Hilton Minneapolis – Minneapolis, Minnesota

The last time I was in Minneapolis for work I was put up in the Hilton Minneapolis downtown but toward the end of the skyway. It is the third hotel I have stayed in for work out there and by far my favorite.

Despite the lobby being torn up for remodeling and the fact that every single time I went back to the hotel via the front entrance (rather than the skyway) I had to go through a different door the experience on a whole was quite lovely. I actually didn’t even mind the musical doors, it just made me chuckle.

The rooms were simple, clean and well equipped. Complete with hair dryer, nice sample sized shampoo, coffee pot and a TV with normal channels. Have you ever been to a hotel where they have cable but they have the strangest channels accessible?! So strange. The shower did not make strange squealing noises which seems to be common for me, and the temperate control was actually controllable.

They also had a really nice dining room/bar area. A REALLY great breakfast buffet full of fresh cut, not wilted sad, fruit. Fresh pastries, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, tons of cereal choices, bagels, fresh lox and GREAT coffee. The gym on the mezzanine level was also nicely equipped, clean, new and not stuffy. I didn’t try to pool but plenty of other people did and they clearly loved it.

 

In addition to all the other pluses and a must have for any hotel in Minneapolis if you are there for work, is the connection to the skyway. Never have I spent more time in a place with such changeable and challenging weather. And while I still find it odd in concept, I find the skyway a complete lifesaver when getting to and from meetings pretty much year round. No more worrying about wearing or carrying things that work for both subzero or crazy hot and humid PLUS office. You can get from hotel to office without ever leaving a climate controlled environment even if it is several blocks away. Brilliant.

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Apartment - Lisbon, Portugal

I have really at this point covered most everything we saw in Lisbon and Sintra but I did want to cover a few other topics regarding the area before wrapping up this series, nearly a year after we went!

As I have mentioned we like to try to stay in apartments or houses rather than hotels when we are traveling. This isn’t always the case, if we are only going to be somewhere for a couple days hotels serve quite nicely. But for longer trips we really try to establish a home base so that we can retreat back and have some time to ourselves. Traveling can be quite taxing. Everything is so different, not only the language but all small things too like street signs. All the newness is a lot for your brain to process, you often don’t realize how tired you are until you sit down and stop for a moment. Having that relaxed place to go back to can really make a trip that much more pleasant. Having enough space so everyone can have a little alone time in the process is also, as they say, priceless.

We really lucked out on our apartment in Lisbon, I went back and fourth so many times on so many different options and in the end just sort of shut my eyes and pulled the trigger. I am sure any of the options we were weighing would have been lovely but we loved the one we picked and would probably stay in it again if we ever make our way back.

The service was impeccable, we found the place and booked through vrbo.com but the apartment is one of a few managed by Rent Experience a Lisbon business. If the apartment we stayed at was not available again we would rent one of the others managed by the same company. They had shuttles to pick up and drop off at airport, in both cases the drivers were there early and got us to our destination in record time. The man who let us in to our apartment showed up on time, spoke perfect English provided maps, directions, showed us where everything in the apartment was and how it worked. He even told us about a new a couple sites we hadn’t heard of that we visited and loved.

The apartment was also perfectly situated, nearly everything we wanted to see was in walking distance, we were only two blocks from a grocery store, two blocks for public transit stop, and four blocks the main square in the Baixa. We were also surrounded by cafés and restaurants. Plus the street wasn’t busy so we didn’t have to hear road noises all night.

And the apartment itself perfectly fit our needs. Clean, light airy, modern and enough space for everyone to get some alone time. Or in our case enough space for the healthy half of us to avoid the sick half of the family.

 

Directly across the street was Fabrica Lisboa a café that we visited more than once, they had great coffee and pastries as well as excellent sandwiches and salads. It was simple food but comforting and the ladies that worked there were nothing but kindness.

The apartment building also had a lift for those of us that needed it, which wound up being used a couple time but mostly by our luggage, we were on the fourth floor and the use of it for hauling up suitcases was a brilliant suggestion by our driver. The building also had a locked lobby. It was very nice knowing we were tucked it safe and tight not knowing the city very well. But as promised we had no trouble. The entire trip was easy comfort and kindness. If anyone wants to pay me to go back to review things it wouldn’t be a hard sell (hint-hint). 

In a nutshell we loved Portugal, we talk about it all the time and dream of going back often. If you are fortunate enough to be thinking of going or planning a trip I hope that my posts have helped you in some way.