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With the Millennial generation growing up, the travel industry is beginning to see a gap in the market for sophisticated young travelers on a budget. Budget-chic brands such as CitizenM and Marriott’s Moxy, which offer high design and low price points, are booming, while budget brands such as Radisson are undergoing a design-focused overhaul. The result is that the high-end experience is being redefined: luxurious is no longer synonymous with expensive. That’s good news for travelers of all generations; gone are the days when a low budget meant bland and basic accommodations - as the following worldwide hotels prove.
New York City: Playland Motel
Located way out in Rockaway Beach in Queens, the Playland Motel, which opened in summer 2013, restored a 19th -century building and engaged 12 artists and designers to curate each of the guest rooms. Each season, artists and designers will update the rooms’ designs according to their own aesthetic. Rooms currently available to book include Kate Pane’s Coconut Castle room, which the artist describes as “a hot and heavy girlhood frolic with glitter sunburns, ponies and wet swimsuits.”
The Playland Motel is also home to a popular bar, diner, and pizzeria. The scene is young and the music loud. Rooms (with shared bathrooms) go for around $160 a night.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and, if you are thinking about a last-minute ditch-your-family getaway, but worry that holiday fares will be astronomical, a limited but rather excellent – dare we say, classy – deal from Virgin Atlantic can get you to London for a long weekend in the comfort of Upper Class.
In case you aren’t familiar with Virgin’s ultra-luxe Upper Class service, a few things you can look forward to include chauffeur transfer services; 33” wide flat beds (the longest of any airline’s business class), an onboard bar, and clubhouses with cocktail bars and spas.
We’ve already dished up the best hotel restaurants to have a Thanksgiving feast at on the home front, but what if you’re traveling over the holidays? Luckily for homesick Americans, international hotels understand the significance of the day, meaning that even in such far flung places as Europe and the Caribbean, you can celebrate with a semi-traditional feast and all the trimmings.
London’s iconic Mayfair hotel, The Dorchester will be offering American guests traditional favorites with an English twist at its restaurant The Grill. Thanksgiving dinner will include such dishes as New England clam chowder; roast turkey, quince and orange stuffing, baked squash, sweet potatoes, chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon with cranberry sauce, and, for dessert, pumpkin and pecan pie, and eggnog ice cream with roasted marshmallow sauce. With the hotel’s prime location overlooking Hyde Park, you can easily burn off (some of) the calories with a brisk stroll. While in the park, you can check out Hyde Park Winter Wonderland with its shops, ice skating, and carnival rides (opens Nov. 22). Thanksgiving lunch and dinner rates start from £60 per adult excluding wines (approximately $90) and £90 with wines (approximately $138 USD) and €30 per child aged 5-11 ($48 USD).
Too often when we travel, we feel like an outsider getting only the briefest glimpse of how a city truly feels. We feel that we will never get an inside peek, because to enjoy the city’s true riches would require a lot of money and impossible connections. It does not have to be that way: here’s how to enjoy luxe London for less.
Unless you are friends with a member, you might as well forget about ever getting in to legendarily exclusive Groucho Club. A smart way to get access to the strictly members-only Soho House or Shoreditch House, however, is by reserving a room there. As long as you agree to abide by club rules – no photos, no cell phones, no suits – you get to make use of the club during your stay. We see January rates for a transparently named “Tiny Room” at Shoreditch House going for as low as £105, and a “Broom Cupboard” at Dean Street Townhouse (the Soho House hotel) for £81.
When Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red service launched this past March, it was the British airline’s first foray into domestic flights within the U.K.. The all-economy service offers flights between London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Manchester, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. The flights are timed so they provide easy connections for people transferring to and from Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul flights, and offer free luggage and in-flight snacks (and breakfast on flights before 9 a.m.).
However, it has just been reported that Little Red’s flights are running at one-third capacity, prompting one reporter to brand the new venture “financially disastrous.”
We wondered why this might be happening, and whether there were better, cheaper options for domestic travel in the U.K.. We tested the rates using an October 28 travel date as a baseline. The lowest available fare for a Little Red one-way flight from London (Heathrow) to Edinburgh on that day is £70.30 ($112.47). Here’s how that compares to other options for transport between the two capitals on the same day. Read more
It’s no secret: Flying to London from the U.S. is expensive compared to other European cities. Dublin is about the same distance from the East Coast but often has fares that are 30-40 percent less than airfare into Gatwick or Heathrow airports. But why is London so pricey to fly into? High landing fees (a fee that an airport imposes upon airlines that wish to fly through there), air passenger duties, and other often unseen taxes make the city an expensive destination when it comes to flights. And there’s little good news for the years to come for passengers as the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (they regulate landing fees increases, passenger airport experience, and more at Gatwick and Heathrow) recently released its proposal for landing fee increases from 2014–2019. What do these fees ultimately mean for you? We’re here to break it down for you: Read more
Whenever we think of the Netherlands, lots of us immediately recall an all-night excursion we took back in college from London to Amsterdam. Being rough-and-tumble, empty-pocketed students, we had no qualms about the cumbersome bus-to-a-train-to-a-ferry-to-another-train journey, and our bleary-eyed arrival into Amsterdam was offset by the sheer joy of being someplace new.
