Miami Open 2017

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Miami 2017 Introduction: Spring Break in the MIA
Turnberry Isle Miami Review
Miami Open
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Miami Open

On one evening I attended the Miami Open with a friend and his colleague. We bought tickets for a Tuesday night session hoping to see the Federer/Del Potro match but alas they made that match a daytime match instead.

Parking is at a premium in Key Biscayne thus we actually had to park a few islands back and take s shuttle bus over to the event. All in all it wasn’t too bad but there is quite a bit of traffic as you closer to the event.

We arrived just in time for the first match on the main stadium starting at 7pm.  The number 1 seed in the tournament was Stan Wawrinka and so we got to see him play Tunisian Malek Jaziri in a 3rd round match.

We had decent seats on the 300 level that cost about $100/per person. We were in the second row of that level. Continue reading

Turnberry Isle Miami Review

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Miami 2017 Introduction: Spring Break in the MIA
Turnberry Isle Miami Review
Miami Open
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Turnberry Isle Miami Review

 

My family had a great five night stay at Turnberry Isle Miami.  We arrived on a Sunday night and were greeted by a member of the valet staff with a “welcome back”. Whoops! The only problem was this was our first time ever being at the property.   The bell staff came over and got everything situated. They grabbed our bags and got our name and escorted us over to the checkin area.


Turnberry Isle driveway entrance


Turnberry Isle front entrance

The entrance way was impressive and falls in line with a high end resort.  Directly across from the front desk was a water feature with plenty of koi fish.  Every morning at 8am they feed the koi and guests are invited for that event however we never made it over during our stay.


Turnberrry Isle pond


Koi fish at Turnberry Isle pond

Once we arrived at the checkin desk we were helped right away by a courteous female front desk agent.  She mentioned we received an “upgrade” but Continue reading

Miami 2017 Introduction: Spring Break in the MIA

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Miami 2017 Introduction: Spring Break in the MIA
Turnberry Isle Miami Review
Miami Open
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Miami 2017 Introduction: Spring Break in the MIA

I had a Category 8 Marriott Travel Package voucher good for a five night stay that we didn’t use in 2016. I called at the end of last year to extend it and Marriott was willing to extend the certificate for another year (Thanks Marriott! To see how we obtained this certificate read this post).  I told my wife to look at some of the Category 8 Marriott properties and we narrowed it down to 2-3 properties.  In the end it was between Phoenix and Miami (we ruled out Hawaii due to lap child flight time) due to the shorter flight times but the under three hour flight to Miami won out. And so, we decided a week at Turnberry Isle in Miami would be a perfect fit for us to escape the never ending Wisconsin winter.


In-flight air show displaying our routing to Fort Lauderdale’s airport

I designated my wife as my companion for my Southwest Companion Pass and booked our airfare.  My Milwaukee to Fort Lauderdale flight cost me 32,364 Rapid Rewards points and $11.20.  My wife’s ticket cost an additional $11.20 and our 1yr old baby is free to sit on our lap.

I decided to book Sunday night flight outbound and Friday night flight inbound so that we could enjoy our weekends at home and get some stuff done before having to go right back to work.  Our flights were 100% full both ways and they were actually Continue reading

Around Las Vegas

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Las Vegas 2017 Introduction: Bringing Baby to Vegas
Bellagio Luxury Resort and Casino
Around Las Vegas

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Around Las Vegas

Little guy and I did a lot of walking the strip over our two day visit!  Best time for us was early morning when others are hung over, we were up to walk a fairly empty strip.


Lil guy on the strip

It was nice to stretch the legs and get a bit of morning exercise in.  Our son was/is so nosy and fascinated with everything so he liked looking around at the new environment.


Year of the rooster display on the Venetian/Palazzo

We ended up walking inside through part of the strip but mostly outside.  There were plenty of elevators so I could go over the pedestrian walkways with him in his stroller or I could manage fine on the escalator too. I made sure too have a bag full of snacks and water and extra diaper or two just in case.


