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Hey y’all! I am back from my first trip actually exploring a place in Texas (I planned a conference outside of San Antonio years ago, and I never left the conference hotel!), and I am excited to tell you all about Sonesta Bee Cave Austin, my hosts for two nights.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Bee Cave is a beautiful hill country town that is right next to Austin and about a 15 minute drive from downtown. With 75 mph speed limits and giant highways, getting around the area was swift and easy!

After stopping for some tacos on the way from the airport (more on that soon), we arrived at Sonesta Bee Cave Austin and were immediately blown away by how beautiful and still-brand-new-looking the hotel was. The grand lobby was always spotless, bright, and shining, and it just offered a beautiful, expansive welcome while also being home to cozy seating areas.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin TexasIMG_8036

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

The gorgeous lobby piano was my husband’s favorite feature. He doesn’t play as much as I would like him to, but when we are out and he sees an open piano, he picks it right up beautifully.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

After a super friendly welcome, we were able to enjoy early check in to our corner king room, which had views of the pool (which due to gray skies and wind, I never got a good photo of)

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Bee Cave pool

Photo source

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

The outside seating area and pool were definitely hotel highlights; if it was 10 degrees warmer I would have made an afternoon of lounging and swimming!

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Once we had explored the lower floors of the hotel, we went up to the 6th floor to check out the place to be in Bee Cave, Meridian 98.

Talk about stunning.

From the moment we stepped out of the elevator, I think we were both awestruck by the rich decor, which featured lots of beautiful brown leather and cozy lounge details. I just wanted to (and eventually did) sink into those seats.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin TexasSonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

But once we got past all of that beautiful design, we were stunned again by some incredible bar and patio views. The area surrounding the hotel offers a ton of shopping in one direction, but it also offers green vistas that go on forever, and staring out at them never got old.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin TexasSonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

We visited Meridian 98 both nights of our stay, once for dinner and drinks and once for drinks and dessert.

I’m actually not drinking these days Winking smile, but my husband loved his Drone Dream (Yellow Rose Rye Whiskey, Vermouth, Fresh Lemon Juice, Cherry Juice, Blood Orange Bitters). Be sure to try one of the Bee Cave-inspired cocktails!

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

I love when restaurants have really good big salads, and the chef’s daily fresh greens were fantastic.

strawberry salad

The mojo chicken sliders were delicious, and the shoestring fries they came with were perfection. I am a fry aficionado and know good fries when I taste them!

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Live music right at the restaurant made it easy to get a taste of some of the Austin area’s music scene, and it was great to not have to leave our hotel to do so!

Live music is offered Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings,

live music Austin

Meridian 98 was also home to delicious breakfast each morning. Those comfy leather chairs were even comfier with a hot cup of delicious coffee and a big breakfast in front of me!

The breakfast buffet is a steal at $12 (Our breakfasts were hosted kindly by the hotel.) compared to the $26 at the hotel we stayed at later on downtown for a conference. An extensive spread of hot and cold items varied each day.

Bee Cave

Pastries, fruit, smoked salmon, meats, cheeses, yogurts, and more tempted on one side of the buffet. Sonesta Bee Cave

On the other side, warm biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, and more awaited. I had a little bit of everything! The selection was delicious, and the pace was just perfect. While we had service when we needed it, we also got a real sense of that slower hill country vibe we were surrounded by, and it was lovely.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

As I mention above, the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin is easy driving distance to many sights and attractions, but it also offers a free trolley locally to places like the Hill Country Galleria, where you can shop-til-you-drop, get spa treatments, enjoy additional dining options, and more. It’s a fun and convenient way to get around and definitely a perk for business and leisure travelers alike.

Sonesta trolley

I am blogging for Sonesta Hotels and they are kindly hosting my stay, some of my meals, and my airfare. I am not obligated to blog on my own blog; all opinions are my own and I have just had some incredible experiences with them!

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Tags: Austin, cocktails, Food, hotels, music, Sonesta, Texas, Travel, travel blog, travel blogging

When we asked for New Orleans dining recommendations, Cochon was one of the names that kept popping up, and when Cochon happened to be right down the street from the National WWII Museum (Read my blog post for Sonesta Hotels!), it turned out to be the perfect spot to grab lunch during a brief rain storm.

Cochon was bustling at lunch time, and we were very lucky to get seats right in front of the kitchen, which had a super efficient and effective communication system down pat. The actions of the kitchen team and servers were perfectly orchestrated and fun to watch, and seeing all of the plates go out helped us to decide on our order!

Cochon New Orleans

Cochon New Orleans

Cochon New Orleans

The cocktail menu was fun and creative, and the Fresh to Death was a delicious gin concoction I could have sipped all day. It may have been raining outside, but this drink was sunshine in a glass. It was also the perfect, bright choice for pairing with some heavier fare.

