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Anyone who’s ever played Monopoly knows Park Place means high-class (or at least high-rent), and the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, Michigan doesn’t disappoint.

We were there on a recent weekend to check out some area wineries and story ideas, and get a taste (hehe) of the TC foodie scene while we were at it. (More on the food and wine, later!)

The Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. It was cold and rainy, but still lovely.

We stayed at the lovely, downtown Park Place Hotel, and found it to be a very friendly place, with a few exceptions.

The rooms were well-designed (two sinks, YAY!) and large, with plenty of room to stretch out and unwind after a day of exploring the area. Ours even had a balcony, which would have seen more use if the weather hadn’t been so cold and rainy. (Actually, it started to snow as we were leaving.)

The front-desk service was immaculate and helpful, although the service at the attached restaurant, Minerva’s, wasn’t quite as impressive. It’s not in my nature to be picky with service employees, but I’ve also never been told that a restaurant couldn’t seat anyone else in the next half-hour because they had a very large party of guests that had just been seated. Hmm…

Moving on. The other complaint we had at the Park Place Hotel was that upon returning to the hotel Saturday night, there was a sign up in the parking lot saying it was full, presumably from restaurant or event patrons at the hotel. That’s kind of disappointing when you can’t actually park at the hotel where you’re staying. I’m not sure what the downtown Traverse City parking situation normally is, but it apparently could use some improvement.

But in all, the hotel was a great base of operations for a Leelanau or Old Mission Peninsula wine tour, or an exploration of Traverse City’s many shops and restaurants.

Where would you stay in Traverse City? We’ll be headed back down soon, so your recommendations are welcome!

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That’s pretty much what we used our hotel rooms for on this trip, since we were going, going, going from morning till night in Milwaukee and Chicago. But I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the two hotels we stayed at.

The first thing we always look for in a hotel is a pool, cause The Kid and I really enjoy swimming, and it’s still a little cold up here to be doing anything in a swimsuit at home.

The Best Western Waukesha Grand was our base of operations while in Milwaukee with Grandma Sue and Johnny. The hotel is actually in nearby Pewaukee, and was definitely up to par as far as Best Westerns go. Nice pool and hot tub, which the kids and I took full advantage of both nights we stayed.

The Best Western Waukesha Grand in Pewaukee, Wisc.

As we usually do, we booked our rooms online through Hotels.com, which resulted in a very respectable room rate around $70, although I’m sure that depends on day of the week and time of the year, and all the other arcane calculations that go into hotel room rates.

The staff were all very helpful and friendly, the free breakfast was good, and the beds were comfortable. There were several restaurants nearby (we tried out the right-next-door Spring City with pleasant results) and a strip mall just across the parking lot with a dollar store and Pick-and-Save in case you forgot anything or wanted to stock up the hotel mini fridge.

All in all, it was conveniently located and a nice place to stay.

For the next three nights, The Driver, The Kid and I said goodbye to Grandma and Johnny and headed south to Chicagoland. Again, we booked our hotel, the Hyatt Place in Itasca, Ill., through Hotels.com, and got another nice room rate of about $80 per night. It’s not quite as close to stores and restaurants, but the hotel makes up for it by providing virtually anything you could need in its own grab-and-go counters in the lobby.

The Hyatt Place in Itasca, IL

The Hyatt ranked pretty highly up there as far as hotel rooms on the road go, with lots of space, super-comfy beds, pillows I had to convince Sam not to take home, and a massive flat-screen and media center in the room just in case you wanted to have movie night–or, if you have videoconferencing to do for work. The rooms were downright lovely and the staff was very welcoming and accommodating.

The free breakfast in the mornings also was one of the better ones I’ve seen, with freshly-made hot foods and a healthy variety of choices like egg-white breakfast sandwiches and fresh fruit. The only downside here was the pool, which, while large and swimmably warm, had no hot tub. 😦 Sad.

While we had no complaints about either hotel, I think next time we’ll stay somewhere closer to my sister Jen’s workplace in Evanston, or her apartment in north Chicago, because we kept underestimating the time it takes to drive everywhere in that city and ended up sitting in slow-moving traffic for way too long to be good for The Driver’s or my sanity.

Anywhere you would recommend in the Chicago or Milwaukee area to stay next time we head that way?

 

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