Archive for December, 2011

New Tourist Information Center Opens in Tokyo’s Marunouchi District

December 29, 2011

The view from the Conrad Hilton in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo, where a new tourist office has opened © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Even with thorough research in advance and digital travel guides and apps, many travelers would like to gear up more with in-person the updated travel information before getting around the country of the rising sun. Tourist Information Center (TIC), the JNTO-operated information center that has been a must-stop for many foreign travelers, will relocate and be reborn in Tokyo’s city center. In Shin-Tokyo Building, a commercial and cultural complex ¼ mile (about a 5-minute walk) from the current location in the Yurakucho Station area, the new TIC will be accompanied by a new café “Marunouchi Café SEEK” with a gallery space.

Marunouchi has been an up-coming area with multiple redevelopments and renovation such as renewal opening of The Tokyo Station Hotel in April 2012 in the western style brick train station. On the western side of the historic Tokyo train station, the Marunouchi area stretches between the Imperial Palace, Tokyo International Forum convention venue and many 5-star hotels, and has become a popular district with concentration of art, culture, shopping and dining experiences. As the national center of 312 tourist information centers all over Japan, TIC serves about 30,000 walk-in visitors with free travel information to foreign tourists annually, and will expect more walk-in inquiries at the new location, drawing their attention to the café’s function as cultural and art information source.

The New Tourist Information Center (TIC) is located at:

ShinTokyo Building, 1F

3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Phone: +81-(0)3-3201-3331

Open daily from 9a.m. to 5p.m. (Closed on January 1)

See also:

Day One in Tokyo: Hitting Tourist Highlights and slideshow

Day Two: A day in Tokyo spanning all the days of Japan and slideshow

Turning a stopover in Tokyo into sojourn starts with Conrad Tokyo

Hilton Tokyo puts you in the hub of Tokyo’s Metropolis


The Inns and Spa at Mill Falls, New Hampshire Offer Two-For-One Specials Throughout January

December 29, 2011

The Inns and Spa at Mill Falls, a collection of six properties including four inns and two cottages located in Meredith, New Hampshire, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, are offering a Two-for-One special throughout January, when guests can reserve two consecutive nights, Sunday – Friday (excluding 1/15 & 1/27) and only pay for one.

Guests also receive two $25 credits towards a full massage or facial at the Inns’ world-class Cascade Spa. The special also includes two-for-one breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees at participating restaurants per day, and a coupon book to 12 boutiques in the Mill Falls Market Place.

January also happens to be Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month in New Hampshire, and there’s plenty of skiing near Meredith. January 7-12 is Ski NH’s Learn to Ski & Snowboard Free Week, where first-time skiers and snowboarders receive a free learn to ski or snowboard lesson, free equipment rentals and a free beginner terrain lift ticket. Participants must register with Ski NH to download a Learn to Ski & Ride Free coupon then make a reservation with one of several participating resorts, including Waterville Valley and Gunstock Mountain Resort. Registration begins on January 2 and is first-come, first-served.

Full Moon Snowshoe Walks are offered every winter at Prescott Farm in Laconia – this year, on Wednesday, January 19th from 7-8pm. Environmental educators will guide visitors on an hour-long walk along one of Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center trails, encouraging visitors to use their senses to explore the area in a different way. Participants will learn to identify several constellations in the night sky and discuss the habits of nocturnal animals.

After a day or evening of skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing, visitors may want to check out Deals After Dark at the Tanger Outlets in Tilton. Starting January 10th through February 28th, between 5 and 8pm, shoppers will be rewarded with deeper discounts.

Topping off a perfect day of skiing and shopping, Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristorante’ is one of the Lakes Region’s most loved since 1989. Known for being “Very Musical, Very Italian & Very Good!” this full service restaurant offers nightly musical entertainment along with award-winning pizza, pasta, seafood, steak, chicken, vegetarian, gluten-free and more.

