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Messages - @Yehuda

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151
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Venice Master Thread
« on: May 01, 2019, 01:09:09 PM »
ok good to know, do you think Murano/Burano is possible to do on a Friday afternoon from 2:30-6:30? We are staying at the Carnival Palace so I am not sure how long it takes to get there from the water bus stop.
Yes, and worst case you only do one and see it's getting late so you come back. You can use gmaps to estimate walking times.

152
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Venice Master Thread
« on: May 01, 2019, 12:44:19 PM »
So when you said take a taxi you meant a public water bus and if so, where does it stop at?
There's a stop at San Marco - I didn't follow his order either, but airport water bus to San Marco probably takes an hour.

153
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Venice Master Thread
« on: May 01, 2019, 12:43:40 PM »
If you are not checking into any hotel, using a taxi from airport, taking a water bus to marco square, 11:35 should definitely doable
+1 checking into a hotel near San Marco might be possible also.

154
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Newark shul
« on: April 30, 2019, 01:30:03 PM »
Thanks. It's already within 24 hours so I already checked in

Question is how late can i arrive even if checked in.
I think he meant - check in and drop your bags, then go to Shul. If all that is done and you have TSA Precheck - let's say davening ends at 7 and you Uber and arrive at 7:15. I'd think you can make it.

155
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Teaneck, NJ
« on: April 30, 2019, 11:14:47 AM »
Mocha Bleu Review (no pics)

This was our 3rd attempt to try Mocha Bleu as they don't take reservations for parties of 2, and are always fully booked.

What wins here is the most important part of any restaurant - the food was great, particularly the french onion soup and the mint chocolate chip milkshake.

However, there were 4 very big downsides:
1) The place was freezing. It was February, there was snow on the ground and you could feel the air conditioner. We were not the only ones wearing coats inside.
2) The cost of several items was higher on the receipt than it was on the menu. Shameful to not update your menu or warn the customer that you haven't updated the prices yet.
3) Tip was not only mandatory and included on your receipt, but it was 20%! Everyone has their own tipping strategy/mindset, but personally 20% is when a waiter/ess goes above and beyond.
4) Desserts, which sound super yummy, are all pareve. I don't get it. A dairy restaurant has the unique ability to do amazing things with desserts - starting with the basic of all - desserts taste better when they're dairy!! And guess what? They're not good. Worse than even fleishig restaurants. I couldn't believe it.

Went to Mocha Bleu again last night. Made a reservation online easily - the place was almost empty. Some thoughts:
1) It was so cold again. Fortunately, others complained and they turned off the AC at some point. Apparently they also complained that it was too loud, and the music was turned off - fine with me!
2) We went in remembering the 20% mandatory tip, so the final price was more in line with what we were expecting. My wife and I had different prices in our menus. lolz

Food:
Poutine Fries were GREAT! The gravy and cheese reminded me a lot of french onion soup and having fries in it instead of soggy bread was YUM.
Mac n Cheese - good
Penne ala Vodka - classic and very good (ask for more parmesan when the first batch runs out :P)
Vanilla Bean Mocha Blend - gross. I mean just gross. Perhaps I don't know what this should taste like, but we were hoping for a vanilla frappuccino type of drink like you might get at Starbucks. This tasted like bitter milk. We asked them to put in more vanilla, and I think they remade the drink. It still had no flavor. $8 ugh.
Avoided desserts, despite how pretty they look.

We're going to keep going back - apps and pastas are good, will stick to milkshakes and smoothies. And will bring a winter coat next time or have the courage to ask them to lower the air.

156
On The Road / Re: Marriot Bonvoy to Compete with AirBnB
« on: April 30, 2019, 09:37:11 AM »
I didn't realize Marriott already had this in a few select cities - https://www.tributeportfoliohomes.com/

Looks like there the point redemptions are valued at .004

157
Just Shmooze / Re: Where Are You Posting From Now?
« on: April 28, 2019, 03:59:14 PM »
Bonnie Brae

158
Trip Reports / Re: @Yehuda's Trips to DEN
« on: April 25, 2019, 03:54:27 PM »
Pesach 2019
We just got back from 2 days up in the Rockies, so wanted to do a quick post. 8 months ago, @MosheD pointed out a glitch to me at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek where all suites were pricing out at regular room rates ($175 + $35 resort fee). While I visit Colorado a few times a year, it was hard to jump on this nonrefundable deal without knowing specific dates that would work. I've been dreaming of visiting the PHBC ever since I got into miles and was dating a Denver girl, so I'm glad @benjie1305 encouraged me to pull the trigger, booking 2 suites (the top 2 - Rial Oxford and James Chadwick) for the 1st night of Chol Hamoed Pesach. We almost didn't come to Denver for the 1st days, but everything worked out in the end, so the trip was on! The email confirmation was worded weirdly, and it looked like the Rial came with 2 bedrooms, but luckily I called to confirm a few weeks in advance and found out that no, it only had 1 bedroom. We needed a 3rd room, so we booked a standard room for the same $175 as the suites. They wouldn't upgrade the room to be a connecting room to one of the suites since those are premium / mountain-facing rooms, but on the morning of, I called up and they put through the upgrade.

We left Denver on Monday morning and headed up I-70. The views did not disappoint.



We passed by Loveland...



and Copper...



saw some more gorgeous mountains...



passed by Vail...



and a little more than 2 hours after we left, we made it!


Rear view of the PH from Beaver Creek Village

The lobby started renovations a week ago, so it was mostly closed off and checkin took place in the concierge area. I really love the cabin-y feeling of these mountain hotels.



