Don’t Lie to me.

Had a bad experience at the DoubleTree that turned weird.

Here is my review:

My experience while checking in was not at all indicative of my status with Hilton. When I checked in I requested to be put in a room with a King Bed, I was told that there were non-available. This came as a shock to me as I had seem the room type available on the HHonors App. I thought maybe the room was booked in the time it took for me to leave my office and get to the Hotel so I didn’t think twice about it. When I got to my room, I checked online and the option for a King Room was still available. So I called down and asked about it. I was told that this was because while there was a room available for that night, there wasn’t one available for my entire stay, however my search online was for the entire stay. When I said this to Eric, he told me he would look into it and call me back in “a couple of minutes.” 45 minutes later I called down to get an update. He told me that was looking into it now and to give him another two minutes. He called me back in 15 seconds and said that he does have a room available but that its on the first floor so he asked if I was ok with that. I said yes and he told me that he would send someone up with my new keys. 30 min later I went down to the front desk to get my new keys. He radioed housekeeping to see where the new keys were taken while he made a new set for me. Eventually I got into my new room. Not only was I denied the room type I wanted (same rate), I was lied to about the availability, and left waiting for an hour completely unnecessarily, but he never apologized. I was never approached about the inconvenience, definitely not the treatment I have come to expect as a Gold Member.

A couple of things have happened since this. The most exciting is that I am now a Diamond Member! Wooooo! Still waiting to see what the real perks are (I have yet to be upgraded) but I do think it will go well ūüôā

 

So back to the situation at hand. FYI I wrote this review after getting an email from the DoubleTree asking me to review them. It’s posted on TripAdvisor because DoubleTree requested that I post it. Anyway, I did get a phone call from Eric the next day, unfortunately I was at work but he left a message asking that I stop by the front desk when I am back. That night when I got back he had already left so I missed him. The lady at the desk went to check when he was next in so that he and I could chat, unfortunately he was out for the next three¬†days, and I left in two days. Anyway, I had planned to return to this hotel in 3 weeks because (IN CASE YOU MISSED MY PREVIOUS POST) its a top 2 hotel in the area! So I wasn’t too worried, I figured that we would cross paths soon. The next day I got an email from the corporate account office apologizing for the situation ¬†and assuring me that its not the norm. I thanked him for his apology and we were squared away. The next day I got a call from the General Manager of the hotel, asking me to stop by the front desk when I got back. I did (note, this is my last night here for that stay) and I had missed him. Friends, travelling for work means you work late. It’s very much a thing.

Anyway, a couple weeks later I was given the unfortunate news that the project was ending, so I never got to return. I wonder what would have happened.

Here are pics of the Embassy Suites room that I stayed in on my last week!

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Lovely KING bed

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Wonderful Suite

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Pick-Me Up

This is the blog post about a car. Shout out to AVIS who I am now a Preferred Plus Member of! Unfortunately it doesn’t realllly mean anything but I like the silver membership card.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about this baby:

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It’s a PICK-UP TRUCK!

Look its a pick-up truck! So this was my first time driving a pick-up so it was very exciting. This bad mama-jama had 14 miles on her when I rented it and we drove for over 200 miles that week.

So my impression… it was strong, also its so big. Too big. No bueno. I needed to make 3 point turns to get out of situations that I can get out of with a single turn in other “big” cars. So that was frustrating, and kinda cool because WHAT?!>{

I was able to use the truck bed to move my luggage from the work site to the lunch site and then back so that was cool. I did not get to ride on the truck bed on the highway, which is what I actually thought I would be able to experience with a pick-up. Slightly disappointing but overall a cool new experience.

 

 

Deuces North Chicago-land

So the last 2 week were very strange. Flights were fine. Thanks JetBlue!

 

Cars were good, thanks Avis!

Here is a fun slideshow of the rest of the cars I’ve rented while on this project.

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Just kidding…. there are only two cars on that slideshow. Time for some weird news. My project is over. It got terminated early, I had no idea this was happening. Anyway my time in the Lake Forest, Deerfield, Northbrook, etc area is coming to an end. with it I will share one highlight story about my cars, one highlight story about my hotels and one very strange occurrence. These will be posted as consecutive blog posts, so keep an expectant eye out for that.

 

Meanwhile….. here are pics of my stays in my TOP TWO HOTELS in the entire North Chicago-land area

The Double Tree Libertyville-Mundeline comes in second place. It was rated so highly because of its quality breakfast spread, and its full size semi-olympic pool.

The Embassy Suites Deerfield comes in first place as the TOP hotel in the N. Chi-town area! It was rated so highly because of its amazing made to order breakfast (with bomb hot sauce and tater tots most days), amazing open bar (2h reception) with snacks and liquor every night, free lemonheads (in the lobby), much larger suites, ahhhh. So good.

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Post TX

Hi readers,

It’s been a minute since the last update. I apologize for that. I had such a wonderful weekend with my parents in Austin TX that it shifted my routine and I kinda lost some motivation to maintain my blog.

Anyway, I’m back and I want to catch you up.

Flight to TX was fine, I flew AA.

In TX we got a car. It was a Nissan Rouge. It was good ūüôā Thanks AVIS

TX: we stayed at  a Hampton Inn. I officially hate the Hampton Inn. Its basically the least expensive Hilton chain and you definitely get what you pay for. Not a fan and I will actively avoid them in my future. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Zero perks to having status
  • Crappy breakfast
  • Groups of students and shady characters stay here
  • Not a welcoming environment
  • The management staff is not invested in the guests, they are just interested in the operation.

This may be specifically out of our experience at the Hampton Inn @ Austin North and may be unfair to say this is true for all of the hotels that are a part of this chain.

Here are some pics.

 

My flight back to ORD was AA and they were delayed -__-

I got in and got my car. No issues and unfortunately, no picture ūüė¶

This post is very special because it includes my review of The Drake Hotel in Chicago. What an amazing place!

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The living room part of my room. Just the couch pattern is regal!

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The King Bed. Whoooooweeeee!

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The Desk/Working Area. You cant imagine how expensive everything is here.

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Walking into the restaurant where they do meals + high tea…. thats when you pay $40 to sip some tea and eat finger sandwiches. Makes no sense.

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In the lobby.

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This was on the lobby of my floor. No other hotel has had anything on the floor lobby’s.

 

I only stayed at this magical place for one night but it was indeed magical. The gym was really cool and totally underground. Felt a little out of place to put a treadmill on this property. Anyway, they had a hand written letter waiting for me when I checked in telling me how happy they were to have me and stuff like that. Very comfortable bed, cool old school shower/tub thing. (the kind with the four legs). Anyway, parking was $40 per night when you did self-parking and $60 when you did valet. That sucked. There was no complementary breakfast but I did get a free pastry from the coffee shop next door.

 

I want to see and experience more of Hilton’s signature collection and hope I get too in the future.

Whirlwind + Snow

This weeks very early monday morning flight on JetBlue from BOS to ORD included some horrendous service on-board. Ok, so it wasn’t actually the service that was bad, it was the complete lack of manners and respect that the flight attendants had. Joanne and her daughter Lauren (ugh giving the Boston based crew a very bad rep) were the two flight attendants who lacked an ounce of professional courtesy. Lets clear the air. No one was rude to me or insulted me at all, I am low maintenance and never need help from an attendant. Lets walk through my experience together.

Picture it, stupid early, boarding a plane. No smiles or welcomes as per usu, homegirl (Joanne/mom) was on her phone as people walked in. Honestly, couldn’t care less. got to my seat put my bag up, sat down. When people were done boarding the two stood in the aisle next to my seat (about 1/3 of the way from the front of the airplane) and mocked and made fun of a passenger who upon being told he needed to check his bag assumed they would take it but instead she asked that he take it to the front of the plane. The request is again, no big deal, what really is a big deal, what sucks about this is that mom stood in the aisle in front of other customers and mocked/made fun of this passenger who thought she was going to take his bag. Disgusting but it gets worse. Turns out that we had a third flight attendant on board but she was not working just hitching a ride. Well mom + daughter spent the next 15 min as we taxied standing in the aisle with her (a few rows behind me) talking extremely disrespectfully about other flight attendants. Who slept with who, who was acting very antisocial, who took a vacation where with who’s wife. Again, this crap was happening in front of customers/clients/people who paid for a service from a company with a reputation for customer service. ¬†(Cue single bell) Shame. Shame. Shame.

 

Landed in ORD and proceeded to Avis to get my car for the week. So on Sunday I realized that I actually did not have a reservation for this week and had to make one kinda last minute. Shame on me. Anyway I got there and I am assigned some rinky dink car. No bueno so I go inside to the Preferred Office to see if I can get a different car. Turns out everyone knew the weather was going to suck and reserved all of the good cars. I was given a better rinky dink car and as I walked to it I walked past the exchange lot. There are a set of cars (around 12 spots) that you can exchange yours for at no additional cost. And there I found this guy:

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My first Mini Van. Can’t wait to drive 2.5 children around later

A Town and Country. A Mini Van. Pros: There are buttons to auto open and close the sliding side doors and the back. There is a DVD player in the back. The car had under 200 miles on her when I got her. Navigation works.

Cons: No remote start. Can’t play media from my phone. Can’t enjoy the DVD player while driving.

Ok so this is a strange and special two weeks. I am going to take my mother + father to Austin TX for my Mothers Birthday! (HBD mom). That being said, I am staying at one hotel for two nights (Mon + Tue) then staying at a different one on Wed (closer to the airport) for my flight Thur where we will be staying at another one for the trip. This weeks blog post will cover the first two hotels.

So whats a guy to do for two days after the worst hotel experience to date? Go back to the best. I am staying at the DoubleTree in Libertyville see the link for my blog post about my first stay there. Guess what?! I got an even cooler room!

 

 

There is a living room at the foot of my bed. And the super cool bench thing is twice as long. Still my favorite hotel in the area. Cool thing  about this stay is that at breakfast they offered a made to order omelette, so good!

Ok so I spent one night at the Embassy Suites O’Hare. I had an early flight in the morning so I thought it would be better than staying way up north. What a cool hotel. First my regrets… As I drove up I saw that this hotel was sandwiched between a Hilton and a DoubleTree by Hilton, both “higher end” Hilton brands that I should have stayed at but I did not search using a map. shame. Second and last regret, parking is not free. Lame. Ok so the hotel itself is like a doughnut (but oblong), it had rooms all along the sides but a hollow middle. The middle (2nd floor) had the dining space where I had a wonderful breakfast. Breakfast here also had an omelette station and a ton of different juice options that I haven’t seen at other hotels. The place was nice, and clean. The fitness center had 2 treadmills, 2 elypticals, 1 bike thing and was awkwardly located behind the food area on the second floor. Inside of the fitness center there was a set of stairs that led down to the pool in the back of the first floor.

Cool room here are the unedited raw pictures.

I hope you have been taking the time to read each of the captions that I give to every picture. I spend a lot of time and consideration coming up with the best comment that will entertain and inform at the same time. Anyway this room had a lot of space (I am a fan of space). It randomly had 2 sinks. One was in the bedroom. It was kinda strange. But I survived and live to see another day.

 

Returned the car and headed to my AA flight to Austin. Well done AA. Good flight, no complaints. My bag made it, my sanity survived, my legs are only partially scared from the tight fit. Overall one of the better flight experience I have had on an American Airlines flight. Ok that’s it for this post. See you next week!

Disastrous Expectations

Hi friends (mom + sister),

My flight to work this week was good. I had to check my bag again but only because I was late to the airport (woops!). Made it. Thanks JetBlue! Landed, got my bag and went to Avis. At Avis I realized that I had not gotten the email with my assigned spot/car and the boards with the assignment said “Preferred Center” so I went inside. I was chatting with my buddy Juan who gave me a sick upgrade. I half think this happened because they were running out of normal cars and still had a bunch of reservations pending.

Anyway, here is a pic of my RED MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE

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Ohh yeah. This happened.

Two doors, seat warmer, remote started, this thing even projects the Mustang Logo on the ground when its parked. Effortlessly fast and a little nerve wrecking…. I am sure all of the cops are waiting for me to drive by. Anyway yes I will drive it with the top down. No I will not post a picture, get your mind out of the gutter.

So this week I am staying at a Hilton Garden Inn. It had high expectations because it is 4 min from work (REALLY CLOSE). It has however flopped. Here’s why. No breakfast, no anything actually. Really heavy door. Thats it.

