If you have been following my Insta stories (hint: you should be!), you have seen that I spent some time two weeks ago relaxing on a mini staycation in the middle of the work week! What ended up happening is that we had a really heavy snowstorm hit NYC and so my boyfriend’s and I decided to stay in a hotel a little closer to his job so he didn’t get caught driving too far in the storm. That being said, I was able to take full advantage of the opportunity and join him to make a little mini staycation out of it!
Although he still had to go to work during the day, we had a blast getting food and enjoying all of the amenities that the Courtyard Marriott had to offer together at night and I was lucky and got to take advantage during the day too! When we were swimming in the pool one of the nights, we agreed that it was so fun to stay at a hotel and treat yourself during the week as a little vacation and that we should do it more often! That’s when I decided that I wanted to write about the experience and maybe inspire you to do the same!
I have never stayed at a hotel in my own area and if you would have told me to before this experience, I would have told you that you were crazy, but now that I have had this experience, I am totally an advocate of staycations in your own neck of the woods. There are a few reasons why I think they are awesome:
- If you forget something, you are close to home and can go pick it up! You don’t have to spend money buying duplicates of things you already own! The Courtyard does have a mini area called The Market in case you did happen to forget something small, want a snack or get a sudden headache and need some Advil, which is an added bonus, but it’s not as much of a necessity when you are near your home!
- You don’t have to budget for travel expenses! When you think about it, a huge portion of travel costs is often gas or transportation tickets. When you go on a staycation, you don’t have to break the bank trying to get to your destination.
- Although you aren’t seeing a new area, you can really take time to appreciate all of the sites that there are to see near your home that you never take the time to visit. This is also true when it comes to restaurants! The money you save on transportation costs can be used for exploring a local restaurant you have always wanted to try!
- No mess! You can take a few days off from doing the dishes, cleaning your bed and worrying about maintaining your house! This gives you more time to focus on your loved ones and spend genuine quality time with them!
All of these points were major reasons why I loved our staycation. We didn’t leave anything at home, but we weren’t as stressed packing because we knew we wouldn’t have to overpack in case of some crazy emergency. We packed only what we needed and in return, weren’t lugging giant luggage around. The transportation costs weren’t anything extra for us, which was awesome because we decided to order food for delivery one night to splurge. The restaurant that we ordered from is a local restaurant that we had never been to before and we loved it! Had we not gone on this mini staycation, we would have never known about it and now it’s on our list of places to visit again! And lastly, it was so amazing to take a break from reality for a little. We were still doing work throughout those few days but it was something about coming home to a clean hotel room with amenities to enjoy that made it feel less strenuous.
Our favorite amenity at the Courtyard was the pool. It wasn’t a huge pool, but we also had it to ourselves everytime we went! They have lounge chairs, towels provided in the pool room and a shower on the wall to rinse off after swimming. The shower was the best feature. I have stayed at hotels with pools that don’t have showers and it definitely makes a difference. Since I was able to immediately rinse off of my skin and hair, the pool chemicals weren’t able to dry out my skin and hair like they normally do. It was definitely amazing to look outside at the inches of snow piling up outside of the window as we stayed nice and warm in the temperature controlled pool.
We also really enjoyed the gym during our stay. We work out at home with our limited equipment so we were like kids in a candy store when we saw how many different options there were in this gym. They had the weight machine with cables and different attachments so you could do many different workouts, free weights, yoga balls, a few treadmills, a few ellipticals, a stair stepper and two bicycles. The cardio machines looked outside to the Courtyard (which wasn’t a beautiful site with the snow storm, but I can imagine it is really nice during the warmer weather. They also had a water machine, towels and cleaning wipes for the equipment. Speaking of cleaning wipes, all of the machines and weights were very clean, which can make a world of a difference when working out in a public gym.
Other amenities included an ice machine and vending machine on each floor, a conference room and paid washer/dryer on the lobby level.
Although the amenities held a sweet spot in our hearts, the room was really nice too! We had a king size room, which was the handicap accessible room and therefore didn’t have a sofa bed (they have a limited number of rollaway beds upon request though). We think that the bathroom was a little larger for the handicap accommodation, which we didn’t mind at all. The bathroom was very large and really nice! They had Paul Mitchell toiletries, which was awesome because I am a fan of the brand. They offered shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body bars and facial bars. The room had a mini fridge that was empty, a microwave and a Keurig. I was so happy that they didn’t have drinks in the fridge because we ended up needing the space for our leftover food and we were able to use the microwave to heat it up the next day. The market area in the lobby also has plastic silverware, which was handy when heating up leftovers as well. This was one of the most convenient features of the room.
