Hotel Review: Sheraton Airport Tempe, 25 March 2016

Sheraton Airport Tempe

Sheraton Airport Tempe was a category 2 SPG property when we first booked it, and costs 3000 points, because it was a weekend when we stayed. They offer a complimentary airport shuttle from Phoenix International Airport, and the property is in the process of being upgraded.


It’s a short drive (~10 min) from Phoenix International Airport, and located near the restaurants/services near Arizona State University. Those are about 10 mins drive away, and if you are there for Spring Training, it’s really close the Los Angeles Angels training complex – Diablo Stadium.

Check In/Check Out:

Painless and quick. I showed my SPG business card, and was granted lounge access. We were given an updated room.


It’s an average-sized room with a balcony. Our room overlooked the parking lot, so not much to see there. The room is updated, meaning there’s new wallpaper. They do have a decent-sized fridge, where we stored our beverages.

The bathroom is updated, but on the small-to-average side of things. It has a tub with a shower head.

Sheraton Airport Tempe

Club Lounge:

The evening hors d’oeuvres was pretty decent. I have a thing for potstickers, so whenever that is offered, I do tend to be happy. They have a self-serve fridge with soft drinks and water, but no coffee machine. It’s pretty small, with room for about six tables. We didn’t eat breakfast because we couldn’t wake up in time for it.


Parking is complimentary. Wifi is also complimentary, but very spotty. I was doing my annual fantasy baseball draft, and it crapped out in the middle of the draft. I ended up with Ryan Braun. I let out a scream when the wifi died on me. True story.


It’s a pretty nice property with a pool. The club lounge is also pretty decent. I don’t feel a compulsion to return, but I also don’t have any negative feelings about it.


USA: My Queendom for the A/C in Chase Field, AZ, 11 June 2016

Chase Field

We were in Phoenix earlier this year for Spring Training, but decided to make a second visit this time as part of our US MLB Ballpark tour. After our stressful car rental experience, we booked into the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, which is a couple of light rail stops (~30 min factoring in waiting time and transfers, $2 per ride) from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, and a short walk to Chase Field.

I shall come out and state the obvious – Phoenix is HOT in June. I was born and raised in Singapore, where 90+ temperatures are the norm, but man, this was really on the edge of unbearable. We had plans to explore downtown Phoenix, but we ducked into a Carl’s Junior at Talking Stick Resort Arena across the street from our hotel.

Chase Field

Chase Field

It was Native American Day at Chase Field, with a hat giveaway (the hat is really pretty!), so we decided to head over early, to check out Chase Field and check out batting practice. The lines waiting to get in were long!!! I have a couple of fantasy players in the Arizona D-backs vs. Miami Marlins game, so I didn’t mind checking out some of the guys on my team.

Batting Practice @ Chase Field

Hat giveaway

First off, Chase Field is pretty cool. Like Safeco, it can open or close, depending on the weather. It was REALLY hot outside, so it was closed, and they had turned up to the A/C. Inside the stadium itself, it was a nice, cool, 80 degrees.

Native American Day @ Chase Field

Chase Field - Open Roof


They are really cheap relative to many other ballparks. Their club level seats with an all-you-can-eat buffet is $45 even for weekend games. Their home plate seats are available for ~$95, which is great value, considering that these run around ~$300 at other ballparks. They don’t come with special perks like complimentary dining, but if you just wanted to sit behind home plate, this would be a good ballpark to do it.

We got front row seats at the 300 level for $40 for 2 tickets. It offered a great view of the game, though I did have to lean over from time to time because of the railing.


They have very interesting options. They have gourmet burgers featured in Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. They also had some other eclectic options like Churro Dog, which is donut patties with a churro wrapped inside, topped off with ice cream. Sugar bomb!!!

But they are most famous for the D-Bat, which is an 18 inch corn dog stuffed with cheese and jalapeños, set on a bed of chips. It’s not cheap at $30, but I guess if you are attending the game with a group of friends who really love corn dogs, it’s a good sharing food.

D-Bat - 18 inch corn dog

I personally went with a Sonoran dog, which is a foot-long hotdog, wrapped in bacon ($11), topped with pico de gallo and beans. It was pretty ok. I wouldn’t rave about it.

Foot-long Sonoran Dog

One note about their souvenir soda cup ($7.50). We were surprised to find out that they do not offer free refills like other ballparks. They only offer $2 refills to their season ticket holders. They do have a bunch of $2.50 for 2 dogs, $2 sodas, and $2 popcorns, but these are limited in supply, and involve standing in line while waiting for fresh batches to be made.

The more interesting food options are one the first level. The third level just has rather standard ballpark fare.

Chase Field Concourse


This is probably one of the few ballparks where the attendants take their job rather seriously. We were standing along the concourse to take some photos, and were constantly being chased away by the attendants. This was true even in the late innings. This is not a ballpark that would be friendly for self-upgrading.


