With all of the guests hotel employees see and meet day after day, there are bound to be some stories. Workers from all walks of the hospitality industry recently took to Reddit to share some of their strangest guest encounters—most NSFW, but we pulled a few gems proving there’s no knowing exactly what’s going on behind closed doors (until someone calls room service). Ahead: seen stories straight from the sources mouth (a la Ask Reddit).
“A CEO of a large TV Corp who would ask to have a tray of cookies sent to the room every night. She would chew every one of them only to put them back on the tray.” – redsundance
“We had a guest we ended up calling ‘Pie Guy’—he would come into the hotel without a reservation, pay in cash + the $100 cash deposit and the next day we would find his bathroom and bathtub full of the remains of several expensive pies. He never came to the desk for his deposit, as he knew he wouldn’t be getting it back. We added his name to our ‘do not rent’ list but he kept coming back and using different names. One time we found
As it turns out, procrastinating on buying your holiday airfare isn’t a total fail—you just have to be a little more strategic about it. A new report from Stratos Jet Charters deciphered data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to pinpoint the best days, routes, and carriers for avoiding holiday travel headaches. Read on and make your reservations accordingly.
TIME YOUR TRIP
Mondays are the worst, and that goes double for travelers: This year saw 41 percent more flight cancellations on Mondays than Tuesday (the runner-up) and 164 percent more than Fridays. Book your flight on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday to minimize your chances of delays and cancellations. Or aim for an early AM departure: Flights before 8 a.m. are less likely to be delayed, according to FlightStats vice-president Jim Hetzel.
CHOOSE YOUR ROUTE
High-volume hubs in colder climates are the top contenders for flight cancellations. Among major U.S. airports, LaGuardia, Newark International, Reagan Washington, and Chicago O’Hare have the highest percentage of canceled flights—and 70 percent of those cancellations are weather-related. If a nonstop route isn’t an option, aim for a connection in a warmer locale to slash your risk of winter weather delays, Hetzel says—or
According to a new survey.
Travelers loathe fees that they have no choice but to pay, including charges to connect to the Internet, check a bag on their flight, and connect to a cellular network abroad. That’s according toa new national survey of fee-paying U.S. travelers commissioned by MileCards.com.
Among the findings:
- More than 7 in 10 travelers said they hate fees for connecting to a wireless network. These charges are common on planes, in hotels, airports and convention centers. In an “always-on” society, being connected is no longer an option for many travelers.
- Some 65% said they loathe luggage fees. Charges for bags are counterintuitive, rising even when the price of jet fuel drops and increasing by multiples as you check more bags. What’s more, most travelers say they have no choice but to check at least one bag.
- Almost the same number of travelers (63%) said they strongly dislike cell phone roaming fees. Charges for phone calls and data when you’re out of your network can easily double your wireless bill. Many travelers simply turn off their phones rather than face the prospect of a higher bill.
Among other unpopular fees: out-of-network ATM fees, advance seat assignment fees on flights, and resort fees.
Global air travel contributes around 3.5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions behind/driving anthropogenic climate change, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But what impact does a warming planet have on air travel and how might that, in turn, affect the rate of warming itself?
A new study by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and University of Wisconsin Madison found a connection between climate and airline flight times, suggesting a feedback loop could exist between the carbon emissions of airplanes and our changing climate. The study was published in this week’s Nature Climate Change.
“Upper level wind circulation patterns are the major factor in influencing flight times,” says lead author Kris Karnauskas, an associate scientist in WHOI’s Geology and Geophysics Department. “Longer flight times mean increased fuel consumption by airliners. The consequent additional input of CO2 into the atmosphere can feed back and amplify emerging changes in atmospheric circulation.”
The study began when co-author Hannah Barkley, a doctoral student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, asked Karnauskas a deceptively simple question. Barkley had noticed a direct flight she took from Honolulu back to the east coast–a route she has flown many times as field
A few friends and I were deciding what we wanted to do one weekend. None of us had to work, which was really unusual since we rarely all have the same weekend off. We were debating on whether to just hang out at one of our houses or go somewhere when one of them suggested that we go to the casino. There was a total of nine of us, and we all agreed that sounded like fun. We knew that we would be able to get a limo in Toronto for a decent price, since that is the only way that we will go to the casino now.
We have taken separate vehicles in the past, but it was just not as fun as all of us being together. Keep Reading →
My sister just gave birth to her first baby. Her husband is away on a mission for the unit he serves with. He does a lot of work that he can never talk about. Sometimes he is unreachable for a month or more. He knew when the baby was due, but his commanders cannot just pick the times for him to go do tasks he is ordered to do. Since my sister was not having her husband with her for the birth of their baby, my brother-in-law called a Toronto limo rentals company to pay for a limo ride home for his bride and new baby. All I had to do was call them when she would be coming home from the hospital. Keep Reading →
If you haven’t made your plans to go over the river and through the woods this holiday season, it’s not too late. With these tips, you might even find some great bargains.
Skip the beach
This is a great time to take the family on an urban adventure. “Because most travelers think of resort destinations for the holidays,” says Jon Gray, HomeAway’s chief revenue officer, “prices in cities tend to drop.” In San Francisco, two- and three-bedroom listings (all rated four or five stars by HomeAway users) during Christmas week average $219. Similar places in Chicago go for $293. Even warm-weather cities can be a bargain. Last Christmas, hotels in San Diego averaged $136 a night, 33 percent less than in the summer, according to Trivago; L.A. hotels cost $185, about 9 percent less than during the summer.
Pop your cork
Want to get away for New Year’s? Skip crowded, ball-dropping New York City (where rooms average $432, according to STR) and try Celebrate San Antonio, a free festival of spicy food, live music, and riverside pyrotechnics. Hotel rooms average $174 a night. In Seattle, the fireworks burst over the Space Needle, and hotels go for $190 a night, according to Hotels.com.
If you’re in Miami for Thanksgiving weekend, the official start of the city’s high season, braving the bargain-bedazzled hordes at the nearest mall may be the last thing any sensible lover of warm weather would want to do. Another, far wiser option is to take the day and explore the best of Miami.
1. Art at the Wolfsonian-FIU
Start in the heart of South Beach at the Wolfsonian-FIU, a first-rate museum. Curator Matthew Abess has brought together work from a wide array of artists—spanning Lewis Hine to Herbert Bayer—for the exhibition “Margin of Error,” a study of cultural responses to such manmade disasters as the sinking of the Titanic. The show is on view through May 8, 2016, and includes such gems as a mid-1930s Royal Air Force photograph album with images of crashes whimsically captioned “Error of Judge-ment.”
2. Lunch in Pinecrest
Then head about a half hour south to Pinecrest, a quiet residential neighborhood, for lunch at Pinecrest Wayside Market, featuring sandwiches, baked goods, and fantastic tropical shakes made with mamey and mango.
3. Explore Pinecrest Gardens
While you’re in the neighborhood, stroll the grounds of the former Parrot Jungle tourist attraction, now the lush Pinecrest Gardens, a 20-acre park that’s also the site
In honor of its Diamond Anniversary, L.A.’s Beverly Hilton is offering a package with the precious sparkler as inspiration. Partakers begin their trip with a pick-up from Los Angeles International Airport in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Rolls and driver are yours for around-the-clock use during your three-day stay in Tinsel Town, which probably includes a trip to the In-N-Out drive-thru, if you wanted.
It continues: head to the Beverly Hilton where you will check in to the Penthouse Suite. Upstairs, your room is decked as a winter wonderlnad—tree, lights, and stockings hung with care (and filled with diamond-themed treats), included. Enjoy your 1,800-square-foot suite while you nibbling on your in-room wine and cheese pairing.
