Monday, November 18, 2019

Kimpton Hotel Arras: Asheville's newest hotel


On October 1st, Asheville welcomed it's newest hotel with the addition of Kimpton Hotel Arras. Arras is a 128-room boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown, just steps away from shopping, great restaurants, and local art galleries. The location of this new oasis couldn't be better, but what really sold this new property for me was the outstanding level of customer service, luxe amenities, and abundant mountain views. 

I've been coming to Asheville regularly for six years now as it's the perfect distance from Charlotte for a weekend away, and I've had the opportunity to stay at hotels all over the city. I was anxiously awaiting the opening of this hotel, with high anticipation of a fabulous stay - and I have to say, it was nothing short of that.

I arrived at the hotel about a week after Asheville's peak leaf peeping season came to and end and hotel rates in the area were still on the higher end of the spectrum. I was surprised and super pleased to see that Kimpton's rates however, were much more reasonable (around the $180/night category depending on room type), and in all transparency, I am shocked by those rates in light of the amazing all around experience I had. But, I'm not complaining because this is a huge factor in allowing us to come back often! 

Rooms

My room was located on the seventh floor, and was one of the most impressive rooms I've stayed in to date. Decor was modern and stylish and tributes local artists, and floor to ceiling windows provided sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You will find a fully stocked mini bar with local Asheville snacks (the poppy popcorn is a must) upon entering the room, and a full sized bathroom with a tub and walk-in shower directly ahead. The room was also divided into a living space with a full size couch and desk space to work, and King size bed that felt like home. Trust me when I say waking up to the sunrise over the mountains doesn't suck. I'm also pleased to announce the room came equipped with a Nespresso machine, if you know me - you know this is important. Additionally, I really appreciated the amazing lighting that went into putting the bathrooms together. Not only did the bathroom have natural light, the light switch was on a dimmer so you can adjust how dark or bright you want the area to be while getting ready, or soaking in the tub. I can't go without mentioning how clean everything was as well. As previously mentioned, this room was a complete dream










  




Dining

There are two restaurants inside of the hotel. Bargello is a Mediterranean inspired, locally sourced restaurant led by Peter and Martha Pollay (they also own Posana). The menu consists of wood fired pizzas, handmade pastas, and whole preparations for sharing. Katie and I tried a variety of dishes here both at dinner and breakfast and loved the food. Highly recommend ordering the sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, meatballs, swordfish and chicken piccata at dinner, and whatever you do -- do not forgo the porridge at breakfast! I'm not typically a porridge person, but I was blown away by how tasty it was. The second restaurant in the hotel is District 42 which blends together small plates and craft cocktails in a lounge like environment. Doing happy hour here before heading to Bargello for dinner is not a bad idea! I highly recommend the Mountain Air cocktail. 







Amenities

I think one of the most unique aspects of staying at a Kimpton property is the afternoon social hour. Every afternoon from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, Kimpton offers complimentary wine and snacks in the hotel lobby for it's guests. Also located near the check-in desks are complimentary PUBLIC bicycles to borrow during your stay, and the hotel offers free coffee and tea every morning. Kimpton Hotel Arras also offers a fitness center for it's guests complete with Peloton's and Rogue strength and conditioning equipment and a private massage room available for booking. I didn't have a chance to check this out during my short stay, but it's at the top of my priority list for the next visit as working out is typically a part of my day while traveling. If you have a fur baby you can't leave home without, not to worry, the hotel is also pet friendly and located about 3 miles from the popular French Broad River Dog Park. 



Overall Thoughts

The customer service was the highlight of my stay. While the hotel has only been in operation for a short time, the service was seamless! I was so impressed with the staff and how genuine and kind they all were. I felt welcome and like the team was excited for me to be there which is a rare find these days, especially within a new establishment. I truly can't express enough how above and beyond this hotel goes for it's guests. Everything from hand-written welcome notes, to never being greeted with anything but a smiling face, my stay truly felt personal. This is an excellent stay, at a fantastic value. Take me up on the opportunity, and book a stay this December to see the Christmas lights - you just might see me there! 

