Review Of Hotel Max Seattle: You Could Rent a Minivan It’d be Cheaper and Larger

February 22nd, 2011

Because of the huge amount of Social Media outreach that Jen over at Hotel Max does, I decided to give it a try.  Described as a “hip boutique hotel” with “Fab Service” I would have to say it is more like Tiny Hotel, with a miserable failure for service.  I review a lot of Hotels, but this one is by far the worst.

While the hotel gets some points for allowing me and Nala to check in early, (noon) we were initially greeted with “Are you sure you have the right hotel?”  I had booked by phone an hour earlier, and HotelRes.com’s Kenny did a great job on the phone being courteous nice, and very helpful, he even called HotelMax to confirm that it was ok to have my cat, Nala, but when arriving with my large bag and cat carrier, I said “I’m checking in” and the response was not, “Welcome to Hotel Max can I get your name” it was “Are you sure you have the right hotel?” followed by an insistence that I didn’t have a reservation, despite having a confirmation email on my phone.

The Room is Tiny.  Really Tiny.  There is no where in the room I can’t touch opposite walls.  The Bathroom is so small that if were to close the door while sitting on the toilet I could rest my head on it.  The Shower is a separate water closet.Review Of Hotel Max Seattle

The art on the wall is stuff you’d pick out at a starving artists show.  Not the “hip art filled” promise of the website, and the art piece in my room doesn’t even do what the Ritz does with it’s local artisans (who might also be starving artists), putting a plaque with the name of the artist and a biography of them or relevant information about the subject.  Instead I have a name and a title, and I’m not sure the name even matches what is signed on the picture.

The Hotel Internet Speed test at less than 1 megabit, despite “Wi-Fi everywhere” I am using my cell phone’s access point as that allowed me to watch Hulu where the Hotel’s internet would not.

There are no drawers to unpack clothes too, so you have to live out of your suit case.  The Drawers are instead filled with $6 Pringles and other over priced snacks.

It is snowing in Seattle as I write this, and the window Air Conditioner/ Heating Unit can’t keep up with the cold. The room is a toasty 66 degrees, despite the heat being set to 76.  When the heat kicks on the TV goes off, and the lights dim.  There is only one open outlet, and only if you unplug a lamp. So charging your cell phone and your laptop at the same time is not going to happen unless you brought your own power strip (like I do).

The Linens on the bed are supposed to be extra luxurious, but are no better than those at the extended stay.  They are a cotton sateen with striping.  Not cozy, and not silky, they are a muddied blend of the two.  Made worse by the fact that the duvet had a large stain on it.  Hotel Max Seattle Review

I wouldn’t sit in the office chair, it had a white stain front and middle on it.  I can only imagine what created that stain.  The black wool cover would not leave anything to the imagination so I used one of only 2 towels provided to the room to cover the chair so I could get some work done.

So why am I still here? Well I thought I should give it a full night since I doubted that I would get my money back if I left, especially since after my 16 hour drive from the bay I really wanted a shower and was willing to pay the $109 for that.

Which brings me to the last thing that annoys me.  This is not a good deal. When I stayed in Tokyo I stayed in a room smaller than this, but with a bathroom down the hall.  That room was $40 a night.  Le Parc I get a bathroom larger than this entire room, plus 2 other “rooms” double the size of the “Max” room, and for the same price per night in West Hollywood.  The Westin 2 Blocks down the street is $20 more per night list, and $20 less per night as a HotWire.com booking.

While I haven’t formally reviewed it, the Roosevelt 2 blocks away it $10 less an night list, and is far superior by every metric, except selection of “Spiritual Reading” which the Hotel Max has a book for everything from Dianetics to Mormonism, in case you forgot you personal copy, or need something to burn in the room in place of the underwhelming window heater.  In any event I won’t be recommending the Hotel Max to anyone I like in the near future.

Travel

The Beverly Hills Hotel Ups The Tech In The Presidential Bungalows

February 8th, 2011

Our next stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel should be a little more like Home for Diz and me.  Diz is constantly frustrated at How Hard it is to get the Xbox to hook in to the flat screens in most hotels.  The Beverly Hills Hotel Presidential Bungalows however are about to be upgraded with Bang & Olufsen home theatre components in virtually every room, complete with a 65-inch flat-screen HD plasma TV, BluRay/DVD player and input for game consoles. Each room will have a sound system with built-in-speakers including the outdoor spaces, as well as mirror inlaid with TV and sound system in the Master Bath and high-touch technology with an easy-to-use remote control for lights, drapes, fireplaces and media options.  This should make taking a luxurious bath for two much nicer with dimmed lights and soft high quality music.

I wear earplugs when I swim, but for a fish like Diz the underwater speakers in the private pool, as well as TV and MP3 Player in the outdoor exercise area should be fun.The Beverly Hills Hotel Ups The Tech In The Presidential Bungalows

I have never felt security was an issue, but the Presidential Bungalows will also feature a full alarm system, including a camera near the exterior of the front entrance, where you can see who is at the door from a small TV monitor.