We went up to check out the Rial Oxford Suite with its huge living/dining room!










Next to the TV was a closet with... another TV :P that was hooked up to an Xbox


Half bath in hallway

There was a kitchenette which was a simple, separate room with a fridge, microwave, sink and counter space. Perfect for our needs. The master bedroom and bathroom were giant.











The 2nd bedroom had 2 double beds and its own bathroom.







The view from the porch was gorgeous - looking over the ski slope and gondola, which were closed already for the season. Following the rest of the suite, the porch was way larger than your average porch.




And that's only half of it!



The porch also looked out over the hotel grounds including the pool, hot tubs, playground and fire pit.







Up next was the James Chadwick suite, which is on the floor above (only 4 floors at the hotel).









After having some lunch, we went out for a 2 mile hike/walk from Beaver Creek down to Avon. The path was paved and ran alongside the road we had taken up from Avon not too long before. Parts of the path were still snow covered, and we got some great views.




Filter disclaimer


Countries that sent players to some ski event in 1999

Walking with a toddler, it probably took close to an hour and a half. At the bottom we waited a few minutes for a free shuttle that took us back up to Beaver Creek. At the hotel, we changed and headed down to the pool. Unfortunately, despite them saying it was heated to 85 degrees, it certainly did not feel like it. Some of the family braved it anyway, but it was probably 50 degrees outside, so I passed. Only one of the 5 hot tubs was open, and it was hot, but I stayed indoors with our daughter.





The next morning, we took a walk around Beaver Creek Village, another very pretty mountain town. It was a ghost town as we're in shoulder season - barely anyone around and most shops closed. Fortunately we found 1 place open to get a shot glass ;)




Melted ice rink in the background





We then packed up, checked out and drove 15 minutes to Vail where we ate lunch by the fountain before walking over to the Betty Ford Botanical Gardens. The garden was mostly covered by snow still, so we didn't walk around, but there was a really nice playground there where we stayed for a while.





After a while there, we got in the car and drove back to Denver. It was a great trip up to the mountains. The next two days, my wife took our daughter to the Denver Zoo and the Children's Museum of Denver. The Children's Museum was very interactive and our daughter had a great time. While I didn't get to go, the word is it's highly recommended! Until next time...

159
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Spain Master Thread
« on: April 24, 2019, 12:43:29 PM »
Recommendations for a 2-3 day trip with a toddler? Planning to do NYC-BCN-LON-NYC and spend roughly Monday PM-Thurs early AM in BCN, and then Thursday PM-Tuesday AM in London.
Can do BCN in 1-2 days, then maybe hop over to MAD for a day. I liked Madrid better, but BCN has the Kosher food, which is huge.

160
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Amsterdam Master Thread
« on: April 24, 2019, 12:41:06 PM »
Hacarmel, I agree to skip. In 2014 they didn't take credit cards, so I had to leave and find an ATM, plus the food was nothing special. It's annoying that the food is mostly in the Jewish community. I got lucky that Sal Meijer was still open and in town when I went, so it sufficed for lunch.

Pizza and Co was some of the best pizza I ever had. We were also the only ones in the store, so it just took the normal time it takes to make a pie from scratch, but no extra waiting time.

You don't have the Jewish museum on there (right across the street from Portuguese Synagogue. It's not all that exciting, but there's a bunch of old shul remnants that are nice to see.

Flower Market is a big skip. I mean you might pass through it on your way to something, but it's not a destination in itself, just a bunch of random shops with flowers and garden tchatchkes.

161
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Amsterdam Master Thread
« on: April 19, 2019, 08:02:56 PM »
When I was there, the line to buy tickets was enormous. Line with pre-purchased online tickets was nonexistent; went right in.

162
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Colorado Master Thread
« on: April 18, 2019, 07:07:34 PM »
Just as an update-

Ended up going driving straight to beaver creek (I spoke to my doctor, he said that I should be fine- but in case i can take Diamox (acetazolamide starting one day before my trip and continue taking it- this medicine will help acclimate to the altitude. I took one pill and had the side affects of dizziness, nausea, and increase urination, so i quickly stopped the medicine (so no help from the medicine). We were fine during the trip. We had no issues (even without the medicine). the drive up is very pretty and I can see why people had issues driving since there are points that you reach altitudes over 11,000ft ranging from 8k-11k. but the ritz at beaver creek was only at 8,500 ft.
Over all we had a great time! the Ritz there was very nice (very friendly and helpful). I did a local hiking there, checked out vail a little, and also did the hanging lake hike about an hour west from beaver creek.- this was an intense hike (it even warns you several times that it is intense) but totally worth the view. The hike itself was also very fun and adventurous.

hope this helps!
Glad you had a nice time and felt good the whole time! Also nice to see a report on the Ritz, hadn't seen anything here before. Any pics you can upload?

163
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Paris Master Thread
« on: April 15, 2019, 12:45:30 PM »
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

164
On The Road / Re: St. Regis Bal Harbour Florida Shabbos stay.
« on: April 12, 2019, 11:00:31 AM »
Call the front desk. They come to the room and unscrew the bulbs. They also turn off the sensors from their office. It works for the balcony door, too.
Nice! The only other data point I heard was someone got an engineer into the room, and he couldn't figure it out.

165
On The Road / Re: St. Regis Bal Harbour Florida Shabbos stay.
« on: April 11, 2019, 04:08:55 PM »
From my TR:

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.

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