WAITING IN THE RENAISSANCE WASHINGTON HOTEL FOR MY BUS

It was my last day in Washington DC after having a great time visiting my family for Thanksgiving weekend .

My Flixbus back to New York City was leaving at 1:30pm and due to arrive at 5:45pm.

Because of the Winter Storm Advisory issued for New York City , I was going to try to get on an earlier bus, say like the 12:30pm one.

No such luck.

It was full and unlike my bus, it was stopping in Baltimore.

My bus was going non stop back to the city.

We ended up getting in at 6pm which wasn’t bad seeing that the weather was awful .

As it was raining cats and dogs while waiting for the bus, one of the valet parking people suggested that I do what other people were doing , waiting in the lobby of the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel, which is where the bus picks you up, 904 9th Street NW.

I had never stayed in this hotel, either in Washington DC or anywhere else.

But I knew that it was one of those fancy, smantzy hotels.

They’re so fancy that if you want to use the bathroom in the lobby, you have to go up to the Front Desk and get a room key , which you have to give back, of course .

As I couldn’t get on the earlier bus, I had some time to kill.

So I did what a few people who were either waiting for the bus or hotel guests did .

I went into Starbucks and got a Cheese Danish and one of my favorite coffees whenever I go to Starbucks , a small Vanilla Latte.

I went back to the entrance with the revolving door and listened to the music that was coming out of the loud speaker.

It wasn’t Christmas music , thank God , but something you wouldn’t expect from such a fancy place.

Try Alternative Rock.

By this time it was 1:15pm and I was ready to leave rainy Washington DC and take my bus to snow, sleet, and just gosh awful weather in New York City .

STAYING AT THE ECONO LODGE HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN OTTAWA

One of my Circle of Sisters suggested that we take a trip up to Ottawa , Canada , the capital.

She had never been to the city and secondly, our favorite hockey team, the New York Rangers , happened to be playing the Ottawa Senators .

Plus you know the other motto of the Sports Diva , ” have a team, will travel.”

The arena is located in the suburb of Kanata, but there are so many hotels in Downtown Ottawa.

My friend chose the Econo Lodge, which is located at 475 Rideau Street .

It’s a cab ride or two buses away from Ottawa airport and a bus ride away from the Ottawa bus terminal on Catherine Street, which I happened to take.

I try to read as many reviews of the hotels that I stay in as I can .

I wasn’t liking what I was reading about this place.

‘It’s in a bad neighborhood ‘

‘There are roaches in the place’

‘Too many homeless people around’

I thought to myself, “Stop it people. This isn’t the Westin or Waldorf Astoria”

When I got to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised .

There’s no elevators because there are only two floors and you need your key to get to your room and in the place where they serve continental breakfast every mornibg from 6am until 10am.

The hood isn’t that bad, I’ve stayed in worse in my own country .

There were homeless people, but they were mostly near the library, which was four blocks away, and besides, every city has homeless people now, so stop judging .

There but for the grace of God, you could be in a homeless situation so again, stop judging .

The hotel is close to public transportation and even closer to shops, restaurants, the Sparks Street Mall and the big Rideau Centre Mall.

It’s even close by Parliament Hill , which is about a 20 minute walk.

As for the room, what roaches?

The room was clean , bed was comfortable with two big pillows for both my friend and I .

Most importantly in the middle of fall, the heater in the room was working fine.

I also read where people said, ‘front desk staff was very rude and not helpful’.

Really?

Sorry, never experienced that.

The United States customs agents, as usual , were ruder, but that’s nothing new and that’s another blog post for another day.

Would I recommend staying at the Econo Lodge Downtown Ottawa if I come back, with or without my friend ?

Oh you betcha I would.

My friend agreed.

If we come back to Ottawa, God willing, Econo Lodge , we WILL be back!

A TOUCH OF MICHIGAN IN DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS

You might think that while I was on my 30 Plus Teams Tour of Las Vegas , all I did was eat.

