BTA San Diego Fam Trip With Wyndham Hotels and Resorts And British Airways
I was delighted to be invited to join senior representatives from BTA to experience British Airways 747 Club World flatbed business class and the beautiful Wyndham Bayside Hotel in San Diego for a 2 night familiarisation visit.
The group had all taken advantage of the online check-in and made their own way to the BA Galleries Lounge in T5 after a quick journey through passport and security checks to meet our hosts John Greehy from British Airways and Daniel Norris from Wyndham. The large lounge has many different areas enabling passengers to work quietly if needed or, like us, make final checks on our emails before enjoying the fantastic variety of food and drinks available.
It was soon time to walk to the gate and start experiencing the Club World product. Friendly crew welcomed us on board and we were quickly served with an ice cold glass of champagne. The 11 hour flight passed quickly with attentive but unobtrusive service including fabulous food and the latest blockbusters to keep us occupied. Although I didn't sample the flat bed, I did make myself very comfortable by reclining the seat, using the footrest along with the pillow and duvet supplied by The White Company.
On arrival in San Diego we made our way through immigration surprisingly quickly and easily found our transfer to the Wyndham Bayside. On arrival we were met by Jared Smalley, the Business Development Manager for the hotel, assigned fantastic rooms overlooking the bay and had a light supper in the Steak House attached to the hotel.
The next morning we were woken by bright sunshine and beautiful views over the bay.
After a filling breakfast in Claim Jumper, the hotel's informal bar / restaurant, we enjoyed a Harbour Cruise on the Renown courtesy of Hornblower Cruises. This was a fantastic way to learn about the city which is a huge naval base and home of the US Navy Seals training base. We also had a great view of the Coronado Bridge which was built long & curved to meet the minimum length standard that would qualify for Federal funding.
Back on dry land we were shown around all of the facilities at the Wyndham Bayside, including the pool and fitness centre along with the excellent conference and meeting rooms.
We then enjoyed a lovely lunch in the sunshine on the terrace at Claim Jumper before heading off on a tram tour of San Diego a must if you ever go there. Our driver was very entertaining, ensuring that everyone joined in and had a great time whilst passing on interesting facts about the city. We stayed on for the whole tour and saw the Marina, Convention Centre, Little Italy, went across the curved bridge to Coronado, Bilboa Park and finally Old Town
The fantastic location of the hotel enabled us to walk up to Little Italy in the evening for a lovely meal followed by a visit to a duelling piano bar in the famous Gas Light District.
Wednesday brought another bright and sunny day - perfect for our site visits to hotels / motels showcasing some of Wyndham's brands.
First stop was the Wyndham Garden San Diego near SeaWorld, a great base for a longer stay within easy reach of the city centre. With just over 100 Wyndham Garden's worldwide the brand is considered to be midscale hotels which are conveniently located in key business, airport and suburban locations.
Next up was La Quinta San Diego where we were made very welcome by the owners another ideal base for a longer stay in the San Diego area. La Quinta was acquired by Wyndham in June 2019 for $1.95 billion USD and has approximately 900 midscale hotels in North and Central America.
Our lunch stop was at The Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre where the owners took great pride in showing us around and explaining how they interact with the local community, bringing business into Proud Mary's bar & restaurant with live music from Wednesday to Saturday. The Ramada brand has over 800 hotels in 63 countries with the brand representing the midscale to upper midscale segment.
Our final visit was to the Howard Johnson Hotel Circle with contemporary dÃ©cor, great location and proud owners.
All too soon it was time to think about packing our bags but before that we headed off along the bayside to Seaport Village for some retail therapy passing the enormous USS Midway Aircraft Carrier.
Reluctantly, we returned to the hotel, packed our bags and enjoyed a last drink in the sunshine before heading back to the airport. Again, we enjoyed the British Airways lounge, most of us having a meal to ensure we took full advantage of the flat beds in business class on the flight. This time we were on the upper deck and appreciated the quieter cabin - after watching a movie, I quickly changed my seat into a bed and went to sleep. I was surprised to wake up over 7 hours later to find there was only 2 hours left of the flight! Breakfast was served and we landed at Heathrow where our bags came through quickly and there were no queues at immigration. All that was left for us to do was to thank John & Daniel for being such generous hosts and the other delegates for being such good company before heading home after a whistle stop trip.
Our thanks go to British Airways and Wyndham for inviting us to experience their wonderful products. Please contact John Greehy @ British Airways or Daniel Norris at Wyndham should you need any further information.