The next day’s agenda includes a helicopter tour of Hollywood Hills and a diamond facial. It will get you in the mood for the trip to see Neil Lane, a.k.a. the go-to jeweler of all the winners of The Bachelor, who will help you choose a piece of jewelry to take home. Wear your new bling to a five-course dinner created by the Hilton’s Executive Chef Troy Thompson; hopefully your bauble won’t clash with the diamond-themed desserts served on the Stardust Terrace.
And if that is not enough, end your weekend right with a trip to Marina Del Rey, where your private yacht awaits
Well here’s an odd business deal: acclaimed Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri announced this week that he’s selling his restaurant empire to Urban Outfitters. Yes, that Urban Outfitters, the hipster clothing store.
Philly.com reports that Urban Outfitters is set to acquire Osteria, Amis, Alla Spina, Lo Spiedo, and the burgeoning chain Pizzeria Vetri by the end of this year. As a subsidiary of Urban Outfitters, the Vetri Family will continue to be run by Vetri himself as president and Jeff Benjamin as COO. Meanwhile, the group’s top two chefs and partners Jeff Michaud and Brad Spence will take on culinary director roles for the company.
To the relief of fans, the group’s flagship restaurant Vetri will not be part of the sale. Vetri explained to Philly Mag that the restaurant simply wasn’t made to be expanded, saying, “It’s a one-and-done. It’s a culinary learning center. A research facility. A testing facility. … It doesn’t make sense for Urban to own something like that.”
But it seems you can expect to see the rest of the Vetri Family of restaurants expand outside of their Philadelphia home base in the future with this new partnership. In fact, Pizzeria Vetri is just days away from opening
Hold on to your wallet. North America’s airlines will charge almost $11 billion in so-called a la carte fees for everything from seat reservations to luggage this year — a 24% increase over what was collected in 2014.
That’s according to a new survey by IdeaWorksCompany, an ancillary fee consulting company. The results suggest that despite an outcry from airline passengers the sky remains the limit for new fees.
How did airlines, which are expected to achieve record profits this year, do it?
According to the research, domestic airlines placed emphasis on “comfort-related services such as premium economy seating, buy-onboard food, and priority screening and boarding.”
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines offer “premium economy” zones for extra fees. Economy-class airline seats have been shrinking in size.
They also offer other creature comforts. “Delta Comfort+” includes early boarding, front-of-cabin seating, extra leg room, snacks, beer, wine and cocktails, and premium Wi-Fi entertainment. Again, most of these amenities (except the Wi-Fi) used to be included in a ticket. They were removed — and then resold to passengers.
Baggage fees continue to be big revenue drivers, too. Two no-frills airlines, Allegiant and Spirit, even raised some of their fees for the
Don’t spend the day after Thanksgiving fighting for steep discounts on merchandise; instead check out these things to do in Chicago that deserve much more hype.
1. Ice Skating and Hot Chocolate
View Michigan Avenue from the ice with a public skating session on Millennium Park’s ice rink. Afterwards, step into the Park Grill next door and indulge in some rich hot cocoa topped with homemade marshmallows.
2. Get in the Spirit at Christkindlmarket
Get a peek inside Chicago’s German heritage at Christkindlmarket, the annual Christmas market held in Daley Plaza. While you’re browsing, pause for some sauerkraut soup and chocolate-covered fruit kabobs— both are local favorites.
3. View the Downtown Window Display
Always free and one of the most-beloved parts of the Chicago holiday season, the window displays at Macy’s are opulent, automated, and a twinkling reminder of the season’s joy.
4. iFly Indoor Skydiving
Take a cab a little out of the city to Rosemont, where you can don a skydiving suit and fly in an indoor wind tunnel. iFly brings the skydiving dream to the masses—even on cold winter days when the real thing isn’t an option.
