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Posts from the ‘Hotels’ Category

Barbados, cow bells and butterfly

Barbados was a blur. I couldn’t decide if it went by in a blink of an eye or it seemed like we were there for weeks.

The reason we were in Barbados was that our daughter was representing Bermuda at the CARIFTA regional swimming championships. Like a Caribbean youth games for under 18’s.

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My Top Five 2021 Favourite Hotels

🔝5️⃣. Here we are back at the beginning of a fresh year, and therefore my most recent collection of annual Top Five’s.

In 2020 I stayed in just 4 hotels, but in 2021 I stayed in 19, and the counter only started in June. It was good to get back out there, but a warning for those yet to throw money at hotel stays — there are still many hospitality restrictions depending on the hotel and location, and do not expect the same level of service(s) as hotels struggle with staffing and personnel. Also, as you’d expect very little investment has being going into hotels within the past two years, so also presuppose tired and neglected properties at inflated prices as hotel owners attempt to claw back some money.

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Waking up in Las Vegas

Waking up very early in Las Vegas is more precise this morning. My body clock and my eyes are not in tally at all.

I was 14 hours late arriving into Las Vegas yesterday after the plane was hit by lightning on it’s journey into New York’s JFK, thus meaning an unexpected and irritating stopover at this funky hotel at the airport.

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Sunflower

Just back from a little trip to Florida, a couple of days in Miami followed a couple in Fort Lauderdale, just 40 minutes north along the coast, and a place I hadn’t been for 13 years. It had changed significantly, and grown like a sunflower.

Neighbouring towns of Hollywood and Oakwood Park have been engulfed by Fort Lauderdale’s expansion. Once a renowned centre for spring-breakers’ high jinks the dive bar and burger joints had all but disappeared and have been replaced by boutique hotels, upscale apartment buildings and a burgeoning restaurant scene.

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Portsmouth 0 Charlton Athletic 2

A statement sending victory that one.

The tactics, game plan and the game management spot on. A magnificent defensive display again even with a makeshift back four, which became even more makeshift when Akin Famewo left the field with quarter of an hour left.

Portsmouth on the back of a very good run themselves presented our biggest challenge to date, and although we started slow, we grew into the game with the midfield four of Pratley, Shinnie, Forster-Caskey and Williams peerless, individually and as a collective.

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Travelogue – Florida Keys

Bermuda’s airport re-opened last week, but I am in no rush to get on a plane. Lockdown has had me constantly thinking of travel, past trips and what future ones look like. I also realized that I never did write about the families trip to the Florida’s Keys at the end of last summer.

The Florida Keys are a coral string of islands that form the southernmost part of the United States. The iconic Overseas Highway runs from Miami to the bottom tip of the keys at Key West. American Industrialist and important developer of the Atlantic Coast of the state of Florida Henry Flagler attempted an ambitious plan to run a train the 160 miles across the 800 islands from Miami in the early 1900’s.

Flagler’s aspiration was to take advantage of the growing but geographically challenging trade between the U.S. and Cuba and the rest of Latin America. Yet despite some innovative engineering, the railroad was continuously hindered by a run of hurricanes but engineers persevered until the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. This CAT 5 devastated the Keys and killed 400 people.

That was the end of Flagler’s project, yet many of the track beds, trestles and bridges remain and form part of today’s Overseas Highway.

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The 2019 Shower Gellies™

The Oscars as anyone walking on the red carpet this evening is fully aware always coincides with the Chicago Addick Shower Gellies™. Since 2006 I have been championing, but mostly lamenting hotels’ judgement in what kind of shower gel, if any, they leave for their guests in their bathrooms.

It has always been a personal source of stupefaction of how some supply enough to run five bubble baths and others offer absolutely nothing, and the quality and cost of the hotel has no bearing whatsoever.

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My 2019 Top Five Favourite Hotels

Next on my agenda for my 2019 Top Five’s is Hotels. Those that know me or have had more than a cursory glance at this Blog will have worked out that I have a fascination with hotels. My travels were way down on previous years, but I managed to still have 20 locations to pick from and these were my Top Five Favourite Hotels:

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Miami weekender

A quick weekend in Miami to meet the exhausted-other-half and our little Edwina the Eagle daughter after their week skiing in Colorado. Whilst I made the short hop across from Bermuda this morning, they had to suffer a midnight flight and a red-eye from Denver.

