Day Stay Options at Resorts: Hotels By Day Review

by Desiree Miller on December 7, 2017

  day stays meme

When you have a long layover, or just want a quick getaway in your own town, give a day stay at a local resort some consideration. It’s an option I’ve tried twice now, for very different reasons, and in both cases, was so glad I did.

hotel pool LA

In the first case, I was in Los Angeles for the day, staying at a very affordable hotel that lacked any great bells and whistles, but I was flying in on a late night flight and didn’t think it was worth paying more than $300/night for the resort where I really wanted to be. So, I booked a room by the airport for about $100 for the night, then the next morning, splurged on a day stay at a posh resort that ran $30/person for the day. I was able to hang out at the rooftop pool for hours and enjoy other hotel amenities and saved myself the other $170 I would have paid for a bed I couldn’t have used past 10am anyway.

relaxing in bed

The second time was in Boston recently. I intentionally booked a long layover following my flight from Atlanta that morning, and before my flight to Barcelona that night. I wanted to visit with multiple friends during the day, and get a little sightseeing in while in Boston, so I used Hotels By Day to book a room that would work as base during my fun. It was great to have a place to tell friends to meet me, and since this resort was in the center of the Financial District with lots of fun things to do and see around me, it was a perfect location for the tourist portion of my day. No, I didn’t sleep there, though I could have napped. But I sure did love having a place to leave all my luggage while I was running around having fun. I could have used the business office and enjoyed other perks if I’d just hung out there all day. I had no need. It served its purpose, and I was able to get on to my next adventure worry-free.

lobby

Day stays, also called micro-stays, give travelers the option of enjoying the best of a hotel amenities, without the expense of staying all night.

They’re a popular option for business travelers who might have a long layover, as well as families staying overnight at less expensive alternatives who want to enjoy exclusive amenities during the daylight hours. They are a win-win option, since hotels are catching on to the idea that they can make extra revenue by basically monetizing vacant rooms during the day. It’s a great way for the hotels to stay busy, and many understand that a busy restaurant and busy spa builds momentum for more business from others at the hotel.

If you book a day stay you can expect to be treated very much like a hotel guest, so the only thing you don’t have in most cases is the bed for the night. If you need to use the business facilities, send a fax, lie by the pool, eat at the restaurant, or use the spa, these types of things would be available to you just as they are to guests of the hotel.

four-seasons-bathroom

They can be a fit for all kinds of people in various situations.  They are great for people who might have long layovers or maybe want to relax before cruises depart. Business travelers love them because they can freshen up before a big business meeting or get some work done during the day.  Another trend is when locals take advantage of regional deals because they can experience the hotels and basically pay less for them than if they stayed for the night.

You can book the stays online through sites such as Hotels By Day, the company I worked with on my Boston trip, or by calling the resorts directly (in some cases).

You most likely won’t see these deals promoted publicly.  There’s a limited amount available and they are often very exclusive. You’ll find the option at luxury resorts more than others, and most likely at smaller, independent hotels.

The costs range widely. The resort I used in Boston, which provided a room for the day, was more than $100, while the day stay in LA (where no room was assigned, but I could enjoy the perks of the pool on the property) was closer to $30 person. You should confirm which perks are off-limits to micro-stay visitors.  At some resorts, some amenities may not be available to day-stay participants. Decide whether it’s a fit for you based on your own needs.

(Note to readers: For the sake of this review, I was hosted by Hotels by Day for my stay at the hotel in Boston. I was not otherwise compensated and, as always, my opinion remains my own.)

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Braves Legend Daly Murphy Opens Murph’s Restaurant

by Desiree Miller on December 5, 2017


murphs on the mound

He’s a legendary Braves ball player, member of the Humanitarian Hall of Fame, and now, owner of a restaurant that hits it out of the ballpark when it comes to mixing great taste and good fun in Atlanta. It’s called Murph’s, and Daly Murphy serves up a home run with this new eatery, located just across the walking bridge from the new Suntrust Braves stadium.

I stopped in on a recent afternoon and was met by the big ball player for lunch.

Nope, I’m no celebrity…nor were the tables full of people Murphy made a point of talking to, posing with, and talking to while they ate.

braves ball 3

murphs restaurant

His restaurant is a tribute to his days in the game—decked with photos from his littlest days as the ball boy before he could play, all the way up to his legendary days with the Atlanta Braves.

murphy in blue braves uniform

murphs little league

murphy bat boy

If you go, which you should, please do yourself a favor and eat the Specialty Burgers that they serve, but request them ‘Murph’s Way’, which means you’ll have a fried egg and pepper jelly thrown in with the burger, too. It’s not listed on the menu, but absolutely worth trying.

