Friday, February 12, 2010


As the world descends on Vancouver, YVR airport is warning passengers to arrive for flights 4 hours prior to departure, to navigate the check-in and security process. Hopefully this will give you time to relax in a lounge near your gate, but I have spent an hour in line at YVR, at a time that there was not heavy traffic, so I wish the athletes luck! Fortunately, they have had endurance training that will give them the fortitude to stand in line for hours. At this time, being able to escape the airport stress by relaxing in a lounge with refreshment is a must! Passengers travelling in a qualifying class of service are entitled to Maple Leaf Lounge access. The other way to enter the lounge is with elite status along with a same-day confirmed travel on a departing Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, Star Alliance or an Air Canada Codeshare flight. You can even redeem Aeroplan® Miles for Maple Leaf™ Club memberships and Lounge passes

The opening ceremony at the Richmond Olympic oval stadium presenting 4,500 performers and a parade of nations is impressive. We can’t all be there but we will want to visit Vancouver at some time because it is one of the beautiful cities that should be on your “bucket” list to visit. There is so much to do and see:

You can take a city tour on a cute trolley or a trip to see whales. An aquabus docks at the foot of Howe Street. It takes you to Granville Islands public market and the Granville island ferry docks at Sunset beach below the Burrard Street Bridge every 8 minutes. Vancouver's Art museum displays collections of art by native Inuit Indians to European masters.

The water front restaurants are wonderful. You can eat curry in the Indian Punjabi Market, in the southern part of the city or shop in the China Town district, primarily concentrated along Hastings, Pender to Gore streets. On the subject of food; -après skiers, or après ski watchers enjoy Araxi Restaurant, located in the center of Whistler Village. +The Fairmont Hotel Whistler. Whistler is a visually stunning 2 hour drive from Vancouver.

Combining the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, the majesty of the Coastal Mountains, and a mild climate makes Vancouver one of the most live-able, fun cities in the world. It is an outdoor city and public transportation is so comprehensive that you don’t even have to rent a car. The Skytrain and Seabus Pass is C$9.00 adult. BC transit’ accommodates cyclists on the Sky Train and buses.

Hotels that I like are:
  • The FAIRMONT Hotel Vancouver has great views of the harbor, sumptuous surroundings and an opulent spa and health club.
  • The RENAISSANCE Vancouver Hotel has a mesmerizing view of the harbor side. I sat on the balcony for a couple of hours watching the float planes, (see the 2 photos above) Ask for a room with breathtaking mountain and city views facing Coal Harbour.The Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside has an offer to see Vancouver on a replica, turn-of-the-century, San Francisco Style trolley. Visit the city's most spectacular attractions, parks, gardesn, galleries, and restaurants. Your trolley ticket is included in the Rate of $279 CAD, Valid Through: December 31, 2010
  • On a subsequent visit I stayed at the Vancouver MARRIOTT Pinnacle Downtown Hotel. It is across the road from the Renaissance. Try to get one of the larger unusually shaped round-sided rooms. Stay 2 nights and your 3rd night is free. Book a long weekend across great cities throughout Canada. For every 2 nights you reserve, receive your 3rd night free.
  • Nestled in the Fraser Valley, the SHERATON Vancouver Guildford Hotel has recently undergone a complete transformation and is ready to welcome Olympians.
  • I like staying at the HYATT Regency, because it is truly downtown, with a concentration of shopping, restaurants and business hi-rises on Burrard Street. Incidentally, HYATT GOLD PASSPORT members have an offer to receive $25 credit when you stay at Hyatts, through March 17th and receive a hotel credit.
  • THE WESTIN GRAND on Robson street is an all-suites hotel located at the crossroads of trendy Yaletown and Robson streets in beautiful downtown Vancouver
  • My favourite hotel is the SHERATON VANCOUVER WALL CENTER on Burrard Street. It has a really nice club concierge lounge with a spectacular Pacific Ocean view. The hotel is within walking distance of Vancouver's best restaurants, the comedy club and top galleries.
I like to watch the ice dancing but Curling is like watching paint drying. Curling is a Kind of shuffleboard on ice, it originated in Scotland and it is the most boring sport to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing the Texan Chad Hedrick speed skating on the 23rd of February, the flying tomato on a snowboard and another snowboarder, Gretchen Bleiler.

Now, you can start planning a trip to the U.K. because they have been chosen to host the 2012 London Olympics.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fly to/From London and back for just 35,000 miles

I remember the good old days when I could fly to London with only 40,000 OnePass miles. Unfortunately, it has become too difficult to book flights using miles, now that Continental has switched to StarAlliance, because their partners make so few seats available for award travel. Star Alliance is the biggest network, but sometimes it is easier to deal with a smaller network. Now a reward using SaverPass Rewards can be obtained using 55,000 miles on OnePass airline partners but are capacity-controlled and may not be available on certain flights where demand is high, so you will need to pay 100,000 miles for a free EasyPass seat. You can get a free flight from New York to London with a DELTA - SkyMiles award travel, from 90,000 round trip + $ 205.30 Taxes/Fees.
VIRGINS Flying Club has lowered the Economy seat redemption fares. Now you can fly in Economy from Orlando to London and back for just 35,000 miles. Take advantage of this redemption sale fare while it lasts. With Virgins global network of airline partners like BMI & Air New Zealand, you can reach hundreds of destinations around the world. If you fly from England to USA with VIRGIN Atlantic Airline and Book by 09 February 2010, you can fly economy from £299, Premium Economy from £542 and first, Upper class for USA from £1,487 and you’ll earn Flying Club miles, which you can spend on great rewards.

I'm at Buckingham Palace in this photo.

For $398 you can fly with BRITISH AIRWAYS Spring Fare Sale to Europe (R/T) advertised on Travelocity, but you won’t get miles for the flight. CONTINENTAL, will increase its schedule of flights between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and London/Heathrow, during 2010 They will have flat bed seats that I love. . It's so difficult to sleep while holding on to the tilted slide seat!
I also, love. , to shop at Bond Street designer shops. Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and Burberry are a few to name. The lower end stores are also fun on Oxford Street where you’ll find Selfridge’s department store and then hop on a short bus or tube ride to Harrods. London is an enormous city but try to see the famous landmarks:- Big Ben, The Gherkin, St Paul’s , The Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

Crowne Plaza St James London BUCKINGHAM GATE has rooms from £157.00 & your earn Priority club points with their present offer to earn an additional 1,000 bonus points or 200 bonus miles every qualifying night you stay - up to 20,000 points or 4,000 miles till April 2010. The nicest hotel to earn Priority Club points is the InterContinental LONDON PARK LANE, with rates from £200 .00. It was, once the site of a royal residence, conveniently located between Mayfair and Knightsbridge in view of Buckingham Palace, the hotel is not far from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

An hour away from central London is Hampton Court Palace on the banks of the river Thames. It was the home of King Henry VIII, one of his wives, Catherine Howard, who was beheaded for treason / adultery, roams the hall as a ghost. Hampton has the most famous maze in the world. Entrance to the Castle is only £3.50.
The London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, is also within the West End, Mayfair. Deals are:
  • Save 30% When you stay for breakfast in London this winter
  • Exclusive London Fashion Week packages
  • London Theatre Breaks with Marriott