Tag Archive | "Hotels"


Hyatt Hotel Category Changes List

Posted on 11 December 2014 by David

The point bloggers are all over this so I won’t say much that hasn’t already been said.

Hyatt has updated hotel categories for many hotels. Some up some down. I color coded their list to make it easier to spot which ones now need less points and which need more. See below!

Hotel Current Category New Category
Hyatt House Raleigh North Hills 1 2
Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center 1 2
Hyatt Place Denver-South/Park Meadows  1 2
Hyatt Place Nashville Airport 1 2
Hyatt Place Pensacola Airport 1 2
Hyatt Regency Dongguan 1 2
Hyatt Regency Greenville 1 2
Hyatt House Colorado Springs 2 1
Hyatt on Main, Green Bay 2 1
Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport 2 1
Hyatt Place Baton Rouge/I-10 2 1
Hyatt Place Ft. Myers 2 1
Hyatt Place Germantown 2 1
Hyatt Place Greensboro 2 1
Hyatt Place Greenville/Haywood 2 1
Hyatt Place Memphis/Primacy Parkway 2 1
Hyatt Place North Charleston 2 1
Hyatt Place Orlando Airport  2 1
Hyatt Place Orlando/Lake Mary 2 1
Hyatt Place Roanoke Airport/Valley View Mall 2 1
Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Airport 2 1
Excalibur 2 3
Hyatt House Miami Airport 2 3
Hyatt Place Dewey Beach 2 3
Hyatt Place Long Island/East End 2 3
Hyatt Place Portland – Old Port 2 3
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara 2 3
Hyatt Regency Toronto 2 3
Hyatt Bangalore 3 2
Hyatt House Charlotte/Center City 3 2
Hyatt House Cypress/Anaheim 3 2
Hyatt Place Charlotte Downtown 3 2
Hyatt Place Orlando/Convention Center 3 2
Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal 3 2
Hyatt Place Saratoga/Malta 3 2
Hyatt Regency Chennai 3 2
Hyatt Regency Chongqing 3 2
Hyatt Regency Gurgaon 3 2
Hyatt Regency Jinan 3 2
Hyatt Regency Montreal 3 2
Hyatt Regency Osaka 3 2
Park Hyatt Chennai 3 2
Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo 3 4
Grand Hyatt Taipei 3 4
Grand Hyatt Shenyang 4 2
Grand Hyatt San Antonio 4 3
Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi 4 3
Hyatt Regency Bethesda 4 3
Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam 4 3
Hyatt Regency Delhi 4 3
Hyatt Regency Louisville 4 3
Hyatt Regency Mexico City 4 3
Hyatt Regency Orlando Intl Airport 4 3
Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six 4 3
Hyatt Regency San Antonio 4 3
Hyatt Regency Savannah 4 3
Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar 4 5
Grand Hyatt Macau 4 5
Park Hyatt Seoul 4 5
Grand Hyatt Washington 5 4
Hyatt French Quarter 5 4
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa 5 4
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress 5 4
Hyatt Regency La Jolla 5 4
MGM Grand 5 4
Andaz Amsterdam, Prinsengracht 5 6
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee 5 6
Mandalay Bay 6 5
Park Hyatt Washington 6 5
Park Hyatt Maldives, Hadahaa 6 7


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Hotel Black Light Cleaning Challenge

Posted on 19 June 2012 by Danica

Round the World Travel Hotel


Is this a challenge by Best Western?


We recently reported that Best Western will be piloting a program where its housekeepers will be equipped with black light to clean hotel rooms.  While we remain doubtful that this will work, we figure using this new gadget to clean rooms can’t hurt right?

In fact, on some levels, we take this as a cleaning challenge launched by Best Western against us, the normal travelers, that we will no longer be able to spot a dirty room moving forward.

Why?  Well, because up until Best Western brought up the point about dirty rooms, it never even cross our minds that its rooms may be dirty.  (And honestly, even if it did, we would rather not think about it…)

Now that Best Western made it front and center that they are committed to a completely clean room, we decided to put a plan together where we can test whether it’s working or not.

Black Light Purchase | Hotel Housekeeping Challenge

Meeting the Challenge Heads On – 1st Step


First step of this plan is to purchase a black light.  Now, we always thought black light is only used to shine on white clothes at a party, or a crime scene to detect finger prints, or worse yet, (hold your breath) blood stains.  The horror!  So we are a bit worried about what we may find with this new tool.  We will update you once we use it in a Best Western hotel room.

In the meantime, we started doing some research on a reliable black light to purchase.  Naturally, we headed straight to Amazon, since it practically sells everything under the sun.  We identified the top 3 choices below.

