Do you find yourself bored by the typical hotel’s amenities? Butler services, organic mini bars and other bells and whistles just don’t do it for you anymore? Well how about staying in a hotel with a vertical wind tunnel? And maybe after that you can unwind in the world’s first zero-gravity spa? It sounds pretty out there, but those features are actually part of the plans for a Space Hotel in Barcelona, Spain.
The company behind the project, Mobilona, recently announced their vision for the complex, which includes a hotel, private apartments, a 24-hour shopping mall and a marina. All of this would be built on a Dubai-style, man-made island giving guests sea views no matter which way their room faces. A stay in the 2,000-suite hotel – which looks like something out of a sci-fi movie – would cost between 300 and 1500 euros per night.However, Barcelona’s mayor insists he won’t have any of it, saying the futuristic hotel doesn’t fit with his vision of the city’s future. “We have no intention of turning Barcelona into a spectacle,” he told local media. Despite this, plans for the space-age hotel may live to see another day, with the Mobilona announcing similar projects in Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
At home there’s the backyard garden, the local co-op farmers market and the stash of homemade pickles, but on the road, what’s a food-loving locavore to do? Track down a farm-to-hotel of course.
Hotel restaurants aren’t normally at the top of the list of a traveler’s places to eat, but sometimes time and efficiency leave you eating at the dining room on the first floor of wherever you’re staying, especially if you’re a business traveler. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the food you’re getting comes from close by?
At a visit last winter to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada, Ms. Driscoll said she was happy to discover a French fries dish called poutine, made with Alberta beef, that was served in the hotel’s lounge. “It gave me a unique feeling of a sense of place,” she said. “Local foods give you a great feeling of culture in a very short period of time, especially when you’re traveling on business.”
But it’s not just specialty and boutique hotels that are taking on the trend. Hyatt Hotels Corporation started a food initiative last May that requires that its chefs at about 120 hotels in the US, Canada and Caribbean incorporate at least five local ingredients in their menus; “local” being defined as within 50 miles of the hotel location.
That doesn’t make the entire restaurant a hub for locavores, but it’s certainly a start.
In the hospitality industry, it’s becoming increasingly common for hotels to remain open while they’re undergoing renovations, or to open their doors to guests while they’re still under construction. Known as a “soft opening,” it’s a way for hotels to recoup costs and train staff while they finish up the building. Usually, a soft opening means the hotel bar is still being completed or the pool is out of order, but occasionally you come across a hotel that has taken the concept to a whole new level.
Reddit user zxphoenix was shocked at what he found when he turned up at the Red Roof Inn in Brentwood, Tenn., this week. The first sign of trouble was the construction scaffolding, which enveloped the building on all sides. Despite the dubious appearance, a “now open” sign can be seen hanging from the metal framework. Handwritten cardboard posters direct guests from the boarded-up lobby to the “front desk,” which is little more than a table wedged in a doorway. The hotel guest said of the three floors in the hotel, only one side of the first floor could be considered “livable.” That’s something of a relative term given that his room door wouldn’t fully close, bits of construction debris blew out of the air conditioning unit, and the plumbing sounded like “a pig is being butchered in the pipes.”
Take a look at the pictures below and you’ll see the exposed floors, the walls ripped down to the studs, the plastic sheeting covering windows and plenty more that would have any rational traveler running the other way.
Have you ever seen such a crazy “soft opening” before?
Update: The folks from Red Roof Inn reached out for comment:
This hotel location is no longer a Red Roof Inn, hence the construction and changes,and has been closed from our brand as of 3/15/13, we appreciate the authors relaying of the story she picked up from a reddit user but in this case the location is not ours and in the story is not correctly identifying the location.
The World Travel and Tourism Council has introduced a fun element to their Facebook page: rather than a timeline of their own milestones, they’ve designed a timeline highlighting all of the events in the travel industry. Starting in 1400 with the first passport, and ending with the 1,000,000,000 international tourist arrival in December 2012, it puts the whole development of tourism in context. The first airport dates to 1909 in College Park, Maryland, and there are now over 44,000 airfields and airports all over the world. Hilton pioneered the hotel chain concept in 1943, and now has properties in 78 countries on six continents. Expedia has been around for 17 years, and TripAdvisor just celebrated their 13th anniversary.
Check out all the travel industry milestones on WTTC’s Timeline, and be sure to click through all the years.
While it’s really not the best kept secret in all of midtown Manhattan, The Burger Joint, tucked inside of the Parker Meridien is certainly a gastronomic underdog.
About 10 years ago, this local favorite was essentially created from scratch, carved from a tiny nook toward the back of the reception area and modeled after a greasy spoon you would find somewhere in the Midwest. Replete with wood-paneled decor, cheesy movie posters and impromptu scrawling on the walls, the Joint is so popular with the neighborhood that the lunch line forms before they open at 11 a.m. and doesn’t die down until way into the afternoon – only to pick up again just before dinner. The menu, aimed at the heart of the minimalist, consists of burgers, fries, beer, soda and shakes – nothing else. Under advisement from the super friendly staff, we ordered the works on a medium burger with fries.
With so many burgers in the ring for best burger in NYC, we were unsure how the Joint’s take on the revered beef patty would compete, but take our word for it; this is definitely up there with the best. It’s just the right amount of succulence you want in a burger. With the bun toasted just right, and the mustard ketchup combo, you have to wonder what the other guys are doing wrong. Well, we may know that secret. The Burger Joint employs a full-time butcher, working around the clock processing only the best beef money can buy – no additives, no spices, just great beef. The answer may lie in the freshness.