Cochon New Orleans

IMG_7189

We started with a little treat from the kitchen before launching into our ordering spree.

While we waited for our lunch, I tried the hot sauce at our seats. It was perfectly delicious all on its own!

Cochon New Orleans

We knew we needed to get some vegetables into our diet, and roasted winter squash with toasted seeds was the warm and cozy type of veggie dish I was craving. I love when the vegetable sides turn out to be something you could eat all day long!

Cochon New Orleans

The rest of our many courses included favorites like super sticky, messy, delicious ribs with watermelon pickle (sweet, tangy, lick the plate amazing) and fried shrimp and rice boulettes with tartar sauce. Add in biscuits smothered in hot sauce, and you have one incredible meal.

Cochon New Orleans

With so many spots to dine in New Orleans, we certainly only covered a fraction. Even knowing that I would return to Cochon (and to Cafe Amelie and Brennan’s and all of the restaurants at Royal Sonesta New Orleans) a million times over again. We certainly hit the jackpot when it came to NOLA dining!

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Tags: dining, Food, New Orleans, NOLA, Restaurants, Travel

Winter blues doesn’t even begin to describe how I have been feeling lately. Brutal stretches of cold, plus short days and a flu/cold that lasted most of December made me stir crazy, literally pacing my house all night long and wanting to get away.

Normally we try to save getaways for later in the winter, when we just can’t take it, but this year, the second weekend of January seemed the perfect time for a change of scenery and a visit to Wentworth by the Sea just outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We knew we wanted to spend all of our time cozying up at the hotel, but first I needed a buttered lobster roll, and Row 34 Portsmouth was the obvious choice. One perfect warm lobster roll later, we we made the short drive to Wentworth to check in to our room and to check out from everyday life.

Row 34 lobster roll

Wentworth by the Sea is absolutely grand, standing proudly atop a hill by the sea since 1874. It feels like an elegant step back in time, where life was a bit slower. We embraced that feeling on our visit!

Wentworth by the SeaWentworth by the Sea

We were so excited to check out our room, which was a perfectly cozy, super sunny corner room with water views.

Wentworth by the Sea

My insomnia has worsened lately, and two queen beds made the most sense so that at least one of us would get some sleep. These beds were so comfy that I actually ended up sleeping!

Wentworth by the Sea

Wentworth by the Sea

Our views and the cold outside made it so that we barely wanted to leave our room the entire time. A hot bath and watching the tide come in and out made for the perfect way to spend the late afternoon.

Wentworth by the Sea

I am obsessed with sunsets and evening light, and I basically stared out the window until the last drop of sun dipped into the sea.

Wentworth by the SeaWentworth by the Sea

Then it was dinnertime! The resort was full for the long weekend, so we had to make reservations, something we don’t always do. It felt fun to get dressed up and have a set time for dinner. We usually eat at the bar, but this time we had a big table and booth just for the two of us.

We started by splitting the salad special, a delectable mix of butternut squash, kale, beets, and goat cheese. I loved that everything on the menu was very seasonal; lots of root veggies and hearty flavors!

Salt Restaurant

Since we tend to split everything, we went with two very different entrees, the beef tenderloin special and the incredibly rich and decadent short rib ravioli.

Salt Restaurant

The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and delicious, but the incredible sides stole the show. I love parsnips and Brussels sprouts!

Salt Restaurant

The short rib ravioli came with a carrot Bolognese, which was yummy and a super creative use of seasonal vegetables. The short rib filling in the pasta was divine.

Salt Restaurant

We saved a bit of room for dessert and shared our server’s recommendation, the Hot Chocolate Mousse Cake, which had a layer of Mexican hot chocolate flourless cake, along with flan ice cream. Delish! The food at Wentworth, including the breakfast buffet in the package we opted for, completely blew us away with its quality and creativity. Service was hit-or-miss – our servers at dinner and breakfast were fabulous, but the restaurant host stand and lounge definitely left us scratching our heads. The lack of interest in those areas was not fitting of such a grand luxury property.

coastal New England

I indulged in a great massage on our last day, and my massage therapist was fantastic. However, the spa experience itself was a bit underwhelming. The relaxation/tea room was up against the main door of the spa, and it felt like Grand Central Station as I was sitting and trying to read a magazine. Other patrons were loud and had their phones out, texting away, beeps and music coming out of their devices, which I thought was SUPER rude. I am an iPhone addict, but even I was able to leave it in my locker for two hours. I think I’ve come to really appreciate some of the discount massage outlets like Elements and Hand and Stone, for a great massage at a fraction of the cost.

Portsmouth is a great town to explore year-round, so if you’re visiting Wentworth by the Sea, you’ll have plenty to do if you decide to peel yourself away from its coziness.

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Tags: New England, Travel, travel blog

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