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Travel

Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight Promo Code

With Spring Break coming up, I wanted to share one of my new favorite apps, Hotel Tonight, along with a Hotel Tonight promo code for $25 off because I AM IN LOVE.

When you download the app, click on the promo code bar, and enter jscheumann1 and $25 will be added as a credit to your account to be used on your first booking.

How Hotel Tonight Works

Hotel Tonight works directly with hotels with last minute rooms to fill. Better to have someone in that room for a lower price than keeping it vacant, right? Makes sense!

Simply download the free Hotel Tonight app, and poke around by city to check out the last minute, same day hotel deals. 

Once the app is installed, you can go on, search by city, and it will pull up all hotels in the surrounding areas that have rooms available at what price.

We Used Hotel Tonight and Loved It!

Last month my family went to stay at the Rancho Bernardo Inn for two nights. We wanted to stay a third, but they were sold out, so we decided to give Hotel Tonight a try so we could at least stay somewhere in San Diego.

I checked out the app on the ride down, and we found the Hilton San Diego Del Mar, right by the Del Mark racetrack. The day we got it, we snagged the room for only $109.

Because you enter all your info into the app, when you book the room, it automatically charges your card, so that is out of the way.

When I checked in, they of course, took a credit card for incidentals, but all they really had left to do was hand me the keys!

Things to Know About Hotel Tonight.

- Same day bookings only, it’s not Hotel Tomorrow, so you have to be a “live on the edge” kind of person. Hee hee… But such a great deal if you can be flexible! We are going to use it for random Staycations this summer. My kids will do anything to get to a hotel pool.

- Hotel Tonight rate covers room and tax only. Parking and mini bar raids are on you.

- All bookings are non-refundable.

- You can’t request room type; it’s up to fate at check in. However our hotel was able to accommodate two beds for us when we used it no problem.

Hotel Tonight prefers quality over quantity, so the rooms they feature offer a variety of choices, but are not overwhelming.

Hotel Tonight Promo Code

When you sign up, you can put in a Hotel Tonight Promo Code for $25 off, just use jscheumann1.  The $25 will be used as a credit in your account. And, if you book through Hotel Tonight, they deposit $25 in mine. Nice. See you on a future Staycation?

Have a great weekend everyone!

S’mores and Snores

Rancho Bernardo Inn Family review Disclosure: My family received a complimentary room to facilitate this Rancho Bernardo Inn family review. 

This Rancho Bernardo Inn family review is for anyone looking for a fun and easy So Cal destination to take your family. Or, your husband. Or, your girlfriends. Or anyone, really.

The property is only a little over an hour drive from our neck of the woods in Orange County, but when we arrived at this charming San Diego resort, we felt as if we were in a different world.

The property has a long history, dating back 50 years to be exact.

My parents remember visiting the resort on their honeymoon, and they will be celebrating their 45 wedding anniversary this year! I love a resort with this kind of history because you can feel the charm of all the years in its architecture and surroundings.

We chose the resort based on its family-friendly reputation and S’mores and Snores special for kids, which includes mini in-room tents and complimentary s’more kits for nightly roasting. Fun, right?!

Snore Space 

rooms

We had a double queen room in the Greens building overlooking the golf course. We liked this building for its easy access to our car in self-parking and for the roaming space directly outside our ground floor patio for the girls.

The room was nice, clean and I particularly enjoyed the complimentary Wifi and Keurig coffee in the morning!

The property also boasts four separate guest suites which include fireplaces, dining rooms and large private balconies if you are looking for spacious accommodations.

One of my friends had a family reunion last summer at this property and they had an incredible time. She mentioned to me how incredibly accommodating the staff was to their group.

Pool Time 

santiagopool

When my girls go to a hotel all they really want to do is swim, swim, and then swim some more. I am often afraid they might grow gills.

There are three pools on the property: a family pool, separate adult pool and the private spa pool. Oh, the spa pool. I will get to that in a minute.

