Isrotel’s Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv chairs

 

The  Royal Beach Hotel Tel Aviv is part of the Isrotel Exclusive Collection of resorts, and it is not difficult to see why.
The address of this 23 story establishment, a block away from on the white sandy beach is Herbert Samuel Street, and the Royal Beach can proudly boast that all its rooms face the azure Mediterranean Sea. Central to all the tourist attractions, restaurants, museums, markets, galleries and business districts that Tel Aviv has to offer, this has been one of our favorite places to stay.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv drink

 

Décor

First impressions are everything and the introduction to this hotel spoke volumes.The lobby looked inviting and uniquely, vastly spacious with seating in the form of benches and chairs that could easily accommodate one hundred people or more.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv drink

We were welcomed by a staff member with a refreshing beverage infused with cinnamon and citrus.The hotel also had a bar that provides a good spot to meet friends or business acquaintances and a smaller whimsical area complete with a cello just for decoration.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv whimsy
Furnished in tan leather, gold, burgundy and an imaginative use of marble and wood; the lobby colors contrasted well with the black and metallic accents and the arrangements of orchid vases and light fixtures.

 

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv lamps
The property’s dramatically broad corridors with big black curtains between room doors gave the impression of curtain calls as one walked between the rooms and elevators, with each floor displaying a unique art piece by the mirrored elevators.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv curtains

The Room

Our room on the 12th floor was beautifully decorated in a minimalistic and elegant style. Hues of tans, light wood, and bronzes gave the room a very modern and open feel.
From the coffee maker and minibar to the more than adequate power sockets generously and practically situated near the bed, desk and 45 inch TV; it was clear that guests’ comfort and needs were a priority in this establishment. The maximum occupancy of this room was two persons, but the property does offer bigger rooms for families.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv bed

There was a big nightstand next to the comfortable bed, reading lamps as well as a very functional desk with a lamp making the room comfortably lit. Furthermore, The room boasted double sliding door curtains for both light and dark settings according to guest preference.s

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv side table

The hardwood floors rendered the room aesthetically pleasing and easier to keep clean; eliminating dust and dirt; all good news for allergy sufferers.
Neatly situated behind a texturized sliding door made from plexiglass was the room closet, while the safe was hidden in the shelving section of the wardrobe with additional storage space.

 

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv amenity kit

As guests opened the door to the room, the bathroom was located on the right with an original door set up separating the facilities from the room.

Large, bronze textured subway tiles and textured wallpaper line the room gave it an elegant urban feel. The well-appointed amenity kit and a top-of-the-line rainshower showerhead along with a handheld attachment completed the luxurious feel.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv mirrors
From the room, there was a door leading to a small balcony complete with outdoor furniture.
I would recommend that children be accompanied by an adult at all times since some might lean over the banister and be in danger.
As you might expect; the views were spectacular, and as Tel Aviv is known as the city that never sleeps, guests would enjoy looking at it both in the day and night time

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv sower heads

Executive Lounge

And speaking of views, the Executive lounge too, had a  splendid view of the Mediterranean and the ancient port city of Jaffa to the south. The food, as well as the décor in that room, was luxurious and my breakfast there was memorable.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv shore executive lounge

The morning spread included a variety of crudités, dried fruit, cut fresh fruit, white and yellow cheeses, fresh fruit juices presented in old fashioned bottles, smoked and pickled fish and jelly filled danishes.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv The Executive Lounge also had a Happy Hour that extended well into the evening and boasted a lavish display of appetizers, desserts including cheesecakes and malabi along with selected wine, beers, and hard liquor choices.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv tables

Dining

The dining room is enormous and luxurious decorated with artifacts in boxes which makes for a lovely touch.
Just like the other public spaces in the hotel, the dining hall is spacious and well lit, and since the kitchen is open visitors can watch the staff preparing the food.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv restaurant

Like most properties in Israel, this is a hotel with a kosher license, so this means that patrons can’t have meat and dairy products at the same meal.
Generally speaking, the morning meal is dairy and the evening meal meat. There are selections for everyone including for travelers who follow vegan and vegetarian diets.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv bar

Breakfast Buffet

The Breakfast Buffet was sumptuous and delicious.
The lavish display included pastries, dried fruits, juices, cut up fresh fruit, vibrantly colored salads, cereals, milk, yogurts, an assortment of nuts and a honeycomb which was not only decorative but also dripping with syrupy goodness.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv kitchen

 

The hot food station offered eggs prepared in different ways well as shakshuka which is a poached egg in a spicy tomato sauce.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv salads

The buffet also featured a variety of yellow and white cheeses and an assortment of smoked and pickled fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon. The bread baskets were overflowing with rolls, bagels, challah and pita.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv pastries

Pool, Spa, and Fitness

This hotel sports a unique outdoor partial covered shallow swimming pool with an enormous cement deck area, where guests can comfortably spend time admiring the Tel Aviv sunsets after their day trips.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv poolThere is also a full-service spa and a fully furnished gym available to paying guests with state-of-the-art equipment.

