Legoland New York Resort officially opens, includes first Legoland Hotel in Northeast

August 10, 2021

Legoland New York Resort Hotel’s grand opening (Photo courtesy of Legoland New York Resort)

The following is a press release from Legoland New York Resort:

After more than a year of anticipation, awesome is finally here! LEGOLAND® New York Resort (in Goshen, New York) officially opened on Friday, August 6, 2021, with the debut of LEGOLAND® Hotel as the ultimate family getaway destination.

Families can now spend multiple days exploring the Park’s seven themed lands and then conveniently retreat to the 250-room hotel, located just steps away from the theme park’s iconic entrance arch. The only LEGO® themed hotel in the Northeast, LEGOLAND Hotel at LEGOLAND New York Resort is built for kids, with guest rooms and suites that are designed for 5-9 people depending on room type, with four room themes: Pirates, Kingdom, LEGO® Friends and LEGO® NINJAGO®. Built to inspire all-day play and curiosity, the Hotel also features imaginative LEGO models and immersive play areas throughout the property.

“Welcoming overnight guests at LEGOLAND Hotel is a long-awaited milestone that marks the final step in our phased opening,” said LEGOLAND New York Resort Divisional Director Stephanie Johnson. “We’ve created an overnight experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the Northeast through thoughtful, creative, and educational hotel offerings that complement a day at our Park. At LEGOLAND Hotel, families can experience a fully-immersive multi-day getaway: they can fuel up for their day in the Park, take a break if they need it, and drift off to sleep with a bedtime story from their in-room Google Nest.”

Upon arrival, LEGOLAND Hotel guests receive a “warm” welcome from a smoke-breathing LEGO dragon – and that’s just the beginning of the overnight adventure! Additional highlights include a Castle play area for children, more than 2,000 interactive LEGO models created out of thousands of LEGO bricks, a heated resort-style pool, an arcade, and a “Little Big Shop” to stock up on everything you need for a bricktastic vacation. Every overnight stay comes with a complimentary buffet breakfast at Bricks Family Restaurant, which also serves a family-size dinner each night.

LEGOLAND Hotel also offers an endless array of creative experiences, including the chance for young builders to put their skills to the test alongside Master Model Builders at the on-site Creative Workshop. Daily children’s entertainment takes place throughout the property, complete with LEGO character meet-and-greets. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy light bites and drinks at the Skyline Bar as they watch their children explore aboard a pirate ship and castle play area in the Hotel lobby.

Back at the room, inventive in-room amenities take contactless programming to the next level. Children and parents will love the Hotel’s Next Generation Sleepover: a Google Nest that can do anything from place a room service order to tell children an immersive bedtime story or send them on an in-room scavenger hunt. Each themed guest room offers a separate sleeping area for children, equipped with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed, and an entertainment unit, with a separate space for adults with a king bed. Guest rooms also include a welcome treasure hunt activity with LEGO prizes, access to a LEGO play bin, two high-definition flat panel TVs with complimentary on-demand content, and more.

“Children will find themselves engaged from the moment they set foot in LEGOLAND Hotel, while parents can tap into their inner child in the heart of this family-friendly playground,” said LEGOLAND Hotel Director Scott Case. “The Hotel is so much more than a place for families to rest after a fun-filled day. From the wall of 5,000 LEGO Minifigures to the interactive disco elevator with pulsating lights, mirror ball and music, LEGOLAND Hotel is an extension of the theme park experience that can’t be missed.”

Just beyond the Hotel doors, LEGOLAND New York Resort features seven LEGO themed lands: Brick Street, Bricktopia, LEGO® NINJAGO® World, LEGO® Castle, LEGO® City, MINILAND and LEGO® Pirates. The Park features the global debut of the LEGO® Factory Adventure ride, which transforms riders into LEGO Minifigures, and signature rides such as the Dragon coaster and LEGO® NINJAGO® The Ride. Children can also earn their very own LEGOLAND Driver’s License at Driving School, team up to save the day at Fire Rescue Academy and catch LEGO movies in 4D at Palace Cinema.

