Fly&Dine Interview + Giveaway: One Mile at a Time

Posted in Fly&Dine Interview

In this installment of the Fly&Dine Interview + Giveaway series, we’re talking to Lucky (aka Ben) of BoardingArea goliath One Mile at a Time. If you’re a regular reader of his blog (and with his readership numbers, I assume that everybody is), then you know that Ben’s about to leave his permanent address in the dust and commit to the nomadic life by living out of hotels for the next year and possibly more. To celebrate the occasion, I talked to Ben about his feelings on food while he’s on the road. Check out the interview below and enter my giveaway for a $50 Visa gift card by answering this week’s questions in the comments below. Onto the interview!

 

You used to be on the road almost a third of the year and now you’re moving into hotels full time. How do you decide where you’re going to eat? What goes into that decision?

I have incredibly simple food tastes, so honestly don’t put too much thought into where I’m eating. I have a few friends who are “foodies,” and when we’re traveling together they tend to do most of the work in terms of researching restaurants and making reservations. Otherwise I’m incredibly fortunate to have amazing blog readers, and nearly every time I fly somewhere I get comments and tweets with restaurant suggestions. So I’m pretty lucky.

 

“Pretty lucky?” Nice one. Give me your top three airport meals (and where they occurred and why they were so great).

I spend the vast majority of my time at airports in lounges, as I typically need to get work done before my flight.

– I think the best ever was last December at the Air France First Class Lounge in Paris The experience was spectacular, and probably one of the best meals I’ve had in my life, much less in an airport!

– This may not qualify as a “meal” for some people, but I have a bit of a love affair with the pretzels at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. Surely three or four of those with some Fanta or an Eiskaffee can be considered lunch, right?

– I also have a soft spot for the Dungeness Crab & Flagship Cheese sandwiches at Beecher’s in my home airport of Seattle. They’re incredible, so I’ve convinced myself they don’t have any calories!

 

If you could change the in-flight meal process, what would you change? What additions/subtractions would you make?

I always appreciate having options. Let me see the appetizer selections, choose the ones I want from the cart, etc. I really dislike the procedure on some Asian airlines where you have to choose between the Traditional or Western menu. I almost always want the Asian desserts (I’m a sucker for mochi, sticky rice, and egg tarts), but I also prefer the Western appetizer, and that seems to confuse many of the flight attendants.

 

With all these nights in hotels, you must be dealing with some room service. What are some of your room service do’s and don’ts?

Shockingly, I nearly never order room service! I probably should, as I often find myself wandering the streets at odd hours looking for food, but it never occurs to me until after the fact. I do love that at many Andaz hotels Diamond members can receive their breakfast benefit in the room, (and if you ever get the opportunity to have the Lemon Poppyseed pancakes at the Andaz 5th Avenue you certainly should) but again, I generally prefer to go to the restaurant.

 

You’re also an expert in points (actually, a professional). How can somebody use their points to get some seriously good eats?

The amazing thing about miles and points is how much of the world becomes accessible, which could lead to some pretty amazing dining experiences. I love using American Express Membership Rewards points to fly Singapore Suites to Singapore, which is one of my favorite food cities. I’ve used Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to fly Emirates First Class and have Afternoon Tea at the Burj Khalifa, which was an incredible experience. I’ve helped people use their Ultimate Rewards points to tour the Champagne caves in Reims, and thousands of other “once in a lifetime” experiences that become downright approachable with miles!

 

Thanks, Ben. Good luck with the move. Now it’s giveaway time!

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

If you want to enter this week’s giveaway for a $50 Visa gift card, just answer this question in the comments:

 

“If you had to permanently live in any hotel in the world, where would you live and why?”

 

If you have Twitter, please do me a favor and tweet this to your followers: “Hey! @FlyDine is giving away $50 for free! Read the interview with @OneMileataTime and enter here to win: http://bit.ly/1eiU5ev

 

Find past Fly&Dine interviews here:

View from the Wing

Hack My Trip

Million Mile Secrets

Points, Miles, and Martinis

 

One entry per person. No purchase necessary. In fact, there’s nothing to purchase. By entering, you agree that you’re cool with the fact that Fly&Dine makes all the decisions and those decisions are final, even if you don’t like them. Contest closes at 11:59pm Pacific on Sunday 4/13/2014. Winner will be contacted via email. Please provide a valid email address when leaving your comment. If we don’t receive a response from you after one week of being notified, a new winner will be chosen at random.