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv sunset

 

Autism Travel Tips

  • As mentioned before the room doors to open air balconies should be a concern for parents.If you are traveling with young kids or kids on the spectrum, contact the front desk to ask for help or bring your door lock
  • The property does not supply an anti-slip mat for bathrooms, so you need to bring your own.
  • Be aware that the executive lounge staff does enforce the age restriction rule, so kids under 18 aren’t allowed in.

 

Family Stay at Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel ,Tel Aviv view

Dining at Bucharest’s Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant

 

Caru’ Cu Bere, translated as “the beer wagon”, is a German style beer house restaurant on Stavropoleos Street in the Lipscani district of Bucharest.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant street seating
The Restaurant

Originally opened in a different location, it moved to this venue in 1899. The Gothic Revival style building is famous for its Art Nouveau dark wood panels, vaulted ceilings and stained glass window interior, and it has been a staple landmark in the Romanian capital for over a century.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant menu

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant woodworkDuring our last visit to Bucharest, we decided to stop there for an early dinner after touring the city’s  Old Town. The elaborate restaurant menu boasts over 100 dishes, and as it is very popular with tourists and locals, one usually needs reservations. Luckily for us, on that day they weren’t too busy and we scored a table within a few minutes.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant glasswork

The evening we came in they had musicians and dancers performing folk music and it was quite loud in the main dining area. Also, Romania still allows smoking in restaurants, which is a challenge for our son who suffers from asthma. Luckily but the hostess was very understanding and accommodated our request to get a table in the non-smoking area and away from the noise.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant musicians
We brought the i-Pad along for our son which was beneficial, as the restaurant had WiFi and it helped occupy him during the relatively long wait for our order.

One of the features my husband and son appreciated since they don’t read Romanian, was the fact that the servers all spoke English, and they even had an English menu describing all the different foods and ingredients, so they didn’t have to keep asking.

Reading through the extensive list was a somewhat lengthy process, and we took our time deciding what dishes to try while munching on the peasant bread and drinking the Romanian Ursus beer (us), and a freshly squeezed glass of apple juice ( our son.)

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant inside roomThe Food

We finally ordered three salads; the fish-egg Icre, the roasted eggplant Vinete, and roasted pepper Ardei grasi.
The eggplant salad was thick but smooth, and we liked the Icre (fish egg salad) since it wasn’t too oily.

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant decor

Next we sampled their Ciorba soup which is similar to Serbian bean soup, and we each had a mini kebab mititel with mustard.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant appetizers

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant ciorba
We decided to share four main dishes so we can all get a taste of the different cooking styles of the region. We ordered Dovlegi Umpluti, which is stuffed squash, Tocanitza, which is a beef stew, Sarmale, the Romanian version of stuffed grape leaves, and slow roasted pork cutlet. They all were served with a side of Mamaliga, a stove-top boiled polenta. We unanimously found everything delicious but slightly salty.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant sausage

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant dolmasThough the portions were on the large side and we were full, we felt that we couldn’t leave without trying their famous Papnasi.,The stuffed fried Romanian dessert. These cheese fried donuts were fresh, fluffy and topped with the best black cherry we’ve tasted in years.
Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant stew

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant apple drink

Autism Travel Tips

*Make sure to call ahead and make a reservation for evening dining, especially on weekends.
*Plan to dine early if your child is noise sensitive. The restaurant is famous and hosts large groups at times adding to the decibel level.
*The restaurant offers an extensive variety of Romanian dishes but doesn’t really cater to special needs diets.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant dessert

 

 

Family Stay at the Kalahari Resort ,Wisconsin Dells

After watching the Travel Channel’s “America’s best ten water parks”, we chose to visit the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells; a small town an hour out of Madison Wisconsin or a four-hour drive from Minneapolis. From the descriptions of the show, this resort had the most thrill rides and slides which my son with autism loves.

 

Family stay at the Kalahari Resort ,Wisconsin Dells lobby
The resort is family friendly,  catering to guests of all ages and offers a few lodging options and several restaurants on the property. We chose the cheaper package deal in their ‘Desert’ room with indoor and outdoor water park tickets. They also have ‘Hut’ and ‘Nomad’ rooms as well as suites with multiple configurations.