LEGOLAND Hotel will be open year-round and is now accepting reservations online on its website: www.LEGOLAND.com/new-york. Room rates begin at $279/night. Packages are also available through LEGOLAND Vacations which include a stay at a LEGOLAND Vacations Hotel (nearby partner hotels) and two-day LEGOLAND Park tickets. Guests can also purchase single-day tickets ($79.99 for adults) or annual passes ($229 per person) with or without a hotel stay.

For more information about LEGOLAND New York Resort, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.

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About Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin operates more than 135 attractions, 21 hotels and six holiday villages in 24 countries across four continents. Merlin’s purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to its millions of guests around the world, through its iconic brands and multiple attraction formats, and the commitment and passion of its employees. 

See www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information and follow on Twitter @MerlinEntsNews.

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas officially opens

March 26, 2021

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas grand opening on March 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment)

The following is a press release from Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment:

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas officially opened the 60,000-square foot premium gaming venue to the public, welcoming invited guests, celebrities, locals and visitors to the newly reimagined casino-resort on March 25, 2021 at 6 p.m.

The evening kicked off with a ceremonial door unlocking with property executives, local officials, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment Interim CEO Ray Pineault and Mohegan Tribal Councilors Joe Soper and Ken Davison.  In traditional fashion, Tribal Councilors Joe Soper and Ken Davison presented a gift to Richard “Boz” Bosworth, President & CEO of JC Hospitality and owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Lou Serafini, President and Chief Executive Office of Fengate, including a hand-crafted Mohegan gourd, sweetgrass and a Mohegan blanket.

Following the opening ceremony, guests were welcomed into the casino-resort featuring more than 650 slot machines and over 50 table games including favorites like Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Craps and Three-Card-Poker.  Every gamer will want to become a member of the Momentum Loyalty Program that delivers maximum excitement with incredible rewards and benefits.  Members earn Momentum Dollars to spend on world class dining, premium brand shopping, hotel stays, spa treatments, partner benefits and more.

Throughout the night, celebrities, were spotted enjoying the casino and toasting the celebratory evening. Actor and TV host Mario Lopez tossed the ceremonial first dice roll at the craps table and “The Bachelor” Matt James and Chrisell Stause of “Selling Sunset” and “Dancing with the Stars” were spotted trying their luck at blackjack and craps.  Stars of “Vanderpump Rules” Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz hit the Desert Star Bar and sipped on cocktails. “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Melissa Gorga was joined alongside husband Joe Gorga and friends celebrating her birthday at One Steakhouse. Both Matt James and Chrisell Stause hit Nobu for the world-renowned sushi and cocktails. 

Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas promises to deliver memorable guest experiences, best in-class operations and unmatched personalized service. Welcoming guests to the casino were over 300 team members returning to the reconceptualized property, seasoned veterans of the gaming and hospitality industry.

Keep up with the latest Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas news via Facebook , TwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

About Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is a state-of-the-art casino operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), master developer of awe-inspiring integrated entertainment resorts (IER) worldwide. Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas signifies the first tribal casino presence in the prestigious Las Vegas market, featuring a 60,000-square foot gaming venue located within Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a Curio Collection by Hilton. For more information on Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas or MGE properties visit www.MoheganSunLasVegas.com.  Keep up with the latest Mohegan Sun news via Facebook , TwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

About Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) is a master developer and operator of premier global integrated entertainment resorts, including Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, Inspire in Incheon, South Korea and Niagara Casinos in Niagara, Canada. MGE is owner, developer, and/or manager of integrated entertainment resorts throughout the United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, as well as Northern Asia and Niagara Falls, Canada, and Las Vegas, Nevada. MGE is owner and operator of Connecticut Sun, a professional basketball team in the WNBA. For more information on MGE and our properties, visit www.mohegangaming.com.

About Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is a reimagined and re-conceptualized casino resort. The property is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton™. The integrated resort intermixes a passion for food and beverage with music and culture and features three hotel towers totaling over 1,500 Chambers and suites; the 60,000 sq. ft. Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment; a five-acre desert pool oasis including a multi-functional event lawn; live music and entertainment theater with 4,500 capacity; 24 Oxford showroom accommodating 650 guests; an exclusive portfolio of twelve food and beverage venues including Todd English’s Olives, Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market, the legendary Nobu, Michael and David Morton’s One Steakhouse, Kassi Beach House from restauranteur Nick Mathers, Casa Calavera by global hospitality company Hakkasan Group, the sports entertainment, daylife and nightlife venue Money, Baby! from Justin Massei and Mikis Troyan of Clive Collective, famous Afters Ice Cream, Pizza Forte by the Ferraro Family and signature Virgin Hotels restaurants and bars including The Kitchen at Commons Club, The Bar at Commons Club, The Shag Room and Funny Library Coffee Shop. The property is owned by JC Hospitality, LLC, in partnership with Juniper Capital Partners, Virgin Group, LiUNA, Fengate Asset Management, Dream and Orlando Development. The off-Strip playground is located at 4455 Paradise Road. For more information, visit www.virginhotelslv.com

Upgraded Points survey shows 1 in 5 Americans won’t travel again until 2021, citing coronavirus concerns

April 1, 2020

The following is a press release from Upgrade Points:

Upgraded Points recently released its newest targeted study featuring a survey based on questions given to airline travelers concerning the recent global pandemic. The study seeks to understand American travelers’ plans and concerns, helping to better illuminate the travel crisis as it unfolds; while also delivering important data about the American airline industry itself—which recently asked for and will receive a reported $50 billion bailout from the U.S. government. Upgraded points is a trusted source for a wide variety of similar in-depth airline studies, as well as advice and pointers for travelers.

1 in 5 Americans said they aren’t going to travel again until 2021. Conversely, from the time of the study, about 20% said they would travel again in the next 6 weeks.

“The airline industry is in a great deal of trouble again,” said Alex Miller, Founder of Upgraded Points. “They’ve certainly seen their share of difficulty over the years: after 9/11, during the 2008 economic downturn, etc. But this is probably the worst crisis the industry has ever faced. Without millions of travelers on planes and in airports, the industry just can’t make the revenue it needs to survive. Whole countries are asking citizens to stay indoors, and that includes enforcing travel restrictions and closing borders. No one knows exactly when this global pandemic will peak and then begin to recede. So all we can do now is wait, and gather valuable data to help understand the situation as it happens. That is the goal of this particular study.”

Analysis Methodology

The study surveyed 1,250 people in the U.S., asking a variety of questions related to their travel plans, concerns around those plans, and asking them to identify what would make them feel most comfortable about traveling again. The results were compiled into a series of detailed tables and lists that give exact percentages based on the answers received. The makeup of those surveyed include 55% male and 45% female, further broken down into six different age range groups, representing adults aged 18 through 65 and up. By far, the largest group of those surveyed fell into the 26–34 range, representing 39% of the whole.

Biggest Travel Concerns: Questions About Fears

Overall, the majority of Americans questioned clearly stated that their biggest traveling concern was the COVID-19 virus. But the study broke that question down into a variety of other specific concerns to help reveal the nuanced complexities around the topic. When asked what worried them most—contracting the virus personally or passing it on to others—the majority of Americans responded they were most concerned about contracting the virus themselves. Though 32% of those asked did express concerns about passing the disease on to others, while still others expressed concern about becoming part of overall community spread. These results are further categorized into specific age ranges as well. Please see the study for full details.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest fear travelers have is contracting COVID-19 from traveling and then spreading it to family and friends.

How and When Will Americans Feel Comfortable About Traveling Again?

Americans were also asked when they plan to begin traveling again, under what circumstances, and at which airline ticket price. The answers were arranged based on the choices given: an immediate time frame (the next two weeks), then monthly, all the way into 2021. The overwhelming majority stated they had no plans to travel again until 2021, representing 20% of those surveyed.

Americans were also given a series of factors to choose from, representing what would make them feel more comfortable traveling, and at which ticket prices. Factor choices given include: Enough Time Has Passed, No New COVID-19 Cases, and Government or Health Officials Give the “All-Clear” to Travel. The results were compiled into percentages, price ranges and further classified into specific age groups.

To see the exact numbers and percentage breakdowns by age, as well as bar graphs and helpful pie charts used for visual comparison, please visit the full study HERE.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to give travelers, as well as those looking to travel a real understanding of how to maximize their points and miles. Learn more at: www.UpgradedPoints.com.