The Santiago Pool is the one for families and my girls had a ball splishing and splashing there for hours on end. It was heated to a nice temperature and there was a large adjacent Jacuzzi when they needed to take a break.

Onsite colorful deck chairs for kids along with some pool toys made for a fun pool time experience. 

I Glimpsed Heaven

The second morning I went for a workout in their nice fitness center next to the Spa and there, beyond a bubbling fountain, I found a slice of heaven calling to me,

spapool2

“Jennifer! Come! Sit! Bring your magazine. Bring your book. Enjoy the peace and tranquility! Savor this setting. Order a cocktail. Take a snooze.” 

spapool1 But my girls were waiting back at the family pool for me to throw diving toys and play Marco Polo. Not this trip Spa Pool, but, I will be back to see you, with my girlfriends and booked spa appointments. I promise.

Eats at the Inn 

There are multiple onsite dining options at Rancho Bernardo Inn.

AVANT is their signature fine dining restaurant specializing in farm-to-table wine country dining using the freshest seasonal ingredients.

I went and peeked in one afternoon before opening – gorgeous! They have a beautiful open air patio as well as a beautiful dining room and bar overlooking the golf course.

My girls are too young for fine dining, especially after a long day of swimming, so we didn’t get to experience AVANT firsthand. Although I would have liked to, really liked to.

AVANT

Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant is the property’s more casual dining option with an fabulous patio and a great menu for both kids and adults if you like more laid back fare. The menu offered just the kind of food we like to enjoy when vacationing with our kids.

We dined at Veranda both nights in the lounge section which was great with kids because it gave them some wiggle room.

The best part about Veranda is the ambiance. Pretty twinkle lights, fire pits, comfy lounge furniture and a large fire place made the space radiate with warmth.

The live music on Thursday and Friday night was an extra surprise bonus!

Both nights we had amazing meals at Veranda but we did find the service to be really slow. Just a heads up if dining with little ones.

I would absolutely recommend dining at Veranda on the patio for the delicious food and unbeatable setting, but be armed with extra activities or small snacks if your kiddos get antsy when dining out.

veranda

And, for your morning Starbucks or a quick grab-and-go sandwich, Cafe Grenada had just the right mix of quick bites and beverages.

One of two breakfast nook areas even included a small table and chairs for my girls to sit and enjoy their breakfast treats.

cafegrenada

Finally…the S’mores

At the front desk you can request little baggies of s’more fixins along with pokers for your roasting pleasure.

We chose to do our s’mores at the Santiago Family pool fire pit and we were actually the only ones there at night.

Nothing like making s’mores under the stars. 

S'MORES

Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa

I know this is a Rancho Bernardo Inn family review and I am focusing on its family-friendly features, but I would be amiss if I did not mention the Spa because it was simply spectacular.

Spread out over a large area, the spa was like a private secret garden with fountains, seating areas, a tranquil outdoor Jacuzzi and a space that just oozed relaxation.

This Spa is on my must-visit list. Again, next time!

ranchospa

We loved staying at Rancho Bernardo Inn. On the first afternoon my husband looked at me and said, “It’s really peaceful here.” Which was the perfect description.

So if you are looking to get away from your same ‘ole same ‘ole for a few days, Rancho Bernardo Inn might be your perfect spot.

Join their email list for upcoming spring and summer specials and thank you RBI for our special stay!

Follow Rancho Bernardo Inn on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

My girls are off school this week and I have been wanting to take them to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park so we thought, why not make it into a little SoCalCation and enjoy a few days away from the same ‘ole same ‘ole?

When looking for places to stay close to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, I came across the Rancho Bernardo Inn, and I remembered hearing this property is very family-friendly.

Upon further investigation, I came to find out The Rancho Bernardo Inn offers a special Family Package which includes a one-night stay, $50 resort credit in addition to a milk and cookie amenity for the kiddos.

Done deal.

You had me at milk and cookies.

