Each November, the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association (OHLA), hosts its Annual Conference & Gala. Last year, we were unable to gather in-person, so this year’s conference was more important than ever. The event was a huge success in large part to our host venue, Hyatt Regency Columbus.
The Hyatt Regency Columbus is a staple of downtown Columbus’ convention infrastructure neighboring the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Nationwide Arena. It’s notable location at the corner of Nationwide Blvd. and High St. is just a short walk to the downtown business district, Short North Arts District and the Arena District.
Hyatt has certainly embraced the holiday season with a statement, beautifully appointed, Christmas tree in the foyer and other décor throughout such as ornaments, greenery, wrapped gifts. If you need a boost in your holiday spirit, perhaps you need to spend a few minutes in the lobby or the Big Bar on 2.
The property has been undergoing a sleeping rooms renovation and the updated rooms are stately with muted hues of creams, grays, and accents of light pink and gold. One of my favorite features in the sleeping room is a nightlight that is built into the base of the bed and operates on a sensor. When I awoke in the middle of the night, the moment my feet hit the ground a dim light was triggered. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stubbed my toe trying to maneuver my way around a dark hotel room!)
Amenities are abundant throughout the property. My personal favorite is the Perks Coffee quick-service outlet. I frequented this a few times to get my caffeine fix. However, they also have great to-go snacks, meals and sundries. You can even call ahead your order if you are on the go!
For our Annual Conference & Gala, we utilized extensive event space including the third floor’s Regency Ballroom. The entire Hyatt team was such a joy to work with, so very attentive and understanding of our needs. They always had an answer, a prompt solution or creative option, and went over and above to make our event a memorable one.
The food & beverage was a 10/10. We appreciated their unique view of what event food & beverage is and should be. We enjoyed a donut peg wall on a cut-out of Ohio, an “Afternoon Tea” featuring scones and tea sandwiches, macarons in our brand colors and a Mediterranean spin on a luncheon salad just to name a few.
The service standard is a high one at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and we are proud to have hosted our 2021 conference here. (A BIG thank you to the whole team for making our event so special!).
We had an exciting Grand Opening this week for the FIRST Moxy Hotel in Ohio! It opened in the popular Short North Arts District in Downtown Columbus. If you are a hotel-lifer, this brand may surprise you and it is anything but ordinary.
Walking into the Moxy, I felt the energy that reverberates from the walls. The pops of magenta, the music bumping upstairs, and of course the overall modern and fun design. Hanging from the ceiling was fabric and textiles that created a chandelier affect and was the perfect accent to the magenta “red carpet” that was rolled out for guests.
The second floor is where the action is at! Common in our industry is the idea of “activating your space” and Moxy is in full activation mode. A rectangular, lively bar opens to sleek gathering spaces, a fireplace wall and a pool table.
Are you wondering about a front desk?
You will not find that here. Check-in is at the bar!
City living is the vibe I felt when I saw the brand-new rooms. They are minimal in nature with an efficient use of space. An extra chair or a table could be hanging on a hook in your room! Never know when you’ll need an extra seat for entertaining! I was surprised to find that a few of the rooms feature personal balcony areas looking out over Short North.
There are several unique and quirky attributes of the brand but I have to share my favorite one… as a guest you may have the opportunity to be flocked by flamingos. Yup, you read that correctly. You may arrive back to your room, walk in and see a few décor additions that were not there prior. Think lots of flamingos, pink lights, pink candies and so forth.
As I left the Moxy and walked down High Street, I smiled because from the sidewalk, you can see the pink glow and excitement brewing on the second floor. My bet is that this energy will draw just about any passerby in to answer their curiosities.
Are you a Foodie? I like to think I am. I love food and trying new things but the reality of it is that I am equally as interested in seeing a restaurant, feeling the ambiance, experiencing the presentation of the food. There is a reason we are in the hospitality world, we love the details. I hope you ate a hefty lunch because by the time we complete our review of some of the best restaurants across many properties in our state, you’ll be thinking… “What’s for dinner?”.
Hilton Netherland Plaza – Orchids at Palm Court (Cincinnati)
Did you know that Orchids at Palm Court is Ohio’s ONLY AAA Five Diamond restaurant and one of only 63 across the United States? Their menu is frequently updated to reflect finest of in-season ingredients. The formality of the restaurant comes to life from the stunning Art Deco design that has welcomed guests through its doors since 1931.
