Planning an Overnight Staycation (Without “Breaking” the Bank)
I planned a fun packed day for my honey with ONE GOAL in mind: quality time with each other.
Here are the steps I followed to pull this off as well as commentary on the experience:
Step 1: Secure accommodations – I opted for the JW Marriott in Buckhead given its central location and most importantly the deal I scored via Priceline. The cost was $150 for the room + $36 for Valet (self-parking was $10 less but it was freezing and traffic was ridiculous so I opted for my creature comforts of warmth and convenience)
Step 2: Determine dinner plans – We had a few Gift Cards for Buckhead Life Group restaurants so I chose Bistro Niko based on a great past experience (otherwise I would have spent hours cross referencing restaurant ratings/reviews before landing on a “newish” hot spot . . . and yes I enjoy that process despite its insanity). A special Pre-Fixe Menu was served for $72/person + $36 for a bottle of wine (glad that I was able to offset this bill with $150 in gift cards)
Step 3: Plan lunch – We love to try new restaurants so I went through my planning process (yes, the one that I skipped in step 2) and I came across a South African restaurant/bar concept that recently opened in Atlanta, The Biltong Bar in Ponce City Market. My husband is African and absolutely LOVES Biltong (I stumbled upon this place after ending a video chat with my girlfriend that was in South Africa and my last words to her were “please bring my husband some Biltong” – what are the odds? I could not script this if I wanted to!). I also knew that oysters had to be on the list so W.H. Stiles Fish Camp (i.e. Dub’s) had to be on the list (this is clearly a foodies dream, its Star Provisions i.e. Anne Quatrano i.e. Bacchanalia – no additional justification needed!). Lunch was $90 + $15 for Biltong (OK, this was a splurge but the oysters were shucked right in front of us, how could we not indulge!)
Step 4: Figure out what to do in between – Ok so now what . . . lunch is settled that covers us for about 1.5 hours tops . . . what to do with the rest of our time since dinner was not until 9pm? I proceeded to research all the obvious options (thanks to Trip Advisor’s Things to Do quick search feature):
Cooking/pottery/painting classes (yeah right, as if I would find one the day of . . . I did try nonetheless)
Wine tasting (seriously, why couldn’t I find any on a Saturday? I was willing to pay a premium!)
Helicopter Ride ($175 per person for 30 mins? Get out of here!)
Spa – This became the obvious choice given how hard my husband works and how physical his job is, he needed this and so did I (wait a minute my hotel doesn’t have one, arghhhh . . . how did I let that happen?)! I called more Spas than I can recall and of course, they were all booked! So I opted to use the indoor pool and whirlpool at the hotel for GRATIS.
Step 5: Pack an overnight bag – I always wanted to pack a bag for my husband and take him somewhere so this because the perfect opportunity. I gathered the essentials (i.e. toiletries, change of clothes for dinner and for the drive home the next day, swimming trunks). I also ironed his “day clothes” and laid them out on the bed so that he did not have to think about a thing! I didn’t want to spoil the overnight stay surprise so I put my overnight bag and our garment bag in the car (here’s my rookie mistake: I left his overnight bag on the floor in the room and he spotted it since he was on the hunt for his toiletries bag which I packed because I was afraid to forget it . . . I won’t let this happen again!).
This experience was priceless, my husband can’t stop talking about how perfect the day was and loved the fact that every activity was planned with him in mind. The full day amounted to less than $400 which could have easily been reduced without a few indulges but it was totally worth it!