Shermans Travel » Blog » Amenity Watch
We have always loved Virgin Atlantic for their non-conformist leanings, great customer service, and sweet amenities, so they were perhaps the last airline we’d have predicted to join the annoying “Additional Fee Club.” Read more
If you’re reading this site, chances are you love travel. And along with the obvious perks of roaming the globe (experiencing other cultures, trying new foods, scouting awesome souvenirs to bring home) there is the inevitable wear and tear on the body that comes from being on the road. To that end, we wondered: what steps can be taken to ensure optimum health during travel?
A few days ago, we shared advice on how to avoid catching your seatmate’s germs on a long-haul flight. Here, we chat with Dr. Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Center Director at The BodyHoliday, a health and wellness resort in St Lucia, about the benefits of travel, the “right” way to drink, and other useful travel health tips. Read more
The FAA made smartphone users leap for joy earlier this month when they announced that electronic devices could – after years of flight attendants’ finger-wagging – be used below 10,000 feet. Now, Southwest is taking things a step further with the launch of gate-to-gate Wifi aboard all flights. Read more
They’re an essential part of every travel experience: the check-in kiosks, the security checkpoints, the duty-free shops. We’re talking, of course, about airports. And though no two airports are created equal, they’re generally viewed with wary disdain, a a cumbersome-but-necessary means of getting from point A to B. But airports don’t have to be a downer. Follow our tips, and you might just find yourself actually looking forward to the next time you fly: Read more
Things change. Those words are particularly apt when talking about the current hotel expansion happening in the Caribbean. On Wednesday, we showed you photos of the still-in-construction 1,000-acre mega resort Baha Mar, set to open on New Paradise Island in the Bahamas in late 2014/early 2015. Of the resort’s four hotels (totaling 2,200 rooms), one will be flagged as a Mondrian, the design-forward brand normally associated with urban destinations like New York and Miami.
With its trendy cocktail bars, pool cabanas, and “Sunset Strip vibe,” the Mondrian will be specifically targeting fashion and nightlife crowds. This signals a 180-degree shift from the Caribbean’s usual family-oriented, mid-range hotel offerings. But this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read more
How many times have you thought to yourself, “This year, I’d like to go away for the holidays.” It’s a fantasy we all harbor, to escape your everyday surroundings and get another city’s perspective on the holidays. The current holiday special from the folks at Public Hotel in Chicago could let you do just that. Read more
Ah, those pesky resort fees. We’ve all encountered them in our travels, lurking on our hotel bills.
They’ve been around since the 1990s when they were generally utilized to pay for the upkeep of high-end facilities at upscale resorts; the beach clubs and tennis courts, for example. However, in the last five years or so, more and more hotels have been tacking on these annoying – and often spendy – extra charges for considerably lower-end facilities. For example, almost every explanation of these fees we’ve encountered includes such uninspiring “perks” as a newspaper and local phone calls.
According to research by Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at New York University, the U.S. hotel industry collected approximately $1.55 billion in fees and surcharges in 2009. Not all of which were resort fees, but you can see how fees and extras add up. Here’s a breakdown of these fees, how they work, when they’re charged, and how you can avoid them. Read more
Fall in New York City is one of the best times of year. The weather is incredible, fall foliage is at its best in Central Park, and there’s plenty to celebrate. If you’re planning a trip to the city in November, consider coming for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watch as floats, bands, and dancers pass by; after, stroll through the park for some leaf peeping.
While normally you’d have to fight your way through the crowds to get a good spot to watch, you can stop stressing this year. Four-star Affinia Manhattan is offering a special “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” package with lots of great add-ons including four sought-after Grandstand tickets. The coveted VIP-only seats (usually only offered to Macy’s employees, charities, and other organizations, though we found them being auctioned online for $700 each) provide guests with the best view in town. Here’s what you’ll get with the Affinia deal:
Singapore may have a hard time competing with US cities like Chicago, Miami, Portland, and NYC when it comes to “up-and-coming hotel neighborhoods,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great new hotels to be found. This fall, a spate of new 4-star and upscale properties hits the market, marking the city’s astonishing growth and development over the past few months, and making it hard to walk a few blocks without running into some new property rising up out of the ground. The trick, of course, is finding a way to sift through all the new-ness until you end up with a bargain.
