Thursday, December 13, 2012

My favorite hotels in Holland

 054My favorite sanctuary hotel in Holland is the Sheraton Amsterdam. It’s at the top of my list because it is a well managed business hotel with great suites and a really nice club lounge. It has direct access to Schiphol Airport  and has been a place that I have enjoyed feeling comfortable at for many years. Unfortunately, they removed the swimming pool about 8 years ago. I heard that it was because hotels pay an extra tax for a pool; ~ that is believable because the only NL hotels that I know of, in a major metropolis, with a pool, is the Amstel and the Des Indes. There aren’t any really Luxurious hotels in The Netherlands. I think that the Sheraton, Amstel, Des Indes and the Sheraton are the best choice for tasteful comfort. A benefit of being a Starwood Platinum member is that I get to use the club  lounge for evening hors d'oeuvres and they usually do upgrade me 053to a suite. So it’s a quick hop and a skip from the plane and once I have checked in I am usually very comfortable and have a peaceful night’s sleep because the windows are soundproof. Their Voyager Restaurant has exquisite cuisine! A place I like to dine at with clients.


The Radisson Blu Hotel Amsterdam Airport, is not as convenient to get to the airport as the Sheraton, but they do have a complementary bus just outside Schiphol airport to the contemporary hotel. The lobby is very nice but the furnishings in the rooms are not so well-appointed

The InterContinental Amstel is a grand, palatial hotel built in 1867 on the river bank.If you want to stay in a grand suite with a four poster bed, I recommend that you stay here or at the Des Indes for a royal experience.

051 Park Hotel’s Tower Suite has a nice view of the VondelPark in Amsterdam. I have stayed at both the Marriott and the Renaissance in Amsterdam, many times over the years. I also like the Sofitel Hotel where you can step straight into Amsterdam’s history, with lodgings in canal houses dating back to the 17th century as is the Hotel Pulitzer. This is an ode to traditional Dutch canal architecture, a cluster of canal houses, situated in the heart of Amsterdam. They have a heated Espresso coffee garden at the Pulitzer, and a bar with a life-sized modified copy of Rembrandts painting, that would not please the Dutch Master, but ads joviality to the cozy room. The adjustments can be seen in this photo with our group. I prefer to stay at the Hotel Hotel Des Indes when I want to immerse myself in history. It is a haven of luxury in the heart of The Hague.

There are a few Hilton hotels in Holland, all in need of refurbishing. Room 702 is the most requested room at the Hilton in Amsterdam by Beatle fans because it was the room that John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed in for a week in 1880.

Many hotels in Holland have the bath in the same room as the bed. I don’t like this custom that I suspect the Van der Valk hotel Vianen started. They have a Jacuzzi in the bedroom of their “Jungle Suite”It comes with ghastly jungle noise and a green light from under the 4 poster bed!

I prefer a calmer traditional business style Hotel like the Airport Sheraton or the calming tasteful furnishings of the Amstel Hotel. I did enjoy staying at the Westin Hotel in Rotterdam, although the purple corridors were a bit seedy, anyway that hotel is no longer a Westin Hotel. Starwood only have 3 hotels in Holland now.

image image

Amstel InterContinental Hotel on the river

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sweet dreams on the 787 Dreamliner

I could scarcely contain my excitement as I boarded the Boeing 787 Dream liner inaugural flight! And was not disappointed! It is a real game changer in Aviation.
I would have liked to have a commemorative paper boarding pass but I showed my mobile boarding document on the screen of my iPhone at the gate. Both customers and United crew were smiling and visibly enthusiastic. Several grown men were behaving like school kids in line to board. Though, I was a little concerned when the gate agent said that we could board in 15 minutes, after, “ the crew had been trained” …hopefully he was not referring to the Captain.
Elitepro in a United 787
As we stepped into the well designed cabin, the softer lighting was apparent, bigger windows and bigger overhead bag compartments and a wider body than any other plane I’ve been on. Wider than the 777’s and 747’s that have 2 seats on each side of first class with one seat down the middle. The United 787 has 3 sets of 2 seats between the windows in first class, and 3 of 3 in economy. It uses 20% less fuel.
You can see the pleasant blue lighting in the vaulted ceilings in this photo. (Reminiscent of the surreal blue fake sky in the Vegas Venetian Mall). At night, the blue lighting fades to a whiter light that manages to give light while dark in the seating area. The seats recline to a true flat bed in a well designed compartment.
I  gobbled up the Smoked Salmon 2012-11-04 17.13.47and Capers, before I took this photo because I’m a salmon addict, but here is my scrumptious chicken cacciatore dinner.
The BEST is that you feel better, due to the cabin pressure getting more oxygen and less dry air.
Larger windows enable passengers without window seats to look out windows and enjoy the view. Unique electro-chromic shades dim the windows without a pull-down shade. It’s like having sunglasses in several shades on the windows.
I was glad to see the in seat power outlets and wonderful in-flight entertainment; -in 13 languages with more than 500 hours of programming. I was able to fast forward the movies, but it gave up on me and froze so on the return flight I could not watch while landing as I had done on the inbound. There are 70 United Economy Plus seats, feature a 35-inch pitch with 6 inches of recline. Standard 113 United Economy seats feature a 32-inch pitch with 5 inches of recline. It’s cconfigured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy.
787 1stclass seat DutyFreeMag It ‘s made of plastic – a revolutionary carbon fiber composite, yet its 4x stronger and lighter than aluminum and uses less fuel. ANA Airways took delivery of the first 787 in July 2011 in Tokyo’s Narita airport after many delays. They were convinced to purchase the aircraft after the Japanese Engineers hit the carbon fiber with a hammer and could not make a dent. ANA will have 20 787’s in 2013 and rival Japan Airlines has ordered 35 Dreamliners and plans to launch a 787 service from Tokyo to Boston from next April. Australia's Qantas cancelled orders for 35 Boeing Dreamliner jets to cut costs after posting a full-year net loss for the first time. United has ordered 50 of these aircraft.
United Airlines temporary domestic Routes for its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners are being phased in scheduled 787 service between Houston and each of its other domestic hubs beginning Nov, 4, 2012 and Yours Truly (I ) was on the very first flight. You can still catch one of their daily flights to LAX,  ORD and DEN before they start the international flights in December.
IAH-LAX-IAH 7:35 a.m. westbound
12:30 p.m. eastbound
thru March 31, 2013

