Miss A Columnist

Brandy Voirin is a modern day fashionista who exercises her multitasking muscle on a daily basis. Brandy's a community volunteer extraordinaire” helping in the state of Texas, Boston, New Jersey, & New York. She's an avid traveler, mom, and can be spotted at runway shows, & charity events in Dallas & New York. She hosted Fashion's Night Out for Southlake Town Square which was picked by Vogue magazine as one of the 8 top places for FNO in Texas. Having sampled fashion and beauty delights from all over the world; this savvy traveler documents her adventurous life through her inspirational blog Bites of Style, where she informs readers on shopping and food tips; along with blogging about her life in fashion.

Best Staycations In Dallas

With the changing of the seasons and the kids back to school, it can be hard to find time to get away. We often wonder how the year went by so fast. Whether you have a family, are single in the city, or  just a workaholic, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the local roses. The staycation idea was posed a few years ago when the economy crumbled, but hotels needed revenue to stay in business. When I think this idea over it really makes a lot of sense. Why not try out the local hotels? Why not save gas and baby-siting fees by only leaving the city for one night? Well why not? Our staff had the pleasure to try out four local DFW hotels and have categorized them to fit your specific needs. Whether you take a day or a weekend there is a special out their to  help you make the most of your fall. It’s exactly four weeks until the Thanksgiving holiday season begins, so get away while you can.

Hotel ZaZa Dallas

Hotel ZaZa Dallas (Photo Credit: Hotel ZaZa)

Hotel ZaZa Dallas- Best For Rockstars & Over The Top Excursions   

Winner -Best Decor & Swankiest 

Wow Factor- The Magnificent Seven Suites & The Bed

Cost $799-$1200 Depending on the day of the week

Want to feel like a rock star? Luxury at its best awaits you at this extravagant boutique hotel with its newly renovated ballrooms. From fashion designers to celebs Drake and Jessica Simpson, all know Hotel ZaZa is the place to stay. ZaZa offers many different suites, including the Magnificent Seven suites, and we were lucky enough to get to try out the Red Shoe Suite. Lately, hotel suites are getting smaller, but not at Hotel ZaZa where luxury is only a door bell away.

This massive 1,340 square foot suite is sure to meet all your needs. The bed, the star of the show, is a Swedish Comfort for hotels edition. We actually became angered when returning home to our average bed after resting our head on ZaZa’s luxurious mattress. Although the other hotels had nice beds, none compared to Hotel ZaZa. The room is worth the price just for the bed.

CoCo Chanel by Lita Cabellut is on display in the Hotel ZaZa Dallas lobby through the fall ( Photo Credit: Hotel ZaZa)

Luckily for us, the room comes with more than just a bed. The full size refrigerator, which doubled as the mini bar, was equipped and stuffed with every beverage imaginable from Red Bull, soft drinks, every juice, liquor, beer and tons of wine. The counter top was filled with snacks from our childhood, such as Oreos, chocolate bunnies and fruit snacks. It was as if the butler read our minds. In addition, the  room was adorned with a balcony with a view to die for, a full size dining table with crystal chandelier, a parlor, full size walk-in closet and two eating areas. The Magnificent 7 suites also come with their own private butler who is always at your service.

We tried the lounge menu recommended by Joshua Wilson, senior outlet manager for Dragonfly, which allowed us to explore all five senses. From sea scallops with english peas to mini sliders, and a perfectly cooked filet mignon.

Dragonfly Restaurant Filet

Dragonfly Restaurant Filet (Photo Credit: Brandy Voirin)

You can’t go wrong with any option you choose.   Executive  Chef Dan Landsberg really uses out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to crafting the elaborate food menu. One weekend, there was an after-hours lounge area that served delicious late night snacks, and the next  there was a cheeseburger stand. At Hotel ZaZa there are surprises around every corner.

3 Great Reasons To Visit This Fall

  • Dancing in the Dark Brunch
  •  Fall Hotel Packages
  •  Spectacular Ballrooms Renovation

Sunday School Dance in the Dark Brunch

This Brunch is one of the most popular brunches of the year, and we’re told that it’s almost filled to capacity.

