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.

Dominican Republic tourist deaths: Find out why so many visitors are dying

June 25, 2019

by Kevin Lucas

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana n Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Photo courtesy of Hard Rock International)

The number of tourists suddenly dying in the Dominican Republic has hit alarming numbers. As of this writing, 11 U.S. tourists have died in the Dominican Republic from June 2018 to June 2019. Almost all of the deaths were reported as sudden. The people who died of ailments were those who had failure of internal organs, such as their heart or lungs. A few of the deaths were violent murders, while some passed away from car accidents. What all these tourists have in common is that they stayed at resorts in the Dominican Republic. The State Department has not released official information on U.S. citizens who died of natural causes in the Dominican Republic.

According to Business Insider, there has been a massive increase in complaints of tourists saying that they felt that they had been unintentionally poisoned while in the Bahamas. The website IWasPoisoned.com has received 1,600 complaints so far in 2019, compared to 10 in 2018. More than 700 complaints were traced back to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana.

Several of the people who suspected that they had been poisoned after consuming alcohol from their room’s minibars or by eating food served buffet style at these resorts.

A Hard Rock Hotel and Casino spokesperson told Business Insider: “The Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic has released further information on the American tourists who passed away in 2019, including autopsy findings that reveal these deaths were unrelated and from natural causes and pre-existing conditions. We are deeply saddened by these unfortunate incidents, and extend our sincerest sympathy to the families of those affected. We will continue to respect the privacy of our guests and their families.”

According to CNN, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana has now removed alcoholic beverages from its minibars and started dispensing hand sanitizer for guests and face masks for staff members.

National Geographic announces food-and-travel show ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’

June 20, 2019

The following is a press release from National Geographic:

Gordon Ramsay is taking food as far as it can go in National Geographic’s new series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, premiering Sunday, July 21, at 10/9c. The multi-Michelin-star chef and Ironman athlete embarks on a new exhilarating adventure around the globe.

From Peru, Laos and Morocco to Hawaii, Alaska and New Zealand, Ramsay will be roaring through valleys, diving into oceans, hiking through forests and scaling mountains in his relentless pursuit of culinary inspiration. Food and adventure programming is familiar ground for Ramsay, whose 2010 U.K. series for Channel 4, “Gordon’s Great Escapes,” saw the venerable chef explore the food culture of India and Southeast Asia.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted follows Ramsay as he meets with indigenous people around the globe to learn about the cultures, dishes and flavors unique to each location. Every ingredient he harvests and dish he tastes will inspire a new recipe from scratch, created to represent the heart of that culture. Each episode concludes with Ramsay challenging himself with a local food legend by his side – putting his newfound skills to the test as they cook a feast together for the natives. For Ramsay, food is the gateway to culture, and every adventure is a portal into the soul of the people and place.

“It’s been an amazing journey traveling off the beaten path with National Geographic and connecting with locals to learn and share incredible stories of unique traditions, delicacies and the extreme lengths it takes to harvest native ingredients,” said Ramsay. “I’ve learned way more filming this series than I have in the last 10 years.”

Among the adventures – culinary and otherwise – that Ramsay will take in the premiere season include:

· Trekking through a dense jungle in Laos to sample weaver ant eggs and diving through dangerous waters on the hunt for snails and giant water bugs

· Hunting for eels with his bare hands using traditional Maori techniques with a local fisherman by his side in New Zealand

· Working with local foragers to harvest Maui’s deadliest catch with homemade tools and spearfishing with legendary free diver Kimi Werner in Hawaii

· Climbing a sheer rock face during a snowstorm with a local forager to harvest native herbs in Alaska

· Rappelling down a raging waterfall to meet with local mushroom hunters in Morocco

· Hanging off a cliff in pursuit of cactus worms – a delicacy in Peru

The series will also air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages. Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted is produced by Studio Ramsay. Additional episodes of the series have already been ordered ahead of the summer premiere, with production set to resume this fall.

The summer episodes include:

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – Peru’s Sacred Valley

Sunday, July 21, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels by motorbike through Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas to discover traditional high-altitude cuisine. Immersing himself in local culture, he scales cliffs; fishes in high-altitude lakes; and samples local delicacies like fried worms, rare multicolored potatoes and guinea pig before putting his newfound skills to the test with legendary local chef Virgilio Martinez.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – New Zealand’s Rugged South

Sunday, July 28, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to the remote corners of southern New Zealand to unlock the secrets of traditional Maori cuisine. From the locals, he learns how to catch eels with his bare hands, free dives for prized Paua shellfish and forages for unique Kiwi ingredients before putting his new skills to the test at a Maori feast with up-and-coming chef Monique Fiso.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – The Mountains of Morocco

Sunday, Aug. 4, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels to Morocco, North Africa, where he embarks on an adventure deep in the Middle Atlas Mountains to understand ancient Berber cuisine. Learning from the locals, he rappels over a waterfall to meet mushroom hunters, milks a camel and experiences the life of the Berber people. He puts his new skills to the test, cooking a feast with chef Najat Kaanache to celebrate Berber New Year.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – Hawaii’s Hana Coast