I called the hotel before our arrival and asked for a feather free room due to allergies, as well as a quiet one for my son with autism. We were put in the main building at the end of the corridor on the fourth floor where it was pretty quiet, and we found out that the property doesn’t offer any feather bedding, so that was not an issue.

The Resort

The main lobby area is decorated with metal statues of safari animals and the reception staff members who check you in and supply the room key, and the park entrance bracelet are very professional and efficient. The bracelet made of thin plastic was reasonably comfortable to wear for several hours but proved a bit much for our son to have continuously on his wrist, so we had to remove it every night.

Our Room

Our room boasting two queen beds and a full-size sleeper sofa was decorated in dark browns and had a definite 1980’s vibe to it. Sporting a microwave, coffee maker, cooler and 40 inch TV, it also featured a dining table which served as a makeshift desk.

The hotel’s free WiFi is somewhat reliable but powering the electronic devices in the room might be a challenge if the entire family wishes to charge their devices at the same time since there weren’t enough outlets.

The closet located right at the entrance is a bit of a small space for the luggage of a family of four, but it is somewhat alleviated by the three drawers in the TV chest in the center of the room where clothing items could be stored.

The Kalahari Resort doesn’t offer free bottled water in the rooms, so guests have an option of purchasing bottles at $3-$5 dollars per bottle or asking to re-fill room glasses with tap water from the restaurant bars.

What we liked in the room was the fact that they had special locks that allowed the windows to open only partially, thus blocking kids from pushing against the screens and injuring themselves.

Family stay at the Kalahari Resort ,Wisconsin Dells room

 

The bathroom layout was a bit unusual with the single sink in the room located outside the actual washroom.The actual restroom, decorated in light safari hues, had the commode and the curtained tub.
The resort supplies eco-friendly toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soaps but no shower caps or other additional bath accouterments like robes and slippers.Also,the resort does not provide any handheld showerhead or safety mat, so if you feel your child needs them, you should consider bringing your own.

There is no executive lounge, but there is an extensive breakfast buffet adjacent to the indoor park and an à la carte breakfast menu with scrumptious customized three-egg omelets we enjoyed on the last day of our stay.

The Wisconsin Dell property does have a relatively modest gym, which is wonderfully empty to work out in, as well as a spa for parents to spend a few hours relaxing in away from the kids.

 

Family stay at the Kalahari Resort ,Wisconsin Dells eateries

 

Autism Travel Tips

  1. The air-conditioning in the room didn’t work well when we first checked in, and it shorted a few hours into our stay. It took maintenance quite a couple of tries to get it fixed and once they did it was way too loud to keep on an entire night so sleeping through the evening was difficult for our son with autism since it was unpleasantly hot in the room.
  2. Make sure you bring an anti-slip mat for the bathroom, as there is none supplied as well as a nightlight as the room can get quite dark at night without it.
  3. If your child is noise sensitive, ask for a room away from the both water parks.

 

Pink’s Los Angeles Iconic Hot Dog House

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's outside

The Story Behind the Name.

Started back in 1939 as a pushcart vendor near the corner of La Brea and Melrose, Pink’s Hot Dogs is an LA institution that has been featured in many movies including the Muppets.
In fact, back in the eighties, long before I ever set foot in LA, I remember hearing about how Madonna met her then husband Sean Penn while standing in line at this very restaurant.

 

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's van

The iconic food venue, celebrating 75 years this month has expanded over time and offers their fantastic service in several other locations like Ohio, San Diego, Connecticut and Las Vegas as well as operating stalls at many southern California summer fairs.

 

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's door

The original Hollywood eatery we like to frequent was built in 1946 and is a relatively small but quaint place for diners to come and get their hot dog fix.
The indoor area walls are decorated with a growing number of photos of celebrities who stopped by and enjoyed the food.

The Venue

It’s perfect for antsy children to explore while their parents are dining while the outdoor ‘patio’ area with tables further apart and plenty of shade under the large beach umbrellas, is quieter and better suited for special needs families.

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's menu

The Pink dining experience starts while waiting in line.
It moves surprisingly fast considering how long the lines can be at times.

Before you even order your food, you get to look at how the food venue evolved through the decades and choose your hot dog from their extensive menu.
Can you believe that there are 31 different varieties to choose from?
Our son with autism who hates standing in line for anything enjoys checking out the old photos displayed and chatting with fellow customers.

