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Virgin America launches first in-flight social network

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 11, 2014 07:26 AM

Sure, you can Tweet from your seat and connect with friends on Facebook when you're connected to whatever Internet carrier is hosted on your flight. But now, Virgin America is launching the first in-flight social network at 35,000 feet.

With the help of Gogo (the carrier's WiFi partner), and the business networking app Here on Biz, this new, customized technology will allow Virgin fliers to connect directly with other travelers. It works by isolating the unique IP address of each Virgin America aircraft and its location in the sky, so that – for the first time in the U.S. skies – travelers can see and connect with guests (via the LinkedIn API) on their specific flight, guests on other Virgin America flights in the air, or fellow travelers at their destination airport.

To celebrate the new in-flight network, Virgin America is launching a Twitter promotion that invites flyers to share their dream business travel connection and describe how they would break the ice in 140 characters using the hashtag #planepitch. A weekly winner will receive a complimentary Gogo WiFi pass and one Grand Prize winner will win Virgin America Elevate Gold status, six Main Cabin Select business class flights and an annual Gogo pass, so the winner will never miss a “connection” on the fly. Check out for rules and regulations. Bonus! Now through July, flyers who download the Here On Biz app can score a 25 percent discount to the Virgin America Loft at LAX.


Festivals and events to help beat the winter blues

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 10, 2014 04:19 AM

090817-mtwashington-01.jpgPhoto credit: Omni Mount Washington, Bretton Woods
No doubt it's been a wicked winter in Boston. The icy temps, the whipping winds and the mounds of snow banks have all but shut down the city on some days. But as true Bostonians, we've laced up our snow boots, wrapped ourselves in layers and weathered the wind chills.

While you might not be able to escape the winter weather (thanks in most part to the never-ending cold front sweeping the nation), there are a few places you might consider for a simple change of scenery. Pack your bags and head to one of these festivals or events for a quick change of scenery:

Winter Concert Series: January 31 – March 9: The Omni Grove Park Inn in Ashville, NC, is turning up the volume with its annual Winter Concert series. Indulge in the sounds of Celtic Weekend (January 31 – February 2) with performances by Seven Nations and Gaelic Storm or enjoy a room full of laughs over Comedy Weekend (March 7 – March 9) with sets by comedians such as Gary Gulman and John Heffron. Package rates from $498 include accommodations, concert tickets and weekend events, based on double occupancy. General admission tickets begin at $15 per person.

Telluride Gay Ski Week: February 21 – March 2: Celebrate Telluride Gay Ski Week at Hotel Madeline Telluride February 21 - March 2. With an ideal ski-in/ski-out location in the heart of Telluride’s Mountain Village, Hotel Madeline is the perfect spot to drop your bag and take in the annual event that has been voted the Top Ski Week in the U.S.A. by Hotel Madeline Telluride is the center of activity, with SMAK Bar hosting Telluride Gay Ski Week’s aprčs-ski cocktail parties and festivities. The resort is offering rates starting at $215 per night for Telluride Gay Ski Week. For reservations, call 1-866-530-0880 and mention Telluride Gay Ski Week.

Brazil Carnival: February 28 – March 4: CW Adventures takes travelers to the heart Carnival with the Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Select Experience. Touching down in Rio de Janeiro, the select experience takes guests to walk the urban forest trails of Tijuca National Park to the stunning panorama of the Corcovado, and spend lunchtime in the picturesque Santa Tereza neighborhood. Guests will stay at the Sofitel Copacabana Beach Hotel with views of the waterfront. The select experience includes some meals, accommodations for two nights and entry fees for parks. Prices start at $2,498 per person based on double occupancy.

Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon: March 8: The Bretton Woods Nordic Center at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH, invites Nordic skiers to test their long distance skills at the annual Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon. Staged between the historic Omni Mount Washington Hotel, Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon is a classic cross-country ski race in half marathon and marathon distances showcasing one of the largest Nordic systems in the northeast.

Omni Shoreham Hotel reignites Beatlemania with "Fab February" package

Posted by Melanie Nayer February 4, 2014 10:01 AM

Omni Hotel - Beatles 1964.jpgThe Beatles at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in 1964. Photo credit: Omni Shoreham Hotel
February marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first performance in the U.S., and what better way to celebrate than with a hotel promotion straight from the hotel where The Beatles stayed

The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC – where The Beatles stayed for the inaugural U.S. show on Feb. 11, 1964 – is giving Beatles fans the chance to relive their Beatlemania days (or just re-embrace the legal of Fab Four) with memorabilia, photography and a personal recollection of the legendary band. There will also be special tribute show, "Yesterday & Today," in partnership with the DC Preservation League.

The “Fab February 50th Anniversary Package” includes deluxe accommodations, a commemorative gift and a welcome amenity. There's also a hotel display of Mike Mitchell photography capturing the band’s Washington performance, a tribute documentary running on the hotel television’s channel, and signature cocktails in the Marquee Bar and Lounge.


Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco kicks of 2014 with heartfelt campaign

Posted by Melanie Nayer January 5, 2014 11:15 AM


To kick off 2014 on a healthy note, the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, launched a series of heart-healthy promotions and special offers for guests checking into the hotel in January and February.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, Brasserie S&P, and the hotel has travel packages, spa treatments, cooking classes, healthy dinners and weekly evening runs through San Francisco with the General Manager, Mr. Donald Bowman. The 2-month "Hotels with a Heart" campaign, which benefits the American Heart Association, includes:

  • Healthy cooking classes for kids
  • Winemaker dinners
  • A variety of wine and beer classes
  • Heart healthy spa treatment and products
  • Fitness classes to encourage lifestyle change
  • Weekly running sessions

You can find dates and details of special events on the Mandarin Oriental website.


TripAdvisor travelers pick top travel destinations for 2014

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 25, 2013 10:22 AM

brooklyn-bridge sign.jpgBrooklyn, N.Y. was chosen as one of the top destinations to visit in 2014

Eager to escape in 2014 but not sure where to go? You might find inspiration from the TripAdvisor community, who recently voted on the best destinations to travel to in 2014.

TripAdvisor’s new Travelers’ ChoiceAwards for Destinations on the Rise picks 54 places across the globe based on data collected from millions of TripAdvisor user searches and reviews. These were the places that have seen the “greatest increase in positive traveler feedback and traveler interest”, said the travel search engine.

The most intriguing place to travel in the new year went to Havana, while Kailua-Kona, Hawaii nabbed the top U.S. destination.

Take a look the top Global and U.S. destinations below, as voted on by the TripAdvisor and then tell us, where do you want to go in 2014?


Safety dance: Virgin America remixes the in-flight safety video

Posted by Melanie Nayer November 3, 2013 05:25 PM

Virgin America launched a new safety video last week – the first ever in-flight safety video set entirely to dance and song. For what it's worth, it's pretty catchy.

Directed by Hollywood director Jon M. Chu, the video’s dancers, singers and choreographers include alum from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. The cast busts a move down airplane aisles, singing and dancing their way through the five-minute FAA-regulated safety instructions.

Check out the full video here:

Get your 'Om' on: Resorts offer National Yoga Month practices and packages

Posted by Melanie Nayer August 28, 2013 11:00 AM

September is National Yoga Month, which means there's no excuse not to practice your downward dog or perfect your shavasana. If you can't find the will to make it to yoga class, these hotels and resorts throughout the US, Caribbean and Mexico are happy to tempt you with yoga-inspired vacations.

Bring on the zen and take advantage of these Namaste opportunities:

pvrmx_phototour101.jpgYoga on the beach and on the outdoor pool deck at CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

The Westin St. John Resort & Villas:
The Westin St. John Resort & Villas is set on a crescent-shaped beach on Great Cruz Bay and surrounded by 47 lush, tropical acres where complimentary yoga by the beach classes are offered at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Private yoga lessons can also be arranged for those craving yoga on the daily. With relaxation at the forefront, The Spa at The Westin St. John Resort also provides facials, body treatments and massage with treatments both indoors and outside.


Sipping, and staying, in California's lesser-known wine regions

Posted by Melanie Nayer August 9, 2013 08:30 AM

firestone-vineyard.jpgPhoto: Firestone Vineyard, Santa Barbara. Photo credit: Firestone Vineyard

There's a lot to do and see in California, and wine country is usually somewhere on the list. Napa and Sonoma Valleys have long been regarded as some of the best in new-world wine making, producing complex Cabernets, bold Merlots, and buttery Chardonnays. But just south of California's famous wine regions are some equally fantastic vineyards worth exploring.

Just a few hours north of Los Angeles is Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. The road trip can be done in a day, making it a perfect escape from the chaos of L.A.

Forbes Travel Guide names some great places to stop, see, sip and stay.


Jetblue unveils plans for premium lie-flat seats

Posted by Melanie Nayer August 5, 2013 03:44 PM

NY58367.jpgJetBlue announced it will add premium, lie-flat seats on some of its transcontinental flights starting next year. This is a huge shift in the low-cost carrier's original concept, which currently offers a one-class cabin for all flyers.

According to a release from the New York-based airline, Jetblue's new lie-flat seats are expected to take flight on the new Airbus A321 aircraft beginning in the second quarter of 2014 on the two routes: New York to Los Angeles and New York to San Francisco. Here's what you can expect if you want to pay for the premium cabin:


Starwood's Luxury Collection partners with One Kings Lane for US road trip

Posted by Melanie Nayer July 2, 2013 07:16 AM

If luxury travel and designer shopping are a few of your favorite things, this new package from Starwood will surely please:

One Kings Lane and The Luxury Collection have created an All-American Road Trip Package that includes a crafted itinerary from The Luxury Collection and curated travel items from the designer online shop, One Kings Lane, when guests book a minimum of two nights at any of the group's 12 hotels in North America.

The package includes a hotel rooms and limited-time sale on the site with items sourced from shops along the road trip route.

Check out the video that follows a West Coast Road Trip with The Luxury Collection and One Kings Lane:


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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