7 Underrated Places in the US the Whole Family Will Love

Family Vacation Summer 2019

Family Vacation Summer 2019

While classic summer vacations like Disney, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Wisconsin Dells, and Cedar Point might all be fun, the options below take a path less traveled. Your family will make memories they won’t soon forget and you’ll find something for everyone.

San Diego

This pretty city has perfect weather year-round. The whole family will enjoy manageable summer heat with zero humidity.

The award-winning San Diego Zoo is one of the largest and most reputable in the world, and is a must-stop for families. You’ll delight in seeing the giant pandas, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The northern frontier area boasts polar bears and arctic foxes while the African exhibit includes leopards, rare baboons, and lemurs.

Families can enjoy some of the nicest beaches in the country with activities like seal tours, snorkeling with sharks, and surf lessons. You can also do San Diego sand-free at the incredible Children’s Museum, Belmont Amusement Park, LEGOLand, Balboa Park, and countless other small attractions where your child can explore his or her interests.

Miami Beach

Florida beaches like Destin and Saint Petersburg are a hit with families. So are North Florida family hubs like Disney World and Cape Canaveral. But South Florida has something different to offer. Boasting the most tropical stateside beaches, the snorkeling in Miami Beach can’t be beat, as you’ll easily spot tons of colorful fish and aquatic life.

When the heat becomes too much at midday, head indoors for more fun. There’s an exceptional children’s museum between Miami and Miami Beach not far from Jungle Island – a great indoor spot to enjoy orangutans, lemurs, sloths, and other jungle creatures. They also feature indoor sky-diving simulation, escape rooms, and more. The Ritz-Carlton at Bal Harbor also has a well-loved children’s beach club experience, but there are many other family-friendly resorts and hotels to explore, too.

New Orleans

New Orleans =swathed in beads and feathers for Mardi Gras is not the only draw to this warm and diverse city. While your family will undoubtedly enjoy the delicious seafood, Creole cuisine and French pastries, the Big Easy boasts much more than great dining.

NOLA is loaded with historical museums, beautiful outdoor experiences, and family-friendly music experiences. Gator tours will thrill kids and adults of all ages, the enchanting train garden makes for a fun adventure inside the botanical gardens. No family vacation to New Orleans would be complete without a romp through Storyland Park, which brings your family’s favorite characters and fairytales to life. New Orleans also caters to families with kid-friendly book stores, kid-focused restaurants, and parks on every corner. Your crew might be begging to stay forever.

Anchorage

Alaska gets a bad rap as a freezing cold arctic experience featuring moose encounters. While the potential for moose encounters holds true all year round, Alaska can be downright springlike. It’s a solid choice for escaping the hight temps of July and August. Stay in Anchorage, and plan trips from there to Alaska’s many outdoor destinations.

At wildlife hubs like the Sea Life Center, the Wildlife Conservatory, and Denali National Park, your family will get the chance to see – and even interact with – tons of native wildlife. Sled dogs, sea otters and puffins are among the protected creatures you might meet and interact with on tours, while luckier travelers will see bison, moose, reindeer, and even bears. Tours of all kinds allow you to paddle, hike, or cruise through the various ecosystems that make up Alaska’s unique lands.

In Anchorage itself, your family will love exploring The Imaginarium Science Discovery Center at the Anchorage Museum or the Nancy Lake State Recreational Park. Grab a Discovery Duffel at the botanical gardens, stuffed with challenges and activities for kids, and relax at a cafe or poolside at your hotel.  

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is an eastern Tennessee town you may or may not have ever heard of. For those in the know, the Smoky Mountains bring all of the enchantment and mystery of the western US mountains to the eastern hills.

If you’ve never been, one trip on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram will blow your mind. This tram will give you a bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is as incredible as it sounds. Even better, the end of the tram will drop you and your troops at a mountain-town amusement park. In nearby Anakeesta, you’ll enjoy mining for gems and traversing the treehouse park. By the way, mom and dad, the views are insane.

Other attractions in the area include Dollywood, exploring the Ripley’s Believe-it-or-not Museum and playing with penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium, entering a dessert dreamland at Crave Golf Club and more.   

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Lake Michigan is an attraction unto itself, with the usability and accessibility of a freshwater lake and the size and waves of a coastal beach vacation.

While America’s largest lake offers plenty of spots to stay and play, Sleeping Bear Dunes is among the most unique. This area boasts forests and dunes that invite adventurers to hike, bike, ride, tube, or buggy. The lake also offers constant entertainment from wading, swimming, and sandcastle building for little kiddos to jet skiing, hang-gliding, and learning to surf for older kids.

For the whole family, this area is spotted with old-town shops, ice cream parlors, and at night, the Lanphier Observatory is perfect for stargazing and forgetting to check your phone.

Olympic National Park

For an all-in-one outdoor excursion your family won’t soon forget, head to Washington state and the Olympic National Park. This national park is one of the most ecologically diverse as it includes mountains, lakes, ocean beaches, and temperate rainforests. Choose to camp in one of many pristine and remote campgrounds, opt for a lakeside resort like the Quinault lodge, or grab a hotel in a nearby staple city like Olympia, Shelton, or Port Angeles.

On the west side of the park, your crew can experience tidepools, whale watching, and sea otter spotting at the Kalaloch beaches. To the south, dip a kayak or canoe into Quinault lake, then hike out to see the world’s largest Sitka spruce tree. On the north side, from Port A, take a casual hike through the Hoh rainforest, where spots like the Hall of Mosses, bear-sightings along the salmon-filled Hoh River, or one of many gorgeous waterfalls will enchant you. From Port Angeles, you can also take a short drive to Hurricane Ridge to see acres and acres of wildflowers peppered with deer, foxes, and elk with a stunning mountain backdrop. (This is a great place to snowshoe, sled, and ski in the winter, too!)

If your family loves the water, take a dip in Lake Crescent – this lake is free of algae and is one of the deepest and cleanest in the country. You can also visit Sol Duc Hot Springs for an any-season soak. The Puget Sound, to the east, could round out your trip and, for families with time, nearby Olympia and Seattle offer tons of indoor excitement, too.