5. Wreathing of the Lions
Have kids? Take them to see the annual Wreathing of the Lions, when the statues
It’s fitting that Curaçao’s name is a derivative of coração, the Portuguese word for heart. For centuries the Caribbean island was the pulsing center of European trade in the region and a melting pot for Dutch, Iberian, South American, African, tropical, and even Sephardic Jewish influences (one of the oldest and most popular buildings on the island is 400-year-old sand-floored temple Mikva Israel-Emanuel). Colonized by the Netherlands after its independence from Spain in 1634, Curaçao’s capital, Willemstad, has a distinct architectural tradition kept alive by its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage City. In recent years the city has also fostered a nascent design scene with global reach.
At first glance Willemstad looks a little like a candy-coated version of Amsterdam. The main canal is lined with the bright pink, yellow, and teal buildings that run along Handelskade Street in the Punda District; the law requires that they be kept in a vibrant color palette and repainted every two years. Nearby, the Otrobanda District is better known for its numerous cobblestone alleyways, reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch provincial towns. The area also contains several European-style open-air plazas, most notably the Floating Market, which sells fresh fish caught off the coast of Venezuela, local fruits and vegetables, and artisanal crafts and
People across the country are getting ready to head home—en masse—for Thanksgiving suppers. If your plans for the holiday involve driving, flying, or taking a train, we can guarantee one thing: you’re not alone. With the help of some insightful numbers and statistics, however, you may be able to avoid joining the end of an airport security line or traffic jam.
Travel volume for the Thanksgiving holiday hasn’t been this high since 2007, when 50.6 million took to the roads, skies, rails, and (for a handful of travelers) waters. Everyone from AAA to Google has crunched the numbers and examined the historical data, to provide you all the stats and facts you need to hack this holiday traffic. Or, at least, to give you interesting numbers to read while you’re at a standstill on the interstate.
The number of travelers packing up their cars and hitting the road this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. This is thanks, in part to low gas prices—down $0.72 per gallon from last year. The average is now $2.26.
How many people will be pouring into, and out of, airports around the world. AAA predicts that air travel will acccount for 8 percent of Thanksgiving holiday travel this year.
The number of airplane seats, according
Our list of things to do the day after Thanksgiving that don’t involve shopping.
We know Black Friday is all about shopping, but that doesn’t mean you want to join the fray searching for deals in the stores. If you have time off and happen to be traveling in Vancouver, skip the retail rush and spend the day getting to know the city. Here are nine things to do instead.
1. A Classic City Breakfast
Have breakfast at White Spot, a Canadian chain in BC and Alberta, Canada, whose origins date back to 1928, when founder Nat Bailey was hustling its original recipes in his Model T food truck at Vancouver’s Lookout Point. Today, the brick-and-mortar restaurant serves modern comfort food, such as buttermilk waffles and pancakes on the breakfast menu, and fancier diner fare like arugula and goat cheese flatbread for lunch and dinner.
2. Stanley Park Stroll
Take a walk around Stanley Park, which encompasses a 988-acre rain forest and part of the Vancouver Seawall. The views are spectacular on a clear day, from the water to the cliffs, to the evergreens and the mountains.
3. Vancouver Art Gallery
Take in the works at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the premier exhibit space in the
Georgia’s capital is buzzing with hip restaurants, quirky cocktail bars, and new cultural attractions. Here’s what to do on a trip to Atlanta.
There’s a reason Atlanta is called the Empire City of the South. In the last eighteen months alone, its crane-filled skyline has yielded a six-block shopping mecca, two major cultural attractions and dozens of restaurants where reservations are harder to come by than a Falcons Super Bowl championship. Everywhere you look, there’s a celebrity; after all, Georgia’s film industry is one of the largest in the country, after California and New York.
Marcel: With eight Atlanta restaurants (four of which opened in the last eighteen months) and at least four more in the works, Ford Fry is Atlanta’s most sleep-deprived restaurateur. One of his latest and most buzzed-about offerings is Marcel, an unabashedly glamorous steakhouse in the Westside Provisions District serving the priciest porterhouse in the city ($124.95 for 30 ounces). Thankfully, Fry is a master in the art of creating bold dining experiences, and the restaurant’s brass-top tables, curved leather banquettes, and dapper bartenders shaking cocktails will help you forget the impending bill.
