ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Florence, South Carolina, is well-known to travelers driving from the Northeast to Florida as the halfway point off of I-95. After researching, it looked like this property had a good track record for those traveling with pets, so I called and spoke with Hyatt reservations to book and secure the details. The fee for the two dogs traveling with us, Ella and Beau, was $75 for both. On the receipt, the charge was referred to as a Pet Cleaning Fee. When I made the reservation, I received a discounted World of Hyatt member rate. They did tell me the dogs were not allowed in the restaurants, and I said that was sad as Beau likes to pony up to the bar. The reservationist thought that was funny.
After nearly 10 hours of driving, we arrived at the hotel and parked temporarily on the side to check in. I took Ella and Beau in for check-in while my wife waited in the car. We were offered room 310, close to the elevators, and I had to sign a waiver stating I was responsible for the pets and their actions. I asked where the pet relief area was and was told it was beyond the pool. These guys needed a break!
We went to the room after parking the car and then took a bellman’s trolley to get our luggage and supplies. The lot is about a half a block away.
GUEST QUARTERS: The room was a mini suite with a built-in sofa and two queen-sized beds — yes, the dogs got one of them. A large TV hung on the opposing wall, with cabinets flanking the walls around. The large bathroom had a single sink and a big shower. Shampoo and conditioner were provided, along with larger bars of hand soap. The water pressure in the shower was inadequate, but there were plenty of towels.
SERVICES/AMENITIES: Starving from the drive, I did have a burger at the lobby bar served in a grab-and-go style, but you could sit at the bar. The French fries were superior and the burger was room temperature, but I was hungry so I ate it. We took the pups around Florence, which seems to have a lot of nice restaurants. As it was just before the holidays, there were many festive decorations and an impressive light show right next to our hotel.
Speaking to some locals, we learned Florence experienced a resurgence and redevelopment of the downtown area in 2010. Prior to that, they said, “You would not have been caught dead downtown.” I can tell you it is a charming, walkable town, and I was sorry I had so little time to discover the shops and restaurants.
On the pet-friendly aspect, we were surprised we did not receive any welcome package of something for the dogs, as they did ask for their names when I made the reservation. I also found the pet relief area too far and too small. Parking was across the street in a secure lot behind the police department.
During the Civil War, Florence was a major railway hub for the Confederacy and the home of the Florence Stockade, which held 18,000 Union soldiers in terrible conditions.
Ella was dying to hit the pool, but I think that was also against regulations.
A new and expanded campus at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum has been completed, reopening this summer and featuring new architecture designed by the architectural office of OMA New York, led by partner Shohei Shigematsu and project architects Lawrence Siu and Paxton Sheldahl, with Cooper Robertson (executive architect). The new expansion includes the Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building and extensive renovations to existing buildings. A $20-million commitment from New York State and Governor Kathy Hochul helped fulfill the expansion’s budget and completes the $230 million capital campaign, the largest campaign for a cultural institution in the history of Western New York State.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
Ever since opening in 2021, Nobu London Portman Square has served as the focal point for many gatherings, stays and experiences. This fall the hotel’s Nobu Bar adds four more reasons to visit with an exciting array of offerings, menus and events.
There’s no doubt the northern lights are awe-inspiring and spectacular. Unfortunately, they’re also fickle and fleeting, and despite your best-laid plans of checking this item off your bucket list, sometimes Mother Nature’s luminescent show just doesn’t cooperate. But one cruise line has a new fail-safe in place.
The Islands of Tahiti are among the most beautiful and sought-after vacation destinations in the world. The endless images of overwater bungalows with Bora Bora’s majestic peak towering over waters of every shade of blue have an intrinsic pull. But with 118 islands and atolls to explore, there is so much more to this spectacular region of the Pacific.
Think you need a degree in sailing to enjoy a yachting holiday? Dream Yacht Worldwide, a leader in yacht charters, wants you to relax and enjoy the journey. Newly expanded to include the British Virgin Islands, Martinique, Tahiti and the Seychelles, the "Easy Crewed” offered by Dream Yacht Worldwide also include charter options in Greece and Croatia.
In a dramatic plot twist that seems to have emerged from one of Shakespeare’s own plays, Vicenza, Italy, recently informally accused fair Verona, Italy, of stealing the claim to the famed Romeo and Juliet. For centuries, visitors have made the trip to Verona’s Juliet House to see the famous balcony.
Many small- and medium-sized businesses face time and budget constraints when organizing corporate hotel travel for employees. To address this problem, IHG® Business Edge emerged as a cost-free business travel solution for small- to medium-sized enterprises, offering travel managers exclusive access to enticing perks, handpicked educational resources and comprehensive company travel metrics. IHG Business Edge connects our loyal customers to our portfolio of 5,800 hotels and resorts across 18 brands in more than 100 countries.
When making your travel plans for fall, winter or any season in 2024, don’t overlook the beauty and excitement travel by rail in North America offers. Vacations by Rail offers an unforgettable experience filled with history, culture and natural beauty. Here are some beautiful and culturally rich destinations in North America to consider: