The first big trip of the year for me was an opportunity to try out Japan Airlines first-class service from New York (JFK) to Tokyo (NRT).  Coincidentally, my flight from Charlotte (CLT) to JFK left on the weekend of the Charlotte Salsa Festival, which was being held at the Charlotte Sheraton Airport Hotel.

Charlotte Salsa Festival 

The Charlotte Salsa Festival is a three-day event.  My instructors, Wendy & Rodrigo organize the festival, and performers and teachers come from all over the US and foreign countries too.

Schedule for Charlotte Salsa Festival

I arrived at the hotel late on Friday night, but in time to see some of the performances.

A Bachata group from Charlotte

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The performances were super.  My only complaint was that the lighting made it tough for taking pictures with my cellphone.

After the performances, the dance parties began,  Rooms were designated for Salsa, Kizomba and Bachata.

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Dancing in the Salsa room

I’m glad to have made it to the Friday night festivities even if I had to miss the rest of the workshops, performances and parties.

Sheraton Airport Hotel Charlotte

By staying at this hotel on Friday night as a Starwood Platinum, I was able to leave my car at the hotel for free while I was on the trip and take the hotel shuttle to and from the airport.  So I sort of killed two birds with one stone, or maybe three if you count the extra night and stay credit from Starwood.

I received a standard room on the club level of the hotel.  This hotel only has a couple of suites.

As you can see from the photos above, the room is very basic Sheraton.

The club lounge is just down the hall.  It offers evening canapés and beer and wine for a fee.  The club lounge also is stocked with soft drinks and water that those on the club floor can access throughout the day.

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Club lounge

This hotel has a nice indoor/outdoor pool.20160109_062710 (3)

There is a fitness center in the basement that is more than adequate for a good workout.  The basement also holds a laundry with coin-operated washer and dryer.

Finally, the hotel runs a shuttle bus to the airport on the hour and half hour.   It is prompt as airline crews stay at this hotel and rely on the shuttle to get them to the airport in a timely fashion.  CLT is only seven minutes away.

Next is the highlight of this trip — my first class ride from New York to Tokyo on Japan Airlines first class.