*In partnership with Kimpton Hotel Arras. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Best Boston Travel Guide


Oh how I love Boston, and all of New England for that matter! If it wasn't for the cold winters, I'd consider moving there. If you haven't ever experienced Boston, I highly recommend considering a trip during the fall. It's my favorite time of year to visit. The temperatures are crisp, the leaves are colorful, and the food is fantastic! Today I'll be sharing the ultimate 3 day Boston Travel Guide for your next visit to Beantown.

Where To Stay

Fairmont Copley Plaza

Location // Location, location, location! One of the biggest pro's of choosing the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel as your home away from home is the fact that it's located in the heart of town - Copley Plaza in the Back Bay. Situated adjacent to the Boston Public library, Hancock Tower and Trinity Church - this hotel allows you to walk the city and it's biggest attractions without the hassle of needing a car. Other walkable attractions included Newberry Street, home of high end shopping and retail stores, as well as the famed Freedom Trail.

The Room // We landed in Boston around 1:30 PM and arrived to the hotel by 3:00 PM. We were booked in a Fairmont Gold room which allowed us our own separate check in and concierge on the fourth floor of the hotel. Our room was spacious, traditionally decorated, and included a non-operational fireplace which was a nice added touch to the ambiance. Although our room did not have a view (it looked at another building across the street), other rooms on this floor have a birds eye view of Copley Plaza with floor to ceiling windows, which I loved! The room had a comfortable working space for Katie to edit photos, a Nespresso machine (my favorite), and a mini fridge with snacks and drinks for purchase. Beds were comfortable, and nightstands included outlets for your phone charger. One of my favorite parts of this room though, were the Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries in the bathroom! They smelled amazing, and are a high caliber toiletry -- meaning you don't need to worry about packing these before your trip! You will want to use the ones provided for you.

Fairmont Gold // The Fairmont Gold package is something you can add onto your stay, and something I highly recommend doing. As a Fairmont Gold guest, you have access to the Gold Lounge daily which provides a beautiful breakfast spread daily, and evening appetizers from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, along with an honor bar and non-alcoholic beverages. It also includes complimentary wifi, newspapers and magazines, and even rentable movies! Adding this package to your stay truly enhances the experience, and is part of why I love the Fairmont brand.







Where To Eat

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen // Located inside the Fairmont hotel, this restaurant is beautiful! We opted to have lunch here which was inclusive of meatballs, tuna tartar, Indian flared cauliflower, lobster and the tuna nicoise salad. Yes, we ordered a gammet of things to get the full spectrum of options! The menu is also set up tapas style, so the plates are small and shareable, and the food was fantastic! But, the item that stood out most to me was the bourbon bread pudding dessert. I'm typically not a bread pudding fan, but wow - this was insanely delicious. So much so, that I didn't want to stop eating it despite not having any room left in my tummy! That's how you know it's worth it!

Lolita Cocina // Hands down the best Mexican dinner in town! This wasn't my first rodeo at Lolita's, but I couldn't wait to be back. Nothing on the menu is wrong to order as all of it tastes amazing! This is a great dinner spot with a super trendy vibe, perfect for starting your night at. The margaritas are so good! I highly recommend making a reservation in advance as it stays busy no matter what day of the week you visit. 

Tatte Bakery & Cafe // Perfect for a latte and pastry, breakfast, or lunch! I know many of you are oatmilk drinkers as well, and they carry this at all their locations! You can't go wrong here, we visited daily! 

Neptune Oyster Bar // The best lobster roll I have ever had! I polled my followers on Instagram for where to find the best roll in town, and Neptunes took the cake. I see why! It's a tiny little place located in the North End with generally long waits so plan in advance. I recommend stopping in and putting your name down about an hour prior to the time you actually want to eat.

Boston Public Market // Specifically visit the Red Apple Farm stand inside the market for hot apple cider and delicious apple cider donuts! They make the donuts right in front of you, and believe me when I say they are the real deal! This was such a fun little stop on our trip, highly recommend it if you're around in the fall and winter!

