The stupidest idea to come along in ages looks to have gone down the drain, literally. Last week Michael O’Leary, ceo of the Irish budget carrier Ryanair, said he would install pay toilets for use on short-haul European flights, but the cockamamie scheme turned out to have been more than a piddling matter. A stream of invective followed the announcement in the press.
The latest news: Boeing, which built Ryanair’s fleet of 737-800s, has put the kibosh on the plan for safety reasons, leaving O’Leary up a yellow river without a paddle. In addition to charging one euro to use the facilities, O’Leary had planned to remove some of the existing toilets and replace them with additional seats. But the airline’s planes already are configured for 189 passengers, the most that can be carried safely. Because the planes were made in America, any reconfiguration by Boeing to increase the number of passengers would be subject to FAA approval, which would be unlikely.
New York Times | Visitors know all too well this pretty city’s sights, what with the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and the clang-clang-clangy cable cars.
But now San Francisco’s civic boosters have decided they want to add a highly unlikely stop to the tourist itinerary: the Uptown Tenderloin, the ragged, druggy and determinedly dingy domain of the city’s most down and out.
And what is the appeal?
“We offer a kind of grittiness you can’t find much anymore,” said Randy Shaw, a longtime San Francisco housing advocate and a driving force behind the idea of Tenderloin tourism. “And what is grittier than the Tenderloin?" READ MORE
Photo credit: Philip Matthews
Tough times for tourism? Not in Cartagena de Indias. I recently returned from a long weekend in Colombia (currently a "recession-proof country," according to several economic analysts), and while global markets may be floundering and travel numbers down, this sultry Caribbean city is booming with a wave of new boutique hotels, innovative eateries, and ample old-school watering holes. Here's the scoop:
At least a half a dozen gorgeous properties have recently opened downtown (plug: don’t miss T+L’s It List of Best New Hotels in June!). I settled into the 24-suite Anandá Hotel Boutique (pictured below), a quiet retreat in a restored Spanish-colonial building with carved-wood balconies and three breezy roof terraces. The cool, Zen-like calm is a world apart from the bustling street scene just outside its massive wooden doors.
I confess: I’m a fan of The Donald. The swagger, the money, the hair, the catch phrase. My interest in The Apprentice, however, has waned, and I missed the TV show’s introduction of Donald Trump Jr. So, when the opportunity arose to chat up Donald 2.0 about the new hotel he’s overseeing (with his sister and brother)—the Trump SoHo, which opened Friday in New York—I couldn’t resist.
We met in the hotel’s library, a masculinely decked out space with deep chairs, thick tables, and books no one will ever read. Besides being well-coiffed and well-clad, DT Jr. is:
• Confident. (“People said, ‘Isn’t it horrible they changed zoning code because of what you did?’ That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.”)
• Affable. (“What drives me? My father calling at 5 a.m. asking why I’m not in the office!”)
• Self-deprecating. (“I’m probably the only graduate of the Wharton School of Finance to move to Colorado to work in a bar.”) Ok, kind of self-deprecating.
Looking at old maps and cartograms seems particularly relevant in a time when we’re all thinking about how information is relayed and consumed. The map of the world now centers squarely on the user. Online mapping, via sites like Google Maps, MapQuest, and Yahoo Maps, GPS chips in our phones and cars, and all the smartphone mapping apps, have allowed us to create custom maps and overlay our personal histories on geographical charts. What’s next in our journey to measure and display the world around us? It surely won’t be a folded piece of paper, but what is it?
Here are three maps that don’t conform to the badly-folded-paper-jammed–in-the-glove-compartment variety and which have caught my attention recently:
- This illustration depicts a 19th-century Inuit carvings of the coast of Greenland. The carving served as a tactile map—you could canoe along the coastline and follow the undulations of the land with your finger. When you come to the end of the map, you flip it over and the portable coastline continues down the other side. It floats, it’s waterproof, and it doesn’t require literacy or even good light. Brilliant.
Remember that time I said I would never go bungee jumping or even entertain the notion of ever going on any of these extreme rides? But then I went ahead and threw a curve ball by saying I wouldn't even hesitate to swim at the edge of Victoria Falls? Well, here's another one of those kinda sorta crazy things I'd love to try: Ziplining.
Wall Street Journal | LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is checking into the hotel business. The world's largest luxury-goods company, home to brands such as the Louis Vuitton fashion house and champagne maker Veuve Clicquot, said Thursday it will develop resorts using the name of its Bordeaux winery, Cheval Blanc. The company tested the concept with a first location that opened in the French ski resort Courchevel in 2006. Two more hotels are scheduled to join the new chain by 2012 in Oman and Egypt, the company said.
The project is "a natural extension of activities in luxury hospitality with Cheval Blanc," LVMH said in a statement.
Like many top hotel operators, LVMH is limiting its exposure to the volatile hotel industry. It won't own the real estate or finance construction, but will instead run the resorts under management contract, a similar model to other high-end chains such as The Ritz-Carlton. The new LVMH Hotel Management business has six employees.
After spending over an hour on hold waiting for help from the IRS last night, boy could I use a break. Luckily these four hotels are cashing in on tax-season deals (and puns!).
The Kimpton Hotel Group (like T+L favorite Kimpton Palomar Hotel) is offering a Sweet Tax Relief package: The hotel will waive the hotel and restaurant taxes for stays through April 30th. The Hard Rock San Diego has an EFFEN! Taxes package—also expiring April 30th—that not only waives hotel and restaurant fees but also includes an EFFEN! Brand Vodka cocktail (get it?).
Also in the tax-pun-vein, the Trump International Miami is offering a 1040EZ deal through May 30th which features three nights and two massages for $1,040. Lastly, you can save some green at the eco-friendly San Francisco Orchard Hotel group (Orchard Hotel and Orchard Garden Hotel) with their own version of the 1040EZ deal: book by April 15th for a $10.40 discount on hotel rates. Now, if only you could figure out how to write these stays off as a business expense?
Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo credit: iStock
In this super-sized edition of T+L Contest Watch, we’ve scoured the globe to find mega-awesome 3-D Imax-scale sweepstakes. Hurry, these are leaving theaters soon.
“Clash of the Titans Sweepstakes,” Greek Islands (ends April 19th)
In celebration of the new 3-D movie, Clash of the Titans, Fandango, Variety Cruises, Warner Brothers, and Greek National Tourism have teamed up to give away a 7-night/8-day Greek Island cruise. Visit www.discovergreecenow.com to enter—seems simple but those who chose to receive more direct-to-consumer mail get more entries into the grand prize drawing (just keep that in mind). Losers can take comfort in co-stars Liam Neeson and Ralph Fines in 3-D.
CNN | University forecasters predict the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will be above average, with 15 named storms and eight of those becoming hurricanes.
The Colorado State University report was released Wednesday, nearly two months before the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.
In the report, forecasters William Gray and Phil Klotzbach said that El Niño conditions will dissipate by summer and that unusually warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures will persist, leading to favorable conditions for hurricanes to develop and intensify.