Tomonsit in first

Grand Hyatt Taipei

Overview: A quality (if aged) western business hotel in the heart of the CBD
Strengths: Service, breakfast restaurant, location
Weaknesses: Rooms are getting old, haunted?

Taipei is a place that I’ve only been one before, but have a lot of thoughts about since my brief visit.  I was scheduled to be connecting here on the Singapore Airlines flight that had the accident here in 2000 as part of my honeymoon trip.  Thankfully, we changed our flights by a day ...

Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore

Overview: A well-appointed luxury hotel
Strengths: Service, facilities, rooms
Weaknesses: Location will be a drawback for some

Though I’ve been to Singapore several times in the interim, this was my first time returning to this hotel since I stayed here during my honeymoon in 2000.  Though my stay at this hotel was only for five hours this time, it was a nice treat to return to a hotel that I had fond memories of.

For this trip, Singapore was my first stop on a ...

Fairmont Presidents Club - Keeps on Giving!

Wow.  I participated in the LivingSocial deal last year that offered lifetime Platinum membership in the Fairmont President's Club when you paid $2k for a night in the Presidential Suite at the SF Fairmont.  (Of course, I also did the conga buy-down, bringing my cost to $1,500, too!)  What a great deal this has turned out to be.  Assuming it lasts another 7 or so years (hopefully longer), this will be one of the best deals I've ever partaken in.

The night in the Presidential Suite ...

Frankfurt’s SKY Lounge (Not the Sky Club!)

Earlier this month, I flew from JFK to FRA on Delta in their business class cabin.  Having to turn up for meetings a little while after arrival, I needed to find a lounge at the airport that I could access for a quick shower and bite to eat.

Delta used to operate a Crown Room at FRA, but no longer do.  Delta’s former lounge space has been taken over by a third party that now operates a “Sky Lounge” in the space.  (This is not to be confused with Delta-operated “Sky ...

Ritz Carlton Ft Lauderdale (FLL) - A very nice hotel

Overview: A truly five star resort hotel in an urban, beachfront setting
Strengths: Service, Dining, Rooms
Weakness: Limited pool hours, Beach is great but generally crowded (and truly a public beach), Noise in my room (though I believe this to be a limited problem)

I spent a weekend earlier this month with my kids (8 and 6) at the Ritz Carlton in Ft Lauderdale.  (We left Mom at home so she could relax and enjoy a quiet weekend to herself!)  This was my second ...

SQ21 - A few observations from the longest flight in the world

I am just south of Bangkok on SQ21, with a little more than an hour to go enroute to Singapore. This is my second time flying the long flight to/from Newark, and perhaps my tenth time in a business or first cabin on Singapore.

Recall that this flight, the longest scheduled flight in the world, has been operated in an all-business 100 seat configuration for several years. (It was previously J and Y+.) The flight was essentially full tonight (I only cleared a wait list for it earlier ...

A Downsized Business Trip Ended Up with Eight Hours at the Chicago Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

Overview: A solid, upper-mid-scale hotel; "W"-lite vibe

Strengths: New, good service, room size

Drawbacks: Fringe location

I had the perfect quick trip planned for Chicago…which unfortunately largely unraveled at the last minute.

Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago is one of my top-ten favorite restaurants in the world.  Something about it just resonates exceptionally well with me.  Unfortunately, earlier this year, after a 20+ year run, they announced that ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 7 – Conclusion

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

In the weeks that have passed since our trip, one of the most important things has been occurring – our kids keep talking about it.  Once and a while they say things like, “this is a lot of walking, like when we were in Paris,” but overwhelmingly their references ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380)

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

Our flight home from Paris was going to be the longest daytime flight our kids had ever taken.  I wasn’t quite “worried,” but I did wonder how the 8-hour-plus day time journey was going to go.  It was also the kids’ first flight on an A380, and they were ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 5 – Dining

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

My wife and I are fortunate to have visited Paris a number of times previously.  That presents a dilemma – we have such wonderful memories at many restaurants that we want to visit them again when we return to Paris.  The drawback is that be going back to our ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

