Over the course of 4 weeks there were 3 trips north!
Trip 1 : I went up for Hollie's formal. My beautiful niece! How glamorous all the girls were! Mary and I stayed at the Marriott Surfers Paradise as that is where the formal was being held. We watched the Young and the Beautiful arrive on the red carpet and then we went to dinner at Benihana. While the Marriott is holding its age well and still has the most amazing pool, Benihana was a little disappointing. It seemed that they were more interested in cramming in as many as possible and getting the show over and done with, than providing attentive service that makes it a special night out.
Trip 2 : to the Gold Coast with a group of friends to see Joss Wheadon's version of "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Gold Coast Arts Centre (boo and hiss Coffs Harbour cinema... not classy enough to show it!). We stayed at the Mecure at Carrara (the Raddison until recently). Happy with the room but would not recommend eating there! The movie was great! Alphie had I had an extra couple of days at the Mantra in Kingscliff on the way home. Our "room" was actually a suite, very well set up, very spacious, with a view over the smaller resort pool. The main pool was beautiful and the location of the hotel was terrific access to lots of restaurants and walk paths. The biggest disappointment was our visit to Fins, something I have had on my bucket list for a ling time. The meal and the service were very much below par. Give back you Good Food Hat!!!
Trip 3 : the Byron Bay Writers Festival. We always have a bit of a panic after buying the tickets! They are so expensive, even when you opt to take the risk and buy earlybird tickets. And accommodation in trendy Byron Bay has a trendy pricy tag that makes it all a bit over the top. We decided to look further afield for accommodation and stayed in Pottsville at a holdiay rental, Frangipani Fun.
This was great value. Pottsville is a very appealing coastal village - but don't think we could live there ... the lure of the Pottsville Bakery would have a decided impact! Wow! great bread, great cakes and pastries, great pies, great coffee, great prices ... well worth a visit to Pottsville!
The Writers Festival turned out to be one of the better ones. I particularly enjoyed Kerry O'Brien and Peter Fitzsimmons and, as always, Michael Robotham and Cate Kennedy. We had a wonderful dining experience at St Elmos (note : dining experience ... not jut dinner!) ... beautiful tapas and friendly attentive service.
We went to Boston the
long way!!!Instead of going
straight to Boston we thought we would have a bit more of a coastal treat and
headed to Rockport via 128 then down via Salem on 127.That was the plan but … somehow after
Rockport we got tangled up in Gloucester and ended up heading south on 128
again … and I got a bad case of car sickness trying to convince the GPS to get
us to Salem via 127 … so we gave up and headed to our hotel.
This was another bad
choice.We needed to be at the
airport early the next morning for our marathon flight(s) home and we needed to
return the rental car.So I made
our booking at the Embassy Suites neat the airport.Again the failure was that it was a bland chain hotel.But it was also a bland chain hotel
that was the most expensive room of our trip.My thoughts had been : last chance of comfort before that
long flight, last chance for a comfortable bed, a last chance to spoil ourselves
on our trip.Wrong.It was expensive but bad value.It was valet parking ($35) with no help
getting bags out of the car (with my husband’s disability this falls to me so I
truly objected to the standover tactics to get a tip for doing nothing).There were zero smiles on offer at the
desk, uncommunicative and unfriendly on both check in and check out For the
first time on our entire trip of over 5 weeks, there was a charge for Internet
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
I think on our last
day I could have done without getting carsick!All I wanted to do was get to our hotel and crash.It would have been far better to have
gone straight from Concord to Boston and done a Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour.This would have taken a lot of the
strain out of the day for me (Chief Navigator and Tour Guide).
Would not choose to
stay at the Embassy Suites.Ever.