The City That Never Sleeps – A Weekend Getaway for $300

Our next trip deal is NYC!

As far a cities go, I love NYC. It is unlike any other city in the world and I have been to a few. I’m really not a city girl, but it is a great city for a weekend getaway. With my Southwest Airline companion pass in my back pocket and around 100,000 points in hand, booking two flights was not too painful at 28,000 points. In dollars, this is around $380 per person.

Hilton is our aim for hotel accommodations. They currently have a credit card offering 50,000 bonus points when we spend $1,000 in 3 months. With points transferrable between Hilton members, 2 credit cards totaling 100,000 points should be enough for two nights in Manhattan. Expensive, yes. However, this is a savings of roughly $200 per night.

To pay for everything out of pocket, we are at $1,160 just for flights and accommodations. Huge savings for this one income family.

Once there we plan to use Uber for our airport transportation, which seems to be a little cheaper than the other options. Traveling around the city can be done inexpensively on foot or via Subway. I’ve only gotten turned around once or twice, but seem to always find a nice security guard to point me in the right direction. I’m also aiming to stay southeast of Times Square, which should be a central location for hitting up my favorite spots and introducing my hubby to the city.

Having spent time in Manhattan before, it is fun to see all the sights and do all the tourist things. Yet, it can be easy to miss a city when you are busy running around trying to make tours and see all the top spots. Mixing it up and picking one or two highlights, especially with weekend getaways, helps you embrace the place you are visiting instead of passing it by in a taxi. I’m looking forward to enjoying the food and the city itself. The people, the architecture, the vibe…

The flights cost $11 in taxes each. Transportation and food are going to be our highest expenses, along with one museum stop. My goal is $300 for the weekend. I’ll update you after our trip!

Hyatt Rose Hall Jamaica – a Review

Well, Jamaica didn’t disappoint! Though going to a tropical location in the middle of January doesn’t leave much room for complaining. Overall, Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall was much like going on a cruise without the sea sickness, on boarding, off boarding or midnight buffet (though we were certainly not left hungry). I’d give our stay four out of five stars.

The resort is separated into family and adult only. Adults are free to access the whole resort, but there is an adult only pool and a few adult only restaurants. We stayed on the Adult only side (Zilara). Most of the restaurants are on the family side (Ziva), but the walk was not far and strolling along side the beach never gets old. Just about every cuisine is offered, with a Jamaican flair. We found the food to be a little bland overall, but there were plenty of options and we didn’t have enough stomach room to try all of the restaurants. Our favorite was the Italian restaurant, De Roza.

Presentation left nothing to be desired. I was also impressed to see dietary options offered at every restaurant including gluten free and vegan. The staff was quite attentive and made sure that you never went without a drink, should you be desiring something. There were also plenty of options for snacking.

Austin’s favorite stop each day was the beach side jerk chicken shack. Breakfast was my favorite part of the food each day. The Zilara side had a small buffet (the large buffet was on the other side of the resort). There was a breakfast menu, if you chose to order something in addition to the buffet spread. We tried the quiche and the very robust French toast. It was the skyscrapers of French toast! The buffet included a spread of cheeses, fresh fruit (the kiwi was sublime), crackers, jams, jellies, pastries, smoked salmon, capers, cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, curried meat, sautéed bananas, and fresh squeezed juice. Does it get any better? I discovered a deep affection for guava jam.

There was also a small coffee and smoothie bar located just outside the restaurant. Each morning I stopped for a latte to take to the beach with me. One unexpected aspect that I truly appreciated was the small size of the dishes and beverages. It was fun to try lots of things so the smaller portions were perfect.

The pool was chilly as was the ocean water, but the sun felt great. The first two days it was extremely windy and the surf was too rough for anyone to be in the water. Thankfully, the last two days saw much calmer weather and we enjoyed wading in the little ocean lagoons. In the evenings there were fire pits across the resorts for sitting and enjoying the sound of the waves. It was a nice stop along our walk, especially in the cool breeze.

Each evening featured some kind of musical show. Most of these occurred on the Ziva side of the resort, but we were surprised to walk in on a show that had started next to the adult pool. Our room had a wonderful view of the pool and a little bit of ocean, so we scurried up to our balcony to watch the show. When we came upon the scene there was a fire breather. We apparently missed the singer previous to the fire breathing. However, following the fire, some lovely ladies came out and started to dance. Next thing we knew, they jumped in the pool and started doing a synchronized swimming routine with their buff dance partners. It was so unexpected, but certainly a highlight of the trip.

A room service menu was provided and available 24 hours a day. We enjoyed some cheeseburgers while playing Nertz. Did I mention we are introverts and it was windy? The balcony off our room had a wonderful couch and ottoman, perfect for watching Netflix on the free wifi or facetimeing with a toddler.

We had some issues with our neighbors and found our room to be rather noisy during the day from pool side activities, which would be the main reason for the 4 out 5 rating. Also, the transportation policy was recently changed and there is now a fee to be shuttled from the airport. Not sure if this was due to the recent rise in violence in the area, or just a way for Hyatt to make a few extra bucks. We were told it was $60 per person round trip. Not a horrible price, by any means. We were only charged $60 for the two of us, so not sure if that was due to our neighbor altercations, but in any event there is an extra cost there. Getting through customs, to the Hyatt lounge and the shuttle to the resort was a very smooth process.

We felt very safe the entire trip. There were security guards positioned at the edge of resort on the beach and the trip to and from the airport seemed to be in an affluent and well gated part of the island. Our energetic shuttle driver was telling us about the various resorts and areas as we passed, including a neighborhood with homes valued at 3 million U.S. dollars and up.

There were activities for those interested, particularly around the pools and were fun to watch. We mostly spent our time sitting, reading, eating and swimming. The room was comfortable as was the bed. I can’t tell you how many hotels I’ve been to and wake up feeling sore from the stiff mattresses. Double high five Hyatt for making such a comfortable bed. I also quite enjoyed the large tub, perfect for those of us with long legs. Relaxation and service are at the top of the priority list among staff at Hyatt Rose Hall and we certainly enjoyed our four night stay.