Sunday, Aug. 11, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels to Maui, Hawaii, to explore the exotic ingredients of Hawaiian cuisine. In torrential rain, he travels along the treacherous Hana Highway. From the locals, he learns how to hunt deer with a bow, produce Hawaiian taro and spearfish with legendary free diver Kimi Werner. Gordon tests his knowledge at a feast with top Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – The Mighty Mekong of Laos

Sunday, Aug. 18, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels to Laos, where he takes on a rapid stretch of white water, kayaking down the Mekong in search of culinary inspiration. Learning from the locals, he treks through dense jungle to sample eggs of the aggressive weaver ant, dives for freshwater snails and hunts for giant water bugs. Using his newly acquired skills, he cooks a banquet for monks at the local temple.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – Alaska’s Panhandle

Sunday, Aug. 25 at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to the rugged Alaskan Panhandle to learn survival skills and discover Alaskan cuisine. On his adventure, he learns how to cook seal with a native Tlingit elder, climbs a sheer rock face in a snowstorm and goes grouse hunting before putting his newfound knowledge to the test at a feast with legendary local chef Lionel Uddipa.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted is produced by Studio Ramsay for National Geographic. For Studio Ramsay, executive producers are Gordon Ramsay, Elvia Van Es Olivia, Helen Cooke, Lisa Edwards and Jon Kroll. For National Geographic, executive producer is Betsy Forhan, vice president of production is Kevin Tao Mohs, and president of original programming and production is Geoff Daniels.

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About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Disney, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About Gordon Ramsay/Studio Ramsay

Renowned for highly successful and award-winning original programming, Emmy-nominated, multi-Michelin-star chef Gordon Ramsay produces TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic that are seen by audiences worldwide, including his Fox shows “The F Word With Gordon Ramsay,” “Gordon’s Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” “MasterChef,” “MasterChef Junior,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef Celebrity Showdown,” as well as Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” and Food Network’s competition series “Food Court Wars.” In the U.K., he’s produced “Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars” and “Gordon’s Great Escape” for Channel 4; food biography and nostalgia series “My Kitchen” for UKTV’s Good Food Channel; two instructional cookery series, “Ultimate Home Cooking” and “Ultimate Cookery Course,” for Channel 4; and the first two seasons of “Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch,” all under his One Potato Two Potato banner. The next-generation multimedia production company Studio Ramsay was founded in 2016 by Ramsay and has a joint venture with All3Media to develop and produce both unscripted and scripted television shows, creating new formats and innovative programming that includes a scripted arm and development of new talent on a global front. Studio Ramsay’s first production was the live series “The F Word With Gordon Ramsay,” which premiered in the U.S. on Fox, and its second Fox series, “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” ranks as television’s No. 1 cooking show this season among A18-49 and total viewers. National Geographic Channel recently announced the pick-up of a second season of Studio Ramsay’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted ahead of the shows’ summer premiere. Production is set to resume this fall. Across the pond, Studio Ramsay produces the wildly successful, and BAFTA-nominated, “Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip” for ITV and the Channel 4 Series “Born Famous,” which is slated for release this summer. Studio Ramsay also currently has shows in production for the BBC and other top U.K. broadcasters. Its digital arm has launched its own successful interview series called “Scrambled” and produced content for National Geographic and its various properties. Its first daytime cooking series, “Culinary Genius,” premiered on ITV in the U.K. and was syndicated on Fox stations in the U.S. Ramsay’s documentary series, “Gordon on Cocaine,” premiered on ITV to critical acclaim. “Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch,” starring Tilly Ramsay for U.K. children’s channel CBBC, is also produced by Studio Ramsay. For more information, please visit www.gordonramsay.com or follow Gordon Ramsay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

W Hotels debuts reimagined W Atlanta – Midtown, W Atlanta – Buckhead and W Atlanta – Downtown

June 10, 2019

W Atlanta
W Atlanta – Midtown Living Room (Photo courtesy of Marriott International)

The following is a press release from Marriott International:

Georgia is on our mind. W Hotels Worldwide is excited to reveal major upgrades to each of the city’s three W hotels (W Atlanta – Midtown, W AtlantaBuckhead and W Atlanta – Downtown). Through the vision of talented design partners and the W brand’s own globally renowned design team, a collective of 750+ guestrooms, multiple bars and restaurants and more than 50,000 square feet of innovative meeting space will soon be revealed. These exciting changes in Atlanta are the first of several renovations expected to be completed at W Hotels across North America, as hotel owners are poised to invest $200+ million on renovations showcasing the next generation of W design.

Atlanta is exploding with culture, creativity and more visitors than ever before,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “From Superbowl LIII to the Peach Drop, Atlanta has solidified its place as a must-go destination for both domestic and international travelers. From its music and culture to its cuisine and architecture, it’s a city that is so diverse and unique we are able to have three distinct hotels within its parameters. We are excited to showcase our bold design with stunning new rooms, restaurants and upgrades to the hot spots our guests love.”