Coronavirus travel bans, quarantines and evacuations: What you need to know

February 16, 2020

by John Larson

Updated April 20, 2020

Due to varying policies in different countries, coronavirus pandemic-related travel regulations and restrictions could change over time. Please check with travel providers or travel agents for the latest information, especially if traveling to another country.

Diamond Princess cruise ship (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The coronavirus that medical officials say originated in Wuhan, China (in Hubei Province), is still a threat to thousands of people, as of this writing. As the death toll and infections continue to increase, here are some things people need to know about the coronavirus (also known also known as COVID-19) before traveling.

Travel Bans

As of this writing, most countries have banned or severely limited travel to and from China. Check with official travel agencies to find out what the restrictions are for your country.

March 14, 2020 UPDATE: Following the U.S. ban of flights from Europe to the United States, several airlines have been cancelling or reducing flights to and from Europe and the United States. Some airlines have also been decreasing the number of flights to and from the U.S. and South America. Check with individual airlines to find out what their latest policies are.

April 20, 2020 UPDATE: The U.S. is temporarily suspending immigration to the United States. Details will be posted here as soon as they are confirmed.

Quarantines

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been quarantined if they have traveled from China or areas where there have been a number of infected people. In the United States, people returning from high-risk areas are expected to undergo quarantines for about 14 days after their arrival back home.

Cruise ships have experienced quarantines, and most have cancelled future trips in 2020 until further notice. People who have travel plans on a cruise ship need to check directly with the ship’s parent company for the latest updates.

On February 16, 2020, about 400 American passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were expected to disembark and travel back to the United States, according to NBC News. The U.S. Department of State released a statement saying that there were 428 U.S. citizens on the ship.

NBC reported that as of February 14, 2020, of the 771 passengers and crew that have been tested, 218 have tested are positive for the virus, and at least 32 of them are Americans. The infected Americans will be further quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, according to the report. They will be kept away from the quarantined Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, in the second week of February 2020.

March 8, 2020 UPDATE: There have been more Princess Cruise ships that have been quarantined, including the Grand Princess, which carried 3,500 people and was docked in Oakland, California. The U.S. State Department has now advised against travel on cruise ships. Seniors and people with underlying health issues are especially at risk. In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a statement saying that there is “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”

March 20, 2020 UPDATE: Most states in the U.S. now have some type of voluntary quarantine policy, where people are encouraged to stay home, unless it’s related to a job, medical reasons, or essential errands, such as getting food, drinks, supplies or exercise. When outside of your home, social distancing is encouraged, by staying at least six feet apart from people who do not live with you. Because people are being discouraged from traveling unless it’s absolutely necessary, all forms of transportation have been significant reduced. Many travel bookings have a high likelihood of being cancelled or postponed during this coronavirus pandemic, so check with the individual transportation company where a trip is booked to get the latest updates on that trip and the company’s current policies on refunds.

Evacuations

Here are the countries that have done official evacuations for their citizens who were in or near Wuhan, China, during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • The Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vietnam

This article will be updated with any important breaking news.

Disney Cruise Line announces Star Wars Day at Sea details for 2021

January 23, 2020

Disney Cruise Line's Star Wars Day at Sea
Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea (Photo by Matt Stroshane)

The following is a press release from Disney Cruise Line:

With more than a dozen of the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters onboard, guests can meet with the best of the Resistance including Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2; come face-to-face with Darth Vader; and be on watch as Stormtroopers, Bounty Hunters and Jawas roam the ship.

Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a face-off against Darth Vader and Kylo Ren in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The whole family can celebrate the greatest moments from the Star Wars galaxy with the “Summon the Force” deck party, complete with a fireworks show of galactic proportions.

Costume celebrations, movie screenings, trivia sessions, the Star Wars Drawing Academy and a ship-wide Porg-themed adventure are more of the ways families can feel the Force on Star Wars Day at Sea. Unique food and beverage and special merchandise are also available on these sailings in early 2021.

Star Wars Day at Sea Itineraries

With cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, guests can celebrate their love of the Star Wars saga and enjoy tropical destinations, coupled with classic Disney magic and entertainment all week long onboard the Disney Fantasy. All Star Wars Day at Sea sailings make a stop in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, home to pristine beaches, crystal blue waters and fun-filled leisure and recreational activities for all ages.

Star Wars Day at Sea will be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Departing Jan. 2, Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, the Western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 9, Jan. 23 and Feb. 20, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Departing Feb. 6, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

 

Notary Hotel opens in downtown Philadelphia

July 17, 2019

The Notary Hotel
The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia (Photo courtesy of Braemar Hotels & Resorts)

The following is a press release from Braemar Hotels & Resorts:

Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: BHR) (“Braemar” or the “Company”) today announced the opening of The Notary Hotel in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Downtown underwent a rebranding and renovation in excess of $20 million to create The Notary Hotel. Located at 21 North Juniper Street, the property now features 499 guest rooms and over 10,000 square feet of conference space throughout 12 event rooms. It joins Marriott International’s Autograph Collection® Hotels, a diverse portfolio of approximately 180 independent hotels around the world that reflect unique vision, design and environments.

“After approximately two years of design and construction on The Notary Hotel, we are delighted to finally announce its formal grand opening as a member of the Autograph Collection by Marriott,” said Richard J. Stockton, Braemar’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As of today, the hotel is available for booking as an Autograph property on Marriott’s central reservation system and elsewhere and will be referred to as The Notary Hotel in all future public communications.”

For more information, or to make reservations, please visit The Notary Hotel website at https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phlak-the-notary-hotel-autograph-collection or contact 215-496-3200 to speak with one of the hotel’s team members.

Braemar Hotels & Resorts is a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing in luxury hotels and resorts.

Ashford has created an Ashford App for the hospitality REIT investor community. The Ashford App is available for free download at Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store by searching “Ashford.”

Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess announces escape-room experience Phantom Bridge

July 16, 2019

Phantom Bridge
Phantom Bridge (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Cruise guests ready to travel through time and space need to look no further than Princess Cruises newest ships – Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess – to experience Phantom Bridge, a world’s first game combining digital and physical elements for the ultimate immersive escape room.

“Phantom Bridge, our newest Discovery at SEA interactive attraction, will offer our guests the exclusive opportunity to live a real-world, gamified experience with more than 700 different outcomes for the ultimate adventure,” said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president of entertainment experience. “Partnering with Farbound to deliver this unprecedented technology and world’s first interactive Mediascape Room further solidifies our commitment to share innovative and distinctive offerings to our guests.”

On the Phantom Bridge, Princess Cruises guests will face immersive environments and show moments as they race to solve puzzles and travel to endangered time periods. The entire ship will transform and respond to guest actions, enveloping them in the story. Developed exclusively for Princess Cruises by Farbound, the leader in gamified real-life experiences, the debut of Phantom Bridge will feature the first Mediascape Room, the proprietary gaming and show-control system that runs the entire game play.

“As Princess Cruises is committed to delivering a completely different and memorable experience for its guests, we are so honored to be working with them as Farbound’s partner. This new class of entertainment offerings will strengthen and hold Princess Cruises position as the leader in the travel industry.” said Tim Rheault & Steve Trowbridge, Co-Founders of Farbound.

Phantom Bridge offers a range of activities including:

Uncover the clues to solve the mystery – projection mapping, touch screen surfaces and hidden physical elements bring the environment to life as players race to uncover new clues and solve puzzles that will transport them to the next endangered time period.

Blends the physical with the digital with immersive effects – players captain the ship and turn the physical wheel to navigate the vessel and watch as the simulation view changes. Lighting, sound and digital features disguised as physical ones are combined to create an immersive, realistic experience, every step of the way. But, players beware as they’ll never know when a new item could mysteriously appear and be the key to the next puzzle.

Families can play together! – Phantom Bridge tailors the experience to players of all ages, heights and physical abilities so parents, kids and grandparents can all play together. Plus, with so many levels, time periods and puzzles more than 700 different outcomes are possible, which means players can come back and engage in Phantom Bridge time and time again since it’s never the same adventure.

Phantom Bridge will also debut onboard the cruise line’s next ship, Enchanted Princess, summer 2020. Guests can try Phantom Bridge in the new Experience Center located on deck 18. The event lasts 23 minutes and can accommodate up to six people.

For families looking for immersive, enriching and fun experiences while traveling, Princess Cruises has partnered with Discovery Inc. to create Discovery at SEA onboard programming that brings to life destinations and fan-favorite Discovery and Animal Planet shows. Guests can choose from exclusive, family friendly shore excursions and onboard activities like Stargazing at Sea. Younger cruisers, 17 and under, will also enjoy the recently renovated Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers.

More details about the robust onboard features and itineraries of Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess can be found at www.princess.com.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas unveils massive new features

July 11, 2019

(Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

The following is a press release from Royal Caribbean International:

Travelers can soon take in Europe’s historic destinations from a bold, new perspective on board the amplified Allure of the Seas. Royal Caribbean International has revealed the signature feats and innovative experiences coming to the renowned Oasis Class ship as part of a 58-day, $165 million transformation. Guests will be able to conquer a continent’s worth of adventures and come back for more with Allure’s upcoming lineup of new features, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids and teens spaces, the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Quantum Class original Music Hall. Reimagined as the ultimate summer vacation in Europe, Allure will open its season of 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises from homeport Barcelona, Spain on May 10, 2020.

Bold Family Favorites

Adventure Ocean (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Whether the moment calls for thrills or relaxation, vacationers sailing on the amplified Allure of the Seas can test their courage or sit back at the Pool and Sports Zone neighborhood that will now tout the perfect family day out. Feature highlights include:

  • The 10-story Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea
  • The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark, featuring twin drench buckets, three waterslides, fountains, pools, water cannons and a Splash Pad for tots
  • Reimagined pool deck, complete with The Lime & Coconut signature bar across two locations, a wider variety of seating and shade with cabana-like “casitas,” daybeds, hammocks and swing seats; new whirlpools on the top deck, and a reinvigorated, adults-only Solarium

Adventure Ocean’s Workshop (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

The thrill will go from the outside-in on board the amped-up Allure. Expanding on the ways that families can spend time together and on their own are the additions of completely reimagined, dedicated spaces for babies, kids and teens, and popular Royal Caribbean activities.

  • All-new Adventure Ocean, where younger kids can choose their own immersive adventures across an entirely new layout. The major makeover will bring to life interactive, personalized and unexpected activities and features in areas redesigned from top to bottom, including whimsical rooms with climbable creations at Play Place, hands-on art, science and tech fun at Workshop; friendly competition in physical, interactive games at Arena; the Hangout, to chill and make new friends over gaming consoles or sit back for some quality “me” time, AO Babies for babies and tots, and experiential activities at the multipurpose AO Junior space specially designed for 3- to 5-year-olds

    Dedicated teens spaces (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

    Dedicated teens spaces (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
  • Maxed-out teen spaces, debuting a 360-degree transformation, with a secret speakeasy-like entrance leading into an exclusive lounge with gaming consoles, music, movies, places to hang out and a new outdoor deck
  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag in Clash for the Crystal City and Royal Escape Room – Apollo 18: Lunar Landing, an out-of-this-world expedition that challenges guests to solve puzzle after puzzle before time runs out

A World of Flavors

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Portside BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Allure will deliver an array of culinary possibilities with more restaurants, casual spots and bars joining the already-diverse offering of specialty and complimentary options.

  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, a new take on a guest-favorite, will offer the beloved family-style, rustic dining experience with an enhanced menu of Italian staples, complete with hand-tossed pizza from the new in-house pizza oven, an expansive charcuterie station and a wide selection of wines and limoncellos
  • Portside BBQ will serve up a menu inspired by popular barbecue styles across the United States, including brisket, pulled pork, chicken, burnt ends, mac and cheese, homestyle cornbread and more
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade for gameday watch parties on big-screen TVs, tournaments, bar bites with a twist and ice-cold brews
  • El Loco Fresh, featuring casual Mexican “street fare”
  • Sugar Beach, the sweetest spot on board with more than 220 types of candy and ice cream
  • Bionic Bar by Makr Shakr, manned by two robot bartenders shaking up classic cocktails and custom orders

Portside BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Amped-Up Hotspots

Music Hall (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

After a day of exploring iconic destinations and channeling their inner adventurer, guests can go out for a “night on the town” and find new venues added to the nightlife offered on board.

