I had another work trip this week, taking me back to the West Coast.  On Tuesday I flew to Los Angeles.  Every time I fly into LAX, I forget how massive it is!  When I landed, I walked outside of baggage claim to the hotel shuttle pick-up line to catch a ride to the Four Points Sheraton.  45 minutes later, I was checking in at the hotel and yes, it is adjacent to the airport!

The hotel was mediocre.  Location and price were the sellers for me, as I had to be at the airport the following morning for a meeting and need to respect our company’s travel budget.  The Wi-Fi connection was weak at best, the TV remote was missing, and one of the coverlets in my room was stained… ugh!  The room was quiet and relatively spacious, so it wasn’t all bad.

Wednesday morning before my meeting I took a jaunt to Manhattan Beach for breakfast at The Kettle, a self-proclaimed “locally world famous” beachy diner.  The décor had a French flair to it- mustard yellow walls, vintage French posters blown up and framed, and a sign that declared “Wine is food.”  Interestingly, there was a French bistro next door, so maybe there is a considerable French population in the area?

It wasn’t crowded but the service was slow!  I ordered the California eggs Benedict, a veggie version of the classic with sliced tomatoes and avocados and caramelized onions.  It was well worth the wait!  After breckie, I wandered around the darling beach town, and envied those who get to surf instead of work on a Wednesday morning.  The neighborhood has some impressive residences and cute shops to boot.  I could have spent my whole day there!  But, in seemingly no time, I was in a cab heading to LAX.

After my meeting, my next stop was Phoenix to host some of our corporate customers in a suite at the Suns game.  (Hospitality suites are a really nice perk that goes along with my job, and I do not take this for granted!)  They played the Lakers who kept a pretty strong lead until the end.  It was a late game and I was afraid we’d be stuck in overtime, but the Lakers pulled through with some strong three-pointers.  We had some customers from LA in the suite as well as Phoenix residents, so it was an interesting mix!  It was a professional setting, so heckling was kept to a minimum.  🙂

The Sheraton in Phoenix was a considerable upgrade from the one I stayed at in LA.  It was newly built and has earned AAA’s Four Diamond rating.  The lobby’s high ceilings give it an airy feel.  Modern furniture and art of various mediums are tastefully placed throughout.  Potted purple orchids on the tables in the lounge areas bring a pop of color to otherwise neutral surroundings.  My room was pristine.  Clean white linens, a flat screen TV, and a scenic view of downtown Phoenix made me perfectly comfortable.  They were a little stingy with internet access at $13 a day, and it was a plug-in connection rather than wireless (minor detail).  The service was impeccable and the staff was committed to making us feel at home.  I would definitely stay here again!

On Thursday morning we met at 7am for a breakfast meeting.  I’ve never been mistaken for a morning person, and getting up that day was unusually difficult since Arizona always operates on Daylight Savings time, which is favorable at night but not in the morning.  The sun didn’t rise until we were halfway through our meal!  We ate breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, The District.  Again, service was consistent with that in the rest of the hotel.  Décor was modern and chic, and the breakfast options on the menu were all enticing.  I resisted ordering the crab eggs Benedict (I shouldn’t have the same buttery sauce two days in a row, right?) and opted for the chorizo and egg breakfast burrito.  It was no comparison to an Austin breakfast taco, but it did its job.

After breakfast we took the hotel’s shuttle to the airport and headed home.  Holiday travel and back-to-back work trips have worn me out.  I’m ready for a break!  I have a few days off until work takes me to St. Louis next week.  I plan to enjoy my Texas weather before I have to freeze!

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