W Atlanta – Midtown As the first W hotel to open in Atlanta in 2009, the 466-room renovation at W Atlanta – Midtown is the first major revamp of the hotel in a decade. As one of the largest W locations in the world, this project marks one of the brand’s biggest single-hotel renovation projects in its 20-year history. The renovation – which just made its debut earlier this month –  sits alongside new culinary, retail and entertainment concepts coming to Colony Square, which is connected to the hotel.

Inspired by one of Atlanta’s best-known nicknames – the city in the woods – W Atlanta – Midtown  now sports a floral motif with a mod twist across its public spaces that includes the Living Room (W’s energetic & social take on the lobby/bar), Welcome Desk (Check-In) and patio. The open flow of the renovated spaces expands the hotel’s indoor and outdoor seating, ready to welcome locals and travelers to this bustling neighborhood.

Each of the hotel’s reimagined guestrooms (including 33 specialty suites) features playful décor, unique murals by Imaggo Production that are a nod to Atlanta as an epicenter of music and entertainment.

W AtlantaBuckhead
In partnership with Atlanta’s own C+TC Studio (who is designing the guest rooms and iconic rooftop bar, Whiskey Blue), interior designer STUDIO 11 (the visionaries behind the new Living Room), and the brand’s own design team, W AtlantaBuckhead is showing off its edgy, luxe look as of February 2019.

Celebrating the city’s passions for fashion, design, art and culture, the new design incorporates splashy artwork from local artists throughout the hotel including guestroom art by Lela Brunet, WET Deck (pool deck) mural by Greg Mike, Living Room and Whiskey Blue murals by Chris Veal.

The full-scale renovation of W AtlantaBuckhead adds a Welcome area, open layout and café-style seating (complete with DJ booth by night) to the Living Room. Here the eye-catching custom mural installation by artist Chris Veal is designed to be an Insta-worthy hit and photos taken in front of it are linked to the hotel’s Instagram account and displayed on the adjacent Polaroid-style screen to make guests and visitors a part of the art in real time.

Enhanced with vibrant colors, headboards, armoires, damask wallcoverings, 55-inch TVs, in-room Nespresso machines, expanded MIX Bars (W’s take on the minibar) and inspiring artwork, the hotel’s 286 guestrooms redefine comfort and playful luxury in the city. All specialty suites (four WOW Suites and one E-WOW Suite) also get special treatment with new artwork and lounge areas, chaises and cocktail cubbies.

The first phase of this renovation project saw the iconic rooftop bar Whiskey Blue reimagined in November 2018. Now the hotel is bringing a new spin to its signature restaurant, Cook Hall, which will re-open fall 2019. In addition, all 11,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space and FIT (gym) feature new furnishings, lighting, artwork and faster connections.

Local Motives Debuts at W Atlanta – Downtown
In a brilliant mash up of art, history and culture, Local Motives, the new restaurant at W Atlanta – Downtown, combines Atlanta’s BeltLine Project, a newfound symbol of revitalization in the city, with beloved street art and flavors as bold as the new look. To capture Atlanta’s creative spirit, local artist and Georgia native Eric Randall collaborated with Puccini Group’s designers to ground the project in an unmistakable sense of place. Randall was tasked with designing and painting large-scale graphics, including the 69’3″ x 9’6″ mural which spans six walls. The restaurant includes a buzzing bar, dining area, café with ample workspace and private dining room with an entrance inspired by Marta train doors. Each area is crafted with stone and concrete, reflecting the neighborhood’s storied industrialization, juxtaposed with pink pastels and vibrant blue hues.

Local Motives lives up to its name with Atlanta staples like Geechie Boy Red Grits and Cheddar (breakfast bowl) as well as luxe-modern indulgences like Beet Tartare, Charred Octopus and curated local selections of meats from Pine Street Market and ingredients from Pure Bliss Organics. Coffee blends are brewed at Docent Coffee, which roasts each batch right on Edgewood Avenue. Handcrafted concoctions at the bar give guests the option to detox or retox with fresh-pressed juices alongside decadent, spiked milkshakes.

These three projects are part of a collective $200 million+ in renovations across the W brand portfolio that is taking place across North America. Other projects include W Washington DC, W Boston, W San Francisco, W Miami and W Montreal.

For more information visit: W Atlanta – Midtown; W Atlanta – Downtown; W AtlantaBuckhead;

About W Hotels Worldwide
Born from the bold attitude and 24/7 culture of New York City, W Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., has disrupted and redefined the hospitality scene for nearly two decades. Trailblazing its way around the globe, with over 50 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched. Innovative, inspiring and infectious, the brand’s super-charged energy celebrates guests’ endless appetite to discover what’s new/next in each destination, to see more, feel more, go longer, stay later. For more information on W Hotels, visit whotels.com/theangle or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. W Hotels Worldwide 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.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Werner Herzog in “Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin”

“Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin”

Directed by Werner Herzog

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 28, 2019.

