Travel Rhythm : Santa Fe’s Top Independent Hotels

Unknown-260x191This post was posted on Travel Rhythm on January 20, 2016.

Santa Fe is a city filled with rich culture and plenty of activities and sightseeing for travelers. Considering the wealth of tourist hotspots, it makes sense that the city also has a wealth of hotels to choose from. If you’re looking for affordable and popular accommodations, consider staying at one of these five places during your visit to Santa Fe.

Cities of Gold Casino

Cities of Gold Casino is a fun yet relaxing hotel option for your trip to Santa Fe. Wake up to a scenic mountain view before heading downstairs for breakfast. Your room’s many amenities will keep you comfortable — each room includes cable TV, a coffee and tea maker, wireless Internet access, complimentary toiletries, and housekeeping services. With five dining options and an onsite casino, you may never want to leave the hotel premises. Other services include a business center, fitness and health club, and free guest parking.

The Lodge at Santa Fe

For a true Southwestern experience, book a room at The Lodge at Santa Fe. You won’t be disappointed, as the architecture, decor, and overall environment are inspired by the Southwest. Rooms and suites offer separate living spaces, so you’ll feel right at home. The onsite restaurant is where you can find authentic New Mexican cuisine and refreshing cocktails. If you’re looking to book an event, the lodge has you covered. This hotel accommodates events such as weddings and business conferences.

El Rey Inn

The El Rey Inn in Santa Fe will give you an authentic experience during your stay in New Mexico. The charming decor and the clean and spacious rooms make this one of the best hotel options in the area. You can stay entertained and energized at the outdoor swimming pool, hot tub cabana, sauna and whirlpool, and fitness center, and guests traveling with children will enjoy the onsite playground. Many rooms offer kitchenettes, but if you’re interested in exploring Santa Fe’s Restaurant scene, just walk outside the hotel doors.

Las Palomas

Located in the heart of Santa Fe, Las Palomas is an ideal hotel option for travelers who are in the mood to experience the city to its fullest potential. Surrounded by restaurants and bars, museums, galleries, shopping, and scenic mountain views, you can’t go wrong when you book a room at Las Palomas. Rooms here include everything you might need, so get a good night’s sleep before waking up to a complimentary breakfast. You’ll also have access to the outdoor pool, spa treatments, and a fitness facility.

Inn of the Governors

The Inn of the Governors is another wonderful yet affordable option for accommodations while visiting Santa Fe. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the lively and colorful decor will brighten you mood. Rooms include comfortable beds, refrigerators, and safes, and some even come with a fireplace and mini bar. Nearby to the hotel you’ll find plenty to do, such as Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe Plaza, and the Palace of the Governors. If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to spend a day at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum or the Chuck Jones Gallery.

What to Do in Japan in the Springtime

I marked Japan off my bucket list a few years ago. I spent four glorious days in Tokyo. In those four days, I kept saying to myself, When can I come back? The people are kind, the city is pristine, and the residents take pride in their city. The mix of old world and modern strikes the perfect balance. I had only four days to explore the city, so on my next trip, I’m going to hit the following spots for sure and continue to fall in love with Japan.

Osaka, Japan

Osaka, Japan, is the second largest city in Japan, behind Tokyo, with 19 million residents. It is known as the food capital of Japan and manufactures the best sake in the world. In the springtime, Osaka holds the Osaka Asian Film Festival, where movie makers from all over Asia show their films in search of notoriety and distribution. Although Osaka is a modern city, I also want to check out the many shrines and temples. I love cherry blossoms, and the Osaka Castle houses an enormous cherry blossom garden. Spring is the perfect time to catch them in full bloom.


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Kyoto, Japan

Whereas Osaka is the food capital, Kyoto, Japan, is known as the cultural capital. Not a modern city like other cities in Japan, Kyoto is more culturally significant to Japanese ancient history. The city houses over 20% of the most popular shrines, castles, and temples in all of Japan.  In the spring, Kyoto holds a festival called Aoi Matsuri. The festival has been a tradition in Japan for over 1,000 years. The festival consists of a procession and the shrine rites. Another popular attraction in Kyoto is the Sagano Bamboo Forest. CNN called it one of the top places you need to see before you die. I can’t think of a better endorsement than that.