  • Music Hall, a Quantum Class favorite, will take live music to the next level with revolving setlists and cover bands, ample lounge seating on two levels and room to rock out on the dance floor
  • Spotlight Karaoke, the dedicated karaoke bar with both main stage and private room experiences will feature thousands of songs to choose from, music trivia and themed nights

Spotlight Karaoke  (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Beginning May 2020, Allure of the Seas’ 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises sailing roundtrip from Barcelona will visit must-see cities such as Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence (Marseille), France; Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples/Capri, Italy.

Allure joins the original gamechanger, Oasis of the Seas, as the second Oasis Class ship to be reimagined in the $1 billion Royal Amplified fleet modernization program. These two revolutionary ships will steal the spotlight next year in Europe and the New York area, respectively, as the boldest summer vacations on both sides of the Atlantic.

In November 2020, Allure will make its way coast to coast to Miami for the winter season. Sailing from Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art Terminal A, the reimagined ship will offer 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Many of the ship’s Caribbean itineraries will include visits to the cruise line’s new private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

About Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has been delivering innovation at sea for more than 50 years. Each successive class of ships is an architectural marvel featuring the latest technology and guest experiences for today’s adventurous traveler. The cruise line continues to revolutionize vacations with itineraries to more than 270 destinations in 72 countries on six continents, including Royal Caribbean’s highly anticipated private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first in the Perfect Day Island Collection. Royal Caribbean has also been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 16 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards.

Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos opening Hard Rock Hotel London, its first London hotel

July 11, 2019

Hard Rock Hotel London (Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos)
Hard Rock Hotel London (Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos)

The following is a press release from Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos:

Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos celebrate a historic moment by announcing the opening of Hard Rock Hotel London. The property is Hard Rock’s first hotel in the United Kingdom and continues the brand’s legacy in its original birthplace.

“Blending the DNA of the Hard Rock brand with London’s musical culture creates a memorable experience for all guests to enjoy,” said Ian Fletcher, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel London. “We’re excited to showcase the property’s unique offerings and signature brand amenities to visitors and locals alike — they won’t be able to find anywhere else like it in the UK.”

As part of a partnership with London’s largest hotel owner-operator, glh, the hotel boasts 900 stylish rooms and suites, along with a Rock Royalty Lounge, GMT Bar, a Hard Rock Cafe, a cocktail bar and a Rock Shop®. Located on the corner of Oxford Street at Marble Arch, it continues to expand Hard Rock’s blend of music, entertainment and iconic merchandise in the iconic capital city.

“The first Hard Rock Cafe was founded in London in 1971 and here we are, building on where it all began 48 years ago,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of Hard Rock Hotels. “Every Hard Rock Hotel property is one-of-a-kind, but this one represents something special for the brand. This hotel is the culmination of three concepts – the cafes, hotels and Rock Shops® – coming together as one in an open-lobby, community-driven environment with Hard Rock’s memorabilia as the design thread binding them together. It’s truly incredible.”

Legendary memorabilia is sprinkled throughout the property, telling the story of London’s rich musical history. One special item is a letter written in 1958 by the late Buddy Holly, while he stayed at the hotel that is now Hard Rock Hotel London. The property also features another amazing piece of musical history – the Kirkwood piano Queen’s legendary singer, Freddie Mercury, practiced on as a teenager.

In addition to the GMT bar, set to be the perfect community gathering spot, its lively Hard Rock Cafe features a brand-new design and menu where guests can enjoy fresh, high-quality items including exciting cocktail creations and classic American-inspired cooking. It includes 370 seats for guests to enjoy daily live music performances that celebrate both local London performers and international talent. Guests can also check out the Rock Shop® for iconic Hard Rock merchandise, along with exclusive pieces from partner designers and collaborators and specialized merchandise that features local artists.

