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.
West Palm Beach, Florida, recently welcomed AKA West Palm, a hotel residence offering long-stay accommodations. As AKA’s second South Florida property, AKA West Palm features 215 hotel residences comprised of studios, one- and two-bedroom spaces, and Penthouse suites. The five-story hotel blends modern luxuries with comfort and simplicity, with sleek kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces. Room furnishings contrast with a backdrop of stone, metal and wood to create simple, clean lines with minimal contrast.
ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.
Birmingham, Alabama, was named for the city in the English Midlands that kept the fires burning, warmed the homes and made much of the steel for the United Kingdom’s industrial revolution. Decades later, the American city also made steel, so much of it, in fact, it became known as the “Magic City” for steel production, and the moniker stuck. But today’s Magic City makes more than steel, taking the raw product a few more steps to become a major center for automobile parts manufacturing and more, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and U.S. Steel. Thanks to local leadership and long-term planning, the magic still works for Birmingham, as evidenced by its role hosting The World Games 2022 last summer.
As New York City’s leading Latino cultural institution, El Museo del Barrio welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. El Museo’s wide-ranging collections and exhibitions represent these cultures’ richness, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations and educational programs. Ranging from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art, the permanent collection totals more than 8,000 objects.
Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …
Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown recently reopened its Fairmont Gold, introducing amenities, a contemporary new style in the Fairmont Gold Lounge and dedicated concierges. The 48-room, three-suite Fairmont Gold, positioned as an urban oasis, takes over the entire ninth floor of the hotel and delivers exceptional service to meet guests’ needs.
The results are in! For the 19th consecutive year, Global Traveler conducted its GT Tested Reader Survey, asking frequent luxury travelers to name the best in a variety of travel-related categories. More than 22,000 people responded. Global Traveler’s inaugural awards were celebrated in 2004.
Copa Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary by showcasing a Boeing 737-800 NG in an aircraft livery that harkened back to the airline’s look in the 1990s. During that time, Copa Airlines launched an expansion of their network to become the Hub of the Americas®, changing the way to travel to and connect in our Continent.
Originally a thriving Colonial seaport, Newport became the summer playground for the Gilded Age’s elite in the late 1880s. Today their mansions dot the coast of Aquidneck Island, and their favorite pastimes — sailing and tennis — still dominate the city’s recreational offerings. In fact, Newport hosted the first U.S. Open tennis championship in 1881 and golf tourna- ment in 1895 and hosted the America’s Cup from 1930 to 1983. You can experience most of Newport on your own, including the mansions, but don’t rule out a guided tour or two when you visit.