German filmmaker Werner Herzog has directed an eclectic array of documentaries, which feature his deliberate and thoughtful style of narration and on-camera interview techniques. “Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin” is probably one of Herzog’s most personal documentaries of his career because British writer/adventurer Bruce Chatwin, who died of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 48, was one of Herzog’s good friends.

Before Chatwin died, he gave Herzog a rucksack that Chatwin had carried in his travels around the world. In the documentary, Herzog brings the rucksack and retraces a lot of Chatwin’s journeys to pay tribute to and get a better understanding of his late friend. The documentary includes voiceovers from Herzog and old recordings of Chatwin. Unlike most movies, which are divided into three acts, “Nomad” has eight chapters, all of which are titled in the film.

“Chapter One: The Skin of the Brontosaurus” has Herzog going to Patagonia, Chile, which was the subject of Chatwin’s 1977 travel book “In Patagonia.” He interviews Karin Eberhard, the great-granddaughter of 19th-century explorer Hermann Eberhard, who is credited with discovering the remains of a giant sloth. In this chapter of the documentary, Herzog goes to the Patagonia city of Punta Arenas, where he visits the Lord Lonsdale Shipwreck, as well as the grave for Charles Milward, the British consul who was a cousin of Chatwin’s grandmother Isobel. Milward reportedly gave a piece of giant sloth fur (which was sometimes mistaken for brontosaurus hide) to Isobel as a wedding gift. It was Chatwin’s dream to get a piece of a brontosaurus. In this chapter, Herzog also interviews Chatwin biographer Nicholas Shakespeare.

“Chapter Two: Landscapes of the Soul” has Herzog traveling to Avebury, Wiltshire, in England, where there is a stone many people believe has mythical force and powers. Silbury Hill was Chatwin’s “pivot, his mythical place of origin,” according to Herzog, who includes footage of tourists wearing masks over their eyes for protection from these mysterious forces. There’s also footage of how the magnetic forces work with metal prongs. Herzog also travels to Llanthony Priory in Wales, the location of where Bruce courted his wife Elizabeth, who is interviewed in this chapter.

“Bruce Chatwin was searching for strangeness,” Herzog comments in the film. He also notes that Chatwin liked Herzog’s 1969 “Signs of Life” movie with the windmills scene that Chatwin called “dangerous landscape,” according to Herzog. The filmmaker also travels to Coober Pedy, Australia, where Chatwin and Herzog first met. “We were both fascinated by Aboriginal mythology,” Herzog remembers.

“Chapter Three: Songs and Songlines” explores indigenous sounds in Australia, particularly at the Strehlow Research Centre. People interviewed in this chapter include musician Glenn Morrison and Alyawerre experts Michael Liddle Pula, Marcus Wheeler and Shawn Angeles Penange. “Our songlines are our way of contributing to the health of this planet,” says one of the Alyawerre commentators.

“Chapter Four: The Nomadic Alternative” is named for an unpublished Chatwin manuscript. Herzog travels to Tierra del Feugo in Argentina, where photos of nomads fascinated Chatwin. There’s some great footage of hand imprints on overhanging rocks that were left more than 10,000 years ago, as well as some photos of nomads, such as those showing nomads with painted bodies and a naked man lying down.

“Chapter Five: Journey to the End of the World” finds Herzog in the remote La Isla Navariono in Chile.

“Chapter Six: Chatwin’s Rucksack” has Herzog back in Patagonia, where he carries the cherished rucksack and says that in his 1991 movie “Scream of Stone,” there’s a scene with someone with a rucksack, and that scene was a tribute to Chatwin.

“Chapter Seven: Cobra Verde” is a brief behind-the-scenes commentary on Herzog’s 1987 film “Cobra Verde,” which was based on “Bruce Chatwin’s 1980 novel “The Viceroy of Ouidah.”

“Chapter Eight: The Chapter Is Closed” circles back to Chatwin’s widow Elizabeth, who candidly talks about their open marriage. She says that she didn’t care that her husband Bruce was bisexual, and that he often invited his lovers into their home. Herzog also reads from the notebook containing the last line that Chatwin ever wrote.

“Nomad” is certainly going to appeal to fans of Herzog and Chatwin, as well as people who have a general interest in world travels. This is a quintessential arthouse film, so anyone who isn’t inclined to watch an artsy documentary will find a lot of this movie too slow-moving and dull for their tastes. The cinematography (by Louis Caulfield and Mike Paterson) has many stunning moments, which is to be expected in a Herzog film.

Herzog’s dry wit is present in the movie, but the wistfulness and sadness that he feels over his dear friend’s death can also be felt in the documentary. Above all, Herzog respectfully pays tribute to Chatwin in “Nomad,” and offers unique glimpses into Chatwin’s personality and intellectual curiosity in this celebration of Chatwin’s adventurous and full life.

