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Survey: Southwest Airlines, Choice Hotels, Marriott top mobile apps

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 28, 2013 06:00 AM

southwest-app.pngHow often do you book travel from your mobile device? If you're one of the on-the-go travelers that's setting the trend in mobile experiences, you should think about downloading the apps from Southwest Airlines, Choice Hotels and Marriott - they're raking tops from frequent travelers.

According to the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Travel Edition, Southwest Airlines was given top marks (82 out of 100) for providing the best mobile experience. Choice Hotels (80) and Marriott (79) rounded out the top three mobile performers.

“Southwest’s simple, friendly, and no-frills approach to doing business translates well in the air as well as online. No assigned seats and no fees for baggage help to simplify the process for the consumer, which no doubt contributes to a more satisfying mobile experience,” said Eric Feinberg, ForeSee senior director of mobile.

The index is a study of the mobile experiences of 25 major airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and car rental companies.

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Bristol Lounge wants Facebook fans to create new signature martini

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 24, 2013 12:52 PM

The Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons Boston is looking to spruce up its cocktail menu. The search for a new signature martini is on, and the Bristol is taking to social media for the drink of choice

If you make a mean martini, The Bristol Lounge Bar wants to hear about it. The bar has always ben known for serving up Boston’s best martinis and switching up their cocktail menu seasonally, but now the bar looking for one martini that will remain: The Bristol Martini.

Think you have a flare for mixology? Create your own Bristol Martini and submit it through Facebook. The Bar is hosting a martini contest from now through April 9, 2013, and the winner will receive a year of complimentary appetizers, and his/her name on the menu at the Bristol Lounge.

Here's how you can enter:

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Lights out! Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world celebrate Earth Hour

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 22, 2013 12:00 PM

Ritz_Laguna_Niguel_00356_Gallery.jpgThe Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in California will celebrate Earth Hour this Saturday.

This Saturday, Ritz-Carlton hotels, resorts, clubs and residences around the world will shut off the lights for one hour in recognition of Earth Hour. The Earth Hour homage is part of the hotel company's commitment to Community Footprints (, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s social and environmental responsibility program.

If you're staying at a Ritz-Carlton on Saturday, prepare to go dark at 8:30pm local time. Some hotels are celebrating with special Earth Hour events, including:

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FamilyFun magazine names 2013 top destinations, attractions

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 20, 2013 08:42 PM

kid-suitcase.jpgPlanning summer travel with the kids? FamilyFun magazine has some great places for you to consider. The family-activity magazine recently announced its top destinations and attractions, as voted on by families. The list is featured in the magazine's April issue.

Top 10 Overall Favorite Family Destinations:

  1. Yellowstone National Park (WY, MT, ID)
  2. Acadia National Park (ME)
  3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)
  4. Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
  5. Mount Rushmore National Memorial (SD)
  6. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI)
  7. Yosemite National Park (CA)
  8. Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park (FL)
  9. Glacier National Park (MT)
  10. Pearl Harbor Visitor Center/USS Arizona Memorial (HI)
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On the scene: Virgin Atlantic team brings treats, cheer to Boston

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 19, 2013 09:30 AM

Some mornings, waiting for the T just to find it's packed full of people and you have to wait another 10 minutes for another train and hope there's space available, just gets old. Add in some rain and snow, and it's downright infuriating.

So there I was, tweeting my frustrations from my local MBTA station, when lo and behold, the cheerful team at Virgin Atlantic appeared!

Well, not with the click of my heels, but not far from it, either. Turns out the team from across the pond is scouring Twitter for frustrated potential flyers, hoping to add some cheer to their day. Here's what happened:

VA-car1.jpg

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Saying "I do" at Boston's best hotels

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 17, 2013 07:39 PM

wedding-roses.jpgIf you're planning to read your nuptials in New England, Forbes Travel Guide has some suggestions for you. While the Boston Commons and Boston Public Gardens are often the most popular spots for wedding photos in the spring and summer, the four- and five-star hotels in the city are where weddings typically hold court.

