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An embarrassingly nice stay at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.



$135 for a $500 suite on a business trip?  Yeah, I'll take that deal.  

This is the first time I've ever stayed in a Park Hyatt for work, as well as the first time I've ever paid rather than used an award redemption.  These hotels are typically outside the my personal budget, as well as beyond what I can typically justify for a business expense.  I've been very impressed with my past Park Hyatt stays in Washington, Melbourne, and Tokyo. ...

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Soap at Hyatt Hotels - Anything but White Ginger


When you hear (or smell) Portico White Ginger, what do you think of?  


I am a frequent Hyatt guest, and am more than a little sick of that foul aroma, which is the standard offering for bathroom amenities at most Hyatt and Hyatt Place hotels.  Other Hyatt brands including resorts have different (and in my opinion, generally rather nice) products.  I know not everyone dislikes the White Ginger, but I'm happy to hear that it is finally going away. ...

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The Red Palace - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

I'm sure the architechtural style gives away the region where this site is located.  But can you name the specific location?  This is in a large city with lots of sites to see.  This particular spot is worth a visit, but its not at the top of most lists.  It is a bit unique since many similar places in this area are no longer standing. ...

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Thai Airways between Bangkok and Chiang Rai - The Journey the Destination


Similar to my United domestic first class legs at the beginning of the trip, I had 2 Thailand domestic flights in business class between Bangkok and Chiang Rai.  Everything else on this ticket was in International First Class.

When I booked this, one way was on an A300, and the return on a A330.  They also have some narrowbody Airbus on this route, but I tried to avoid that.  Thai is known for their frequent schedule changes.  Ultimately both legs ...

A week with Delta - Is the grass greener?


Last week I had a business trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  When booking the trip from Milwaukee to Greensboro, I noticed that the only options on my preferred carrier (United) consisted of four legs on 50 seat RJs.  The ticket was over $650.  I have already re-qualified for 1K, so I decided to dig a bit deeper to find a more comfortable experience.  Delta had itineraries with all mainline jets, and the tickets were much less expensive.   I still have Delta ...

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Touring the Golden Triangle- Myanmar, Laos and Mae Sai Thailand - The Journey the Destination


The confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers, the exact point of the golden triangle.  

My second day on northern Thailand would consist of  a journey around the Golden Triangle including brief visits to Myanmar and Laos.  The hotel concierge booked a car with a driver for me after convincing me this was the best option.  This cost around US $100 for 8 or so hours, more than it would have cost to rent a car to drive myself, but the local ...

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The White Palace - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

This is a major city, one that is pretty easily accessible.  It is the largest place of its type on the continent it resides, which has many.


Where was this photo taken, what is this called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?

This is part of a "photo flashback" series of photos I'm sharing from ...

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Grand Deluxe room at the Le Meridien Chiang Rai - The Journey the Destination


After my overnight stay in Bangkok, I had a morning flight to Chiang Rai.  Sadly my stay in Northern Thailand was just one night, but I was able to spend almost 2 full days exploring the area.   I arrived in Chiang Rai in the morning, and the cab ride was only a few minutes to the hotel. They cheerfully checked me in despite my arrival at the hotel before noon.  I was upgraded to a room in the Grand Deluxe Wing, which is the newest section of ...

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Hyatt Gold Passport added to iOS Passbook


I happened to be checking on my Hyatt account online when I noticed a link to add to Passbook on my iPhone.

Passbook is a handy tool that is available for iPhone users running iOS 6.0 or newer.  More and more travel providers are adding Passbook access.  United, Starwood, and now Hyatt are some companies that I use frequently that use Passbook integration.  Seth wrote up a nice basic summary of Passbook here.  Users can get boarding passes, hotel ...

NEXUS program adds more benefits for members



Although I don't travel to Canada all that often, the several trips I do each year have made my NEXUS membership well worth the cost in both dollars and time.  This also allows me Global Entry access, at half of the cost ($50 instead of $100) if I paid for Global Entry membership alone.  

I recently received some information highlighting recent updates to the program.  For as much of a hassle as security screening can be for frequent travelers, ...

