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September 2019

travel

Kiawah Island, SC Travel Guide

Where to begin with this post!  I use to vacation to Kiawah Island every summer as a child and went on to get married here on September 13th, 2014!  We were able to spend our 6th year wedding anniversary on the island with Lainey & Roman this time to experience it with us.   (You can see all the details about my wedding on A Low Country Wed Blog & Destination I Do.)  This island holds such a special place in our hearts and never disappoints in all aspects.  It truly is one of those magical beaches that has the prettiest golf courses along the coast to enjoy too.  There are 10+miles of beach, and 30+ miles of bike trails, and multiple kid splash park pools and playgrounds to keep them entertained.  I’ve always heard families favorite thing about the beaches here are the huge tide pools that appear and the fact you can have your dog on the beach!


(view from Sanctuary pool)

& Here is everything you need to know about Kiawah Resort

How to Get there:
It is about 45 minutes depending on traffic from the Charleston, SC Airport.  You drive through rows of beautiful trees in route to Kiawah Island, where you simply drive up to the front security gate and let them know where you are staying.

Where to stay:  
*When booking a place through Kiawah Resort, you get access to all the resort amenities & benefits. You have access to pools, fitness centers, discounted rates on recreational activities, golf, and tennis.  Keep in mind, people who book through the resort get preferential tee times and court times at the tennis center as well.

  • The Sanctuary Hotel- this is the only luxury hotel on the island.  We spent our wedding night here and this past weekend we stayed 3 nights and it was amazing!  Forbes Travel Guide awarded the hotel a solid 5 stars and you receive nothing short of a 5 star service!  “Choose from 255 well-appointed guestrooms, with King rooms spanning 520 square feet or more. Or upgrade to an exceptional suite, including the awe-inspiring 3,000-square-foot Presidential Suite.”
  • Villas– If you prefer more space for an affordable nightly rate, you can book any of the villas on the island!
  • Private Homes-  We rented several houses my wedding week that had 6+ bedrooms and turned into a huge family event.  You can book private homes on the kiawah website here.  There isn’t a bad view on the island, you just need to decide if you want to be on the beach or in a neighborhood!
  • COMING SOON! The Ocean Course cottages Vacation cottages that are 2 & 4 story will be under construction soon.  They are estimated to be ready in Fall of 2020.

 

What to do:

  • Bike: Reserve bikes ahead of time depending where you are staying on the island and ride bikes on the beaches and through the island.
  • Pool Hop: Visit all the pools, make sure to go to Night Heron Park and explore their splash park/water slides!
  • Play Golf– the PGA Championship is held on the Ocean Course located here. Kiawah has some of the nicest & most challenging courses in the world. Keep in mind certain courses require you to also have your own caddy.
  • Play Tennis- Voted the top tennis resort in the world by tennisresortsonline.com for 2019. “For an unsurpassed player experience, we offer 22 tennis courts, including ten new Har-Tru clay courts, all tucked into the resort’s stunning surroundings and bordered by fragrant oleander, rustling palmettos, swaying pampas grass and vibrant flowers.”
  • Beach- especially in the afternoons, don’t miss the tide pools that make you feel like you are on a secluded island!

     

  • Kamp Kiawah– If you’re traveling with the kids look into this, some of my favorite child hood memories were at Kamp Kiawah.  Find more info here.
  • Attend an Oyster Roast Dinner at Mingo Point- Available dates here and you can purchase tickets!
  • Spa– This is located in the Sanctuary Hotel.  The Forbes Travel Guide recognized The Spa at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort with Five Stars for the ninth year in a row!  This Forbes Five Star Spa’s soothing treatments are derived from botanical extracts, nourishing seaweed, rich mud and natural enzymes, all offered in a spectacular setting.  From beginning to end the entire experience was amazing.  We got the custom couples massage in one of their suite seclusion, I chose to incorporate a lavender scent for relaxation.  Designed for the most exclusive experience, their beautifully appointed Couple’s Suite features two treatment tables, a relaxation area and a private therapeutic bath and shower.  Make sure to arrive 30+ minutes early to enjoy all the spa has to offer.  We sat in the coed Magnolia room and enjoyed their custom granola and hot tea before our service.  They have a Sauna, whirl pool, and steam room to relax ahead of time or post treatment so make sure to bring your swim suit.  If you do only one thing on this trip, make sure to book a spa appointment! I can’t rave about this experience enough.  Explore all the treaments here.