Gift certificates are available for lodging and the Cascade Spa (at church Landing). Pet friendly rooms and a wellness room are also available

The Inns & Spa at Mill Falls, 312 Daniel Webster Highway , Meredith, NH 03253    800-622-6455,

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Blooming Tulips and Once-a-Decade Floriade Horticultural Show Highlight WLCVacations’ Tulip Time Cruises in Spring

December 29, 2011

In keeping with Holland’s “tulip fever,” WLCVacations is offering exciting Tulip Time cruises spotlighting the region’s famous springtime bulbs and alluring history and culture. From April through May, guests will enjoy a slew of events dedicated to the flowering season, including the privileged opportunity to visit the Floriade Horticultural Expo in Venlo, a spectacle held once every ten years that pays homage to all things botany.

“There’s no better way to welcome spring than on a cruise through the Dutch countryside where thousands upon thousands of tulips adorn the fields,” said Ana Valente, president of WLCVacations. “Our tulip cruises allow travelers the chance to immerse themselves in the rich Dutch culture and explore the country’s pristine natural beauty.”

The Tulip Time Cruise carries guests past storybook windmills and bulb fields bursting with springtime hues along the Dutch and Belgian canals. Sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam aboard a fleet of luxury ships – AmaLyra, AmaCerto, AmaVerde, AmaDolce and AmaDante – the 9-day program features a visit to the Floriade World Horticultural Exposition where 100 exhibitors from all over the world convene once every ten years to showcase their stunning collection of flowers and gardens, while enjoying daily cultural presentations of music, dance, art and food. Moreover, the spectacular exhibition of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths at the famed Keukenhof Gardens in the quaint town of Lisse will leave visitors captivated from the start. Cruise only price starts from $2,199 per person.

The River Queen and River Duchess will travel from Amsterdam to Antwerp for the 10-day Tulips & Windmills itinerary. In addition to visiting Holland’s signature flower attractions, the program highlights the region’s windmills, such as the 18th-century windmills of Kinderdijk, and historical treasures. History and art aficionados will delight in the chance to pay a visit to world-famous museums, including the popular Van Gogh Museum; the Rijksmuseum which houses the greatest collection of Dutch and Flemish masterpieces; and the Liberation Museum, offering firsthand accounts of World War II. Fares begin at $2,499.

Alternatively, passengers can also discover the region’s tulip-themed events aboard a luxurious hotel barge cruise. Savoir Faire and Absoluut2 will navigate through the canals and locks of Holland for seven days and six nights, both sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. Daily sightseeing excursions for the 8-passenger Absouluut2 include visits to historic Gouda, with its renowned cheese and stained glass windows as well as the city of Delft, synonymous with blue and white porcelain. Meanwhile, Savoir Faire’s “Holland Tulip” cruise explores the quintessentially Dutch village of Zaan Schaans, home to century-old windmills, a clog workshop and cheese farm. All-inclusive pricing for these 7-day cruises start at $4,500 per person, based on double occupancy.

For more information on the holiday cruises, visit

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iPlay America Offers Special New Year’s Eve Package Ideal for Families at New Jersey Indoor Themepark, Entertainment Venue

December 29, 2011

iPlay America and Encore Event Center, an indoor theme park, entertainment venue and event center in Freehold, N.J., is offering a fun, unique way for families celebrate New Year’s Eve this year.

iPlay America is offering a New Year’s Eve package that appeals to guests of all ages. The festivities take place from 8:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and include unlimited rides and attractions, a $5 iPA game card, a sumptuous buffet and a frozen yogurt at Mixx for $59.95 per person. Any guests 21 and older can also chose to upgrade their package to include an open bar while dining, which features beer, wine and champagne for an additional $19.95 per person. Unlimited rides and attractions include: iPA Speedway, Kite Flyer, Skyscraper, Spin Zone, Jump Around, Happy Swing, Dizzy Dragons, Cosmic Battle, 4D Theater Thrill Ride and Just iKidz.

