Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HTC One Mobile Phone - short review

When I say short, I mean short.
I first worked in the cellular phone business in 1996. Selling hundreds of phones with plans from different providers.
My market was residential as well commercial. In those years you needed to know as much as possible about your phones and your providers and I was a master in learning about phones  and then getting the right phone in the hands of my clients.
Times have changed and phones became more than just that. Over the past 4 years I tried all kinds of phones. All Android software, all smartphones. I liked them all and was satisfied.
Then I bought the HTC One. By far the best piece I owned so far.
Flat, stylish, metal look. This phone simply looks good.
Thew battery life is super. Depending on your usage it might be different to mine. Using all day for work including internet etc I get 24 hours . When using it as a phone only I easily had 2 full days. Naturally I expected the battery life to get shorter and it did. But nothing so significant that it would be worth to write about too long. In all I am satisfied.
I am not a tech geek. But from what I understood at the time of my purchase, the phone had the most current software available as operating system. Thinking about the speed of this phone when working with the apps and programs I have only good things to say. Compared to my old phone the HTC was lightening fast. In regards to what was on my pbone as pre installed applications, I had everything I needed to get my social and business work done. Over time I added applications and with Google Play it was a breeze to do so.
I guess there is authors who go into much more technical details or write lengthy books about the HTC filled with info which only means something to certain people.
For the normal and regular cell phone user I can say the following.
The HTC Smartphone is the best phone I had so far. It is easy to set up and operate, has more than sufficient battery life, looks great and is very durable. Getting it with a contract will bring the price to 99$ or less. That makes it affordable for most of us.
I am positive that if there is no comparable model available when my contract runs out I will get the same phone again.
The HTC One is a great phone for business and social use alike.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lake Tarpon Resort - Palm Harbor, FL - How good is it?

When travelling for golf tournaments we always look for good looking hotels which offer a pool, a restaurant, maybe breakfast and if possible some view on something nice.

This all helps to have a fun stay and get relaxed before a golf tournament or any other work we would do.

My schedule showed that I play at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL. A Golf Channel Tour event I was looking forward to be part of for years. Palm Harbor is about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from where we live.

Not exactly a long way. However, imagine to have a tee time at 7 38 am. To warm up for such a tee time you need to be there at 6 45 am , which means getting up extremely early.

So for this event we searched for a hotel with the following attributes:

1. Close to the resort, within 1 to 3 miles
2. Pool
3. Restaurant
4. Gym
5. View on the lake or any other water body
6. Price under 100 $
7. Good reviews
8. Free WIFI
9. Breakfast

Amazingly there were not too many hotels in the area and certainly not many who offered what we were looking for.

The good news was that we did find the Lake Tarpon Resort Hotel. By all accounts the exact hotel we were looking for. The hotel seemed to offer all of what we were looking for and for a price which was exactly as we imagined it. Further I read that it was the old Best Western, which made me think that the quality of the building and rooms should be good.

We booked the hotel directly without going through any of the other websites like Expedia and so on. The booking process was easy, fast and friendly.

On 4th of July we arrived in the area at around noon and decided to check out the hotel first and maybe even get into the room ( which usually is not possible until 3 pm). We found it easily.

From the outside it looked nice and interesting. Driving into the parking lot we found a clearly older hotel which was kind of build like a Spanish style building. Parking lot was clean and the entire grounds looked like they were taken care off.

We parked in front and went in. Nice entrance, big entrance hole with seating , computer area and breakfast area. Looked nice. Clean and welcoming. Went to the counter where we were greeted in a friendly tone and asked if we can be helped with anything. I explained everything and we were told that the rooms were not ready yet. That was fine with us. We did not expect that they were ready.

So we said we will be back later this afternoon. On the way out I checked out the breakfast corner. Looked good. Then we walked toward the pool. On the way we saw the gym which looked updated and in good shape as well. Pool was busy. Small pool but being on the canal and with a view on buildings, some green belt and boats I liked it.

The restaurant was empty and closed, which I did not expect. If it would have been open, it would have offered some nice seating with view on water and green belt.

We returned at about 7 pm. The room now was ready and we checked in. Giving a different card than the one we made the reservation with and we were told then that this will not be a problem. The lady told us where to go and that we have a top floor room.

Used the elevator to the 3rd floor but had to walk up one more floor. We entered the room and it was humid and hot. I went to turn on the A/C , but was not, able to get it going. The room otherwise looked nice, clean and had a large balcony with a view.

Called the receptionist and told her about the A/C. She said she will call back and did so about 3 minutes later. She told us that there is no maintenance guy and she will upgrade us. Just pick up a new key. We did so and again had a room on the 4th floor more towards the middle of the building.

Entered the room. Nice and cool. Clean and smelled good. The view as much better. Actually could see the lake and oversee the pool, canal, houses and green belt. We liked it. It came with micron wave, refrigerator, TV ( old one), Table and chairs and plenty of room. The balcony was pretty big but only had two plastic chairs.

Never tried the TV. But used the fridge which worked fine. All lights were working as well. The mattress was newer and of good quality. The bathroom looked clean and had all the supplies. Towels were nicely presented and you could see that they updated a little.

We actually slept well in that room and it was overall quite around us. I mean it was 4th of July.

Next morning we found that the shower was not draining properly, but good enough for us. Coffee machine worked great. WIFI worked as well and was for free.

We had a simple breakfast. Bagel, cream cheese, jelly, coffee. They did have some oatmeal and sweet stuff. I was OK with all that. Not like a Best Western, but not bad as well.

Check out was fast, but they did charge the wrong card, which we did not complain about since I had to move on to the course.

Other notes: From the balcony I saw rooms which were in disorder, beds upside down and so on. Clearly they were working on remodeling. We were told the restaurant will open in November again but no explanation why there is no info on the Internet that it was not there.

Overall I was happy. Lake Tarpon Resort Hotel in Palm Harbor might be a 2 star hotel, but it offers all you need. Customer service was good. Everybody tried to help us and make us happy. Rooms were clean and functional. The location certainly is nice. Close to the lake and parks and to the Innisbrook Resort ( for golfers).

If playing again in the area I would not mind to go back to Lake Tarpon Resort. We later heard that the bank owns it right now and not only would that explain how things work out there right now, but it also gives hope that there will be improvement over the next few months.

We paid 80 $ and if you are not seeking a 4 or 5 start hotel, this place could be the place for you. Have you been there? If so, write a comment and share your experiences about Lake Tarpon Resort.

Keep it clean and I will update if I go there again.