We were also really excited to learn that the TV offered the ability to log into your streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu. You do have to have your own membership to use these services (or sign up for a free trial to use for the duration of your stay) but we have both so it was great that we could take advantage of this feature and watch movies together each night. I also watched Pretty Little Liars during the day, which is a win in my book! You can manually clear the login information from the TV at the end of your stay so you don’t have to worry about someone else getting ahold of any of your information. The login info is also cleared automatically at checkout.
The room had everything we needed so we spent most of our time there, but the hotel had a beautiful lobby as well with multiple TVs. My favorite area of the lobby was the little booth cubbies where there was a tv monitor, a circle bench and table, a small lounge chair and a side table. These could be used for meetings, as another place for you to sit with friends and chat or to work on whatever you have to get done during your stay. I used this space to sit and hammer out some work for the blog. The outside courtyard with patio tables and chairs is a really nice place that you could sit when the weather is nice to relax and enjoy the weather. There is a large seating area in The Bistro, the hotel’s restaurant and bar that sits off of the lobby.
The one and only downside to this hotel compared to others was the lack of a complimentary breakfast. They have a la carte breakfast and dinner options at the Bistro and snacks, drinks, and refreshments at the market, which is a nice feature, but it would be great if they offered a complimentary dining option. Many guests that I spoke to were upset about this, including guests that were at the top of Marriott’s rewards program. I can definitely agree with them that there should be a complimentary breakfast, especially for their rewards members!
Although it was a bit of an inconvenience, we decided to go get breakfast at Starbucks each day, which was right across the street.
Applebee’s was also across the street so we went there for dinner one night. Applebee’s is the worst chain for vegans to eat at but it was close and convenient. I ordered the Shrimp Wonton Stir Fry without the wontons and with the chili lime vinaigrette instead of the dumpling sauce. This resulted in a small portion of rice topped with vegetables that cost $16. It was insane but like I said, desperate times call for desperate measures. I also got the chips and salsa appetizer which helped curb the hunger I still had after eating the stir-fry.
Another thing that was a tad bit of a convenience was their limited offering at the hotel’s Bistro. I’m not sure if the storm was the reason behind this, but there were only a few of the listed menu options available- they didn’t have the ingredients to make most of what was on the menu and what they did have was going fast because people didn’t want to go out in the storm. Since I am a vegan, there was already limited options for me and when I asked to order a Mediterranean rice bowl, I couldn’t even get the words out to ask if it could be made without chicken before the woman working the restaurant told me they didn’t have it. I was so upset because I didn’t want to make things complicated for Brian, but didn’t want to only eat fries for dinner, which was the only option I had that fit my diet. Thankfully, Brian is a genius and thought to check Uber Eats to see what was in the area to deliver.
If you haven’t tried Uber Eats, you definitely should see if they offer it in your area. It is an absolute lifesaver in situations like this or when you are just lazy and don’t want to make or go get food. They offer many more restaurants than those that normally deliver and most times there is a small or no delivery fee. If you are new to Uber Eats, you can also use my discount code: eats-chelsear5847ui for $5 off your first order and I’ll get $5 off my next order when you use it! Discounted food for both of us… talk about sharing the love! We got lucky that there were still places open for delivery and that people were still driving for Uber Eats in our area with the snow. We decided to go with Giovanni’s IV in downtown Yonkers and it was so delicious! The portions were huge and made up for the struggle it took to get dinner that one night plus it was a major upgrade from the portion of stir fry at Applebees I at the night before.
Overall, we had such a fun time on our mini staycation. It was so refreshing for both of us and we were surprised that we could have so much fun in the middle of the work week. It definitely made us feel like we were on an elaborate vacation even though we weren’t far from home. The best part about the end of our trip is that we didn’t have the dreaded long ride home that comes with most vacations! We got home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the last day of the week so we could enjoy the weekend together! I hope that this post inspires you to give a staycation a try and if you do, let me know what you do during your staycation and what your thoughts are!!
In a world where you can be anything, be kind!
Until next time,
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