Netflix’s ‘The Final Table’ offers free snacks for Thanksgiving holiday airport travelers in New York City and Chicago

November 21, 2018

“The Final Table” airport activation November 21 to 25, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

The following is a press release from Netflix:

Netflix is easing holiday travel woes with free snacks as a way to interact with the new global culinary competition “The Final Table.” Beginning November 21 through November 25, 2018, travelers through Terminal 3 at O’Hare Airport in Chicago and Terminal 4 at JFK airport in New York City, will be able to participate in Netflix’s interactive meal experience that will give free snacks that represent the global meals from the nine countries introduced in “The Final Table.”

Snacks will be from Mexico, Spain, UK, Brazil, India, United States, Italy, France and Japan.  Travelers will be able to interact with a customized screen where they can select the country they wish to “travel to” on their journey.  They can learn more information about the episode that highlights that country, the food, and the chefs. They will be shown a short clip from the relevant episode of The Final Table and will then be given a box that will be dispensed below the screen.  The box will include a gourmet treat that highlights ingredients from the dish of their chosen country.

SNACKS:

  • Mexico
    • Featured dish from the show: Tacos
    • Giveaway taste: Mexican Spice Crispy Elote – Mexican Crema, Cilantro, Avocado Oil, Jalapeno, Onions
  • Spain
    • Featured dish from the show: Paella
    • Giveaway taste:: Paella– Basmati Rice, Peas, salt, vegetable oil, Shrimp Crackers, Saffron, Turmeric, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder
  • England
    • Featured dish from the show: English Breakfast
    • Giveaway taste: Full English Breakfast Pork Scratchings– Pork skin, vegetable oil, Fennel Powder, Black Pepper, Salt, Tomato Powder, Natural Spices
  • Brazil
    • Featured dish from the show: Feijoada
    • Giveaway taste: Spiced Black Bean Brazil Nuts– Roasted salted brazil nuts, onion powder, garlic powder, black bean powder, dried lemon peel, citric acid, onion ash powder
  • India
    • Featured dish from the show: Murgh Makhni
    • Giveaway taste: Madrasi Snack Mix – Chickpea flour, corn oil, peanuts, bananas, chili powder, salt, coconut slices, curry leaves
  • The United States
    • Featured dish from the show: Thanksgiving Dinner
    • Giveaway taste: Thanksgiving Leftovers “Bread Pudding”– Bread crumbs, sugar, salt, celery, onion, corn starch, dehydrated chicken, garlic, turmeric, chicken broth, pecans, butter, onions, cranberries
  • Italy
    • Featured dish from the show: Pasta with Ragu
    • Giveaway bite: Sundried Tomato “Fusilli” – Enriched Flour, Parmesan cheese, Sundried Tomato Powder, Basil Powder
  • France
    • Featured dish from the show: Hare a la Royale
    • Giveaway taste:Pommes Aux Truffes – Potatoes, vegetable oil, Salt, Truffle oil
  • Japan
    • Featured dish from the show: Kaiseki
    • Giveaway taste: Nori Crusted Peanuts– Peanuts, Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Sugar, Salt, Seaweed, Soy Sauce and Potato Starch

 

 

REI adds more adventure trips in U.S., Africa and Europe

November 21, 2018

REI Adventures Southern Africa Mountain Biking and Safari (Photo courtesy of REI)

The following is a press release from REI:

REI Adventures, the active adventure travel company of national outdoor co-op REI, has added 30 new trips this year, including South AfricaMozambiquePortugalGreece and the United States. The co-op also announced more of its popular women’s trips and options for travelers who prefer a more relaxed pace. The newly launched itineraries add to REI’s collection of experiences that travelers won’t find anywhere else, like the first-of-its-kind mountain bike adventure in Zululand and Mozambique.

“For more than three decades, we have had an unwavering focus on human-powered vacations that explore off-the-beaten-path destinations with local guides who are deeply knowledgeable in their country’s rich history and culture,” says Cynthia Dunbar, general manager of REI Adventures. “Our latest introductions are perfect for anyone looking to discover the world by two wheels, hikers who long to explore history and iconic routes, or animal lovers hoping to witness the big five in their natural habitat.”

South Africa Adventures
During REI’s new nine-day Southern Africa Mountain Biking and Safari – Zululand to Mozambiqueguests are immersed in vibrant culture, unforgettable wildlife and more. Travelers mountain bike through lush hills and acacia forests, iSimangaliso’s ancient subtropical “sand forest” and UNESCO World Heritage site of Lake St. Lucia; safari in a private conservancy for the big five – lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant; pedal fat bikes on Mozambique’s unspoiled beaches; and snorkel at the pinnacle reefs before enjoying down at a seaside paradise with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean.

