Lizzie & Nicky – Western USA (May 2016)

We had a fantastic time on holiday in the States. As you know it was a surprise holiday for my girlfriend’s 30th birthday, having it arranged by you meant that I didn’t need to hide all the details or worry about all the booking details that needed to be done. We got engaged in San Francisco!! Which was amazing, I asked Nicky to marry me in the Shakespeare Garden in the Golden Gate Park, she said “yes”, thankfully! The hotel in San Francisco was ok, there was a continental breakfast but it wasn’t served on our floor on day 2 of our stay. Location wise it was great with easy access to all public transport and the famous cable cars. We did a bay cruise and Alcatraz whilst in SF which are a must!

Service from Travel With Jules:  easy to book and good communication throughout the booking process to ensure we had the best from our holiday. All hotels were booked with no problems at all when we arrived, all bills settled so simply turned up and left when the stay ended at each hotel. Nice travel pack with all details held inside which was easy to carry about on the holiday.

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We loved the Hotel Abrego at Monterey and enjoyed a nice swim and jacuzzi when we arrived. The room was lovely and the breakfast was amazing. This was one of our favourite hotels of the trip. We really liked Monterey, it was peaceful and beautiful and we went Whale Watching. We saw Large pods of Orca and were treated to a jump by one of them (see photo).

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There were also hump back whales and a grey whale with a calf. This cost us $65 each to be on the top deck of the boat and lasted 3 hours but it was so worth it! As we had been whale watching we arrived a bit later at Morro Bay, we enjoyed a nice walk near the Morro Rock and were considering a boat or kayak tour the next morning but in the end we headed off early to LA as Nicky wanted to see Santa Barbara and Malibu on the way down. The hotel was ok with everything we needed and the breakfast included a waffle bar which was nice and lots of free coffee and juice. On route to LA we stopped in Santa Barbara for some photos and then drove through Malibu, not really knowing how to get down to the beach.

We arrived into Los Angeles and our hotel The Garland after a long drive, by the way I should have said, we upgraded the car to the premium and had a Chevy Impala the new 2016 version. It was very nice with a huge boot for Nicky’s excessive packing! Anyway the Garland hotel was lovely, nice pool and Jacuzzi and they showed films at night which you could watch from either the pool, jacuzzi or bar. A free shuttle to Universal Studios was laid on so we got the first one the next morning at 9 am. Nicky loved universal, we didn’t go for front of the line tickets as it only allowed for one time front of the line on each attraction, after that you had to queue with everyone else. The FOTL tickets were twice the price and to be honest we didn’t queue for longer than 30 mins and this was only on about 2 of the popular rides. We had a good meal at The Garland in restaurant The Front Room.

The next morning we visited muscle beach and Venice beach and had breakfast there before hitting the road to Vegas. We would like to go back to LA to do the Hollywood sign etc but we agreed that we needed to get to Vegas to drop the car off by 1700. The drive to Las Vegas was a treat, the rolling hills and mountains across the desert were just beautiful. We took pictures but it doesn’t really do justice to just how vast the view was. It was a long drive that day as we had left LA early to view the beaches and we dropped the car off at about 1600 at McCarren airport. Drop off was simple, handed keys to the guy and walked downstairs to a taxi.

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When we walked into New York, New York we were blown away! It was bustling with noise and lots of people and we had no idea where check in was. We found it and were offered upgraded rooms but didn’t take them as the standard room was nice. Once checked in we had a walk to the Bellagio to watch the fountains and booked tickets with the concierge for the Cirque Du Soleil Zumanity and the Blue Man Group. We got an M life card (free) which gave us discount on the show tickets and in the hotel shops and restaurants. We then won $100 on the slot machine before heading to bed! We spent the next morning by the pool drinking beer from the shop ( buy 2 beers get a free shot) and then went to watch Zumanity in the evening. The show was brilliant but not for the faint hearted as it is their erotic version. It was very funny seeing audience members get picked on and we were glad we weren’t one of them!

On our last full day we had a good look round the strip, we considered a helicopter out to the Grand Canyon but the budget couldn’t stretch to it but others may be able to do that or another trip. We went round the Venetian and did some shopping and did the tourist thing along the hotels in the strip. That evening we went down to the Luxor on the free tram from the Excalibur just opposite New York, New York. This is where we saw the Blue Man Group which was great and we had front row seats for a reduced price thanks to the M life card.

All the flights were great with Virgin Atlantic, no problems with any of the bookings. We had plenty of luggage allowance and had no delays.

I would definitely recommend this holiday to anyone wanting to do west coast USA. We would like to return to LA as we felt we didn’t see all the bits we wanted to there but this was because we had spent longer in Monterey. All in all it was a great trip, really well organised and we loved it! Thank you for all your help.

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