Review: Ritz Carlton San Juan
I've admitted this many times and I'm honestly not afraid to say it - my boyfriend and I are insane. Now that I've made that disclaimer, I'll mention that we took a quick weekend trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico in June. We flew out of SFO on Friday night, arrived in San Juan on Saturday morning, hung out for the day, and were back on the plane home on Sunday afternoon to arrive at SFO on Sunday night. Yeah, okay, flying over 7,000 miles for a 24 hour stay is a bit ridiculous.
That said, it was a really fun trip and it was awesome to visit Puerto Rico for the first time! I love that you don't need a passport, but it absolutely feels like you're in a totally different country. Since we were in town for a very short while, we decided to book a room at the Ritz Carlton San Juan, which is conveniently located very close to the airport (with that, keep in mind that the hotel is actually quite far from Old Town San Juan and necessitates a $25-30 cab ride each way).
Our flight arrived a bit before 10AM, so we arrived at the hotel shortly after. Chris booked our stay through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, which offers a 12PM early check-in benefit, so we figured we wouldn't need to wait long for a room. Unfortunately, we were quite wrong. Our room didn't end up being ready until almost 2PM, which was a huge disappointment when we had less than a day to enjoy our mini vacation. The front desk agent offered to hold our bags for us and said that we could use any of the hotel's facilities, but after an overnight red-eye, we really wanted a room to change and leave our things in. Because of the extremely late availability of our room, we were hoping it meant we got a good upgrade for our room (another benefit of AmEx FHR is a complimentary room upgrade). Again, we were wrong. We ended up in a standard king room with no view to speak of except for a small sliver of ocean if you leaned against the glass. Oh well. Since we were in Puerto Rico for 24 hours, we didn't plan to spend much time in the room anyways.
As I mentioned, our room was a standard king room and, despite this being a Ritz Carlton, which I always associated with the epitome of luxury, it wasn't much different from any other hotel room I've stayed in. The room had a bed, a love seat, and a desk. The bathroom was nice and had double sinks with a separate enclosed toilet area.
Sites to See: JetItUp.com
I discovered JetItUp.com back in March and was immediately in love. I am obsessed with infographics and I love anything that will allow me to document where I've been and what I've done. The site is awesome because it allows you to input every flight you've taken as far back as you can remember. For me, I've only really been tracking my flights in one place since January of 2013, so that's all the data I've inputted so far.
I'll be honest, data entry for JetItUp is tedious (unless you have all of your flights stored in TripIt or have a custom CSV file to import, it's manual) and it honestly takes ages. Despite that fact, once the data entry is complete, JetItUp generates some really awesome data about your travels.
You can manipulate date ranges and it will give you information on everything from the number of flights you've taken to the number of airports and countries you've visited. It also gives a fun "Top 10" for airports, countries, etc.
Scroll down a bit more and you can get everything from your carbon footprint estimate to fun facts like the longest flight you've taken.
You can also generate a world flight map, which quickly maps out everywhere you've flown. As you can see, quite a large chunk of the world is missing from my own map.
Finally, if you input future flights, JetItUp will also show you a fun map of what's upcoming. As you can see, I'm finally making a dent in the other half of the world and I couldn't be more excited about it!
Hope you enjoy!
Review: Westin La Paloma Resort
I had the privilege of attending a friend's wedding outside of Tucson, Arizona in May so Chris and I decided to stay at the Westin La Paloma Resort. It was a quite affordable option and the setting was absolutely gorgeous. My family lives in Arizona, but over three hours North of Tucson, so I always seem to forget the fact that Tucson is located right in the middle of the desert.
The Westin La Paloma Resort is nestled up against the Santa Catalina mountains and almost appears to be a natural part of the desert itself.
The resort has five pools, a golf course, a spa, and several restaurants (including a swim-up bar). Unlike the city hotels we've been staying at lately, everything is quite spread out - so much so that you can get a guy with a golf cart drive you to your room from the lobby. All parking is in a two-story lot directly in front of the lobby, so if your room is on the other side of the resort, it might be quite the trek if you have a lot of luggage. Luckily, our room wasn't too far, so we passed on the golf cart and headed to our room to hit the pool and relax before the wedding.
The rooms at the La Paloma are quite spacious. All appeared to have an attached patio to enjoy the desert views and a wonderfully large bathroom with double sinks and a separate shower and bath. In addition, our room had a Heavenly king bed, a seating area with a couch, and a desk. The La Paloma underwent a $35 million renovation that was completed in 2013 and the resort was quite nice, but the decor was understated and muted in traditional Westin style, which can be a bit boring.
As a current California/former Arizona resident, I've been to San Diego about a hundred times. Interestingly, somehow I always end up there with people who haven't been before, so I've developed a sort of tour (plus or minus an activity or two) that I have now taken 17 people on (over 5 trips) during their first visits to San Diego.
For my third city guide, here's what I love to see and eat in wonderful San Diego!
Balboa Park is one of the most beautiful places in San Diego. I take the same pictures over and over again each time I go and it's really because I just can't resist the beautiful architecture and grounds. Interestingly, many of the beautiful buildings in Balboa Park were actually designed for the 1915 Panama - California Exposition. Balboa Park is not only gorgeous to walk around, but it's also home to many fascinating museums, the world's largest outdoor pipe organ, and another item on this list - the San Diego Zoo. If you're in San Diego, Balboa Park is a must see!
Just a quick jaunt across the bay from downtown San Diego is a true gem - Coronado Island. You can reach it by bridge and it is a beautiful community with shops and restaurants along the main drag, Orange Avenue. My favorite thing to check out on Coronado Island is the Hotel del Coronado. It's a beautiful, historic, red-roofed hotel right on the beach and it's beautifully maintained. The "Hotel Del" as it's called, is nice to walk around and has a very rich history, including its very own ghost story, which I always get a kick out of. The beach on Coronado Island is also very nice and seems to be less crowded than others in San Diego.
Just a girl with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.