How do you discover Unique Ohio?

It has been a while and the world looks even more different than it did a couple months ago. Being cooped up all spring and the better part of the summer is making many eager to get out of the house. Others though are a bit travel shy, and that is okay. Meet somewhere in the middle. Ohio’s Unique Lodging properties are only a short drive away and I know exactly where you can find them – www.uniquelodgingofohio.com

Discover Unique Ohio…

By Region

Search by any of Ohio’s 8 major regions – Amish Country, Central, Hocking Hills, Lake Erie & Geneva-on-the-Lake, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest – to find the atmosphere and unique lodging that you desire.

 

 

 

 

 

By Unique Accommodations

You will be sure to find lodging that satisfies everyone’s comfort level and needs with a variety of property types. With inns, cabins, tree houses, B&Bs, and more you will be sure not to disappoint!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Shared Experiences

Hear directly from the communities across the state of Ohio with our local blog posts. Learn about the latest news, upcoming events, must-visit destinations, and vacation suggestions for that region.

 

 

 

 

 

By Special Promotions

Ohio is an ideal destination for exploring historic sites, spending time in the scenic outdoors and sipping local wine (who knew?) while you soak up the beauty of the valley. Right now there are getaways available of up to 35% off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Local Events

Discover new, exclusive, and socially distant experiences happening all around the state. You may be surprised what you find..

 

 

 

 

 

No matter how you search Unique Ohio one thing is for sure: there is something for everyone.

Graduate Hotels: What’s Their School of Thought?

Another year, another new brand emerging in the state of Ohio with two locations in the works. I introduce you to the Graduate Hotel brand coming very soon to Columbus and Cincinnati.

What is a Graduate Hotel? These properties are popping up across the United States in energetic & lively university cities where the hotels themselves pay homage to the local university through design and aesthetic.

“To be a Graduate is to be part of a well-curated, well-crafted collection of hotels that reside in the most dynamic university towns across the country. Every site and property celebrates and commemorates the youthful optimism of school days and cultivates the spirit of each community in a bright new way.”

Columbus’ location is a new build in the bustling Short North Arts District just south of The Ohio State University with an eagerly anticipated opening date set for this October (just in time for the peak of football season!). Opening Winter 2020, the Cincinnati location will be at the University of Cincinnati after the Kingsgate Hotel & Conference Center undergoes a full conversion.

What we can see so far is that the Columbus property will be adorned with Scarlet & Gray plaid and gold accents throughout. As an alum, my inner Buckeye, CANNOT WAIT to see the finished product and I am sure all of my Bearcat friends are equally as excited.

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

OHLA Staff Picks for Spring Break

Hello InnLovers –

It’s that time of year again, we are just coming out of the deep freeze that is winter for the Ohio region, college classes halt for a week, and everyone wants to cross state lines…You guessed it – we are talking about SPRING BREAK!

We are doing something a little different for this blog post. You are going to hear a little from each of us at the OHLA office about our favorite places to travel for the infamous week-long vacation. We have got a little bit of everything for you. Some like the beach, some like the sights, some go for the food, but we can all agree it is just nice to get away from the everyday. (Don’t get us wrong, we love Ohio, but…)

Here it is, without further ado – the places you need to see on spring break, according to the OHLA staff:

Lauren’s Pick – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

“Cabo San Lucas is one of those places that the photos just don’t do it justice. Once you break through the neighborhoods, you are exposed to the desert terrain of sand and cacti and as the car twists through the hills you get to a point where you see the crystal blue water peek through a valley… and just like that, you sink into the beauty of Cabo. I’ve been to various parts of Mexico (Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, etc.) and each of these cities are covered with lush green plants, bright flowers and trees. Cabo is unique in comparison and is simply stunning.

We stayed at the stunning Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. The level of service is unmatched. During our visit we went on a catamaran to the famous Stone Arch at Land’s End (highly recommend!), snorkeled and explored the fabulous & restaurants that are offered.”

Michele’s Pick – Washington, DC (Metro Area)

“During spring break season DC does not offer the swimming weather that the southern half of our country does, but it does offer history, sites that will take your breath away, and food that will keep you coming back.

One of my favorite sights in the area has to be Iwo Jima Memorial. There is just something about the feeling of reverence and awe that the memorial inspires, especially when you see it lit up at night. If you are the area during the summer months I would also recommend the U.S Marine’s Sunset Parade which usually happens in the shadows of the memorial Tuesday evenings June-August. The parade is comprised of musical performances of the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon. It really is something to see.

If historical sites are not your thing, consider seeing the Washington Nationals play south of the city adjacent to the Navy Yard. This venue is huge with many places to eat. If the game does not interest you the food definitely will. My personal go to for food at Nats Park is the one and only Shake Shack (who needs a hot dog when you can get a burger and milkshake, am I right?). A few other enjoyable sites if you have the time to see them are the National Zoo, National Mall, and the Smithsonian.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the city, DC gives you many opportunities to “stop and smell the flowers,” especially if the cherry blossoms are in bloom!”

Cindy’s Pick – Boulder, CO

“Recently, I visited Boulder, Colorado to visit Erin, my daughter and Brad, her husband! I love visiting Boulder, it’s small enough to walk lots of places in town. I’ve been there for most seasons, winter was a favorite, as I like the snow. We drove up to the mountains and went dog sled riding. Hiking is a must all round Boulder, the scenery is so different from Ohio.

There’s great dining in Boulder on and near the Pearl Street Mall. A couple favorites are Mountain Sun, small craft brewer; Illegal Pete’s Pearl St. Mall, a great Mexican place, and a very unique Nepalese restaurant. Not to mention, Lucille’s is a must for a delicious breakfast. If you are in the area, you have to go once to the Celestial Seasonings Tea Company –  tour the peppermint room! There are many fun casual places to eat in Boulder, but the best is roof top dining with a view of the Flatirons.

A treat this past summer was getting out of town and seeing a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Lady Antebellum. Such a beautiful and unique venue. A few other memorable stops we made were visiting Pike’s Peak, a bucket list item, and the Sand Dunes National Park. We chose a hot day – 101 degrees.”

Halle’s Pick – Charleston, SC

“My pick for Spring Break (or frankly, any time of year) is Charleston, SC. Charleston is one of my all time favorite places in the world and it’s right here — a (long) day drive or short, inexpensive flight away.

I lived in Charleston for a summer, so perhaps there is a special place for it in my heart, but I truly believe in the magic of southern hospitality and if you haven’t been, it needs to go on your bucket list.

If you haven’t stayed in Charleston before I highly recommend you ditch the beach and opt for an historic inn or Hotel in downtown Charleston. The brick streets and Southern porches are too charming to pass up. Downtown Charleston is only a ten minute drive from beautiful beaches like the Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island, so the good news is you can stay downtown and soak up the historic charm and you can spend a day or two at the beach – The Best of Both Worlds!

If I could recommend a perfect evening in downtown Charleston I would suggest grabbing a AAA guidebook and doing a walking tour of Charleston’s historic homes and buildings. Stop by at a number of open-air places for a glass of wine or cocktail to break up the walking. Finish off the evening at one of the best Lowcountry fine dining restaurants one could find – like Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B) or High Cotton. If you’re interested in trying something a little different, stop by Kaminsky’s – the dessert bar of Charleston. Patrons can select from a number of decadent desserts or dessert cocktails. Don’t let the line outside scare you off, it’s worth the wait! No trip to Charleston, or review from me, would be complete without brunch. Make sure to try some of those famous southern biscuits and a mimosa or two before you head out of town. There are SO many places to choose from, you cannot go wrong, but Husk is definitely at the top of my list.

Planning to eat and charm your way through Charleston, sometime soon? I want to hear about it!”

Joe’s Pick – American Southwest

“The desert Southwest has always been among my favorite places to get away. There is great beauty across our country, but there is something about the vibrant desert landscapes that is uniquely American. For Spring Break fun, the Las Vegas region provides some of the best opportunities for fun, exploration and natural beauty. Many people say the casino and nightlife of Vegas aren’t for them. But to me, the best parts of Las Vegas are outside the city.

Even during a short stay, you can plan wisely and take advantage of amazing opportunities a short drive away. Valley of Fire State Park is stunning in its scope and amazing color. Anyone who thinks desert landscapes are boring is in for a very nice surprise. Drivable and walkable, Valley of Fire makes any trip to Vegas something much more than expected. Also nearby are Lake Mead National Recreation Area, historic Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon National Conversation Area, and crisp cooler air on Mt. Charleston. If you plan right, and have a little luck, you might also catch some exciting acrobatics over the desert from cutting-edge aircraft flying out of Nellis Air Force Base outside of the city. When you’ve had enough adventure, get your R&R poolside. Consider some of the great off-strip properties which are affordable and even more convenient for exploring outside of town, such as Green Valley Ranch and its sister property Red Rock Resort.

Although Las Vegas has some of America’s greatest hotel & resort properties, don’t be fooled into thinking it is all about windowless rooms designed to take your money.  Get outside and see some of the greatest landscape America has to offer.”

Well there you have it, the OHLA picks for spring break. Now the question is, which of these are YOU going to pick?

 

Thank you for traveling with us!

-OHLA Staff

Lauren Stazen, Director of Membership
Michele Marcinick, Communications and Events Coordinator
Cindy Sams, Director of Operations
Halle Markwas, Manager of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships
Joe Savarise, Executive Director

Taking Flight at Marriott at the University of Dayton

Marriott at the University of Dayton has had an overhaul that we have been seeing across the Marriott brand. Long gone are the days of bold rich reds, golds, and purples. Hello, are the days of a modern edge with a personalized twist paying homage to the area.Marriott - Dayton, OH

The redesign celebrates Dayton’s rich history of flight experiencing tributes to Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first plane design. As you walk in the front doors, the ceiling is notable as it offers depth and an aviation-like flow to the front desk.Marriott - Dayton, OH

Throughout the property you see rounded lines, rich woodworking, and a neutral palette with accents of rich blues and green plants. I enjoyed seeing all of the working areas, nooks to relax in, and the business center. Everything is comfortable and open with an undoubted sense of pride for the city of Dayton and its’ history. One of my favorite art pieces was the plane blueprint artwork that sat behind a working area, a three-piece installation that is a creative addition.

Marriott - Dayton, OHWhat once was Sharkey’s and an amphitheater is now a relaxing courtyard with outdoor seating. In addition, their restaurant got a full makeover and is now called Dewberry 1850. The restaurant is beautiful, bright, and open and is accessible easily from the entry. The bar within serves up coffee shop beverages by day and transforms to a bar by night. The menu features American classics served up fresh with a twist. While we were visiting, I did try their special coffee beverage, an iced Blackberry White Chocolate Latte, it hit the spot on a humid morning!Marriott - Dayton, OH

The Marriott at the University of Dayton has certainly undergone a fresh redesign and will continue to serve the Greater Dayton community for years to come.

Next week we are going to explore…. a wedding at the Hyatt at the Arcade in downtown Cleveland. (I know what you are thinking, yes, I am going to another wedding!)

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

Marriott - Dayton, OH

 

LeVeque Luxury

Hotel LeVeque Columbus, OHHi, Inn Lovers! As the newbie of OHLA, this is my first contribution to the Inn Love blog, so hang with me as I share my venture into downtown Columbus to Hotel Leveque, the first Autograph Collection in Columbus, situated within the iconic Leveque Tower. Trust me, you’ll want to hear about this one!

The LeVeque Tower has always been an iconic part of the Columbus skyline, completed in 1927, it became the fifth tallest building in the world (standing ½ foot taller than the Washington Monument). Fast forward to 1975, when Katherine LeVeque took over Hotel LeVeque following her husband’s death. She then managed the day-to-day operations of the hotel, where she lived on the 41st floor until 2011, the same year the hotel officially became a landmark.

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OHThis property’s MO is “A Beacon of Hospitality”, how fitting! From the moment I pulled up in front of the striking building I was in awe. The entryway alone is enough to take your breath away with its intricate metal working, hanging lamps, tiled flooring, painted ceilings… Oh my gosh, we haven’t even made it inside yet!

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OHAs I walked through the lobby to the super hip front desk I couldn’t help but to look up and see the stellar light fixture in a soaring atrium. I began putting the pieces together and saw the overall theme; astrology! There were seemingly subtle notes all around me including the shimmering ever-changing constellation artwork behind the front desk pods. (Forgive my picture from Christmas, I just had to include this one of the lobby, it was so beautiful! And the tree almost reached the second floor!)

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OH

Hotel LeVeque Columbus, OHOk, Inn Lovers, the sleeping rooms are SO fun! The rooms carried on the overall theme with ultra-modern furnishings, pops of gold and yellow, and light fixtures that mimicked the fixture in the atrium. Abstract shelfing also offered unique books, gadgets, and gizmos. After all this excitement, I could not wait to see the restaurant and lounge.

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OHFirst, I wanted to freshen up and the bathroom did not disappoint! Spacious with marble tiling throughout. And by spacious I mean you can fit at least 15 people in the shower alone. I would be remiss not to mention the toiletries by Cliff Original, which I later found out is a local company right here in Columbus!

I made my way to The Keep Liquor Bar, an overall French concept. It was dark and exciting with quite the menu for food and drink. I started with a Front St. Fizz and dabbled in a few small plates (the braised short rib was delectable!). I couldn’t help but to stay a little longer and absorb the vibe.

Hotel LeVeque Columbus, OH

Eventually, I decided I needed to end this fun visit and head to bed (it was a work night after all!). However, I was surprised again! My room had gotten turndown service complete with a projected constellation on the ceiling. This night I got to fall asleep under the stars.

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OH

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OH

Hotel LeVeque, Columbus, OH

Happy Travels!

-Lauren

Dapper Dual Property

Marriott Columbus University AreaIn the spirit of welcoming our new Director of Membership, Lauren Stazen, and the Ohio State spring game coming up (sorry readers, at some point everything in Columbus relates back to OSU football), I decided to visit Lauren’s former property – Marriott & Residence Inn Columbus University Area! The dual property is the first of it’s kind for the brand, and you’ll want to see this one. Come with me as I explore Marriott’s new concept, located just two miles from the heart of Ohio State’s campus.

Dual property? Yes! This project served as a pilot program for Marriott International featuring a full-service Marriott connected to an extended stay Residence Inn. I could immediately tell a difference when I walked in the front doors. It was so OPEN. The lobby and soft seating flowed right into the bar area and then opened into the restaurant. It honestly all felt like the same space, which was extremely welcoming and very on-trend (for all my Chip and Joanna fans out there).

Marriott Columbus University AreaAnd speaking of trends… I learned that Columbus’ stake in the fashion industry was the designer’s décor concept for the Marriott side of the property. Warm neutrals greet you as you enter the front doors and continue down the halls and even into the elevator, which looks like a men’s tie on the inside (fun fact: the neutral pallet was chosen based on the colors and fabrics used for luxury men’s suits).

Marriott Columbus University AreaI headed back into the open space at the front of the property (which Lauren later told me is called the “Great Room”, very fitting) for dinner at MODA. MODA (meaning “fashion” in several other languages) continues the trendy theme of the property with unique dishes like the braised short rib nachos and a slow roasted mojo pork Cuban sandwich, but I have to say my favorite dish was the roasted brussels sprouts.

Marriott Columbus University AreaAfter dinner I was allowed a sneak peek at the M Club…which is always the cool part for a person who isn’t loyal enough to any brand or airline to reap the benefits of points or miles…but I may have been convinced after seeing this space. The room is filled with mostly white marble on the countertops, floors, and a feature wall with accents of maroon throughout. There are plenty of spaces to sit and work, hang out and watch TV, or enjoy my personal favorite…the 24-hour coffee and snack bar.

Marriott Columbus University AreaVenture down a connecting hallway and you’ll find yourself in the Residence Inn, which pays homage to Ohio State academics through its décor in the public areas and sleeping rooms. One of the most notable pieces of artwork (that I’m trying to figure out how to recreate) is a script Ohio made of 12,000 pencils that hangs just behind the front desk. Cozy spaces surround you in the lobby with textbooks, a fire place, area rugs (also custom OSU themed), flat screen televisions, and comfortable seating that truly makes you feel at home. And after touring the space, I’m thinking I just might have to book my next extended stay here during a Buckeye football game, which can never come fast enough for an Ohio State alumna 😊

Marriott Columbus University Area

Marriott Columbus University Area

Marriott Columbus University Area

 

Happy travels!

The Queen City Comeback

I think I may have spoken too soon about Spring coming given the snow that appeared in Ohio this week…luckily for me, I had the perfect property on my travel list to bring me indoors. Even better, in my hometown of Cincinnati!

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OHIf you haven’t visited Cincinnati recently, now is the time to start planning your trip. The last time I lived in Cincinnati, in the early 2000’s, downtown was not even close to a destination for residents or tourists. In fact, part of downtown was ranked in the top ten most dangerous neighborhoods in America (Over-the-Rhine). Today, those neighborhoods are unrecognizable. Join me as we explore the beautiful boutique brand that has focused its attention on revitalization projects in cities experiencing a renaissance, the 21c Museum Hotel.

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OHThe first time I returned home from DC, I thought my friends were joking when they asked me to meet them at a bar in Over-the-Rhine (OTR, as we call it). Downtown Cincinnati truly was THAT bad when I left. Today, I am so proud of the hard work and funding dedicated to the revitalization of the city I love so much…and the reason I admire properties like the 21c Museum Hotel.

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OH

“For more than 10 years now, the 21c Museum Hotel experience has seamlessly blended art and hospitality. Our multi-venue contemporary art museum, unique boutique hotels and chef-driven restaurants together create a new kind of travel and cultural experience, globally connected yet rooted in the local community.”

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OHThe mission of 21c Museum Hotel was apparent when I walked into their Cincinnati location, I honestly had a hard time telling it was a hotel, it’s truly that focused on art. I checked in and met up with CJ Lecky, Corporate Director of Sales and Business Development, who gave me a wonderful tour of the museum, located on three floors of the property, while telling me all about how the brand got its start.

“21c Museum Hotel was founded by preservationists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The couple wanted to take an active role in the preservation and revitalization of downtown Louisville motivated by changes happening in and around their hometown.”

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OHCJ informed me that the couple really had no intention of opening more than one property, but it was easy to see how the concept caught on, earning not only national, but international attention and awards. In fact, all seven 21c Museum Hotels were ranked among Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Hotels in the World. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the brand has also earned Travel + Leisure’s Global Vision Award, Monocle Magazine’s Best Hotel Brand, and Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies recognition.

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OHAfter I finished touring the appropriately-timed “The Future is Female” exhibit, showcasing contemporary feminist art from around the globe (check out the pictures – it was incredible), I headed to my room. It was no surprise that the room was every bit as quirky and wonderful as the hotel lobby – notice anything about the shower wall? And I have to say…this was one of the most comfortable hotel beds I’ve ever slept in.

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OH
I had a snack and custom craft cocktail at the Metropole downstairs before I ventured out to revisit the Cincinnati nightlife that didn’t exist when I lived there. The 21c Museum Hotel is very conveniently located… within a few blocks of any number of activities you might enjoy: The Aronoff Center for the Arts, Fountain Square, breweries, shopping, and of course Cincinnati’s hottest new neighborhood…you guessed it…OTR. Bonus: one of my personal favorite Cincinnati restaurants, Sotto, is across the street. Get the donuts if you go, thank me later.

What a wonderful getaway to my beloved city that might become your new favorite destination too! One thing is for sure, I will be returning in the summer to experience their fabulous rooftop cocktail terrace.

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OH

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OH

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, OH

Happy travels!

 

-Mackenzie

Modern Beauty in Bangkok

Spring is fast approaching and I think we are all ready for what the season brings…a change in weather, experiences…and bloggers! As some of you may know, Halle had her beautiful baby boy this week, so I’ll be standing in to take you along on some of my travels. I was fortunate enough to leave behind five inches of Columbus snow a couple weeks ago and step off a plane into 90 degree Southeast Asia.