We used the following criteria:

  • Portable
  • Have at least 50 customer reviews
  • Ranked at least 4 stars by the customers
  • Does not cost us an arm and a leg!

So we came down to these 3 choices (in descending order of price):

We are still not sure which of the three to buy yet.  Do you have experience with any of these flashlights?

Have you used black lights for cleaning before?  Which one did you use?  Share your experience below, and help us meet this challenge.  We’d love to hear from you!

Check out our original report on Best Western using black light for housekeeping.


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photo by: illum

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60 Secs to Earn 1500 Priority Club Points for Holiday Inn and Others (Updated)

Posted on 08 June 2012 by Danica

Round the World Travel Hotel


UPDATE: As reported by the Points Guy today, there are 3x more points earning opportunities than we reported yesterday.  This is due to multiple versions of the same survey being distributed for different geographic regions.  The answers are the same.  For the Japanese version, make sure you keep the English version open before filling them out.  Knock yourself out, and earn more points.  The additional links below are reported by the Points Guy.

Many people asked how we afford our trips around the world, and our recommendation is to first use your hotel and airline loyalty points, always.  But it takes a lot of points to redeem for a room or flight ticket, you asked?  Yes, it does.  And that is exactly why you plan for your trip well in advance.  This means accruing points whenever you can, and be diligent about it.

Today, I would like to introduce you to 3 separate offers where you can earn free 1500 Priority Club points just by spending 60 seconds to fill out 3 surveys.

1) 100 Priority Club Points Quiz – Ans: 15″, “All of the Above”, “Silver”

Additional English 100 Points Quiz 2

Additional Japanese 100 Points Quiz 3

2) 300 Points Quiz – Ans: “All of the above and more”, “All of the above”, “All of the above and more”, “Over 4300”, “50 nights or 60000 points”

Additional English 300 Points Quiz 2

Additional Japanese 300 Points Quiz 3

3) 100 Points Quiz – Ans: “All of the above and more”, “A free night you can redeem online anytime”, “All of the above and more”

Additional English 100 Points Quiz 2

Additional Japanese 100 Points Quiz 3

In case you are not familiar with Priority Club, its points can be used in the following brands:

  • InterContinental
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Candlewood Suites


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Hotel Housekeeping to Use Black Light for Cleaning. Too Much or Not Enough?

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Danica

Round the World Travel Hotel


We traveled around the world, and have stayed at more than our fair share of hostels and low to midscale hotels.  Through it all, aside from one instance that we would rather forget, we never felt the need to pull out our own bed sheets and towels anywhere.  We always thought there is something to be said about letting (or training) your own body’s immune system to take care of most germs .  If the locals can do it, why can’t we?  After all, this is not too different from purposely enduring the minor headaches and resisting from ingesting a dose of Tylenol right away, right?  According to CNN, apparently, we are in the minority on this issue.

According to this article, a recent study conducted by Best Western International indicated a lack of confidence in cleanliness among midscale hotels.  As a result, the hotel chain is rolling out a “I Care Clean” program where housekeepers will be equipped with black-light to detect trouble areas.

I am doubtful that this will work, but remain optimistic that at least the new program can’t hurt.  Why?  I don’t think the cleanliness issue stemmed from housekeepers not knowing what and where to clean, I suspect the issue is they are overloaded with the number of rooms they need to clean within a short period of time, and are stuck between doing a fantastic job at each room and be late on schedule, or doing an okay job and be on time.  I think proper training and ensuring a reasonable workload for the housekeepers will be more useful, unless we, as the travelers, are equipped with a black light and can refuse a room if we deem the room to be unfit for the night?!  Now, that’s a novel concept.

What do you think?  Do you think the new Best Western program will help boost confidence?  And do you bring your own linens to the hotels?  Would love to hear from your experience!


Update: We are people of action.  So, rather than wondering, we decided to put the black light concept to test.  Check out our Hotel Black Light Cleaning Challenge.


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Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya: 6 – Kicheche Camp Review

Posted on 05 June 2012 by David

Kicheche Camp Sign

Today, we are on the sixth part of our seven-part “Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya” series.

On our international around the world trip we decided to pay a visit to Kenya and  experience a wildlife safari.  Having already researched a location and time of the year to visit [see our post on Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya: 5 – When & Where] we now had to find a camp with comfortable accommodations and excellent guides.

One of the biggest mistakes we read that a safari adventurer could make is to go cheap.  A safari is one of those experiences where you get what you pay for and going cheap can result in low quality meals, poor accommodations, or even compromises in safety.