Reservations can be booked now for arrival beginning Mid-April. Rates range from $9,000 to $12,000 per night.  These upgrades won’t be quite ready for our annual trip down for Night of 100 Stars, but perhaps we will find another excuse to visit.

No word on if they upgraded the Internet at the Beverly Hills which typically is very slow compared with home, or other hotels we visit. (Yes, I know I am not supposed to work when I’m there, but I do)

Travel

This is Love

November 19th, 2010

Just a random pic Diz took with my phone of her and Nala cuddling on the couch. Have you ever seen a cat look so happy.

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Yes, that is the couch in the Extended Stay we are crashing at.

Seemingly Random

Review of The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

November 19th, 2010

We recently stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.  If you follow Robert Scoble you know he lives very near there and walks over to hang out in their restaurant.  So, once you get over the fact that you might take a vacation to get away from it all, and run in to Robert, the Ritz Carlton is a nice place.

We got a double, with a view of the ocean that was nice.  They insisted on turning on the “fireplace channel” on the TV every time they came through.

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The rooms are an ok size, they vary quite a bit based on price, if you pony up there are rooms with their own patios and fire-pits.

The restaurant is pretty good, and they were very accommodating several times when I showed up late and ordered odd combinations of food.

There is no place other than the restaurant to buy a soda. The front desk was really great and got me a few bottles of Coke, which was very nice of them, and they just magically showed up in my room with a nice note.  (Thank you Pearl).

We didn’t try the bath tub, but it looked amazing. The bathroom had interesting art by local artists which was cool, and there were lots of little details through out the hotel that made this a great place to meander around.

2010-10-18 19.19.13The Golf course is amazing, the fog is a nice additional challenge, that really helped make my game a bit more on par with those I was playing. 

I lived in the Ritz in Marina Del Ray for 2 months, and I have to say that the rooms are nicer in Marina Del Ray, but the staff at Half Moon Bay were amazing.

We had a great time, there was an event the first evening that was a bit loud for 2 hours, but other than that the stay was flawless, we live too close to Half Moon Bay to really vacation there again soon, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Ritz Carlton to anyone who wants to Surf, or Golf in Half Moon Bay.

Travel

My R56 Mini Gets a Much Needed Upgrade

April 14th, 2010

I’ll try and remember to get some pictures, but she needs a bath first.  My Mini Cooper S just got a much needed upgrade.  Rather than the John Cooper Works 205 18×7 Rims with a 35 tire on them, I upgraded to a set of 215s at 18x8x40 this makes the tire a bit thicker which took a lot of the “ox cart” feel that Diz hated (I just disliked) and gives the car a much smoother ride.  The wider tires grip like nothing I can explain.  I wend from GoKart handling to F1 handling.  The car just grips curves to the point I could put Diz in my lap going around a corner.

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I’m really happy with the setup, and TireRack.com was very helpful with helping me pick out the rim and tire combination. I ended up with MOTEGI RACING SP10 and the Continental Xtreme All Weather.   Yeah I know I was running a racing compound before, but you know what I have more grip and I won’t go through tires as fast, and when I hit snow in Tahoe I won’t fear for my life.  That is all worth something to me.

Oh and Diz’s new complaint. The ride is too quiet she can hear the “whoosh of the turbo”.   We just do the car talk thing and turn the radio up.

Cars

John Corbett of Sex and the City and Diz Heat It up on the Red Carpet

April 14th, 2010

Diz looks like an elf next to the very tall John Corbett.  Diz was swooning over him, and he was gracious enough to pose twice with her since the first time I messed up the picture.  That’s ok this pic has a nicer back drop.

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Seemingly Random

Our Stay at the Beverly Hilton Oscar Night

April 14th, 2010

Diz and I did our annual pilgrimage to Beverly Hills to Co-Produce the Night of 100 Stars, and while the event is at the Beverly Hills Hotel, we stayed this year at the Beverly Hilton.

The Beverly Hilton is a great hotel, with good dining, great location, and all the amenities you would expect. I had a small grip that the expensive bottled water blocked the view of the TV.

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But we had a nice room with a great view that was quiet, and had all the things you’d expect.

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Though Diz and I had a conversation about the lack of a Tub.  It’s not that we take baths all that often (as opposed to showers, but after standing in heels all day Diz would have liked to soak her feet at the end of it.CIMG5495

Yes that is a little TV in the Bathroom.   Something I could live with out, but it was an interesting idea… I mean Mark Cuban does it, so if he does why shouldn’t the Hilton.

Travel

American Airlines Makes Holiday Travel Go From Bad To Worse

January 4th, 2010

Visiting my Parent’s in Michigan is always hard, they live a long ways from the nearest airport, and prefer to pick me up at Toledo (TOL) because the airport is easy to get in and out of by car.  This limits my flying options, because American Eagle is about your only choice if you are going anywhere other than Florida from there.  American Airlines made the travel even worse than usual while flying on Christmas Eve.

I left San Jose (SJC) early on the 24th, and I travel pretty light, a roller carry-on, and a back pack. Boarding San Jose, to Chicago (ORD) the girl at the podium calls "if any passengers would like to change to an exit row seat please approach the podium". Turns out two gentlemen had asked for a wheel chair, and as they were sitting in an exit row you can’t have a wheel chair.  When the gentlemen learned that they wouldn’t be sitting together if they moved, they said, they could live with out the wheel chair, but it might be good to have one at the other end.

At this point the Attendant should not have let them keep their seats, if we crashed and they had to pop the exit door I would not want to trust that the guy with heart palpitations who can’t make it up the Jet Bridge to have to open the door to let us out.  But she caved and let him keep his seat.  I wasn’t going to make a scene so I let it go, and just came to terms that I was likely to die in Lake Michigan.

I realize the DET Nigerian Terrorist made flying back bad, so I flew with just my backpack.  Put my net book some jeans and my Zune in it, and started for home.

On the Chicago to Toledo leg of the trip I got stuck next to a woman who didn’t fit in her seat with the arm rest down.  She was clearly large enough to require two tickets.

On the return trip, Toledo to Chicago on New Years day I got stuck next to just a 6 year old who’s mom was 6 rows up.  I like kids, I was a Camp director, but why are mom and dad sitting next to each other and I’m stuck with little Denis the Menace?  This may be the "parents" fault but I don’t care you shouldn’t be able to have a kid that age sit by them self with a stranger.

Chicago to LAX was over sold, and I was asked to valet my back pack.  Since my Laptop was there for entertainment, and because I didn’t trust it in the frigid checked compartment, I took just it on the plane.

20 minutes before landing the Steward told me I needed to store my laptop in the seat back pocket.  I complied and sat quietly… When we touched ground the pilot announced the local time and I realized that boarding had already started for my flight from LAX to SJC and that I had to catch a shuttle to the other terminal so I needed to move.  I left my new Netbook in the seat back pocket.

When I got to the Gate I realized what I had done.  Reported it to the attendant who told me to call lost and found, which was closed.  Then she tried to call to the other gate, but no one was there.  I waited to the last possible moment (2 minutes) and then boarded for SJC.

American’s Lost and Found is only open from 8:30 to 3:30 and is close for an hour for lunch.  They are also closed on weekends.  Making them pretty much worthless.  I will continue trying to call them, but next time, I will fly anyone other than American Airlines, because "adjustable headrests for my added comfort" doesn’t make up for having less legroom than Virgin or Jet Blue, lacking Internet on any of the flights I was on, and having incompetent attendants at the gate podiums.

Travel

My Next Car Might Be a 2011 Lexus LFA

November 7th, 2009

Diz and I hit the Tokyo Auto show, and while for the most part being from Michigan I prefer the Detroit Motor Show, but you take what you can get.  At the Tokyo Show most of what you get is cars for midgets (Diz felt right at home) {I love you}.

Diz has been much more of a Lexus fan than I have over the years, and I didn’t think I’d ever think they were more than prettied up Toyotas.  Then this.

2011 Lexus LFA2011 Lexus LFA by Toyota

The Lexus LFA is not just a "Prettied up Toyota" it is a race car built buy Toyota with enough safety equipment to be street legal, and enough luxury to to be a Lexus.

Price: About $400,000
Drivetrain: 4.8-liter, 554-hp, 354-lb-ft, normally aspirated V10; RWD, six-speed automatic
Curb Weight: 3,256 lb
0-62 mph: 3.7 sec

As Diz Pointed out that is only 1.5 seconds faster to 60 than the Mini I drive around the track now. Or as I pointed out 30% faster.  (that resonated a bit better).

The Lexus LFA doesn’t really have a Super Car Sound, which I could go either way on. Oddly Lexus didn’t give me a test drive, but if some one in Toyota Marketing reads this, Diz and I would love to take this car for a spin.

Cars

NPR’s Eton Radio With Out The Donation

October 26th, 2009

Don’t tell the guys at NPR, but rather than making a donation in my Mom’s name to get her a radio like the one I got, I just picked one up from a site online.  I got an Eton radio when I contributed to KQED, but my mom wanted one so instead of ponying up during a pledge drive I got her the Eton FR350 Self-Powered Water Resistant AM FM Shortwave Radio w/ Flashlight, Siren & Cell Phone Charger in Camouflage, from UnityElectronics instead.

Eton FR350 Self-Powered Water Resistant AM FM Shortwave Radio w/ Flashlight, Siren & Cell Phone Charger, Camouflage, Retail

I should probably feel bad, since I listen to a lot of NPR, but my Mom doesn’t so I figure it works out.

The radio is $29.95, and a great deal.  I really enjoy mine if for no other reason than making Diz turn the crank to charge her Vertu phone.

Personal Electronics