Thursday, January 30, 2014

Your Smart Phone Just Got Smarter

...and it's replacing your room key at a few Starwood properties across the country. The Aloft Harlem in New York and the Aloft Cupertino in California will lead the way with the new technology, powered by Assa Abloy. Starwood's Senior VP of Specialty Select Brands, Brian McGuinness, said the pilot program will begin within 60 days. If it does will, you will eventually see the technology in all Aloft, Element and W Hotels by 2015.

After checking in with Starwood's mobile app, guests will get a text message with their room number and virtual key, allowing them to bypass the front desk entirely and head straight to their room. The room lock uses Bluetooth technology available on all iPhone 4s or newer phones as well as any Android 4.3 or newer phones.

"It fundamentally changes the hotel business," McGuinness says. "It changes the job of the front desk. The front desk becomes the concierge desk."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

3 New Travel App Must Haves

Always looking for the latest and greatest travel apps? Check out these three must haves:

1. MyRadar - for those afraid to fly, this app will show users exactly when, where, how long and how severely they will experience turbulence during the flight.

2. HotelTonight - for those last minute travelers, this app will help users find last minute hotel deals and sorts hotels by categories like luxe, basic, hip, etc.

3. GateGuru - for those flyers who need a little something to make the trip more pleasant, this app helps users find food, shopping and services near their gate and includes reviews, ratings and maps.

Hungry for more apps? Check out PC Mag's favorites:,2817,2422244,00.asp 

15 Best Travel Apps

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Forbidden Pavilion in the Sky

Air China has upgraded the Business Class of the Boeing 777-300ER. Calling the new cabin the 'Forbidden Pavilion' the upgrade is designed with international travelers that wish to get a good night's sleep in mind. The first class cabin holds eight spacious seats that are arranged 1-2-1 across the width of the place. A partition separates each individual and the seats have the ability to fully recline. An extensive menu is offered to each first class traveler that includes multiple courses and options for every eater. Each individual’s pod has been equipped with its own state of the art AVOD system that offers programs in various languages. Air China usually flies this plane solely from JFK to Beijing, but a new route connecting Honolulu to Beijing is in the works to begin later this month. Air China will continue to expand luxury travel by launching a new nonstop flight connecting both Houston and Washington Dulles routes to Beijing in March.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Open for Business: The NEW Tallest Hotel in North America

New York City is now home to the tallest hotel in North America with the opening of the Courtyard by Marriott/ Residence Inn Central Park hotel on January 7th, 2014. Standing at 752 feet, 9 inches the building which includes no office or residential space beat out another Marriott for the title: Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

Guests can enjoy the 378 rooms at the Courtyard on floors 6-33 and 261 suites at the Residence Inn on floors 37-65. The 35th floor houses the fitness center with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Central Park and the Hudson River. To top it off, Marriott has made wifi complimentary throughout the entire hotel.

For more information, check out Marriott's recent press release:

Friday, January 3, 2014

Travel Hacks

With the New Year comes new opportunity to travel for business or pleasure. Here are some of our favorite travel-themed life hacks to get you there cheaper, faster, smarter and more comfortably:

  • Avoid airport pickup hassles by taking a free shuttle to a nearby airport.
  • Try asking for an upgraded room at check in. Chances are there's a nicer room than yours sitting empty, so why not enjoy it? Consumer Reports recently published that while only 28% of the survey’s respondents ask for upgrades, 78% got what they asked for! Even if you don’t get an upgrade, you might get free wifi or other perks.
  • Always pack a power strip. It comes in handy when you’re waiting around in an airport and when your hotel room hides all the outlets behind the headboard.
  • If you’re traveling for a special occasion, always let the hotel know in advance. They might have special packages available or they might make a small gesture to make your special trip even better.
  • Consult SeatGuru to see if your plane offers outlets:
  • Save a good quality image or scan of your passport, driver’s license and boarding pass… just in case…
  • Change your attitude about the airport. It doesn't have to be so painful! Go have a drink, find an ice cream, discover a new book, or scout out the observation lounge. Just don’t miss your flight.
  • If you’re checking bags, mark your luggage fragile, that way your baggage is more likely to be on top and the first one out.
  • Watch this video for 11 packing hacks
  • Mount your tablet to the seat back in front of you using the headrest Velcro: