Previous month:
October 21, 2012 - October 27, 2012
Next month:
November 4, 2012 - November 10, 2012

Posts from October 28, 2012 - November 3, 2012

The Perks of Travel

Some say life on the road isn't glamorous. Well they're right it isn't always, but if you do things right, you can make it into more than it could be. I've been blessed to become a Royal Ambassador-Priority Club Platinum with the InterContinental Hotel Group and the perks, added by my friendship with the amazing team at the San Francisco InterContinental Hotel has led to really being treated well. Upgrades are the standard, but it's also the personal hand holding that makes these hotels so great. Where else do the GM's and Hotel Manager's walk up to you, address you by name, welcome you back and hand you their business card, offering to help make your stay even better. 

Another program I enjoy is LeClub Accor, from the Accor hotel group out of France. Their points to real money for use on stays is awesome, but being a Platinum level member also helps. This weekend I had a heating problem in the brand new Novatel Confluence. The status, and the travel agency status I've held for over 20 years worked to my advantage. Basically, in the room is a card that guarantees guests a great stay or it's free. Well one night the heat didn't work and the staff didn't engineer it to work, They just turned the system off in my room, while the hallway was a good ten degrees warmer. The next morning the engineer fixed it, and I had an amazing sleep my second night. At check out I invoked the "sorry, you didn't fix the problem" clause. After some haggling, and verification of my status, the manager agreed, and I got one night off my bill.

In Hong Kong both InterContinentals were fabulous to stay in. Service, and the kind of laundry service one dreams of. Forget fluff and fold. They hand washed, air dried, cold pressed my shirts, and brought everything back so neatly folded....great food at the Harbouside Restaurant, and really prompt room service in both IC's there.

In London the new South Place Hotel has become my favorite hotel in London by a mile. So much that I've booked two more stays in it between now and the end of the year. But be warned about London. A new VAT tax on hotel stays are driving the prices up for no reason. My retort. Hello Paris. Between the fast Eurostar and better pricing in Paris, plus food, I'll spend what time I need to in London, and then head under the Channel and enjoy seeing friends at Willi's Wine Bar, Juveniles, Verjus, Fish, Semilla, A la Margueritte and elsewhere....and that will be December at the Intercontinental Avenue Marceau, not the Grand, which is in major need of a facelift..

Flying---EasyJet continues to impress me. Two flights this trip so far (Gatwick to Lyon and Lyon to Madrid) with more coming up. Okay, so it's not Cathay Pacific First Class--which is AH-MAYZING!!!! but the cabin crew has Virgin America like attitude and friendliness, the planes are new enough and with Speedy Boarding Plus, getting a GREAT seat isn't difficult. Signing up for the Plus program is worth it if you are in Europe as much as I am. You get free Speedy Boarding....

Taxi's--why are the taxi drivers in the UK, France and Spain natives? Gosh does it make for a more interesting ride than what we get in the USA.

Well..back to work....


Observations from a Coffee Filled Morning

So I've been off hitting cafe's this morning in Madrid, a city that understand coffee, maybe more than even Paris or Vienna. As I sit at Cafe Commercial, an establishment that dates back to the 1800s I can't help but notice that I'm the only person with an iPad to read the morning news.

Next to me people pour through the morning papers, and the week's worth of magazines. Couples sit with one another, but each is nosed into their morning paper. Waiters deftly move and maneuver their servings around the papers, but are challenged by what to do with the iPad. It draws looks, but is clearly not something they haven't seen before.

The place is lively, and yet, above the din of the customers is a rhythm that keeps the waiters moving from table to table.

As for being connected, my iPad and I love the unlimited Vodafone service I bought a few trips back, but didn't use. I popped the SIM in and voila, it worked. I do plan on topping it up, so when I'm back in Spain in February it works. As for the iPhone, well, the YOIGO SIM's all still work and I mean, all three. I'll top up each and use each at least once simply to keep the credit on them, but being connected in Spain is once again, EASY. It was the same in France. My SFR SIM's worked as did the one from Orange. Trick is to be here enough and to buy the Top-Ups and keep them at my disposal. As I'll be back in France in December, I used the three month's Top-Up that was about to expire on Orange on the Android Galaxy Note 1. The SFR process is the service I prefer though as their 24 Euro for 20 days of use, both voice and data suits me fine...all I need to do though is find a Nano SIM next trip.

Navigation though with Apple Maps has me longing for Google Maps, so the Android is useful there, but at the end of the day, my iPhone's win.

So back to the I turn back to Zite, Flipboard and papers for me....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Calle de Fuencarral,Madrid,Spain