Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
A Luxury Guide to Tulsa
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in Tulsa.
I’m Natalie Tanner, The Educational Tourist. My philosophy about travel is to embrace the destination by learning as much as you can. This deepens the memories of your adventure! The world is a classroom and my guide books for kids let you bring the children – they also serve as cliff notes for adults!
Tulsa was such an unexpected delight when we moved here from the big, enormous city of Houston, Texas. We were thrilled with the small town feel that still had all the big city amenities. The 2 1/2 years we lived there were very happy indeed!
What makes Tulsa a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Tulsa is easy to get around and has all the makings of the dream glamor trip of a lifetime! Be pampered at the spa, slip into a marvelous outfit from a designer boutique, have dinner or a show and then hit the nightlife scene! Tulsa is fantastic.
What 5 star hotel is the best in your town?
The historic Mayo hotel in downtown Tulsa is a treat. This art deco marvel was built in the heyday of the Tulsa oil boon and has hosted celebrity guests like Babe Ruth, Lucille Ball, and President John F. Kennedy (and The Educational Tourist!!)
The Mayo offers what you would expect from a 5 Star swanky hotel – custom made linens in what the hotel describes are “102 ultra chic guest rooms”. Guest rooms are HUGE and ours was larger than my first apartment with a full kitchen and living area in addition to the bedroom.
Part of what makes the Mayo a step above is service. While waiting to check out of the hotel another guest was making reservations and giving detailed instructions for leaving rose petals on the floor and bed along with lit candles in the bathroom. It turns out they do this sort of romantic thing ALL THE TIME.
Stay and dine at The Boiler Room which serves from breakfast till late night snacks. Or head to the roof for a fantastic view of downtown Tulsa and have a drink at the Penthouse Rooftop Lounge.
Tulsa skyline image
After a late night of fun, get your cup of Joe at the…
Topeca Coffee Shop. Try the homemade pastry….calories don’t count while you are on vacation, right?
What about boutique hotels, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?
The Ambassador Hotel in downtown Tulsa was built in 1929. Think about that date..and remember that the country was in dire straights at that time and this was the top of luxury. You’ll find all the usual – wifi, clean spacious rooms, and wonderful staff, but the real reason to stay at the Ambassador is the restaurant.
The Chalkboard has taken ‘regular’ food and put a delicious twist on it. Try the pancakes – not the ordinary! If you are lucky enough to visit during the fall ask the bartender about the custom fall drink. It is brewed for weeks and is wonderful. The chefs and bartenders are always trying something new….and wonderful! The Chalkboard restaurant has a very hip feel to it. The art on the walls makes for interesting conversation!
Where are the best hang outs during the day?
Riverside park is a great hangout spot with miles of hiking and biking. When you get parched or famished, try the Blue Rose for food. Try the famous cheese fries!
flowers image source
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Tulsa and what are their best dishes?
My favorite is for Italian food lovers! Villa Ravenna has amazing food in a romantic, candle lit atmosphere. What to choose? Aragosta with Spaghetti? Bistecca alla Marsala – all fantastic, but do try the grilled pear gorgonzola, which is a specialty.
For continental food try Flemings: Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. Not only is the food magical and the atmosphere devine, but they have an award winning collection of wines they call “Fleming’s 100”. Describe what you like – bubbly and festive? fragrant and fruity? velvety and full bodied? Fill out the award winning custom iPad app called WiNEPAD to find the perfect wine!
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
Antoinette’s Baking Company is located In Brookside and has THE most fantastic desserts. Ask around about everyone’s favorite and it will be a toss up between the Velvet Elvis ( banana cream pie with bacon, marshmallow, and peanut butter) and Versailles Pie (dark chocolate earl grey custard with lemon whipped cream).
Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers?
Shopping in Brookside’s collection of boutiques in fun, fun, fun! Try Shopgirls for a taste of the latest and greatest. You never know what you’ll find for trendy fun!
Feel like hip and happening shopping? Head over to Ida-Red which is billed as “Tulsa’s Rocking Boutiqe”.
Miss Jackson’s in Utica Square has been a staple of Tulsa shopping for 100 years. This department store is one stop luxury shopping. Enjoy the spa and have a make over before a big night on the town! A rare spot that not only stores and cleans your real fur coats, but if that coat is feeling out of style, you can make an appointment to have your coat restyled.
What are a couple of the best salons and spas in Tulsa?
My favorite spa is Ihloff Salon and Day Spa in Utica Square. When you pass through the doors and put on a fluffy, cozy robe, you feel positively transported! Massages of all types are offered. I’d like to have one of each, please!
Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?
For fantastic Japanese cuisine AND a great view of the sunset, then Zanmai is your spot. Located on trendy Cherry Street. Make reservations and dress in your night life clothes for fun!
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks.
For drinks, head to The Saturn Room which is the hip and happening tiki bar in Tulsa or Mixed Company Mayo and enjoy the views from the rooftop bar. The drinks at the Mixed Company Mayo are amazing along with the names: Smoke and Mirrors, High Violet, and The Longest War.
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Bio: The Educational Tourist loves travel of all types but especially with the kids in tow. Her travel guides for kids give the background on art, history, music and makes the journey even MORE interesting (and they serve as Cliff Notes for adults!) Get travel tips and inspiration, too. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Woweeeee that looks amazing! Such a good guide, I never though much of Tulsa as a place to explore, but looks like I need to update that!
21 year old backpacker who funds her travels by working on superyachts in the mediterranean