterly incredible hotels are full of the magic, mystery, and wonder that travel embodies. These are places you might never want to leave!

The Taj Palace Resort, Lake Pichola, Rajasthan, India is for the person who’s ever wondered what it was like to see the world in the Golden Age of travel. This is the place (or palace) to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be royalty. Built in the middle of a lake, this huge marble resort features opulent 1930s rooms with intricately carved archways and rooms draped in sumptuous fabrics. You can dine al fresco with a view of the surrounding mountains and the warm lights of the shoreline, and then hop on a traditional sunset boat ride with your own personal oarsman.

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Rosen Shingle Creek | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Family Travel, Golf, Hotel, Tennis, on 13 October 2017, by , 0 Comments

Recently I had the opportunity to stay at a gorgeous hotel in Orlando, Florida – the Rosen Shingle Creek. To put it mildly, this property is huge and would make for the perfect place to stay should you be visiting a Disney park, Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure, or if you are simply in town for a conference like I was. I enjoyed the Rosen Shingle Creek so much, I felt compelled to share this property spotlight with you. I think you will find it offers everything that one could need and so much more.

The Rooms

Rosen Shingle Creek | Ingenious TravelRooms are available with double queen beds or single king beds, but there are also hospitality suites, executive suites, Grande and Presidential suites as well. The view from at least half of the rooms features the property’s stunning pools and golf course. All guest rooms come with:

  • Complimentary high-speed WIFI and hardwired internet access
  • 40” LED HDTVs
  • Mini fridge
  • Plush robes
  • Hairdryer
  • Coffee and tea maker
  • IHome docking station and radio
  • Caswell-Massey guest room amenities and more.

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Posted in Hotel, Uncategorized, on 30 January 2015, by , 0 Comments

Hotel | Ingenious TravelIn most travelers’ pursuit for a balance between budget and luxury, extensive research on hotel accommodations is usually an indispensable task during the planning stage. This is made easy by a wide-array of online resources such as hotel websites, user reviews, and professional reviews.

Since self-serving proclamations and photo galleries on a hotel’s website are sometimes unreliable, many travelers rely on user and professional reviews. These reviews are usually summarized in 1-5 ratings and if you are not familiar with these rating systems, it can be quite difficult to reach a well-informed decision. So, it is best to first gain a basic understanding of hotel ratings before you choose from among the many hotels available.

First, you have to understand that there is no international standard for hotel ratings. There are countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain and Denmark with laws that define hotel ratings. However, most countries do not have a single standard on hotel rating systems. As a consequence, ratings can vary from one reviewer to the next and because there are no established standards some reviewers just depend on how much they like the hotel experience rather than on more objective grounds such as room features, available amenities, ease of access, customer service and the like. So, when checking out reviews and hotel ratings, determine first if these are based on one particular established standard such as those provided by the government, an esteemed organization of hotels or independent reviewing bodies rather than on mere opinion alone.

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Posted in Hotel, Travel, Uncategorized, on 6 June 2014, by , 0 Comments

Light blue facade of modern new hotelHotels are called just that around the world… especially in the cities. But if you’re looking for a place to sleep in more rural areas of a country, it pays to know some of the other names you should be looking for. It’s just like “B and Bs”… The term “B and B” has become global, but they also have names that they are known by in their home country.

The actual word translates as hotel in many languages, but that doesn’t mean that every establishment that has rooms for rent to tourists will be signposted as such.

In English speaking countries….
If you’re looking for a place to sleep in the United States, you might want to look for a “lodge” or an “inn” or a “motel” or a “motor inn”.

In the United Kingdom, you can look for any of those and add “pubs” to the mix. In both of these English speaking countries and others, the caveat is that inns, lodges, and pubs may only serve food and not have rooms at all.

In France and other French speaking countries….
Hotel is common terminology in France, but to complicate things…. “Hotel de Ville” is the city hall in Paris and many other French cities…. You’re not going to spend the night there… you hope!

There are a variety of terms you might come across in France. Look for “l’hostellerie”, “auberge”, or “residence”. You might also look for big chains like Novotel.

