REVIEW: MARRIOTT BEACH HOUSE GRAND CAYMAN

I knew I wanted a nice relaxing vacation spot where just my wife and I could sit on the beach, relax, and do nothing. The Marriott Beach House Grand Cayman hit the spot perfectly for doing so.

After a flat rate taxi cab ride of $18.25 and 15 minutes later, we arrived to The Beach House. It’s off the main road and there is not huge sign or anything for it. Pulling up, it didn’t look anything that special. There were employees there to open our doors and help with our bags and offered us some juice welcome drinks. We were only staying 2 nights so we didn’t really need help with our bags. Walking in through the front doors, it was nice, but still nothing amazing and I started to get worried if I picked the right spot over the Westin or even the Ritz.

Rates can vary greatly depending on the season. In September we paid $189 plus taxes and $50 resort fee per night. Point rates vary from 40k to 60k points per night.

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No line for check-in in and Jose at the front desk was very friendly. I saw on my phone they had lots of different types of Ocean Front rooms available. He said they could only give me a 2 double beds ocean front room. I asked if Platinum members receive free breakfast, and he said that since they are not in the US, Canada, or Europe, they do not give out free breakfast but that I could have 1k points or some wine and cheese. I told him I was frustrated and probably should have picked a different hotel.

First impression are always so hard to overcome, but the Marriott Beach House did that, and the next 2 days were prefect. First Jose called me 15 minutes later when we got up to our room and informed me he could give breakfast vouchers instead of the wine and cheese.

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Second, about 2 hours later while we were swimming in the pool, Jose hunted us down and told me he could be me put us in a large king size Oceanfront Jr suite. 90% of my hotel stays are for business and while I like upgrades during business stays, they don’t really matter since it’s only be working and sleeping in the room. One of the reason I am stay at brands like Marriott is to be able to get upgraded when I am with my family, so this is appreciated.

Our first room of the 2 double bed ocean front room was nice but a lil small. If our kids were with us they would have driven us nuts after a few days. Except for the view, it felt like a normal hotel room.

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Man, that view is great though. small balcony with 2 chairs and a table. They also have a small mini fridge in the room. There is a liquor store a block away that you can stock up on drinks. The great thing is you can bring a cooler and drinks down to the beach and it’s not a big deal.

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The bathroom was also pretty plain and similar to most other Marriott’s.

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Now our second room which was a Jr Suite, was about the same width, but double in length. It had a nice sitting area with a double pull out sofa. They should have had a larger sofa in this space though. Same balcony setup. Bathroom was also similar, but they had different toiletries which was kind of weird.

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The water and beach off the hotel is amazing. They have 12 lounge rings and 4 swim platforms. Even on a Saturday afternoon, you could always find a spot in the water. You can get your towels from the towel hut, and a beach attendant will help you find a spot on the beach, and get an umbrella if needed. It would get crowded, but you could always find 2 chairs next to each other. The towel hut also had water , aloa vera gel, and even Go Pro cameras for free daily use. When asking one of the beach attendants for help, his reply back was “unless its impossible, I can do it.” That attitude was of the entire staff, and exactly what you like to hear when on vacation. Staff would also walk around with ice water and even fruit sometimes.

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To me it seemed like we were at mile 6.9  of 7 mile beach. The water and sand was great, but it was pretty narrow and there was only a few condos after the Marriott. It was interesting that the condos around were very empty, while the Marriott had quite a few people. The Westin and The Ritz were about a mile down the beach. While their beach was wider, the people there didn’t look like they were having as much fun as our place. The beach had no sea weed and was crystal clear. It was a lil rocky, but they seemed like “soft rocks” and not the painful sharp rocks at some beaches. There is also a man made reef and a natural reef right of the beach. They provide snorkel masks and it’s very easy to see lots of fish there.

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They also had a watersport stand with free kayaks, paddleboards and similar items.  The dive shop had excursions you could book for a fee.

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Up by the pool, they also had a gelato stand.

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The food here was great. They had a beach bar with great views and they had servers who walked around the chairs asking if anyone needs anything. There are some Happy Hour specials from like 530-7. One day we went down there at like 630 and was going to have a drink around the bar. It started pouring. The Verandah Restaurant is nearby so they said we could sit in there and still get the HH specials.