“iPlay America is excited to offer a brand new way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends and family in an interactive, secure and family-friendly way,” commented Marcy Edwards, Director of Marketing. “This is certainly a unique experience where kids, parents, and grandparents can all have fun together ringing in the New Year!”

Private Brownstone Celebration rooms are also available to rent for the evening, providing guests a private space to eat and celebrate with their friends and family. For additional details, contact a Reservation Specialist at 732-577-8200. Tickets for the New Year’s Eve celebration are available online at They can also be purchased in the Grand Lobby of iPlay America or reserved by phone.

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Win a Trip of a Lifetime with Lonely Planet and Bing– December 29th only!

December 29, 2011

Beginning December 29th at midnight PT/3am ET, Lonely Planet is the prize sponsor of a 24-hour sweepstakes hosted by Bing that will give away the grand prize of a trip of a lifetime. This around-the-world trip will be custom created by the winner, with help from Lonely Planet staff and authors, in order to build a dream trip of their own.

All day long, visitors to Bing’s Magical Holiday Calendar ( can enter to win the trip of a lifetime from Bing and Lonely Planet. The Grand Prize winner will win a 14 consecutive night/15 consecutive day trip for him/her and one guest to up to four travel destinations around the world, up to a value of $30,000.

The Lonely Planet team will work with the Grand Prize winner to devise a custom itinerary, based on his/her interests. To help give participants an idea of what the winner’s dream journey could look like, Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid created five dream itineraries based on the following interests: music, movies, food, art and the outdoors.

You can check out those itineraries here:

*MUSIC: Plug in the earphones, fire up the iPod and get ready for a round-the-world journey like no other. From good old rock’n’roll to the might of the Mersey Beat and naughty German cabaret, this globe-spanning trip will get your toes tapping to a different tune.

*OUTDOORS: A dream trip in the great outdoors! Sounds fantastic but perhaps slightly intimidating, especially if you don’t have three months to boot camp your way to optimum fitness before your vacation. Of course, not all outdoor experiences mean roughing it. Call us cushy, but here are five of our favorite ways to combine natural wonders without denying yourself creature comforts.

*MOVIE: Travel, done right, feels like you’re starring in your own film. Close your eyes in Prague and a stroll along medieval streets becomes a scene from a black-and-white thriller you’ve set yourself in. If you want to put yourself in the picture, all you need to do is visit some of the world’s greatest movie sets. Here are five destinations that will have you calling ‘action!’

*ART: So you want to do the Louvre, the Metropolitan, the Hermitage. Okay. You could trot the globe touring the world’s best museums, but for a real art attack head for the great outdoors. A fleeting glimpse of the Mona Lisa through the throng isn’t half as satisfying as, say, a stroll through the very streets that once inspired Dutch master Vincent van Gogh or an exotic taste of Gaugin’s Tahiti. How about a dream trip for art lovers that gets you out of the museum and turns you on to the places that first inspired those works of genius?

*FOOD: We’ve long considered ‘travel’ – you know, going to see stuff like museums and markets and fancy plazas with mimes – as merely ‘the space between meals.’ Ultimately a trip’s defined by the food you eat. And where you eat it.There’s no end of sensory surprise in store if you travel the globe with an open mind and ready taste buds. From delicate appetizers to belly-busting feasts, why not let a world map be your menu on your next trip? Here are five destinations where food and place combine in an unforgettable concoction.

