4 STATES, 7 NIGHTS… AMERICA HAS IT ALL!
I was thrilled to be invited by Western & Oriental to join a luxury educational to the West coast of America and what an action packed itinerary they had in store for me! In just 7 nights, we took in 4 States, hundreds of miles of beautiful scenery, stayed at the most fantastic hotels and experienced wonderful dining.
Below are the highlights from State to State…
On arrival into Los Angeles we were transferred to the Loews Hollywood Hotel which overlooks the famous Hollywood sign and is situated just a few steps from Hollywood Boulevard. We started the morning with a tour of the City, followed by an afternoon visit to Universal Studios where we had Front Line tickets to avoid the queues – this made the experience so much more enjoyable and I would highly recommend a visit here for all ages, it surpassed my expectations!
It was then over to Santa Monica which is a stunning beach area and far more relaxing than Hollywood. There are a number of iconic hotels here, including Shutters on the Beach and another Loews hotel all with amazing ocean views and that all-American laid back beach vibe. You can get to the famous Muscle Beach from here too – what an eye opener that was!
And so onto Nevada and my first visit to Las Vegas where there was just so much to look at and be amazed by. We checked out many of the great hotels including The Wynn, The Venetian, MGM Grand and The Bellagio – which turned out to be my personal favourite. Vegas was an epic experience and one to be added to everybody’s bucket list as a flutter in the casino, a G&T in the Eastside Lounge at The Wynn and an evening spent at the Cirque du Soleil were a genuine highlight.
An even more exciting day followed as we headed south to the famous Grand Canyon where I enjoyed my very first helicopter experience over this phenomenal landscape. The helicopter ride lasted 45 minutes and it was simply exhilarating! Our pilot was fantastic and took his time to explain the history of The Canyon and we flew all over this vast area. Again, this is a must for anyone visiting the state of Arizona.
From here we made our way to Lake Powell where we spent a great evening at The Lake Powell Resort. The food was sensational and easily the best during the whole trip and the local ale was pretty excellent too! The boat trip the next morning to Antelope Canyon was a photographer’s heaven due to the outstanding scenery.
In the summer months you can rent a house boat with friends or family which would be a great way to enjoy Lake Powell. We visited 2 house boats and they felt very homely and comfortable with all the essentials you would need.
Onwards to our last State during this whistle stop tour. However before we reach our desired destination at the famous National Parks, we stopped for lunch and a look around at The Amangiri Hotel which is one of the most superb hotels I have ever seen! Its location is unique as it is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views towards The Grand staircase – Escalante National Monument. A fantastic experience and one to be recommended for a truly special occasion.
We then reached Bryce and Zion National parks which are arguably more spectacular than The Grand Canyon. Bryce is known for its famous giant natural amphitheatres. The red, orange, and white colours of the rock formations provide spectacular views. We drove to several view points and enjoyed the different scenery. It was quite cold due to the higher altitude and we even had some snow on arrival adding to the stunning backdrops.
Zion National Park is a further 90 min drive and was much warmer but still boasting amazing scenery. The main difference here is we were driving through the National Park rather than going to viewpoints like at Bryce. We enjoyed an awesome hour and a half trek (there were much longer ones too and for various fitness levels) to a beautiful waterfall which was great fun. Zion is in a great location with the town of Springdale on the periphery, offering a number of lovely shops and restaurants.
My whistle stop tour gave me an amazing insight into what America has to offer and I look forward to exploring other parts of this vast country soon.