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Make Reservations, Not War: 7 Hot Spots Out West You Have To Experience (PHOTOS)

Posted: 08/30/2010 5:12 pm

Twitter may have you hooked, and you can't really seem to unplug from Facebook either. Then, there's life as you know it -- work, family, friends, love, money, food. Not so easy to balance. At least not all of the time, anyway. It was where I found myself last year, when I crawled into bed with Overload. Not a happy affair -- I suddenly found myself emotionally crawling toward to the Exit Sign for 2009. Still, I knew one thing: I had to refill the well. But how? I live in Northern California. Isn't everything a Kumbaya moment?

Not quite.

So, I forced myself to go on a road trip and begin exploring some of America -- well, its western side at least. Once I got moving, I later used a good chunk of 2010 to visit a number of truly unique travel destinations. The list below comprises my top picks. Take a look. Then indulge yourself.

7. Tempe Mission Palms
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Back in the day, when the day found me attending Arizona State University as a journalism student, I reveled in the funky vibe that was Mill Avenue in Downtown Tempe. The area was undergoing a major overhaul then, and the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel had just been birthed. It was a lush hotel back in the late '80s, but during a stay in the past year, I was impressed with its multimillion dollar facelift. Plush, spacious and now a hotbed for both tourists and convention attendees, The Tempe Mission Palms is a refreshing surprise -- not too formal, not too unconventional. A mecca in the sense that it's surrounded by striking desert palms -- glamorous as if you're on a movie set -- the venue boasts spacious hallways and rooms, an equally spacious rooftop pool and terrace -- check out the stellar views of Phoenix and downtown Tempe -- several jacuzzi spas and the popular Mission Grille restaurant. Summer months in the desert may be brutal -- unless you're a Bikram Yoga enthusiast and dig that 108-degree heat -- but I've found this affordable locale situated at the perfect spot -- right between metropolitan Phoenix and Scottsdale. Take note of the infusion of hip culture coming off Mill Avenue, which eventually runs adjacent to ASU. Not a bad place for visiting parents whose kids attend college, but certainly a worthwhile experience, whether you're in town for the golf, for rest, sight-seeing, shopping, a convention or more.
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