Thursday, February 28, 2013


If you are having difficulty searching for a new location to hold your next corporate meeting, then search no further. Brussels offers all the commodities needed for your next meeting and should be your next destination choice. There’s always a buzz in Brussels, not only because European politicians have made it their number one destination for congressional meetings but also because Brussels has much more to offer.

Easy Access
Brussels provides superb air, road and rail connections making it accessible to millions of travelers. Once in the city, moving around is as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Packed Agenda
The agenda is constantly packed with events, festivals, and surprises. Brussels also offers dozens of fine museums and exhibitions, street markets, and gardens galore!

Multicultural Experience
Everyone is welcomed in Brussels! There is a great diversity in the city, French, Dutch, and English are spoken everywhere with a melting pot of nationalities and cultures.

Venues, Venues, Venues!!!
Brussels offers a variety of meeting and event venues of all shapes and sizes. Choices of venues range from historical to unusual to the ultra-modern!

Tags: Brussels, Belgium, Europe, Travel, Meetings

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Plans for Titanic II Announced Yesterday

Yesterday billionaire Clive Palmer, entrepreneur and owner of an Australian mining company, announced his plans to build Titanic II.  The ship, which will begin carrying passengers in the third quarter of 2016, will be a full-scale modern recreation of the original, doomed oceanliner.

Titanic I was deemed the ‘unsinkable’ ship and at the time she was built, was the largest and most impressive vessel ever made.  On her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City in 1912, the ship hit an iceberg in the north Atlantic and sank- taking the lives of more than 1,500 passengers.

Palmer said he is not superstitious and does not feel he is tempting fate by recreating a ship best known for sinking.  He did, however, stop short of calling the ship unsinkable, saying “Anything will sink if you put a hole in it.” 

Computer rendering of the planned Titanic replica, Titanic II
Palmer will honor many of the traditional elements of the original ship to bring an “authentic Titanic experience” to her passengers.  Although the ship will integrate modern safety procedures (including enough lifeboats for everyone onboard!), navigation methods and some 21st century technology, the Titanic II follow the original cabin layout and décor.  Modern upgrades include air conditioning but do not include TVs or internet service.  The ship will also include the three passenger classes which will be prevents from mingling like in 1912.

Palmer claims he has received an overwhelming response from prospective passengers who want to travel on Titanic II. He predicted that it "will be a real financial bonanza" so successful that he will "have to build Titanic III."

The announcement of the Titanic II has sparked some debate as to whether this business model can succeed in today’s era.  Many believe the ship will not attract many passengers after the initial hype is dies down.  The boat is essentially a floating hotel room, unlike other cruises which have various destinations along the route for passengers to experience cities they may otherwise never see. 

According to J. Joseph Edgette, Titanic expert and professor at Widener University in Chester, PA, the name is “a little tacky,” citing a maritime tradition of not naming a ship after one lost at sea.  Bill Matsen, author of Titanic’s Last Secrets, says: “There were a lot of people who died on the Titanic.  That’s what gets lost on this.”

Computer rendering of ship's staircase

Monday, February 25, 2013

Giving Back

As more and more companies take a broader look at their commitment to corporate social responsibility, it is important to put this into action. A great way to do this during meetings is to offer a teambuilding activity or excursion that gives back and positively impacts the site of your meeting. Here are some ideas to get you started!

Voluntourism: Take your team to a local children’s organization, nonprofit, or even local trails and parks to work on outdoor projects. This can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of a new city and get to know the people there. The altruism and positivity harnessed by these activities is also a great way to foster camaraderie in your group.

Agritourism: Trying popular local cuisine is always a favorite tourist activity! Do this while still being mindful of the community. Visit a local restaurant or farmer’s market! You’ll not only get an authentic taste of the cuisine, but also support economic development and sustainable practices.

Keep these principles in mind as you work to develop your next teambuilding or recreational activities for your next meeting!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Leading Hotels in the Movies

To celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Leading Hotels of the World and Hollywood’s Oscars, LHW has collected a list of its hotels featured in iconic movies throughout the world.

Browse through their list by movie or by decade, and learn more about these hotels, their history, and get some travel tips on the best way to see them.

Wondering which hotels were featured in the favorites listed below?  

Ray (2004)
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Goldfinger (1964)
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Notting Hill (1999)

Check out the full list here:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hit the Slopes!

Every winter holiday (even Valentine’s Day) has passed. Now comes the time of the year when we bear the cold, and push through the last of winter with springtime being the only light at the end of the tunnel. Sounds dreary, right? 

Think again! With winter still making its presence known, it’s time to embrace the freezing weather and hit the slopes. Plan an impromptu ski trip, add some glam to it with one of these beautiful, newly renovated ski lodging options, and you’ll get to spring in no time!

Basecamp South Lake Tahoe- Lake Tahoe, California
With rooms starting at $89/night, this affordable option calls the name of outdoor adventurers all year around! The hotel does have a woodsy feel to it (reminiscent of days at camp), but its rooms have an updated outdoors-chic look, and are equipped with modern conveniences such as flat-screen TVs and in-room gear racks. What really makes it stand out though are its rooftop hot tub, fire pits, communal dining area, and five-minute walk to the Heavenly Gondola or Lake Tahoe itself.

Washington School House Hotel- Park City, Utah
Even more nostalgic than a weekend at camp, the Washington School House offers a stay in an 1889 schoolhouse, renovated into a beautiful and luxurious hotel. It includes heated pools, intimate cocktail lounges, and white-washed clean décor offer an unforgettable stay. The location is within walking distance of not only ski slopes, but a plethora of activities from mountain ziplining to snowshoe yoga.

St. Regis Aspen- Aspen, Colorado
The St. Regis Aspen has outdone itself with a $43 million renovation, making it one of the grandest and most luxurious ski resorts in the country. Located in one of the best ski hotspots in the country, the manor style resort is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. The resort is piloting a new restaurant concept called Chef’s Club, featuring an open kitchen and chef’s table featuring Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef’s.” Between the dining and the luxury spa, the trip back in will be just as sweet as the time spent on the mountain.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Condé Nast #1 Hotel

Conde Nast, arguably the most trusted name in travel, started its Reader’s Choice poll in 1986.  At the time, the highest score was 87.0 (a remarkable feat nonetheless).  Today, a score of 87.0 doesn’t get you anywhere near the top 100 list. 

Taking the spot at #1 is a hotel so impressive, it received a 100.0 score in every category rated- rooms, service, food, location, design and activities. Which luxurious hotel received the unprecedented perfect score?

Located in the Great Barrier Reef on Hamilton Island

The name means “a collection of deeper sensory experiences” in latin, and the resort does not disappoint. 
Seeking to marry inside and out, the architecture uses natural, local materials and offers a unique sense of openness and harmony.  Fabrics and patters inspired by nature adorn the interiors.  The resort is divided into 60 individual pavilions, each with a breath-taking ocean view, private sundeck and private infinity-edge pool.

Prefer to get out and explore? Qualia offers diving and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, yachting, water sports, golf, personal golf carts for exploring the island, sunset cruises and more.

But no sensory experience would be complete without fresh and innovative cuisine.  Guests can enjoy the ultimate in fine dining with the Long Pavillion’s seven course dinner and an accompanying wine cellar or a more casual Pebble Beach dinner on the water’s edge.

Click here to book your stay:

Monday, February 18, 2013

CityFocus: Monaco

After Monaco’s extravagant renovations for the 2012 wedding of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock, this small principality has heightened its taste for luxury and glamour.

Updated hotels include the Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo, Le Méridien Beach Plaza, the Fairmont Monte Carlo, and the Columbus Monte-Carlo. All of these properties have renovated and expanded their meeting space, and added the technology that meetings demand today. Additions at the Columbus Monte-Carlo and the Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo include extravagant gardens and terraces that can be seen from meeting spaces.

