Celebrating New Years in Tokyo

New Years seems to be a big holiday in Japan, at least in the sense that many places are closed on the holiday itself.

 
We were staying at the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, and while the immediate area was pretty slow, we found plenty to do (and mostly eat) a little further ...

Is the new Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa the best in the world?

Is the new Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa the best lounge in the world?  Maybe not, but after having visited, in my opinion it is certainly in the conversation among the best lounges I have visited.
 
 
 
Dessert and drink display in Etihad First Class ...
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Review: The Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

For our hotel in Tokyo, we stayed at the new Andaz property in the Toranomon district of Minato, Tokyo.  I've heard good things about this property, so I was happy to check it out and experience it on our own.  It definitely met my expectations.
 

The Andaz Tokyo ...
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Next Adventure: Round the World in Premium Cabins

I've had this trip in the works for a while, and now it is finally here.  I booked a few final pieces just recently as availability opened up.  

Map courtesy of the excellent gcmap.com
 
This trip was built around availability for Etihad First Class Apartments on ...
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The New Hyatt Regency Los Angeles Airport - Close to Reality

LAX  is one of my most frequently visited airports, and I usually try to avoid mid-con red eyes to get home to Milwaukee.  This means I'm often staying near the airport prior to early morning flights.  There are countless options near the airport, but one I've been following closely ...
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Traveling around Japan on Shinkansen high speed trains

I've long been intrigued by the Japanese high-speed rail network.  If nothing else, the trains themselves look really futuristic.  This journey was somewhat unplanned, but in the end it worked out much better than the flights we were originally planning on.  I have also written out ...
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A Few Days Exploring Kyoto

We had finally made it to Kyoto, and as much as I remain fascinated by Tokyo, I was excited to visit another place in Japan that is somewhat less hectic than what is the world's most populous city. (At least according to some measures).

a finely manicured zen garden in ...
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The Hyatt Regency in Kyoto, Japan

After our delayed flight into Tokyo, we missed the flight we had originally scheduled to take us from Narita to Osaka, so we took a high speed train directly to Kyoto.  In retrospect, this was probably easier than our original plan which would have required a terminal change, another flight, ...
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United's New Safety Video: Team USA

Election years in the US are often miserable given the incessant mud slinging which some refer to as "campaigning".  In better news, US  presidential election years are also the same year as the Summer Olympic Games are held.  Airlines often use this national pride in their ad ...

ANA First Class from Chicago to Tokyo Narita

International First Class on an Asian carrier; definitely one of the more exciting parts of this hobby.  I've flown ANA before, but never in First Class, so as we got on board, I had pretty high expectations.  I think for the most part these expectations were met, my main complaint was ...
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Amenity Kit Review: ANA First Class

I was fortunate to fly ANA First Class from Chicago to Tokyo in late 2015.  I'm nearly finished with my trip report, but first I wanted to add a review of the amenity kit I received. For our introductory post and description of the categories, and the 5 point rating scale, please ...

Exotic airlines I've flown

Arik Air, Maldivian, Spanair, Virgin Blue, Jetstar, and many more.  Some of these are still flying, and some are long gone, but none of them fly anywhere close to the US, so they seem at least somewhat exotic.  While talking travel with fellow Upgrd blogger, Sriram, we were discussing a ...
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The United Global First Lounge at Chicago O'Hare before ANA flight

Our trip to began in Chicago on a cold, windy winter day.  The cold isn't usually a problem for O'Hare operations, but as the day wore on, the snow became a problem, ultimately leading to a pretty significant departure delay.  
I'm generally not someone who arrives to airports really ...
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Getaway to Japan for a week

I traveled a lot in 2015; most of it was work travel, but I had some fun personal travel as well.  One of the best trips was to Japan with my wife.  We have wanted to go there for some time, and we finally were able to make it work.  We had some good experiences both while getting to ...
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Diamonds Are a Traveler's Best Friend? Trying out Hilton again.

Even though Hilton gave away Diamond status a few months ago (link), I didn't really have any plans to take advantage of it.  I only decided to take the match at the last minute before the offer expired.  I recently had a trip where I couldn't find any availability without breaking the ...
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Have you had the Westin Experience?

Westin hotels seem to employ an "Experience Specialist" at most of their properties.  I've had a few stays at Westin hotels the last few months, and wanted to share some of these experiences.  It has mostly been positive, but not always.

Westin Los Angeles Airport.  Photo ...
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My 50th State, and other travel milestones

Maybe you have seen various surveys on Facebook tracking now many states people have visited.  At some point, I did some accounting, and realized that I was close to reaching all of the states.  I had been to 48 states, all but New Mexico and Idaho.  I had been meaning to make a trip ...
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Grand Suite at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

7 nights in an amazing suite on a business trip is a pretty excellent way to spend a trip far from home, especially considering I booked a standard room.  I haven't always had great luck using my Hyatt Diamond suite upgrades, but I was pretty pleased in this case with being able to use it for a ...

Having some fun with CBP: the Global Entry Selfie

I'm not one to take a lot of selfies.  That's not to say never, but it seems I have more cranky old man traits than that of a millennial.  There may exist some photos of me in First Class pajamas or in a airplane lavatory, but good luck finding those...One exception to my no selfie 'rule' ...
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