Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Travel - Denver International Airport Tuesday 25Nov 2008

Denver is "kinda" busy, but not too bad at 9:30am on Tuesday

United - Seattle-Denver 757 First Class

This is the EARLY (5:45am departure) to Denver from Seattle. The 757 was full in Coach (United upgraded my seatmate in 3D from coach). The service was much more attentive compared to my last United flight in first class.

Typical OJ/Water pre-departure service. Once in the air the flight attendants came by enough times to be helpful but not overbarring. Here is a shot of Seats 1AB, where United has placed the o2 bottle and other gear in the overhead above these seats.

The first class flight attendant was pretty senior and knew to go around to the Global Service, 1K and Premier Execs for first meal choices. This is another one of those things that costs the airline nothing, but provides some "value" to elite fliers. The omelet was some sort of cream filled thing, it was ok. The sausages and potatoes were cooked just right. The croissant was also warmed just right -- its my favorite part.

Flight was better than most on United...friendly, attentive service plus a full meal. Bonus: audio/video, seat mechanics, and overhead light all worked. Flight arrived a couple minutes early as well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

USAirways Changes Min. Miles for Elites as well

Following United, US Airways once again offers min. miles for Elites -- plus adds back Preferred Bonus Miles. I want to like US Airways, but they keep on flip-flopping on whether they really like their Business fliers.

US Airways Reinstates Preferred Bonus Miles and Preferred Minimum Miles

TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Airways (NYSE:LCC - News) announced today that it is reinstating the bonus miles and 500 minimum miles accrual benefits for customers with Preferred membership in the US Airways Dividend Miles frequent flyer program. US Airways Dividend Miles members earn and retain Preferred status when they purchase and fly at least 25,000 miles or 30 segments within a calendar year. The company also announced that all Dividend Miles members will receive a minimum of 500 miles for each segment flown on US Airways Shuttle.

Beginning Nov. 20, Dividend Miles Preferred members will receive bonus miles commensurate with their Preferred status level. Retroactive credit will appear in Preferred members’ December Dividend Miles account statements for bonus-qualifying travel between August 6, 2008 and Nov. 19.

US Airways Dividend Miles Program Elite Bonus Miles:


25,000 annual flight miles, OR 30 flight annual flight segments - Bonus Miles: 25%


50,000 annual flight miles, OR 60 annual flight segments - Bonus Miles: 50%


75,000 annual flight miles, OR 90 annual flight segments - Bonus Miles: 75%

Chairman’s Preferred

100,000 annual flight miles, OR 120 annual flight segments - Bonus Miles: 100%

In addition to reinstating the 500 minimum miles accrual that Preferred members will receive for every segment flown, effective Nov. 20 all Dividend Miles members will receive 500 minimum miles per segment on US Airways Shuttle flights between Washington, New York and Boston. Preferred and US Airways Shuttle 500 minimum miles accruals will be retroactively credited for qualifying flights taken between May 1, 2008 and Nov. 19. The retroactive credit will appear in members’ December Dividend Miles account statements.

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Planning Andrew Nocella said, “Our Dividend Miles Program members are extremely important to us, and these changes reflect our continued commitment to delivering the best product with the most value to our customers.”

US Airways Dividend Miles Preferred members enjoy benefits like the most generous upgrade window in the industry, free first and second checked bags, access to Choice Seat assignments and more. Dividend Miles' unique combination of features makes it easier and more rewarding for business and leisure travelers alike to earn and redeem miles. Information about the US Airways Dividend Miles Program and membership benefits is available at www.dividendmiles.com.

US Airways, along with US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express, operates more than 3,100 flights per day and serves nearly 200 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline employs approximately 34,000 aviation professionals worldwide and is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers our customers 18,000 daily flights to 965 destinations in 162 countries worldwide. In the first eight months of 2008, US Airways ranked first in on-time performance among the ten largest U.S. carriers according to the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report. And for the tenth consecutive year, the airline received a Diamond Award for maintenance training excellence from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its Charlotte, North Carolina hub line maintenance facility. For more company information, visit usairways.com. (LCCG)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Southwest filing for LGA -- not shocking really

Here is the press release from Southwest this morning about applying to fly from LaGuardia. While others maybe shocked, I am not. Southwest is not Herb's Southwest anymore. They already fly to primary/semi-clogged airports -- SFO (again), LAX, PHL, etc. This is just another one to add to the list, albeit a slot controlled one.

Southwest Airlines Seeks Rights to Operate at LaGuardia Airport

Wednesday November 19, 2008, 8:00 am EST

DALLAS, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines confirmed today that it has submitted a bid that would allow the airline to assume ATA Airlines' rights to operate at New York's LaGuardia (LGA) Airport through a purchase of ATA Airlines. The bid was submitted in connection with the publicly announced auction process in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis and consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration's recent rule clarification regarding LaGuardia's slots.

Southwest is working with ATA Airlines with respect to the terms and conditions of the bid. The bid does not contemplate operating ATA, but it is intended to allow Southwest to acquire the LGA slots.

The $7.5 million bid seeks to obtain the rights to 14 slots at LaGuardia that are currently held by ATA Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection on April 2, 2008. Those 14 slots would permit an operation of up to seven daily roundtrip flights at LaGuardia. Southwest would not acquire, as a part of its bid, any aircraft, facilities, or employees of ATA.

"It is our intent, with the successful conclusion of the transaction, to make plans to initiate service from LaGuardia," said Southwest's Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. "Even in this volatile environment, we have said we must monitor the competitive landscape and take advantage of prudent market opportunities."

The bankruptcy court must approve the bid and a reorganization plan for ATA Airlines before Southwest could gain the rights to ATA's LaGuardia slots.

Once the acquisition is finalized, Southwest will work with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York to commence service at LaGuardia, including acquisition of the necessary airport gate(s) and facilities. Details on the commencement of service or the cities that would be served by Southwest from LaGuardia have not yet been determined.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trip Report: United SFO - Seattle "first" Class

I scored an upgrade on United's often busy San Francisco-SFO route. Granted, it was the first flight on a very light Saturday morning. This was the second day of the "new" boarding where Premier Executives are to line up on the economy section BEFORE group 1. As on my flight from Seattle to SFO the day earlier, that didnt happen too well.

Most Group 1 folks mobbed the Economy section before the special Premier Exec boarding was called. The Seattle and SFO boarding agents did make announcements, but its clear regular folks just dont listen to these annoucements.

This was a regular United 757 (new paint, but same interior and seats). Each seat did have a pillow and blanket awaying eash passenger in first class.

Price Assurance Math (180x150)

The semi-cherful flight attendant came by with "juice" (OJ) and water. I asked for OJ but she only had water when she got to me, however she did remember me and come back with it.

I was in seat 4B which is about mid-cabin in First Class on United. The seat is a regular 757 United First Class seat with the uncomfortable head rest. Not sure why they made it this way -- it digs into your shoulders when its in the default setting. Luckily, mine still held up when I adjusted it after takeoff.

My only gripe about United's First Class is your personal space disappears if the person in front of you reclines fully. This happens on other carriers, but its seems extreme on United for some reason.

Unlike Alaska Airlines on this route, United offers NO meals -- even at breakfest time. Its just a drink and one of those hard, brown biscuits/cookie things. Once the one drink service was completed, the flight attendants hurried into the galley and stayed there. Even my seatmate had to ring his Call Button to get another drink.

Very typical United airlines inflight service -- "here is your drink - I am going to chat with my co-workers for the rest of the flight"

I really dont fly United much on this route since flights are normally full and its hard to go standby if you want to catch an earlier flight. Plus paying $150 to change flights is often more than my ticket price in the first place. To change flights is only $75 on Alaska -- or sometimes free if done the same day online. So its just "easier" to fly Alaska on multiple levels.

Alaska still has an edge on United on this route

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hotel Review - Hilton San Francisco Financial District (Room 1513)

Hilton Financial District - San Francisco, CA
750 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Hilton Financial District

Update: I have stayed here since, there is a HUGE new building right next door. During early 2011 they were still constructing it, so the noise was fairly loud during the day. Plus the street noise at night now echos up the sides which was disappointing since this is such a decent hotel otherwise.

This hotel used to be a Holiday Inn, but got coverted to a Hilton a year or two ago...The conversion was done nicely, calling this hotel in the "Financial District" is a bit of a stretch. The hotel is really on the boarder of Chinatown, Broadway..and barely the Financial district.

View Larger Map

The location is not bad -- since there are plenty of great resturants nearby, plus easy access to funky bars and clubs on Broadway. But plan on taking a taxi to any locations on Market Street or south of Market -- its a bit of a long walk otherwise.

I had prepared myself for the basic "priceline room" but I asked for a room with a nice view and the cheerful front desk clerk was happy to give me a room on the 15th floor with a great view of Coit Tower and the Bay.

The open views are great from the northside of the hotel -- you can see Coit Tower, the bay and even the Golden Gate on a clear day.

The rooms have been redone with the conversion and offer a perfect desk space next to the window, with plenty of outlets and work-friendly touches.

The bathrooms are small, but have been upgraded with granite and shiney faucets. Everything was very clean -- unlike some other SF Hotels.

The location is not always the best, but the area is safer than most "downtown" hotels and offers a more San Francisco experience than the huge and impersonal SF Hilton. All in all a great hotel if you dont have business south of market -- or dont mind taking a cab to business meetings.

Hotel Review - San Francisco Marriott (room 3144)

San Francisco Marriott
55 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Hotel Review and Trip Report -  San Francisco Marriott

This is another mega San Francisco hotel that is big on rooms, but small on personality and San Francisco Charm. The location is ok -- close to the Powell Street BART/MUNI stop, but in a very busy area slightly south of Market Street on 4th Street. The Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre is nearby.

The Front desk clerk gave me a nice room on the 31th floor in the "high-rise" tower. The hotel layout is confusing since there are multiple banks of elevators and not all floors.

The rooms are standard Marriott style. The Desk is ok, but the chair is dated and was stained. The desk space was cluttered with all sorts of stuff, including hotel guides, coffee marker, clunky WIRED internet access (no Wireless access in the room) and assortment of snacks -- warning: the snacks and minifridge are touch sensitive, if you pick up a candy bar you are charged.

They did have a LCD tv with HDTV channels with is a nice touch, and the bathroom was mid-size and clean.

My two biggest gripes were I asked for my Rewards number to be added (never happened, even though the front desk clerk wrote it down) and I was overcharged for daily internet. These are small things, but for a "business" hotel you would think these would not be an issue. The high-speed price was a bit disturbing since I selected the lower price internet option online and was charged the higher price one automatically.

I dunno I just didnt feel good about this hotel -- there are much better places to stay in San Francisco.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Trip Report - United Sydney-SFO Business Class

I got really lucky this trip and was able to upgrade using Miles on my return trip from Sydney to San Francisco.

Its off-season for this route, but the flight was full in coach so I was really happy to score the upgrade. United only has the new business class seats on some Atlantic routes, so this 747-400 had the plain (and fairly old) United Business seats.

Unlike my past trips in C class, I was also able to score 15G in the upper desk -- which is an exit row and provides the longest legroom possible on the plane.

United closed its very cramped and depressing Red Carpet Club room in Sydney earlier this year. So now RCC members and United Star Gold fliers use the Air New Zealand club, that is above the gate area and has great views of planes on the runways and ramp areas. Having United fliers in the ANZ club makes it VERY busy from 11am - 2pm. Unlike the last time I was there later in the afternoon.

In any case, the ANZ club is a HUGE upgrade from the old RCC -- offering real food and too many drink options. Plus plenty of power outlets and bathrooms.

I was very excited to get 15G since it is regarded often as the best seat in Business Class. But I soon realized that too much legroom sometimes isnt a good thing.

First, I often use the seat back pockets for storage of the earphones, dvd player, book, etc on long trips like this. Basically there is no seat back in from of you in this seat -- only the Flight Attendant jump seat.

Second, there is no carryon storage ahead of you. The flight attendant was adamant that even in 15AB (also exitrow) there was to be no bags under the seats ahead. View from Seat 15G below:

So basically anytime I needed anything from my bag, I needed to get up out of my seat and retrieve it from behind the FA jumpseat -- very annoying. The window seat (15H) is better of course for storage since there are side bins throughout the upper deck.

Service on the flight was typical for United these days:
- Flight Attendants rushed through -every- service as fast as possible
- Never addressing a passenger by name
- Seemed annoyed when asked for more drinks -- or forgot them all together
- Actual dinner choice was only one of three menu items listed
- Movies often had bad tracking or annoying sound issues

The breakfast service was good - but again a bit rushed and impersonal. The large egg dish was plentiful and an overall decent meal.