You might be right and it just wasn’t at one of the many buffets or restaurants that the city is famous for.

At The D Hotel and Casino right in the middle of the action on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, there’s a 24 hour restaurant that might just be familiar to those of you who have either been to or lived in Detroit or any other city in Michigan .

The restaurant is called the American Coney Island Chili Dog.

Now, there’s no Coney Island in Detroit , but when the many Greek immigrants who settled in Detroit first came to this country, they went to New York first, and what was the first American thing they ate?

You guessed it, hot dogs.

For some reason, they were given the name Coney Island dogs and these immigrants brought them to their new home, Detroit.

These hot dogs are grilled and slathered with chilli sauce, but don’t look for beans in this chilli .

You won’t find them.

Instead you’ll find a flavorful sauce with onions and you can add mustard or ketchup to it, although I have no idea why you’d want to mess up a perfectly good hotdog by adding ketchup to it, just saying.

This restaurant chain,which is all over the city of Detroit, might have been one of the favorites of the owner of the hotel, Derek Stevens, who was born and raised in Detroit.

In case you didn’t know, the hotel’s name, The D, is another nickname for the city of Detroit.

Prices at the restaurant are reasonable and they use the same recipe for the sauce that was used by the founders of the original American Coney Island Dog back in Detroit .

You might even see a relative of the founders behind the counter as they do come to Las Vegas from time to time just to make sure the restaurant is sticking to the formula that made this place so popular with Motowners for all these years.

You might not be a fan of hot dogs, but trust me, if you can’t get to Detroit , or if you are from the Motor City, and you want a taste of home while you’re in Las Vegas, get yourself over to Downtown Las Vegas for the American Coney Island Chilli Dog Restaurant .

CAMBRIA HOTEL AND SUITES- DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH

This hotel says that they’re the place “where everybody is somebody.”

The last time that I stayed at this hotel was two years ago .

I like staying here not only because of the price ,the real customer service that I’m provided and tge complimentary shuttle that picks you up provided that you are three miles away from the hotel.

If you’re coming from the Greyhound bus terminal, the Amtrak station, The Convention Center, or even the Rivers Casino, you can call the hotel and they will pick you up,

Even if you go to a game at either Heinz Field or PNC Park, they will also pick you up.

If you’re coming from the Pittsburgh International Airport , forget about calling the shuttle to pick you up.

It’s not going to happen .

Two years later, I’m back at the hotel and it’s been renovated .

Now while the hotel looked nice to me the other two times that I stayed here, all I can say about the hotel now is “BOOM BABY!”

The renovation looks very good on you , Cambria Suites.

Gone is the buffet but the hotel doesn’t skimp on your food, no matter what meal or snack of the day you choose to eat.

The lobby has a new look and it seems as though it’s more spacious than I remember .

There’s even an area downstairs for events.

Better yet, in the warmer months, you can have drinks and your meals outside with a view of the city.

There’s also a fitness center , a pool, and a business center.

You can also get snacks and sundries for yourself 24 hours a day.

This is only the downstairs portion of the hotel.

What will you see when you get to your room finally?

How about basically your own home away from home, that is if your home was a studio apartment, with a couch, microwave , refrigerator and two flat screen televisions, among other things ?

You can stay in any hotel if you happen to come to Pittsburgh .

The main reason that I chose this hotel is right next door.

It’s the PPG Arena , home of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey club.

This is a 30 Plus Teams Tour after all and if you’re in town for a game, you can’t get any more convenient than next door.

Cambria Hotel and Suites – Pittsburgh Downtown

1360 Centre Avenue

Pittsburgh , PA 15219

412-381-6687

LAS VEGAS BABY ! – LAS VEGAS , NEVADA – THE D HOTEL AND CASINO

In an earlier  post  on Las Vegas ,  I asked  the  question ,  Las Vegas  Strip  or Downtown  Las  Vegas ,  where  should  you  stay when you’re  in  town ?

