Yamm restaurant shows off the hotel's futuristic design style.
Edward Snowden — the former CIA employee who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance methods last week — has reportedly been hiding out at The Mira Hong Kong since his whistle-blowing shocked people across the globe — but no longer. The Daily Telegraph has reported that a man who called himself Edward Snowden checked out of the The Mira today. Many have their doubts about whether or not this is the Edward Snowden: After all, the 29-year-old has been very secretive since the big reveal, even admitting to feeling extremely fearful of being spied on. In fact, reports claim that Snowden left his hotel in Hong Kong just three times during his stay — despite being in the city for three weeks — for fear of being located by the NSA.
There are certainly worse places to lay low: The Mira is one of Hong Kong’s most luxurious, high-design properties. The hotel boasts a central location in Tsim Sha Tsui, futuristic design touches, seven outstanding restaurants and bars, and an excellent fitness center. If Snowden was hiding out at the chic hotel, we can only assume he is sad to leave it now. Whether he will stay in Asia or seek asylum elsewhere – many speculate he may travel to Iceland for that reason — saying goodbye to The Mira could not have been easy. See more photos of The Mira after the jump »
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Here’s what caught our eye. Spread the love.
David Cush, President and CEO, Virgin America
As President and Chief Executive Officer of the hip and affordable airline Virgin America (an Oyster fave), David Cush spends 7 to 10 nights a month in hotel rooms. He’s seen it all — the good, the bad, and the amusing — and some of his best hotel experiences have even helped to inspire and shape the Virgin America passenger experience. To kick off our Oyster Interviews series, we chit-chatted about hotels, Wi-Fi, and comfy hotel beds with Mr. Cush, the chief of the hip jetsettin’ crowd himself. Enjoy.
Oyster: We had a memorable experience on our very first VA flight to Vegas. So, naturally, we’ve gotta ask this first: What’s your favorite Las Vegas hotel?
David Cush: The Hotel at the Mandalay has a special vibe. It has all of the action that you would expect at a large Vegas hotel, including a great pool scene, but when you retreat back to your room at The Hotel, you could be a million miles away from the Vegas scene. A couple of hours of that is sometimes necessary after being in Vegas for a few days. It also has a great rooftop restaurant and club.
Oyster: Your airline has Wi-Fi for a fee on every flight. So, when it comes to hotel Wi-Fi, do you think of it as a great ancillary revenue source or must-have free amenity?
David Cush: It’s an interesting question. When I stay at a hotel that charges for Wi-Fi, I tend to use my cell card rather than pay. Of course, in the air, you don’t have that alternative. As far as Wi-Fi in the air goes, the investment is much more significant than providing Wi-Fi in hotels. Each aircraft costs about $100,000 to outfit and the ground network cost millions to construct. In order to recoup that investment and justify upgrades to the system, the revenue is necessary. So far, our guests agree and are more than willing to pay for the service. We have 20-25% take rates on some of our longer transcon flights.
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The Money Shot.
Thinking of grabbing the fam (or the fiance) and jetting to Hawaii? Well, if you’re a faithful reader of travel news, you’d be inclined to believe that the scene in Hawaii right now is…dismal. Surely you’ve seen the reports: hotel occupancy in our 50th state is down. Way down. The number of visitors has declined sharply. Room rates are plummeting, but the people still aren’t coming – and the numbers are especially distressing when compared to an astoundingly-weak July 2008. It’s bad over there.
But we’re going to let you in on a big secret: our reporters just got back from Hawaii (yes, Hawaii is our next destination to launch – that’s what we were hinting at last week) and they’ve got plenty to say about scene. So before you go picturing abandoned hotels and eerily-empty beaches with palm trees swaying in the wind, allow our reporters to offer up a glimpse of what things are really looking like out there in the Aloha State:
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In case you haven't been camped out in the Trump Tower Las Vegas business center...
Craving up-to-the-minute news on hotels, airlines and travel as it all unfolds? The @OysterHotels Twitter stays on top of the hot gossip flying around the web 24/7. Today’s highlights from around the Internet:
- A passenger on a Southwest airlines flight was arrested (naked) after he exposed himself to the woman seated next to him and then punched her in the face. Oy. [MSNBC]
- Warning: there is an entrepreneur out there who is planning on launching a “zero baggage” concept that involves renting clothes when you travel. Not for the faint of heart – or for those of us who feel itchy in thrift stores. [Consumer Traveler]
- So, about that $599 unlimited JetBlue pass? No mas. Sold out. All gone. You lose. [USA Today]
- …But you can watch all the fun everyone else is having by checking out the @599Club Twitter community. [Twitter]
- Our friends at Jauntsetter have rounded up a pretty hot roster of up-to-date travel deals, from Bangkok hotels to a full four-night London getaway. [Jauntsetter]
- Hawaii celebrated its big five-oh with a hula party in Times Square today – and, now that we mention it, The Aloha State has been in the news quite a bit lately. Not that we’re hinting at anything… [AP, NY Times, CNN]
Ah, the sweet veil of anonymity: the freedom to say what you want with no particularly dreadful repercussions. Angry at your concierge ex-boyfriend? Anonymously trash his hotel on the Internet! Want to take down a hotel that competes with your property? Write about the non-existent roaches in an online forum! Need your hotel to climb the web rankings? Create a whole bunch of user accounts to send around beautiful, glowing reviews! The possibilities are endless.
That’s not happening around here.
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