Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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Travel – Predictably Unpredictable

So, rather than providing ad-hoc reviews of hotels, airlines and places to eat, I thought I’d start bundling it into a short Travelogue.

Travelling in Australia is well predictably unpredictable these days. Predictable stratospheric pricing for hotels and flights with unpredictable service levels appears to be the strategy pursued by the big brands.

Another trip with Qantas Melbourne to Sydney and back, another cancelled flight. Predictably, if you book a flight between 1 pm and 4 pm, you won’t be flying on at least one of the legs. In my case, 57% predictability. So, another day with hours lost and plans that needed to be reshaped and 58 minutes on the phone while Qantas attempted to move me to a more convenient flight and failed.

Rather than offering us all $50, how about Qantas simply eliminating a few more flights? Today it feels like a classic “book and switch” scheme – they lock you in knowing the flight won’t likely happen and switch you indiscriminately to another flight when it is too late to book with another carrier. This would also increase competition on routes – clearly not something Qantas would be a big fan of.

Hotels remain a mixed bag. The Star is clean, modern and well put together. Reflecting that it’s a casino hotel, my room was without a desk and with plenty of room for one – and a balcony. OK, value for money. I’m still stumped on why so many Hotels aren’t putting desks into rooms.

My go-to in Sydney – Spicers Potts Point – was sadly fully booked, so I tried the Hotel Challis around the corner. Another hotel pitching itself in the boutique category but nothing like one in reality. Tiny rooms, half a desk, no vibe to speak of, disinterested staff, and average amenities. Let’s call it a slightly above standard budget hotel. Not worth the money despite the location.

Not much dining out on this trip. Not sure what is going on in Barangaroo, but to say it was a ghost town on a Wednesday night would be an understatement. Give CHI by Lotus Dining a shot – great food, and you might get the whole place to yourself. They take Liven, so clock up your rewards and enjoy.

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Why Stay Somewhere Boring

They are well priced, fun – with better food and service – and are in fascinating locations. Try Art Series Hotels – The Cullen or the Blackman – when visiting Melbourne.

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Cuddle Class….

I love this idea from Air New Zealand… really clever… they are easily the best airline out there…

The national carrier yesterday unveiled the interiors for its new Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which includes the Skycouch, the first economy seating that allows the traveller to lie flat, or a couple to curl up… The arm rests between the three seats of the Skycouch fully retract and flaps come up to meet the seats in front to create a platform … The new economy seats come with small added comforts, such as a pillow that fits over the winged head rest, a port for your iPod, and a larger entertainment monitor.

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Kindle Zen…

I’m a big Kindle fan. But here is the rub. I hope that unlike Windows, my iTouch, my Dell XPS One … Unlike the thinking here… I hope that Amazon does absolutely nothing to the Kindle.

Its pure simplicity and lack of add-ons, apps or other geek bling enables us to embrace the simplicity of reading a great book, uninterrupted. And that is what is to love about it. The minimum of features delivering the maximum pleasure.

Ok – there are a couple of things… hire a great designer and make it prettier… get better Nav buttons… improve the speed of page transitions… do give us page numbers… But these are all basic things.

There is so much to love about the uninterupted Kindle experience!

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New Travel Blog

The new travelgearblog flagged Wallpaper’s City Guides.