I always leave flights like this feeling "gees - if they were only more professional and/or nicer it would be a great flight". The seat was "ok", the inflight options were "ok", even the pilots did a good job of keeping the Fasten Seat Belts sign OFF during 99% of the flight -- but the inflight service was down right depressing.

My work often takes me to Sydney, so I will continue to fly United (Upgrades on Qantas are basically impossible for a US-based flyer) -- I just wish United would get their inflight staff to be happier!

btw- I think seats 16AB are the best in the upper deck for non-bulkhead, non-emergency exit row seating. They have LOTS of legroom -- plus you can store things under the seat in front of you.

Price Assurance Math (180x150)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hotel Review - Vibe Hotel Sydney (Room 619)

Vibe Hotel - Sydney

11 Goulburn St (Map)
Sydney NSW, Australia
+61 2 8272 3300

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Sydney Vibe

This hotel is located between the city centre and the central train station. Its a Nine story building off a couple main streets in Sydney. The front desk staff was very friendly upon check-in and check-out. Typically Sydney hotels dont have rooms ready before 3pm -- so if you arrive early in the morning, its wise to book the night before to ensure you have a room available at 7am after a flight from the US.

Room 619 was in a great location away from the elevators and down the hall from lots of foot traffic. The windows DO open in this room -- allowing for good airflow. The windows are also double-pained so it cuts the noise from the busy street below.

The bed was fine, but like most beds in Sydney hotels -- it NOT like the overbuilt mattress now in most top chain hotels in the US.

There was plenty of storage and a small area for making coffee and tea. The fridge was stocked, but still had room for personal bottles. Oddly the room safe was not electronic -- and looked like it was 1940.

The bathroom was typical -- high bathtub, room enough for personal items near the sink. Ok bathroom, nothing to write home about.

At night, I didnt hear anything from neighboring rooms or in the hallway. The room service was somewhat limited, but it was good food and (again) very friendly service. There is a bar and resturant in the hotel -- but it is very close to other places to eat and drink.

My only complaint was the room was a bit dusty and some items were in need of repair (TV remote was missing a battery cover and the Tea Kettle leaked). I was only in my room a limited about of time during my stay so I didnt bother to ask them to fix the issues. I am sure they would have fixed the issues if I had asked.

This hotel is often listed as a 3-star -- I would say its a very solid 3 star and could approach 4 star if it was a bit more updated and tidy.

Overall a good place to stay in Sydney and often available at a very good price on Wotif.com or at Priceline.

Hotel Review - Sydney Holiday Inn Darling Harbour

Holiday Inn - Darling Harbour

SYDNEY, 2000

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Holiday Inn Sydney in Darling Harbour

I selected this hotel mainly due to price and location for business. This hotel is a step above the typical US Holiday Inn. Its very clean, professional and seems to be more business-oriented than a usual Holiday Inn. It also has a very nice restruant and bar in the building.

My room was located on the Third Floor which is the lowest of the Guest Floor. I would recommend getting a higher floor -- as my view was blocked by the Convention Center across the street. One cool feature was watching the top of the Monorail go by every once and awhile , as the Monorail track runs next to the hotel.

Room 326 was near the end of the hall away from the Elevators. It was fairly quiet -- but this floor houses the Gym, Laundry and the main housekeeping area -- so there is often something going on --- luckily these features are all located near the Elevator, away from the rooms.

The room is oversized and has plenty of room. The Beds are almost queen sized and seem large compared to usual SYD beds found in other hotels. One major downside - the windows do NOT open so you can't get fresh air. Since there is a Monorail, major street and convention center outside the window, it is double pained -- making the room very quiet. Internet access was fairly pricey at $27.50 for one day.

There is a fairly large mini-bar area with sink and plenty of room in the fridge. The closet faces the bar area and has a electronic safe.

Unlike most Sydney hotels -- the Television had extra channels including the W channel and Arena (which is basically Bravo in the US). The room was small but efficient -- there was some minor damage to the wall, but nothing too bad.

Overall a very solid business hotel. On the downside - Location (near Darling Harbour/Chinatown), high-speed costs, non-opening windows, and lax maintenance. One the plus side - Oversized room, Priority Club points, and good in-hotel dining/drink options.

Area Map:

View Larger Map

Trip Report - Air Canada Jazz - Seattle to Vancouver (Dash 8-300)

I started a very long adventure from Seattle to Sydney, by first flying from SEA to Vancouver. Fares out of Vancouver to Sydney were $2000 less, compared to flying out Seattle -- even though both itineraries go via SFO.

I left on a Sunday and arrived at Sea-Tac to find the United Counter a total mess. Air Canada doesnt have personnel in Seattle and uses United ticket counters, gates and personnel.

The Premier Exec/1k line was full of trapped non-english speaking folks who were unwilling to use a kiosk -- and were very confused. This backed up the line into the very narrow lobby. A United rep was pretty clueless at clearing the situation and instead shooed folks out of the First Class line. It was a mass cluster and probably the worst Airport check-in I have ever had in recent years.

After dealing with checking my bag and switching my seat to an exit row, I headed to the gate. The flight to Vancouver is on Air Canada Jazz on a Dash-8 300 series. These planes are basically the same as the Horizons Dash8s -- but are a bit smaller, more worn and tired.

View from seat 10F:

The window is blocked by the wheel well and landing gear.

Here is a view of Seats 10A and 10B -- there is extra leg room at these seats:

The flight was fairly basic - one flight attendant handed out drinks on the very short 30mins flight. The plane lands at the International Terminal at YVR. At the time I landed, there were folks allowing International Connections to bypass customs and enter the International terminal. I didnt have a connecting ticket -- so I had to go into customs and re-check my bag with United. Vancouver is a good airport -- and all these flights and custom facilities are located in the same International Terminal.

Canadian customs was busy, but moved quickly. In Vancouver, like alot of Canadian airports there is a US customs and immigration at the terminal. So you clear US customs/immigration before departing Canada. There is a Alaska Airlines Board Room at Vancouver (I think this used to be the Red Carpet Room - but I could be wrong).

In addition, there is a Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge with Star Gold customers can use when traveling internationally. Its a very nice lounge and up above the concourse offering some nice views.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hotel Review - Intercontinental Hotel San Francisco

Intercontinental San Francisco

Hotel Review and Trip Report - SF Intercontinental (South of Market / Mascone Center)

Update: Regular rates are still over $250 per night. I have stayed here a couple of times since, thanks to priceline, the hotel is holding up well and the staff is very friendly. The Bar is a still a tad over-priced for a nightcap.

The new Intercontinental opened in Feb. 2008. Its a 32 story hotel located south of Market Street in Downtown -- its very close to the Moscone Center for conventions. Since the hotel was new, the rates were fairly low ($170/night)...but after my stay the rates online were more like $289/night.

From the outside, its got a blue-green windowed front facing Howard and Fifth streets. Its actually a very good location with an easy walk north to the Shopping Centre and Cable Cars. However, you should avoid Sixth Street since its still a dicey area. The nearest BART station is Powell which is a quick 2 block walk up 5th to Market Street.

Since its a new Building (from the ground up) -- everything is new. The booked a standard room and got "upgraded" to room 2423. The room was nice with a ok view of the city. The bed was VERY comfy and the full size Plasma was nice to have.

I had friends staying in a Corner Room which had floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views for the city and the bay. Even the bathroom had big windows.

The work space was nice and the again everything was new and unblemished.

My room did not have a bathtub -- only a shower. This is fine for me since I didnt need a bathtub, but I soon realized I was in the smallest room type in the hotel. Plus I was right next to the elevator shaft --- I guess being on the 24th floor was the "upgrade"

The hotel is very nice, the location is great if you want to stay downtown. The hotel staff is still "in training" a bit -- but this is a new hotel so I give them a pass on that. I had an error in my bill that took a couple calls and an email to the General Manager to resolve -- but he did resolve it very quickly.

Overall its a great hotel -- if you can afford the the new regular rates

Trip Report - Horizon Air Redding-Portland

I realize this is not the most popular route...but my Mom lives -near- Redding, so I often have to fly Seattle-PDX-Redding to see her. The Redding Airport is one of those old tiny California Airports built in the 1940's. It once had 727 United Jet service that went RDD-SMF-SFO, but those are long gone.

Now the airport has a couple Horizon flights and 5 or 6 Skywest flights. All props -- no RJs or Jets.

