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Halloween is Happening in Sleepy Hollow: New Musical Experience Joins Horseman’s Hollow, Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Historic Hudson Valley

October 16, 2019
Halloween in Historic Hudson Valley

Back for a spine-tingling tenth year, Horseman’s Hollow, takes inspiration from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, transforming historic Philipsburg Manor into 18th-century village driven mad by the Headless Horseman. A crew of award-winning makeup and costume designers and a 40-member-strong cast create an immersive, interactive, pleasantly terrifying experience, with state-of-the-spooky-art special effects. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY  — Halloween season in Sleepy Hollow Country, a legendary time that draws hundreds of thousands to the area, now features more frightful fun than ever before! Historic Hudson Valley’s fall events, the largest in the tri-state area, kicked off Friday, Sept. 20, and take place on selected evenings through Saturday, Nov. 30. Historic Hudson Valley expects to draw more than 250,000 visitors to Sleepy Hollow Country this fall.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze®, widely acclaimed as one of the country’s best fall extravaganza, is celebrating its fifteenth year and will run for a record 49 select evenings from late September through Thanksgiving weekend. This all-ages friendly walk-through experience lights up the wooded pathways, orchards, and gardens of historic Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., where a small team of artists hand-carve more than 7,000 jacks and elaborate pumpkin sculptures. Visitors will love seeing Blaze favorites, such as a giant spider web and mammoth sea serpent, and be awed by more pumpkin power than ever before! New additions include a Museum of Pumpkin Art and the Sleepy Hollow Bridge.

Horseman’s Hollow takes visitors back in time to a cursed Sleepy Hollow, an 18th-century village driven mad by the Headless Horseman. Professional actors, award-winning feature-film makeup artists, and state-of-the-art special effects make the Horseman’s Hollow experience all too real. This 16-night haunted attraction at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., is recommended for ages 10 and up.

Also at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow is The Unsilent Picture. This theatrical experience features a black and white film starring Tony Award-winning actor Bill Irwin and will screen with a special effects Foley artist and original score. This event runs for 17 select dates in October and November and is recommended for ages 10 and up and contains scenes of drinking alcohol, smoking and snuff tobacco use, implied violence, and mature themes.

Brand new for 2019 is The Sleepy Hollow Experience, an interactive musical theater production at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. This critically-acclaimed show, created and produced by Brian Clowdus, features live, professional musicians and singers who perform the scenes in various locations around the estate and engage with audience members. The Sleepy Hollow Experience is suitable for all ages. The event runs for 19 evenings at Washington Irving’s home, Sunnyside, in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Home of the ‘Legend’ is a daytime experience at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. Visitors can tour the author’s home, embark on a literary-themed scavenger hunt, hear storytellers spin spooky tales, and take part in historic games and Halloween-themed art activities. Home of the ‘Legend’ is an all-ages event.

At Irving’s ‘Legend,’ master storytellers Jonathan Kruk and Jim Keyes, accompanied by live music, bring to life The Legend of Sleepy Hollow during afternoon and evening performances at Sleepy Hollow’s circa-1685 Old Dutch Church. Irving’s ‘Legend’ runs for 17 select dates and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

All events are held rain or shine. Proceeds support Historic Hudson Valley, the Tarrytown-based private, non-profit educational organization that owns and operates the historic sites that host these events.

Pre-Purchase Timed Tickets

These events have limited capacity and sell out. All admissions are by advance purchase timed ticket.

Blaze dates are September 20-22; 26-29; October 3-31; November 1-3; 8-10; 15-17; 22-23; 29-30. Online tickets start at $23 for adults and $17 for children 3-17, and free for children 2 and under and Historic Hudson Valley members.

Horseman’s Hollow dates are October 4-6; 11-13; 18-20; 25-27; 31; November 1- 3. Online tickets are $22 ($28 on Saturdays). Fast Track, a $15 per ticket upgrade, lets visitors skip the line in their time slot. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.

The Unsilent Picture dates are October 4-6; 11-14; 18-20; 25-27; 31; November 1- 3. Online tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.

The Sleepy Hollow Experience dates are October 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 25-27, 31; Nov 1-3. Performances times are at 6:30pm and 8:30pm. On November 3, performance times are at 5:30pm and 7:30pm. Online tickets start at $45 for adults and $25 for children. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a 10% per ticket discount.

