Friday, December 17, 2010

Falling for the Island of Love: Top 2010 Honeymoon Destination

Although traditional hotspots such as Venice and Paris are expected to be the top honeymoon destinations, as they have been in the past, there has been a stark contrast in honeymoon destinations of late. Following the announcement of the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, there was a new survey whose intent was to find out the top honeymoon spots for 2010. Surprisingly, the results were that Cyprus holds the number one spot. Originally known as the ‘Island of Love’ as the mythical home of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Cyprus is living up to its name in for a different reason; being a great honeymoon destination. Another surprising find arose with the Dominican Republic sliding in as the second most popular, and Cape Verde in Africa taking the three spot. While it may not be shocking that people are moving to cheaper destinations, it is extremely strange that the traditional spots are being abandoned altogether. Of the 1,078 couples polled, only two traveled to Venice and none indicated Paris. With a shift in spending from previous years, it seems that people are much more intent on saving money while finding smaller, more intimate locations when selecting a honeymoon destination. (Although the amount of time that these destinations will stay inexpensive and intimate is up for debate.) But for the moment, many smaller locations are enjoying an influx of attention. It is certainly something to look out for in the future, as this could be the beginning of a paradigm shift, in which people start to favor more obscure locations for their events.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Virgin Enters the Business

Virgin Group has earmarked $500 million for their newly announced property venture. A world recognized mega brand, the Group is already comprised of some 300 branded companies and more than 50,000 employees across the globe. The London-based Group recently announced the official launch of Virgin Hotels- and though entering “virgin territory,” they have no doubt about their ability to take on the industry and succeed as they have done in numerous other ventures.

Unlike other start-ups, Virgin can draw on their existing brand recognition. But Executive Director of Virgin’s Leisure and Hospitality segment, Anthony Marino, knows, “it’s one thing to be known, it’s another to be liked.” The London-based company is already well-known AND liked for their ‘cultural service’ with a reputation for innovation and lifestyle trendsetting.

“We don’t come at it as hotel experts, (but as a company) that understands its consumers,” Marino said, noting their experience in the leisure and lifestyle industries, particularly airlines and gyms. Virgin has its sights set on “a hotel experience that is more than just boutique,” according to Raul Leal, President and COO.

The hotels will provide a sensory experience using functional design that always considers the consumer. Virgin understands better than anyone, that today the experience is centered on technology. Although specifics have yet to be mentioned, Leal hinted at a few “tech surprises” that look at what technology could be in the next three to five years.

In the next seven years, the group will look to open 25 new hotels, with the first property to open in the next 12 to 18 months. The projected 4-star hotels are targeting gateway cities in the U.S. including Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami. Marino also noted a London property would be a natural fit.

Virgin Group will be announcing new hires in the near future as Anthony Marino works to assemble the management infrastructure.

Nessler, D. (2010, October 21). Virgin territory: mega-brand enters hospitality business with launch of four-star lifestyle concept. Hotel Business. 18(19), 30-32.

Also referenced here:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Valley View Casino Opens Boutique Hotel & Event Center

San Diego’s favorite casino just got better! Valley View Casino is now, Valley View Hotel & Casino. On November 19th, Valley View staff, Swinerton Builders, the San Pasqual Casino Development Group, Inc., San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, and community members celebrated the successful completion of a two-year long project a with a ribbon cutting ceremony!

According to Swinerton Builders, the 7-story luxury boutique hotel has 96 rooms, 12 suites, pool deck with infinity pool and 5,000 square foot event center all of which boast amazing views of Palomar and Hellhole Canyon Preserve. Gamers now have the option to play and stay!

The new hotel offers an appealing and extensive list of amenities for guests, including but not limited to, daily complimentary poolside breakfast, complimentary overnight valet and self parking, complimentary bottled water, and saving the best for last - no tax fees and no resort fees. Loyal, high profile rated players will of course have the opportunity to cash in on exclusive amenities.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grassroots Travelers Vow to Not Fly on the Busiest Travel Day of the Year

Travelers voice their concerns about their close encounters with TSA’s body scanners and new pat-down techniques. Passengers have the option to walk through the full-body scanner or be pat-down by a TSA agent as part of TSA’s security preventative measures. These measures are creating quite the buzz for travelers.

According to CNN Travel, Grassroots groups are urging travelers to either not fly or to protest by opting out of the full-body scanners and undergo time-consuming pat-downs instead….One online group, "National Opt Out Day" calls for a day of protest against the scanners on Wednesday, November 24, the busiest travel day of the year.

In a recent article, by Eileen Sullivan of the Associated Press, states that John Pistole, TSA Administrator says he understands those privacy concerns, but says the government must provide the best possible security for air travelers. Pistole sympathizes with travelers and assures the public that these measures are implemented to protect all travelers. In fact, Pistole received the pat-down himself.

In any situation, there are always two sides to every coin. In this case, we can either accept the security measures that are in place; or we can protest and decide not to fly.

