Takeoff To Travel

Hi everyone! The travel bug hit me at the age of eight on my first flight and ever since then I’ve loved planning vacations for my friends and family. My goal is to try out new hotel chains and sample the many airline cabins out there. Having been both a city boy and living in the suburbs, I love traveling to all destinations both big and small.

Review: Riverfront Relaxation at the Westin Chicago River North

Background: For my family’s New York/Toronto/Chicago Summer Adventure, I stumbled upon the Westin Chicago River North, and would always remember this hotel because many movies pan over the Chicago River and the Westin can be easily seen. I do also remember this hotel being destroyed in one of the Transformer movies too. A little movie fact haha. Short Review With Scores (out of 5, 5 being best) My Overall Score: 4 5: Excellent, Highly Recommend 4: Very Good, Solid Choice to Consider 3: OK, Check other options before booking 2: Below Par, Try to Avoid 1: Terrible, Run far...

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Review: United Express Economy Embraer E175

Background: I booked this flight as it was the cheapest from Toronto to Chicago. I’ve never been on a “express” flight, and I was curious to try it out. Flight Details: United Express 6039 Toronto (YYZ) to Chicago (ORD) Seat: 18D Aircraft: Embraer E-175 The Flight: Short Review (score out of 5, 5 being the best) Plane Atmosphere 4/5 Service In- Flight 4/5 In- Flight Amenities 4/5 Seat Comfort 4/5 I was pleasantly surprised when I boarded the plane and saw nice new cushions. There were only 2 flight attendants on this flight which wasn’t surprising as the plane can only hold 76 passengers. There were 4 rows of First with a 1-2 configuration. Economy Plus and normal economy had a 2-2 configuration. When I got to my seat I realized that the leg room was awesome! It felt like a train rather than a plane and it was very comfortable for the short 1.5 hr hop. There was one service for drinks, and a little cookie wafer with crème in it was served. They had my Minute Maid cranberry apple juice (yay)! And of course, I mixed it with ginger ale to make my signature drink 🙂 The cabin crew were nice and attentive. Gogo wireless internet was available on this flight, but I forgot how much it was. There was also free device entertainment streaming for movies, shows and music! Another major plus: There...

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Review: Almost A Royal Experience at the Omni King Edward

Background: For my family’s New York/Toronto/Chicago Summer Adventure, I looked thoroughly for a place to stay in Toronto for three nights. I found the Omni at about $180 for a Premier Room, which was a great rate as all the nearby 4 star hotels were well over $250 USD a night for my dates. Short Review With Scores (out of 5, 5 being best) My Overall Score: 5 5: Excellent, Highly Recommend 4: Very Good, Solid Choice to Consider 3: OK, Check other options before booking 2: Below Par, Try to Avoid 1: Terrible, Run far away Rooms: 4.5/5...

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Review: Under $100 Lie Flat Business Class Including Lounge Access

Business Class Under $100? Tell me more! A fifth freedom flight is where one airline from one country offers service between two different countries, in this case LATAM is from South America (Chile), operating a flight from New York (JFK) and Toronto (YYZ). They have great fares in the Business Cabin, and I booked it from New York to Toronto for $89. In the other direction (Toronto to New York) it normally costs a bit more due to taxes (around ~$130). Problem is, in each direction there is only about 2-3 flights A WEEK. So it might be hard to fit this flight...

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Hotel Review: Stay OUTSIDE of the INNSIDE New York NoMad

Background: Booked the INNSIDE as my base to explore New York for 2 nights. I chose it for its good TripAdvisor reviews, the fact that I have Melia Silver and a lot of points to get rid of before they expired and that it was new! It cost $150 a night including tax but I had to deplete 30,000 Melia Rewards Points. Normal rate was about $250 a night for my 2 Double Room. For the same dates, the Andaz Wall Street was only $175 a night (should have booked it, darn). NOTE: I realize on TripAdvisor it says the hotel class...

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Lounge Review: Construction Takes Over Admirals Club at JFK and How to Avoid It

Background: I got lounge access to the Admirals Club from my LATAM Business Class ticket to Toronto because they are both in Oneworld alliance. I remember reading online that one of the Admirals Club’s at JFK was under construction. After I cleared security, I went to the club immediately next to my security checkpoint. Problem: this was the one that was under construction. Admirals Club- Terminal 8- Concourse B- After Security: My first stop was here and it was almost soulless at 9 AM. A plus is that if you want complete silence you could chill out here. There was your average club...

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Airplane Review: Delta Economy 757-200 and MD-88

Background: This is the beginning of my trip to New York/Toronto/Chicago. I will continue to post the rest of my trip! As I write this, I’m in my Toronto hotel room (The Omni King Edward) which is a very comfortable place to stay I may add. More on the King Edward in the upcoming weeks. The flight from Santa Ana/John Wayne to Atlanta was one of three daily nonstop flights that Delta offers. This was the only flight that had seat back entertainment. Major Plus! On a side note, I would have preferred to take a nonstop from LAX,...

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Hotel Review: Hilton Madrid Airport

Short Review with scores (out of 5, 5 being the best) My Overall Score: 5/5 Common Areas: 4/5 Rooms: 4.5/5 Service: 4/5 Location: 5/5 Amenities: 4/5 Cleanliness: 5/5 Sleep Quality: 5/5 Background: I needed a one night stay in Madrid before heading back to the states, and chose the Hilton Madrid Airport! They had a great rate of $150 USD a night for an Executive Room with Lounge Access! Airport Pickup: The shuttle picked us up from the airport swiftly. We only waited about fifteen minutes. The shuttles run constantly, and the only one you reserve is the one...

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Hotel Review: NH Madrid Palacio de Tepa

Short Review with scores (out of 5, 5 being the best) My Overall Score: 4.5/5 Common Areas: 4/5 Rooms: 4.5/5 Service: 5/5 Location: 5/5 Amenities: 4/5 Cleanliness: 5/5 Sleep Quality: 4/5 Background: Booked the Junior Suite at the NH for my stay in Madrid. I chose it for its central location and great reviews. Exterior Street View Lobby Lobby Artwork Check-In: The outside of the hotel is just beautiful, and it was actually designed by the same architect as the Prado Museum! The check-in area was nice, boutique-like. Front Desk then asks the Question of the Day: Two Story...

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Hotel Review: Melia Paris La Defense

Short Review with scores (out of 5, 5 being the best) My Overall Score: 4/5 Common Areas: 4/5 Rooms: 4/5 Service: 3.5/5 Location: 5/5 Amenities: 3.5/5 Cleanliness: 4/5 Sleep Quality: 4/5 Background: Booked two rooms at a great rate ($100 USD per night) for my Paris base for four nights. Exterior of the Melia Check-In Lobby Check-In: The check in is on the “walkway street level” and if you are getting dropped off by a cab that’s on floor negative 4 which also has a “mini lobby” with bellhops and elevators that will take you back to the main...

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