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's more menu

The colorful menu provides not only written descriptions but pictures too.
As well as offering hot dogs, burgers( including a burger dog combo called ‘Jaws’), must try side dishes like chili fries and onion rings to go; they even have desserts.
Portions are on the large side so younger children can share a hot dog with a sibling. With prices ranging from a basic dog at just over four bucks to a three dog extravaganza that is ten dollars and change, the prices are very affordable.

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's VIP

As the leading hot dog eatery in Hollywood, many of their combos are named after the celebrity that created them.My son picked the ‘ Martha Stewart’ a dog with mustard, relish, onion, chopped tomato, sauerkraut, bacon and sour cream and the ‘Ozzy’ a spicy Polish hot dog with nacho cheese, American cheese, grilled onion, guacamole and chopped tomato as his favorites.

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's LOOT

Mine turned out to be the Philly cheese steak dog with grilled steak, grilled peppers, onions topped with American and Swiss cheese as well as the 9-inch stretch dog with mustard, onions, cheddar cheese topped with a generous helping of tasty chili called the “Brando,” yes, named for Marlon.

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's FRONT

 

They even have Souvenirs

For the out-of-towners who wish to remember the visit, as well as the collectors among you, be sure to check out their cute souvenirs especially the pins, shirts and beaded bag in the form of a hot dog.

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's PURSE

Autism Travel Tips

What makes Pink’s, even more, unique is the owners’ dedication to helping special needs families.
Not only have the Pink family and their establishments been very active in many local charity events but their autism awareness is commendable.
During the interview with the owner, I mentioned that some patrons with autism might not be able to wait in line to order food. Both him and his lovely sister assured me that if customers call and place their order by phone a few minutes in advance, the restaurant’s  servers will ensure that the food is ready by the time they arrive so they won’t have to wait at all!

Love Hot Dogs? You Must Try Pink's WELCOME

 

Disclaimer: All or part of this experience were provided free or at a reduced cost for review purposes.All opinions are solely that of the writer and cannot be bought or swayed in any away.

 

Family Stay at the Hilton Prague

The five star (TTG Travel Awards for six years running) Hilton property, is located at Pobrezni 1, boasts 791 rooms and has a casino n the basement floor.
We chose this hotel since it is only a quick taxi ride from the Old Town area but still somewhat away from the noisy ‘touristy’ areas.It is also centrally located a short walk away from public transportation and next to a mini-mall convenient for purchasing any items, one forgets to pack or needs last minute.
Fellow guests are mainly vacationing families and couples, but there are plenty of business travelers and traveling groups that opt to stay at the property because of its convenient location and multiple amenities.

The hotel is decorated in rich jewel tones and lovely wood furnishings with a large central open atrium in its center.There are several stores and two main restaurants on the property one for light meals and a more elegant restaurant offering traditional Czech cuisine.

Family Stay at the Hilton Prague atrium

 

Our Room

Our family stayed in room 8053 a junior suite on the 8th floor. Our room had an excellent vantage point overlooking the outdoor pool, the train, and the nearby river. We had originally booked a  family room but were told they all faced the noisy central atrium, so the management decided to upgrade us the next day after we experienced a sleepless night.

Our king sized bed had red and white linens as well as numerous pillows. Directly beside the bed, on the wall, was a thermostat so that guests could control the temperature in their rooms. The adjacent room where the boys were sleeping had a single bed and a sofa that opened out into bed. It also had four chairs rather than just one and contained a much larger table than the one in our room.

Family Stay at the Hilton Prague room

The suite like the family room included; wood paneled closets.,hangers, iron, and an ironing board. Near the closet was a full-length mirror, which travelers are sure to find handy. The room also included a desk area complete with a phone, writing materials, a chair, and a lamp and a large flat screen 40′ television.There were several electronic outlets near the desk and another two in other portions of the room, which we found  incredibly helpful for juicing up our various devices.

The suite’s small sitting area contained a large white armchair and a circular, glass tea table. One either side of the bed there were nightstands. One held writing materials and a phone while the other contained a lamp and an alarm clock.
Family Stay at the Hilton Prague lounge

White and black seemed to be the defining bathroom colors. The bathroom had several built in shelves with towels and toiletries as well as the scale, slippers, and plush bathrobes.
Supplies for making coffee provided included bottled water, cups, a coffee pot, and another paraphernalia. There is also a well-stocked mini -bar in the rooms, but travelers should be aware that the items aren’t complimentary.
We loved the showers in both rooms enclosed with transparent Plexiglass, with a raised bottom level, so the water did not escape onto the floor. The kids’ bathroom also had a tub and a fluffy bath mat to go on the floor beside the tub.
An interesting feature was the half flush and flush buttons that operated the toilets at this location, which travelers could reduce their water consumption.

Breakfast

One of the hotel highlights is their plentiful breakfast buffet that can come included in the room package or purchased as an add-on.
The buffet includes a choice of cold cuts, salads, eggs cooked in several different ways and a generous offering of baked goods.
Another option is the executive lounge that boasts a hearty breakfast as well as a lunch snack and evening appetizers with alcoholic beverages.

Family Stay at the Hilton Prague dinner

We visited the property over New Year’s week and enjoyed viewing the city’s fireworks from the rooftop bar that had its ice bar with sculptures and seating.

The hotel also has an indoor pool so that guests who wish to swim during the colder months can easily do so. There is additionally an ATM on the premises, which makes withdrawing money a breeze. (but beware it does come with a hefty service charge)

This Hilton likewise has a state-of-the-art gym and an excellent spa. There is a rock climbing wall during the summer months.
Guests should note that the internet is not free at this location and make their plans accordingly.

Family Stay at the Hilton Prague breakfast

Autism Travel Tips

  • Even if your kid does have any noise sensitivities, you shouldn’t book the ‘family rooms’ facing the atrium since they tend to be on the noisy side.We got a giant whiff of it when we arrived on New Year’s Eve after 31 hours of flight and couldn’t sleep because of the noise. Do your family a favor and ask for a room away from the atrium!
  • The hotel has already provided anti-slip mats in the bathrooms.,so you don’t need to bring your own.
  • The tub has a hand-held shower head for parents and special needs travelers in addition to safety handles on the sides of the shower and near the toilet should travelers need them.

10 Autism Friendly Experiences in Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head Island is an excellent place to visit and experience especially during the spring and summer months.
In our home, we fondly refer to it as ‘our summer home’ since we’ve vacationed there consecutively for the last seven years.
Here are some of our favorite autistic friendly experience to do when you visit the Island.

Ride a bike around the island

The island is a biker’s paradise!
Everyone we’ve met is always so friendly (part of that famous Southern hospitality) and riding will help you lose the extra pounds gained from eating those delicious fried green tomatoes and hush puppies.

Autism Travel Tip:
Some places don’t have kids’ helmets so you’ll need to bring your own.
Also, make sure you rehearse road safety rules and how traffic flows in ’roundabouts’ with your kids before going.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head tree

Meet the’Salty Dog.’

One of the best places to eat on the southern side of the island , known to the locals as ‘the big toe’,is at the Salty Dog Cafe’.
Though their primary grub is seafood based, they also have burgers and macaroni cheese combos for picky eaters.
The seaside complex is a fun place to wander around and shop for unique souvenirs.
Our son begged to buy the mini version of the restaurant’s black ‘salty dog’ mascot after reading the tear-jerking story about the brave dog on the venue’s placemat.

Autism Travel Tip:
Bring something to occupy the kids while you wait for an indoor table since the place seems to be continuously busy even during off hours.
The complex is a bit of a tourist trap so make sure you establish a reasonable budget for souvenirs before you get there.

10 Autistic Friendly Experiences in Hilton Head,SC beach sunbathers

Lunch at the Bamboo Hut

Our favorite spot to grab a hearty well-stacked BLT or homestyle burger is the Bamboo Hut in Coligny Circle.
Your kids will find the South Pacific decor (think late 1960’s South Vietnamese shack catering to foreigners) fascinating to explore with the different wall hanging nicknacks.Our children particularly enjoyed drinking their freshly squeezed lemonades in recycled mason jars.

Autism Travel Tip:
Ask your server to rush your order or even pack it to go if your kids get too antsy.

 boat10 Autistic Friendly Experiences in Hilton Head,SC boat

Take an Eco-Tour

Tour the island’s coastline in a WWII zodiac boat that oddly sails smoother than many cruise ships we’ve been on.
On a clear day expect to see groups of playful young dolphin calves swimming together protected by their watchful moms against territorial males and hungry sharks.

Autism Travel Tip:
This is not recommended for travelers who get motion sickness (the boat still sways somewhat) and those who are temperature sensitive as it can get rather hot in the open boat especially during the summer months.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head pier

Get lost on Daufuskie Island

Unique with is its Gullah population (descendants of African slaves), the island is a tourist gem.
Take the ferry that runs on the hour and spend a few hours on Daufuskie Island that prides itself on being one of the few remaining places in the US with absolutely no car traffic.
Our kids loved collecting shells on the clean beach front and visiting the local artisan studios.

Autism Travel Tip:
Wear comfortable shoes as there is quite a bit of walking involved and don’t forget your sunscreen and bug repellant.
Also, remember to bring your water and snacks since there aren’t many places on the island to stop and purchase anything.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head waves

Travel back in time

Go back in time to the sixties; when father knew best, and Jeannie was a household name and shop at the old fashioned Piggly Wiggly’ grocery store in Coligny Square.
The store is a little small, and slightly crowded but for those seeking bargains or plain island ‘atmosphere’ this is the ‘IT’ spot.

Autism Travel Tip:
This is the place to stock up on sundries and beach supplies cheaply.

10 Autistic Friendly Experiences in Hilton Head,SC sand

Get De-Disnified

Venture to the center of the island and tour Disney’s non-Disneyesque Vero Beach resort where the only ‘character’ you’ll find is Shadow,their mascot dog who looks nothing like Pluto,but who is the inhabitant of a fancy dog house next to the reception area.

Autism Travel Tip:
Ask the front desk if you can pay and participate in their planned activities like Shadow’s Meet and Greet’ as they sometimes let visitors who don’t stay at the resort participate if they have space.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head lake

Try Kayaking

Step out of your comfort zone and try kayaking in the island’s dolphins feeding areas like Broad Creek (very calm) and Calibogue Sound (can get rough .)
This trip can provide your thrill-seeking kid with a great sensory adventure; while learning about the oyster beds that provide shelter for the local sea life and food for wild birds.

Autism Travel Tip:
Not recommended if your kids cannot swim and kids that are temperature sensitive.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head umbrella
Go to the Beach

Most Hilton Head beaches are equipped with lifeguards who provide extra peace of mind for parents. Also, the beaches have showers, clean restrooms and chaise lounges with attached umbrellas for daily rental.
Our all time favorite is the Harbor Town Sea Pines Beach, which is less crowded than the neighboring beaches making it a much better choice for families with kids on the autism spectrum.

Autism Travel Tip:
Best time to go to the beach is actually in the late afternoon when the crowds are mostly gone,the water is still warm, and the sun is past its peak so you need not worry about sunscreen or renting a lounge chair.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head sunset

It’s all about the Lighthouse

Bring your kid and climb the old lighthouse stairs to the top to witness those picture-perfect Southern Carolinian sunsets.Then join other exhausted parents under the old oak tree to sing along with long time island legend Gregg.

Autism Travel Tip:
Arrive on the early side if your kid likes to sit in the front row.
Remember to bring insect repellent unless you wish to literally be ‘eaten alive’ by the local mosquitoes.

10 autistic friendly things to do in Hilton Head hush puppies

Stop by Hudson’s and eat puppies

Someone told me a long time ago you can often judge a restaurant’s quality by the line of patrons waiting to be seated.In Hudson’s case that line is on the long side and be advised the restaurant doesn’t take reservations.
If you decide to go, remember to order their unlimited bowl of hush puppies that are well worth braving the line!
Our all time favorite is their ‘Neptune Platter’, which comes with an assortment of freshly fried seafood items and is large enough to share.

Autism Travel Tip:
Bring electronic devices or toys to entertain the kids while you are waiting for the line to help pass the time.

Have you visited Hilton Head with your kids- What did they like best?

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv

Location

The Dan Panorama Tel Aviv is situated on the city’s beachfront promenade within a short walking distance to many favorite tourist attractions like Neve Zedek, Hatahana, and Old Jaffa.

The location is perfect for families since it is close to city parks, multiple restaurants, museums and the Carmel open market.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv

The hotel

The impressive 18 floors high rise provides a spectacular unobstructed view of the city’s  rooftops and waterfront.
The lobby area decorated with dark brown woods and metal highlights is spacious with several comfortable sitting areas.

The property offers smoking and non-smoking connecting rooms in their executive and deluxe room categories.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv

Our Room

Our room,  decorated in warm earth tones was impeccably clean and provided a  comfortable accommodation with a  view of the Mediterranean Sea.

The furniture layout included a king-sized bed, chest of drawers, working desk and a velvet armchair you can relax after a busy touring day. The bathroom, though on the smaller size is efficiently designed utilizing the space well.
We thought the tub-shower combination and the two different shower heads( wall and handheld) would come in handy for parents needing to bath younger kids.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv door

Dan Panorama Door Decor

Never seen before

The hotel room number boldly displayed on each door is a useful way to assist guests find their room and give the hotel corridors a stylish appearance.
Moreover, the bathroom window (with Venetian shade) concept is quite innovative as it lets natural light in and helps parents keep a watchful eye on younger kids while taking a shower.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv bathroom

Dan Panorama bathroom window

Noteworthy room service

The hotel room service was prompt and accommodated me by cooking items not on their regular menu before our early-morning drive (5 AM) to the airport.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv art

