Tag Archives: Hotels

Trip Report: Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado

I arrived in Denver from Maui (read Trip Report: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa) and checked into the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado, about 5 hours later, mid-week in September, for a 3 night stay.  There was no snow on the ground in Snowmass, contrary to the name, but the views were still breathtaking.

There’s not much to say about the Viceroy hotel except one thing: it is awesome!  This particular location has high end finishes on literally everything, including the in-room espresso machine, washer and dryer, gas fireplaces in the master bedroom and living room, and a full kitchen.  If you are into skiing, you will notice the lift is at the base of the hotel.  You can literally get on the lift as you walk out of the resort and ski back down to your room.

Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado

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Italian Vacation Part 2: Fishing Lab in Florence, Leaning Tower of Pisa & Wall Walking in Lucca

Are you taking advantage of Europe being on sale these days? I know many readers are heading over the pond. If Italy is in your plans, either now or sometime in the next year or so, be sure to read this post. After all, who doesn’t plan on visiting Italy sooner or later. I’ve got four Italian destinations for you, so let’s get started. In Part 1, I talked about Venice and Milan, what to see/do/eat and what not to eat in Venice! In this post I’ll share tips with you about Firenze, so let’s dig in.

FIRENZE (Florence, Italy)

Florence, Italy at night. Image source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/florence

When in Florence, I stay at Hotel La Scaletta. It went through a renovation a few years ago, so it’s much more modern than it was back in 2011 when I first discovered it. I like a lot of things about this place. First off, Silvia, Sara, and the rest of the front desk crew are absolutely the best. They are so Italian and warm and when you’re there, you’re family! The hotel is well-positioned in being on the side of the river AWAY from all the crowds and heavily-visited sites. Yet, it’s close enough that you could walk there from the train station and you can certainly get to any of the main sites from Hotel La Scaletta with an easy 15 minute walk.

The Hotel La Scaletta rooftop has tables and chairs where you can have meals or just hang out and enjoy the views. The rooms aren’t large, though, certainly clean and recently refurbished, but the WiFi was glitchy, so if you have a lot of work to do, it’s frustrating. Breakfast is an extra fee, so I’d suggest taking your breakfast out at one of the many cafes in the area. Hotel La Scaletta is very reasonably priced and if you use your Citi Prestige Credit Card 4th night free benefit, well, it’s even a better price!

Rooftop View from Hotel La Scaletta in Florence, Italy. Image source: http://www.hotellascaletta.it/?act=gallery

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Trip Report: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

I arrived at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa mid-week in September.  The resort is situated on prime beach front real estate and the views are fabulous.  8,000 SPG points were offered for attending a promotional review of their timeshare presentation, so that was a nice bonus as well.

The Flights

I could have done a separate review of United First Class, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Sure the seats are wider and there was food service in first that presumably coach did not get, but the seats were not lie-flat.  United did have 120V electricity outlets on each seat, which was nice.  The first flight from Denver to San Francisco had WiFi, but there was no entertainment system. The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu did not have WiFi and the DirecTV entertainment system went offline soon after leaving the airport, but movies were still available.  Despite this being a fairly long First Class flight, one doesn’t get United Club lounge access unless you have a membership or Star Alliance Gold status from any carrier but United.

Domestic United First Class

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Italian Vacation Part 1: Gelato in Venice, Park Hyatt Milan Meat Slicer and the Last Supper

Are you taking advantage of Europe being on sale these days? I know many readers are heading over the pond. If Italy is in your plans, either now or sometime in the next year or so, be sure to read this post. After all, who doesn’t plan on visiting Italy sooner or later. I’ve got four Italian destinations for you, so let’s get started.

VENEZIA (Venice, Italy)

Venice, Italy by water

Venice is an amazing place. I could easily sit all day and watch the waterway life. But of course, I had to stay somewhere, eat something, drink coffee and indulge in gelato, so here are some tips for you. When I’m in Italy, I have my priorities, so let’s start with gelato :)

There’s actually a place in Venice I’d suggest staying AWAY from. It’s called Gelateria Alaska. It was on some lists of top gelato in ALL of Italy, which totally baffles me. First off, the guy working there was plain nasty. “Can I taste a flavor?” I asked him. He responded with a gruff NO. I should have walked out at this point because his energy was plainly foul, but I didn’t. And the gelato was not very good at all. Oh well. Lesson learned, stay away from Gelateria Alaska. My preferred gelato in Venice is Grom. They’ve been around for a while now and can be found throughout Italy. I’m definitely partial to their pistachio and chocolate with hazelnut flavors.

Grom Gelato in Venice, Italy. Image source: http://comradechufood.blogspot.com/2011/12/grom-venice-italy.html

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How to Pool Hilton Honors Points into 1 Account

Good morning everyone, happy Monday!  I had a great time in Minneapolis this past weekend at Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Advanced.  I enjoyed catching up with old friends, meeting readers, and networking with fellow travel hackers.  If you missed FTU, the next travel conference I will be at (and speaking at) is Chicago Seminars, on October 20-22.

Last week, I wanted to book a 5 night Hilton stay, but I only had enough Hilton Honors Points to cover the first night.  I could have booked the first night and then racked up the remaining Hilton Honors Points over the next several months to book the rest of the nights, but I wanted to take advantage of Hilton’s 5th Night Free feature, where when you book a stay of 5 nights or longer, you do not need to pay points for the 5th night.  I reached out to my travel hacker friends on Facebook and Twitter and asked if someone would let me borrow 91,000 Hilton Honors Points so I could book the 5 night stay.  Luckily, 1 of my friends agreed to help me out and we were able to test out Hilton’s new point pooling feature. Here is how you can pool Hilton Honor Points into 1 Hilton account.

As you can see, I only had 69,365 Hilton Honors Points, but I was short 90,635 Hilton Honors Points needed to book a 5 night stay that cost 160,000 Hilton Honors Points.  Rates were 40,000 Hilton Honors Points per night, but since the 5th night was free, I only needed to pay 160,000 Hilton Honors Points (4 x 40,000 = 160,000). To get started pooling Hilton Honors Points, sign into your Hilton account and click on More Ways to Use Points under the My Points section on the left side on the page.

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