My love affair with Starwood’s Aloft brand continues. This time I’ve visited their outlet in Calgary which opened about 8 months ago. I had a one night stay here and I found this hotel to be as unique as their other properties in the public spaces, and almost exactly the same in the rooms as any other location I’ve visited over the past few years. Which is kind of comforting if you ask me.
This particular location (they only have one in Calgary) is located near the University and the Calgary Stampede Football Stadium. It’s near a ton of low budget hotels, so its modern façade and the fact that it’s a new build make it really stand out.
I’ve stayed next door half a dozen times at the Hampton Inn, and its fine nothing special, but when I need to be on this since of town I will for sure stay here again. The location is perfectly fine, it’s close to the University as I mentioned, also a couple malls and tons of restaurant, and is only about 10 minutes drive from Deerfoot Trail (Highway 2). So it’s pretty convenient to a lot.
360 view of the lobby from the pool fireplace
Traveling is not always all it’s cracked up to be. But most of the time it is. I’ve had a pretty busy end of November and most of December. I really enjoy spending time seeing new sights and getting to spend time on planes, especially when on vacation and when I get to sit and sleep in a suite like this.
Asiana a380 first class!!
That being said in the past month, I’ve been away from home 25 of 28 days, and I’m just looking forward to Continue reading
Getting settled on Lufthansa LH 491 Seattle to Frankfurt
Cashing in my last 300,000 United miles
American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco
Flying First Class on Lufthansa Seattle-Frankfurt
Rubber Ducks, Cured Meats and VOSS – Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt
Flying First Class on Thai Airways also on the a380
Thai Airways Domestic Business Class -Bangkok to Koh Samui
The Conrad hotel Koh Samui
Flying Asiana Airlines on the a380
Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui
For the first time in a long time, three and a half years if anyone’s counting. My amazing wife and I are going on our first solo vacation without our little princess. Please don’t get me wrong, we have had plenty of great vacations during DINKhood, and lots of spectacular ones afterwards with little S, but celebrating a milestone of this magnitude required something epic.
In this case flying around the world would do the trick and cashing in my last 300,000 United Airlines miles for us to fly First Class to Thailand was in order. Neither of us have ever done either of these things and I thought this was the best way to celebrate such a special occasion.
I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand, I think the kindness of the people and the amazing blue water are what have drawn me in. I’ve never been there save a 2 hour layover at the airport a few years back so having almost a week there has me giddy as a schoolgirl.
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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.
The travel backpack
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
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.
Our entire wedding party. We all were so young!!
I love to travel, but I also love to spend time with my family too whether it’s at home or out of town. Frankly it doesn’t matter where we are it just matters that we are together. So to have a stretch of eight weeks where I’m only out of town three times for work is just great. In fact in my world it’s almost unheard of especially in the summer. Most of the time I’m gone part of the week for six of eight weeks of even under extreme circumstances 10 straight weeks.
Getting time at home lets me settle into a routine I don’t get this often. I get to see my daughter in the morning when she wakes up, say goodbye when she goes to daycare, and then walk or drive to daycare to pick her up at the end of the day. Plus I get to make or source dinner (in other words get take-out) water the vegetables with the kiddo and even pick them together too. Not bad for a day’s work. It’s the little things like this that you miss when you’re not at home every day or night. Plus I get to participate in the bedtime routine which at times is stressful, but still as a parent I relish getting to participate.
The other great part of being home is spending time with my better half. Again getting to spend anytime let alone quality time together is just precious. Sometimes unfortunately I’ve taken for granted that we’ve been together for almost 15 years. And getting extended time at home reminds me how important it is to be here, whether that mean physically here or mentally here when gone.
All I can say is I’m loving life and loving being with the family. We’ve had a good summer so far. A week Disney World, a weekend at the lake, a cup of coffee in Hawaii and a camping trip this weekend.
The fountain view from 35 stories up
The family and I recently spent a cup of coffee at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. Unfortunately I didn’t get a single picture of our 1 Bedroom Suite in the Diamond Head tower. I usually try to do this but with five of us staying here and with so much excitement to get to the beach as soon as we walked into the room our bags exploded and the room was a mess. That being said I can at least provide you with some insight into the property and my thoughts about staying here.
First off let me tell you that this property is HUGE. It’s the largest Hilton property with almost 4000 rooms on 22 acres of beachfront property. I’m not sure how many high-rise buildings are on the property, but I’d say it’s close to 10. Additionally there are over 22 restaurants on site, tons of stores to shop in, two ABC Stores, Three Starbucks and a pear tree. Continue reading