An arousing debate: Marriott removes porn from new hotel channel lineup

As our friends over at AOL Travel reported earlier today, Marriott has announced plans to remove adult content from all in-room video content in new hotels, completely phasing out on-demand porn across the chain by the year 2013.

Although Marriott’s official statement claims that the rationale is to “keep adult content out of the reach of children and unavailable to any adult who chooses not to view it,” the choice may be me more revenue-driven.

A recent USA Today piece claims that as more guests bring their own personal entertainment devices, overall revenue from in-room movie channels is declining. However, an anonymous hotel professional claims that as much as 80 to 90% of in-room content is of the adult variety.

Tsk, tsk. This move was initiated back in 1999 by Omni, when the chain removed all of its adult offerings from the in-room line up. But is it really necessary for hotels to decide what viewers can (or can’t) watch in the privacy of their own? The discussion over at at FlyerTalk seems to be that streaming movie channels has wiped out the need for on-demand content of any sort, particularly that of an adult nature. After all, who wants a charge on their bill when they can watch more discreetly from the comfort of their laptop or iPad?

What are your thoughts?

[Image via Jackace]

Scarlet Macaws at Home with Marriott Los Suenos

It’s not every day you find a major hotel chain engaged in environmental initiatives that extend beyond good press. Sure, lots of hotels are actually saving on energy and water, for instance, because of their green policies, but how many are… saving animals? Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort in Puntarenas, Costa Rica has launched a project with animal-saving in mind.

The Scarlet Macaw is currently listed as an endangered species and the hotel has set out to repopulate them. Los Suenos’ Scarlet Macaw project consists of acquiring and planting Tonka Bean (Dipteryx odorata) trees on the hotel premises. These trees are used by the beautiful birds for nesting as well as food.

The objective is clear: bring the Scarlet Macaws back to Pacific Costa Rica by first bringing back their homes. At this time, there are roughly 450 Scarlet Macaws in the Puntarenas area and I was lucky enough to see a couple of them during a recent visit to Costa Rica.

I hopped on a quick American Airlines flight from NYC to San Jose and drove over to this luxurious resort back in June. I spent a few days there relaxing and taking in the serene environment. I was enchanted by these birds, which weren’t at all difficult to spot. Known for their colorful feathers, two Scarlet Macaws in a nearby tree caught my wandering eye and I quietly approached them, clutching my camera.

Lying in an oceanside hammock later that day, I swayed side to side, grateful for the sighting. With any luck, Los Suenos will help revive the Scarlet Macaw population and in doing so, give other hotel guests experiences like mine.

Five steps to free Mexico and Caribbean travel from Marriott and Renaissance

Need a little sunshine in your life this holiday season but can’t get out on the road? Hey, I get it: we all shell out enough cash this time of year. There are gifts for the kids, unavoidable family travel and those Christmas dinners that get expensive pretty quickly. These costs can sneak up on you, depriving you of a little mental health time out on a beach somewhere.

Well, a travel contest hit my inbox today that can make the whole situation much easier for you to deal with.

How does the Marriott and Renaissance brand sound, especially down in the Caribbean or in Mexico? Yeah, I figured that would get your attention! Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts and online travel agency CheapOair are kicking off a “12 Days of Travel” holiday sweepstakes that could leave you sprawled out on the sand under the warm sun this winter, while the neighbors and family are breaking their backs with shovels full of snow.

Okay, this is a social media contest, so it helps to have Twitter and Facebook open frequently during the contest, which kicks off Wednesday, December 1, 2010 and ends Monday, December 13, 2010 (12 days … get it?). There are five steps you’ll need to follow:1. Start by following @CheapOair and @MarriottResorts on Twitter. If you aren’t among the 175 million people on Twitter, now’s the time to get on board!

2. On each of the 12 days of the contest, check out the CheapOair contest page for the day’s tweet (a designated phrase): you’ll need to use this.

3. Head over to Twitter and unleash the tweet of the day. Remember that this is your entry in the contest, and you can only do so once a day.

4. Be (a little) patient … there will be a winner announced every day, with the grand prize coming on the last day.

5. Get more chances to win by visiting the Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts Facebook page and following the bouncing ball: “like” Paradise by Marriott and CheapOair on Facebook, post a comment during the “12 days” period on the CheapOair blog saying which of the nine resorts you want to visit and why and then cross your fingers for the win!

What’s up for grabs? Take a look at the day-by-day prizes below!

Day 1: Three-night stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino*
Day 2: Three-night stay at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino*
Day 3: Three-night stay at the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort*
Day 4: CheapOair $75 gift certificate
Day 5: CheapOair $75 gift certificate
Day 6: Three-night stay at the Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort*
Day 7: Three-night stay at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa*
Day 8: Three-night stay at the St Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino*
Day 9: Three-night stay at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino*
Day 10: Three-night stay at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa*
Day 11: CheapOair $75 gift certificate
Day 12/Grand Prize: Three-night stay at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and roundtrip airfare for two

*Each hotel giveaway will also include a $25 gift certificate from CheapOair

[photo by gerriet via Flickr]

JW Marriott opens in Chicago

Marriott certainly is making the rounds. The first ever JW Marriott Marquis opened in Miami last week and coming Thursday, Nov. 11, the JW Marriott Chicago will open its doors.

Situated in the historic Continental & Commercial National Bank Building in Chicago’s financial district, the JW Marriott Chicago will be the first of its brand in the windy city. Occupying the first 12 floors of the building at 151 W. Adams St., the hotel will have 610 guestrooms, including 29 corner suites and more than 44,000-square-feet of meeting space, a 20,000-square-foot world class spa and fitness center, and two different dining options – an Italian Steakhouse and a lounge serving more casual plates and sushi.

Each guestroom will offer complimentary in-room coffee/tea service and nightly turndown service. All rooms have 10-foot ceilings with handcrafted crown molding and spacious bathrooms clad in Italian marble, featuring stand alone tubs and separate marble showers. Forty-two inch flat-panel high-definition televisions grace each room with hookups for A/V stations and Wi-Fi capabilities.

The spa, VALEO, is a 20,000-square-foot space of ultimate serenity combining fitness facilities, traditional and non-traditional spa services and myriad salon services. The fitness center will feature cardio and circuit training equipment, a large pool for laps as well as a therapeutic whirlpool.

The hotel’s restaurants, The Florentine and the lobby lounge, give travelers and hotel guests the option of fine dining or casual take-out. The Florentine, a concept from the BLT Restaurant Group, offers Italian-American fare from Corporate Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot and Executive Chef Todd Stein, of Sunda and mk fame respectively. For a more casual experience, the JW Marriott Chicago’s lobby lounge will serve light fare like appetizers and sushi.

To celebrate the opening of the hotel, individual room reservations will be available beginning November 11, 2010 with introductory rates from $179 – $329.

Marriott to convert London’s historic Berners Hotel into Edition

Following on the heels of a successful launch of its first Edition hotel in Hawaii, Marriott International announced it would turn the historic Berners Hotel in London into The London Edition.

The 175-year-old Berners has been closed since 2006, and now Marriott plans to take it over for London travelers. The boutique Edition brand was conceived by iconic hotel designer Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott, and Shrager brings his eye for detail to the London hotel scene with the opening of the London Edition.

“I am thrilled to be returning to London for an incredibly special and historical building like Berners Hotel,” Schrager says in an alert on “I am excited and passionate about creating an authentic and original experience for this special Edition hotel in this gateway city.”

Opening dates for the London Edition haven’t been set yet, but Marriott’s next Edition hotel will is scheduled to open in Istanbul early next year.