Kindred Spirits – Inn at Cedar Falls (Logan)
Set on 75 acres, it is hard not to sit back, relax and take in all the natural beauty surrounding Kindred Spirits in the popular Hocking Hills region in Southeast Ohio. Breakfast, lunch or dinner will leave you wanting… just…one…more…bite. Featuring all the freshest and local ingredients with many of their entrees being a special for the day. You won’t want to miss out on what the chef is cooking up! (Matt Rapposelli, Executive Chef, recently released A Taste of Hocking Hills; check it out!)
The Guild House – Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph (Columbus)
In Columbus, there is a restauranteur known as Cameron Mitchell who is known for creating concepts with unmistakable identities. The Guild House is no different. The design of the restaurant is extremely welcoming in a fabulously rustic kind of way. Each meal starts with their olive focaccia and menu features rotating selections with many fan favorites such as their Lamb Burger and Ricotta Gnocchi (my fave).
A historic and intimate property with a food and cocktail menu that will please the harshest critics. Palette Lounge is a comfortable relaxing space to take time to unwind while Trentina takes you on a trip to Northern Italy through its fine dining experience. I love Italian food, especially if it is coming from Northeastern Ohio! Trentina is ran by the James Beard Award Winning Chef, Jonathon Sawyer and takes pride in offering menu items like traditional Beef Osso Bucco and Bucatini Della Nonna. (I have not been here, but darn it, I’m going to need to plan accordingly!).
The Heights – Renaissance Toledo Downtown (Toledo)
Do you enjoy a wood-fired pizza? You do? How quickly can you get to Toledo? The Heights located on the rooftop of the Renaissance has a panoramic view of downtown Toledo and the Maumee River. Excellent spot to take in a view, sip a custom cocktail, and order a few pizzas and small plates. (I also love their hummus and veggie spread, if you are into that kind of thing.)
Oh my gosh, I could go on and on. We have so many members statewide with excellent culinary teams. Don’t worry we will highlight a few more later this year! For now, make your reservations and plans for this weekend with these places in mind!
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…)
Hi there… I’m back! We went on a brief hiatus to execute our 2018 Annual Conference and to, of course, celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Our Annual Conference was a huge success in large part to our gracious host, Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center. For those who are not familiar, Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center (NHCC) is an independent property in Lewis Center, Ohio, near the shopping mecca known as Polaris Fashion Place.
Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center is an all-inclusive campus (15 acres!) that can cover any need you may require. The campus is made up of a hotel, conference center buildings, The Pub, dining room and of course all the amenities you come to enjoy from a hotel like a gym, a pool, room service, etc.
The grounds of NHCC, no matter the time of year, are always pristine. The driveway to the main parking area is lined with black light posts that always have a seasonal fixture. In the summer they boast bountiful hanging flower baskets, during our visit this winter, lit wreaths with red ribbon bows (‘tis the season!). There is also a little walking bridge (it is so adorable!) and is currently decorated with lit garland and small red bows.
The hotel is inviting and cozy! We were warmly welcomed by a two-story wall of windows, a burning fireplace and comfortable seating. (My colleague, Carla, mentioned how she wished it was socially acceptable to come back to the comfy chair in front of the fireplace and read a book!) The high ceilings made the space feel grand though the hotel itself is very intimate. I could not wait to get to my room, I was beat! I walked in to a living room that was sectioned off from my bedroom. Vibrant navy and blues with unique characteristics such as white wooden shutters over the windows pulled the space together. I sat on the soft plush couch and caught up on a few Hallmark Christmas movies (I am a total sap!). The bedroom was lovely and I am always pleasantly surprised when I have an easily accessible place to plug in my phone charger!
I woke up the next morning to make a cup of coffee. I must have been in a daze the night before because I did not notice the perfectly equipped credenza that had a Keurig, mini-fridge and microwave. I quickly made a cup of coffee and met a group for breakfast in the dining room. The dining room has vaulted ceilings and window-lined walls. Such an open space with excellent buffet offerings. Later this night, we hosted one of our receptions off of the main dining room, it was a huge success mainly because the space allowed for interactive discussions.
From a conference services standpoint, the space is hard to beat! Excellent facilities for a large dinner such as our annual Ohio Stars of the Industry Gala Dinner drew hundreds of guests. The breakout spaces are flexible, and the center flows easily. One of my favorite attributes are the built-in credenzas and refrigerators for food & beverage breaks that don’t affect your traffic flow of guests.
