June 29, 2016

Review: Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf - Dubai

For my last three nights in Dubai, we stayed at the Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf because my friend got a good rate from someone he knows who works for the company.

We weren't really thrilled about staying there because it appeared to be located in the middle-of-nowhere and far from civilization. At least that's how it looked online.

In reality, though, it is in the middle-of-nowhere...


...but it wasn't that far from civilization :-)

June 28, 2016

Trip Report: Quickie in Abu Dhabi

My friend based in Dubai drove me to Abu Dhabi for the day...


The trip took almost two hours in mostly "desert"-ed land :-) but with a few interesting sites along the way...



We needed to get back to Dubai before sun down so we really just planned to visit the mosque and take a peek at Ferrari World.

So peek at Ferrari World we did...





After checking out the place and buying a shot glass souvenir, we then proceeded to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque...


June 27, 2016

Trip Report: Dubai At Leisure

It was my first time in Dubai, the UAE, and the region so I was really excited to go around and experience all that I can in my more than one week of vacation there.

Let me say, though, that visiting in June when the temperatures average at 104F was probably not the best idea. Ironically, I didn't visit any of the city's amazing water parks because I didn't think I would survive being under the sun for an extended period of time -- so, sorry, no water park photos or review here.

But there are water parks everywhere. So if you can only do one outdoor activity in Dubai, make sure to do the desert safari tour. Our friend who was based there arranged it for us through one of the numerous operators in the city and I wish I remembered their name so I can tell you not to pick them when you go because their service was not good. There are a ton of tour operators in Dubai so make sure to research and read their reviews beforehand. Prices are pretty much the same across the board.

So, anyway, we were picked up at our hotel around 4pm and we were in "real" Dubai in no time...


June 22, 2016

Review: JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Dubai has a ton of amazing hotels and I wanted to be able to check out at least one of them on this trip -- well, whatever my budget/miles/points would allow :-)

I thought it would be perfect to do this, too, on my second day in the city because my friends and I have already agreed that we would be doing our own things on this day.

With that said, I  ended up choosing this property because it not only fell into my budget, it not only had good reviews on TripAdvisor, it not only had an okay-ish location, but it also has a claim to fame -- it is the tallest hotel in the world (for buildings used wholly as a hotel). So, yes, please.


Here's a photo of one of the two identical towers of the property...

June 20, 2016

Introducing: The Conrad Manila.......Carabao

I feel bad that I wasn't able to try the Conrad Manila when I was there a few months ago because, like any other hotel opening, this one was also pushed back a few months. 

I have to say, it is a pretty cool-looking building...



It is the first Hilton in the Philippines (well, first again this time. There have been Hilton hotels in the country in the past) and it is located in the bay area close to the Entertainment City development of casinos -- where there is already a Hyatt, Crown, Solaire, and Nobu hotels. 

The hotel finally opened a couple of days ago (you can read some write-ups here and here) and can be currently booked with 50,000 Hilton HHonors points.

BUT. I. DIGRESS.

This post is about the most important thing about this hotel opening, the Conrad Bear -- well, in this case, the Conrad Carabao...

Photo from Karen Flores, ABS-CBN News

June 13, 2016

Review: Pullman Jumeirah Lakes Towers Hotel & Residence

We chose to stay at this property on our first night in Dubai because we needed to be close to our other friends who lived in the same Jumeirah Lakes Towers development as the hotel.

The reviews of the hotel weren't that good and a lot of them mention the hotel as having plumbing problems. But after emailing the hotel and getting a "commitment" that I will be blocked a room that didn't have any plumbing issues and since this was the only brand I recognized in the area and the rates were reasonable -- I went ahead and booked our stay.

Check-In

As our flight arrived early in the morning, we got to the hotel way before the standard check-in time. Luckily the hotel was able to accommodate us right away and got us a room.

I asked the Front Desk agent first, though, whether a room was blocked for me and reminded him that I requested for one that didn't have any plumbing problems. I am not sure whether they actually reserved me a specific room but after fiddling around the system, the agent finally honed in one and sent us on our merry way :-)

Here is the lobby...


May 27, 2016

Is This A Better Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Offer?

Just thought I'd share this. I am not even sure if it is actually a better offer but if you think that it is then maybe you can request for this offer over the phone if you were already thinking of applying for this card using the current public offer anyway.

The targeted offer is for 40,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after the first purchase...

Image from Marriott Rewards
Below are the additional benefits, which I think are pretty similar to the public offer, except for the 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user (which is 7,500 in the public offer)...

Image from Marriott Rewards
BUT, WAIT, THERE'S MORE! :-) the annual fee on this offer is waived for the first year...

Image from Marriott Rewards
So, what do you think?

Actually if we base it on the valuation of some of the experts, the bottom line would pretty be close. I guess it's just a matter of what you value you more or have the best use for -- the extra 42,500 bonus points (the extra 40,000  sign up bonus points and the extra 2,500 from the authorized user) from the public offer or the $200 cash (statement credit) and $0 annual fee for the first year of this offer.
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