by Jimmy Im
It’s not all about free meals and a salsa class anymore.
All-inclusive hotels and resorts are hot right now. In fact, they’re so popular, Starwood opened its first all-inclusive resort, Westin Playa Conchal in Costa Rica last May and, more recently, Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort in Panama in October. According to Trip Barrett, Vice President, Brand Management Latin America: “The opening of the 2 Starwood all-inclusive properties was in large part a response to demand for more vacation packages from our customers.”
All-inclusive resorts are generally booked for their tremendous savings and hassle-free vacations. But with the recession and various sites offering deep-discount deals on hotels with value-added packages, travelers want their money’s worth — and, well, they’re getting it.
This Saturday, Palace Resorts in Cancun is offering guests free tickets to see Enrique Iglesias, who’s actually performing on their property (blame it on the success of Palace Resorts’ first in-house concert last year with Shakira). Guests have priority to see Enrique live; discounted tickets are offered for all guests but those staying 7 nights receive complimentary passes (average ticket costs $300). Similarly, Grand Oasis Resort, another all-inclusive property in Cancun, is having a Dance U Festival. From Feb. 28 to March 31, the hotel has been bringing together a series of acts and parties from famous artists in electronic music, hip hop and dance, with a lineup that includes Kelly Rowland (March 23) and Pitbull (March 30). This is inclusive for all guests no matter how many nights they stay.
Other great all-inclusive perks that are even better than “premium liquor?”
Looking for a travel app after you purchase that new iPad? We’ve got something that might strike your fancy. Travel Channel launched the all-new Layover app so you can travel like Anthony Bourdain, the host of No Reservations and The Layover. Tony Bourdain has more than 10 years of travel experience; so, he’s the travel authority on traveling abroad and at home.
The new app –currently for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch– provides you with Tony’s favorite places to stay, eat and drink in 10 major cities around the world, including Hong Kong, Rome, LA, NYC and Montreal. Explore each destination using Anthony Bourdain’s travel tips and picks for must-see sights and must-do activities. It’s all provided on this brand-new app. But wait, there’s more! You have to see a cool video of the app in action –after the jump.
New York City is home to some of the top hotels in the world. Travel Channel may need to add The OUT NYC to that list soon. The city’s first gay boutique hotel is open for business. It’s located in Hell’s Kitchen, on West 42nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. The OUT was planned and built with the gay consumer in mind, including the hotel’s design, living spaces, music and rooms where closets are replaced with shelves.
The rooms –rates start around $200– include wireless, high-speed Internet, flat screen TVs, MP3 docking stations and mini-bars. If you’re looking for a cheaper rate, the hotel has 8 hostel-style rooms that sleep 4 for $99 per person. These rooms have 4 full-sized beds, personal TVs, a bathroom and privacy curtains.
Looking for places in the hotel to relax and unwind? Spend some time in one of the hotel’s three courtyards; workout in the gym; or dance ‘til you sweat in the XL Nightclub, a 14,000-square-foot gay dance club. A new full-service restaurant, Kitchin, is set to open in May. And fear not, the hotel isn’t just for gay patrons, hotel owners say the 105-room resort is straight-friendly.
Communities are cleaning up today, after a string of tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and South on Wednesday. The stormy weather claimed 13 lives, and more twisters may be on the way.
According to the Washington Post, meteorologists warned that another line of storms set to strike the same path and potentially grow stronger than Wednesday’s system. Authorities at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK, said that about 10 percent of tornadoes strike between midnight and 6 a.m., a time when storms are harder to spot, and it’s harder to get the word out.
In case you didn’t know, more than 1,000 tornadoes, many of them with little or no advance warning, touch down in the United States every year. So we have few travel tips to help you stay safe when twisters strike while you’re traveling. Take a look at our travel safety tips for how you can recognize the danger signs of a tornado; how and where to take shelter; and the importance of owning an emergency weather radio.
More Weather-Related Content:
Flash Flood Safety: 5 Must-Ask Questions
Tips for Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness
Weather and Flight Apps
Prepare for Flight Problems
by Troy Petenbrink
In the beginning, New Mexico didn’t get much respect; early opponents of statehood said New Mexico’s cultural diversity and rural territory were actually liabilities. Today, those same reasons are what make America’s 47th state worth visiting.
This year, New Mexico celebrates its 100th year of statehood, making it the perfect time to discover (or rediscover) the state’s rich past and promising future. Here are 6 ideas to make a New Mexico trip memorable:
6) Explore History From the Pueblos to the Atomic Age
History lovers can explore the 2,000-year-old Acoma Pueblo atop a towering sandstone mesa; its responsible for the state’s nickname, “Sky City.” The 19 pueblos across New Mexico allow visitors to learn more about its native people.
