#Raleigh Summer Staycation Ideas | Where to STAY,EAT,PLAY #NorthHills @achotelsraleigh @level7roofbar

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary stay at the AC Hotels Marriott Raleigh and hosted by Level 7 to provide my perspective and share my thoughts. All opinions expressed in my review are honest and my own.

A recent study came out from wallet.hub that listed 2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycation and I was surprised that Raleigh did not make the Top 10 list! I’d like to change that by providing a Where to stay -eat-play Staycation guide for some of my fave areas in the Triangle. First area I’d like to share is Raleigh’s Midtown area-North Hills and it’s newest hotel, AC Hotel by Marriott.

STAY 

We checked into the brand new AC Hotel by Marriott, located in the trendy North Hills area of Raleigh. This select brand of hotel
in the Marriott family is unlike any of their others. Stylish and functional is how I would describe this place. The design is open showcasing simplicity at its best. Their website describes it as ” It’s an experience that has been designed to give you the essentials”.

Some hotel highlights:

  • Nice minimalist rooms with a sofa bed (suitable for our 5yr old) and great rain showerheads. We requested an accessible room as those have a bathtub. 
  • Beautifully functional gym area with an actual professional grade spinning/cycling bike
  • Artsy public spaces. European sleek feel abounds everywhere.

Great place for business travelers and couples alike. Although we were there with our little one, this brand is not specifically marketed to families like some of their other properties. However, our daughter and her cabbage patch kid enjoyed their stay! 

AC Hotels Raleigh North Hills 

101 Park at North Hills St             Raleigh, NC 27609

EAT….and Drink!


Inside the AC Hotels Raleigh North Hills, lies Level7, the new hotspot rooftop bar accessible to hotel guests, visitors and locals. Guests take an elevator ride to the 7th Floor which leads to both an indoor space (AC Lounge) and outdoor rooftop bar (Level 7).  

The beautiful AC Lounge indoor space resembles a gorgeous living room/bar , while Level 7 allows you to step out onto the open air patio, with oversized bone white lamps, comfy loungers and sofas.  

We got to sample the Level 7 experience
at dusk this past Saturday and despite the rains earlier that day, there was quite the scene. Some guests were sitting at the inside bar or enjoying the game on the big flat screen tvs outside. We decided to sit outside on the high top stools overlooking views of North Hills. 

They also have some community tables if you decide to come with a small group of friends to enjoy inventive craft cocktails and tapas. The outside also has their own exclusive bar so guests never need to go back inside to keep “hydrated”.

Their carefully curated cocktail menu caught our attention as it has so many interesting choices. Choosing one was a challenge so we decided to have a pair a piece. The management gave us a sneak peek at their brand new updated cocktail list. If you love margaritas, be sure to order the following:Midtown Margarita – Casaamigos Anejo, St Germain, Lemon juice and Blood Orange. It was an amazing twist on a all time classic!

I also tried the Raspberry Lemonade– Vodka, LemonJuice, Fresh raspberries and Peychaud’s and my husband enjoyed his cocktail called…

Lassiter– Basil Hayden, Black Walnut Bitters, Simple Syrup and Lemon Peel
All drinks were awesome and went even better with some of their tapas plates. We had a variety of samples from their eclectic choices. Here are some you must try:

  • Charcuterie platter

  • Roasted wings made with their in house made spice rub
  • Pork belly served with yellow rice                                                                 We took advantage of having a few hours to ourselves while our little one was at a Parent’s Night Out event. This is a perfect date night spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation while relaxing and enjoying small bites with a view.

Level 7 Roof Bar/AC Lounge

102 Park at North Hills St 

Raleigh,NC 27609

More Dining Options Nearby

Zoe’s Kitchen : Casual, Family-Friendly Mediteranean Fare. Open for lunch and dinner. Serves Beer and Wine. Has outside seating. (We dined here for an early dinner with our daughter after check-in. Because of their healthy kid’s menu options, this place is a family favorite. Read my review here)

Bonefish Grill : This restaurant is known for its amazing seafood lunch and dinner  options but do you know they serve Sunday Brunch? That’s where we dined after checking out of the hotel at noon. (See here for past review of Sunday Brunch) Reservations are recommended.

PLAY


If you have ever been to North Hills , then you know there are plenty of spaces to play, shopping….

