More Than Just a Hotel... An Experience With The Hyatt Regency Tyson Corner Center

When picking out a family hotel I feel location can be one of the highest requirements. You want a hotel that is centrally located in a convenient location. When visiting the Virginia/DC area there is really only one excellent choice, and that’s The Hyatt Regency Tyson Corner Center. I can’t think of a better hotel and a better location.

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How To Survive A Family Trip To The Big Apple With Embassy Suites

November 2014


When planning on visiting NYC I believe most tourists look for a hotel in Manhattan close to all the attractions, but I found out that there is an even better option for those planning on visiting the big apple and an option that is recommended for anyone, but especially for those traveling with kids. When traveling to NYC as a family you will find that as exciting as the city is you need some peace and quiet when you lay down to sleep. That is why we highly recommend and will always choose Embassy Suites in Secaucus New Jersey. Now I know what some of you are thinking… why would you stay in a completely different state, but Secaucus is only a very short 15-24 minute shuttle ride. That's right... in only 15 minutes you can be right in the Big Apple! With two small kids I have found that vacations can get crazy, loud and hectic without throwing in a crazy, loud and hectic city into the mix. So I knew I wanted to pick a hotel that was super family friendly and just enough outside of the city that we could get some quiet but close enough that we can get into Manhattan and see all the attractions really easily. Embassy Suites Secaucus fits those needs perfectly and provides so much more! We got in late on the first day and only had time to see Time Square before heading off to our hotel. We found the New Jersey transit to be very easy to use and you can access it at the Port Authority near Time Square. One bus will take you from the city and drop you off right in front of your hotel. Once at the hotel, the hotel shuttle can take you to all the surrounding restaurants, stores and even the train station which can also get you in the city. And if you are looking to save a little money Walmart and other stores are just right around the corner, you can grab some food and take it back to your in-room fridge. We grabbed some items to make sandwiches and other meals and used the fridge in our room to store everything. This allowed us to spend more on souvenirs, nice meals out and more activities.

Also the hotel provides something that you won’t find at a lot of other hotels especially Manhattan hotels; a complimentary made to order breakfast and a managers reception with free snacks and drinks. That alone will have me going back to Embassy Suites for any family or even non family travel. Throwing in a hot breakfast every morning for your whole family not only makes your wallet happy, but also is a huge time saver as well. And as for the food itself it was great! For a family of four this will save you at least $40-$50 a day on breakfast alone. That’s huge!! And then the evening snacks on top of that will save you even more. And you know that when you get back to your hotel and start to settle in is exactly when kids start complaining that they are a hungry. So you will be so happy that all you have to do is head down to the managers reception every night for a little snack to quiet those rumbling tummies. After the managers reception parents can take a little break from the kids by heading to your room and setting up the kids on the pull out sofa in a connected room that has a door you can close for more privacy. That’s right no kids in your room jumping on your bed asking you a million questions while you are trying to sleep, they can be in their own room while you are in yours. How awesome is that?! Occasionally while on vacation my husband and I like it to feel more like a vacation and with that we love to sleep in at least once, being able to have a door to close between us and the kids just reinforces to let mama and daddy sleep in and they can watch cartoons until we get up. 

When staying at an Embassy Suites it's hard not to sleep in, the beds are always so comfortable. I would say too comfortable, but who am I kidding that's not possible. My husband even recently started keeping the curtains open just a little bit so the sun will come in and remind us that we need to get up, otherwise we will just keep hitting snooze. I was going to show a pic of the bed all nicely made, but this is more realistic... this is a comfy bed that has been slept in. This is a bed after a peaceful good nights sleep you will need to head out into the fun of NYC. And the hotel that will provide you with a peaceful great nights sleep and more is Embassy Suites Secaucus. 

I received night stays in order to facilitate my review, I have written my honest opinion about how much I loved this hotel and I can't wait to share with you more inside views of other Embassy Suites. 


A Second Honeymoon - Hotel Icon Houston


Hotel Lobby

Recently I did a press trip to Houston sponsored through the GoHouston! Travel Campaign hosted by New Creative Writing and Social Media Marketing. As always all opinions are my own.

Here is a rare one! A post written by my hubby! Check it out!

As many of you know my wife and I have been married for over 11 years now and we have 2 amazing kids. Our marriage has its usual ups and downs. And as we both work at home you can imagine some friction and tension exists now and then. Ever since we've been married we've had the good fortune to spend so much time together because I've always worked from home. Once we had kids this was both a challenge and a blessing. Some days I love that I don't miss out on anything and some days I wish I could escape. But this is life after 11+ years.

Our first honeymoon, if you could call it that, was 1 night at a B&B close to home. We came home as newlyweds to our first apartment which wasn't ready yet and from that point on we've been on a constant bearing headed toward the future. We always thought about travelling more and taking that "real" honeymoon we never had. Life always gets in the way, the car breaks down, rent is due, medical bills and then comes kids. All couples have been there.

When I got the "memo" that we were headed to Houston and we weren't taking the kids, the first thing I thought was, "this is what we had been waiting for..." It was finally time to have that second honeymoon, after over 11 years it's not the same as when you are young, it's more important. It's a time to recharge, to become closer, become a better husband, wife, and parent.

(View from our hotel window)

Where you stay has a profound effect on how you feel, enter Hotel Icon Houston. It's a fantastic contemporary luxury hotel right in downtown Houston. As soon as I drove up, I knew this would be an integral part of our whole trip. The valet service is fantastic. They are very friendly, prompt and take excellent care of your vehicle. I'm a bit of a control freak and perfectionist, as my wife will tell you, so it's hard for me to hand over any of that to someone I don't know, but these guys are the best. They even have a shuttle service to anywhere in the downtown area within a certain radius for free! You just tell them where you want to go and you'll be there. My wife even left our camera in the shuttle and the excellent staff made sure we got it back. This is how you recharge.

The hotel itself was once a bank, and I loved the architecture. Great 1911 influences you can really feel they tried to maintain as much of that look and feel as possible. The lobby was a massive spacious area with sitting area, bar and the Line & Lariat restaurant. Heather dealt with the great check-in staff while I just sat in an amazingly comfortable chair and soaked it all in. All the while in my head, "Finally, it took all these years, but we are here. And this is an awesome place to be." They had fresh iced tea right there waiting for you at the front desk, and in the heat of that day it was the perfect drink.

Her experience at check-in was what you always want. Friendly engaging staff. We have a difficult last name and they kept practicing it until they could pronounce it correctly. And every time we passed through the lobby they greeted us with it. Other staff was friendly and upbeat, they really loved their job. In the evening before we went out, I sat in the lobby waiting for Heather and watched the bartender. He was great, there were people around the bar, couples, business men and women all enjoying each other's company and he was the glue making it all happen. This is the kind of atmosphere you just can't describe, but you know it when you are there.

The rooms themselves are a rich and inviting combination of classical early 20th century architecture and modern touches. WiFi, mini fridge, large flat screen TV, and coffee maker are just a few of the modern conveniences that greeted us combined with the colors and spectacular views of a building that is in a prime location. Their bedding was plush and the mattress was comfortable. Large separate shower, large tub, long bathroom counter (very important for couples as we all know since women always unpack everything onto it) made this room perfect.


At night you want to be in downtown, nuff said. There are so many clubs and hotspots in downtown Houston, the Hotel Icon is in the perfect place to take advantage of all of it. Right on Main Street, you can hop on the rail or just do what we did and walk down the street holding hand soaking it all in.

I'm an avid cyclist, I usually ride 20+ miles a day if I can, so even on vacation for me riding is important. Their exercise facilities were excellent. State of the art machines, nicely air conditioned, and locker rooms with showers. For those like my wife, a spa, by appointment. Relaxation and recreation is something they definitely have.

As our time was nearing an end, we reflected on everything, our lives, our future, the kids, family and friends. We also thought about our wedding, the reception was in a nice venue, but the staff was terrible. If we had our wedding here, it would have taken so much of the time and hassle out of the experience. From my experience the staff would make sure of it. It would have been elegant, maybe one day, for my daughter.

Our last farewell present was the breakfast at the Line & Lariat. Once again, unbelievably friendly and helpful staff. Great food, and an ambiance you don't get anywhere else. They have daily specials for dinner and the bar so always be sure to check those out even if you don't stay at the hotel it's a great place to come to eat. Best breakfast I've ever had before setting out on a 24 hour road trip back home.

As we left Hotel Icon Houston and the city itself both of us felt we got just what we needed from this trip. We had become closer, remembered what it was like to be young, carefree, and more importantly in love.

For all those out there who were like us, remember, this is a great place with great people to start your own journey together.


Hotel Sorella - Romance and Fun In the Heart of Houston


Recently I did a press trip to Houston sponsored through the GoHouston! Travel Campaign hosted by New Creative Writing and Social Media Marketing. As always all opinions are my own.

We step out of our car after driving 24 hours from Utah to Houston, walk into a light and airy lobby and are greeted by smiling faces.

We are 2 hours early but exhausted and need to freshen up. We are elated to hear the word "let me get you a room... you are all set!" 

From first glance I can already tell we are going to like it here; trendy, clean, and in the middle of everything you could need or want.  

I step into our room and I am in love it's stylish, clean lines, and bright. 

My husband and I change and get dressed for our night out. 

CityCentre is buzzing with tons of activity, and Sorella is right in the heart of it. 

No need to leave the are it's all right there; restaurants, movies, live music, bars, everything. 

It's the 4th of July and we couldn't have picked a better spot to be. 

There was a little mix up with our room and we found out we got the wrong room, it wasn't a loss though it turned out to be a positive! 

To show their appreciation for us switching rooms they brought us champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries! 

I opened the curtains in our new room, and laid back on our incredibly comfortable lounge, looked out at the CityCentre courtyard (be sure to request this view) and soaked it all in while eating delicious strawberries. 

What an awesome start to our vacation in Houston, and it only got better.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner on site at the Bistro, and then tried to figure out the best spot to watch fireworks. 

It was really crowded by that point so we just headed back to our room, and it turns out we had some of the best seats in the house right in our own room.

Holding each other we looked out our window and watch some amazing fireworks, romance at it's finest. 

We had only been at the hotel for a matter of hours at that point, but it already felt better than our first honeymoon. 

Sorella is a boutique hotel, so don't expect a huge pool or huge fitness center. (you can get a pass though for the Lifetime Fitness across the street) 

I personally wouldn't have it any other way... smaller doesn't mean it isn't good, it just means it's luxurious and intimate. 

And intimate is exactly what I wanted for this second honeymoon with the love of my life. 

Check out my video below for an in depth look at everything Hotel Sorella and CityCENTRE has to offer! 


About Mamas Spot

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Come along for the ride as our family of four navigates this world and experiences new adventures.

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