Thursday, December 31, 2015

A day with Turks

We flew from Boston to Istanbul last night, on Turkish Airways. It felt like we got an inexperienced crew on a poorly-prepared airplane, a far different experience from our first trips on Turkish Airways. Nevertheless, I slept pretty well and didn’t mind the long trip much.

Alla wanted to stay in a nice hotel this time and minimize her time on the streets because of recommendations by the Russian Government. A nice hotel sounded good to me too, and we agreed on the Hyatt Regency, which we were able to book at a deep discount on Expedia. The hotel got us in the end, though. And we don’t mind.

I read an article a couple of days ago by a hotel employee who explained who gets the best treatment and why. He stated clearly what I had understood to some extent by experience: If the hotel knows you’re a price-conscious shopper (you bought at a discount rate from a service) they don’t expect you to come back if you can’t find such a good deal next time. I tried anyway. Our Expedia deal didn’t include breakfast, but we had paid up for a view room so I tried to sweet-talk the clerk into giving us breakfast coupons. He wouldn’t give in, but assured us that we’d enjoy an excellent buffet for an additional 30 Euros apiece. He also offered an alternative, an upgrade to a “Regency Club” room at a discount rate not much more than the cost of those two breakfasts.

We took the upgrade and got moved up by eight stories, free supper (“snacks”), free breakfasts and a somewhat bigger room. Once we saw the snacks, we knew we’d done the right thing. It was a perfect light dinner for us on the first night of our big change in time zones, and we enjoyed the company of the hotel staff who attended to us, and great views in a beautiful place.

After eating, we went off to the pool and swam for a while, took a sauna, and came back to our delightful room. Alla brought with her a gift of two lemons, a gift from the tea lady in her side of the spa. When you add everything up, we still saved a considerable amount of money by flying Turkish Airways and staying here, and we’re having an excellent time.

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