Fast-forward to the 1940s: New Mexico’s vital role in ending World War II can be explored at Los Alamos, one of the primary locations for the Manhattan Project and home to the Bradbury Science Museum, which documents the history of the famed nuclear weapons project. Also tour Trinity Site, the location of the first atomic bomb explosion (it’s open for public visits twice a year); and The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, located outside of Albuquerque, NM.
5) Stroll a Mile-Long Stretch of Galleries
Art and culture encompass nearly every aspect of New Mexico. There’s Native American pottery and jewelry made throughout the pueblos; Santa Fe’s mile-long stretch of galleries on Canyon Road; and the many museums in Taos, NM.
You can also learn about one of New Mexico’s most famous artists, Georgia O’Keeffe. Walk among the inspiring majestic landscapes that surround her two homes — Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu– where she lived until 1984. View the largest single repository of her work at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th Smithsonian museum, is set to open in Washington, DC, in 2015. At Wednesday’s ground-breaking ceremony on the National Mall, President Obama said the museum will rose on ground where “lives were once traded, where hundreds of thousands once marched for jobs and for freedom. It was here that the pillars of democracy were built often by black hands.”
The museum, a 7-level structure with much of its exhibit space below ground, will sit between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History. According to the new museum’s director, Lonnie Bunch, it will be the new home for more than 30,000 artifacts, including Harriet Tubman’s shawl, a Jim Crow-era segregated railroad car and Emmett Till’s casket, as well as galleries devoted to military, sports and entertainment history.
Looking for a fun, theme cruises? Then pay tribute to the TV show The Soul Train and its creator Don Cornelius. Book your room on the Soul Train cruise, scheduled for February 17-24, 2013. Holland America’s Westerdam will host the festive cruise that will feature multiple shows and activities simultaneously.
According to Huffington Post, 12 acts have already signed up to keep the patrons shaking their groove thing. Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Kool & The Gang, The Spinners, War, Gerald Alston, George Duke, War and several other artists will help keep things lively with nightly shows held in the Vista Lounge.
The cruise line will stop in Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. Book now! Cabins run from $1,800 to $7,500 for early reservation, which end on April 31, 2012. Get more information about the hippest trip at sea.
Travel Channel has more cruise information to help you plan your next voyage.
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Hotels in New York City will provide housekeepers with personal panic buttons. This decision comes after a hotel maid’s charge, last May, that she was sexually assaulted by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now housekeepers at all of the top hotels in the city will be equipped with the devices.
The new panic buttons, a 29-percent salary increase and health insurance for workers, are all part of a contract proposal presented on Tuesday to the city’s hotel union. The Hotel Association of New York approved the devices last week, which requires employers to give panic buttons to any hotel worker entering an occupied guest room.
In a recent Reuters interview, association spokeswoman Lisa Linden said, “They can quickly and easily activate these devices to effectively summon prompt assistance to their locations.”
So while we’re talking New York City hotels, check out a few of these Oyster.com hotel recommendations in the Big Apple.
Oyster.com’s NYC Hotel Recommendations
NYC Luxury Hotels
Best New York Wedding Hotels
Best Hotel Pools in NYC
Top NYC Hotel Cocktails
Romantic Places in New York City
New York City’s Best Business Hotels
Are you ready for some football? Well, specifically are you ready for Super Bowl XLVI, and the matchup between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Football fans have already converged on Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium for a few days of fun festivities. And we’re sure there are several fans anxious to see Madonna’s half-time show and Kelly Clarkson perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Betting pools have already started to see if Clarkson will forget the words to the national anthem, at the biggest sports event of the year.
Well, in preparation for the big day, TravelChannel.com has a few fun articles and slideshows you should definitely take a look at, including our Super Travel Bowl 2012 slideshow. Compare Boston with NYC and decide which city should walk away with a travel trophy.
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Super Travel Bowl 2012
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Looking for cheap airfares? Well, you might notice a couple changes now that the Department of Transportation’s new airfare regulations are in effect. One of the new federal guidelines makes it harder for airlines to hide airfare taxes and fees from consumers.
Published airfares — online, on billboards, in print and over the phone — must include all taxes and fees. That means that that when you book your flight with an airline, ticket agents or online booking site (e.g. Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak), the taxes and fees that were added on at the end of a transaction will now be posted up front for you to see. But, wait there’s more you should know.