Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Emirates – cash and points (points value ?)
    blenz101

    About 1 cent.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Thursday 5th January
    blenz101

    Dubai to Abu Dhabi and vice versa – Easiest method please and approximate costs.

    will be in AUH in March but look likely I will be flying to or from DXB. Fares to ME are extortionate. I had hoped there might be sale soon.

    If you want cheap then look at Pegasus into Sharjah via a quick stop in Turkey. If you want easy then Emirates or Etihad.

    in reply to: Appalling Qatar customer service
    blenz101

    One reward flight and you are one of their highest margin customers? Guess again. You really need to understand the kind of sums being dropped by GCC residents and nationals. This is the carrier for one of the richest nations per capita on the planet paying cash for F fares regularly.

    I would reign in your expectations claim off your travel insurance and move on. Let your insurer deal with them if they want to recover.

    in reply to: Amex Platinum Daily breakfast for two benefit
    blenz101

    Well the hotel have just offered the minimum they were required to do in order to comply with the offer. Neither they no AMEX have technically done anything wrong.

    Whilst it it true $30 won’t go far it will buy you a very basic breakfast with only a few dollars supplement required for other dishes.

    I’ve stayed in plenty of expensive boutique hotels that consider some well packaged pastries, piece of fruit and a juice box to be an inclusive breakfast so it really isn’t the end of the world to get $60 a day credit.

    Cancel the card if you’re not happy but nobody has done anything ‘wrong’.

    in reply to: Barclays Premier Application and CIFAS Marker
    blenz101

    The bank is just doing its job and complying with its regulatory obligations if something doesn’t stack up.

    I’m very surprised they told you they have placed a CIFAS marker though. In my time working in a similar sphere (insurance) we would never tell the customer anything beyond ‘account has been flagged by one of our internal team for some further investigation before we can proceed’.

    As previously mentioned discrepancies in income can be a red flag.

    in reply to: Wizzair Mykonos flight – route removed
    blenz101

    They had a good season from Abu Dhabi to Mykonos. Shane they can’t make it work elsewhere.

    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101

    Just spoke to them for you as nobody will have experience given they just opened.

    No compulsory gala dinner for hotel guests.

    I would strongly suggest you book one of the bars or restaurants in the hotel if you plan to eat or drink on NYE though. Will be almost impossible to get on or off the palm on NYE so don’t plan to leave.

    Kylie is playing at the Atlantis if that’s your thing although the hotel doesn’t enjoy views in that direction. You will see the fireworks at JBR though.

    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101

    As I know there was a fair bit of interest in this brand new Hilton in Dubai following a stay for the past few days I’ve put a quick summary review together.

    Location: The hotel sits as part of the new West Beach development on the trunk of the Palm Dubai. The development itself is a straight 1.5km promenade home to a wide range of hotels, stand-alone bars and restaurants. For those that know the area Dukes hotel sits at top end of the development and the infamous Five Palm hotel sit at the other end. Hilton West beach sits roughly in the centre over the development and is neighbours to another identically designed Marriott currently under development which is under common ownership. The hotel is resort size in proportion and as such there is no impact from surrounding properties.

    Check in: I had booked a standard king room and was upgraded three days in advance to a sea view one bedroom suite as a Diamond member. Check in was a little slow with staff clearly inexperienced but none the less enthusiastic. I would have thought the hotel would have brought in experienced staff from other properties but they are all seemingly brand new. I checked in at 10.30am without issue and my room was ready.

    The reception area itself is huge and in keeping with other common areas is finished to a very high standard with an art deco design theme throughout. Everything is well sign posted and there are plenty of staff to assist with luggage, valet service and hailing taxis etc.

    Beach: There is currently construction in what appears to be an expansion to casual bar / restaurant Jones the Grocer on the beach and as such there are currently no loungers on the beach itself. There is a notice on the website to this effect. Each hotel on the strip generally has a roped off area on what is effectively a public beach and this hotel will no doubt do the same in the future. Given the weather is still very warm the chilled pool was always going to be my preference so this was no loss.

    Pool: This is the real star of the hotel. The pool must be around 75 meters in length and has a large swim up bar in the centre. Pool staff are excellent, you are escorted to a free lounger which is made up for you, cold towels offered and staff constantly on hand to adjust the shade level. The swim up bar is standard Dubai prices for drinks although the food is very expensive (75 AED for a Shawarma, 100 AED pizzas) and only has one kind of draft beer which they ran out of on the Saturday. There were a lot of day guests using the facilities as Dubai residents are clearly also keen to try out the new property. Aquamats and inflatables are provided and restricted to one area of the pool. There is also a warmer hot tub area as well. Bar staff are also new to their role and currently following printed sheets when making mixed drinks but there are more than enough staff that there is never a wait.