Forbes rates The Four Seasons, Boston, as one of the top wedding venues in Boston. The hotel offers panoramic views of Boston Common and the Boston Garden, and has private bridal and bridesmaid suites for day-of preparations. The hotel also has a wedding package that includes a honeymoon suite, as well as transportation to the airport on the day of your departure.

The Mandarin Oriental, Boston, gives wedding guests great views of Back Bay and Boylston Street. For the wedding party, the hotel offers spa packages as part of the wedding event.

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New hotels join Marriott's Autograph Collection

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 14, 2013 12:08 PM

Aerial Winter - 580.jpgLake Arrowhead Resort & Spa in California just joined Marriott's Autograph Collection

Marriott's Autograph Collection, the portfolio of independent boutique properties, is adding five new hotels to their trendy portfolio.

Startle.com, the website for Forbes Travel Guide, published the news today. The collection will welcome in three new hotels, including two new builds. Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa and Hotel Adagio are the first of the collection in California, and the hip and historic Hotel Blackhawk, located in Davenport, Iowa, also joins the collection. The new builds are Pier South in Imperial Beach and the Triada Palm Springs. With the new additions, the Autograph Collection inches closer to its plans for reaching 50 hotels in the portfolio by year end.

Here's a little more about the hotels:

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa just completed a $ 26 million dollar renovation. The resort features 162 guest rooms and 11 suites, a spa and full service salon and fitness studio. Fine dining takes place lakeside at BIN189 and there’s a coffee shop, Mountain Aroma, just off the lobby.

Hotel Adagio is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square. Each of the 171 rooms and suites are designed in a modern décor, and The Mortimer - the hotel's bar - was voted one of the city's best bars and night spots.

Hotel Blackhawk also just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, and today includes a new spa and salon, as well as a retro-chic bowling alley, “Blackhawk Bowl”.

Visit Startle.com for more information on the new Autograph Collection hotels.

Nantucket Wine Festival returns for 17th year

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 10, 2013 05:16 AM

nantucket-wine.jpgThe Nantucket Wine Festival is one of the nation’s most celebrated wine and food events, and a favorite escape for Boston wine enthusiasts.

The festival kicks off its 17th year on May 15 for 4 nights, featuring a schedule filled with celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, tastings, seminars, symposia, auctions, world class wines and a special charity gala.

The place to be Nantucket's landmark hotel, The White Elephant, which will host many of the wine festival events including The Grand Tastings (new for 2013) and Harbor Gala. The White Elephant and sister properties White Elephant Village and The Wauwinet are offering weekend packages including overnight accommodations, event tickets, dinners at Brant Point Grill and TOPPER’S, as well as Bloody Mary-fueled brunches.

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Sky-high style: The Virgin Atlantic lounge at Boston Logan

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 7, 2013 07:55 AM

sanjuan.jpgI have fond memories of flying when I was a little girl. My mom would ensure my sister and I were dressed up and had something warm to take on the plane, double check that our favorite stuffed animals and travel games were packed (Mad Libs for me, coloring books for my sister), and get us to the airport in plenty of time so we could watch the people come and go.

We'd board the plane, fight over who got the window seat, and meet the cabin crew. If we asked nicely, we could go visit the pilot and even get a pair of wings to pin our clothes and show off to our friends when we returned home. We counted the clouds in the sky, and wondered how close are were to the stars. Flying was a delight. It was exciting and thrilling. It was civilized, dignified and something to look forward to. Flying made travel fun.

While flying has certainly changed over the years - even I can admit it's not as fun as it was when we were kids - the team at Virgin Atlantic aims to bring back a little of the glory days of flying.

2013-02-06 16.30.19.jpgI checked into my flight to London and was handed a red card with directions to the lounge on it. I had about two and a half hours before my evening flight and wanted to grab a bite, check emails, and freshen up. The Virgin Atlantic lounge is located in Terminal E on the bottom level, just next to the Aer Lingus lounge and below the gates. In true Virgin style, the lounge made a fashionable first impression.

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Marriott launching new brand for Millennials: MOXY HOTELS

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 5, 2013 09:05 AM

Marriott International is bringing its moxy to the hotel world. Literally.

A new website from Marriott introduces MOXY HOTELS, the newest 3-star-tier segment for Marriott is focused on the millennial traveler. According to the website, MOXY will be "the potency of style, innovation and tech-savvyness."

Marriott's MOXY will debut in Italy, with the first MOXY HOTEL expected to open in Milan in early 2014. Berlin, London and Frankfurt MOXY HOTELS will follow. According to a press release, Marriott plans to add 150 franchised MOXY HOTELS in Europe over the next 10 years. An article from the International Business Times says Marriott will work with Inter IKEA Group, the parent company of the IKEA furniture stores, IKEA to help develop the hotels and guest rooms. The rooms will be priced around $80 (€60).

What can you expect from MOXY? Marriott says:

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National Passport Day is March 9

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 4, 2013 07:36 PM

passport.jpgNeed to renew your passport, sign up for a new passport, or get your family their own passports? National Passport Day is this Saturday, March 9, giving busy travelers and work-life balancers an opportunity to check off this important to-do.

Interestingly, however, you won't be getting your passport at an official passport agency. Due of the budget sequestration, Department of State Passport Agencies will not be participating in National Passport Day, according to the State Department website. However, non-Department of State Passport Acceptance Facilities, such as post offices, clerks of court, and libraries will participate.

National Passport Day happens twice a year and was set up to make getting or renewing passports a little simpler. On this day, U.S. citizens can forgo the required appointment and simply stop by their local passport agency to sign up or renew their passport.

According to the U.S. Department of State, "Convenient Saturday hours ensure most parents don't have to miss work to apply for their child's U.S. passport. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to an agency or participating acceptance facility where there will be special activities for children."

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Kimpton Hotels offer St. Paddy's Day deals

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 3, 2013 10:00 AM

hotel-marlow.jpgFeel like doing something a little different this St. Patrick's Day, but don't want to give up all the green-pride that goes on in Boston? Kimpton Hotels of Boston has the solution: the Nine Zero, Hotel Marlowe and Onyx Hotel are offering St. Paddy's Day packages that include the best of Boston's Irish roots with a little luxury living.

In addition to Dropkick Murphy tickets and Celtics tickets, the package also includes:

  • Deluxe accommodations for two people
  • Car service to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston on Sunday, 3/17
  • In-room greasy breakfast on Monday morning
  • Hangover survival kit
  • A Pot of Gold – (The pot of gold includes, two tickets to Dropkick Murphy’s on Friday night, 3/15, and two tickets to the Celtics game on Saturday, 3/16)
  • Late check-out

This weekend package is only available March 15-17. Nightly rates start at $749. Book online or call 1-800-Kimpton and mention rate code LUCKY.

Four Seasons Boston introduces 'First Fridays' in The Bristol Lounge Bar

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 1, 2013 01:01 PM

cocktails-white.jpgIf you're a fan of The Bristol Lounge you've likely enjoyed a few Fizzy Friday's in the bar, sipping on Champagne and nibbling on amuse bouche du jour. Now, the Champagne-soaked Fridays are getting kicked up a notch with First Fridays, a new promotion taking place at the Four Seasons Boston.

First Fridays happens on the first Friday of each month, and The Bristol Lounge will turn into a Champagne bar in which the bar's favorite Champagne labels will be on hand to pour bubbly from 5:30-7:00 pm.

First Fridays kicks off on Friday, March 1st with Louis Roederer, who will be pouring Louis Roederer Vintage and Louis Roederer Estate L’Ermitage at The Bristol Lounge. As a guest, you'll enjoy complimentary sips of champagne as well as some gourmet bites.

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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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