Hyatt Carmel Highlands - Carmel, CA - 5 Stars

We've been to the Hyatt Carmel Highlands before, so we expected the fantastic views and nice accommodations, but this was our first visit since the remodel and change of ownership.  Wow.  Our experience began as we pulled up to the valet, where attendant Bryan was quick to greet us with a smile and point us in the direction of the lobby.  Warm first impression.  Next, up to the lobby.  The recent upgrades were really beautiful.  The Hotel still has the historic charm and character of a property built in 1916, but everything was fresh and new.  At the front desk, Christine was quick to welcome us and check us in.  She told us about the property renovations and offered any kind of assistance we needed during our stay.  She was so friendly, helpful, and genuine.  Brilliant customer service.  Back down to the valet, Bryan had placed our luggage into a golf cart and was quick to drive us to our room.  The grounds were gorgeous.  Spectacular vistas and beautiful gardens.  Upon entering our suite, we discovered we had been upgraded from an ocean front room to a townhouse.  Quite a treat.  The entry floor had a kitchen, living room, full bath, wood-burning fireplace and deck with a stunning view of the coast.  Everything was clearly newly remodeled.  All of the character you would expect but with a modern twist and amenities.  Stone floors, wood accents and earth tone décor.  Down to the lower floor, the master also had ocean views but was highlighted by an in-room spa-tub separated from the main space by a sliding shoji screen wall.  Great touch.  We were impressed.  Again, beautifully appointed and a fantastic comfy bed with high-quality linens.  We tend to be hotel snobs, but these accommodations had everything.  In fact, we called the front desk to see if we could extend our stay for a second night and we’re lucky enough to be able to do so!!!  During our stay, we also visited the bar, lounge, and restaurant.  Again, beautiful, sweeping views of the Big Sur coast, and staff that greeted you with a smile at every turn!  What a wonderful visit to the Carmel Highlands!  We’ll be back soon.  And, I hope you’ll ready my review of their restaurant, California Market at Pacific’s Edge. The same level of excellence!

The Savoy - London, England - 5 Stars

Historic Luxury  It’s no wonder this hotel carries a 5-star rating.   Richly appointed lobby, gorgeous remodeled rooms, and spectacular service.  However, it’s also expensive…. but worthy of the rates.  If you can swing a river-front junior suite, you will be quite amazed.  Stunning décor and furnishings.  His and hers (or his and his or hers and hers to be politically correct) walk in closets.  A massive bath with free standing soaking tub.  And those views…. wow.  Our suite had four sets of windows all overlooking the Thames from the London Eye to Big Ben.  Oh, and did I mention the butler service included with a suite?  Just another level of amazing care in this truly luxurious historic property. 

Waldorf Astoria, The Caledonian - Edinburgh, Scotland - 1 Star

Dismal Dirty Dungeon We booked this hotel through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program. We’ve traveled around the world and never been disappointed by the service…..UNTIL NOW. When we arrived, we immediately knew something was wrong. The lobby was tired and tatty with dirt in the floor corners and open torn boxes behind the front desk. The clerk noted our reservation and assured us we had been upgraded. She was nice enough and escorted us to our room. Down a long long hallway with stained carpets and chipped paint on walls. It was not looking good..but she boasted that we had been placed in a newly remodeled room. When she open the door I immediately smelled a foul odor in a blast of cold air. The room was on the first floor above the trash bins. There were actually gnats buzzing about. But that was just the beginning. The floors, walls, and ceiling were black which made the minuscule room look even smaller than it was. Very depressing and dungeonesque. To make matters worse, the bed was flanked by two pendulum lamps hanging from 6 foot cords that swung about a foot from side to side from the breeze from the ac system. Reminded me of a Cold War interrogation room in an old movie. Horrific. We immediately complained but were told there were no other rooms available. We knew we could not stay in that room so we called American Express. They called the hotel. A half hour later, we were shown another room on the 4th floor. Small also, but a bit brighter and now 3 floors above the trash bins. Less gnats (further for them to fly), but very tired. Rips in the carpet, pealing paint in the bath, a rock hard bed on an awkward 4 inch step up, but we were so tired we accepted the accommodations. It really seemed like a cheap roadside motel room and not the luxury suite we were paying for. I could go on and on with more amusing disturbing tales of our two day sentence at the Caledonian, but I will leave the rest up to your imagination. We will be petitioning American Express to remove this substandard property from their list.

Ritz Carlton - New Orleans, LA - 5 Stars

​From the moment we arrived to the moment we checked-out, The Ritz Carlton New Orleans really did redefine excellence. It started with a cheerful doorman that directed us to the front desk where we met Theresa, the most charming helpful check-in clerk who made us feel welcome and important. She quickly took care of our reservation and even escorted us up to the Club Floor, Maison Orleans, where she introduced us to the Floor staff. Yes, a full team of smartly coiffed professionals who were there to take care of our every need greeted us. Could this be real? We've stayed at some of the finest hotels in the world, but have never had this kind of attention. Tim, Sunday, Scott, and Janice were engaging, attentive, and oh so dedicated to making us feel special. And the Club Floor itself was one of the most well-appointed travel havens we've ever visited. A chef on call with stunning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack service, complimentary served cocktails and even a climate controlled wine tasting bar, all spread over four rooms; a cozy library, a sophisticated parlor, an entertainment refreshment lounge and a dining room with a central circular buffet. All this before we even reached our room which was what you would expect from a five-star hotel, nicely appointed with a luxurious bed and beautiful bath, complete with a large oval jet tub. Perfect. But let's get back to that Club Floor service. Our hostess Sunday (her name) memorized our cocktail preferences upon arrival and was quick to welcome us every time we walked in room with her warm smile and sunny personality. Tim, her co-worker, was also incredibly attentive, as was everyone we met on the Floor. For the four nights we stayed at the Ritz, the hotel and staff really did redefine excellence. It's honestly a reason for us to return to New Orleans. We genuinely enjoyed every minute of our stay and know our next visit will be just as memorable. 

Sailing on the Windstar - Cannes, France - 5 Stars

​Yes, We Cannes! Can't say enough spectacular things about sailing on the Windstar along the French Riviera.  Exceptional service, outstanding cuisine, and lots of memorable moments.  This cruise line never disappoints and is able to sail into many ports of call that the larger ships just can't touch!

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 jim@foodtodish.com
888-942-4274 ext. 701

Palm Springs, California

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