So, you have a free weekend coming up with nothing planned.
But last minute flights are expensive, and you'd rather stay close to home.
The solution? A staycation!
I have been bursting at the seams waiting to tell yinz all about our incredibly relaxing staycation at the Doubletree Cranberry! A quick 25 min drive north of the city will give you all the feels of being "out of town." Scroll down to see our fun!
As soon as we checked in, we couldn't get into our bathing suits fast enough to take a dip in the spacious indoor/indoor pool! The lobby bar was serving up some fantastic local brews that we were able to take right outside to the pool deck with us!
Jamie is the IPA drinker, I'm more of a Shandy gal! We both had so many options!
After some much needed pool R&R, Jamie and I headed down to Ember and Vine, the acclaimed restaurant situated in the atrium at the Doubletree. I was downright obsessed with the natural light and open floorplan! We were able to enjoy our cocktails right here in the TV area before dinner. I adore the little tv "Cubbys" where you could lounge, watch a sports game, and have a drink!
The chefs at Ember and Vine come from all around the country, love farm to table, and truly enjoy their craft. The menu shows! I had oysters on a half shell as an app - I could've sworn I was at the shore! For my entree, I picked the gnochi, which was on special. Jamie had the filet! I loved the beer/wine recommended pairings for our meals as well. Yummmmm!
One of my favorite things about picking a hotel for any trip is taking into account the hotel restaurant and the nearby eateries. The Doubletree Cranberry hit all of our hotel food must-haves: amazing sit down dinner, lunch, and brunch! I love when a restaurant can take on a full menu throughout the day - it makes planning so much easier. I also loved that I could see right down into the atrium from our room, so we knew exactly when the dinner rush was finishing up and could head right down!
I'd be remiss if I didnt talk about this fabulous Free People dress that I found on clearance at Burlington for $12. The fit and feel of it is beyond perfect. It was a great travel piece to be able to throw on after our pool day!
Let's talk about brunch. Can you even with this bloody mary bar? And above is me customizing my Made-to-order omelette at Ember & Vine!
Fun fact: Ember & Vine is open to the public daily, and they have a phenomenal brunch with live jazz every Sunday from 11am-2pm! Brunch buffet is only $15/person and includes so many vegan and vegetarian options, as well as non-dairy and gluten free choices!
So, to recap, here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for a budget-friendly staycation!
First, choose an area that's slightly different than where you live. If you're more of a city dweller (like me and Jamie!) then head out of the county. If you're more suburbanite, why not pick a trendy downtown hotel? The change-up with feel more like a vacation.
Second, take some snacks/bottled water/red wine for your room. When you're in between meals or just in the room getting ready, its easier to have your own stash. Plus, red wine doesn't need refrigerated, so its a great tagalong booze. Jamie and I love to splurge on nice dinners and brunch, so saving on a drink here and there really adds up to some cost-savings for us.
Obviously, I'm all about the pool wherever we go, but, plan for your surroundings! Walking trails, large gyms, winery nearby.. . pick what is important to you. It will feel more vacation-y!
And my last tip: Its ok to book last minute! You're driving there, so there's no need to worry about flights. Just be sure to have a couple of hotels in mind in case your first pick isn't available. Look around for package deals - especially last minute, these could really save you some bucks. We love Hotels.com for last minute bookings, but I always suggest calling the hotel directly for their best rate. Be sure to ask for all of their discounts. Some that are available regularly through Hilton: AAA discounts, military discounts, Hilton Honors discounts (like access to rooms on the top floor!), and more that you might not think of!
Right now, the Doubletree Cranberry has the "Dine and Unwind Package" - $174 gets you a deluxe room with a king, and a $50 food or beverage credit! That's like getting over $25 in food or drink for free! They also have a Bed and Breakfast package, which includes free breakfast for two adults. You can even add two children onto the package for an additional $4! That's over $60 in freebies!
So... Where do you Staycation?
Thank you again to the Hilton Doubletree and Ember & Vine restaurant for the top notch food and impecible service! I cannot wait to get back there, especially for that bloody Mary bar!
Doubletree Cranberry 1 night stay and all food/bar spend at Ember & Vine were provided c/o Doubletree Hilton at no cost. I was provided these amenities in exchange for a fair and honest blog review and social media exposure.