Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Escaping Insanity: A Cruising Trip Report. Arrival Day, Part 2!

Part 1 of this day can be found HERE.

5 bags later, we headed outside, and I set up an Uber request.  We walked to the commercial pick-up area, which is where the website said Uber would stop.  The traffic on this level of the airport was exceptionally thick for nearly 11 pm, but we were able to find our driver fairly easily, once he was able to navigate through the throngs.  We all piled in and started our way down I-95 to downtown.  During the drive, we saw a nice Lamborghini in the express lane, which the boys thought was cool, and we saw a pair of street racers doing around 110 on the Interstate as we approached downtown Miami, which the boys thought was really cool!

We’re going to be in trouble when they start driving.

We were staying at the Intercontinental Hotel just off of Biscayne Boulevard.  This resort went through a $30 million renovation a few years ago, and I hoped that the timing would work out so the we could see the fruits of the renovation.  We pulled up when the “Welcome to Miami” marquee was playing.

Now, for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, I would like to direct you to the video from the previous post.


Main Lobby of InterContinental Miami

We pulled up and immediately felt like we were in Miami – the energy around this area is awesome!  We made our way inside, and, immediately, bell services asked if we needed help with the bags up the stairs.  While the other three marveled at the awesome lobby inside the hotel, I hopped in line for check-in.  About 30 seconds later, concierge saw me and called me over to help check in.

Two-for-two so far on liking this place!

The gentleman at concierge started working on check-in, and I threw a request out there, fully expecting to be shot down.  I booked the room using points from our IHG credit card, and the only option available with points was a city view.  I was hoping I could pay for an upgrade to a bay view so we could see the ships when we woke up, but, since I used points, I didn’t know if it was possible.  The worst they could say was, “sorry…can’t do it”.

They didn’t say that.

In fact, they bumped us to a bay view for no additional cost at all.


As we finished the check-in, I talked to him for a bit about the night-audit, capacity, and how things had changed since I worked front desk at a Holiday Inn (IHG owns that chain of hotels).  Being IHG members, we received vouchers for coffee at Starbucks.  He handed over the keys, and, after thanking him, we headed upstairs to the 12th floor to see our room (with a view).

No pics of the room when we walked in…it was nearing midnight, and we had been traveling for around 12 hours.  Sorry!

I could think of worse views!

The reviews I have read of this property were that the rooms were a bit dated.  While I can see people thinking that, we were completely comfortable in there, and, as Eric said, “compared to the rest of the hotel, the rooms seemed average.”  It’s hard to compare the room when the rest of the resort is so stellar – that doesn’t mean that the rooms are “dated”, sub-par, or anything.  The sleeping arrangements are great, in my opinion, and I have absolutely no qualms about suggesting this hotel to any of my clients, so long as they would be the type that can appreciate the Miami nightlife.  They also might want to check the schedules of events at Bayfront Park, which is about ¼ mile away from the hotel; outdoor concerts at night could definitely impact the noise/crowd/excitement levels at the hotel.  I think that it could enhance the experience there, if you’re into those kinds of things.

Though I knew that Sheri wanted to unpack a bit and get to sleep, I prodded her to head back downstairs so we could see the outside of the building.  All three of them thought I had completely lost it by recommending that we head outside at midnight to look at the side of a hotel.  I threw another “trust me!” at them, and they (barely willingly) agreed to head back to the elevators, down to the lobby, and, finally, outside to appease what they thought was the request of man entering senility.

We walked outside, and the last part of the video is what we saw.

Their mouths hit the pavement.

Aaron even started smiling.

I win.

We stayed and watched the Skyline Dancers for a good 5 minutes.  That woke them up, because they then started exploring a little bit, getting pictures of the car stationed near the entrance and in the awesome lobby.  There was no concert at Bayfront Park that night, most of the younger crowd was still out clubbing at South Beach, and no convention was being held at the hotel, the lobby and bar area were fairly quiet.  I could see the lobby being an absolute party on other nights, though.

Aaron tried to lay claim on the 'Vette

We headed back up, unpacked a few things, and got ready for bed.  I showed them were the ships would be, and all three asked when they would arrive.  I simply said, “sometime in the morning”, hoping that they would be surprised when they looked out the window the following morning.

With that, we all turned off the lights and rolled over.  We were all asleep within ten minutes, I think.  I was too busy sleeping to see when they fell asleep.

Embarkation Day Starts HERE!

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