As many of you know, I started my career in hotels with the Residence Inn brand and I’ll always have a soft spot for what the brand stands for, the many guests that turn through the doors and those who stay for an extended period of time. So, when I have the opportunity to visit another Residence Inn property, it is always a treat for me! There is always a sense of familiarity yet there are always unique qualities.
I spent the night at the Residence Inn Downtown Cleveland, within the building of the historic Colonial Hotel, a few weeks ago. It has many of the charming characteristics you’d find with a newer hotel within a historic building. Such as large windows, high ceilings, & original architectural notes.
The sleeping room floors are wide with high ceilings and have a level of grandeur to them. Each suite is complete with a tall white door with crown molding frame, the door is adorned with a doorknocker and inside you have all of the comforts of home with a full kitchen and living area. (When I returned to my room, I popped myself a bag of popcorn, and turned on my favorite Netflix series.) Directly out my window is a view of the bustling Prospect Avenue and the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (even though it is forever ‘The Gund’ to me).
The bar and extended lobby area is spacious, comfortable and decorated beautifully. The standout for me, is the breakfast area that sits on a different floor than the lobby. This space offered stunning bright blue stained-glass windows and ceiling panels and an extensive full breakfast of hot and cold favorites. I enjoyed my hot tea as I reviewed my morning influx of emails and caught up on the news.
The Residence Inn Cleveland Downtown certainly offers a stay above the ordinary in a great location if you are wanting to explore East 4th, see the Cavs or catch an Indians game.
The Ritz Carlton located in the heart of downtown Cleveland within the historic Tower City building has long been a beacon of luxury and opulence. There is a lot to love about the Ritz Carlton Cleveland. For one, it is the only Ritz Carlton property in the state!
From beginning to end, service is top notch. I pulled up to the busy valet and was warmly greeted and promptly guided to the elevators to sweep me away to the lobby. Immediately off the elevators is a stunning floral arrangement composed of several tall clear vases with simplistic blooms.
The lobby is a hub for guest engagement, dining, conversation or a night cap. The newly renovated rooms and public areas are abundant with steel grays and blues paying homage to Cleveland’s storied steel-working industry. As each working day winds down, a steam whistle signals the start of “off clock” featuring light fare and strong spirits in TURN Bar & Kitchen. In the evening I did partake and ordered the Asia Town Tom Yum Goong and boy was it a sweet and spicy bowl of perfection!
The sleeping rooms are stunning and sparkling clean. What a perfect space to unwind, get your work done or get some shut eye. The bathrooms are beautiful, large and bright. The flooring, shower and counter tops are all white marble tiled with shiny stainless fixtures.
One of my favorite features of the room was the lighting options. For ease of access, I had many lighting settings available at my fingertips for bed left (lighting on just my side of the bed), Good Night, Master, Evening (subtle lighting) and Work. Even the bathroom had a nightlight feature, I loved this. (I am always the one stubbing my toe in the middle of the night!) I also enjoyed having a Nespresso machine in the room. It was a welcomed amenity for the afternoon and morning caffeine binge.
Other exceptional qualities of the The Ritz is the Club Concierge and the extensive fitness center. The Club Concierge is just as stunning as the property with impressive views, sleek furniture and exceptional options for food & beverage complete with a friendly host. The 4,500 sq. ft. Core Fitness Club offers more than a standard hotel gym. This is an all-around wellness center with live-streaming classes and group fitness!
The Ritz Carlton certainly checks many boxes on the list of luxury amenities. Stop by for a cocktail at TURN next time you are ending your long work day… who knows, maybe you’ll make it in time to hear the steam whistle!
2018 has been a big year for me, OHLA and our industry as a whole! I’ve had a blast telling you about my trips, site tours, overnight stays and hearing from our guest bloggers. I hope you have had as much fun as I have since I joined you in March. It has been an exciting year of personal travel (mainly wedding-related, thanks for hanging with me), exploring new brands, seeing complete renovations and meeting so many of you and your many beautiful properties.