There are other treats you’ll want to try, too, from the fried artichokes to the cheese curds (my personal favorite). There are salads and shrimp, and honestly, pretty much something for everyone.

murphs burger

murphs cheese curds

murphs fried okra Murphy was the fifth pick in the first round of the 1974 draft. He went on to earn four Silver Slugger awards, five Gold Gloves and became a seven-time National League All-Star team member. His jersey number (3) was retired in 1994 and hung at the old Braves stadium until the move to Cobb County—it now hangs in the restaurant.

murph meets reagan

murphs christmas card

You can’t count on him being there when you stop in, but if he is, you can count on him stopping by to visit with you at your table and talk about the good ole’ days of baseball, and more, as he did with me in the video below.

(Note to readers: I was invited to eat at the restaurant for the sake of this review. My food was covered, but I was not otherwise compensated. As always, my opinion remains my own.)

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VOLKSWAGEN 2017 GOLF ALLTRACK TSI S: Review

by Desiree Miller on November 17, 2017

volkswagen at beach house

It was supposed to be a quick run down to the beach. Just my oldest daughter and me. Our goal: a getaway from it all for just a few days. Relaxation. A couple hours tasting some of the best oyster combinations you could think up at the Annual Oyster Cook-off. And some quality girl time.

The Volkswagen 2017 Golf was our ticket to freedom this weekend. In tornado red. Maybe not the best choice in colors, thinking we were looking forward to fabulous weather all weekend. But, we were headed to the coast of Alabama, the home of the Crimson Tide, and the red just fit in perfectly with Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan, where we were basing ourselves for this beach trip.

driftwood

It offered more than enough room for our escape, but we made great use of all the space on our way back, when we decided some driftwood needed to come home with us for a project at the new house. We tend to do that—pick up pretty things everywhere we go, and it wouldn’t have been possible to fit that nearly 8 foot piece of driftwood inside any other car I know of (thank goodness for the split folding rear seat and pass-through!

We made the six-hour drive in comfort, letting the 1.8L TSI DOHC turbo 4-cylinder engine quietly power our way down to the shore. The 4-motion all-wheel drive made for a smooth ride starting and stopping through town after town, as we became more and more eager to smell the salt air of the beach.

drivers dash

The climate control and multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles made for a safe, comfortable drive. And the heated front seats with power recline were critical for us when we didn’t want to make too many stops—we just wanted to get there!

The technology in the car kept us singing the entire way down, with the touchscreen radio and CD player with USB and auxiliary in. Turns out my daughter has quite the fun playlist. The 8 speaker surround system helped drown out our not-so-great (ok, my not-so-great) singing voices. And the Bluetooth tech kept us hands-free and safe. The rearview camera rivaled better cameras on the market—and I’m not talking about just on the backs of cars. These cameras have come a long way!

rearview cam

At a price point of $28,615 for the model we drove, I have to say it felt like a value for the money. It could have been more comfortable in some areas (the driver’s seat isn’t very wide for those of us with bigger back sides), but with a little adjustment, it was a very comfortable ride.

We made the most of our time at the shore, learning all about the projects underway to keep the beach beautiful for generations to come.

And when it was time to leave, we were excited to load up our keepsake of the ocean that would find it’s way into our home, along with our new beach chairs, and make the long drive back. In our tornado red Volkswagen 2017 Golf.

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New Life: A Movie About Love That You’ll Love, #Giveaway

by Desiree Miller on November 17, 2017

New Life movie

18 minutes.

That’s all it took for the movie “New Life” to move me to tears.

There were laughs before that.

But the intensity of the love the two main characters share, and the message of the movie, will move you most.

Where there is love, there is life.

Sometimes, there is love well beyond life, or into the next life.

“NEW LIFE” is produced and co­written by Erin Bethea and Drew Waters as the premiere feature of their production company Argentum Entertainment.

In the story, these two childhood sweethearts, played by Bethea and Jonathan Patrick Moore, make great mates from the start, but it’s their love for each other as they grow that will have you wanting to share the same kind of love with another in your life.

Here’s a video trailer of the movie:

I don’t want to share much more about the movie for the sake of saving you from spoilers, but know that it’s worth an hour and a half of your time if you enjoy love stories in the least. It even won the best director, best lead actor and best picture awards at London’s Romford Film Festival.