United is the first Airline in the USA to fly them and I’m an old hand at flying it now that I’ve been on 2 787flights.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Frightful weather is coming to U.S. Airports, according to Accuweather Meteorologist Jack Boston due to el Nino, and also above normal snowfall for 2013 New Year. This means that we have to make sure that we get to the Airport on time because flights are full so it’s not easy to get on another flight if you miss yours or if a flight is cancelled due to bad weather.
halloween new orleans
Just in time for Halloween, you can stay longer with an offer from Hyatt Hotels “Stay More, Save More” at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. Enjoy up to 30% off your guestroom rate and a 50% discount on food and beverage. Or visit the city known for its cemeteries and voodoo culture, New Orleans takes Halloween seriously, with weeklong events and a 3 day Music fest. The city has often been called the most “Haunted City in America”. Party at Pat O'Brian or watch the Parade starting at 6 p.m. at Molly's. Hyatt Regency New Orleans has an offer to :
Welcome the morning with the John Besh package at Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which includes a daily breakfast buffet for two at 8 Block Kitchen & Bar, a $50 gift card to participating Besh restaurants and an autographed copy of Chef Besh's new cookbook.Jazz: Live at Hyatt on Friday and Saturday nights Book the John Besh Package and enjoy these amenities during your stay plus a Breakfast buffet for 2 at 8 Block Kitchen & Bar
Offer valid through December 31, 2013 Use special Offer |Code BESH to book the Room Rate of $234.00. I reserved the $259.00to get the Respire By Hyatt, Hypo-Allergenic Room, but you can get a room for as little at $134.10 if you don’t mind the non-refundable, no date changes rate in the Big Easy. This New Orleans AAA Four Diamond hotel re-opened its doors in the fall of 2011 after renovations due to Hurricane Katrina. It’s adjacent to the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, blocks from the French Quarter, Convention Center, and the Mississippi Riverfront.
For only £95 (=$152.24) stay at this Castle: St. Pierre, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club
St. Pierre, A Marriott Hotel is one of the most elegant and Spookily historical hotels in South Wales. We played golf and enjoyed the Spa, fitness club and 2 superb on-site restaurants.
In Ireland you can rent more than a Suite. You can rent a part of the Haunted castle from for about €300 a week like Huntington Castle built in 1621 on the sight of a 14th Century Abby, which was built on the site of a Druid temple.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hotels have to replace iPhone docks

Travel will be easier and you will even get updates to Gate changes on the new iPhone. Starwood Hotels, American, Delta, United, Virgin airlines and Amtrak are among the partners; the program will store your boarding pass and will bring it up, when you walk into the airport, it will display gate information.
The iPhone 5 has hit stores with the requisite fans lining up for days around the world in anticipation. I’m not so sure I want to hand in my iPhone to get it, because I may want to trade it in for the new windows 8 phone. Some of us are peeved at Apple because they are not letting old iPhone users download the updates and because they are changing the connectors. On Verizon LTE, talk and data is not possible at the same time and ATT LTE, the ATT iPhone cannot use LTE in Europe, other frequencies for LTE, I’m not even sure that you can use LTE on a Verizon model in Europe. Most of us that travel need to have a phone that we can use in other countries.
I have stayed at about 5 W Hotels that have charging stations for iPhones/ iPods. Apple is ditching the old cable for a new, thinner one, called Lightning. This means that a lot of hotels are going to have to replace the iPhone docks that they have in the rooms at considerable expense. This is an inconvenience for those who have bought a lot of accessories especially for Hotels with docks in each room . The CEO of NYLO Hotel, Michael Mueller said that, “the connectors cost him $30 for each of his 600 guest rooms and now he will have to replace the devices”. In the end we will pay higher rates for the rooms in this ultramodern, Dallas boutique lodging.
The apple iPhone 5 has a 4 inch screen so it is bigger and wider than previous releases. The iPhone 5 features better video and camera but many are complaining about the GPS  maps product  that replaced the Google version.
A new program, called “Passport” as a digital Wallet, is part of iOS 6 and available to users of earlier iPhone models, "will put all your digital coupons, tickets and loyalty cards in one place, and potentially, be a way one day to use the iPhone as a digital wallet," writes USA TODAY's Graham. I’ve tried this and like the Target coupons.
Here’s my rant about what I dislike about IOS 6:
  1. iOS 6 is not available for the Origional iPad as an update
  2. Turn-by-turn navigation and flyover are not available on IPhone4
  3. Siri is not available for iPhone 4
  4. Facetime over cellular is not available on iPhone 4
  5. I’ve come to rely on the map function on my iPhone showing me public transportation or cab like the blue line to the airport in Chicago.Reviewers criticized the new Apple Maps app, saying it fails to bring up major landmarks like the Empire State building and Union Square in San Francisco, the Yelp-powered Apple Maps misplaces businesses and there is no street view.
A friend thinks Apple's GPS navigation is cleaner than Google's, but it’s missing a lot. In Down-Town Houston, the H.Q. offices of big Oil companies like Shell and Exxon Mobil, appear as fuel stations and not as the skyscraper buildings that they are.
The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong has always been one of the first hotels to adapt to technology. They were the first hotel to have a phone in the bathroom and about 15 years ago had the music sound system there too. They have recently renovated a section of the rooms and installed iPhone/ipod docking stations. In addition, they have added several features to the rooms. 721_2_pen-hk_fsa-gA tablet, is the control device for everything inside the room, like the TV, lights, air-con and the curtains. I found 3 in total, 1 in the living room and 2 in the bedroom on either side of the bedside tables. Inside the draw of the night stands, there were headphones, power sockets and a charger for different type of gadgets. There was a DVD and docks for iPhone/ipod and inside the desk in the living room, there was a power station. It emerged from the desk with a touch of a button raising the coolness of the tasteful décor, - substantially. Even when making reservations on the tablet, hotel guests get priority when making reservations for the restaurants and at their renowned afternoon tea (not to be missed) I feel as if I’m sitting at the Ritz in London when partaking tea at the Peninsula and it’s a grand feeling that the world is so connected. It is a serene experience to enjoy tea in a tranquil place where others have sat since 1928. The Peninsula Beverly Hills is also located in a quiet, peaceful area of Los Angeles, even though it is within a few blocks of bustling Rodeo Drive. It’s not British, but all Peninsula Hotels have that old world comfortable luxury and charm.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Westin Hotels new Nature inspired Zen Lobby

Westin will be adding landscaping in the lobby to fool you that you are outdoors.