Home of the ‘Legend’ dates are September 28-29; October 5-6; 12-14; 19-20; 26-27; November 2- 3. Online tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children 3-17, and free for those 2 and under and Historic Hudson Valley members.

Irving’s ‘Legend’ dates are October 4-6; 11-14; 18-20; 25-27; 31; November 1-3. Seating is very limited and there are three performances on weekday evenings and six performances on weekends. Online tickets are $28 for adults, $22 for children under 18. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.

Buy tickets online at http://www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-366-6900 ($2 per ticket surcharge for phone orders and for tickets purchased onsite, if available).

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Halloween in Historic Hudson Valley

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze features over 7,000 illuminated, individually hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. Elaborate single-pumpkin carvings and huge multi-jack o’lantern constructions are professionally lit throughout the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor in various themed areas © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze features over 7,000 illuminated, individually hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. Elaborate single-pumpkin carvings and huge multi-jack o’lantern constructions are professionally lit throughout the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor in various themed areas.

Favorite installations, such as the Pumpkin Planetarium and Jurassic Park, are joined this year by new creations such as a Museum of Pumpkin Art and the Sleepy Hollow Bridge … all made of jack o’lanterns!

Creative Director Michael Natiello leads a small team of Historic Hudson Valley staff and local artists who carve. In addition, more than 1,000 volunteers help scoop and light the pumpkins. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze Shop offers a full bounty of Blaze-specific merchandise including candles, hats, T-shirts, magnets, caps, mugs, and jewelry.

Café Blazé, by Geordane’s of Irvington, will offer culinary treats including soup, veggie chili, muffins, pumpkin cookies, and cider. Adult beverages available include wine by the glass, hard cider from 1911 and beer by the Elmsford-based Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.

Professional musician, radio personality, and Halloween fanatic Richard Christy created the soundtrack accompanying the experience. All new tracks for 2019 plus tracks from Blaze: The Soundtrack Volume I & II play throughout the event, making it a multisensory experience. Both soundtracks are available as digital downloads and streams from iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Avenue, just off Route 9 in Croton-on-Hudson.

Horseman’s Hollow

Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow

During Horseman’s Hollow, historic Philipsburg Manor transforms into 18th-century village driven mad by the Headless Horseman © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Back for a spine-tingling tenth year, Horseman’s Hollow, which welcomed more than 37,000 visitors last year, is a haunted experience in the heart of Sleepy Hollow that takes inspiration from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Historic Philipsburg Manor transforms into 18th-century village driven mad by the Headless Horseman.

A crew of award-winning makeup and costume designers and a 40-member-strong cast of experienced actors work to create an immersive, interactive, pleasantly terrifying experience, with state-of-the-spooky-art special effects.

Custom built set pieces and period-correct costumes help orient the experience in Philipsburg Manor’s traditional time period of the mid-1700s.

Philipsburg Manor is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow.

The Unsilent Picture

The Unsilent Picture is a theater experience in Sleepy Hollow at Philipsburg Manor. The original black and white film, based on the Washington Irving story “The Adventure of the Mysterious Picture,” was shot on location at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. It stars Tony Award winner Bill Irwin and each screening features a live Foley artist.

Philipsburg Manor is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow.

The Sleepy Hollow Experience

The Sleepy Hollow Experience is an interactive performance at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, created and produced by Brian Clowdus, founder & Executive/Artistic Director of Serenbe Playhouse, the nation’s premier outdoor site-specific theatre company, which was recently named one of the Top 20 Theaters in the Nation by Playbill. The production features live, professional musicians and singers, who will perform the scenes in various locations around the estate and engage with audience members. Theater-goers will be guided by storytellers from scene to scene, meeting Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel, imbibing in drinks and snacks during the famous party scene at the Van Tassel’s, and, in a thrilling climax, encountering the Headless Horseman himself.

Beverages, including a signature cocktail, and snacks will be available to purchase and there is also a gift shop.

Sunnyside is on West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 in Tarrytown.

Home of the ‘Legend’

Sunnyside celebrates its connection to Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, at this family friendly daytime event. Home of the ‘Legend’ includes a spooky tour of both floors Irving’s home, a literary-themed scavenger hunt, storytellers, and historic games.

Sunnyside is on West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 in Tarrytown.

