March 2, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Gary Stram, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Regency, A Loews Hotel
If you were watching the NBC Today Show on Wednesday morning, March 1st, you may have seen Mike Leonard's report on Loews Hotels and pet vacations titled "Pamper your pooch with a trip fit for a king". The packages they focused on - "The Hound of Music", "Su'ruff Camp", and "Outward Hound" - aren't available at all of the Loews Hotels, but the "Loews Loves Pets" program has been in place at each and every Loews Hotel since 2000.
As part of the program at the 18 Loews Hotels, each visiting VIP (Very Important Pet) can travel in first-class comfort with gourmet room service, specialized bedding, a pet amenity, and guest services designed to make pets and their owners feel right at home.
Each pet is welcomed with a personal note from the hotel's general manager which includes a listing of pet services available at the hotel including a map of the area with dog-walking routes highlighted, and information on veterinarians, pet shops, groomers, pet attractions, pet-friendly restaurants, and other resources. In the guestroom is a special ...
... amenity that includes special pet place mats with food and water bowls, toys and treats, and a "Do Not Disturb" sign that let housekeeping know that a pet is in the room. Pet walking and pet sitting services are available through the hotels' concierge desks. The latest addition to the Loews Loves Pets program is the "Puppy Pager" service. For the duration of their stay, pet owners are asked for a cell phone number or provided with a pager that enables the hotel staff to contact them immediately in case of emergency.
Finicky felines and hungry canines can choose from their own special room service menu that was designed to provide proper nutrition to help pets deal with travel stress including jet lag and altitude adjustments. The pet room service varies at each hotel and most include items such as roasted salmon and tuna delight for cats and bow wow burgers, chicken and rice and grilled filet for dogs. All menu items and preparations for the room service menu were developed and approved by a licensed veterinarian.
The newest item on the menu is "HERO STARS," gourmet dog biscuits which benefit the American Kennel Club's "DOGNY" Canine Support and Relief Fund for Police Search and Rescue Dog Teams across the country. A tasty and healthy new addition to the Loews Loves Pets offerings, HERO STARS are available for $10 at Loews Hotels in-room mini bars. Beverages include bottled water and milk. Additionally, selections of dry and canned pet foods are available for in-room delivery.
Loews Hotels also loans its guests pet necessities such as dog and cat beds in different sizes, leashes and collars, and pet videos. Kitty litter boxes and litter, pooper-scoopers, and a selection of pet toys (such as rawhide bones, catnip, and scratch poles) are also available for purchase.
Each hotel has established special cleaning procedures for pet stays including the use of HEPA-filtered vacuums so that all traces of pet allergens are removed in preparation for the next guest. Some of the Loews Hotels charge a one-time pet fee, guests should check with the individual properties to determine their policy.
Charlotte St. Martin, executive vice president for marketing for Loews Hotels says - "Pets provide unconditional love and people love their pets unconditionally. At Loews we've found that taking care of pets is one of the best ways to build customer loyalty and give our guests—and their companions—a good night's sleep."
Loews Hotels, Official Site
Loews Hotels, Five Star Alliance
Southern Florida's premier tourist attraction is back. After a large clean-up and renovation in the wake of Hurricane Wilma's wrath, the marine park opened its doors again on February 11. Located in a picture-perfect spot on Biscayne Bay, the Seaquarium offers a host of marine-life shows and exhibits. Sharks and Dolphins and Sea Lions, Oh My!
In a city of superlatives, it's not hard to be deemed "the world's most luxurious shopping destination." Dubai's BurJuman Centre-- located in the very heart of the city-- is the residence of high fashion. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, Valentino, Emanel Ungaro, Loewe, Etro, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Lacroix, Salvatore Ferragamo... Its 800,000 square feet of retail space (300 leading stores) is centered around an enormous atrium courtyard, filled with sunlight.
You may have missed Mardi Gras, but Jazz Fest is on the horizon. And both W hotels—which had sustained serious wind and water damage from Hurricane Katrina—have recently reopened in time for the best of spring festivals. W French Quarter is contemporary and full of sleek technology—as all W Hotels are—yet plenty romantic and old-world European at the same time. Plus, as its name suggests, it's in the heart of it all in the French Quarter. Its restaurant Bacco is considered one of the best in the city. Hot and hip, the other W New Orleans is equally well-located, a trendy and fashionable hotel that is the home of Rande Gerber's happening bar Whiskey Blue.