Participants can enter to win a dream journey until 11:59pm PT December 29 by visiting


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Kiawah Island Golf Resort “Golf or Gourmet Escape” packages for January and February offer up to 45% savings

December 23, 2011

Kiawah Island Golf Resort has just introduced specially priced “Golf or Gourmet Escape” packages from January 2 to February 26, 2012. These packages include accommodations in either its Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond oceanfront hotel, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, or the resort’s villa accommodations and two rounds of golf or two dinners for non-golfers (or a round of golf and a dinner) for savings up to 45%. A one-night stay in the Sanctuary plus two rounds of golf on The Ocean Course or two dinners at The Ocean Room or The Atlantic Room is just $400. Villa accommodations and two rounds on The Ocean Course is just $300. For non-golfers, the package includes accommodations and dinner in one of the resort’s award-winning restaurants at the same astonishing low price.

“With The Ocean Course hosting the 2012 PGA Championship, this is a great opportunity for golfers to come out and experience this magnificent course before the top PGA Tour players in the world take it on. In addition, they will be able to spend the night at one of the world’s premier resorts for up to 45% less than our published rates,” said Roger Warren, President of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. “For non-golfers, guests can experience these world class accommodations as well as some of the finest cuisine in the Southeast for a similar savings,” Warren concluded.

The resort is offering four options, two with golf on The Ocean Course or dining in The Ocean Room or Atlantic Room and two with golf on one of the resort’s other championship courses or dining options.

    • Sanctuary accommodations and two rounds on The Ocean Course or two dinners at The Ocean Room in The Sanctuary or The Atlantic Room in The Ocean Course clubhouse (or one round and one dinner) – $400.
    • Villa accommodations and two rounds on The Ocean Course or two dinners at The Ocean Room in The Sanctuary or The Atlantic Room in The Ocean Course clubhouse (or one round and one dinner) – $300.
    • Sanctuary accommodations and two rounds on either Turtle Point, Osprey Point, Cougar Point or Oak Point or two dinners at Jasmine Porch or Tomasso (or one round and one dinner) – $300*.
    • Villa accommodations and two rounds on Turtle Point, Osprey Point, Cougar Point or Oak Point or two dinners at either Jasmine Porch or Tomasso (or one round and one dinner) – $200.

Located just south of Charleston, South Carolina, along 10 miles of pristine beach, Kiawah Island Golf Resort was recently named the No. 1 golf resort on the U.S. Mainland by readers of the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler magazine. The publication also named Kiawah as the No. 3 overall resort on the U.S. Mainland. Tennis magazine named it the No. 3 tennis resort in the U.S. Kiawah Island is also known as one of the top eco-friendly resorts in the U.S., and its beach was named one of the 10 best beaches in America by famed “beachologist,” Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach. In addition to Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the resort’s 255-room oceanfront hotel and spa, the resort manages over 500 private villas and luxury homes, nine restaurants, two tennis centers, a renowned recreation and nature program and has five championship golf courses, including The Ocean Course, host of the 1991 Ryder Cup and next year’s 2012 PGA Championship.

For more information on the resort, visit or call 800-654-2924. Visit to learn more about Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s environmental commitment.

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Ski Vermont Resorts offer 10,000 Beginners Lessons for $29 in January

December 23, 2011

The learning area at Smugglers' Notch, Vermont. Beginners can get lessons for $29 at Ski Vermont resorts in January © 2011 Karen Rubin/

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and there is no better place to experience the thrill of learning to ski or ride than in its original state. Vermont has some of the best and most experienced instructors in the world, and plenty of terrain specifically for those starting out. Best of all, first-timers can learn for as little as $29. This unprecedented offer is only in January; only in Vermont.

“In a state that welcomes seven times its population in skier visits annually, we’ve truly earned our reputation as being the premiere learn to ski and ride destination,” Ski Vermont President Parker Riehle said. “Newcomers to these sports can appreciate Vermont’s iconic landscape, its esteemed ski heritage and highly certified professional instructors.”

To spread the love of winter to new enthusiasts, 13 Vermont resorts are offering beginner lessons for the entire month of January, excluding holiday periods (January 1 and January 14-15) for $29. The beginner lesson will include a full day beginner lift ticket, full day ski or snowboard equipment rental, and a lesson with a professional instructor. Due to the deeply discounted price, the offer is limited to one beginner package per person.

