It's time again for what easily ranks as one of TripAdvisor.com's most talked-about annual lists: Dirty Hotels. Who doesn't want the dirt on where stay in Europe—and where to avoid?
eTurbo News | The list of Europe's ten dirtiest hotels was released today.
The list of shame is dominated by just three destinations, with London, Amsterdam and Turkey's Aegean coast collectively responsible for Europe's ten dirtiest hotels. The two Turkish hotels top the list, followed by four properties each in London and Amsterdam.
"Despite the average overall rating for a property on TripAdvisor rising to four out of five, it is clear that a minority of hotels are still not delivering the minimum standard of experience travellers deserve, especially in relation to cleanliness" comments Emma O'Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. (Photo by iStock)
Starbucks' recent logo change to a more minimalistic design is just the latest outburst of an unfortunate trend that has caused the demise of too many strong, recognizable logos, including many in the travel industry. In recent years we've seen Holiday Inn lose its charmingly clunky script logo in favor a cartoonish letter H against a field of lime green. Effect? Meh. Hertz dropped its familiar shadow and added a background of yellow, lots and lots of yellow. Expedia eliminated its funky old airplane and replaced it with shimmering bands of light that make one pause and think, "Is that supposed to be an airplane?" And Hotels.com killed off bag-totting Benny the Bellhop because...because...who the heck knows? Personally, I miss Benny.
But at least one travel company has seen the error of its ways.
We all know about the iPad and Kindle. Whether on the TV, the side of a bus, or a billboard, you can hardly turn a corner nowadays without seeing an ad for the game-changing devices. They’re everywhere. And while I’m certainly not anti-iPad/Kindle (I absolutely love them), I think it’s important for any traveler to know about and consider all available options.
That being said, there were a truckload of tablets revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (more than 80!), so I wanted to share a few that I’m most excited about:
Was your New Year's resolution to live more dangerously? Book a flight to the Ukraine. Nearly 25 years after Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 exploded, wreaking nuclear devastation upon the surrounding area, the Ukrainian government is allowing tourists to enter the exclusion zone set up after the accident on official tours starting this year.
Though it was previously possible to tour the disaster zone through private tour companies, 2011 brings the first official and legal tours authorized by the Ukrainian government.
NPR | If you've ever dreamed of spending the night at the Palace of Versailles, you might get your chance. A building at France's cherished cultural landmark will soon be turned into a luxury hotel.
Hundreds of shivering tourists line up across an immense cobbled courtyard to visit Versailles.
Home to the French monarchy since Louis XIV, Versailles is a monument to royal grandeur. Soon, the palace may also become known for its five-star hotel. (Photo by Lyndsey Matthews)
Could Mount Everest be the next gay marriage hot spot? According to an intriguing report by Aaron Hicklin in the new issue of Out Traveler, Nepalese member of parliament Sunil Pant is commited to making gay travelers—and wedding parties—feel welcome in his country, telling Hicklin:
“If you want to do it in the Buddhist tradition, we can supply a lama to bless you, or there are shamans who can bless you in a very tantric way. Or you have a Hindu priest or even a Christian padre." He pauses. "Or you can do it in a conservation park with an elephant safari."
Luke Barr is the news director at Travel + Leisure.
Photo by iStock
No matter how miserable your shoveling chores were this morning, I bet you wouldn't trade places with a stranded traveler in a snowstorm. Flight delays typically mean another day or five stuck in a strange city without an itinerary.
—That is, unless John Boris can help it.
Over the past year, when severe weather or natural disaster has trapped tourists at the airports, Lonely Planet Americas’s executive vice president and managing director has been making his popular city-guide apps (iPhone, iPod; iPad) completely FREE for download at iTunes for 72 hours. (Normally, they sell for as much as $5.99!)
The sun crouches behind the snow-capped peaks as I prop my snowboard against a wall and step into the world’s only ski-in/ski-out gastro distillery. After an epic powder day, a bevy of snow shredders trickle in for après ski cocktails in what has to be the most unlikely destination for a whiskey brew shop on earth. Utah. Despite it’s rigid alcohol laws, bartenders were muddling mint leaves for mojitos laced with a Utah-distilled, award-winning whiskey. As Julian Rubinstein notes in Travel + Leisure’s January issue, Park City is a town in transition.
I'm skeptical of mobile internet gadgets that promise anything more
than a snail's-pace speed. But Virgin Mobile's MiFi 2200 Mobile
Hotspot surprised me. In random places around New York City (er, that
is, random bars in Brooklyn), the slim, tiny device kept me connected
via its zippy 3G network.
It nearly made me regret buying the more expensive 3G-enabled iPad
for my wife for Christmas. There's a compelling argument for buying
the cheaper iPad and pairing it with a mobile WiFi hotspot (several
are on the market). With Virgin's MiFi, up to five devices can connect
to the same local WiFi network. Of course, that means five devices
then compete for the already-modest signal.
USA Today | Travelers wanting to book a flight online will find fewer options now that two of the nation's biggest airlines have stripped their fares from some travel sites.
Those looking to fly on American can no longer book trips on Orbitz as of Dec. 21, while Delta stopped allowing three websites — CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com, and BookIt.com — to list its flights after Dec. 17.
It's a move that more airlines may follow in an effort to cut costs, promote their brand and increase their ability to sell aspects of the travel experience that bolster the bottom line, some travel experts say. But some industry observers worry that the winnowing of booking outlets could ultimately make it harder for consumers to find the best deal.