Category Archives: Hotels

A Nightlight at the Top of the World

Aurora Wilderness Camp 6 190318A new hotel concept in Finland features the Northern Lights as the ultimate nightlight.

Three private cabins on skis have been stationed deep in the Arctic Circle, for a glamping experience like no other. The glass-roofed cabins for two include a bed on which to lie back and enjoy the night sky, a table, dry toilet, and gas heater and stove.  Together, the mobile rooms create the Aurora Wilderness Camp, near the Finnish Lapland town of Kilpisjärvi.  Now available to book through Off the Map Travel, the camp is welcoming guests through mid-April of this year and will reopen in January 2019.

According to Arctic travel expert and Off the Map Travel founder Jonny Cooper, “The wilderness surrounding Kilpisjärvi is known for its remote and uninterrupted Arctic tundra… giving guests the best possible opportunity to experience the Northern Lights and simply enjoy the silence of the Arctic plains.” Statistically, the Kilpisjärvi area boasts more clear nights than any other place in Finland, with more than a 70 percent chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

Your adventure starts at 6pm when an experienced guide transports you by snowmobile to your private cabin.  After your guide teaches you how to make a campfire and grill local meats, you will have the camp–and the Northern Lights–to yourself.  Evening drinks, snacks and next-day breakfast are included in the experience, along with use of the cabin’s snowshoes and kick-sleds for exploring the icy tundra.

This hotel concept delivers a distinct new brand of adventurous comfort:  the opportunity to tour the Arctic wilderness and hunt for the Northern Lights from the peacefulness of your warm bed.

For more information and tailor-made itineraries, visit offthemap.travelAurora Wilderness Camp190318Photo credit: Kilpissafarit

 

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U.S. Tourism Welcomes a Tentative World

21-nyc-official-guide.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x

You are welcome here—no really, you are, we promise—has been the predominant U.S. travel campaign theme of 2017.

The travel industry has been working overtime to offset a negative international perception of the United States since the presidential election. Cities such as Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco (to name a few) have invested in various versions of “Welcome” campaigns. In February, Hyatt Hotels launched the “World of Hyatt” integrated marketing campaign during the Oscars® broadcast, with a video celebrating empathy and multiculturalism. In June, Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, announced their “One Big Welcome” strategy, using personalized video invitations from “real people” to attract potential visitors.

Unfortunately, the President’s “America First” political message is translating to “America Alone” when attracting international tourism. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1.3 million fewer foreigners visited the United States during the first half of 2017. The New York Times  reported that European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding travel to the United States. And last month, the National Brands Index, a global survey measuring perception of fifty nations, saw the U.S. drop from No. 1 to No. 6, in overall nation brand.

International travel is America’s number one service export, boasting an $87 billion international travel trade surplus last year.  In an article in Worth, Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association writes, “The Trump administration has yet to convey a sustained message of welcome to international visitors. Long-term failure to do so will unnecessarily deter travelers, which could have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.”

While we wait….
and wait…
and wait…
Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite, inclusive travel campaigns of 2017:

Los Angeles: #EveryoneIsWelcome

Hyatt: “World of Hyatt”

San Francisco: #AlwaysWelcome

(Photo via NYCgo.com)

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The W Mexico City Satisfies

W Mexico City View

When was the last time someone promised to satisfy your every wish?

The W Mexico City will be your swanky genie-in-a-bottle. Whether you want a mariachi band performing in your bathtub or VIP tickets to a private club, the W concierge will make it happen through their “Whatever/Whenever” service (legally permitting, of course). Located in the Polanco area, steps from luxury shopping, galleries and Bosque Chapultepec, the largest city park in Latin America, the W Mexico is the place to indulge.

With the AWAY Spa and Fitness Center, Whiskey Bar, Solea restaurant at your fingertips–and spacious rooms that feature a hammock in your shower (should you be exhausted from your hygiene regimen)–you may have to force yourself to venture beyond the hotel’s colorfully accented lobby.

W Mexico City exterior

Read my full Mexico City travel article on Edge.

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Mexico City’s Ravishing Renaissance

Big and gritty and complex and glamorous, Mexico City defies categorization. El Distrito Federal or DF, as the city is commonly called, is far more nuanced than many of the country’s famous resort towns, where the tourism bubble stays easily intact.

Here, you are in it; it’s real life in a real, big city. This is where people work, live, eat… and, yes, party. Spending a few days among DF’s 20 million people, you’ll discover a vibrant culture, delicious food, a hoppin’ gay scene, and a colorful whirlwind of unexpected surprises…

*Read my full article published in EDGE by clicking on the photo below:

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Rock the Vote with Hard Rock Hotel

To help you celebrate Election Day in the United States, the music-inspired Hard Rock Hotels chain is keeping you inspired with a free “Rock the Vote” playlist, made available exclusively to the readers of USA Today (and by proxy, Traveling IQ).  For more information on how to download the free playlist, visit “Hotel Check-in” on USA Today

(Photo courtesy of Hard Rock)

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Innkeepers Thank Veterans

B&B for Vets

Innkeepers in the United States and Canada are thanking the brave men and women who have served in their country’s armed forces the best way they know how… with hospitality.

