Well, as the previous post indicates, I've been feeling a tad out of sorts lately. I usually travel during the Summer and thus far I'm fairly booked up until late July. Come August I'm on the road!
I had plans to meet a friend for dinner down in Santa Monica last night and it occurred to me that I wasn't really loving the idea of drinking wine and driving. So, I had a traveler's moment: why not book a room down there by the beach for the night and make a mini-break of it? With gas prices heading towards the moon and airline ticket prices soaring right up there with them, why not travel locally? Hot diggity damn, what a grand idea!
Now rooms down in Santa Monica are EXPENSIVE. I called around and the cheapest thing I could find was about $170 a night....crikey! So, I got my sweet little self on Better Bidding (what an invaluable site) to check out the hotels on the Priceline list in that area. I found three 3 star hotels that looked doable and knew when I bid I'd get one of them. I won a room on Priceline at The Holiday Inn at Santa Monica Pier for $110 plus tax. I called the hotel to find out the cheapest rate they had and it was $220 plus. I got my room for half price! Happy little me.
I then packed my bags and headed down for an early check in. It's about a 30 minute drive from my place in West Hollywood to Santa Monica. I called ahead to request a non-smoking room and had spoken with the guest relations manager. I told her I was planning on writing about traveling in your own city and wanted to encourage people to get out more locally. I told her this was my first foray into the solo gal/single night in the city! She hooked me up and when I got there she had put me in a huge room filled with light on an upper floor.
Ok, I hated the room at first. It was by the very loud laundry room and the maids had left all the room service trays right by the door. I asked for another room and as that one was small, musty and dark like a cave (room 218), I switched right back to my room 400 and the girls at the front desk got right on making those trays go away! I shut that laundry room door and that issue was settled too. We can always find ways to remedy these situations, you know?
I flung my bags on the bed and headed out for lunch. The English lass in me was craving a good pub so I headed over to Ye Olde King's Head Pub for some Shepard's pie and a nice cold pint of Dry Blackthorn Cider. I was so loose and giddy after that massive pint I walked around the Third Street Promenade wanting to hug the trees, the bums and the birds. Ah, the world is so much sweeter after a cold pint!
I then did what any good little girl would do when on vacation: I hauled booty in and out of stores doing some delicious shopping! I bought two fabulous little black tops at the ever cheap and fun Forever 21(where smart fashionable chicks go to look for good finds). I was having the time of my life...
I then headed back to my hotel as I had dinner plans at 7.00 with my friend at La Vecchia Cucina on Main Street. I took a wee nap, watched some CNN and finally landed in a nice hot bath. I then threw on my jeans, one of my sexy little black tops and a nice pair of stillettos. I was a chick out on the town. Oh yes..
I hadn't seen my friend Dana in years so we had ourselves a dinner full of catch up and laughter. Lots of wine too, of course. We both had Farfalle with lobster and split a delectable caesar salad. It was all just utterly perfect.
After dinner I headed back to The Holiday Inn and used my free drink coupon (I signed up for a sort of frequent guest program and on check in you get a bag with two waters, a bag of pretzels and coupons for drinks and food) to get a bottle of Perrier and back upstairs to savor the stillness of my room. I watched some telly, made myself tea and took another hot bath. Sleep to follow.
This morning I was up and out by 9.00 am and headed back to Ye Olde Kings' Head for some good old fashioned English tea and a bagel. The place was already filling up and they had just opened their doors! It turned out a soccer match was on (Croatia against Germany) and people were coming in to watch it on the big screen telly. I loved the energy and the real sense of comraderie. Men and women alike, single or in groups, were pouring in for some breakfast and the match. I felt right at home...
After breakfast I made a quick stop at Exhale Spa on 2nd Street where I bought myslef the sweetest little "love" necklace. You make a wish for love before you put it on every day. It is tender and sweet and just what I wanted. And hell, here's hoping.
So you see, traveling in your own city? Kind of fabulous. I truly felt like I was away on vacation and at the pub, surrounded by Brits, I almost felt like I was back in England. I had the best 24 hours I've had in a long time and it was a whole lot cheaper than taking a min-break out of town.
Ok, the $23 parking fee kind of sucked, but really, who's complaining? Those folks at the Holiday Inn treated me like a freakin' Queen!
I think I like this whole travel in your own city thing. I might just have to check out a few more cities and write about them too...