Tribulations of a Gold Member
Date of Travel: October 2010
We boarded the plane out of LAX, me, my husband, my carry-on cold symptom contagions and all. Much to our surprise, the fuselage of this particular 777 was equipped with the newly configured lay-flat beds. It’s always hit and miss lucking out with United’s updated configuration, however, for some reason the newly introduced $500 fee (each way, per person) always seems to make it’s way onto our credit card statement.. new config or not.
My old snowboarding injury was thankful to have been given the opportunity to spend a majority of these 13 hours horizontally, and soon after take-off I drifted off into a 2mg lorazapam induced coma; this never would have happened if it weren’t for those paradisiacal chair/bed hybrids. For some reason melatonin just doesn’t have the same effect when entering and exiting international time zones.
After a quick shower in London’s Terminal 1 Star Alliance club lounge, we were off to our Brussels Airlines flight into.. you guessed it: Brussels. My darling husbands sponsor had arranged a Mercedes C Class Diesel for us below in the Europcar parking garage. As our trollys waddled and teetered down the circular ramp piled higher than eye level with luggage, a bright green Proximus Superbiker door wide decal made for brazen identification of our reserved vehicle. We squeezed every last suitcase, large box, hello kitty rolly-bag, briefcase and purse into every vacant confine of that sedan and made our way to the trade show in Cologne, Germany.
Hyatt Regency – Cologne, Germany ☆☆☆☆
Our attempts at upgrading to the ‘club floor’ (free hors d’oeuvres and beverages come to mind) were miserably unsuccessful. Since we are Hyatt Gold Passport members, we are always upgraded at Hyatt locations, but apparently our “Gold” status was mediocre in light of the elite “Diamond” status required to use this particular Hyatt’s superior club facilities. Oh well, my husbands birthday plea’s didn’t work on the unwavering Deutschlanders either.
Our room (534) is very spacious and has all of the amenities I would expect to find in a Hyatt. The bathroom features a good sized shower, a bathtub, and the lighting is pretty good too. The counter space could use some widening, but there are little glass shelves beside the sink area that make for good supplementation if needed.. always needed in my case.
The room itself is attempting a ‘modern’ design, but the block patterns of muted grays, blacks and whites make for a somewhat depressing ambiance of institutionalization. This concentration camp chic wasn’t setting well with me, but thankfully the view makes up for the dreary, colorless interior. Across the Rhine you get a panoramic observance of the city featuring Cologne’s Roman Catholic Church (Dom Cathedral) and Hohenzollern “Lover’s” Bridge.
The restaurant in the Hyatt has a beautiful view of the city and river, but the menu is overpriced with only one vegetarian selection. If you’re in town with lots of bags/samples for a trade show at Köln-Messe, you would be better off taking a taxi. If you want to be within close walking range of the convention center, I would look into staying at the Radisson. I have no experience with it, but the location is considerably more convenient.
We dined at Cologne’s “Best” indian restaurant, Jaipur. The food was so alarmingly spicy that I could barely eat any of what I ordered. Completely drowning the curries with obscene quantities of rice, naan and raita is the only way to make this food tolerable.
Twice we dined at a new vegetarian restaurant “Grunlilie”. They offered delicious vegan and non-vegan curries, stir fries and italian dishes. It’s worth the 10-15 minute drive from the Hyatt.
Friday was our day of departure, and we then made our way to Mettet, Belgium for the first day of practice at the annual Superbiker event. Hopefully the radio won’t torture us with Robbie Williams hits at any point along the merry way.