Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.



December 23, 2009

The new Intercontinental Paris Avenue Marceau

A glass dome covers La Verrières sun-filled winter garden at the InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau hotel

Earlier this month, a new upscale hotel opened in Paris near the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées. The new InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau is operating under a ten-year management contract between InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Groupe Cible Expansion, which owns the property (formerly the Crowne Plaza Paris Champs-Élysées). The 55-room hotel encompasses three heritage buildings from different periods in Paris' history and overlooks a central courtyard. Features include two penthouse suites, including a terrace suite with a private roof patio that looks out over the Eiffel Tower. The hotel also has a conservatory restaurant, Le M64, which opens onto the courtyard and boasts outdoor seating in the summer months. The Chef, Romain Marzet, was previously the first assistant chef at the George V hotel in Paris. The hotel will complement the existing InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hôtel, a historic building originally inaugurated by Empress Eugenie in 1862.


December 9, 2009
(Note: This offer is no longer available due to the cancellation of the ship.)

Olympics Float-tel

The Norwegian Star cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Lines

It's not too late to book a room for the 2010 Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver Feb. 12-28, 2010. The city announced it has gained 1,119 new hotel rooms for the Games without having to build a new high-rise! The rooms are available in the Norwegian Cruise Line's "Norwegian Star," which has been chartered for the duration of the games and features amenities such as 13 restaurants, a spa, and an indoor pool and a fitness center. The ship will be berthed in North Vancouver and is just minutes away from the Seabus Terminal for transfers to downtown Vancouver and the transfer location for all of the mountain venues in Whistler. Rates start at $650 per person nightly, which includes all meals, airport transfers, city tours and nightly entertainment.


November 25, 2009


CityCenter set to open December on the Las Vegas Strip

The Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas

The highly anticipated opening of CityCenter in Las Vegas, a LEED-certified urban community featuring hotels, residences and more, will take place in December on roughly 67 acres between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts on the Strip. Although it is still a few weeks before the project actually opens to the public, interested Web surfers can sample some of the buzz of CityCenter on the destination's interactive site at www.citycenter.com. The unique property will feature the likes of ARIA Resort & Casino, a 61-story, 4,004-room gaming resort; luxury non-gaming hotels such as Las Vegas' first Mandarin Oriental and Vdara Hotel & Spa; as well Crystals, a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district. In addition, there will be residential offerings. The website features a number of interactive 3-D video elements and buttons that provide in-depth information on the unique collection of businesses at this destination, which is a joint venture between MGM Mirage and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World.


November 11, 2009

Taj Announces its First Hotel in South Africa

The Taj Cape Town in South Africa

Next month, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces will open Taj Cape Town, its 80th hotel and first in South Africa. This new 166-room landmark will offer the signature Indian hospitality and luxury accommodation expected from this upscale chain combined with the culture and tourism found in South Africa's thriving capital. In keeping with Taj Hotels' tradition of breathing life into iconic properties, the hotel encompasses two historic buildings: The Temple Chambers, built in 1890, and the South African Reserve Bank building. These buildings house twenty heritage luxury rooms with mountain views and an additional ten rooms overlooking the city. The property also features a new seventeen-floor tower that rises behind the two heritage buildings, where rooms offer floor-to-ceiling glass facades, balconies and panoramic views of Table Mountain or the city. Also on-site are three restaurants and a spa complete with indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. The property is ideally situated on St. George's Mall and will be a welcome addition to the city's accommodations in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. For more information visit www.tajhotels.com.



October 28, 2009

The Allison Inn & Spa Opens in Newberg, Oregon

The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon

A recent hotel opening in the Pacific Northwest has filled a void for quality accommodations in the popular Willamette Valley wine region, known for producing quality Pinot Noir. The Allison Inn & Spa opened in Newberg, OR, featuring a luxurious spa, indoor pool, signature restaurant, and 15,000 square feet of meeting space. The 85 guest rooms and suites have bay window seats, fireplaces and terraces or balconies to take in the majestic surroundings. Located only 25 miles southeast of Portland, The Allison Inn & Spa offers guests the opportunity to enjoy quiet comfort within the property's own vineyards, thirty-five acres of landscaped areas and nearby rolling hills. The location provides easy access to top vineyards and golf courses.