If you want to splurge and stay in high end digs, look for a castle or manor house that may be listed as “Relais & Chateaux” which is the name of a high end chain of castles, and manor houses. You may see individual establishments called just a “Chateau.”

“Logis” are smaller lodging places. And if you see something advertised as a “Mas”, you might be looking at a farmhouse style of accommodations. Just so you are aware, a Mas can be self-catering or have full luxurious amenities.

In Italy and nearby counties….
“Albergo” means hotel in Italian. Also look for “Locanda”. “Pensione” may sound like they would be “B and Bs”; they are actually small albergos that are usually family run. For the high end, you can look for “Palazzos”. For interesting rural experiences, look for “agriturismos.”

 In German speaking countries….
Look for a “gasthof” or “gasthaus”. They may or may not have an accompanying sign that sign “zimmers”.

If you’re looking for a spa resort, you might look for something with “Bad” (bath) in the name. A small local place might be called a “pension”.

In Spain…
You really should find one of their “Paradors” and stay in one. These are historic buildings, monasteries and castles that have been restored and now function as great places for tourists to stay. Other terms you should look for are “residencia” and “pension”.

In Portugal…
As in Spain, look for stays in historic buildings. They are called “Pousadas” in Portugal. There are also small inexpensive local places to stay called “pensoes”.

In some European countries you may see “hotel garni” or just “garni”. These have limited restaurant facilities (usually breakfast only) and other services, but are otherwise like other hotels and are rated by star systems in each country where you encounter them.

Bottom line is if it looks like a hotel… why not stop and ask for a room. If you’re wrong, most people are willing to help lost tourists, and they might just find you a place with a name you’ve never heard of… who cares if it’s called by some other name?

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Posted in Authors, Hotel, Uncategorized, Unique Getaways, What's Up With Maria, on 13 March 2013, by , 0 Comments

Ingenious Travel with Jll ShalvisJoin more than 50 romance authors in Santa Ana this Sunday, March 17, at the Doubletree by Hilton from 1:00 p. m. – 2:30 p. m.

As a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), I’ll be attending the SoCal RWA Writers Conference this weekend. Can you thing of a better way to end the conference than a book signing with so many amazing authors? Meet some of your favorite romance authors and discover new ones! You’ll find books in all genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Historical, Inspirational, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Young Adult and mash-ups that combine several genres in one novel.

Books will be for sale through Barnes and Noble or from the authors themselves. Bring your e-readers, smart phones and tablets and buy your favorite authors’ books online as you talk to them!

Additionally, as part of the book signing, we’re offering opportunity drawings for a Nook and a Kindle. There will be a little work involved like talking to your favorite authors, but isn’t that why you’ll be there? Tell your family; tell your friends and come on down to meet all of these fabulous romance authors.

This is one signing, you won’t want to miss!

Attending Authors:

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Posted in General Travel Information, Hotel, Seattle, Shopping, Theme Vacations, Uncategorized, Unique Getaways, What's Up With Maria, on 4 October 2012, by , 34 Comments

Today we decided to start with the Grey Line Seattle Sightseeing Hop-On-Hop-Off City Tour. These tours are a great way to become familiar with a city by taking a guided tour that supplies you with history and allows flexibility for exploring the sights.

While on the tour, our guide pointed out several notable locations between stops. One of the most noteworthy was the Edgewater Hotel, built on Pier 67. It was originally constructed for the World’s Fair in 1962, but wasn’t completed until five days after the fair ended. It has a unique history nonetheless. The design of this hotel is quite distinctive, as it was built on and in such a way guests could fish from their hotel room windows. Over the years many famous musicians have stayed at this hotel, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin. In fact a famous photograph of the Beatles was taken here as they fished from their hotel room window.

Edgewater Hotel on Pier 67

Our first stop of the day was Pike Place Market. It’s home to over 200 commercial businesses, from bakeries to restaurants and has been in operation now for over 100 years. It’s even home to the original Starbucks, hence the name of their Pikes Place coffee.

Pike Place Market

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Posted in Authors, Girlfriend Getaways, Hotel, New Orleans, Theme Vacations, Uncategorized, Unique Getaways, What's Up With Maria, on 22 August 2012, by , 16 Comments

The Authors After Dark convention in New Orleans was absolutely AMAZING and I am so looking forward to next year’s convention! The Royal Sonesta Hotel, this year’s venue, was the perfect location for the urban fantasy and paranormal con. We were right on Bourbon Street and in the center of all the action.