S’mores and Snores

But then it got better.

The very best part about this package is what they call “S’mores and Snores,” or, in-room camping for the kids.

Yes, I think there will be a tent set up in our room, and I think my girls will go crazy. What is it about a tent or small space that is just oh so appealing to little ones?

They also offer s’more making on the Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant outside on the terrace. There is nothing better to me than relaxing with the hubby with a glass of wine after dinner while the kids make themselves s’mores.

Happy parents. Happy kiddos.

So we are heading off today! Follow our Rancho Bernardo Inn experience to see photos and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following #TOTravels.

Disclosure: Rancho Bernardo Inn will be hosting our stay so I can report back on it in detail to share a Rancho Bernardo Inn review post. Stay tuned.

Are We There Yet?

must haves for road trips with kids

With the holiday season approaching, travel is routine for many families. We happen to have extended family within reasonable driving distance, so we are used to packing up our kiddos and hitting the road.  This post is dedicated to my top 10 must haves for road trips with kids.

Must Haves for Road Trip with Kids

10.  Snacks and water.  

Then, more snacks.  Then, back-up snacks. Within arm’s reach!  I pack a small cooler of healthy, perishable snacks – cheese sticks, Gogurt sticks, apple juice, etc.  Then, a bag full of fruit (already cut-up or prepared), crackers, raisons, baggies of dry cereal, etc.

Oh, and a few treats you wouldn’t normally give your child (maybe fruit snacks, or animal cookies, or bite-size candies – whatever is special for your kids).  I use these as incentives and rewards, if (ahem…when) needed!

As for water, I allow for each person to have at least two bottles worth, depending on the length of the trip.

9.  A package of baby wipes.  

No matter how old your children are, I find that baby wipes can pretty much clean up any mess.  Messy faces, messy carseats, messy floors, messy anything.

8. One fabric box bin per child traveling with you.

You can find these at almost any store or online – I got mine at Target.  I’ve tried backpacks with zippers (they usually get dumped within the first 10 minutes of the trip), back pockets of seats (they can’t reach their things), and cute little gift bags (again, dumped quickly).

My kids want to see all of their toys and books and travel games at the same time…hence the ceremonial dumping. In these fabric storage bins, your child can easily see what they want.  And the bins can (mostly) fit in the middle seat between their car seats.  Easy to reach, easy to see. Minimal dumping on the floor.

7.  Now fill those bins with toys, books, and car safe games!  

I typically include small books, matchbox cars, little dolls, stickers, dollar items or trinkets I’ve picked up in my travels, etc.  Small, but fun items.  Oh, and each kid’s lovey or favorite stuffed animal.

I also love etch-a-sketches.  This may be a little old-school, but if your kids want to color, this is SO much easier than managing crayons and markers.  Crayons and markers roll, drop, and scribble on car seats.

6. An extra pair of clothes or jammies for each kid.

Plus, diapers, undies, training pants, socks, etc. easily accessible. My munchkins are notorious for spilling drinks, wiping sticky stuff on them, squeezing ketchup at lunch…on their pants, etc.  It’s much easier when new clothes are handy, versus digging through a suitcase in the trunk.

5.  A first aid kit and any medicine you will need for the day.  

The worst is when you need a band aid. Or children’s Tylenol. Or a dose of the antibiotic your kiddo is on. Or ibuprofen (for you!).  And, you packed it safely away in a cosmetic bag in your suitcase, on the bottom of the pile in the trunk.  Lovely.

4.  Blankets for your kids.  

My kids tend to get chilly with air conditioning. Or, if you’re wanting them to snuggle up (if that’s even possible in their carseat) and sleep, blankies are a good thing to have tucked within arm’s reach.

3.  An arsenal of car games. 

I Spy.  Alphabet I Spy.  The license plate game.  Everyone look for a [insert color] car.  Make-up silly stories…everyone takes a turn and adds a sentence.  Rhyming games.  Silly songs.  What starts with the letter [insert letter].