Lil guy liked the Treasure Island boat

Our son really liked the floral displays at Continue reading

Bellagio Luxury Resort and Casino

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Las Vegas 2017 Introduction: Bringing Baby to Vegas
Bellagio Luxury Resort and Casino
Around Las Vegas

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Bellagio Luxury Resort and Casino

We arrived to the Bellagio via taxi.  There was quite a bit of traffic at the resort entrance.  We were met by a bellman immediately and offered assistance for our bags. We decided we could handle our bags and waived off any further assistance.


Bellagio entrance signage and mural

Once inside we werent sure we could check in right away as we arrived midday and checkin is 3pm. Having walked through the Bellagio on past Vegas trips I knew what to expect when walking in.


Sparkling horse display at the Bellagio lobby

We were greeted by long lines and what has to be the longest Continue reading

Las Vegas 2017: Bringing Baby to Vegas

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Las Vegas 2017 Introduction: Bringing Baby to Vegas
Bellagio Luxury Resort and Casino
Around Las Vegas

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Las Vegas 2017 Introduction: Bringing Baby to Vegas

My wife had another business trip to attend. This time in Las Vegas! She would be gone three days and two nights.  I admit that I immediately became nervous about how I was going to be able to handle lil guy on my own!?! I could handle the day but the nighttime, what if he got up at (2AM) as he sometimes does and wanted his momma and I couldn’t console him?! I pictured my self up all night frustrated and going into work looking like a zombie. Well we quickly solved that dilemma by tagging along with mom for her trip!!! Whew!! Crisis averted  🙂

Two free nights at the Bellagio and my wife’s airfare paid by her employer I just had to worry about getting me and baby to Vegas and back.  That was easy as she booked her flights on Southwest which has nonstop service to Las Vegas from MKE.  I simply booked my plane ticket (on her flights) using my Southwest Rapid Reward points.


25,501 Rapid Rewards points and $11.20 later my ticket was booked


Our itinerary

I then called Southwest’s customer service phone number to Continue reading

Around Seattle

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Introduction
Fairmont Olympic Seattle
Around Seattle
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Around Seattle

We enjoyed our time in Seattle. One afternoon we visited Kerry Park.  Kerry Park has some amazing views of Seattle!  I wanted to get a few landscape shots of it and just soak it all in.

We only stayed here 15-30 minutes before we summoned an Uber to give us a ride back to our hotel.

I would say for the first time visitor to Seattle that this is a must do on a nice day!

We also had the opportunity to to check out Seattles famous Public Market and Pikes Peak. I went one morning early with my son as all the vendors were setting up and it was very peaceful and neat.

However we went again with my wife later in the day and it was quite busy and hectic.  The line for the original Starbucks store was down the block and the Public Market in general was quite chaotic.


Long line for the first ever Starbucks store (you have to REALLY want a coffee)

They do have tons of seafood options at the market.

I was also impressed how many vendors were selling some very nice floral displays and at very good prices in my opinion.

Near the end of the market there is an area with nice views out to the water.  There were a lot of homeless people in this area!

On an early morning walk with my kid we walked toward the Space Needle but we didn’t end up going inside of it.


Seattle’s Space Needle

One of the oddest “attractions” I have ever seen is Seattle’s “gum wall” in which there is small back alley of sorts that is completely covered in peoples chewing gum. Its quite colorful and unique.  I suppose its a form of art huh?  Anyways be careful and don’t get to close and get gum on your shoe like I did!

We also got to meet up with an old college buddy of mine and his wife while in Seattle which was nice.  We did have a chance to dine at a few decent restaurants while in town which we enjoyed.

Lastly we took a boat ride over to Alki Beach.  We just kinda walked around for a while down near the beach.  Stopped for a drink and enjoyed views of Seattle from across the water.  There were lots of runners, people playing volleyball and some people swimming.

I left Seattle with positive feelings about the city. A very nice, livable city.  It helps that we only had rain the morning we were leaving so we had 2-3 days of really nice weather.  If the chance to visit ever comes up again I will be happy to jump on it!

