Mrs Guru and I took off for a week to cruise around San Francisco and northern California last week. It was definitely a great trip, and I wanted to bring a little bit of it back here. You can check out all 300+ of our photos here, at Share on Ovi.
First up – San Fran – we stayed at the Cathedral Hill Hotel, at Van Ness and Geary street. It was much cheaper than most of the places online, and it turned out to be really nice. Sure, the rooms were kinda small, but it was safe, the staff were super-friendly, and it was conveniently located. The WiFi sucked, but that ended up being true through the weekend, and I have unlimited 3G on my AT&T SIM card, so I didn’t really care too much. Tethering FTW. Note, if you do stay there (and we will, next time we go that direction), you should know that the outlets in the room are only for 2-prong plugs. We had to scout out a RadioShack and get a 2-pack of 3-prong-to-2-prong adapters for $6. Other than that, I’d recommend the place. There’s a restaurant down in the lobby with KILLER coffee and desserts, and Boingo didn’t care that the WiFi was through AT&T.
Next up – Monterey – we stayed at the Best Western Beach Resort. It’s slightly outside of Monterey – like, the exit before, and it’s literally *right* on the beach. You can sit in the lobby in these really nice big wicker chairs and look out over the ocean and use the *free* WiFi all day long. Brilliant. It was also cheaper than most of the places online, and well worth the small extra drive. The rooms were really nice, complete with 32″ flat screen mounted on the wall.
Also, my FAVORITE thing about this hotel – next to the bed, on the wall, was a little box with 2 switches. These switches controlled the windowshade. You can choose between the sunshade, which allows you to see out but others can’t see in, or you could use the blackout shade (which we did at night) to really make it a cozy sleeping arrangement. All in all, a really nice hotel, and also highly recommended.
Boingo was a welcome addition, at least on our laptops. No fumbling about with which hotspot to connect to, you’d just get a friendly little popup box letting you know that a Boingo hotspot was around, and did you want to connect? Easy as easy could be, really. It worked at the DFW airport before we left, and at both hotels (even though WiFi was free at the Best Western). However, when I activated it on my N95-3 at the San Jose airport to test it out (with unlimited 3G, WiFi on my phone is rather useless, honestly), I found that it annoyingly kept the connection open – even when I didn’t need data, or was already using the cellular connection. As a result, my N95-3’s battery was dead within half an hour of sitting in the airport. I was unable to find a way to switch it off and still have my cellular connection, which was also frustrating. So, on the laptop – WIN. On the mobile – Not so much of a win. Unfortunately, while I had Boingo setup on my N800, we never got around to powering the thing on, not even on the flight, lol.
Overall, it was a great trip, as you can see on the photos. Boingo made things happen easier, and the two hotels, while I was skeptical, were awesome, and are now highly recommended if you want to save some $$ but still stay comfortable.