The hotel entices guests with an array of signature brand offerings and amenities, including The Sound of Your Stay® music program, where the mood can be set with a complimentary Crosley turntable. Alternatively, guests can rock out in their room with a Fender guitar, reserved at the front desk complete with headphones for no noise complaints. There is also the revolutionary Rock Om in-room yoga program, allowing for guests to relax, refresh and find their Zen. For those looking to amp-up their stay, Rock Royalty® rooms and suites offer the ultimate A-List experience, including a personal concierge and access to a lavish private lounge.

For more information or to book a stay at the new Hard Rock Hotel London, visit hrhlondon.com.

About Hard Rock International

With venues in 74 countries, including 186 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops®, 29 hotels and 12 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise available in global Rock Shops and online at https://shop.hardrock.com. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands including Hard Rock Live performance venues. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, FL., both owned and operated by HRI parent entity The Seminole Tribe of Florida. Another exciting Hotel & Casino location includes Atlantic City. Hard Rock Hotels are located in vibrant city and resort destinations such as Bali, Cancun, Daytona Beach, Desaru Coast, Ibiza, London, Los Cabos, Orlando and Shenzhen. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include Kathmandu, Nepal, Kyoto, Japan, Asuncion, Paraguay, Puerto Madero, Argentina and Chandigarh, India. New Hard Rock Hotel, Casino or Hotel & Casino projects include Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Dublin, Madrid, Maldives, New York City, Ottawa, Sacramento, Dalian and Haikou in China. In 2018, Hard Rock International was recognized as a Forbes Magazine Top Employer for Women and Land Operator of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards. In 2019, Hard Rock International was honored as one of Forbes Magazine’s America’s Best Large Employers and Forbes Magazine’s Top Employer for Women. For more information on Hard Rock International visit www.hardrock.com.

About glh Hotels

glh is London’s largest hotel owner-operator, creating memorable moments for guests whilst delivering unforgettable hospitality. With over 5,000 rooms and 130 meeting and event spaces across 17 outstanding locations, glh is at the heart of London hospitality. Including Amba, every, Guoman, Thistle and Thistle Express, glh’s portfolio of hotel brands provides guests with the perfect slice of local city life, whatever their purpose of their stay.

Aloft Madrid Gran Via opens in Spain

July 11, 2019

Aloft Madrid Gran Vía
Aloft Madrid Gran Vía (Rendering courtesy of Marriott International)

The following is a press release from Marriott International:

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain this month with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new hotel is a stone’s throw from hotspots including the iconic Plaza de España, the hip neighborhood of Malasaña and Chueca overflowing with restaurants and bars, and the shopping district of Gran Via. Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

Madrid is a city of contrasts, where modern boulevards open onto ancient Egyptian temples and bustling flea markets border grand palaces and architectural icons dating back to the ninth century. Legendary nightlife and iconic national dishes come as standard from the cosmopolitan city of welcoming madrileños, but the Spanish capital is also home to a few surprises, including secret gardens, incredible art galleries, stunning parks and lakes, as well as the oldest restaurant in the world. With its enviable central location, Aloft Madrid Gran Vía provides the perfect jumping-off point for the next-gen traveller to discover Spain’s historic capital through a modern lens, starting with spectacular panoramic views of some of the city’s most iconic buildings from its rooftop Splash pool and signature cocktails at the W XYZ® bar.

Aloft Madrid Gran Vía
Aloft Madrid Gran Vía (Rendering courtesy of Marriott International)

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travelers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture. Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails”, said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International.

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces theglitch” design trend to aestheticize digital or analog errors, materializing in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness center and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system.  Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix® Lounge and W XYZ® bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travelers alike to socialize and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

For more information on Aloft Madrid Gran Via please visit www.alofthotels.com.

About Aloft Hotels
With over 160 hotels now open in 25 countries and territories around the world, Aloft Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., delivers a fresh approach to the traditional staid hotel landscape. For the ‘always on’ next generation of traveler, the Aloft brand offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is different by design. For more information, please visit www.alofthotels.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Aloft is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the new name of Marriott’s travel program replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz- Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG). The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including earning points toward free hotel stays and nights toward Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,000 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 131 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company now offers one travel program, Marriott Bonvoy™, replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®(SPG). For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.