Relax at Oakhill Country Inn in Franklin NC

Oakhill Country Inn – Bed and Breakfast , Franklin NC

I made another visit to the Oakhill Country Inn – Bed and Breakfast in Franklin NC. I could not stay away. I was craving the tranquility, peace, and quiet. Plus, I wanted to take some better pictures so you can get an idea of how great this place it.

This time, I spent a longer vacation here, which gave me time to explore more of the home, relax, and unwind. As usual, I loved the breakfast. It was simple but delicious.
One day, I walked around the property. There is a moderately steep hill in the backyard. I thought that there was a creek at the bottom, but I did not get that far. I decided I was exerting myself too much for a leisurely vacation and returned to the house where I could lounge around and read a book.

I love Connie’s (the innkeeper) attention to detail with setting the table. Using fine china plates and teacups made me feel like a special guest.

I think the pictures speak for themselves, showing the personality of Oakhill Country Inn. This is my favorite B&B. I want to try others in the area to compare, but I am hesitant, thinking that they will not live up to the high expectations that I am accustomed to having.

Iberostar Rivera Maya, Mexico

Last October, the hubby and I went to all-inclusive Iberostar Hotels & Resorts (hotel Tucán) in Riviera Maya. We flew into Cancun and took a shuttle ride for about an 30-45minutes to get to the resort. I have been to resorts before in Cancun, but it was my first time at this location.

Accommodations & Staff
I like how the resort embraced the natural environment instead of totally clearing the land, cutting down the trees and displacing the native wildlife. The resort looks like is situated in a jungle, full of lush plants and exotic animals (including howler monkeys) scampering all over the place. There were also water areas with turtles, ducks, swans, and iguanas.

The resort rooms were very spacious and comfortable. The bed was firm, but fine for me because I don’t like my bed to be too soft. In the bathroom, there was a large bottle of water use when brushing our teeth. It is understandable that in Mexico, you do not drink the tap water. The mini bar in the room was fully stocked every day, just the way I like it. I did not have to ask for anything because it seemed that they provided it before I had a chance to realize I needed it.

All of the staff, from the front desk personnel to the bartenders and maids were very friendly. They were helpful as well. I loved their willing attitude to help make my stay pleasant.

I was going to make the best of my visit and do as many activities as I could. I took a tennis lesson, did archery, did air rifle shooting, went to the spa, played pool, danced at the techno club and danced to salsa music band. I had to chase down the tennis pro for the tennis lesson. When I got to the tennis courts per the time on the activities schedule, he was not there. But when he finally showed up 5 minutes later, I was almost about to leave. I participated in the archery and air rifle shooting tournaments. I did not win in either activity. My aim is so bad.

When I went to the spa, that was the most relaxing part of my trip. I lounged in the Jacuzzi, sat in the sauna, took and shower and then got a full body massage. I was feeling stress free. It was worth every penny (spa treatments were extra cost).

The onsite night life was okay. I was surprised that there were not more people out at night. Maybe people went to clubs in town, but I did not want to chance that. Being in a different country in a touristy location puts a target on you increasing your chances of being robbed by some nefarious individual. I rather remain in the comforts of the closed gates of the resort.

When I danced at the techno club, there were not that many people there. At times, it was just my friends and me on the dance floor. Considering we were the only ones dancing, you would think that the DJ would have played the music WE wanted to hear. At one point, we were locking in a battle of wills. We refused to dance until he played what we wanted. We won, of course. In contrast, the salsa music band played all the music we wanted and we graced the dance floor with our presence.

The only things that I wanted to do but did not get a chance: a non-motorized water activity and karaoke. I did not realize that non-motorized water activity counter closed at 3pm since their hours were not posted anywhere that I could tell. The last day, I got there 2:30 and they guy told me that I could kayak but I had to be back by 3 since was the time they closed. I told him never mind. I did not want to try to rush and do it just to be able to say that I did it. I missed karaoke also because I did not they were only to going to offer that activity one night a week. I think they should have offered it more than once a week.

Food & Beverages
All inclusive resort means all drinks are included all the time. Great for me! Yes, the margaritas, pina coladas, daiquiris, and tequila shots were free flowing. But bottle water was just as necessary. Before venturing out to shop, I made sure I had one or two bottles of water from the front desk to carry with me. That saved me from having to buy water while I was out. Plus it was so hot, we needed plenty of fluids. No one wants to go on vacation and pass out from dehydration.

The only minor complaint that I have was with the buffet food. Some of the buffet food was not the quality I would have expected. Yes, there was plenty of food at the buffets, but some looked stale, reheated, or old. I think the challenge for a buffet restaurant is that they have to have enough food to satisfy the guests and at the same time, only put out what will be eaten during that time period. Since the resort is catering to people from all over the world, they are also trying to put out food that is familiar to their guests. I think they should have stuck to just cooking Mexican food since that is what they know best. The best food I had from the buffet were the typical native dishes.

Eating at the different "fancy restaurants" required a reservation. That took some planning on our part since the reservation needed to be done early. We at a Caribbean themed restaurant, Japanese steakhouse, and American steakhouse. The food quality was better than having buffet food all the time. In that aspect, it was worth the effort to make the reservation. I think the best meal I had was the pork chops at the American steakhouse (top right picture). They were perfectly seasoned and cooked well so that they were not dry.

Overall, I had a good time at the resort. The accommodations were great. There were plenty of activities to keep me occupied. The food at times left something to be desired, but it was filling and I did not get sick off of any of it. So that is a plus. I would go to another Iberostar location and I would recommend Iberostar (this resort in particular) to others.

Helmsley Park Lane Hotel – NYC hotel review

I had to go to a meeting in Downtown Manhattan, blocks away from Times Square. I waited until the last minute to get my room so most hotels were already booked. I ended up at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in a $500/night room. The per night rate cost more than my roundtrip plane ticket.
The room was big similar to a suite in a regular hotel. It had a bedroom with a separate living area (room for a sofa, coffee table, computer desk, and TV) and kitchenette. Aside from the great views of the city, I did not feel as though I got my money’s worth with this room. I guess I was paying for location.

For the most part, I was comfortable. However, the main thing that bothered me was the thermostat in the room. It was September but a little colder than I would have liked. I turned on the heat. The fan was blowing but the air was cool and not getting any hotter. I called room service and they said that the heat is not turned on until October.

What? Five hundred a night and I cannot get any heat?
I would have settled for a space heater at this point. I was so chilly. They did offer to send me some extra blankets, which I accepted.
After that, the room lost a little bit of its luster.
I do not have the personal budget to pay that kind of money per night considering there was not anything spectacular about the room or the services the hotel provided. If I ever stay here again, it would be because of business reasons and nothing else was available.

I would like an ocean view room in Myrtle Beach please: Patricia Grand Resort

I went to Myrtle Beach and I did not want to stay near all the loud, young party goers because I wanted a nice peaceful time at the beach. So I was looking for a family friendly hotel/resort.

I ended up choosing Patricia Grand Resort because of the price. It was reasonable to me, especially since I was going in the middle of the summer.
We arrived about 2 and decided to ask if they had any rooms ready even though the website said that check in begins at 3pm. Check in was a breeze. I gave them my name and they had everything ready for me. At check in, they gave me a packet and savings card for discounts at local area restaurants. I also decided to valet park the car so I did not have to deal with the hassle of having to find parking.

Our room was on the 19th floor. The picture shows the view from our room. The room décor could be considered "no frills". It was a simple clean room with a bed, night tables, computer desk, television, and chair. On the balcony were two chairs and a little plastic table. I did not go to the beach to spend all my time in the hotel, so I did not need a lot of luxuries. All I was looking for in the room was for it to be clean and it was.

Booyah! Mission ACCOMPLISHED! As usual, there were not enough outlets, so the room looked like an obstacle course with my computer, cell phone, and kindle charging at the same time.
There was a coffee bar on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor. There was also a drinks bar near the pool area. I ate in the restaurant one time for breakfast. It was decent, nothing spectacular, but definitely edible. I don’t know it if is possible to mess up bacon and eggs. Well, I take that back. It might be possible to mess it up, but they did not so I have no reason to complain. The coffee bar was your typical look alike Starbucks selling Starbucks coffee and some off-brand muffins.

During the day, I used one of the lounge chairs to sit out by the pool and soak up some sun. Then later I went out for a walk on the beach. When I was tired of that, I went inside and sat on the balcony of my room. Listening to the ocean has to be one of the most relaxing sounds.

In all, Patricia Grand Resort was a nice choice for my accommodations for my Myrtle Beach weekend. The service personnel were friendly and eager to make my stay a comfortable one. Everything met my expectation. If I go back to Myrtle Beach, this hotel/resort will be at the top of my list.

Bed and Breakfast in Franklin NC: Oakhill Country Inn

I like going to Bed and Breakfast Inns because they are relaxing and the breakfast is usually really, really delicious. I was looking for a nice B&B that was not too expensive and decided on Oak Hill Country Inn in Franklin NC. The Inn is located on a hill that is a little off of the main road. It is located in a residential area that is quiet. I needed my GPS to find the place because I was not familiar with Franklin.

Once I arrived, the first person I met was Connie. She was very hospitable, warm and friendly. I was excited about my visit. It was at that point that I saw the cat lounging on the sofa. I was a little hesitant because I was not sure how temperamental this cat would be. Over the course of the day though, the cat proved to be somewhat friendly too (or rather as sociable as a cat could be).

I was in the Amethyst room. It was decorated in true B&B Victorian fashion. The bed was so comfortable. However, for the better part of the day since my arrival, I lounged outside in the hammock on the porch and read one of the romance novels from Connie’s bookcase. I did not see any of the other guests during my lounging period. It was a truly relaxing afternoon. Later that evening I got a cup of tea and chatted some more with Connie.

In the morning, bright and early (I think it was about 8am), I went to the table for breakfast. Connie cooked a feast with French toast, bacon and eggs along with grapes and cantaloupe. There was also streusel coffee cake. By the time I decided to take a picture, I had eaten everything but the grapes and cantaloupe.

There is something to be said about the B&B experience. There are 10-12 people who do not know each other, sitting together and enjoying a meal. Even if you are not a sociable person, the relaxed atmosphere can incite even the most reticent person to open up. By the end of breakfast, everyone is usually sated from eating and in a pleasant mood because of the great time talking.

Overall, Connie (I did not meet Michael on my visit) was an excellent hostess. The accommodations were all that I could have hoped they would be. And the breakfast was so delicious, I wanted to stay another night just to eat again.

Oak Hill Country Inn
Innkeepers: Connie and Michael Grubermann
1689 Old Murphy Road, Franklin, North Carolina 28734
(828) 349-9194