Come dressed in your finest costumes and get ready to have a ball in the newly renovated ballrooms at Hotel ZaZa Dallas. This is one of our staffers favorite brunch and  it’s more like a nightclub with great food. The party includes food, dancing, sparklers, fun and much more

WHEN: Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

TICKETS: $50 a person

For reservations call 214-550-9500 or email Courtney Harp at CHarp@HotelZaZa.com

Hotel ZaZa has two great room specials for Fall– Stay & Play and ZaZa Gives Back.

ZAZA Gives Back

Hotel ZaZa Gives Back For Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Photo Credit: Hotel ZaZa)

Join Hotel ZaZa in the fight against Breast Cancer and think pink when you travel this October!

ZaZa is giving back and we invite you to join the cause in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

This  getaway package includes:

  • $5 Contribution to the Susan G. Komen Foundation
  • One-Night Visit in Luxury Accommodations at Hotel ZaZa Houston
  • Two Complimentary Pink Drinks at Dragonfly
  • Special Turn-down
  • Complimentary Valet Parking Nightly
  • Complimentary Internet Access Daily

*Rates start at $289. Package is subject to availability. Based on double occupancy. Package price does not include service charges or gratuities. 

Hotel ZaZa Dallas

2330 Leonard Street
Dallas, TX 75201
Ph. 214-468-8399

Hotel Palomar Dallas Lobby

Hotel Palomar Dallas Lobby (Photo Credit:  John Dziekan for Kimpton Hotels)

Hotel Palomar Dallas-Best for Dog Lovers, Workaholics, and Creative People

Winner – Best Pool & Best Breakfast Menu

Wow Factor – The Creative Extras

Cost $199-$400 depending on the season 

If you are looking for a quieter, yet electric getaway, then Hotel Palomar is the place for you. Nestled in the popular mockingbird station area, Hotel Palomar has all the bells and whistles while remaining low key.

Hotel Palomar Dallas Suite

Hotel Palomar Dallas Suite (Photo Credit: John Dziekan for Kimpton Hotels)

The rooms are plush and tranquil, with a bit of an exotic flair. Some of the highlights of the room include: a plush bed, spacious windows, sound machine, and vegan bath products. Kimpton hotels offer the best of both worlds by meeting families, business travelers’ and pet lovers’ needs. Creative extras included the leopard robe in our bathroom with a note that said, “Explore Your Wild Side.”

Hotel Dallas Palomar Exotic Robes For Guest

Hotel Dallas Palomar Exotic Robes(Photo Credit: John Dziekan  )

The rooftop  pool area included breathtaking city views and, although there were other guest using the facilities, you could easily feel as if this was your own private oasis. We spotted lemon and orange ice water pitchers along with plenty of plush towels.

The fitness area seemed small and a bit strange, but upon further review we were pretty impressed. The gym features exercise balls, hula hoops (a Kimpton fave) yoga equipment, ballet bar, mats, and more breathtaking views of the city.  Kimpton hotels are really a remarkable brand  as they encourage all employees to be active  and offer programs like, Run with the GM. It was also named one of the best companies to work for in 2011, which is probably why so many staff members have been around for such a long time. You can’t forget about the wonderful Exhale Spa, which is a huge perk to anyone wanting to relax or workout on your visit. The Core Fusion classes are tough, but worth every penny.

Central 214 in Hotel Palomar Dallas

Central 214 in Hotel Palomar Dallas (Photo Credit: Hotel Palmor)

Happy hour options include complimentary daily wine hour in the lobby with delicious morsels provided by Central 214, or eating in the the fabulous restaurant that offers reverse happy hour seven days a week. Now that’s my kind of party. Day or night the restaurant is at your service for creative meals.

Deep Dish Quiche at Central 214 in Dallas

Deep Dish Breakfast Quiche at Central 214 in Dallas (Photo Credit: Palomar Hotel)

Unique Factor: This hotel really hits high marks with out-of-the-box thinking. Nothing like arriving to your room and finding a creative surprise. After a long hard day’s work and car ride to Dallas,  we discovered a fun amenity in our room on behalf of the concierge team that included a bottle of wine, sweet & salty snacks, paint colors & brushes and a note telling us to   be creative. This little special treat made our night.

Why go now?  Chef Graham Dodds’  New Autumn Menu & Hotel Packages

The new menu highlights the seasonal Texas ingredients and meats while  keeping signature favorites like the Scotch Egg and Popcorn Sweetbreads on the menu.

