Four World Phones

by Jonathan Spira
Four World Phones

RESEARCH IN MOTION BLACKBERRY PEARL
Both T-Mobile and Cingular offer the BlackBerry Pearl by Research in Motion, although only T-Mobile has the new white Pearl.  The Pearl is an 88 gram quad-band device with a 240×260 color display.  It supports GSM/GPRS and EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) and includes a memory expansion slot for a MicroSD card.  It supports BlackBerry e-mail, public instant messaging via AOL, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo, …

American Airlines New York-JFK to Paris-CDG

by Jonathan Spira
American Airlines New York-JFK to Paris-CDG

Check-in at JFK Terminal 8 was a breeze since American Airlines now allows international travelers to use self-service kiosks. The machine scans your passport and issues a boarding pass after a roving agent verifies your credentials.. This was probably my last Terminal 8 departure as that terminal will soon close. And I will certainly be sad to see it go in some respects, Terminal 8, built in the early 1960s, …

St. Martin’s Lane Hotel, London Review

by Jonathan Spira
St. Martin’s Lane Hotel, London Review

Is it worth staying in a hotel where you truly need a user’s manual for the hotel?  In the case of the St. Martin’s Lane hotel in London, the answer is decidedly yes.  It is also a visual delight with dramatic color and shape throughout the property including the guest rooms.  If you make the effort to learn how certain aspects of the hotel operate, you will find it very …

The Ultimate Business Trip – Munich, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna

by Jonathan Spira
The Ultimate Business Trip – Munich, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna

Business travelers frequently bring home a souvenir or two for family members when visiting interesting destinations.  Twice in the past year I’ve brought home something a bit different – and much larger – but I couldn’t pack it in my rollerboard.
In recent years, savvy business travelers have joined the thousands of Americans who each year take a trip to Munich, Germany with one goal in mind.  Unlike other tourists, …

Holiday Inn München City-Nord Review

by Jonathan Spira
Holiday Inn München City-Nord Review

The Holiday Inn München City-Nord is my Stammhotel, meaning that when I visit Munich, this is where I stay (and where I have been staying for the past 20 years).  It’s not the most luxurious, it isn’t the most elegant, but it is a solid, 3.5 star business hotel that impresses me with friendly staff, unpretentious but sparkling clean rooms, and an 11 meter-long breakfast buffet that is said to …

Hilton Budapest WestEnd Review

by Jonathan Spira
Hilton Budapest WestEnd Review

Attached to the huge and hugely popular WestEnd Center shopping mall, a nondescript glass-and-steel arc wrapping around the back of Gustav Eifel’s soaring Nyugati train station, the hotel blends into its surroundings. Although it is by far the newest building on the venerable Váci út,  its simple brick design belies the modern four-star hotel within.  An attractive lobby and attentive staff beckon.
WHERE IS IT?
Situated in the center of the business …

Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy by Car

by Jonathan Spira
Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy by Car

THE 2426 KM DRIVE
In 5 days, I covered 2426 km and four countries (Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy). I crossed international borders 22 times.   I planned each day’s drive the night before, choosing my destination primarily based on the promise of good weather.
11. November – 460 km, Germany, Austria, and Italy
Friends Rich and Jill joined me for breakfast and soon enough, we were on the Autobahn in two 2006 3er …