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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Review of Hearth Restaurant in the New Embers Hotel: Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Join us as we review our delightful culinary adventure at Hearth Restaurant, nestled amidst the scenic landscapes of Blowing Rock, North Carolina inside the brand new Embers Hotel. From savoring locally inspired libations to indulging in inventive appetizers, flavorful entrees, and decadent desserts, our experience was a satisfying blend of flavors and hospitality. Let us take you on a journey through each aspect of our visit, sharing insights and highlights along the way. A link to our full video experience is at the end of this post!

1. Embracing Warmth and Hospitality:

Step into The Hearth and immerse yourself in a cozy ambiance that exudes warmth and hospitality. From the welcoming smiles of the staff to the inviting decor, every detail is designed to make you feel right at home. Whether you're seeking a romantic dinner for two or a gathering with friends, The Hearth offers the perfect setting for any occasion.

2. Crafted Libations:

Quench your thirst with expertly crafted libations at The Hearth's bar. Sip on signature cocktails inspired by the flavors of North Carolina or choose from an impressive selection of local wines and craft beers. Indulge in creative concoctions like the "Smoky Old Fashioned," featuring bourbon, pecan-smoked maple syrup, Magnolia bitters, and a charred orange peel, or the refreshing "Spirited Lavender Lemonade," made with gin, lavender, lemon, blueberry, and basil.

Enchanted Flame on the Terrace

Left to right: Appalachian Burro, Bleu Smoke, Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon

Spirited Lavender Lemonade

3. Appetizers to Tempt the Palate:

Begin your culinary journey with a tantalizing selection of appetizers that showcase the best of local and seasonal ingredients. Savor the Mediterranean-inspired flavors of the "Warm Coquillos Olives," infused with rosemary, garlic, red chili flakes, sundried tomatoes, and roasted red peppers. For a taste of indulgence, indulge in the "Artisanal Cheese and Charcuterie Board," featuring a variety of artisanal cheeses, savory meats, marcona almonds, mustard, local honey, and grilled baguette. Our favorite was the Burrata with pistachio pesto, lemon and asparagus!


Wine List (Reds)

Cocktail Menu

Warm Coquillos Olives

Charcuterie Board


4. Entrees: A Culinary Symphony:

Indulge in an array of entrees that celebrate the rich culinary heritage of North Carolina. Sink your teeth into the "Coffee-Rubbed Fillet of Beef," tender and juicy, complemented perfectly with creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and roasted heirloom carrots. For a taste of comfort, savor the "High Country Turkey Meatloaf," served with buttermilk mashed potatoes, smoky maple glaze, and crispy tobacco onions.

Coffee Rubbed Filet of Beef

Pappardelle with Braised Short Ribs

Turkey Meatloaf (our favorite!)

5. Sweet Endings:

Save room for dessert and treat yourself to a decadent finale that will satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth. Indulge in the "Chocolate-Dipped Sugared Waffle," a playful combination of warm, crispy waffle dipped in rich chocolate, paired with cool vanilla ice cream. For a refreshing twist, delight in the "Lemon Cheesecake," light and tangy with a delicate Chantilly cream and candied lemon garnish.

Sugared Waffle

6. Unique Spirited Treats:

Experience a culinary innovation like no other with The Hearth's spirited treats, offering a delightful twist on traditional desserts. Venture outside onto the terrace and indulge in a sweet indulgence infused with spirits, creating a truly unforgettable dining experience. These spirited treats are exclusive to The Hearth and offer a perfect blend of sweet indulgence and sophisticated flavors. Savor the "Sunset & Main," a sweet sensation inspired by the cross streets of Blowing Rock, featuring blood orange sorbet, pink port, candy ginger, lemon zest, lavender, and a touch of gold. Watch in awe as the port is added with a unique applicator, enhancing the dessert's visual appeal and flavor profile. For chocolate lovers, the "Ruby Delight" is a dream come true, boasting chocolate ice cream, a chocolate macaron, ruby port chocolate drizzle, hazelnut, and a hint of rose, all enhanced with a squeeze of ruby port. These spirited treats offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience that is sure to delight the senses and leave a lasting impression.

Sunset & Main

Ruby Delight

7. Our Experience at The Hearth:

Allow us to share our firsthand experience and insights from our unforgettable culinary journey at The Hearth Restaurant. As enthusiasts of fine cuisine, we found our visit to be thoroughly enjoyable, with several key highlights worth noting. See our entire visit here:

Atmosphere and Service: The ambiance at The Hearth was inviting, with cozy interiors and a beautiful terrace providing a pleasant dining environment. The service was attentive and friendly, contributing to a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience.

Libations and Appetizers: We were impressed by the variety and quality of libations offered at The Hearth's bar. The cocktails were expertly crafted, and the selection of locally inspired drinks added to the overall charm of the establishment. The appetizers were well-prepared and presented, offering a satisfying start to our meal.

Entrees and Desserts: The entrees we sampled were flavorful and well-executed, showcasing the culinary expertise of the kitchen staff. Each dish was thoughtfully prepared, and the quality of ingredients was evident in every bite. While our experience at The Hearth was enjoyable, we believe that expanding the entree menu to offer more variety would enhance the dining experience, as we know individuals with diverse preferences may struggle to find dishes that cater to their taste.  Desserts provided a sweet conclusion to our meal, with options that catered to a variety of preferences and we especially love the idea of getting a spirited treat on the terrace after dinner at Hearth or any time we are in Blowing Rock.

While we didn't have brunch, it is served daily at Hearth.


In conclusion, our experience at The Hearth was positive overall. While there were some standout moments, such as the quality of libations and the attentive service, we also found room for improvement in certain areas. Nonetheless, we would recommend The Hearth to those seeking a pleasant dining experience in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Let us know what you think in the comments below! Book your room at the Embers' website: or call at: (828) 372-8000. Reserve Hearth at

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Friday, April 19, 2024

Tour and Review of One-Bedroom Suite at the Best Hotel in Blowing Rock, North Carolina: The Embers Hotel

Welcome to our latest adventure! Today, we're thrilled to take you on a virtual tour of one of the most charming destinations we've had the pleasure to visit – Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Nestled in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains, this picturesque town is home to the Embers Hotel, a gem of hospitality and luxury and maybe the best hotel in Blowing Rock. Join us as we explore the exquisite details of one of the hotel's finest offerings – Suite number 212.

1. Suite Overview:

Step into Suite 212, and you're greeted with an aura of sophistication and comfort. As the largest room in the Embers Hotel, this suite boasts spacious living quarters that can accommodate up to four guests. Inside you will find a spacious living area and a serene bedroom, seamlessly connected to provide the ultimate in relaxation and convenience. The highlight of this expansive suite is undoubtedly its large bathroom, accessible from both rooms through two entrances, offering a sense of indulgence and privacy unrivaled by traditional accommodations. With adjoining doors and balconies, it offers flexibility for larger groups or families seeking a retreat in the mountains. The convertible sofa in Suite 212 offers additional sleeping arrangements, providing versatility for accommodating extra guests or families traveling together. The attentive staff at Embers Hotel are readily available to assist guests with setting up the convertible sofa, ensuring a seamless transition to a comfortable sleeping area. The mini refrigerator in Suite 212 is spacious enough to accommodate a selection of snacks, beverages, and even a bottle of wine, providing guests with convenient access to refreshments during their stay.

2. Luxurious Amenities:

From the moment you enter, the suite delights with its array of amenities. In the bedroom area, stone-crafted hooks and ample storage reflect the hotel's attention to detail. And let's not forget the cozy sitting area, where a flickering fireplace sets the scene for intimate moments. The bathroom in Suite 212 is nothing short of a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. Adorned with sleek fixtures and bathed in soft, natural light, it beckons guests to unwind after a day of exploration. The centerpiece of this space is undoubtedly the lavish rain shower, which cascades with a gentle, soothing rhythm, transporting guests to a state of tranquility. Premium toiletries from Grown Alchemist, renowned for their quality and sophistication, await guests, providing a sensory journey of pampering and indulgence. As guests retire to the bedroom area, they are greeted by a haven of comfort and elegance. The bed, adorned with plush bedding and crisp linens, promises a restful night's sleep. Sink into the embrace of luxury as you envelop yourself in the soft embrace of the Embers' signature robes and slippers, providing the perfect conclusion to a day of exploration and adventure.

3. Technological Marvels:

Embracing modern comforts, Suite 212 seamlessly integrates technology into its design. Remote-controlled blinds, flat-screen televisions, and adjustable fireplace settings cater to guests' preferences with the touch of a button. These innovations enhance the overall experience, blending convenience with elegance. Throughout Suite 212, convenience meets sophistication with multiple outlets strategically placed to accommodate guests' modern needs. From USB ports beside the bedside stands to HDMI and USBC outlets near the flat-screen televisions, every detail is thoughtfully designed to ensure seamless connectivity and functionality.

