What do you do if you're a hotel chain that wants to grab the interest of potential Gen X and Y guests? It's obvious, isn't it? You entice young women into a hotel room where a pajama-clad CeeLo Green, the singer-songwriter behind the danceable hit, "F*** You," lies in wait, smiling seductively. And that, in fact, was the kick-off P.R. stunt for one seriously odd (and oddly cool) promotional campaign: Discovery Doors, which launches today. It's primarily an online video game on the Reniassance Hotel's website where gamers can win everything from membership in a Coffee-of-the-Month club to a trip for two around the world—500 prizes in all. Here's how it works…
Everyone's heard of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, (see video) a tradition made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises. I've run with the bulls too—not in Pamplona, but in Tecate, Mexico, in 1980, in a makeshift recreation of the Pamplona encierro. What a disaster. The bulls were small yearlings, far too young for such an event. It looked to me as if the tips of their horns had been purposely blunted. The runners were mainly drunk and rowdy college kids who yanked the animals' tails, knocked their legs out from under them, and piled on top of them as if it were a rugby scrum. And now, a group calling itself the Great Bull Run is bringing this extreme activity to a city near you. But hold the olés just yet.
The Carlton (go to 0:55 in the film clip, above) was the setting for the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock thriller To Catch A Thief, starring Cary Grant as a reformed diamond thief who is suspected of returning to his old ways. In the movie, the real thief is nabbed by Grant during a hot pursuit. In real life, the Carlton bijou bandit is still at large.
Here are five reasons why Lucky Pierre, the latest Cat Burglar of Cannes, has so far been successful in what may turn out to be the largest jewelry heist in history.
Beachside bonfires have been a Southern California tradition since at least the 1950s. Families cooking hot dogs. Surfers warming themselves against the early-evening chill. Lovers holding hands and gazing into the flames, with the roar of the surf in the background. Out-of-state visitors wanting to follow in the footsteps of their favorite actors from Baywatch and The O.C. Over the years, beach cities up and down the coast installed permanent fire rings for ease and safety. These fire rings have become part of our national pop culture. Think Gidget and Moondoggie. Think Annette and Frankie. And now think if those fire rings were banned--because that's almost what happened, until a fateful decision this month.
To: Boss From: Mark Subject: Nude Recreation Week, July 7-14
I took a look at that press release from the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and I think we should forget about posting something on "Nude Recreation Week." Let me explain why…
First, I'm personally kinda sick of the whole calendarization thing. I mean, July 28 is National Day of the Cowboy. Is that even necessary? And July 19-August 26 is National Fishing Month. First month I ever heard of that has 38 days. Now comes Nude Recreation Week. You think that was passed by Congress or something? It's a bunch of guys at a bar coming up with this stuff.
Besides, aren't you tired of this trend for naming different kinds of vacations? The AANR is calling nude holidays "Nakations." Oh, please. Remember "stay-cations" during the Recession? Cute. Summer camps all over the country are sponsoring "playcations." Look up "daycation" at Urban Dictionary. It's out of control. What's next? Calling medical tourism "X-ray-cations"? It's an abomination!
Finally, I think we really need to consider the health and safety-related issues with this Nude Recreation Week concept. For instance, the press release they sent out recommends that if you want to ease into this whole naked thing slowly you could "wash the family pet in the nude" (which is silly, since pets don't usually wear clothes in the first place) and "vacuum the house nude." I'm sorry but there are just too many ways you could hurt yourself doing that, and I don't want that responsibility on my (fully clothed) shoulders.
Anyway, if you really want a write-up on this I'll do it. But under protest.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. You can followhim on Twitter @orwoll and Like him on Facebook.
When reporters were duped on Monday into flying from Moscow to Havana on the Russian airline in hopes of interviewing National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the fugitive leaker was nowhere to be found. One passenger reported that the flight not only had no Snowden, it had "no turbulence and no booze." Seriously? No vodka?! On an Aeroflot flight?! It's true. The Moscow-Havana route is one of seven long-distance itineraries on which Aeroflot has banned alcohol in economy class. Why? Just watch the video above to get a sampling of the verbal assaults, fisticuffs, and other liquor-induced ill behavior seen on hundreds of Aeroflot flights every year. And now some legislators are considering even more stringent measures to stop the moonshine madness.
Tim Gunn, the fashion consultant and mentor to the contestants on Lifetime's Project Runway, was standing on the rooftop Garden of New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel recently, preparing to plant a tree in support of the New York Restoration Project, an environmental nonprofit founded by Gunn's friend Bette Midler. Not only did he dig the hole and plant the tree, he actually tidied up the stray dirt afterward. We asked the dapper Gunn what he takes with him when he travels.
The 1,980-room hotel, New York City's largest, isn't the first hotel to discontinue that amenity, but it's probably the biggest. It's all part of a lodging industry trend to cut the frills and concentrate on basic service—a trend that the airlines pioneered with the introduction of controversial fees.
Around the nation and across the globe, hotels are curtailing such extras as business centers, minibars, bellhops, doormen and even traditional front desks for checking in. Yotel New York in Midtown Manhattan, for instance, asks guests to check themselves in at kiosks in the hotel's "Ground Control." And if their rooms aren't ready, Yotel's guests check their suitcases with a robotic baggage storage system.
You know me: Always complaining about excessive fees aimed at travelers. I've kvetched about the worst rental car rip-offs. I've bemoaned the world's most outrageous hotel fees. I've griped, groused, growled, and grumbled about airline surcharges here and here and here. But before I have to rush back to my thesaurus again for another way to say complain, let me acknowledge that there are some travel companies that are doing it right: They're giving stuff away, free. May I just say, yay.