Claudia Schiepers

The Grove
September 19, 2008, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Reizen

Working at C. has brought me to many gorgeous hotels around the world and again this week, I have the pleasure to stay at the wonderful Grove hotel in Watford, Hertforshire, UK. It really is one of my favorite hotels in Europe and I would love to stay here one time with some free time to enjoy the amenities. Unfortunately it is all business this week and hardly any time left for pleasure. (I did jump in the pool yesterday and let my bones warm up a bit in the sauna, after being hit again with the UK weather. In NYC, it was 29 degrees when I left…).

Hotels like the Grove are not exactly cheap, but they do offer a great service when you are hosting an event, conference or meeting offsite. The food is excellent, the rooms are very comfortable, the service in the conference center is impeccable, the surroundings are just beautiful and apparently the golf course is amazing. The meeting rooms all have big plasma screens so sharing a presentation is very easy without the humming of projector in the background all day and the wireless internet is available everywhere.

The pricing for all of this is pretty fair in my view. It is a 5-star hotel, so no, it is not cheap. But, for example, 24 hour wireless internet access is 20 British pounds. I don't think that is that much. A full 24 hour delegate pass (including overnight room, breakfast, lunch, dinner, meeting room, coffee breaks etc), is less than 300 GBP/person. Also, very reasonable for this class of hotel. One price however completely shocked me… For a scan (and emailing you the scan), they charge 5 GBP per page! Now that is just a rip-off I think!

one busy week… euh month
June 24, 2008, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Reizen

It's going to be over quickly this week… I don't have a spare moment. While working every day, I have dinner tonight, Radiohead tomorrow, Tuur's graduation show on Thursday, Capco's summer ball on Friday, flying to New York on Saturday, 3 days to find a place to live in New York, flying to Belgium on Tuesday night, Werchter in Belgium on Thursday, Friday ,Saturday, a wedding on Saturday night in Belgium, werchter on Sunday, flying back to London on Monay, appointment in the American Embassy on Tuesday where they will take away my passport for a few weeks so no more travel… And then 3 weeks to get everything packed up and shipped out of the apartment, hopefully with an address to go to in New York. Then Lollapalooza on July 31st and the first weekend of August. after that… rest… All the while working during most days…

Am already tired…

BA – Bullshit airline
May 16, 2008, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Reizen

I just got back from a 10 day trip to New York and I’m telling you, I have had it with the idiots at British Airways. Unfortunately, my next trip with them is already booked for the end of the month and non-refundable, so I can’t cancel that ticket. I guess it’s their last chance to redeem themselves, although I’m not hopeful.

I’ve flown BA ever since I moved to London about 2 years ago for at least 2 atlantic flights per month, sometimes more. Because my office always booked the cheapest flights, I never got any miles on BA (correction, I got about 800 for an atlantic flight, while you normally get about 3500 for that on other airlines). But I stayed loyal, hoping that I would get to the point where they would recognize my recurring business and give me an upgrade every now and then. Recently, I have asked the travel agency not to book the cheapest flights anymore but the full fare economy ones, so I could get full miles. This was more to avoid getting middle seats in the back again when on a red-eye flight back to London and having to work the next day.

Other airlines have very specific promises when buying full fare economy seats, like e.g. Continental:

No Middle Seat" Guarantee: To ensure a comfortable flight we’ll guarantee that you receive a window or aisle seat in Economy Class if you are not upgraded to the front cabin when you purchase a full fare on Continental Airlines and Continental Micronesia operated flights. We’re so committed to this guarantee, we’ll automatically reward our OnePass members with 2,500 OnePass miles if they do sit in a middle seat.

But not with BA… noooooo. I arrived at the desk with my e-ticket with confirmed seat 22A. "I’m sorry miss, but our flight is a little full and I only have middle seats left".
Me: "What do you mean, I have a confirmed seat and paid full fare to make sure I got this seat?"
Them: "I’m really sorry miss, but I have no other seats available".

So there you stand then with your full fare ticket… And of course once on the plane, the whole freaking business class is almost empty but they would rather die than upgrade you to that.

See, I can deal with the lousy service at Heathrow (thank god my flight changed back to terminal 4 instead of terminal 5), the losing my bags every now and then (3 times on BA, never on another airline), the arrogant staff at check in, the horrible state of the BA check-in counters at Newark (I know… you are remodeling), the horrendous food on the planes, the shitty inflight entertainment systems, the freakishly cold flights etc… But when I pay for my full fare, I expect to get what I pay for and I don’t think that is too much to ask.

I’m flying again to NY on May 27th. Last chance to make me change my mind. I already applied for the Continental Airlines One Pass as I don’t believe in miracles or fairy tales anymore.

March 11, 2008, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Reizen

After a week in New York and 2 crazy days of travel I’m finally back home. Can you guess from this pic where I was for exactly 15 hours from Monday 2am until Monday 5pm?

Rio pictures
November 13, 2007, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Reizen

After a 12 hour trip I’m back in New York after a lovely week in Rio de Janiero. John and Si’s wedding was a lot of fun and I had a great time. The pictures are online here.

I will definitely remember the beach, my visit to a favela (Rocinha), the awesome meat everywhere, the Havaianas, the sungas the men wear on the beaches and one amazing wedding. Sooooo many beautiful flowers everywhere….

These are my favorite pics:

Christ the Redeemer from a favela
Christ the Redeemer, viewed from Rocinha, a favela.

Lovely girl from the favela
A lovely young girl in her family’s house in Rocinha.

The wedding church
The church where John and Si got married.

November 8, 2007, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Reizen

Yes, I made it to Rio! Here’s a first impression. More to follow!


November 5, 2007, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Reizen

Jeez, what a busy last couple of days. With busy I mean, no time or no need to sit in front of any computer. Hence no updates here…

The weekend was fun: A 30th birthday party, fireworks for Guy Fawkes-day (yes, that’s today, but fireworks are more fun in the weekend), some sweet loving and an awesome Halloween party. The theme for that last one was "dead celebraties". I went as Sharon Tate (and I really had some awesome stab wounds, hollywood style!) and I remember seeing George Best (double), Audrey Hepburn, Kurt Cobain, Steve Irwin, Charly Chaplin, Freddy Mercury, Christopher Reeves… even a Mother Theresa. Quite funny 🙂

Tomorrow night, I’m leaving for a short holiday to Rio (yes Brasil!). Mister Baeyens is getting married there on Saturday and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. When will I ever get an excuse to go to Rio again!!! After Rio, it’s straight to New York for a week and weekend of work. So I’ll be away from home for 2 weeks, but hopefully not too busy to give you an update every now and then… Or some cool pics from Posto 9 🙂

September 12, 2007, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Reizen

And we’re back in New York. Anyone who says traveling by plane is fun, is clearly an idiot… (unless you are the pilot, I guess)
I wonder why I ever decided to fly British Airways always from London to New York. I really, really do not like them. I can live with the hour delay, if you could bloody well tell me why there is a delay in the first place and not let us sit and wait there wondering if we are even at the correct gate (Maybe use the screens at the gate next time to say which flight is leaving from there???). And "problems with staff" does not count as a decent explanation of why the plane is not there yet. Especially not when you are flying on September 11th.
And the food is sooooo disgusting! I know I’m not the best person to judge food as I hardly eat anything normal people eat, but I can judge quality. And BA is without a doubt the most disgusting food I have ever had on a plane. I even prefer American Airlines… at least they give you a slice of pizza…
The "entertainment system" on board is completely outdated, half the audio channels never work, the films keep breaking up, if you like some ice with your drink, they’ll come and bring it "later". Translation = never.
Anyway… we made it… and in New York again!! yipie!

September 7, 2007, 9:10 am
Filed under: Reizen

Such a pleasant day yesterday. Ok, getting up at 7.30am (6.30 on my UK clock) in the Antwerp hotel after drinks at the filmfestival in Ostend didn’t feel like the best start… But a nice lunch with ex-colleague S. (we get along so much better now, since we don’t work for the same boss anymore), a good and entertaining meeting with the PR folks and a lovely dinner at a cool place with some very nice company just made my day. And I really look forward to spending the weekend with the family again.

September 4, 2007, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Reizen

Off for some traveling again tomorrow. First a couple of days in Belgium (Ostend film festival, Riemst kermis (!), wedding Gert & Nele) and then 10 days in New York. Glamour stories to follow 😉