 

I have to admit, Bangkok was a bit overwhelming for me. I didn’t know what to expect, and I’d really only seen pictures of beaches, islands, and elephant reserves in Thailand. Bangkok is not that. Despite part of its city limits reaching the gulf of Thailand, Bangkok is a huge metropolitan area almost the size of New York City, just as crowded and busy. So, you could say I was thankful for a relaxing break at the Park Hyatt.

This property is a bit hidden on the inside, as it sits atop the 8 story Central Embassy mall (sidenote – I could probably write an entire blog about the malls in Asia). You first travel up a few floors to the most inviting space filled with bookstores, restaurants, study spaces, and children’s playgrounds on the same level and weave your way back to a set of elevators marked as the hotel’s.

Once the doors open on the 9th floor, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the Park Hyatt Bangkok. The designer of the interior space wanted to embody “livable luxury”, and it’s obvious. The entire hotel smells like the lobby of a spa, every wall is a fresh hue of ivory or light wood with carefully placed artwork, and the architecture is remarkable. I almost felt like I was in an art gallery or museum, everything feels so intentional.

It’s hard to pick a favorite space, so I have to tell you about two, the pool and the rooftop entertainment area.

The pool. Wow. After a long morning of sightseeing on foot in 80% humidity, lunch by the pool was a dream. When you walk onto the pool deck, you instantly feel like you’re in a garden. If you choose not to sit along the 130 ft. saltwater infinity pool (I saw more infinity pools in Asia than I’ve seen in my lifetime), you can continue to the back where a few stairs take you to different levels of cabana-style seating. We chose this spot (mostly because the cabanas are essentially queen-sized beds covered in the softest terry cloth) and ordered a couple drinks and (of course) Thai food!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves here, but I think I was pleasantly surprised when the service was just as impressive as the scenery. There isn’t a tipping culture in Asia, so at most places you have to let staff know when you need anything. Not here. Our servers were angels, telling us about the history of the property, suggesting the best meals for an authentic Thai experience, and always with a smile and wonderful attitude. We could have stayed all day, but it was time for a few more sights before we returned to the Park Hyatt bars and restaurants.

It’s difficult to find a word other than “wow” to describe the different parts of the Park Hyatt. The bar and restaurant space are phenomenal. Three floors of entertainment to explore, complete with a rooftop bar overlooking the city. I’m not sure if this is true, but I heard it was modeled after a “bachelor pad”, which makes sense given the vintage BMW motorcycle in the lobby, cigar bar upstairs, and racing memorabilia filling the bookshelves. If you didn’t want to sit outside, the cocktail bar also offers floor to ceiling views of the city from just about every spot in the room. And to make your custom cocktails that much more enjoyable, there is a house DJ who sits right above the liquor wall to give you a club experience without actually having to go to a club.

I can’t speak to the food in this particular restaurant, as we didn’t eat there, but I’m sure it’s just as amazing as everything else at this property. I am determined to make it back to the Park Hyatt Bangkok based on this trip, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting this beautiful part of the world!

 

 

Happy traveling!

 

AC Everywhere!

You may have heard, but there’s a new brand in town and it’s popping up everywhere!  A little over a year ago, the first AC Hotel in Ohio opened – the new AC Hotel Cincinnati Liberty Center, just north of Cincinnati. Since then, the AC Hotel Dublin opened in September 2017 and just this week the AC Hotel Cincinnati at the Banks opened.  In the pipeline, we count at least two more, slated to open within the next year. So what is an AC Hotel? Marriott says, “It’s an experience that feels stylish, yet efficient. Alluring but purposeful. Every detail is considered to provide just the beautiful essentials.” With the slogan AC Hotels. A New Way to Hotel. So. Shall we see where it all began? At least in Ohio anyway…

To start, all of the AC Hotels are new construction, no conversions here.  The AC Liberty Center isn’t the only thing new, the entire development it’s in is new.  That’s also true for the other properties that have opened in Ohio – Dublin & Cincinnati. So, if you like to be a trendsetter, this is where you should be.  The lobby embraces the open floor plan concept with a floating staircase right in the middle of things. Many hotels are now embracing the communal lobby concept, encouraging guests to come hang out.  This philosophy holds true for the AC vision, but not in the lobby. Don’t worry, if you want to chill in the lobby, there is seating, it’s just not where all of the cool kids are.

