• Casey Kidwell

Road to ARRIVE: Our Cross-Country Road Trip

I can hardly believe we've been back from our road trip over two weeks already! Granted, from the moment we returned it was essentially full on Christmas/Holiday mode which certainly expedited the passage of time but I'm happy to report I've finally gotten around to writing this highly anticipated blog post detailing our two week cross-country road trip.


Now for those of you who aren't yet familiar, my better half and I decided at the end of summer to do a road trip as a way to celebrate his grad school graduation and me paying off my student loans. Not to mention the fact that as avid travelers we've been desperately missing the escape of a new adventure (as so many of us have) this year while holed up at home.


Knowing that we would be traveling during the off-season we felt confident that we weren't likely to run into many people or crowds during our travels plus we would only be flying once during the trip and the rest of the time would be spent in a car.


How did we decide on this particular trip and the destinations that we did? Well, it all started back in August actually. We were looking for a final summer getaway before he returned back to school. We decided on a nearby favorite, Palm Springs. We had our dog, Coco, with us too, so we needed someplace dog friendly and a friend recommend ARRIVE in Palm Springs. We absolutely LOVED our stay and the hotel and after doing some research on ARRIVE and its other locations, I noticed that they had an incentive called "Road to ARRIVE."


Originally the incentive was intended as a way to get clientele to check out their newest location at ARRIVE Phoenix but being that we went on the trip after the hotel had already opened, we were able to incorporate it into our ARRIVE road trip and get an even better deal! Essentially if you made this cross-country trek, staying at ARRIVE's hotels along the way, you would receive a percentage off your entire stay at each location (aside from the first).


So, we flew out to the East Coast and ARRIVE Wilmington where we paid full price and then received a percentage off (starting with 25% off at the next location in Memphis), at each stop along the way eventually earning a free stay at ARRIVE Palm Springs before heading back home.


Now for the fun part (not that this hasn't been oodles of fun already!). Being that we've now officially seen all of ARRIVE's current locations, I wanted to do a post detailing each one, talking about things we liked, didn't like, etc. I will start this off by saying I would HIGHLY recommend ARRIVE in each of these cities but if you want to learn more about each location specifically then keep on reading...


Stop 1: ARRIVE Wilmington, North Carolina

I will preface this by saying I've never visited Wilmington nor any city in North Carolina in my life. I absolutely LOVED Wilmington. It's a charming, old world kind of town just walking distance from the hotel. ARRIVE Wilmington is located perfectly so as to allow guests to walk around and check out some of the local shops, restaurants, etc. within the Historic Downtown Area.

While the area itself has an old world charm about it, there's still a vibrance and youth evident in the surrounding area. From the gift shops to the trendy coffee hotspots and restaurants, Wilmington has something for everyone.


Now to ARRIVE. This was probably one of my favorite locations - although I'll be honest, don't be surprised if I say that about practically every location. LOL. This two story hotel has such a historic charm about it. There's no doubt in my mind it's haunted (Wilmington itself is quite haunted so it really shouldn't come as any surprise), but there's such a warmth about the hotel. The room that we stayed in was in the middle building which was actually occupied by nuns from a local convent until 1962 - as evidenced by the large cross at the front. There was a small living area as you walked into our room which was great for a morning workout or just lounging around, reading or watching TV.

The room itself where the bed was was quite bare bones but something I love about each of the ARRIVE locations is the wallpaper. The bathroom wallpaper in particular at ARRIVE Wilmington was by far one of the best.

Each location has this undeniable community feel about it. From the courtyard bar area to the fire pits spread throughout the courtyard, ARRIVE invites you to enjoy its common spaces and perhaps even connect with other patrons while doing so.


ARRIVE Wilmington felt like home away from home and it was the best first stop I could ask for especially in a brand new city.


Stop 2: ARRIVE Memphis, Tennessee

Okay, I know I've already said it once but ARRIVE Memphis MAY have been my favorite. Ugh I know, I told you I'd do this!


We arrived (pun intended) to Memphis quite late at night as that was one of our longest driving days (roughly 12 hours) from Wilmington to Memphis. Not going to lie, upon arrival I immediately googled "How Safe is Memphis," as it seemed a bit on the sketchy said and wasn't made any better by the practically empty streets lined with random cars and trickles of people walking by.

Nevertheless, it was nighttime and once we walked into our room I was completely in love. Memphis is definitely larger than Wilmington as this five story hotel looms over downtown Memphis which in and of itself isn't very large. The building has that similar old world charm that Wilmington has but more of an industrial vibe. In our room the walls were brick and the floor was cement but despite having some "colder" elements throughout, it still had such an inviting warmth about it.

I am a BIG fan of industrial design and our room in Memphis was a beautiful marriage of industrial edge and coolness with modern touches like those featured throughout the bathroom.

I haven't even gotten to the BEST part of ARRIVE Memphis - Vice and Virtue/Hustle and Dough. When you enter ARRIVE Memphis there's a bar (Bar Hustle) and coffee shop (Vice and Virtue) in addition to ample seating in the lobby area. Whether you're staying at the hotel or not, we definitely got the vibe that this was a popular place to visit and get some work done and rightfully so given the incredible ambiance. Each morning we started the day off with coffee from Vice and Virtue and an almond butter toast from Hustle and Dough (ordered at Vice and Virtue coffee bar). I have Hustle and Dough to thank for my daily intake of almond butter toast in addition to my daily chocolate chip cookie the size of my face. But boy was it worth it!

