A welcome retreat this year for me is the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California. Right on the edge of the drive versus fly decision from Phoenix, San Diego, California is a quick trip. When it is just too darn hot, California is close by. The November trip is our third visit to Carlsbad this year, each was a long-weekend out of town.
I drive past the Talking Stick Resort every day on my way to work. It looks like a nice resort from the distance. Recently, I had concert tickets in the Grand Ballroom. The tickets were more expensive than some of the intimate shows (small venue) that I have been to lately. The majority of the ticket price was venue fees that nearly doubled the ticket price.
Walking in, I felt like I was at a get-rich-quick seminar, not a rock concert. Ahh, the trick to get rich quick is to overcharge for venue fees and pocket the money.
Before the show started, we were treated to 30 minutes of sound check, which they never really got right. As the performer was on “stage”, she had to do another sound check before the first and second song which helped to reduce the distortion. This room was not designed for music, the sound was horrible, and everyone talking near the bars and doors overwhelmed the performance.
In order to fit more people into this ridiculous space, never intended for music, they sold standing room only seating. At least they could see the stage. The seating area is flat and level (not graduated or stadium seating) combined with a low stage, meant that we could only see the temporary rigging for the lights and speakers mounted to the ceiling.
Minor offenses include, the usher tried to sit us in someone else’s seats, no announcement or explanation of the 40 minute delay, and lack of signs to find the Ballroom rather than the Showroom. The nicest thing that I can say is that the seat rows were spaced far enough apart to walk past people sitting, some venues you practically have to climb over people the rows are so close.
Cash bars were located at each end of the ballroom. Drinks were posted as $7 each. We ordered 2 drinks, a single and a “double” that by my math should be $21 (highway robbery), but Talking Stick F-you math is $25.50, no receipt. Hmmm, a little much for tiny, water-down drinks.
Bottom line, I will NEVER give this place another cent! It was the worst, overpriced, terrible venue that I have ever been to. I could go on and on, about how bad this place was, but I have spent far to much time and money on Talking Stick Resort to last me a lifetime!
I love unique, boutique-style hotels. Hotels will a bit of history are even better. The Monte Vista is a four story, red brick hotel with a rich history located in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. Typical for buildings of this age, the rooms are small, but decorated for full use of the space. It was built in 1926 and was visited by old-Hollywood actors, many have rooms named after them. We stayed across from the Jane Russell room, due to a last minute booking. Next time, we will plan better and that Bob Hope room will be mine!
The hotel is off of the famous Route 66 (which offers its own sight-seeing and history), walking distance from NAU campus, near the Amtrak train station, a short drive to Snow Bowl, 81 miles south of the Grand Canyon, and very close to some of my favorite hiking trails!
Flagstaff is a great place to visit year-round. It is a refreshing place to cool off in the summer, at nearly 7,000 ft elevation. Be sure to avoid NAU graduation (usually early May) and homecoming (end of October), as these weekends tend to be crowded and expensive.
The idea for this blog originates while my Sister and I were lounging by the pool at Tucson’s Arizona Inn. Discussions turned to the “what are some fun activities around here?” from several Canadian families visiting, as well as the pool staff who were new to Arizona. We mentioned some of our favorite sights and activities for the area, which grew into all of the cool things “off the beaten path” in the Wild West! My Sister and I started a short list of things close by, and as we relaxed our definition of “close by” the list grew to several pages long. Several months have passed and the list just keeps growing.
It is only appropriate that I start off with Arizona Inn, where the spark began! Arizona Inn is a gem hidden away in the heart of Tucson, Arizona just minutes away from University of Arizona.
The 1930’s resort has a vintage Hollywood style from the immaculate grounds for croquet to the classic swimming pool. The casita-style rooms have a simple charm for the ultimate relaxing vacation. Many of the rooms have a private patio for total seclusion.
This little hide-away is perfect for a mid-week break, or to celebrate that special anniversary. Room rates are reduced in summer for a great price and tons of seclusion! Any time of year, Arizona Inn is wonderful.
During Summer, the Inn provides an Ice Cream Sundae bar pool side. They offer a variety of flavors, hot fudge & syrups, nuts, sprinkles, and a wide assortment of toppings. There is nothing more decadent than eating a custom made Ice Cream concoction by the pool!
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