Category Archives: luxury

Infiniti QX56 Road Trip (Nuggets Style)

Ah the family road trip. Did we learn nothing from The Griswolds? Okay, so maybe I’ve never had an elderly aunt pass away in the car, but I’ve sure had my fair share of, “She’s touching me!” and “Are we there yet?!!!” , close calls with the demise of my sanity. Frankly, anything further than a jaunt to the drive-thru can provoke car cacophony. Could the car itself have something to do with this?

Recently my larger family -six in all, plus one stray- spent a week putting the 2012 Infiniti QX56 4FWD to the test for She Buys Cars & Traveling Mom. I would be remiss if I did not start by sharing what might be the best first impression exclamation ever uttered, courtesy of my seven year old son, “Mom, it’s like a tank for families!”. If such a thing did exist, this would be it. (only far more luxurious than any tank this former Naval Airman has ever laid eyes on)

Sitting behind the wheel of this seven passenger luxury SUV you get a sense of serenity, partially from the posh interior, Bose 13 speaker premium sound system, and what feels like a 360 degree view, ultimately for this self-proclaimed “Car Girl”  the power surging from the 5.6 liter V8 engine was near Nirvana.

A Few of My Favorite Things

  • Leather wrapped, heated steering wheel. Warm and toasty, instead of blue and frozen fingers on those cold morning carpools.
  • Hard Drive Navigation System. With this feature you can even search for restaurants by their Zagat rating. Foodie heaven!
  • Push Button ignition. No more fumbling with the keys.
  • Hands-free Bluetooth phone and streaming audio via Bluetooth as well.
  • USB connection, for my Geekery.
  • Rear entertainment system for the kids, nearly as important as the tethers and anchors for the child safety seats. (okay, not really, but you know what I mean)
  • Blind Spot Warning System. This is an awesome feature! A little light near the sideview mirror blinks when there is something in your blind spot. Try to change lanes when the light is on and alarm sounds.
  • Remote Tip-Up second row seats. GREAT for big families, making clamoring over the seats a thing of the past!
  • 10-Way power driver’s seat with 2-Way power lumbar support. I drove for three hours and twenty-seven minutes without any nagging reminders from my back.
  • Backup Camera with an aerial view as well. This was simply space-aged awesome.
  • Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA). This active safety feature continuously monitors and analyzes closing speeds to a vehicle ahead. If the you do not respond to the Forward Collision Warning and a collision cannot be avoided, this system automatically engages the brakes to help reduce collision speed and impact, which could save you and reduce damage in an accident.
  • Power Sun/Moonroof. This feature makes me feel cool when I’m driving and when I wasn’t, I could just gaze out the window (see photo below)

Things You Need to Know

  • Total “sticker price” of the model we tested: $75,340.00
  • This model gets an EPA estimated 14 MPG City and 20 MPG Highway, though I averaged 26 MPG on our road trip which was 97% Highway travel.
  • The engine is a 5.6 liter V* with 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque.
  • The model I drove was “fully-loaded”, base models start around $63,100.00
  • You need to have the key fob on you (or in your bag) in order to unlock the car. This isn’t a bad thing, it just took some getting used to.
  • With the third row of seats folded down there is a ton of cargo space. Fold down the second and you pretty much have a flat-bed truck. That said, with all the seats up, there isn’t much room for cargo in the rear. We still managed to get all our gear stowed, but having little people, with feet that didn’t touch the floor, helped.
  • Because this car does pretty much everything but drive itself, you really need to spend time learning how everything works. The owner’s manual comes in volumes! They have a great website and yes, there is an app for that. Just know that you will have lots of homework to do.

So let’s answer the burning question… can’t we all just get along, or at least get into the car?

Infiniti QX56 Traveling Mom Review from Lara DiPaola on Vimeo.

Is “Family Friendly” a Luxury?

I spend a lot of time traveling with my family. Sometimes it’s a work gig they get to tag along for. Other times it’s a getaway. We’ve stayed in many a budget bungalow where the only stars you could find were on the free HBO. Most of the time the destination determined the digs. More often than not though, the biggest factor in choosing where we stayed was budget.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a fancy hotel. When you’re used to having to tuck everyone else in the joint in, read them a story, fetch endless glasses of water and chase off monsters from closets and corners, turn-down service is a welcome novelty. But as much as I like the luxury hotel experience it didn’t really fit into my family travel plans. Until, Omni.

My philosophy is, if you’re going to splurge on a topnotch hotel -with your family in tow- the hotel should be just as much of a destination as your actual destination is. Omni hotels have a knack for doing just that. From their Kid’s Fantasy suites, to Camp Omni, their Sensational Kids program to Teen Connect Omni makes your family a part of their family, ensuring that fun is had by ALL.

Being that my kids range in age from 18 to 6, making sure everyone has a blast is a tall order. Omni Hotels go out of their way to make sure that job is easier for me. My 13 year old daughter got to interview some of the staff at the Omni Berkshire this past Fall and put in her two cents about what tween/teens like at a hotel, as part of her participation in the Family Travel Conference. I was privileged to be hosted at the Berkshire during BlogHer 2012 last weekend. I got to see, first hand, some of the things she was excited about. With their new Teen Ambassador, David Strebel, on board to help take the program over the top, my family can’t wait to go back again, and again. Omni adds so much more to your family’s trip, it’s like destination in itself. An added luxury that is priceless.






Disclosure: Omni Berkshire New York hosted two of the three nights I stayed in conjunction with my trip to BlogHer 2012. AS ALWAYS, all opinions are my own. I have stayed at several Omni properties, own my own dime, and highly recommend them for families who travel.