It depends on your child’s age.  I try to play these games earlier on in the trip when everyone is still fairly fresh.  Then, when boredom takes hold, the kids get restless, and scabbling/whining/kicking the seat creeps in, I break out the….

2. DVD players OR iPads OR tablets.  

Whatever technology your family uses for watching movies or shows remotely.  Oh, and kid-safe head phones.  I once got stuck on an eight hour car ride listening to Yo Gabba Gabba on repeat. On LOUD repeat. Fun little kid show. A little much for eight hours. Headphones are an excellent investment.

1.  Chargers for the car.  

Phone, iPad, iPod, DVD Players, tablets – whatever the technology, bring the back-up car charger.

I hope this list of must haves for road trips with kids comes in handy. Or, at least helps you keep your sanity. Try to start your trip well rested (emphasis on try), remember…you got this, mama!  Safe travels!

What are your must haves and go-to’s for a long car ride with kids?  Share below!

Family-Friendly Travel: Bacara Resort & Spa

Bacara Review

Last week my family was invited to visit the Bacara Resort & Spa just north of beautiful Santa Barbara to share a firsthand Bacara review on its family-friendly offerings.

It’s a tough job. [Please don't hate me!]

Santa Barbara is one of my favorite places on Earth, and I had always wanted to stay at this luxury resort in Santa Barbara, but to be honest, I would have never thought of taking my kids there.

To me, it seemed like a high-end property geared more towards adults and couples. Which it is, don’t get me wrong, but what I learned from our stay is that Bacara is also a fabulous family resort in Southern California!

Situated on 78 acres on the beautiful Pacific coast, it is an easy drive for a getaway, but far enough away to make you  feel like you are in a different world.

After a busy summer running around like crazy, we valeted the car upon arrival and didn’t leave. We didn’t have to, or want to. To spend two days relaxing was a much-needed family retreat.

Here is a view of the property from a nature walk we took. From where I am standing to take this photo, I am still on Bacara property.

ACCOMMODATIONS 

The property is expansive with beautiful green lawns, cheery flowers and curvy walkways nestled between Spanish-style villas. I loved the European flair of the architecture.  Each Santa Barbara hotel room at Bacara boasts its own private balcony or patio with views of the mountains, garden, or ocean.

We were placed in a Signature Suite - the ultimate accommodations for a family. This view off of our patio took my breath away when we walked in.

Our hotel suite consisted of two adjoining rooms, one king sized bed and bathroom on one side, pull out sleeper sofa with its own bathroom on the other side and a wrap around adjoining balcony. I love being able to put my kids to sleep in one room, and have another space to stay up later with my hubby.

This is a luxury resort in every sense of the word. Frette linens, robes, a Keurig coffee maker (my fave), DVD player for the kids (pack some DVDs or rent from the lobby), deep soaking tubs with separate showers. Everything designed with the guest’s comfort in mind.

THE POOLS!

If your kids are anything like mine, ALL they want to do when visiting a hotel is SWIM SWIM SWIM.

Bacara has three zero-edge heated saline swimming resort pools, one of which is an Adult Only Spa Pool (next trip), the other two were completely family-friendly and I was surprised at how many kids we saw swimming.

The upper level Cabana Pool is where we spent most of our time, as the Jacuzzi (or Shampoozi as my youngest calls it), was steps away from the big pool, so they spent lots of time going back and forth between the two.

Family Bacara Review

The second day we had a poolside Cabana reserved for us, which was AWESOME. I wonder if my girls realize just how lucky they are!?

The Cabanas had cushy lounge chairs, a dining table, TV, fridge stocked with waters, sodas and fresh fruit, and electrical to charge your phone or iPad.

My girls would swim, then come take a 20 minute break in the shade, watch a show or read, then go back in again. It was wonderful having lunch at the table inside and a place for little one to chill out after exerting so much energy on her new swimming skills.