We haven’t sampled the new menu which debuts today, but we strongly suggest you order everything. In order to save space we will only suggest a few of the new menu items below, but again just remember these words when ordering,” One of everything please.”

Here’s our top picks

  • Countryside Farms Rabbit with Castelfranco + Mascarpone Polenta
  • Veal Breast with Hokerei Turnips, D’avignon Radish + Celery Leaf Pisto
  • Dry-Aged Duck with Quince, Lentils du Puy + Crème Fraiche
  • Apple Cider Glazed Sweet Potato Donuts, Apple Butter + Mascarpone Cream
  • Poudine Chomeur (recognized as one of the top 100 desserts in the country, this tasty treat is making acomeback for the fall menu)

“Big D High Roller” Package

For guests seeking the ultimate VIP experience for their State Fair visit, Hotel Palomar’s “Big D. High Roller” package offers only the best in Texas-style luxury. The exclusive weekend package features:

  • Grand Luxury Penthouse Suite accommodations for two nights
  • Luxurious breakfast in bed for two each morning
  • Private charter helicopter service over the Dallas skyline to the State Fair
  • Rolls Royce Phantom private chauffeured transportation throughout the stay
  • Custom his and hers Stetson cowboy hats 
  • Two pairs of custom-fitted Lucchese alligator cowboy boots 
  • Designer jeans for two, with private personal shopper and fitting at Neiman Marcus NorthPark
  • Private four-course dinner for two by Chef Graham Dodds at Central 214
  • Two VIP entry passes to the Fair
  • $1000 in food and ride coupons 
  • Nightly presentation of chilled Veuve Clicquot champagne with Ghirardelli chocolates at turn-down With the weekend rate of $20,000, the “Black Gold High Roller” package can be booked by contacting Hotel Palomar Dallas director of sales and marketing, Sam S. Tucker, at 214-560-2733

Hotel Palomar Dallas

5300 East Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX
Ph. 214-520-7969

Fort Mackenzie Water Fall ( Photo Credit: Great Wolf Lodge)

Great Wolf Lodge-Best Water Park and Kid Friendly Destination 

Winner – Year round family fun

Wow Factor – The Fort Mackenzie Fountain Area

Cost $199-$450 depending on the season 

School’s back in session and the little ones in your life need a staycation as well. They’ll  have to put up with the relatives too. Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a repeat guest, Great Wolf Lodge really seeks to exceed your expectations. The highlights start with the water park, and continue with an array of activities throughout the day. For children, there are themed Kid Kamp Suites which feature bunk beds in colorful rooms they can call their own.

Great Wolf Lodge Family Suite

Great Wolf Lodge Family Suite (Photo Credit: Great Wolf Lodge)

New this year are the Great Wolf Kids trading cards, featuring the Great Wolf Lodge cast of characters. Kids receive these cards throughout their stay and have so much fun collecting each one. Other fun freebies include coloring, decorating and making their own character mask, bingo and the Wolf Walk. There are plenty of things to do at the lodge, but the water park by far seems to be my son’s favorite. The Fort Mackenzie, with a 1,000 gallon water bucket, fountains and bridges was truly a blast. I watched as children beamed with joy while entering this area of fun. We stayed in the cub paw area, which had as many knobs, spray guns and slides as you could imagine. For a little kid, turning knobs sometimes can just do the trick. The Twin Torren area, which houses three stories of fun, was truly my son’s favorite attraction.

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark in Grapevine Texas

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park in Grapevine Texas (Photo Credit: Brandy Voirin)

The lifeguards were visible and kept a close watchful eye on every child.  Along with the highest level of protection available, the water park had plenty of towels, the cleanest restrooms, and plenty of healthy food options. This place really puts the kids first, which is the most important factor for any parent.

Why Go This Fall? 15% off Spooktacular Packages, Howl-O-Ween Fun, & Great Deals

October 11 – 31
This Howl-O-Ween, you’re invited to dress up and howl along at Great Wolf Lodge. Enjoy pumpkin painting and seasonal crafts in Cub Club, meet the Great Wolf Kids characters for a spooky costume parade and collect candy and other goodies on the nightly Trick or Treat Trail. As the moon rises, bring your monster moves to the Grand Lobby during the Monster Bash Dance Party (Friday and Saturday nights).

