Hotel News We Noted: July 13, 2012

nantucket hotelIt’s Friday the 13th! Let’s hope nothing too scary happens today. How the time has flown – it seems hard to believe that we’re nearly halfway through summer. While July is often a slow month, the hotel world has stayed hot, hot, hot with openings, trends and promotions. Here’s what we’ve got on tap for you this week in “Hotel News We Noted.”

Hotel Opening: The Nantucket Hotel & Resort
The quintessential summer town has a new resort; The Nantucket Hotel & Resort opened officially yesterday and has an equal emphasis on the luxe and family-friendly. Featuring both guestrooms and family suites, a casual eatery with a decadent lobster-stuffed burger and two heated swimming pools, this is a great option for families looking to escape for a week or two. The 60-room hotel starts at $395 for regular rooms and $660 for family suites, with a special opening promo of 20 percent off for three nights in a one-to-four bedroom suite.

Social Hotel News: Hotel Tonight Goes European (and Canadian)
One of our all-time favorite travel apps, Hotel Tonight, has expanded in the past few weeks with the launch of a London edition. The app-only product, which offers (as you would guess), discounted hotel rooms for “tonight” is now in more than 40 cities, including Toronto and Vancouver. I used the app to book a last-minute hotel room in Newport, Rhode Island, over Memorial Day, paying just $99 for a great suite at the adorable Architect’s Inn, when rates were well over $300 at most other places. Easy to use and usually a pretty good deal, this is one of our top app picks and great news for those looking for London hotel rooms in this admittedly very busy summer overseas.

Hotel Perk: Ride In Style
We’ve heard about gratis BMWs and the one-off Aston Martin rental, but Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have gotten some cool perks for transportation of late that are a bit more out-of-the-box. Fairmont properties around the world offer guests the use of BMW Cruise Bikes to hop on and explore, but Fairmont Miramar Hotels & Bungalows in Santa Monica offers Dregs 37 Ditch Surf skateboards. For guests staying in one of the 32 bungalow rooms, the skateboards (or long boards) are available to cruise around Venice beach, the pier, Third Street Promenade and anywhere else you’d want to go. Guests looking for a high-flying mode of transportation can head to The Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver or The Fairmont Empress, Victoria. The hotels share a Helijet that is available to transport guests to and from each respective location in 35 minutes. Fairmont has also expanded its complimentary chauffeured car service with BMW to its hotels throughout the United States. Awesome perks!

Hot Hotel of the Week: Kura Hurlanda
It’s been a busy week and we just got around to watching “The Bachelorette” last night, where we got an insider’s look at Kura Hurlanda Lodge in Curacao. We’re planning a whole feature on hotels of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” but we couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of this Caribbean gem. Did you see the tree house mansion used in her date with Jef? How romantic! If you want to live like Emily, they’re offering two different Bachelorette packages, starting at $1,696.

Pre-nuptial last rites get fun, expensive

Bachelor parties used to be so simple. A bunch of guys would cram into a limo, get wasted and let the sounds of Motley Crue fill their ears while some nice young lady works her way through college a dollar bill at a time. Eventually, you’d go home and wake up sans cash, stomach contents and a few brain cells. I’m not sure what bachelorette parties involved, but I suspect there are many similarities and the differences being limited to the anatomy of the performers and the guests.

All this is changing.

The parties used to celebrate the end of single life are becoming long, intricate and costly.Las Vegas is the top destination, followed by Florida, and the average price for one of these getaways has reached a substantial $1,250 a person. The guests are usually on the hook for their own tickets.

The tourism and travel industry, looking for ways to climb out from a two-year economic hole, sees the pre-wedding party business as a way to draw some more cash into the coffers, especially for those who are looking to have as many “last hurrahs” as possible. Travel agents and destinations are even creating programs designed to appeal to this specific segment.Notes Alex Trettin, of Travel Leaders in Tacoma, Washington, to Reuters:

“We’ve created a number of programs for brides- and grooms- to-be. Most popular are Vegas and short cruises,” he said. “Even with the economy in a slowdown, more and more people are using this as an opportunity to get together with friends.”

In a further departure from tradition, some final flings are combined, with the soon-to-be spouses hitting the same destination at the same time. Once on the ground, though, the parties split to enjoy different activities.

Yeah, pre-marital partying has come a long way. But, I’ll still take a seedy strip club with “Doctor Feelgood” and a would-be medical student over the alternatives. I believe in tradition.

[photo of Social Vixen by Steve Zak]

Wedding Travel a.k.a. Personal Bankruptcy

The average wedding in the US costs around $30,000. According to CNN, the number of destination weddings has increased 400 percent in the last 10 years. So, I am certain, has the cost for guests.

Is it just me or has wedding-related travel gotten out of control? I like weddings, but…

If you are in the 25-40 year category, chances are that you have to go to a wedding-related event practically every other weekend in the summer. Events include engagement, bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers (and if you are really unfortunate, they are followed closely by baby showers). Guests are, of course, encouraged to not only come, but also bring a gift, buy a new outfit, etc. This stuff adds up.

Lately, it has become customary to travel for similar events to distant, exotic places, which adds additional cost. It is nice if the destination is to your liking and you can make a trip out of it. Unless, of course, you are required to be “on wedding-service duty” 24-7 by a controlling bridezilla or a perfectionist-groom. You never know, there might be an emergency of colossal kind – what if the candles don’t match the flowers perfectly?

Umm, whatever happened to people eloping?