Dan Panorama Hotel Art

We liked

The electronic doorbell that helps the guests communicate better with housekeeping with a switch of a button, as well as the five different outlets available in the room to power up our electronics, were nice touches.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv beds

Dan Panorama Room

Take home item

We would have loved the ability to purchase  a box of  Oneg  the hotel’s nightly chocolates to take home

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv flea mart

Jaffa’s outdoor Flea Market

 

Don’t skip breakfast

The atmosphere in the large breakfast room is casual and welcoming to families with kids of all ages but might get a bit crowded during peak hours. Israeli breakfasts are famous for their lavish choices, and this one is no exception.
You can expect to feast on freshly diced salads, marinated fish dishes, eggs and an assortment of white cheeses along some American staples like pancakes and waffles.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv breakfast

Dan Panorama Breakfast White Cheeses

Executive lounge

The business lounge called ‘Traklin’ on the 18th floor is a nicely sized room with ample seating and view of the Tel Aviv shoreline.
I only got a chance to catch a glimpse of the ‘Happy Hour’ spread that included multiple salads, pies, kinds of cheese and desserts.as I was running out ti a meeting.The day I visited they had an incredible grilled vegetable platter with peppers, aubergines and onions that I had shameless portions of.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv happy hour

Grilled vegetables at the Executive Lounge

The Concierge

I was impressed with the hotel concierge and his recommendations for traveling families. He even took the time to put together a list of places to visit in Tel Aviv for different age groups. In the event, he is busy with other guests you can also use the touch screen Tourist information machine in the lobby for quick tips and recommendations for area venues.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv lounge

Peak at the Traklin’s ‘Happy Hour’ spread

You should know

You can also take advantage of the free walking tours ( English and Hebrew) to Neve Zedek and Jaffa given by the hotel on selected days.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv jaffa

St Peter’s Church, Old Jaffa

Danyland

The Dan Hotels’ kids club called Danyland is a well- appointed entertainment venue for kids of all ages. The club free to hotel guests offers unlimited attendance but requires parental supervision for children younger than three years old. The one at the Dan Panorama is composed of two separate rooms with colorful murals and many fun-filled play areas. The first room as you enter looks like a spaceship with PlayStation units for the older kids. The larger room is divided into different parts: a soft block play corner for toddlers, pretend play stations, arts, and craft tables as well as a TV/DVD spot for those wishing to sit and relax.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv daniland

Danyland’s art and crafts tables

Autism travel tips

The rooms have mini balconies that open so be sure to ask for a lock to be provided before you enter the room if you think your child might be tempted to open the door.

If your kid is noise sensitive ask for a high floor during booking to ensure a quieter environment.

The hotel is quite popular with local families on weekends, so you might want to head on to an early breakfast if your kid is uncomfortable with waiting in line.

The Lobby bar and restaurant can provide some gluten free options if you notify them in advance.

Family Fun at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv kids club

Sensory play station at Danyland

Thank you, Dan Hotels for hosting my stay at the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv.All opinions expressed are my own.

Review of the Swissotel Chicago

Location

The Swissotel  Chicago is on Wacker Street within walking distance to the city’s main attractions like the Art Institute, Miracle Mile and the Navy Pier.The location provides convenient access to restaurants, including fast-food joints, mini markets and local drugstores to purchase water and snacks for the room.

Hotel

The building itself is a high rise (like many others in downtown Chicago) with decorated in a modern minimalist style.The Lobby design with pod-like areas instead of the regular reception desks and glass cascade chandeliers looks futuristic.The budget-friendly property offers  661 oversized guest rooms and suites (including kids suites)with magnificent views of the Chicago River.

First Impression

When we arrived, the lobby area looked chaotic with some guests trying to check in while others were leaving.Apparently, the hotel is popular with large groups like conferences and wedding parties, especially over weekends and holidays which makes it busy during both weekdays and weekends.

Dining

The hotel boasts a luxury restaurant ‘The Palm’ that serves lunch and dinner as well as a lively bar and a breakfast buffet. There is a 24-hour room service with a rather disappointing menu composed of one salad and two types of cold sandwiches. If you are arriving on a late evening flight with kids who have allergies or are picky eaters, you should plan to dine at the airport or a local restaurant.


Review of the Swissotel Chicago lobby Family Stay at Chicago's Swissotel
Place to improve

The worst problem we encountered were the  automated elevators  where you had to punch your desired floor ahead of time      ( since there are no buttons to do so inside.) If you suddenly changed your mind or mistakenly pressed the button for the wrong floor you needed to exit and start the whole process over again.This process managed to both frustrate and scare my autistic son.

