Accor tagged posts

Rio Mini-Trip Report 1: AA Main Cabin Extra DCA-JFK-GIG, a Second Try at the Caesar Park Hotel, & Rain in Rio…Again

Category: AirlinesHotelsMileage RunningTrip Reports Comments: No comments

I’d already been to Brazil twice since November, with Rio and Iguazu in one trip, and Bahia, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia in another.  But American had a really cheap, sub-$500 fare from DCA to Rio, and a friend was going down for a weekend.  I hadn’t done the Rio nightlife on my last trip, with only two nights in the city, and the weather had been grey and cloudy, so I thought this would provide a second opportunity to do that stuff.  Also, after eighteen months of solo travel, the idea of traveling with someone else was nice. My friend was only going for two nights though, which struck me as insufficient (I’m getting old), so I went down a night early.  The routing would be a lot more straightforward than my last trip to Rio, and I’d be flying DCA-JFK-GIG on the outbound, and GIG-MIA-DCA on the inbound.

My trip down to Rio was pretty uneventful. It started with a stay at a crowded Admirals Club at DCA, where I worked a bit, and a 737 from DCA to JFK. The one thing of note was an honor guard meeting an arriving plane at one of the gates at DCA.  I’d never seen an honor guard meeting a plane inside a terminal before, and assume it was to greet the family of a fallen servicemember.  The leader of the group welcomed about a half dozen passengers off the plane, and none looked super sad, but obviously I have no idea.

Honor Guard at DCA

Honor Guard at DCA

Read More

Four Nights in Brazil, Part 3: Man Plans, Brazil Laughs– 40 Hours in Rio and the Caesar Park Hotel by Sofitel

Category: HotelsMileage RunningTrip Reports Comments: One comment

This is Part 3 of a series of trip reports on my November trip to Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls.

On my ticket to Iguazu, I could book a stopover in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro for no extra cost. At first I was planning on doing Sao Paolo, but folks suggested 2 days in Rio would be a better use of my time. There was a lot I wanted to do in those two days, which didn’t work out too well for a number of reasons. But I still found the city enjoyable and will probably go back some time now that I have a 10 year visa.

Caesar Park Hotel Ipanema

Caesar Park Hotel Ipanema

Generally, I was very pleased with my hotel choice, the Caesar Park Hotel, a Sofitel managed property right on the beach in Ipanema (sometimes spelled Cesar Park). Although there are tons of hotels in Rio, the major American chains don’t have properties that are particularly well-located for tourists except for the J.W. Marriott, which was out of my price range. Caesar Park, though, was right where I wanted to be. The hotel felt in between a boutique and large property, which was good. I’m not sure how long it has been part of the Accor family, which also has a traditional large Sofitel on Copacabana, but there were some things in the lobby which suggested it was formerly part of the Starwood-owned Design Hotels group.

Cesar Park lobby

Cesar Park lobby

Check-in was smooth, and but for a long wait for the elevator, the room was quite lovely — not huge or spectacular, but definitely nice and not small. Although it was not one of the true oceanfront rooms in the hotel, it did have a side view of the ocean and Morro Dos Irmaos (Two Brothers peaks) which was pretty darn lovely.

View from my room, Caesar Park Hotel Ipanema

View from my room, Caesar Park Hotel Ipanema

The ro...

Read More

2015 Index and YWW Year in Review

Category: About YWWAirlinesHotelsTrip Reports Comments: One comment

It’s a bit late, but here is my 2015 travel year in review post.  It was a huge travel year for me, as I hit 5 continents and did more long-haul flying than I’d ever done before. It was a lot of mileage redemptions, and low on the mileage earning front.  I re-qualified for American Airlines Gold status. I thought about going for Platinum but it was a busy enough fall and winter that the marginal utility was not enough to outweigh the financial and other costs.

As for the blog, I have kept it as a personal travel diary rather than changing to something else, but hopefully folks find it enjoyable, useful, or both.   My philosophy is the same today as it was in my 2013 year in review post: “I will never stop loving travel, but business class and nice hotels isn’t the point of life.”

So, what were my travel patterns and accomplishments of 2015? I’ve put indices of the places, planes, and hotels I’ve reviewed at the bottom of this post, and have some statistics as well. It was a heavy year of international travel, with only one domestic purely leisure trip.
6
Total continents visited: 5
New continents: 1 (Australia)
Total countries (excluding U.S.): 10
New countries: 5 (Australia, United Arab Emirates, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil)
New states: 1 (Missouri)

New airlines: 7 (Qantas, Etihad, Asiana, TAM, Virgin Australia, Germanwings)

Read More

Hotel Review: The Grand Hotel Melbourne, a MGallery property

Category: HotelsTrip Reports Comments: No comments

I only had three nights in Melbourne, but ended up staying in three (very) different hotels. That’s not the most relaxing way to do it, but I had my reasons, which I’ll explain as we go, and actually don’t regret the decision. Two of them I’d go back to, one not so much. We’ll start off with the Grand Hotel.

