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Travel tips

Hotel Monaco helps you make your bed

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 26, 2014 07:37 AM

Making the bed is one chore most people typically loathe, but hotel housekeepers seem to have mastered it. And what's more fun than jumping on - or into - a perfectly made bed?

To help get you in the mood when you go home, Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Chicago is kicking off National Bed Month (yes, apparently that's a thing) with a catchy bed-making tutorial.

The "How to Make the Perfect Bed" video features Monaco Chicago’s general manager, housekeepers, and front office staff singing and dancing their way through the bed-making process – from plumping pillows, to precise folds and tightly tucked sheets.

I'd prefer to be sleeping in my bed right now, but we all have to get up and start the day at some point so… Go make your bed!

Hooked on healthy travel

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 21, 2014 09:11 AM

Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar:

The countdown to your vacation is on, and you've started the "I have to get into a bathing suit" diet. You cut calories, limit alcohol, hit the gym, and get yourself in a relatively happy zone so putting on a swimsuit doesn't send you into a complete state of shock. Then it's time to travel. You hit the airport, go straight to the bar, throw back a few before the flight (and maybe a few more on the flight), and indulge in all the flavors of the local cuisine when you finally arrive at your destination. We indulge. We savor. We taste-test our way through Five-Star restaurants and mixology classes at the swim-up hotel bar. And why shouldn't we? We work hard so we can play hard, right? And sometimes, playing hard means stuffing your face with a bowl of fresh-made guacamole and a pitcher of margaritas.

So much for saving calories.

Yes, it's normal, and yes, we've all fell victim to this routine at one point in our travel lives. The bad news is: bloating occurs at rapid rates at 35,000 feet. The good news is: airlines and hotels have created ways to help you beat the bloat in the sky and on the ground.


American Express Travel picks top travel destinations for 2014

Posted by Melanie Nayer January 16, 2014 12:20 PM

2011-01-28-16.jpgAlaska was named one of the top travel destinations for 2014. This photo, courtesy of, shows the spectacular views of Alaska's landscape as seen from a local cruise ship.

Ready to travel this year but need some help deciding where to go? American Express Travel recently surveyed nearly 200 of its Travel Counselors on top destinations.

Based on trips already booked for 2014, more people are traveling abroad and – despite the deep freeze sweeping through the country – more travelers are booking Arctic explorations.

“Travel tends to make the list of new year resolutions. For those who are looking to get away in 2014, we wanted to ask our Travel Counselors what they are seeing as the latest travel trends and share them to help inspire inclined jetsetters,” says Claire Bennett, executive vice president of American Express Travel. “In 2014, we are seeing that some travelers will want to re-explore tried and true favorites and others are looking into more unchartered waters for a new adventure.”

The list of hot destinations for 2014 from American Express Travel includes:


Top travel trends for 2014

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 29, 2013 08:24 AM

hotels-high-tech.jpgThis past year was a reinventing of sorts for the travel industry. In 2013, there was on average more travelers, and more interest in getting back on the road and seeing the world. To help accommodate the re-interest in travel after the recession, hotels, airlines, cruise companies and travel agencies are reinventing the way we travel - from booking options to room service menus.

In 2013 we saw hotel grocery delivery services, mobile check-ins and yes, free WiFi on planes. We witnessed some unfortunate travel disasters but also some travel successes, like the use of social media to book and plan trips, more leg room on flights, and the beginning stages of tourism space travel.

As the new year approaches, the travel industry is on par to make some significant improvements and enhancements. If you're looking to travel in 2014, here are 10 trends to watch for - from Pinterest planning to, finally, the first tourist in space.

Photo gallery: The top 10 travel trends to watch for in 2014

Four Seasons Miami helps fight hunger with cooking class

Posted by Melanie Nayer September 2, 2013 08:57 AM

EDGE-Cooking-Class1000-1-of-1.jpgFour Seasons Hotel Miami is bringing awareness to childhood hunger by cooking. The luxury hotel is offering a tapas class during the month of September as part of its monthly cooking class.

These monthly cooking classes vary by theme and are all taught by chefs at the hotel, with the occasional guest chef joining in. September's “Small Bites, Big Appetites” modern global tapas cooking class hopes to draw a bigger crowd with a portion of the proceeds benefit Share our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign.


Get away for National Relaxation Day

Posted by Melanie Nayer August 13, 2013 10:02 AM

RoofDeckIMAGE.jpgChill out on the roof deck at XV Beacon for National Relaxation Day. Photo credit: XV Beacon

There's a day for everything, and this Thursday, it's mandatory that everyone just relax. Take a deep breath. Practice your breathing. Say a collective "Ohm" and be at peace. Or at least that's the thought behind National Relaxation Day, which happens on Aug. 15.