A pretty quiet weekend should ensue and a welcome break from work, which is currently relentless and unsympathetic to doing much else including sleeping through the bloody night.

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The 2018 Shower Gellies™

13 years I’ve been judging the quality of the quantity of hotel shower gels. I will never get that time back, but fortunately for you I’ve also spent the past 13 years telling you all about it. I always coincide my Shower Gellies™ with that perhaps better known award ceremony in Hollywood, but whilst theirs comes to you from the Dolby Theatre, mine come from my armchair. No, not my shower.

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My 2018 Top Five Favourite Hotels

I spent 80 nights in hotels in 2018 staying at 29 different ones. No wonder the other half says I’m never at home.

Picking my Top Five Favourite Hotels from 2018 was extremely difficult as I was very fortunate to stay in some great places, a few I’d been to before such as last year’s favourite, the 1 Hotel in Miami.

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Living the dream

Nestled at 9,000 feet at the bottom of Bachelor Gulch mountain in Colorado is the gigantic dream-like log cabin that is the Ritz Carlton. I’ve been lucky to stay here a number of times and the hotel crowns the mountain range like a Bavarian castle complete with numerous huge log burning fires and a roaming giant St Bernard dog called Bachelor.

I’m no longer a skiier, I was only ever a perennial beginner, and an ACL replacement put paid to my mogul jumping career.

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Bite of the Big Apple

Back from a birthday weekend in New York, which pushed my step counter to record highs. Ask anyone in Bermuda and we don’t walk anywhere here. So it was lovely to walk and walk especially knowing that the option of getting into a yellow taxi would mostly end in frustration as the driver won’t have any idea of where you are wanting to go, and unlikely to understand much English.

Possibly because my best mate is a black cab driver, but few things in life wind me quite up as much as a local taxi driver not having a solitary clue to where they are going.

We crammed a lot into the weekend and I ate more pasta than I have in a long while, mostly because Eataly, which was close to our hotel, was like a huge gnocchi shaped magnet for us. If you are a foodie and haven’t been in an Eataly then you should add it to your bucket list.

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Travelogue – Saint Barthélemy

Last summer we spent a week for my birthday in the volcanic Caribbean island of St. Barts, or Saint Barthélemy (St. Barths) as the French call it in the French West Indies. Miami is 3.5 hours away and St. Barts lies 160 miles east of Puerto Rico and immediately south of the French and Dutch shared island of Saint Martin, where we flew into to jump on a noisy seaplane for a 15-minute journey across the water to St Barts. The flight is not for the faint hearted but there is the option of a boat, which takes slightly more than an hour.

The island has a jet-setting reputation of photo shoots, paparazzi and huge homes owned by billionaires that mostly sign idle. The haunt monde reputation began in the 1950’s when David Rockefeller bought two plots of land, including one on Gouveneur Beach. That move compelled the Rothschilds to follow and they arrived with a suitcase of cash and developed an estate in a coconut grove nextdoor to the Rockefellers. Today the Rothschild property is the Hotel Guanahani & Spa.

The island certainly has an air of chic. A mixture of St-Tropez sophistication with Caribbean laissez-fare, but the island doesn’t come across as pretentious. Just over 9,000 people permanently live on St. Barts, although around 200,000 tourists visit the just over 9 sq. miles during it’s summer months.

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Two hotels

I like hotels, you know that, and this week I stayed in two historical buildings that in last year have been tastefully converted.

In Chicago this week I stayed at the old Chicago Athletic Association (CAA). The CAA was established in 1890 just south of the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue. It’s original use was as a private club (for men I am sure) to meet for ‘athletic, business and social activities.’ Chicago based architect Henry Ives Cobb was inspired by Venetian architecture and the huge building was completed in 1893 with a sold out membership of 3,000 members.

The CAA used to host big national and international sporting events such as boxing and swimming. Many famous sports figures like swimmer and Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller used it to stay and train. The CAA remained a private membership social club for the city’s top brass, and I remember when I lived there it had a very hoity reputation. It closed in 2007.

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