September 19, 2016

Review: Grand Hyatt Bali - Club Executive Suite King

Warning: Another photo-heavy post :-)

We took a cab from the Conrad , through Nusa Dua's manicured lawns...


...to the Grand Hyatt's main secured gate...


...then finally to the hotel's main driveway...


As soon as we got off the cab, one of the hotel's staff assisted us...


 -- starting with announcing our arrival to everyone within earshot by banging this gong :-)...


The entryway was very airy, open, and grand -- without being gaudy...


...and it leads you to this amazing view of the hotel's grounds...


...and the ocean...

September 12, 2016

Review: Grand Hyatt Bali - Grand Suite King

Allow me to do a quick separate post on this part of our stay at the Grand Hyatt Bali where we stayed at their Grand Suite King room.

I used a Diamond Suite Upgrade for this stay and that guaranteed us this type of room. At check-in, though, we were informed that we were upgraded further to the Club Executive Suite King. Although the upgraded room was bigger, it was a bit dated compared to this Grand Suite King (which looked newly renovated). In the end, since we were at the property for four nights, we stayed at the upgraded room for the first two and the second half in this room -- which I actually liked better...

September 7, 2016

Review: Conrad Bali and the Conrad Suite

WARNING: Photo-heavy post :-)

We arranged for an airport pick-up from the hotel (for only $22) and our ride was waiting for us as soon as we landed. The trip from the airport was around 30 minutes with light traffic and we were at the hotel checking-in in no time...


...which was good, because check-in was a bit of a mess and took a good chunk of our time before the whole thing was sorted out.

Check-In

Let me preface this by mentioning that I booked the first night using Hilton HHonors points and the second with AA miles. Since I want to make sure that the second night is connected to the other reservation, in case I get an upgrade on the first night, I tried attaching my Hilton HHonors number to that second night reservation where I used miles. I tried doing it online to no avail, I called up Hilton HHonors and they can't do it as well, so I decided to email the hotel directly. The hotel responded pretty quickly and confirmed that they've attached my membership number to the booking I made with miles and that I should be all set.

Fast forward to the actual check-in where I ended up with two rooms for two nights. You can read about the details of that here. If you think about it, this error was in my favor, even if I wasn't impressed by the upgrade (from the most basic room to one with an ocean view). But what I really wanted was an upgrade to the Conrad Suite -- even for just the first night where I booked using Hilton HHonors points.

Anyway, while at the Front Desk sorting everything out, I showed the agent helping me the booking information on my phone and she asked if she can show it to the manager in the back office. I thought it was going to be quick, but they probably had my phone for a good 15 minutes -- which was so stupid on my part and so unprofessional on theirs. I haven't seen any incriminating photos online yet, though, so I think I am good :-) Anyway, good thing I found an opening to suggest the Conrad Suites in one of our numerous back and forth conversations and I ended up getting the upgrade -- after a full hour from the time we got to the hotel, though.

Just for reference, the suites were going for $400 + taxes on the nights that we stayed.

Here are other photos of the lobby...


Lobby bar...




...which opens up to the hotel's grounds...


...and the view of the main pool and the ocean...

August 30, 2016

Hotel Review: LondonHouse Chicago Hotel

I stayed at the newly-opened LondonHouse Chicago hotel last weekend during a friend's visit. Choosing the hotel was a no-brainer, it is one of the newest and nicest hotels to open in the city recently and their rate on the HotelTonight app was pretty good...

August 29, 2016

Hotel Review: Kinzie Hotel Chicago

This stay at the Kinzie Hotel was unplanned and really unnecessary :-) I have signed up to receive emails from Extreme Hotel Deals and saw this really cheap rate of $35 nett for one night stay at the Kinzie Hotel in Chicago. I received the email around January of 2015 and the deal was for December 27 of the same year. Given that the rate was a refundable one, I booked away knowing that I can just cancel up to a day before the stay if I ended up not being able to use it.

Fortunately, I was in town and had nothing important going on so I found myself in downtown again (two days after my stay at the Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago) checking out another hotel in the city that I've never stayed at before...

August 26, 2016

Hotel Review: Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago

One of the best weeks to try out the hotels in Chicago is during Christmas week. Transplants are usually back in their hometowns by this time, not a lot of tourists are in the city because -- Winter :-), and the demand for rooms is really just not that high that rates are usually at their lowest. New Year's Eve is a different story, though, but I digress.

When choosing which hotel to stay at, I pretty much decided that I was going to stay at a Hyatt property where I can use my Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Suite Upgrade certificate. I ended up staying at the Hyatt Centric because Park Hyatt was outside my budget, this was the newest Hyatt property in the city, and it was the first-ever Hyatt Centric property to open in the world.

Here is how Hyatt describes their newest brand based on an official press release:

The Hyatt Centric brand was created for Modern Explorers, a multigenerational group comprised of travelers who view their hotel as more than a place to stay. Rather, the hotel is their hub, connecting them to the best of what the destination has to offer – experiences that lead to great stories. In response to the needs of this target guest, the Hyatt Centric brand will focus on three core elements: An authentic entryway to the destination, A focus on simplicity, thoughtfully crafted, A human touch in a digital world


August 25, 2016

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Chicago

This was my second time staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The first time was in an accessible room back in 2010  -- but I wasn't blogging back then yet so I am sorry if I don't have any photos :-) This time, it was for work (back in October 2015) and I was booked in a Standard King room. Without preempting the rest of the review, let me just say that its during these times that I wish I was already a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member :-)

Check-In

Check-in was pretty quick. There was no significant line at the Front Desk and I was only there for a couple of minutes...


Here was the Gold Passport desk -- which I didn't bother using since I was not a Diamond member yet then...


I just wanted to show the hotel's self-service check-in/out terminals. I didn't try it and I am not sure how it works but I believe it's the first time I've seen this in a hotel...


Maybe because the hotel is Vegas-sized (read: huge) with 2,000+ rooms that these terminals are necessary...



The Room

The room was very basic...

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