Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 In Review

Not a lot of posts related to travel this year. The majority of the year was spent working in Portsmouth, NH. By far, the best hotel in the area is the Sheraton Harborside. There are "residences" that essentially are older suites or town homes that would be perfect to rent for a family traveling. Portsmouth is a great town and is worth a side trip on any southern Maine or Boston vacation. There is an astonishing diversity of dining options for such a small community. Some of my favorites (in order) were:
Mombo Innovative open dining.
Black Trumpet Go upstairs to the bar - great, locally sourced food.
Surf Best seafood in Portsmouth.
The Library Great steak.
Poco's Bow Street Cantina Punishing margaritas.
The Oar House Low key.
Dolphin Striker Old school - great food.
Martingale Wharf Newest in Portsmouth - great deck.

Fall and winter were spent in lower Manhattan and work was interrupted for several weeks due to hurricane Sandy. There are still generators all over the area spewing noxious fumes into the air and merchants have to improvise to take credit cards. I think the general perception of the state of the area is probably a little off. The newest hotel option downtown is the DoubleTree in the Financial District. This is a disappointing hotel. The rooms are tiny, the corridors are confining and the elevators can't keep up. I wish they had opted for a better layout.

Disappointing Extravagance:
For my birthday this year I went to Park City, Utah and stayed at The Sky Lodge. The hotel was nice enough and the town was quaint. The area, however, lacked the natural beauty of Colorado or Wyoming and Park City seems to try to hard to be a cosmopolitan destination.

Best Hotel:
The St. Regis in Bal Harbour, newly opened where a Sheraton used to stand. Classy rooms, great pool and impeccable service. I don't think there's a more luxurious beach destination in the continental US.
The Liberty Hotel in Boston was crafted from an old Prison. There's a great club and the ambiance is great.
The Conrad Miami is a great hotel on Brickell and very near the elevated rail.

Great Bar:
The Portsmouth Harbor Cruise's evening trip is a quick turnaround of the harbor with a full service bar. Great views.
One of my favorite activities is playing Keno at Jimmy D's (now Parker's Shipwreck Tavern)

Flying:
I barely got the 30 segments on United required to meet their lowest tier of status. A far cry from my 1K status a few years ago. There's no real benefit here... economy plus seats don't open up for me until check in. I was able to upgrade on United paying out of my pocket typically $80-$150 per segment for a last minute buy-up. The revenue makes sense, from United's perspective, but their loyal 1P/1K flyers must resent it to some extent.


I re-qualified for Platinum on AA with 53 segments. Upgrades for me were maybe 40-50%.

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