     

Here is a Sample Itinerary they customized for us which was the perfect amount of family fun + relaxation for a 3 day weekend at the Sanctuary Hotel:

Day 1:  Check in, head to the beach to enjoy the late tide pools that show up for the kids.  End with Dinner at the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary.

Day 2:  Up early with kids- Grab bikes for the weekend and ride them to the beach or Night Heron Park Pool!  Head back for lunch at Logger heads by the sanctuary pool, and get the kids down for naps!  3pm- book the dolphin excursion where you can see them swim right up to the boat and various animals along the sound.  4:30pm-  Play nine holes at one of the famous golf courses- We did Cougar Point!  Then head to dinner at the Ryder Cup room (located at the Ocean Course for a one of a kind sunset).  Let the kids roll down the hill while you have a cocktail on the lawn waiting for your table. (Always make reservations in advance)

Day 3: Get up early and ride bikes around the island again and enjoy a full day at the beach & park to just relax.  Book a babysitter from the concierge for 3pm and head to the spa for a full afternoon of relaxation.  Head to dinner at the Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course to enjoy dinner without the kids and soak in that sunset one more time!

(on the dolphin tour)


Where to eat:

  • Breakfast: 
    -Jasmine Porch-southern cuisine, also great for dinner!
    -Relax & order room service!
  • Lunch:
    -Logger Head grill- by the pool at the Sanctuary, I had an amazing chicken pineapple sandwich I’m still thinking about!
    -Tomasso at Turtle Point- Italian dishes!
    -Beaches & Cream for ice cream & snacks!
  • Dinner:
    -Ryder Cup at the Ocean Course: Modern Pub Fare & a la carte Breakfast choices
    -Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course: Amazing seafood restaurant, as for the back room!
    -The Ocean Room at the Sanctuary: Premier Steakhouse, boasting Forbes 4 stars!  They also have amazing sushi too.
    All of these were phenomenal dinners, read more details about Kiawah’s Dining Collection here.
    (out in front of the ocean course dining area)

Here are some pictures over the last 7 years Amelia & Dan have captured from our engagement to last weekend!



Thank you so much Kiawah Resort for having us and continuing to exceed our expectations every stay!  As always, all opinions are my own.  Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on events happening on the island!

travel

Seattle Travel Guide

This was our first time in Seattle and I have a feeling it wont be our last.  If you missed it on my Instagram, I recently accepted an 100% remote IT recruiting job with Amazon, so they flew me out to Seattle for my first week of training at their headquarters!  I know we went in the prime time to visit because it only rained once the entire time for a week and the weather was mid 70s.  Apparently every other month of the year is typically rainy, so if you’re going to visit shoot for the summer months!  The city felt fresher to me, unlike New York or Paris, but a crisp feel probably because it sits right on the water.  Overall, we felt great about the trip and below I’ve highlighted a few of our favorite spots!


(your basic picture of pike place market, wearing all shop the mint)

What to do:

  • Get the Seattle City Pass: Visit all the hot spots included.
    Admission Includes

  • Go to the Beach: We were recommended Alki Beach Park the most but we never made it! There is also Goldens Garden Park & Enatai Beach Park & Boathouse.
  • Take the kids to all the Museums & Parks! Downtown Bellevue Park playground is new, free and fun!  During the summer they show free movies in the park for the kids!  Also heard great things about Kid’s Quest Childrens Museum, but we never made it.
  • Go to Pike Place Market:  Shop the farmers market, walk around on the pier or grab local sushi!

    (Kids at the Zoo wearing Emu Shoes!)

    (on the Ferris wheel, included on city pass)

Where to eat: (so many spots we didnt get to check out!)

  • Breakfast: Biscuit Bitch, All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar, Room service from either of the hotels mentioned!
  • Lunch: Lola’s, Mbar, Wataru, Serious Pie Pizza
  • Dinner: Canlis, The Nest, Sushi Kashiba, The pink Door, Bateau, Walrus & the Carpenter, Shuckers, Spinasse, Stateside
  • Dessert: Cinnaholic, Chocolate factory (pike place market), Salt & Straw Ice cream, Molly Moons Ice Cream.

    (View from the Nest bar & restaurant)

Where to Stay:

  •  Downtown Seattle:  This is where we stayed the entire time with the kids & I loved how close all the attractions were and amazing restaurants.  We checked out to amazing hotels while in town, our first night we spent it at Loews Hotel 1000 (read my full review here) and the rest of the week we stayed at The Fairmont Olympic (read my full review here)!  Both were amazing 4/5 star hotel spots, click on each review to see exactly what we loved about each!
  • Capitol Hill:
  • Bellevue:  Referred to as the Eastside of Seattle, right across lake washington.  It is about 30 minutes from downtown seattle, amazing parks, beaches and a dry bar here 🙂
  • Ballard Area:  Where a lot of locals live!  This is a hip waterfront neighbord, that would be cute to rent an airbnb for a weekend!