October 14, 2009

Prominent Wineries Celebrated at The Ahwahnee's
Vintners'
Holidays Series

The Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee, the recently reopened historic hotel located in scenic Yosemite Park, has announced its 2009 season lineup for the 28th annual Vintners' Holidays event series. This festive event celebrates California winemaking in a beautiful natural setting and is a great way to kick off the holiday season. The month-long series of events bring together numerous prominent California wineries over a series of eight sessions from November 1 to December 3. Participants are invited to meet, learn from and dine with different winemakers, winery owners and growers in each session, moderated by some of the most respected wine authorities in the country. This year's lineup features 32 California wineries including Iron Horse Vineyards, Joseph Phelps, Rombauer Vineyards, Saintsbury, Mumm Napa Estates, J Vineyards, Silver Oak Cellars and Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery, as well as a few newcomers.  Two- and three-night packages are available at The Ahwahnee from $996, which includes lodging, two tickets to the Gala Dinner and admission to the winemakers’ reception. Individual tickets for the dinner can be purchased for $199 per person, excluding gratuity. For more information or to make reservations call 801-559-4949 or visit www.YosemitePark.com/Vintners.


October 7, 2009

Mercedes-Benz Offers Destinations Program

New Mexico's Encantado hotel with a fleet of Mercedes-Benz cars parked outside

As if driving a Mercedes-Benz wasn't luxury enough, the German automaker is now teaming up with select hotels and resorts across the country to offer special benefits to Mercedes-Benz owners during their stay. The company's Destinations program allows owners to enjoy exclusive room upgrades (when available); welcome gifts; on-site hospitality credits for restaurants and spas; and Mercedes-Benz vehicle test-drives, complimentary use and courtesy shuttles. Available automobiles at each property will range from a SL63 AMG performance roadster to the S-class sedan and new BlueTEC SUVs. To help travelers orient themselves, each car is equipped with an in-dash GPS navigation system. The program's ten participating properties include Calistoga Ranch; Auberge du Soleil; Montage Beverly Hills; and Rancho Valencia-all in California-and Encantado, NM; The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, SC; Stowe Mountain Lodge, VT; St. Regis Aspen, CO; Winvian, CT; and Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, IL.


October 2, 2009

The Ritz-Carlton Chain Opens First LEED-built Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, the group's first LEED-built hotel

The latest The Ritz-Carlton property opened earlier last month to tremendous fanfare from locals and visitors alike; it is the first LEED-built hotel for the luxury chain.  The 146-room property is situated in the heart of uptown Charlotte, NC and features the highly acclaimed BLT Steak restaurant and an environmentally-friendly 13,000-square-foot wellness center located in a bi-level penthouse complete with separate vitality lounges for men and women, a movement studio, pool and a specialized couples’ treatment room. Guests will enjoy the environmentally conscious elements of The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte from the presence of rooftop vegetation to complimentary weekday transportation via a hybrid vehicle.


September 16, 2009

Backcountry Skiing in Pristine Canadian Powder

Heli-Skiing
Two of the ski industry's most innovative companies, CMH Heli-Skiing—the company that introduced heli-skiing to the world—and K2 Skis, known for its cutting-edge ski design, have announced an exciting new partnership for the 2009/2010 ski season.  For the first time ever, CMH Heli-Skiers will be able to ski the highly regarded powder of the Selkirks, Monashees and Cariboo ranges in Canada on the new K2 BackSide skis. The BackSide series is a new category of equipment for K2 in 2009-10, designed for skiers who ski off the beaten path of regular ski resorts, whether it's just off the side of the trail, a tour into the backcountry or if they're adventurous enough, a helidrop to the most remote spots in the backcountry.

September 2, 2009

Online Reservation System Will Let Eiffel Tower Visitors Jump the Line

The Eiffel Tower at night

It used to be that the only way for a visitor to avoid the notoriously long line at the Eiffel Tower was to book a table months in advance at the famed Jules Verne restaurant, where a meal can run over $300 per person. But by the end of this year, the Eiffel Tower will unveil a new online reservation system that will allow visitors to avoid the wait and zip straight up to the observation deck—and all for a mere €13, the same price charged to those standing around at the base waiting their turn.

This news comes at a time when the historic monument is undertaking a series of renovations that will be completed in the summer of 2010. Not only is the outside of the 119-year-old Eiffel Tower undergoing an 18-month re-painting project, but numerous cables and gears working inside the elaborate monument will be treated to a $28 million renovation. During this work, the Eiffel Tower will continue to be open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. (9 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. in summer).