 

 

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  1. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Florida!
    Why? Because you get decent weather most of the year and my family would only be a 3 hour plane ride away 😉 Not to mention it’s a fab hotel in looks, comfort and staff make you feel VERY welcome!

  2. The Montage in Laguna Beach, Southern California. It’s a beautiful resort and close to home so I can still live my life and be close to my family and friends.

  3. I’d stay a full year at Secrets Maroma Beach in Mexico. Multiple restaurants on site while in paradise, what a dream.

  4. Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome. The perfect hotel in the perfect city. And of course because I get my Gold Passport Diamond benefits.

  5. intercontinental, Jerusalemn.
    Its an amazing hotel and an amazing country with rich food, flavor, and history
    thanks

  6. I would stay in the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. I love the atmosphere and the location, and who wouldn’t want to live in the best city in the world!

  7. I’d live at the Le Grand Hotel in Paris — I’d just need to be sure to maintain RA status forever so I could get free club access 🙂

  8. I would stay in the Ritz-Carlton NYC because it has beautiful views and I would be able to go to lots of activities and still be somewhat close to my family.

  9. Z Ocean South Beach, across the street from my favorite beach. Nice weather, fine beach’s by day, great food scene, and relaxing in my rooftop hot tub by night. Who’s got it better then me?

  10. It would have to be at at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai….because why not! If you have a choice might as well live in the tallest and one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

  11. I’d live at the Public Hotel in Chicago. It’s a great location with city and lake views! Plus, it’s beautiful building with interesting history.

  12. I’d live in a hotel in Charleston, SC. I love the city, and while I’m not sure exactly which hotel I’d live in, I’m sure I could find the perfect hotel.

  13. The Overlook Hotel. If it is good enough for Johnny it is good enough for me. And the Hilton Koh Samui would not make the list — taking golf carts everywhere I go would drive me crazy after a few days.

  14. The Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch, Frankfurt, Germany. I have always wanted to visit Germany and tour the sites of Frankfurt. This hotel is gorgeous. Thank you!
    jslbrown2009(at)aol(dot)com

  15. All sorts of exotic destinations would be fun but thinking more realistically, I’d say a centrally located relatively inexpensive European city like Vienna would be a way to go. As an SPG Platinum, I’d go for Hotel Bristol – great location and, if you don’t want to deal with overpriced hotel food, there’s a super-convenient sandwich & dessert place on the ground floor of the same building which came in handy quite a few times when I had no time or was too tired to eat at a sit down restaurant.

    Speaking of Vienna, since this is a food-related blog, I encourage everyone to check out Café Amacord — a very good local place to eat (relatively inexpensive and not touristy). A passable knowledge of German will be helpful to understand the menu (only in German!) although staff does speak English. A local guide who used to be a banked recommended it to me. Still have a menu on my phone — I had “Wiener Schnitzel vom Kalb in Butterschmalz gebacken mit Erdäpfelsalat” (Vienna schnitzel baked in butter with Austrian version of potato salad) and it was 16.80 euros (most food items were less, to be fair, and portion was huge!). Also had tiramisu with passion fruit – 5.50 euros; and some beers.

  16. I’d go for the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, in one of the Chambers rooms. Great location and gorgeous historical building…

  17. I would love to stay at the Four Seasons Seattle. Maybe I could live closer to the residential floors and assimilate with them so I wouldn’t feel so out of place 🙂

  18. The Park Hyatt Tokyo! It’s right in the middle of a great city, has amazing views and service, and I get a kick out of it being in a movie.

  19. FS Maui for their stellar property and service. Plus a great beach and unlimited cabana time, what more could you want?

  20. Days Inn, Columbia SC. It’s understated, inexpensive, close to the interstate, has a diverse clientele, and the service is adequate without being overbearing. Plus, living here, I don’t feel like I need to impress anybody when I leave the room like I do when I’m at Raffles. Finally and most importantly, it is actually within the realm of possibility with a reasonable income.

  21. I’d look for an extended stay property in Singapore or London, two incredible food cities with endless entertainment options as well. I’d want that kitchen option in the room, can’t live off restaurants and street food for a year.

  22. embassy suites, honululu, hi…..a saaahhweeeeet breakfast buffet to take the edge off a saaahweeeet free 3 hr free cocktails the night before!

  23. Park Hyatt Sydney!
    Love Hyatt’s in general with their great customer service but this property is extra special with great views.