Let’s look back through our year together…
It is always fun to kick off a new year with a vacation! We started 2018 in exciting fashion with Halle and her husband TJ. Halle shared the details of their babymoon getaway to Phoenix & Marana, Arizona. Here we explored the Royal Palms Resort & Spa, which had recently joined the Hyatt family, introducing us to our very first Unbound Collection property. Then off to the The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain we went! Nestled tightly within Tortolina Mountains, sat the sprawling luxury 5 star resort. Both resorts were dripping in luxury accommodations, breathtaking views and unmatched hospitality.
First, we took a road trip to Northern Ohio and toured Victorian Tudor Inn, an eclectic inn featuring antiques & collectibles with a story for each and every one. It would have been easy to have stayed all day listening to Richard, the innkeeper, and the fascinating stories behind his many collectibles & the home itself. Next, we explored ideas for the lovebirds looking for a Valentine’s Day Getaway in Ohio. From the small towns, donuts, big city ideas, museums and pampering… it’s all here!
We ended the month featuring a Columbus hotel, Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph, located in the Short North Arts District. The Joseph is owned by the Pizzuti family, also known in Columbus for their art collection. Even if you aren’t staying at The Joseph, you can easily enjoy the space by coming in and having a drink at SOUL, or wandering up the stairs to a wide variety of art, from paintings to photographs.
We covered a lot in March… Mackenzie shared her AMAZING trip to Bangkok and the modern beauty of the Park Hyatt Bangkok. The designer of the interior space wanted to embody “livable luxury”, and it’s obvious. Her favorite feature? The pool & rooftop entertainment area (and the Thai food!). After being swept off to Bangkok we brought it back home and took a peek at the art-focused design of 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati and its lively restaurant & bar, Metropole. Off to Columbus to look at Marriott’s first-of-its-kind Marriott & Residence Inn Dual Property near The Ohio State University’s campus and the first property in Columbus, Hotel Leveque (this was also my blog debut!). Hotel Leveque has so many intricate and unique features; such a fun visit!
Mackenzie also shared her trip to Sri Lanka which was her stop after Bangkok. Since 2009, tourism in Sri Lanka has increased by 300%, and it was easy to see why. She ventured along the streets and wandered through most of the properties she passed, including the Fort Bazaar, a boutique property on Church Street. You enter through a breezy front porch with artsy tables and then enter a secluded lobby where a bar and private room are off to either side. All of these properties felt like you were walking into someone’s home, where you can wind down a hallway and discover a hidden bar or art room. After hearing about Mackenzie’s sightseeing, we learned about the historic Residence Inn Columbus Downtown (within the 1927 Buckeye Bank & Loan Company Building) and Buckeye Bourbon House, then saw the new modern ways of the Courtyard brand by visiting the Courtyard by Marriott in Downtown Akron.
I love a good sneak peek! I had so much fun seeing the new Renaissance Westerville and sharing with you a preview of this stunning, now open, property. Then, we took it down a notch to find our inner Zen (which I found at Victorian Village Guest House). This cozy guest house and pristine garden truly is an urban oasis located in the heart of Victorian Village (super close to downtown Columbus, Short North Arts District and OSU’s campus). Oh gosh…. then came an all-time travel favorite, my trip to South Eden Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia. I can still see the winding pebble road, lined by overgrown willow trees and hanging Spanish moss, just like every picture you can imagine of Georgian charm. I closed out the month by a visit to the ultra-modern, art-centric new property in Cincinnati, The Summit, A Dolce Hotel and a part of Wyndham Hotels.
The beginning of summer calls for ice cream! My husband and I traveled to Yellow Springs where we got to experience the cozy comfort of the Hearthstone Inn & Suites in nearby Cedarville, the beautiful, detail driven Mills Park Hotel and an ice cream cone from Young’s Jersey Dairy, which came highly recommended. Well, I didn’t exactly get a cone… I got the gigantic, big-as-my-head Buckeye Sundae (no regrets, here!).
If you are looking for a weekend trip, Yellow Springs is such neat town! In the spirit of summer, Halle shared her evening with us from the rooftop lounge, VASO, at AC Hotel Dublin located in the new Bridge Park Development. Then, we rounded out the month with seeing the new fresh looks of the Hilton at Easton and the Marriott Dayton (they look awesome!).
Wedding season? Perhaps… considering two posts this month revolved around my wedding ventures. I loved writing about the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. The architecture and history of this building is just amazing. After the Hyatt, we went south to The Cloister in Sea Island, Georgia, the most picturesque fairytale location I am sure I will ever visit (it just oozed with Southern Hospitality). Then we got centered and dove into the world of Westin, their wellness initiatives and the three Westin properties we have in our state in Cleveland, Columbus, & Cincinnati. The end of the month we got caught up on our pipeline… the ever-growing & ever-changing pipeline.
I enjoyed spending time in the Polaris area as we celebrated Hilton Polaris’ 10th anniversary and toured the comforts of home that the Staybridge Suites by IHG offers. We then got to join Halle & TJ once again on their trip to Cherry Ridge Retreat in Hocking Hills. Halle characterizes her stay at Cherry Ridge as “almost heaven”, if you read this post, I’m sure you know why by now! August wrapped up with the old & the new.
Our guest blogger & Halle’s sister, Jackie, told us about her stay at The Whitley, a part of The Luxury Collection (Marriott), located in the upscale neighborhood of Buckhead, just north of Atlanta. The Whitley was formerly a Ritz Carlton property, in her exploration through its halls she felt like they did an excellent job mixing that elegant “formal” charm (from its Ritz days) with contemporary, more casual touches that leisure and business travelers alike have come to expect. We then turned the page to the brand-new Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel. If you did not read this blog, I recommend you do so, this Renaissance certainly sets itself apart with its locale-driven décor (there is a military-style Jeep parked in the lobby!).
BEER HOTEL. That’s all. Ohio welcomed its first beer hotel in Canal Winchester, Brew Dog’s Doghouse Hotel located on site of the Brew Dog brewery featuring beer taps, stocked shower fridge and much more. On theme of new things coming to Ohio, we looked at the projected and recently developed dual properties around the state and why they make sense from an operational standpoint. Then, I had another wedding which took me to my hometown of Warren, Ohio. I loved having the opportunity to write about The Avalon Inn Resort & Spa (literally grew up with this beautiful golf & country club in my backyard!).
October welcomed the Fall season and a trip to Cincinnati where I had the opportunity to tour the first Curio Collection property in our state! The Cincinnatian Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton. This historic masterpiece is just gorgeous and was such a treat to tour. My favorite part was seeing all the amazing artwork and hearing about the history of the building. After seeing the first Curio Collection, I quickly turned our sights on the future as we discussed other recent openings & new brands coming to our state like Canopy, Aloft and Avid.
During my trip to Cincinnati in October, I also got to go see the Renaissance located in downtown. The sophistication, design and décor of this property was on point and effortlessly mixed with its historic past. I just loved the interior design of this property! I then had a trip to Beachwood, Ohio where I got to see the new AC Hotel Cleveland Beachwood. It was fun to learn about AC’s brand initiatives, standards and stylish design.
Our Annual Conference went off without a hitch this November, thanks to Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center. This was an easy post to pull together after I spent three days there. I loved reading about Cindy’s trip to Cleveland over the holidays and share the details my amazing trip to Maui with all of you.
Here we are. The end of 2018… can you believe it? I can’t. This year FLEW by! Without further ado, I wish you a prosperous & joyous 2019. I look forward to meeting you and touring your property this year.
Cheers to 2019!
