January… it was time for another getaway! This time we booked my trip to Miami and I enjoyed it so much we actually booked a repeat getaway for March. Both stays had highs and lows, so I will try to cover everything with this one post.
My flights were booked on AA since we had a ridiculous AAbundance of AA points. I was departed from Grand Rapids both times, then routed through Atlanta, Dallas, and Nashville all told to find saver business class awards (not easy as AA fliers know). As a Delta frequent flyer the service on AA to be adequate but not overwhelming. While I was offered a pre-flight beverage on most of my flights, it wasn’t on every flight and it was frequently delayed so as to make it feel rushed and uncomfortable. The Italian plate I got on my return was however quite nice, and the snack basket offered chips, almonds, protein bars, and popcorn, but no fruit of any kind.
I was intrigued to find this lever style recline control on the arm of my 3A seat on the return flight from Dallas to Grand Rapids. I was equally confused as to how to plug in my wall outlet style charger for my phone into the outlet that appeared to require a car cigarette adapter. René was amused to inform me that I was a very spoiled little Delta girl with standard power outlets and modern seats. Still, the parts hanging out of the ceiling sort of proved my point, AA flies some really old planes.
I also attempted to same day change a few of my flights so as to have a better, more direct route and to resolve a very short connection time due to AA delays and that experience proved to be difficult to impossible. On my return in March when I walked in to the Admirals Club and requested to change from MIA-BNA-DFW-GRR to simply MIA-DFW-GRR I was immediately told “No.” then when I asked about the change for fee and I was laughed at! When I further pressed them to simply check for me they took one look at my itinerary and fairly sneered, “Oh, this is an award ticket. No, you have to go to Nashville.” I guess AA does not like business class award tickets?
My stay for both of these getaway trips was at the Doubletree Miami Airport by Hilton. The shuttle service was excellent and I recommend calling them to let them know you’d like to be picked up the minute you are ready to exit the airport to shorten your wait. Check in at the hotel for my first visit proved to be hectic as there was a large crowd of gentlemen form Romania evidently leaving on a cruise in the next day or two who were checking in at the time I arrived. The hotel staff was attentive, however, and very quickly I was checked in with warm cookies in hand and on my way to my room.
My room was not upgraded for either of my stays, but for just me on these little getaway trips a basic king room was just fine. The wifi worked well and was reasonably fast, the room was clean and the view was nice watching airplanes drift past my window. The safety latch for my door on my second stay was broken off and between that and the room being a “connecting” room which made any conversation in the adjacent room clearly discernible in mine. I really should have requested a room change.
I was given access to the club with my Gold status with Hilton thanks to my non-Delta AMEX Plainum card that upgrades me free which was nice to go and get bottles of water since there were none provided in the room as well as for use of the microwave and coffee machine, all of which were available 24/7.
I also got my choice of breakfast in the restaurant downstairs that included ordering form the menu or the buffet or I could go to the club for breakfast selections the same as the buffet. I chose to go down to the restaurant for hotter, fresher food and the option of the omelet station. The selections were the same each day, but it covered the options for breakfast fairly well. For evening snacks in the club they had the same options daily Monday – Friday of spinach and artichoke dip or a nacho cheese sauce both with choice of tortilla pita chips. There was also cheese and fruit and some dessert tarts and chocolate silk pie wedges, and cookies. I did find it interesting that the same glass of the house merlot in the Roija Grille was $7 – when upstairs in the club it was $3.
I spent most of my time out by the pool, which was a very nice area to be in. The downside of the pool area was that it did not seem to be a non-smoking area. As a disclaimer, I am a former smoker and I despise the smell of cigarette smoke. Since this hotel is often used for business conferences and seminars I found that several brought their lunches out to enjoy the weather during their lunch break, and then a smoke before returning inside. A change to make the pool area a non-smoking area would be most welcome.
The best thing about this hotel is the staff, from the front desk to the Impressions restaurant staff to the Doubleshot Tapas & Burger Bar staff, everyone was so friendly and helpful and eager to do anything they could to make my stay enjoyable. I got the rest and relaxation I was looking for, but I do feel this property is more geared toward the business convention center side of things than for a family getaway destination. – Lisa
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