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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

I love hotels. There is just something super special about checking in, turning the doorknob for the first time, and exploring a new, temporary home-away-from-home.

Prior to our stay at Royal Sonesta New Orleans, I’d heard SO many amazing things about the hotel, and I was positively buzzing with excitement as we arrived and took it all in. The hotel was ready for the holidays, and it was simply gorgeous, halls decked for the season. Read my post on the Lighting of the Balconies for photos. 

Every aspect of our (hosted) stay at Royal Sonesta New Orleans lived up to our expectations and beyond, from our extremely comfortable room, to our lush courtyard views, to the incredible food and hospitality. I love this hotel!

Where to stay in New Orleans

Having a room overlooking the courtyard meant that we heard just about no noise. We could have been miles from Bourbon Street, even though it was just on the other side of the building. We heard some noise in our hallway one of the nights; unfortunately that can happen in any hotel. You can’t control other peoples’ behavior!

Royal Sonesta New Orleans

The courtyard and pool were probably my favorite hotel features because the whole space just felt like a big sigh. . ahhhhh. The vibe was so relaxing, and if I had more time, I could have spent hours reading and relaxing out there.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans

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R Club Concierge Guest Rooms offer R Club Lounge privileges, which include some great views of the city, as well as complimentary breakfast, snacks, a happy hour and more.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans

It was often hard to tear myself away from the beautiful outdoor areas, but the grand indoor spaces of Royal Sonesta New Orleans are too impressive to miss. The lobby will make you stop in your tracks in the best way. If you visit, take time to enjoy every beautiful turn and corner. I did this every time when we were coming and going, and I noticed new, beautiful detail each time.

In addition to the beauty and comfort of the hotel, the location was really key to making the most of our three days in New Orleans. We were able to walk just about everywhere, only taking an Uber when we were in a rush or super tired, as I was on our last night. Otherwise, exploring the city on foot was the perfect way to go. I want to go back right now!

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Our stay was hosted by Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Be sure to visit the Sonesta Hotels blog for posts on New Orleans and other great destinations.

More blog posts from our stay in New Orleans:

http://traveleatlove.com/2017/12/restaurant-revolution-new-orleans/

http://traveleatlove.com/2017/12/caf-amelieone-of-our-new-orleans-favorites/

http://traveleatlove.com/2018/01/brunch-at-brennans-new-orleans/

http://traveleatlove.com/2017/12/brass-a-holics-at-the-jazz-playhouse-new-orleans-more-nola-food/

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Tags: hotels, New Orleans, Travel, travel blog, travel blogging

Pink and green and Champagne all day. . . and a lush courtyard to top it all off. . .

On this arctic day in Boston, I am dreaming of New Orleans and our recent stay at Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Be sure to read about our food and incredible music experience if you’re planning your own NOLA trip!

We could have easily stayed at our hotel for all of our meals, but since New Orleans has so many amazing restaurants, we of course ventured out and explored. And while I was working the entire trip, I also really wanted to feel like we were away, so I did a ton of research on weekday brunch. Brennan’s kept popping up in my searches, and on our first day when we discovered it was just a few blocks from our hotel, we decided it would be a definite brunch spot for us.

Brennan’s is beyond elegant and charming, and the service was top notch. I think we had seven different people assisting us throughout our visit. While the inside was lovely, a courtyard brunch in December won us over.

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The courtyard at Brennan’s is decked out in pink and green, a favorite color combination of mine, and I loved every detail, down to the jingle bells on pink ribbons for guests to take home.

What I really wanted to take him is this table. How beautiful is it?!

New Orleans brunchNew Orleans brunch

A French press full of chicory coffee was freshly pressed at our table, and we soaked up some of the sun and green while we decided on our brunch.

This little oasis was vacation perfection, and the coffee hit the spot for my insomniac self.

IMG_7288New Orleans brunch

Brennan’s offered a Champagne menu, and being a huge lover of bubbles, I had to go with a Champagne cocktail. It may have been early, but what’s brunch without bubbles?

This drink was delicious, and I loved the coupe glass it was served in, adding to the elegant and historic feel of the restaurant.

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The brunch menu had some truly decadent offerings, and we decided to split two of the most luxurious looking items on the menu.

New Orleans brunch

I was all about the seafood and went straight in for the Eggs Cardinal: Crispy Shrimp Boudin, Spinach, Lobster Cardinal, Black Truffle Hollandaise. I mean, lobster and truffle on the same plate, paired with a Champagne cocktail? Truly this was my definition of dining heaven.

He went with the hearty Eggs Hussarde: A Brennan’s Original – Housemade English Muffins, Coffee Cured Canadian Bacon, Hollandaise, Marchand De Vin Sauce. If you haven’t had coffee cured bacon, I recommend seeking some out ASAP.

We were both completely enamored with our meals and ate every bite as we listened to the fountains and watched the silly turtles slowly get around.

New Orleans brunch

The turtles were a conversation piece for all of the diners, it seemed! Turtle soup was on the menu, and we definitely opted NOT to get it after seeing these guys!

New Orleans brunch

Brunch at Brennan’s was a real treat and a time to relax and slow down before we headed out for a busy day of exploring New Orleans. It’s a spot I would visit again at any time of day but especially during their Bubbles at Brennan’s Happy Hour!

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Tags: brunch, cocktails, New Orleans, NOLA, Travel, travel blog

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