Monday, December 17, 2012

Thursday Dec 6 - Flying to Florida

Our flight is at 11 and we arrive at the airport around 9:30.  We are flying with Frontier airlines, a first for us.  As soon as we come to the check in we see that all the kiosks are not working, there is a large queue to see an agent.  We are only checking one bag each and the price for each bag is $20. 

One thing we like with Frontier, when you are at the gate, if you do not have a large bag that has to go in the overhead you can get on as an Express person.  They call the mobility impaired people then families then Express.  Nice little perk.

Sadly the flight was not as enjoyable.  First leg was to Denver, not a long flight but with a four year old behind you that feels the chair in front of her is her own personal kicking bag can cause some issues.  Then about 45 before landing she throws up, thankfully it was not projectile vomit but still the smell was harsh.  I feel bad for the little girl and of course the parents tried to do as much as they could but boy this day is not going well.

We land in Denver and we have just under three hours to kill.  We wander around and check out a few of the shops.  Bernie treats himself to a new set of Bose headphones and we look for a restaurant that we can sit down at and order and relax and pass the time. 

After a good meal - and of course a big glass of wine for me, I am relaxed.  We don't see a Starbucks in this terminal but are told if you go to the next terminal there is one.  We head down to the tram to catch it to the next terminal.  As we head down the stairs we see a tram there so we run in.  But as soon as we take off I realize we are going in the wrong direction.  We are heading to the main terminal, no biggy I figure just get off and catch the next one.  BUT!!!  As the doors open and everyone files out, including us I realize oh no we are heading out of the secure area! 

Nothing we can (we should of just stayed on and exited the other doors once they opened and crossed the platform, but that is hindsight).  We are in the main terminal, and well security again!  We go thru the process again, and in the states you have to still take your shoes off so it is even more cumbersome!   But oh well wine still is keeping me in good spirits and we make our way thru and back on the tram and we look at each other and say "no Starbucks, we are just going to our next gate".  Thankfully we had lots of time otherwise it could of really have been a problem.

We arrive into Fort Lauderdale on time (just before midnight) and our luggage arrives quickly and we grab a taxi and are at the hotel ten minutes later at a cost of $15 which included the tip.

We booked the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale on 17th Street

We stayed here once before about three years ago for one night.  Bernie loved it and really wanted to stay here again and we got it thur for a $100 a night.  We check in and are assigned a room on the third floor. 

Sadly the room did not live up to the standard that we remember and certainly not a four star.  Our issues:

- glasses are turned upside down and placed on a cardboard coaster (similar to what you find in bars) good idea, but the coasters are old and dirty and one is even torn.

- Room is very noisy, the venting system is loud and boy oh boy when you flush the toilet you will know it and it goes on for awhile! 

- no robes in the room, considering it's regular hotel price per night is around $200 a robe would be a nice option.

- alarm clock is the older cheap plastic ones and the clear plastic cover is cracked.  Phone is also old (similar to a type I had in the 80s)

- water pressure in this room is pathetic (but the room we get on the post cruise visit has better pressure so not sure why this one was so bad).

- one of the towels had a long black streak down the middle of it - gross!!

Overall this is not a horrible hotel but definitely not a 4 star, more like a 3 star.  Staff at the front desk are very helpful and bellhop was great.  Sadly housekeeping is definitely short staffed.  We saw only one housekeeper on our floor and she was busy and I know that they don't get enough time to clean the rooms due to cutbacks.  But sadly this is the most important thing about any hotel. 

Okay enough about the hotel.  One of the best features of this hotel is that they are in a great location right on 17th street. 

Starbucks is a block away and we like to head to Joe's diner for breakfast (located right beside the Publix and Total Wine)    Bernie loves it here as he can get his oatmeal, I love it as it has free wifi, and the service is fast, efficient, and reasonably priced. 

We walk over to the Total Wine and get two bottles of champagne (we can now bring on champagne/wine on to RCI ships).  And then we walk over to the Starbucks on 17th Street for our fix.

While sitting there we decide to get pedicures from Harbour Nails which is right beside the Starbucks.  The place is busy and we don't have to wait too long, but the pedicure was not a good one, certainly nothing that I am use to at home and the polish wasn't even done evenly.  Cost was $25 but don't think we will be coming back; however the level of service might be because of how busy it was too.

We drop off our stuff in the room and decide to catch the Sun Trolley to the beach and do some walking and sightseeing.  The route that goes along 17th street continues over the bridge and along the beach, up past Las Olas (where you can get off and catch another trolley that will take you all the way to the Riverwalk) or stay on and take the trolley to Galleria Mall.  The fare is .50 a ride per person, or $2 for a day pass.  We get off just past Las Olas and check out some of the stores, the beach, the people.  I end up getting a pair of flip flops that are so darn comfortable.  We also stop and get a bite to eat and drink and people watch.

We catch the regular bus back to 17th street and we go to Ross Store to see what they have.

Tonight we are meeting up with some friends that we sailed to South America with.  We head to Carlos and Pepe's for a nice Mexican meal and catch up on what has been happening.

We are in bed relatively early, still trying to get use to the time change.

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