These days, we’re a little more discerning about how we plan our trips. All the better that Eurostar has finally decided to forge ahead with its first-ever London-Amsterdam nonstop route, set to launch at the end of 2016. Using its new e320 high-speed trains, Eurostar will offer service between the two cities twice a day, resulting in a four-hour trip that stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport, and, finally, Amsterdam Centraal.
If 2016 is too far away to suit your spontaneous travel needs, or you’re curious about the cost of different kinds of transport between these two great cities, here’s a quick guide. Read more
The iconic yellow cab is known in practically every culture as a symbol of on-demand transportation, catering to both disoriented tourists and rushed locals alike. But in the digital age, the way we call for and utilize on-demand transport is changing. E-hail apps, as they’re known, harness the power of GPS in order to bring a ride directly to you, thus significantly changing the taxi game. Legislators are still ironing out the kinks in many cities, though both San Francisco and New York have already embraced the cab hailing tech revolution.
Here’s a look at the biggest players, what they offer, and how much they charge for their services. 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
After a few months of deliberation, the U.S. Department of Transportation has given the green light to a full-on joint venture between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic (not to be confused with its domestic counterpart Virgin America, which is a separate company). To the common person, the mere mention of such a transaction probably triggers a rolling of the eyes, or perhaps a fear of what it actually means for those flying. Fret not, weary travelers — allow us to break down what the partnership means for consumers, including more destinations and more flexible timing. Read more
As we begin to see the world of in-flight entertainment change, so too are we seeing an evolution in the way airlines are planning their new flight routes. A recent spate of new airline route announcements indicates a trend that many Americans (especially those who don’t live in New York or LA) will be very happy about: airlines are now focusing on establishing daily or weekly service out of secondary cities like Boston, Chicago, and Orlando. Likely due to overall growth among airlines like Emirates, United, and British Airways, passengers are now benefiting from nonstop routes based out of their home cities. Read more
Thirty-five minutes is all it takes to get from the U.K. to France. Considering that a New Yorker can’t even get from Brooklyn Bridge to the Bronx in that amount of time on North America’s largest transportation network, the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is an incredible system. Since it opened in 1994, the Channel Tunnel (the “Chunnel”) has brought 300 million travelers to and from England and France – that’s equivalent to more than four times the population of the U.K. It’s the world’s longest undersea tunnel (23.5 miles of it are underwater), and for the first time, the public will be allowed to see what goes on behind the scenes and underground. Read more
In a city with as much history as London, it is not surprising that its buildings have lived many different lives. What is perhaps surprising is the creative use that contemporary artists have made of disused buildings.
An abandoned tube station (Brompton Road in Knightsbridge) recently went on the market and we’re interested to see what an innovative buyer will make of it. After all, the recent closure of the Old Vic Tunnels arts venue, located in unused railway vaults beneath Waterloo Station, has left a tube/arts gap that we’d like to see filled.
In the meantime, here are a few of London’s most interesting arts venues that were originally built for very different purposes.
One of London’s most famous attractions, and one of the most visited museums in the world, the Tate Modern occupies the former Bankside Power Station on the South Bank of the River Thames. The power station was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who was also responsible for many classic red telephone box designs, and was on its way to being demolished when the Tate Gallery announced it as the home for its new modern art museum.
The Tate’s Turbine Hall used to hold the power station’s operators and now displays specially commissioned works by artists that have included Louise Bourgeois and Olafur Eliasson (above); as well a 2013 performance by Kraftwerk, which was so hotly anticipated that it crashed the museum’s booking system. Read more
That being said, a quick stopover offers a great opportunity to get a tiny taste of what to look forward to when you return for a longer visit.
Here are three different ideas for what to do with your four hours. Read more
For a company founded on the production of quilts and headscarves in the 1940s, a nationally-lauded boutique hotel is the epitome of success. Laura Ashley, who died in 1985, leaving a thriving textile empire in her stead, would undoubtedly be proud to behold The Manor Elstree, a 49-room former country club that debuted this week as the first-ever Laura Ashley hotel. Boasting contemporary and vintage designs (beds, linens, desks, chairs – all Laura Ashley), the elegant hotel is a Laura Ashley paradise.
For the right person, of course. Read more
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