Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Big One! Introduction and United Club Pass Giveaway!

Maldivian Monkey enjoying the view.
Last week we returned from our whirlwind trip to D.C, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the Maldives (with adventurous layovers in Munich and Istanbul).  To celebrate, I'm giving away 4 United Club passes (giveaway will be two pairs of two).  The first pair includes one pass that expires August 31st, 2016 and one that expires September 30th, 2016.  The second pair includes two passes that expire September 30th, 2016.

Not in the best of shape, but they'll do!

The winner will be chosen at random on May 3rd.  To be eligible, all you need to do is comment on this post and tell me whether you'd rather spend a week in the Presidential Suite at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai or a week in a Park Water Villa at the Park Hyatt in the Maldives. (Feel free to watch my tour of the GH Kauai Presidential Suite here).  One entry per person.

This trip was 3 1/2 years in the making.  But all the planning and research in the world could not prepare me for how incredible it would be.  Some highlights include.

Sharing an incredible dessert wine with my girlfriend while in bed at 4 A.M, 40 thousand feet in the air.
Accelerating from 0-150mph in 5 seconds on the worlds fastest roller coaster.
Drinks and Canapes at the worlds tallest observation deck.
Afternoon tea with an ocean view at the Ritz Carlton.
A perfect-weather desert safari trip in the Dunes of Dubai.
Desert Safari Dubai
A private boat trip down to the equator, with a crew of five to tend to our every need. (and a lot more adventure to go with it!)
A romantic dusk dinner catered on the beach.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Sunset Beach Dinner
A sunset yacht cruise that became more than we bargained for when nobody else booked, making it a private trip.
Snapping photos of my girlfriend scuba diving while I was 16 feet below sea level in an underwater restaurant.

I have a ton of photos and videos to share (I have to narrow down ~250GB worth), and thousands of words to write, so please be patient with me, but feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments section (comments/questions are welcome, but only comments answering the question listed above will count as an entry for the giveaway)

Whirlwind Trip 2016:

-Day One: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Review
-Day Two: United First Class B737-800 SFO-IAD summary
-Days Three through Six: D.C Area recommendations: Smithsonian, National Harbor, Baltimore Aquarium.
-Day Seven: Lufthansa First Class A330-300 IAD-MUC Summary
-Day Eight Part 1: 6 Hours in downtown Munich, Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich Summary
-Day Eight Part 2: Lufthansa First Class A330-300 MUC-DXB Summary
-Day Nine Part 1: Dubai Exotic Limo brief review part 1.  Abu Dhabi recommendations: Ferrari World, the Grand Mosque.
-Day Nine Part 2: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Review
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 1: Park Hyatt Dubai Review
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 2: Dubai Exotic Limo brief review part 2 & Dubai recommendations:  Burj Khalifa Sky.
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 3: Dubai Recommendations: Tea at the Ritz Carlton Jumeirah Beach, Atlantis Monorail, Dubai Mall.
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 4: Dubai recommendations/information: The Dubai Museum, , Platinum-Heritage Falconry Heritage Tour.
-Day Thirteen: Emirates 777-300 DXB-MLE summary, Moonima Lounge MLE summary, Maldivian Dash-8/Boat Transfer to Park Hyatt Maldives summary
-Days Thirteen through Sixteen Part 1: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Review
-Days Thirteen through Sixteen Part 2: What to do at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
-Day Seventeen: Maldivian Dash-8/Boat Transfer Park Hyatt-MLE summary, Conrad Rangali MLE Lounge summary, Trans-Maldivian Twin Otter transfer MLE-Conrad Rangali Island
-Days Seventeen through Twenty-One Part 1: The Hilton Guy!?  A review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Isaland Resort.
-Days Seventeen through Twenty-One Part 2: What to do at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort
-Day Twenty-Two Part 1: Trans-Maldivian Twin Otter Conrad Rangali Island-MLE summary, Conrad Lounge MLE summary, Leeli Lounge MLE summary
-Day Twenty-Two Part 2: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-300 MLE-IST summary.
-Day Twenty-Three Part 1: Turkish Airlines IST Lounge Summary, 6 hours in Istanbul.
-Day Twenty-Three Part 2: Turkish Airlines Business Class B777-300  IST-SFO summary.
-Day Twenty-Four: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Embarcadero Review.
-Trip Summary/The Numbers

You may notice from the above outline that I'm only reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and not the flights.  I didn't take nearly enough photos or notes during my flights, nor do I have nearly enough comparable experiences to thoroughly review any of the flights, but I will post summaries.  My blog focus is on Hyatt hotels, but this trip was so massive and amazing that I feel the need to share many more details than that.