  24. I’d stay in the Westin Palace Madrid. I know it’s not the nicest hotel in the world, but I love that city so much!

  25. I wold prefer a more “humble ” abode like the Nana Residence in patong, thailand

    much easier on the budget, and the more “humble” places treat their customers better than the “fancy” places.

  26. I would live at the Hilton Cavalieri in Rome in one of their view rooms on the executive floor. Their lounge is outstanding with delicious food, snacks and drinks with views to match.

  27. If we are talking about food, I’d definitely consider the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. A luxury hotel and THE spot for dim sum in one of the best food cities in the world.

  28. I live on the Famous Ritz in Paris bc of its history and I always have a place in Hemmingway’s Bar to get my drink on

  29. I’d live in the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, TX because it’s a beautiful resort with great amenities and amazing staff

  30. One of the Aman hotels in Bali. Friendly, personal service, excellent island filled with friendly folks. And awesome food!

  31. the Phoenicia Beirut, tucked right in down town and close to zeytunia bay, great escape from the hustle and bustle

  32. I would live in the Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa as I can be on the border between Brazil and Argentina while still enjoying the wilderness of the area and literally be in the middle of nowhere. It would be perfect to feel one with nature while still being fairly close to the masses.

    • Congratulations! You just won this week’s giveaway! Check the email you provided for details about your prize!

  33. Fairmont Singapore – I had their breakfast at Prego and nearly died and went to heaven. Delicious cheeses, fresh juices, nutella and pastries, and did I mention eggs benedict. After two months of living in China eating a relatively Chinese diet, this western breakfast was amazing!!!! So I’d like to live at Fairmont Singapore!

  34. The Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai. The history, heritage, and resilience of the hotel, complemented by by being in on of the most inspiring cities in the world can’t be beat. Plus the food, pool, and and location of the property are amazing!

  35. Great question. It would be a toss-up between the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay in Half Moon Bay, California (about 40 minutes south of SF and a 30 min drive from SFO) or the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island, HI. Both locations offer a daily parade of changing sunsets, beautiful colors and lots of marine-life.

  36. Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid, Spain, because I’d be steps to two of the most amazing museums in the world, Museo del Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. I would also be able to visit with family and friends.

  37. Although I love my hometown of NYC, I really love the city of Charleston, SC and the hotel Charleston Place. The beds are super cushy and comfortable (linens to die for) and the concierge lounge is incredible. The food in the lounge is so yummy, I never feel I need to even dine at the restaurant. If I do go to the restaurant, The Charleston Grill, it is 5 star and they have some of the best food I have ever had (especially the southern specialities). They have jazz nightly in the lounge and restaurant as well (the Thoroughbred Lounge makes THE BEST lemon drop martinis ever). The service is beyond compare. The hotel is along King Street which has some incredible shopping, especially antiques. There are also some gorgeous and historic places to visit (i.e. museums, plantations, etc.) Overall, there is not one negative thing to say about the city or the hotel……its really is just perfect.

  38. Heck, ANY Hilton hotel is my favorite hotel. Period. I’d be thrilled to go ANYWHERE and stay at a Hilton! Where do I sign up???

  39. Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. It’s the best city in the world and a beautiful hotel right in the middle of everything.

  40. I would live in the Westin Dublin hotel. I obsess over Ireland and it would make a fantastic home base for short trips all around my favorite continent.

  41. well, I am torn between the Andaz Maui because I had such an extraordinary time there (still occasionally dream of it & plan to get back there for another vacay) and Park Hyatt Sydney because I need a city around if it is not just a vacation…

  42. The Radisson Blu Marina Palace in Turku, Finland. It has a rooftop sauna with an outdoor patio overlooking the river. I’d be there every morning like clockwork!

  43. Tough choice, but as I stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort annually, I suppose that would be my answer. Club level, with view of the castle, of course!

  44. I can only choose one place for the entire year? I do not have a particular favorite, but I would probably make it a warm climate, top-of-the-line location, that is not prone to natural disasters and, if the food is good, make it all-inclusive, too

  45. My initial instinct would be the Intercontinental in Hong Kong but a year of that would be OTT as I think that I would prefer a mix of self reliance and service like an extended stay brand such as Staybridge Suites. The IC is a lovely pampering with the food in the club lounge, the infinity jacuzzi and the excellent health club and morning tai chi.

  46. The Pestana Hotel in Porto, Portugal, especially if I could score a room facing the river and the port wine houses on the other side.

