Review: Andaz Mayakoba

Introduction: New Years Trip to Riviera Maya
Review:  Andaz Mayakoba

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Andaz Mayakoba

My family had a lovely seven night stay at the Andaz Mayakoba over New Year’s Eve 2018!  Our driver dropped us off after a 40 minute drive from Cancun’s airport. We were greeted at the entrance by two Andaz representatives. One assigned to grab our bags and one to welcome us inside.

The entrance inside the main lobby of the Andaz Mayakoba is named The Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary is designed to mimic a Mexican cenote’ with its large opening up top and the water feature below.

We were welcomed inside and invited to have a seat in The Sanctuary.  Our Andaz Mayakoba checkin representative informed us we will do the check in seated and he would bring over a few mezcal welcome beverages for us to enjoy. Continue reading

New Year’s Trip to Riviera Maya

Introduction: New Years Trip to Riviera Maya
Review:  Andaz Mayakoba

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Happy New Year everyone!

For the first time in several years I decided to take off the week of Christmas and thought “why not take a vacation after Christmas to end the year?”

So in Mid July I started looking for locations for our vacation.  This is the highest demand time of year to travel and prices are sky high! After looking around I decided to just take a “simple” trip to to Riviera Maya as we enjoy Mexico and have not been to the Yucatan Peninsula in several years.  This would be our son’s first time to Mexico and I cannot believe Mexico would be his FIFTH country visited at only two years old. Continue reading

Around New Orleans

Introduction
Ritz Carlton New Orleans
Around New Orleans

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Around New Orleans

Since we were staying right on the edge of the French Quarter I was able to spend plenty of time exploring the area as my wife had morning meetings.

Burbon Street was under some MAJOR construction during our visit.  The entire street was shut down and blocked off.  Only the sidewalks were available and they were kind of tight when the people traffic picked up.

Im mad at myself for not trying a hand grenade while in New Orleans…. I stuck with the hurricanes.

One afternoon we decided to stop and grab some oysters at Acme Oyster House.  There was a line of about 2-3 people ahead of us.  I had no idea this was a popular place we just decided to pop in.  After less than 5 minute wait we were able to grab a seat a the bar.  We were able to watch them shuck the oysters while we waited for our food.

For the first time in my life I had raw oysers…..meh.  The chargrilled ones however were great!  Nice and buttery and garlicky.   Comedian D.L. Hughes also came in and got a corner table while we were there.

 

We stopped in Leah’s and got some tasty pralines to take home.

One morning I walked down to Stanley for breakfast while my wife was in a morning meeting.

Amazingly good breakfast!

The best grits I have ever tasted!!! WOW!

A bit pricey at $30 for one person for breakfast however.

One evening we partook in a Marid Gras themed parade through Canal Street.

There was a full on band and we marched all the way too……

Pat O’Briens for dinner and drinks.

One day we had the chance to participate in a bayou airboat tour.

My wife and I got to sit next to the boat driver.  We saw one or two smallish croc’s by throwing in a marshmallow to coax them out.

Our boat captain had a baby croc with him in the boat in a cooler.  He let us pass it around and hold if we wanted. Our boat captain was very informative and shared a lot of information about the wildlife habitat and the area.

Overall we had a great time in NOLA.  It was nice to visit for a few days and get a small taste but we may not be back for a while.

-PointsPinnacle

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans Review

Introduction
Ritz Carlton New Orleans
Around New Orleans

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I was able to accompany my wife on a work/pleasure trip to New Orleans.  This was our first trip without or toddler son so we were excited to have an “adult” trip but knew we would miss our little guy too.

We were booked for three nights at the lovely Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.  The hotel is conveniently located right on Canal Street in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans.


Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

We arrived on a shuttle bus with numerous others and we only had one carryon bag each so we were not in need of a doorman or further assistance.  Our group entered in to the ground level lobby of the hotel.


Ground floor entry

From there we took and elevator up to the third floor where the more traditional reception desk and lobby are found.


Ritz-Carlton New Orleans reception desk

The hotel was fairly elegant and aseptically pleasing like many others in the Ritz-Carlton brand.  The fall themed floral arrangement in the lobby was a nice touch.


