Tim Foolery

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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Boeing Delivers a New Plane to El Al

I always wondered how Boeing delivered planes to their customers.

What a strange video, eh?

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Le Parker Meridien: Hotel Review

The third and final @SPG hotel we stayed at in New York was the Le Parker Meridien.  Again, the reason we switched hotels each night was 1) I wanted the stay credits and 2) each hotel we looked at had a great rate for one of the nights, but a horribly outrageous rate the other. Switching saved us nearly $500.
We left the Element taking the Subway to the Le Parker Meridien, which we arrived at around 10h45. There were a surprisingly large number of people milling about in the lobby, not really doing anything just wandering around looking confused.  The front desk had four people “working”, but only two actively helping customers.  After about 10 minutes waiting in a not moving line, we made it to the desk.  I handed over my passport, my SPG Gold Card and my SPG AmEx Credit Card.  The gentlemen at the desk confirmed we were staying one night and that was the only thing he said to us. He told us nothing of the restaurant or other amenities in the hotel. The only thing he told us was our room number. He did spend an inordinate amount of time typing away at the computer.
The people next to us were demanding early check-in.  We fully expected to be denied early check-in, especially on a Saturday morning before 11h.  The people next to us were denied early check-in and he just exploded. He loudly complained that we didn’t deserve the early check-in. I must admit, it was sweet to swoop in and theoretically take the room from this guy — even more so because we just dropped our bags off and headed out to explore the City.  
Our king room was on the 15th floor. Honestly, I was shocked at the size of the room. The pictures don’t really do it justice, but there was a ton of square footage for a Manhattan hotel.  It would have been nice to have another chair or a couch for relaxing – there was plenty of room.  While TV was a bit small for the room and was really dwarfed by the big empty wall – then again, this is NYC, why are you in your room watching TV?
King Room View from Front Door
Looking back into the room
Our beautiful Manhattan view
The room had a small closet and a nice little mini-bar (with nothing complimentary inside).
Tiny Closet and Minibar

The bathroom was a bit small but was nicely designed and very clean.  It had a tub/shower combination – if you are a bath person, you would be definitely disappointed in the tub in this hotel.

The bathroom was all in one room, as in the sink, tub and toilet were all together – making it impossible for multiple people to get ready together in the morning with any privacy.  This really wasn’t an issue for us, but I do like the idea of separated areas in hotels.

This was my first stay at a Le Parker Meridien.  Our limited dealings with the hotel staff didn’t impress me – they were efficient and pretty reserved. They didn’t explain any of the amenities of the facility, didn’t thank me for my loyalty, didn’t acknowledge us in the halls, etc.

It was a very nice stay and if the price were right, I’d stay there again. One of the problems (and bonuses) about Manhattan is that there are so many Starwood properties and the prices can be all over the board. For example, the Element on Saturday night was priced at nearly $400, while the Le Parker Meridien was only $250 (seems nuts to me).

What is your favorite Starwood property in Manhattan?  Have you stayed at the Le Parker Meridien before? What did you think of the service? Were you impressed or did you think they were just blah?

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Element Times Square West: Hotel Review

The second of three @SPG hotels we stayed at while in New York was the Element Times Square West. I had never even heard of the Element before I found availability on this trip.  The Element by Westin is designed to be environmentally friendly (even built in an eco-friendly way).

For some reason, I didn’t take a single picture of this property, so this will be a pretty light review.  I was quite impressed with the design.  I thought the hotel looked great – it didn’t feel as luxurious as a W or a St. Regis, but it was clean and the rooms were quite large.

Our room on the 34th floor had a very large main room with a kitchenette and a very nice bathroom.  This space would have been nice for an extended stay option, but when staying in Manhattan, I don’t want to cook, I want to go out an enjoy all the great restaurants.

The best part about the Element?  The service. Every single person I encountered had a huge smile on their face and were very welcoming.  The woman who was working check-in when I arrived was so proud of her hotel. She had worked there for 6 months and she wanted me to know how great this space was.  She thanked me for my loyalty, explained all the amenities, gave me recommendations on the fastest way to make it to the Subway.

I really wish I’d have taken photos of this hotel, because I did think it was pretty cool.  Check out the professional photos on the hotel website.   It’s definitely nothing fancy and the Times Square West location leaves a lot to be desired. The area is an awful tourist trap full of bad suburban style restaurants — but it is close to the subway so you can get anywhere in the City in a matter of minutes.

Would I stay at the Element Times Square West? Yes – probably. Again, all depending on price. I wouldn’t think twice about staying at another Element property elsewhere in the US.  It’s a fun concept and if the service is as good at the other properties you need to visit.  I really don’t dig the Times Square area in Manhattan.

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