Southern Yacht

My little take on plus size fashion, life, travel and smurfs

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Moxy Hotel Southampton - launch event

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Southampton has a brand new hotel - and looking at the very pink logo and the nautical themes - it's going to be fun hotel!

Opening just before Christmas 2019, the official launch night party for the new Moxy Hotel in Southampton was a couple of weeks later in January. Now this is typically a gloomy month where everything feels just a little bit bleurghh, so a pick me up was well needed and the Moxy launch didn't disappoint.

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

The Moxy Hotel chain is part of the Marriott Group. Aimed at the millennial market, the Moxy brands itself as a stylish, affordable, tech-savvy hotel. I was invited with the Southampton Bloggers and on arrival we were greeted by Hunks in Trunks. It's safe to say this immediately set the tone for the evening! Slightly disconcerted not to find any soft a drinks at first (esp as I was driving) but this was soon rectified. The launch party was based in the bright open lobby area which has comfortable seating, a video wall and a bar. A more secluded seating area at the far end with a table top football game, Jenga and gin bar was the perfect area to escape the crowds.

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

The hotel offers free WiFi, 24/7 snacks (ideal for the late night munchies), an evening bar and apparently a cocktail upon check-in! We were treated throughout the night with hors d'ouevres, a huge sweet and snack table and wide selection of drinks.

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

As I was driving, I could only take a sip of the chocolate cocktail that was being mixed on the first floor. Oh my goodness, I really don't drink, but that was gorgeous. Luckily I found a 0% alcohol beer so I was very happy.

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

A couple of the rooms were opened for us to have a peek into. One was set up as a karaoke room with jelly shots in the bathroom. The other was a pillow fight room. I have never seen so many feathers in my life (and so glad I don't have to clean that up!).

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

There was also a caricature artist, a magician, confetti cannons and live music. The whole evening had a real party atmosphere and there was nautical theme throughout. Even the toilets had sailors caps on the door.

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

The Moxy Hotel is perfectly situated for Westquay Shopping Centre which is literally just a walk across the road. With the large number of cruise ships that also come to Southampton, it's going to be a great hotel for people starting or ending their cruise, those wanting a central fun location and anybody that wants something a bit different to a standard city centre hotel.

A big thank you to Moxy Hotel and Southampton Bloggers for the invite

(Oh - and this happened. A bit blurry, but you get the general idea...)

Launch night party for the Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Cathy
xx
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Sunday, 12 January 2020

Las Vegas - where we stayed and what we did

Las Vegas Flamingo hotel and casino

If you look online, there are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of posts about Las Vegas. Covering all sorts of topics from how to book, where to stay, where to eat etc etc.

So what can I add that's any different? Well, first up, a bit of back ground info - this was our 8th trip to Las Vegas! I really do think Vegas is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, there's no in between. I always wanted to visit Vegas as a child and from our very first trip back in 2001, we've loved it wholeheartedly.

And so, as you'd probably imagine, after all those visits, we've done most of the typical must-see attractions that all tourists do. Even so, Las Vegas is a city that is constantly evolving and changing and as it was 8 years since our last visit (!) there was plenty to see that was new to us. So this post is not an exhaustive must do/must see post, more of a taste of what we did this time around.

Flamingo Hotel and Casino

First up - our hotel. We've started trying to stay in a different hotel every time we visit in the (very optimisic) hope of eventually working our way through most of the hotels on the strip. This time around, we chose The Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

Las Vegas Flamingo hotel and casino

We had a tick-box list for our Vegas hotel. It had to be central, with a view of the strip (the name given to the main road through the centre), it had to have 'character' and finally, be within budget. Not much to ask then? After a lot of searching around, we narrowed it down to two hotels. Bally's or Flamingo. The deciding factor? The Flamingo had a wildlife habitat with real live flamingos in. Decision made! It's also the oldest hotel currently on the strip so plenty of character there.

We booked direct, and made sure to join the Caesar's Reward Scheme. Caesars owns a surprising number of hotels in Vegas and elsewhere so if you're planning on staying a while here or in another Caesars property, it's worth getting a reward account. It's free and gives you benefits other than just points.

Not going to lie - resort fees in Vegas are a shocker. Just be aware of them, take a deep breath and budget for them. If you want to stay central, it really is the price you have to pay. Some hotels are starting to reduce or waive them, but whether they'll ever go is anyone's guess.

Overall thoughts on The Flamingo? We loved it. We paid extra for a strip view, but didn't pay for one of the newer refurbished rooms which we felt was a good decision. Our room on the 16th floor was perfectly good enough: clean, spacious and very very comfy. Now, if you don't like 24 hr flashing neon lights, then a strip view room might not be the one for you! Luckily, we slept through the light shows every night no problem.

Las Vegas Flamingo hotel and casino

View from our room overlooking the Las Vegas strip

Our room in the Flamingo Hotel

View from our room overlooking the Las Vegas strip

View from our room overlooking the Las Vegas strip


The Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge

This classic Las Vegas icon has been on my must do list for years. Unfortunately, it's destined to stay there. It's open 24 hrs but despite all our best planning, we still managed to pick a time with huge lines waiting to be seated. So a quick peek in, a little whimper at missed opportunities and The Peppermill was added right back onto my wish list for next time.

Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, Las Vegas


The Linq and High Roller

Last time we visited, this was still in the planning stage - so this whole area was new to us. A quirky, lively side area off the main strip, The Linq shopping promenade sits in between The Flamingo hotel and The Linq Hotel. You can even take a zip line from one end to the other if that's your sort of thing. At the far end is The High Roller, a 550 foot high observation wheel, currently the tallest wheel in the world. As we were guests at The Flamingo and Caesars Rewards members (remember the benefits...?) we got discounted tickets and quicker boarding. Although, mid-morning when we went is a pretty quiet time to go anyway and daytime tickets are slightly cheaper than night time. There's also a evening option of a pod with an open bar and unlimited alcohol if that takes your fancy!

The Linq promenade and the High Roller

View from the High Roller

View from the High Roller


Walk The Strip

Not one for the faint hearted - and truth be told, we could only manage half the length at any one time. But when you remember the strip is just over 4 miles long, the heat (over 100 degrees everyday we were there), we didn't do too badly. It's been said many times, but sensible footwear, lots of sun cream (factor 50+ for us) and as much water as you can carry is the way to go. We always started early in the day, caught the monorail to the end of the strip and walked back to our hotel which was halfway along. Mornings meant less heat, less crowds and much easier walking. It's been a very long time since we did this and although we were pretty shattered afterwards, it was worth doing for just to be able to see everything up close and without the crowds (plus there's air conditioned shops along the way like Sephora to pop into...).

View along the Las Vegas strip

Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

View along the Las Vegas strip

Treasure Island Hotel, Las Vegas


Visit a celebrity chef's restaurant

You'll spoilt for choice here and if you watch the food channel, you'll recognise a lot of the named restaurants. And if you're from the UK, be amazed (possibly dismayed) at how many restaurants and eateries Gordon Ramsey has. The other half's favourite chef is Guy Fieri so a visit to Guy Fieri's Restaurant and Bar was a must do. Heads-up, it's not cheap (as you'd expect) but a big part of the visit is the experience of going. Luckily, it didn't disappoint. The staff were lovely, the food amazing and the bill every bit as eye watering as you'd expect! Again, we went mid-afternoon so had time to relax and experience it all without the evening crowds.

Guy Fieri's restaurant and bar, Las Vegas

Guy Fieri's restaurant and bar, Las Vegas


The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

Free to visit and some rooms in the hotel overlook this. It's a little hidden oasis in the middle of the madness of Vegas. There's scheduled feeding times and opportunities for photo shoots with the parrots (have to say - I was less keen on this, I never like to see that sort of staged interaction with any animal). Apart from this, the animals and birds in the wildlife habitat looked very relaxed and well cared for. You can even get married here if you want...

Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat

Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat


Monster Mini Golf at The Twilight Zone at Bally's

What can I add to this! Who would have thought glow in the dark indoor mini golf would be so much fun, so much fun in fact, we visited twice (and you get a discount ticket for the 2nd visit). The staff were amazing and so welcoming. Wear white if you want to stand out (literally) and visit early morning if you want to pootle around at your own pace. There's also a mini arcade and a food court nearby with the best Chinese food. We seriously loved this place, if you want to visit it can be hard to find though. Just head for the food court and you'll find the signs for it eventually.

Twillight Zone Monster Mini Golf, Las Vegas

Twillight Zone Monster Mini Golf, Las Vegas

Twillight Zone Monster Mini Golf, Las Vegas


So that's just a taster of some of the things we saw and did this time around in Las Vegas. We still have a very long wish list of things to do and see (Peppermill!) but that just means we have the perfect reason to go back again for visit #9

View of the Las Vegas strip


Thanks for reading

Cathy
xx




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Sunday, 15 December 2019

My favourite Christmas film


I think most of us have that one film which makes you feel like the season is well and truly here. That one film that when you can watch over and over again and never get bored with. For me, it's The Holiday.

It's cheesy, packed full of plot holes and continuity errors. Not to mention as well the ridiculous stereotype of what living in the English countryside is like (seriously, when I worked in London, I never saw a quiet train like that, let alone a seat!). But despite of (or maybe because of it) I love it. It's gently inoffensive, no-one dies and everyone has a happy ending. And let's face it, that's all you want this time of year, isn't it?


This also seems a good time to confess that I've never seen The Grinch or Elf and that I truly believe Die Hard is a Christmas film.....

Cathy
xx
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Saturday, 14 December 2019

My favourite Christmas song


Everyone has a favourite Christmas song - and sometimes that song can bring back so many memories.

Some of my favourites are ones I remember from childhood such as Band Aid, Slade and Wizzard. But my absolute ultimate number one - is a real marmite choice for a lot of people.

The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York. This was released for Christmas 1987 - the year the other half and I started going out. I blame him for introducing me to The Pogues and really, you could say this became our Christmas song.

The lyrics are - shall we say - interesting? I remember overhearing two teenage girls hearing the song for the very first time some years back and couldn't help but giggle at how shocked they were at the words.




What do you think? Is this a Christmas song for you?

Cathy
xx

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