Chase Field is pretty enjoyable. The highlight of the game? I got to see Ichiro get his #2974 MLB hit. He’s now been relegated to the role of pinch-hitter, but I’m still rooting for him to get to #3000.

Ichiro is at bat - got a hit. #2974 in MLB.

Lounge Review: The Club at PHX, Phoenix AZ USA, March 2016

Popcorn selection at The Club @ PHX

This was our first time at Phoenix, and we were flying on Southwest. Much to our surprise, it was possible for us to get to The Club from C gate (albeit a bit of a trek). The Club only allows Priority Pass holders entry up to 15 30, before switching over to a BA lounge. We got in at 15 20, and the staff didn’t chase us out (probably because it as empty).

The Club @ PHX


It’s pretty average. Seating can be pretty close together, and I’d imagine that they could fit in about 50 passengers. It’s mostly sofa seating, and some tables by the small buffet area. The dining area/bar divides the room into two. The bar area has tarmac views, but in the afternoon, that was too sunny for us. We opted for the area near the buffet, which is smaller, but also, less sunny.

Snacks at The Club @ PHX

Food & Drinks:

When we entered, they were serving small snacks. At around 4 pm, they switched over to light dinner service, so it was a decent selection of sandwiches, and some soups. During the light bites period, they actually had some sort of pasta salad. I think they might have just re-plated these, and served them for dinner as well. So, avoid the pasta salad!

Non-alcoholic drinks are self-serve. They have a bar as well for alcoholic drinks. I’m not entirely sure if it’s complimentary.

Evening Service at The Club @ PHX Evening Service at The Club @ PHX


They are by the walls, and slightly hidden. Just hunt for the lamps, and there should be a free plug nearby.


It’s an average US club. It’s not a bad spot to spend some time, because the terminal does get quite cluttered. I wouldn’t especially go out of the way, because the PHX airport is pretty massive. But if you love popcorn, they have four flavors!

USA: Rental cars are such a nightmare! ABQ – PHX, 25 March 2016

Sports is big at this Starbucks

A lot of time was wasted today at the Phoenix car rental. Payless car rental at Phoenix is now on my shit list of car rental companies.

11 00: While waiting for our flight, mister and I had a discussion about transportation options in Phoenix. When I first booked the trip, car rentals at Phoenix were exorbitant (~300 USD for 2 days). Apparently, last minute prices for car rentals are lower and more reasonable – ~ 100 USD for 2 days. We actually have about 9 Lyft rides, and 2 Uber rides between us, so we were still undecided.

11 30: Just as the airplane door was closing, we decided to just pre-emptively book a car rental via the Southwest app, because it was ~ 120 USD all inclusive on Payless.

12 30: After standing in the long Payless line for what felt like an hour, we got to the counter. The guy truly sucked. If I didn’t actually look at the paper work, and just signed, I wouldn’t have noticed that they changed our guaranteed rates from 120 USD to …. 300 USD. This was by a bunch of extra insurance, and extra fees that I did not need at all. When I asked the guy at the counter, he just hemmed and hawed. I don’t like bait and switch tactics. When I asked to cancel the reservation, his best argument? “Oh, but I’ve already filled it” (So what?) … “Oh, but you won’t get the credit card funds hold cancelled for another few days”. Seeya! We ended up renting at Firefly for ~150 USD.

15 00: That’s how long our car rental ordeal took. We arrived at the hotel (15 min away from the airport) only 2 hrs after touchdown. I was still sick, and I had a fantasy baseball draft at 7 pm, so we decided to take it easy.

16 00: Food run. Arizona Mills is pretty awesome for this. Mister also needed some allergy medication.

18 30: Fantasy baseball time. Hotel wifi cut out a few times (ARGGGHHH!). I ended up with Ryan Braun against my wishes (thanks, Sheraton!). I’ll live.

Itinerary: That’s a Lot of Baseball, 17 – 27 March 2016

Thanks to two credit card sign-ups with Southwest, my US baseball plan will be funded by my stash of Southwest points. Beyond that, I also earned the very lucrative Southwest Companion Pass on 02 February, giving me the privilege of taking someone with me for free (well, just the $5.60 security fee and international taxes) from 2016 – 2017.

I have a rather weird itinerary for this trip, because my partner wants to visit his grandparents in El Centro, and he wants to watch the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in his hometown of Mexicali.

17 Mar: Seattle – San Diego – El Centro

18 Mar: El Centro – Mexicali – El Centro

19 Mar: El Centro – San Diego

20 Mar: San Diego – Houston – San Jose, Costa Rica

21 Mar: San Jose, Costa Rica

22 Mar: San Jose, Costa Rica

23 Mar: San Jose, Costa Rica – Houston – Albuquerque

24 Mar: Albuquerque

25 Mar: Albuquerque – Phoenix

26 Mar: Phoenix

27 Mar: Phoenix – Seattle