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We ended up staying here for dinner as it was their weekly Brazilian meat night. We saw them cooking some of it over an open grill earlier in the day and it made us hungry. The meat was delicious, and pretty cool to sit there while it was thundering and lightening outside as well.

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The breakfast was amazing as well. Ours was free as platinum members. Not sure exactly how much it was, but I think it was like $30 Cayman dollars…. it was good though. Lots of variety and you will eat too much. While the food didn’t change drastically at the buffet day to day, they did alter the menu. Its like vanilla french toast, to apple french toast. They also had eggs benedict on the buffet which were delicious!

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Once a month they have some type of special activity there. While we were there, they had Oktoberfest. It felt like the entire island was at the hotel in the lobby and bar area. It was great and strange. We weren’t prepared to walk from the beach and see this. Still had a great time though.

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They had a rec area which we never saw anyone use. It had nice views from the area.

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They also had a kids club that always looked empty. While our kids would have had fun a few days here, there was not a ton of kids activities for more than about 3 days. I could have stayed there all week just doing nothing. I would probably not have taken my kids there, or else we would have to plan an excursion each day.

The wifi was also pretty fast here. I was able to get some work done each morning with the wife sleeping. There are lots of restaurants and a mall all within a 10 minute walk.

Overall, this Beach House was great. The service was awesome and I hope to get back here with my wife and maybe some friends some day. The room are ok, but the laid back atmosphere, amazing water and sand, and just positive attitude that is hear make me want to get back.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: SHERATON GUNTER SAN ANTONIO

For the second time in 2 weeks, American Airlines cancelled the second leg of my flight from DFW-SAT and re booked me on a flight 22 hours later. Well that doesn’t work so I had the pleasure of driving from DFW-SAT again and arriving at the Sheraton Gunter at 2am to check-in.img_20180917_015504

At 2am, the hotel and area is pretty dead. It was hard to find the entrance and parking area as its not off the main road and its in a maze of one way streets. I ended up parking across the street in a garage for $10 each night vs about $35 for valet.

The hotel is an older historic type hotel. However the lobby is more on the modern side, and then the rooms are older style again. As always when I check in, I asked for an upgrade as a platinum member and did not receive a room upgrade, but did get lounge access. He asked if I wanted breakfast or bonus points as well. Since I had lounge access where I could eat a small breakfast at, I chose the bonus points. Before I went up to my room, I asked him if I was close to the elevator as all I wanted to do was sleep. He said yes I was right next to it so he moved me a few doors down. I just love how I put in my Marriott profile that I like high floors away from elevators, yet they also give me rooms right next to the elevator.

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Different sitting areas in the lobby.img_20180917_075655img_20180917_075737

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Hallway down to the room.

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Small entrance hallway in the room.

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The room was pretty small with one king sized bed in there. Bed was comfortable, but their pillows are too fluffy for me and I end up sleeping with 3 of them. The chair in the picture below is awkwardly placed as there is no space for it so it’s not against a back wall but kind of in the middle. I ended up kicking it when getting out of bed a few times before I finally moved it. I did not get a picture of my view, because I was just looking over the HVAC and back at the hotel. img_20180917_020314

TV stand and desk all in one. There was a spot for a mini fridge in the desk area, but you must request one they are not in every room.img_20180917_020337img_20180917_020319

They did provide 3 bottles of water everyday which is always nice.img_20180917_020326img_20180917_020358_1

The bathroom was what you would expect. Decent toiletries. Clean and enough counter space for my quick stay here.img_20180917_020412img_20180917_020418img_20180917_020424img_20180917_071829

They have breakfast in the lounge, as well as an evening reception. The lounge itself was pretty nice with several different areas and even a pool table. It was off the second floor and provide large windows to look down on the street below.

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The breakfast was smaller than what most lounges offer. Eggs, bacon, and potatoes are your only hot options.  It was enough for a short stay, but a little disappointing.