…restaurants, movies and more! Right next to the hotel is Kings Bowl America, which has bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, darts and more. Food and drinks are available too at this entertainment complex.  Its fun for the whole family! 

One of our fave places to let our little one run around while we sit on a bench nearby is a little grassy area right near Ben and Jerry’s and Starbucks. It’s a popular play spot for families.

This Summer or anytime you need a Staycation, and prefer a place with one stop shopping, dining, lodging and play options, consider planning a stay in North Hills, Raleigh’s Midtown and leave with memories and a smile!

Thank you to the management and staff at AC Hotel Raleigh and Level 7 for your wonderful service. Until next time…

WHERE DO YOU PLAN TO VACATION/STAYCATION THIS SUMMER? Share below and Safe Travels!

Where to Enjoy a Luxury Family Getaway ~Mandarin Oriental Atlanta @MO_Atlanta #FanofMO 

I have been fortunate enough to have had quite a few experiences traveling the globe and staying in some of the world’s premier hotels. Whether for business or pleasure, most were renowned for their “luxury” and grandeur. However, my most recent stay at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta was the first luxury family travel experience shared with our daughter. As a kindergartner celebrating her first Spring Break, I thought we’d stay at this 5 star hotel known for its beautiful rooms, superb restaurant and elegant spa. We were quite pleased with how this property combined luxury with great service while keeping the littlest guests in mind.

CHECK IN

The moment we arrived at this 580 ft tall skyscraper in Buckhead, we immediately felt part of the #MOfamily. When we pulled up to their valet service, no one asked us did we need help with our luggage, they simply just took over the task. I found that predicting needs is what sets them apart from the rest. The intimate check in area was friendly and efficient. Upon arriving, a special welcome awaited our daughter along with a ‘Passport’ that had a fun scavenger hunt inside. This allowed us to tour the hotel to find clues as well as admire the ppst modern architecture and beautiful decor, such as the white and black marble floors throughout the lobby area!

A warm welcome always makes a great first impression. Our little one received a MiniMO stuffed Panda and slippers along with some bath products to make her stay more comfortable. Also awaiting for us was a beautiful array of delicious sweets to enjoy. These special children’s amenities and treats were a pleasant surprise! 

OUR ROOM

Our first room located on the 6th Floor had an issue with the Air Conditioning unit. Maintenance arrived in a few minutes. After a quick assessment they determined it may take a bit of time to repair. The room phone rang. It was the front desk. They apologized profusely for the situation and advised we would be immediately moved and upgraded to one of their Mandarin Terrace Rooms on the 15th floor. This room had a private balcony which overlooked the Buckhead skyline. The staff took control of what could have been a negative experience and not only solved it but enhanced the positive.  Click here to see our video tour of this elegant and spacious room. My favorite feature in the room was the smooth white marble bathroom with deep soaking tub, walk in shower and vanity area with flat screen tv. Our daughter really enjoyed bath time watching her favorite cartoons and I enjoyed winding down each day by turning bath time into my own city sanctuary! 

DINING

After a great night’s sleep, which included turn down service-another sign of the high caliber property that the Mandarin Oriental is, we woke up just in time for room service to deliver our breakfast. It was delightful. The American Breakfast offered a variety of delicious breakfast favorites. The Brioche French Toast with chocolate chips is definitely a 5 yr old’s dream! We enjoyed the meal and it was a great way to start off the day.

We also dined in their sophisticated restaurant and enjoyed breakfast there on our final day. I laughed when I was about to ask my waiter for more cream but he magically appeared before I could ask…he was holding more cream..There is that predicting needs thing again! The Cafe & Bar and its inviting surroundings not only offers a tasty breakfast menu but dinner, lunch and Sunday brunch. French Press Coffee, Freshly Squeezed Juice, Belgium Waffles, and Shrimp & Grits are just some of the modern American cuisine menu items you can find on their menu. High quality, locally and flavorful ingredients were used to prepare our meal and without a doubt turned us into #MOfoodies!

THE SPA at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta

Winner of the Best of Atlanta Awards by Atlanta Magazine, Dec 2016 for Best Spa Package (Splurge) , The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is a wellness oasis and a great treat for anyone needing some relaxation. I had a spa appointment for an Oriental Essence massage on our final day but prior to my indulgent treatment, we enjoyed their 60 foot lap indoor pool. 