On November 11, (Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada), an estimated 1,000 inns and bed & breakfasts in both countries will offer complimentary stays to veterans and current military personnel.

Entering its fourth year, the B&B for Vets program aims to offer a much-needed break to veterans who may not otherwise be able to afford a vacation.   Many of the participating inns and B&Bs are donating guest rooms for free stays on November 11, and others are offering special military discounts throughout the weekend.

Veterans (with military ID) interested in reserving a room should contact the inn/B&B where they wish to stay.

For a complete list of participating inns and B&Bs visit http://www.bnbsforvets.org (U.S.) or http://www.bbcanada.com/bbforvets (Canada).

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IQ in New York Magazine: San Antonio

With new museums and riverfront projects, San Antonio is finding new ways to celebrate its international history…

Click on the picture below to read the article published in New York Magazine:

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Filed under Hotels, Publications, Restaurant, U.S.A.

Lords Pops Big Apple

Lords South Beach celebrates NY Pride, polar bear and all

The Lords South Beach is making a colorful splash on New York’s Lower East Side this gay pride.  From June 18-24, Miami’s gay boutique hotel will invade the Hotel on Rivington, creating New York City’s first ever Pride pop-up hotel:  Lords New York.

And pop it will.  The Lords New York will feature a hot pink lobby, a New York version of the Lords South Beach beloved polar bear sculpture, and pop art portraits of Elizabeth Taylor (who watches over guests in every room of the Miami property).

The Lords New York is also bringing the party up north.  The Lords Penthouse series will occupy the Owner’s Suite of the Hotel on Rivington to host “Proud to Party”–a fetish beach party–with DJ Vito Fun on Friday, June 22.  The next morning, the hotel joins OUT Magazine in hosting the “Proud to be Creative” brunch at the hotel’s CO-OP restaurant with food, drink, music, and a special art installation.

The Lords New York at the Hotel on Rivington LGBT Pride Package Includes:

  • 15% Savings off the Best Available Rates
  • Exclusive access to the “Proud to Party” event on Fri., June 22nd
  • 2 welcome cocktails in CO-OP Food & Drink
  • Lords New York welcome gift bag
  • Priority reservations to the “Proud to be Creative” Brunch on Sat., June 23rd

Want to make more of an impact on our community?   Put your money where your pride is.  The Lords is introducing a New York version of its “Rooms that Matter” program.  Upon check-in, guests can choose to donate $10 to either the Aqua Foundation or Hetrick-Martin Institute. Last year, a similar Lords South Beach program raised over $10,000 for designated LGBT charities.

For more information on all the events or to book your reservation, visit LordsNY.com.

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The Week in Travel (5/25/12)

The world of travel moves fast!  Let’s keep up–together.  On Fridays, Traveling IQ curates the highlights from the past week:

The Water Discus Hotel in Dubai

*Dubai is diving deep.  Plans are underway for the Water Discus Hotel, a luxury underwater hotel in Dubai, with rooms deeper than 32 feet below the surface and surrounded by a coral reef.  (via Bloomberg)

*Americans live in the “No Vacation Nation.”  The United States lags behind most other developed countries when it comes to vacation days. Yet 57% of workers had unused vacation at the end of 2011. (via CNN Money)

*Japan towers!  Almost twice the height of the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Skytree opened in Japan as the world’s tallest tower, offering two observatories.  (via CNN)

*I’ll drink to that, America.  Esquire magazine finds, in their opinion, the best bars in the U.S.  (via Esquire)

What did I miss?  Share your favorite travel news in the comments below or by posting on the Traveling IQ Facebook page.

(Photo via Bloomberg Business Week)

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Fleet Week New York comes OUT!

Photo via flickr

The Sailors are coming to town and this year—for the first time ever—they can be openly gay.

From May 23 to 30, thousands of men and women serving on U.S. Navy and U.S. Coastguard ships will debark onto the streets of Manhattan for the annual Fleet Week New York.   According to the event’s website “Fleet Week New York is the City’s celebration of the sea services… [providing] an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness first hand the latest capabilities of today’s Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Team.”

This year will also mark the first Fleet Week since the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the U.S. policy that kept gay and lesbian troops from serving openly in the military until September 20, 2011.

To help celebrate, THE OUT NYC, the city’s first gay urban resort, is unveiling its Served with Pride package for any guest with a valid military ID.  This package will continue indefinitely, offering our service men and women:

  • 30% off the best available rate
  • Complimentary Served with Pride t-shirt or tank top
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary continental breakfast

So let’s welcome our troops to fully–and openly–explore New York City this Fleet Week.

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