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Sapporo, Japan

When I visited Tokyo, I drank enough Sapporo to drown a fish. It’s one of my favorite beers, and even thought it’s no longer brewed in Sapporo, Japan, it originated there, and the company sponsors the city’s annual beer festival, which takes place in the summer. In the springtime, I would make a stop at Odori Park and check out the Sapporo Snow Festival. In 2016, it was the festival’s 66th year. Food stalls serve food and drinks from all regions of Japan, and the snow sculptures feature recent pop culture themes, such as Star Wars.


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Fukuoka, Japan

My Japan adventure would end with a bit of literary history, Japanese style. Every spot I visit, I try to find a place to get inspired for my writing, and what better place for inspiration than the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. The Umasake Clan built the shrine over the grave of Michizane, a gifted student who composed poems but was exiled by the Kyoto royal family to Fukuoka, Japan, in 905. Upon his death, the royal family mysteriously perished in a fire started by lightning striking the castle. Perhaps it was payback for the student’s exile. Later, the Fukuoka government named Michizane the god of literature. Now, how’s that for a story?


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Hipmunk Hotels: Interesting Sites in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Dunwoody, Louisville and Baton Rouge

My bucket list is taking me back down south. I found a few small cities big time attractions I can’t wait to check out. A few sports highlights, adventure to a galaxy far, far away, a place to quench your thirst and a trip to the past to top it all off.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

My favorite genre to read and to write is sports romance. So any chance I get, I like to experience a sport spectacle. One of the best places to immerse yourself in college life is at the University of Alabama. Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Crimson Tide are loyal and enthusiastic fans. Stay at many of the hotels near campus and you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement of college football in this historic setting.

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Huntsville, Alabama

I really, really, really wanted to go to space camp when I was a kid. After watching that movie, pilot school was in my future. I saw myself living on the International Space Station. The dream ended when I failed freshman science. Huntsville, Alabama is the home of Space Camp and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the largest museum dedicated to the US space program. Every year thousands of kids descend on Huntsville and attend Space Camp. These future scientists get to learn first hand what it’s like to live and work as an astronaut without leaving earth. The Center houses replicates of some of the most iconic rockets in NASA history. With a Marriott hotel right on campus stay close to the action and explore the many exhibits and demos at the Center.

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Dunwoody, Georgia

Dunwoody, Georgia is a small suburb of Atlanta. As the birth place of Ryan Seacrest, Dunwoody is a laid back town with a historic vibe. Although discovered in the late 1800, it wasn’t incorporated into a city until 2008. You can check into a hotel on the square and walk to the many restaurants and bars in the area. I found a spot that is a must to experience, especially if you like beer. Moondog Growlers offers craft beer tastings daily and if you find one you like, pick up a Growler and fill it up from the tap to take home.

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Louisville, Kentucky

If baseball is your thing, a stop at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, Kentucky is a must. The museum has several interactive attractions and a perfect place to learn enough about baseball to impress the most rabid fan. Get your picture taken next to the largest steel bat in the world. Take a few swings in the batting cages and check out some of the great players and their bats from major league baseball.

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I would conclude my trip with a step into history, literally.  At Louisiana State University, they have created the Rural Museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The museum is known as one of the best outdoor museums in the world. The museum’s mission is to preserve the way of life in the south in the 18th and 19th century.  The museum includes several free-standing structures from the time and many artifacts used in everyday life during this time period. There are hotels right on campus for you to stay and visit this and other cool attractions in this college/capital town.

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Hipmunk Hotels: Washington State’s Areas to Stay and Play

My bucket list travels have me heading to the great Northwest to see an old friend. Although it’s in enemy NFL territory (I am not a Seahawks fan), I have always wanted to check out what Washington State has to offer. While exploring, the spectacular area, I look forward to staying at some unique hotels in the region as well.

Tacoma, Washington

While it’s cold, this time of year and I’m not in shape to take a frozen trek up Mount Rainer. Tacoma, Washington will be as adventurous as I will get. The third largest city in the area, Tacoma has a rich heritage as the nickname “City of Destiny” can attest to. It houses several hotels, boutique and AirBNB spots within walking distance to its most impressive structure, the Museum of Glass. Anything you wanted to know about the creation, history and origin of glass will be found in this uniquely designed building created by architect Arthur Erickson. The interior of the museum and it’s exhibits are just has spectacular as the outside.