And, on a local note for my fellow Georgians, the director, Waters, and Erin Bertha, leading lady in this, both just moved back to our state to work on producing more projects here. He’s a veteran, too, in addition to being in shows like Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad

The original release was limited, but now you can purchase this movie online.

Or, I have a few codes (3) to give out through my site if you want to win one.

Comment below with a tip you think helps keep love alive. Enter by December 1st at midnight EST.

I’ll contact the winners on December 2nd (coincidentally, my parents’ anniversary—two of the greatest lovebirds to have ever existed).

 

 

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ice goddess

There are some Atlanta holiday traditions you just shouldn’t miss, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights, Holiday Nights is among them.

Here’s a video of this year’s highlights (just click on the arrow to play):

Garden Lights Holiday Nights

The seventh annual display will wow you, especially with the new “Nature’s Wonders” light show. It’s a high-tech display of thousands of vertical strings of lights synchronized with music and sound effects to create the illusion of nature’s phenomena, including ocean waves, thunderstorms, snowfalls, rainbows, sunrises/sunsets, meteor showers and more. I witnessed this light show, and though I didn’t absorb the various natural wonders from the lights, I did find the display spectacular, with lights dancing from string to string, timed to the music. It may be that I rushed too quickly through the display, so eager to get to the Ice Goddess lit up in blue and white string lights. That’s always been my favorite part of the Garden Lights, Holiday Nights show.

orchestral orbs

I also really enjoy the Orchestral Orbs. I could sit forever watching the orbs light up to each note of music, colors rotating through with each song. It’s especially magical with the lights of the Atlanta skyline in the background.

garden trees

The Garden Lights, Holiday Nights is presented nightly until January 7th. Friday & Saturday: 5 – 11 p.m.

Sunday – Thursday: 5 – 10 p.m.

 

You should get your tickets in advance (click here) if you know when you’re going—just keep in mind that there are no rain checks for inclement weather—it’s a rain or shine kind of thing. You’ll want to dress appropriately.

There’s also a fee for parking.

This is always one of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays in Atlanta. I hope you agree when you’ve seen them in person.

garden singers

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Leave Only Footprints on Alabama’s Coast: Anti-litter Campaign

November 14, 2017

The smell of salt in the air. The sound of the waves, gently crashing on shore. The sight of the sun sparkling off the water, like a dancing light display. An aluminum can…cigarette butts…or plastic bottle. They just don’t fit into that peaceful picture you have of the beach, do they? That’s because they shouldn’t be part of the picture. And they should never be left behind after you enjoy a day at the beach. Neither should your beach gear. Even if you’re staying at a home on the beach, […]

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Fall Into Fitness Giveaway #FallforC9atTarget

October 31, 2017

It’s Fall, y’all, and that means time to pull out the warm weather clothes that leave you feeling comfortable and cozy, and maybe even energized to workout before you pack on a couple holiday pounds. And when you work out, you want to look cute doing it, or at least I do, just in case the exercising part doesn’t happen and you end up in those yoga pants or running tights all day, paired with your favorite sweatshirt. A new set of workout attire does inspire me to at least […]

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Six Flags Over Georgia Fright Fest: The Last Weekend

October 24, 2017

“I never want to go back to that place again.” When you hear a child saying that after spending a few hours at the Six Flags Over Georgia Fright Fest, you know the event succeeded in its goal to scare all whom entered its gates. Granted, this child was younger than the recommended minimum age of 13. But I’m at least triple his age and it scared me. It always does. Yet, I always go back. The Fright Fest theme is thrills by day, fright by night. And trust me, […]

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So You Want to Write a Book? #NaNoWriMo

September 14, 2017

There’s a stat floating around out there that 81% of Americans think they have a book in them. That’s about 200 million people…thinking about it…knowing they have a story (or two) to share. I don’t doubt it. That they have great stories. We all do, I’m sure of it. But how many will actually sit down and pound it out? I did it a few years ago. I didn’t publish it at the time. It’s loosely based on my own life and there are some people who aren’t going to […]

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Cirque du Soleil Heads Back to Atlanta with LUZIA: Giveaway!

August 29, 2017

If you’ve never been to a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’re missing out, but you can fix that with the upcoming Atlanta shows of LUZIA at Atlantic Station, and we have a ticket giveaway for you. LUZIA is the newest Big Top show from Cirque, set to open September 14th and run through November 19th. The visually-stunning production LUZIA transports you to a waking dream of the wonder of Mexico. Tickets start at about $35.  There’s a special 20% offer running now, too, on select show dates and times while […]

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