The Hotelion

Hotel & Casino Specialist. I pride myself on economic perspective and efficient travelling, and most recently - restaurant reviews. My goal is to make your travel money go further and experiences more fulfilling.

Hotel Review: Hotel del Coronado, San Diego – Curio Collection by Hilton

Highlights: Hotel del Coronado – Curio Collection by Hilton I used my Free nights from my Hilton Aspire card trying to maximize the value and pair it with a Southwest companion pass for a quick weekend getaway. While the resort was nice, it was historical (read: old) and thus not my forte. Issues with the room and property being stuffy and overpriced made for a “meh” experience. It’s nice to look at, but with everything super expensive it’s a hard pass. The local area was quite nice – we did find some great eats outside the property that were...

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Hotel Review: Courtyard By Marriott San Diego Downtown

Highlights: Courtyard By Marriott San Diego Downtown This hotel was a last minute stay to use my Marriott free night certificate (under 25K points) and an interesting property. I really appreciated their service and flexibility, as well as the interesting story behind and architecture of the hotel. Downtown San Diego is a wonderful place to be and this property gets you right in the thick of it, easy walking to wonderful attractions nearby.   My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby Room...

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Hotel Review: Vdara Hotel & Spa, Las Vegas

HIGHLIGHTS: Vdara Hotel & Spa This was my first time at Vdara and, for the most part, I was pleased. Thanks to my partnership with MGM I was able to explore their brand new Club Lounge (full review here) and enjoy that amenity. Additionally, thanks to the $20 trick at check-in I was upgraded to a one bedroom penthouse suite on the 47th floor. Unfortunate that I had some major room issues with leaks and moldy smells – but they swapped my rooms, and service after the fact was great! They also waived both resort fees as well (due...

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Club Lounge Review: Vdara Hotel & Spa, Las Vegas

VDARA CLUB LOUNGE I was offered to check out Vdara’s newest luxury amenity, the Vdara Club Lounge, which opened earlier this year! It was an immaculate place, filled with plenty of comfortable seating, friendly staff, and complimentary food and drink. Breakfast consisted of a couple hot dishes, pastries, fruits, and your selection of several juices. They additionally have a great refrigerator filled with diet coke – my personal go to, and a whole bar of machines for fancy coffees and teas. Their menu changes daily, with rotations for breakfast, lunch, hors d’oeuvres, snacks, and desserts. Additionally, the food was...

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Restaurant Review: Best Friend by Roy Choi, Park MGM Las Vegas

Highlights: Best Friend by Roy Choi, Park MGM Las Vegas Best Friend by Roy Choi opened up end of 2018 and is a continuation of and inspired by Chef Choi’s Kogi trucks, which I enjoyed back in Los Angeles. Highlights here during my stay at Park MGM are definitely the food – large, fresh portions, amazingly addicting meats and kimchi fried rice. I would certainly come back here even on my own dime, and enjoy their food again! Great reminiscing about my former life as a student waiting to try the Kogi trucks that were all the rage back...

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Restaurant Review: Julian Serrano Tapas, ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Highlights: Julian Serrano Tapas, ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas Julian Serrano Tapas is a restaurant I have walked past countless times between my stays at Park MGM (both times), Cosmopolitan (and again), and of course, the Aria. This time, however, I was fortunate to receive an invitation to try it out! Highlights include of course the food – delicious, flavorful, and rich in background, as well as the great service and ambiance.   My standard restaurant reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Ambiance Atmosphere Menu...

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How to Save Money On Every Single Marriott Stay!

Premise I’m starting a new series, to help people save money. I specialize in this, and I might as well speak about the less well-known ways of saving money on travel. If people read this and save some bucks, feel free to kick some my way. Previous I wrote about Uber and Lyft here and how to save on every single ride. This post will focus on the Marriott hotel chain. I’ve saved literally hundreds of dollars at 8-10% off Marriott stays – and everything incidental on your Marriott bill – like spa service, food, resort fees, taxes, etc....

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Hotel Review: Courtyard by Marriott Richmond Berkeley

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: Courtyard by Marriott Richmond Berkeley This was a quaint little East Bay hotel, about 20 minutes away from Berkeley. Highlights include the very large suite we were in, as well as the annoying fire alarm at 7AM on Sunday morning. What a frustrating experience, most likely due to some damn idiot burning something in a microwave, or worse, smoking it up in their room. Powered...

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President Trump Tweets: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly”

Premise Sometimes I see a headline on an article, and I think it’s just too over-the-top stupid, or ridiculous, or funny, and that I have to learn more or read more about it. This is one of those instances, where the President tweeted (below) about the complexity of airplanes requiring “computer scientists from MIT”. Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split...

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Cheapest or Nearly Free Places To Get Passport Photos

Premise Having had to renew my passport for an upcoming trip, I set about researching cheap passport photos and where I could get them. I looked at several options, between doing it on my own or having them done in-store at like a pharmacy or post office.   U.S. State Department Photo Requirements First off, you can find the photo requirements here on the State Department website. I’ve included a brief summary below. For more details please check the website. Photo Basics – color photo, clear face, no selfies, no glasses, plain white/off-white background Resolution, Print Size, and Quality...

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