December 2011

Foto Friday: Sea Breeze

by Zach on December 16, 2011

As Texas’ largest coastal city, it’s no wonder that activity in Corpus Christi revolves around the ocean. Blistering hot summers give way to exceptionally mild winters, bringing in travelers year-round to hit the beach or take advantage of incredible ocean views. This destination has plenty of kid-friendly hotel options, making it a great family getaway spot any time of year.

Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay, Corpus Christi, Texas, United States

Views abound at the Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay

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The New York Palace

The New York Palace

The winter holiday season in New York City brings not only ice rinks, tourists, and hordes to the stores, but also myriad Christmas lights and ornaments that change every year. Every hotel in the city dresses up at least a little for the holidays, in red, green and gold garlands, or shiny tinsel, or simple lights. Below, check out some of the best decorations we’ve seen this year!

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Located in Chicago’s River North, The Trump International Hotel and Tower’s Rebar features innovative cocktails and wonderful views of the Chicago River. The menu includes interesting spins on some old classics as well as unique seasonal cocktails

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

Drink #1: The Punch Bowl

The Punch Bowl, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

The Punch Bowl, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

The Punch Bowl is a fruity, summer cocktail served with a spiffy straw with a spoon on the bottom to help guests scoop out bits of apple, orange, and strawberries.  It’s a great selection, for those who like fruity.
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Traveling during the holiday season is as old as the holidays themselves – literally, if you ask anyone who owns a manger in Bethlehem. But just because people hit the road doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to feel the spirit of the season wherever they go. To help get you feeling festive, here are some killer seasonal perks that hotels have provided to their guests.

Santa Paws at the Eventi

Santa and his helper meet with the Eventi's four-legged guests

The holidays are for everyone: not just adults and children, but for pets as well. This past weekend, the second annual Santa Paws event at the Eventi Hotel in Manhattan treated four-legged guests to a visit from St. Nick. There was no shortage of festive dog biscuits or fresh water bowls as pets took their turns explaining to Santa why they can’t seem to stop digging up the front yard.

Ripken meets Santa at the Eventi

Kimpton properties such as the Eventi are already well-known for being super pet-friendly, so arranging a pet photo opp with Santa and his helper is simply par for the course. Of course, everyone was on their best behavior – including owners, who were treated to candy canes and delicious hot chocolate. If this was any indication of who made the “nice” list, Santa is going to be delivering a ton of bones this year. Read More »

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Travel Tuesday: What’s New?

by Carolina on December 13, 2011

W New York - Union Square

W New York - Union Square

  • MAKE OUT
    Just like Kristen Wiig and Fabrizio Moretti did at the W Union Square. The comedian and The Strokes’ drummer were seen “literally on top of each other” at Lilium, the hotel’s new club. [Hotel Chatter]

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You were always a good kid — especially around Christmas time — so Santa rewarded you with gifts from your wish list: the coveted doll, the electric train, the drum set, you name it! But what of those items you asked for that didn’t make it under the tree? Your parents had promised that Santa wanted to give you your own private island, but it couldn’t fit down the chimney…but Santa is magical, right? It just didn’t add up…

Is there no pony in any of those presents? Don't worry, we have something so much better.

Is there no pony in any of those presents? Don't worry, we have something so much better.

But you’re an adult now and you’re over it…or maybe not. If you fall into the latter group, let us first say – no judgement here. We’re still holding a grudge against Father Christmas for never delivering  ”a diamond the size of my face”; that is definitely no wider than a chimney chute! More importantly, let us say that there’s still hope for you to get your wish — in fact, the cooler, “grown-up” version of your wish. Santa may have denied you a tea set, but a measly plastic set can’t beat afternoon tea served in the birthplace of the tradition itself. And sure, a BB gun would have been fun, but biathlon training combines your love of dangerous weapons with skiing — how did you not think of this sooner?! Check out our list below of the ultimate grown-up Christmas wish list.

Palm Court at the Langham Hotel London

Palm Court at the Langham Hotel London

On Your Kiddie Wish List: A tea set
On Your Grown-Up Wish List: Afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel London

Santa must have been pretty stingy that year if he didn’t bring you a tea set (unless, of course, you asked for one like this). But at least his stinginess gives you all the more reason to make your adult tea experience as luxurious and over-the-top as possible. How about a hop over the pond to start? Then you can head to the Langham Hotel, a 5-pearl hotel that exudes an air of exclusivity with a top-notch spa, an excellent West End location, and an in-house butler whose sole job is to supply guests with classical literature to read during their stay. But best of all, the Langham’s Palm Court is noted as the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition, dating back to when the hotel first opened in 1865 and the Palm Court began serving tea to London’s elite. So treat yourself to a lavish high tea experience with the Wonderland Afternoon Tea menu, complete with your choice of tea (selected with the assistance of a tea sommelier) and a sampling of finger sandwiches and pastries. So much better to have waited all of these years for the real thing.

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Foto Friday: Point of View

by Zach on December 9, 2011

Travelers know the difference between rooms with a view and rooms with a view: Just ask anyone who’s been to Carmel Highlands, California. Monterey County’s natural beauty has attracted visitors since the turn of the century, and nothing has changed, least of all the scenic beauty. Not to mention, you’ll get the healthy dose of sea breeze you’ve been needing for a while.

The Sunset Suite at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands

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The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton

This “inn” in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. The multi-bedroom Village Homes are also luxurious, but lack some of the nuances of the cottages. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming (in the two pools), and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. It’s not an overstatement to say that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is one of the most special properties in the entire country.

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Travel Tuesday: What’s New?

by Carolina on December 6, 2011

Atlantic Ocean, Beach at the One and Only Ocean Club, Bahamas

Atlantic Ocean, Beach at the One and Only Ocean Club, Bahamas

  • BREAK
    The piggy bank and get a close-up of the Titanic on its centennial. A company is offering a private dive in a tiny submersible for $60,000. The price includes a two-and-a-half week cruise and one eight- to 10-hour dive with two other people. [NY Times]

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Dubbed the “turkey drop,” the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas mark a peak in break-ups across the country. Seriously, research has proven it. Were you blindsided by a “we need to talk” text from your soon-to-be-ex while you were out buying their Christmas present? Well you weren’t the only one. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore may have beaten everyone else to the punch by announcing their split just a week before Thanksgiving, but Olympic gold-medalist Lindsey Vonn kicked off the “holiday break-up season” on November 28th when she and her husband announced their plans to divorce.

Think your relationship will make it through Christmas? Statistics will make you think again...

Think your relationship will make it through Christmas? Statistics will make you think again...

So if you get dumped this holiday season, you’re in good company. But if that fact is not enough to cheer you up, we understand. That’s why we’ve picked the best post-breakup escapes around the globe.

The bridge at Tensing Pen

The bridge at Tensing Pen

Tensing Pen in Negril, Jamaica

When your ex broke the news, did you feel the urge to jump? Well, gone are the days of “lover’s leaps” (he/she is sooo not worth it) and here are the days of low-bridge-jumping — an exhilarating rush that’s a little like falling in love with someone new. Set in the cliffs of Negril’s West End, Tensing Pen faces the ocean but doesn’t have a traditional sandy beach. Instead, high, rocky cliffs descend to the pure blue water below. Guests can climb down the cliffs and swim from a handful of ladders that have been built into the cliffs, but the general consensus is that you can’t finish your stay without jumping from the long, skinny bridge about 20 feet or so above the water. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? And it doesn’t hurt to be on a sunny island while you’re getting over your ex who’s stuck at home, filled with regret.

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