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Saturday, January 30, 2010

San Francisco weekend special: Kimpton Hotels

San Francisco may be the fall-back weekend getaway for Angelinos, but with flights on Virgin America and South west starting at $49 each way right now, a jaunt up north is hard to resist. Now is a great time to consider a weekend in the Bay Area because Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the well-regarded boutique chain, has a San Francisco hotel sale going, with rooms starting at $85 per night?
Best of all, prices are cheaper on weekends than midweek under this sale.

Eight hotels are participating. The Harbor Court Hotel and Hotel Triton start at $85 per night, and the Prescott, Cypress and Sir Francis Drake hotels start at $89 per night. The Serrano Hotel starts at $95. The highest starting rate is $129, for the Hotel Monaco San Francisco and Hotel Palomar San Francisco.

I found rooms at the Prescott Hotel for $99 per night (instead of $89), but I measured this to be a deal because had rooms there starting at $134 on the same nights Feb 5-7 (and it was marking them down 25%, from $178 per night).

When: Book by Feb. 4 for travel through April 4


One of my favorite things about staying at Kimpton Hotels (besides the free wine hour) is the generous list of amenities they provide at your request under the Forgot it? We’ve got it program. If you forget your toothpaste, shaving cream or more than a dozen other things, Kimpton has got you covered. Some items are free; some carry a small charge. Look for the list in the bathroom when you arrive at your room.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hainan Introduce Twelve New Tour Products

Hainan has launched 12 new tours to encourage the construction of Hainan International Tourist Island and catch up with the trend of tour products internationalization.

"New tour products growth will be the basis for building the international tour island," said Lu Zhiyuan, the head of the Hainan Tourism Development Committee. "With an international view, we will have an international outlook and introduce more new tour products to global tourists."

The new tours are more suitable for leisure travelers than traditional sightseeing tours. They are classified into three categories:

* Improved customary scenic spots with new leisure facilities, including Dongtian Park and Tianya Haijiao (End of the Earth and Corner of the Sea);

* Tours that can improve Hainan's image of tour internationalization and represent its leisure features, including Haikou Holiday Beach and Yalong Bay Tropical Forest Park;

* Cultural scenic spots that show off Hainan's tropical landscape combined with sightseeing and shopping, including Xinglong Nanyao Garden.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A San Francisco's Heritage Marina named the dirtiest hotel in America

"If you are filming a horror flick or a slashes movie, this is the place for you. If you are a NORMAL person, avoid it like the plague!" one traveler warned about an October stay at the Heritage Marina, which has earned negative marks from 80% of Trip Advisor reviewers.

(Management at the Heritage Marina, located downtown about a 15-minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf, didn't reply to requests for comment.)

Rounding out Trip Adviser's 10 dirtiest U.S. hotels are the Days Inn Eureka/Six Flags, Eureka, Mo.; Tropicana Resort Hotel and Super 8 Virginia Beach/At the Ocean, Virginia Beach; Quality Inn, Stroudsburg, Pa.; New York Inn, New York (down from No. 3 last year); Parisian Hotel & Suites, Miami Beach; Capistrano Seaside Inn, Capistrano Beach, Calif.; Desert Lodge, Palm Springs, Calif.; and Continental Oceanfront Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach.

Not on this year's dirtiest list: New York's Hotel Carter, a former Times Square tenement that had landed at the top three times in four years.

"We did a lot of minor renovations and hired a professional bedbug exterminator," says general manager Erwin Lumanglas. "I think it paid off: We're still old, but we're cleaner."

Monday, January 18, 2010

The International Tourism on Track for a Rebound

Despite delicate economic growth in major source markets such as Europe and the U.S., growth returned to international tourism in the last quarter of 2009, contributing to better than expected full-year results, according to the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Prospects have also improved with arrivals now forecast to grow between 3 percent and 4 percent in 2010. This outlook is confirmed by the remarkable rise of the UNWTO Panel of Experts' Confidence Index, the United Nations group said. Pent-up demand and gains in consumer confidence are cited as reasons for optimism.

The last quarter of 2009 saw growth. International tourist arrivals for business, leisure and other purposes are estimated to have declined worldwide by 4 percent in 2009 to 880 million. This represents a slight improvement on the previous estimate as a result of the 2 percent upswing in the last quarter of 2009. In contrast, international tourist arrivals shrank by 10 percent, 7 percent and 2 percent in the first three quarters, in that order. Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East led the recovery with growth already turning positive in both regions in the second half of 2009, the UNWTO said.

