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Monday, April 08, 2013

New Airline Study

Given the long lines, the TSA hassles, flight delays, it's no wonder that a new airline study reveals that complaints are soaring...
Read more.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 8:26 AM
Edited on: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:34 PM
Categories: Travel News

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Donate Hotel Rewards to Wounded Veteran Families

A new program with the participation of key hotel chains AmericInn, Best Western, Choice, Marriott, Starwood and Wyndham allows hotel guests who build up hotel rewards points to donate them towards wounded Vets and their families to use. The program will be overseen by Fisher House, a non-profit group that opens its homes to military families while visiting injured family members at hospitals in the U.S. I applaud the backers of these programs in helping our Veterans and their families in time of need, and making it possible to people to use their points for a very worthwhile cause.

Read more details about the Hotels for Heroes program and how to participate.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:35 PM
Categories: Travel News

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Buffalo Injures Man at Yellowstone

 
Even with the warning signs, tourists still get injured and sometimes killed every year from getting too close to wild animals in National Parks. The most recent case happened over the weekend in Yellowstone National Park. A Massachusetts was thrown 10 feet in the air and then pinned to the ground, according to CBS News. The man was lucky that his injuries only included a broken shoulder blade, ribs, collarbone, and groin injury. According to the man the buffalo approached him as he was sitting and he didn't move away.

When we visited Yellowstone National Park, I witnessed several buffalo milling around near the park road. Don't let their docile appearance fool you, as they can sprint up to 30 mph, and are territorial. When visiting our National Parks, remember the park rules that require visitors to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from buffalo and other animals.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 10:30 PM
Categories: Travel News

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Austin to get 3 new hotels

Like a rocket, Austin will be experiencing a building boom in the next few years to further transform the cities' skyline. If all goes as planned, three new hotels are scheduled to be built in the downtown area.

  
Construction on the 1,000 room Fairmont Austin Hotel is slated to begin spring of 2013, while the 1,012 room J.W. Marriott Convention Center hotel construction will start this summer. Another hotel will be a part of the redevelopment of the Green Water Treatment Plant along Lady Bird Lake.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:26 AM
Categories: Accommodations, Travel News

Airline offers luxury suite

Singapore Airlines is known for offering amenities for the privileged few. How about a private cabin with bed? No problem. The airfare is rather steep though. A roundtrip flight from New York to Singapore will set you back $15,750.

I can think of lots of better ways to spend that for a fun vacation. How about you?

Posted by Carl Burnham at 10:47 AM
Edited on: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:48 AM
Categories: Travel News

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Site Redesign

Over the years we have focused on providing unique content on stays and attractions that we visit firsthand. In the coming months, look for our new site design as we make major updates.
One new area you may have noticed is our new commenting via our blog and being added to our feature pages. Provided by Disqus, we were impressed with what they had to offer (it helps when you get major venture capital funding as well).
Have ideas? Let us know!

Posted by Carl Burnham at 1:04 PM
Edited on: Friday, June 08, 2012 12:16 AM
Categories: Travel News

Monday, January 09, 2012

Western Caribbean Cruise

After one of our writers had such a great time aboard the Carnival Elation cruise to Cozumel (and just returned from Jamaica on another one!), we decided it was high time that we go on one ourselves this year aboard one of Royal Caribbean's stellar cruise ships.
Lobster Anyone?
Our destinations will be Roatan, Belize City, with a final stop in Cozumel. Along the way we will be snorkeling, ziplining above the treeline, and exploring an ancient Maya ruin in the Belize jungle. More details coming soon as our departure date approaches.
Taken a cruise recently? Let us know about your cruise experience via our Facebook page.
Visit our Cruise section for affordable cruise getaways and look for our new expanded cruise section highlighting fascinating destinations to visit.

We will also be updating our segment on Galveston (being our port of departure to the western Caribbean) with new features and great things to do.
Moody Gardens
A must see for the family is a visit to the elaborate Moody Gardens, with pyramids housing an array of wildlife, featuring a 1.5 million gallon aquarium, an IMAX theatre, scientific exhibits, and rainforests.
Read our in-depth feature reviews of area Galveston bed & breakfasts.
Posted by Carl Burnham at 1:34 PM
Categories: Cruises, Travel News

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Orleans requires tour guides be licensed

Shame on you city of New Orleans.
New Orleans city officials there are now requiring that every tour guide undergo an FBI criminal background check every two years, pass a history exam, and undergo a drug test in order to talk about the town. Those guides who give tours without going through these steps to get a license wll get fines of up to $300 per instance plus five months in jail.
New Orleans needs all the promoters it can get in telling about how special the heritage and uniqueness is to visiting tourists.
Watch the video and sign up with the Institute for Justice in protesting this affront to their Constitutional freedom of speech rights.




Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:05 PM
Categories: Destinations, Travel News

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The evolving cruise market

According to Cruise Market Watch, the cruise industry now accounts for a $34.1 billion market worldwide.

For 2012, those going on a cruise are expected to increase by 5.6% over this year. As part of this growth and our own research, we are planning more features on cruising and the most popular places to cruise to. Read about our recent cruise to Cozumel aboard the Carnival Elation.
Taken a cruise recently? Let us know about your cruise experience via our Facebook page.
Visit our Cruise section for affordable cruise getaways.
Posted by Carl Burnham at 9:06 PM
Edited on: Monday, January 09, 2012 1:03 PM
Categories: Cruises, Travel News

Hotel Key Cards A Thing of the Past?

A new technology being tested at a Stockholm hotel allow guests to go straight to their rooms without checking in with the hotel front desk.

Developed by Near Field Communication (NFC), a guest's room at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm is unlocked simply by the guest swiping their cell phone in front of their room door. When checking out, the guest swipes their cell phone at a designated point in the lobby before exiting. Don't expect it to become available by next year, as the technology currently requires specialty phones to use. Still, I expect something similar to this to be available in the next few years as hotels experiment with new technologies to further enhance the travel experience.

View a video of the technology in action here -

Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:36 PM
Edited on: Saturday, December 03, 2011 12:46 PM
Categories: Accommodations, Travel News

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Your Space Vacation

Want an out of this world vacation and have money to burn?
Space, the final frontier....

Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:17 AM
Categories: Travel News

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Renting out your house? Think twice....

You may have heard about Airbnb, the startup that allows people to rent out their homes while they are away on vacation.
Airbnb
In a horror story that is now going viral online and causing a black eye for Airbnb, a woman rented out her San Francisco Bay area apartment through the Airbnb service. Her apartment was rented out by a mysterious "Dj Pattrson" for a timeframe when she would be away. The renters who were supposedly checked out through the Airbnb service methodically destroyed her apartment and stole all her valuable belongings over the period of a week.

Here is a snippet from the woman's blog detailing the damage caused:

"They smashed a hole through a locked closet door, and found the passport, cash, credit card and grandmother’s jewelry I had hidden inside. They took my camera, my iPod, an old laptop, and my external backup drive filled with photos, journals… my entire life. They found my birth certificate and social security card, which I believe they photocopied – using the printer/copier I kindly left out for my guests’ use. They rifled through all my drawers, wore my shoes and clothes, and left my clothing crumpled up in a pile of wet, mildewing towels on the closet floor. They found my coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond and used the discount, along with my Mastercard, to shop online. Despite the heat wave, they used my fireplace and multiple Duraflame logs to reduce mounds of stuff (my stuff??) to ash – including, I believe, the missing set of guest sheets I left carefully folded for their comfort. Yet they were stupid and careless enough to leave the flue closed; dirty gray ash now covered every surface inside."

That's not all....

"The kitchen was a disaster – the sink piled high with filthy dishes, pots and pans burnt out and ruined. Comet Cleanser was dumped everywhere; the kitchen counters, wood furniture, my gorgeous new bed frame, my desk, my printer… all were doused in powdered bleach. The death-like smell emanating from the bathroom was frightening (and still is) and the bathroom sink was caked with a crusty yellow substance. Various pairs of my gloves were strewn about – leather, dishwashing and otherwise – I imagine in a weak attempt to cover up fingerprints. Whoever these people were, they were living large and having one hell of a time for an entire week inside my home, unwatched, unchecked, free to do whatever destruction they wished. And damn, did they do a lot of it."

While all this was happening, the "renters" were sending her soothing emails saying how they loved her apartment.

She deserves an apology and reimbursement from Airbnb for her damages caused by relying on their service to properly vet potential renters. Until that time, I would warn others to not use the Airbnb service.

Read the full story here.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:39 PM
Categories: Travel News

Friday, July 15, 2011

Help for Allergy Sufferers who Travel

Hotels are paying more attention to those who suffer from allergies. According to a 2010 Lodging Survey prepared for the American Hotel and Lodging Association by STR, a hotel research company, thirty-eight percent of hotels now offer some kind of allergy-friendly service in guest rooms.

Read more about.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 8:51 PM
Categories: Travel News

Friday, January 21, 2011

The French Room in Dallas receives AAA Five Diamond Award for 2011

AAA
AAA has recently awarded 179 establishments the AAA/CAA Five Diamond Award® for 2011. The AAA award listing accounts for only 0.3 percent of the total 59,000 AAA listed lodgings and restaurants that receive the prestigious honor. “It is encouraging to see an increase in the number of AAA Five Diamond establishments this year,” said Michael Petrone, director of AAA Tourism Information Development. “The recent economic downturn has presented many challenges for the travel industry including increased closures and fewer new restaurant openings."
Executive Chef of the French Room Jason Weaver
Executive Chef Jason Weaver of The French Room
Congratulations go to The French Room restaurant located in The Adolphus in Dallas and featured here at Southpoint.
Lobby of The Adolphus
The Adolphus Hotel
The Adolphus is a museum unto itself, and includes a rare 1893 Steinway piano which was destined for the R.M.S. Titanic. The piano was owned by the millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim, who died after refusing to get into one of the few available lifeboats just before the Titanic sank in 1912.

