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IHG to launch new hotel brand aimed at health-conscious travelers

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 29, 2012 06:02 AM

fitnesscenter.jpgHow often do you work out when you're traveling? If InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has anything to say about, you'll be keeping up your healthy habits on the road. The hotel group, which is the parent company of InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, announced the development of a new hotel brand aimed at travelers who want to work out and eat healthy on the road.

IHG's new EVEN hotels will be the first dedicated hotel brand to focus solely on health and fitness. The hotel is spending $150 million to get EVEN off the ground and open 100 new hotels in US in first five years. So, what can you expect?

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Top 5 destinations for spring travel

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 28, 2012 06:47 AM

We haven't exactly had a winter, so why not start thinking about spring? With school break officially over and Spring Break on the minds of students everywhere, it's time to start planning your next getaway. But where to go? The deal experts at Travel-Ticker(TM), a leading inspirational travel website, announced their Spring 2012 Where To Go Now & How Guide.

Their choices range from typical to extreme, fluctuate between budget and luxury, and offer a variety of options. I've added a few of my own hotel suggestions to these spring destinations so you have some choices to consider. (All of the prices quoted below are per person or per night, based on availability, and do not include additional taxes and fees.)

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Academy Award-winning travel: Top destinations inspired by the Oscars

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 24, 2012 06:30 AM

Faye Dunaway oscar.jpgThis photo is courtesy of "The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows - The First 100 Years" by Robert S. Anderson, Official Historian for The Beverly Hills Hotel, publication date May 2012.

Whether you're rooting for silent films or just watching to see what everyone is wearing, the Academy Awards always seem to inspire excitement, and remind us why we love getting lost in a good movie. This year's Oscar-nominated films have done more than give us something to talk about over dinner - they've left us within an insane sense of wanderlust. Here are some of the top destinations inspired by this year's Oscars, and some suggestions on where to stay when you visit.

PHOTOS: Destinations inspired by the Oscars

Los Angeles, California: The industry came full circle when "The Artist" hit the big screen. The story of a Hollywood silent film star who struggles with the changing landscape when "talkies" are made reminds us how important it is to transition through time. A lot of the movie was shot at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater, which opened in 1926, and should you want to go back in time, stop by the Silent Movie Theatre on North Fairfax Avenue.
Where to stay: The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows is located on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills, and surrounded by 12 acres of private walkways, secret gardens and seductive bungalows (perfect for escaping the Hollywood scene).

BHH.jpgThe red carpet entrance at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows.

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Fodor's ranks top hotels, resorts for kids

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 22, 2012 08:00 AM

Ritz_DoveMtn_00168_920x518.jpgKid-friendly fun at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain (photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton)

Traveling with kids isn't always easy. The variety of must-haves, needs-right-nows, and are-we-there-yets can send any parent into a tizzy, but there's good news: there are hotels and resorts around the world that cater to kids, so you don't have to do.

Fodors.com recently came up with a list of the top 10 kid-friendly hotels that take the worry out of whether your kids are enjoying their vacation. The surprising news: none of these resorts have the word "Disney" in the title.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Arizona: Fodor's credits the resort's swim-up Hot Cocoa Butler, "Dive-in" movies and the resort's resident Ranger Ron as just a few of the fun things that attract kids. The resort's own "Animal Kingdom" includes a native California King snake, a gopher snake, a striped scorpion, and a blond tarantula (all available for petting and feeding) and I personally love Dove Mountain's stargazing activities - perfect for any age.

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Mob Museum opens in Las Vegas

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 21, 2012 07:07 AM

The_Mob_Museum_Building2.jpgExterior of the Mob Museum Building in Las Vegas, courtesy of the Mob Museum

It's a piece of our history many Bostonians can't forget, and Las Vegas is bringing it back to life with their newly opened Mob Museum. Just last week, the 41,000 square foot $40 million Mob Museum opened in Las Vegas, showcasing the serious impact the mob has had on history and society.

Famous names including Al Capone, Sam Giancana, Bugsy Siegel, John Gotti, and Boston's own James 'Whitey' Bulger grace the halls of this vast space and spill the stories that made them famous. But just as the mob is present here, so ae the law enforcement officials that brought them down.