On my first night, I stayed at the Grand Hotel in Melbourne. There had been a great Orbitz coupon in December, when my plans were a bit up in the air. The coupon was good for $ 100 off any hotel, with no minimum purchase. Unfortunately it was not good for most major chains. I had one night I was pretty sure I’d be in Melbourne, so poked around and settled on the Grand Hotel, an Accor property and part of its MGallery chain – which I’d had a great experience with in Amsterdam, and had good reviews. With the coupon, one night came to $56, including taxes.

Grand Hotel Melbourne

Grand Hotel Melbourne

The hotel is two blocks from the main train station in Melbourne, making it an easy walk from the Skybus and pretty central to all public transportation, including the free tram district. The neighborhood, right on the edge of the Docklands, was a bit dodgy, though, without much character or anything. But Melbourne is very walkable, so it was fine.

The lobby was pretty small, with two small desks and a small sitting area – with a restaurant off to the side. Check-in was uneventful, though a bit aloof, and I headed up to my room.
The hotel itself was extraordinarily weird. The building is the former Railway Administration Building, and three of the six floors are actually apartments. The hallways are super long, with very high ceilings, and it definitely feels like an old government building. It felt very empty and 1965 and smelled kind of musty.All of...

Read More

Free Points! 200 Accor Le Club Points / 1000 Avios Miles

Category: Free MilesHotels Comments: No comments

It’s been awhile since there’s been free points out there, no?

Check out this promo from Accor hotels.  Identify the city for each picture (multiple choice and pretty easy) and get 200 points.  If you mess up, you can try again.  There is a chance this won’t be honored for residents of non-Scandinavian countries, but who knows.

Accor points are pretty useful if you convert them to airline points.  My personal favorite is Iberia Avios points. 2 Le Club Points = 5 Iberia Avios miles.  This is particularly odd, because 2 Le Club points = 1 British Airways Avios miles.  If you have Iberia and British Airways Avios accounts, though, you can swap the miles between the two.

HT: Loyalty Lobby (who has the answers up if you want to do it that way)

Read More

Free Le Club Accor Points

Category: Free MilesHotels Comments: No comments

Accor Hotels (Sofitel, Novotel, M Gallery, Ibis, Pullman, Mercure, et al.) recently changed the name of its loyalty program from A-Club to Le Club Accor, to make sure you know they are French.   The chain isn’t the most amazing for points gatherers, but can provide some very affordable options, particularly in Europe.  I had a decent stay at an Accor property in Amsterdam in January, and last year had a great stay at the Sofitel in Lisbon.

They’re running a promo on Facebook where you simply enter your Le Club number to see if you’ve won up to 1,000,000 points.  Of course, only one person wins 1,000,000 points. But 10 people win 25,000 points, and the first 25,000 people win 500 points.  I got 500.  Hey, it’s good for free!

HT: Loyalty Lobby

Read More

Trip Report: MGallery The Convent Hotel Amsterdam

Category: HotelsTrip Reports Comments: One comment

Sometimes a great stay at a hotel makes your next stay harder.   I don’t *think* that’s what happened with my stay in Amsterdam though.  I just think the hotel was weird.

When I was first booking this trip, I was shocked at how expensive Amsterdam hotels were.  I’d decided to use Priority Club points to stay at the Crowne Plaza, which was well reviewed and well located.  Sometime in the fall, though, Accor was having a big sale of 50% off properties in Europe if you booked a no refundable rate.  So for about $75, I was able to land a room at The MGallery The Convent, a few blocks from the Crowne Plaza.  Worth it instead of spending 25,000 Priority Club Points...

Read More

Free Accor A-Club Platinum Status

Category: Hotels Comments: No comments

For those of you who taking advantage of Accor’s super sale, the deal just got sweeter (HT: View from the Wing).    Signing up here will give you automatic Platinum status in Accor’s A-Club (top-tier).  The status applies immediately.  Unlike many previous offers, this allows you to upgrade an already existing A-Club account, rather than simply start a new account as a higher tier.

Among other things, Platinum status in A-Club gets you

– 100% A|Club points bonus for every stay
Exclusive benefits at Sofitel, Pullman and MGallery hotels.
– Welcome drink and gift
– Room upgrade
– Late check-out up to 4:00 pm

I’ll report back how these benefits pan out after my upcoming Amsterdam MGallery stay.

Read More

Accor Hotels – 50% off sale

Category: Hotels Comments: One comment

A lot of flash hotel  sales are crappy, charging pre-paid rates that aren’t particularly great deals.  Accor’s current supersale  seems to be an exception if you are traveling internationally between December 11 and February 12.

Accor is a European hotel company that operates a number of chains worldwide under the Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, Pullman, and MGallery names (among others).  Sadly, few Sofitels are participating. But a full list of participating properties can be found here.

A-Club members (join here for free) get 50% off stays, and the rates actually seem to be 50% off the otherwise best available rate.  I’ll be staying in Amsterdam at the Convent Hotel for $94, including tax and free wifi, a pretty good rate in a very expensive city...

Read More