The airport staff is extremely friendly, including the TSA staff. The Ticket Counter folks are the same ones loading the airplane or working the gate "door" (no jetways here).

My flight started off well, QX was running a bit behind...but nothing more than a coupe minutes. Once we got on-board things went down hill.

The flight crew powered up the props once, then again, then again -- something was not right. Soon the Captain came on the PA to announce "we are getting a warning light and we need Maintenace to come out and check it".

The passengers let out a collective "oh no" for a couple reasons:

- The only mechanic at the airport is probably NOT a QX employee, and its not like there are spare parts located at the Redding Airport
- This is the ONLY flight to Portland for the day -- and it was full
- The current temperature in Redding was climbing to the upper 90s, so the aircraft was going to get "warm" fast.
- Half of the plane was full of continuing passengers from Eureka/Arcata (ACV), so they couldnt exactly go home and come back the next day

The Horizon Agent/Ramper/Station Manager came on the plane to say that they wanted us to stay on-board (GOOD MOVE as it would mean more delays and calling the TSA folks back to the airport), and they will rebook us on later flights out of PDX since it would probably be at least an hour delay.

After an hour, the local mechanic reset some switches (no parts required) and we were off.

The flight to Portland is a nice one as you pass Mount Shasta (below), Crater Lake and other landmarks on the way to PDX.

Not a bad flight, but Horizon seems to be "cutting back" this year on some of the real differences that had made the airline standout from Skywest. Gone are the morning papers, free Starbucks coffee at the gate and the free snacks seem small and very cheap compared to ones in the past.

At least they still offer free Northwest Wine and Beer on board!

Hotel Review - Crowne Plaza Orlando Airport (MCO)

Of course there are many choices at the MCO Airport for decent hotels. Most of the major brands are right off the airport on frontage streets near SR 436 (S. Semoran Blvd). The Crowne Plaza has the normal look of a CP property...maybe it was a Sheraton or Radisson in a prior life.

The access to the hotel is easy with a easy access parking lot (no gates or key cards required). The staff was overly friendly at check-in and offer my co-worker free drink coupons at the bar for no appearent reason. We both were offered access to the Executive Lounge on Floor 10 for free breakfast.

I booked a standard no-smoking room and wound up with Room 935. It offered a nice view of the parking lot and views to the north (not much other than trees).

The room was fine, with the standard CP furnishings. The bed was a CP branded bed, but it seems a bit overly flimsy -- but still very comfortable and new-ish. The room was very quiet except for the fire alarm at 1:30am. There was heavy lightning in the area and the staff said sometimes it goes off when that happens.

After about 5 mins the alarm was turned off -- I never left the room.

I did order room service (Cobb Salad) and it arrived very quickly -- and was actually pretty good. Again the staff was very friendly and responsive.

The Orlando Airport Crowne Plaza seems like a top-notch CP property and a very good value for an Airport hotel. I would stay here again.

Orbitz Hotel Specific (300x250)

Monday, June 16, 2008

SYD - Medina Exec Hotel Sydney Central

Sydney Medina Executive Hotel (Central)
2 Lee Street
Haymarket NSW 2000

Tel: 61 2 8396 9800
Fax: 61 2 8396 9752

This hotel is located in Central Sydney -- right next to the Central Train station. The location is good for work reasons, and its a little far from Tourist areas, but its very walkable and sometimes nice to stay away from the crowds and noise of downtown Sydney.

View Larger Map

Each room has a mini kitchen and washer/dryer which for a long trip is a wonderful thing. These are basically small apartments with studios, one-bedrooms and two bedrooms. This trip I got lucky and got a full one bedroom with a nice balcony.

The living rooms has a nice small sofa, table and TV. Although the TV options are limited to about six channels of local TV.

The bed a small full size with cover thats seems a bit worn -- not a westin Heavenly Bed by any stretch. But really its just fine and the rooms are of a decent size. The bathrooms are nice and slightly larger than US hotel bathrooms.

The best part of this room (52) was the HUGE balconey off the main living area. It was massive and full of sun in the afternoon -- perfect for an afternoon glass of wine and a snack. The street below is fairly busy, but it is not overly noisey.

This hotel is often fairly pricey if its full -- but its a great SYD option if you dont want to be in the total tourist section. The VIBE hotel is another good choice -- but no washer/dryer in the room.