For more information, visit www.toureiffel.fr

August 19, 2009

Soon-to-open Upper House Will Feature Spacious Bathrooms With Views

A large, comfortable bathroom suite at the Upper House, Hong Kong

The soon-to-open Upper House hotel will feature some of the largest bathrooms in Hong Kong when the property debuts in October. As many travelers to Hong Kong are already aware, many area hotels offer rather small bathrooms—a place where many people visitors spend quite a bit of time.

At 300 square feet, each bathroom at the Upper House will boast walk-in rain showers, dressing areas, and free-standing bathtubs with panoramic harbor or island views.

The actual rooms feature Italian Perlato Svevo natural limestone floors and Beige Turkish Terre d'Oriente limestone walls. Andre Fu, one of Asia's most prolific young architects, designed the hotel to reflect a sophisticated and modern Asian-influenced residence.

For more information, visit www.upperhouse.com


August 5, 2009

Emirates Ascends to Become the Largest Boeing 777 Operator


An Emirates Boeing 777Emirates Airline recently became the world’s largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft, with the arrival of its 78th Boeing 777 on June 30th, 2009. Emirates has another 28 of the aircraft pending delivery, an order expected to total approximately $7 billion.

The arrival of Emirates'  latest Boeing 777 in Dubai is a major milestone for the airline but also a boon for U.S. and international aerospace manufacturing. There are three million parts in a 777 aircraft, provided by 500 suppliers from around the world.

Emirates utilizes Boeing’s 777 in all gateways including New York, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. All U.S. routes operate daily service with the exception of New York, which operates twice-daily service.

Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, says, "The 777s form the backbone of our fleet, and we have configured these aircraft to give us maximum flexibility in terms of route deployment. Emirates' 777s today fly to six continents from our Dubai hub, operating routes within a two-hour distance to long-range journeys of 16 hours non-stop."

For more information, visit www.emirates.com



July 22, 2009

Deluxe Volcano 'Flightseeing' in Hawaii

Interisland Airways' Deluxe Volcano One Day Tour

Hawaii-based Interisland Airways has recently added a new trip to its list of sightseeing tours on the islands. The Deluxe Volcano One Day Tour is a six-island narrated "flightsee" tour of Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawaii, with a land tour on Hilo to visit Hawaii Volcano National Park, home to Hawaii’s Goddess of Fire, the Madame Pele volcano.

Trips take place every Wednesday, with prices starting at $349 for aisle seats and $399 for window seats. Private charters are also available. The company also offers the Majestic Kauai and Maui Hibiscus Tour, as well as other chartered flights and flight cargo services.

For more information, call 888-999-9015 or visit www.iflyinterisland.com


July 8, 2009

The  Airline Industry Turns to Creative Minds

Flight crew members clad in body paint on the Air New Zealand commercial

Air New Zealand has created quite a stir with a new advertising campaign and in-flight safety video featuring employees that are nude, but obscured by professionally-applied body paints and strategic camera angles. The point the cheeky airline is promoting is that they’ve got nothing to hide in regards to their all-inclusive pricing. The fares Air New Zealand currently advertises include baggage allowance and most refreshments. This campaign comes at a time when the majority of carriers are charging extra for anything from baggage to reserved seating.

The campaign makes use of a moment of levity at a time when the airline industry is suffering major losses in passengers, revenue and employee layoffs. But this is not the first daring campaign for the Auckland-based airline, which has been known to push the envelope with marketing opportunities. Last year, the airline paid people to shave their heads and wear temporary tattoos that read, "Need a change? Head down to New Zealand."

This commercial, titled "Nothing to Hide," has been viewed over three million times on YouTube and will likely continue to be a viral hit for the airline. View it here:




June 23, 2009

Virgin America Introduces Wi-Fi on All Flights

Virgin America is the first and currently only airline to offer in-flight Internet service on every scheduled flight

Virgin America, the California-based carrier and part of Richard Branson’s airline empire, announced recently that it has established itself as the first and only airline to offer in-flight Internet service on every scheduled flight.

Passengers on any of Virgin America’s 100 daily flights have the option to surf the web or check their email all from the comfort of their seats at over 30,000 feet.  With power outlets at every Virgin America seat, Gogo® has turned planes into Wi-Fi hotspots and home offices in the air for the millions of passengers that travel on their routes each year.

Although Virgin America does not typically allow Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) products like Skype video call in-flight due to noise concerns, passengers can currently use the Gogo service to Skype via the instant message feature, in addition to tweeting, updating Facebook pages and any of the numerous other ways the web is manipulated to keep people connected. The introduction of the Gogo service across the airline’s network makes Virgin America the first and only airline to offer consumers in-flight Wi-Fi on every flight, regardless of route, aircraft type, or flight time.

The Gogo service is available for $12.95 for daytime flights of over three hours, $9.95 for daytime flights of less than three hours, $5.95 on red-eye flights and $7.95 for handheld devices.

For more information, please visit www.virginamerica.com

How does it work? Read Alain Gayot's blog on the inaugural Wi-Fi flight.



June 10, 2009

Delta Air Lines Installs Wi-Fi on Nearly Half of Its Domestic Flights

Delta Air Lines has installed Wi-Fi on nearly half of its domestic fleet

Delta Air Lines recently announced that it has installed Wi-Fi on nearly half of its domestic fleet, making the company one of the world’s leading providers of in-flight connectivity. The company made a commitment last year to equip its entire domestic fleet with Wi-Fi, allowing more travelers to use their electronic devices on airplanes to surf the Internet, access e-mail and send instant messages. 

Specifically, of the more than 300 airplanes Delta operates on U.S. routes, 139 are equipped with in-flight Internet, including their entire MD-88 and MD-90 fleet, while the remainder of the domestic fleet is scheduled for completion by September 2009. Once complete, Delta will have more than 500 aircraft offering Wi-Fi.

Service is offered in both First and Economy class on a pay-per-flight basis. The cost of Wi-Fi access on a single Delta flight ranges from $7.95-$12.95. Customers are also able to purchase month-long, unlimited use passes. On the ground, Delta has expanded free Wi-Fi access to include all visitors to Delta Sky Club lounges within the United States.

For more information, please visit www.delta.com


May 27, 2009

Hyatt Hotels Hop on Twitter

Hyatt Hotels have unveiled HyattConcierge, which allows guests and the public to ask questions via Twitter before, during and after hotel stays

Hyatt Hotels is on the cutting-edge with the unveiling of HyattConcierge, a dedicated concierge service allowing guests and the general public to ask questions via Twitter before, during and after their hotel stays.

Earlier this month, Hyatt hotels launched the service as a tech-savvy customer service tool that allows guests—and actually, anyone who uses Twitter—to pose questions, similar to what guests might ask the concierge in the hotel lobby.

With a quick tweet you can ask about restaurant recommendations, tourist attractions and general advice on what to do in a particular city. Customers can also tweet their concerns, or requests involving any property at any time because HyattConcierge is staffed around the world with specially trained reservations center staffers.

The launch of HyattConcierge comes at a time when hotel chains are struggling with how to best harness Twitter to make consumers respond. So far, the industry is primarily using Twitter to promote vacation deals and general hotel announcements. Feel free to test the service and give us any feedback.

To see the site, visit www.twitter.com/HyattConcierge



May 13, 2009

Emirates Increases Baggage Allowances

Emirates recently announced an increase to its free baggage allowances provided to passengers

Emirates recently announced an increase to its free baggage allowances provided to passengers, which will allow the flexibility to carry significantly more baggage.

Emirates passengers travelling outside the U.S. and Canada can now take advantage of the new baggage allowances. These complimentary allowances have been introduced across the airline's extensive network and include 30 kilograms (66 pounds) for economy class passengers, 40 kilograms (88 pounds) for business class and 50 kilograms (110 pounds) for first class.

"Emirates has moved to these new free baggage levels to further demonstrate our commitment to putting the passenger first," said company representative Nabil Sultan. "By offering travelers the flexibility to carry significantly more baggage, we will be allowing them to take more gifts for family and friends or take advantage of the outstanding shopping in Dubai and across the extensive network of Emirates destinations."

This announcement comes at a time when the Dubai-based airline is also in the news for increasing their A380 flights from Dubai to Sydney to a daily schedule, as well as increased flights being announced to the Middle East, serviced by the Airbus A330.