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However the evenings was probably the highlight of my stay. It’s the little customer service attention that can make or break a hotel stay. While the food was nothing special, (cheese, chips and salsa, and some not very tasty chicken skewers) the service by the 2 lounge attendants was great. When I went into the lounge I was expecting to pay $5 for a glass of wine like they charge at most Marriott/Sheraton lounges in the US. The attendant asked how I had lounge access and I said from being a platinum member. She then asked where my tickets were so I could get free drinks. I told her I didn’t receive any when I checked in. She took my room number, went down to the front desk, got my tickets, and kept my drink full while I worked for the next hour in the lounge.

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While the hotel was clean, there was lots of little stuff falling apart in my room and in the hallways. It needs some TLC.

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While I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay here, if the price was competitive to other hotels in the area, I would stay here again. I didn’t get a chance to explore the area around the hotel much, but its in prime downtown tourist area, so I am sure there are lot’s of restaurants and activities nearby.

REVIEW:MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO RIVER PLAZA

After a 5 hour delay at DFW, I decided to rent a car and drive to San Antonio at 1am. 5 hours and lots of soda later I get close to San Antonio and realize I am not sure which Marriott I am staying at. There are several Marriott’s in San Antonio; Riverwall, River Center, and River Plaza. Of course the Marriott App isn’t working at this time, so I decide to take a chance at River Plaza and pull up at about 5am. I just leave my car out front because I have 6am meetings and just need to get my room, shower and leave.

At 5AM the lobby was empty. It has a Spanish feel from it and is not a cookie cutter Marriott. It is very unique and has its own style. I asked the front desk clerk for an upgrade as a Platinum Elite member and he told me I was on the executive floor so it will be nice.

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Water in the lobby.

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Lobby sitting area.

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Bar area in lobby and more sitting area.

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My room on the 4th floor was directly next to the elevator. (not elevators, as one was broken.) I would typically always ask for a different room, but I just needed a shower and to move on so I didn’t bother asking for a different room. While the room was nice, there was nothing upgraded about it. Another “deluxe” room that is 99.9% the same as all the other rooms. Also, it was on the 4th floor executive floor, but the hotel has 7 floors. Not sure why the executive floor isn’t a higher floor.

Standard queen bed with lots of pillows. Also it was nice to have outlets in the lamps.

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Nice fancy sitting area.

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A proper desk which I appreciate so I can get real work done.

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TV and a single bottle of water. Coffee, safe, and small fridge were all in the dresser.

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The bathroom was pretty standard and adequate. Plastics cups for a Marriott and a lil cheap though.

The room also had a decent sized patio with real chairs! I enjoyed the view as well.

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It was nice being on the same floor as the lounge.  It was never crowded in the lounge and it always had decent offerings by US standards.

Now I was a little disappointed that I was not offered breakfast in the restaurant as a Platinum Elite, but I am not a big breakfast eater… Not an elaborate breakfast offering in the lounge, but big enough for 1 or 2 days.

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The drinks in the fridge were available all day long.img_20180904_081639

Coffee and Tea were also available all day long.img_20180904_081916

There was always seating available. The lounge had a Texas feel to it as you can see. There was also outside seating.img_20180904_081901img_20180904_132446img_20180904_132453_1

The lounge offered light snacks during the day as well as water and drinks from the fridge.

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They had a nice spread for evening appetizers, and it was my dinner one night. Then they have their honor bar, which is like $4 beers and $4 glass of wine.

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After Appetizers, they bring out some light desserts. My night was cheesecake and some type of brownies. Both were good.

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While I didn’t use the pool, weight room, or some of the other public places, here are a few pics of those areas.

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I didn’t take picture of the parking lot, but it was close onsite and $25, or $30 valet. While the hotel is not directly on the Riverwalk, its an easy stroll to it. Actually after staying on the walk so many times, I kind of liked being a few blocks away.

I enjoyed my 2 nights here at the Marriott River Plaza.  The hotel was unique and lounge was nicer than most other Marriott’s. It had its own charm, and I slept pretty good here. While I didn’t like my non-existent room upgrade or no real breakfast, I will probably give the River Plaza another stay the next time I am in town.