After much research we settled on Kicheche Mara Camp in the Mara North Conservancy.  Here’s our experience.


The most amazing thing about the Kicheche Mara Camp is its unbeatable location in the middle of the Conservancy.  The drive from the airport to the camp was a safari in itself.  We saw many animals in close proximity on our journey to the camp.

The moment we arrived in the camp we were met by one of the camp managers.  On the day we arrived the manager on duty, Olivia, greeted us.  She was warm and friendly.  While our luggage was taken to our tent, we sat down with her outside the main tent and checked in.


Kicheche Safety equipment

We received on check-in: camp regulations, a solar rechargeable flashlight, a walkie-talkie, and an emergency whistle.  Olivia also walked us through the safety procedures, daily activities and meal options.  The check-in was thorough, and we immediately felt we were in experienced hands.



Kicheche queen size bed

The tents were luxurious.  More comfortable than some hotel rooms we’ve stayed in.  The restroom was large and had running water!


Kicheche tents

The tents were large and placed far enough apart to give everyone their own private area.

Now look closely at the tent on the right.  See the bucket there?  If there was one drawback about the accommodations it was the ONE bucket of water you had for taking a shower.  Yep, every morning someone would come and fill up that bucket with warm water.    It’s tough at first but you eventually come to know that you really don’t need much water to take a shower!  And besides, we were literally in the nature together with the animals (one morning we woke up to a herd of zebras right outside our tent!), so having to take a bucket bath was well worth it.  We would rather be closer to the animals than to be spoiled in a hotel.  Another tip is if you tell the camp staff that you want another bucket of water in advance, they will gladly bring you another bucket (we used that a few times :)

Kicheche common tent

In the main tent, you could charge all your electricity hungry devices.



Fantastic dining at Kicheche

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were included in the rate.   Dinner was served in a group setting where everyone would come together to eat and share stories of the day.   The food was amazingly well prepared and truly luxurious.  We were all friends at dinner and it was always one of the highlights of our day!  Everyone would laugh and trade their safari stories at the dinner table.  Oh, and of course the fact that wine and liquor flowed freely didn’t hurt either!

For breakfast, fruit, coffee, orange juice, eggs, toasted bread, cereal, all available for breakfast in a comfortable setting.



Your primary reason for going on a safari is to well, go on a safari.  Kicheche offers both private and group game drives.  Depending on how busy the camp is group drives can become a private drive if you’re lucky!  We went on a game drive every day and we only had to share our vehicle once.

Kicheche 4x4

This is one of the Kicheche camp vehicles.  They have an open top and sides that can be covered if it gets too hot or if it rains.  This is the type of vehicle you need for a safari.


Kicheche 4x4 and a few lions

The open layout allows you to easily move around and see the action no matter in which direction it happens.


Jimmy the safari guide

Here is our guide “Jimmy”.  The guides all have easy English names since they’re easier to remember.   Jimmy took us to several fabulous spots for taking some photos like this one!

Maasai Mara at Sunset with Elephants on the horizon.

Jimmy took us to the perfect place at the right time for us to take this photo!

He also had the eyes of an eagle and he could spot animals at a far off distance faster than I could with my zoom lens.   Like many of the people we met in Kenya we had no trouble communicating with them in English.


You must know that Kicheche Mara is not a budget camp.   At this price point you get a fantastic, luxurious, relaxing and comfortable experience out in the wilderness.  A safari is about being out with the animals and watching how they live in the wild.  It is not the time to go roughing it.  Your camp should be the place where you rest after a long day out in the sun and gives you the energy to do it again the next day.

We have to note that on a few occasions on our game drive, we saw other tourists packed into a small enclosed van  and we felt bad for them.  We could only assume they also had an inexperienced driver (especially THAT one who scared off the wildebeest crossing by cutting them off at the river bank!)

A tent of our size cost about $500 a night.  However the rate included full board, bush walks, group game drives, drinks including wine and spirits, and laundry (yes laundry!).   Once you include all that $500 is a decent rate.


We think we made an excellent choice with the Kicheche Maasai Mara Conservancy camp.  It was relaxing, staff was attentive and friendly, the guides were fantastic, and we enjoyed meeting other safari goers.    We definitely recommend this camp and would go back again!

If you stay at Kicheche Mara let us know what your experience was like!

Tomorrow is the last part of our Kenya series, and we’ll fill you in on “Getting to Maasai Mara”!


You may also enjoy our Picture of the Week:

  1. Maasai Warriors Jumping Contest (Adumu)


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