After saying goodbye to my A380, it was time to check out Bangkok. I chose the cheapest SPG hotel I could find, and ended up paying about $60 for the Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 17. It ended up being an awesome value!
After my amazing first class flight on Emirates, I arrived late into Hong Kong for my near 24-hour layover. After deciding which SPG hotel to stay at during my stay, I decided on the Ovolo Southside, a Design Hotel which looked interesting (and cheap!).
After my excellent business class flight from Cairo, I decided to take advantage of the amazing Ramadan rates at the St. Regis Dubai for my one-night layover.
After arriving in Cairo around 12:30 AM, I needed a convenient place to stay, as well as a place to help me earn SPG Platinum status again for 2018. The Le Méridien Cairo Airport is a fairly new hotel, and attached to the airport. For 4,000 points a night, it was a steal, since paid rates were going over $150 per night.
After a less-than-stellar visit to a hostel, I took refuge in the nearest points earning hotel, the Sheraton Grand Krakow. At $150 per night, it wasn’t the cheapest option in the city, but a nice lounge, clean room, and SPG’s triple points promotion made it a no-brainer.
When Hyatt announced that Miraval was joining the World of Hyatt program, Laura and I pounced on the opportunity to use some Hyatt points at the property. While normally for two people it would cost 65,000 points for two persons per night for the all-inclusive resort, Hyatt is running an excellent promotion that rebates 50% of your points of your reservation, plus gives you $175 per person towards on-property activities during your stay. As a Globalist member, I was anxious to see how the benefits translated at the property for our one night stay.
Yet another opportunity to take advantage of Scottsdale’s great summer rates emerged in early June, as the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician were made available under SPG’s “Hot Rates.” While rates in the winter can approach $1,000 for the exclusive “Resort-within-a-Resort,” our summer time rate was only $280. While that’s more than what we’d normally pay for a hotel stay, we thought it would be helpful to check out what a stay at the Canyon Suites was actually like, given the Phoenician is what most people usually stay at on property.
Because my sister was graduating college a few weeks ago, we had to be in Downtown Los Angeles. The family decided that the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles would do the trick! As a newly renovated hotel, I was anxious to see how they had turned out.
Last weekend, Laura and I had the opportunity to stay at the Camby Hotel, an Autograph Collection-branded property in the Marriott chain. Located in the posh Biltmore area of Phoenix, the Camby is in a very desirable location, and across the street from the Shops at the Biltmore.
Normally, if you were redeeming points at this property, it would be a Category 7, requiring 30,000-35,000 points per night. I value these points at around 0.8 cents per point, so you’d want rates to be at $240 to redeem a free night here. Since it was summer in Phoenix, our room rate was only $119 per night, plus a $25 resort credit!
This being a former Ritz-Carlton, I was excited to stay here and see how the new renovation turned out.
There was no parking on-site (except $33 for valet), so we had a friend drop us off. The valet area already gave indications that this was no ordinarily-themed hotel. It features large “topiaries” shaped like a C and a camel. “Camby” is short for Camelback, the most prominent mountain in Phoenix.
Check-in was done in the main lobby, which was just to the left as you entered the property. There were very “design-like” touches in the lobby, which added to the theme. I put it somewhere between a W and an SLS hotel. More comfortable than a W, but less “out there” than an SLS.
At check-in, I was offered 750 points or breakfast ($30 total for two), and 500 points or a $10 amenity. We chose the breakfast and credit, since we’d be here just for one night, and could use $65 towards room charges!
Unfortunately, we weren’t offered an upgrade at check-in, despite there being nicer mountain views and a junior suite available still for sale. After we arrived in our first room, we requested a mountain view, and were granted one. This is one area where Marriott falls behind SPG and Hyatt- no guaranteed suite upgrades if available for top-tier members.
We walked to the elevators, where some cool art was placed at one end of the hallway, and this chandelier greeted us.
Each elevator had a hilarious saying in them.
The rooms were only 350 square feet, but were designed with awesome touches, that both invoked the hotel’s unique design and its Phoenix surroundings.
Coffee in the room was complimentary, and was Keurig.
I LOVED the lamp mounted on the wall in the shape of a steer skull, with “MOO” written out in light when you turned it on.
