Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Quebec to Florida, by Sea (2019)


Hotel 1: Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness
Friday 18 October to Saturday 19 October (1 night)
Room 126 (Double)
There are four Premier Inn properties in Inverness, but this one has by far the best location, steps away from the main Ness Bridge and with the classic view of Inverness Castle even closer than that - see photos below. It's a ten-minute walk to both the railway station and the bus station. Maybe I was lucky, but I found it delightfully quiet for a Friday night in such a central location.

Hotel 2: Hilton Canary Wharf, London  
Saturday 19 October to Sunday 20 October (1 night)
Room 1304 (Executive Twin)
This is a hotel that Bruce and I have stayed at many times over the years, both separately and together. Not surprisingly given its name, it is located in the middle of the Isle of Dogs, in Docklands. I don't have the usual selection of room photos this time, as Bruce had also been in residence the previous night.

Hotel 3: Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto
Sunday 20 October to Thursday 24 October (4 nights)
Room 2637 (Two-Double Premium)
The Westin Harbour Castle is located on Toronto's waterfront, adjacent to the ferry terminal for the city's islands. The location is a 15-minute walk from Union Station and 20 miutes from the CN Tower. Built in 1975, the Harbour Castle became a Hilton within two years, then switched to Westin in 1987. The enormous property has just shy of 1,000 rooms, located in twin 33-storey towers. Our room gave good views of the ferry terminal and the lake - and as an added bonus, we could observe planes either arriving into, or leaving from, the downtown Billy Bishop Airport. We didn't make much use of in-house restaurants or bars, preferring to go out.

Hotel 4: DoubleTree The Gates, Miami South Beach  
Wednesday 06 November to Friday 08 November (2 nights)
Room 550 (Double-Double)
The Gates is situated on Collins Avenue, between the northern official limit of South Beach and Lake Pancoast. Although the hotel is now a DoubleTree by Hilton, it tends to play down its 'chain' status, coming across as an independent and free-thinking boutique hotel. The style is not always backed up by substance, however; a good example is the breakfast restaurant, which was absolutely nothing special.

Our biggest gripe, however, was the use of the infamous concept of a 'Resort Fee', a compulsory, heavy surcharge imposed on all guests and supposedly justified by the presence of facilities such as a swimming pool. As everyone knows, this is just a way of charging steep rates while being able to advertise much lower headline prices - beware!
(First photo courtesy of Bruce) 

Hotel 5: Sofitel London Heathrow
Saturday 09 October to Saturday 09 October (day room)
Room 4406 (Double-Double)
We booked a room at the Sofitel T5 for a few hours to allow some decent rest between our two British Airways intercontinental flights, Dallas-LHR and LHR-Cairo. Although not cheap, the booking did fulfil its intended purpose rather well, and thereby made for a far more civilised connection at Heathrow.

Hotel 6: Le Méridien, Cairo Airport  
Saturday 09 November to Monday 11 November (2 nights)
Room 533 (Double-Double)
This hotel is directly attached (by covered walkway) to Terminal 3, and therefore makes a stylish choice for an airport-based stopover. There is an impressive choice of restaurants and bars, with the former covering Arabic and international options. We needed to book a two-night stay to cover the particular requirements of our itinerary, which involved arriving at 4am on Sunday 10 November.  
(Photos 2-6 courtesy of Bruce)