  47. I would probably go with someplace in midtown Manhattan in NYC with a view of Central Park — perhaps a room with access to the Ritz Carlton Club Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, or a room at the Mandarin Oriental, New York, which has fitness facilities overlooking Central Park. Many activities are available within a short distance of these hotels, including dining, entertainment and sports

  48. I really wouldn’t want to ‘permanently’ stay in a hotel :), but if I were, I’d probably pick Conrad Hong Kong.
    Hyatt Sydney would be my close second choice.

  49. The Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, FL. I’ve stayed dozens of times and they treat me so nicely. Stepping out to the beach is a perk, too.

  50. I’d like to live at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Everything is there and it has a great swimming pool, too!

  51. I love Newyork’s iconic The Plaza. Living here, (just like a friend of mine who had lodged there once told me)not only can you claim one of the most famous addresses in NYC, but you’ll also get showered with Plaza perks, like the premiere Les Clefs d’Or concierge service, daily housekeeping and valet parking. All the Plaza Hotel amenities are just an elevator ride away, including tea and scones at the Palm Court, a honey-and-wine wrap at the Caudalíe Vinoterhapie Spa and the raw oyster bar at the Todd English Food Hall. Simply amazing.

  52. I would live in the Aulani hotel on Oahu in Hawaii.

    I am an Imagineer and part of the team who design and built the hotel and Hawaii is such a special and beautiful place to live. I would live in one of their 3 bedroom grand villas that have direct ocean views from all of the rooms, 3 bedrooms, living and dining rooms as well as a kitchen and a large veranda terrace.

    I would hang out in the pool, go thru the lazy river and slides all day or just relax in the spa with the outdoor hydrotherapy stuff. I also love to play golf and there is golf right across the street.

    its just a little piece of heave right here on earth

  53. Probably JW Marquis Dubai or Burj Al Arab. Why? Well connected Emirates flights to all over the globe and amazing services!

  54. Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal…the most ideal hotel location in latin america…the amenities are top-notch as well!

  55. Park Hyatt Tokyo… Bustling city. They have a spa and steam rooms in the hotel. Free breakfast in restaraunt or via room service for diamonds. Plus snacks and free alcohol in the restaraunt as well. (Corrected email)

  56. The Fairmont in San Francisco, because it is a classic with classic views in the best city in the world with EVERYTHING in reach. Oh heavens – not you’ve got me wanting to GO!

  57. I’d live in the small hotel run by my cousins in northern Italy, near Piacenza. The food is incredible–wild boar braised in white wine, ravioli en brodo (in broth), risotto, etc. It’s like stepping back 100 years in time–they pick porcini mushrooms, shoot wild boar, harvest persimmons and white peaches, and the best cake I ever had was made there. A simpler way of life.

  58. St. Regis Princeville in Kauai, HI. This is hands down the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at and it’s located in HI.

  59. The Hotel Casa Gardenia is the best hotel I have stayed at in my life with unparalleled views of Old Town Quito, would definitely be my choice. Plus the upstairs guest rooms are already set up like an apartment complete with kitchen and living room with access to an outside patio area!

  60. If you had to permanently live in any hotel in the world, where would you live and why? Why – the Octavius Tower Villas at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, of course. Because if I had the $40,000 per night for 10,000 square feet, it would be safe to assume that money was no object. And if money truly was no object – why not spend it in luxury in America’s Playground.

  61. At the top of my list would be the Omni Hotel in New Orleans. I love New Orleans and this is right in the middle of everything.

  62. I would stay at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, as it’s a luxury hotel I just can’t seem to get away from!
    Within my first year of arriving in Japan, a friend of a friend approached me to be an extra in a business commercial for the Mandarin Oriental. I couldn’t understand a word of Japanese and didn’t really understand where I was when I got off the train, but had a fun day posing in the Hotel’s bars and rooms as a refreshed international businessman.
    Over the years I attended parties at the Mandarin and made friends that worked there. Eventually I was able to treat myself and my (at the time) girlfriend to a few very happy nights there. The rooms were superb, the food historic and the views of the Tokyo cityscape breath-taking.
    I’d happily stay there for the rest of my days if I could. A wonderful experience.

  63. I would stay at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport! I love their breakfast and the rooms are super nice!

  64. I don’t know if I could live in one hotel permanently forever, but if I had to, the Princeville in Kauai would be a great place to try because of the beautiful setting, stellar service, and its location in one of my favorite places in the world.

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