Aria SkySuites – Not an Unmitigated Disaster, but Close!

Overview: A partial “hotel within a hotel” at the very “corporate” Aria hotel Strengths: High floors afford decent views, private check-in area Drawbacks: Numerous service snafus, marshmallow beds, low quality of furnishings My industry holds an annual conference out in Las Vegas each year. In the past, I’ve stayed in regular Aria rooms and rooms […]

Waldorf Astoria Park City – “Just OK”

Overview: An upper-midscale “mountain-adjacent” resort property Strengths: Pool, price point Weaknesses: Service, trek to get to the mountain, dining This was my second visit at the Waldorf Astoria Park City.  Relative to the price point, this is an OK sort of property.  By no measure could this hotel be considered “luxury.”  Though my expectations were […]

Four Seasons Orlando

Overview: A luxurious Disney-adjacent property that delivers a proper Four Seasons experience Strengths: Service, outdoor water activities, kids’ program, rooms Drawbacks: Location and resulting transit burden, not considered “on property” at Disney, no rollaway beds, fairly low cap on FSPP/Virtuoso upgrade categories I was more than a bit apprehensive of how our stay would pan […]

Saffire Freycinet – Tasmania – The Details

A visit to Saffire Freycinet is not something you undertake casually. Travel to/from Saffire from the mainland of Australia takes at least half a day.  The cost of visiting isn’t trivial – both getting there and actually being there.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, if you are looking for a luxury + nature holiday location, this property should be […]

Saffire Freycinet – Tasmania – The Experience

Overview: A luxurious nature-oriented destination property Strengths: Location, rooms, approach to service Drawbacks: Some generally minor service lapses, flies Part of the “Christmas in Australia 2013” report. Just less than thirty-six hours after we left our house and having flown JFK-LAX-BNE-HBA, we landed in Hobart.  Our arrival into Hobart was a bit bumpy, but without issue. Two representatives […]

A Family Christmas in Australia – Introduction

Introduction Saffire Freycinet – Tasmania – The Experience Saffire Freycinet – Tasmania – The Details Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Island – The Experience Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Island – The Details Intercontinental Sydney Family Activities in Sydney Flight Notes, Delta Delivers in a Tricky Situation and other Booking Considerations Concluding Thoughts Following to […]

Mandarin Oriental San Francisco

Overview: A solid in-city luxury hotel Strengths: Views from rooms, quality of room finishing, quality of room service Drawbacks: No pool (unusual for a Mandarin), lobby is uninspiring, minor security concerns Notable: Ideal location for financial services After a boondoggle conference down in Orange County, I made my way up to San Francisco for two […]

San Francisco Activities

My recent trip to San Francisco was a hybrid, including both leisure time and business meetings.  The original seed for the trip was a surprise “milestone” birthday party weekend for a good friend.  Our plan was to call in Grandma to look after the kids while my wife and I enjoyed time with our friends […]