Luckily, that isn’t hard to do. Despite the fact that Singapore is home to a few of the world’s most lavish (and, by definition, priciest) hotels, the newer properties manage to strike a balance between high-design and affordability. Take the Amoy Hotel (pictured above), for example, which sits right around the corner from Raffles Place – one of the busiest stops on Singapore’s MRT subway line. The brand new, 37-room hotel combines a sleek, modern aesthetic with influences from the Chinatown neighborhood that surrounds it (the building was in fact a former “shop house”). Inside, guests can choose between a “cosy” single room (compact spaces with replica wooden ceiling beams, large vanity mirrors, and full minibar) or a “deluxe” double room (slightly larger spaces with French double doors). Scheduled to open at end of 2013. Read more
Hilton New York made headlines earlier this summer when it decided to do away with room service and focus instead on a new grab-and-go dining concept that offers “quick, gourmet food options” in a self-service format. For many, the move was seen as a way for the company to skimp on food costs, but a recent visit to the space suggests otherwise.
I stopped by Herb N’ Kitchen, as it’s officially known, after its grand debut this week , and was impressed by what I found. Piping hot, mouth-watering BBQ pork belly flatbread fresh out of a brick oven? Check. Cozy, intimate dining areas with marble-topped tables? Check. Tiny boxes of chocolate-covered animal crackers? Grass-fed beef jerky locally produced in Brooklyn? Double check.
On my way back to the office, I passed the Sheraton New York, which sits one block away. Though rates for both hotels fall into a similar range (for select dates in November, Sheraton was $355 a night, while Hilton was a little higher at $399 a night), it’s clear that each is doing very different things with their dining. So, how does room service at the very comparable Sheraton compare to Hilton’s shiny new cafe? Read more
We here at ShermansTravel see lots of luxury travel trends, but we feel especially predisposed to a sort of dumbstruck jealousy towards those lucky dogs who end up aboard a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER plane. With fully-flat, 78 inch-long beds, sheets and a duvet, leather quilted back cushions, and iPad-ready USB/HDMI ports, each individual ‘seat’ (and we use that term loosely) likely offers more amenities than the hotel room awaiting you at your final destination.
Next month, the brand new planes – complete with re-designed business and first class cabins – will go into service along the airline’s main Singapore-London route. But for $5867.38, is the seat alone worth the trip? Read more
Have you ever looked down on Manhattan from a rooftop hotel bar 54 stories above ground? Well, thanks to a new Hyatt opening this fall, you and your friends will be able to do just that.
The ShermansTravel team recently got an exclusive first look at a brand new 487-room property that’s scheduled to open right in the heart of Times Square, on 45th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The tall, slender building will have the highest rooftop hotel bar in the city (and with all the pre-existing hotel rooftops, that’s saying a lot), and rooms will be apportioned at 11 per floor, which maximizes the limited square footage available. As they say, build up! Read more
Nowadays, airlines are offering all sorts of purchasable incentives (baggage delivery services, subscription fees for checked bags) to make the travel experience easier and to keep customers coming back. But when it comes to actually dishing out the cash to pay for these “amenities” are they really worth it? Recently, Silver Airways, a small airline under United Airlines and 2013 Regional Airline of the Year, created SunPac, a new program that allows travelers to purchase a 12- or 24-pack of one-way flights. With prices for 12-packs ranging from $1,777 to $2,744 (that’s anywhere from $148 to $228 per one-way flight), it might sound appealing. But consider how short these flights are, and the fact that the airline itself advertises one-way fares on the same routes from $69 to $89. So is it worth it? Here’s the breakdown:
As the popularity of mobile devices continues to grow, the airline industry – often slow to react to such changes – has begun redefining the notion of in-flight entertainment. Unlike the ceiling-mounted displays that used to force entire cabins to watch the same movie, or even the individual, behind-the-seat monitors we are all accustomed to now, newer hand-held entertainment devices are being tailored exclusively for passengers.
On flights where in-seat displays aren’t available, the addition of tablets is a huge boon, though arguments for their alleged “benefits” (small size, multiple viewing angles, ability to share with neighboring passengers) get a little shaky. However, for die-hard tablet fans – or those simply interested in a different take on in-flight entertainment, here’s a look at which airlines are now offering the devices on-board. Read more
Iran doesn’t have the best reputation for welcoming foreign tourists, yet signs point to that changing – slowly. From 2004 to 2010 tourism to the country grew by 12.7 percent, and while most of these visits were for reasons of religious pilgrimage, a good number made the trip to see Iran’s ancient sites, to hike and ski in the Alborz mountains, and to paraglide (like these unlucky Slovak tourists who have just been released after charges of spying).
The case of the Slovak paragliders suggests that Iran still has a way to go if it wants to shake off foreign travelers’ negative perceptions of its touristic potential, but a brand new private train service may help. Read more
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