Monthly Archives: May 2016

Review: The Summit at Big Sky Resort

I love to ski and went on two trips this past ski season. The first one was to Big Sky, Montana, which is one of my very favorite places. It’s a little remote – the closest major airport is Bozeman (BZN), which is about 90 minutes away – but being a little hard to get to means it’s not crowded. And by “not crowded” I mean that if there are two groups of people in front of you in a lift line, that is a lot. They define a “busy day” as one with more than two people per skiable acre. As someone who is not overly fond of crowds, this is just fantastic for me.

My first trip to this resort was in 1994 and I’ve stayed in four different accommodations over the years since our ski club visits every 2-3 years. By far the best choice is The Summit.

View of the Summit from the slopes

View of the Summit from the slopes

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SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

It was after 11 PM when my flight from Los Angeles touched down in Dallas. I was rather tired after starting my day in Fiji, flying overnight to the States and it was now approaching midnight central time. I used the phone in baggage claim to reach the front desk of the Hyatt Regency DFW, which is on the airport grounds. I was given instructions as to where to meet the shuttle and was told it would be along within about 15 minutes.

I had debated between the Grand Hyatt DFW, which is attached to the terminal, and the Hyatt Regency for the last night of my trip. The Grand Hyatt is a category 3 hotel, which means 12,000 points per night, while the Hyatt Regency is a category 2 hotel for 8,000 points. While I loved the convenience of the Grand Hyatt, I thought I’d be better off saving those 4,000 points for the future.

Once on board the shuttle we made stops at several other terminals and I believe the van was nearly full by the time we reached the hotel. Since I only had a carry-on (my large suitcase was checked all the way through to Memphis) I was able to head straight inside to check in. Due to my tiredness I was a bit dismayed to see a long line of people waiting to check in. There were three people working the front desk and they were all working to reduce the line but there were just quite a few of us. That’s when I noticed the kiosk. I’d not seen one of these before but decided to give it a try. There were still only a few people behind me in line so I didn’t have much to lose if the kiosk did not work.

I was thrilled to find I was able to check in, swipe my credit card and the kiosk issued me a key to a room on the 12th Floor. Success! I found the elevator and had a solo ride up.

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SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

Our flight back to the US did not leave until after 9:30 PM, so we had a full day to enjoy Fiji. Of course we still had to check out well before it was time to leave for the airport but the Hilton has some rooms that are not suitable for overnight guests but are a nice place to lounge until the proper time. Most importantly they’re air conditioned – something not available in the open-air lobby. I really appreciate that because I don’t want to be all sticky from perspiration when I’m about to fly for 10+ hours!

Our driver from Rosie Holidays came to pick us up in plenty of time to get to the airport. This was such a lovely experience compared to Sunbus in both Sydney and Melbourne. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our flight. Since two of us were in business class and there were very few passengers around just yet, the rep at the premium line took care of all of us, which was nice.

From there we wandered through to the Fiji Air Tabua Lounge.

Fiji Lounge Entrance

Fiji Air Tabua Lounge Entrance

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SPB Snorkeling Trip

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

We decided we wanted to go snorkeling and we were able to book a trip through the hotel. Since this was recorded as a hotel charge, I was able to redeem Barclay’s Arrival Plus points for the cost of the trip!

We ended up with the crew from Whale’s Tale and these guys knew how to have fun. We boarded their sailboat in Port Denarau and began our sail toward what I assume is their own island. They call it Snorkel Island. We were served breakfast drinks on the way and it was so nice just to sit up on the deck in the shade of the sail and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

I don’t actually have any photos of the island itself because we were too busy having fun. There’s a small coral reef around parts of the island and we had fun just paddling around looking at the fish. They had other water toys like small kayaks available as well.

They cooked our lunch in the small pavilion that looks to be a mostly permanent structure there. Fresh fish and vegetables with a fruit drink (or adult beverage) to wash it down. Tasty!

After lunch we played beach volleyball. This is where my body reminded me I’m not as young as I used to be – which was one of the purposes of this trip!

One of the guide took us down to the shoreline where some small black-tipped sharks would come as he fed them the leftover fish pieces. There weren’t a lot of them but I wouldn’t want to get in their way! But it was fascinating to watch them up close.

When it was time to return we hopped back on the sailboat for the ride in. It was interesting that on the ride out we passengers were all in our own little clusters but at the end of the day there was much more conversation between the groups. That’s one of the great things about travel – now we’ve met some Kiwis that we can meet up with should we ever make it to New Zealand!

On our last day we spent time just lounging around the hotel pool. My friends visited the spa for a massage (I already had one scheduled when I returned) and we just enjoyed the lovely weather in Fiji. As our flight did not leave until late evening, even on the last in Fiji we were able to swim and relax. We hated to leave this island paradise but after two weeks it was finally time to go home.

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