Revival: The second Atlanta restaurant from Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie, Revival showcases the red-bearded
Get 30 percent off a stay at Knob Hill Inn, a Sun Valley resort where the 29 newly renovated guest rooms have fireplaces and views of the surrounding mountains.
The Fall for Sun Valley package includes:
• Two nights in a King room (with upgrades available)
• Complimentary butler service
• Two bike rentals
• Two day passes for Zenergy Health Club
Cost: From $638 ($319 per night) for a double; book by November 30.
Get 30 percent off a stay at the Arts and Crafts-style Silversmith Hotel, located a block away from Millennium Park.
The Fall into Luxury package includes:
• One night in a Deluxe room
• Dinner for two at the Adamas, the hotel’s restaurant and lounge
• Breakfast for two
• Two welcome cocktails
• Two tickets to the Art Institute of Chicago
Cost: $300 for a double; book by December 30.
Booking code: CSSTL
Get 40 percent off a stay at Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh, Red Sea, a cluster of domed villas set between the Red Sea and the desert mountains.
The Unforgettable Experience package includes:
• Three nights (or more) in a Deluxe Suite (with upgrades available)
• Daily breakfast at the on-site restaurant
• Return airport transfers in a Mercedes Benz
Two hookers give Gavin Haines the ultimate introduction to Amsterdam’s red-light district.
Aptly, I meet the hookers on a street corner. They’re dressed identically: navy jeans, red leather overcoats and scarlet boots, with baby blue berets perched atop their wispy white hair. I flash them an awkward smile and their painted lips part to reveal pearly white teeth.
Martine and Louise Fokkens are identical twins and have the dubious distinction of being the most famous hookers in Holland. At 73 years old, they are also the most experienced, having racked up a century in the trade between them. They have reportedly pleasured some 355,000 men during that long career, which is greater than the population of Belize, though the girls say they never keep a tally.
Today they have promised to show me a good time in Amsterdam’s red-light district, but first: money. They want some. Cue Elard Jan, who works with the Fokkens and interjects to explain the virtues of offering journalists a “freebie”. It will be good publicity, he tells them, or words to that effect. The girls acquiesce and we set off for their brothel.
Now I probably should mention at this point that as
Sanrio—Japanese toy company, creator of Hello Kitty, and purveyor of all things cute—has teamed up with Plan Check, L.A.’s popular burger-and-beer mini-chain, to create a special menu based around Gudetama, Sanrio’s lazy egg. You’ve got until November 29 to check out the menu by Executive Chef Ernesto Uchimura, found at the restaurants in the Fairfax, Sawtelle, and Downtown neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
Plan Check isn’t the first restaurant to take this character and turn it into a menu—a Hong Kong café created a Gudetama dumpling that oozes chocolate custard, for example.
For $39, diners can sate their appetite with a three-course meal. There’s an appetizer of a crispy blanket egg, soy sauce egg, spicy pork belly sausage and miso aioli, followed by two beef sliders with fried quail eggs—featuring Gudetama’s slightly grumpy face, of course. End the meal on a sweet note with a chocolate custard pudding, an apricot thumbprint cookie (that looks like an egg), and orange-ginger egg cream soda topped with Gudetama’s scowly visage. To commemorate the meal, diners get a limited-edition T-shirt.
This isn’t the first time that Plan Check has teamed up with Sanrio. In 2014, Plan Check created a Hello Kitty Burger Bento Box complete with house-made pink cheese. And elsewhere in Southern California, a shipping container
From ropey, soapy massages and ladyboy cabarets in Bangkok to a remote US brothel where ‘customers are given a good probing’, get a load of the world’s best red-light districts.
1) Patpong, Bangkok
Spread out across Patpong Soi 1 and Patpong Soi 2, Asia’s most notorious red-light district is an overwhelming mecca of neon-dazzling bars, go-go girls, ladyboy cabarets and famed ping pong performances.
