My favorite 3.

When I travel alone, I savor the time I have to really look around and appreciate where I am especially if the surroundings are remarkably beautiful. These are 3 of my all time favorite hotels which, by no surprise, I saw for the first time when I was traveling alone.  Each of them in their own way was so incredibly memorable that even though I've visited many hotels since, these still remain my absolute favorites.

1.  Shutters on the Beach - Santa Monica, CA.  
This place is simply unbelievable.  It's located on Venice Beach about 15 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles.  The guest rooms are designed by Michael S. Smith who recently designed Obama's Oval Office.  The details make you feel like you're at home - a gorgeous home.  Or perhaps page 26 of a Pottery Barn catalog came to life and you get to sleep in it.  Check out the beautiful One Pico restaurant where movie moguls are making deals and Jennifer Aniston might be lunching with a friend.

Guestroom at Shutters
Poolside at Shutters

2.  The Pfister Hotel - Milwaukee, WI

Yes, I know when you think fine hotels, you don't usually think Milwaukee but the Pfister is legendary.  Built in 1893, the Pfister has hosted many dignitaries and every president since McKinley.  It is also home to visiting professional baseball teams.  I was working with the Minnesota Twins when I first arrived at the Pfister years ago. As we entered the lobby that first time, the lavish Victorian art collection and beautifully painted ceiling took my breath away.  It looked like a palace.  Since then, there have been reports that some ball teams believe the hotel is haunted and refuse to stay there anymore (see video from the Today Show on the Pfister web site).  Many people have reported hearing strange noises and there have been sightings of a portly man standing at the top of the lobby staircase surveying the property.  He's believed to be the original owner - Charles Pfister.  I've stayed there several times since and I've never seen the old guy or heard anything spooky.  It's always been wonderful.
Pfister Lobby
The hotel was purchased by a new owner in 1962 who refurbished it to it's original glory and added a new tower section.  I prefer to stay in the "old section" of the hotel.  Glass doorknobs, creaky floors and elegant staircases = tons of character. I love it!

3.  Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa

Although the name says Sanibel, this hotel is technically in Ft. Myers. It's right at the beginning of the causeway that leads to Sanibel Island.  The hotel has a huge lobby with a Tommy Bahama-like feel.  There are several gorgeous restaurants with excellent food and superior service.  It has a great pool with cabanas on the sandy beach, tennis courts, beautiful spa and work-out facility. The grounds are immaculate. For some reason, dolphin love to hang out at the end of the resort's long dock. Several of them can be seen jumping and playing, day or night - they're always there.  Banana boat rides and dinner cruises are yours for the asking too.

Main Pool

Tarpon House

This hotel is very family-friendly.  For extended stays, there are several privately owned condo buildings next to the main hotel.  Each building has it's own pool, but you can still frequent the hotel's pool if you wish. I've returned to the Harbour Inn several times since and brought my family along.  We have our favorite condo that we rent directly from it's owner (I'll provide contact info upon request).

I hope I'm lucky enough to return to all of these places again someday.  Until then, I have great pictures and even better memories.


TV Promo Gal said...

Dude.... gonna try this place soon - in Miami

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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?