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.