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Where magic happens (I watch netflix)

Ok so maybe I am being too harsh. I did get a free cookie. Also they have a good fitness center. 3 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 1 bike machine, a bunch of free weights. Pool is a joke, about the size of my King bed.¬†Not much more to say about it though… Won’t be staying here again.

What a wonderful¬†flight back! The flight attendant was super nice and very helpful (I sat near the front of the plane for all of you JetBlue Exces reading this). Overall though I was happy to be home. ūüôā

 

 

 

Catchy Title

Ok lets talk travel.

Flight to ORD, a good one. Down side, had to check my bag so I waited at the airport for it. Even after that unnecessary 20 min wait, I went to Avis to get my car.

This week I got a fully loaded Ford Explorer. I drive an Escape at home so it was cool to drive the bigger version. Amazing. 3 rows of seats, heated seats, heated steering wheel, remote starter. Great car.

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This baby treated me well this week!

 

Ok so mad props to AVIS for the great car.

On to the hotel. Stayed at a Hampton Inn + Suites in Lincolnshire. Great breakfast. Good variety and a good amount of fruits. The fitness center was a disaster. It was a closet with 1 treadmill and 1 elliptical. There is a sign that they will give you a guest pass to a local gym but whats the point of that?? Anyway, pro tip… ask the hotel people if they have any discount for local restaurants. This place gave me free dumplings at the restaurant next door! The room was little but it was enough. I kinda feel slightly cheated, I thought it would be a suite, like the Homewood ones but it wasn’t. This was a studio…. dont play games with me Hilton!

 

The flight back was good. No delays, my bag made it on-board. I made a friend, the woman next to me. Fun story. I was really out of it and I checked my boarding pass and saw I was in seat D, I looked up to check if it was window or aisle, made a mental note it was aisle. Sat in the aisle seat and waited for the person next to me to arrive…. she arrives. Says to me, I think I have the aisle. WOOPS! Happily moved to the window seat. I prefer them.

Anyway she was a great travel companion and she was telling me about Float Tanks. Sensory Deprivation Chambers that are gaining in popularity as a method of de-stressing. I signed up to check it out in Boston. Seems weird, I’m for it.

DoubleTrouble for all past Hotels

Wow. This week I am staying at a DoubleTree and this hotel has blown the past hotels out of the water.

Where to start….

The begining. I walked in and walked to the check in desk. I got some free hot cider (it was snowing outside, this was very needed) and proceeded to check in. Once checked in I got my free DoubleTree cookie. Warm, so so good. I wish I had one to give to all of my dedicated followers (hi mom!). Walking down the hallway, everything has a rustic, log cabin feel to it. I like it. I get to my room. Cool room with a wonderfully comfortable king bed, standard desk and bathroom.

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The kinda rustic cool King Bed Room for the week

Here is the really cool part. The one person seater is legit. It is firm af (I can be hip) and has a matching equally firm foot rest. Love that guy. Then there is a bench thing right up against the window. Did I mention that the entire wall is a window? Idk if you know me personally but I love sunshine and windows let in the sun.  Kind of a big deal.

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Alright so thats all I have to say about the room. Lets talk about the rest of the hotel. So for having Gold Status I get free water (woooo!) and it was waiting for me in my fridge! I actually didn’t know that and I went to the front desk to ask for my water and Eric (he’s the man!) told me that they should be in my fridge but he gave me one from downstairs just in case and asked me to call down if they weren’t so that he could send me another one. They were there. Awesome.

Ok lets talk Gym. 3 treadmills, 3 ellipticals, 1 bike thing, free weights. Bigger gym than most of the ones I’ve stayed at before, nice area, good design. The downside (literally the only ¬†downside of this entire hotel) is that I went down at 6:15 am and ALL of the machines were taken. Too damn early for all that.

Breakfast is included (gold statussssss) and it is beautiful! There is this super nice space where they serve breakfast that has water running over stones with some nice green elements. It took up about 1/3 of the room. Very impressive. The food was good, options included eggs, bacon, french toast, yogurt, cantaloupe, strawberry, watermelon, ¬†baked goods. They do this thing where the complementary bfast is free but gratuity is not included. Again…. its a buffet, please don’t serve me, I got this.

ok ok ok ok ok ok THERE IS A HUGE POOL!