So, to travel, or not to travel, that is the question. The answer, it simply depends on what you believe is more important to you. Personally, I don’t think the majority will sacrifice visiting their family for the holidays, or attending an important meeting to make a point to TSA and Homeland Security. After all, it is their job to protect us, is it not?

For more information on the TSA pat-downs and full-body scans before flying check out these articles, and

Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Meaning for Safe Travel

If you’re flying out to your next meeting, or out for the holidays, rest assured you will be traveling a lot safer from now on.

In October 2009, all airlines were given a grace period to clear out their systems of older reservations made before the implementation of Safe Flight requirements which ended this November. Most of us are familiar with TSA, however many for many of us Secure Flight is an unfamiliar name. Secure Flight is TSA’s behind-the-scenes watch list matching program. They are responsible for establishing a consistent watch list system to keep all traveler’s safe and of course prevent terrorists from flying, thus preventing a repeat of 9/11.

As of November 1st passengers will need to provide Secure Flight Passenger Data at the time of booking. This required information includes passenger’s full name (as it appears on government-issued ID), date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable). According to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA), a Redress Number is a unique number that helps TSA eliminate watch list misidentification. It is needed only if you have a name similar to or the same as a name on the current terrorist watch list.

Because travelers provide their Secure Flight Passenger Data at the time of booking their flight, there are no additional steps. Airlines will need to provide the required information to TSA 72 hours before each flight, giving Secure Flight ample time to conduct watch list matching. Here’s how it works, if you are issued a boarding pass, you are good to go. However, if any information is missing or not provided, you will not receive a boarding pass. It’s as easy as that. In order to avoid any delays, be sure to complete all required information to ensure you get a flight and get to you destination. To learn more about the Secure Flight Process visit the TSA website at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eco-Cuisine and Meetings

Cabrin Kelly-Hale, Director of Event Planning at the JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, defines eco-cuisine as a conscious effort to be aware of what we put into our bodies and how it affects the world around us.

Meetings are not held based on food, but food rates high on attendees’ list of important items.

The food choices that matter at this particular property include free-range chickens and certified humane ranches for meats, a number of local farms that are certified sustainable and organic for vegetables and fruits, organic milk, cage-free eggs, and line-caught fish.

You would think eco-cuisine menus are more expensive but not if you manage them correctly. Organic may cost a little bit more but at the JW Marriott Starr Pass they cook to order. They do not over-order or over-produce. The chef can customize less expensive menus that still meet all the environmental criteria.

When cooking to order that means there are no traditional buffets. The food is never put in chafing dishes and left for guests to serve themselves. Instead, everything is seared, sautéed, assembled and carved. Cooking to order means you never run out of food and you never have food to throw out.

Some types of foods offered at breaks include Green Valley Ranch pecans made into pecan brittle with local honey, made-to-order salsa with locally grown chillies and tomatoes. The chef makes beef, turkey and vegetarian jerky that is all natural. They provide signage highlighting the information which usually becomes a conversation topic for attendees.

This property also offers tours of their organic gardens outside their Primo Restaurant.

At the end of the day they take pride in doing all of these things but if their food did not taste amazing, no one would care. They have to do the right thing and have great food.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Room Set Up Helps Anticipate Expected Food and Beverage Consumption

The room setup of a food and beverage function is extremely important. It can affect a number of things including the flow of service, the amount of food and beverage consumed an even the mood of guests.

If you are planning a reception or similar function, keep in mind these helpful tips in order to plan for food and beverage consumption accordingly.

Consumption relies on access. If you have an hors d’oeuvre table set against the wall it limits access to the food by only 180 degrees. A round table in the middle of the room gives a nice presentation, but because there is no apparent line to be formed at a circular table, guests will have to work their way in and out at various points for each item they wish to eat. This decreases food consumption. Having a rectangular table set at the middle of the room will allow for two open sides and a 360 degree access to food, allowing a higher consumption of food.

At a reception, you should allow anywhere from 6 to 10 square feet per person. With 6 square feet each person will be closer to one another and they will more likely feel a bit more uneasy on going to the food and beverage stations. Allowing 6 square feet per person is a good idea if you are paying on a per-person basis and you are trying to keep the costs low. If guests can eat and drink as much as they want for one price, then the square footage does not matter in terms of cost; however seven and a half square feet per person is considered “comfortably crowded.” If the purpose of a reception is to “mingle” and give easy access to food and beverage, then 10 square feet per person is ideal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Principles To Go By When Negotiating A Meeting

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate,” says negotiator Chester Karras.

Terms are just as important as important as dollars. Rates, dates and space are often the top items focused on when reviewing a contract but liability and attrition are just as important because they can translate into money. Negotiate with the person who has the authority to say “yes.” You do not want your negotiations to get lost in translation and have to negotiate more than once. If you want something, ask for it, but never put your best terms on the table first. You always want to focus on the relationship. You do not want to get to the end of an agreement and never speak with the person again.

There are four unwritten rules, power, time, knowledge and leverage. Power is the ability to get the other side to do things in a way you see favorable. Ninety percent of the negotiating happens in the last 10 percent of the time allotted. Never reveal your actual deadline. Knowledge is a combination of expertise and information gathering regarding what is wanted and needed from the other side. Leverage is your ability to get the hotel to want your business and to give you favorable terms.

There are beginning, middle and ending gambits. Most meeting planners are born with the ability to express shock and dismay at what the other side is presenting. This technique forces the other side to adjust. The feel, felt and found technique is a way of acknowledging another person's feelings without giving any ground. It's also a way to disagree without being disagreeable. The rule of thumb is to never accept the first offer. When someone names a price, you say: “You'll have to do better than that.” But be prepared for the response: “How much better do I have to do?”

Middle Gambits occur during the middle of negotiations, the point at which most negotiations begin to stall. Middle gambits are used to keep things going, assuming that you want to do business with this party. There are two basic techniques, the trade-off and the set-aside.

Never give a concession without getting a concession. This is the secret to keeping a negotiation balanced. They know they'll have to give up something for everything they get. When you're deadlocked on an issue, set it aside and come back to it after you've reached agreement on the easier issues. By the end of negotiations, the process has momentum and both sides will have the motivation to be flexible.

Ending Gambits are the end games. When you reach the end and are asking yourself if you should go through with what you've negotiated, ask yourself: “What's my Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement?” Your ability to negotiate is tied to your ability to walk away from the deal. This is why you want to give yourself options.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ideal Offer for an Ideal Hideaway at The Oceana Santa Monica

The Oceana Santa Monica is offering guests a chance to literally hide away from it all. With the Oceana's new Hideaway Package, guests can recharge, relax and rejuvenate in a beautiful ocean view setting. For “out o’ towners” and locals alike wanting to escape the chaos of the city, the Oceana provides the perfect oasis, while offering a great value for their over-sized rooms and suites.

Escape and sip cocktails by the pool, enjoy a massage, relax by the outdoor fireplace at sun down. If you don’t feel like hiding, you don’t have to. You can explore beautiful beaches, award-winning dining, exciting nightlife and fantastic shopping in beautiful weather over 300 days per year.

Book the Hideaway Package and you will receive:

•$50 off your Ocean View Suite or Room

•$50 credit to spend in the guest-exclusive Ocean Lounge or in the privacy of their own room

•Two welcome glasses of Prosecco upon arrival

•Personalized shopping experience at Fred Segal

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2011 Brings the Opening of Westin Downtown Phoenix

Conveniently located just one block from the city’s premier convention and entertainment complex, the Westin Phoenix Downtown will offer 242 oversized guest rooms (average 550 sq. ft.) over nine floors of the sleek new 26-story Freeport McMoRan Center building. Hotel guests will enjoy a 24 hour gym, indoor parking and 2,100 sq. ft. of ground floor retail, as well as restaurants and nightlife. Also, by being just across from a METRO light rail station guests will have easy access to and from Sky Harbor International Airport.

The Westin Downtown Phoenix will be a great venue for special events and meetings, offering nearly 9,000 sq. ft. of meeting and banquet space with pre-function space and the latest meeting technology.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Winter Mountain Meetings

Winter is a peak season at many Western mountain resorts, but there are still plenty of good deals out there on the slopes for groups looking for great rates, upgraded amenities, and business with family fun. Pricing has become aggressive as resorts are trying to lock in groups for the winter season. From California to Colorado Groups will also find a host of new amenities at many mountain resorts, including new gondolas, restaurants, shops, venues and activity options involving snow vehicles and zip lines. "There isn’t a better time to book a winter meeting in the Rockies," says Brandon Bang, director of sales at Montana’s Blue Sky Resort.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unwelcomed Hotel Guests

Regardless of a hotel’s great location, the tasteful décor or the Egyptian cotton sheets, hotel guests have been more concerned with what they don’t want in their hotel room: bedbugs.

Let’s face it, they are unnerving hotel owners and grossing out travelers in the U.S. (reported in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago), but we need to be objective about it, especially those of us that cannot avoid travel.

The scare of bed bugs has brought postings of bed bug sightings on different web sites, including Trip Advisor. The reality is that although bedbugs were moving like wildfire in the U.S. in the recent months, so were the stories about bedbugs, which in a lot of cases were not true.

All hotels are at risk, as it is not a sanitation issue. Bedbugs are brought into hotels by hotel guests, so going to a high end hotel will not decrease your chances of encountering bedbugs.

The truth is that the majority of hotels are bedbug free and there is vigilant staff trained to look for signs of bedbugs to reduce the risk of infestation.

The financial impact for those infested hotels is hard to assess, as it will cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars per room to get rid of infestation. The real impact may be psychological (guests not sleeping at night for fear of being bitten).

Bed bugs usually “hitchhike” their way around, they can come from clothing or furniture in contact with wild animals or areas infested with these bugs and their eggs.

