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Think PINKtober: Hotel Promotions to Fight Breast Cancer

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many hotels around the nation are hoping to raise money for this worthy cause.

Teaming up with rocker Melissa Etheridge to get the word out about this widespread disease, Hard Rock Hotels worldwide are participating in PINKtober. Throughout October, properties will feature 300-count pink sheets, serve special pink drinks, and stock pink charity merchandise in stores and restaurants. Treat a survivor you know to a decadent pink Turkish-cotton bathrobe with ribbon detail ($80) or charm bracelet ($20). Visit www.hardrock.com for promotional information as well as dates for PINKtober charity performances. Proceeds benefit a variety of charities including The Caron Keating Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Luxe Lobby Loot: The New Vending Machine at Hudson Hotel

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A paperback copy of Catcher in the Rye. A black sequin miniskirt by Haute Hippie. A retro Ouija board. A black-on-black Range Rover for the day. Your portrait shot by renowned photographer Ben Watts...

The newest lobby fixture in Manhattan's Hudson Hotel is your one-stop shop for all of the above. Semi-Automatic, a glowing green, touch-screen vending machine that opened for business last week, stocks a revolving selection of stylishly curated items broken down into five categories: Basics, Media, Fashion, Beauty, and GoFish.

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Vacationist: Florence, Tuscany, Las Vegas, Dallas

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On the heels of T+L’s September smart guide, Italy: Five Ways, Vacationist delivers affordable rates at two hotels in Tuscany—including nights for less than $150 at the Marignolle Relais & Charme in Florence, the no. 1 city in Europe according to this year’s World’s Best Awards. But if a stateside trip is more your scene, stellar offers in Vegas and Dallas will surely pique your interest. Start packing now.

Marignolle Relais & Charme - up to 25% off
Florence, Italy
Though it's just two miles south of Florence's city center, this genteel family estate is set amid the woodlands, vines, and olive groves that herald the start of the Chianti region. Owners Paola and Claudio Bulleri, who turned their classic tile-roofed villa into an exclusive inn in the '70s, still live on the property in a separate cottage. (5 days)

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Attention Miscreant Hotel Guests: We're Taking Names!

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Next time you think about filching a hotel towel, raising the volume of your free HBO to teeth-rattling levels at 3 a.m., verbally abusing the front desk clerk for some perceived misdeed, or generally making yourself a nuisance at your hotel, you might want to think again. A new members-only database being marketed to hotels, booking agencies, and B&B's in the United Kingdom will collect the names of rude and rowdy guests and make them available to other hoteliers--who may then decide not to rent a room to Mr. or Ms. Nasty. Guestscan ("Protecting You From Unwelcome Guests"), which launched on September 15, states its case pretty clearly on its website why British innkeepers have cause to be worried. Look at some of these figures:

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Bon Vivanta: Taj Hotels Launches a New Brand

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Five-star hospitality doesn't have to equal four-poster beds or stuffy white tablecloths set with five different forks and a "Jackets Required" policy.

In fact, hyper upscale Indian hotelier, Taj--of famed properties like Mumbai's Taj Mahal and Udaipur's Lake Palace--just unveiled their newest "upper upscale" brand. It's dubbed "Vivanta" to signify a kind of cultural sophistication and also a vivacious approach to experience and travel.

Though, in the last 18 months, three initial hotels in Bangalore, The Maldives and Goa already existed under the umbrella, 13 other properties have now come in from the rain and apparently six more are already in development.

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Vacationist: Fall Getaways in Paris, San Diego, Costa Rica

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The appeal of a September getaway never gets old: Savvy travelers know to book shoulder season trips for fewer crowds, still-warm weather, and of course, impressive deals. And believe it or not, that’s true even of Paris. (For more on the City of Lights, see Travel + Leisure’s September cover story, Paris Secrets.) Here a few of this season’s best hotel rates—including 20% off in Paris—courtesy of Vacationist:

InterContinental Paris Le Grand – up to 20% off
Paris, France
This majestic Neoclassical property, inaugurated in 1862 by Empress Eugénie, was reopened in 2003 after an 18-month renovation. It features a central, light-filled winter garden and 470 Napoleon III-style guest rooms; 82 rooms and suites offer direct views of the Opéra Garnier. (4 days left)

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Capri, Geneva, NY Most Expensive for Hotels as Prices Rise

201009-b-capri-3jpgReutersCapri, Geneva and New York top the list for the most expensive hotel rooms, according to a global survey that showed hotel rates rising for the first time in three years as the global economy picks up.

Hotel provider Hotels.com's bi-annual hotel price index, released on Tuesday, found that although average hotel room rates are at low levels seen six years ago, there are hints of a recovery. (...)

Overall, prices rose about 2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 from a year ago, the first increase since the end of 2007, as business travelers and tourists started packing their bags again and heading out. (Photo courtesy of Capri Tourism)

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Sleepbox: Is This the Future of Airport Napping?

After seeing a post we recently published on a ridiculously tiny airplane seat design, one of our Twitter followers pointed out a different scaled down design, this one for the weary traveler: the Sleepbox.

Designed by Arch Group, a Russian architect firm, the Sleepbox takes the Japanese capsule hotel concept—which, quite frankly, gives me claustrophobic panic attacks just thinking about—mixes in some serious Fifth Element–reminiscent design, and gives you a (tiny) space that could actually be tolerable (and affordable) in a pinch, though definitely for short stays only.

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Vacationist: French Polynesia, Texas, and Dominican Republic

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While Labor Day may serve as a sad reminder that the summer is coming to an end, who cares if the days are about to start getting cooler? Don’t let that stop you from booking a fantastic retreat! With that in mind, we’d like to bring your attention to the three new fab getaways being offered at Vacationist.com:

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Wisconsin Bans Smoking in All Hotel Guestrooms

USA TODAY | Unlike most other non-smoking states, Wisconsin in July passed a statewide smoking ban that bans smoking in every hotel guestroom.

In most states that have banned smoking in public places, such as Kansas, the legislation allows hoteliers to exempt a certain percentage of guestrooms.

But in Wisconsin, "there can be zero rooms" that allow smoking in sleeping rooms, Trisha Pugal, CEO of Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association told me in an interview.

And the new law is causing "a major culture change" for hoteliers and guests alike.

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