Specific age restrictions include:

Valid for ages 4 and over: Bolton Valley Resort

Valid for ages 6 and over: Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Stowe Mountain Resort, Sugarbush Resort

Valid for ages 7 and over: Burke Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, Pico Mountain, Okemo Mountain Resort

Valid for ages 8 and over: Jay Peak Resort

Valid for ages 13 and over: Bromley Mountain Resort, Mad River Glen, Mount Snow Resort, Stratton Mountain Resort

New skiers and riders can sign up by emailing Provide the following information: Name, phone number, zip code; preferred ski resort and number of people signing up for the lesson.

Oldest Heli-skiing Operation in Colorado Celebrates 30th Anniversary at Peaks Resort & Spa in Telluride

December 23, 2011

Imagine stepping out of a helicopter at one of the highest elevations in North America and gliding down the mountain – carving through knee-deep snow. This is the stuff a Powder Hounds’ dreams are made of. This is Helitrax.

Thirty years ago four local backcountry ski partners combined their talents and enthusiasm for ski mountaineering with a generous dose of can-do optimism, and launched Telluride Helitrax. Established in 1982, Telluride Helitrax is Colorado’s original and premiere Heli-Skiing and Snowboarding Guide Service.

“We were a bit ahead of our time,” said Guide and Co-Founder Mark Frankman.” There was no airport, and very few people had ever heard of Telluride – the helicopters and pilots were of the Vietnam and Korean war era.”

Today, the Telluride Helitrax crew are experts at providing small group, customized, backcountry adventures. The professional guides and pilots utilize state of the art helicopters, ski equipment and safety procedures to lead guests through the spectacular San Juan Mountains. Helitrax accesses the highest heli-skiing terrain in North America. Staggering peaks and breathtaking mountain beauty surround the expansive alpine bowls, gladed slopes and classic couloirs.

Director of Telluride Helitrax Joe Shults summarized, “It is a great honor to be part of the legacy that has evolved at Helitrax. We continue to advance our commitment to excellence and are grateful for the privilege of sharing these spectacular mountains with our guests. We’ve done it for 30 years and I look forward to the 30 years to come.”

Helitrax is based slope side at the luxury Peaks Resort and Spa, on the Telluride Ski Resort. Heli-ski guests enjoy discounted accommodations and spa services at The Peaks. The world class Telluride Ski Resort, connected by a free gondola to the historic Town of Telluride nestled in an incredible alpine cirque, is deserving of the accolade, “The Most Beautiful Place You’ll Ever Ski.”

Whether you are a seasoned heli-skier or new to heli-skiing, you can join Telluride Helitrax for an untracked and unforgettable adventure.

To celebrate the 30th birthday of Helitrax, any guest staying at the Peaks Resort and Spa receives $50 off any heli-trip daily. All bookings are based on availability and do not include gratuity. Guest may upgrade to an additional day of heli-skiing for $1049 per day (Normally $1099). Skis, all safety equipment, food and water throughout the day are all included.

For reservations or more information, visit or call 877-500-8377 or email

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Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Named “Best Luxury Cruise Ship” for Eighth Straight Year by Travel Weekly Readers

December 23, 2011

The elegantly-appointed Britannia Restaurant aboard Queen Mary 2.

Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2, renowned for her signature trans-Atlantic Cruise, has been named “Best Luxury Cruise Ship” for the eighth consecutive year by the readers of Travel Weekly, the national publication of the travel industry. The award signifies the ocean liner’s dominance in providing the ultimate luxury cruise for which Cunard is known. Bestowed at the magazine’s ninth annual Readers Choice Awards gala event, held on 15 December 2011 at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, the awards are presented annually to industry suppliers who set the highest standard for product and service during the past year.