For more information, visit www.emirates.com



April 29, 2009

Loews Hotels Supports Local Farming Communities

Loews Hotels has launched an initiative to support area farmers, fishermen and independent purveyors of products by purchasing local foods and products

Loews Hotels has launched an initiative to support area farmers, fishermen and independent purveyors of products by purchasing local foods and products. With the launch, they become one of the first hospitality industry companies to issue a brand-wide mandate to support and enhance local farming communities.

Under the Adopt-A-Farmer program, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, for instance, will utilize more than 60 seasonal herbs and vegetables from its own organic garden. In addition, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel will purchase all of its fruits and vegetables from Paradise Farms in Homestead, and its farm-raised Everglades striped bass from Triar Seafood. On the East Coast, the Loews Regency Hotel in New York works with Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, the only artesian sheep's milk producer in the Hudson Valley and the largest sheep dairy in the United States. Their flock is raised without artificial hormones and feeds on organically managed fields.

Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, says "in sourcing locally grown ingredients, many of which are organic or sustainable, we are not only supporting local farms but delighting our guests with fresh, flavorful and environmentally friendly dishes."




April 15, 2009

Allegiant Unveils Blue Man Group-Themed Plane
To mark the first anniversary of their partnership, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and the Blue Man Group have unveiled the first Blue Man Group airplane, which features images of the blue-colored trio

To mark the first anniversary of their partnership, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and the Blue Man Group have unveiled the first Blue Man Group airplane. The aircraft's exterior features images of the venerable, blue-colored trio.

The Blue Man Group plane can be used on any of Allegiant's 40 routes to Las Vegas. A second Blue Man Group plane is based out of the airline's Orlando hub at Orlando Sanford Airport.

The Allegiant-Blue Man Group program offers in-flight ticket sales to the show, as well as Blue Man Group-branded cups, napkins, overhead bins, service carts and in-flight crew uniforms. The trio includes an Allegiant Air-branded plane in its shows at The Venetian hotel and casino. There's also an Allegiant-sponsored VIP room in the Blue Man Group Theater.

Allegiant Air customers receive an exclusive ticket price and package for Blue Man Group shows. Tickets normally priced at $140 cost $99 plus tax and include preferred seating in the Allegiant Air section of the Blue Man Group Theater and a meet-and-greet with the performers after the show. Tickets normally priced at $100 are $60 plus tax and include preferred seating in the Allegiant Air section.

Allegiant Air customers can purchase tickets to Blue Man Group by logging on to www.allegiantair.com or calling 702-505-8888 or during their flight to Las Vegas.



April 7, 2009

Australia's Newest Luxury-Conservation Getaway

Emirates Hotels & Resorts' Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in October 2009. It's the second of two Sanctuary Resorts from the Emirates Group's new hospitality division

Emirates Hotels & Resorts' Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in October 2009. It's the second of two Sanctuary Resorts from the Emirates Group's new hospitality division, which aims to pair high-class service with premium locations. (Their first resort, Al Maha Desert Resort, is located in Dubai, with a future property in the Seychelles planned for 2010).  

A three-hour drive from Sydney, Wolgan Valley Resort is located at the foot of Australia's Blue Mountains in its own 4,000-acre private conservation and wildlife reserve. Accommodations consist of 40 free-standing suites, each equipped with their own outside decks and private swimming pool.

To help visitors unwind, the property's Timeless Spa offers a variety of treatments with all-natural ingredients. Each spa treatment room offers views of the neighboring Gardens of Stone National Park. The resort also offers Aboriginal interpretive tours, nature walks, wildlife safaris and horse riding trips.

For more information, visit www.emirateshotelsresorts.com



April 1, 2009

Air France Introduces Premium Voyageur Cabin

Seats in Air France's new Premium Voyageur cabin will include 40 percent additional space on average, as well as amenities like travel kits, bottled water, noise-reducing headphones, feather pillows and  pure new wool blankets

Air France is introducing a new, private cabin on its long-haul flights, beginning in the autumn of 2009.

Premium Voyageur will be situated between the Business and Economy cabins. The cabin will be gradually phased in on Air France's entire international long-haul network on flights operated by Boeing 777s, Airbus A340s and A330s.

The Premium Voyageur cabin offers 40 percent additional space and on average, 22 Premium Voyageur seats will be available over an area, which before had 40 seats in the Economy cabin. Seats in the new cabin will also have a travel kit, a bottle of water, noise-reducing headphones, a feather pillow and a pure new wool blanket.