Westin Hotels new Nature-Inspired Public Space Concept has just been reported by  B. Wire, although I glimpsed a part of the new revitalizing Westin signature service at the Westin River North Chicago Workout studio. LRWestin_Roof_Exterior_Early_Final_lgThe lobby has not yet been refurbished but I was impressed by the gym! Sam is the personal trainer at the fitness center . He is very proud of the state of the art equipment, he taught me how to work out on. I’m not a gym rat but I like to swim. Unfortunately, they don’t have a pool, so  I peeked in at the gym and Sam offered to give me a chair massage. Needless to say, the Westin is now my favorite hotel in Chicago. I like the J.W.Marriott, and both of the W hotels but love everything about the Westin N.Dearborn St.. It has a nice Executive Club lounge,  Kamehachi sushi bar and is easy to get to Chicago, IL (ORD) - O'Hare airport by rail on CTA's Blue Line. I enjoyed free breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres with a spectacular view of the river from the Club Lounge. (Free lounge access for Plat Elite SPG members ) They have not yet re-done the lobby but they have already embraced the concept of the new design as having the guests’ well-being in mind.

You’ve seen the new lobby areas in the Courtyard by Marriott hotels with the free-standing check in stands? Courtyards have transformed most of their lobbies to the new eat, work and chat areas. Well now Westin is also re-vamping their Lobbies.Westin Hotels & Resorts are unveiling a new  design-driven approach to  public space, allowing travelers to stay balanced, refreshed and connected when staying at their hotels. It’s designed with guests’ well-being in mind. The new lobby concept will serve as a modern-day oasis for today’s demanding travelers by incorporating natural design elements, flexible and functional zoning and conveniently-located retail and grab & go areas. Westin’s new public space concept is currently on display at Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego and will continue to roll out at participating properties worldwide throughout 2013. I stayed at the Marriott hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter a year ago and will soon go to check out the new loby and visit Sea World again. I’ts the historic heart of San Diego with lots to do and lots of chain hotels like Hilton Marriott and Starwood., surrounded by shopping, theater, art galleries, hundreds of restaurants and night clubs.
Five additional hotels are slated to feature the new concept this year including Westin Indianapolis, Westin Boston Waterfront, Westin Birmingham, Westin Georgetown and Westin Bethesda. Westin is calling the new lobby a “Vertical Garden”, saying that it  is a unique focal element of the new Westin lobby concept and was designed not only to improve indoor air quality, but also to create a calming, more natural environment. Although vertical gardens exist in other boutique hotel properties, Westin is the first global brand to incorporate these structures in the lobby space throughout its global portfolio.
The brand’s in-house design team, led by Erin Hoover,  was inspired by research conducted by NASA scientists who discovered that growing plants indoors relieves stress while also helping to clean the air. The design team was also motivated by multiple studies of biophilia which indicate that the integration of nature into design results in a range of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, enhanced mental stamina and elevated moods. As the first international hotel brand to go smoke-free in 2006, Westin decided to go green literally.Each location will adopt their regional identity. Such as Dallas Ferns, to high-light plants and some hotels will feature English Ivy or the Purple Waffle Plant., Some of the systems are also designed with a UV filter, allowing for the use of grey water (hope it does not smell bad) giving a positive impact to the environment over the life-span of the Vertical Garden. If you fall for the fabrication of Zen wonders, you will love this claim: Sensory Welcome = Energizing Haven.
Upon arrival in the new lobbies, guests are transported from the everyday and are greeted with a unique balance of calm and energy, beginning with a more customized experience at the new Westin check-in pods. These free-standing structures replace the outdated hotel check-in desk
Claiming to give more of a personal guest interaction area. Westin’s signature white tea scent, combined with custom music, calming tonal colors and soft, atmospheric lighting creates a fresh and soothing ambiance. A new back-lit feature wall, on display behind the check-in pods, was created by transferring one of Westin’s 28 X-ray nature images onto a solid core material, creating soft visual texture and subtle movement. This new relaxing arrival zone allows travelers to let go of their stress and enter an inviting, uplifting space that helps them stay balanced, refreshed and feeling like they are arriving at a Spa.
Whether enjoying downtime with friends and family or conducting an impromptu meeting with colleagues, Westin’s new lobby concept provides guests opportunities to both work and play well through new zoning. They call the space ideal for meetings the “Dock”,. Consisting of meeting tables designed with connectivity in mind, The Dock features conveniently located power outlets, integrated lighting and easy access to computers and printers. Thoughtfully designed seating zones have also been created to meet the needs of modern travelers, with power panels built into side tables for easy accessibility. Flexible spaces can easily transform, from semi-private meetings to casual gatherings with friends. New acoustic and architectural screens have also been added to improve sound control and help create a more intimate setting.
Conveniently located in the Westin lobby adjacent to the new seating zones, the Westin Grab & Go Café and the signature Westin retail store make it easy for guests to grab a quick bite or finish up their last-minute shopping. The Westin Grab & Go Café will vary at each property, ranging from an enclosed café space with a heavenly sky light and a central communal table to a transitional café/bar experience that adjusts to a lively, engaging lobby bar experience in the evening. Taking a page from its sister brand W Hotels & Resorts, credited for innovating the hotel retail experience.
IMG_0161As I mentioned, the new gym has turned me into a gym rat. In early 2012, Westin refreshed its WestinWORKOUT® program to match the evolving fitness trends among guests and further enhance the brand’s goal of promoting well-being in travel.  I hope to find more personal trainers like Sam. at other hotels if they can clone him.

Westins brand-wide Associate Enrichment program, introduced the brand’s “Elements of Well Being Platform” to more than 25,000 associates around the world through key touch points and their” Better You” ad campaign  uses artistic imagery to depict the “Elements of Well Being” that help Westin guests leave feeling better than when they arrived. They even helping hotel guests overcome the hurdles of exercising on the road by providing New Balance footwear, apparel and fitness program content to its guests to borrow. It will take a couple of years to transform the 186 hotels and resorts in 40+countries but Starwood Hotels are always improving the guest experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No food served in First class anymore

It is becoming more and more unpleasant to fly. Dealing with the TSA humiliation is bad enough without having to go hungry.

The FBI is investigating sewing needles found, in food on 4  Delta flights from Amsterdam, …. The good news is that no one gulps down airline food anyway, so I don’t think that anyone actually swallowed one of the four needles found. Though one man was administered HIV medications after finding a needle in his sandwich.


The best food that I have enjoyed is in First Class on Lufthansa but I’ll be sure to dine in their 1st class lounge before boarding next time.