Overpriced and often shocking, the area rose up after the arrival of US servicemen during the Vietnam War and has since been overcome by shows that range from gyrating dancers to turtles being thrust from fannies to fishbowls.
From soapy ‘happy ending’ massages to blowjob bars and gay discos; Patpong offers it all, even stalls of hefty dildos, boxed fleshlights, bulbous buttplugs and dubious-looking Viagra, which should sate any appetite for post-Patpong alone time.
2) De Wallen, Amsterdam
The world’s most illustrious red-light district is also one of the prettiest, though past the tree-crowned canals and gabled houses, visitors will find the hips of attractive prostitutes swaying hypnotically inside rose-hued windows.
Among the labyrinth of medieval alleyways are sticky-boothed peep shows (don’t touch the walls) and coughing perverts in their macs (yup, in the Sexmuseum)
It’s been deemed too dangerous for a dog or cat.
Delta Air Lines announced Monday it will no longer allow pets as checked baggage starting next March. Animal advocates are sure to cheer the move. The airline sustained 74 pet deaths in the past 10 years, MarketWatch points out. Delta has the highest rate of pet fatalities among domestic airlines and accounts for about 25% of all flight-related pet deaths.
This is a victory for animal-rights advocates; groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society say it’s a bad idea to treat your furry friend like a suitcase and check pets as cargo. “We strongly advise against transporting your animal companion by air in the cargo area,” PETA says. Dogs and cats can succumb to heat or cold, lack of oxygen or stress. In 2012, more than half of the 35 animals that died on flights were on Delta flights, according to Gawker.
Delta’s website says that as of March 1, 2016, it will no longer put pets in the cargo hold. Cats and dogs small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat can
Los Angeles is a world-class shopping destination—the first U.S. city to have flagship stores for Neapolitan tailoring masters Isaia, and COS, the upscale clothing brand launched by H&M in 2007—but there are 364 other, less-crowded days for retail therapy. Here are some alternatives to the hustle and bustle of L.A.’s famed shopping strips and mega-malls.
1. Take a Hike
Park your car at Trails Café on Fern Dell Road in Griffith Park, grab a beverage, and climb the steep and winding 20-minute aerobic path up to the Griffith Observatory, which offers killer views of the Hollywood sign and the sweep of the L.A. basin, both coming and going. Admission at the Art Deco masterpiece—made famous in the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause—is free.
2. Ride the Metro
Los Angeles’ subway and light rail system is cheap, clean, and relatively convenient. From numerous stops in both Hollywood and downtown, you can reach Koreatown, Chinatown, Pasadena, Los Feliz, Universal Studios theme park (which just launched the new Fast & Furious Supercharged ride), the Autry National Center western museum, and even the historic ocean vessel Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific in downtown Long Beach.
3. Picnic Breakfast
Fans of chef Ludo Lefebvre, the king of pop-up restaurants,
“Most women I know have a very difficult time packing a wardrobe for a resort,” says the Hong Kong-based French-Canadian designer Marie France Van Damme. “Most of the time, they pack too many outfits or, worse, they pack all the wrong things—like jean shorts, which are not great when the weather is hot and humid, for example.
To make things easier, Van Damme collaborated with One&Only Resorts on a 10-piece capsule collection that addresses what she believes are the exact wardrobe needs of women vacationing at any of O&O’s five luxury properties, from Reethi Rah in the Maldives to Le Saint Géran in Mauritius (pictured). This “City to Resort” wardrobe ($140-$850), which can be purchased in-full or in pieces at all of One&Only’s exclusive NEO boutiques upon arrival (therefore eliminating the need to pack more than one’s personal belongings; #genius), is neutral in palette (black, white, and one signature print), and includes a bikini, a t-shirt, a chiffon kaftan, and a black jersey column dress for evenings out.
“To look and feel chic, you need to be comfortable,” Van Damme says. “I knew the fabric for the collection needed to drape nicely, and not be