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Luxe Life: World's best presidential suites

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 17, 2012 06:13 AM

MO_Paris-Pres.jpgThe Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Presidential Suite

The view looks pretty good from the best room in the house. Just ask the people who stay there. Luxury hotels continuously outdo each other when it comes to debuting the coveted "Presidential Suite". In honor of President's Day, we took a look at some of New England's best presidential suites, then went around the world to see where the princely stay. From the Cape Cod to Doha, these presidential palaces include everything from private butlers and massage rooms, to indoor pools and meditation areas, that will send you swooning.

PHOTOS: Take a tour of the world's best presidential suites

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Cheers: Boston's best wine cellars

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 16, 2012 08:16 AM

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Finding a good bottle of wine isn't hard to do, but discovering a hidden treasure trove of bottles is a wine lover's dream come true. Destination Cellars, the Va.-based wine distributor and wine travel company, recently offered their list of Boston's best wine cellars - where oenophiles can be at peace among hundreds of labels from the old world.

Among their picks were Beacon Hill's XV Beacon, Back Bay's L'Espalier, and the Berkshires' favorite guest house, Blantyre Resort.

XV Beacon has a wine room in the basement of its restaurant, Mooo, and houses some rare varietals including 1907 Heidsieck Monopole "Gout Americain" Champagne for $14,000 a bottle, and a 1996 Red French Bordeaux Pesac-Leognan, Chateau Haut-Brion for $1295.

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Marriott offering two companion airfares as part of Florida leap year deal

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 13, 2012 11:26 AM

MI-doradoroom.jpegIf you're hoping to avoid the school vacation crowd's next week, Marriott has a deal for you. Head to Florida over leap day, Feb. 29, and Marriott will throw in two companion airfares to anywhere in the continental U.S.

Here's the deal:

Travel Feb. 28 and 29 as part of Marriott's Stay Here Fly There deal and stay at one of these Marriott hotels in South and Central Florida: Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami; Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina in Stuart; and JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Orlando World Center Marriott; or Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. When you book, you'll receive a $100 resort credit, as well as two complimentary companion airline ticket vouchers for future flights.

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Pod hotels coming to US airports

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 11, 2012 09:33 AM

pod-hotels-entrance.jpgThere's nothing worse than missing a flight only to find out that the next flight isn't until morning, and the only place you have to sleep is on the rickety airport chairs. Good news stranded travelers: relief is on the way at some U.S. airports.

Forbes Travel Guide found a few "pod hotels", small cube-like mini-rooms, that are coming to nearby airports so you can get a comfortable rest. Pod hotels have proven success in Japan and China, and in Frankfurt, the "nap rooms" at the airport are the traveler's best friend. You won't find any four- or five-star amenities in these rooms -- but you will get a little shut-eye without worrying about slipping off chairs or awaking to strangers in the gate area.

Minute Suite, the company responsible for bringing pod hotels to the U.S., chose Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and Philadelphia International Airport to first open the pods. The company just announced it will open two pod hotels inside Dallas/Fort Worth Airport -- one will open at the of the this year and the second one at the end of 2014. London-based Yotel has pods inside Heathrow and Gatwick Airports as well as Amsterdam’s Schiphol, and is bidding to open a hotel inside New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

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JW Marriott Marquis Dubai to be world's tallest hotel

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 8, 2012 08:50 AM

dxbjw_phototour01.jpegThe race to the top is getting higher and higher.

When the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai opens its doors at the end of this year, it will be the new tallest dedicated hotel building in the world, reports Middle East business publication Zawya. Standing at 1,099-feet tall (355 metres), the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is just 26 metres shorter than the Empire State Building in New York. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, which sits on floors 102-118 of the 1,588-foot International Commerce Centre remains the highest hotel in the world.

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New York Helmsley Hotel to undergo $65 million renovation in Westin re-branding

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 7, 2012 09:07 AM

hotel-the-new-york-helmsley.jpgThe iconic New York Helmsley Hotel will fly the Westin flag later this year, and to prepare for the big event the hotel is about to embark on a massive renovation.