On a recent United Airlines 3 hour flight, I was in first class but they did not serve any food in first class at all. The flight attendant suggested that I could buy some of the food from the back cabin. A turkey sandwich for $7.99. I never thought that I would miss the peanuts they used to serve!
Plastic cutlery, a hard bread roll and less than appetizing food is the joyless culinary lot for economy class passengers, but not all airline food comes in a plastic wrapper, at least in the business and first class cabins. Air France KLM made 25 million from its Servair, … serving 10 tons of lobster and 40 tons of foie gras last year.
Everyone complains about airline food even the pilots. Click here to see a photo of one pilot’s meager sustenance.
Some airlines are trying to sell off their catering units to focus on the higher profits for shareholders. Business specializing in food catering will produce in-flight meals more cheaply than the airlines do.
LSG Sky Chefs made 2.3 billion Euros in revenue and operating profit of 85 million last year, but is trying to boost the margin with cost cuts and other restructuring moves. The group, which controls more than a quarter of the in-flight catering market and serves airlines such as Australia's Qantas and United Airlines is valued, at about 700 million Euros. The FT Deutschland reported that Lufthansa could sell around half of LSG Sky Chefs by next year in a first step. This worries me because I like the Lufthansa food as it is! Servair could also be on the block as its parent Air France tries to boost profits. Trouble is, that if you sell the golden goose, you can’t get the gold anymore. Mayor Parker got the rent up front for the Houston Convention center, to show a profit. Now she won’t have any income from the property in years to come but she will have the maintenance expenses for it.

In other news …….3 African Elephants are retiring from the Toronto Zoo and will fly to a retirement home in Southern California, so TV Game show host, Bob Barker is paying the million dollar ticket which will include inflight snacks of carrots, which is more than many of us get on flights.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A list of the World's Best-Reviewed hotels is out

The top USA hotel on the list was the Four Seasons Miami, listed at number 5. I adore staying at Four Seasons Hotels but they don’t have an Elite loyalty program, luckily, I can still earn loyalty points if I book on Expedia. With the Expedia Rewards™ program, you're not limited to a single hotel brand or airline. Instead, you'll earn points on hotel stays and flights. They even have special Expedia® Elite Plus® for their most frequent travelers with these benefits:

  • Receive complimentary room upgrades at top hotels.
  • Be treated with priority customer service.
  • Earn additional Expedia Rewards Points for free travel.

On the subject of travel sites, … what do you think about the report that Orbitz travel site treats visitors differently? Please hit the comment button below. They are starting to show Mac users different, and sometimes more expensive, travel options than Windows visitors see.


I suspect that CTO Liew has a Mac because he told The Wall Street Journal that his “intuition told him that this was the case, and we were able to confirm it based on the data," Orbitz does not take into account that most PC users are Enterprise users so they work for big companies where PC’s are predominantly used. Often they shop around for hotels at work but make their reservation on their private Macs when they are at home, where they can enter their private info.

Orbitz said that Mac computer users spend as much as 30 percent more per night on hotels, and has begun showing different hotel offers to Mac users than PC visitors. An Orbitz spokesman said that the prices are the same but they offer Mac users more of the upscale hotels. I have a Mac Safari browser on my PC and I use internet explorer equally, so I’m not sure that they can really tell.

Expedia is the world's leading online travel agency, and they said that they do not show different hotels based on your browser. Expedia’s 2012 Insiders' Select® rankings, is an annual crowd-sourced list of the world's best-reviewed hotels. Expe hotels that consistently deliver value, in the form of competitive pricing, good amenities and customer service, see that commitment rewarded in their ranking. Sabre and Expedia, have renewed their technology partnership. Only 650 hotels from among the more than 150,000 properties available on Expedia sites are designated as Insiders' Select hotels. Expedia only accepts reviews from verified customers. The top ten hotels in this year's ranking include:

  1. Marrol's Boutique Hotel (5 stars, Bratislava, Slovakia)
  2. Hotel Al Codega (4 stars, Venice, Italy)
  3. Hotel Royal Corin (4 stars, Costa Rica)
  4. Hilton Garden Inn Aberdeen (4 stars, Aberdeen, Scotland)
  5. Four Seasons Miami (5 stars, Miami, Florida)
  6. Madison Hotel Hamburg (4.5 stars, Hamburg/Hanover, Germany)
  7. Element Omaha Midtown Crossing (3 stars, Omaha, Nebraska)
  8. Sonnenalp Resort of Vail (4.5 stars, Vail-Beaver Creek, Colorado)
  9. Taj Lands End (5 stars, Mumbai, India)
  10. Mr. C Beverly Hills (5 stars, Los Angeles

Don’t forget to check out the daily special last minute offers. I booked the Miami Hilton Airport hotel for only $96 today.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hertz rental car is still trying to buy DTG

I can’t afford to buy a “green” car but its easy to rent one. Hertz are the first rental company to offer  Volkswagen Jetta TDI® Clean Diesel cars in their rental car fleet. Reserve and Conserve. The Hertz Green Collection offers fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicles. Green Collection vehicles, available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe. Green Collection vehicles can be reserved by make and model -- so the car you reserve is the one you get. Not sure if I trust it because they always state that ” Specific makes/models within a car class may vary in availability and features" Hertz has a line of  eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles that are good for the environment. The truth is that even with the government subsidy, electric and Hybrid cars are hard on the wallet, so only wealthy people can afford to buy them (and they only get them as a second car) the myth is that they use clean energy, but the truth is that electricity is produced with dirty coal. In the case of the Aveo;-. fuel economy also largely depends upon the driving skills of each individual.

image              So when I tried to book from the Hertz Green Collection, they offered me a  Chevy Aveo or similar  Compact 2 or 4 dr. for $65 in Los Angeles, CA. one day rental. or a Full Size 4 Dr., FCAR or a Chevrolet Malibu or similar for $75.  The Aveo is an inexpensive car at $15,365 so I would have thought it would rent for less. It has a Fuel economy (MPG): 25 - 27 city / 34 - 35 highway. I would not consider it a “green" car but Hertz does, I suppose it is because it comes with an iStop mechanism that is helpful in minimizing the consumption of fuel in most heavily traffic areas and indirectly helps the car to increase its fuel economy.

As an Elite HERTZ Gold Plus Rewards member, you enjoy privileges and benefits. For a limited time, members can upgrade to #1 Club Gold for free till the end of September 202.! Normally this costs you 10 rentals per year.    Earned with 40 Rentals Annually you get the top level Hertz President's Circle:

  • Guaranteed vehicle availability
  • Guaranteed one-car-class upgrades
  • 25% bonus on Gold Plus Rewards Points
  • 600 Bonus Points after every 15 (qualifying) rentals
  • Special savings with limited blackout dates
  • Includes all Gold benefits

Hertz (HTZ) is nearing its long-cherished goal of buying out rival Dollar Thrifty, after a long run at  pursuing   this goal  through a bidding war with rival Avis Budget (CAR) in what is hoped to be a friendly deal.  As far as the regulatory side of the deal they have worked out the objections to the Advantage unit deal as a potential buyer for Hertz's budget brand. Hertz said earlier this month that it was close to getting antitrust approval - seen as the biggest hurdle to a transaction - having identified a buyer for the assets it needs to divest. They are just waiting for the FTC to make their decision. Hertz has worked with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to get antitrust approval for almost a year. It has agreed to divest its budget brand Advantage, which caters to the same market as Dollar Thrifty. Analysts and shareholders consider U-Save Car & Truck Rental, owned by Franchise Services of North America Inc (FCHAF) a potential alliance, if Dollar Thrifty and Hertz don’t come to a deal. If Hertz delays the offer till next year, Avis could come back into the race.
"We believe that Hertz will be motivated to follow through and negotiate a transaction," said Roy Behren, co-chief investment officer at Westchester Capital Management - Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc's (DTG)