For those seeking a relaxed pace and less intensity, Discover Southern Africa – Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta, Cape Town & Kruger is a nonstop reel of bucket-list wildlife sights, walking and gentle cycling through diverse habitats of savannahs, mountains and lush grasslands. The 12-day journey starts in the adventure hub of Victoria Falls with a magical evening cruise to spot elephants, followed by a day hike to take in the thundering falls and rainbow spray. Travelers stay four nights at a private camp in the heart of Southern Africa’s most pristine safari ecosystem where they are delighted by the sights of lions, leopards, wild dog and more. Finally, the group takes a relaxed cycle trip through the famous Cape Winelands.

Trekking and multisport in Europe
Based on the popularity of its Camino de Santiago trek, REI Adventures is adding a seven-day Camino de Santiago – Portuguese Way trip. Together with their local guide, guests hike three historical paths of the Portuguese Camino though shorelines, forests and rural countryside. Culture and epicurean highlights include the exploration of two UNESCO World Heritage sites and local fare that features tapas, fresh-caught seafood and Iberian wine. The epic journey ends in the holy city of Santiago de Compostela. REI is also introducing a seven-day Discover the Heart of Portugaltrip that is a gentler pace itinerary where travelers explore the country’s best kept secrets from Lisbon to Porto.

In response to the popularity of its easier active collection, REI is adding Discover Greece – Santorini and Crete, a nine-day sun-soaked trip that is a perfect balance of gentle activity and relaxation. REI’s easier active trips are lower impact and travelers cover fewer miles each day. In Discover Greece, guests experience Santorini by sea and kayak the Cretan coast while stopping to dip their toes in the sand or float in warm waters. They take in fields of olive groves and grapes, then hike along Santorini’s edge with unbelievable sea views and winding coastal paths, and visit the archeological sites of Akrotiri and Knossos Palace. The itinerary immerses travelers in Greek cuisine, including a cooking class.

Popularity of women’s travel 
Today, more than half of all REI Adventures travelers are women. The company launched its women’s adventures in early 2017 and today the category is experiencing participation growth of 70 percent. Four new trips join the collection, including Arizona Hiking – Sedona Women’sAdventureCoastal Carolina Women’s Sea KayakingGrand Canyon Women’s Backpack and Yellowstone Women’s Backpacking – Bechler River. The new itineraries are four days in length. As with all of REI’s women’s adventures, small groups are led by female guides and trips blend outdoor activities with local highlights, cuisines and communities that a traveler wouldn’t replicate on her own, including surprises along the way.

About REI Adventures 
Award-winning REI Adventures has been a global leader in worldwide guided active adventure trips since 1987. As the travel business for national specialty outdoor retailer REI, the company offers unique itineraries focused on sustainable, human-powered outdoor adventure, including hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing and more. Guests experience iconic destinations as guides take them off the “beaten, common path,” and provide opportunities to explore a destination, get to know the local people, their culture, the flora and fauna and discover things they would not be able to duplicate on their own or with another travel company. REI members receive a special discount price on most trips. For more information, full itineraries and trip reviews provided by guests, visit http://www.rei.com/adventures.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge makes first transatlantic crossing

November 18, 2018

Celebrity Edge (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

The following is a press release from Celebrity Cruises:

The game-changing Celebrity Edge has officially arrived at the new home of modern luxury – Port Everglades’ Terminal 25 (T25) in Hollywood, Fla. – following the ship’s first-ever, 15-day transatlantic crossing.

Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Richard D. Fain, said: “The arrival of Celebrity Edge today book-ends a major chapter in the growth of Celebrity Cruises. It’s the culmination of years of dreaming, designing and dedication to bring this magnificent ship to life. A new era is truly upon us.”

Viewing this momentous occasion from the bridge of Celebrity Edge with Fain, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, added: “The completion of her first-ever transatlantic crossing and arrival at T25 marks such a historic moment for Celebrity Cruises. This has been more than four years in the making. The collaboration and effort between teams across the world all comes together in this incredible moment. I can think of no better place to be than with Captain Costas and the crew of Celebrity Edge knowing that we are sailing into the future, literally and figuratively, with this beautiful ship.”

Adorning the decks as Celebrity Edge entered the channel for the first time, more than 1,400 excited crew members waved to a sea of shoreside colleagues who gathered to welcome the ship and her crew to their new home at an exclusive welcome event hosted at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center — a fitting debut for Celebrity’s first new ship in six years and the first of a new class in more than a decade.

After the arrival of Celebrity Edge at T25, Lutoff-Perlo and Fain then hosted a grand opening ceremony in the revolutionary new terminal. Attended by key brand executives and esteemed Broward County and City of Hollywood officials, the dramatic ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official grand opening of the first terminal designed exclusively for the Celebrity brand, dubbed the new home of modern luxury.

Brought to life in collaboration with Broward County’s Port Everglades, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. and Moss Construction, T25 melds a stunning, warmly inviting design with unique technology, such as Expedited Arrival, which will make the check-in process absolutely seamless, as well as an interactive light wall art installation. T25 will also offer The Retreat guests a singular experience along the path to The Retreat, with an exclusive lounge, elevator lobbies, screening areas and even a private rooftop terrace.