Where will you be traveling this summer?

It’s FESTIVAL Season: Get Ready with Our Top Festival-goer Tips

Festival Season

Festival season is in full swing! You may have already learned the hard way that having an unforgettable experience at these amazing events requires a decent amount of planning. You can try to go with the flow and hope for the best, or you can take our advice and become an instant festival traveling pro.

#1 Book your lodging ASAP

There are only so many hotels near these venues. In order to ensure that you are getting a good deal, the right number of rooms and/or the best proximity, you have to book your lodging as soon as you get your festival tickets. Look into any hotels that are partnering with your festival for a special discount.

#2 Never act solo

Traveling is always a lot to handle. Having a friend or group of friends to help coordinate your trip, navigate your travels and execute your festival plans can make all the difference. Not only will you be safer with a co-pilot to talk to and manage the Waze or Google Maps, but festivals are a whole lot more fun when you get to share the amazing experience with your friends.

If you’re going to trade off driving, try to always have at least one person awake to accompany the driver.

#3 Pack early and double-check your list

Festivals can either be one long party filled with amazing entertainment, food, drinks, and fun OR they can be exhausting and overwhelming if you feel unprepared. Someone spill their drink on you and you didn’t pack extra clothes? Forget the one thing you can’t forget (the all-mighty phone charger)? By creating your own personal checklist and starting the packing process early, you make sure that among the excitement of the travel and the festival events that you are prepared for whatever comes up. Here’s a quick festival checklist to start with:

  • Tickets/wristbands
  • A physical map for traveling through dead zones
  • More than enough clothes in case of accidents/emergencies
  • Cash – whether it’s for the trip or during the festival, it’s always important to have multiple payment methods at your disposal
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer/wet wipes to keep you feeling fresh
  • Bug spray
  • Backpack or similarly easy to carry bag for extended time away from your hotel/tent
  • Tent and sleeping bag (if applicable)
  • Refillable water bottle – likely holds more than 16 ounces so you don’t get dehydrated while you’re busting a move (bonus for cutting down on waste!)
  • Phone charger
  • Chairs for downtimes
  • Blankets or mats to lay down on
  • Cards or other travel-friendly games in between sets or for in your hotel/tent
#4 Get to know the details of your festival

How is your festival laid out? What times are your favorite artists performing? How easy is it to get back to your lodging accommodations? Be certain to answer these questions ahead of time to ensure that you feel prepared to make the most of your festival weekend.

Here’s a list of some of the biggest, baddest festivals

  1. Boston Calling – May 24-26, Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, MA
  2. Bottlerock – May 24-26; Napa Valley, CA
  3. Bayou Country Super Fest – May 25-26, 2019; LSU Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
  4. Primavera Sound – May 30-June 1; Barcelona, Spain
  5. Governors Ball – May 31-June 2; Randall’s Island, New York City, NY
  6. Roots Picnic – June 1, The Mann at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA
  7. CMA Music Festival /Austin City Limits – June 6–9, 2019; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
  8. Bonnaroo – June 13-18; Manchester, TN
  9. Firefly – June 21-23; The Woodlands, Dover, DE
  10. Glastonbury – June 26-30; Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England
  11. Longitude – July 5-7; Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland
  12. Pitchfork Music Festival – July 19-21, Union Park, Chicago, IL
  13. Lollapalooza Paris – July 20-21; Hippodrome Paris Longchamp, Paris, France
  14. Cincinnati Music Festival – July 25-27, 2019; Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, OH
  15. Mo Pop – July 27-28; West Riverfront Park, Detroit, MI
  16. Lollapalooza – August 1-4; Grant Park, Chicago, IL
  17. Outside Lands – August 9-11; Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
  18. Woodstock 50 – August 16-18; Watkins Glen, NY
  19. Burning Man – Aug 25-Sep 2, 2019; Black Rock City, Gerlach, NV
#5 Map out your set-list

Which acts can you absolutely not miss? If these acts are headliners, odds are you’re going to have to stake your claim around a half hour before the set starts.

Don’t leave an amazing festival with a sour taste in your mouth because you missed your favorite band or had to wear the same pair of underwear the entire weekend. Start your planning early so that your weekend can be a breeze.

Looking for a great deal on your festival hotel so you can increase your food budget (Chi’lantro is calling…)? Do a quick search with Bonwi.com to review our best offers.

Places To Escape The Heat

Bonwi-21-Places-To-Escape-The-Heat

Bonwi-21-Places-To-Escape-The-Heat

Summer is coming and and it’s time to start planning. Below is a list of lakes, mountains, and beaches to help keep you cool in the warmer months.

Denali-Alaska

Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park offers beautiful views of land and water. It’s home to amazing wildlife and offers the perfect escape from the summer heat. Temperatures during July tend to hover in the mid 60s during the day, and dip down into the low 40s at night.
MEXICO-CITY-MEXICO
Mexico City, Mexico 
Mexico City is full of interesting neighborhoods and museums, amazing archaeological treasures, and an incredible public square. Best of all, at an altitude of 7,411 feet the climate is moderate all year.
Michigan
Upper Peninsula, Michigan 
Get outside and enjoy the Great Lakes, refreshing woods, and beautiful landscapes found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The daytime highs hover around the mid to low 70s, and evening temperatures are in the low 50s.
San-francisco
San Francisco, California 
San Francisco is a great city for walkable neighborhoods, famous attractions, and every type of ethnic food imaginable. July brings daytime temperatures in the high 60s, often with a cool, gentle breeze off the ocean throughout the day.
nova_scotia
Nova Scotia, Canada 
Nova Scotia is surrounded by rolling green fields, high sea-cliffs, and wooden architecture that is perfectly picturesque. The residents of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, barely break a sweat in the summer on account of the fresh salty ocean air.
Let us help ensure that your next getaway is the best one yet. Get up to 40% back in travel points on every booking with Bonwi.com.

Cincinnati: The Paris of America Awaits!

Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati.
Art exhibit in the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Art exhibit in the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A 19th-century boomtown has escalated to a popular travel destination in the United States. Cincinnati Ohio was commonly referred to as the “Paris of America”, due to such ambitious architectural projects it endured during its most progressive development period.

The large city has many fun and family-friendly attractions which have been additions in recent years, creating the ultimate vacation spot for just about anyone.

Cincinnati Museum Center

Under renovation since late 2016, November 2018 was the grand reopening of Union Terminal’s grand Rotunda. As the holiday season approaches the center shows off an impressive 9,000 square foot exhibit of trains, displaying realistic toy-trains in a whimsical setting, and the opportunity to visit with Santa. 

Cincinnati Union Terminal at Cincinnati Museum Center, principal façade.
Cincinnati Union Terminal at Cincinnati Museum Center, principal façade.

Additionally, there are the first phases of the new permanent galleries, the Museum of Natural History and Science’s Dinosaur Hall, and Cincinnati History Museum’s Public Landing. Dinosaur Hall is an entirely new feature, displaying six giant, prehistoric beasts. The premium interactive elements will allow visitors to experience the Jurassic period like never before. The hall will utilize the center’s fossil collection to explore the evolution and biology of dinosaurs.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Opened in the year of 1875, Cincinnati Zoo is the second-oldest zoo in the nation. Gorilla World, in the Cincinnati Zoo, allow visitors to get up-close-and-personal with 11 real-life gorillas in the new indoor habitat. Floor-to-ceiling viewing glass allows for an enhanced experience, close to one might see in the wild, to watch the gorillas play.

Gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo.
Gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Visitors can hand feed a giraffe, take a safari ride, or enjoy a cinematic experience in the 4-D Theater. With over 75 acres of land, the zoo hosts more than 580 animal species and 3,000 flora and fauna species, also making it one of the largest zoos in the U.S. The zoo is the optimal location for a unique family day.

Newport Aquarium

The state-of-the-art facility allows guests to enjoy the banks of the Ohio River in the world’s most advanced, creative technology, to create an enhanced trip around the globe featuring amazing animal species. Newport Aquarium’s million gallons host an unbelievable array of sea creatures, allowing guests to get hands-on.

Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati.
Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati.

Guests can touch a shark, play in the interactive frog bog and even pet a penguin during the Penguin Encounter exhibit. Most daringly, take a stroll across the Shark Bridge. It is the only suspension bridge in North America where guests can walk inches above two dozen sharks. The rope bridge is 75-feet long and is suspended over the open water at the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Winterfest at Kings Island

After a 12-year hiatus, Kings Island has finally re-introduced its favorite wintertime family expedition. Kings Island is a popular family location with more than 100 rides, thrills, and family-friendly attractions. In the winter months, the amusement park hosts a festive winter wonderland features an ice skating rink, a 315-foot-tree, carolers, train rides, a Santa’s workshop, under bright Christmas lights.

Brewing Heritage Trail

Once the booming brewing center of the U.S. with a per capita consumption of beer beyond any other U.S. city, The Brewing Heritage Trail celebrates this astonishing heritage. The urban walking trail winds through Cincinnati neighborhoods to the dozens of historic breweries. Walkers will enjoy public art and digital experiences as they follow the trail during a day full of beer. 

21c Museum Hotel

The intricate circuit of hotels in downtown, is easily outpaced by the contemporary 21c Museum Hotel. The historic Metropole Hotel features an 8,000 square-foot art museum, hosting collections of contemporary art in the most unexpected places of the boutique hotel. With 156 rooms, multiple venues, and unique displays of art, 21c is an exciting space full of change and unique experiences and décor.  

Find Cincinnati hotels and use your Bonwi points to stretch your business and leisure traveling expenses!

Chattanooga: The Scenic City Is Ready for New Visitors

Choo Choo Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Choo Choo Hotel lobby in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Tucked between mountains and the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is one of America’s most breathtaking cities and has garnered the nickname “Scenic City”.  Beginning about two decades ago, private and governmental resources have invested an incredible amount of time and money to transform the city’s tarnished image.

In fact, the New York Times named the city one of the “Top 45 Places to go” in the World. The renovated city has also taken home many national awards for outstanding livability and largest metro areas where to get the best “Bang For Your Buck”.

The “21st Century Waterfront Plan” was put in place in the early 2000’s to revitalize the downtown area and making use of the Riverfront’s natural resources. Since then, visitor numbers have drastically increased and the city is opening new attractions and accommodations each year to support the influx of crowds.

The Scenic City has become a world of outdoor adventure, amazing restaurants, boutique hotels, live events, and world-class attractions.

One of the best and safe ways to explore the city is on the water. New attractions line the Tennessee River offering endless activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing, and electric unicycle rides.

Chattanooga is home to one of the nation’s top children’s museums, the Creative Discovery Museum, perfect for a day for family fun. The museum inspires children’s passion for learning through play; clay sculptures, message zooming through pneumatic tubes, digging for dinosaur bones and cast assuming in the Back Alley Theatre. A great way for the family to enjoy the hands-on activity while inspiring imagination in the younger generations.

Ruby Falls Village, Chattanooga, TN
Ruby Falls Village, Chattanooga, TN

As Ruby Falls celebrates their 88th birthday in 2018, they are proud to open the first phase of the $20 million expansion. A destination that inspires exploration, Ruby Falls is home to the tallest and deepest underground waterfall, located 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain.

Highlights of the expansion include a new entrance, accessible Blue Heron Overlook, shaded open-air dining, the Village Gift Shop, and the Village Plaza that serves as a gathering place with live music and food carts. Guided tours are offered to explore the cavern trails and ancient geological formation, supported by abundant views of Chattanooga.

Chattanooga offers some of the very best accommodations in the country. For an authentic experience of the city’s history, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is the place to stay. Opened in 1909 as a terminal station during the golden age of railroads, today the station stands as a grand hotel in downtown Chattanooga.

The Edwin Hotel, Chattanooga, TN
The Edwin Hotel, Chattanooga.

The building boasts dining, retail shops, rose gardens and a unique twist to spending a night in town. Guests can overnight in beautifully restored sleeper cars, which were once reserved for the wealthiest of passengers in the railroad era.

