United Airlines and Dorchester Hotels New York and Los Angeles
26th October to 3rd November
United Airlines Business Class
Airlines use counter A and B for check-in in Sydney. Counter A is for First Class, Business Class and 1K passengers. Counter B is for Economy Class. They also use the Air New Zealand lounge which was quite busy but very comfortable. On board I was seated in a backward facing seat on the Upper deck of a Boring 747-400. My only complaint with this aircraft type is the air gets so dry but that’s at the fault of Boeing, not United. Coming home from LA I was in a forward facing seat on the upper deck.
The on board service was very professional. The seat when in the bed position was very comfortable, with enough space to turn over easily. I slept a good nine hours after taking two pills to try and do so! After take-off from both Sydney and Los Angeles, a dinner service is offered. There are hot snacks available throughout the flight and about an hour out of San Francisco, a hot breakfast was served too. I have no complaints at all about the quality of the food or beverages that were served. The crew were continually checking the cabin and kept topping up glasses of water.
The flights across America were operated by a Boeing 757 3 class aircraft offering United Premium Service. I was seated in Business Class with more leg room than on the International flights! Much alike to the other flights, a very professional cabin crew made the journey as comfortable as possible. On this aircraft they hand out digi-players, which had the full range of United’s very comprehensive audio and video to watch. Some worked and some didn’t, much to the crew’s embarrassment. Mine worked. I was amazed on arrival at JFK International Airport how small the terminal is that United use (and oddly share with British Airways and Cathay Pacific).
New York: THE CHATWAL, A SHERATON LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL
130 WEST 44TH STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10036 USA
Contact Gemma Keating, Director of Sales and Marketing: email@example.com
We finally arrived at this hotel 23 hours after leaving Sydney and nearing midnight (New York time). A very discreet entrance leads you into a beautiful art deco two-story space (I actually felt like I was back on board Queen Mary 2). The hotel is small having only 50 rooms and 26 suites. The entire 10th floor can be booked as the Barrymore Suite (4,500 square feet, Three King bedrooms, One Double). The Barrymore Suite offers the exclusive use of the Penthouse floor with four spacious guest-rooms, two sitting and dining rooms, two kitchenettes, four full bathrooms, the master with an oversized Jacuzzi bath and raindrop shower. The private outdoor space includes a private heated outdoor terrace and a 1,000 square foot roof deck overlooking 44th Street.
My room on the 8th floor was very comfortable. Apart from the Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore, I have never seen so much detail in a room fit out. Deep burgundy leather covered walls, whisper-quiet air conditioning, silk curtains. I only vaguely heard a siren outside in the street on the third night. Tan leather straps on the suitcase rack and bathroom supplies by Asprey of London, the most amazing mini bar with quarter size bottles of spirits and 12 jars of assorted treats. The room grew on me and being welcomed back to the hotel by name each time I walked back into the lobby was delightful.
The bed was very comfortable. I have only two complaints. One is the technology used for the phone (the black console you can see beneath the lamp) that controlled everything including the curtains and air con, I had to call a technician three times as the phone part of the device wouldn’t work. The console screen also glowed brightly and it took quite a bit of button-pushing to work out what button turned the screen off. I am not a great fan of these sort of units. My only other criticism was the very high telephone charges. A three minute call to Sydney cost me $61.00 and a two minute call to a local New York mobile cost me $22.00!
The bathroom was in deep burgundy. The loo did everything except sing – it even had its own remote control and there was a TV hidden in the full length mirror!
We had dinner in the Lamb’s Club restaurant which is the hotel’s only food outlet (all very red and very happening). When we arrived late at night, the two story lobby was filled with the sounds of a jazz singer from the bar on the first floor.
Breakfast was here each morning, the service was very efficient and the staff highly polished. Although, I still haven’t been served tea properly in America. Each morning I had both the New York Times and also a copy of the Australian Newspaper delivered to my room.
The hotel has free wifi and supplies laptops for free to use whilst you are in residence. This was very useful for me as I don’t have a laptop and I could keep on top of my emails.
The Hotel’s location is amazing! You walk out onto the footpath, turn left and after 100 meters you arrive at Times Square. If you turn right, you’re a comfortable seven minute walk to Fifth Avenue.
Overall, I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the Chatwal. It’s a little bit groovy, very discreet and has an amazing bar and restaurant. The best value for me in New York was the hop-on-hop-off double decker sightseeing bus tour! I had prepaid this but Times Square is swarming with people selling tickets for the different companies.
I am not quite sure why the above group were dressed as Statues of liberty, but they were fun! New York was amazing; very clean. I loved the energy and the vibe! Everywhere you look, there’d be a café, a bar, a foodie, a something. A few closing down signs in 5th Avenue were the only signs of any recession. Queues were long for both the 9/11 memorial and the observation deck of the Empire State Building . The temperature was a bit of a shock! Note to self: when packing don’t always believe the 5 day weather forecasts. It got VERY cold and zooming around New York on the top of an Open Double Decker bus became a bit brisk! It even started to snow as we were leaving and we were one of the last flights out of Kennedy before the airport was closed with an unseasonal savage snow storm!
Los Angeles: THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL
9641 Sunset Blvd Beverly Hills
Contact Luz Limperio, Regional Sales Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
On arrival in LA we were met and transferred to the Beverly Hills Hotel. This Hotel is one of the most legendary on the planet and it lived up to the hype. I loved it!
On Saturday evening, we were waiting in the lobby for a site inspection. It was very Hollywood; lots of glamorous gowns and jewels passing by into the ball room for a America’s Top Model or something of the like.
The whole feel of the hotel was special. The staff were amazing; the level of service very high, as I had expected. The hotel is located on 12 acres of grounds where the famous bungalows are. We were only able to see inside one due to high occupancy. The hotel is very discreet about who is staying. We had dinner as a group in the famous Polo Lounge and this is where I had breakfast each morning. My Breakfast bill (which the hotel covered) shows the benefit of booking a Virtuoso Room rate. On day one, I had a pot of tea (served correctly this time, with cold milk) an orange juice and eggs benedict - $68.00. My last morning I had tea, a juice, a fruit plate and pancakes - $48.00.
I stayed in room 235. It was large and very comfortable. I had my own outside terrace to wave at the tour buses as they took photos of me.
The Beverly Hills Hotel also offers a complimentary car service within a three mile radius of the hotel. The car in question is a very smart current model black Mercedes S class limousine. I used this to travel to and from Rodeo drive. I could get used to a personal chauffeur very quickly!
HOTEL BEL AIR
701 Stone Canyon Road
Los Angeles 90077
Contact Luz Limperio, Regional Sales Director: email@example.com
We were very fortunate to be among the first people to visit and inspect the newly reopened Bel-Air Hotel. This hotel is not for everyone (for example, me). I loved the Beverly Hills Hotel, although I was not so keen on the Bel-Air, whereas the rest of the group loved it. The pool area of the Presidential Suite was divine. We were treated to lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s latest restaurant. The man himself joining us at the end of the meal! The level of service during lunch was astounding. The bar area was delightful. Discretion is the byword at this hotel, they asked us not to take photos if a guest was visible. The hotel feels more like a resort within one of the most exclusive residential areas on the planet.