(See  sportsandtravelblog.wordpress.com  /  2017/06/30 Las  -Vegas  -Baby – Las – Vegas  -Nevada  -The – Las – Vegas – Strip  -or – Downtown  -Las  -Vegas  –  Where  –  Should  -I – Stay  -When  -I – Go  –  To  -Las  –  Vegas  )

My personal  choice ,  as I  mentioned  in  the  post ,  was  the place  where  the  city  of  Las  Vegas  actually  began ,  Downtown .

One  of  the  hotels  that  I  would  suggest  that  you  stay  at  is the  hotel  with  the  name  that’s  very  easy  to  remember .

It has one  letter ,  and it’s  called ,  “The  D  ” .

It’s  the  tallest  hotel  in Downtown  Las  Vegas  with  35 floors .

If you happen  to  be  staying  on the  Las Vegas  Strip ,  you  can’t  miss  it  if you’re  going  to  watch  the  light  show  on Fremont  Street .

The D is right  in  the  middle  of  all that  action at  the  Fremont  Street  Experience .

The  Third  Street  Stage is right  next  door  and if you have to ,  there’s  a  McDonald’s  there too.

This is  the  third  name  change  for this  hotel .

It  was  once  called  Sundance, then Fitzgeralds .

Now ,  about  that  new name, “The  D  ” .

What’s  that  all about ?

There’s  three reasons ,  depending  on just  who  you speak  to  or believe .

Reason  number one:  The  first  name  of  one  of  the  owners  is Derek .

Reason  number  two  :  The  hotel  is  located  in  Downtown  Las  Vegas .

Reason  number  three  is closer  to  the  truth .

The owners  of  the  hotel  are from  Detroit .

Besides  ”  Motown  ”  and ”  The  Motor  City  “, just  what  is the  other  nickname  for  Detroit ?

You guessed  it ,  The D .

While  most  of  the  hotels  on the Las Vegas  Strip  especially  have some  kind  of  exotic  city  theme  like  Paris ,  Venice ,  Lake  Como  ,Egypt , and  Monte  Carlo ,  this  hotel  is  about  all things  Michigan ,  not just  the  city  of  Detroit .

You  want  to  see  everything  and all that  has  to  do  with  Michigan  sports ,  no matter  what  the  sport  is, you’ve  come  to  the  right  hotel  and  casino .

Right behind  the  bar  that  calls  itself ,  ”  The Long  Bar  “, all those  television  sets are turned  to not only  local  and  national  sports ,  but Michigan  sports  as well .

Don’t  be surprised  if  one  of  the  patrons  at the  bar enjoying   himself  is one  or both of  the owners  of  the  hotel .

As for  ”  The  Long  Bar  ” ?

According  to  the  state  of  Nevada ,  this casino  has the longest bar in the state ,  so you’ll  always  find  a seat somewhere  at the  bar.

Are you  hungry ?

Besides  the D Café  inside the  hotel ,  and the  McDonald’s  outside  the  hotel ,  there’s  the  24  hour  American  Coney  Island  Chilli  Dog  Restaurant  that  specializes  in  those  mouth  watering  hot  dogs  with the  secret  sauce  just  like  you’d  find  at  the  American  Coney  Island  Chilli  Dog  Restaurants  back  home  in Detroit .

This  casino  likes  to  say that  it provides  the  most  fun not only  in Downtown  Las  Vegas ,  but  in the  whole  town .

They  just  might  be  right ,  and  the  fun just  doesn’t  begin  when  you  check  into  your  room .

When  they  aren’t  taking  your  bets ,  some  of  the  dealers  are dancing  on the tables  to the beat of  the  music, which you can hear  throughout  the  casino .

The bartenders  at the bars  throughout  the place don’t  want to  feel  left out on all this fun.

