February 2012 - Valentine's Night - 6 Hotels with a Twist
Driving North or South along the US East Coast?



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When the Oprah Winfrey Network and BBC Worldwide Productions selected Kingsland GA (Exits 3 and 1) on I-95 for its series "Lovetown, USA", we decided it was time to help you choose a spectacularly unique hotel along I-95 for a Valentine love night.

In the show, scheduled to premiere this summer, two expert matchmakers, "Hitch" Paul Carrick Brunson, and Kailen Rosenberg (the "love whisperer"), will help eight singles discover true love in their own back yard. The show will probe into the effects love can have on the DNA of one small American town.

They have just started filming, and it will go on for 4 weeks, so if you are heading down I-95 thru southern Georgia, you may want stop in Kingsland to see what is going on.

While on the way, enjoy Valentine's Day in these high end love nests; each one of these gorgeous hotels offers something special.

VA -

Doggie Happy Hour and Dive-in Movie Night

DE - Bed and Broadway
GA - Cirque du Soleil Decor
MA - Eat the Sofa?
MD -
Cheese Sommelier
FL - Pet Goldfish

VA - Doggie Happy Hour and Dive-in Movie Night

VA Exit 177C: Kimpton's Hotel Monaco - When you see the funky red and turquoise colors, you realize that this 4-star hotel in the heart of Old Town has a quirky side. Imagine our surprise when as we walked into the lobby, and they were setting up a Wii along with apple cider to imbibe. Kids love Dive-In Movie night at the indoor pool, and dog lovers gather on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in nice weather for the Doggie Happy Hour.

For luck, go rub the nose of the mascot pig in the Jackson 20 restaurant (named for Pres. Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill). Another Jackson, James Jackson, was the owner of the Marshall House Inn, the original inn on this corner. He became famous for killing Col. Elmer Ellsworth, who had the gall to pull down Jackson's Confederate flag, thus making Ellsworth (a friend of Lincoln) the first casualty of the Civil War. As Jackson came down the stairs, he too was fatally shot. This fulfilled Jackson's promise that the flag would be removed "over my dead body". Notice that the drapes in the guest rooms are based on the cuff of a Union soldier's uniform. 480 King St., Alexandria. www.monaco-alexandria.com Tel: 703-549-6080.


DE - Bed and Broadway

DE Exit 5: Hotel du Pont - Pierre S. du Pont opened this 12-story Italian Renaissance grand hotel in 1913. It still reflects that time, with its craftsmanship and courtesy. You can dine in the Green Room under the 6 hand-carved chandeliers, with carved oak paneling, roomy wing chairs and Versace dinnerware. If you peek into the Gold Ballroom you'll see peacocks, urns, and walls created in "sgraffito", a plaster scratching technique from the Renaissance.

The hotel had always made a commitment to struggling artists and displayed their works, so now it owns and shows a formidable collection of Brandywine artists, including 3 generations of original Wyeth masterpieces. When you walk the halls think of Joe Dimaggio, Charles Lindbergh, Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK and Warren Buffet, who also walked them. To top it off, within the edifice there's the Dupont Theatre, offering a Broadway experience with 6 shows each year (coming up: La Cage Aux Folles, March 6-11 and Lord of the Dance, March 20-25) and an acclaimed children's series. 11th & Market in Wilmington. www.hoteldupont.com Tel: 800-441-9019 or 302-594-3100.

GA - Cirque du Soleil Decor

GA Exit 99: Mansion on Forsyth Park - The Cirque du Soleil decor, both whimsical and dramatic, makes you want to whip out your camera and start snapping photos of the drop dead lobby, 400 works of art in the hallways and to-die-for chandeliers. A luxury oasis en route, your over-the-top Hollywood room in raspberry or lime is swathed in velvet, a candelabra gracing the desk.

Don't miss the ladies' antique hat display outside the Viennese Ballroom and the decor in the restaurants. You can plan your stay to take advantage of cooking classes or undo your traveling tension at the Poseidon Spa. Or even better, have an in-room massage and then fall right into your pillow laden bed. 700 Drayton St., Savannah. www.mansiononforsythpark.com Tel: 912-238-5158.


MA - Eat the Sofa?

MA Exit 30B: Element - When walking into this gorgeous new green concept hotel our jaws dropped. The LEED certified, sleek, extended-stay suites have been built with low VOC paints, flooring made from 25% recycled content, CFL/LED bulbs, bed frames from certified forests, art mounted on recycled tires, soap and shampoo dispensers, Energy Star GE appliances and water efficient fixtures. You can sit on your couch cushions or eat them - they're made from soy.

Functionally, the 359-degree TV (with a DVD player below and plug & play docking station) swivels to face the bed, desk or sofa. By the glass-topped desk (you can see what you left in the drawers), there's a jack pack for all of your electronic toys, an ergonomic chair and a recycle bin. For fun, the room has a white board to write notes-to-self, and magnetized maid messages which stick to the outside of the door.

In the open-concept great room (lobby), natural light infuses a social gathering space, with lots of white tables on which to open up your laptops, and you can eat the complimentary hot breakfast on them or at bar stools or couches. In the parking lot, hybrid cars get priority spots. Element Lexington by Westin, 727 Marrett Road - B. www.elementhotels.com Tel: 781-761-1750.

FL - Pet Goldfish

FL Exit 2A: Epic Hotel - Friendly caring service beyond your expectations is what this new slick Italian-designed hotel exudes - from the in-room computer to the complimentary book left in your room and complimentary access to pre-loaded digital books, the gold fish bowl or embedded magnifying mirror in the bathroom. Guest suggestions and guest profiles (long beds for tall people) are taken seriously here.

Expect magnificent views of Miami waters, private cabanas at the pool, a marina, free wine hour at 5 pm, Exhale spa and a call to ask if you need a wake up call or transportation to the airport, making this a pinnacle Kimpton experience. The Area 31 restaurant highlights fresh local fish in light Mediterranean presentations, while Zuma is Japanese Fusion. 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami. www.epichotel.com Tel: 305-424-5226 or 866-760-3742.

MD - Cheese Sommelier

MD Exit 2A: Gaylord National Resort - Sure, the 18-story atrium just wows you, but it's the attention to detail and cheerful service that keep you. The decor reflects DC architecture, with its white marble floors (even the elevator), doric columns, star-studded chandeliers, over striped carpets, and even a snippet of the Constitution by each room door. There's a sound/water/light show all evening (patriotic songs, of course) and restaurants for each budget.

Look for the life-sized swinging Babe Ruth greeting you at the National Pastime Sports Bar with its 30' HD wall, or stroll the Pienza Italian market. High end is Old Hickory Steakhouse, with its tender steaks (topped with foie gras), truffle french fries (yum), intense lobster corn chowder and homemade ice cream and sorbets.

What impressed us was the Maitre des Fromages - a woman passionate about her cheeses, which you can order for appetizer or dessert or just sample with a glass of wine. Outside, stroll through the shops in this new city, National Harbor, and see if you can find the giant emerging from the sand, called "The Awakening"; kids use him as a playground. 201 Waterfront www.gaylordnational.com Tel: 301-965-2000.

What's inside Drive I-95 5th Edition: Here's a FREE look

Look ahead exit by exit to see which motels (with 800 numbers), gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, 24-hour pharmacies, auto mechanics, radio stations or radar traps are there, and where you can stay with your pet. We share our stories of the road : history on I-95, museums, trivia, towns to explore or places to run the kids. These can be read for entertainment during the drive, and may entice you to stop, stretch your legs and discover someplace new.

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