Celebrity Edge embarked on the more-than 4,000-mile transatlantic voyage from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on November 4, 2018, with more than 1,400 crew members on board. Along the way, the cutting-edge new ship visited ports in both Azores, Portugal, and Freeport, Bahamas.

Celebrity Edge begins her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries, with her Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on December 9, 2018, and her Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on December 16, 2018. Then, in spring of 2019, Celebrity Edge crosses the Atlantic again to offer guests stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings visiting iconic cities, including Barcelona and Rome.

Bookings for Celebrity Edge are now open at www.celebritycruises.com/edge or through a travel advisor. Celebrity Edge will be joined by her sister ship, Celebrity Apex, in 2020, and two additional ships in the Edge Series will follow in 2021 and 2022.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Flora debuts glamping experience

November 8, 2018

Celebrity Flora
Celebrity Flora (Images courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

The following is a press release from Celebrity Cruises:

The first ship ever designed exclusively for the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Flora, just introduced another enticing industry first: A once-in-a-lifetime camping experience on the top deck of the luxury yacht that allows guests to dine, drink, and, yes, even sleep under one of the most spectacular night skies in the world.

Celebrity Flora was specifically designed to bring our guests closer to the Galapagos Islands than ever before – from its outward-facing design that takes guests to the water’s edge, to the enhanced custom-designed Novurania yacht tenders,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “And now our new Galapagos Glamping experience gives guests an incredible opportunity to experience the destination the ship was built for, on a whole new level, under the millions of stars above.”

TREATED LIKE STARS—UNDER THE STARS
Four star-struck guests per night will be able to book the top deck onboard experience and participate in this one-night-only adventure. The reservations include two luxuriously inviting cabanas, one fitted with a double bed for sleeping, and the other for enjoying a mouthwatering, alfresco meal. Galapagos Glamping was created to break down the walls and bring guests closer than ever to this stunning destination. To help guests fully appreciate the breathtaking views this experience offers, a naturalist will also be available to highlight the stars and constellations visible from this region of the world directly from the cabana seats.

NEW VIEWS AND NEW FLAVORS
Exclusive campfire-inspired culinary delights – from cocktails to carefully selected wines to s’mores – will be specially curated for the evening, while guests gaze at the endless open skies above. Guests will have a delicious dinner served exclusively as part of the Galapagos Glamping experience. Campers will also welcome the spectacular sunrise with a full bed-side breakfast.

Modern luxury exploration in the Galapagos Islands will never be the same once Celebrity Florabegins her inaugural season, sailing alternating 10- and 11-night tours, there is also the option for guests to select a 16-night itinerary— an inner loop and outer loop — to the region’s most stunning locales in 2019 and 2020.

Based in Baltra Island in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora will make her debut sailing on May 26, 2019. Bookings are now open at www.celebritycruises.com/flora, or through a travel advisor. The exclusive Galapagos Glamping experience will be available upon request for a fee, on every Celebrity Flora sailing, subject to availability.

To learn more about the brand’s unrivaled offerings, or its industry-leading stewardship and conservation efforts in the region, visit www.celebrity.com/galapagos.

About Celebrity Cruises:
Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time. Celebrity Cruises’ 12 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents incredible cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of five cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit www.celebritycruises.com, or call your travel agent.

Halloween 2018: America Haunts names the best haunted houses in America

October 31, 2018

Photos courtesy of America Haunts
Pictured from left to right:) Bennett’s Curse – Baltimore, MD; Haunted Hotel – San Diego, CA; Spookywoods – High Point, NC; Netherworld – Stone Mountain, GA (Photos courtesy of America Haunts)

The following is a press release from America Haunts:

The origin of commercial haunted attractions started in the United States and thrives as an American tradition. America Haunts, the commercial haunt industry association, has named the best haunted houses by feature on the bucket list of “must-experience” attractions across America.

No bones about it – haunted attractions must enlist high tech, and be extreme in the sense to do what has never been done, to craft adrenaline-rushing fright for fun.

Pictured from left to right: Bennett’s Curse – Baltimore, MD; Spooky World – Litchfield, NH; Erebus – Pontiac, MI; Bates Motel – Philadelphia, PA; 13th Floor – Denver, CO (Photos courtesy of America Haunts)

2018 TOP 5 BEST HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES – It takes wicked ingenuity to entertain using fierce storylines, advanced costuming, seemingly perilous leaps by cast, and responsive animatronics.

  1. Bennett’s Curse Baltimore, Maryland: A legendary haunt famous for its themed and immersive experiences that are as unique as they are terrifying. Monster Fest showcases an unrivaled scare cast. Go from the classic horrors in Legends of Halloween to the epic scale of Underworld, the immersive world of Inferno 3D, and Ravenbrook Asylum.
  2. Spooky World Litchfield, New Hampshire: Visitors feel the unsettling reality of five frightful attractions in their trail of terror to Nightmare New England and the mile-long Haunted Hayride. A Monster Midway, zombie paintball, go-karts, tarot card readers, and fire-pits make fear fun.
  3. Erebus Pontiac, Michigan: This world-renowned four-story fortress of fear provokes blood-curdling screams throughout its half mile walk indoors. Its intense special effects and elaborate sets feature things that will grab, bite, land on top of its victims, and even bury them alive!
  4. Haunted Hayride and Bates Motel Haunted House Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An incredible display of terror and mayhem awaits those who enter. A creepy sixth-sense of being watched is ever-present with peering animatronic props and a 20-foot tall rock monster.
  5. 13th Floor Haunted House Denver, Colorado: Legends and nightmares alike will come to life with a gut-wrenching ride to untold nightmares 13 floors straight down. Cast stunts use technology to amp scares.
Pictured from left to right: Haunted Hotel – San Diego, CA; Headless Horseman Hayrides – Ulster Park, NY; 13th Floor – Phoenix, AZ; Nightmare on 13th – Salt Lake City, UT; Dent Schoolhouse -Cincinnati, OH (Photos courtesy of America Haunts)

2018 TOP 5 SCARIEST HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS – These attractions go to great lengths to make the scares bigger, more immersive, and bolder.

  1. Haunted Hotel San Diego, California: The Haunted Hotel sends visitors on a stroll down a dark, zombie-infested alley where, unlike the walking dead of Hollywood, the undead are in hot pursuit. The apocalyptic nightmare hearkens sea creatures and beasts from all directions.
  2. Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses Ulster Park, New York: Encompassing 65 acres in the historic Hudson Valley, this mega haunted attraction has seemingly endless options with 375 cast and crew members to work the hayrides, corn maze, and ten haunted attractions.
  3. 13th Floor Haunted House Phoenix, Arizona: This intense, graphic, theatrical show takes the courageous on a gut-wrenching journey of visceral thrills and psychological horror. In the chaos, walls close in, floors shake and vibrate – and zombies swarm.
  4. Nightmare on 13th Haunted House Salt Lake City, Utah: There are no stones unturned to frighten at this haunted attraction. With 45 different rooms, including the Ossuary and the Bone Lord, Goblin mines and X-scream attraction creating fright is certain.
  5. Dent Schoolhouse Haunted House Cincinnati, Ohio: Guests walk through the spooky old schoolhouse and, with advanced projection mapping technology deployed, this haunt can make picture frames and statues appear eerily alive.

2018 TOP 4 EXTREME HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS – Extreme haunts strive to create a sensory overload through unique mix of scare entertainment visitors will not find elsewhere.

  1. Spookywoods High Point, North Carolina: Taking the top extreme spot given its use of multi-layered, fear-fetching, interactive features – including zombie laser tag, zip line, and a maze cut through 60′ tall Pine trees with clusters of individual haunted houses along an eerily path.
  2. Thrillvania Dallas, Texas: This haunt has 50 acres of horror, using a variety of fright to cover the gauntlet. Internationally recognized for its elaborate sets, amazing actors, and over the top special effects.
  3. House of Torment Austin, Texas:  In 2018 they tripled the horror with three new themed haunted attractions on their horror campus – with fully immersive entertainment to chill visitors down to their bones. The haunt also has laser shows, flying characters, and much more.
  4. Beast Kansas City, Missouri:  The Beast hails from the producers of the first, commercial haunted house nearly a half century ago. Visitors become disoriented through 4-stories looking for ways to get out and escape the onslaught of beasts.

2018 TOP 4 INNOVATIVE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS – Wizardry among the the most innovative is mind-blowing with magical illusions and high tech to make everything stunningly realistic.

  1. Netherworld Stone Mountain, Georgia: Pioneered the use of high-quality special effect foam and silicone monsters, creating massive moving scares that immerse the customer. Unique and terrifying actors’ stunts coupled with strong story lines are sure to win over haunt critics.
  2. Cutting Edge Fort Worth, Texas: This world-record largest haunted house gets its name for its use of an abandoned meat-packing factory as well as its cutting edge innovation. People often frantically run fearing they’ll end up on a beef hook as live bands intensify the experience.
  3. 13th Floor San Antonio, Texas: Visitors get thrills and psychological horror intensified by a pulsating, state-of-the-art sound system at 13th Floor. Their animatronics have built-in technology that can see, hear, and move using responsive controls around its laser lake.
  4. 13th Gate Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Known for its ultra-realism and detail, this haunt blurs the lines between nightmares and reality. Forty-thousand square feet in this factory with its CarnEvil, a haunted midway full of twisted sideshows, creepy characters, and more.

About America Haunts

America Haunts is the national association of top-tier haunted attractions dedicated to excellence in fear-based entertainment, thrilling more than a million visitors annually. America Haunts’ members are recognized for their longevity in the industry, technical expertise, innovative design, and professional talent who find screams of laughter and fear the best form of applause. AmericaHaunts.com.