If you choose to ascend the staircase, you’ll find them! On the second floor is all kinds of unique space.

Check out the different seating arrangements and places to be seen or to hide out with a coffee and your laptop. Pictured left is the AC Lounge which serves up small plates and has a full bar including signature cocktails and craft beer.

 

Just past that room is the breakfast area where guests can select from delicious European-inspired items on the breakfast buffet. Don’t miss the Starbucks and Nespresso drinks!

During this trip though, I got to head out of the hotel and check out Liberty Center, an area I haven’t spent much time in.  There are plenty of restaurants and shopping nearby, including one of my faves from Columbus, Northstar Cafe!

After an evening of appointments and a long day of driving, I was ready to dive into bed.  The rooms here are just as trendy as the public space.  With a sleek, no BS approach to the design, I felt like I was stepping into the future of hotel room design.  I was a big fan of the night light feature and the “under glow” along the walls.  (Pro tip: if a hotel is willing to shed extra lighting underneath furniture…it has to be spotless! This room would easily have passed a white glove test.)

With all of the opportunities for food, I needed to ensure I got in a good workout!  The gym was awesome – with floor to ceiling windows and plenty of equipment. Too bad I forgot my swim suit on this particular excursion, because this property boasts a beautiful stainless steel pool and indoor/outdoor hot tub.

My trip to the AC Hotel Cincinnati Liberty Center was too quick, but I’ll be back! Which AC have you visited recently?

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

 

Chains are all the Same – or are they?

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland

Last week I had a unique opportunity. Over the course of three days, I got to visit three competitor brands.  Not only three competitor brands, but three competitors within the same class segment.  OK, now we’re getting technical – class segment?  I hope that by our 45th (!!!!!) post, you don’t honestly still think that every Hilton’s a Hilton and every Marriott’s a Marriott, etc.  First, let’s cover the basics… Hilton, for example, is a company which has many brands, including Hilton, Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, Waldorf Astoria, etc.  You didn’t know that? You are not maximizing your loyalty points, my friend! All of those brands are separated into a chain scale or class segments – Luxury, Upper Upscale, Upscale, Upper Midscale, Midscale and Economy.  Hotels fit into these segments based on the actual average room rate. (There is also an independent chain segment, but primarily when looking at independent properties, you’re looking for where they fall within the class segment.) So for today’s purposes, it’s important to note that a Residence Inn by Marriott, a Home2 Suites by Hilton and a Hyatt Place are all part of the Upper Midscale segment.  How are they the same? How are they different? Let’s check it out with a side-by-side comparison!  Coincidentally, the properties I visited were all in the Greater Cleveland area, all new within the past 2 years.

Residence Inn by Marriott Cleveland Avon

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland
Residence Inn by Marriott – Cleveland Avon

Trend setter!  The new Residence Inn Cleveland Avon at the Emerald Event Center was a site for sore eyes.  Personally, I love Residence Inns.  We often choose them when traveling, because they have extra space in the rooms and a great breakfast. Residence Inns are an extended stay product by Marriott.  The intention is for a guest to stay for multiple nights, but it isn’t required. (*TIP* Choose an extended stay property when you’re looking for a hotel room in a place like Manhattan, you’re sure to get more leg & elbow room!) This particular Residence Inn though, was a show stopper.  I visited on a bright and shiny day and the cheer and good vibes followed me right into the door. The lobby had chandeliers, sexy chairs with zippers up the back (whoa!) and a swanky bar in the center of the lobby with color changing under glow.

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland

I was told this build had chosen some upgrades and boy, could I tell! And, the glitz and glamour didn’t stop at the lobby.  The guest rooms were spacious, as expected, but also had a touch of the pizzazz from the lobby.  Even the floor numbers across from the elevator were large, bright prints that acted as artwork.

This Residence Inn has great meeting space and the special pool and patio package I’ve come to love at Residence Inns.  I love the upgraded patio furniture which includes fun two-person, covered chaises, massive grills and always an outdoor fire pit.  If I needed to park it in a city for a few days, you wouldn’t have to work hard to convince me!

Bonus: You can find a little something different at the Residence Inn in Avon.  It is actually connected to the Emerald Event Center, a great, large event space perfect for small conferences, weddings or special gatherings.  The event center was built to include a secondary patio, much like the one at the Residence Inn for outdoor entertaining.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Independence

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland
Home2 Suites by Hilton – Independence

OK, I think we can all just cut to the chase. I love gyms. It’s no surprise that my feature picture of the Home2 Suites by Hilton Cleveland Independence is of the Spin 2 Cycle Gym.  But, I’m also not a long-term stay guest and I found myself thinking, “Man, they must really have a lot of bikes in that gym! Spin and cycle!?” WRONG. Well, they do have bikes, but this clever name is a clue to one of the Home2’s features for long term guests – the laundry facility is inside of the gym. What better way to wait for your laundry to finish? Jump on the bike! Or treadmill, or free weights, or resistance machine, or balls, or matts – this gym was stacked!

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland

Luckily, I was staying at the Home2 for one of my overnights and I got to use the gym – this girl was a very happy camper with that setup!  Like the Residence Inn, the Home2 focuses on the extended stay traveler, but can accommodate the single night stay guest like me.  The lobby is designed to make you feel at “home” with living room like seating, lots of communal places to meet and work and even a long Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Clevelandtable for breakfast – like you’re sitting with family.  This is only the second Home2 I’ve seen and I’m totally digging the bold colors and modern twists to standard hotel fixtures and amenities. For example, why wouldn’t you have a little desk for the house phone or a TV unit with knickknacks and a clock to make your guests feel at home?

Bonus: This Home2 is near one of my new favorite Cleveland area restaurants – Lockkeepers. After a super long work day, I was ready for good food. I found a place that reviews said was a Cleveland staple.  Overlooking the Cuyahoga River, I was able to settle in on their patio for a fantastic dinner of swordfish.  If only I had room for dessert, because the entire menu looked delicious.

Hyatt Place – Lyndhurst Legacy Village

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland
Hyatt Place – Lyndhurst, Legacy Village

Swanky. At the Hyatt Place Lyndhurst/Legacy Village, I feel like I stepped into a James Bond movie with all of the little nooks and crannies of the lobby, perfect for quiet conversation.  On this visit day, it was rainy and dreary, but the lobby welcomed me with high ceilings, lots of natural light and the coziness of a fireside chair. The lobby has expansive space for spreading out and settling in.  This was my very first time inside of a Hyatt Place and I was shocked! I’ve been in my share of Hyatt’s with it’s regal, business-like presentation, it’s what I expected out of any Hyatt, but not here.  Another extended stay focused brand, Hyatt Place still has that all-business feel, but with the comforts of a place to call home.  The working area had small cubbies for private chats over a glass of wine while the bar area served as a social haven for guests and visitors wanting to share a bite.  Did you know that at this Hyatt Place there is a 24/7 hot and cold menu and a full service bar? That’s amazing!

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland

Off of the lobby, the breakfast area looks like it came straight out of a home design magazine and they’re even serving up customizable breakfast egg bowls and yogurt parfaits.

This property sits right near a walking path that winds through the trees, or you can enjoy the well equipped gym or pool.

Bonus: The Hyatt Place Lyndhurst/Legacy Village is aptly named, for it sits directly within Legacy Village – Cleveland’s premier lifestyle shopping center.  Visit upscale shopping stores, listen to a concert in the courtyard or enjoy dinner or night life at one of the many bars and restaurants, all within walking distance!

Although through brands within the same parent company you can expect the same level of service, the same amenities, and the same quality – outside of that, they aren’t all just the same.  Next time you’re traveling, consider something new. It’s not that hard to find!

Awesome, Extended Stay Lodging in Greater Cleveland
Residence Inn by Marriott – Cleveland Avon

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck