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Re: Ask AJ Edelman Anything: DDF Member And Member Of The 2018 Israel Olympic Team! Great job AJ!
February 15, 2018, 08:29:59 PM
1
Re: Need Help: Booking Delta through KAL for LAX to HNL It doesn't work like that- you need to have saver available on Delta.com or else KAL can't book it at all, for any price, unfortunately. In general it's a good idea not to transfer points to an airline until you confirm saver space is available with the airline your flying and then checking with the airline you're booking with that they can see the space to book.
February 21, 2018, 07:57:53 AM
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Re: Trip planning for second honeymoon
Israel
Sun-Thurs trip to Israel? :o

I would only pick 1 city and stay there. I wouldn't even schlep from Venice to Rome and kill half a day. Would either do Paris or Rome for 3 days.

March 09, 2018, 10:55:36 AM
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Re: London Master Thread
Do you have to get there early? I've read that the lines can bee long.
I didn't get there early and there's wasn't much of a line to see the jewels. I had bought tickets in advance to the tower.

March 18, 2018, 07:43:34 PM
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Re: 2018 Arctic Expedition
The pictures are true to life here.
Wow! I didn't know they could look like that without edits.

April 08, 2018, 01:04:41 AM
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Re: Quaker Life Breakfast Cereal Variety Pack,(4 boxes) 52 Ounce $6.01 Vanilla is gross. So it's 3 boxes for $6 then.  :P
April 30, 2018, 01:51:45 PM
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Re: Dan in the news:) Will this bring in more traffic than the ElAl glitch?
May 02, 2018, 03:36:01 PM
1
Re: Niagara Falls Master Thread
im driving in July from New York city to niagra falls (canadian side)..anyone who has done this trip from NYC, care to share somme good stopping points/attractions on the way? i have a 7 and  9 year old
I've listed a bunch of stops at the end of the wiki, and you can read my TR as well. http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=90786.0

June 13, 2018, 06:00:51 PM
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Re: Oh uh - El Al #LY8 from JFK to Tel Aviv is diverting to Gander  How has a mod not changed the title to "uh oh" yet?
June 17, 2018, 01:16:47 AM
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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
If you had to choose between these 3, which would it be? Looking for overall nicest

1) http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/CUNJW-jw-marriott-cancun-resort-and-spa/

2) http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/CUNMX-marriott-cancun-resort/

3) https://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1092
JW Marriott based on my limited research

July 05, 2018, 11:57:32 PM
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Re: DDMS To-Do List Make 2 Twitters, one for travel/cc posts and one for stam deals. *ducks and runs*
July 06, 2018, 03:06:20 PM
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Destinations with Shuls/Chabads near Points Hotels I thought it would be helpful to compile the different destinations that have points hotels within walking distance to Shuls/Chabads. Whether you want Minyan on Shabbos, meals for Shabbos, daily Minyanim, etc. it can be helpful to know which cities have these options that are easily accessible while staying at a points hotel. How often a place has Minyan or is in operation often changes, so I figured it's not worth adding that into the wiki, and instead I suggest that once you find a place to contact the Chabad/community to find out specific info that's relevant at the time of your stay.

Please feel free to edit/fill in what I've started, I just wanted to get the ball rolling. When I have more time later, I'll be happy to add in more that I know of and order it somehow (perhaps separate tables for each continent).

July 09, 2018, 11:12:30 AM
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Re: Off Brand Doona for Less? I debated buying a stroller that would only work for ~1 year. Fortunately, someone bought us a City Mini, so we didn't have to buy a separate normal stroller. If you have to pay yourself for 2 strollers, I understand the concern.

However, it's been amazing as someone who lives in NYC (takes up sooo little space in our apt) and travels a lot to in-laws while paying for a seat for the baby. Going from apt to the car - just fold wheels and drop it into the base (yes, @Emkay I think the base is key) is sooo convenient. And travelling to my in laws 5-7 times in the first year (over 10 legs of flights) and just taking the Doona in the car/Uber, pushing through the airport, plopping it on the plane, pushing through the next airport, plopping it into the car ride to their house... I mean just so convenient. Funny, yesterday someone saw us at LGA and said "Don't you love that stroller?? Our son just grew out of it, we're so sad. They should pay us for all the advertising we did for them." lol but seriously, so many people have stopped me to ask about it.

July 09, 2018, 12:05:59 PM
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Re: Destinations with Shuls/Chabads near Points Hotels
Arrival+ :D
Paging @benjie1305 and @EJB  ;D ;D

Thanks, adding all this great new info to the wiki. FYI, I have added a bunch more in the last day or two that I found out about.

July 13, 2018, 01:15:10 PM
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Re: Panama Master Thread Just collected all the activities listed throughout the thread and added them to the wiki.
July 16, 2018, 10:32:14 PM
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Re: Destinations with Shuls/Chabads near Points Hotels
Does Halifax still have a Orthodox shul?
Appears so, Beth Israel, but points hotels seem to be a bit far away.

Prague: Chabad, Altneu shul and more. Meals at Chabad or restaurants. Hotel: InterContinental
Cape Town: Chabad, Morasha, and more (?). Hotel: Protea Sea Point
Thanks! Got these as well as a whole bunch of others in Asia that someone sent me.

July 18, 2018, 10:31:26 AM
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Re: Hyatt Awards And Upgrades Master Thread
Still Looking - Willing to pay $250 per Night

----------------

Staying from 9/1 - 9/3 at the PH in New York (Currently Available). Please be willing to transfer the nights into my name so i can use my status (easy to do) and I am ready to pay.

Many thanks!
Since when can nights be transferred to another name to use benefits?

July 31, 2018, 05:15:49 PM
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Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR Nice TR. Thanks for taking the time. FYI, Starbucks and Haagen Dazs follow the same rules as in USA regarding kosher status. They are in the wiki map too.  Glad you had a good time!
August 05, 2018, 06:58:10 AM
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Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants Just cleaned up the wiki a bit. Still missing plenty of restaurants, but at least it's a start.
August 06, 2018, 11:25:26 PM
1
A little R+R in Cancun with @Yehuda Introduction / Trip Planning

As my wife had recently got her first job and was in a 6-month probation period with no vacation, I dreamily flipped the pages of my calendar waiting for February to come and free her schedule. The way things turned out, she had a wedding in California right after President’s Day, so she took off the beginning of the week to attend, and we used the end of the week to go somewhere with our then 9-month old baby. The plan was to meet somewhere between NY and CA, and after some research, we settled on Cancun. Warm weather, beautiful resorts, pools and beaches, plus Kosher food and a Chabad for Shabbos sealed the deal. I booked flights and a hotel fairly easily and then shortly before the trip, my in-laws told us they would be willing to watch our daughter while we went away! I rushed to cancel all the flights and re-booked us to stop in Denver to drop her off – the extra flight time and cost was worth it to have our first few nights alone since she was born and while on vacation, no less! Thanks Bubby and Zaidy!

While there are several locations in the greater Cancun area to choose from, I decided to just stick with the Cancun Hotel Zone and limited our hotel choices to those within walking distance of Chabad – Intercontinental, Aloft and Hyatt Ziva – with Hyatt winning due to pictures, reviews and our ability to secure an awesome suite in advance.

Our final itinerary looked like this: (cost per person)
JFK-DEN Tuesday on DL for me + baby: 11.5k DL + $5.60 + $85 E+ covered by Ritz CC
DEN-CUN Wednesday on SW for me: 11k SW + $33.64 + $15 Early Bird check-in covered by Ritz CC
LAX-CUN Wednesday on DL for my wife: 12k MR
CUN-DEN Sunday on UA for me and my wife: 21k MR (got E+ because no other 2 seats next to each other available)
DEN-LGA Sunday on UA for all of us: 13k MR

4 nights at Hyatt Ziva Cancun – 25k a night plus suite upgrade


Tuesday

On Tuesday night, with my baby in her Doona, I drove to Queens, parked near LGA (since our return flight was to LGA), took an Uber to JFK and caught our flight to DEN. Having a baby with me, we were the first to board the plane. This was my first time not converting it to a car seat before boarding to see how far down the aisle it would fit. The flight attendant gave me a look and tried to stop me, but I reassured her that I would fold it when we got to our row. We made it past business class, but then got stuck at E+.


Emuna in her Doona

I was anxious flying solo with a baby and of course she woke up when I had to take her out at security, and of course this was the first flight she wouldn’t sleep in the Doona, but fortunately we had an empty seat in our row and eventually I got her to fall asleep while lying on the seat. We arrived to a fresh coat of Denver snow, got to my family and went to bed.


Wednesday

In the morning, I said my goodbyes, wished my mother in law good luck :P and headed back to the airport just about the same time that my wife was on the way herself to LAX. Cancun here we come!

Everyone seems to have a story in CUN, so let’s get to it. I was set to land about 2 hours before my wife, although in a different terminal. I figured I’d have plenty of time before she arrived. Having T-Mobile in America, I assumed I should have free roaming in Mexico, but when my phone didn’t connect to any service upon landing, I started getting nervous. How was I going to find my wife in a foreign country without phones!?


Shot from the plane upon descent

Fortunately, I had wifi on the plane and was able to get in touch with @Yehoshua before deplaning who helped me change some settings, and I got connected! However, service was terrible in the airport (wasn't much better outside the airport either) and most of all, I still had no idea how my wife would figure those settings out… There was a long line for immigration, but it surprisingly went very quickly – maybe 10 minutes. Baggage claim on the other hand took forever. Bags were coming out so slowly, and after about 30 minutes, mine finally popped out. I saw a mosquito here, but fortunately, it was the only one I saw on the entire trip. I headed towards customs to hit the infamous button for green or red (although I only brought snacks with me), and on the walk, I immediately realized that Cancun is really centrally built around tourism. Signs and kiosks everywhere advertised the many adventure parks and then I entered the Hall of Taxis. While reports indicated that I’d be harassed here, I found that each taxi company had a stand on the side and were not really that pushy if you walked through with confidence – although, yes, they were all dressed very official-looking to make you think you had to use them. I had pre-booked roundtrip car service with Canada Transfers as they had good reviews and were the cheapest at just under $50 for 2 people when you paid in MEX. Once past the taxis, I stopped an airport employee to ask how to get to the other terminals. He opened a stanchion for me and said go through these doors to find the free shuttle. I asked him, “What about customs?”, flashing my papers, to which he simply replied, “Oh, I don’t need those.” ??? So, I just went through the doors and found myself outside the airport. No button for me!

While waiting for the shuttle, a cabbie approached me and said, “Oh the shuttle – that won’t come for another 40 minutes, here I’ll take you for $10.” LOL, I could tell I was going to love this place. A few minutes later, a local joined me in line and said the shuttle never takes more than 15 minutes. Sure enough it showed up a few minutes later. I had to go to the last terminal on the route, so the ride took a while and by the time I got to my wife’s terminal, she was supposed to land in 20 minutes. Security wouldn’t allow me to enter the arrivals section of the terminal ??? and said everyone has to exit this way, so I should just wait there and my wife would come out. Something didn’t seem right as there weren’t any of the pre-paid taxi companies standing here, and I was told that they all hang out together outside the terminal. Finally, an airport employee helped me and got me past security by showing my voucher for Canada Transfers. I walked just a few steps past him and found myself in the obvious exit of the terminal, with maybe 20 car companies waiting to pick up their guests.



Turns out I was waiting in the Friends & Family pickup area and could have just walked around the corner to find the actual exit myself. Sheesh. I found the friendly Canada Transfers greeter and waited for my wife, figuring she’d be at least another 45 minutes based on my experience. However, she just walked right out a few minutes later having blown through immigration, bags and customs. Her phone fortunately picked up cell service on its own after a little while, but I still had to turn on roaming for it to actually work. She wasn’t too happy with this littler surprise, but b”h we found each other and were handed cold towels as we stepped into the shuttle to fend off the insane humidity. Having a 10 seater was probably more than we needed, but it seemed like most taxis here were this large. Off we went for the 30 minute ride to the hotel.

Along the strip, we passed by all the points hotels – Ritz, JW, Westin Lagunamar – and pulled up to the Hyatt Ziva, where the driver gave our name to the guard and from that point on, the staff always referred to us by name.



With a globalist suite upgrade, we secured an upgrade to the Club Oceanfront Corner Suite, which was awesome – huge room with a closed off bedroom, 2 bathrooms and a balcony with a hot tub!




First bathroom







Master bathroom



We had ordered food from Chabad, and it was waiting for us when we arrived. Chabad's meals have to be delivered by about 5:30pm, but the hotel stored it for us and gave us our sealed food when we checked in at about 8pm. The shnitzel sandwich and Cancun burger were great and large enough that we had leftovers to store in the fridge. Because of the humidity, I found the material of the bed linen to be uncomfortable and sticky (even with the AC on), although my wife didn't complain. We turned on the Olympics and watched for a bit before falling asleep.


Thursday

We woke up early and of course checked in on the baby. :)

Being in the Club Tower, we had our own check-in lounge with breakfast, snacks throughout the day and bar. They had Kosher cereal and milk and some fresh fruit.


Zucaritas every day

During breakfast, it was pouring outside, and the staff didn't ease our concerns when they said it sometimes rains like that all day. Fortunately, it cleared up within an hour, and we were ready for a day in the sun. The lounge leads directly out to the pool and beach. What I didn't realize at first was that this was just one side of the hotel and that the other side had an almost identical pool layout. Everyone is allowed to use either pool, but ours was generally emptier. This side also had a much wider beach with more room to find your own space.

As the Hyatt Ziva is at the top of the hotel strip, you don’t see any hotels to one side of you as you look out to the ocean, giving it a more private feel. They built a rock wall jutting out into the ocean to protect the beach from disappearing and to kill the waves, so swimming was a lot easier than it would have been, although plenty of waves still made it around. The view from our room was so, so gorgeous.


Lots of beach space




Looking back at the hotel (Club Tower on the right) from the beach


View of the adults-only Turquoise tower next to us with some rooms that open up to a semi-private pool (shared among 4-5 rooms).

Beside from these pool rooms, there are a few other rooms in a quieter area of the grounds that have semi-private pools. We opted to have a suite instead of a pool room after hearing from a friend that they’re small pools where you can’t do much but sit on a chair. Knowing we’d spend most of our time swimming around in the main pools (which were also hotter as they’re more in the sun) and when we saw that these pools were small and shallow, we were happy with our choice.


Other pool rooms

On the other (main) side of the hotel, the pools were actually warmer – almost hot! - although more crowded. There was a swim up bar in one pool, a small kids’ pool area that we didn’t see anyone in the entire time and a portion of the main pool that is somewhat covered for shade. There’s also an adults-only pool and bar on the roof. They really do have so many options for pool lovers.


First view when you enter the hotel








Beach on the other side of the hotel, very narrow, much less space to find chairs and spread out

Back on our side of the hotel, we spent hours swimming and relaxing by the pool (warm!), sitting on the beach and swimming in the ocean. The beach was really empty and while it was still kinda cloudy, the water was beautiful shades of blue, super clear and fortunately not that cold.





The rock wall had a warning sign. Holla if you get it!



For lunch, we had our leftovers from the night before which made our dollar go pretty far. I met some friendly bar tenders and with the help of the CRC Kosher Liquor App, we created custom, Kosher, fresh fruit drinks. They were tasty and refreshing, and we tried different combinations throughout our stay. Was really nice to have drinks at the pool (and, maybe against the rules, in the public jacuzzi - other people were doing it first!). Gotta get something for the all-inclusive value!

The hotel has dolphins on premises. Going into the water with them cost a pretty penny, but it was free to watch.







We spent the rest of the day chilling. There are lots of trips you can do in Cancun (see the Cancun Master Thread wiki) like adventure parks, boat tours or visiting the islands of Isla Mujeres or Cozumel, but we really just wanted this baby-free trip to be relaxing time. For dinner we had another delivery from Chabad for more great food.


Friday

After breakfast in the lounge, we spent the morning at the pool/beach. Because it was a sunnier morning, the beach was much more crowded. Not Jersey Shore crowded, but not as empty as the day before. For lunch, we ventured out to Dag Dag for quite the experience. It's about 15 minutes from the hotel, a drop past the Chabad shul. On the way, we looked through the "mall" that Chabad is in (basically just a building full of souvenir shops on the 1st floor, a creepy tours salesman and a second floor that is barren aside from Chabad's room) because Google maps claimed there was a Haagen Dazs in here... there wasn't. At Dag Dag, the door was open, but the store was dark and no one was in there. "Hello?" "Hello?" Out came a frum man, his wife and young local guy. There was no real menu, basically just pizza, nachos and soda. Total was $27 and surprisingly/thankfully, they took credit card. The wife made the food while we sat outside. The owner came out and sat with us ranting about how a new restaurant opened up (presumably Red Heifer, which I think has dairy options during the day) and is stealing all his business. He understandably was very upset, but of course it's inappropriate to vent to your customers about these things, and he just went on and on, while his wife tried getting him to be quiet. He made us very uncomfortable. He went inside when the nachos came out, which were just tortilla chips on a plate covered with melted mozzarella cheese. Worse than I make at home because at least I put some salsa on them too. The pizza came out, and they graciously put black olives on half of it for my wife, leaving half the pie regular for me. The owner came back out and continued rambling while we ate. The pizza was actually pretty good, and the place has the potential to be a cute shop - and of course I'm grateful for a Kosher pizza place in Cancun - but it was very uncomfortable being there.





On the way back from lunch, we passed by a fish spa and decided to go for it, having done it once before in Eilat. At $15 a person, it was way cheaper than at the spa in the Hyatt.



We then stopped in a convenience store and found ice cream bars with an OU, and enjoyed a cool treat on the way back to the hotel. We then got ready for Shabbos, lit tea lights in the bathroom, prepped the door for Shabbos (valuables in safe, tape key card over door jamb, hang do not disturb sign) and headed out for the 10 minute walk to Chabad. As mentioned, Chabad is located on the second floor of the mall. They have a storefront that is half set up with tables for dinner and half a shul. They had a decent Minyan of locals and plenty of tourists. After Davening, we made our way over to the tables, found seats and enjoyed a good meal with a ton of courses. Shabbos meals cost $50 a person for both meals. After dinner, we walked back and called it a night.


Shabbos

We davened again at Chabad and had another large meal for Shabbos lunch. In the afternoon, we read and relaxed on beach chairs. Then we noticed that a wedding was taking place at the gazebo and along with all the other Jews at the hotel, got seats and watched. ;D


Gazebo where wedding took place

Went back to Chabad for Mincha and Marriv, and after Shabbos we went to explore town. We found the actual Haagen Dazs (looked at a few containers that had the normal American hashgachas) and were surprised that it actually had waiter service ???.



It was in another sort of mall, and afterwards, we browsed the shops and picked up a shotglass. Foreign places have the best t-shirts.



The street was full of people, restaurants and bars that were open to the street (don't look in is all I'll say). My wife really wanted to go to Red Heifer (impressively, they were open Motzai Shabbos), but I was the stickler here and because I couldn't get a straight answer on Kashrus, I wouldn't go, so we headed back to the hotel for the night.


Sunday

We had a 1:30pm flight, which left us plenty of time for one last hurrah at the beautiful pools. We packed up and our Canada Transfers ride was there on time. We flew back United to Denver and were so happy to see our baby waiting for us in the airport. We sure did miss her, although I definitely appreciated the break. We said goodbye to the in-laws and checked in at Southwest for our return home. At the gate, we picked up Coffee Bean and headed off into the Denver sunset.




August 09, 2018, 12:19:16 PM
3
Re: Antarctica Raffle #2, Fill Out This Form If You Would Like To Join A DDF Raffle! EJB, you're not Chabad enough to make a raffle work.
August 29, 2018, 01:24:20 PM
3
Re: Rome Master Thread Nice quick writeup. Brings back memories.
September 20, 2018, 02:04:34 PM
1
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
Any breakfast places in Manhattan?
Milk n Honey, My Most Favorite, maybe Tiberias?

November 26, 2018, 01:20:01 PM
1
Re: South Florida Master Thread
@jj1000
Is there an eiruv between st regis and YI and chabad?
Yes.

November 30, 2018, 11:25:27 AM
1
Re: Maui Trip Report December 2018 - one week in paradise Nice report, thanks for writing it up and including pictures. Nice to see a report of the Ritz on here. Glad you had a good time!
December 18, 2018, 10:13:26 AM
1
Re: South Florida Master Thread IMHO Serendipity is overrated, but for those used to only Chalav Yisroel ice cream, maybe it's pretty good.  :-X
TR to come... one day.

December 18, 2018, 10:24:38 AM
1
Miami Weekend Getaway with @Yehuda Introduction
When my mother offered to watch our daughter over a weekend in November, I immediately went into trip planning mode. Having been to Miami once before in 2016 and loving it, we very much wanted to return. I'll spare you the details of being nervous how our daughter would do without us while also dealing with our car breaking down 3 times on the day of our trip, including on the way to the airport 2 hours before the flight while still 1.5 hours away, getting an amazing Chaveirim guy to boost us and drive the car home while we jumped in an Uber, the driver missing an exit, meeting my mom at the airport to transfer all the baby's things, getting into the airport 15 minutes before the flight, choosing the slower Precheck line, my wife getting randomly selected for screening, thanking G-d our gate was somehow the first gate past security, the agent telling us she was about to give our seats away (to other Jews standing right there), scanning our boarding passes to see "BOARDING CLOSED" to finally collapsing into our seats 9 minutes before takeoff. Oh wait, I guess I didn't spare you.

My searches have always found NYC-MIA Area for Thurs night/Friday return on Sunday to be very expensive, so I was happy with our prices, although others seem to magically pull off sub-10k roundtrips.

Trip details (miles per person):
EWR-FLL on UA for 13k MR on Thursday night (free E+ by asking nicely)
FLL-EWR on B6 for 16k B6 on Sunday night (E+ paid for with Ritz travel credit)
St Regis Bal Harbour 3 nights for 120k MT + free night certificate


Thursday
You saw how crazy our trip to the airport was, but things calmed down once up in the air. We chose to Uber to the SRBH since we weren't planning to do any activities and Shul/food is within walking distance. I'm not sure why but Uber was very expensive at $70. It's also a mess in the airport since there's one large area to wait for ride sharing services, where everyone is packed in and no easy way to inform your driver where you are. We stopped by a friend's place to pickup Backyard BBQ we had delivered to him as the SR is supposedly very difficult to work with for deliveries if you're not present when it arrives.

The St. Regis is absolutely beautiful and Surfside/Bal Harbour is a really nice area. I've now been to 2 of the Miami areas, the other being 41st and Collins, and Surfside is way nicer and obviously more upper class. I couldn't secure a suite in advance (as it was, I needed to convince reservations to open one of the nights for me) and at checkin, we unfortunately didn't get a suite either. The good news is that the 1 level room upgrade we did get was huge, so no complaints from us! (I heard even the standard rooms are very large.) I also love how they designed the hotel so every room faces the ocean. We were given a room on the 21st floor and the next morning got them to switch us to the 7th floor because of Shabbos. When we stepped onto the porch in the pitch black of midnight, I could barely make out the glass railing at the edge, saw how high up we were and got a bad case of vertigo. It was much better in the morning when the sun was up, but I was still happy to go down to the 7th floor. We ate our burgers ($30 total) from Backyard BBQ which were still a bit warm and very tasty even a few hours later.




Notice no windows facing the street as all rooms face the ocean




For some reason, the lobby has a display with the Israeli Declaration of Independence and other Israeli items (maybe because of how many Jews go here :P)


The milk chocolates were Kosher and heavenly. We may have had them bring many more to our room ;D








Adult pool on the left; residence pool on the right


Friday & Shabbos
I went to Shacharis at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour, which is just 2 blocks away, although give yourself time to get off the hotel grounds and across 2 long traffic lights.



We then got breakfast at hotel's beautifully decorated Atlantikos restaurant. While another Jew told me they have a separate pan for making Kosher eggs, I'm not comfortable with that, so our breakfast was our usual fruit and cereal.



After breakfast, our new room was ready. We quickly switched over, checked out the new view and then spent the morning at the family pool, which has a bar that sells Kosher smoothies (pre-made Star K mixes). It was okay (added alcohol), but nothing to write home about.


Our new view (that pool is another residence-only pool)





For lunch, we went to 26 Sushi & Tapas, which was really good! The sushi pizza @jj1000 recommends lived up to the hype. Dessert was heavenly and beautifully presented. Hot lava cake took a long time to arrive, although the waiter warned us it would. We spent $90.







By the time we got back to the hotel, it was too late to go back down to the water, so we relaxed for a bit before getting ready for Shabbos. We lit tea lights on the marble sink and headed down to the Young Israel as the sun began to go down.



I'll interrupt here to provide a rundown on the Shabbos situation at the SR:

Lobby door - there is no manual entrance anywhere. The main door opens very slowly and remains open for 15 seconds. Wait a few feet away until someone else comes and then follow them through, was easy to do. Turns out on our stay the lobby door broke, and they ended up keeping it open all Shabbos, so that was lucky. But it's still doable.

Balcony - the AC turns off when the door is open and I was told that having the technician enter VIP mode on the thermostat doesn't work here. The sensor is so high up on the door that even with stacking a few chairs, I couldn't reach it to try and block it. Instead, we kept the door closed to keep AC on and just didn't use the balcony. However, I think you could technically live with door open and no AC. Don't think the room got too hot when the AC was off. Afterwards I heard of someone who managed to get high enough to put tape on the sensor and block it.

Refrigerator - light bulb easily unscrewed.

Closets - closets that have doors have automatic lights, but there is plenty of open closet space to use.

Stairs - no issue with lights. You walk behind reception into their office and take the steps up 1 flight (that's all it goes), then you're on the business office floor, walk down the hall and take another staircase up to room floors. They gladly showed me the first time. After that I just always walked into the office myself. A bit awkward, but they never minded.

Back to our trip...

The main Shul at YI is one of the most gorgeous Shuls I've ever seen, especially those of the modern era. There is so much natural light, and they did a wonderful job of incorporating blues/turquoises to fit into the Florida/ocean theme and really did a nice job with the Jerusalem stone compared to so many other Shuls who seem to do it just to be yotzei, in my opinion.


Not my pic

As opposed to our last trip where we brought food from home for Friday dinner and ate by day at the Chabad on 41st Street's kiddush/lunch, this time we wanted to splurge and eat at restaurants. Unfortunately, all the options are only open for dinner, are very expensive (all appx $100 per person) and the most recommended option (Backyard BBQ) was already booked full early in the week. So, we booked at Kosh. The food is Shabbos style, and while the portions weren't huge, there were lots of options. There were probably 7 salads on the table to start, then gefilte fish, chicken soup, meat, chicken and several sides. Especially after a big lunch (probably not a great idea on Friday), we left full, although we felt $100 is steep for what you get. However, the ambiance was nice, and the manager was kind enough to give us 2 rolls for lunch the next day since our plan was to see what the famed kiddushim of Surfside were all about, but still wanted to ensure we had challah as a backup.


Not mine

In the morning, we davened again at YI and were blown away by their kiddush. First of all, they had challah rolls, so ours were saved for shalosh seudos. More importantly, they had half a dozen hot main dishes, a table of salads and a table of pastries. Just tons of food that also didn't run out. It was someone's birthday who sponsored, but from my understanding, they often have kiddushim like this. Afterwards, we walked to The Shul a block away, which is the Chabad shul (yes, it has a great name ::)) initially because we thought we'd need both kiddushim to get full, but we were already full, so this was to check it out. However, they still had plenty of davening left, so we decided not to hang around and just go back to the hotel. We slept a ton and woke up in time for Mincha/Marriv and havdala at the YI.

For dinner Motzai Shabbos, we went to Rustiko. While the store gave off a very cool vibe, the menu was completely foreign to us - lots of weird dishes that we weren't willing to try. Instead, we each got the mac 'n cheese appetizer (which tasted like... mac 'n cheese), split the mozzarella sticks (which were not good) and got some milkshake type drink. Total $70. We were disappointed, but should have done more research ahead of time to know they had a unique menu. About 15 minutes after we arrived, the place got packed, as apparently all the restaurants did, which I found out is usual for Motzai Shabbos here. Get to your restaurant early.



Afterwards, we went across the street to Serendipity, a small ice cream shop. It's a cute place with interesting flavors, and for those who don't often get to have fresh ice cream, it's nice to have the option, but in our opinion, the ice cream wasn't that amazing. It's about $4 for a scoop. Would we go back? Probably, but it didn't live up to the hype of "you have to try Serendipity." Those people should go to Denver and try Bonnie Brae. ;D


At this point, I don't think I need to tell you when a photo isn't mine


Sunday
We started Sunday with free breakfast again and then went to the beach. There was barely anyone around at 9am.








Back of the hotel. Only the center building is the hotel, the 2 side wings are residences

For lunch, we went to Cina Citte Caffe where we ate outside. Now here was a place we liked! Normal pasta dishes and apps, lava cake for dessert. We may be classic, but we know what we like... And $70 for a full meal, was much better than the previous night.



We checked out of the hotel, leaving our bags by reception and went swimming again. Afterwards, we were able to shower and pack up in the spa. We booked a Lyft (cheaper than Uber) back to the airport for $27. Crazy how different it can be from the $70 we paid on the way in. The flight back went smoothly, we picked up our sleeping daughter from my mom - who handled being away from us just fine b"h! - and went home after a super relaxing, yummy, convenient Shabbos getaway!

December 26, 2018, 03:07:09 PM
4
Re: Miami Weekend Getaway with @Yehuda
from a kashrus point of view, to use the regular bowl for the cereal for the hotel is considered fine?
also when i had breakfast there, they also showed me the pan that was set aside for kosher...
i told them it wasnt good enough for me, so they got me a brand new pan, i took off all the stickers and tags on it.
and they let me go behind to turn on the flame..
cracked eggs straight into pan.
used plastic spoon to finish making omlet
then they let me take the pan up to my room, so i could bring it down for the rest of the stay...
Yes, my Rav says it's okay.
That's awesome though!

December 26, 2018, 05:22:23 PM
1
Re: Iceland Master Thread
How many days/nights are recommended to do Iceland? Is 4 days 3 nights enough or need more?
Depends how much you want to do. See my TR where I did 6 days, 5 nights. You could technically skip things like the volcano and Westman Islands and do the rest in 4 days.

December 26, 2018, 05:27:58 PM
1
Re: Miami Weekend Getaway with @Yehuda
$250-$325.
Although I don't think are too many more left since the card doesn't allow signups anymore. And I think it stopped offering free nights for the signups bonus a while ago.

I also think that in early 2019 MT is supposed to announce higher categories, and this hotel will likely be in them, making it not bookable with certs. @Redbull3

December 26, 2018, 05:50:01 PM
1
Re: South Florida Master Thread Aren't Rita's ices pareve? That's what their famous for. The custard is eh. The awesome ices flavors are what's special.
December 30, 2018, 09:04:20 AM
1
Re: Hawaii Master Thread: General Questions And Which Island To Visit?
Going back to Hawaii but it's been a few years. Is Pomegranate the way to go still? Are there other options in the NY area?

TIA!
Most people seem to still use them, but 5T people often use Traditions and NJ people often use Noah's Ark. You can really also just use any place's takeout counter. Most will double wrap for you.

December 30, 2018, 08:54:07 PM
1
Re: Where Are You Posting From Now? SR BOB
I have never wanted to cry checking out of a hotel before.
Thank you Dan for creating this place to learn how to make something like this possible.

January 17, 2019, 09:24:52 PM
2
Re: South Florida Master Thread
Kosh or backyard bbq what’s better  Friday night meal? The shul way to go for Shabbos day ? They have meal or just kiddush
Haven't found anyone yet who's tried both. Both YI and The Shul have kiddushes almost every week it seems. The kiddushes are large enough (incl Challah) you don't need lunch.

February 06, 2019, 06:41:27 PM
1
Re: Cruise Lines and Experiences I know a couple in their 60s that went and thought it was amazing.
February 07, 2019, 11:51:02 AM
1
Re: Tallest peak in the alps- Shortest TR Nice trip report, thanks for writing it up! Looks beautiful. And thanks for showing me pictures of why I will never go to paragliding.  ;D
February 20, 2019, 12:35:19 PM
3
Re: From the Parthenon to the Eiffel Tower to the Canals, a week across Europe Very nice TR! Thanks for taking the time to post,especially with pictures! Looks like a beautiful and enjoyable trip. Glad you liked BA"Ghetto Milky and the recommendation!
March 07, 2019, 02:35:55 PM
2
Re: Paris Master Thread
I'm flying to the US via CDG and due to a flight change we have a 9 hr stopover in CDG.  I'm looking for a hotel near the airport to crash in with my wife and 6 kids while we wait.  Recommendations? I have an assortment of miles but have never used to book a hotel.
use awardmapper.com

April 15, 2019, 12:45:30 PM
1
Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread I used a DSU to upgrade to a Club Corner Suite in the regular tower, so I also had a hot tub on the porch. All the pools attached to rooms are shared by a few rooms and not private at all, so I don't see the excitement of those (especially considering that the main pools are right outside the hotel and were mostly empty when I was there. Butler didn't entice me enough to settle for a smaller room in turquoise over the suite in the club tower.
May 20, 2019, 09:17:21 PM
1
Re: James Holzhauer Very cool, thanks for posting that video.
May 30, 2019, 04:01:01 PM
1
Re: Smart homes
this is what I have
I have 2 separate Nests
1 for AC and 1 for Heat
they both wok off the same app
its not that big a deal
Thank you!!

I believe (but not 100% sure) that there might be a way to add wireless controls to your HVAC. I don't believe that Ecobee/Nest are compatible, but Honeywell might have some thermostats that support this.

When I say wireless, I mean that you hard wire the controls into a wireless transmitter in your HVAC room, and then your thermostat connects wirelessly. Your best bet might be to call nest, honeywell or ecobee to see if they have a solution for this that they support. You'd only need it for one of the two systems, as you could wire in one thermostat, and then wire in the wireless receiver to it as well. i.e. - You put the new thermostat where your current A/C thermostat is, then add a wireless transmitter to your heating wires and a wireless receiver to the heating control inputs on your new thermostat.
Thanks for this idea. I'll be getting a quote from my electrician this week I hope. If he's more than $200 to rewire, I'll just buy a second thermostat.

July 16, 2019, 04:15:34 PM
1
Re: Smart homes Update:
My electrician said it isn't possible to wire the 2 systems together. My HVAC guy said you wouldn't want to. When they're 2 separate systems, you want the AC thermostat to be upstairs where it's hotter and you want the heat thermostat to be downstairs where it's colder. While that makes sense, I'm a bit confused as to how a single system works - the thermostat can only be in 1 place. Nowadays you can say that the sensors help, but before smart thermostats, did the old systems also have sensors throughout the house?

July 29, 2019, 01:43:37 PM
1
Re: Niagara Falls Master Thread Beautiful!
August 23, 2019, 07:13:54 AM
1
Re: Split Disney + Shouldn't it be $36?
September 05, 2019, 11:58:36 AM
2
Re: Citi reconsideration
Applied for a Citi card last night. Got the 7-10 message. Is this pretty much an instant decline?

Here's the message I received. "Thank you for your Citi ThankYou® Premier Card application. We're still reviewing it. Depending on how quickly we're able to process your information, we may post a decision here in 24 hours, so feel free to check back then. We'll be in touch in approximately 7-10 days via mail or email with a decision."
Got this message today. Called recon, they asked a few verification questions and approved.

October 17, 2019, 03:39:58 PM
2
Re: Smart homes
You are also missing the point of the remote sensors. You are correct in saying that if you choose all of them in the comfort setting it will avg all of them together. However, this is the way I use it. During the day I have it focus on the thermostat and a remote sensor in the living room. At night I have it look only at the sensors in the bedrooms. This way I avoid heating the dining room when no one is there.
That is very interesting. I didn't know it works like that. My bedrooms get too hot, so it would be nice at night to have it only use the bedroom sensor. Thank you!

November 11, 2019, 10:08:53 PM
1
Re: Where Are You Posting From Now? DansDeals South
February 13, 2020, 09:45:48 AM
2
Re: Corona Destinations This is insane and I can’t believe brooklyn or lakewood people would be okay with it, after they went crazy with shuls closing. HINT: if your Rav says your shul has to be closed, and you can’t daven with a minyan to the ribbono shel olam, you shouldn’t be traveling to a “nicer” place to live our your quarantine.
May 05, 2020, 08:13:14 AM
4
Re: Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip Nice report - glad you had such a good time and gave me plenty of ideas for future trips, although I have yet to make it as far as Aspen/Maroon Bells but I hope to. Thanks for including pictures!
December 08, 2020, 03:08:17 PM
1