REVIEW:RESIDENCE INN SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK/ALAMO

I don’t often post reviews of hotels I stay at for work travel because I usually only spend about 8 hours in the hotel and about 7 of that is sleeping. I have stayed at this hotel several times for work as its always at an approved rate and finally decided to post a review of it.

While not a fancy 5 star hotel, its very cozy place with large rooms that I am very comfortable at. As a Gold member, I have always been upgraded from a studio suite to a 1 bedroom suite.

The rooms are large and I could see my family of 4 enjoying a week in San Antonio here. Lots of accessible power outlets make charging up phones and Ipads easy and quick.

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Small kitchen would make quick dinners and lunches easy. Also would be a good place to warm up leftovers and easy to put all your wine, beer, and juice boxes in the fridge to stay cold.

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On some of the lower floors you can get some street noise, so make sure to get a high floor. Last stay was on the 9th floor and it was quiet.

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Bathrooms are pretty normal. I don’t like the shower built in shampoo amenities though.

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The breakfast doesn’t start until 6:30. I think that is too late for weekdays as I never get to experience the full breakfast. I can usually sneak in a lil early and get some fruit and yogurt to go though.

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They have an evening complimentary reception Monday-Wednesday. Free beer (Shiner!), wine, and soft drinks from 630-8.. It is a lil disappointing that they don’t provide food every night through. (but this is the unfortunately the norm with Residence Inn) Monday and Tuesday they do, but then on Wednesday they have a food truck available for food purchases. I’d rather have free food than spend $40 for a family of 4 for food truck food….

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While the location is  a few blocks back from the Riverwalk, it’s still centrally located and you can walk anywhere quickly.  I feel safe walking at night as well here. I actually kind of like it’s not right on the river, as its very quiet.

The workout room was small. It was never crowded though. Only dumbbells and no weight machines. The pool area was also quite small. If I had my kids with me, they would be disappointed. (it was always crowded with kids so i did not take pictures.

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Valet and Self-parking are both $24. Self-parking is onsite so it’s almost easier just to do that. The valet area isn’t I have stayed at The Westin down the street where parking is $40 a night…. (Yes the Westin is a lot nicer, but when only spending 8 hours in a hotel, a lot of their amenities are not useful and I would rather save the $16.)

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Overall this is a very comfortable hotel that I would bring my family to if the price is right. There are a lot of options by the Riverwalk but I would stay here again for the right price.

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REVIEW: THE MORRISON HOUSE, A MARRIOTT AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION HOTEL, WASHINGTON DC (ALEXANDRIA)

After walking out of The Alexandrian, I finally got to The Morrison House around 10:50PM. There are no big signs or anything, and it is right off of the main King Street in Alexandria. I actually passed it, parked my car on the street and walked back to the hotel. There was no valet and no signs for parking at the hotel had no bellman to help with bags up the stairs. (not that I needed it anyways) The outside was very nice and quaint just as you would expect. Walk in the fancy front door and it was like walking into a 150 year old house.

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They had all my information already from the previous hotel and I got checked in quickly and received a few bottles of water. I am hungry at this point and I ask what time they stop serving drinks and food The front desk says at 11 and they are closing up now. I tell them oh well I will just go to bed. He could tell I was disappointed though. I take the elevator up to my 5th floor room and walk down to room 511. (not sure where they are doing construction, but elevator is all padded.)

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As I am walking into the room I get a call from the front desk, saying I can order off the room service menu or come down to the bar/restaurant and they will make my meal the last meal of the day. He actually even offered to bring me up a menu and take my immediate order. I tell him I will be downstairs in just a minute.

I go back down to the bar and have some amazing brussell sprouts (still thinking of how good they were a few days later) and pretty good gnocchi and a few beers. It’s a small intimate bar that was just what I needed at 11pm. There were a few other people at the bar having a good time. They were locals not staying there and I thought it was kind of weird to go to a hotel bar to by $8 beers, but oh well.

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By midnight I am back up to my room checking it out. It’s large and basic. The room is perfectly fine, but there was nothing amazing about it. It also really didn’t have any historic items or anything that made it unique. Just one small window as well.

