Thursday, August 27, 2009

Biking around Ireland

A good piece by Brian McIntyre in the Irish Times today, who biked around Ireland.

I echo his experiences of Irish B&B's. Some excellent, with great breakfasts. Others "trying to emulate hotels, with dining rooms like public spaces, minimal interaction, and a growing sense of formality". And, as with Ireland in general, many are still overpriced. But the good ones are really good:

However, it was an experience in Bunmahon, Co Waterford that reminded me why a good Irish BB beats all. I arrived close to 7pm at Copperfield House BB in the middle of a massive downpour, soaked and mucky. When she answered the door, the look on Margaret Curran’s face said “Come in out of the rain” and not “Oh dear God, my carpets”. Within 10 minutes my bike was in the garage, she had offered to dry all my sports gear, and she and her husband chatted pleasantly with me about my day and the area.

All of this was followed by a knockout breakfast the following morning. And Copperfield House BB was also the cheapest BB I encountered at €35.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hyatt "Three for free"

Hyatt Resorts now has a “Three for Free” offer, where guests receive three free rewards during their stay – a free room night (based upon a minimum length of stay), room upgrade and full American breakfast for two daily at some Hyatt Resorts from September 8th through December 18th (more information available on

The only Hyatt Resort I've stayed at is the Hyatt at Palm Springs - normally I am at more staid Hyatt locations like last week at the Hyatt in Herndon Virginia. I'd highly recommend the Palm Springs Hyatt - nice rooms opening out onto an enclosed courtyard with a piano.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't pay to use the US ESTA system

Good piece in the Irish Times about why not to pay third-parties to fill out the US ESTA forms for you. Unfortunately, there is a whole industry centered around charging money to fill out US Government forms which you could easily fill out yourself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

$599 All-you-can-fly with JetBlue

This may be appealing to many business people who fly a lot, if you can get your company to agree. I know that I've certainly spent over $599 on flights this week alone (including two JetBlue flights) and with this program I would be ahead:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hotel Sofia in San Diego

I stayed at this hotel on a really good Expedia deal. I'd really recommend this hotel - nice rooms with the original warehouse-style windows, coffee-making facilities in the rooms (I'd just stayed in another hotel which did not have this amenity and was twice the price), close to 5th Avenue and the walk down to the waterfront, as well as close to the trams. Complimentary wired Internet connection in the rooms, and free WiFi in the lobby. A good restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Friendly service. All in all, really good.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another hotel rumor - Abandoned wedding rings

Another rumor heard last week - If you work in the hotel trade then it's worthwhile running your hands over the top of furniture and doorways, in order to pick up forgotten wedding bands / rings. Apparently they are near the top of the list of things lost in hotel rooms, but do not appear on lists because people do not want to admit leaving them behind (I wonder why that is? :-) ).

I wonder if this rumor is true?

Yesterday's Rumor: Dollar bills left in hotel bibles.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The rumor of dollar bills hidden in hotel-room bibles

This is a rumor which I heard from an Intercontinental Hotels Group exec last week. The story goes that Christian evangelicals put money into hotel bibles, in the hope that people will open and look through the bible in the hope of finding the money. If there is no money there, well the rumor had the effect that the person has opened the bible and looked through it, and maybe they will read part of it. If the money is there, then they have given someone a gift, and also the person may well read the page in which the money was found (or maybe not).

Is this true, or just a rumor? I guess I am playing a part in promoting the rumor here with this blog post. tracks the history of this particular rumor, which interestingly goes back to the 1950s, and exists in Jewish as well as Christian mythology.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Using the airport moving walkways 'actually slows you down'

Something I've often suspected.

I usually run alongside the moving escalator if I'm really in a hurry. Less risk of being stuck behind a group of people standing motionless.

So I was interested to read this in the Daily Telegraph:

Some interesting facts in the Telegraph story:

Designed specifically to improve the flow of passengers, they often catch out tired and elderly travellers who find it difficult to maintain balance coming off and on the moving pathway.

They can also disorientate drunken passengers and those loaded down with luggage.

In 2006, London Underground estimated they were the most common cause of accidents across the network, and reported 933 injuries from their use.

There is also a problem with people wearing bifocal glasses as when they look down everything is out of focus. They cannot see their feet and trip over.

At Rome’s Tiburtina station, York University professor Sally Baldwin was crushed to death in 2003 after a travelator collapsed and she was pulled into the cog wheels.

And in Boston, USA, drunken sushi chef Francisco Portillo died after getting his head stuck in a subway escalator in 2005.