Many new accommodations are being welcomed to the city in the fall of 2018. Two of the most highly anticipated additions include the Edwin Hotel and Moxy Hotel, both boutique hotels.

Whether you’re off to Chattanooga on business or for fun, why not use Bonwi points and get free hotel nights?

Bleisure Travel in Detroit: Mix Business and Pleasure

The Parlor, a room at the Siren Hotel in Detroit.
The Parlor, a room at the Siren Hotel in Detroit.
The Parlor, a room at the Siren Hotel in Detroit.

Bleisure travel is quickly becoming the newest popular trend among young professionals. The idea is simple – you have to go on a work-mandated excursion to meet a client or attend a conference in a city you’ve never been to before? Why not use up a couple of those well-earned vacation days and take some time for yourself to see it from a tourist’s perspective?

And with Bonwi points, you can buy the hotel for work and use the points to extend your trip for fun!

By spreading out their vacation days into a multitude of smaller, less exotic mini-vacations, millennials are effectively finding the ability to check out unexplored parts of the country and take advantage of some of the new attractions these always-growing cities have to offer.

One of the most popular locations for these wanderlusting young people is America’s Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. Detroit is facing a revitalization effort of epic proportions, with engaging new attractions being built all the time.

Coupled with these new developments is a greater emphasis placed on luxurious and trendy spaces for visitors to stay and explore the city. Recently, three exciting new hotels are opening up within a two-block section of downtown Detroit that are sure to garner the interest of bleisure-minded folks.

The Siren Hotel

The new Siren Hotel by ASH NYC is finding its home inside of the historic yet seriously dilapidated 1926 Wurlitzer Building. The restoration process was completed in November of last year and its massive transformation left even locals to the area stunned.

The hotel consists of 106 guestrooms, a rooftop deck, 2 retail spaces, and several food and beverage options. The aesthetic of the building’s new design draws from the history of the once bustling organ manufacturer’s main office building and incorporates some new ideas from the mind of chief designer Will Cooper.

The location is perfect for those looking to find a downtown headquarters for their explorations of the most happening part of the city and offers a great variety of room options for any prospective guest.

A Parlor Suite at The Siren Hotel (from their website)

The Element Detroit Hotel

Opening in December 2018, Marriott’s new installation in their extended-stay Element Hotel series is sure to take Detroit by storm.

Finding its place in the once-great Metropolitan Building, the first Element Hotel to open in Michigan will be a 14-story, 110 room sanctum for those looking to stay in the city for a longer period.

The hotel will have 2,000 square feet of meeting space on its second floor, making it the ideal location for in-town business operations and will also have a great deal of retail and restaurant space.

This redevelopment will certainly mark a fantastic improvement for the run-down building, originally set for demolition.

The Shinola Hotel

Last, but certainly not least on our list is the set redevelopment of the building at 1400 Woodward Avenue into the chic new Shinola Hotel. This project will see the disheveled shell of a building turn into one of the most happening places to stay in the city.

The transformation of this building is the brainchild of two famous Detroit-based companies, Shinola and Bedrock. Their creative collaboration promises to produce one of the most happening spots in downtown.

Along with this renovation, the project will also open up a back-alley that connects the hotel with the previous two listed, the Siren and the Element,

The hotel will provide 130 rooms for its guests and 16,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. It is slated to open late this year and will be an excellent place to relax after spending a night out on the town.

So if you find yourself in Detroit later this year on business, think about the opportunity to extend your stay in one of these elaborate new renovations to some of Detroit’s most famous buildings.

Use your Bonwi Points and enjoy a stay at fine hotels like these–and get points back to spend as you wish!

Pythian Market in New Orleans: A New Foodie Mecca

Pythian Market is a European-style food market, with 14 different eateries and tables people can sit at and share, in downtown New Orleans, Lousiana. Pythian Market photos.
Pythian Market is a European-style food market, with 14 different eateries and tables people can sit at and share, in downtown New Orleans, Lousiana. Pythian Market photos.

A new foodie endeavor has opened its doors in New Orleans’ Pythian Building. The Pythian Market Food Collective has become a gathering space for anyone and everyone that features local food purveyors, a fast craft bar, and retail vendors.

Since its opening in May 2018, Pythian Market has made itself a one-stop destination with an impressive variety of cuisines and drinks to try that accurately represent the diverse culinary landscape of New Orleans.

The market is located in the historic Pythian Temple in New Orleans’ Central Business District at 234 Loyola Avenue.

The temple was originally commissioned by the Colored Knights of Pythias in 1908, and it has been an “integral role in New Orleans’ early civil rights movement and was a place where the African American community congregated and celebrated,” according to Lisa Brefere, founder of award-winning F&B consulting firm Gigachef and curator of Pythian Market.

Brefere’s, and staff’s goals were to recreate this early notion of a gathering place. They wanted to reuse the Pythian Temple for its original purpose, and they have done this by creating a centralized hub of food, culture, spirit, and community.

Food halls like this have been delighting people in Europe for decades, now you can visit Pythian Market in New Orleans for the same experience.
Food halls like this have been delighting people in Europe for decades, now you can visit Pythian Market in New Orleans for the same experience.

The food collective has a  wide assortment of different eating places that feature locally-sourced purveyors who strive to consistently incorporate fresher and lighter ingredients and flavors.

The 14 independent vendors range from local brands that have a following, to up-and-coming new food concepts that seek to push the envelope of comfort food.

The unique offerings at Pythian Market include crawfish poutine from a Southern-meets-Louisiana comfort food spot Fete au Fete, the Hanover – oxtails stewed in a rich brown gravy with carrots and potatoes – from 14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant, Eat Well’s Vietnamese banh mi and phoritos (pho burritos), and cachapas – Venezuelan stuffed corn pancakes from La Cocinita.

La Cocinita has also been featured on CNBC’s Restaurant Start-Up, Food Network’s Eat Street, and the Cooking Channel’s Taco Trip.

One chef is taking center stage at the new Pythian Market. Chef Marlon Alexander has brought two fresh ideas to the food collective: Cru – raw and cooked specialty seafood dishes including tempura fried Gulf oysters – paired with craft cocktails and wines, and Poulet – fresh sustainable cuisine with an emphasis on locally-sourced rotisserie chicken.

Even those who are a little more conservative with their food choices will find something at the Pythian Market. Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Frencheeze, wood-fired pizzas from Meribo Pizza, and traditional Southern barbecue from Central City BBQ are sure to cover the bases for anyone who’s not looking to stray too far into the unusual.

Craft drinks can be found at various locales throughout the market. Bar 1908 is the perfect stop for fast craft cocktails, local beers, and seasonal frozen beverages.

The Pythian Market is 11,000 square feet with 140 seats and combines contemporary and rustic themes that are reminiscent of the history of the building.

Find the perfect New Orleans Hotel at Bonwi, and get points you can use for your next vacation or business trip!

Georgia Hotels: Sweet Spots To Stay in the Peach State

Cooling off in style at the new Great Wolf Waterpark in Atlanta.
Cooling off in style at the new Great Wolf Lodge Resort Waterpark in Atlanta.

In recent years, the hotel industry in the state of Georgia has dramatically upped the ante, with developers continuously working on producing even more fantastic lodgings for visitors to enjoy.

The state is currently home to more than 1,845 hotels, comprised of an excess of 168,000 rooms across the board. As these new developments reach the end of their construction and open their doors for business, there are a few stand-out facilities that definitely deserve some special attention.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is getting a brand new face with the new 4-star Intercontinental Hotel set to be built on the airport’s campus. This Intercontinental will be the first hotel to be built within walking distance of the domestic terminal and will include 80,000 feet of conference/meeting space and 60,000 square feet of office space. A restaurant and skybar are planned to be built within sight of the runway, and this beautiful hotel is sure to provide out-of-state visitors with a glowing first look at Georgia.

If you fancy yourself a fan of massive water slides, relaxing tubing opportunities, and high-speed thrills, you should definitely check out Georgia’s new Great Wolf Lodge Resort. The resort offers a 93,000 square foot facility complete with an entire water park, mini golf, an adventure park, and a wide range of other great family-friendly activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained.

The resort offers a wide array of deluxe suite-style rooms that provide an option for all prospective visitors, no matter their group size. Kids and adults alike will love all that this magnificent resort has to offer, and it’s a great place to go to escape from reality for just a few nights!

The new Hard Rock Casino and hotel in Atlanta will feature live music venues, an outdoor pool and a skybar.
The new Hard Rock Hotel Atlanta will feature live music venues, outdoor pool, and a skybar.

For fans of Atlanta sports and exciting live music, Hard Rock International is developing a huge new hotel in Atlanta right next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Centennial Olympic Drive. The Hard Rock Hotel Atlanta will contain 220 rooms and over 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

In addition, the hotel will offer an outdoor swimming pool, a rooftop bar, several live music venues, and a great deal of retail space for visitors to explore throughout their stay. The hotel will be open soon and give guests a taste of the luxurious accommodations there brand is famous for.

Set to take up an entire block’s space on Savannah’s historic River Street, The new Alida Hotel will provide guests with a safer and more easily accessible way of visiting the beautiful neighboring riverfront through their grand entryway. The hotel will be a seven-story, 173-room accommodation with 4,000 square feet of meeting space, a signature restaurant, rooftop event space and bar, pool, bar, and a large fitness area.

Any of these brand new Georgia hotels are sure to give your stay a fantastic base of operations to relax the night away after a long day of exploration. Book your reservations on Bonwi and use points for a future trip!

Southern California’s Newest Hotels for Visitors

The new AC Hotel Laguna Beach, southern California.
The new AC Hotel Laguna Beach, southern California.
The new AC Hotel Laguna Beach, southern California.

Southern California has been one of the most popular and exciting vacation destinations in the United States for decades. With all of the luxury arts and entertainment opportunities, one can quite easily forget about the importance of planning the logistical side of their trip entirely.

However, if you don’t plan your stay ahead of time, you may find yourself out of luck when searching for reasonable deals on lodging in the Golden State. Luckily, 4 exciting new hotels have recently opened their doors throughout the state’s Southern regions that are sure to capture your attention.

Burbank

If you find yourself planning a trip to Burbank in the next couple of years, consider staying at the AC Hotel. Officially opening in 2020, the AC Hotel in Burbank will boast a classically European designed 196-room, six-story building directly across from the newly renovated Burbank Town Center.

The hotel will feature a beautiful rooftop observation deck, a large public courtyard, a luxurious pool and a 3,800 square foot restaurant space. Geared toward the traveling young professional, the AC Hotel will exude a totally new lifestyle concept for Burbank. AC focuses on the millennial travelers–not a lot of emphasis on the lobby, but fast Wi-fi, a great hotel bar, and a fun experience.

Laguna Beach

This August, the same people that brought you Palm Springs’ Korakia Pensione, “One of the Sexiest Hotels in America” according to Forbes and the New York Times, are rolling out a new boutique hotel in Laguna Beach, Hotel Joaquin.

Taking the place of what used to be an old Motor Inn, the Hotel Joaquin will provide a fiery new atmosphere to the area by embracing the land’s Spanish heritage in accompaniment with the beauty of the breathtaking California coastline. This petite resort promises to provide guests with a relaxing and gorgeous stay and wants to help you create memories to last a lifetime.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to many exciting new opportunities in the realm of lodging. This past January, The Sydell Group opened an LA branch of its famous NoMad Hotel in New York. Located Downtown, the hotel consists of 241 rooms over 12 stories, complete with a rooftop pool.

Also Downtown, the anticipated opening of the first Proper Hospitality location in LA, the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel is sure to impress. This 13-story hotel was built in 1924 and will have 148 rooms for guests to occupy starting later this year. And last, but certainly not least, the Godfrey brand, famous for their fabulous locations in New York and Boston, is opening a brand new high-end boutique in Hollywood.

The 60,000 square foot hotel will be geared toward the fast-paced lifestyle of the traveling professional, providing amenities that allow guests to conduct both local and remote business operations in a comfortable and aesthetic atmosphere.

Find your Los Angeles area hotel on Bonwi, and use the points for another stay!

Five Fantastic Destination Spas In The Western United States

Finding complete relaxation sometimes requires escaping for a while to somewhere dedicated to making you feel new again. While hotels everywhere have spa programs, the western US is host to some of the nation’s top destination spas – resorts offering a full restorative experience including therapy, healthy cuisine, and wellness programs; often amid scenic views and perfect weather. We’ve selected this short list of destination spas in the western states based on their charm, amenities, quality, and the immersiveness of their programs.

Mii amo Spa At Enchantment Resort

Tucked away in the Coconino National Forest north of Phoenix, Arizona, Mii amo is a secluded destination spa perfect for finding your center. While Sedona’s red rock formations instill a sense of zen, Mii amo sits among them harmoniously, with an open and inviting architecture designed around its natural surroundings. The spa features massage techniques from around the globe and transformational activities including Native American inspired rituals and meditation. Hiking trails and a full calendar of fitness and wellness workshops keep your options rounded. Sessions are offered both outdoors and within Mii amo’s many scenic treatment rooms.

The Well Spa At Miramonte

Located in Southern California’s Palm Springs Desert community at the Miramonte Resort, The Well Spa is considered a favorite by locals and visitors alike. This charming Tuscan-inspired villa sits peacefully afoot the Santa Rosa Mountains, adorned with bougainvillea and cyprus , setting the perfect mood to unwind. The spa, covering 12,000 square feet (1.114 square meters), boasts three outdoor treatment spaces, saline pools, bench-water therapy, and a eucalyptus-infused steam room. Begin your spa experience by choosing a stone on which a word of intention is inscribed. This becomes a mantra for your journey to restoration. A few unique treatments offered by The Well Spa include their signature Sticks and Stones massage, a honey massage, a couples painting party using restorative muds.

Claremont Hotel Club & Spa

If you’d like to relax and visit the San Francisco Bay Area, think of the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa as your island in the city. This spa offers a robust menu of treatments and sweeping bay views within a lovingly restored resort dating back to 1915. Watch a sunset over San Francisco in the distance from open-bay windows during a eucalyptus bath therapy session. Customized hydrafacials, aromatherapy, and up to six styles of massage are among the spa therapy offerings. Unwind at your own pace while within minutes of an amazing food scene and northern California’s natural beauty. Feeling adventurous after relaxing? Work on your swing at the on-site tennis club, or take a day trip to San Francisco, coastal villages, or the nearby wine country.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

The coastal village of La Jolla, just minutes north of San Diego, California, is home to this luxury hotel and spa modeled as a charming spanish-colonial villa. Estancia sits on 10 acres of immaculately-curated gardens high on the cliffs above Torrey Pines state beach. It’s award-winning spa features a Sea Stone Massage, eucalyptus steam room, and a meditation garden with overstuffed pillows. Bringing someone special with you? An intimate couple’s bungalow featuring a private deck and outdoor soaking tub for two catches ocean breezes all day.

Spa By The Sea

On the island of Kauai, imagine a massage right on the beach, the sound of waves, and a scent of cocoa butter. Literally a spa by the sea, Hawaii’s Waipouli Beach Resort features beach massages, body treatments making use of volcanic ash (an antioxidant), and body wraps with noni fruit, used for centuries by traditional healers throughout the Pacific Islands. When you’re not enjoying the sun, sand, and natural beauty of Kauai, a Japanese Soaking Tub, Vichy Shower room, and Chiropractic suite offer additional ways to relax at this tropical-destination spa.

Feeling like it’s time to hit your reset button? We all deserve some time for ourselves now and then. Putting time on the calendar to decompress might be the best thing you do for yourself this year, and a destination spa out west waits to welcome you.

 

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, a little last-minute booking for some rest and relaxation on Bonwi.com could be the perfect gift. And make sure you check back every Tuesday for our latest edition of Travel Tip Tuesday!

Top Winter Villages

Do you become active and engaged during winter months, or do you prefer to hibernate? Do you like to shop, be outdoors, or cuddle by a fire? The small-town lifestyle of American villages offer a way to relax and do whatever you like at a slower pace. After all, what is better than a getaway that leaves all the hustle and bustle behind? We’ve handpicked a few winter wonderlands that have something for everyone, so lean back as we take you through them.

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Vail offers world-class skiing in a town that encompasses all the charm of a European alpine village. This city lives up to its reputation as a top entertainment and shopping destination. The slopes at Vail offer a wide range of terrain from kid-friendly to expert. Skiers with children love Vail because kids can attend a thorough ski school as they indulge on the resort’s diverse terrain. At day’s end, sip hot cocoa while walking the village’s cobblestone streets, perusing its wide selection of restaurants.

Berkshires, Massachusetts

The Berkshires’ winter is what inspired the picturesque romantic white Christmas scenes we see around the holidays. New England is full of dreamy small towns with classic red barns, open roads, great food, and friendly people. Look anywhere for scenery that appears right out of a painting. Make sure to stop by the Blantyre Hotel to see the 110-foot decorated Christmas tree. You can rent rooms with a traditional fireplace and four-poster beds. Step outside into the sparkling snow and enjoy a sleigh ride.

Cannon Beach is located on the beautiful coast of northern Oregon. It’s a city that remains calm and quaint in spite of its relatively close proximity to its neighboring city of Portland. You can find arguably the best coffee in the United States around any corner. Cooler weather during winter months make prices favorable to visitors. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with a view, Cannon Beach should be at the top of your list. A stay at the Blue Gull Inn will have you situated right near the famous Haystack Rock.

This desert oasis takes on a new feel in the winter. There’s something magical about seeing Arizona’s fiery-red mountain tops dusted in sparkly snow. Winter is the best season to save on hotels and avoid crowds. Driving through the canyons, catching a hot-air balloon ride, or gazing at the unobstructed night sky are just a few of the many relaxing things to do here. Are you looking to get away for some peace and quiet? Sedona, Arizona is waiting for you.