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hyatt Place Roseville Review

The Hyatt Place Roseville has everything stacked against it.  Despite being right next to the Sacramento region's premier mall, it is separated by a canal, making a walk to the Roseville Galleria doable but impractical.  Rooms come in two shapes with two possible configurations: Corner and Standard with King or two Twins.  Breakfast is standard fare.
For all of the downsides, the staff make the best of it for guests.
Over the last two months, I completed 22 single-night stays at this hotel in order to retain my Diamond Status with Hyatt, which will get us fantastic amenities over the next two years at hotel's in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the Maldives, Kauai, and more!

The two highlights during our stay (for better or worse):

- A grand re-opening celebration with complementary food-trucks from the region and champaign.
- Kim getting cut on broken glass lodged in the couch (complements of the previous occupants)

My 22 nights (all separate stays), began eventfully when on my way there for the first stay I was side-swiped by an uninsured, unlicensed driver.  What would have been a 30 minute drive ended up 2 and a half hours, so I was extra-grateful to get to the front desk.
Mike was the first agent we had the pleasure of dealing with.  He welcomed us and got us quickly assigned to our king-bed room.  He noted with surprise how many reservations I had planned (30ish).  He was also quite empathetic when I related our trek from the house.

In all honesty, I don't remember which nights I spent in which rooms, but here's a short breakdown of some of the rooms I stayed in:
602, 536. 428, 628, 301, 526.
Room 301: Corner King Room, Hyatt Place Roseville

Room 301: Corner King Room, Hyatt Place Roseville

Room 301: Corner King Room, Hyatt Place Roseville

Room 301: Corner King Room, Hyatt Place Roseville

Room 301: Corner King Room, Hyatt Place Roseville

Room 301: Corner King Room, Hyatt Place Roseville

The King room is as basic as it gets, yet I still find it to be far nicer than many other hotels.  It's simple, elegant, inviting.  The best of them are the corner rooms, as the layout is a tad more convenient and welcoming.  While the standard rooms feature a television that pivots towards the couch or the bed, the corner rooms have a TV that rotate's 180 degrees.  Viewing from both the couch and the bed in those corner rooms is more comfortable than in the standard rooms because of the viewing angle.  It's also nicer to have a sink and bathroom not visible from bed in the corner rooms, unlike in the standard rooms.

Ultimately, all the rooms are nice, and the beds are extremely comfortable.  Minute problems over our 22 stays included an air conditioner that needed tuning for excessive noise and a toilet that kept adding water throughout the night.  I also noticed stained/dirty blankets in our sole night in an ADA King Tub room, which put me off just a tad.  Our only major issue was one night when we noticed what appeared to be wine stains on the carpet in our room.  We took note of the problem, but it didn't hit home until when the following morning Kim pushed down on the couch to get up, and a piece of broken glass cut her hand.

The cut was minor, but it was still a problem none-the-less.  Upon reporting it to an agent at the front desk, a supervisor provided Neosporin and a band-aid and had Kim fill out an incident form.  The supervisor also offered 5,000 points to cover the cost of the night, which we accepted.

Admittedly it's easy to develop a bias when you get to know the agents at the front desk and they get to know you, but I'm confident in my decision to say that I received excellent service from every agent, though specifically the following people: Mike, Lee, Genevieve, Eric, Tania, and Jacqueline.

The most memorable evening I had was during the Grand Re-Opening Celebration in early February. The hotel had inexplicably renovated all the rooms, despite the fact that it was only a few years old to begin with.  For the grand reopening, catering was provided by two food trucks, including a well known local sea-food establishment.  It was a fantastic night, and on our following stay we were given a spare bottle of champagne compliments of the hotel.

Ultimately I can easily recommend this hotel for anyone thinking of staying in the Roseville area. While it may not be the most convenient location, it is a quiet and premier location.  The staff are friendly, and the rooms warm and inviting.