October 31 Costume Parade

Starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Lobby.

Each night children of all ages are welcome to attend a Costume Parade! Each little ghoul and boy will have the opportunity to show off their costume to the crowd, allowing parents a chance to snap photos to remember the event. Each participant will receive a prize.

Great Wolf Lodge Halloween Event
Great Wolf Lodge Halloween Event (Photo Credit: Great Wolf Lodge)

Monster Bash Dance Party

Don’t miss the Monster Bash DJ Dance Party! The fun begins at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights by the Raccoon Lagoon. Refreshments will be served and a future free night stay will given to the family with the best “HOWL”!

Great Wolf Lodge

100 Great Wolf Drive
Grapevine, TX 76051
Ph. 817-48806510

NYLO Dallas Las Colinas

NYLO Dallas Las Colinas (Photo Credit: NYLO Dallas)

NYLO Dallas/ Las Colinas -Best For The Girlfriend Getaways, and Overall Fun

Winner – Most Unique Design,  Guest Room Views, and  Affordable Price

Cost $100-$400 depending on when you book

Fashion, function, and chic design come together in this popular destination. Upon entering the hotel you immediately notice the stunning decor and brownstone feel of this urban loft-style environment. The NYLO Las Colinas offers the best in urban sophistication while still taking care of your business and visual needs. The hotel grounds are absolutely breathtaking and are only second to the actual design of the interior. With surprises around every corner, this hotel’s green features and breathtaking views are huge selling points. Imagine a luxurious urban apartment, and then you have a NYLO Skyline Suite. Rooms are equipped with large windows, beautiful artwork, fine linens, feather pillows, flat screen tv, and a work station.

NYLO Las Colinas Skyline Suite

NYLO Las Colinas Skyline Suite (Photo Credit: NYLO Las Colinas)

The bathroom’s overhead rain faucet reminded us of a spa retreat, and was by far the best of any of the hotels we visited in Dallas. The rooms are luxurious, yet at a price that fits in everyone’s budget.

We could actually see ourselves living at this destination. The look of the lobby and library area was like Alice in Wonderland meets Berlin underground. Experience some quiet reading time, play Nintendo Wii, or get outside and experience the cabanas and the heated pool area. The beautiful, manicured courtyard area offers 7,500 square feet of ultimate luxury and is centrally located to many Dallas destinations.

NYLO Dallas Las Colinas

NYLO Dallas Las Colinas (Photo Credit: NYLO Las Colinas)

The NYLO also offers many impressive green features which included; bath and body products bottled by the NYLO from recycled bottles, energy efficient bricks and construction,  and recycled in-room note pads just to name a few.

Within minutes of walking into the restaurant area it immediately establishes something different and fabulous.

The Loft Bar at The NYLO Las Colinas

The Loft Bar at The NYLO Las Colinas (Photo Credit: NYLO Dallas)

It is one of the coolest places to be seen in Las Colinas. No matter the meal period, the food is in a class all its own. Chef Matthew Brown’s expertise is well seen in the menu’s details. Creative appetizers like Prawn corny dogs and sushi are just a few of my favorites.

Why go this fall? The great hotel rates & daily restaurant specials

The Romance Package 

Escape from the daily routine and enjoy a romantic weekend getaway. The NYLO is perfect for a wedding night, anniversary celebration, birthday, or a night away from the little ones – sometimes a little spontaneity goes a long way!

  • Dinner for two at the LOFT
  • Breakfast for Two at The Loft
  • 4 p.m. Late check-out
  • Champagne & Special Amenity

Gondola Cruise 

Set sail on a 1 hour classic Gondola cruise for two through Lake Carolyn and the Mandalay canals including transportation to the canal.

    • Champagne & special amenity
    • 4 p.m. Late Check-out
    • 1 hour classic Gondola cruise

Be sure to call the hotel when booking to schedule Gondola cruise.

Here are a few of our favorites

  • All day happy hour  Saturday & Sunday
  • Monday Madness which offers $2 off all drinks
  • Suishi Thursday- Half price sashimi & classic rolls
  • There is also entertainment most nights of the week

This  hotel brand  oozes individuality at an affordable price for a vacay or quick stop  after work

NYLO Dallas Las Colinas

1001 West Royal Lane
Irving, TX 75039
Ph. 972-373-8900

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