Como socio Hertz #1 Club, usted tendrá acceso a privilegios y beneficios especiales diseñados para que disfrute Ascenso de categoría de auto gratuito y Acceso a descuentos y ofertas especiales

Monday, May 21, 2012

Elite members are tossing $25 in the trash

Many Elite members are tossing $25 in the trash
In this bad economy, I am not inclined to leave $25 on the table, but I will have to do so because the SPG customer Care agents don’t know how to redeem the award. It’s an award that elite members get for renewing Platinum status.
Log on to your account to see if you have this award that you can use for food or at the Spa..

spg1Many Starwood Preferred elite members are going to miss out on an award that they are not aware of. If you qualify for it you will see it when you log on to your SPG account and click on the “My Earned Awards” tab. It states that you should call to redeem  (book by phone):
My Earned Awards
Congratulations on your earned awards! Award quantities listed are eligible for your use.

spg award

But when I called the platinum line, they said that I should have received it by mail and it would take 5 days for them to let me know why I had never received it by mail. So by the time they get back to me, it will have expired. No empathy from the Plat call center!  I told them that last year I also had to speak to about 10 people before I could find a knowledgeable Starwood Preferred Guest Customer Care agent, willing to help. Last year I did eventually have it waiting at  the hotel and redeemed it electronically because they said that it was not a paper award. I had been dreading spending hours on the phone again this year so I only got around to following their instructions and calling 2 weeks before it expired.
I’m also still waiting for the paper SPG50 Award 50% off certificate they promised to send me. They have been sending me this award every year for being an American Express Starwood cardholder, but today, I discovered that they don’t do this anymore.
This is annoying because I would have used it if they had not told me that they would send me another one with a later expiration date. It’s not such a problem though because they still have the 50% off award but you have to pay 1000 points for it and most of the time it’s not worth using because it’s off the highest rate (rack).
Starwood have come up with a promotion that lets you choose when, what and how you earn awards called the SPG NICE Choice. You have to register before Jun 30th  then you have several choices of dates and awards;  June 1st to Aug 31st   or July 1st to Sept 30th for merchandise or elite nights credit  or free  nights  or Starpoints  …..
Only after I selected to earn elite night credit, I discovered that its only if I stay 5 nights and I NEVER say as long as 5 nights in one spot.
Members may choose to register to earn one (1) bonus Elite Qualifying Night toward elite status after every five (5) eligible paid nights. I may go back to select another but it’s too much work for today. I’ll probably go with the most popular choice they suggest; -  to earn double Starpoints beginning with your second stay, though I’m not sure it’s worth my time because I have more Starpoints than I need.
Not having much luck with Starwood today!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Exploring the Caribbean island of Curacao

It is so much fun to take the ferry boat over to the main shopping areas on Curaçao by ferry or by walking over the bridge.When ships come through the harbor, the floating bridge opens. The Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge, in the middle of the city opens frequently during the day, to allow access to one of the busiest ports in the world.

If you book the Hyatt on Expedia you can pay as little as $900 for 3 nights including a flight on American Airlines to Curacao. Four nights is $1,179 includes flight + hotel, taxes & fees

curacao-pontoon bridge

I enjoyed shopping at the duty free shops in this Caribbean city. They even host a Fashion week on the 21st of May at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Curacao. Curacao has a duty free shopping area in the harbor, you must show your passport and airline ticket to get the deals. Renaissance Mall & Rif Fort is also a good place to shop with stores offering local and designer brands.

On our last trip to Curacao, we stayed at the Curacao Marriot and Casino and an elite upgrade got us a stunning ocean view. The Hotel needs a renovation but you can get a low rate. It's in a similar price range of about $130 a night as the  Hilton. Its nice to have a drink at a bar at the fort next to the Renaissance Curacao Resort.

Curaçao became a Dutch island in 1634 as evidenced by the name of the capital, Willemstad ! it could not be more of a Dutch name.The island in the southern Caribbean Sea is a part of the group known as the ABC Islands alongside Aruba and Bonaire. This trio is located near Venezuela. I did take a boat once from Caracas to Curacao,  but it is probably not advisable because tensions between Venezuela and Holland have been mounting since Hugo Chavez is paranoid about any unfavorable criticism on his human rights violations. From its home base in Curacao, Insel Air connects the Caribbean region by offering affordable service if you want to go island hopping or you could take the ferry to Aruba. Spirit Airlines have flights from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Aruba (AUA) but it is very difficult to get the low fare that they offer with their $9 fare club. Spirit Airlines announced today,  that they are going to hike some carry on bag fees to $100 each bag on all flights. United Airlines can work out cheaper for elite members when you factor in that MileagePlus Premier Silver and Star Alliance® Silver members get one checked bag free.

Willemstad is one of the Caribbean’s few UNESCO World Heritage cities. Vivid, brightly-colored,Yellow, pink and blue faded paint on gabled buildings showcase Dutch colonial architecture displaying their heredity  from The Netherlands.
Diving, Snorkeling, or just relaxing at the beach or Spa makes a great holiday. you have to experience ATABEI Spa at the Hyatt Hotel, where you can relax in the best, possible luxurious way. The average air temperature is 82º Fahrenheit (30ºC) and 75% humidity.There is a constant trade wind that generally makes the evenings cool and comfortable. It's very windy  - make sure you hold on to your hat, mine turned into a kyte and flew away.

In the evening, fine restaurants and an exiting nightlife are all nestled within and around the historic setting of the Rif fort, a 19th century landmark high above the harbor.
The legal drinking age is 18 and the legal age for gambling in a casino is 21. The Netherlands Antilles has its own drug laws which are not as lenient as they are in Holland. This is fortunate for me because, although I have never smoked pot or cigarettes or anything! I have become  violently ill from second hand weed smoke in Holland.

Don’t forget the mosquito repellant! no where is perfect …….

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Aspen is fun in Summer and Winter

I was glad to get in one ski trip this year to the best ski resort in the world; –Aspen’s majestic Rocky Mountain views and premier amenities.
The St. Regis Aspen Resort has an exclusive partnership and licensing agreement with FOOD & WINE to debut “Chefs Club.”

Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE is a new restaurant concept that will bring the Food brand to life through their signature Best New Chefs Awards platform, which honors the country’s most promising up-and-coming chefs.  Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,  V.P. of U.S. Luxury Brands, Carlos Becil, said “As one of the world’s most affluent resort destinations, Aspen has become a ‘must’ on today’s New Grand Tour and St. Regis is inimitably positioned to cater to the needs of these global travelers.” The new global Grand Tour itinerary – a tradition beginning in the early 19th century when each generation of affluence travelled through Europe to experience education.It was a sort of finishing school for aristocrats to collect experiences and understand different cultures.  Subsequently, today’s elite communities also travel to Old World cities including London, Rome and New York in addition to new world hotspots as diverse as Aspen, Shenzhen, New Delhi and Abu Dhabi. The redesign of The St. Regis Aspen Resort illustrates John Jacob Astor IV’s vision to create ‘the finest hotel in the world’ with the most exquisite culinary offerings.
The Victorian age made travel romantic and the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic carrying many of those on the Grand Tour from the Old world and the New World, did not diminished the desire to travel.
The St. Regis Aspen has undergone an extensive interior and exterior renovation.  It’s nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain, 1 block from the Cooper Avenue and Mill Street pedestrian malls. The 15,000-square-foot Remède Spa  features 15 treatment rooms, for treatments, Yoga, a boutique, and locker facilities with saunas, vapor caves, and spa tubs. The hotel has dark wood paneling with plush leather couches and overstuffed chairs. It’s a fantastic experience, to be treated like royalty and to sit at the fireplace in this sumptuous setting to savor it.
You can book rooms at the St. Regis via Expedia for as little as $249 a night and there is NO charge for parking in the garage. SPG Elite members can get discounts through March 31, 2013 for:
•    Up to 35% off rates
•    Daily complimentary continental breakfast
When you use rate plan SPG35B
The only trouble I had was that my eyes hurt after skiing but the butler sent me a humidifier to relieve this ailment caused by the dry mountain air. I love the small touches provided, like the ice bucket kept refilling itself and the weather forecast showed up beside the bed.
Plans for the St. Regis brand to globally continue its legacy include long-awaited St. Regis hotels and resorts in Buenos Aires and the Riviera Maya. In Asia, St. Regis has also announced plans to open hotels in Changsha, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Lijiang, New Delhi and Zhuhai. In Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the St. Regis brand will continue to expand in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Doha and Mauritius. The distinctive trait of the St. Regis experience is customized service and attention to detail through the signature St. Regis Butler Service, coveted locations and luxurious design, that make me want to return. I don’t think its just a one time visit on the Grand Tour itinerary as they suggest.
The U.S.Ski Team Foursquare campaign with celebrity Skiers like Vonn and Andrew Weibrecht offers tips from their Olympic experience. You can see where they are and hang out with them for après ski!
I love the fun badges I’ve been collecting on Foursquare like the new Audi badge.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sync your Plastic with Airline for a discount

I visited Virgins Johannesburg Clubhouse Upper Class lounge and I would strongly advise you to arrive early so you can relax at this great lounge capturing the spirit of Africa with earthy tones. Freshen up with a shower and then recline in a comfy chair while attentive staff bring you your choice of a freshly prepared meal, Airside. Though, the yummiest food I’ve had was in the Lufthansa first Class lounge, Frankfurt.  My UpperClass reservation provided me with a free chauffeur driven car to Tambo International Airport. Virgin has a unique Drive Thru check in service. Your chauffeur will check you in and you can head straight to the Clubhouse.

Back in the US I’m into social media so I got an offer today, to Sync my Cr. Card to get 10% back on Main Cabin seats on Virgin America.

Upper Class Cabin

Sync your eligible American Express Card with Twitter and Tweet #AmexVirginAmer to automatically load this special offer to your synced Card. Then use that same Card to book Virgin America Main Cabin tickets online through 3/31/12 and receive 10% of your purchase back as a statement credit. Enrollment is limited to one statement credit per Card member.

I’m not happy that Virgin miles have an expiry date. I know that many other airlines do this now and I wrote about United doing this, but I’m glad that we will now get to use Virgin miles on flights across the U.S. in Virgin America’s planes.

Previously we have been able to use miles for free Virgin Atlantic flights, upgrades, hotel stays and more. You can now use your Flying Club miles for domestic travel on Virgin America across the USA! This means that you can travel in the US to over 18 destinations redeeming miles for free travel. Miles Plus Money fares should still be an option when they have a sale on. You can get a round-trip on Virgin America from New York to Los Angeles starts at just 25,000 miles ( plus taxes and fees). And by earning miles with each Virgin Atlantic round-trip you take, you'll be able to redeem that Virgin America flight in no time. For example, a round-trip from New York to London in Economy earns you 3,458 miles.

Virgin America is one of the newest US domestic airlines and is on a mission “to make flying good again”, with topnotch service, food and WiFi. Their lounges are called Clubhouses because they feel like a private members club and are private to Upper Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members to relax at the airport.

You earn Elite tier points, to propel you from Flying Club Red, to Silver, up to Gold.  Flying Club Gold is the top tier, best of the best. Gold members earn an extra 50% of base flown miles for every flight, access to Clubhouses, Upper Class Check in and enjoy so many more benefits.

So it looks like I can use the miles before they expire. I’m looking forward to returning to B.C. Canada ! Virgin will operate Vancouver flights for the summer starting on 24th May 2012 it will operate four times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sun but will not operate in the winter.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rough Seas for the cruise industry

BARGAIN Basement PRICES for a 3 night Cruise from $199 plus free upgrades! 

I went on a Cruise to The Seychelles and enjoyed the Le Meridien Fisherman Cove Hotel. The lush tropical gardens and stunning white sandy beaches were peaceful, so far from the rest of the world.
Today, there is news about a Carnival owned cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean on the same route my ship took to the Seychelles.  I’m not sure I want to go on another cruise, though I did take advantage of the lower air fares after 9/11. United Airlines is offering a lot of miles for cruises and you don’t even have to fly. I’d rather take my chances on a ship than fly.

There is no good news for Cruise Lines:

  1. On Jan 2012 The Costa Concordia capsized near the Tuscan coast where 25 people drowned.
  2. A crew member was rescued after jumping off Galveston Carnival cruise ship on the 25th Feb into the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. 22  Carnival Splendor Cruise passengers were robbed at gunpoint while on a nature tour shore excursion, near the port in Puerto Vallarta.
  4. On 2/27/2012 a CCL ship is adrift near The Seychelles after a fire in the generator room left the vessel without  power. 1,000+passengers are waiting  aboard the ship, for tugboats that may take 2 days to get to them and the fear is that the Somali pirates may get there before the Tugs do.
  5. 3 different boats had ill people in the last couple of months. 86 people were ill in a Norovirus outbreak on The Ruby Princess Caribbean cruise from Florida and another ship had 455 sick with gastrointestinal illness. Norovirus’ symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Journalist Gene Sloan cites a report of a man getting kicked off a Carnival ship in Roatan, Honduras because he was sick.

If this does not put you off sailing, they are advertising up to $400 cash back & upgrades through Carnivals Leap Year sale. You get cash back on US cruises but the most cash that you get back is per state room on Transatlantic and European 12 day cruises. Another offer for a  "Fun Ship" vacation is to  Book now and sail for less than $70 per day. Free food and  WiFi is enticing?
Perhaps now is the time to cruise because they may not stay in business at this rate? The world's largest cruise operator is facing a wave of law suits from the victims' families. I can't believe that the captain of ship got himself off the ship before rescuing his passengers on Carnivals Costa Concordia. He is under investigation, accused of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship before the evacuation of more than 4,200 passengers and crew.

Through United Airlines Mileage Plus program, you can earn thousands of miles to use on future flights. In some cases, you can even earn "double miles", or twice the amount of miles you would earn otherwise, but you can not redeem miles for a cruise.

Bon Voyage !

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Colorado or Caribbean on Sale

I flew into Col Springs from Kansas City, Mo on Frontier Airlines. Frontier is expanding its services offered at the Colorado Springs Airport. Flights will now be offered to Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles.

Radisson guests can take advantage of the 24-hour complimentary airport shuttle, so I returned the rental car and took the Radisson bus to spend the last night at the hotel located at the foot of Pikes Peak, America's mountain. For the rate of only $70.00 USD, the Radisson Hotel Colorado Springs Airport has convenient access off I-25 or Highway 24,  from the Radisson Hotel, it’s easy to get to area businesses and ski resorts, I felt very safe because there are several military installations nearby. Seeing men in uniforms makes me feel that they can deal with everything from snow storms to defending our country. Colorado ….. or if you don’t like the cold you can get a great rate at the Caribbean Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St Martin.

Save 25% with Radisson Hotels 3-DAY SALE ( Sale Ends Feb 16) , Save 25% on your stay when you book select hotels at, and stay on select dates through February 29, 2012. The promotion code is LMD25OFF Country Inns are included and some of their rates are as low as$60 per night, including breakfast. And remember you earn 2,000 bonus Gold Points® for every online booking.image

Another low cost hotel chain is Holiday Inn, now offering double Points for stays via Priority Club Rewards loyalty program, you can Redeem points anywhere and Points never expire.   Till April 30th , you can earn double points for every qualifying stay, starting with your second stay. That means, you’ll earn extra points at IHG hotels, including Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn® and Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide.

Their Best Flexible Rate lets you stay for as many nights as you want, on any date you please, with the best rate available. You can get up to 20% discount if you book the Advance Purchase Rate at least 14 days in advance of arrival at IHG hotels.

I prefer the best Flexible rate because the advance payment is non-refundable. Once a reservation is confirmed, your credit card will be charged between time of booking and day of arrival for the total amount shown, regardless of whether or not the reservation is used.

Frontier Airlines says that they will be ending eight of their 21 daily flights from KCI this spring. According to a report from AP, the airline will end or reduce service to Milwaukee, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Aspen. The CEO of Republic Airways Holdings Inc. wnted to make Frontier Airlines more like lower-cost rivals Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Travel Co to try to make Frontier more profitable because it has not been doing well since they bought the airline in 2009.   He now says he's going to sell Frontier, “So they can focus on their core business providing regional air services for major carriers like Delta , United US Airways and AA. You can fly Fly to 70+ cities in US, Mexico & Costa Rica watching DirectTV .    Frontier has 3 ELITE  levels of EarlyReturns® Frequent flyer membership benefits. Summit level is the highest and you need 25,000 Frontier flight miles flown in one calendar year (January through December) or 30 Frontier flight segments flown.

I was able to find out about cool Colorado après ski places image thanks to Audi teaming up with the U.S. Ski Team! You can find out more about ski resorts in America via FourSquare’s new campaign with celebrity Skiers like Vonn and Andrew Weibrecht with tips from their Olympic experience. You can see where they are and hang out with them for après ski!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love at first bite at this Hotel

If you want your kids to join you on a special trip where you can get in some Spa + romantic time, the place to go is The Renaissance Orlando, SeaWorld hotel.

I love ♡the Néu lotus Spa! I was sooo …relaxed and energized after a massage and facial that I could enjoy quality time with my other half.  ♥♥ it’s love at first bite this February for culinary couples as the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld introduces its Valentine's weekend travel experience featuring a cooking class of savory seductions.

image The Hotel is located, across from SeaWorld Orlando and near Aquatica, Discovery Cove, Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios. They have a  free shuttle service back and forth to the park, so you don’t even need to rent a car, but if you do they have a Hertz rental car desk. Parking costs $21 dollars a day, but guests driving a hybrid car get Complimentary valet parking .

Elite Gold and Platinum Marriott Rewards members get free internet, but Valentines day is a good time to take a break from work and indulge ….


Foodies can enjoy its "Love at First Bite" package that lets lovebirds literally, eat their hearts out. Based on a one-night-stay Friday, February 10th or Saturday, February 11th the package costs $269 per couple and includes:

Room with breakfast and a group cooking class from 6:00 p.m. – in the R Kitchen with Champagne/wine pairings. Children enjoy the Shamu Game Room and theirs always Concierge-arranged babysitting.

I’ve always found long lines at Orlando airport but hopefully it will improve now that Children 12 and under don’t have to remove their shoes anymore so,  that is speeding up the line for all of us. CLEAR  ME  is a great way to speed thru the airport, also the new Pilot fast track TSA program started last year called,"PreCheck", they announced plans to broadly expand the airport trusted-traveler program this year to more than two dozen large U.S. airports.
This means that pre-vetted frequent flyers and members of other Department of Homeland Security trusted-traveler programs from removing shoes, laptops, jackets and belts during airport security screening.

♡♡☸ڿڰۣ--ڰڿڰۣ from @elitePro :-) ♥♥♥ Have a great νaℓєитinє’ѕ ∂αу ❤

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Elite Starwood Hotels benefit

I like to stay at luxury branded hotels like the Luxury Collection, W®, Le Méridien, and Westin, but if I want to be sure to get a quick, free breakfast in the Club lounge, I can always count on the Sheraton brand to be true to their brand by offering the same benefits at all Sheratons. The other Starwood brands need more research time invested in discovering their benefits. –`

Not all Westin hotel have a Club lounge. For example; the Westin Austin at the Domain, does not have a Club lounge yet the Westin Chicago does.

