Downtown Denver Dining

File this restaurant recommendation away for the next time you find yourself in downtown Denver. It’s a restaurant that you’ll want to visit.

A few weeks ago, my colleague and I had a meeting with the Westin Denver Downtown’s executive team. We arrived one day early so we could see what downtown Denver had to offer. We must look like we’re from the 70’s because as we were walking through downtown people kept shouting, “Hey, you in town for the Cher concert?” Um … no?

Besides the ‘friendly people’ we were pleasantly taken back by the charm of downtown. Boutiques, shops and cafes all around. The streets were lined with the same kind of outdoor light bulbs that you’d expect on a cute southern patio. Charming and really set the mood for a good evening.

My friend Meghan recommended a great downtown Denver restaurant to try, and one that was in walking distance of the Westin. So, Nancy and I walked into Osteria Marco. Well, not before I nearly walked into Ocean Prime. Osteria/ Ocean … you could easily mix them up too, no?

Dinner was perfect. Perfect food. Perfect service. Perfect atmosphere. If you find yourself in Denver, check out Osteria Marco. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and there’s a super cute bakery/ market next door where we stopped in for some desserts while we waited for our table.

Two foodie thumbs up, Denver.

Downtown Denver downtowndenverrestaurantsdowntowndenverdowntowndenverrestaurants2downtown-denver-bakerydowntowndenverdiningostera-marco-denver-restaurantdowntowndenverdining

Nice to Sea You, Florida.

Last week took me to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where everyone was there for Spring Break. I was there for work. It was a great leadership conference, probably one of the best I’ve attended. But if we’re being honest here, work travel is taking its toll on me.

I was gone Monday – Friday and that left my husband to keep the house in order. Watching two kids by yourself is tough stuff. I am lucky to have a supportive husband and a job that I love, but I’m head-over-heels happy that I don’t have any travel planned in the coming weeks. I can be home with my family and just relax. Ahhh … I’m really looking forward to that.

On a more positive note, the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa is the perfect spot for a vacation. It’s on the beach, literally. All you have to do is cross the street and you’re there. Two buildings down you’ll find the W Fort Lauderdale (gorgeous views, great steakhouse 954) and the Bliss Spa. We ventured outside of Starwood for dinner one night at the Ritz bar (meh) and amazing food at Casablanca Café (you must go!).

Westin Fort Lauderdale Ocean View Room

Westin Fort Lauderdale WelcomeThe ocean view room and the welcome amenity took my breath away. This hotel surprised me at every turn. I’m not one to take food shots, but I couldn’t help it, their food was so good.

Steak 954 at W Fort Lauderdale W Fort Lauderdale GuestsAfter 5 hours on a flight, a few of my coworkers and I went to Steak 954 at W Fort Lauderdale. We sat overlooking the ocean and passed this super cool jellyfish aquarium on our way to the patio. Dinner was fantastic and if you’re wondering 954 stands for their area code.

Westin Fort Lauderdale Sunrise

Westin Fort Lauderdale Sunrise Pool

 The sunrise was magical. I took a photo every morning; some from my guest room and some from the pool deck.

Westin Fort Lauderdale Ocean View

Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort Westin Fort Lauderdale View

The view during the evening wasn’t bad either. I took these shots during the only free 5 minutes I had. After our meetings and before dinner.

Westin Fort Lauderdale DiningCheck out those mozzarella shooters. I’m telling you, I have never had better banquet food. This hotel sure knows how to impress guests with food.

Westin Wine Blending

Megan and Stephanie

After our first day of meetings, we had a wine blending contest where (ahem) my team won. The prize was a free night stay in Napa Valley and a complimentary wine tasting. Not too shabby …

W Fort Lauderdale Views W The Store Fort Lauderdale

W Fort Lauderdale GirlsWe found ourselves having cocktails at W Fort Lauderdale on our last night in town. Then, we hit up W the Store to find Kelsey a present. I spotted this wall full of green clovers right outside of the valet stand. I am a sucker for little design touches like this.

Westin Fort Lauderdale Resort Food

Westin Fort Lauderdale MeetingThe food at Westin. Did I mention it was good? From crème brûlée to apple and pecan pies. I think I gained 4lbs during this trip.

Westin Fort Lauderdale Meetings

They even turned one of the ballrooms into a ’50’s diner. How cute is that? My other fellow meeting goers will appreciate this. Because who wants the typical ballroom breakfast. The servers even wore 50’s attire and they wrote us checks for our meals. It was darling and I could tell a lot of effort went into it.

west floridawestin floridaAnd that’s a wrap. It was a great conference and a great experience and, like I said earlier, I am so thankful to be home.

Wedding venues that may surprise you

Know anyone getting married? As part of my day job, I have been leading the wedding marketing plan for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In doing so, I feel like a bride all over again. What’s not to love about the wedding industry – the decor, the flowers, the frills and thrills.

I’ve been researching the industry for the past 5 months in preparation for our plan to launch and I have to tell you, we sure have some of the best wedding venues out there. Some of the destinations below are no-brainers (hello … St. Regis Bahia Beach) but some may surprise you. I’ll give you a peek into some of my wedding research and some of my favorite Starwood wedding venues.

The St. Regis Bahia Beach -Astor Terrace Pavillion

The St. Regis Bahia Beach, Astor Terrace Pavilion

The Westin Cancun Beach Wedding Beach Wedding at The Westin Resort, Cancun

The Westin Chicago Northwest

The Westin Chicago Northwest

The St. Regis Aspen Destination Wedding

The St. Regis Aspen Resort, Mountain Weddings

Sheraton-Kaanapali Point Wedding at sunset

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

W Vieques Island Retreat & Spa - Wedding reception

W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island

Le Meridien Bali - Celebration Pavilion or Wedding

Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran

The Westin Hilton Heaad-Beach Wedding Ceremony

The Westin Hilton Head, South Carolina

The St. Regis Princeville Resort -Bay Terrace Reception

The St. Regis Princeville Resort – Kauai, Hawaii

W Austin-WET Dining AreaW Austin, Texas

Four Points Destin-Wedding setup

Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach

W Scottsdale Wedding

W Scottsdale, Arizona