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The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable. I usually don’t sleep very well the first night, but I hit hit the hay and didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 6:30 the next morning. Breakfast didn’t start until 7am. My voucher was for a $10 credit or the continental breakfast. There was no buffet and nothing on the menu under $10. So I had the continental, which was fruit, English muffin, and a drink. Not that impressive but it was fine for one morning. I was the only person in the restaurant and I was out by 7:15.

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The hotel had a nice sitting area with self service tea and coffee.   After that there wasn’t very many public spaces. There was no gym or pool here, however you could use The Alexandrian which has those items.

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The location is great. However they are numerous other hotels close to King Street. While the hotel was OK, the service went above and beyond expectations and and I appreciate them extending their kitchen just for me. I would recommend others to stay here. I would probably not stay here again just because I typically like a gym in the morning and a lil more modern style hotel.

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No room for me at The Alexandrian Marriott Hotel in DC

After an evening flight I landed at DC Reagan Airport around 10pm this past Monday. I was able to pick up a very nice upgraded rental Volvo XC90 from AVIS (thank you AVIS President’s Club), and I was on my way to Alexandria.

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I had booked The Alexandrian, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. I was anxious to stay in this hotel as I have been to Alexandria several times and this was never at the approved rate from my work. I turned my phone on, and I noticed I had a few missed calls from this hotel. They called 2x more in which I answered but no one was on the other line. Either someone from the hotel was butt dialing me, or else there was going to be a problem with my room.
I got to the hotel at about 10:40. I had a meeting at 8am the next morning, so I was able to park on the street for free.

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I walked in and there is not much going on this late at night. Its a very nice historic hotel from what I first notice.

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I walk up to the front desk and the employee takes my ID and credit card just as one usually does. Then 2 minutes later it says hmmm, and he goes back behind the wall . He comes back out 5 minutes later and informs me they don’t have my room type. They only have a handicapped room available. I tell him that’s fine, I am not that picky. Then he tells me that is the last room so they want to keep it open. Its 10:45 at night, so I couldn’t imagine they get too many bookings that late. They ask me if I would be OK moving to The Morrison House which is an Autograph Collection Hotel 3 blocks away. He offers me 5k points. I tell him for 25k points I would. The front desk responds that he will just give me the room then. I tell him for 10k points and he doesn’t take it. He offers 5k points and threw in some breakfast vouchers. He told me The Morrison House is actually a nicer hotel. So I take it just to have this interesting experience

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Since The Alexandrian had a room, I could have just stayed there. So I didn’t really have any leverage. 5k points and a breakfast voucher isn’t that much. This was the first time this has ever happened before to me though. From my five minutes there, I would never consider booking this hotel again.  Not quite as good as my $9k Delta voucher, but you cant win them all…

WHY I USED A 7 NIGHT MARRIOTT CERTIFICATE FOR 5 NIGHTS AT A CATEGORY 3 IN SANDY UTAH

The Southwest Companion pass is one of the best values in points and miles. This will be my 6th year in a row having it, and we have gone to numerous domestic and international destinations on it.  In order to get it for 2017/2018 I used 270k Marriott points for an air and hotel package that gave me 120k southwest points and a free 7 night certificate good for 1 year at a single Marriott category 1-5 hotel. (more and how I did that later.)IMG_20180319_175644.jpg

At first glance 7 nights in a category 5 Marriott hotel sounds great. But have you ever looked at the category 5 hotels? There are not many properties that are noteworthy.  I am also not a person that typically stays in a hotel longer than 4-5 nights. With all the deals such as 4th night free using a Citi prestige card, or 5th night free at Hilton’s when using points, we have just gotten accustomed to shorter hotel stays and staying at multiple places. While I could have used more points to upgrade to a higher category, I would have had to upgrade for all 7 nights as well so that’s a horrible value to upgrade for nights you aren’t even going to use.

Also, if we are going to go somewhere for 7 nights, its going to be with the kids. For that time, I would really want a larger sized room, and not some city hotel room with 2 double beds. While a small room is just fine for a weekend trip, it gets cramped for a full week sharing 300sqft with a 7 and 9 year old. I can only stand (or smell) so many fart jokes.

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Glad we had plenty of room. Just Snow boots, ski boots, and helmets take up plenty of floor space.