Important information on bedbugs from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention:

· Their bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea and they are not know to transmit disease

· They can live several months without a blood meal

· They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards

· They tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep

How to check for bed bugs in your hotel and how to keep from bringing them home:

· Inspect your mattress, especially seams, headboard and bed frame (back and front making sure to check every hiding spot), pillows (uncover and check seams), as well as chairs, dressers and any furniture you may come into direct contact with. Report any sight of bed bugs to management immediately and repeat inspections for each new room.

· Check luggage racks and closet (including shelves), carpet edges around and near the bed.

· Before packing to leave, check luggage and inspect every item as you pack. Once home, unpack immediately and wash all clothes in luggage with detergent and hot water and dry in low heat for at least 20 minutes. Standard dry cleaning also kills the insects; however you may want to seal any dry clean items in a plastic bag to prevent from bugs getting out and onto other clothes. Check luggage again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recycled and Reborn

A hot new trend in urban redevelopment is the adaptive reuse of buildings no longer needed for their original purposes transformed into hotels, museums, and other types of venues and visitor attractions. Transformed firehouses, prisons, and textile mills throughout New England receive new life as the adapted venues become attractive and available meeting spaces. Meeting planners looking for structures with intriguing history and architecture can find a number of options throughout the New England region.

“Recycled and Reborn”. MeetingsEast. September 2010, Volume 10:6.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sierra’s First New Built Luxury Resort

The first all-new hotel built in the Sierra’s for decades offering the latest in luxury and technology. The Ritz-Carlton Highlands located on the north side of Lake Tahoe located just outside of the historic town of Truckee opened in December 2009 and is the only 5 star skiside resort of its kind in Lake Tahoe. With luxury rooms along a snowy mountain, a 17,000 square foot spa and 15,000 square feet of conference space, the Ritz Carlton Highlands offers something special for everyone. For a unique experience, planners can arrange for guests to arrive via gondola from Northstar Village below. Northstar Village also offers many activities and entertainment to include ice-skating, shops, galleries, live performances, hiking, and biking. For more information, click on

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Fort Baker, a army officers' quarters and dating back to 1901 tucked into a sheltered alcove in national park ground in Marin County, has been restored to create a modern, cozy, and unusual hotel get-a-way. Cavallo Point Lodge is located just five minutes from Sausalito and virtually underneath the Golden Gate Bridge offering immediate access to some of the best biking and hiking in the Bay Area as well as easy access to phenomenal Bay Area activities. This unique venue boasts a million-dollar wine cellar, a cookery school and bar, a stunning art collection and views of Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. For more information, go to

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Make a Debut in Peru

The 230 room Hilton Lima Miraflores is scheduled to open in 2012. Miraflores is an upscale are of Lima knows for its shopping areas, gardens, flower filled parks, beaches and fine dining. Hotel guests will also have close access to the MiraCorp Business Corporate Center, as well as rich history and culture of the capital and largest city in Peru. The hotel will have 10 meeting rooms and a grand ballroom to accommodate up to 450 people. Guest will also be able to enjoy a restaurant, lobby bar and Pisco bar, as well as a sky terrace with a pool, spa and fitness center.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Translating “3 Star Hotel” When in Europe

Those accustomed to staying at 3 Star hotels in the US are often disappointed with their choice hotels when traveling in Europe. Last year 1,721 complaints were filed through the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net). For this reason the ECC-Net examined the “average” hotel, which is the 3 Star.

In most countries, 3 Star hotels have a temporary or permanent reception service and employees must speak a foreign language, provide PC access, access to the internet and a safe at the reception, must accept a credit or debit card.

In all countries a 3 Star hotel provides breakfast, and in most countries provide lunch and/or dinner. All rooms must have individual bathrooms and provide shower gel and/or shampoo.

In some countries 3 Star hotels must provide air conditioning, a mini bar and a baby’s cot on demand.

In some countries 3 Star hotels do not have to provide a non-smoking room.

The best advice is to research your hotel of choice and verify their available services and amenities before booking.

Friday, August 13, 2010

DH&R Takes Over Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, CA

Destination Hotels and Resorts have added their third San Diego property on August 11, 2010. Paradise Point has a convenient beachfront locaton and provides easy access to all of San Diego’s attractions, and many family friendly attractions and amenities, including Sea World. For this reason, Forbes has designated this resort as one of the “Top Ten Family Resorts in the World”. To visit paradise, go to

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Highest Rates (and Emptiest) Hotels in the World

Moscow has obtained the highest ranking in average room rate according to European surveys by Hogg Robinson Group and Knight Frank. They determined that the average rate in Moscow hotels for the first half of the year was approximately £ 256.83. Geneva followed with second highest rank with approximately £ 199.11 and Hong Kong on its tail with an approximate £ 197.61.

Knight Frank survey results have placed Russian hotels among the emptiest. The average occupancy rate in the second quarter was 58.5% for Moscow compared to 75.4% for Paris and 84.7% for London.

