Review: Aloft Portland

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Cookie Cookie Cookie

I like the Aloft brand. It’s straightforward, they have two room types, a cool social space aka a bar, and overall you know what you’re going to get. It’s just that simple. At this particular check in the receptionist mentioned that this was my 10th Aloft stay this year, which proves I like Alofts since I only have 22 stays at Starwood properties, I really must like them. Continue reading

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The landscape of The Big Island

Yes this is all from the same little island. I just love how The Big Island of Hawaii is so diverse in it’s landscape flora and fauna.

 

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Mamas Fish House – Paia, Hawaii

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Happy 10 year anniversary

There’s not much to say here except that this is by far one of my favorite places to have dinner when visiting Maui. I have only been to the island three times, but my wife has always made it a point to make sure we have one meal here. It’s right on the beach and although a very large restaurant, it’s broken up into many smaller dining rooms, so you never really feel like you’re in a crowded place even though it probably seats 200+. Being that it’s so iconic it’s THE place to visit on a special occasion, like ours.

As usual the food was amazing and the service was excellent. We also felt welcome bringing our kid, we didn’t see too many there during our visit, but there were a few. Always a plus when you’re not the only parent that gets to bring your kid out to dinner on a very very special occasion and knowing others have too. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The entrance to the parking lot

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Categories: Family, Food, Hawaii, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Making Cofffeeee

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Kona Coffee on my in-laws farm is truly a labor of love. Except for the husking and roasting the rest of the process is 100% manual. When we were visiting last week we had a chance to help harvest some of the trees. They have a small stand of some 50 or so, and can produce a fair share of real Kona Coffee right here on the Kona Coast each year. It’s a pretty cool process to watch and participate in (although I really only watched), my wife and daughter did all the harvesting. Continue reading

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Review: The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas

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.

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Lobby reception

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Categories: Family, Hawaii, Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids, Trip Report | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The power of the schedule change

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.

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What’s in your backpack? (What to bring when flying with kiddos)

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.

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The travel backpack

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The Short Hop: Hawaiian Airlines Maui to Kona

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Aloha

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

Categories: Airlines, Family, Hawaii, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Aloha Again Hawaii

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10 years has flown by. Before a selfie was a selfie

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.

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Our entire wedding party. We all were so young!!

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Categories: Family, Hawaii, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Hoofing it: Wandering the Windy City (and by Boat)

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.

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My golden ticket for the Architectural Boat Tour

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Trump Tower,second largest building in Chicago.

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Categories: Cruising, Photography, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report, Wandering the city | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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