If you’re stuck in the Windy City on account of the predicted 18” of snow (or if you’re avoiding being stuck somewhere not as cozy as a hotel), the Chicago-area Kimpton properties, the Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Monaco, and Hotel Palomar just announced a $99 “Stranded in the City” rate that is in effect from Tuesday through Friday. Just use the booking code 'COLD' when you’re booking a room online or over the phone.
USA Today | A fight between a major U.S. airline and some Web-based travel companies is having a ripple effect in the travel industry, as players take sides in a battle that could ultimately affect how fliers shop for tickets and find the best fares.
More than 125 of the nation's biggest travel organizations and agencies, including online travel giant Expedia, have formed a coalition that is taking aim at a new booking system, preferred by American Airlines, that challenges the way most major airlines make their fares available to the public.
American says that its new, direct link will better inform travelers of services it offers for a fee, such as priority boarding, and also pare the airline's costs. But the newly formed Open Allies for Airfare Transparency and other critics argue that bypassing the systems that pool fare information from multiple airlines will make it harder for the public to find the best deals, or even the best routes, to their destinations. (Photo courtesy of American Airlines)
Washington (CNN) | A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was "neutral" on the program.
TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.
Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have "opted out" of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.
The push to "opt out" gained attention in December amid the fury over the TSA's enhanced pat downs, which some travelers called intrusive.
New York Post | The Donald wants to reopen The Tavern to make boatloads of Green again.
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump last night said he will ask the city to grant him the right to run the now-closed, landmark Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park--vowing to restore it to gustatory glory with a $20 million redevelopment investment.
Trump's revelation came after he reached a deal yesterday with the union that represents Tavern's former employees.
He said it would give the union a five-year contract and between 400 to 500 jobs at the city-owned building.
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