Husband was looking for a short weekend getaway for our anniversary a couple of weeks back. His requirements were good food, hot tub and breakfast. Well that is easy enough!
After the IHG points mail in promotion I was open to adding more IHG points to our account. Their current promo adds 5,000 points if you stay in May so I went on the hunt for an IHG property.
In South Haven there is Holiday Inn Express located just east of town. South Haven has great Lake Michigan beaches and good food. The hotel also offered Jacuzzi tubs in some of the rooms so booking this hotel was a no-brainer!
I have posted earlier about the “perks” of following your favorite hotels on social media. It pays to be social with hotel rewards programs and hotels themselves. I followed the Radisson Kalamazoo for a while, one day they had a contest to win a free hotel night. Nothing ventured, nothing gained so I entered. And to my surprise I won!
We picked a couple of open dates and made the call to the hotel to reserve our room. They had openings for our first choice so we made plans to stay on a Saturday night in May. A few hitches along the way made us arrive a couple of hours later than we had planned but nothing serious. We parked in the ramp across the street and waited in a short check-in line. While checking us in the friendly attendant told us we had been upgraded to the business level on the 9th floor. Wowza! Happy Anniversary to us!
We like to travel for our anniversary, by the time spring rolls around we are ready to head someplace warm! For this anniversary we chose a Carnival cruise. This was our second Carnival cruise and it fit the bill for a long weekend getaway.
We set sail from Tampa which is a very easy port. We used a taxi from the hotel and were dropped off right in front of the entrance. You take your carry on with you on the ship and we had drinks on the deck while we waited for our room to be available.
We like an ocean view room and booked the cheapest we can in that category. You are never in the room much anyway so why spend more money on a larger room?
A fun fact was we had taken this same ship years earlier on our honeymoon for a week long Caribbean cruise. They had refurbished it and moved it to a new port.
This mini water park was definitely new to the ship!
The mini golf was hard to play with the wind and the ship moving. Husband thinks he won!
The pool area where pretty much we spent most of our time by day and night.
And at the pool area I enjoyed this functional but fun pina colada drink holder…
I love sunsets at sea!
And after visiting Grand Cayman when the ship turned to leave port this poor person got quite a surprise hours after the rain had ended.
We would cruise Carnival again. I know if the past they have had their issues but we have never had a problem. During the swine flu outbreak they had Purell hand sanitizer every where. And crew members handled the buffet by serving you. There was little opportunity to touch anything in a public area. They even manned most of the busy doors in public areas. I was impressed and used every Purell dispenser I saw.
Not sure why the chicken crossed the road but the cars stop for them in Grand Cayman.
We were planning a carnival cruise for our anniversary when the swine flu hit the media. No big deal, wash the hands a lot and carry on with life was our plan.
We needed a hotel in Tampa prior to a cruise. Not being much at all into points or miles at the time I just wanted to save some money. So I looked into Priceline. It took a little research on bidding for travel and better bidding to figure out how everything worked before I tried a bid.
My first bid was too low so I rebid in a couple of days with success. I won the Grand Hyatt Tampa bay for $47. I was very happy with the reviews and we only needed the hotel for one night!
The hotel shuttle took us from the airport to the hotel for the night even though it was pretty late when we flew in. It was nice to not have to pay for a taxi.
Check in was very friendly and we were given a basic king sized room in the main tower building.
Some random shots around Savannah from our anniversary trip…
I enjoyed walking around the Charleston Historic District looking at all the iron work. The fencing and the gates were amazing!
I wanted our last evenings dinner to be special. Please no burgers and fries, Husband wanted a steak and I wanted a nice salad or chicken. We looked at the Olde Pink House menu, 17 hundred 90 and Garibaldi’s. I secretly wanted Olde Pink House but Husband picked Garibaldi’s for their steak. He wanted to try the grilled New York strip with mushrooms.
We arrived around 7:20 and put our name in for a table. Online reservations at Open Table showed openings at 8pm so I figured we were nothing out for trying a little before that. We stepped next door to wait where I introduced him to the Anthropology store. He was also impressed by their display pieces! On the way back we encountered one of the less savory sides of Savannah. The passed out twenty something on the sidewalk… He was out cold!
We checked back with Garibaldi’s and were immediantly seated in the back corner. That was fine because being on vacation Husband was a little under-dressed compared to many of the men.
Our waitress immediately came to take our drink order. I was offered bottled water but went with the good old free tap water. She was spot on all night with her service. All of the servers we saw seemed to be very, very good at their jobs! The only downside is the restaurant was very noisy. It was hard to hear the featured dishes our server was telling us about. I am sure the tin ceiling contributes. And it can be a little dark inside.
Husband was so excited by the seafood options he decided against getting the steak. He can eat steak at home, we cannot get fresh seafood as easily! He started with the featured appetizer which was oysters from three locations. I started with the Poached Pear Salad. The goat cheese fritters were warm and really went well with the cold salad.
We often found ourselves walking back to our rooms well after dark. Usually it was closer to midnight and very few people were around.
I keep a rough list in my head of things I want to do or try. My daughter says making a bucket list is morbid and these are smaller items that don’t really qualify. Like eating a macaron or buying lunch from a food truck…
We were touring around Savannah on Saturday and walked past this very colorful storefront for macarons. We were on a tour and unable to stop but I knew I had to try one!