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Last week I share with you our last trip to California for business, well we did it again.  So, I figured I would share with you are vegan travels once again this trip.  We did do a lot of the same things in our off time but there were a few new adventures and vegan foods.  Hopefully you are enjoying this California vegan travels edition.  On to our most recent California business trip:

As you already know, our local airport is about 3.5 hours from our current location in Michigan. Chicago O’hare is the closest airport, which is normally a nice change of pace driving to the city but today was not the case. We had a 8am flight on Monday so we drove on Sunday to Chicago to stay the night at a hotel. Little did we pay attention but the Chicago Marathon was running and it holds up traffic on all streets – even highways. We reached Chicago about 23 minutes after Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line. Congrats also to Rita Jeptoo for winning the first spot for women.

We are members of the Carlson Group and decided to go along with a trusted hotel, Country Inn and Suites. Since we are members we have stayed in a lot of these over the last few years all over the country. Unfortunately this was the worst hotel we have stayed in for a very long time and it didn’t come cheap. It’s the type of hotel that gives you the feeling as though you might want to keep your shoes on, even in the shower.

Country Inn and Suites
2200 Elmhurst Rd
Mt Prospect, IL
(847) 290-0909

Arriving in Chicago in the evening, we decided to take a trip to Trader Joes and Mitsuwa and then go to the hotel. The hotel found our reservation and we ended up on the 3rd floor in a hotel room that was supposed to be a non-smoking “suite”. While most hotels nowadays are 100% smoke-free, this hotel is NOT SMOKE FREE. In fact, we were told the hotel is only 1/2 smoke free, separated by nothing in between. We had to ask for a room change because our hotel room was infiltrated with nicotine smoke smells and the hallway was just as bad. Let me remind you I’m allergic to smoke, so we always get assurance before booking a room that it’s smoke free and never been smoked in to their knowledge. So this was a great disappointment, especially after the long trip with marathon traffic. Thankfully they put us on another floor that didn’t smell like smoke.

This is the bathroom, it was slightly smaller than normal Chicago bathrooms so it was a bit hard to take photos. but you kind of get the idea I think – there is a tub on the other side of the door. It was clear of debris but it still did not feel as though it was cleaned before our arrival. The floors in the entire hotel room had stains and just felt dirty.

As mentioned before, we stopped by our two favorites food stores in Chicago and picked up a few things. Some items were for the car to take back to Michigan and the others were for our trip such as PB pretzels (because a trip isn’t a trip without them). Then we also picked up these two things for dinner since we were too tired to go out in the heavy marathon traffic to a restaurant. We figured there would be a microwave but apparently they do not provide them at this hotel. We called the front desk since all we had was a pkg of rice and a frozen pkg of vegetable dumpling for dinner. They said there was no microwave for guests anywhere but they would take the food if we brought it down to the lobby and warm it up in the employee room behind the counter. We felt very odd carrying these down, especially since the dumpling had to have water in them. Again, another disappointment – so be careful if you are going to stay at this hotel – the staff will heat things up for you if they aren’t busy but they will give you a slight attitude about doing it.

As you can tell, we weren’t impressed with the hotel. But I’ll divert your attention to my happy nails for the fall season.

We arrived at the airport with about 30 minutes to spare- warning, still construction going on at O’hare on the shuttle train, expect major delays in the shuttle buses. We bought some mixed nuts and water for the flight and we were off again. This is the mountains in October while flying from above.

Finally we landed without too much turbulence on the flight. It was nice to get our rental car and finally be on the roads in California again. It was slightly cooler this time around but it was much warmer than Michigan.

Residence Inn in Redondo Beach, California. This is where we stayed the last two times we have gone to California. It’s about 10 minutes from the beach and is a calm, extended stay hotel.

Residence Inn: Redondo Beach
2420 Marine Ave
Redondo Beach, CA
(310) 725-0108

We arrived in California just in time for lunch, sightseeing and to hit the beach. There’s nothing like getting to the beach when the sun is going to set.

Coming up:  second installment of our trip to California, USA.

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