Watch in February as we visit The French Room in a new expanded feature.

View here for a full listing of the AAA Five Diamond Award list for 2011.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 3:47 PM
Edited on: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:10 PM
Categories: Accommodations, Restaurants, Travel News

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

National Park free entry days

Like free stuff? Sure you do! We have been to many of our National Parks over the years. From Denali to the Smokies, each is unique in their own way.

Plan a trip to a National Park this year around these days and get a free entry.
One of our favorites, Rocky Mountain National Park

Add these dates to your calendar for these fee-free National Park days in 2011:

* January 15-17

(Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)

* April 16-24

(National Park Week)

* June 21

(First day of summer)

* September 24

(Public Lands Day)

* November 11-13

(Veterans Day weekend)

Search for a National Park via the NPS website.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Hotel ICON in Houston to be rebranded

The Hotel ICON has recently been purchased by Magic Johnson's joint venture company Canyon Johnson Urban Funds, with plans to have it become a part of a hotel chain to be announced. We wish the acquisition well and hope that the 135 room Houston hotel retains the special charm that we found throughout.
Built in 1911 as a bank, many historic reminders remain including a huge bank vault at the hotel check-in desk.
Read our Hotel ICON feature and watch our video:

Book a stay at the Hotel ICON in Houston.


Posted by Carl Burnham at 1:13 AM
Edited on: Monday, January 17, 2011 11:58 AM
Categories: Accommodations, Destinations, Travel News, Videos

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creative Travel Ad Airport Style

Rental car companies have done it for so many years so why not hotels? The next time you go through the airport you may see a hotel desk where you can make reservations, while checking email, or catching up on the news. This method is now being tested at the Denver International Airport by the Denver area Courtyard by Marriott hotels with a mockup of their new lobbies.
Courtyard by Marriott at Denver Airport
Seen other creative advertising used by hotels, b&bs, or resorts? Let us know.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:20 AM
Edited on: Friday, November 12, 2010 8:16 PM
Categories: Travel News

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kayaking Paddlefest in Corpus Christi

Looking for some weekend outdoor fun? Head to Corpus Christi for the Halloween Paddlefest being held at Port Aransas from Friday Oct 29 thru Sunday Oct 31, 2010. Kayakers from Texas area meetup groups will be congregating at IB Magee Beach Park at Port Aransas for a weekend of guided kayaking tours, demonstrations, BBQ, and campiing. New demo kayaks made by Mayan Seas, P&H Kayaks, and TideRace Kayaks will be shown as well as Greenland Kayaking. There will also be previews of the new kayaking book by John Whorff, "Paddling the Texas Coast." Wish that I didn't already have plans, this sounds like a great event for kayakers.

Headed up by area kayak expert Ken Johnson, we went on one of his kayaking tours last year and were impressed with his kayaking knowledge and expertise.
Ken Johnson Kayak Tours

His guided tours which will be held over the weekend include:

1- Guided kayak tours of 1-Shamrock Cove birding refuge,
2- Historic Lydia Ann Lighthouse,
3- Circumnavigation of Harbor Island to see lots of dolphins,
4- Paddle along the Padre Island canal homes,
5- Corpus Christi Bay around the city and the Lexington Aircraft Carrier, and
6- Aransas River and Nueces River (the tour that we took).
Kayaking on the Nueces River

Group Camping is available for only $12 per night, with a nightly beach fire with music and a BBQ Saturday night with Halloween costume contest.
For details on camping see here. Hotels are also available nearby.

Register to attend the Paddlefest in Corpus Christi by contacting Ken Johnson at johnsonkw@earthlink.net with the following information:
Will you attend Corpus Christi Paddlefest 10/29-31/2010 this year? ____Yes ____No ____ people in my party
Which days do you plan to attend? ____Fri 10/29 ____Sat 10/30 ____Sun 10/31
Do you want to pay $10 for a catered group BBQ dinner Sat night? ____Yes ____No
Do you want to pay $10 per 2-3 hr lesson for Greenland kayak classes by Doug Van Doren? ____Yes ____No
Would you be willing to volunteer to help (lead tours, assist other new first time kayakers, let others try your kayak)? ____Yes ______No

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Space, the travel frontier

In the planning stages for 2012 is the world's first space hotel. To be known as the Galactic Suite, the out of this world hotel will offer a three-night orbit in space after a four month training period.
The pricetag? Oh, just over $4 million...

Meanwhile, for the frugal set millionaire Richard Branson will be offering a space flight via his Virgin Galactic for a mere $200,000 and has reportedly signed up 340 astronauts so far.


Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic
These are interesting times!




Posted by Carl Burnham at 10:54 PM
Edited on: Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:56 PM
Categories: Accommodations, Destinations, Travel News

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tallest Hotel in the World

With great fanfare, the world's tallest hotel opened earlier this year. The Burj Khalifa is located in Dubai, and was built at a cost of over $1.5 billion. A marvel of modern engineering.
Here is a video from the observation deck.