We Are Travel Bloggers, We Are Awesome

We Are Travel Bloggers, We Are Awesome

Over the last almost two years, we have surrounded ourselves with people much like ourselves.  Our social circle has been comprised of yoga teachers, corporate dropouts, travel bloggers, digital nomads, and perpetual nomads.  It has been inspiring to be surrounded by people who sort of “get us,” who understand the life we lead. Recently, though, we took a precarious tiny step back into our former lives.  During our week in Seoul, we were privileged enough to stay at two Marriott properties, the Courtyard Marriott Times Square, and the JW Marriott Seoul.  At both properties we were offered access to the executive lounge.  Travel Bloggers in an Executive Lounge Now, for those of you who are not high end luxury or business travelers, executive lounges are pretty much the norm at many hotel brands, particularly at overseas properties.  The lounges are almost required additions to big city hotels that cater to international businessmen.  We frequented executive lounges while Eric was a Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum member, even when we were unemployed during our first round the world trip.  It was sort of ironic to know we were sharing space with various movers and shakers, when we were on a round the world backpacking trip. But, it has been awhile since we had lounge access.  Even when staying at chain properties using points or free certificates, we have no status that grants us access to the complimentary breakfast, the free cocktails at happy hour, or the comfortable space to work with free wi-fi.  We often miss out on the lounges with an expansive view of the city and free coffee all...
JW Marriott Seoul – Getting the VIP Treatment

JW Marriott Seoul – Getting the VIP Treatment

I recognized two things immediately upon entering the JW Marriott Seoul: 1) I felt underdressed; and 2) we were VIPs. The JW Marriott is one of the higher end brands of the Marriott company.  Two of the brands that they deem anywhere comparable are the Ritz Carlton and the Bulgari hotels.  I did not even know that there was a hotel named Bulgari.  But, when we rode up to the JW Marriott Seoul in our taxi, with backpacks in hand, and saw the Bentleys and VIP limousine taxis in front, I looked down at my jeans, with a bit of tattering at the end, and my orange Uniqlo fleece, and felt underdressed.  Then, we walked into the grand lobby and all I saw was brass and marble.  Businessmen and ladies who lunch.  Suits everywhere.  When I traveled for work in my former life, I would have walked into this lobby like I owned it, with my black wheelie suitcase and business card in hand.  Well, who am I kidding, I never fit into that corporate world before either.  Being a VIP at the JW Marriott Seoul As we approached the check-in desk, we hear “Mr. Hoffman, welcome to the JW Marriott.”  Eric chuckled and looked quizzically, asking how they knew who we were.  The front desk rep responded with a smile, “Oh, we know who you are.”  Apparently, the staff had been told we were arriving, a couple of fancy travel bloggers, and that we should received top treatment. And, yes, as bloggers, we had a somewhat different experience at the JW Marriott Seoul.  We met several of the...
Eating Korean BBQ in Seoul

Eating Korean BBQ in Seoul

I know very little about Korean food.  Of all the Asian cuisines, I have had the least exposure to Korean.  We’ve experimented a bit at a few restaurants in the States, and while traveling.  A good friend from my former law firm invited me over for Korean BBQ out in Northern California.  But, for the most part, all we know about Korean food is BBQ and kimchi.  Which means we ate Korean BBQ in Seoul, as one of our first meals upon arriving. While staying at the Courtyard Marriott Seoul, we asked a staff member where we could get some Korean BBQ nearby.  She pointed just outside the window of the 15th floor executive lounge. Next to a firehouse there was a 24 hour Korean BBQ place, just across the street.  We ventured across the busy road, and walked in. We were escorted to a table near the window.  A guy just in front of us was cutting up huge piles of meat, which made Eric drool a little.  We knew we were in the right place. Ordering a Little Korean BBQ in Seoul The menu was simple, and in English, so we ordered 1 pork belly, 1 pork rib, and bulgogi, a Korean marinated beef.  When asked if we wanted one or two bulgogi, I replied two, while holding up two fingers in the universal sign for peace.  She seemed surprised, I was momentarily concerned, but just figured we would go with the flow.  Immediately, food started to arrive.  An amazing salad with a spicy sesame sauce, chili sauce, kimchi, a plate of lettuce leaves and two spicy...
Courtyard Marriott Seoul – A Warm and Friendly Stay

Courtyard Marriott Seoul – A Warm and Friendly Stay

Our ten days in Osaka were a lot of fun, but were tempered by cold weather, and even a little snow.  We stayed in a tiny Japanese apartment for the first week, which we outgrew quickly.  Then spent two nights at the Sheraton Osaka with one of the worst rooms, and worst service of any Starwood hotel in over a decade of loyalty to the brand.  We were a little beat down by the experience when we arrived at the Courtyard Marriott Seoul, and we were in need of a little love. The Courtyard Marriott Seoul Times Square delivered, and then some. This is our third Courtyard Marriott stay in Asia in just a few months.  We were left with our jaws dropping at the Courtyard Bali Seminyak, and had a lovely beach break at the Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua.  We have been amazed by how enjoyable our stays have been, and how this new version of the Courtyard brand is lightyears away from what we remember the Courtyard brand to be when we were growing up in the States. An Easy Welcome to Seoul We took the airport bus the sixty minute ride from Incheon airport to just about the end of the line, where the bus dropped us off at Times Square, a mega mall and entertainment complex.  There were plenty of signs that directed us around the corner and into the hotel.  We were greeted by Micky, a young Korean bell man, with dark black hipster glasses and the signature bright orange Courtyard Marriott Seoul dress shirt.  He spoke impeccable English and escorted us upstairs.  It...
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