Posts Tagged With: Reviews

My Virgin Experience- SFO To Dallas Love Field

IMG_1627I’ve flown Virgin America a handful of times from the Bay Area, but all of my flights have been to Las Vegas or San Diego and only in Coach. I was needing to head to Dallas and found a First Class fare $50 cheaper then any other airlines coach ticket, even Southwest!! Well what’s a person to do, fly in the back of the bus for more moolah or fly up front for less. Let’s think about it for maybe two seconds. I immediately bought my ticket to Dallas Love Field on Virgin America from SFO and away I went.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Airlines, Review, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Review: Starwood Element DFW

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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.

 

 

 

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Categories: Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tool: Hilton Kansas City-Keyless Entry (Digital Key)

 

 

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.

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Categories: Hilton Hotels, Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Mission Accomplished: First Class RTW on A380’s- Emirates Dubai to Seoul, My Final Flight

TRIP REPORT INDEX: AROUND THE WORLD IN FIRST ON THE A380

Sadly all good things must come to an end, scratch that, it would be nice if they didn’t. This was my last flight of my a380 around the world trip. And I was a little sad about it for sure. I had three count them three great flights on Singapore Airlines on their a380’s and one amazing flight thus far on Emirates and now I was about to embark from Dubai to Seoul.

After about a seven hour layover in Dubai in their glorious terminal three lounge I headed for the plane. When departing from T-3 in first class you have the opportunity of boarding from it. There are gates on the fourth level in the lounge, once your boarding pass is scanned you take an elevator down two levels and walk to your plane. The only other people on this level are other guests heading to their flights also in first. Once you make your way to your plane you board on the upper deck turn left and head to your seat. You know you’re living the good life!!

 

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My coach for the next 8 1/2 hours

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Categories: a380, Around the world, Emirates, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Put Up Your Dukes American vs United Transcontinental Service To Boston

As part of my larger epic around the world trip spanning 6 countries and over 42,000 miles ,I had the opportunity to fly United in domestic first class from Boston to San Francisco and American Los Angeles to Boston. Since both carriers for the moment offer similar airplanes on the routes narrow body Boeings and Airbuses, I thought I’d do a comparison of the two airlines.

Now to be fair United will be utilizing their PS Transcon 757’s for a few months later this year on the BOS-LAX route which will definitely be a leg up on AA or anyone else for that matter, but for now they offer the same product, here’s a good write up on what UA will be doing if you’re interested (thanks to Rocky on Doublewides fly for the review).

 Seat

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Ok so this is not the best picture of the seat, but it is a GREAT picture of my beautiful daughter in an AA 737 first class seat.

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Categories: American Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tips, United Airlines | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Rant On

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.

Categories: Hotels, Rant, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Aloft Calgary University

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.

 

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360 view of the lobby from the pool fireplace
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Categories: Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Asiana First Class Lounge-Seoul Inchon

Asiana First Class Lounge-Seoul Inchon

Introduction

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

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana First Class Lounge- Seoul Inchon

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui

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The lounge view from the dining area

After a sleep filled flight from Bangkok to Seoul, we had eight hours to kill  at the airport We decided that the best place to do that would be in the Asiana First Class lounge. We arrived at 6 AM and our departure was around 2 PM. Upon arrival in the lounge we found many open sections. Although there were a few people in the lounge maybe 8, it was so large that it felt incredibly empty. In fact there was not one time that I ever felt crowded. It was an incredible departure from the Thai business class lounge we were at in Bangkok and most lounges in the US. Then again it’s a first class lounge, and you have to be flying on one of the Star Alliance first class flights to have access. Continue reading

Categories: Airport, Around the world, Asiana, Lounges, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: | 2 Comments

Review: Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Than Amazing Service

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

Introduction

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

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui

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As part of our around the world trip we decided to go to Thailand and the island of Koh Samui. Since I’m a sucker for Conrad Hotels, we chose to stay at their property. Over the years we’ve been spoiled at other Conrads in Bali, Maldives, Singapore and Hong Kong to name a few. Basically over the years, I’ve gone to their website looked at the hotels in their portfolio and tailored my vacations around them. That’s how much I love this chain. Granted because it’s a Hilton Hotel Group I like to stay at them because I can earn points, use points and get my Diamond benefits like free breakfast, Wi-Fi, upgrades and lounge access. In many cases, the properties are pretty expensive and without my points we’d just not be able to afford to stay at them.

After a very very long trip to get here (if you’re curious about how we got here check out the rest of the trip report) we finally arrived. The view from the check in reception lobby was just as spectacular as advertised. Conrad is located on the Southwest side of the island about 45 minutes from the airport along the coast. Because it’s situated on a very large hillside or mountain if you have to hike it, you have incredible views and virtually unobstructed views. The check in desk is situated at the top of the hill, and surveys all of the resort. Which gives you a glimpse of what the incredibly beautiful hotel has to offer.

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The incredible view from the check in area

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Categories: Around the world, Hilton Hotels, Hotels, Review, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Good Times Seem Long Behind Ontario Airport

I’ve not been to Ontario International Airport in probably seven years, and boy was I surprised at its transformation from a bustling airport with over 7.2 million passengers per year in its heyday to just under 4 million in 2013. A once bustling airport with two terminals and an incredible amount of air traffic. Now sadly it’s just a shell of its former self. I went out of terminal two which is shared by United, Alaska, Volaris and Aeromexico and this place was a morgue as you can see.  The other terminal houses American, Delta and Southwest and I can’t imagine anyone other Southwest having any lift there. The check in counters were empty save for a few staff. When I went through security I was the only person in line at 10:30 am on the Friday before Christmas. In fact pre-check was open but the staff had to walk over from “normal” security just to get me.


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Categories: Airport, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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