    Room: The one-bedroom suite was amazing with photos on the website being accurate (I do have photos but no idea how to share them). Views are stunning with large wrap around windows although the construction on the beach itself does mar it when looking directly down. A single lounger is provided on one of the two balconies but gets no sun and isn’t ideal for a couple. Toiletries are the standard Crabtree & Evelyn which felt a bit cheap compared to the standard of the property. Perhaps I am just used to getting them in a DoubleTree day room and expected more. Plenty of well thought out plugs and USB-C chargers, a desk, walk in wardrobe, stocked mini-bar, slippers and both bath and walk in shower with rainfall head. Everything was working and there were no teething troubles. I was also given a 7pm checkout on asking for a late checkout.

    Lounge: This is located on the 13th floor and is open. Afternoon tea is 3-5pm and happy hour 6-8pm. The happy hour buffet is on the small side with little option get anything substantial, single dim sum, mini shawarma and mini pies. Drinks are served at your table (no free pour) with a choice of soft drinks, tea/coffee, beers and wine. Staff are currently pouring wine in 100ml free pour measures but were happy to pour double measures when asked. Lounge has great views as you would expect. The only breakfast is currently in the main restaurant but is free for Diamond members.

    Bars / Restaurants: Currently open is the pool bar (zing), main restaurant and Factory by McGettigan’s (in soft launch, branch of the popular Irish bar chain). Claw BBQ (US style dive bar but with Dubai prices) opens this week. Trader Vics, Barfly by Buddha Bar and a Tiki restaurant are all due to open later in October but look complete and no doubt waiting for the tourist season to pick up. Breakfast is a good spread with everything you would expect (Western, Middle East and Asian) but unlike the Hilton JBR, West Beach is halal only currently so its chicken sausage and beef bacon.

    Despite masks still being notionally required indoors in Dubai the hotel was not actively enforcing this (I think the last time I was told to put one on was the Apple Store who remain strict for some reason).

    I hope that has covered most things for those considering staying or with a stay planned. Happy to answer any questions you may have though.

    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101

    Will drop a review here after my stay this weekend, already been upgraded from a standard king to a suite as a Diamond.

    There is now a note on the website about the beach and restaurants. Beach I presume the loungers aren’t yet in place and restaurants as per my previous comment there is no way they are launching them all out of season and has been no local adverting for what is eventually due to be based at the hotel.

    Looking forward to it though!

    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101
    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101

    There is no way it is opening with its full bar and restaurant setup on the 31st. The only bar/restaurant so far is Jones The Grocer.

    If any of the new venues were opening they would have been heavily promoted locally by now in Time Out etc.

    McGettigans are already advertising their World Cup pop up in late November for example but not a word on this latest outlet.

    Not a huge issue and it’s still out of season but be very interested to see if the lounge is ready.

    in reply to: My summer of Hilton resorts in Turkey
    blenz101

    @JohnG on the vegetarian point the chef who lets face it is unlikely to be much more than a line cook preparing a set rotating buffet of food literally asked what the OP wanted to eat but this wasn’t good enough, the chef should be coming up with menus to specifically cater for one guest, at a double tree!

    To be that is behaving like an ass.

    And frankly, I don’t for a second believe options were not available. Never been to a buffet in the world that had meat in every salad, didn’t offer plain pasta or French fries for this kids.

    in reply to: My summer of Hilton resorts in Turkey
    blenz101

    I’m really surprised at the reaction from readers here. To me I think the OP sounds like the ass and his expectations and sense of entitlement were the issue.

    It’s a DT in a relatively poor country. From going in and ‘waving at staff’ to get his bags, shouting at the service staff in the restaurant to the point where security were called, demanding off menu meals and stalking the management teams profiles online he comes across at the problem. And the fact this isn’t a one off speaks volumes.

    The hotel gets no right of reply here but let’s try to remember the customer isn’t always right.

    I hope Hilton have a way of flagging troublesome guests and the next hotel gets the heads so security are aware in advance and can ensure their staff don’t suffer and have cause to complain to their managers daily.

    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101

    Will drop a quick review in no problem assuming all goes to plan.