W New Orleans, Official Site
W New Orleans, Five Star Alliance
W French Quarter, Official Site
W French Quarter, Five Star Alliance
From Zanzibar to St. Lucia, the March issue of Travel and Leisure has found some incredible beach hot spots, including the DR's Sivory Punta Cana, which I've waxed poetic about before. In their words:
How do you know when a destination hasn't been trammeled by Americans? When it's a challenge to find locals who speak English. Such is the charm of the Dominican Republic, which has long been on the radar of A-listers (Oscar de la Renta, the Clintons); now, with low fares on JetBlue, it's even easier (and less expensive) to get to. The Sivory Punta Cana, a 55-suite property open since December and situated on a long expanse of untouched beach, offers visitors a low-key hideaway.
Your favorite tunes on the stereo. Room at exactly the right temp. The minibar stocked with your daily dose of wheat grass shots. As the IHT reports:
At the Mandarin and other high-end hotels, new computer systems which connect individual rooms to network servers can now keep track of guests' preferences and change the room conditions automatically.Big brother profiling or the perks of refined technology?
February 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
From the New York Times to shiny glossies and guidebooks, the media is brimming with good tips about cruisin'. I've compiled some recent newsworthy articles for your planning pleasure: Conde Nast Traveler, Reader's Poll, The World's Best Cruise Ships 2006 Fodor's Travel Wire, "The Best of Cruising" Forbes, The World's Most Expensive Cruises Travel and Leisure Hot Deals, "Cell Phones at Sea" The New York Times Travel, "Bon Voyage to the Three-Bean Salad" The New York Times Travel, "Extreme Makeover: Taking High Style to the High Seas" The New York Times Travel, "Oman Anyone? More Ships, More Ports of Call" The New York Times Travel, "Mystery at Sea: Who Polices the Ships?"
February 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
This marvelous Nikon has built-in WiFi Connectivity to transmit pix wirelessly to your computer. And a super-long battery life means you can take 180 images (just keep clicking away—don't bother erasing!) with the rechargeable battery. Other features we love? A sweet optical zoom, large 2.5 inch display screen, and a whopping eight megapixels. $549 ($399 at Nikon online).
February 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The craggy, mysterious Himalayas, or some faux fantasy from Disney? Looks like the real deal to me. Snowcapped peaks, colorful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind, a monastery, Everest base camp, and real, imported flora and fauna. Disney's just-completed Expedition-Everest: Mission Himalayas promises to be as educational as it is action-packed. After all, the Disney creatives partnered with Conservation International and Discovery Networks and sent a scientific, exploratory mission to the Himalayas:
The team searched for new plants and animals not yet discovered in the eastern Himalayan region from China to Nepal, one of the most botanically rich temperate regions in the world with an estimated 12,000 plant species, including 3,500 found nowhere else.
Opening this April, the newest attraction takes riders to an encounter with the scary and mythical Yeti, aka the Abominable Snowman, after "trekking" into a remote Himalayan village and "exploring" local artifacts. Who cares about the lines? I'm so there.
February 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
After late nights pondering the question, I've finally found the answer. Novelist Jay McInerney-- with his sarcastic wit and true command of the South and all things Southern-- describes the Peabody Memphis in his book The Last of the Savages:
I think it was Faulkner—usually a safe bet in these matters—who said the Mississippi Delta originated in the lobby of the Peabody. Certainly no one would have mistaken this for the Boston Ritz-Carlton, or for the Plaza in New York. That curious and beguiling southern blend of ease and formality were in the air—that rhythm oscillating between languor and hysteria. The lobby was thronged with revelers in evening dress... Young women in ball gowns wafted about the two-story lobby, while their male counterparts lurked in corners, conspiring and breaking out into sudden fits of suppressed hilarity. These young swains applauded as a tiny man in livery marched the ducks from the fountain in the center of the lobby across the floor and into the elevator en route to a pen on the hotel roof. The ducks were the descendants of a batch of live decoys—or so Cordell Savage once told me—which had been dumped into the fountain one afternoon by a band of liquored-up hunters fresh from the duck blind who wanted to continue drinking at the hotel bar.
So much for the ducks' noble origins.
The Peabody Memphis, Official Site
The Peabody Memphis, Five Star Alliance