Staycation Booking Tips

Hi, loves!

Last weekend Matt and I enjoyed a little staycation in our very favourite local hotel; Hotel du Vin, Newcastle. We’ve stayed there many times before and it always feels like such a treat, so much so that we rarely book anywhere else if we’re looking for a luxurious and romantic staycation! We especially love a night or two away from home because it’s just like a mini holiday for us, and we always treat it like that. We pack minimally, play tourist in our own city and just enjoy spending time together. I feel like it’s such a blessing that we’re able to take trips like this and I never want to take it for granted! I totally get this is not everyone’s cup of tea which is fine, but if you’re a fan of nights/weekends away I really hope this is helpful to you.

So, there’s several things to consider when you’re booking a staycation. Are you going to spend a lot of time in the hotel? Does it make sense to splurge a little more on your accommodation as you’re travelling less distance? Does the hotel look comfortable and cosy? Do you know of any friends or family who have stayed there before? Is it a suitable distance to the nightlife of the city/town you’re visiting? Is there anywhere to explore or play tourist nearby? If you want to really relax is there a spa facility?

Our checklist for a romantic weekend trip is pretty standard whether we’re staying close to home or travelling a few hours away. The five top things on our list are:
– a little bit of luxury that feels extra special
– the hotel being based close (ish) to shops restaurants and bars. We love to play tourist even in our own city and we went to make sure we can explore easily
– a roll top bath, because why the heck not?
– beautiful views
– a good deal on the room price, bonus points if it includes breakfast

For us, the benefit of a staycation is we’re jumping in the car and driving less than thirty minutes to our destination, and we want to R E L A X. We spend a lot of time in the hotel room before we go out for dinner, and also like to make the most of our morning there too. A roll top bath is obviously not a necessity for a hotel room, but hey… when in Rome Newcastle… Truthfully we are bath lovers, and a bubble bath sounds like a pretty fun way to spend time during a romantic weekend to me. Little luxuries of boutique hotels like fancy toiletries and a mini bar are great, but we try to take any extras we need… including our own cans of Diet Coke. I wish I was joking, hahaha. We usually book breakfast as an extra little treat because most days we don’t get to eat breakfast together due to our work schedules. And you all know, we love a breakfast date!

Choosing the right hotel for you and your needs is important; I personally think it’s extra special to be in a boutique hotel because there’s so many extra little touches that you don’t get in a large franchised hotel. We’ve stayed at several HdV’s (seriously guys, feel free to work with me!) and all of them have the same feel of a grand building, muted colour tones, huge comfy beds – which makes no difference because we always wake up right on the edge of Matt’s side, oops! – and friendly staff who look after you. I personally think Hotel du Vin’s have a very ‘homey’ feeling, it’s just really relaxing and quiet which is perfect for us. Every time we stay we also go for a walk along the Quayside which feels like something extra special too, because it’s somewhere we both love to be.

BOOKING (& PACKING!) TIPS

– read lots of blog posts and Trip Advisor reviews if you’ve never stayed at the hotel before
– look through the Instagram geotag to see real photos from guests
– check there is parking available on site, but remember it’s often charged separately to your hotel room
– set a budget beforehand so you aren’t tempted to book something too expensive
– plan ahead; if you stay on a Sunday evening you’ll normally get the best rates
– compare prices on different sites before booking, although often the best deal is with the hotel’s own website
– bring your own champagne/wine if you fancy a tipple in the room and you’re going all out on the romantic feeling. Glasses are always provided for free!
– you probably don’t need pj’s because hotel robes are the BEST
– whether you’re eating at the hotel or at a restaurant in the town/city, book ahead of time to avoid disappointment
– don’t overpack on the toiletries, it’s all there for you anyway
– check the hotel’s amenities for things that are important to you. Is there a hairdryer / coffee machine / fridge etc? Chances are, yes!
– make a (rough) itinerary of things to do and places to see so you aren’t tempted to spend all of your time lounging in your beautiful hotel room!
– pack snacks, nobody wants to be getting hangry

I hope this post was helpful to you if you’re thinking of planning a staycation any time soon! I’m still dreaming of that bubble bath… Have you stayed in a Hotel du Vin before? What hotels are your favourite for a luxury staycation? Do you have any additional booking tips to share with me and my readers?!

-G x

Summer Bucket List

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! Today I’m back with another seasonal bucket list, these are some of my favourite posts to write! I’m linking my Winter Bucket List here, and my Spring Bucket List here. We ticked off so many things from our Spring bucket list this year, and I already have tons of ideas for the things we want to do next year! We especially loved seeing the cherry blossoms at Alnwick Garden, taking all the road trips and celebrating our 25th birthdays. There were unfortunately a lot of things we didn’t get round to, as we were super busy the past few months and it kinda feels like we barely stopped. We have very high hopes our Summer will be way more relaxed, and we really want to spend so much more quality time together! There’s already so many fun things planned in for Summer already, and tons more we’re hoping to do!

– Visit Croatia! We go this coming Monday, UGH I’m so excited!! And thankfully no longer feeling stressed
– Play mini golf… and ideally beat Matt (haha that will never happen)
– Have a picnic in the woods
– Take a road trip to a new city
– Book a city break to Lisbon. We couldn’t confirm dates last season so hopefully we’ll be able to go in late Summer!
– Have a huge BBQ with both our families at Matt’s grandma’s house
– Visit the Lake District
– Go on lots of hikes
– Spend lots of time reading outside in our hammock*
– *Buy hammock
– Prioritise breakfast dates. This is literally in every single bucket list because we love going out for breakfast
– Wear less makeup when it’s hot
– Visit Bolam Lake on a hot sunny day
– Matt is running a 5k! I’m so proud of him and I can’t wait to cheer him on from the sidelines 🙂
– Spend a hot sunny day picking baskets of fresh fruit from Brocksbushes Farm
– Wear lots of yellow clothing
– Visit Matt’s family down South, I’m SO EXCITED
– Go wine tasting
– Take a road trip through the Scottish borders, stopping off at any little towns we fancy along the way
– Eat dinner outside during the warm evenings
– Make s’mores. This post from Savannah inspired me last year, we definitely need to try to re-create some of these!
– Play tourist in our own city. This is one of our favourite ways to spend the weekend
– Watch as many beach sunsets as we can possibly squeeze in
– Go for afternoon tea at Spanish City
– Visit a waterfall
– Shoot more in-front-of-the-camera content
– Enjoy a day at the spa
– Spend an afternoon at a Summer fete. Definitely not just for the mini sugared donuts…
– Shop fresh produce at a local Farmer’s Market
– Spend a day at Cragside
– Go for lots of early morning beach walks
– Enjoy August bank holiday at the Quayside
– Eat ALL of the ice cream from Arrighi’s. It’s literally the best thing ever
– Spend a rainy day watching movies and eating popcorn in bed. It is Summer in England, after all!
– Go to NUFC games once the season starts again

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this post gave you lots of fun ideas of things to do this Summer, especially if you live in Northern England! I can’t wait for another fun season, and this year I’m determined to embrace every second of Summer! What are some fun things you have planned this year? Do you also write bucket lists to be able to get some kind of plan in place? What else should we try to squeeze in?!

-G x