Long story short – I carved out a week from my schedule where we could do a small in-state vacation.
After16+ hours of planning and logistics, I think I finally got a plan of action together. First, based on frequent business travel, I found myself with enough points for 2 concierge level nights at any Hyatt. I also ended up with a free night at JW Marriott in Grande Lakes in West Orlando. I got that one as part of a promotion for staying at a Mariott Residence Inn in Kansas City. Anyway, after careful planning, I was able to get the following…
- 1 free night at JW Marriott Grande Lakes, including 2 free breakfasts and “romance” package which includes champagne, tuxedo strawberries and a $25 resort credit. They have one of the best lazy river pools you have seen…and one of the largest spaces under one roof that I have seen, hotel-wise.
- 2 free nights at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay – we plan to see the Aquarium, Zoo and Ybor city, followed by Clearwater beach stuff. This is a standard double beds room…nothing fancy. I might be able to upgrade this one with my remaining points…do not know.
- 3 nights at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota. This one took the most analysis. I carefully analyzed and compared “gigaquads” of data about Hotels up and down Longboat Key, from Anna Maria to Venice Beach. We settled on the Ritz…mainly because of the price point, but also because of the ammenities – shuttle access to a private beach club resort on Lido Key and a decent sized Club suite overlooking the Bay / Mexican Gulf. Plus it is close to Armand’s Circle and I know the girls will like that place while I am sipping drinks on the beach. One of the nights was free due to a special summer promotion…which added to the attraction.
- Used my work-related savings plan to get corporate rates on the Zoo, Aquarium, Ringling stuff in Sarasota.
The plan is for L to bring her best friend of the week with her…so that she is not a typical teen dishrag…they can go do whatever it is that teen girls do at that age, within reason and safety limits. This will be a bit awkward because we are sharing a single room on each of the legs of the trip…but in all, it is not that bad.
Still much to do and plan…
UPDATE 8/11/2009: Everything was going rather smoothly until I checked my Hyatt Gold Passport reservation. They completely bollixed it up. They had me staying a single night in a King Bed room on the first floor. After contacting them and getting a rather nice woman, she promised it was cleared up. I check again. The duration of the stay was correct but I had been downgraded in room type. I called again and was told “You cannot upgrade free nights, Sir.” I then explained that I had 50K points and it only costed 6K to upgrade me to the room I originally requested. Her retort…”We do not have that room type available, Sir.” And “You will have to deal with the hotel directly when you get there.” The issue remains unresolved. When I tried calling the hotel directly, they have a rollover line that takes me right back to the national (outsourced) reservation line.