Shermans Travel » Blog » Los Angeles
When I’m on the road without my kids, what I need most out of a hotel room are, naturally, the two things that I can’t get at home – privacy and quiet. Once those basics are locked down, I don’t really expect much in the way of in-room amenities.
But that’s the thing about hotel amenities. You don’t necessarily expect them. Almost by definition, they’re things you didn’t even realize you needed until you see them.
So when I walked into my room at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago this spring, my wheelie bag and I stopped dead in our tracks at the sight of a Nespresso machine. Evidently I needed this very much because I couldn’t pass it without brewing a cup. But the real surprise was the UV towel warmer in the closet. Where had this thing been my whole life? Read more
The Republican National Convention is under way in Tampa, Florida (with a watchful eye on Hurricane Isaac). Next week, Democrats will descend on Charlotte, North Carolina for their quadrennial festivities. When it’s all over, the two host cities will join a fairly short list of places that have welcomed the two major political parties. We decided to take a look at that list and see which cities have hosted the most national conventions, what presidential history has been left behind, and what kinds of attractions continue to make those destinations such fantastic vacation spots.
There are some surprises in our Top 10 National Conventional Host Cities. Denver hosted its only two conventions 100 years apart. Cincinnati had its number called to host the parties three different times (granted, all between 1856 and 1880). The Democrats didn’t hold a convention in the South after the Civil War until 1928′s affair in Houston.
Which city has hosted the most conventions? Which president was the “second-most hated man in Miami” (according to those in Little Havana)? And what can you do now in all of those cities to enjoy a great vacation? All of the answers are waiting for you here.
Mitt Romney may have to wait till November to find out if he is president, but you can seize power now with SLS Hotel‘s Stately Leaders Stay: The Presidential Package, a $35,000 per night deal that includes the presidential suite with butler and “secret service” detail, a custom suit, and a celebration dinner for 40.
Located in Beverly Hills, SLS’ package lets you celebrate your presidential election with a dinner with 40 guests at SAAM, a Jose Andres tasting menu restaurant, complete with an exclusively created cocktail. After shaking hands and kissing babies, retire to the presidential suite, a 1,900-square-foot space dripping with touches by Phillippe Starck, from one-of-a-kind art pieces to the custom furniture. A Commander-in-Chief, of course, doesn’t sleep with the staff (unless your intern’s last name is Lewinsky), hence the suite’s separate bedroom, bathroom with oversized shower, and full dressing area to try on your custom Neiman Marcus suit worth $5,000. And if it doesn’t fit, the suite’s in-room gym will ensure that you lose those pounds and look like a head of state even on the road.
As you might have noticed, we’ve been a bit obsessed with the beach lately thanks to the East Coast heat wave. We’ve looked at the worst people at the beach, the crazy things that beachgoers do, and The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. This all started a few weeks ago when we asked you to share your favorite underrated beaches with us. We put the call out on Twitter and Facebook, as well. It’s clear that you all have firm opinions on the best beaches in the world that don’t get enough attention. With summer in full swing and everyone looking for ways to beat the heat without dealing with obnoxious crowds, traffic snarls, and boring routines, it’s time to take a look at some of your favorite underrated and lesser-known beaches. Read more
Perhaps the worst thing about a trip to the beach is sharing that trip with hundreds (if not thousands) of other people. A day at the beach should be a serene, relaxing experience. Hearing other people’s radios and conversations, dodging their frisbees, and avoiding the sand that they kick up turns a pleasant day by the shore into a nightmare. That’s why it’s best to avoid the popular, mainstream, famous beaches for lesser-known plots of sand that provide more privacy with just as much sun and fun. Finding those underrated beach destinations isn’t always easy. If you’re visiting a new city, you might only know the popular beach spots listed in guidebooks or made famous on television.
That’s why we want your help. ShermansTravel readers are spread out across the world and have traveled the globe. We want to know your favorite underrated, unknown, and better beaches. Where should we go in Sydney if we want to avoid the hordes at Bondi? Where can we go in Miami to relax on a blanket rather than be part of the scene on South Beach? What’s a peaceful alternative in Los Angeles to the wacky world that is Venice Beach?