In an effort to evoke relaxation, here are some great getaways that will require you to turn your head - and your phone - off, kick back and just enjoy the moment.


Mandarin Oriental, Boston: Back Bay is home to some of the best spas in the city, including the Five-Star Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston. For National Relaxation Day, there is nothing better than relaxing the spa's crystal steam room, or taking a soak in the jacuzzi before submerging under the sheets for a massage or signature Mandarin Oriental journey treatment.
My advice: Splurge on the Gemstone Vitality Treatment. It's a one-of-a-kind treatment for the Boston location using gemstones that are local to New England. Allow yourself extra time before and after your treatment to enjoy the relaxation areas.

Boston Harbor Hotel: One of the best things about summer is the Boston Harbor Hotel's Summer in the City series. Treat yourself to a day off and book a spa appointment, then reserve a table on the deck for Wednesday night's live music on the barge. If you aren't digging the country music, you can swing around the corner to the Alley Bar, where you'll find live, acoustic sounds from local artists.
My advice: Hang out at the Alley Bar and move over to the main deck at the Harbor Hotel for a night cap. You'll love the smaller crowds and the nautical night scene.

XV Beacon: Treat yourself to a night of boutique luxury in Beacon Hill. Every room at XV Beacon has its own working fireplace, Italian cashmere throws, a roof deck with killer views of the city, and a direct line to room service.
My advice: Lock the door, order in, curl up under the cashmere and don't use the free WiFi.


Report: The cheapest and most expensive cities to visit

Posted by Melanie Nayer June 16, 2013 03:17 PM

boston-haymarket.jpegLooking to save a little on summer travel? Maybe you have a few extra dollars you're willing to spend? TripAdvisor recently released the results of their annual study that analyzes the costs of a night out and overnight stay (a four-star hotel, cocktails, a two-course dinner paired with a bottle of wine, and round-trip taxi ride) in cities around the globe, giving travelers some insight into cost-effective travel.

Boston ranked third on the list, following Honolulu and New York City.

TripAdvisor looked at prices from June 1 through August 31, and showed the biggest increases happening in Orlando, Denver, Honolulu, L.A. and Seattle. Honolulu was the most expensive U.S. city ($504.94), while Oslo brought in the highest numbers internationally ($581.08). If you're looking for a budget trip, a night out in Vegas will cost you $272.94 and Sofia, Bulgaria, is a bargain at $158.42.


Top summer honeymoon destinations

Posted by Melanie Nayer June 9, 2013 02:29 PM

Fuschia-Peonies-Bridal-Bouquet.jpgSummer is the most popular time to get married. With everything in bloom and the weather at its peak for the year, brides of all ages and incomes are rushing to alter in an effort to capture the best ambiance Boston has to give. There are endless summer wedding venues in Boston, and once the details have been decided upon and the contracts signed, the real question looms: where to go on the honeymoon?

If you're still up in the air with your honeymoon plans this summer, Brides magazines recently ranked the top honeymoon destinations around the world. Here are the top 12:

FULL ENTRY names top 40 "Tastemakers" to watch in 2013

Posted by Melanie Nayer April 15, 2013 09:08 AM

Ever wondered where Chef Daniel Boulud likes to dine in New York? Or what chocolatier Katrina Markoff craves with her desserts? Or, what spices mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim hides in his hidden cocktails?, the online ratings site for Forbes Travel Guide, recently named their top 40 "Tastemakers" to watch in 2013, and the list will have you salivating for more.

What's a Tastemaker, you wonder? These are the people who make travel a little more delicious. They are your favorite chefs, bartenders, pastry perfectionists, sommeliers and all things epicurean. They are also the ones who create the atmosphere and environment that you enjoy - from barstools to lighting and flatware. They are the ones responsible for wishing you were back at your favorite restaurant, bar or hotel.

Who are some of these Tastemakers?


Survey: Southwest Airlines, Choice Hotels, Marriott top mobile apps

Posted by Melanie Nayer March 28, 2013 06:00 AM

southwest-app.pngHow often do you book travel from your mobile device? If you're one of the on-the-go travelers that's setting the trend in mobile experiences, you should think about downloading the apps from Southwest Airlines, Choice Hotels and Marriott - they're raking tops from frequent travelers.

According to the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Travel Edition, Southwest Airlines was given top marks (82 out of 100) for providing the best mobile experience. Choice Hotels (80) and Marriott (79) rounded out the top three mobile performers.

“Southwest’s simple, friendly, and no-frills approach to doing business translates well in the air as well as online. No assigned seats and no fees for baggage help to simplify the process for the consumer, which no doubt contributes to a more satisfying mobile experience,” said Eric Feinberg, ForeSee senior director of mobile.

The index is a study of the mobile experiences of 25 major airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and car rental companies.


About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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