    (view from the space needle: also available via city pass, dress is tiare hawaii)
    *As always, you can shop all my outfits here from all my trips!
travel

Review of The Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle

We checked into the amazing Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle on our second night in town and stayed for four nights!  This place was unreal, I felt like we were in a story book once we walked into the lobby area.  The entire hotel screams luxury and the staff was so amazing it would be hard to complain about anything here.  The Hotel felt like a solid 5 star hotel, so I’m not sure why online it says only 4 stars.  But let me tell you, if you are going to stay at a hotel in Seattle, this should be it!  See behind the scenes of the hotel on my story highlight here and tons of videos.
Read below for everything we loved about the place!

What we loved:

  • The Rooms:  We specifically had the Deluxe Executive King Suite, room 342 and 344 I believe.  I loved that the rooms were connected via a private hallway, and each room had its own pull-out couch with a living space to hang out.  Traveling with kids can be exhausting, so I think it’s important to make sure the room situation is perfect for your own sanity and enjoyment when vacationing.
  • The Amenities:  They have an indoor pool that the workout room over looks so you can conveniently work out while watching your kids swim.  The entire area has a clear roof, which brings so much light in too.  I researched a few hotels in downtown, and I think this was the only one I even saw with a pool!  My kids LOVE hot tubs, and this was the perfect size for them.  It was about the size of a baby pool, and 3ft deep all around.

  • The Location:  Located just blocked from the pier, pike market, and all the action, everything was such an easy walk!
  • The Service: From check in to check out, the entire team at Fairmont Olympic Hotel made sure we were spoiled for everything!  There is also a driver concierge to take you wherever you need to out front. We also did the Spa one day & I loved their new infrared pods that help with releasing antioxidants.
  • The Food:  I could order their entire breakfast menu from room service daily, and I did haha.  The fruit is so fresh and very tropical (papaya, grapefuit, etc) I craved it every morning.  We also enjoyed dinner one night on site at their restaurant Shuckers.  If you love oysters, this place is a must try!

    (picture from shuckers, on site restaurant at the hotel) 

    Thank you Fairmont for having us & for all the special touches during our stay, we can’t wait to visit again!

 

travel

Review of Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle


We spent our first night when we arrived in Seattle at the Loews Hotel 1000 (downtown Seattle) location & it was the perfect welcome into the city!  We have stayed at other Loews properties (see review of Loews Santa Monica here) & always felt their hotels held high standards.  We are kind of hotel and food snobs, so we won’t ever stay at a place that isn’t phenomenal all around if I can help it!  You can see live behind the scenes of the hotel and our experience on my Instagram stories here, under highlights Seattle.

What we loved about the hotel:

  • Location:   A block away from all the action in Downtown Seattle.  You can walk to Pier 57, Seattle Great Wheel, Seattle Aquarium, Pike Place Market, all within 5 minutes.

  • The Rooms:  We stayed in a Deluxe City view two queen.  I love how the rooms were separated by a wall & curtain, so you actually felt like you were in a suite!  Also in love with their bathtub, the water comes from the ceiling!  Perfect for a small family.  You can book our exact room here.
  • The Dining:  We had breakfast one morning at their restaurant on site, All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar, and it was amazing!!  We had pancakes, fruit, French toast, green tea, coffee, you name it, everything was delicious!  I read the reviews and I know people love to eat dinner here too!
  • Golf Simulator:  If your husband is a golf fanatic like mine, then you just made his trip!  The hotel has an amazing golf simulator you can reserve for two hours ahead of time, or block for a party as well & have food catered in!
  • Family Friendly: We love Loews Hotels because they are very family centric!  They cater to parents and children of all ages.  The snippet below was recently announced this season, which can help families book more on a budget with their hotels! “Loews Hotels has revamped their legacy kids program with the launch of Loews Loves Families, focusing on kids of all ages, from infants to teens. For more than two decades, Loews Hotels has been a brand known for catering to children through Loews Loves Kids. Beginning this summer, Loews Loves Families will elevate the experience for the entire family, parents and children alike, starting with a special Family Road Trip package that will save families money on stays throughout the west coast this summer.”  Book the family road trip package here, valid until Sept 30th! All in all the staff, food, and service was amazing at Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle, we can’t wait to visit again!  Thank you for an amazing stay :).