Tell us about your favorite lesser-known but totally awesome beaches in the comments below. Share them on Twitter with the hashtag #betterbeaches (and include @ShermansTravel in your tweets). Post them on our Facebook page. No matter where they are in the world, we want to know! We’ll compile the best suggestions and include them in a future blog post.
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Some hotels are merely a place to rest your head at night, but others hold fascinating tales of wartime refuges, remarkable wildlife, valuable art, and ghostly spirits that refuse to let go. Sign up to be amazed and maybe learn a thing or two on these exceptional hotel tours.
Until recently, most people had forgotten there was an air raid shelter underneath the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, Vietnam. When staff discovered it during some routine work on the pool area, however, the hotel decided to excavate the bunker and restore it to its original state. Now, hotel guests can participate in nightly tours that highlight the shelter’s famous past residents – including Joan Baez, who recorded “Where Are You Now My Son” there in 1972 – and Hotel Metropole’s role during the Vietnam War.
An in-house historian leads groups through the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Florida, each Wednesday through Saturday to reveal such nuggets as the unlikely origins of the hotel and President Calvin Coolidge’s preference to dine with the hotel staff during his visits. The tour costs $5 for guests, $10 for non-guests; alternatively, book the tour and a three-course lunch at Marchand’s Bar & Grill for $25.
Global travel exposes us to all sorts of cheap eats from roadside vendors, whether it’s dim sum in Hong Kong (pictured) or a hot dog with relish in New York City. New this spring, Peninsula Hotels gives a nod to this kind of street food with room service menu items called “Snacks & the City.” I’d like to know what street cart is selling Kobe beef sliders and fries with truffle aioli, like the Peninsula Chicago, or filet mignon hoagies, like the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Also, buying “street food” on the street is kind of half the fun. However, as room-service options these new menu items really spice up the old stand-bys, and they’re available 24 hours a day (unlike food trucks or street vendors). Though prices may start at street fare levels of around $3, expect to pay a bit more for many of the upscale delights. Participating Peninsula locations also include Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Manila. www.peninsula.com
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more.
As the kids start counting down the days to summer vacation, America’s theme parks are counting down to the newest, biggest, most scream-worthy rides and attractions (so far, anyway). Here, a handy primer on where you’ll be taking the family this year.
The biggest news, of course, is the opening of Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. This 12-acre attraction based on the Disney-Pixar Cars movies incorporates three new rides – including the thrilling coaster Radiator Springs Racers (pictured) – a trio of restaurants, and other themed shopping and entertainment venues. Watch out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, and other Cars favorites starting June 15.
Giggles are muffled and eyebrows are raised when anyone mentions traveling to Amsterdam. After some perfunctory chit chat about the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, a pregnant pause typically lingers until someone asks the question: “Did you smoke marijuana?” Since the 1970s, tourists have flocked to Amsterdam to legally get high. Now, however, the laws have changed and, come May 1, coffee shops in the southern half of the country will cater only to Dutch residents who are registered members and possess a “weed pass.”
Of course, lawyers for the coffee shops are fighting the ban on tourists and hope to prevent the law from going national come January 1, 2013. However, I think it’s high time that other cities followed the Dutch and made local customs available only to residents. Here are just a few treasured traditions that locals deserve to enjoy without having to share with tourists.
Pet-owners often opt to leave their beloved furry friends at home while traveling – most hotels and restaurants just aren’t interested in the potential for extra mess and noise complaints, and it can make traveling with pets more difficult and at times much more expensive. Some hotels, though, are making an effort to be not only pet-friendly, but to make your pet’s stay as comfortable as yours, with amenities ranging from doggie yoga to pet room service menus. Most recently, we’ve found great new pet amenities at the Pierre in New York City, the W Hotel Los Angeles-Westwood, and the W Scottsdale.
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