It Was Our Destihl-y

Allison had her onsite visit and interview at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Science. We stayed overnight at the TownPlace Suites by Marriott. The hotel was nice and very accommodating. Parking was a bit difficult, you have to pull into a nearby parking structure and call by pressing a button on the ticket stand.  We rang and rang with no answer and wound up actually having to call the hotel to buzz us in.  Once we got the hang of the “system” it was much easier. After her interview for potential entrance into the Fall semester we visited Deshtihl Brewery with my niece Amber who already attends University of Illinois.  Deshtihl was recommended by the hotel staff who said the food was great and beer plentiful.  They tout themselves a Gastropub, They are an interesting place to visit. They are trying to be “fancy” but seem to be one of those pretentious restaurants where ingredients are randomly added to food to make it sound more “gourmet”.

Dishes include such items as Chorizo stuffed dates, fennel sausage and date pizza (they use a lot of dates. Dates must be fancy) and Weissenheimer Chicken. Now that’s a mouthful. Nothing on the menu really jumped out at me. I ordered the Ancho Chicken Salad sans blue cheese. The salad had lettuce, ancho spiced chicken, avocado, black beans, white cheddar, red onion, diced tomatoes roasted corn with a ancho lime ranch dressing.  The salad was ok. Toppings rather sparse, dressing good, but the salad itself was not huge.

Amber ordered the BBQ pulled pork two ways. It came on a plank, with pork a couple of ways, pulled and ribs. Served with lemon corn muffins and a chipotle coleslaw. She said the dish was good, not great. She didn’t eat much of it, so I think it wasn’t spectacular.

Allison ordered a spicy squash and cashew cream dish served over squash noodles.  The dish started out ok, with some interesting flavors of coconut milk, basil and a “cashew cream sauce”. It was very spicy and not an easy dish to finish.

They had quite a few beer choices, and some interesting fruited beers. Amber, not yet 21 didn’t drink and I ordered a simple red beer. It was again, an ok beer. I think OK is my ultimate review of Deshtihl.  I don’t know if I would ever even go there again.  As Allison has since been accepted into the fall program, I am sure I will find myself in Urbana-Champaign again, but may not revisit Deshtihl.


Sand and Snoozing at the Harbor Beach Marriott

During my January 2017 business trip to sunny Florida, we stayed at the Harbor Beach Marriott and Spa. The Marriott is a beautiful hotel, located right on the ocean, with amazing views and great amenities.

The staff is friendly and attentive, greeting you with fruit infused water and a smile. The hotel is easy to navigate, and offers a beautiful pool (one which I thoroughly enjoyed on a January day when it was subarctic in Michigan).

The rooms were ample sized, with comfortable bedding and nice glass enclosed shower. I was disappointed the room did not have a mini fridge, but that was my only complaint!

Omar got “stuck” an extra day due to the Delta debacle that shut down a bunch of flights due to an apparent computer crash. On Monday, while I was working the booth at the conference, he was tanning and swimming by the beautiful pool, munching on a crab salad from the poolside restaurant, “Sea Level”.  The bartenders here were fun and flirty, and the outdoor cafe boosts comfortable ocean al fresco seating.

We got some sun time too, no worries on Tuesday, when we had a break from the booth for a while so enjoyed some sun and cocktails by the vast pool.

I would most definitely recommend this hotel. The ambiance, cleanliness, amenities, all top notch.

Weston O’Hare Hotel – Chicago

Just wanted to do a quick review and post about the great people and service at the Weston O’Hare in Chicago.  I had a work conference there where I was attending as a vendor. My check in was 3 p.m., but my flight got in at 11 and I had a seminar to attend at noon. I so much wanted to get checked in early and drop my bags before my seminar.  I was priming myself for trouble, but was soooo pleasantly surprised to have them say, “sure you can check in now, your room is ready.” They even gave me a $5 voucher for not needing maid service, which I could conveniently use at the Starbucks.

My room was large and accommodating, with a soft plush bed, and plenty of pillows.  The bathroom had great counter space for getting ready.

If traveling to Chicago, I would highly recommend you to stay here. Great hotel.  Check out my review of Carlucci’s which we visited right across the street.

Brews, Chews and SNOOZE??

After a long day of brewery tours, and an exhausting couple of hours sampling different beers, we moved on to our hotel. Here is where the snooze part comes in.  We stayed at the Doubletree Suites Downtown.  This booked this hotel as it was within walking distance of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and many other bars/restaurants.  The hotel was decent, no complaints really.  They do charge extra ($18) a day for parking, which I found outrageous, until we found parking costs money EVERYWHERE! Some lots as high as $35. So the $18 we paid, and trying to walk or take shuttles everywhere paid off.

The room was adequate, and clean, but not real large.  Doubletree has those soft feathery pillows and comforters that I like, which is nice.  The bathroom was so small though, and there was no separate area for makeup, sink, etc.  My bathroom at home is tiny, but this bathroom was smaller. I can deal with the lack of counter space, but the lighting in the bathroom and the room itself was soooo dim, it made getting ready also very difficult. It had a fridge which was nice, and ample TV channels. More than other hotels we have stayed at.

The comings and goings of guests was very loud. The first night we had a couple ladies (which I use that term lightly) fighting outside our room from probably 4:30 am – 5:30 a.m.  Swearing, calling each other every name in the book.  It was lovely. Reminded us of some trashy people we unfortunately know.  I had trouble sleeping, but no big surprise as I usually do in new places.

I did wake up the next day with a super odd rash on my lower inside legs. Both of them.  It was super weird.  I thought I had bed bug bites and flipped out a bit, but we checked everywhere and everything looked fine.  They were not bites, so I think I may have had an allergic reaction to the detergent used on the sheets. At least that’s what the doctor says, so I am going with that. I thought maybe I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or measles or something, but I seem to be fine??

The hotel had a decent pool, and not so decent hot tub. The hot tub seemed a lovely shade of green. The pool was clean though, but we never did swim.

There was a bar & restaurant, called Stadium 3 Bar and Grill.  The menu, as most hotels was limited and overpriced, and although we had intentions of having a drink at the bar, we never did.

The hotel had a shuttle service and their was one lovely older woman who wound up driving us many places.  Wish I got her name, she was very nice and chatty.

I would recommend this hotel, mostly because it has a great location, and really had all you needed.