There have also been changes in the leadership of the Monaco Tourist and Convention Bureau, and they have been amping up Monaco’s allure with affordable yet first-class packages, all priced in US dollars.


Friday, February 15, 2013

American Airlines – US Airways Merger

US Airways has landed the long sought after merger with American Airlines. This merger will create the country’s largest airline and decrease the competition. The combined American Airlines will offer more than 6,700 flights each day, to 336 destinations in 56 countries.

What could this mean for you? With less competition, the pressure to increase airfares will surge. On the bright-side, all frequent flyer miles will be honored in both programs. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out when merging and details will be provided to the customer at a later time. This could also mean flights to Asia, which both companies currently lack.

In the end, we can only speculate what outcomes this merger will bring. Still, there are mergers in the foreseeable future for smaller airlines. This deal is leading us towards a less competitive market in the airline industry.          

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines in New York

It’s probably a bit too late to plan a trip to New York with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day; so, hopefully you’ve already picked up picked up a heart-shaped box of chocolates and reserved a table at your favorite local bistro.  But it’s still fun to imagine a hedonistic, over-the-top (and expensive) trip to the big apple for a long weekend full of food, drink, sweets and romance, right?  Plus you can get started brainstorming for next year (but you might have to start saving up now).

The Peninsula New York Private Poolside Suite-Hearts Package - $8,000

This one-of-a-kind package shows your honey just how special they are with an experience in midtown unlike any other:

  • Private pool with outstanding city views and poolside suite filled with candles and rose petals
  • An hour long en-suite couples massage
  • Private five-course tasting menu
  • Veuve Cilcquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut
  • His and Hers monogrammed robes and slippers

The Warwick Hotel Big Heart Package - $21,000

This midtown hotel, rumored to be created by William Randolph Hearst for his true love, actress Marion Davies, is celebrating their over the top love with:
  • Two nights in a newly renovated suite with views of Avenue of the Americas, decorated with the couple’s favorite flowers
  • A personal photographer to document the celebration
  • Limousine transportation
  • An in room massage and in-room meals throughout the stay
  • Welcome bottle of Cristal and keepsake monogrammed flutes
  • And since that’s not enough, a $10,000 gift card to the nearby Cartier store

 The Mondrian SoHo Private Penthouse Dinner Party - $45,000

Want to impress your lover and 48 other close friends?  This is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift:
  • Gorgeous penthouse suite and private terrace overlooking Manhattan from the tallest building in SoHo
  • Delicious dinner by Iron Chef, Jose Garcias
  • Need we say more?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Top Valentine’s Day Restaurants in the US

Going out for Valentine’s Day? Check out the top restaurants for the special day and see if any of them are near you.

San Francisco, CA
AQ Restaurant & Bar

This modern but romantic market-style restaurant is offering a high-end tasting menu. Alongside this special menu, the AQ Restaurant also features its regular á la carte menu, which varies seasonally. Valentine’s day dinner features executive chef Mark Liberman.

Tampa, FL

Nothing says romance like the stunning bay views at Armani’s, located on the 14th floor of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Armani’s is a vintage, Italian-style restaurant that will be featuring a four-course meal, finished off by a variety of miniature desserts.

New Orleans, LA

If you were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, stick around for Valentine’s day and visit Bayona, a Creole restaurant made unique by its international twists. The restaurant is located in the historic French Quarter, and is offering a four-course meal off of its extensive menu.

Los Angeles, CA

Built in the hilltops of Hollywood, this once historic replica of a Japanese palace will be offering a Cal-Asian fusion menu. Come here for spectacular views of the Los Angeles skyline and exquisite dishes ranging from filet mignon to sushi.

Las Vegas, NV

THEHotel at Mandalay Bay offers beautiful views of the Strip at night. Throughout the entire weekend, the restaurant will be offering a three-course Valentine’s menu featuring French Cuisine with an American influence. Customers claim that executive chef Bruno Riou perfects the menu with his bold techniques.

For more of the top Valentine’s Day Restaurants in the US, click here.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Recovery: Hurricane Sandy

It has been four months since Hurricane Sandy swept through the East Coast, and recovery damages are high.  However, destination management companies are working hard to revive the tourism industry and make sure America knows that they are open for business.

Atlantic City:

After unforgettable images of the ocean surging over the broken portions of the boardwalk, 41% of Americans believed the Atlantic City Boardwalk to be completely destroyed by the storm. However, pictures can be misleading. Only a small, weaker piece of the boardwalk had broken and was quickly restored.

Atlantic City’s casino resorts were open and back in business five days after the hurricane, but images and publicity like this led to cancellation of 90 meetings.

The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority wants you to know that Atlantic City is ready for visitors! Check out special discounts and deals for meeting planners, and don’t count it out when looking towards meetings this spring.

Jersey Shore:

Although many houses were destroyed in the storms that hit Jersey Shore, most of the tourist areas such as downtown were very well protected and had little to no damage.  There are still several beautiful properties in Jersey Shore ready for visitors!

Although Jersey Shore did take a hit with a loss in rental homes on the shore, the Jersey Shore Convention & Visitor Bureau is optimistic that by peak season (summer), they will have made a full recovery and be ready and better than ever for leisure visitors!

New York City:

New York City quickly recovered from the storm, with 98% of its hotel s and tourist attractions opened back up within two weeks. Although Ellis island and Statue of Liberty are still closed due to damage, most of Lower Manhattan and the rest of NYC is still in full swing, with as many attractions as ever for tourists to explore. You can check with NYC & Company for a full update of properties and attractions available for meeting planners and leisure travelers alike.

Long Island:

Although Long Island lost 95,000 homes and businesses in the storm, the tourism and economic  sector remained relatively unaffected. Only one popular group resort closed, and the rest of the attractions survived the storm.

Long Island did suffer significant beach erosion, but most damage was on resident-only beaches rather than tourist areas. The Long Island Convention & Visitors and Sports Commission have been proactively scheduling press conferences around the world to reassure visitors and clients that venues are operating as usual.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Love is in Full Bloom!

Give your honey more than just a bouquet this Valentine’s Day.  Why not go all out with a romantic getaway decked out in 27,000 extraordinary blooms?

Renaissance Hotels nation-wide are offering exclusive “Love Blossoms” suites starting at $15,000 as part of their “Live Life to Discover” campaign.  Just what does this $15,000+ price tag buy you?

  • A botanical wonderland suite designed by, and featuring hydrangeas, tulips, peonies and the Valentine’s favorite, rose
  • Extravagant breakfast in bed
  • Daily ‘love potion’ cocktail
  • All the fixin’s for an aromatic bubble bath experience
  • And who could forget the chocolates, fruits and cheeses?

Can you think of a more romantic way to save ‘I love you?’

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nobu Hotel- Las Vegas

The much anticipated Nobu Hotel Restaurant and Lounge has finally opened its doors to the public at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The 181-room boutique space is the product of collaboration between Caesars Palace, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and Hollywood film producer Meir Teper. The “hotel within a hotel” opened Monday after a weekend of celebrations in which Robert De Niro was the star attraction.

The Nobu team decided to take over and renovate Caesar’s aging Centurion Tower and offers eighteen luxury suites ranging from 1,000 to 3,5000 square feet and can make for memorable private event spaces. The 12,775 square foot restaurant seats 325, making it the largest Nobu restaurant in the world.
The standard rooms are 350 square feet with touches of fir, hemlock, oak and teak that bring a subtle, rich feel to the property. The majority of the design was inspired by chef Nobu’s famous chain of Japanese restaurants. The Vegas property is the first of what executives promise to be many Nobu Hotels. The hotel brings a new style of hotel services to Las Vegas by not having a lobby. Hotel service reps escort guests to their rooms to complete the check-in process in private and efficiently all completed on iPads.

Tags: Nobu Hotel, Nobu Japanese Restaurant, Las Vegas, Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, Meir Teper, Caesar’s Palace, Vegas Strip