Posts Tagged With: Hotel

Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel

Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Viking Emerald
Shibaozhai Temple
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston

There were about 35 of us from the Viking Emerald who were taking the extension to Tokyo and you’d think that Viking could have found all of us seats on the same plane but nope, we were on a number of different flights leaving Shanghai at various times of the day. Originally two of us from our small group of 12 were on one flight and the 3rd person was on a different flight but we were able to get that changed so at least the three of us were all together. However that meant missing out on a noon-ish JAL flight and taking an earlier Delta flight instead so there was definitely a trade-off. We did manage to purchase bulkhead seats so at least we had legroom.

We arrived at Tokyo Narita airport and began to search for the Viking representative. Besides the three of us there were probably 6-8 other Viking Emerald passengers all looking for the rep with no success. She was a little late but every last one of us passengers had been looking for someone in a red coat or jacket and this rep was not wearing red. We had been so trained by Viking with all their tour guides and crew members wearing red that we never even considered that the guide might be wearing some other color! But eventually we were loaded on to our motorcoach and we were dropped off at the large complex that houses not only the New Otani Hotel but also an office tower and a shopping tower.

Check in was efficient, as we expected by now, and we set off for the elevator bank. We were amused that during busy times of day there typically was a hotel staff member waiting to push the elevator call button for us – always with a polite bow.

Our rooms were fairly high up and, conveniently, were connected. However, we had to ask management to unlock the connecting doors. The rooms were perfectly servicable though compared to our rooms during the first part of the tour, these were a bit of a let down. Like many hotel rooms upon entering the bathroom was to one side and beyond that was the area with the beds.

This room was not large enough for two double beds so we once again had twins with a single nightstand in between.

New Otani Hotel Twin Beds

Continue reading

Advertisements
Categories: Asia, Hotel, Japan, Lodging Review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel

Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Viking Emerald
Shibaozhai Temple
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston

We took a car service from the airport to the hotel. We used the folks at Tour Beijing and paid extra for an English-speaking guide. We also paid for a vehicle that could seat six and that turned out to be a very good thing because each of the three of us had a very large bag and a carry-on and I also had a backpack. We ended up with a mini-van and the back was full. I had thought we were paying for an extra person to give us a tour as we made our way to the hotel but that was not the case. As a side note, our friends who arrived later that evening were told no English-speaking guides were available after 9 PM.

We arrived at the Regent Beijing in the early afternoon. While I had seen the photos on their website I was still impressed with how elegant the hotel seemed. Lots of marble-like finishes, very understated and classy. The lobby was quite large with a water feature in the center and the reception desks to the left. To the right was an elevator that led up to a Morton’s of Chicago steakhouse.

Regent Beijing Lobby

Regent Beijing Lobby Chandelier

Continue reading

Categories: Asia, China, Hotel, Lodging Review, Regent, River Cruise, Viking | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Register for Marriott’s Newest MegaBonus

Marriott has a new targeted MegaBonus promotion for stays between April 16 (Monday) and July 20, 2018. Beginning with your third paid night’s stay during this timeframe you’ll earn 750 bonus Marriott Rewards points per night, up to a maximum of 36,000 points. You must book via the Marriott website or the Marriott app to earn the bonus points.  You must register by June 30 to be eligible.  The T&C do not state that you must register before staying to earn your bonus points but don’t take a chance – go ahead and register today even if you have no plans for a Marriott stay.  It’s free and it can’t hurt!

Only one room per hotel will be counted toward the member’s nights or stay and if you’re choosing to receive airline miles instead of hotel points on your stay then there’s no bonus. Ritz-Carlton stays DO country for this promotion.

If you were targeted for this offer you should have received an email about it but you can always check the MegaBonus site to be sure.

Categories: Hotel, Hotel Promos, Marriott | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Some Hyatt Places/Houses Testing the Elimination of Free Breakfast

On Friday Gary of View From The Wing had a blog post stating that at a few select locations Hyatt is eliminating the free breakfast at some Hyatt Place/Hyatt House properties.

If you made your reservation for one of these locations before February 1st you’ll still get the breakfast regardless of your Hyatt status but if not, only those with Globalist status (Hyatt’s top tier) will get free breakfast. The rest of us will be charged $10 if we want to partake.

When I’m using points to stay at a Hyatt property I’m usually at a full-service hotel. But when I’m paying cash – or using the free night voucher I get with my Chase Hyatt credit card – I’m often at a Hyatt Place or Hyatt House and one of the reasons is that these hotels have pretty good breakfast spreads. It’s not just cereal and pastries but there are several kinds of hot entrees and sometimes you can even have omlettes cooked to order.

I’ve not yet seen a full list of properties where the breakfast is not included but I really hope the feedback on this change is overwhelmingly negative. I love the larger rooms in Hyatt Places/Houses and how there’s a separate area with a sofa for lounging. I actively look for these properties when traveling but if this change becomes permanent I will question whether I need to stay at Hyatts in the future or not.

Categories: Hotel, Hyatt | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lodging Review: Westin Snowmass (and part 1 of the luggage saga)

You know that saying “Man Plans, God Laughs”? Yeah, that kinda described the first couple of days of my recent ski trip, the first night of which was at the Westin Snowmass.

I had a Saturday-Saturday ski trip planned with my ski club at Snowmass, one of the four Aspen-area resorts that can all be skied using a single lift ticket. It was time to replace my skis so I wanted to demo a few different pair while finding the ones that worked best for me. As I planned this trip I decided I didn’t want to miss a day skiing with my friends, so I’d go a day early and demo several pair before they arrived.

So it was on a Friday in February I left Memphis, enjoyed my leisurely 3-hour connection in Houston and landed on-time at the Vail/Eagle County Airport (EGE). [I had decided against flying in to the more convenient Aspen Airport (ASE) based on my experience last year.] And I had no bags. Neither one of them. The helpful baggage agent found that the bags had made it to Houston and were in the process of being rerouted (and I could see the same info on the app). Since mine was the only Houston-Vail flight of the day, we both assumed they were going to Denver, which had a couple more flights into Vail later that day. She said they’d deliver them to me that evening. So I hopped in my rental car and headed to Snowmass.

As a side note, I had planned to use the Colorado Mountain Express shuttle to/from the airport but my flight out of EGE was around 7:30 AM and CME didn’t have a shuttle leaving the Aspen area that early. An Uber or taxi would have been around $200 so when I found a rental car for $280 that price was as cheap or only a little more expensive than the CME shuttle + Uber combined and I’d have the Independence of having a car if I needed it so it seemed the better option.

It was sunny on my drive to Aspen and it was late afternoon by the time I arrived at the Westin Snowmass. The valet greeted me promptly and I decided to just let him handle the car since I’d only be there one night. Of course since I had no luggage, all he had to deal with was the car.

Westin Snowmass Main Entrance (on the day I checked out)

The front desk is just inside the door and to the right. The lobby is fairly large as there’s a lounging area with après-ski hot beverages available to guests and the bar is off to the right beyond the front desk.

Westin Snowmass Front Desk

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The associate who checked me in was efficient and friendly. She recognized my SPG Gold status and asked if I’d prefer 500 points or a coupon for an adult beverage. Naturally, I took the points. I said I only needed one key but she said she’d give me two as the room had a slot where the card needed to be entered for the power to work. I appreciated that since it meant I wouldn’t have to use a card of my own for that purpose. I was given the keys to room 598 and pointed to the elevator which were not far away.

Continue reading

Categories: Hotel, Lodging Review, Starwood | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lodging Review: Hyatt Regency New Orleans

A weekend convention I was attending was held in New Orleans recently. I was pleased to learn it was to be held at the Hyatt Regency since I have low-level status with them as a result of my Chase Hyatt credit card. I was even more pleased to learn that this is a category 4 hotel, which meant I could use the free night certificate that I earn each year simply by paying the annual fee on the card.

We arrived about 8:30 PM after the long drive from Memphis. Valet parking is $40 per night so we opted for the self-park around the corner that was $25 per night. Fortunately the self-park garage has direct access to the hotel so this made it quite convenient.

Though there wasn’t much of a check-in line, I still went to the elite line where I was the only person and once a staff member was freed up, she called me right over for assistance. She did thank me for my loyalty and confirmed I’d asked for an accessible room. When I said that I didn’t really need that (it was just what had been assigned to me when redeeming the certificate) she proactively decided to look for an upgrade. I was assigned a room on the 11th floor and even given club access. That was great because as a Discoverist, I don’t normally get free breakfast but because she’d assigned me a suite, I now had it!

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Front Desk

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Lobby

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Grand Staircase

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Seating Area – one of many found throughout the first couple of floors, which are the convention areas

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Boarding Pass Print Area
This is located to the side of the front desk

Getting to the elevators from the front desk is a little bit of a trek because this is a convention hotel so while the front desk was on the ground floor, it was actually necessary to take escalators up to the third floor to be able to reach a point where we could get on the elevators.

The elevators in themselves are a bit tricky but fortunately there was a staff member on hand to assist, as there was both evenings were there while lots of folks were checking in.  (Smart move, Hyatt.) We weren’t the only ones learning how to make them work! There are two banks of elevators: A/B/C/D and E/F/G/H. Both sets go to level 3 (the main level) and level 5 (pool) but A-D are for the lower sets of floors while E-H go to the higher sets. And only F and G go to the 32nd floor where the club and gym are found.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Elevator Keypad
Scan the room key underneath for access

To access a floor, you scan your room key underneath the keypad. It will automatically light up your floor but if you want to go to a different one (like the club) then you select that button instead. Once it knows which floor you want, it will assign you to one of the elevator cars. This usually worked pretty well. The only time things were really crowded was when we were all heading downstairs to the convention at once.

The hotel is shaped a bit like an X but the “legs” of the X curve a bit more than the ones of the letter do. I followed the signs toward my quarter of the X. The entire atrium is open and you can look right down on one of the restaurants. I kept walking almost to the end of the hallway before coming to my room, 1124.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Exit the elevators and turn left down this hall

Hyatt Regency New Orleans The atrium is open from bottom to top

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Follow the hallway as it curves to the right

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Room 1124 is on the right, just beside the stairwell

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Room 1124 in the upper left quadrant of the X

Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Atrium Restaurant as viewed from the elevator

The door opened into a hallway with the closet immediately to the left, followed by the bathroom.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Hallway

At the end of the hall was the living area that featured a sectional sofa (not a sleeper, however) with a desk and a wall-mounted TV. Mine was a connecting room so to the far left, beside the desk, was the connecting door.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Sofa and Desk

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Living Area TV and Sofa

To the right was a wall with an open doorway into the bedroom. I had a king bed with two built-in side tables. Against the wall between the living area and the bedroom was a tall chest upon which the TV sat. The chest contained the mini-fridge (with 2 liter-size bottles of water – complimentary thanks to my Discoverist status) and the safe.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite King Bed

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite TV and Stand

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Fridge, Safe and Shelves

On one bedside table I found this note.  I think this is a great idea, even though I did not use either product.  This hotel is right beside some venues that could be used for concerts and noise could be an issue at times.  The hotel has implemented a quiet period in its hallways after 9 PM but we all know that can be ignored if there are intoxicated folks around.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Earplugs

You’ll notice that I did not describe any sort of chest with drawers and that’s because there wasn’t one. There was no luggage stand either, though there were a couple of stools/footrests in the living area that could have served the purpose. I’ve heard that some properties are skipping chests with drawers because people tend to leave more things behind in drawers.

There were a couple of shelves below the safe in the bedroom and inside the closet were several shelves on one side and there was the overhead shelf that ran the length of the closet. There was also a laundry hamper in the closet, not something I believe I’ve ever seen before in a hotel. The whole arrangement just struck me as strange but since I was only there for two nights it didn’t bother me too much.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Closet

The bathroom had the vanity and sink on one side (I liked the stainless features), the toilet in the center and the walk-in shower on the other side. My first complaint about the bathroom was the lighting. It was extremely dim and yellow. Yes there was a lighted makeup mirror which helped up close,  but the wall lights gave the whole bathroom a sickly glow. My other complaint is the water pressure. I thought perhaps it was a fluke on Saturday morning when there wasn’t much pressure but I had the same issue on Sunday. I like a very strong shower pulse and this just didn’t get it done, especially since the water at this hotel is EXTREMELY soft, which meant it was quite difficult to get the soap off your hands and body whether taking a shower or just washing your hands. The shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and bar of soap already occupied the shelf in the shower. It’s nice that the shelf is big enough to accommodate all that at once. But that still left me nowhere to put my razor and shave gel except on the floor. An additional shelf would be a good step up as would some sort of low shelf to prop my leg while shaving.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Bathroom Vanity

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Bathroom Toilet

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Bathroom Shower

Toiletries were KenetMD brand which I have typically associated with Hyatt Place and Hyatt House.  I liked that there was a choice of a bath bar and bath gel.  The shampoo and conditioner weren’t great but got the job done.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Toiletries

I only sat on the sofa for a little bit but in looking at it later it seems to have been well-used during its life and refreshing the seat cushions wouldn’t hurt.

The bed was quite firm but was still very comfortable. I loved that there were two easily-accessible plugs on either side of the bed!

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Bedside Outlets

The desk also had easy-to-reach plugs on its side. Kudos for that!

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Desk Sign

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Suite Desk Side Outlets

The thermostat was easy to operate and thankfully could be set below 68F. I like to sleep in a cold room and that made it much easier. I was a little amused/frustrated that in the mornings when I’d turn the thermostat up, that I had to bump it up just a few degrees at a time. If I tried to jump straight from 66F to 72F, it would turn on the heat instead of just allowing the room to gradually warm.

I was thankful for the upgrade but I do think there are a few small things that could be done to improve the experience.

