18 Dec 2015
Allyn and I are back in Waikiki having a lovely few days prior to family arrival.
It is important to stake out our cabana, get good beach seats for the fam, and make proper dinner reservations.
Two dinners already deserve special mention. Ocean House is the only restaurant we book twice during the trip. I mean if you are heading to Waikiki, nothing beats a lovely meal right on the beach. Plus the food and service are tops.
Be sure to say hi to Ben Dowling, the manager. He always seems to be there taking good care of the guests.
Noi Thai Cuisine just opened here mid–October to great reviews. I just had to try it. The only issue was what to eat because so many items were reviewed as “the best ever” from different sources. It was the best Thai meal experience that we have ever had outside of Bangkok. They even served a wonderful Amuse Bouche and it’s "just" a Thai restaurant.
06 Dec 2015
If you don’t come to Las Vegas for any other reason, you must see Michael Jackson One. This Cirque du Soleil show at Mandalay Bay is absolutely WOW on steroids.
Close friends and relatives first joined us to celebrate Allyn’s birthday for cocktails at the stunningly beautiful great new lounge, Skyfall, on the top of the Delano Hotel (at Mandalay Bay). I highly recommend.
I have never seen anything like it. The music, dancing, costumes, lighting, acrobatics, each are absolute tops as only Cirque can do it. Additionally, the 7,200 speaker sound system including 3 in each seat, will blow you away in every respect.
13 Oct 2015
Surprising to me, Germans really understand relaxation, and much of it centers around the sauna. I’m talking about spending the day type relaxation, not just heating up for 15 minutes.
Since nothing seemed like a better way to chill for a major poker tournament, I searched online for a nice spa. Ultimately I selected Vabali Spa. After doing the double check with the concierge and taking a 10 minute taxi there we were; ready, but apprehensive, and all signs were in German. The employees spoke perfect English, though, and were quite accommodating.
Once inside, we felt as if we were on holiday in Shangri-La, with German customs. It is quiet, with lounges, waterbeds, sofas and silent rooms all over the place.
I think they have 11 different saunas in different temperatures and smells. There was an indoor and outdoor pool. Yes people like plunging in the outdoor pool in the winter. They claim it’s refreshing. The 85-degree indoor pool was cold enough for me.
They make it easy to spend all day and spend your money. When you get there you get a wristband for charging whatever you want (massage, food, robes, towels etc). Lockers are in a coed room and the entire place is textile free. People walk around generally in their towel or robe, but hang up the robe before entering the sauna and steam.
There is protocol. Always sit on a towel, never make loud noise, no phones anyplace and total courteousness.
Don’t worry about your body. You see all sizes, shapes and ages. If you are modest you can wrap the towel around you in the sauna. That is probably the easiest way to get people to ogle you though.
Let there be no mistake about it. They’ve got it right and Americans are just puritanically wrong. We felt like we had a four day holiday in four hours.
10 Oct 2015
Allyn and I are off to Berlin for the 2015 European World Series of Poker championships. Since we hadn’t been to New York this year, it seemed like a perfect time to overnight, allowing us an opportunity to take in a musical and visit her dress-maker.
We had great seats to Beautiful, The Carol King Musical. It is sensational. Allyn thought it was the best play she had ever seen.
Michael says I’m not supposed to call Kalinka a dress-maker. Given that her clothes are featured in the haute couture area of such places as Bergdorfs and Neimans, she is clearly a fashion designer. Regardless, she makes great stuff.
12 Sep 2015
It is quite a cultural shock coming off five weeks on the ultra exclusive Crystal Serenity to the 6,000 passenger Oasis of the Seas, but no way was I going to miss the annual Card Player Poker Tour event hosted at sea by Card Player Cruises.
As usual it was a blast. We had fun day and night in addition to the poker, and the poker was great. Can’t wait till next year. They are hoping for mid-September from Seattle.
Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher are the ultimate hostesses.
One especially great service is their “Luggage Valet”. They gave us boarding passes and baggage tags in our cabin. We then put our bags outside the door and did not have to see them or deal with them until we claimed them in Las Vegas.
We didn’t even need them for Customs.