Best of... 2016

2016 brought big changes, more travel for work, and fewer  family trips. But those trips we did take were exotic and big. I learned that traveling for business is exhausting, but really fun if you love your clients and coworkers. Continuing from 2015, here's the best of list for 2016 hotels, restaurants, and places to visit.

Favorite Restaurants - USA, Germany, India

Saint Jacques - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Why we love it: We heard whispers of an authentic French Restaurant in the Raleigh area and after my coworker, Jess, went for her birthday and raved about it, we knew we had to go. The chef, who came to our table several times to check on us, is from Grenoble. I don't know what magic that man has, but his cooking is divine. 

Petits Plats - Washington D.C., USA
Why we love it: When it's summer in D.C. And you have to walk to a restaurant, you want it to be worth the heat and humidity. Petits Plats was well worth the walk. The seasonal menu countered the weather outside: cool and refreshing dishes to help offset the misery of the July heatwave. 

Petits Plats Escargot

Petits Plats Escargot

Petits Plats Ahi Tuna

Petits Plats Ahi Tuna

Petits Plats DC Mussels

Petits Plats DC Mussels

Petits Plats Seafood Risotto

Petits Plats Seafood Risotto

Petits Plats Trout

Petits Plats Trout

Petits Plats Duck Leg Confit

Petits Plats Duck Leg Confit

Petits Plats Crepes au Chocolat

Petits Plats Crepes au Chocolat

Petits Plats Blueberry Torte

Petits Plats Blueberry Torte

Petits Plats Sorbet Trio

Petits Plats Sorbet Trio

Chicken Inn - New Delhi, India
Why we love it: Let's face it, you never know what you're gonna get in India. Luckily, Ved, our amazing guide, took us to Chicken Inn in Delhi. Served family style, we had a choice of curries, meats, and vegetables. And we had the ability to add our own level of spicy with various chutneys. Best way to introduce the unfamiliar to Indian cuisine. 

Cypress Grill - Boerne, Texas, USA
Surprisingly, the tiny town of Boerne (Bernie), Texas had one of my favorite meals at Cypress Grill. Why we love it: simple food done well. Everything was delicious, well seasoned, fresh, and unfussy. The waitstaff are extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and in true southern fashion, courteous and polite. 

Mercure Hotel - Dinan, France
This was, by far, the best meal we ate in all of France. We love Mercure properties and the restaurants are top notch. Sitting alongside the small river running through Dinan, we had super fresh mussels and fish. After a mostly disappointing food experience in Paris, this meal perked us up.

Mercure Sea Bream

Mercure Sea Bream

Mercure Dinan Mussels

Mercure Dinan Mussels

Mercure Dinan Pork

Mercure Dinan Pork

Hotel Schloss - Heinsheim, Germany
Why we loved it: Amazing French food. Little did we know that one of our first meals in Germany would be better French food than we'd end up having later in France. This meal had great pork, great steak, and a lavender honey duck that made my eyes roll back in my head. 

Hotel Schloss Salmon Mousse

Hotel Schloss Salmon Mousse

Hotel Schloss Venison

Hotel Schloss Venison

Hotel Schloss Pork Loin

Hotel Schloss Pork Loin

Hotel Schloss Duck

Hotel Schloss Duck

1911 Pub at TSV Heinsheim - Heinsheim, Germany
You want German food, this pub had it. We ate there a couple of times as it was close to the weightlifting venue (where dad won the Bronze). Our very first meal was 2 brats with a heaping pile of red kraut. Doesn't get more authentic than that.

German Brats and Kraut

German Brats and Kraut

German Latte and Cheesecake

German Latte and Cheesecake

Favorite Hotels - India, France, Germany

Ramada Inn - Agra, India
Why we loved it: Honestly, other than the Oberoi (which is a couple stars above Three Star Traveler), it's one of the nicest hotels in Agra… according to Ved, our guide. My favorite parts of the Ramada Inn - good food, good wifi, and good air conditioning. 

Hotel Trident - Jaipur, India
Why we love it: You can't help but feel like a VIP in this resort. The rooms are big and luxurious, the pool is amazing, the food in the restaurant covers everything from traditional Indian to an full English breakfast. They also had a cute little gift shop and even brought in artisans and handicrafts who showed off their craft. I could easily spend a week here. 

Handmade Bangles

Handmade Bangles

Mercure resort - Dinan, France
Yes, this is same Dinan that made the top Restaurant list. The Mercure resort in Dinan had spacious rooms, awesome food, and a shower that I would gladly live in. Getting into the property was a bit tricky, but well-worth it. 

Hotel Schloss - Heinsheim, Germany
Why we loved it: cute, old fashioned rooms, friendly staff, nestled in an old valley full of German culture. 

Mercure Paris Pigalle - Montmartre, Paris
Another Mercure made the list and rightfully so. For being in Montmartre, an old and beautifullly historic area, the Pigalle is modern, updated, and makes the most of the space it has. If you can swing it, get a room on the left side of the 6th floor for views of the Eiffel Tower. 

Favorite Places - Germany, India, France

Porsche Museum - Stuttgart, Germany
Why we loved it: Out of 4 people, 2 of us are not car people. That being said, the Porsche museum is super cool. The building and layout are well designed (like most German things) and there's tons of history. Don't feel like reading all about the various Porsche models through time? No worries. Just walk past them, admire how far they've come, and then drool over the car you'll never have. 

Stuttgart Porsche Museum

Stuttgart Porsche Museum

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

Taj Mahal - Agra, India
Why we loved it: Despite it being about one thousand degrees, sunny, and a holy day which brought waaaay more people than usual, it's the Taj Mahal. It's everything you hoped it would be. Truly a wonder of the world and a national treasure of India.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Elephant Sanctuary - Jaipur, India
Why we love it: There's an elephant sanctuary where they are cared for and loved and you can visit it! Sweet, patient elephants allow you to paint on them and in turn, you feed them bananas. Our sweet girl, Rupa, would horde bananas in the curl of her trunk until she then shoved them in her mouth, peel and all. You'll never understand the concept of a soul until you look into an elephant's eyes. 

Rupa - Our elephant in Jaipur, India

Rupa - Our elephant in Jaipur, India

Eiffel Tower - Paris, France
Why we love it: Best views in Paris. Paris is such a massive city that it takes a lot of planning and navigation to get around… and that's just by metro. We didn't even try to drive! Plus, the Eiffel Tower lights up at night and sparkles on the hour. It's pretty cool.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower at Night

Mont Saint-Michel, France
My favorite place in France. Why we love it: most residents don't speak English, there are super cute and quaint shops that don’t feel touristy. And how amazing is it to know that during high tides, you're cut off from the mainland. Sounds like a great way to spend a long weekend. 

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel

Idaho Falls, USA
I got to visit Idaho falls for a business trip and boy did I fall hard. Idaho Falls is cute, quaint, with the snake river that runs right down the middle of it. Just 90 minutes from the Grand Tetons, Idaho Falls was quite cool in late June and it's close to Yellowstone, making it a great place to stop on your next road trip. 

Idaho Falls Snake River

Idaho Falls Snake River

 

Have questions about the list? Shoot me an email either here or threestartraveler {at} gmail {dot} com