The cabin will boast completely new seats equipped with a fixed shell, which guarantees passengers' space and privacy. The seat is 48 cm wide, with a 123° seat back recline, without being intrusive for the passenger sitting just behind. Plenty of legroom, and individual 10.4 inch, On-Demand video screens will also be available.

Starting on April 1, 2009, Air France customers will be able to book and purchase their seat in the Premium Voyageur cabin. The first available destinations will be New York-JFK, Tokyo and Osaka.

For more information, visit www.airfrance.us



March 18, 2009

Hawaiian Airlines Begins Third Roundtrip Honolulu-Las Vegas Flights

Due to overwhelming demand, Hawaiian Airlines has recently added a third roundtrip flight between Honolulu and Las Vegas

Due to overwhelming demand, Hawaiian Airlines has added a third roundtrip flight between Honolulu and Las Vegas, which started March 2. The airline now operates between the two cities four days per week.

The flight departs from Honolulu on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 a.m. and arrives in Las Vegas at 3:35 p.m. The return flight departs from Las Vegas on the same days at 5:05 p.m. and arrives in Honolulu at 9:15 p.m.

Las Vegas has long been a popular among Hawaiians, dubbed Hawaii's "Ninth Island" because of the tens of thousand of islanders who live there and the thousands who vacation in Hawaii every year.



March 4, 2009

Hurtigruten Adds Renovated Ship to Fleet

Cruise line Hurtigruten has added the renovated MS Expedition ship to its Norwegian tours

Hurtigruten, a leader in expedition cruising, has announced the addition of the completely renovated 120-passenger MS Expedition to its air-inclusive Spitsbergen cruise-tours. The new ship will share duties with the MS Polar Star on the 12-day "Grand Arctic Expedition," one of three itineraries offered by Hurtigruten. A 9-day cruise sails along the west coast of Spitsbergen, the largest Norwegian island in the Svalbard archipelago. There's also a 16-day version, which along with the 12-day, circumnavigates the island.

The MS Expedition, built in Helsingør, Denmark in 1972, underwent a complete rebuilding and modernization last year. The newly renovated ship features spacious and comfortable common areas including a panorama lounge, expedition lounge, restaurant, library, bar, fitness room and sauna. All cabins are outside and have their own window or porthole in addition to private facilities. Zodiacs are used for expedition landings as well as for navigating the narrow straits of the arctic landscape for up-close views of glaciers and wildlife.

For information and reservations, call 1-800-323-7436 or visit www.hurtigruten.us



February 18, 2009

LEGOLAND® California Resort Announces Plan for New Hotel

LEGOLAND® California Resort has requested permission to build a three-story hotel, themed after the most popular LEGOLAND areas on the property

The City of Carlsbad Planning Commission recently approved LEGOLAND® California Resort's request for permission to build a hotel on the resort property. The proposal must still be approved by the Carlsbad City Council and the California Coastal Commission before ground can be broken on the hotel, which will be located to the right of LEGOLAND® California's entrance in an area currently used for bus parking. 

Once built, the hotel will be three stories with as many as 250 rooms. Construction will be done in two phases, with the first phase containing approximately 150 rooms. The hotel will be designed for families with young children and will feature rooms and suites themed after the most popular LEGOLAND® areas.

"This is an exciting step in the planning process for the LEGOLAND Hotel," said Peter Ronchetti, new general manager of LEGOLAND® California Resort. "We are looking forward to this new chapter in our development as we bring the LEGOLAND experience to the next level for our guests."

For more information on LEGOLAND® California Resort, visit www.LEGOLAND.com.



February 11, 2009

Virgin Atlantic Sister Airline—V Australia—Launches in Los Angeles

V Australia, Virgin Atlantic's sister airline, at LAX on Feb. 6

On Feb.6, Sir Richard Branson, along with one of his thirteen brand new Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts touched down at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), as part of a special livery stop-over to launch V Australia, Branson's new airline and the sister to Virgin Atlantic.  The following day, the plane was flown to Sydney, in honor of V Australia's launching of non-stop service between Los Angeles and Sydney and Brisbane, which will begin on Feb. 27.

Branson and Los Angeles World Airports, Tourism Australia and V Australia hosted the launch of the plane, which is considered one of the most fuel-efficient, quiet and environmentally conscious aircrafts available.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on hand to welcome Branson at LAX and to celebrate the first airline to offer flight service between Australia and the United States under an open-skies agreement signed by the two countries last March.

