Yup this was breakfast
Ok let me start off by saying in the grand scheme of things my issues are minor at best. But when you travel too much like I do, you’re sensitive to wanting a good night’s rest and a good start to the day.
Also in this case the hotel immediately gave me a room refund once I complained. So for that I’m happy, but did it really make me happy?
I had a one night stay at the aLoft Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga this week. I specifically stayed here to take advantage of two sweet Starwood promotions that I could achieve in a one night stay. One was the 2500 Starwood points for using keyless entry and the other was 2015 Starwood points in 2015. For me to earn these points I needed a stay at a hotel that had keyless entry. This hotel fit the bill, but was 80 miles roundtrip from where I was working. But for 4515 extra points it was worth it, or so I thought. Continue reading
I’m always excited to try out a new hotel brand, so when I’m in a city that has one I’ll do my best to check it out. On a recent trip to Dallas, Texas I was able to do just that and stayed at the Element DFW. Element Hotel is one of the new/hip extended stay brands made for the 20-40 something traveler. It offers rooms with full kitchens, separate sleeping/sitting areas and modern lobbies with a communal vibe and a nod towards environmentally friendly building supplies and green hotel habits.
Hilton is finally expanding their keyless entry program and I’m excited to have a chance to try it out at the Hilton Kansas City Airport. At the moment I’m under the impression they have 23 locations worldwide that offer this feature, where until a few weeks ago it was a whopping one hotel. I didn’t pick this property because of this but I’m happy I get to check it out. Plus thought the end of November you get a bonus 2500 Hilton Honors points for using it. Here’s a link to the promotion. I’m hopeful that I’ll get the bonus points, it seems you don’t need to register for the promotion, just check in via the mobile AP, so cross your fingers.
Back in June Hyatt offered a really great status match opportunity (its way beyond dead now). If you registered for the promo and in eight weeks stayed 12 nights not only would you get their top tier status (Diamond) through 2016 but you’d also get four upgrade certificates.
For me this promo was available at the perfect time. I had already qualified for top tier with Hilton and Starwood and I enjoy those brands, but I was looking to diversify a bit and try out other hotel chains and see what they had to offer. But, being spoiled if you can call it that these days, I was used to free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and on occasion great upgrades based on my status. So starting at the bottom with zero status was not happening.
Several months back I got to work on my suntan in central Florida on the gulf side. While I was in Fort Myers, I spent a few nights at the Doubletree Suites Naples Florida.
It was a sleepy little hotel and offered up a pretty decent spot to rest my head. After checking in I went up to the room and was happily greeted with a nice two room suite. Yippee!! Well there all suites Dummy. Continue reading
After my stupid good flight on Singapore Airlines from Shanghai to Singapore, I had about 12 hours to kill before heading out on SQ 12 Suites Class to Los Angeles. I arrived at about 10 PM and could have easily slummed it at the airport. The lounges are open 24 hours and there’s a transit hotel and a Crowne Plaza connected to Terminal 3. Besides these hotels Singapore is chock full of 5 star properties that run the gamut of hotel chains. I was trying to stay on a budget of sorts and based on cost would have used points or cash depending on how expensive the hotel was I would end up staying at. In this case it came down to how much time I would actually have at the hotel and how much it would cost, and decided that the Sheraton Towers Singapore on cash was the best way to go. I really wanted to stay at the Conrad or W Sentosa Island, but they were both too expensive anyway you sliced it (cash, points, or cash points).
After a quick cab ride I was quickly greeted by reception at the hotel. It was quiet at reception, but there was a wedding going on one level up and you could tell people were having a really great time. I had requested a Sweet Suite Upgrade. As a Starwood Platinum who stayed 50 nights with them in 2014, I get 10 confirmable upgrades. These can be used and will confirm up to 5 days out from arrival. At the four day mark I received an email letting me know I had been upgraded to an Executive Suite. This is my fourth year as Platinum, but the first year I’ve qualified on nights and gotten the 10 upgrades, so I had no idea how good a deal this could or would be. In this case once I got there I was assigned my room and quickly went off to get some shut eye. On a side note, I’ve almost gotten upgrades as a Platinum, so I’m hopeful that the Sweet Suite Upgrades will actually get me an upgrade when I haven’t previously. Continue reading
REVIEW: HILTON NARITA
Lobby water fountain
After a very very long day of traveling from Boston to Tokyo, via SFO and Seoul I finally arrived at Narita Airport. After a quick walk through customs and a jaunt through the arrivals hall I was finally outside. This was my first breath of non-airport air in over 1 ½ days. Ouch. I had booked one night at the Narita Hilton for two reasons it was close to the airport and was really cheap for some reason on the night I was there. I landed at 9:30 PM and had a 9:20 AM flight the next day and I wanted to be sort of close to the airport. Initially I was more interested in staying in a downtown hotel or one at Tokyo Bay, but after researching the many options to get to these properties, the time it would take and the cost I thought it best to stay closer to the airport. In fact a lot of the bus services seemed to end service for the night between 9-10 PM and the last thing I wanted to have to do was take a cab. I would gladly take a train but with most of the hotels I wanted to say at taking over an hour to get to via train, I was just not interested. Continue reading
Over the past month I’ve stayed here twice. For a full service hotel not in Calgary or Edmonton, this is a pretty good spot.
They offer a 13 story tower wing and a two story section called the west wing. Apparently it was the original part of the hotel and over the years the original owners added on to it. According to the staff Sheraton purchased it from the family 4-5 years ago, and during that time they are bringing it up to Starwood and Sheraton standards.
180 view of living room, bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom Continue reading
Just another week in paradise I suppose. After my amazing stay at the Sheraton Red Deer, well not really. It must have been a precursor to the week ahead.
Now to be fair the hotel is perfectly fine. I’ve stayed here two times and the rooms are fine at least in the tower section that is. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting three rooms. Well not sure if call that a pleasure when you’ve only stayed there twice.
To recap the hotel had a planned power outage that was to last only four hours from 2-6 pm. I got there just a shade after 2 and they explained the deal sure no problem, except they didn’t inform anyone who had a reservation. Oops. Anyhow I hoofed it nine floors dumped my stuff and left the hotel to find something to do. They texted me at 5 letting me know lights would be back on at 6. Cool deal.
Fast forward I’m still sitting in the lobby and at 7:15 pm finally, the power goes on but not the elevators. Again I do the stair master mind you there are no lights in the stairwell so they have glow sticks and have a staff member walk me up. Anyhow, at 8 the power goes out again. Holy crap. Seriously. So they move me to a different wing that has power. If I had only known I would have moved there initially. Anyhow read my rant here if you’re interested.
But as I said earlier this crappy day was the tone setter for the week. My trip to the client’s office is an hour about 60 miles on two lane snow covered roads. At the 30 mile mark a sign states the bridge was out. WTF. This is the only way I know how to get to their office in rural Alberta. GPS was no help, so I found my way to a gas station 20 miles away, and got some okay directions. 11/2 hours later I made it to the office. A total of 2 1/2 hours, damn I was pissed. GPS was no help and I had no data due to being international so I limped along. Mental note when in Canada, have maps and alternate directions.
The kicker, I had the same commute back that night and also snow to contend with about 6-8 inches that fell all through the day. Oh the joy. Ultimately, this was my commute for two days, it sucked. I don’t mind the one hour commute, it’s a beautiful drive in the valley, but 2 1/2 each way, that’s ridiculous.
Uugh what a week.
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