Today’s travelers are seeking unforgettable authentic experiences. Rather than grouping with the masses for pre-packaged tours that focus solely on major attractions, many explorers want to immerse themselves in local culture. The intention is to move beyond the expected, get to know a destination on a personal level and, ultimately, gain a better understanding of the world in which we live.
Omni Hotels & Resorts properties across the country offer activities that reflect unique aspects of life in the surrounding area. While some take place on-site, others are available through exclusive Local Experience awards as part of DISCOVERY. Whether it’s a regional dining experience or a themed outing in the city, these excursions give guests the chance to feel like a local through inspiring and personal adventures.
As a significant location in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, there is plenty of history to soak up in Richmond, Virginia. Through a DISCOVERY Local Experience, Omni Richmond Hotel guests can redeem rewards for the “Romance on the River” package, which features a meal at The Boathouse. The restaurant is located at Rocketts Landing, a historical space that was once a power plant that furnished electricity for the city’s trolley cars. Guests can enjoy stunning panoramic view of the James River through The Boathouses’s glass walls while dining on oysters, grilled fresh fish or other locally sourced seafood. For a more modern experience, consider redeeming “A Night at the Theatre.” This sends guests into the town’s rich performing arts scene with two tickets to a seasonal show at the November Theatre, one of Richmond’s many acclaimed theater venues.
Historical Local Experiences also abound in Boston, thanks to the prominent role the city played in our country’s past. One excursion whisks Omni guests along the famous Freedom Trail, which includes 16 sites that tell the story of the American Revolution. Dressed in period costumes, guides provide 90-minute tours of notable locations around the city, just a 2.5 mile walk not from Omni Parker House Hotel. Visitors can also opt for the “Museum of Your Choice” Local Experience, which includes access to one of three attractions: Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Science or New England Aquarium. The package includes dinner at the hotel’s renowned Parker’s Restaurant. Its menu features quintessential items like the Parker House rolls and Boston Cream Pie.
The distinctive combination of cultures in New Orleans makes the city unique from any other in the country. It’s known as a hot spot for musical creativity, and has long been considered the birthplace of jazz. As popularity increased, musical acts found employment on the riverboats of the Mississippi. At Omni Riverfront Hotel, travelers can re-create this experience on an evening boat trip featuring the sounds of the Dukes of Dixieland jazz band, complete with a buffet and a sunset view. Another way to live like a local thanks to Omni Royal Orleans is with one of two adventures from Cajun Encounters. The first, a trip to Oak Alley Plantation, a tour that showcases what life was like in the past just outside of New Orleans. Or, take a longer journey to Louisiana’s iconic swampland with up-close look at the wildlife in the area.
In Texas, it’s all about the food. Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade offers two spectacular culinary experiences through DISCOVERY Local Experience Award redemptions. “Taste of South Texas” features a platter delivered to the room with some of the Lone Star State’s favorite snacks and sips. Visitors can also experience the famous Latin American and Caribbean-inspired Tex-Mex flavors of Bolo’s, located inside the hotel. Across town, Omni La Mansión del Rio offers its own distinctive options for members with a Local Experience award to use. Golfers will enjoy getting out on the greens at The Quarry to experience the blossoming golf destination and play 18 holes on the rolling hills and carefully manicured greens. “History at the Missions” is another great options for guests looking for a historical Local Experience. This package takes members off-property for private tours of five historic missions. The hotel is also mere steps from the San Antonio River Walk, a spot that expertly blends history and modern amenities.
Locals in San Francisco love to be outside. Maybe it’s the beautiful views of the bay dotted with bridges and islands or the dense greenery at Golden Gate Park. Whatever the reason, the key to experiencing the city like a local is to venture out and explore. At the Omni San Francisco Hotel, members can redeem for the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Evening Bike Tour leaving nightly from the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf. This experience gives visitors the chance to soak up the vibe of the energetic city while seeing the sights. Another option is to enjoy an in-room amenity that is part of DISCOVERY’s “A Taste of California” Local Experience. It features favorite local snacks in addition to two California wines.
While Chicago isn’t the only city famous for its pizza, it is certainly known for perfecting the deep-dish style. All over town, popular pizzerias cook up thick pies filled with plenty of cheese and savory ingredients, topped with chunky tomato sauce. This unique dish is a pivotal part of any vacation in the Windy City, and Omni Chicago Hotel makes it easy to immerse yourself in the local epicurean culture with a fun hands-on experience. During the “Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Cooking Class,” which takes place at the legendary Pizzeria Uno, guests learn all the secrets to making the perfect deep-dish pie, including the recipe for the dough.
Written by Jessica Farthing, initially appearing in ESCAPES Magazine. Article has been abridged from it’s original version.