The Hotelion

I specialize in efficient traveling, economic perspectives, and hotel and casino reviews. My goal is to make your travel money go further.

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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Free Cruises to Teachers! – Social Media Contest By Norwegian Cruise Line

Premise Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is giving away free cruises to teachers! In this article by Travel and Leisure, it talks more details about the Giving Joy Campaign. What an amazing, uplifting gesture, designed to bring positive PR and social media engagement, so not entirely altruistic. But, it’s the thought that count, and their desire to recognize / reward powerful teachers in the United States and Canada should be applauded. Although, cruise lines make the majority of their money on onboard expenditures, so a “free” cruise will still cost. This is done in the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week...

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How to Save Money On Every Single Uber / Lyft Ride!

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. This post will focus on rideshare – Uber and Lyft specifically. These have been godsends and save me from riding in taxis. Most people know that Uber/Lyft send out promotions and discounts every so often, but I’ll write about benefits that anyone can take advantage of – first time users or repeat customers!...

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Is Free, High-Speed WiFi Coming To A Plane Near You?

Premise In the ever-changing, cutthroat airline world, Delta is striking a blow of modernization: out with the old (planes), in with the new (free wifi?!). This article by Barrons discusses an interview with Delta CEO Ed Bastian, where he shares his thoughts and goals, designed to win over customers and keep their loyalty . Delta is ranked as the best-managed airline – which is impressive in its own right, and perhaps it is looking to further distinguish itself from the pack. Plans and topics discussed include the below: Free, high-speed Wifi Capital investments in new planes and technology Other...

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Timeshare Resort, Eating, and Luau in Paradise: Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu

My expanded hotel review include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby & Check-in Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Luau(!) Timeshare(!) Miscellaneous     Highlights: Hilton Hawaiian Village This review of the Hilton Hawaiian Village is like seven months late. But, it was an epic experience on a timeshare presentation deal, especially in conjunction with my American Express Hilton Aspire card. Five nights, 10,000 Hilton HHonors points, and free luau dinner for two for $800. Resort fees included too. And, the $250 resort credit from...

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Real-World Economics: Tariffs, Minimum Wage Increases Hit Home

Premise This may be the most first world problem I can think of, and barely tangentially related to travel (tariffs!). But, I’m going to write about it anyway.  I frequent a very popular bubble tea / boba chain in the Bay Area called Teaspoon and even had them cater my wedding. Recently when I stopped in I noticed the price had jumped again (I notice these types of things) and wanted to know more about it. In this post I go into the price history of a standard one topping drink, and their arguments for raising the price. Why...

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The Most Expensive Meal I’ve Ever Had: French Laundry, Napa, California

Premise: The Most Expensive Meal I’ve Ever Had This is a very special edition of Restaurant Reviews – normally, I specialize in hotels (hence the moniker) but this was such a wonderful and pleasant experience I felt compelled to write about it. The French Laundry is a three-star Michelin restaurant located in Yountville, California, about 15 minutes north of Napa. It was also about 11 minutes / 7 miles north of our Napa hotel, the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa.   Highlights: The French Laundry, Yountville, Napa Valley, California Initiatlly,, I am not the type of person to enjoy...

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“Minimoon” Hotel & Spa Review: Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa

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: Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa This was a lovely, lovely getaway from the Bay Area after getting married! A short minimoon is just what we needed. This Marriott is a short jaunt from downtown Napa and a great staging ground for wine tasting and touring. Highlights include the wonderful spa – where our kind friends treated us to a massage, as well as my...

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Beautiful Resort Review: JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

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: JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa This business trip was at an excellent resort property. As my first JW Marriott experience, it was a good one, with great service all around, kart drivers, room service, front desk, etc. Food at breakfast at Rita’s was decently good, and I am sure there’s plenty to do here. One small hiccup regarding my reservation –...

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