Ritz-Carlton New Orleans floral arrangement


Ritz-Carlton New Orleans lobby

We were checked in right away as they were fully staffed at the reception desk.  Check in was friendly and professional. We confirmed our Marriott rewards number was indeed on the reservation and we were given two room keys. Continue reading

Introduction: New Orleans 2017 First Trip Without Baby

Introduction: First Trip Without Baby
Ritz Carlton New Orleans
Around New Orleans

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Introduction

One of my wife’s annual work trip happens every fall and I am able to accompany her.  This year New Orleans was the destination! I have not been to New Orleans since I was a child and my wife had never been.  Plus this would be our first trip without bring our young son with us.  Our son was going to stay with grandma for three whole nights (thanks grandma)!  We were excited yet sad to take the trip because were looking forward to an adults only trip but we love bringing him along to share in the adventures.

We flew down to New Orleans on Southwest with a quick connection in St.Louis. We then stayed three nights at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.

We plenty of time to sight see and take excursions!

Continue reading

Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago

Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Around Florence
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Around Cortona
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Around Rome
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
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Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago (Airbus A340-600)

Super excited to finally try Lufthansa First Class we boarded through door 1L and were met by the friendly flight attendants and shown right to our seats (1D and 1G) in the first row of the plane. I initially tried to book the 2nd row when I booked our tickets but I admitted our son was over 25 pounds on the call so the phone rep wouldn’t give me row two which contains the bassinet seat. Funnily enough when we boarded the purser asked us if we wanted to sit in row two! At that point though we just thanked her and declined her polite offer.


Lufthansa First Class cabin

It turned out the entire First Class cabin was full thus all six seats would be occupied. All the window seats were occupied by male travelers and behind us in row two were what appeared to be a middle-aged mother and her 20-something daughter..


Lufthansa First Class cabin

I thought the cabin was quite elegant overall at first glance. I do think the seating fabric could use a slight refresh but otherwise the cabin is very nice.


Lufthansa First Class cabin

The roses at every seat is a nice touch.


Lufthansa First Class seat

The seat is plenty wide though Cathay Pacific and Singapore have much wider First Class seats but unless your 400 pounds it shouldn’t matter much. Continue reading

Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich

Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Around Florence
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Around Cortona
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Around Rome
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
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Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich

My family and I had the chance to hang out in the beautiful Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Munich prior to our flight to Chicago.  This was one of our favorite lounge visits!


Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich reception

After a friendly welcome by the reception agents we were welcomed in to relax for a while. We found a nice spot to hang out and quickly a lounge agent came over and took our drink order.

The lounge was very spacious and it was great that there were only a small handful of other guests during our visit.


Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich


Lufthansa First Class boarding passes Continue reading

Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich

Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Around Florence
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Around Cortona
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Around Rome
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
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Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich

We had a quick hop from Rome to Munich on Lufthansa regional business class.  Typical intra-European business class is economy seating with the middle seat blocked.  Since there were three of us we let the baby sit in the middle seat once we were at cruising altitude. For take off and landing he was on my wife’s lap with the lap seatbelt attachment on.

The business class cabin was about half empty. The crew was very nice and friendly!  They gave our son a little grab bag of toys and a little yellow blanky to hold (although he didn’t use it.).

The bag had little cardboard cutouts of airplanes which he loved playing with. Continue reading

Alitalia Lounge Rome

Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Around Florence
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Around Cortona
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Around Rome
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
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Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)

After checking in we found our way over to the Alitalia lounge.  It appears it’s used for all Etihad owned (or part owned) airlines.  However we were flying home via Lufthansa first class so I am not 100% sure who all gets access.


Alitalia Lounge entrance

There was a brief wait as two other guests were ahead of us but after just a moment or two we presented our boarding passes and were welcomed in.


Alitalia Lounge reception desk

The lounge was fairly spacious and when we first arrived there were plenty of available seating. All of the chairs feature comfortable Italian leather.


Alitalia Lounge seating Continue reading

Dining in Rome

Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Around Florence
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Around Cortona
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Around Rome
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
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Dining in Rome

We only got to try a small sampling of Rome’s many restaurants because as I mentioned earlier we had ate at our hotel on a few occasions. But I wanted to share which spots we tried.

Satiricus

Satiricus is located in near Vatican City and St. Peters Square. Our guide mentioned to us after the Vatican Museum tour that it would be a pretty good place to eat so we tried it out.

It was very busy and large.  Satiricus has large indoor and small outdoor seating areas. Actually I think the restaurant caters to large tours and tourists groups because they told us they could accommodate us but we only would have an hour to eat (which was plenty for us) due to a large group reservation coming in.

I had a tasty Neapolitan pizza and a few Aperol Spritz’s.


Neapolitan pizza

My wife was still going strong on her Caprese salad kick and ordered one of those. Continue reading