Monday, April 8, 2013

Flying at an Ungodly Hour Made Easy

My husband and I just made a whirlwind trip to California for his Aunt's memorial service. We took advantage of American Airline's policy on bereavement flights, though apparently the short notice and discounts meant that we were relegated to flights at ungodly hours. The flight going out on Friday was at 7:45am. Not so bad. The flight coming back on Sunday was at 6:00am. Like I said, ungodly.

To make life easier for ourselves, we spent the night at airport hotels the nights before our flights. My husband was actually flying home from a business trip Thursday night, so I went to the Hyatt Regency DFW after work, and he met me there when his flight got in at 7:40pm.

The hotel was a zoo when I checked in, because there was some kind of a SWAT convention going on--lots of military and law enforcement guys running around. Luckily I had done the web check-in, so I just went to the kiosk, scanned a barcode, and it spit out my key cards and a receipt with my room number. I had to wait a couple cycles for a elevator, though, because of the mass of people trying to go up. Normally I would have considered hiking up the stairs, but our room was on the top floor (Number 13--I thought hotel's didn't do 13 floors?), so there was no way I was going to try that. Once on the elevator, we discovered that a couple of the guys and their duffle bags full of gear had to get off because we'd hit the weight limit of the car. Good times.

While wandering around the lobby trying to find the elevators, I had peeked at the menu posted outside of Jacob's Spring Grille, in case I wanted to come back down for dinner. It looked pretty good. Once I got up to my hotel room, though, I decided to stay there for dinner because there was no way I was going to go back down into the testosterone fest in the lobby. The good news was that Jacob's was the restaurant providing the food for room service.

As with all room service, their prices were elevated by all kinds of service fees and gratuity, so I didn't order as much as I wanted to. I just opted for an entrĂ©e and beverage. I chose a lovely grilled salmon served with a tomato coulis on top of a mushroom ravioli (this is not a puny piece of pasta--this ravioli took up the entire bottom of the bowl that my food was served in). The ravioli was swimming in a mushroom broth with a little bit of chopped tomato and some asparagus spears. They actually shaved the asparagus. Wow. With a squeeze of lemon on top, it was perfect.

My ice tea was actually a glass of REAL iced tea--not from a bottle--and they also provided a glass of water. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of it, but I was so hungry that once I got to the presence of mind to think "hey, I need to blog about this" about 2/3rds of the plate was consumed. So you'll have to take my word for it on the presentation of the dinner, which was basically the same as if I'd ordered it in the restaurant. The gentleman who delivered my meal was also very prompt and polite--it was delivered within 30 minutes of my phone call, as promised.

When my husband arrived, he was hungry because he hadn't been able to get much to eat before he got on his flight. So he also opted for room service and ordered the Wedge salad and desserts for both of us. I didn't try his salad, but they provided a good-sized wedge with crumbled bacon and blue cheese on the side, along with cherry tomatoes sliced in half. He had his choice of two dressings--one that appeared to be a balsamic vinaigrette, and the other was ranch. Dessert was balsamic-macerated strawberries served with whipped cream in a edible bowl that seemed like a cross between a brittle and a deep-fried crepe. There was also a scoop of lime sorbet on the side. The strawberries weren't naturally super-sweet (being out of season, I wouldn't have expected anything fabulous) so the dish definitely needed the help of the sweetness from the whipped cream. The sorbet was excellent. We nibbled on the edible bowl a bit, but it was starting to stick in our teeth so we eventually gave up.

As for the rest of our hotel experience at the Hyatt Regency DFW, the room was clean and comfortable enough for the night, and we didn't suffer from any noise that you might expect at the airport. The building appeared to be well insulated, so all I could hear was sort of a "white noise" from the cars and planes--the kind of constant rumble that you can easily tune out and get a good night's sleep.

There was quite a crowd for the airport shuttle in the morning, so the parking attendant called in a second one when people started piling up at the curb. The hotel is across the parking garage from Terminal C, but we were leaving out of D so we waited the 15 minutes for our shuttle to arrive. It was definitely a good thing that we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to our flight. In that respect, we regretted that we hadn't stayed at the Grand Hyatt DFW, because it is attached to Terminal D, but it was more expensive than the Regency. That being said, the Regency was still over $200/night when we priced rooms; with all of my husband's travel, though, he called and used his company's corporate rate so that the expense was easier to swallow.

So if you end up with a similar flight at an ungodly hour, and can find yourself a good deal on a room, it would be well worth it for you to spend the night at the Hyatt Regency DFW, and try Jacob's Spring Grille.

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