Details: Irving’s ‘Legend’

sleepyhollow-102007 179e2-story-kruk (c) Karen Rubin

Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk offers dramatic re-tellings of Washington Irving’s classic tale © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Master storytellers Jonathan Kruk and Jim Keyes offer dramatic re-tellings of Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Flavored with live spooky music, the event takes place in the historic setting of the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow. The circa-1685 stone church is across the street from Philipsburg Manor, where visitors will park. These performances last about 45 minutes. Weekend afternoon performances are by Jim Keyes and weekday and weekend evening performances are by Jonathan Kruk.

Historic Hudson Valley, Westchester County’s largest cultural organization, educates and entertains more than 325,000 visitors a year through school programs, tours of five National Historic Landmarks, and large-scale events like this roster of Halloween themed experiences, which have earned a national reputation as among the best in the country.

Information: www.hudsonvalley.org, 914-366-6900.

 

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Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps For 2019

May 10, 2019

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps for 2019. Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina and the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks at the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland once again ranked as the top resort and top camp respectively.

The rankings are based on reviews submitted by tennis vacationers over the past year. Each was asked to evaluate the properties they knew first-hand on the basis of more than 20 criteria that contribute to a quality tennis experience. Those range from the tennis staff, programming, instruction, game arranging, and junior tennis sessions to such creature comforts as lodging and cuisine and amenities like spa and fitness centers, children’s programs, and other recreation. The staff at Tennis Resorts Online then compiles those reviews, overweighting the tennis elements, to be sure, but factoring in all the criteria to come up with our final rankings. Finally, the overall standings aside, we supplement the Top 100 list by highlighting the top tennis venues in each of 16 categories.

Taken as a whole, this list reflects the differing opinions about what constitutes a “great” tennis resort. The hardcore fanatic eager to spend every waking hour on court has different expectations from the casual player planning to divide his time between the courts, beach, spa, or golf course. Families want to be sure their kids are entertained, on court and off; romantic couples may focus on creature comforts; teams or groups of friends value a customizable program; single travelers hope for an engaging social atmosphere. Because we’re able to solicit the opinions of thousands to tennis players, the rankings reflect that diversity of expectations.

The list is made up of large resorts and small; luxurious properties and modest; 800-room hotels and intimate, 50-room retreats; beach, mountain, and desert settings. What they have in common, however, is that elusive quality we call “tennis atmosphere,” an almost palpable sense of deep-seated enthusiasm for the game of tennis and those who play it. In that sense everyone on the list qualifies a great resort.

 Top 5 Resorts

  1. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
  2. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, California
  3. Wild Dunes Resort, South Carolina
  4. The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Florida
  5. Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria

 Top 5 Camps

  1. Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks, Switzerland
  2. PBI Tennis Camp, Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria
  3. Cliff Drysdale Tennis at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Florida
  4. John Newcombe Tennis Ranch, Texas
  5. New England Tennis Holidays at Sugarbush, Vermont

The complete list can be viewed at tennisresortsonline.com/top100.

Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association to Honor Best in Advertising, Digital Marketing, Public Relations

January 14, 2019

HSMAI will celebrate 25 hospitality professionals as the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization at the Adrian Awards Gala © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is honoring the Gold Winners of the 2018 Adrian Awards for outstanding advertising, digital marketing, and public relations in hospitality and travel. Platinum and Best of Show winners will be unveiled at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala on January 22 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

After receiving close to 1,200 entries, HSMAI is presenting Gold Awards to one of the largest groups of winners in the Awards’ history, including 104 awards in Public Relations, 25 in Integrated Marketing, 89 in Digital Marketing, and 48 in Advertising. The 200 judges for this year’s awards are prominent members of the travel industry and subject-matter experts in advertising, digital marketing, media, and public relations.

View the complete list of Gold Award winners on the Adrian Awards website.

“The Adrian Awards are a rare opportunity to recognize the exceptional work being done in travel marketing,” said Fran Brasseux, executive vice president of HSMAI. “But just as importantly, we are also putting a well-deserved spotlight on the exceptional people behind that outstanding work.”

At the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception, co-sponsored by HSMAI, Google, and TravelClick, Gold winners’ submissions will be showcased on digital displays and honored during the dinner reception. Winners of the Gold Adrian Awards are considered for Platinum Adrian Awards and the “Best of Show” Awards, the Adrian Awards’ highest honor, which will be announced at the Adrian Awards Gala. All winning work will be showcased in the Winners Gallery on www.adrianawards.com following the Gala.