4. Dual Balcony Delights:

Step outside onto the suite's balconies, and you're greeted with sweeping views of downtown Blowing Rock. Whether you prefer a private retreat or a gathering space with friends, these outdoor sanctuaries offer the perfect setting. Rocking chairs and occasional tables beckon you to unwind amidst the beauty of the High Country.

5. Expansive Accommodations: Combining Suites for Additional Space

For guests seeking an even more spacious retreat, Suite 212 offers the unique option of combining with the adjacent room, effectively doubling its capacity. By unlocking the adjoining door and balcony, guests can seamlessly merge the two suites into a sprawling haven for up to six individuals. This flexibility caters to larger groups or families traveling together, providing ample space to spread out and unwind in the comfort of Embers Hotel's luxurious accommodations. Whether it's a family reunion or a group getaway, the ability to combine suites ensures that every guest's needs are met with grace and style.

6. Restaurant: The Hearth

Let's not forget the culinary treasure awaiting guests at Embers Hotel: its onsite restaurant. Amidst Blowing Rock's hospitality landscape, where such amenities are rare, this addition elevates the experience to a new level of convenience and luxury. With locally sourced ingredients and a menu designed to delight, dining here becomes an unforgettable journey of flavors and indulgence, ensuring every moment of your stay is truly exceptional.


Our journey through Suite 212 at the Embers Hotel has been nothing short of enchanting. From its opulent amenities to its technological marvels, every aspect of this space exudes luxury and comfort. Whether you're seeking a romantic getaway, a family retreat, or simply a moment of tranquility in nature, this suite offers an unparalleled experience. As we bid farewell to Blowing Rock, we carry with us memories of warmth, hospitality, and the promise of future adventures. Join us again soon as we continue to explore the world's hidden treasures. Until next time, happy travels! Book your room at the Embers' website: or call at: (828) 372-8000.

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Breaking News: Star Princess Delivery Delayed, Nine Cruises Canceled!

Prepare to navigate through breaking news in the world of luxury cruising. Today, we unveil a headline that's causing ripples across the seas: the Star Princess delivery has hit a snag, leading to the cancellation of nine eagerly awaited voyages. As passengers grapple with this surprising turn of events, let's dive into the details from the official press release. Moreover, recent feedback regarding the Sun Princess sheds light on passenger frustrations, suggesting Princess Cruises is keen to avoid a repeat scenario.

In a startling revelation, Princess Cruises and esteemed shipbuilder Fincantieri have jointly declared a delay in the delivery of the Star Princess. This decision, made after a thorough evaluation of construction milestones, has caught the cruising community off guard, resulting in the abrupt cancellation of nine inaugural voyages.

Quoting from the press release, "Despite our collective dedication and relentless pursuit to deliver the ship in late July, it has become evident that additional time is required to ensure the Star Princess is delivered to the highest standards expected by our guests," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.

Recent feedback regarding the Sun Princess adds fuel to the fire, indicating passenger dissatisfaction with the vessel's readiness. Complaints highlight the absence of promised shows in the Dome and Arena, leaving travelers disheartened upon arrival. Some have expressed disappointment over Princess Cruises' response, with compensation offered failing to appease disgruntled guests.

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Reflecting on our own experiences, we recall the disappointment of the canceled February 8, 2024, Sun Princess cruise. However, just as we were able to salvage our plans with a later March voyage, there's hope on the horizon for those affected by this latest development.


As the maritime community navigates this unexpected twist, it's evident that Princess Cruises is keen to prevent history from repeating itself. With passenger satisfaction at the forefront, the cruise line is undoubtedly working tirelessly to ensure the Star Princess sets sail smoothly when the time comes. Stay tuned for further updates as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Unveiling the Luxury Spa Experience Aboard the Sun Princess: Lotus Spa, Enclave, Thermal Suite, and Salon

Welcome aboard the Sun Princess, where luxury meets relaxation in the Lotus Spa. Embark on a journey with us as we explore the tranquil oasis nestled within the heart of this magnificent vessel. From rejuvenating treatments to exclusive amenities, the Lotus Spa promises an unforgettable experience for all who seek solace at sea.

Subheadings for this post:

  1. Lotus Spa: A Haven of Serenity
  2. The Enclave: Where Luxury Knows No Bounds
  3. The Salon: Elevating Beauty and Wellness
  4. Questions and Answers: Your Guide to the Lotus Spa Experience
  5. Conclusion: Sail into Serenity

See our full video tour here!

    Staircase between levels
  1. Relaxation Room in Spa

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Lotus Spa: A Haven of Serenity: Located mid-ship on Deck 5, the Lotus Spa invites guests to unwind and indulge in a plethora of rejuvenating treatments. From massages to facials, acupuncture to fillers, the Lotus Spa caters to both couples and solo travelers seeking a moment of tranquility amidst the ocean's embrace. And this is a first for us: IV therapy is offered in the Lotus Spa!

The Enclave: Where Luxury Knows No Bounds: Venture upstairs to Deck 6, and you'll discover the Enclave (also referred to as the Thermal Suite – an exclusive sanctuary dedicated to relaxation and rejuvenation. Immerse yourself in the soothing warmth of heated stone loungers or indulge in the therapeutic waters of the hydrotherapy pool. With amenities like a dry sauna, Himalayan salt room (exclusive to the Sun Princess) and sensory showers, the Enclave promises an unparalleled spa experience. This is the level where you will check in for any treatment or the Enclave.

Sensory Showers

Heated Stone Loungers

The Salon: Elevating Beauty and Wellness: Located on Deck 18, the salon offers a range of beauty and wellness services designed to pamper and indulge. From hairstyling to teeth whitening, lashes to makeup, the salon is a sanctuary of self-care amidst the ocean's vast expanse. Featuring premium products like Kerastase, the salon ensures that every guest leaves feeling rejuvenated and radiant.

Questions and Answers: Your Guide to the Lotus Spa Experience:

  1. What is the price for the thermal suite?

    • The price for accessing the thermal suite varies but typically falls between $20 to $30 per passenger per day. It's recommended to pre-book access for the entire cruise through the cruise personalizer for guaranteed availability.
  2. Is the thermal suite included with Signature Collection Suites?

    • Unlike the Signature Sun Deck in the Sanctuary, the thermal suite is not included with Signature Collection Suites. However, Platinum and Elite members can enjoy a 10% discount on Lotus Spa treatments.
  3. Can you buy a day pass for the thermal suite?

    • Yes, day passes for the thermal suite are available, but primarily for port days, and they come at an additional cost. Pricing and availability may vary and on our cruise it was $49 per day, so it's advisable to inquire with the spa staff for the most up-to-date information.
  4. Is the thermal suite included with a spa treatment?

    • While guests are encouraged to arrive early and relax in the thermal suite before their treatment, access to the thermal suite is an additional charge and is not typically included with spa treatments. Since pricing is dynamic, the pricing and availability of combined packages may vary, so it's recommended to check with the spa staff for specific details. We asked on board, how much additional it would cost with a treatment and could not be given an answer.
  5. Is there a gratuity?

    • Gratuity is added to all treatment bills at a rate of 18%. However, there's no gratuity associated with the use of the thermal suite. Guests have the option to tip extra if they wish.
  6. Do the spa employees try to upsell you?

    • Yes, spa employees may suggest additional products or services, but there's no obligation to purchase. Guests can also find spa products, by Elemis and Kerastase online, potentially at discounted rates. We usually buy at eBay or Amazon.

These questions provide valuable insights into planning your spa experience aboard the Sun Princess, ensuring you make the most of your time at sea.

Conclusion: Sail into Serenity: As we bid adieu to the Lotus Spa aboard the Sun Princess, we invite you to embark on your own journey of relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you seek solace in the Enclave's tranquil waters or indulge in a pampering session at the salon, the Lotus Spa promises an unparalleled experience at sea. So, set sail and discover the epitome of luxury aboard the Sun Princess. Our recommendation is that if you think you may want to use the Sanctuary, book it ahead of time on the app, secure your spot and potentially save money. On our cruise a day pass for a port day, when many of us go ashore, was twice as much as the per day cost of rebooking for the entire cruise. Check out booking options for the sun princess at Princess Cruises.

With that, we conclude our exploration of the Lotus Spa and eagerly await our next voyage into serenity. Until then, may your travels be filled with meaningful moments and rejuvenating experiences.