Located at the foot of California’s Sierra Mountains, this popular ski village hosts visitors from around the world for some of the best winter sports west of the Rockies. Mammoth Mountain overlooks Lake Tahoe with a view of the surrounding Sierra peaks. Last year Mammoth Mountain had the longest ski season in California’s history, 270 days, getting 51 feet of snowfall at the basecamp. The skiing is great for all skill levels. There are three amazing lodges we recommend: Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, and Eagle Lodge. Each are luxurious and cater to your every desire. Be sure to grab an après-ski beer at one of the village’s handful of micro-breweries.

Visit Bonwi.com to start planning your winter retreat. You’ll be packing your mittens and sharing hot chocolate by the fireside soon enough!

The 2017 List Of Best Natural Hot Springs In The United States

Hot springs have long been known to have therapeutic value thanks to the complex mineral compounds they contain and the tranquil landscapes that surround them. Natural thermal springs relax sore muscles, boost circulation, and soothe both mind and spirit. Below are our five favorite hot springs found throughout the United States.

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park was nicknamed “The American Spa” in 1832 when President Andrew Jackson designated the Hot Springs as the first federal reservation. The actual park is closed to swimmers, though you can take a dip in the historic Bathhouse Row where the warm water is pumped into several hotels and spas. For a truly local experience, visit Deluca’s for a slice of pizza that mixes spring water with the dough, then wash it down with a pint of beer at Superior Bathhouse Brewery which also sources water from the springs for its brews.

Homestead Crater, Utah

This unique hot spring is hidden within a beehive-shaped crater that was formed by nature over a span of approximately 10,000 years. The hole at the top of the dome lets in sunlight and fresh air while the mineral water in the interior remains heated at a constant range of 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit (32-35 degrees Celsius). Visitors can go swimming, scuba dive, snorkel, enjoy a therapeutic soak, or take a paddleboard yoga class.

Long before Steamboat Springs was known for its world class skiing and luxury resorts, the 150 geothermal hot springs that dot the landscape were highly sought after and revered among Native Americans and pioneers. The best time to take a dip in the 104°F (40°C) degree mineral baths is in the middle of winter while snowflakes gently gather all around you. Resort spas in the area offer a wide variety of relaxation and therapeutic massages.

Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, California

The eastern side of Sierra Nevada is loaded with natural hot springs, with many hidden away and tricky to locate. Just south of a town called Mammoth Lakes is a vast maze of warm pools called Wild Willy’s Hot Springs. The springs here are free to use, ranging from 95-105°F (35-40°C), with striking views of the beautiful Sierra range.

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

The Chena Hot Springs were discovered in 1905 by gold prospectors seeking to ease their sore, aching muscles brought on by malnutrition and grueling work. The springs are at the center of a 40-square-mile (103-square-kilometer) geothermal area that produces a steady stream of 165°F (74°C) water that must be cooled before anyone can soak in it. Chena Hot Springs is an amazing place to catch breathtaking, complimentary light shows from the Aurora Borealis.

All Said
There are numerous benefits associated with bathing in natural hot springs. You can treat muscle aches, joint pains, clear up skin ailments, detoxify the body, relax the mind, and do all of those things while enjoying the beautiful venue of the surrounding area. Take a trip to any of these relaxing and tranquil hot springs and your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.

New Orleans, LA: What’s Going on Louisiana’s Biggest City?

Instead of lurching down Bourbon Street, discover the swamps outside of New Orleans on a night tour!
Instead of lurching down Bourbon Street, discover the swamps outside of New Orleans on a night tour!
Instead of lurching down Bourbon Street, discover the swamps outside of New Orleans on a night tour!

New Orleans has always been party central while at the same time, is loaded with historical significance. It may be fun to enjoy the insane Mardi Gras festivities or peruse the various ancient mansions, but there is so much more to see and do in the Big Easy.

Audubon Park is located on Magazine Street in New Orleans and has almost too many components to list. From jogging and bike paths to tennis courts, a golf course, playgrounds, and even a lagoon, this lengthy park will keep everyone and anyone occupied. Not to mention the 58-Acre Audubon Zoo is just down the road and is home to about 2,000 animals!

Why not try a swamp tour…at night. The Honey Island Swamp Night Tour gives tourists the chance to take a chilling flat-bottom boat ride at night. Whether you’re scanning your periphery for gators, listening for the sounds of wild boars or learning about the Honey Island Swamp Monster, this unique tour will have you on the edge of your seat!

Take a New Orleans Aerial tour and see the sweep of the Mississippi river and all of the sites of the city from above.
Take a New Orleans Aerial tour and see the sweep of the Mississippi River and all of the sites of the city from above.

Speaking of tours, if you’re not a fan of water or you would prefer not to be so close to snapping gators, try an aerial tour of the city. New Orleans Aerial Tours & Flight Training offers a Big Easy Aerial Tour which allows you to view New Orleans from the sky while simultaneously learning about the city.

Take a gander at the twists and turns of the Mississippi River, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and Louisiana’s many bayous. The Big Easy couldn’t look any more beautiful than it does from a birds’ eye view!

Should you plan on visiting New Orleans, here are some cool hotels that you may want to consider using.

The Ace Hotel in New Orleans may not be the only Ace Hotel in the world, but it nonetheless is a stylish and unique lodging option. The Ace Hotel in New Orleans sits in a former department store and boasts a beautiful hand-painted floor as well as voodoo folklore references in each room!

The Catahoula Hotel, a 35-room Creole townhouse, makes for a luxurious and authentic stay in New Orleans. The hotel’s café, rooftop terrace, and boutique coffee program may make you forget that the building has been standing since 1845, and will also make you want to stay in the hotel forever! 

The best thing about booking a New Orleans Hotel on Bonwi is that you get more nights free, using your Bonwi Points!

Orlando, FL: Attractions to Experience this Summer other than Disney World

Discovery Cove in Orlando has flamingoes, emus, and many other animals and things to enjoy with your family.
Discovery Cove in Orlando has flamingoes, emus, and many other animals and things to enjoy with your family.
Discovery Cove has flamingoes, emus, and many other animals and things to enjoy with your family.