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers a range of treatments, sauna, steam room, vitality pool access, a spa boutique, fitness center and more. The minimum age requirement for Spa and Fitness center access is 18 yrs old, however the pool is available to all guests. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day around the corner, I highly recommend treating someone to the gift of luxury & wellness by gifting them a Mandarin Oriental gift card! They won’t be disappointed. 

AMENITIES & OFFERS

While I received my massage, hubby and daughter wanted to check out Lenox Mall & Phipps Plaza nearby. While he was going to retrieve the car, the doorman advised them for such a close drive they should take the Mandarin Oriental’s house car. Ahmad the driver pulled up in their Tesla sedan and off they went. They simply called him when they were ready to return and he promptly picked them back up and delivered them back to the property. Very nice indeed.

The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta has a variety of offers for those planning a luxury retreat. From May 1-October 31, 2017 check out their Family Field Trip package which encourages family travelers to explore Atlanta’s great outdoors.  We checked out some indoor family fun attractions: Center for Puppetry Arts & Legoland Discover Center (which is conveniently close to the hotel and a must do). Stay tuned as I share my review of these Atlanta kid friendly places this week.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our favorite moments staying at The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta and are inspired to ‘Experience MO’ yourself with family.  At check out, #outandaboutAva received a concierge gift for completing her scanvenger hunt and answering correctly. Luxury they do very well. Service they do even better. We are definitely #MoFans aka Fans of Mo and hope you will consider becoming one too!

The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta 

3376 Peachtree Road NE

Atlanta GA 30326

Website: www.mandarinoriental.com/atlanta

#TravelTuesday Spotlight on New Hotel @EmbassySuites by Hilton Atlanta NE Gwinnett Sugarloaf #EmbassySuites

My sister in Law lives in Gwinett County, one of Atlanta’s main northern suburbs. Since this is my daughter’s spring break week, we decided to roadtrip 6 hrs down from Raleigh,NC. Every time my family and I come to visit we have a dilemma on where to stay and set up base camp. Thankfully that dilemma has been solved by the new Embassy Suites Atlanta NE Gwinett Sugarloaf

Centrally located near Duluth/Lawrenceville, this lodging choice is convienient to the many attractions here in this part of Metro Atlanta. Sugarloaf Mills and Medieval Times (a family fun attraction we checked out on Sunday)  is a short 5 minute drive as well as dozens of dining and entertainment choices. Most of this brands properties were set up in a classical atrium style. This is a different design. Set up in a more traditional hotel layout, this new property boasts a fresh upscale modern design with technology and service at their forefront. Rooms have a plethora of USB and charging outlets. Bedrooms even have their own dedicated power stations. This is essentially a tablet, smartphone, laptop obsessed world so to pleasure and business travelers alike, connectivity is important.

The public spaces are just as beautiful. Cabana style nooks with flat screens.

The expansive outdoor stylish patio seating just adds to the already special flair one feels when staying here.

The gym has everything needed for a workout and the indoor pool is available for a swim.

They have also redesigned their room suites. High end furnishings and quality bedding is par for course. The interior resembles many a high end boutique hotels for sure. Avant Garde light fixtures just add to the overall high brow feel to the entire suite.

I am also here to report that there iconic breakfast offerings are even better now with dedicated stations for custom yogurt parfaits and a oatmeal station with every imaginable fixin for the taking.

Of course made to order omelettes are still standard.

This hotel also still has their famous 2 hour complementary happy hour 7 days a week. Light snacks , beer, wine and cocktails can be enjoyed in their indoor or outdoor spaces. This is always been a generous perk of staying at this brand of Hilton Hotels.

SobeSavvy Tip:

Embassy
Suites by Hilton Atlanta NE Gwinnett Sugarloaf participates in the Hilton
HHonors® loyalty program, which is open to all guests and free to join –
visit 
here for enrollment information. Hilton
HHonors members always receive the lowest price with Hilton’s Best Price
Guarantee, along with Hilton HHonors Points, free standard Wi-Fi access, digital
check-in, Digital Key and no hidden fees, only when they book directly through
Hilton. To celebrate the recent opening, guests will earn 1,000 HHonors Points
per night from January 18 – May 31, 2017.

Next time in this part of the Atlanta metro make this Embassy Suites your lodging of choice. You’ll be glad you did. 

Cheers! https://www.instagram.com/p/BSuQZ8ihIhZ/