Our view from our upgraded room.
Above the bed was a copper sheet, with different sayings on it.
The bathroom was a little cramped, with just a shower and glass sliding doors. Shampoos were in large containers with pumps, but were Nest-branded. Lotion and other this-and-thats were waiting on the bathroom counter.
A funny design on the bathroom wall.
I loved the “Camby Times” newspaper that was in the room, which was a fun way of letting people know what was going on in the hotel.
While being a rather small hotel by footprint, guest spaces did still exist. A very small pool with some music playing was on floor two, complete with pool bar. We sampled a Mai Tai ($10) with our resort credit, and thought they were very well made. Unfortunately, we only had an hour in the pool, as a Bat Mitzvah had reserved the space for the rest of the evening.
The “Jim,” however, is a highlight.
We also had cocktails down in Artizen, the hotel’s main restaurant. There’s also a cocktail bar, but it wasn’t open when we wanted one.
The bar menu was cool, celebrating Arizona’s “5 C’s” (Cotton, Copper, Climate, Citrus, and Cattle). I had the Copper, while Laura had the Citrus.
Breakfast was also taken in Artizen. The certificates we were given covered $15, which would take care of the continental breakfast on the menu (coffee or juice, yogurt, pastry). I wanted something different, so I went with the waffles.
Laura went with the avocado toast.
At the end of the meal, we had covered the entire breakfast certificate, with no overages.
Overall, I loved the hotel’s design. I felt that there were some brief issues, like the lack of an upgrade, and no notice on the pool being closed. It’s summer, we wanted to be outside! However, design-lovers that are reading would love this hotel well-located in the Phoenix area.
Part II: Hyatt Regency LAX
After arriving at LAX, we had a choice to either take the shuttle bus to the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, or walk. Since Terminal 1, where Southwest arrives, is the closest to the hotel, we thought the 5-minute walk would be better than a shuttle that would stop at the 6 other terminals before arriving at the hotel. This alone makes the Hyatt Regency my new go-to for LAX layovers.
Rates were about $126 per night plus tax, so the two-night stay came out to $292.54. Luckily, though, we were able to find 20% off Hyatt gift cards, which drastically brought down the price for us out of pocket.
Arriving at the hotel, I was impressed with how Mid-Century Modern it was. It definitely felt in-theme with how the idyllic Los Angeles would look like my mind had I hopped off a plane in the 1960s. The check-in agent immediately assisted us, and informed us that we would have a King Suite on the top floor as an upgrade! For my first “real” check-in as a Globalist hoping for a free suite upgrade, I was happy! The lounge is still under construction, however, so breakfast would be served at the Unity LA restaurant.
Upon entering the room, I was blown away. The interiors, freshly renovated, continued the Mid-Century Modern theme from the lobby. While definitely a studio suite, the living area was sizable, plenty of room for two people at 814 square feet! Directly to the left of the door as you enter is the wet-bar area, with an Illy Coffee machine, sink, and refrigerator. The fridge was stocked with four cold-press juices, as well as some Evians. I phoned down, and discovered these were complimentary with the suite. At $10 per juice, which is ridiculous, it’s a nice benefit.
The living area was immediately in front, with a sizable 55-inch TV facing the couch. Walking back towards the king bed, you saw another 55-inch TV on the other side of the partition. To the left, you found the closet and bathroom area, which weren’t otherwise very large by suite-standards. There were, however, plenty of bath products from Hyatt Regency’s standard brand KenetMD.
We spent our two nights in Venice this trip, which isn’t too far away from LAX, as well as a quick jaunt down to Disneyland on Saturday.
Each morning, though, was reserved for breakfast. Choices for Globalist were either ordering off the menu at the UnityLA restaurant, or picking the gigantic buffet. We chose the buffet both mornings. Offerings included very Southwestern-styled dishes, like Huevos Rancheros, as well as the standard breakfast items like croissants, bacon, fruit, and toast. It was all very high quality, and I paired each morning with a lovely iced coffee.
Overall, I was impressed with the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, becoming my favorite layover hotel at LAX (well, besides the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey). Stay tuned for our next installment, where we hop aboard Singapore Airlines to Incheon!