Pool

The pool is located on the 5th floor and you must use your keycard to gain access. From there it’s down a flight of stairs so I don’t know if it’s totally handicap accessible though there may be an entrance from a different direction. The pool deck is fairly large and from 8-10 on Saturday mornings there is some sort of free exercise class there. The deck is right amid a number of tall buildings so I don’t know how much sunlight it actually gets. But the famous New Orleans humidity was in full force, even at 8 AM.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Pool

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Pool Deck Seating

Gym

The gym is on the 32rd floor, across from the Regency Club. The room follows the curve of the building and offers views of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (home of the NFL’s Saints) and the Smoothie King Center (home of the NBA’s Pelicans). There were a number of treadmills, some elliptical machines, a few bikes, a reasonable selection of weight machines as well as hand weights and other assorted accessories. I got there just before closing time and it was empty on Friday night but each of the next two mornings there were several folks making use of it while I ate breakfast.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Gym Ellipticals

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Treadmills

Hyatt Regency New Orleans More Treadmills

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Weight Machines

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Fitness Equipment

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Hand Weights

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Gym Beverage Station

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Gym Towel Sttation

Regency Club

The Regency Club is also on the 32nd floor and offers city views in the opposite direction from the gym. I was disappointed in the selection as there was not much in the way of hot food at all. Oatmeal and grits were the only hot foods. There were about 5 kinds of cereal and a good selection of fruit, both bite-sized and whole, and a small selection of pastries and breads. Several types of juices were available as were coffee and tea, but that was it.  Breakfast is offered 5:30-9:30 AM Monday-Friday and 7:00-10:00 AM on the weekends.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Beverage Service

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Milk and Cereal

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Fresh Fruit

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Whole Fruit

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Yogurts and Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Grits and Oatmeal

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Bread Station and Grits Toppings

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Oatmeal Toppings

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club More Oatmeal Toppings

They offer mid-day snacks 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM and hors d’oeuvres 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM daily but I did not visit during either of these times.  I should have gone been there during our convention’s one long break as it wasn’t long enough for a proper lunch and all the grab ‘n go places had huge lines.  Wish I’d remembered this was open!

Hyatt Regency New Orleans Regency Club Beer and Wine
(the liquor cabinet was above but the photo came out blurry)

Location

The Hyatt Regency New Orleans is on Loyola Avenue and is super-convenient to the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center. However there’s not a huge selection of restaurants in the area (or so I was told) and that surprised me. For the one night I had dinner, we ate at the in-house seafood restaurant, which was quite good and fairly reasonably priced (that is to say, a little more than I’d spend if I was just going out by myself for dinner here at home).

View of the Smoothie King Center and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from the gym

If our convention selects NOLA as its site for next year, that will be fine with me and I would be happy to stay here again.

Categories: Hotel, Hyatt, Lodging Review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Review: SpringHill Suites Arcadia, California

A friend and I were visiting another friend who lived in Pasadena, California and we had a free night certificate for a category 1-5 Marriott hotel so we selected the closest one, the SpringHill Suites in Arcadia, about 10 minutes away. The certificate is an annual benefit for those who hold the Chase Marriott Visa card and is good for exactly six months after the cardholder’s anniversary.

As a Silver member we were given a quiet room at the end of the hallway on the third floor. There were two centrally-located elevators for this four-floor property. While both elevators were working the day we checked in, only one seemed to be working the next day which meant more of wait than one might expect.

As all the rooms are suites we walked into the “living area” which contained a pull-out sofa and two small tables that could be used as a coffee table or moved to the sides of the sofa as end tables. Across from the sofa was an area with a desk and chair on one side and a kitchenette on the other. The kitchenette had a built-in microwave and a mini-fridge along with a sink as well as a coffee maker and condiments.

SpringHill Suites Arcadia Sofa

SpringHill Suites Arcadia Sofa

SpringHill Suites Arcadia TV Stand and Desk

SpringHill Suites Arcadia TV Stand and Desk

SpringHill Suites Arcadia Kitchenette

SpringHill Suites Arcadia Kitchenette

Continue reading

Categories: Hotel, Lodging Review, Marriott | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Free 1000 Club Carlson Points

2014-03-05 Hashtag Hotel PromoClub Carlson will be running a Twitter promotion on March 19th called their #HashtagHotelPromo.  They’ll be giving away prizes including cameras, headphones and tables.  You must be following Club Carlson to participate.  To give you an incentive to sign up early, if you connect your Gold Points account with Club Carlson today you’ll get 1000 bonus points. This is limited to the first 5000 people to sign up, so do so quickly!  You can connect to the promotion page HERE.

Categories: Club Carlson, Hotel, Hotel Promos | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.