Orlando is home to a whole bunch of theme parks, including the two massive compounds of Disney World and Universal Studios. These concrete and metal monstrosities may be a ton of fun, but there are other places to see in Orlando that may surprise you and free you of screaming kids and long lines.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort is opening another location and it’s going to be amazing. It’s actually opening in nearby Kissimmee.  The 300-acre resort will not only feature a hotel with 187 rooms but it will also include 300 timeshare units and 1,000 vacation homes. The Jimmy Buffett-inspired tropical oasis is opening later this year and will make a fantastic getaway for fans of the famous singer and everyone and anyone else.

Discovery Cove is not a new water park at Universal Studios. It is a heavenly destination in Orlando that I would never have heard of if it weren’t for Travelingmom.com. For an all-inclusive ticket, you can swim with dolphins, snorkel with a variety of tropical fish, encounter a plethora of different wildlife, enjoy a hearty breakfast and lunch, and enjoy a whole bunch of other amenities. This tropical getaway is a wonderful alternative to an overheated day waiting in line at Thunder Mountain.

See a wide array of alligators and all kinds of kitschy souvenirs at Gatorland Orlando!
See a wide array of alligators, ride the zip line,  and find all kinds of kitschy souvenirs at Gatorland Orlando!

Travelingmom.com also opened my eyes to an incredibly unique experience available in Orlando. Gatorland Orlando may not seem like a desirable place to visit but there are actually plenty of reasons why you should add this destination to your vacation itinerary.

From wrestling with alligators to witnessing a menagerie of wildlife like emus, flamingos, and giant tortoises to name a few, to a critically-acclaimed zip line, and a Gator Jumparoo Show, Gatorland Orlando is a different and fun place to see when you are in the theme park capital of the world.

Orlando may be known for Disney World and Universal Studios but the always-growing Florida city has much more than those two massive parks. Instead of following the beaten path, take the road less traveled!

For your Orlando Vacation, find the perfect hotel from Bonwi…and use your Bonwi points for a future trip!

How to Beat the Heat in Phoenix, Arizona

Wet and Wild Water Park is Phoenix can chill you out on even the hottest summer days!
Wet n Wild Water Park in Phoenix can chill you out on even the hottest summer days!

Whether you like it or not, if you’re visiting Phoenix or are a lifelong resident, you are going to have to deal with the grueling and infamous heat.

With the average temperature in July lingering around 106 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best that you find some shade and start planning ways to make the most out of the summer heat.

In 100+ degree weather, the first thing most people think of is cooling off, and what better way to do that than a water park? Wet n Wild Water Park is conveniently located in Northern Phoenix and has family, kid, and thrill rides. For $30, you can bring the whole family can enjoy swimming, fireworks, and a variety of water rides. Just make sure to pack sunscreen.

Scottsdale's Fashion Square is a cool respite from the blazing temperatures in summertime in Phoenix. Plenty of shops to stroll through and a great food court, too.
Scottsdale’s Fashion Square is a cool respite from the blazing temperatures in summertime in Phoenix. Plenty of shops to stroll through and a great food court, too.

Or maybe you’re more of an air-conditioned type of person, that’s ok too because you can get your shopping on at the Scottsdale Fashion Square. A local favorite, the mall has over 250 different stores to choose from. With small boutiques and large brand name stores, this is the perfect place to get out of the heat, and update your wardrobe!

If neither of these destinations sounds appealing, then lucky for you that Phoenix has no shortage of museums that depict local art and culture. The Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix is the ideal place to get away from the Arizona sun. The museums feature interactive exhibits that bring the museum to life and has activities for all ages.

One of the museum’s signature events is called Science With A Twist, which is an adult only event every Friday night that includes music, cash bar, food, live demos, and more. Guess you’ll be calling the babysitter for this one.

General admission for the museum for adults is $18 and $13 for kids.

Taking a stroll in downtown Phoenix through CityScape is not a bad way to spend a hot afternoon, seeing that there are retail shops galore and a huge array of restaurants available. The dynamic and urban destination is a one of a kind place where you can truly experience the heart of Phoenix.

If you really don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your home, or hotel, then try cooking an egg on the hood of your car, we hear that’s pretty fun too!

Find air-conditioned, comfortable hotel rooms in Phoenix and use your Bonwi Points to get another stay free!

San Diego: Summer Happenings in America’s Finest City

San Diego's famed Gaslamp Quarter is full of nightlife and great restaurants.
San Diego’s famed Gaslamp Quarter is full of nightlife and great restaurants.

The beautiful city of San Diego, California is playing host to a whole smorgasbord of events ranging from international soccer to an expansive county fair. There’s something to do for everyone in the Plymouth of the West this summer!

The San Diego County Fair alone has enough going on to satisfy everyone in the family. A Wild Wild West theme is the backdrop for the fair that includes live musical entertainment, the International Beer Festival, deep-fried foods, woodworking, livestock exhibits, an award-winning flower show, and much more.

In early July, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, an international soccer competition, will take a couple of its opening round games to Qualcomm Stadium in the city. The Mexican national team will be one of the teams competing in these open round games in California’s southern city.

Watch dogs compete and surf in San Diego this summer!
Watch dogs compete and surf in San Diego this summer!

You can even watch dogs surf!  In late July, Imperial Beach will host the annual Surf Dog Competition. More than 70 dogs will be competing in various surfing challenges that will surely be a treat to see in person!

The city is accustomed to many glorious hotels with beach themes and plenty of amenities. When in Rome, well, San Diego, try these hotels on for size:

The Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is a boutique hotel located Downtown. This pet-friendly lodge is eco-friendly and even has a rooftop bar!

Believe it or not, but the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina is a very stylish hotel that truly draws itself apart from its other U.S. locations. Tons of suite options, a long list of amenities, and some fantastic views make this hotel a must stay venue!   

Book a San Diego hotel with Bonwi and earn points to come back another time!