Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Blog is Moving

I am currently in the process of moving the blog.

The new site can be found at

Thanks for all that have read my content in the past, and those have left comments.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Park Hyatt Aviara


The Park Hyatt Aviara located in the northern San Diego town of Carlsbad originally opened as a Four Seasons Resort.  The hotel got re-branded into a Park Hyatt in 2010.

Although parts of Carlsbad are on the beach, the Park Hyatt Aviara is located inland in a residential neighborhood.

A long driveway leads to the hotel itself.

As you enter the lobby, which is expansive, the front desk is located to the left.  I arrived at the hotel about 30 minutes before official check-in time and was notified that my room was not quite ready at that point.  Once the front desk agent had gone over the benefits as a Hyatt Diamond Gold Passport member I was notified that the room was ready.

Upon entering the room, the bathroom is located to the right.

Le Labo Amenities
There is a set of double sinks in reddish marble with ample counter space.  Le Labo Bergamote 22 amenities are provided.

There is a deep tub, and a separate shower which is on the smaller side.

The toilet has its own enclosure.

illy Coffee Maker
In the hallway, there is an illy coffee maker.

There is a dresser with a TV.

The décor of the room is sort of outdated, and has a semi-nautical feel to it.

Charging Station

The bed is comfortable with plenty of room to maneuver within the room.  A standard room is spacious at 540 square feet.

There is a fairly large glass top desk with two chairs.

There is a large sofa with coffee table and plenty of magazines.

The closet is spacious and contains robes and slippers.

The property sits on 200 acres with a golf course.  The back of the property overlooks a lagoon.

Hotel Grounds
There is also some interesting artwork throughout the grounds of the hotel.

Breakfast is served in the California Bistro.  There is complimentary coffee and tea in the reception area which is a nice touch if waiting for a table, or having a cup of coffee to go.

As a Hyatt Diamond Member access to the breakfast buffet is permitted.

The buffet is on the smaller side, but the ingredients are fresh and items are of high quality.

Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet
There is a cooked to order egg station, eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, potatoes, cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage patties and links, and oatmeal as hot options.

Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet
Cold options include fresh fruit, salmon, yogurt, cereal, bread, pastries, meats and cheeses.

Valet parking is rather steep at $35, and there are no self-parking options.

I got a great Elite Rate of $150.  If the elite rate was not available, I probably would have used a Virtuoso agent as the room would also come with an upgrade, late 4:00 PM check-out, breakfast for two and a $100 resort credit.

The Park Hyatt Aviara is nice, but could use an update.  As the hotel is somewhat isolated, I would prefer to stay at some of Hyatt’s other properties in San Diego such as the Andaz or the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

United Airlines Domestic First Class Food

I recently had the opportunity to fly four segments in United Airlines Domestic First Class in my quest to obtain Star Alliance Gold Status via Aegean Airlines.

Currently, this status can be achieved in one round trip flight, but that will change after November 1, 2014 due to the recent changes in the Aegean Miles & Bonus program.

The flights I took were Seattle to Houston; Houston to LaGuardia, New York; LaGuardia to Chicago O’Hare; and Chicago O’Hare to Seattle.

This post will only focus on the food served in first class.

Pre-Flight Berverage
Service on flights began with pre-flight beverage service.  I usually order a Diet Coke and water.

The Seattle to Houston flight was a morning flight which included breakfast service.

There was a Greek style yogurt, bowl of fruit, a cinnamon roll and I chose the “cheese” omelet with sausage.

Cinnamon Roll
The yogurt was good, the fruit fresh although some of the cantaloupe pieces were under ripe and crunchy.  The omelet did not taste like cheese, the “sausage” patty tasted like Jimmy Dean microwave sausage, the side dish was a mystery to me.  It contained vegetables, cheese and something gummy and barely edible held the whole thing together.  The cinnamon roll was warm but tasted undercooked and somewhat raw.

Warm Mixed Nuts
On the Houston to LaGuardia flight, which was an afternoon flight and arrived at night, service started with a small ramekin of warm mixed nuts which was very good.

Chicken Lunch
Lunch came with a salad which was fresh, very wilted canned green beans, a roll, chicken which wasn’t bone dry but severely lacking in flavor, and ratatouille that was akin to chunky tomato soup.

Oatmeal Cookie
Dessert included a warm oatmeal raisin cookie which was very good.

On the LaGuardia to Chicago O’Hare flight, this was another morning flight that included breakfast.

Breakfast Sandwich
Once again, there was a cup of Greek yogurt and a bowl of fruit.  There was an Egg McMuffin type sandwich whose cheese had congealed into a small ball on the side of the sandwich.  Needless to say the sandwich was barely edibile.

The Chicago O’Hare to Seattle flight was an afternoon flight that included lunch.

Steak Sandwich
There was a mushroom bisque which was somewhat lacking in flavor, a roll, a steak sandwich which was tolerable, and a white chocolate cranberry chip cookie.

The food served in domestic first class is pretty poor in general.  I would rate the main courses slightly worse than what you would get at a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s, Burger King or Carl’s Jr.

At least alcohol is complimentary and drinks were refilled fairly often.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center

The Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center provides a free shuttle to the hotel, which is located approximately 5 minutes away from the airport.

Upon entering the hotel, there is a large open lobby with a bar and restaurant to the right.

The front desk is located to the left.

Complimentary Water
I was quickly checked-in and given 2 bottles of water, which is a nice touch.


The hotel lobby is large and open with a bar and restaurant to the right.  The décor is somewhat modern, but that all begins to change once you start walking to your room.

The hallways look like a cruise ship from hell.  Everything is rather dated.

Room 2219
Upon entering the room, the bathroom is located to the right.

There is a single sink with limited counter space.

Acrobatic Toilet
The toilet is so close to the wall, that one must consider chopping off their leg or be a member of Cirque du Soleil in order to use it, or sit sideways.

Shower/Tub COmbo
There is a shower/tub combo with fairly decent water pressure and excellent temperature control.

Coffee Maker
There is a small dresser that hold the coffee maker.

There is another dresser that holds the TV.

The desk is small but functional.  More importantly are the well placed outlets.

Sitting Area
There are a pair of sitting chairs with an ottoman that take up quite a bit of space.

The bed is somewhat uncomfortable, but they do provide a plethora of pillows.

The night stand between the beds also contain outlets, making it easy to charge your phone, iPad or other gadget.

Since I was here for a quick overnight stay, the hotel did the job.  The hotel is conveniently located next to the airport, and the shuttle service is prompt.

If needing to stay close to the airport this is an okay choice, but I’d rather stay in town if I had the time.