Starwood Hotels have a New benefit for members!Starwood_10_Logo_Spread Starting March 1 you have more Elite Platinum and Gold Welcome Gift options. Free Breakfast, drinks , points or other amenities.

I like receiving the Elite Platinum 500 welcome amenity points at the top category hotels and am not sure why St. Regis, W and Luxury Collection now will only receive 250 bonus Starpoints® per eligible stay at St. Regis®, Luxury Collection®, W®, Le Méridien®, Westin® and Sheraton® and 125 Starpoints per stay at AloftSM, ElementSM and Four Points® by Sheraton.

However, … I do like the new free Beverage and breakfast. Cheers. Sit back and relax with your favorite cocktail in the hotel’s restaurant or bar.

Thanks SPG for adding continental breakfast as one of our welcome gift choices. Now we can choose from continental breakfast, bonus Starpoints® or local amenities.

Friday, January 20, 2012

100 floor lift ride is a Mission Impossible for me

dubaiskylineAs I watched Tom Cruise climb above the 100th floor of the 7 star Burj Hotel in Dubai, I felt vertigo even though I was with camel Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol:, the movie has been released as the Burj celebrates it’s second anniversary in January.

I climbed up on this camel but 100 + floors is too high for me!  I cant breath up there. The Hotels breathtaking architecture, was designed by Giorgio Armani and the world’s tallest building also houses luxury apartments and offices. There is a private reception desk on every floor .The staff take service so seriously that they do their homework to find out what you like. The rooms are all duplex suites, with marble staircases and personal butlers. Attention to detail is evident, whether it's dinning, service or views, is unreal. You can enjoy a massage at the magnificent Spa, Hermes toiletries, personalized towels, champagne. The butler was very informative; he showed us how to use the high tech curtains and TVsystems. Don’t miss afternoon tea on the 27th floor skybar and see sharks swim by at the Wild Wadi waterpark. The Burj even has a private beach, it’s not crowded like the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah beach.
Dubai is my version of Disney land for adults. It is a magical place of duty free shopping malls, an indoor ski resort, the only 7 star hotel in the world and anticipation that you can find Aladdin’s lamp in one of the Spice or Gold, Souk markets. Oil sheiks and business moguls party at lavish Bedouin themed soirees. I have even partaken of a feast served in a tent while seated on a Persian carpet.I love to shop in Dubai and the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, loves to shop the world via his Dubai World investment company, purchasing assets like stakes in Las Vegas, MGM Mirage.Another holding is:- Leisurecorp, a golf development company, that holds the "Race to Dubai" -- the world's most lavish golf tournament with $7.5 million that ended the European Tour at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. Leisurcorp's portfolio also includes Turnberry in Scotland and Pearl Valley Golf Estates in South Africa.

The Grand Hyatt amenities and service were all superb. The interesting shape of the curved room give a spacious feeling. Hyatt-LogoThe wireless Internet was not free even in the lobby, but is free on the Reg Club floor. We were upgraded to a Reg Club room thanks to my elite status which gave us access to the Club lounge where free food is abundant The outdoor pool was good but the new indoor pool and Spa, is a tranquil experience.

An memorable way to welcome the Year of the Dragon is to indulge in Yu Sheng, the Chinese New Year salad that is said to bring good luck. If you toss the salad into the air. The celebration à la carte menu is available at Peppercrab Restaurant in the Hyatt. Also a “must do activity” is a Dhow Cruise down Dubai creek. The hotel  is close to financial and entertainment places as Dubai creek, Dubai WTC and Wafi City Shopping mall and is located at only 7 km from the airport where I bought some of my favorite things.
Another of my favorite things is a big bath tub like this one at the Hyatt
broom hyatt

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Elite Marriott Rewards members like to stay at full service hotels because they get free internet and free food in the Concierge lounges, but Courtyard offers modern comfort at lower rates. The brand has more than 900 hotels in 37 countries.

I’ve stayed at many of the newly renovated Courtyard by Marriott hotels over the past 4 years. In fact I have not seen any of the old Lobbies for months. So, now that they are done with the transformation, Courtyard is offering a Bistro DINING PACKAGE to make guests aware of the new Bistro area where you can Eat, Drink, Wi–Fi and use their GoBoard in the inviting, Lobby spaces.


The Bed & Bistro package includes:

    • • Overnight Accommodations
    • Breakfast or Dinner in the Bistro
    • • Non-alcoholic Beverage
    • • Rates from $89
    • • Choose from over 70 Courtyard Hotels Nationwide

Book online or call 1-800-834-7015 and quote promotional code ZJ8

If you are traveling through Indianapolis airport for SuperBowl, don’t miss your chance to relax in the newly designed Courtyard lobby zone, located in Concourse A immediately past the security checkpoint. Recharge your senses and mobile devices in the zone, en route to your final destination so you always stay connected. The hotel will give you a free luggage tag and choose your favorite NFL team and you'll have a chance to win tickets, flights and a hotel stay to see a road game and SUPER BOWL XLVI TICKETS .

SEE you there !

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fly AA Boston to Bogota

I have been on the red eye flight to Bogota on United Airlines several times and have found First Class lacking in service amenities. The food is the same cold ham and salami with crackers that they serve on domestic US flights. I was hoping for the good stuff they serve on European flights. They don’t even have pillows and blankets anymore.


I prefer to fly AA to Colombia.  American Airlines is offering discount Business Class airline tickets to Bogota, Colombia for $750. This is an example fare of a flight from Boston to Bogota. You have to begin your travel before February 26, 2012. All travel at this fare needs to be complete by March 4, 2012. There are also Business Class Flight Deals To Bogota, Colombia with a new deal out:- Valid departure 01/02/2012 to 12/6/2012 Other Business Class deals like Orlando to Panama City (PTY) for $314.
AA has been the last of the major legacy airlines to file for Bankruptcy and I think that they will also come out of sooner img_aadvantage240than the others did by following the footsteps of the other airlines.
Unfortunately, due to its Chapter 11 filing, AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, Inc. and AMR Eagle Holding Corporation is being delisted by the NYSE because they were trading below a dollar.I will miss the ticker Symbol AMR. It is no longer valid. It has changed to AAMRQ.PK.
AA sent a letter to re assure AAdvantage members that their miles are secure and your lifetime status in the MillionMiler program remains intact. AA is flying normal schedules; Normal Admirals Club access  to members and remaining an integral member of the Oneworld alliance, of which American is a founding member. They have had to file for Chapter 11 because the Unions don’t allow them to offer competitive global salaries and pensions and in order to achieve a cost and debt structure that is industry competitive and thereby assure long-term viability
Check for their Net SAAver Weekend Getaways fares for great last minute deals and if you go to Bogota here are my favorite hotels.