"The global economic crisis aggravated by the uncertainty around the H1N1 deadly disease turned 2009 into one of the toughest years for the tourism sector," said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. "However, the results of recent months suggest that recovery is underway, and even somewhat earlier and at a stronger pace than initially expected."

Experience shows that tourism earnings generally follow the trend in arrivals quite closely, even if they suffer somewhat more in difficult times, the UNWTO said. Based on the trends through the first three quarters, receipts for 2009 are estimated to have decreased by around 6 percent. "While this is unquestionably a disappointing result for an industry accustomed to continuous growth, it can also be interpreted as a sign of comparative resilience given the extremely difficult economic environment," Rifai said. "This becomes even more evident when compared with the estimated 12 percent slump in overall exports as a consequence of the global crisis.

Consumers tended to travel closer to home during 2009. Several destinations have seen domestic tourism endure the crisis better and even grow significantly, often with the support of specific government measures aimed at leveraging this trend. This was the case among many other countries, of China, Brazil and Spain, where the domestic market, representing a large share of the total demand, contributed to partially offsetting the decline in international tourism.

Monday, January 11, 2010

India Nepal Tour

India Information:

India is the land with the customary, colorful, exotic, modern destination to enjoy roughly all types of holidays. The tour to India fulfills all the expectations of the travelers of every type. The country is having the varied topography, valleys, high mountains and peaks and free flowing rivers. The festivals of India, the local fairs and the warmth of hospitality of the Indian people cannot be compared with anything in the country. India is having the wide reasons of the food choices. The country offers the large number of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. The Vegetarian dishes include Rice, Bread, Daal (Pulses), Curd, Pickle, and other add ons.

Nepal Information:

Nepal is the surrounded by land country, which is located between China in the north and India in the south. Nepal is the country that rises from Terai and the southern plain at the sea level land it culminates to the Mount Everest, the highest peak in the earth. Nepal is the land of the Hindu Kingdom and is also the sacred land where Lord Budhdha was born. The country is the blend of the Hinduism and Buddhism. There is variety of the adventure tourism in the Nepal like Trekking, Expedition, White Water Rafting, Kayaking, Mountain flight, Jungle Safari, Balloon Sunrise, Bungee Jumping.

Best of India Travel:

Golden Triangle Tour: The Golden Triangle Tour in India covers some of the major destinations of the country and those are Agra, Delhi and Jaipur. Agra is the city of Mughals and is also possess the monuments like Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. The Pink City of Jaipur is the capital city of Emperor Akbar. The glory and the travel to the royal Amber Fort also include the mirror palaces and courtyards.

North India Nepal: 

The tour to the North India Nepal travel includes the destinations like Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Kathmandu. The trip to Delhi covers the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Gandhi Samadhi, India Gate, President House, Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar and Lotus Temple. The tour to Jaipur includes the trip to Amer Fort, the elephant ride on the Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, and the Birla Temple.

Colorful Rajasthan: 

The trip to Rajasthan includes the destinations like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Pushkar, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur. Jaipur is the city that was founded in the 18th century during the reign of the Jai Singh II. The Amber Fort Palace, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal are some of the most exotic sites of the Rajasthan.

Backwaters of Kerala: The boat ride in Kerala and the visit to Munnar, the only hill station in Kerala. The scenic beauty and the royal waterfalls with the high mountains and the low flying clouds that passes by. Travel to the tea plantations, Anamudi, Eravikulam National Park, Devikulam, Mattupetty, Pallivasal, Pothamedu, etc. Visit to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Periyar Lake.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

San Francisco Access Card Attraction

The Go San Francisco Card is an all access attraction pass which offers the ultimate in expediency, cost savings, and flexibility for Bay Area visitors. Choose one, two, three, five, or seven day cards at a low, pre-paid price. Use the card to gain access to any and all of the 50 included attractions, saving up to 40% compared to individual admissions.

The California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, Exploratorium, Bay cruises, Six Flags, wine tastings, and much more are all included! See below for the complete list. There's no need to decide in advance what you want to see. The free full-color guidebook helps you decide what to do how to get there, even where to eat and shop since the included extras cover a number of dining and shopping discounts as well. With the Go San Francisco Card, spend your time collecting memories instead of credit card receipts.

Quick hits

    * Save up to 40% over buying individual tickets
    * Full-color guidebook included
    * Skip the ticket line at many attractions
    * Other extras like dining discounts to eat for less

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Spanish Hotelier to Open Gay Hotel in New York

The Spanish hotelier Axel Hotels will carry its gay hotel chain to New York City in 2011.

Axel currently operates "hetero-friendly" hotels in Barcelona, Berlin and Buenos Aires, considered the gay capital of South America. Visitors can choose between the typical "do not disturb" sign or the more risky "please disturb."

Renate Siebenhofer, development director of the hotel chain, confirmed the group's plans to open its fourth five-star hotel in the U.S.

"We are pleased to inform you that we have been able to identify a site in New York we consider spot-on for our group: The AXEL HOTEL NEW YORK will be located in Hell's Kitchen and is slated to open its doors to the public in spring 2011," Siebenhofer said.

New York City is increasingly courting the gay travel dollar.

Last year, in a marketing effort titled Rainbow Pilgrimage Campaign, the city spent $1.9 million to promote the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The riots, which took place in Greenwich Village, are often credited for sparking the modern gay rights movement when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, mostly drag queens, rebelled against police harassment in 1969. Rioters violently fought back against officers over the curse of several days.

Officials say an estimated 10 percent of the city's 47 million visitors in 2008 were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The hotel chain's ambitious plans include three additional U.S. hotels to be built in its most gay-friendly cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

Amsterdam, London Paris and Miami are considered high priority projects, according to internal documents.

The gay and lesbian tourism market is red hot due in part to the fact that gays on average travel more often and spend more. A 2006 study by the U.S. Travel Association found that gay men spend an average of $260 more per trip than their straight counterparts.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Flag of San Francisco, California

The flag of San Francisco, California depicts a rising phoenix, often assumed to be symbol of the city's recovery from the 1906 Earthquake and fire, but it dates several years earlier to about 1900. San Francisco suffered several devastating fires, including six fires between 1849 and 1852 (the last destroying almost the entire city), along with two earthquakes. Every time the city, just like the mythological bird, "rose from the ashes" and was rebuilt in even grander style and size.

Below the phoenix is a banner which reads in Spanish: "Oro en Paz-Fierro en Guerra", which translates into: "Gold in Peace, Iron in War". Because of this the official City colors are Gold and Black; these two colors decorate the dome of City Hall.

The yellow border, now reproduced as a part of the flag was originally intended to be a gold fringe, but mistakenly became incorporated into the design. When used indoors, as is the custom, a gold fringe is added to what should have been fringe in the first place.

The seal of San Francisco, California, which was adopted in the 1850s, depicts two working men, on one side a miner and, on the other, a sailor with a sextant. Above is a rising phoenix and behind it is the San Francisco Bay with sailing ships. The phoenix symbolizes the city's emergence from the ashes of several devastating fires in the early 1850s. The motto reads "Oro en paz, fierro en guerra" which is Spanish for "Gold in peace, iron in war".

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Economic Downturn Hits Transit Ridership Travel

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) got the majority media's concentration during the holiday season after reporting that the dismal economy had helped push transit ridership down by 3.8 percent during the first three-quarters of 2009, when compared with the previous year.

But among the bleak data from cities such as Cleveland, where rail ridership fell by more than 14 percent during the first nine months of 2009, and Miami, where the funding-starved Tri-Rail system saw more than 10 percent fewer riders during that period, the APTA report found some transit success stories.

Los Angeles' Metro subway, one section of which topped 2020 ridership projections in its first year of operation, saw ridership grow by nearly 6 percent during the first nine months of 2009.

Baltimore's light rail grew by an even greater margin, according to APTA, with unlinked passenger trips topping 6.7 million during the first three-quarters of last year. That represents a 13.9 percent increase over the same period in 2008, when riders took an estimated 5.9 million unlinked trips.

The SEPTA light rail system in the Philadelphia area also climbed higher in APTA's report, tallying more than 21.2 million unlinked trips during the first three-quarters of 2009 after marking 18 million during the same period in 2008 -- an increase of 17.5 percent.
The condition was much bleaker for the country's biggest bus systems, which saw an overall ridership drop of nearly 5 percent during the first nine months of 2009. San Francisco was the only major city in APTA's report to mark an increase in bus travel, with unlinked passenger trips rising by about 1 percent.

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