Best part of this hotel, hands down, is the semi-olympic length pool that was enclosed and heated. Remember that time I went to the gym at 6:15 and it was packed. I went swimming instead. It was empty and I loved it. Water is great. Swimming is great. I need to purchase a small wrench.

Great stay. Great hotel. the flight back was fine. It was delayed 50 min, then it was un-delayed, then it was delayed again. Then it was de-delayed to only 15 min. That was exciting. Thanks JetBlue.

One Night Stay with Two Night Stands

I flew back to O’hare from JFK via JetBlue. There were 2 passengers who just wouldn’t listen to the JetBlue rep who was announcing the boarding priority. Both of them went up when they asked for Mosaic Members and people who need more time (people with small kids, wheelchairs, etc) and they were neither. I was pleasantly surprised that the gate attendant turned them away! She kindly explained that your seat number was your row number and that they board from the rear of the aircraft. Then they called people in the last 5 rows. They both went up again. Neither of them were in the last five rows -__-

Anyway, good flight, AWESOME flight attendant. Super spunky and with a lot of personality. I liked her. I also liked the view.

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View from the Top. Hello from the Other Side.

Made it to ORD and went to Avis to get the car. This week I am driving a Dodge Charger. It is a good looking car.

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Ridin in Style!! This baby is effortlessly fast

 

Spent one night at the Homewood Suites Schaumburg. Big room, with all of the trimmings. Couch, 1 person seater, desk, coffee table, kitchen, bathroom (tub), King bed, 2 nightstands. I took pictures. I will always take pictures now. Here they are:

 

Breakfast was no bueno. Sadly they offered 4 hot items, scrambled eggs, potato cubes, some corn beef hash thing, make your own waffles. Disaster. The fitness center was 2 treadmills and an elliptical, small but it got the job done. This hotel had 3 buildings so for me to get to the fitness center or the breakfast I had to go over to the center building. Just mentioning it in case you wanted to stay here during a blizzard.

HOMEWOOD STES CHI S
815 E AMERICAN LANE
Schaumburg, IL 60173 USA

Avis has some NICE cars

This week I want to focus on the car. I guess there is a flight before that.

I flew in with JetBlue. Good Flight, left and landed on time, didn’t have to check my bag. Overall, really big fan of the Monday morning flight.

I arrived at Avis to get my car and I was assigned this beauty!

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White Jeep Grand Cherokee with CO plates, courtesy of AVIS

I got in the car and was amazed by the technology. There were so many buttons and knobs, I felt like a child. Here are some tech highlights:

  • heated steering wheel
  • all in one touch screen climate control
  • terrain adjustable knob
  • heated leather seats
  • key-less start

I instantly fell in love with it. Super smooth ride, and very easy to pair my phone with it. Already it has read me my texts and played my music. I’m not sure how AVIS assigns cars but if anyone from there is reading this please ensure that I always get cars like this one.

End of the day Monday I checked into the first of many DoubleTree Hotels that I will be staying at. The signature quirk that they are known for is that they give you a fresh cookie when you arrive. It was good. The room, a King Bed Studio was good, had everything required and a nice view. The free breakfast was standard and really not anything special. There was an option to get points instead of breakfast and I think maybe I should have done that. I am doing this thing where I turn down housekeeping in exchange for points, I think its a pretty good deal.

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DoubleTree King Room (the bag on the desk has my free water)

A common perk with status at Hilton is 2 free bottles of water. I like this perk because I can have my water and use the bottle when I go running in the fitness center. The little water cups they have there are no good. The fitness center is nice, 4 treadmills 2 ellipticals, free weights, but overall the design/cleanliness/feel of it was very good (better that the ones before). This DT had a weird outdoor/indoor pool that I probably will not be visiting as it is probably very cold.

Dtree By Hilton Chicago Nshore
9599 Skokie Boulevard
Skokie, IL 60077-1314 USA

 

The flight this week was not the same one I usually take. I took a JetBlue flight to JFK to visit my brother and some friends. The line at O’hare sucked. it was worse than it ever has been. But I made it.

NEVER TAKE SUPER SHUTTLE. Just dont.