Despite the low occupancy rate and scaring high prices, Moscow hotels amazingly show profitability on par with other European hotels.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Young Leaders West Coast Summit August 10 & 11, 2010 - San Diego, CA



Friday, August 6, 2010

A Unique Hotel for Unique Guests

Forget complimentary internet, continental breakfast or even a free night stay. What if a guest would like a model train diorama in their room? The Washington Hotel in Akihabara, Tokyo in Japan can accommodate this unusual amenity. This hotel offers a suite with a detailed model set matching the surrounding neighborhood. Guests can even bring their own model trains to use on the model set or rent some trains from the front desk.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dipping In to the Hottest (or Coolest) Hotel Pools

The weather is just getting warmer and a nice dip in the pool may cross your mind. Design Hotels presents the top four hotels pools for not only swimming, but sun bathing and socializing as well.

The pool at The Library, Koh Samui, Thailand has mosaic Italian glass tiles in red, yellow and orange, the pool is set on the beachfront and is surrounded by a wooden deck with red mattresses and black bean bags.

The pool at The Standard, Downtown Los Angeles, USA is part of one of Los Angeles’ most coveted nightlife hotspots, it is situated on the rooftop of the twelve-storey hotel in Downtown LA. The pool has panoramic views of the city. On the opposite side of the terrace there is sculptured topiary, an open fireplace, dance floor and bar. The turquoise heated pool stands out sharply against the deep red Astroturf of the surrounding sundeck, where there are also bright red water-bed canopies for up to ten people.

The infinity pool at Alila Ubud, Bali, Indonesia is perched on a terrace floating above the lush Ayung River valley. The pool spreads out to form an elongated rectangle until it seems to disappear down the terraced jungle hillside.

Our favorite was the pool at Habita Monterrey, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico (photo), offering different views and contrasting temperatures. The two pools at Habita Monterrey cater to all tastes and weather conditions. The hot pool is heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for a dip in the winter months. There is also a cold pool which is great for cooling off during the summer when temperatures rise. Situated on either side of the eighth floor roof terrace with 360-degree views over the desert metropolis and Sierra Madre, the pools are divided by a chic concrete bar. On one side there is a view over Sierra Madre and its eponymous Cerro de la Silla, known as the Chair Mountain, whilst on the opposite side there is a view of the El Obispado, a green mountainous area.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcome Back Fairmont Peace Hotel

The "Number One mansion in the Far East" known since 1929 has once again opened its doors after much anticipation since their closure in 2007. The hotel offers 270 deluxe guestrooms and suites with a selection of six restaurants and lounges, including the missed and much-loved since the 1930s Jazz Bar, their signature Chinese restaurant Dragon Phoenix and The Cathay Room, offering stunning views of the Bund from its terrace on the 9th floor. The 8th floor will host the famed Peace Hall, where the property's iconic sprung-wooden dance floor still evokes memories of old Shanghai cabarets and gala parties.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hilton Brings First Luxury Hotel to Beijing Capital Airport

Hilton Beijing Capital Airport is the first-ever luxury airport hotel in China. This five-star hotel is located in terminal 3 and offers 322 guest rooms including a 365-square-meter Presidential Suite. There are 18 two-story, two-bedroom duplexes and all rooms have contemporary designs, separate walk-in showers, 37-inch flat panel TVs, high-speed internet access, with complimentary access to the Executive Lounge for Executive Room and Suite guests. Guest can choose from seven restaurants and bars for their daily dining experience. There is ample meeting and private event space with 32 private dining rooms, two ballrooms and 21 meeting rooms.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Top Ten Ethical Destinations in the World

Ethical Traveler has named the “Top 10 Ethical Destinations in the World”. What does this mean? It means countries such as Suriname, South Africa and Poland for example; support the preservation of the wonders of the world for future generations. These are the best countries for the ”mindful” traveler who shares its host country’s concern of preserving the natural surroundings, promoting safe and responsible tourism opportunities and protecting local communities.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hidden Fees Can Make a Hotel Stay Not So Affordable

The lodging industry earned more than $1.75 billion this year as a result of surcharges, so the inconvenient extra hotel fees are here to stay for now.

From a fee to the $5 to receive a package to your room to the $30 for the mandatory valet parking due to the non-existence of self parking, there are other fees like towel fees, mini-bar restocking fees, in-room safe fees, housekeeping fees and the all inclusive resort fees.

Be prepared when booking your next trip and ask about all mandatory fees and taxes that will be added to your bill before you book. Also, keep these hints in mind if you find yourself in a surprise fee situation:

1. At checkout, always check your bill before signing. It is easier to dispute a charge at checkout then once you have left the hotel.

2. If you feel something was not disclosed in advance, calmly object to the fee, as front desk clerks have the authority to remove most fees.

4. If this fails, ask for the front desk manager.

5. If all else fails, remember to research and find a property that is fair to guests with all their charges.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Netherlands Welcomes New Hilton The Hague Hotel

The latest addition to the Hilton world-wide portfolio is a restored 1950’s Royal Dutch Telecom headquarters. This is Hilton number 5 in the Netherlands and The Hague is the country’s third largest city.

This new property offers ten meeting rooms with their largest being the Mesdag Ballroom accommodating up to 400 people. Groups will be delighted with the easily accessible motorway and train to major European cities such as Brussels and Paris. The Hague Hilton is only 25 minutes from Amsterdam Shiphol and Rotterdam airports.

Sold! The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta

Open since 2004, InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta is sold to Pebblebrook Hotel Trust for US $105 million in cash. InterContinental Hotel Group PLC (IHG) will remain the hotel’s management company under a long term contract.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Second Hilton Hotel Opens in Poland

The Hilton Gdansk is the second Hilton Hotel to open in Poland. The “modern meets medieval” property has been designed with striking architecture of Polish architect Prof. Stefan Kurlylowicz, which complements the historic Old City.

Located on the waterfront overlooking the Motlawa River and in the heart of old town it allows guest to experience the rich culture and ancient surroundings of a great European city. One of the most prominent features is suspended in the hotel’s central atrium: the “Seaflowers” chandelier, which features more than 25,000 individual glass flowers and is illuminated by fiber optics creating a dazzling effect.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sir Richard Branson Teases About Virgin Hotels

After briefly mentioning it during the inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Toronto, the public is now anticipating Sir Richard Branson’s announcement disclosing if, when and where the new and luxurious Virgin Hotels will launch.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Starwood Adds to Luxury Collection Brand in South America

Tambo del Inka, the newest addition to Starwood’s Luxury Collection, is scheduled to open in the sacred valley of Urubamba, offering breath-taking views of the Andes Mountains and direct access to Peru’s Machu Picchu Trails. The 5,905 square-foot Spa at Valle Sagrado has 12 treatments rooms with panoramic views of the Andes where guest can select from indigenous treatments such as Andean Chocolate, Gold from the Gods and Misti Mud using ancestral Inca ingredients such as gold used by Incan princesses.

Following the Tambo del Inka is the third hotel to open in Peru in 2011, the Palacio del Inka in Cusco, the capital of the ancient Incan Empire.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Experience the Celebrity Hotel without Paying Celebrity Price

If you are on the hunt for the Celebrity Hotel experience, you do not have to pay the celebrity price. Orbitz has put together a list of the Top 10 Celebrity Hotels and Affordable Alternatives. For example, you can experience the celebrity luxury of the Hotel Gansevoort in New York, which currently offers a rate of $343.65 USD per night, by booking the affordable alternative Ace Hotel at approximately $125 USD less per night. See where you can find alternatives to the Top 10 Celebrity Hotels in Miami, Bahamas, Chicago, Las Vegas, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, London, Oahu-Hawaii, and Cabo San Lucas- Mexico.

Friday, June 25, 2010

First Hotel Indigo in Southeast Asia

In partnership with Piyasombat Property Co. through a management agreement, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) will welcome the Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road. The district where it will be located is one of Bangkok’s most prominent. Guests will have the convenience of public transportation, access to Lumpini Central Park, dining, shopping and entertainment. The hotel is expected to complete at the end of 2012.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friends and Colleagues Are Not the Only Ones Following You on Your Social Network

Mr. Horan announced to his Twitter followers that he was “"At the Orlando Marriott World Center for RIM WES 2010 [a technology conference]. But I have the crappiest room in the hotel." He immediately received an apology note and was upgraded to a pool view room the very next day.

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have given hotel guests a bigger voice when it comes to posting a complaint or even their desire for a cold beer. Hotels, such as the Orlando Marriott World Center, now have employees searching for unhappy guests through wall-posted or “twitted” complaints. Should they come across a complaint by one of their guests, the least they do is write an apology note.

Many hotel guests have been pleasantly surprised by the Front Desk staff that follows them from the Orlando Marriott World Center and other hotels. To increase the chances of your complaint being heard through your social network site, you must use your real name and the hotel’s full name.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hilton Worldwide Offers Money Back Guarantee for Gulf Coast Properties

Hilton Worldwide announced that from now until July 31, guests with reservation at any of Hilton Worldwide hotels can cancel and receive 100% refund. Also, Hilton offers the “Beach Satisfaction Guarantee”, which is Hilton’s tool to bring those hesitant to plan vacations in the area due to the uncertainty of the Gulf oil spill. The “Beach Satisfaction Guarantee” protects those guests who visit hotels from the Gulf Coast to South Florida that are beachfront or within a 20 drive to the beach, as it will guarantee no charges for their stay should they be affected in any way by the Gulf oil spill.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Renovated Convention Center Attracts New Business in Mississippi

In keeping up with current times and competition, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center recently underwent a $117 million dollar renovation and expansion. The new 125,000 square foot center features everything from top quality sound, video, connectivity and electrical systems, and moveable walls in the 38 meeting rooms, to sound absorbing material and comfortable chairs with extra cushion. Because the center can now accommodate 85% of national conventions, it has attracted new business such as the “Antiques Road Show” and “Inktoberfest.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Largest Hilton Property Opens in Asia Pacific