Recently, Queen Mary 2 completed a significant 14-day refurbishment of all 1,310 staterooms, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Suites and Restaurants, the Commodore Club, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, Sir Samuel’s Bar and Lounge, and the children’s Play Zone. The Golden Lion Pub also received a complete redesign, including upgraded flat screen televisions.

“It is most rewarding to see Queen Mary 2 named ‘Best Luxury Cruise Ship’ year after year by Travel Weekly’s distinguished readers since she was appointed flagship of Cunard in 2004,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The accolade is a testament to our ongoing commitment to provide unforgettable experiences, and the ship’s recent enhancements will ensure that guests continue to enjoy the grandest ocean voyages aboard our flagship liner.”

In 2012, Queen Mary 2 will depart on her fifth World Voyage, continuing the Line’s rich tradition of offering legendary and exotic itineraries. Queen Mary 2 will sail roundtrip from Southampton on a unique 108-day cruise which will include a maiden call to the spectacular sand dunes in Namibia’s Swakopmund before a two-night stay in Cape Town. She will then resume her iconic trans-Atlantic Crossings, sailing 20 of these legendary voyages in 2012, including six nine-day extended trans-Atlantic cruises between New York and Hamburg.

Queen Mary 2 is one of the grandest ocean liners ever built and offers many distinctive features which is why she has deserved to be called the “Best Luxury Cruise Ship.” Along with Cunard’s impeccable White Star Service, guests revel in the luxury of time as they enjoy myriad amenities on board – including the largest library at sea, the only planetarium at sea, the first Todd English Restaurant at sea, and the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub aboard a ship, as well as the largest ballroom at sea where guests get decked out for glamorous evenings at Royal Nights Themed Balls. In addition, renowned guests and speakers present intellectually rewarding lectures as part of the award-winning Cunard Insights enrichment program, from NASA astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman to former CNN correspondent and novelist Kitty Pilgrim.

Intimate luxury on a grand scale is the experience that awaits in the famed Queens Grill and Princess Grill Suites, where guests are pampered with the finest service and amenities, priority embarkation, a dedicated concierge, and exquisite cuisine in exclusive and elegantly appointed single-seating dining rooms.

For more information about Queen Mary 2 and to book a voyage, consult your travel professional, call toll-free 1-800-728-6273 or go to

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Ski New Hampshire Launches Photo Contest for 2011-12 Season

December 21, 2011

Snowboarding at Waterville Valley Ski NH has announced a season-long photo contest. Visitors to Ski NH's websites are invited to submit entries to any of six categories including downhill skiing and riding, cross country skiing, terrain parks, scenery, off the slopes and Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Submissions can be made though April 30, 2012 © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Ski NH has announced a season-long photo contest. Visitors to Ski NH’s websites are invited to submit entries to any of six categories including downhill skiing and riding, cross country skiing, terrain parks, scenery, off the slopes and Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Photos must be taken in New Hampshire during the 2011/12 ski season; the contest ends on April 30, 2012. Entrants simply visit or to enter up to five entries for the 2011/12 ski season.

Guests to the site can also browse a gallery of other entries. At the end of the season a panel will select the winners in each category, along with a Grand Prize Winner who will receive a 2012/13 Ski NH VIP Season Pass valid at all member ski areas! Other prizes include Elan Skis, gear from The North Face, Bern Helmets, Dalbello Boots, Swix Wax and more.

“With most skiers and riders carrying nice cameras, plus the beautiful setting we have at our ski areas, we felt this contest would be a fun way for them to share their experiences with others who have the same passion for skiing and riding in New Hampshire,” stated Karl Stone, Ski NH’s Marketing Director.

For complete details, rules and to enter the contest or just browse photos, visit or

Ski NH is the statewide association representing 38 alpine and cross country resorts and more than 200 lodging and guest service properties in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, lodging packages, and updated winter events at Ski NH resorts, call Ski NH at (800) 88-SKI-NH (800-887-5464) or visit the Ski NH website at

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