 

-PointsPinnacle


 

Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle Review

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Introduction
Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle
Around Seattle
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Fairmont Olympic Seattle

We arrived to the Fairmont Olympic Hotel to a busy scene.  Quite a few people arriving for checkins or waiting for rides to leave the property.  We were properly greeted by the bellman after pulling up in our Chevy Tahoe. Our driver and bellman grabbed our bags.


Fairmont Olympic Hotel entrance sign


Fairmont Olympic Hotel entrance

Once inside there is a ground level seating area but the actually lobby and checkin desk are upstairs one level. We took the escalator up (there are elevators too of course) and the lobby was teaming with activity of people meeting up or checking or talking with the concierge’s.  After a about a five minute wait we were welcomed to the checkin desk.


Fairmont Olympic Hotel entrance placard


Ground level lobby seating


Second floor checkin desk and floral arrangement in lobby


Farimont Olympic Seattle Grand lobby

The young woman checking us in was courteous and professional. After only a few moments we were on our way to our room, only the front desk agent forgot to put our room number on the key and we forgot what room she told us we were in verbally.  I stoped back to the desk where she apologized and wrote down the room number, 356 which is a Signature Executive Suite. Continue reading

Seattle 2016: Our Trip to the Emerald City

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Introduction
Fairmont Olympic Seattle
Around Seattle
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Introduction

My wife had one of her annual trips in which she can bring a guest.  Thus our baby and I were lucky to accompany my wife to Seattle.  Baby and I have never been to Seattle so we were all excited. This would be our little guy’s 6th state visited already!

We flew MKE to SEATAC on a Alaska Air Embraer 175 on the outbound.  We earned 1694 miles for that flight.


Weather forecast for our few days in Seattle via Alaska Airlines gogoinflight.com

We also got to witness some pretty scenery on the way out to the Pacific Northwest. Our baby was full of energy on the flight out but well behaved.


Lovely mountain views from our Alaska Air Embraer175 aircraft

We arrived in Seattle and were chauffeur driven to our hotel for the next few nights-The Fairmont Olympic Seattle. We had an overall nice stay at the property.  Very nicely located to explore the city.


Fairmont Olympic Seattle

We had time to explore the city as a family in between and after my wife’s work obligations. There were also scheduled excursions which we could have signed up for (like visiting Boeing headquarters and some wine tastings, etc) but we had our baby so decided to pass on those events.


Gum wall


The Public Market

After a few days in Seattle we headed back to Milwaukee on Southwest Airlines where we earned 3751 Rapid Rewards points.

Please stay tuned for my review of the Fairmont Olympic Seattle and what we did while in Seattle!

-PointsPinnacle

 


 

Emirates First Class Dubai (DXB) to Dallas (DFW)

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Introduction: Maldives an Ocean Paradise
Etihad First Class Lounge JKF Airport
Etihad First Class Apartments New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) A380
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
Etihad Regional Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Male (MLE)
Conrad Maldives Arrival Lounge and Trans Maldivian Seaplane
Conrad Maldives
Around Rangali Island
Trans Maldivian Seaplane
Leeli Lounge Male Airport
Emirates Business Class Male (MLE) to Dubai (DXB) B777
Conrad Dubai
Around Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai (DXB) to Dallas (DFW) B777
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Emirates First Class Dubai (DXB) to Dallas (DFW) B777

We boarded through door 1L to be greeted by a flight attendant who was happy to show us to our seats in the front row. My first impressions of the cabin and suite were positive. I have of course seen numerous photos/ videos of Emirates First Class cabin.  It is quite elegant with the maple wood accents complimented by the gold/brass. It makes quite the statement although not to everyones tastes perhaps.

Version 2
My Emirates First Class boarding pass

(please note the cabin photos in which it appears to be daytime were taken upon departure of the flight when we arrived in Dallas)

The First Class cabin occupancy was 5/8 for our flight. My wife and I in the middle seats in row one. Another couple in there 50’s whom appeared to be from Texas (cowboy hat) were in row two behind us. Finally there was a woman in her 30’s in 1A that appeared to be the wife or girlfriend of one of the pilots thus both seats on the right side of the plane were unoccupied. Continue reading