Traveling as a family of four (including kids aged 8 and 5), the rules of the road for this trip to Paris would be different than our prior visits.  For each day, we picked a kid-oriented activity, an adult-oriented activity and something that everyone would ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

Overview: A very large hotel, mainly designed to cater to conference guests

Strengths: Located on the Metro’s Number 1 line, convenient to the Palais des Congres, non-stop Air France bus drop off directly across the street

Drawbacks: Tiny rooms ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777)

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

Having agreed to go and established the week that we wanted to travel, I set out to find business class award seats to Paris.  Air France now offers A380 service between JFK and CDG (among other aircraft types).  Thanks perhaps to the size of the business class ...

A Family Adventure in Paris – Part 1 – Introduction

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – Air France Business Class (777) Part 3 – Le Meridien Etoile Part 4 – Our Approach to Paris with Kids Part 5 – Dining Part 6 – Air France Business Class (A380) Part 7 – Conclusion

To me, exposing my children to cultures all around the world at as young of an age as possible is of the utmost importance.  (Frankly, it’s something I’m not doing enough of!)  My wife, while she shares the same desire of exposure for the kids, finds the ...

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – London (A Marriott Property)

Overview: An acceptable mid-range hotel in London

Strengths: Iconic public areas, size of rooms

Drawbacks: A few service lapses (though nothing major), rooms uninspired

Unlike my last visit to London, for my most recent trip, I had the benefit of a bit of advanced planning. I carefully reviewed my company’s approved hotel list, and picked the “least bad” property that was in a reasonably proximate location to where I needed to be. While sadly our approved list ...

Tokyo and Seoul: Part 7 - Conclusion

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – AA 167 JFK-NRT 777 Purportedly First Class; Narita Express Part 3 – Visiting Tokyo in 1970: Hotel Okura Part 4 – NH 1161 HND-GMP 777 Economy: Wow!  So this is what they have back here? Part 5 – Hotel on a Hill: Grand Hyatt Seoul Part 6 – KE 85 ICN-JFK A380 Business Class Part 7 – Conclusion

For a Sunday to Friday trip, I was able accomplish a lot - meeting with over a dozen clients and investors in two different countries.  Having just come off ...

Tokyo and Seoul: Part 6 – Korean Air A380 Business Class - Bottle Service in the Sky?

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – AA 167 JFK-NRT 777 Purportedly First Class; Narita Express Part 3 – Visiting Tokyo in 1970: Hotel Okura Part 4 – NH 1161 HND-GMP 777 Economy: Wow!  So this is what they have back here? Part 5 – Hotel on a Hill: Grand Hyatt Seoul Part 6 – KE 85 ICN-JFK A380 Business Class Part 7 – Conclusion

My flight home was on an Airbus A380, operated by Korean Air, in their business class cabin.  While in internet travel circles, we often hear about ...

Tokyo and Seoul: Part 5 – Hotel on a Hill: Grand Hyatt Seoul

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – AA 167 JFK-NRT 777 Purportedly First Class; Narita Express Part 3 – Visiting Tokyo in 1970: Hotel Okura Part 4 – NH 1161 HND-GMP 777 Economy: Wow!  So this is what they have back here? Part 5 – Hotel on a Hill: Grand Hyatt Seoul Part 6 – KE 85 ICN-JFK A380 Business Class Part 7 – Conclusion

Working within the confines of my “approved list” for hotels, the Grand Hyatt Seoul appeared to be one of the better options available to me.  My ...

Tokyo and Seoul: Part 4 – NH 1161 HND-GMP 777 Economy: Wow! So this is what they have back here?

Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 – AA 167 JFK-NRT 777 Purportedly First Class; Narita Express Part 3 – Visiting Tokyo in 1970: Hotel Okura Part 4 – NH 1161 HND-GMP 777 Economy: Wow!  So this is what they have back here? Part 5 – Hotel on a Hill: Grand Hyatt Seoul Part 6 – KE 85 ICN-JFK A380 Business Class Part 7 – Conclusion

With my meetings in Tokyo (successfully) concluded, it was time this morning to travel onward to Seoul.

The night before my morning flight to ...