Tuesday, October 29, 2013

American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas

We've been to some pretty outstanding airline lounges like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal In Frankfurt and Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai. It's not surprising that there's no lounge in the US that makes that list until now at least. We just visited the American Express Centurion Lounge in Dallas Fort Worth airport and in short, it's one of our favorite lounges so far and I would head to the airport early for it. To put it in perspective, it beats any offering in the US and even ranks ahead of Malaysia Airlines business class lounge in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore Airlines business class lounge in Singapore.

The lounge which is located close to gate D16 just opened a week or so ago and is complimentary to American Express Centurion or Platinum card holders with up to two guest. Other American Express card holders get to pay $50 to enter the lounge. That might seem steep but I would pay for it for the facilities on offer especially if I have a long enough layover.

We visited the lounge early in the morning and the breakfast buffet beats anything that's available in the US currently. Gourmet breakfast tacos from celebrity chef Dean Fearing with a cappuccino and mimosa anyone? There's no crummy muffins and stale bagels or carrot sticks here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

4th July Getaway: Koh Samui to Penang


Ko Samui Airport has got to be one of the most unique airports.  Most of the airport is open air, i.e. no air conditioning but the great design that keeps reminding you that you're on vacation makes up for the heat. There's also a strip mall landside for some last minute souvenir shopping, massages and Thai food. We weren't particularly hungry but since we still had an hour or so till departure and we were "out massaged", we killed time enjoying a last Pad Thai and fresh coconut water.

After passing through security, we found out that our flight was delayed for 45 minutes. The wait wasn't fun without air-conditioning but thankfully we found lounge that accepted Priority Pass. There were a couple of snacks and even some ala carte options like Pad Thai and noodles. I enjoyed a couple of beers but more importantly we were in the comfort of an air-conditioned room. We would have headed straight here if we had known about the lounge.

4th July Getaway: Conrad Koh Samui


We arrived at the Conrad about ten in the morning after an hour or so drive from Chaweng beach by Mr Samui. We were welcomed at the Conrad with cold drinks and towels but it did take longer than usual to complete check-in since the room wasn't ready which was not unexpected since we were trying to check-in early.

Once the room was ready, we were driven to our assigned villa of 312 by two of the front desk agents in a buggy. The two of them then explained the many features of the room and our Diamond Hilton Honors amenities which includes free breakfast, discount and bonus points to the spa and a couple of free drinks vouchers.

We were definitely WOWed by the room.  The room was larger than our apartment in Austin with the bathroom larger than our bedroom back home! The highlight of the room was definitely the view from the balcony and the private pool that was large enough to even do some laps. The only slight disappointment was the crappy coffee machine that came with the room - no Nespresso machine here.