Like Wilmington, ARRIVE Memphis is impeccably located, offering the local tourist the perfect nearby attractions, restaurants, shops, etc. to walk to. I should make note of the fact that we were taken aback by how quiet it was in Memphis. Being that we're still in the midst of a pandemic we were of course expecting a pretty quiet and not very busy trip but Memphis was virtually empty. After frequenting our new favorite restaurant with the best Parisian Gnocchi I've ever experienced in my life, Bishop's at Central Station Hotel, we learned that because most of the shops in that particular area are 'Mom and Pop' small businesses, they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so as not to close on the weekends to tourists. That definitely aligned with the quiet streets we experienced and while we were bummed to be visiting on a Monday/Tuesday (of course!), we still experienced a good amount of Memphis and absolutely loved our stay at ARRIVE Memphis.


Stop 3: ARRIVE Austin, Texas

While this was our third time in Austin, it was our first time experiencing ARRIVE Austin. This location in particular I would say is perfect for the traveling businessman or woman. I say that because of the little breakfast nook area located in the corner of our room as you walk in. My better half and myself were both working a bit while on the trip so we definitely enjoyed the nook area and it gave us the opportunity to hang out and work from somewhere other than just laying in bed.

The artwork featured throughout ARRIVE Austin was probably my favorite out of all the hotels. Sarah Presson was the artist featured throughout the hotel and in our rooms and I definitely fell in love with her work during our stay and may or may not have my eye on a few pieces for my house.

Location wise, ARRIVE Austin (located in the heart of East Austin) offers a lot of the same walking distance amenities that other ARRIVE destinations do. From restaurants to coffee shops, there's plenty to occupy your time (and your bellies) within close proximity to the hotel.

In the lobby area is the restaurant and bar Vixen's Wedding which features eats inspired by "Goa, India, Portugal and our beautiful home state of Texas." While we didn't partake in eating at Vixen's Wedding, we enjoyed a couple drinks at the bar and would highly recommend! The staff was extremely friendly and SO knowledgeable as well.

In addition to Vixen's Wedding, Cartel Coffee Lab is also located right next door to ARRIVE Austin, just like at the Palm Springs location. We've visited Palm Springs Cartel Coffee Lab so we skipped the Austin location but nevertheless love the close proximity of delicious coffee first thing in the morning.


The last thing I would make note of for ARRIVE Austin is parking is valet only. It's a seamless and easy process but if you're someone like me who doesn't carry cash on you - it's good to know before your stay at ARRIVE Austin.


Stop 4: ARRIVE Phoenix, Arizona

The newest of their five locations, ARRIVE Phoenix is absolutely spectacular. I fell for the desert, southwestern-inspired decor the moment we stepped foot into our room. From the cacti wallpaper to the southwestern inspired rugs, furniture and more, I felt right at home.

At ARRIVE Phoenix you check in at the Pop Stand where you're offered a free popsicle (regular or boozy) before making your way to your room. There's also great gift items in the lobby if you're looking for something to take home to commemorate your trip or to bring back to friends and family.

The room itself still had a lot of that industrial edge with cement flooring and a pretty open concept mixed in with that Arizona desert decor. If I could I would have ripped that wallpaper right off and taken it home with me! Goals!

While just about all of the other locations have that walkability appeal, I would say that Phoenix's location was lacking in that department. Granted, maybe Phoenix isn't a walking town, but based on our short time there it seemed as though you had to hop in the car to get to wherever you wanted to go. It was a short, quick drive but a drive nevertheless.


ARRIVE Phoenix had that same inviting community feel that Wilmington and Memphis did too. There's a small outdoor area with daybeds and foosball tables right before you enter Lylo Swim Club. Lylo is a "midcentury poolside bar" featuring "delicious and refreshing cocktails" and "Hawaiian-Japanese influenced bites." While we enjoyed our appetizer more than our actual meal, the vibes at Lylo are unmatched. I wish we had the time to spend an entire day out lounging by the pool with one of those delicious cocktails in hand.


Stop 5: ARRIVE Palm Springs, California

Visiting ARRIVE Palm Springs for the second time now and after visiting all of their other locations, I honestly would rank it one of my least favorite. It has all of the charm that the other locations have - from the industrial appeal to the community atmosphere out at the pool and bar area - but after seeing the incredible decor, energy and atmospheres of the other four locations, it felt like it was slightly lagging.

During our visit we were one of maybe a handful of people visiting so it was nice not having to jockey for a spot at the pool like we did back in August. Plus, the weather was much milder so we enjoyed reading with one of their falafel burgers/fries and a drink at the fire pits both days.

Upon our arrival back in California, the state had pretty much gone on shut down again so truthfully we didn't really leave the hotel other than to walk to Starbucks one morning to get some fresh air. While I like the other ARRIVE locations better - especially when it comes to in-room decor - ARRIVE Palm Springs is still a great getaway destination if you're looking for somewhere to stay in Palm Springs. It's in the perfect location so you really never have to get in your car and you can enjoy some peace and quiet at this desert escape.

That my friends was Road to ARRIVE - our two week cross-country road trip! It's hard for me to pick a favorite destination out of the five hotels we visited but as I said earlier, I would without question recommend each of ARRIVE's five locations no matter which city you find yourself in. The even better news is they're opening ANOTHER location in New Mexico in 2022! Now that, I can't wait for.


Should you find yourself interested in doing the Road to ARRIVE cross-country road trip or if you have any additional questions about any of the locations, please don't hesitate to reach out either by emailing me at caseyk@almostfabulousme.com or messaging me on Instagram @almostfabme. I would be happy to help!

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