My certificate was expiring at the end of March. While there are reports on Flyertalk of being able to extend it for a year, I am not really sure what would have changed in the next year to use it at some amazing place. We knew we wanted to go skiing so I started looking at hotels close to ski destinations. While there are numerous Marriott’s within a mile of some of the US top ski destinations, they are either cat 7 or above, or they don’t have availability for 4 people using points during ski season. I was starting to begin to think that I was never going to be able to use my free 7 nights.

Last year we skid at Park City and stayed at the DoubleTree in Park City. I realized that SLC is very close to Park City and there are numerous other ski resorts in that area. You can also easily stay in SLC and be within 30 minutes to about 6+ ski resorts.

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Not knowing exactly where we were going to ski, (we needed up skiing at Brighton, which was awesome. Details  here) we wanted to stay at a easy access suite on the west side of SLC. We found the perfect Residence Inn in Sandy Utah. Bedroom, plus sitting room with sofa bed, and a full kitchen. It  was like our own condo for 5 days. It was close to the Mountains, close to restaurants and malls, and close to several ski shops.Plus they had a pool, basketball hoop, hot tub, free breakfast, and snacks and drinks on some evenings.

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Great to have a kitchen for family dinners.

We ended up arriving late on a Thursday night, and then staying till late on Monday. Our flight on Monday wasn’t until 830pm, so it was a benefit to be able to get back to the hotel at 4pm, shower and eat while not having to worry about a late checkout.

The posted rate for our stay was about $169 a night after taxes. So for our 5 nights we got a value of $845. While we could have found some place to go and get a hotel room that was  $300 a night and gotten closer to $2,000 in redemption value, sometimes you have to remember its not about the list price but more about the vacation itself. The best points are the ones you have redeemed.

risandy

So how did I get this certificate? Well I signed up for a Marriott Personal and Business card a few years ago back when they were about 80k and 100k bonus. Then I had about 90k points from stays over a few years. Marriott participates with several different airlines all for about the same package, but mine specifically was 270k Marriott points redeemed for 120k southwest points and a free 7 night certificate at a category 1-5. Now back in March 2017, this counted for the Companion pass as well. However that is no longer the case.

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While this certificate redemption worked out just fine, I will not be using points for another package anytime soon. If you are thinking about it, just make sure you have a specific hotel in mind and that they often have award availability.

I am starting to plan my ski vacation for next year. While it would have been nicer to be slope slide, the value and ease of staying in a place like a Residence Inn can far outweigh the cost of staying close. We will see where we end up next year!

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A nice drive to the slopes. Even when it was snowing, the roads were pretty good.

REVIEW IN PICTURES: MARRIOTT GRAND HOTEL FLORA ROME ITALY

I ended up taking a shared van service from the airport for about 25 euro. There were several van services just inside for the taxi service so i decided to give it a try. a taxi has a flat rate of 48 euro. Exterior of the hotel. The location is great. 10 minutes walk to Trevi Fountain and about 25 minute walk to the Colosseum. Lots of shops and restaurants withing walking distance.

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Check-in was quick and easy. I did ask for an upgraded room and they told me I had a deluxe room with a view on the 4th floor.  Lobby was very large and had lots of nice furnishings. Kind of felt like going to grandma’s house though and being afraid to sit down.IMG_20180301_200154IMG_20180301_200146IMG_20180301_200121IMG_20180301_114429

The exercise room was in the basement. While the hallway up and down is nice, the equipment was not. It was small with no windows and just very basic equipment.IMG_20180301_114409IMG_20180301_143409IMG_20180301_143403

The bar was on the first floor and was adequate, but never crowded or lively. Good to have a pre or post dinner drink, but not to spend all night at. A beer was 8 Euro, while a beer from my mini bar was only 7 euro.IMG_20180301_200132IMG_20180301_200140

The hotel also had a concierge on the first floor.IMG_20180301_200352IMG_20180301_200404

Just a random statue.IMG_20180301_200231

Small but private business center.IMG_20180301_200214

Lovely hallway to my room with nice furnishings.