Watch as some of  them juggle  those rum, vodka  ,and whiskey  bottles around  before  they  make  your  drink.

This is Las Vegas ,  after all .

EVERYONE  puts  on a  show .

Now  that  you’ve  seen what’s  going  on  downstairs ,  what about  your  room ?

We won’t  even  talk  about  that choice  you have on whether  to go frolicking  in the outside  pool or chill out  in the jacuzzi .

The  D is  the  only  hotel  on Fremont  Street  that has both .

One  thing  you’ll  notice  is that red and  black  seems  to  be  the  color scheme  of  the  hotel .

The color  is all over  the  casino, the  hallways ,  the lobby ,  the front  desk ,  and even when you  enter  your  room .

One thing you might notice  about the elevators  in the building .

Besides  the fact that they’re  also  red and  white ,  that is  .

When you push the floor you want , the letters  A, B, C, and D come up.

This tells you what elevator  you’ll  take  to your  room .

For example ,  if the elevator  says  C17 ,  you take elevator  C to the 17th floor .

Strange, but a lot of  hotels  in  the  United  States  seem  to  be  doing  this .

The  rooms  aren’t  as spacious  as some  of  the  the other  hotels  Downtown  or on the  strip ,  but the  beds  are  comfortable .

I  would  advise  asking  for  a  room  on a higher  floor  because  you are in the middle  of  the  action  on the  Fremont  Street  Experience ,  and if you’re  a light  sleeper ,  a lower floor  isn’t  going  to  block  out  the  noise .

If you  want  a microwave  and  refrigerator  in your  room ,  that  will  cost  you  extra .

There’s  a  resort  fee at the  hotel ,  like  many  others  in town .

It’s   $20 per night ,  plus the  hotel charges  11538970_10205479491680084_3275377891109438708_o10380824_10205456904475418_1441072148386311670_o11406234_10205460832813624_6298998669153517731_o11206516_10205479455199172_2196017128786538446_o1262554_10201143754089354_1146120132_o10985185_10205479480759811_6978073834829958690_o10339401_10205460876014704_4966264098478081690_o11026264_10205479307675484_6204006098143301757_o$100  on your  credit  card  for incidentals ,  which  is  refunded  to you, providing  that you haven’t  used up $100  worth of  stuff .

You can either  pay the  resort  fee when you check in or when you’re  ready  to  check  out .

The fee isn’t  optional ,  so don’t try to  get  out  of  it.

The  hotel  is  easy  to  get to  by  either  the  Deuce  or  SDX  bus.

(See  sportsandtravelblog.wordpress.com  2017/06/29/Las  –  Vegas  –  Baby  –  Las  –  Vegas  –  Nevada  –  Yes  –  You  –  Can  –  Take  –  Public  –  Transportation  –  Here  )

If  you’re  coming  from  the  Las  Vegas  Strip ,  both  buses  stop right  across  the  street  from  the  hotel .

If you’re  arriving  by  plane  from  Las Vegas  McCarron  Airport ,  you  can  either  take  a  cab  or one  of  the  many  shuttle  vans ,  which  are  cheaper  than  getting  a  cab .

Keep  in  mind ,  though ,  that you  will  be  sharing  the  van  with  people  going  to  some  of  the  other  hotels  or hostels  in town ,  so  the  ride  will  definitely  take  longer  than  usual .

If you happen  to  arrive  at  night ,  you’ll  get  to  see the city  when it looks  the  most  beautiful ,  at night with the  lights  from the different  casinos  all lit up  like  Christmas  trees .

You  have  your  choice  of hotels  to stay  at while  you’re  in town .

You want to have some  fun without  the all crowds  on the  Las  Vegas  Strip ?

Make your  home  in Las Vegas ,  the hotel  with  just  the  initial .

The  D .

SOME TRAVEL ADVICE FROM SPORTS DIVA 63.

