As we cancelled the night in Yosemite Lodge, we arrived in Vegas one day early. Because of our arrival on Labour Day weekend, there were no more affordable and luxury rooms available in Vegas itself. 20 minutes outside of Vegas is an artificial lake with an Italian village made of hotels and residential housing. One of the hotels is the Hilton Lake Las Vegas.
We first had booked a Best Western Motel in Carmel, but found a really good rate of around $200 through the Family & Friends discount for Intercontinental Hotels. The hotel was fairly new and was built right in the middle of historic Cannery Row. We didn’t want to use valet parking for $25/night, as street parking around the corner is free from 8PM – 9AM, so we only had to pay $4.50 for the remaining 3 hours. The problem was, that there was no registration parking. Fortunately street parking right in front of the hotel opened up as we arrived.
Our next stop on the Pacific coast was San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle. We stayed in the Best Western Plus Cavalier Oceanfront Resort…uff that’s a long name… I matched my Hilton Diamond Status to Best Western Diamond before the stay and we got a great room on the second floor overlooking the garden and the ocean. It’s a typical motel with parking in front of the room, but with direct beach access.
The Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach (Hilton) is one of the few ocean front resorts in California. We arrived at 11 PM and got a HHonors Diamond upgrade to an Ocean Front Suite. The two rooms were just huge and had 2 bathrooms. Facing the ocean there was a balcony. We quickly fell asleep and woke up with the view of an empty beach.
Originally we had booked Steigenberger Makadi Bay, but we switched to Kempinski Soma Bay half-way through our 7 day trip for an upcharge of around 350 Euro. And it was totally worth it. We were taken to the hotel by our travel agent in a private car. They tried to scam us by charging us some fantasy currency rate, but eventually we could also pay by credit card at the official rate.
For a weekend trip to Vienna, we stayed in Hilton Vienna Park. We booked a room at hilton.com for 140 Euros/night. Being a Diamond member with HHonors we were automatically upgraded to an Executive Room at Check-in. A friendly request for a suite brought us into a 10th floor Park suite with approximately 80 square meters.
We went to Egypt in January, because it’s the closest beach destination in Winter. We flew there with Condor from Hamburg to Hurghada. It was my first package trip and probably my last one. We booked via HLX and paid 1206 € for one week half board in the Steigenberger Makadi Bay hotel with flights.
We stayed one week at the Conrad Maldives for our honeymoon. Married since summer 2013, we eagerly waited for the high season and beautiful cloudless days. Just to experience the worst weather in November for decades, according to the lovely Conrad staff. It was still a great stay in a beautiful location. We just had to drink a littlebit more prosecco at breakfast.
We spent 10 weeks in India, because my wife had an internal consulting project over there. She was stationed in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi. With 1,7 mio people living there, it’s the size of our home town, Hamburg. It developed in the last years to cater for the outsourcing needs of western corporations.
We had a 4 day stopover in Doha, Qatar on our flight back from India. The first night we spent in the Ritz-Carlton Doha, but it was an old concrete bunker with small rooms. So we cancelled the remaining nights and called Hilton to ask, wether it is possible to secure an upgrade to their Panoramic Suite. I was assured, that we get it, if it’s available.