The launch is considered a boon to the local economy during these dire economic times, as V Australia expects to sustain as many as 4,340 jobs. "It will generate revenues for Southern California in the hundreds of millions," Villaraigosa said.



February 4, 2009

JetBlue Launches Buy-Onboard Food Trial and LAX Flights

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center and others celebrate the addition of JetBlue service to LAX

JetBlue has begun a trial partnership with Pourshins, an industry leader of in-flight catering for airlines including Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways, to manage a buy-onboard food trial for customers.

Premium fresh and shelf-stable snacks and meals from JetBlue's "Eat Up" menu will be available through March 31 on select Airbus A320 flights. Cities include: New York/JFK; Orlando; L.A./Long Beach; San Juan, and West Palm Beach.
  
And in an effort to further strengthen its commitment to Southern California, JetBlue will schedule flights to and from Los Angeles International Airport beginning June 18, 2009, with tickets going on sale on Feb. 4.

JetBlue will kick off its LAX service from the airport's Terminal 6 with two daily nonstop flights to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and two daily flights to Boston's Logan International Airport, and will be operated aboard 150-seat Airbus A320 jets.

"Even in these tough economic times, JetBlue is demonstrating that the road to recovery is through Los Angeles," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "We are thrilled that JetBlue is offering quality airline service from one of America's premier airports."

For information or reservations call 1-800-JETBLUE (1-800-538-2583) or visit www.jetblue.com.



January 21, 2009

MGM Mirage to Utilize New Wireless Communications Standard Zigbee

A rendering of the Las Vegas CityCenter. Set to open in 2010, the CityCenter hotel will utilize ZigBee, a low-range, low-power wireless communication standard, to automate its property

Officials at the MGM Mirage say they'll use a new wireless communication standard to automate the CityCenter hotel, an $8 billion green, sustainable Mirage construction project currently being built in the center of the Las Vegas Strip. ZigBee is a low-range, low-power protocol based on open standards with MGM as its largest customer.

MGM Chief Information Officer Scot Campbell said that using ZigBee would allow the hotel to avoid installing traditional connecting wires. Instead, fiberoptic cable and Ethernet switches will be in each room.

Powered by Control4, a major home automation vendor, the CityCenter rooms are being designed as a paragon of ZigBee automation. The hotel will house some 10,000 wireless thermostats, 5,000 touch screens and 7,500 controllers. In the main tower alone, there will be 65,000 ZigBee receivers connected across a single mesh network. Some 35,000 are already installed.

CityCenter won't be ready to open until 2010, but ZigBee is already making its way to markets elsewhere. Control4 says it has shipped roughly 700,000 devices to date. The ZigBee Alliance, a group of companies that help maintain and promote the standard, says that up to 3 million wireless energy meters are likely to be installed this year. Most of these meters are in California, Texas and Michigan, but utility companies have committed to install another 25 million such meters nationwide.



January 7, 2009

Sheraton Partners with Core Performance for Health & Fitness Program

Sheraton Hotels has teamed up with training/lifestyle brand Core Performance to launch a health and fitness program, where guests can choose from three different themes

Sheraton has teamed up with training/lifestyle brand Core Performance to launch a health and fitness program for guests. The "Sheraton Fitness, Programmed by Core Performance" program includes gym and training components, in-room training and healthy food options put together by nutritionists.

The program is composed of three categories:

Gyms and Training Experiences: Choose from 20- to 30-minute "themed" workouts, including the "Jet Lag Buster" or the "Meeting Manager." Instructions for each themed workout are posted on the fitness center's walls.

Healthy Food: Core Performance's nutritionists collaborated with the hotel chain to create and implement healthier options on restaurant and room service menus and have specified those items as "Core Performance Endorsed."

In-Room Workouts: Offering 30-minute Video-On-Demand workouts that you can order in your hotel room for free. Alternately, you can order a complimentary "workout in a bag" (workout cards, a workout mat, foam rolls, stretch rope and a massage stick).

For more information, visit www.sheratonfitness.com



PKR021109
(Updated: 06/13/13 JDM)

Located in world-renowned wine regions from Napa to Bordeaux to South Africa, these historic roads offer both great wine and beautiful scenery.
Beyond the crowds on the Adriatic Sea, the clamor of Rome and the charmed Toscana lies an Italy yet undiscovered by many American travelers.