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Comfortable King Size Bed. Also had USB plugs on each side. Small desk by the window.IMG_20180228_164349

Nice chair and a random chair in the room.IMG_20180228_164355

Could fit your computer on the desk, but that’s about it.IMG_20180228_164416

The safe was tiny. My 14in notebook computer could not fit in.IMG_20180228_164444

Normal mini-bar items.IMG_20180228_164454IMG_20180228_164508

Midnight room service when the mini-bar just wont do. Yes they bring you a wine glass to pour your beer into.

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Bathroom was very luxurious and bright. Large counter, nice unique toiletries, and comfortable robes.IMG_20180228_164555IMG_20180228_164539IMG_20180228_164605IMG_20180228_164617IMG_20180228_164533

The view directly from the window was nothing special on the 4th floor. However you can actually open your window all the way up and stick your head out and the views improved. It was cloudy everyday I was there so the distance was limited.IMG_20180302_013629IMG_20180302_013618

View if you had an interior room.IMG_20180303_012822

Breakfast was served on the 7th floor. I have Marriott Gold Status from being a AMEX platinum card holder, which gives you Sheraton Elite Status, which matches to Marriott. So my breakfast was free. They have a buffet which I believe was 30 euro, but also had a la carte offerings for much cheaper. White tablecloths and fine china for breakfast make you feel special in the morning, especially when they have self serve Prosecco and OJ.  There was also dining available outside where the views are better, but it was cold and rainy during my visit. The downside was during my 3 mornings there, it was the same offerings each morning. Only on the 3rd day did someone offer me some made to order eggs which were included. I passed as I was in a hurry to get to the airport.

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My stay was perfectly fine here at the Marriott Flora in Rome. I would stay here again if the price was right. Its a good location, comfortable rooms, and high end touches. I was disappointed there was no exec lounge here though. I would not go out of my way to stay here though.

CHANGE OF PLANS. 5 STARS TO DELTA CUSTOMER SERVICE REP

My family of 4 was supposed to fly to Salt Lake City tonight and go skiing for a few days. I have the large Delta voucher that I was using, as well as Marriott points to stay in a Residence Inn. So it was going to be a nice minimal expenses trip. (we were planning on skiing some of the smaller resorts to save on lift ticket prices.)

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Park City March 2017

Unfortunately, our 9 month hold puppy broke off her leash on Dec 23rd and got hit by a car. After a hospital stay and surgery, she is coming home today! This means we are moving our SLC trip to March over Spring Break.

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Changing the Marriott Reservation was quite easy online. We actually used a 7 night certificate we received from doing a points plus hotel package to get the Southwest Companion Pass back when this was still an option. (120,000 southwest points, and 7 night cat 1-5 Marriott stay)  Our certificate was immediately put back into my account. (note this was not a great redemption value, but expiring in March and needed to use it.)

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I tried to change our Delta flight online and knew I would be responsible for a $200 per person change fee. It would not allow me to do it online as all the new flights for March that came up online were basic economy.  I priced out my ticket online with Main Cabin X and L fares and knew that my new flight was cheaper than my current flights, but after the $200 change fee I would still be responsible for about $30 per person. Not too bad though as that would be my only expense for moving this trip.

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I called the Delta Gold line, and it was a 30 minute wait so I opted for them to call me back. 30 minutes later a CSR called me back (I believe Heidi) and was very helpful in getting my new reservation and I told her the reason why we are postponing. I informed her I tried to do it online but only Basic Economy seats were coming up and she said that sometimes happens. She looked and could not find the same main cabin seats that I found online on the return flight but said Delta Comfort seats were open and that I would receive $110 voucher per person back.

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Say what- refund? I did a double take and reconfirmed this, and she said she would waive the change fee! This really made my day as I went form thinking I would have to pay about $120, to getting $440 in vouchers back. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t see the main cabin seats on the return flight, but I didn’t care at this point.

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Now the hard part is figuring out how to use these vouchers as we have another $110 in 4 peoples names. Even if they are thrown away, its still better than what was planned.

Thank You Delta!

I am about 15k miles short of getting Platinum status and was originally looking at doing a 14k mileage run and then using this trip to push me over the edge. Thank goodness I just said I would be fine with Gold next year.