Not sure why the hotel rings a bell? The New York Helmsley was founded in 1981 by the "Queen of Mean" and self-styled hotel sovereign Leona Helmsley. A hatmaker's daughter from Marbletown, New York, Helmsley spent her early years working in a New York Real Estate firm before eventually working her way to billionaire status as an independent hotel operator. She was jailed in the 1990s for tax evasion and died in 2007, leaving most of her fortune ($12 million) to her beloved Maltese.

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Not able to attend Fashion Week? Check in to these hotels for fashionable stays

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 6, 2012 07:32 AM

Fashion-Week-2012.jpg

Paris' Couture Fashion Week just ended, and New York Fashion Week kicks of Feb. 9. While you might not be able to sit front and center at the catwalks, you can get your fashion fix from hotels around the world, hosting some extravagant fashion-inspired offerings.

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel: Do the names Donna Karan, Zac Posen, and Nadja Swarovski send you swooning? If so, the "Inside Haute" package from The Carlyle is for you. The extraordinary three-day fashion experience is curated by fashion insider Kathleen Beckett (known for her commentary in Vogue, Glamour, and Elle), and gives you an inside world of New York City fashion.

Available February 15 - 18, 2012, package includes:

  • Cocktails with Zac Posen at his design studio
  • Lunch with Donna Karan at the Stephan Weiss Studio at Urban Zen
  • Tea with Nadja Swarovski at the Swarovski private offices
  • Champagne with Sophie Theallet at her atelier
  • Lunch in the Member's Dining Room and a private behind-the-scenes visit to the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Inside Haute package is not for the faint of heart, but for those who appreciate fine fashion. Priced at $6,000 per person, guests will all have access to all events, breakfast daily, all meals and individual chauffeured car service. To book this package, you'll need to call the directly at (212) 570-7127.

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Completely over-the-top, ultra-luxurious hotel Valentine's Day deals

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 2, 2012 07:41 AM

Can you really put a price on love? Well, the answer really depends on how much you plan on paying. Some hotels are putting Cupid to shame this year with their Valentine's Day offerings. From complete designer makeovers and photo shoots, to 14-carat gold necklaces and rose petal walkways, luxury hotels are pulling out all the stops this year to help you show the one you love just how far your love (and wallet) extends.

We found some of the more exorbitant Valentine's Day deals from hotels around the world for you to ponder on this year. At the very least, you might get a few ideas you can pull off on your own.

To kick off the ultra-luxury and lavish holiday, The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, takes chocolate to an entirely new level:

chocolate.jpgRitz-Carlton, Charlotte: If she has a sweet tooth, this Valentine's Day deal will win her heart. The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte just introduced a new 14-Carat Chocolate Package highlighting the wonder, drama and romance that is chocolate, and so much more. With the package you'll get access to the hotel's popular Bar Cocoa all-dessert dining and culinary school experience, and go home with two treasured keepsakes, including a Le Vian Chocolate Diamond with 14-carat white gold necklace, and a chocolate-hued fine writing instrument from Montblanc. The 14-Carat Chocolate Package at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte is priced at $14,000, includes tax and gratuity and is available on weekends throughout February.

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Cashing in: Starwood launches 'Richest Elite' traveler benefits

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 1, 2012 08:26 AM

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is reaching out to the world's most prolific travelers with a new benefits program that will make its current Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program the "richest elite program in the industry."

The basic concept of the program: the more you stay at Starwood, the more benefits you'll receive like lifetime status, 24-hour check-in and a dedicated Starwood ambassador who provides one-on-one service throughout your stay. Starwood is calling these prolific travelers "mega travelers", and placing emphasis on the concept that if you spend more and stay more, you simply get more.

"With globalization trends, there are more mega travellers than ever before going to more places around the world," said Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO of Starwood, in a statement. "The opportunity to cultivate what we call 'loyalty beyond reason' with the world's most frequent travellers has never been greater. These are sophisticated consumers who have become jaded by generic points and perks. This is why we've invested in distinct new and personal benefits to truly reward those who reward us with a disproportionate amount of their business."

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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