    I don’t think they would have a problem honouring your nights / points either if there was Some kind of unexpected delay (typically the local authorities here using all the relevant permits). If my common ownership theory is correct they would check you in as a Hilton guest but bedrooms may just be in the identical building next door. Same could happen if slippage runs the other way to the Marriott.

    Just seems far more likely (again subject to ownership) than moving guests up to the busy and more premium WA. The Hilton JBR or Walk is the closest equivalent beach front(ish) comparable and is pretty dated now and already runs near capacity.

    Will let you know the lounge situation for sure as plan to use assuming it’s open and they have their alcohol licence.

    in reply to: Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
    blenz101

    I’ve got a staycation booked from the 10th of September to try out the new West Beach Hilton so if there is a problem I can report back well in advance. Nothing to indicate there is an issue currently though. Some of the linked bars are actually on the beach and have been open since December 2020.

    There is an identical Marriott also due to open to open next door which I can’t believe isn’t under the same ownership. My best guess in the event of delay is they will prioritise getting rooms ready on one or other hotel and just walk guests 2 minutes to the mirror image property next door. You should get a near identical with just a different logo over the door.

    in reply to: Rixos – any experience?
    blenz101

    Make sure you check the hotel actually does participate in ALL. Rixos Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE doesn’t allow earn or burn and status isn’t recognised at all during the booking process or at the resort.

    in reply to: Dubai virgin – best Hilton hotel option?
    blenz101

    Will the new Hilton Palm’s beach be private to the waterline, or just to the boardwalk? It is perilously close to Influencer Nirvana aka Five. I’d want a roped-off beach to the waterline to avoid encroachers.[/quote]

    You have to cross the boardwalk for all of the hotels at West Beach so it will be private in the fact that only hotel guests and those paying for a day pass will have access to loungers. Anybody can walk across the beach though, it is also dog friendly. It is next to an identical Marriott of exactly the same design externally.

    I can’t see anybody from Five wanting to leave their party zone to go and look at what Hilton are offering but the noise may well carry when they are hosting parties.

    in reply to: PCR Testing in Dubai
    blenz101

    You can use the app JustLife or UrbanCompany to book at test at your hotel room. They will send someone to come around and collect a sample at your preferred time, can specify how quick you want. They will also get the details on the AlHosn app for you.

    Cost is around 150Aed / £30 per test, plenty of discount codes and offers as well if you search around.

    in reply to: Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah – any thoughts?
    blenz101

    Had an excellent stay over Christmas. Don’t forget to use Emyr for additional benefits including resort credit.

    It’s an easy 1 hour drive from Dubai if you want to make it a multi stop trip.

    Status has always been well recognised. Everything is in really good condition and the staff are excellent.

    RAK is not Dubai though so do your research on location if you are expecting glamour and sky scrapers etc.

    in reply to: Is Hilton rolling over elite nights from 2021?
    blenz101

    Middle East is fine for lounge access and full breakfast.

    Asia shows no signs of normality though.

    blenz101

    Just going to let mine expire. In all fairness at most Accor hotels as a Diamond you get upgraded to a suite anyway so the award isn’t all that valuable.

    in reply to: The Tesco Clubcard Pay+ prepaid debit card thread
    blenz101

    Has anyone tried Clubcard pay+ with NSI?
    The old Tesco debit cards used to work with them.

    Yes. No points. Specifically excluded in the T&C as well. Vanguard also no points. Standard life also no points.

    in reply to: Dubai recommendations for family with 2 teenagers
    blenz101

    Wavehouse next to the Atlantis water park is also great for teens, bowling, drinks for adults free video games, wave rider.

    Have a nice outdoor Saturday/Sunday roast – Gordon Ramsey does a good one at Bread St Kitchen for about £25 two course. Plenty of others though.

    If going to top of Burj then perhaps try for at.mosphere restaurant. Breakfast is amazing and on the local Entertainer 2-4-1 app making it very reasonable compared to just going to the crowded viewing platforms.

    Pointe is good fun for coloured fountain shows.

    Global village is like parts or Epcot at Disney. Great fireworks.

    Shopping festival is on so malls will have bargains.

    Expo will take at least 2 days of you want to even try and cover some of the better attractions.

    Kite beach and JBR beaches always fun for tourists outside of the hotel itself.

    Not sure if the marina zip line is back open.

    You can get a groupon to charter a yacht for a couple of hours from the marina next to the hotel for not much more than £100 including crew.

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