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Friday, July 7, 2017

Lake Oconee, Georgia, Reynolds Plantation, Ritz Carlton

I was invited to the Reynolds Plantation Ritz Carlton to give a lecture.  My flight to Atlanta was as usual.  Always plan an extra 15-20 minutes to change terminals at a minimum in Atlanta.  If you are not in First Class, or have to stop between terminals, give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes.  The airport is very busy and the Sky Train is not exactly fast.

To Check other reviews of the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Hotel, rates and book at TripAdvisor Click Here!!

Car service was waiting for me outside of baggage claim and the walk to the car is about 5-7 minutes.  On arrival at the Ritz, my room was not ready, so I stored my luggage while I went to give my lecture.  Before that I went by the spa to schedule a facial.  Interestingly, you cannot change the time within 24 hours of scheduling. So once I scheduled, even for a few hours later, I was stuck with it.  The hostess suggested a facial for me and provided a tour of the facility.

The room was spacious and overlooked the resort (pine trees), but from many rooms, I suspect there is a beautiful view of the lake.  The decor is "camp chic" and the bathrooms very typical for Ritz Carlton.  Quickly off to my facial.

Check in and locker assignment was easy.  The locker room is small but with great service.  Overall the facility is small and choppy, located on multiple levels which can be very confusing.  I decided to go to the pool area, because this was the only place where a glass of wine could be served.  In a few minutes the hostess appeared with a complimentary glass of chardonnay which was perfect to start my relaxation time.

Off to the waiting area, with tea and refreshments, to meet my therapist.  She recommended a great facial.  ESPA products are used.  The facial didn't seem long enough and did not include a hand or foot massage, but did include an extensive scalp massage, which I was expecting.  I didn't have my watch but I bet it wasn't quite 50 minutes.  I had a couple of  "add-ons" like a collagen mask, but I didn't realize each would be $40!   Not sure it was worth it.  22% gratuity was included, and since I received a 20% group discount, I guess it all evened out.  Overall, I enjoyed my afternoon at the spa.

Dinner was at the poolside cafe, which was delightful on a summer evening.  I had an excellent hummus appetizer, salad and a glass of wine.  It started raining mid-meal and the staff was diligently trying to get the sliding doors closed to prevent guests from getting drenched.  Bravo!

Turn down service was not performed since I went to bed at 830.  However, earlier in the day a cute little basket of fruit and water was left in my room

A jog on the property in the morning was nice, but hilly by most runners' standards!  There are plenty of trails, many of which are shared with golfers, so look out for amiss drives!

 I was looking forward to a shower upon my return to the room.  When I started my shower I noticed, the shower gel was rather lightweight.  After opening it, only one squirt of shower gel was available.  The only bar of soap was across the room at the sink.  Needless to say, my shower gel ended up being shampoo.  This means that either the gel spilled or it was never changed from the last patron.  I suspect the latter, because when I went to use a qtip, the container was empty except for one open qtip pack with one unused qtip!  This is not to the standard of a Ritz Carlton!

Off to buffet breakfast which was average.  One thing I will point out is that at dinner the night before and at breakfast, there seemed to be many flies.  I get that it is summertime in Georgia, but can't you do something discreet to limit the flies?

At checkout, I complained about the housekeeping deficiency, but other than "sorry", nothing was personally addressed.  Furthermore, I noted the deficiency in my online survey, never to hear anything back from the hotel.

Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Plantation is not recommended by this luxury traveler.

The car service to Augusta Airport was uneventful.  I think I planned too late of a pickup as I almost missed my flight because of construction on the interstate.  Who would think on a Saturday afternoon that it would take 2.5 hours to get to Augusta Airport?  Well I guess it is the Atlanta area, so all bets are off with traffic there.  Fortunately, Augusta's airport is very small.

To Check other reviews of the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Hotel, rates and book at TripAdvisor Click Here!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Loews Regency, San Francisco

Loews regency San Francisco is a great base for exploring the city and Waterfront.  

Hear about our stay!

Our Flight to San Francisco was easy.  We had car service to the airport. The flight was delayed due to crew being unavailable. The plane was a a330-200.  No power outlets were on board but American Airlines does have a in-flight entertainment that is for free when traveling in first class. Please make sure you download the app before you go for Gogo in-flight entertainment or you can download it on the airplane but often it is very slow. Our dinner consisted of vegetables with shrimp appetizer and a side salad. Dessert was made to order the Vanilla ice cream Sundays.

Car service to the Loews Regency was uneventful. Check in at the Loews Regency in San Francisco was pleasant but the lot is very small. We were given around on the top floor of the hotel with a beautiful view of the city skate. The room was angled be very comfortable and tastefully decorated. Products are the Jill fair and Land and generous portion sizes are provided. For the Regency 3 ounce portions of all the amenities are provided which is pleasant rather than squeezing every last drop out of the small container.  Pleasant bathrobes and slippers and turndown service I provided at this hotel. The view of San Francisco is amazing from the rooms and all aspects of the hotel. The hotel itself is on the top eight floors of the? Building. There is a very nice and large fitness center and spa included in the lower levels.  Cold water bottles are available in the spa and workout area. Water bottles or else provided by the staff upon entry into the hotel after a morning run. The location of the Loews Regency is excellent. It is a quick 10 minute walk to the Embarcadero and it is centrally located in the financial district which is very safe on the weekends and more notably quiet on the weekends. I walked to the waterfront is flat and does not require climbing of hills.

Dinner was at Prospect. The wine list and drink list were very good. The food demonstrated unique combinations and beautiful presentation but small portion size. Cost for a dinner for four including a bottle of wine was $300 including tax and tip.  In San Francisco generally food is expensive although I consider this to be higher price and anticipated and the atmosphere and selections adequate but not exceptional.

Car service to SFO Sunday morning was 18 min from Loews regency.  Plenty of time to wait in the Admirals' lounge.  The Centurion lounge in SFO is in terminal three and requires two security checkpoints if not traveling out of terminal 3.  The admirals lounge in terminal two of SFO is comfortable with the usual amenities.  Showers are available.

To Check other reviews of the Loews Regency Hotel, rates and book at TripAdvisor Click Here!!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Review Cathay Pacific First Business Class Lounge LHR Heathrow

We arranged transfer to the airport through the hotel.  A Mercedes sedan was waiting right on time.  The drive took about 30 minutes early on a Saturday morning.  We were the first to arrive at check in and we were through passport control 40 min after we left our hotel and into the lounge.  The business class lounge in Vienna is sparse.  Food is fair and as expected.  Coffee is via a machine and alcohol for mixed drinks, beer and wine is available.  No Bathroom amenities are here.  

The new Cathay Pacific lounge in section. C terminal 3 at Heathrow is among the finest lounges in the airport.  On the first class side there are lounge chair with charging stations and ottomans.  Self service dining is available with rrefrrigered snacks baked goods and coffee tea.  The bar is extensive. Wait staff is available and there is a seated restaurant.   

Opposite the first class side is the business class side where there are many seats and a dim sum noodle bar. (With Haagen Das  ice cream)

Showers are available and the bathrooms have relaxing Aesop products.

I enjoyed a glass of Mo√ęt brut.  Rothschild brut is available.   Titos vodka and sip smith gin.