Best Feature

The hotel provides chilled citrus and berry flavored water in the lobby felt refreshing after walking in the hot and humid  Chicago weather.

Would like to take home

The giant display clock in the lobby area was gorgeous and added a cosmopolitan vibe to the space.

The room

Our room had a river view and two double beds with a relatively hard mattress none of us felt comfortable sleeping on.
The front door had a safety lock a useful feature if your child tends to wander, and a doorbell that our son loved to press continuously.
The closet provided ample hanging space and a safe while the elongated desk/bar area was convenient to place snacks and beverages on.
The room also has extra outlets under the desk on the right-hand side for to recharge several electronic devices simultaneously, which was a much-welcomed bonus.
The bathroom featured the standard tub and granite counter-top sink combination as well as a separate glass-enclosed shower which I thought would be helpful for families with younger kids.Our bathroom didn’t have a handheld shower head which many parents would find useful when bathing younger children.

Review of the Swissotel Chicago room Family Stay at Chicago's Swissotel
Housekeeping

We found housekeeping to be prompt when we asked for extra toiletries(soap, lotion and shampoo) as well as feather-free bedding.
We did have an issue with getting two additional chairs in the room and it did take multiple calls to the front desk over a period of 24 hours to resolve the matter and send up the two chairs from one of their conference rooms.

Autism travel tips

This property allows small pets so if you or any family members suffer from allergies be sure to ask for a hypoallergenic/on chemical-free room ahead of time.
Ask for a high floor during booking, especially if your family is not used to city traffic noises or your child is noise sensitive.
The hotel has a Mini Mart in the lobby if you are in need of quick snacks or bottled water.
Be sure to bring your own anti slip bath mat and a night light if your kid has any balancing issues or is fearful of the dark.
The hotel interconnects through underground tunnels to other hotels so you can walk in a temperature-controlled environment to the Miracle Mile and nearby restaurants.

Budget Travel-Flying Air Berlin

We decided to give Air Berlin a try for two reasons: cheap pricing, and the fact they had the only direct flights from Tegel Airport to Berlin, Germany to the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. The direct  flight route was of particular importance to me, as this was the first time when I was traveling with both my sons—without my husband—over the busy travel time of winter break.

Air Berlin does offer the possibility of booking pre-assigned seats, a feature that I took advantage of to ensure that we all had aisle seats for extra legroom.
I wasn’t too concerned about luggage weight issues since we only travel with ultra-light hand luggage. Additionally, I had prepared my autistic son, beforehand for the possibility that he might have to use his iPad for entertainment, as it was apparent the planes wouldn’t have personal screens.
Lastly, before departing from theStates, I did notify the airline a second time that I was traveling with a special needs child and would require pre-boarding.

Budget Travel-Flying Air Berlin aircraft

Air Berlin’s Check-In

Check in at Tegel airport in Berlin was exceptionally fast and efficient.Unfortunately, the concept of pre-boarding in Tegel is different than in the States as we soon found out—all passengers board a bus that takes everyone to the plane’s staircase.

So, our true accommodation was reduced to be simply getting on the bus that took passengers to the aircraft first, rather than boarding the actual aircraft. We got to rush from the bus door to the plane entrance as soon as possible in the freezing wind like everyone else.

 

 Air Berlin’s Onboard Experience

The actual flight was uneventful, excluding the fact that I injured my knee while loading suitcases in the overhead bin. And of course, the fact that crew was less than fast in bringing me much-needed ice or even asking how I was feeling.

I wondered how and if they would be able to handle an autistic meltdown if they reacted so nonchalantly to a common injury liked mine. To their credit, however, I will mention that they finally arranged an airport transportation vehicle to take us from the plane to the border control and luggage carousel at Ben Gurion (after seeing my swollen knee).

Budget Travel-Flying Air Berlin food

The flight on Air Berlin is very much a ‘vintage’ experience, complete with the old-fashioned two rolling boarding stairs sets. The seats were moderately comfortable configured three and three with minimal walking space and very low ceilings. We did see some people bump their heads while getting in and out of their spots.

The free sandwiches they gave us were pretty much non-edible, leaving passengers with one of two options: either buy something at the airport and bring it onboard or buy their food (which is quite pricey).

Entertainment was non-existent; so, choices to engage kids should include bringing personal electronics, books or board games. I ended up having had a lovely conversation with a German engineer who was taking his mom to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem for Christmas, while both my sons slept through most of the four and a half hour early morning flight.

All in all, we wouldn’t recommend Air Berlin for autistic travel unless of course you had no other viable choice to make as the airline in its current format cannot accommodate travelers with autism well.

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