Quick review of my Hawaii trip


Its been pretty quiet on RegionalFirst of late, and the main reason for that is I was swamped with work.  For the last 10 days or so, I've been busy not working, since my wife and I were enjoying a vacation in Hawaii.  

Now I'm back on the mainland celebrating Thanksgiving with family.

I have more posts coming soon, but for now, here are some teaser photos from Hawaii.  A full report will be coming!

We had a great stay, splitting our time in  Maui ...

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Church Ruins - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

This is a special place that has a unique history and a mix of cultures. This particular landmark is over 400 years old. It shares a name with a famous metropolis where the same language is spoken, but is more than 11,000 miles away.  



Where was this photo taken, and what is the story behind this unique ...
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Delta updated their safety videos, and they are pretty funny

Although I am a sucker for Rhapsody in Blue, I'm more than a little bored with the safety videos on my usual airline, United.  That said, on a recent flight, the flight attendant prefaced playing the video with the suggestion passengers raise their hands when Jeff Smisek uses superlatives like "spectacular", and "quantum".  I enjoyed the joke, and it actually made me pay more attention than I normally do.  Try it on your next United flight.

I recently posted Air New ...

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50,000 Club Carlson points at the Park Plaza Bangkok - The Journey the Destination

Park Plaza Bangkok Soi 18



After I made arrangements for my flight from Tokyo to Bangkok in Thai First Class, I needed a hotel in Bangkok since I was arriving after the last flight of the day to Chiang Rai.  This wasn't an ideal situation, but I got to have a nice in flight experience from Tokyo, which made it worthwhile.  I could have stayed closer to the airport, but there were a few hotel promotions going on at the time, which I took advantage of.  

I had ...

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Air New Zealand's newest safety video featuring hobbits and others

Air New Zealand continues to flex their creativity with their unique safety videos.  I had the opportunity to see the horrific Richard Simmons video on my flight on Air New Zealand between Christchurch and Melbourne.

Their newest video is Hobbit themed, with Peter Jackson's next cinematic take on JRR Tolkien's works.  There was some filming going on when I was visiting New Zealand last year, and as the release date of these movies approaches, clearly Air New Zealand Air ...

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Thai Royal First Class on the 777-300ER from Tokyo to Bangkok - The Journey the Destination


There are various options to fly between Tokyo and Bangkok.  Not all of them have First Class, so I was somewhat limited since I wanted to maximize my award redemption.  When I saw the Thai flight on the 777-300ER configured with "suites with doors", I knew that's the option I wanted to take.  Its not the newest product anymore, but its still a pretty nice way to fly.  Jet Airways bought these planes, configured them, but then has leased them out to various carriers. ...

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Rain Gutters - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

  I was exploring this old city when I came across this very modern (and musical) solution to dealing  with rainwater...    

Where was this photo taken, and what is the story behind this unique location? 


Have you visited there?




This is part of a "photo flashback" series of photos I'm ...

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The ANA Suites Lounge Narita Satellite 4 - The Journey the Destination



After leaving the Park Hyatt Tokyo, I headed back to Narita airport to catch my flights to the next leg of my journey, onward to Thailand.  I took a Limousine bus directly from the Park Hyatt to Terminal 1 at Narita.  I've always enjoyed my visits to Narita airport, such a diverse collection of carriers, and a well organized and easy airport to navigate.  

This looks like the (far) eastern terminal in ...

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Cliffs to the water - Photo Flashback

potw5This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.   This area is more than 2000 miles from Washington DC, but is still on US soil. The views here are  beautiful, and there is significant history as well.  



Where was this photo taken, and what is the story behind this unique location?  Have you visited there?


This is part of a "photo flashback" series of photos ...

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A Park View King at the Park Hyatt Tokyo - The Journey the Destination


The next stop on my trip was a return to Tokyo.  This time, I decided to splurge on one of my most anticipated hotels ever.  Like many people, ever since seeing Lost in Translation, I wanted to visit the Park Hyatt Tokyo for myself.  Despite my attempts to keep this whole trip on a relatively lean budget, I decided to splurge for this one night in Tokyo.  

Park Hyatt is my favorite "reasonably attainable" hotel brand, and Tokyo is one of my ...

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