- I’m getting a lot more questions about Club1Hotels. That probably means writers/whores are “helping” readers again by sharing this “opportunity.” I wrote about it already, but I should add something – from all the reports you guys have sent, Club1Hotels sucks. I don’t recommend it at all. But if you frequent the kinds of websites that push it on you (because they’re getting paid)…please don’t email me to complain about them. Not direct enough? Ok. How about this? If you support/read any bloggers who put money over integrity, stop crying to me about them. I’m not on your side.
- Some of you have been seeing 30,000 points as the Starwood bonus. A nice offer if you can get it. Try all kinds of stuff (Internet Explorer, Chrome, incognito browsers, etc) and that bonus might pop up for you.
- IHG’s latest PointBreaks list is here. As usual, it’s one of the best values around for your hotel points (if you find anything on the list).
Considering I’m not the world’s biggest fan of buying points…and the fact that I’ve never done it…
…this will still save money for some people.
If you’re short on hotel points and see the 100% bonus in your IHG account, the math might work. Especially if you have a stay in mind. It’s worth a look.
Really good deal if you think you’ll need multiple rides next month and live in one of 5 cities (Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, or Washington D.C.). 20 rides for either $20 or $29 is tough to beat. You need to buy before the end of the month and can check it out here.
I’m well aware that some of you love when I rant. Not something I mind doing (obviously). But I express myself that way when I have something to get off my chest. Right now, I’m motivated to speak in a different way. I want to talk about an exceptionally positive experience I had. At the root of all this is a love for travel. So this is about a special place I was able to visit recently.
As most of you know, I live in Los Angeles. I’ve been lucky enough to stay in so many of the great hotels throughout this area. From the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad to the Ritz Carlton and St. Regis in Dana Point…I get around.
But let there be no doubt, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego is absolutely my favorite property in Southern California.
It’s not even close.
Beyond that, I can’t think of a better hotel experience I’ve ever had in the United States. If you have the Fairmont card and are deciding where to use your 2 free nights, you should seriously think about this option. Here are my Top 5 favorite memories from an amazing weekend…
- The minute I walked in, it was the best-smelling hotel lobby I’ve ever experienced. Wait, the smell? Yeah, it might sound weird, but that was the first bit of evidence that every detail is carefully considered here. You can feel the attention put into everything. They really, really give a shit. I don’t think I saw a single piece of trash for 3 days.
- Part of my credit card bonus was a suite upgrade. Redeeming stuff like that can be a pain, right? Especially at an expensive place like this. Nope. No problems…no hassles…no excuses. It was a very easy experience getting moved into an incredible room. Using the dining credit was just as pleasant. At this hotel, there are no little annoyances that pull you out of relaxation mode.
- Such great food. And not just sitting down for meals. For example, the dessert (budino) in the lobby lounge was perfect. Even the quick snacks were ridiculous. I grabbed a croissant on my way to the pool that tasted like it was shipped from France. Again, such care is put into everything. All of the little pieces keep adding up into something exceptional.
- You know me…I need quirks. I’m not looking for a snooty, vanilla experience. So what if I told you that the golf clubhouse turns into “Club M” at night? My friends, there are some people-watching memories that outrank others. Seeing this collection of locals, hotel guests, cougars, and sugar daddies come together to dance is pretty high on the list.
- I have gone swimming in better pools. I’ve looked at better views. But it’s very possible that I’ll never encounter better service than I did at this hotel. The people here are so exceptional that I started to think they’d carry me to my room if I asked. And it’s not in a fake, overly polished way. They all seem like people you’d want to be friends with. To me, a great vacation can transport us to a dreamlike state. After leaving, it’s almost a shock to the system to be back in the real world again. That’s exactly what this place and these people have created. A dreamlike bubble.
My taste isn’t for everyone. I know a property without water slides or arcades might be a terrible choice if you have young kids. I get it. But, in my experience, this is the all-time favorite. I loved the Andaz Maui those first couple of years, but that hotel has slipped. And, frankly, I just like this property better. I’m not one to write reviews…that’s obviously not what this blog is about…but I had to take a moment to talk about this place. If it wasn’t clear, I give it my highest recommendation.