Hilton Worldwide opened its largest hotel in Asia Pacific, the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk. It is also the first Hilton hotel in Fukuoka. Formerly the JAL Resort Sea Hawk Hotel Fukuoka, it will undergo a $20 million renovation focusing on its executive floors, foyer and other public areas. The hotel consists of 1,052 sleeping rooms and 6,000 square feet of meeting space with their largest ballroom measuring at over 4,000 square feet. The hotel offers its guests indoor and outdoor pools and a sauna, as well as three wedding chapels.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Volcanic Destinations

It is time to shine some light after the setbacks from Iceland’s Volcano. We invite you to visit a few stylish boutique hotels in volcanic destinations such as Hacienda de San Antonio in Colima, Mexico; Mystique in Santorini, Greece; The Boatshed in Auckland, New Zealand; Hotel Raya in Aeolian Islands in Sicily, Italy; and of course, 101 Hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Orlando Is In Bloom

If you travel to Orlando you will have no problem finding yourself a hotel. With about 25 hotels and motels opening in the last year, Orlando has approximately 115,000 hotel rooms. The recently opened properties vary from a motel with its own water park, to the newest Disney resort. Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Orlando and Bonnet Creek are all connected by a conference center and offer guests the benefit to use facilities at the either hotel at no additional charge.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Accor Modifies Portfolio: Selling 450 Hotels in 2010-2013

As a result of the upcoming demerger with their prepaid services business and in an effort to increase cash and reduced its net debt, the French hotel company, ACCOR plans to reduce its property holdings by selling 450 of their 1,600 hotels between 2010 and 2013. ACCOR is acting as a pure hotel and is now focused on developing the brand. This “sale program” will aid them in their concurrent expansion plan to open 35,000 to 40,000 new rooms a year until 2015 and end up with 1,800 hotels or around 220,000 rooms in European and Asian countries with high-growth potential.

Euro Drops Against the US Dollar: Good News to US travelers

The Euro has hit a four year low against the dollar, which means that traveling through Europe will be less expensive. The economic struggle of countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece are driving the Euro to devaluate and now 16 countries formally using the Euro as currency will be affected. We can safely say that it will more affordable for US travelers to travel to Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hilton’s New Promotion: “The Great Getaway”

Hilton launched a global promotion for members of the Hilton HHonors’ guest loyalty program. With over 2,800 participating hotels worldwide guests are able to get up to 30 percent off sleeping rooms for stays completed between May 28 and September 6, 2010. “We’re encouraging our guests to take this opportunity to explore a new travel destination or visit an old favorite,” said Jeff Diskin, Senior Vice President, Global Customer Marketing, Hilton Worldwide.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hyatt Hotels Add to Their Luxury Portfolio

The Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad, California will soon be managed by Hyatt Hotels and become number 25 in the Park Hyatt Luxury Portfolio.

“Hyatt is delighted to be invited to manage this beautiful Southern California resort, “ said Steve Haggerty, global head of real estate and development for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “We look forward to a long and successful relationship with the property’s owners and expect a very smooth transition for Aviara guests as we introduce the personalized service and authentic hospitality for which Park Hyatt is known around the world.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

Starwood will Debut in the United Arab Emirates in 2013

A new W hotel will debut in Abu Dhabi, right on the water front of Al Bateen. This is part of a development to include many components such as high-end retail stores, restaurants and even homes offering magnificent ocean views. The 350-room hotel will have 25 suites and 2 “Extreme Wow” suites, which are the equivalent to a Presidential Suite. The hotel will offer other great features such as a signature spa, restaurants and a rooftop night club.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How Would You Like to Wake Up to This View? Hilton Los Cabos

Hilton Los Cabos Golf Resort and Spa is the perfect place to stay when visiting Los Cabos in Baja California, Mexico. The resort offers luxury without disturbing the natural feeling of a town based hand crafted goods, hard workers and genuine love for people and the town. The hotel is located right in between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.

They offer great accommodations, as every room has an oversized soaking tub and a private balcony to enjoy the ocean breeze and a view of the Sea of Cortez.

The meeting space is ideal for small or large groups, offering two ballrooms with the largest being over 7,400 square feet and a total of 11,349 square feet of meeting space.

Hilton Los Cabos is set in a nice, quiet beach front just off the main highway. The service is great and the food is delicious. You will wake up to the waves crashing and start off each day with a smile on your face. Hilton Los Cabos is a perfect spot for meetings or just to enjoy some sun and relax.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fashion Hits the Hospitality Industry in 2010- Update

The 160-room Armani Hotel Dubai opened this past Tuesday, April 27, 2010. This landmark now stands as the world’s tallest skyscraper. This luxury hotel doesn’t come cheap; at a standing rate of $750 a night for the cheapest room.

Not only is it a luxury hotel, it also stands as an observation deck on the 124th floor which is open to the public and welcomed its first visitors in January.

This fashion designer will not only have Versace brand as his competition in the fashion world but the hotel industry as well; Versace plans to open a luxury hotel in Dubai later this year.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Will Arizona’s Immigration Law Lead to a Travel Boycott?

