Magic at Chetola Resort

Okay so you know those cute Hallmark movies that take place in a small town, with so much cute charm you think “this just can’t be real”? Well guys…. I found one!! And if you followed my IG stories from earlier in the week, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Our family just had the best couple days at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC! If you haven’t been, let me convince you why this is one of the best places you could stay in the area! And let me start by saying that Chetola in Cherokee means Haven of Rest.

We have been fortunate enough to travel and stay in quite a few different places around the country, and this is the only one that that felt like home as soon as we drove onto the property. Sure, part of it is the Christmas magic, which let me tell you is abundantly bright and beautiful! We were in awe by all the beautiful lights strung up around the property, in the restaurant and around the lake. However, I think the real magic truly comes from being able to step back in time and enjoy the beauty of being at “grandmas” house. It felt warm, inviting, and like you belonged there. It brings a sense of home as soon as you walk in.

We stayed in the Quail building, which is toward the end of the property, which may I add backs up towards beautiful woods and just past that is the Tanger Outlets! Major win! We may or may not have done some last minute Christmas shopping there, and Davis’s favorite part.. getting to meet Elvis the dinosaur! Major marketing points for Doc’s Rocks, which of course we had to head to right after seeing this dino!

Anyhow… the Quail building.. it was situated at the edge of the property, so it was a short 1 min drive to the main building and restaurant. If it wasn’t winter, it would have been something we likely would have walked to but in the cold… no thanks! It was a beautiful retreat from the world, which truthfully we needed so badly! Service wasn’t amazing, there were spots up there that nothing would load on our phones, and the main living spots that we knew service would be solid, which allowed the recharge even more powerful for our family. It was a slice of heaven we didn’t know we needed.

The room!

The kitchen is equipped with a stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. It has all the workings to make a home cooked meal or heat up some late night snacks. The dining space is right off the kitchen, and that overlooks the family room and balcony. The entire main living space just breathes the ambiance of home. It has all the quaint rustic charm that you want in a cabin retreat, but with all the space and amenities that you need to be comfortable. There are two bathrooms, and two bedrooms, both with the cutest quilts! The kids room had two twin beds and a small closet, and the master was quite large with a king sized bed and a large walk in closet (perfect for the pack n play!). It all felt very clean, which I am VERY picky about! I am weird with smells, and even the appearance of dirty spaces, and I felt very comfortable to kick off our shoes at the end of the day and curl up on the couch to watch a movie or play games!

During the day we explored the area, went tubing, looked at lights and enjoyed the Timberlake Restaurant on the property. There is so much history and beauty up in this little corner of North Carolina, it’s rich with activities, quaint shops, the downtown area of both Blowing Rock and Boone are nearby and we do some of our favorite shopping in those areas!

The Restaurant is open, but are operating at a limited capacity, so if you are wanting to dine there (which I would highly recommend), I would suggest getting a reservation at least a day in advance. We scored a 4:30 reservation with one day notice, and it actually was perfect for our little family, but if you don’t want to eat that early, I would suggest reserving earlier. The staff and food were all wonderful! We tried entrees, appetizers, deserts and of course kids menu items, and all of it was so well done! Our cute waitress, Cait, went above and beyond for our family! They didn’t have coloring pages, so she went out and drew three snowmen on blank papers for them to color. The cutest right?? Plus, she totally indulged Davis in all his dinosaur facts and even taught him a new one, which let me tell you is tough to do! When people go out of their way to be kind, it just leaves a mark on your heart, and we felt that here! Hearts warm and tummies full!

In the main building, which is right next to the restaurant, that’s where our kids favorite part was… the heated swimming pool! Yes! Swimming in December is possible! Our kids were in heaven. I thankfully had remembered to bring swimsuits, but forgot any floaties or pool toys. But, wouldn’t you know, Chetola totally had us covered! They have noodles, a few toys, life jackets and puddle jumpers. All of which gets cleaned and sanitized everyday! It was a great way to burn off that extra energy right before bedtime!

All in all, I would rate this place a 10/10, 5 stars, A+… it checks all of my boxes. It is charming, clean, family friendly, delicious food, wonderful service, and allows one of a kind memories to be made and cherished forever. Chetola… we will be back! Thank you for having us and giving us a “Haven of Rest”!

Universal Studios Orlando… where to stay??

A couple of my friends and I went to Universal for a day, and found this amazing hotel to stay at! Finding a good hotel close to a theme park can be tricky, but the Hyatt House across from Universal was the perfect location, and we had the best time. Their suites are so gorgeous, clean and spacious. They had everything we needed, and more!

First off, the front desk attendant is so courteous and accommodating. She was quick to check us in, and very warm and welcoming.

She let us know that they have a shuttle to the park (just make sure you set your appointment to the park!), and back to the hotel (no reservation needed). With it being right across the street, this is so nice so you can avoid having to pay the $26 it costs to park over at the park. If you can’t make it into the appointment slot that you want, the walk to the park is about 10 minutes, and really gorgeous, so not a bad alternative if worse comes to worse.

The rooms are very clean, modern and spacious! I just kept thinking about how nice it would be to stay in a room like this for a few days, and maybe next time with my whole family. There is plenty of room for everyone! As you walk in, you enter to the kitchen and dining area where you have a full kitchen, storage, plenty of plugs for charging and appliances, and a TV. Then as you keep walking in, you go to the living room with a full sectional couch that folds into a sofa bed, and a tv! Turn right, and there’s a bedroom with a door (which again, with kids is GOLD!), 2 queen beds, which were super comfortable, a tv and a full bathroom!

Part of the fun of staying in a hotel, is to explore the amenities, and this hotel had quite the list! The pool/outdoor area is amazing! It was night, so we sat and enjoyed the nice weather and tranquil ambiance. The pool was well lit and super beautiful! In the same outdoor area, they also had a few little fire pit stations and fun outdoor games like connect four and others to play. The bar also is right there for convenience! It checked off all the entertainment boxes, and provided something for everyone! The fitness facility was also pretty awesome for a hotel gym. I love seeing a clean space to workout in a hotel! It was perfect.

The next morning as we were rushing to get out the door, we couldn’t forget to snag some awesome breakfast! My husband is a hotel breakfast lover, so I made sure to send him some pictures to make him jealous. He would have loved it!! The thing that stood out to me is that they had almond milk! My daughter had a rough transition to dairy when she stopped nursing and whenever we traveled, we had to bring her own almond milk, and it was always such a hassle. I love that they were accommodating to people that may have a similar situation or preference.

They had several hot stations with bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes. Plus cereal, breads and muffins, fresh fruit wrapped individually (which made for a perfect way to transport a park snack), oatmeal and yogurts. Between my friends and I, we all tried pretty much everything, and it was all really delicious!

I’ve become a little picky when it comes to hotels, and this one has hit all the marks! Beautiful lounge, yummy breakfast, small shop for late night cravings/needs, clean smells, clean floors and bedding, room layout is well thought out, a gym facility, a pool and other fun extra activities, friendly staff, helpful information, lots of accommodations to help their Universal guests.

Thank you Hyatt House across from Universal! We loved spending time with you and are already looking forward to doing it again!