Two new awards will also take center stage at the Adrians this year. The first Facebook Mobile Video Award will be handed out as well as HSMAI honors for Leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility.

The evening’s celebration will also pay tribute to the HSMAI Top 25: Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization, who will be honored in a private reception and onstage at the Adrian Awards Gala.

The Adrian Awards, the CLIOs of the hospitality, travel and tourism industry, will also celebrate lifetime achievements in hospitality sales, marketing, and public relations. Harris Rosen, President and CEO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, will be honored with the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing. Steve Bartolin, Chairman of The Broadmoor, has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations. Stephen Powell, most recently SVP Worldwide Sales for IHG prior to retirement, is the recipient of the inaugural HSMAI Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Sales.

HSMAI also will celebrate 25 hospitality professionals as the 2018 HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala and at a private reception on January 22, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Every year, 25 of the hotel and travel industry’s best and brightest are selected by a panel of senior industry executives for the HSMAI Top 25 for demonstrating innovative thinking and exceptional results in the preceding 18 months.

“HSMAI is proud to draw well-deserved attention to the remarkable contributions of these 25 sales, marketing, and revenue optimization leaders,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The drive and creative thinking of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds fuel advancement and inspire innovation across our industry, in addition to contributing to the success of awardees’ own hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations.”

The HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds are as follows:

  • Jennifer Andre, Senior Director, North America and Latin America, Expedia Group Media Solutions
  • Dustin Bomar, Head of Industry – Travel, Google
  • Ronald Castro, Chief Strategist, Roca Marketing
  • Christopher Crenshaw, CRME, Vice President, Digital Data Solutions, STR
  • Fred Dixon, President & CEO, NYC & Company
  • David Downing, President & CEO, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
  • Erica Doyne, Vice President, Marketing, AMResorts
  • Gino Engels, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer, OTA Insight
  • George Galinsky, Senior Vice President Marketing Communications, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment
  • Darren Green, Senior Vice President, Sales, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
  • Chad Hallert, CRME, CHDM, Vice President of Performance Marketing, Noble Studios
  • Allison Handy, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Prism Hotels & Resorts
  • Adam Hayashi, CRME, Vice President of Revenue Management, AccorHotels
  • Carolyn Hosna, CHDM, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, White Lodging
  • Jay Hubbs, CHDM, Senior Vice President of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Remington Hotels
  • Jodi Kern, Senior Director, Digital Merchandising, Marriott International
  • Gil Langley, President & CEO, Amelia Island CVB
  • Dave Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Sarah Murov, Vice President, Public Relations & Communications, Loews Hotels & Co
  • Leticia Proctor, Senior Vice President, Sales, Revenue Management and Digital Strategies, PM Hotel Group
  • Julie Scott, President, Colwen Hotels
  • Jim Struna, CRME, Regional Director of Revenue, Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Matt Teixeira, CHBA, Director of Sales, Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Theresa van Greunen, Senior Director Corporate Communications, Aqua-Aston Hospitality
  • Cherilyn Williams, Director, Global Portfolio Marketing, Marriott International

In addition to recognizing outstanding travel advertising, digital marketing, and public relations campaigns, HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala offers hospitality professionals an opportunity to connect for an evening of celebration with nearly 1,000 peers from their industry. Tickets can be purchased at www.adrianawards.com.

HSMAI will also host the 2019 Digital Marketing Strategy Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis, January 23. For more information, visit www.hsmai.org/digitalconference.

See: HSMAI’s 61st Annual Adrian Awards Honor Luminaries in Travel Marketing

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy ConferenceAdrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization of more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at https://www.hsmai.orgwww.facebook.com/hsmaiwww.twitter.com/hsmai, and www.youtube.com/hsmai1.

 

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WalletHub: Best Credit Cards for Foreign Travel

May 12, 2018
JF Kennedy International Airport, NY

WalletHub released a study of the best credit cards for foreign travel © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With 72 million Americans planning a foreign trip this year, credit cards providing up to 13 international travel benefits and 86% of people not fully understanding how foreign fees work, WalletHub released a report identifying the best cards to use.

WalletHub also released the results of its 2018 Foreign Transaction Fee Survey, which provides insights into people’s attitudes toward and understanding of foreign fees. You can find highlights from both below.

  • 96% of credit cards offer rental car insurance, while 86% offer travel accident insurance and 37% offer a form of luggage insurance.
  • The best credit cards for international travelers are the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card, Bank of America Travel Rewards and Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard.
  • 86% of people don’t fully understand when credit cards can charge foreign transaction fees. 82% think foreign transaction fees are unfair.
  • 51% of Americans worry more about foreign transaction fees on credit cards than tariffs on Chinese imports.
  • Two-thirds of people think credit cards should charge lower foreign transaction fees in countries allied with the U.S.
  • Capital One, Discover, USAA and Barclays are the only major issuers that exclusively offer no foreign transaction fee credit cards. Getting such a card, along with a no foreign fee debit card, enables international travelers to minimize the cost of currency conversion.

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18 Hotels in The Palm Beaches Receive Highest AAA Diamond Ratings

February 6, 2018
Fla PalmBch-Eau_011214_159e2(c) Karen Rubin-nite

The ultra-luxurious Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in tony Manalapan was one of three resorts in the Palm Beaches that received the coveted AAA 5 Diamond Rating. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Eighteen hotels within The Palm Beaches have been awarded Five Diamond and Four Diamond Ratings from AAA for 2018. The coveted ratings are the highest honors from the travel group, which represents an exclusive designation in the hospitality industry. Each year, AAA reviews more than 27,000 hotels, with only 0.4% making the AAA Five Diamond list, and only 5.9% making the AAA Four Diamond list.

“The Palm Beaches’ image as America’s First Resort Destination originated with the legendary hotels and resorts gracing our shores since the 1890s,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing organization for Palm Beach County. “This grand tradition of hospitality carries to the present, and is further reaffirmed by the 18 award-winning properties we are so proud to showcase to customers far and wide.”

“For those of us who are fortunate to visit these hotels on a regular basis, it is easy to see why they’ve become regular recipients of these awards in recognition of their beauty and exemplary service,” Pesquera continued. “We are grateful to the management teams of these hotels who’ve worked tirelessly to provide memorable experiences for our visitors, reaffirming our brand promise as ‘The Best Way to Experience Florida’.”

Three of the 10 Florida properties that received AAA Five Diamond Ratings are located within The Palm Beaches and include:

Properties within The Palm Beaches that received AAA Four Diamond Ratings are:

Discover The Palm Beaches, formerly the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the official tourism marketing corporation that promotes the collection of 39 cities and towns and 15 tourism districts spanning more than 2,200 square miles and 47 miles of pristine beaches from Boca Raton to Jupiter and Tequesta, commonly referred to as “The Palm Beaches.”  The Palm Beaches are home to nearly 17,000 hotel rooms, ranging from historic resorts to boutique inns. The destination features more than 100 family-friendly attractions, world-class luxury and antique shopping experiences, 125 miles of peaceful waterways for on- or in-the-water activities, more than 150 artificial reefs that line the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream current, 160 golf courses, award-winning restaurants, and a thriving entertainment scene boasting more than 200 art and culture organizations. For more information about The Palm Beaches, visit www.ThePalmBeaches.com and connect on social media via FacebookTwitter and Instagram @PalmBeachesFL, YouTube at Discover The Palm Beaches and the hashtag, #ThePalmBeaches.

See:

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa’s Secret for ‘New Fashioned’ Luxury: Playfulness, Surprise, Touch of Whimsy and Wit, and Surprise

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2018’s Best & Worst Frequent Flyer Programs – WalletHub Study

January 18, 2018
AZ-Flagstaff_100315_04e2(c) Karen Rubin

WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With U.S. airlines expected to carry more than 600 million passengers on domestic flights this year and credit card debt levels exploding, you can expect airfare savings to be increasingly important in the months ahead.

To help travelers make the best decisions for their wallets, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines based on 23 key metrics, ranging from the value of a point/mile to blackout dates for rewards flights.

WalletHub’s report also features a custom calculator that allows users to personalize the results based on their own budgets.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Delta SkyMiles is the best frequent flyer program for the third straight year.
  • The average airline rewards program gives frequent flyers 12% off their airline spending. And they’re all free to join.
  • Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value to frequent flyers ($19.95 per $100 spent), with Alaska Airlines coming in a close second ($19.87 per $100 spent).
  • Four of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards in 2018 than in 2017, sweetening the pot by an average of 20%.
  • Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways are the only two major airlines whose miles do not expire because of inactivity.
  • The Frontier Airlines Credit Card and the Lufthansa Credit Card are 2018’s best airline credit cards, according to WalletHub’s editors.

For the full report, including the custom calculator, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-frequent-flyer-program/25943/

 

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2017 Best Places for Christmas Celebrations

December 20, 2017
Holidays in New York

New York City is one of the top-ranked places for Christmas Celebrations by WalletHub © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With Christmas being the most popular holiday in the U.S. and one of the most expensive – Americans plan to spend up to $682 billion over the holiday season this year – the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2017’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations.

To help Americans celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities across 29 key metrics. The data set ranges from Christmas events per capita to average price per Christmas party ticket to shopping centers and outlets per capita.

Best Cities for Christmas Celebrations  
1 Chicago, IL   11 St. Louis, MO
2 San Francisco, CA   12 Dallas, TX
3 Pittsburgh, PA   13 Cincinnati, OH
4 New York, NY   14 Los Angeles, CA
5 Seattle, WA   15 Denver, CO
6 Orlando, FL   16 Birmingham, AL
7 Atlanta, GA   17 San Diego, CA
8 Washington, DC   18 Houston, TX
9 Las Vegas, NV   19 Oklahoma City, OK
10 Portland, OR   20 Miami, FL
           

Key Stats

  • Durham, North Carolina, has the lowest average price for a Christmas party ticket, $8.27, which is six times lower than in Las Vegas, the city with the highest at $49.99.
  • San Francisco has the most Christmas events (per square root of the population), 0.038, which is 38 times more than in Tucson, Arizona, the city with the fewest at 0.001.
  • Miami has the most Christmas tree farms (per square root of the population), 0.024, which is 24 times more than in Fort Worth, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.001.
  • San Francisco, California, has the most gift shops (per square root of the population), 0.209, which is 104.5 times more than in Garland, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.002.
  • New York has the most toy stores (per square root of the population), 0.145, which is 72.5 times more than in Detroit, the city with the fewest at 0.002.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-places-for-christmas/41924/

More from WalletHub

See also:

Nighttime Stroll of New York City’s Holiday Lights

 

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Kiawah Island, Roy Emerson Head List of Top 100 Tennis Resorts & Camps

May 11, 2017

Kiawah Sanctuary Aerial OceanFront B

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its annual rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and CampsKiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island in South Carolina remains in the top position among resorts, edging out a former No. 1 Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Kiawah took top honors partly on the strength of its “Tennis Instruction and Programming,” both for adults and juniors. The top camp was once again the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks program at the Gstaad Palace in Gstaad, Switzerland, which also drew raves and the No. 1 slot for “Tennis Staff”.
As in years past, these results are based on the critiques submitted over the past year by vacationers themselves. Reviewers were asked to evaluate each resort or camp in more than 20 different categories. These ranged from the quality of the tennis staff, programs, instruction, and game matching to such amenities as accommodations, cuisine, overall recreation, spa and fitness facilities, children’s programs, and more.
With all the reviews in, results are tabulated using a formula that gives added weight to tennis elements. To ensure that the final results are statistically meaningful, we require a minimum of 25 reviews to qualify for a ranking among the Top 10 resorts or Top 5 camps. We then award Gold Medals to the Top 25 Resorts and Top 10 Camps, listing them in ranking order, and Silver and Bronze medals to the remaining finalists.
Our goal is to reward the resorts and camps that truly do provide an exceptional experience for tennis players. Our formula, which emphasizes the tennis experience, ensures that the list as a whole contains a broad spectrum of vacation properties, from large, multi-dimensional resorts to intimate retreats, both in the U.S. and beyond. After all, tennis players have different tastes in tennis vacations, so any list of great resorts and camps has to reflect those differences. By making those players the arbiters of excellence, this one does.
To see the complete list, as well as the best in various categories, visit Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps (http://www.tennisresortsonline.com/trofiles/top-100-tennis-resorts-and-camps.cfm)

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Jade Mountain Club Named One of World’s Most Romantic Destinations

February 10, 2017
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Jade Mountain Club, Saint Lucia

The new National Geographic Society book, The World’s Most Romantic Destinations, names Jade Mountain as the recommended hotel for the island of Saint Lucia, one of the 50 featured locales.

“We are thrilled to be part of this definitive new travel guide,” said co-owner Karolin Troubetzkoy of the gorgeous coffee-table book, an inspirational planner for romantic trips such as weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries. “The very essence of Jade Mountain is the celebration of life and love, and our goal has always been to provide the utmost level in service and privacy for special occasions such as weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries.”

The resort is known for its intimate weddings, and its Celestial Terrace, one of the most popular locations, was used twice as the Final Red Rose Proposal in ABC’s The Bachelor. The hotel even employs a Romance Concierge to help with proposals, surprise gifts and other memorable moments during honeymoons and anniversaries.

Jade Mountain is set on a lush, scenic 600-acre estate overlooking the Gros and Petit Pitons, 2,500-foot twin volcanoes that have come to symbolize St. Lucia and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort’s cuisine, which the book deemed “exquisite,” is overseen by the highly acclaimed chef Allen Susser, who conceived the groundbreaking Miami restaurant Chef Allen’s and has won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Southeast Chef award.

Architect and owner Nick Troubetzkoy’s story began in the 1970s, when he opened Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain’s sister property, as a pioneering eco-conscious hotel. In 2007, after many years of planning and construction, Troubetzkoy opened his labor of love: Jade Mountain, an intimate, luxurious resort at the top half of the property.

Troubetzkoy’s bold architectural vision helped bring to life extraordinary details like dramatically suspended bridge walkways (instead of hallways) and extravagant suites called “sanctuaries,” each missing a fourth wall. The book specifically called out the “aptly” named sanctuaries saying, “there’s nothing between you and your Pitons panorama … Marvel at the scene from the sumptuous, mosquito-netted bed, elegant sun loungers or private infinity pool.”

With their incredible panoramas, massive infinity pools that seem to float over the Caribbean and handcrafted furnishings sourced from local materials, each room is a majestic, sweeping space that’s a true work of art. These sanctuaries provide an unforgettable stage set for the wedding, honeymoon or anniversary of a lifetime.

Jade Mountain has received numerous other accolades, including several Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and placement on Travel + Leisure’s T+L 500 and World’s Best Awards lists, the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, American Express Travel’s Top 25 List and BRIDES magazine’s rundown, “The 10 Best Honeymoon Resorts in the Caribbean.”

For reservations, call 800-223-1108 or contact Jade Mountain at 1-758-459-7000, e-mail jademountain@ansechastanet.com, www.jademountain.com.

 

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Learn to Ski or Ride at Liftopia’s Top-Rated Beginner-Friendly Ski Areas

January 6, 2017
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Smugglers Notch, Vermont, came in #7 for Best Family resorts and #10 for Top Beginner Friendly in the Northeast on Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards list © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and Liftopia, which claims to be the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, has compiled a list of the top beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas across North America that are ideal for those looking to learn one of winter’s signature sports.

This list is part of Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards, honoring North America’s most beloved ski areas. The awards, unveiled last week, feature winners across five regions and seven categories (including Beginner-Friendly and Family-Friendly) that Liftopia customers said would be most useful in helping them make the most informed decisions when choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. You can find the complete list of winners along with methodology here: https://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/#/.

Some highlights:

West Coast:  California has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the West, including Tahoe Donner (first place in the family-friendly category), June, Boreal, Bear Valley, Snow Valley, Homewood, Donner Ski Ranch, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Sierra-At-Tahoe. Anthony Lakes (OR) is the #1 beginner-friendly ski area in the region.

Northeast: Bretton Woods is the #1 beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski area in the region. In addition to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Northeast, including King Pine, Cranmore, Black Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged and Attitash.

High West: Utah is home to the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the High West, including Eagle Point (#1 Beginner-Friendly Ski Area), Sundance, Brighton, Powder, Alta, Solitude and Brian Head. In the Family Friendly category, Sipapu, NM came in #1 in the region.

Midwest: Michigan ski areas reign supreme in the Midwest, with the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas including Crystal Mountain (first place in both categories), Shanty Creek, Boyne Highlands, Caberfae, Nubs Nob and Boyne Mountain.

Southeast: West Virginia has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Southeast, with Canaan Valley the number one Beginner Friendly and Family Friendly Ski Area in the region. Other winners include Snowshoe, Timberline Four Seasons and Winterplace.

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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