Hilton President Hotel Kansas City Diamond Review

IMG_20170616_073518397IMG_20170616_073528583_HDR

The Hilton President Kansas City is a classic hotel that was built in 1926 during a boom in Kansas City downtown roaring 20’s construction. It was a popular hotel in Kansas City during the Kansas City Mob days, Blues icons played at the famous Drum Room lounge while celebrities watched. As downtown KC struggled through the 1970’s so did the hotel. It finally closed in 1980 and sat vacant until a local business investor group spent over $45 million to restore it and open it as the current Hilton President in 2005. It saw success as downtown KC has gone through a revival. It now sits between the theaters, convention center, Sprint center and KC Power and Light entertainment district. After being open since 2005 it was due for a refresh so they recently spent millions more to update the rooms, add more marble, etc. A lot of historic hotels are cool but this one doesn’t suffer from being outdated. The rooms are fresh and updated. IMG_20170615_165015574IMG_20170615_170317552

The Drum Room Lounge is mostly original. The restaurant is good and a great place for a pre-concert or pre-theater dinner. IMG_20170615_165332449

As a Hilton Diamond I was upgraded on arrival to a corner room overlooking the Power and Light District. The hotel was fairly slow which I’m sure helped. IMG_20170615_165322865_HDRIMG_20170615_165607061IMG_20170615_165613142IMG_20170616_072052271

The only negative thing I can say about this hotel is the motion sensing Verdant thermostat. There is a hack to override it but it’s not an easy hack. The hotel is guilty of not having this set properly for the overnight hours. This is something can be set by the main system. It did go off in the middle of the night and made the room too warm on a hot Summer evening. IMG_20170615_165337663

View of Power and Light District and Sprint Center.IMG_20170615_220143177IMG_20170615_165345906

View to the South of the Kauffman CenterIMG_20170615_215635004IMG_20170615_215541046

Overall it was a nice stay. As a Hilton Diamond they do offer free breakfast in the restaurant. There is also a Starbucks coffee stand in the lobby. Great service from the front desk, restaurant and valet parking staff. I will return here even as a local the next time I need to stay downtown. This AAA four diamond hotel is well worth the visit.

Advertisements

LAX Admirals Club Gate 52 Review (Remote Terminal 5)

I’m traveling out of the remote 5 (gate 52) terminal at LAX today and had a chance to visit this Admirals Club. This is a HUGE benefit if you’re flying out of this remote bus terminal. There are not a lot of amenities for these Gate 52A-52Z or well what ever letter. I had low expectations for this lounge as I’m used to visiting the United Lounges at IAH that are tiny and have no toilets.  I’m not sure how crowded this lounge gets but it was very nice, not over crowded at 6am to 8am on a Thursday but maybe that was just luck.

They offer a full bar, typical food. Super nice staff and 4 toilets (2 Female and 2 Male). You could even use this as an arrivals lounge but no showers. The toilets are very large and would be easy to change clothes, etc.

Silly but AA is flying some 4 hour type routes on Regional RJ Jets into this terminal. I’m getting ready to board a non-stop to MCI that clocks in at about 3:40’ish. Thankfully my upgrade cleared at a lowly AA Gold. This route doesn’t seem to be elite heavy on the days I fly this route. This is a nice route for our small’ish Kansas City airport as it gives us a non-stop to a large HUB on the West Coast.

Summary: American doesn’t always get things right but this is one bright spot in a not so awesome terminal area. Thanks AA

Unpacking “illegal” Kinder Surprise Airbus Eggs. 

Kinder Eggs are slightly illegal to bring into the USA which would be OK I guess 

Kinder Surprise eggs, an Italian brand of egg-shaped chocolate candies containing a toy “surprise” inside have been banned in the USA since long before they were first manufactured in the early ’70s.

That’s because the US has had a ban on candies with toys inside since 1938.

Inside the egg is a large plastic pod that contains to airplane parts. 

Inside you find the parts and you can easily assemble your own Airbus. This one is an A330 in Lufthansa livery.

As you can see you end up with a cool airplane model. The eggs are tough to find. After failing to find them at LHR in past months my wife managed to find an Airbus collection at CDG and was sweet enough to buy them for me during our layover on the way to Israel this week.

Staybridge West Valley City (SLC)

A quick 2 night stay at the Staybridge West Valley City location in Salt Lake City Metro area. I might stay here again on business, haven’t made up my mind but I am very picky. I’m still searching for just the right hotel in the SLC area.

Pros:

  • Attached to the Holiday Inn Express that features an indoor water park.
  • Great fitness room.
  • Typical Staybridge evening reception and free breakfast.
  • New feeling hotel although I suspect this property is older than it looks.
  • Very clean and comfortable.
  • Great service.
  • Not far from the airport.

Cons:

  • 6:30am breakfast. This is a big deal since I often have to leave early in the morning.
  • Fairly noisy hallways (it seems that the housekeeping staff is talking loud and working hard from 8am to 5pm). Kids running down the hall. I suspect due to the water park feature.
  • Not many restaurants or shopping close by. There is shopping and restaurant near here but you have to drive a bit.

GJT airport Grand Junction Colorado

So I had business this week in Western Colorado and had the chance to fly American Airlines from DFW on this route. As a lowly Gold with AA even I was upgraded so that was nice. 

GJT airport is rather small but very nice and good service from employees and TSA I think. I’ve posted a few pictures below. On arrival we used the jetbridge but on departure we boarded by stairs. Sorry some photos are better than others. 

Gate 1 sits by itself while Gates 2 to 5 are in a little pod up the hall. 

De ice and ready to roll.

Not bad GJT keep up the great work. !

Hotel Review – Holiday Inn Express – Hays Kansas

Just a few blocks North of I-70 next to Walmart is a nice HIX I would recommend. This hotel is fairly new with comfortable rooms and good service. Hays is about halfway between Denver and Kansas City so it’s not a bad choice for a roadside stop. There is a decent selection of nearby restaurant chains and good shopping.

I stay in about 60 to 70 IHG properties a year so I think my opinion counts when I say I would recommend this HIX location. 

One of my pet peeves is breakfast at hotels. This one is free and starts at 6am which is great to get you back on the road early. 

If you’re planning a road trip through this area along I-70 I would also recommend that you stop in Abilene (East of Hays) and visit the Eisenhower Library and the Greyhound Hall of Fame. 

#holidayinn #kansas #HIX

Hotel Review – Mt. Pleasant Texas Holiday Inn Express

I was surprised to see the pool was open in January but it was about 80 degrees while I was there. 

Standard King Room was a little dated but not bad. Apparently no upgrade for Spire Ambassador members at this HIX 😦

Older hotel but was very clean.

Overall the hotel was OK. Not much around this location and very pedestrian unfriendly area. I was forced to run on the treadmill. The fitness room was small but the equipment was good.