The Pub which sits adjacent to the hotel and conference buildings is an excellent place to pass the time between sessions. Many of our folks gathered here prior to our cocktail hour leading up to our gala. It was packed with colleagues who were taking a moment to catch up in a comfortable laid back environment.
Overall, Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center has it all for you to have your best stay, your best event or your best stay-cation.
Across the brands and across the state we are seeing an increase in dual branded properties. Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Choice Hotels are some of the brands we are keeping an eye on as they expand in Ohio. As hoteliers, owners and management companies hone in on market trends, today’s society and the future traveler we have seen changes amongst the industry. Inclusive of the emergence of lifestyle brands and the phenomenon that is dual-branded properties.
The concept itself aims to encompass the needs of a market by providing different cost segments under one roof. By having two brands under one roof, the guest has an opportunity to experience the best of both brands while on the hotel’s side there is opportunity for savings in areas such as labor and back of house operations.
TownePlace & Springhill Suites by Marriott Easton
Opening October 2018
I had the privilege to participate in a hardhat tour of the soon-to-be open TownePlace Suites and Springhill Suites by Marriott at Easton. This dual concept is well underway with an opening date of mid-October and it is bound to impress. The design concept is fresh and bright and is carried seamlessly between the two hotels. (I am really hoping I can get a few names for the wall vinyl, wall art designs and light fixtures, they are awesome!) The common area and lobby are shared between the properties, which offers expanded options and outlets for all guests. Partnerships have been developed at the brand level with popular stores such as Springhill Suites with West Elm and TownePlace Suites with the Container Store. (See below for a few additional pics from my tour!)
Choice Hotels Dual Concepts
We have two dual concepts from Choice Hotels coming to Ohio offering two combinations. In Logan and scheduled to break ground this year, Sleep Inn & Mainstay Suites and a Comfort Suites & Mainstay Suites near Cincinnati, also looking at a 2018 groundbreaking. These properties will speak to the midscale segment and offer accommodations for extended stay and transient travelers alike.
Marriott and Residence Inn Columbus University Area Opened August 2017
Celebrating their one-year anniversary this past August, this property was a first for Marriott International as it was the first time a full-service Marriott and an extended stay Residence Inn were featured as a dual property. Residence Inn guests enjoy all the wonderful amenities that come with the Residence Inn brand, but by being connected to a Marriott receive even more. Such as access to a full-service restaurant and lounge, extensive on-site event space and full culinary team behind the daily hot breakfast buffet and evening socials. What a combo!
A few others that are on their way & recently opened: Homewood Suites & Hampton Inn Cincinnati Downtown, Home2 & Tru by Hilton Grove City, Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites Toledo, the list goes on… Did you know OHLA publishes a New Construction Pipeline quarterly? It is available in the MyOHLA tab for members. Contact Lauren with questions!
Until Next Time,
Additional pictures from my hardhat tour of TownePlace & Springhill Suites by Marriott …
Coming from a background as a sales manager in an extended stay hotel, I have heard it all! “Aren’t those kinds of hotels a little outdated?” “I could never stay in a hotel that long.” “WAIT! I can bring my dog?” My answer, every time… “You’d be surprised what we can offer you!”.
Extended stay hotels have made a huge splash in the hotel pond over the past several years in this upscale segment of extended stay lodging, with brands like Residence Inn by Marriott, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hyatt House and Staybridge Suites by IHG.
I recently visited the Staybridge Suites by IGH at Polaris, located north of Columbus and celebrating their one-year anniversary! I was impressed by the design layout and overall concept. With similar amenities to its counterparts a few attributes stood out (aside from being able to see Ikea & Top Golf from their parking lot… Eek!).
First, you know the door hangers that say “Do Not Disturb”, “Pet in Room”, etc. that never seem to actually stay on the door handle? Staybridge has a fun way to get the message across by utilizing magnets that connect to the door frame of the room. To go with this twist, I loved the verbiage: “Taking my Sweet Time Today. Come back later.” and “Shhh… Sleeping Like a Baby. Do not Disturb.”
Second, there are storage rooms for guests to utilize! Perhaps the guest is staying for several months OR returning weekly for a night or two. The best part? This is a complimentary amenity for all guests AND if you have a group staying you can have multiple folks with access to said storage room. Now, that’s convenient.
Third, the pool and outdoor area. This property features a large indoor pool (may be one of the larger indoor pools I have seen!) and a beautiful open outdoor patio for guests to enjoy. Topped off with a fire pit and a covered grilling area with two grills.