This was another total fan-girl experience! Not only did I get to reconnect with some of the authors I met at the Romance Writers of America Conference, I was able to meet some of my other favorites! These authors never cease to amaze me, their personalities are priceless!

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Posted in General Travel Information, Hotel, Travel Tips, Uncategorized, on 3 August 2012, by , 22 Comments

After spending last week in two hotels, I’m thinking everyone can use a short refresher on hotel etiquette, some more than others.

The hotel room is not your home When you stay in a hotel room, clean up after yourself. It is not housekeeping’s responsibility to put things away for you. They provide a wonderful service of straightening up your room (making the beds, delivering fresh towels, etc.), not folding your clothes or throwing out your garbage.

Walls are thin Keep your noise level in check. Your schedule may not be the same as your hotel neighbors and that needs to be respected. Being loud when coming in late or leaving early can wake those staying in the rooms next to you.

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Posted in Hotel, Uncategorized, Unique Getaways, on 6 May 2012, by , 8 Comments Casual Camera CollectorLooking for something truly unique for a weekend getaway?  How about spending a weekend in a train car?  No, I’m not talking about taking Amtrak; I’m talking about an actual hotel created out of train cars.

The Northern Rail Hotel, located on 160 wooded acres in Minnesota, offers guests the chance to spend their vacation in suites created from old railway cars. Each car accommodates 1-5 guests, making it perfect for a romantic getaway or a family outing. This small, cozy, and unique hotel has just 18 rooms with Victorian, Safari, Oriental and Northwoods themes.

This hotel offers daily continental breakfasts, summertime bonfires, snow shoe rental, and a lending library of books and games as well as hi-speed Wi-Fi. The Northern Rail is also handicapped accessible. Sorry, they don’t allow pets.

Let Ingenious Travel book you passage in this creatively unique hotel for your next weekend getaway.

What is the most unique hotel you have ever stayed at?

Source image Casual Camera Collector

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Posted in General Travel Information, Holiday, Hotel, Uncategorized, on 31 October 2011, by , 0 Comments

Trick or Treat!  It’s Halloween.  And what could be a better way of celebrating this scary holiday than a night in a haunted hotel?  Whether you are looking for a spooky Bed and Breakfast, a haunted hotel or want to take a tour through a ghost filled castle, there are plenty of places out there for you to choose from.

The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA is considered one of America’s most haunted homes.  Built in 1776, this bed and breakfast has a history that includes murder and has several hauntings associated with it including some that date back to prior to the original construction of the house.  The original owner, General Bradford claimed that he encountered the spirit of a young Indian girl.  The plantation offers a variety of tours and the opportunity to spend the night.

One of the best known haunted hotels is the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico.  Built in 1872 by Henri Lambert, this hotel was witness to over 26 murders during its wilder days.  Some of the bullet holes in the walls have been accredited to Clay Allison and Buffalo Bill Cody.   Jessie James stayed there a number of times, always requesting room 14.   The second floor of this hotel is considered the most haunted of the building and room 18 is kept locked at all times.  It is said to be inhabited by the angry ghost of Thomas James Wright who was killed at his doorstep after a poker game.

The Winchester House in San Jose, California is considered a must do for any die hard haunted house fan.  Built by Sarah Winchester, this amazing house with over 160 rooms covering over 6 acres, was under construction for 38 years based on Sarah’s conviction that as long as construction continued, she was safe from evil spirits that followed her.  It was her conviction that she was haunted by the spirits of people killed by the famous Winchester rifle created by her husband’s family.   This quirky house is full of stairs going nowhere, doors opening to walls, windows looking inward and a host of other interesting architectural details that were all conceived by Sarah Winchester.  Winchester House hosts a Fright Night during September and October on specific dates and the house is transformed into one of San Jose’s most terrifying Halloween experiences.  Included are walk through attractions, intense scares, roaming scare actors and terrifying tales.  Truly a one of a kind experience!

Have you ever seen a ghost?

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