Arrival/Check-In: After my flight to LAX from PHL and a long ride from Los Angeles to Anaheim, California, I was excited to see our hotel when we pulled up to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
As far as Disney resorts go, this one snuck up on me — I was not expecting a Disney hotel with so much subtlety. Tucked away like a cabin deep in the forest, the resort features an impressive lobby swirling with activity and plush leather lounges, faux fireplaces and miniature rocking chairs for the kids. I was immediately taken with the design. Like a rustic lodge but with that special Disney touch and hidden characters like Chip and Dale mixed into the décor, this resort kept up with the “Grand” in its name.
Hotel staff quickly greeted me and escorted me to a line for the concierge desk, where I waited a few minutes for my turn and received help with my bags. As I’d arrived a few hours prior to check-in, my room wasn’t quite ready, so the concierge staff offered to hold my bags for safekeeping while I spent a few hours exploring the resort, theme parks and Downtown Disney.
I took a quick tour around the lobby and nearby pool and got a little lay of the land before heading out into the parks from the hotel’s private entrance — something unique to the resort and incredibly convenient for families.
A couple of hours later I returned with some color from the sun and newfound excitement to check out my now-ready room.
Guest Quarters: I walked into my large, two-bedroom guestroom complete with a balcony overlooking the pool and courtyard. The heavy dark-wood pieces, natural tones and cozy décor of the room echoed the rustic natural vibe of the lobby and added a sense of warmth I didn’t expect at a Southern California hotel. I investigated the bathroom and found a rainfall showerhead, already a win for me, and his-and-hers sinks with matching Disney soaps and lotions, a tad larger than travel-sized, that added to the homey feel of the room.
I checked out the closet space, hung up a few items and spread out my computer and work bag across the spacious desk near the TV. I dropped my bags by the couch and sat on the balcony with a coffee I made in the in-room Keurig to take in the views and perk up before getting ready for dinner. While it may sound like I tore into the room and made a mess immediately (I kind of did), you wouldn’t notice based on the spacious and generous layout of the room.
Services/Amenities: The convenience of the resort’s location, amenities and services are a game-changer for such a dynamic and busy location. With a designated entrance to Downtown Disney and the parks, guests can easily spend the day at both Disneyland and Disney Adventure with convenient re-entry and fast access to park security lines.
While the special entrance to the parks may be the most convenient aspect, it’s definitely not the only amenity. Guests enjoy 24-hour access to the fitness center (despite its small appearance, it includes high-tech cardio equipment, Peloton bikes and weights) and the 24-hour business center. Among many other Disney amenities and services, guests can book some relaxing spa treatments, explore different on-property dining options, take advantage of the resort’s laundry services and have merchandise purchased at Disney shops delivered to their room.
◆ For guests looking to spend the day by the pool, call ahead to reserve a cabana or arrive early to stake out a lounge chair.
◆ The designated park entrance can shave time off getting to and from the park and allows guests to skip the resort shuttle altogether.
◆ A few levels above the lobby, guests can get cozy on the library-esque floor to get some work done during quieter hours, like early morning or after dinner.
DISNEY’S GRAND CALIFORNIAN HOTEL & SPA
1600 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
tel 714 635 2300
Airplane travel evokes a lot of emotions these days: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness, just to name a few. But when you do take to the skies again, the giddiness of getting pampered at 35,000 feet can most certainly wash away the surrealness of the past year and a half — at least for the duration of a long- haul flight — as you sip Champagne and slip your feet into plush slippers. While some global airlines have paused or pushed back plans for upgrades and refreshes to their premium cabins, others have introduced exciting changes that await in your pod or lie-flat bed in first and business classes. What’s more, amenities like privacy screens, sliding suite doors and space to spread out all serve a dual purpose as methods to luxuriate in the air while keeping social distance. Here are some nice- ties to expect now and in the near future, from retrofitted seat configurations to updated décor to Michelin-starred meals:
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
United Airlines is making international travel more accessible. United announced the largest trans-Atlantic expansion in its history, including 10 new flights and five new destinations including Amman (AMM), Jordan; Bergen (BGO), Norway; Azores (PDL), Portugal; Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Spain; and Tenerife (TFS) in the Spanish Canary Islands. All new routes, set to begin in spring 2022, are not served by any other North American carrier.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Walker Hotel Tribeca is blushing pink with an exclusive offer benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month, guests can book an all-pink guestroom, among additional amenities.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
Insight Vacations, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland are offering the chance to win a free trip to Ireland for two, valued at $6,000. Oct. 18–22, The Road to Ireland contest page will be updated daily with a new clue and question that contestants will need to answer for a chance to win a trip for two on Insight’s Country Roads of Ireland tour in 2022. Contestants have until 11:59 p.m. PST Oct. 29 to submit answers.