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In April, I was whining about the great firewall of China (read more here) that blocks “very dangerous” websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Whine Wednesdays Blocked Websites

It seems that there is something dangerous happening in Egypt as well because I cannot access Facebook (Twitter works just fine) without having to fire up the VPN from the Ramses Hilton hotel. [click to continue...]

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This has been a hotel pet peeve of mine for a long time and I cannot remember the total number of times the DND sign has been disregarding by the housekeeping team during the past two months.

Whine Wednesdays Do Disturb

Why hotels cannot get their housekeeping department to better work with the front desk to ensure that the guests that have late check outs and Do Not Disturb signs hanging on the door really are not disturbed? [click to continue...]

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The Club Lounge at the Marriott Toronto Bloor Yorkville reminded me why I usually don’t even bother visiting most of the chain hotel lounges in the North America. Outside of North America, you can practically feed yourself with a lounge’s offerings and not have to spend a dime outside the hotel.

Whine Wednesdays Club Lounges

As for this particular hotel I am not sure what exactly are the evening hours, but that was the display (what was left) at 6:50PM on a weekday night. [click to continue...]

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It seems that the email/website form contact times are again through the roof at the IHG Rewards Club customer contact center in the Philippines.

Whine Wednesdays IHG Rewards Club Contact Time

I had a couple of stays that had misposted; one posted as a non-qualifying and the other one didn’t post at all. I submitted the missing stay request at the other Saturday and it seems that they both went into a black hole. [click to continue...]

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How many times have you gone through a credit card or bank statement trying to reconcile the transactions? All of it makes sense, until a cryptic merchant name of XYZ doesn’t ring a bell.

Whine Wednesdays Merchant Names

Often the merchants such as hotels may have their official name on file with the payment processor that has very little or nothing to do with the trade name they actually use. Also, the merchant name that shows up first during the authorization process can be different than the one that is shown upon payment completion.

[click to continue...]

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This is probably the least controversial Whine Wednesdays topic ever. The problem with the internet connectivity in Cuba.

Whine Wednesdays Internet Cuba

(People lining up for buying telecommunications services in Havana from the state controlled enterprise)

The internet access is highly regulated in Cuba and the “backbone” seems to be owned and operated by the (ETECSA) Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. [click to continue...]

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If someone had said to me that I would see these “knuckle busters” from 1980’s during my trip to Latin America, I would have just laughed in his/her face. But I would have been wrong and was next expecting to be asked for a Chargex or MasterCharge card (1970’s precursors to Visa and MasterCard).

Whine Wednesdays Hotel Policies

Quite frankly, I really don’t understand the purpose of using these machines and what for in Colombia and Panama. Merchants should only have these available just in case their modern swipe machines are out of service. [click to continue...]

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A LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me a snap he took at the Sheraton Club lounge in Salzburg about a fellow guest that was wearing quite interesting attire.

Whine Wednesdays Lounge Attire

This really reminds me that hotels should have a welcome letter for club level guests that would clearly communicate what the appropriate dress code is from smart casual upwards. [click to continue...]

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It never ceases to amaze me how badly some hotels pay attention to their telephones and phone systems.

Do they actually ever check that they work, the speed dial buttons are correctly working and connecting callers to the right parties or that the Instant Service is actually a real service and not just the telephone operator? [click to continue...]

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As some LoyaltyLobby readers may have noticed, I have been in the Latin America for the past few weeks and will stay here for another month or so.

Whine Wednesdays Hotels Scamming On Exchange Rate

Many of the hotels display their room rates in dollars on their respective websites (Hilton, Hyatt, SPG, Marriott etc.), but the actual room charge is converted using a “market” rate from the USD to the local currency. [click to continue...]

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It never ceases to amaze me how some people behave at hotel club lounges. The following happened at the JW Marriott in Jakarta the other week.

Whine Wednesdays Club Lounge Remote Wars

I had been in the club lounge for few hours and the closest TV had the CNN on that I consider being the TV news channel of choice at places such as this. Note that the photo above was not taken in this instance, but rather illustrates the setup. [click to continue...]