Mikes Pastry // Boston is known for the food scene in the North End, specifically the rival of cannolis between Mikes Pastry and Modern. Personally, I'd grab a cannoli from Mikes! This is a great stop while waiting for a table at Neptune Oyster as the two are around the corner from each other. 

Barcelona Wine Bar // Not exclusive to Boston, but a highly recommended dinner spot if you don't have a Barcelona in your city. It's Spanish style tapas with a fantastic ambiance! Service is great too. Highly recommend trying out the meatballs, and olive oil cake for dessert (trust me here). 

For additional food recommendations around the city, see this post. 







What To Do

Take a walk through the Boston Public Garden
Catch a game at Fenway Park, or hop over to visit the stadium - they do tours!
Stroll through Beacon Hill & Marlborough Street and admire all the fall stoop decorations
Do happy hour at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen
Visit the famed Acorn Street
Go shopping on Newberry
Walk the Freedom Trail 
Visit the North End (Boston's little Italy)
Grab a hot apple cider donut and cider at Red Apple Farm
Visit Harvard 
Visit the Boston Public Library and make a reservation for high tea inside the dining room






*Thank you to Fairmont Copley Plaza for hosting this stay. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The 6 Best Amazon Fashion Finds










Amazon has been killing the fashion game lately! Free shipping, free returns, most items arrive within two days of purchasing, and great prices. I've always loved Amazon, but I'm a loyalist when it comes to the retailers that I feel provide quality and customer service - so I have to admit, it took me a while to hop on the Amazon Fashion bandwagon. But, to my surprise - I've had great luck so far! 

Shopping for clothes on Amazon is like going to Marshalls, you have to be prepared to spend a couple hours sifting through the bad to find the good, because not all are created equal if you know what I'm saying. So, my round up today is to make your life easier when navigating the world of Amazon Fashion! These are items I've recently ordered, worn, and washed and can highly recommend - keep in mind this is my personal opinion, but hopefully by now you trust me...

Keeping this list mainly in the fashion realm, but if you're curious about other repeat offenders on my regularly scheduled Amazon order - see here.

Drape Deep V Back Yoga Top // You can't beat this top for $16.99! I sized up one size to a Medium, and plan on ordering other colors as well (I purchased in white). See a photo of me in it here. Great quality, looks super cute with leggings, holds up well when washed!

Sequined Glitter Lip Print T-shirt top // Pictured above, and I am obsessed with it! It's also only $15.99 with several color options available. I sized up to a medium but really wish I would've size up two sizes to a large. I like to knot these tops, and this one runs fitted so the extra room would've helped with knotting. 

Ruffled Cocktail Dress // Got a fall wedding coming up? Need new work clothes? Add this to your cart! At under $30 this is a must-have! I purchased it in burgundy, see photos of it here - and was shocked at the quality for such an inexpensive price point. It runs true to size, and I'm wearing a small in the photos!

Built-in Bra Workout Tank // Wow! If you're a Lululemon fan but hate the prices, this ones for you!! It's essentially an amazing dupe for a popular style Lululemon carries and it is super worth the buy (it's half the price at $25)! I sized up to a medium based off the reviews, and it fits perfectly. I ordered it in black, but am eyeing additional colors because it's been the perfect addition to workout gear. It's also super sweat wicking, and a very cool material! Perfect for the gym, or if you just want to look cute with leggings! It's long enough to cover the booty as well. 

Louis Vuitton Bifold Wallet Dupe // If you love to look of Louis Vuitton, but hate the price - look no further. I ordered this for myself after wanting the Louis wallet for ages but just couldn't justify the price for something that stays inside my purse nonstop. This is actually a great quality wallet, and the differences between the dupe and the real deal are mere! Highly recommend. 

Insulated Lunch Box // Okay, I get you're probably thinking this isn't a "fashion" find but hear me out... If you work in an office environment and need to carry a lunch box to work -- this one actually looks like a handbag and matches tons of outfits due to its color! I bought this for myself to bring meal prepped items with me when I travel, and have received so many compliments on it! It's functional too. 

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