And talk about Bacara being family-friendly, the oceanview Resort Pool also had an adjoining sandbox area with sand toys for the kiddos to play in!

THE BEACH!

The Bacara Resort & Spa is the only true beachfront hotel in Santa Barbara with the beach and sand only steps away. My oldest daughter loves the beach. Watching her play in the waves is the cutest thing ever to me.

Both days we took an hour to go down to the beach to explore and let them run around.  Bacara also has a beachfront snack bar called the Beach House as well as activities you can book through Bacara Adventures if you want to do any water sports, surfing, or kayaking along the Goleta coast.

Bacara Review Beach

To note: Santa Barbara is known to have natural tar on its beaches that will get on your feet. But not to fear, you can ask at the poolside restaurant for tar remover and it comes off easily.

DINING AT BACARA 

Bacara has five different fine dining options on property. After a full day of swimming the first day, the girls were so wiped out, we called In-Room Dining and ordered room service for dinner.

Oscar set up a nice white linen table for us on our balcony. My husband and I opened the complimentary bottle of wine included in the resort fee and we had a comfy dinner at “home” in our jammies and robes.

Room service with a view…

We also ate  lunch at the pool both days and had great food. A special shout out to Isaac who took great care of us all day at the pool – exemplary service.

The second night we dined at The Bistro, a casual Santa Barbara restaurant, which just opened after being closed for renovations. The Bistro has large outdoor patio dining with a beautiful view of the ocean.

The Bistro Bacara Review

The Bistro was fabulous. Completely family-friendly, including kid cups, crayons and activity books upon seating. Why doesn’t every restaurant do this?

We saw lots of other children dining at The Bistro, which made us feel right at home.

My husband and I started by sharing a fresh caprese salad, followed by their pappardelle alla bolognese pasta and halibut over pesto-creamed orzo which we both split again because we couldn’t decide.

Our food was excellent, as was the service.

If you go, this pasta dish is a must!

The Bistro Review

ACTIVITIES 

Bacara offers many fun activities including:

~ Star gazing every Thursday night during summer
~ Complimentary wine tasting in the lobby on Friday nights
~ Live music in the lobby on Friday and Saturday nights
~ S’more making on weekends in the summer
~ Complimentary weekend movies in their onsite movie theater with popcorn. Yes, an ONSITE movie theater. What!?

In addition, I don’t even have space to go into detail, but their 4-story Spa offers an array of complimentary fitness classes for adults, as well as full use of the facility without a treatment. Oh, Bacara Spa, I will be back to see you! I wish we could have met this trip, but I will think of you often until I return…

MONARCH KIDS’ CLUB 

On weekends (and some weekdays based on prior reservations – call for details), their Monarch Kids’ Club for kids ages 5 – 12 offers kids the chance to play and explore Bacara while parents enjoy the spa or just a few hours to relax.

Bacara Kids Club

 ENJOY THE NATURAL BEAUTY

Like I mentioned, Bacara sits on a vast area of land, once inhabited by a Native American tribe called the Chumash. Bacara is working on creating special self guided nature hikes, where you can walk and see markers of native plants and learn a little more about Chumash history.

My family took a nature walk on the last morning. One of the oceanfront trails goes up to a bluff where you can see the ocean and Bacara property.  The old tree at the top of the bluff was so beautiful.

Our family absolutely loved the Bacara Resort & Spa. Granted, it is a splurge. A location and the amenities found at Bacara come with a price tag.  But if you are wanting a luxurious getaway, and can save money by not flying, Bacara might be the perfect option for you.

Make sure to visit their website for Santa Barbara resort specials & promotions.

www.BacaraResort.com

Thank you Bacara for hosting our family and for the priceless family memories we will take with us!

[Disclosure: We received a complimentary room, dinner at The Bistro, and Cabana rental provided by Bacara Resort & Spa. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. I appreciated the opportunity to experience this special resort more than words can express. Thank you!]