P.S. I am headed to Los Angeles this weekend to cheer on the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. I can’t wait to report back to all of you about my trip & stay! (It is a brand we’ve never written about before…)
Every year OHLA has a Silent Auction at its Annual Conference and Gala. I was lucky enough to win an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn Express Cleveland Downtown. (Thank you HIE Cleveland for donating!) This gave my husband and I an excuse to get out of town and see Cleveland’s Christmas lights. The next best thing to Fireworks in July has to be the lights in December, in my personal opinion.
We love historic buildings and this location had plenty of history and charm, located in Cleveland’s financial district between E. 9th St and E. 6th St on Euclid Avenue. The 19th century historic Guardian Bank Building was built in 1894. A year after our hotel association was formed!!
When we got to the the room was spacious and I wasn’t expecting hardwood floors. (Probably one of my favorite parts of this trip aside from the lights, of course).
We relaxed before walking to dinner toward 6th Street for excellent Italian pasta entrees at Chinato. It is a multi-regional Italian restaurant focused on traditional, fresh Italian cuisine. For dessert Greg, (my husband) had chocolate mousse and I had chocolate & pistachio gelato-Yum!
We then made our way to Public Square. The new square was completely illuminated in every color imaginable.
Even the Jack Casino exuded holiday spirit…
What would this blog be without hotel photos? So for that reason (and for no personal reasons whatsoever), we went inside several nearby hotels and captured their Christmas trees. So without further ado..our Tour of Trees:
The Renaissance Cleveland Downtown once again had a large display with nutcrackers and trees decorated by various department personnel.
The Kimpton Schofield hotel was equally as beautiful and we even spotted an Elf on the Shelf! Can you find him?
Metropolitan at the 9 outdid itself with a very beautiful, very tall (and very bright) red & gold decorated tree.
And as it is in every season of the year, Tower City was a beautiful sight all by itself!
So, no palm trees and no fireworks, but the lights will hold me over until July. What are you waiting for…go visit!
Heavenly bed. Lavender oil. Pet friendly. All things we relate to the Westin brand and their wellness initiatives. The fluffy heavenly bed always offers a comfortable nights’ rest. Now, with the lavender oil available bedside, you can soothe yourself and your mind into a tranquil state. To keep you healthy and on track during your stay Westin promotes healthy eating through their in-house menus, has a work out gear lending program through a partnership with New Balance, and the newly developed RunWESTIN program.
Equally important is mental health, so why not bring your furry friend along? Our pets are the greatest single way to relieve stress (and also to induce stress at times…). At Westin your pets will be treated just as great as you!
The Westin brand is a staple of wellness and community that is sewn into its’ culture at any Westin location you visit. We are lucky to have 3 equally unique Westin properties in the state of Ohio, shall we explore?
Cleveland Rocks! – I can hear The Drew Carey Show theme song chiming in my head with this hotel. In the heart of the city, The Westin Cleveland, truly encompasses the modern, vivacious, spirit that is the city of Cleveland. Everywhere you look inside this hotel is a surprise, you never know what you’ll find next. Rich wood, bright green from the exquisitely crafted Palm Painting, and unique masterpieces welcome you into the lobby. My personal favorite is the peaceful statue of an oversized head constructed out of hundreds of tree branches reclaimed from the construction of the Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge in the Tremont neighborhood. It is truly an experience to walk through this property. (Click here to learn more about the Art of the Westin.) Connecting with their Cleveland roots, their restaurant, Urban Farmer, is an excellent farm to table concept in a laid-back atmosphere. The brunch is delicious!