Photo provided via by Ryan Coleman

Kent, Washington

Named by Sports Illustrated as the Sportstown of the year in 2003, Kent, Washington is the birthplace of several professional sports figures from soccer, MLB, NBA and the NFL. For a town so far north, it’s temperatures are unusually mild in the winter months. If you’re visiting Kent, Washington, you need to stay in one of the suite hotels in the center of town. Or make sure you stay within walking distance of Mug Bugs, this Tacoma attraction where you can grab a hot cup of joe and sit around with visitors and locals alike to try to figure out how that VW Bug got in there.


Photo provided via by Kevin Listoa

Sea-Tac, Washington

The transportation hub of the great northwest, Sea-Tac, Washington houses the Seattle – Tacoma International Airport. The airport is a city in itself, which has many hotels at different prices ranges to choose from. The airport is an attraction in of itself. It creates opportunities for artist and musicians to showcase their talents and show the visitor to the area what Seattle and Tacoma have to offer. The artwork ranges from sculptures, graffiti and paintings of local landmarks. In 2013, the airport created a program, which allows local musicians to perform in various locations throughout the airport.


Image provided via by Lucy

Spokane, Washington

Over 13,000 years ago, Native Americans inhabited Spokane, Washington. That’s a long time ago by America standards. One of the most visually stunning parts of the country, the city sits in the northern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Although I’m afraid of heights, I like to challenge myself. The best way to see the scenery is by taking the Spokane Falls SkyRide. The cable ride takes you on a 15-minute ride over the Spokane River and shows you the power of the dams, which generates electrical power for the hotels and residents in the entire region.


Photo provided via by Terry Fletcher

Bucket List Trips – Exploring Zola Predosa, Italy

Creating a travel bucket list isn’t like planning a vacation. After you figure out how to get there, where to stay (Amati Design Hotel is a nice place), and how to get home, you have to plan your experience. The sites, the sounds, the tastes, and the memories will last a lifetime. Zola Predosa is a municipality in the Province of Bologna. The commune is located in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, located seven miles west of the center of Bologna.


It would be easy to talk about the food here, but no. If you truly want to taste this part of Italy, you have to experience the wine of the region. Zola Predosa is the City of Wine. The oldest winery is the Manaresi Vineyard. This ancient, family-owned winery was renovated into a modern facility. The art on the label pays tribute to the winery’s namesake. A tour of the vineyard includes the history of the label and tasting sessions. Take home a bottle of their award-winning Merlot or impress your friends back home with a bottle of their Pignoletto Frizzante.


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This is where we get to the food. This region of Italy is known as the Food Capital of the World. Zola Predosa is a municipality of Bologna, the birthplace of bologna and tortellini pasta. You can learn how to cook the famous pasta at Cucina Di Luciana or tour the many factories that create the famous sausage. If you can plan your trip in September, join in on the parties during the Mortadella, Please Festival.


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Now that you are stuffed and happy, it’s time to see some sights. Zola Perdosa and the surrounding countryside has a lot to experience. When you think of Italy, you don’t typically think of palaces. One of the grandest in Europe is located in Zola Predosa: Palazzo Albergati. Constructed in 1540, the simple and elegant exterior is a direct contrast to the Baroque-style, ornate spatial effect of its interior. It is a sight to be seen, Italian opulence at its finest. You can walk the grounds and fantasize about what your life would have been like in the sixteenth century.


After all the opulence, exquisiteness, and indulgence, it might be time for some quiet reflection. Zola Perdosa is home to several museums. The Cultural Center and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Ca ‘la Ghironda is the most unique. As you walk through the 24-acre grounds, discover over 200 statues and sculptures in various materials. After your walk, relax in the Petite and the Grande Promenade or stroll through the botanical gardens with flora indigenous to this region of Italy. That will fulfill your smell sense as well.

While most trips to Italy focus on the big cities like Rome or the sexy cities like Tuscany, the Bologna region offers a unique experience with a good mix of ancient and modern Italy. Planning a trip to Zola Predosa, Italy will fullfill all your senses and more. It’s a bucket-list-worthy trip for the senses.