There is a lot to be said about the Staybridge Suites brand and their efforts to make the guest truly feel at home. Through researching, I also found out that Staybridge Suites was one of the first chains to go to complimentary Wi-Fi as an amenity (what a thought!)!
Until Next Time,
P.S. I also loved these little to-go bags available at breakfast…
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!
When you’ve spent lots and lots of time inside changing diapers and working on organized tummy time on a proper flat surface, it makes you jump at a chance to hang out with adults doing adult things, like tapas and summer cocktails at a rooftop bar.
If you’re totally behind the times, Ohio recently got its second and third AC Hotels, in Dublin and Cincinnati. VASO is the new rooftop bar and restaurant at Dublin’s swanky AC Hotel. This property is located in the new Bridge Park Development, situated at the busy intersection of US 33 (Riverside Drive) and Rt. 161 (W Dublin-Granville Road). From my experience, ACs seem to be popping up in areas just like this – new, hip developments that need a stylish hotel to anchor a development of unique local restaurants, shopping and entertainment. When you enter the hotel, it’s a full sensory experience. The art and decor is fun to look at, it smells heavenly (AC branded scent – rumor has it there is a new one coming soon!), the beautiful floor to ceiling bar straight ahead
makes you crave a handcrafted cocktail before you even make it through the threshold and you can hear the buzz of conversation from the open lobby concept, offering cozy places to have private conversations or quick business meetings. Once you make it past the lobby, you head to a separate entrance for the exclusive rooftop bar… So let’s go.
I’ve only been in 3 AC Hotels, but all of them have a cool outdoor experience. The rooftop bar concept is taking Columbus by storm, but fortunately VASO got in and set the bar high from the start. The glass elevator sweeps guests up to the 8th floor where you’re greeted by a friendly host, who is hoping you have a reservation, because my guess is walk-in availability is slim here. We were visiting on a Sunday evening after the Muirfield Memorial Golf Tournament which brings in celebs like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Needless to say, the place was PACKED. Luckily, we made reservations about a month in advance (totally not necessary, we were just busy having a baby so you know, options are limited). Once you can look past the number of people who also thought a rooftop bar in the summer would be a good idea, you see that amazing view.
VASO is serving up Spanish-style tapas and handcrafted cocktails. Our group ordered the San Jacabo (waitress recommendation and my favorite), Patatas Bravas, Albóndigas de Cordero, Ceviche de Vieiras and Ensalada de brotes de Bruselas. Of course, no meal would be complete without dessert. I had the Torta de Santiago, but honestly, TJ’s Torta de toffee y dátiles was absolutely amazing.
Whether you sit inside or out, guests can enjoy the tapas menu with impressive views, cool music and delicious cocktails. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend a visit. If you’re there on a Thursday-Saturday, there is a dress code. Kind of old school, but I like it. Embrace the exclusivity, because at this rooftop bar, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. And why not make a night out of it an enjoy the accommodations at the AC Hotel Dublin?
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck
As I walked away from my car and towards the timeless brick home, I immediately felt at ease. I opened the black iron gate to allow myself up the steps and to the brick sidewalk that wrapped around the home (the Guest House sits in the rear lawn of the beautiful 1800’s brick home where the owners reside). Speaking of the owners, I was warmly greeted by Lisa, and was so excited to have the opportunity to relax in this urban oasis.
Lisa walked me to the Guest House which stood at the opposite side of the lawn and is so charming. As I turned the corner, I was completely taken away by the perfectly manicured flower beds and ever so green grass. If you could live inside of the Spring season, this is where you’d want to be.
I opened the door and headed up the steps which opened into a large, open, lofted space with vaulted ceilings. Everything had a rich ruby red color incorporated into it. The bathroom; all red! Such a beautiful color to accent the neutral walls and furniture.
Sitting on the counter top was a sweet treat (from one of my favorite bakeries, Pistachio Vera) and a welcome card from the hosts (so kind!).
I dropped my bag and grabbed a book immediately as it just felt right. I appreciated the serenity and peacefulness of this location. It was so quiet! I casually came and went from my lofted space to the outdoor seating.
As the sun began to set, it was time to settle in and head to bed (the oh-so comfy bed!). I pulled down the woven window shades, prepared a cup of hot tea in the kitchen, grabbed my sweet welcome treat, and settled in for a peaceful night’s rest.
What a great stay! Now I am thinking ahead… this would be an ideal location to stay for an Ohio State home game!