Now that  you’ve  figured out  where  you’re  going  to  go, where you’re  going  to  stay, and how you’re  going  to  get there  for your 30 Plus  Teams  Tour ,  let me  share a little  tips  before  you head off to  Philadelphia  to see Benjamin  Franklin ,  Rocky, The Liberty  Bell  and  that Philadelphia  Eagles  football  game .

Some of  these things  are  just common sense .

First of  all   RESEARCH !  RESEARCH !  RESEARCH !

It doesn’t  matter  if it’s  you and the  family ,  you and the  guys  or girls ,  or you by yourself ,  check out where you’re  going  to  stay, what mode of transportation  you’re  going to  take, etc .

Read all the  reviews  you can, not only  for the  place where you’re  going  to  stay, but the attactions you want to  see  as well.

You can even read the  reviews  for the  arenas  and stadiums  where the  game is  being  held.

Speaking  of  which ,  what about those tickets ?

Where will you get those from?

Don’t  even  think  about  going  to  see  a scalper  for  those  tickets   on the day of  the  game.

First of  all ,  it’s  illegal  and shouldn’t  that have been  one of  the  first  things you did, buy those tickets ?

Secondly ,  are those tickets  legitimate ?

You don’t  want  to  ruin the  real  reason  that  you’re  in Atlanta  by having  bogus  Atlanta  Hawks  basketball  tickets .

Stick to  who you  know  and trust .

The most obvious  choice  is the team’s  own website .

You might be  lucky  and pick a game  that’s  either half priced or it’s  giveaway  night.

(Steph Curry bobble head  night in Oakland ! )

When you  all go to  the  arena, an usher will scan your ticket .

If it’s  a bogus  ticket, NO BODY  is getting  in and SOME BODY  who wanted to  impress the family  and  friends   is going  to  be  very embarrassed .

Now, what if you’re  traveling  with  the family  on a bus , train  or plane, what do  you  take to get  to  your  hotel  or hostel ?

You could  take  a  taxi ,  which is  expensive .

You could  take an airport  shuttle  or if your  hotel has their  own  shuttle ,  take that.

You also  could  take public  transportation ,  no matter  if you  take the  bus, train, or plane..

The only  downside  to  this  is what if the bus, train, or plane is no where near  your destination  and you have to  walk to the hostel  or hotel ?

The luggage  is heavy, your  friends are tired , and   so are you  .

Not to  mention  those “are we there yet ? ” looks  you’re  getting  from the  kids and adults .

Now, let’s  say it’s  just little  old you down in Indianapolis  going  to  that Indiana  Pacers basketball  game because  no one  else  wants to  go  with you.

Scary thought ,  hun?

No, not that you’re  going  to  Indiana ,  it’s  the fact that  you’re  going  by yourself .

Not really  because  STAYING  HOME  IS NOT  AN  OPTION !

Go see that basketball  game by yourself .

If this  is  your  30 Plus  Teams  Tour ,  don’t  let anyone  steal your  thunder whether  you’re  going to   see the Thunder  play basketball  in Oklahoma  City  or be the Thunder  at a Lightning  hockey  game  down in  Tampa .

If you want to  sit next to  or near Jack Nicholson  at a Lakers basketball  game  in  Los  Angeles  or sit in “celebrity  row” at Madison  Square  Garden  in New York  City ,  why not  if you  can afford  to  roll like that.

Forget  the  fact that  you  had to  work a lot  of  overtime and that on many occasions   you went to  work  very sick just so you could  see your team  play, guess what ?

This is  your  30 Plus  Teams  Tour .

You want to  see  some sports  action  live and in person ,  whether it’s  your favorite  team or  not .

Just be mindful  of  your surroundings  when you go .

Ask the front  desk  clerks  the  best and easiest  way  to  get  to  and from  the  arena .if you’ve  been  in town  for a few  days  before  the  game ,  take a  trial  run on how to  get to  the  stadium .

Do your FB_IMG_1501338934819