Several executives in Arizona’s hospitality and tourism industry fear that the state’s new immigration law will affect this industry tremendously. The law could discourage people from visiting as well as companies holding their meetings in the beautiful state. There are several threats to the newly established law; The American Immigration Lawyers Association cancelled their meeting for this year which was to be held in Arizona at the JW Marriott for approximately 300 attendees.

Others feel “The area is well equipped for convention traffic and the number of golf courses and landmarks will ultimately outweigh any altruistic motives to the contrary,” quoted Fred Pfeifer, a business traveler from the Baltimore area who travels frequently to Phoenix.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fairmont Hotels and Honey Bees, What a Sweet Combination!

As part of their 20 year commitment to the environment, some Fairmont Hotels have set up bee hives in rooftops and onsite herb gardens. Their goal is to have “their” bees pollinate local gardens and parks and therefore benefit the environment. As a bonus, Fairmont Hotels are going to harvest the honey from these bees and hotel Chefs will offer delicious honey to their guests from their own local bee hives. Participating hotels are the The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, The Fairmont Washington, D.C., Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, The Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick and The Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New, Hip, Cool and Fun: Tazmania Ballroom

Fun can be glamorous with Hong Kong’s new hot spot the Tazmania Ballroom. The long bar and gold-plated pool tables make this the place for the hip, cool, stylish party goers who like to play until the sun comes up. The billiard tables can be raised to make room for dancing or to place Ping Pong tables. If you are cool and connected, you might just get to join the party.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring to Success Event: Helping Women Succeed

Meeting Sites Pro was pleased to sponsor an event aimed at helping unemployed women in San Diego. The event was held on April 6, 2010 at the Hilton in Mission Valley and supported 50 women. The event was moderated by Michelle Bartolone with presentations by Chris Rupp, CEO of PrideStaff; Althea Salas, Director of Human Resources at the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Michelle Saul, Owner of Possibilities Consulting LLC. By all accounts, this event was successful resulting in immediate interviews, job placements, and great networking. Meeting Sites Pro sponsors at least one event per year aimed at helping our community. We draw inspiration from an old saying: "It is a great thing about life that you cannot help another without helping yourself."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Top 5 Hotels in the Top 5 German Cities

With the world’s largest industrial fair beginning in Hannover, Germany this week, some light is shining at the top hotels for some major cities in the country. The top 5 Star hotels were The Circus Hotel in Berlin, the Mandarin Oriental in Munich, the Hilton Frankfurt, the Hotel Domstern in Cologne and the Park Hyatt Hamburg. The data was a combination of reviews and rankings collected via surveys through a travel search engine. To learn more visit

Saturday, April 10, 2010

World’s Sexiest Affordable Destinations

20 Hot Spots Worth Checking Out...

Europe's Best Wine Bars

If you love wine, this is for you. Travel & Leisure recently developed a best list of wine bars in Europe; whether you are sipping in Spain or tippling in Turin, there is a special spot for you.

Airline Fees May Hit The Overhead Bin

Spirit Airlines will soon be the first of the major US airlines to charge passengers to carry on their luggage. Beginning in August, the carrier will slap an additional fee of up to $45 for any bags placed in the overhead bins. Airline officials are calling this the "bring less; pay less" policy which they say will ultimately benefit customers and promote in flight safety.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Does Disneyland Paris Expect Competition?

Paramount Pictures has chosen Murcia in Spain as a home for the biggest theme park in the country. The theme park will also serve as the center for all Paramount productions in Europe. This project will create 20,000 jobs for the people in Spain and is expected to attract 3 million tourists to Spain. The entire project is expected to be completed within 2 years.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Underground Hotels Feel Like Gnome Sweet Gnome

Since 1988, the existence of underground hotels has attracted the biggest "Goth fanatics to people who want to know how it feels to live as a gnome. There are hotels in Australia, Sweden and New Zealand, although some hotels consist of just one room. Some hotels resemble a Hobbit Hole such as the Hobbit Underground Motel in Woodlyn Park New Zealand. You will be surprised as you enter the full-fledged room equipped with modern furniture. A much anticipated, 21-floor underground hotel is under construction near Shanghai. This underground marvel will include an artificial lake and a "ground" top garden. Are you feeling down to earth? Learn more at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Priority Pass Announces Airport Lounge of the Year 2010

Rated by Priority Pass members as Lounge of the Year 2010, the USMAQ VIP Lounge, Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru receives the award from the world's leading independent lounge program for a second time in two years. With over 30,000 member ratings this year, this is an impressive accolade. Other winners: Continental Presidents Club, Terminal E, George Bush Intercontinental, Houston, TX, in Nort America, Panorama Lounge, Terminal E, Zurich Switzerland in Europe, Kal Lounge, Concourse A, Incheon, Seoul, South Korea in Asia-Pacific and Dilmun Lounge, Bahrain Int'l, Bahrain in Middle East/Africa. There are also honorable mentions listed, did your favorite lounge make the list? See for yourself at