For those of my readers who didn’t make it to the Flyertalk Event DO 2014 at the London Hyatt Churchill – I think the only event of its kind which is drizzled in points, prizes and freebies for every guest – I thought I would share a taste of the weekend’s fun with you.
This was the third FlyerTalk Hyatt London Do and perhaps the most successful. As with previous years, the event was for 3 nights on the last weekend in October, starting with a welcome champagne reception and finishing with a gala dinner. New for this year was a choice of tasting sessions on Saturday, a wonderful dinner in a Masonic Temple, and a behind-the-scenes tour of London City Airport.
Thanks to the generosity of those donating prizes and to the attendees, we have raised enough money to build two houses and lots more for the village of Kompheim in Cambodia via the charity HUSK.
Thursday – Champagne Reception
To kick off the FlyerTalk Hyatt London Do weekend and welcome all attendees to the event and the hotel, the Hyatt Regency generously sponsored a champagne reception on the first evening. In addition to free-flow champagne, soft drinks, and water, a range of canapés was served. The staff were incredibly generous with top-ups, and a good time was had by all.
Friday – LCY Tour
The Friday morning American Express focus groups enabled several attendees to make suggestions for an ideal credit card for travelers. Afterward, a group of 18 Flyertalkers made their way to London City Airport. Convenient to reach from Central London (by DLR), City Airport offers a much quicker and more efficient airport experience than alternatives – see a longer write-up of the tour here.
After being met by the knowledgable and friendly Chris Shields, we were led through the airport and shown the behind-the-scenes processes that make this airport such a joy for rapid transit in and out of London. Although small, the facilities are high-tech, with crowd control monitoring the passage of each flyer through each stage (check-in, security, etc.). The long-term aim is to link in with online services so that you will know exactly how long your journey through and to the airport will take, minimizing wasted minutes. After being granted entry to the security control room, we were taken through the departure lounge and onto the tarmac – close enough to touch the planes! Lastly came the highlight of our tour – speeding down the runway in a bus to watch several landings and take-offs with the spectacular London city skyline behind.
We are very grateful to LCY for this exclusive tour and are tentatively planning a tour and sightseeing flight from LCY next year.
Dinner in the Andaz’s Temple
Another first for 2014 was a night hosted by the Andaz London Liverpool Street, with whom we negotiated a very favorable rate for the evening. On arrival, attendees were served a welcome Bellini in the Catch Restaurant lounge before being treated to a tour of the hotel. This finished in the anteroom of Temple, one of the event spaces. Incredibly, this is an actual Masonic Temple – still in use today. Although built-in 1912, the temple remained unknown, hidden behind the paneling in the old Great Eastern Hotel until Hyatt’s renovations in 1990. Only discrepancies in the hotel plan led to the discovery of a hollow chamber, which turned out to be this beautiful wood-paneled marble-floored temple, complete with thrones and a pipe organ.
As a group, we felt very privileged to be granted access to this unique event space, where we were served a very good dinner and enjoyed taking photos of ourselves on the throne. A very popular event, we plan to repeat dinner in the Temple next year, so if you missed out this year, book early.
American Express Gala Dinner
The highlight of this annual FlyerTalk Hyatt London Do is the gala dinner on Saturday evening, generously sponsored for three years now by American Express.
The evening started with a Pol Roger champagne reception – Winston Churchill’s favorite champagne. We then moved into the beautiful Library Suite for our delicious 3-course dinner. Starters of cured scallop, goat’s cheese tart, or crushed peppercorn beef loin were followed by mains of rack of lamb, herb-steamed halibut or spinach, and ricotta ravioli. Those with a sweet tooth were delighted by choice of desserts – chocolate fondant or winterberry clafoutis. There was a great atmosphere on the night, which continued into the small hours in the Churchill Bar.
Once the coffee and petit fours were served, we started our presentation, highlighting the event sponsors and giving a pre-taste of the goody bags available for each attendee (many thanks to AMEX, Clinique, Darling Spuds, Rococo Chocolates, Sugru, and Jing).
Prize draw & Auction
After a brief introduction to next year’s event in Vietnam, we continued with the prize draw. For the first time, we decided to auction the prize of 2 nights in the Hyatt London, which alone raised £500 GBP for HUSK Cambodia.
Other prizes included vouchers for Hyatts in Paris, Mainz, Muscat, Shanghai, Tokyo, Goa, New Mexico, Da Nang, Vienna, Abu Dhabi, and the Maldives. The star prize was a stay at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, a private tour of Kompheim in Siem Reap, and a suite upgrade and massage in Singapore.
Many thanks to all the hotels who donated such wonderful prizes to the Flyertalk Hyatt London Do and allowed us to raise enough money to build 2 new homes in Siem Reap, provide food and clean water for many families, changing the lives of many people living in poverty in Cambodia.
The evening dissolved into a warm, fuzzy blur of alcohol-fuelled merriment and post prize draw euphoria, many socialized in small groups, and the hospitality of The Churchill Bar was enjoyed until the staff’s patience expired.
On Sunday, Mr and Mrs d2t relaxed over brunch and reflected on the event. “There is always a point when we wonder why we spend so many hours (estimated at over 1000/year) on a non-profit event; when it all feels like simply too much work. However, seeing all the smiles from those who attended, experiencing the atmosphere on Saturday night, and knowing we will make a real difference to lives in Cambodia makes it all worthwhile”. Thank you to all those who came – it was a real joy to meet you, and please keep in touch. With many already signed up for Vietnam next year and promises to meet up in London, New York, or Washington DC, we are sure that it will be Auf Wiedersehen, not goodbye.
Note: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.