The Westin Great Southern, Columbus
Known as the oldest hotel in Columbus and a staple for its’ unrivaled architecture, the Westin Columbus surely impresses all who seek its’ charming accommodations. The lobby is enough to make jaws drop with prominent high ceilings, marble floors, the second largest living wall in Ohio, and original woodworking in all its’ beauty. The most notable feature is the breathtaking ballroom; a classic gold and white room lined with a wall of windows, stunning stained-glass features, and intricate gold leaf woodworking. Recently renovated, the Westin Columbus still offers all the modern amenities and accommodations in a very metropolitan approach to the design and overall concept. For some of you, you may remember Thurber’s Bar. Well, Thurber’s Bar is no more! I got to see a sneak peek while still under construction, Westin Columbus, will now be home to a new concept: Great Southern Whiskey Bar. I think I know where this Columbus gal will be heading for her next happy hour!
Want to feel in the mix and not lost in a large downtown metro area? Westin Cincinnati is situated in one of my favorite areas of downtown Cincinnati, Fountain Square. Just a short walk from several acclaimed restaurants, fun nightlife, and just outside their doors a scenic community area that houses concerts, ice skating rink in the winter, and so much more throughout the year. This place is a meetings mecca with so much to offer in regards to capacity and flow. The pre-function space is extremely spacious and feels open with an atrium style wall of windows looking out at Fountain Square. Take time to sneak to Over Vine, a quiet lounge that is quite literally over Vine Street with wonderful views! Talk about location, location, location!
The city of Cleveland has such a charming array of historic buildings throughout its’ downtown streets and the Hyatt Regency at The Arcade adds to the historic character that Cleveland boasts. The Hyatt Regency is nestled between the main thoroughfare that is Superior Avenue and the bustling Euclid Ave. & East 4th Street corridor.
I pulled up to the Superior Ave. valet entrance and was quickly on my way to the second floor which is where the front desk and lobby is located. This hotel is a charmer! Think of an atrium reminiscent of The Titanic with a roof like a greenhouse allowing natural light to pour in through glass tiles and beam off of ornate metal working throughout the floors.
Identified as one of the earliest known indoor shopping malls in the United States, there are still active shops, a spa, a lovely coffee shop called Rising Star Coffee Roasters (which I found myself at 3 mornings in a row!). Being inside the Hyatt Regency at The Arcade felt more like being in its’ own little time capsule of a city than a hotel.
As I walked to my guestroom I enjoyed seeing the ornate railings, stairways, and light fixtures. The walk to your guestroom is an experience as you are not walking down an enclosed hallway, but it is completely open to the main atrium. On one side the guest rooms line the wall and on the other a view of the atrium.
Once I got to my room, the first thing I noticed was the rich wood doors, the window’s wooden blinds, and the black steel mail slot in my door labeled “Letters”. I walked into our extremely spacious room that offered high ceilings along with a separate living area from the rest of the bedroom and bathroom. (I am an early riser, so the separation was so nice to have, I could head down to the coffee shop, come back and sit in the lock-off area without disturbing my husband or our friends!)
Large drum shade light fixtures hang in both the living area and above the beds. The wall separating the spaces featured a mirror and wood accents and the door knobs were ornate black metal. The room has a modern vibe while paying homage to its’ historic roots.
At night, the atrium transforms. The lights of the shops go down while the strung lights and tall lamps light your path along the open hallways. It is romantic and soothing with the soft light glistening off the elaborate gold and brass décor.
A wedding of a childhood friend is what brought us to the Hyatt Regency. What is interesting from an event perspective is that the wedding physically took place on the first floor of The Arcade lined by the closed shops. On each end of The Arcade are beautiful staircases, both were used for the wedding: one is where the ceremony took place on the staircase with guests seated on the first floor and the other was used for a “first look”. We made our way to the second floor for cocktail hour, then back to the first for the reception. It was a stunning wedding full of love, dancing, and GREAT food!
After the wedding, guests made their way to East 4th Street which is lined with cool restaurants, bars, and a bowling alley. This hotel has it all inside its’ doors and and within steps outside.
Planning a trip to Cleveland? Do yourself a favor and walk through the beautiful Arcade shops or visit the Hyatt’s restaurant located on the second floor. (You’ll probably want to take a selfie too!)