Monday, June 20, 2011

Part 20 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 20 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

 I will be writing a more in depth piece on Travel Insurance in the future; however, I had a recent situation whereby, two clients were in another country where some political unrest was taking place; their inter-country flights had to be changed, as well as their itinerary. Also, one of them fell slightly ill and had to get medication prescribed. Obviously, the moment I heard of the political unrest via my Tour Operator, I emailed my clients to assure them that we were aware of the situation, and were ready to do whatever was necessary to assist them while they were abroad. Fortunately, while there were some changes that were made, my clients still had an enchanting holiday in one of the most intriguing places in the world, and thankfully they had Travel Insurance.

As a travel professional,  I never want to hear any stories of my clients not having the most perfect trips; however, in this day and age, there is so much that we have no control over, that it stands to reason there are going to be moments of uncertainty, changes and down right frustrations during travel. The good thing about working with a travel professional is that the traveler is never alone and on their own. They have an advocate who is accessible to assist in some of the most bizarre circumstances (think: Iceland Volcano), and that is peace of mind that anybody would want while they are traveling.

Clarifying the Fine Print - Your travel agent can advise you of all the cancellation penalties and restrictions hidden in the fine print of your travel documents.
Detailed Itineraries - Your travel expert can help you plan your trip out day- by- day to give you a good mix of fun and relaxation.
Advice on Activities to Book Beforehand - A travel expert can forewarn you of any activities that tend to sell out early so there are no unexpected disappointments when you are there. For example, character dining in Disney sells out months in advance.
General Ideas on Where to Go -
A travel expert can offer excellent trip advice based on the details of what type of a trip you want to take. Internet booking sites tend to require a destination up front.
A Trip to Nowhere…Sort of - Want to take a trip to get away to somewhere that is really not a normal vacation hot spot? Your travel specialist can help you find that perfect place.
Great Single’s Trips - A travel agent can help you to match you with help find you an exciting singles’ trips and cruises.

*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Sunday, June 19, 2011



Wishing you all a relaxing day.

Chicks That Trip

*photo used from:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hotel Spotlight: Fairmont Olympic Hotel - Seattle, WA

Circular Drive into Hotel
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is located in one of the easiest areas to navigate in the Seattle area. Anybody who has read my blog before knows that I have specific hotel requirements, and while the Fairmont is a lovely property with an understated elegance, it is not totally "me." I say that with the utmost respect.

Located in a premier area surrounded by such high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel is in good company. What I appreciate the most about this location in general, is its easy walking distance to great restaurants, shopping, wine shops, Pike Place Market, Nordstrom, the theater district and additional shopping. Also, other delicious and trendy hotels are located well within the same area like, the 'W' Seattle, Hotel 1000 (two of my favorite hotels in Seattle, by the way), the Hotel Monaco, and many more.

You can valet at the hotel or park around the corner at one of the parking garages. Like every major downtown area, parking is not an inexpensive proposition. Even with the slightly discounted rate you receive by having the charges billed directly to your room key, you are still essentially paying $30 a day for parking. My strong recommendation would be to avoid parking at all cost and take either the Gray Line service into Seattle, a shuttle service, or a private car service, because even at a private car service rate, once  you throw in the cost of the rental car and parking, you would still be paying about the same price, if not slightly less by having a private car service, and obviously with the Gray Line and shuttles being approximately $15.00 or so each way, this is definitely the least expensive route. Once you are in Seattle, parking is not only atrociously expensive, but if you are not use to hills and slanted parking, you are in for a rude awakening. This was the first trip I've ever driven myself in Seattle, and I can tell you right now, I will not be repeating this mistake ever again.

Sitting Area Entering Hotel From Valet
There is no shortage of doormen as you enter into the hotel; they are all polite and attentive. The first lobby area upon entering the building by the valet court is a simple and elegant sitting area. It is a bit worn for wear, and I think that the entire property could use a face lift. There were no blatant items that were in need of immediate repair; yet, the property did not leave me with a "WOW" factor. The check-in process was much like any check-in at a major hotel. They were sufficiently staffed, and the total process took approximately five minutes; including my waiting, giving her my credit card and obtaining my room key.
The elevators are conveniently located off of the main lobby, so you will not find yourself roaming  randomly throughout the property in an effort to locate an elevator. Also off of the main lobby are comfortable seating areas, as well as the seating for The Georgian restaurant, where high tea is served and the happy hour, served Monday - Friday.

King Size Bed
My room was large, clean and suited my needs. Again, given the type of property the Fairmont Hotel proclaims itself to be, I was not blown away by the room; which contained a King size bed, an armoire, a desk area, closet with an in-room safe, and a well stocked mini bar (sidenote - there is a mini market located directly across the street behind the 'W' hotel and connected to the parking garage, where you can buy water, wine and snacks). The bathroom was spacious and clean, and they also supplied Miller Harris bath products.

All in all, it is a nice property and the main reason I likely would not stay there again is simply because it's in close proximity to other properties in Seattle that I prefer more and fit my personal taste. With that being said, if I knew someone or had clients who were visiting Seattle, and they wanted a laid back, quiet and simple elegant property, I would recommend the Fairmont Olympic property without hesitation. They have several restaurants on the property to suit various tastes from the Georgian, the Georgian Tea, Shuckers, the Terrace, and of course, in-room dining. I did not eat at the Fairmont because there are so many restaurants I love in Seattle, that I simply did not have sufficient time to check out their restaurants.

Seating in Room

Armoire & Desk Area

*photos taken by That Chick Té

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sit and Relax

Sit and Relax

It is easy to get stuck in a rut; be unproductive; kvetch about what is not going right, versus reveling in what is going right - the list is endless. What I do know, is that this type of behavior is counterproductive and does not help to further your goals. I know this, because I had been having a moment of the "blahs" recently too, but imagine my surprise when a simple bagel, and chicken salad (with a glass of wine) helped to brighten not only my day, but my outlook on everything.

I ventured into a Denver neighborhood haunt, Zaidy's Deli, located in Cherry Creek, Colorado. Zaidy's has been around for years, and if you crave a bagel with chicken salad, or a delicious pastrami sandwich with tons of pickles and sauerkraut (or any kind of sandwich), delightful breakfast, or scrumptious and embarrassingly large desserts, then Zaidy's will hit the spot.

On this particular afternoon I could not decide what I wanted to eat, so I decided on an everything bagel with a side of chicken salad. I sat on the porch that faces a relatively busy street (1st avenue), but since it is set back in the tiny strip mall where it is located, it is not as if I was huffing diesel fuel as cars passed me by. My waitress brought me my delectable bites and I was immediately transported to the days when I was a child, and my mom would bring me a special treat of chicken salad on a pumpernickel bagel. I smiled and relaxed as the sun hit my face, and I felt all of the stress and annoyance ease out of my body. I sipped my wine and simply enjoyed my food. No rush. No fuss. I read several articles from Travel Leisure magazine and actually forgot about all of the issues and worries that had been forefront on my mind.

The act of simply sitting seemed to rid me of my negative energy. After I finished eating (and yes, I munched away on every last bite), I remained seated and soaked in the fresh air with no pressing sense of urgency to be or do anything - I simply relaxed.

Hoping you find your own special place; wherever that may be, so you can also sit and relax.

*photo used from: