For our 10 year anniversary we had lots of choices of places to stay in Maui, I was trying to stay at one of the Starwood properties, there are three here. Initially we had booked using points to stay at the Sheraton Ka’anapali Resort, it was close to $300 per night so we opted to use points instead and on a 5 night stay we got the room for 8k Starpoints per night instead of the usual 12k. Being a hotel it appeared to have the usual amenities, was on the beach, had a kids club and offered free breakfast for SPG Platinum guests.
Sadly vacation must always come to an end, and ours finally did on Sunday. We had initially booked these tickets to/from Hawaii on Delta, back in December. The trip was for September 5 to 14 and was a simple roundtrip to/from Maui from SFO via LAX. This was part of the crazy mistake fare that lasted some 5 hours where Delta was selling tickets to/from anywhere in the US for tens of dollars per ticket. In some cases the tickets were in first class to boot.
We were lucky enough to score two sets of these tickets the others were used to get to Orlando back in May, and cost about $100 for three coach tickets all in. These were just a bit more at $150 all in for three tickets and included the short segment in first. Sure first class to Hawaii would have been cool, but $150 for three tickets all in sure is great too, so I’ll take it.
As a parent of a three year old daughter who’s not only precocious, but not one that’s interested in sitting still, and who’d rather play preparing for a plane trip can be intimidating. At home getting her to sit down for anything other than a meal or TV is nearly impossible. Now I know I’m not the only parent that has this dilemma, it’s a pretty common one in fact. Kids like to play, run around and just do stuff. And frankly that’s what I want her to do. It’s an important part of her child development. Besides they can get bored easily, so having a slew of entertainment is important regardless of the situation. I’m not an expert in picking travel distractions, but with at least 15 air trips with our kid since she was eight weeks old, and taking three major international trips to the Maldives, Australia and London. I can at least say I’ve learned a few nuggets of information worthy of sharing.
We were finally in the Hawaiian Islands after a very long trip, but we had one last short flight to take. After landing in Maui we had 50 minutes to connect to our little Boeing 717 to Kona on the Big Island. If I’ve flown Hawaiian before it was so long ago that I can’t remember. I know I’d flown Aloha Airlines several times before they went out of business, but I’m just not sure about Hawaiian. It was a short trip, the flight is blocked out for only 32 minutes for this 84 mile jaunt but from wheels up to wheels down it’s only took 21. Continue reading
Vacation is finally here! I know it may seem I’m perpetually on vacation, but that’s not really the case. I’m fortunate to get almost four weeks off per year, so that allows us to plan a few trips each year. The last couple years we’ve done two two week trips, but this year we switched it up and decided to take three one week ones instead. So this time around were going to Hawaii. Wait, hang on, if you read this blog regularly, you might be thinking that we went there already this year, and we did. But that was only for the weekend. This trip is a bit longer, and were going to two different islands this time since we like to island hop.
In any event I’m incredibly excited to be on vacation, for many reasons but mainly because I get to celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary. It’s pretty crazy to think that it’s been 10 years, it really doesn’t seem like that long. Even though we have so many aspirational places we want to visit, Hawaii always makes the list, because it’s such a fun place. There’s so much to do, the scenery, beaches and food are outstanding and it’s close to home. We wanted to do something fun and close to home and a place our daughter would enjoy too, so when it came to places to vacation, Hawaii was top of the list.
I had a great time in Chicago, it was a really great city to walk around and enjoy. The city is just enormous and has some of the tallest building in North America. It also well was/is home to some storied companies such as Sears, Montgomery Ward, F.W. Woolworth’s, Prudential, Wrigley and the local Tribune newspaper.
During our visit I had a chance to take the amazing Architectural river boat cruise and see many of these amazing buildings for a really great vantage point. The tour was really really great. It truly brought the city to life and allowed me to see the city on a way that I had not expected to see it in. The tour guide did a great job of describing the buildings and explaining why they were designed the way they were and talked a ton about the history of the city and its growth. Besides that he added a good bit of humor to keep the tour light and interesting too. I know that if I had not been on this three hour tour (really just 1 ½), I would not have come away from Chicago with as much knowledge as I did about the history of it.
Wrigley Field, what a gem. I was so excited to finally make it to this mecca, where they have been playing baseball for the past 100 years. Last week my friend and I went to Chicago to specifically visit Wrigley and root on the San Francisco Giants during their three game visit here. This trip had been planned since early January and I was so excited to finally visit Chicago as a tourist and get the chance to see the Cubs home park. Wrigley Field is famous for several things, it’s the oldest ballpark still being used for Major League Baseball, it has an ivy covered outfield wall and there are bleachers on many of the buildings outside the park that have views of the field. This kind of charm just can’t be manufactured, and although there are some amazing newer ballparks, this one harkens back to a different time. They still have a manual outfield scoreboard (it’s supposed to be retired after this year), they have very limited advertising and very few electronic signs. You’re reminded of a much simpler time when you actually went to a game to watch it.
What else do you do in Chicago besides baseball and sightseeing? Eat of course! This is a town with so many acclaimed chefs and amazing restaurants. Beside the fancy places you have so many simple yet great foods to eat here too. Although the main focus of this trip was baseball, I had to eat so here are a few pictures of some of my favorites.
I like Conrad Hotels, check that I love Conrad Hotels. Ever since our first stay at the Conrad Bali in 2007 I have been hooked on this chain. Of the 24 current locations of this boutique hotel chain operated by Hilton I’ve since stayed in eight of them, and overall I have loved all of them.
The Conrad Chicago, was no exception. Sure it’s not an amazing resort hotel like the Conrad Maldives or Bali, but for a city hotel it was good. The hotel interior was beautiful. The lobby as you can see has tons of seating, with several small intimate areas which was great. The lobby also featured a separate indoor and outdoor bar called Terraces. Unfortunately the outdoor area was closed except for my first night. I figured I’d have plenty of time to check it out, but unfortunately due to the rain and crummy weather it was always closed. Next time I need to strike while the iron is hot. That being said the bar was pretty hip, had a nice drink menu and was a nice hangout. Continue reading
Lou Malnati’s is damn good pizza, I repeat damn good pizza. They are a Chicago institution and make a mean pizza. They have an amazing butter crust, the perfect amount of cheese and simple toppings. In this case I picked up three of them (sausage, pepperoni and vegetarian). They offer premade fresh frozen pizzas, so I had to take some home so my wife could experience it. Since this was not in the original plan, I had to confirm that the hotel would keep them frozen in the kitchen then I hit up Trader Joe’s for an insulated cooler bag, and I was set. Continue reading