Posts tagged with "Hotels"

Las Vegas-Based Tour Provider

When Bindlestiff Tours owner Rachel Urban opened the Las Vegas-based adventure tour company nearly 10 years ago, she sought to offer adventurers the most immersive experiences throughout the Southwestern United States, Alaska and Western Canada. In the days leading up to the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours was doing just that. Business was booming and the company welcomed thousands of international visitors each year.

Then borders closed, shutdowns began and the international tourism industry dried up. As reservations were cancelled and trips delayed, many tour operators opted to close their doors entirely. Yet, Bindlestiff made the bold, yet tough, decision to remain open last year as one of the only fully operating national park tour companies in Las Vegas during the height of the pandemic. Today, Bindlestiff continues to fight challenges created by the pandemic while still welcoming drive-market travelers to keep the business afloat.  

“Like many small businesses in the tourism industry, we’re fighting every day to keep our operation running while safeguarding our staff and customers’ health and well-being,” said Urban. 

With group size limits, mask enforcement rules and social distancing guidelines differing state by state, Bindlestiff’s high operating and cleaning costs for their spectacular multi-state tours through Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California have risen while the number of guests they are able to accommodate continues to remain restricted. 

Navigating which national parks and campsites are open also presents another obstacle for Bindlestiff Tours. A spike in COVID-19 cases often leads to sudden park or campsite closures or limited access to certain destinations which creates challenges in how Bindlestiff times tours, according to Urban.

Last-minute tour reservations and cancellations also add to the company’s dilemma of planning how many guests they are able to welcome on a given day. 

“While it certainly has been difficult to accommodate travelers visiting Las Vegas on a whim, it brings us such gratitude knowing there are still domestic tourists searching to get away and immerse themselves in nature,” said Urban. 

The immersive tour operator celebrates the small victories such as welcoming travelers from neighboring states, even if group sizes remain small, and continues to offer flexible booking conditions, value tour pricing and additional traveler options. 

Among these additional options are Bindlestiff Tours’ new multi-day, self-driving camping tours and private, custom single- or multi-day tours from Las Vegas.


The self-drive camping tours, also available with hotel upgrades, offer travelers an opportunity to socially distance under the stars. According to Urban, these tours are designed for guests interested in driving to the national parks of the American Southwest on their own, while still receiving expert guidance and an immersive, personalized adventure. 

Guests are provided with all the necessary camping equipment and tour guides assist with camp set-up in scenic locations. Expert tour guides meet guests at key locations throughout the tour and escort groups on remote hiking trails to spectacular viewpoints while providing live interpretive wildlife and nature content throughout the adventure. 

According to Bindlestiff, guides also facilitate evening campfires and locally sourced, fully catered al fresco dining options at camp or for hotel guests. 

To enhance the self-drive experience, Urban says guests can download the recently reconfigured Bindlestiff Tours mobile app. Now featuring tour narrations in English for domestic travelers in addition to multiple languages for international visitors, the app allows travelers to access additional details, instruction and information.


For families or groups of friends of four or more interested in experiencing national parks in a more intimate setting, Bindlestiff also offers private, custom tour options. These tour packages are pre-made and offer exclusive one-on-one attention from a dedicated, expert local guide. Guests may select day tours or multi-day outdoor camping tours or the comfort of hotel accommodation. Guides escort groups on a completely private tour throughout the experience. Guests have the option to choose from classic itineraries or request a custom-tailored tour and add on other areas of interest, according to Urban. 

Despite the overall decrease in travelers resulting from the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours understands the importance of continuing to provide vacationers with spectacular opportunities to visit some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks when they are ready to travel again.

“During the height of the shutdown last year, we were one of the only fully operating tour providers in Las Vegas,” said Urban. “We understand the importance of offering travelers expert guides for incredible experiences they’ll never forget, especially during such a difficult time. It truly brings our team joy.” 

As Bindlestiff continues to expand its tour offerings when more people begin to travel again, the challenges of remaining viable and laying the foundation for recovery in a post-COVID economy remains present. This year, Bindlestiff is excited to launch “glamping” tours that allow families and private groups the peace of the great outdoors paired with more elevated living accommodations.

According to Urban, the tour company remains hopeful about the future. She said guests booking trips with Bindlestiff this year have felt reassured about their health and safety – some even going as far as sharing their uplifting experiences on social media. 

“Our company is beyond grateful we have remained open throughout these challenging times to welcome those searching to get out of their houses and into the wilderness,” said Urban.

For more information about private custom tours and self-drive tours, visit www.bindlestifftours.com

Beating the Competition: How to Make More From Your Airbnb 

If you have some space to spare in your home, Airbnb is an excellent way to make a good income. But today, there are loads of listings in almost any neighborhood, and let’s face it; better homes, better amenities, nicer views… And the truth is that these days you can’t compete on prices alone.

This spells the need to rethink how you run your facility. 

You want first-time guests to love it so much that not only will they long to come back, but also they refer you to their circles. For this to happen, you need to bring your A-game. Roll up your sleeves and get ready. Here’s to make more from your Airbnb.

  1. Focus on the Bedrooms

You will be surprised at how much attention people give to bedrooms and sleeping areas when choosing vacations. This is an area that will require you to put your best foot forward if you are to stand out. 

Think doonas with quality filling, white hotel-style linen, and so on. 

Ensure to capture these details in your listing as well so that potential guests know what to expect beforehand. This can significantly help increase your bookings.

  1. Think Sustainability

Going green campaigns in recent years have increasingly focused on what individuals can do on a smaller scale. Combined with national-level policy, individual efforts create a considerable impact as well. 

As a business owner, running a sustainable property is advantageous on several fronts. 

The key ones are that one, you are likely to attract like-minded, pro-green proponents to your property. 

The second is that you can use the specific sustainability features on your property to separate yourself from other Airbnb’s in your locale when marketing. This does not have to be anything complicated; water conservation, live plants, composting, and so on are small touches that can amplify your brand. 

  1. Welcome Pack

Let’s face it: everyone loves freebies. To understand just how much, look at reviews left for different hotels and see how prominently the idea of welcome packs feature. 

This will require some creativity, however. Because you are a business looking to make a profit, your accommodation fees will dictate what your welcome pack should hold. Ultimately, it’s the time and effort you put into making your guests feel warm and fuzzy that matters.

Items like candy, fruit, or local delicacies will work well enough. 

While it’s okay to mention this in your advert, you can opt to leave it as a surprise. There is no expectation of a grand welcome pack, and the surprise element can add you extra guest points.

  1. Make It Family-Friendly

Most vacationers with young children will tell you the hassle they go through to find family-friendly accommodations. If you have a location where families will make up a significant percentage of guests, making your facility family-friendly can give you an edge. 

Think about things like cots, high chairs, laundry powder, free washing/machine, extra mattresses, and so on. 

You can also consider building a safe child corner where parents can leave their kids playing as they unwind. You can take this a notch higher and have a resident baby minder at a fee. 

The opportunity to explore, relax and unwind while a resident baby minder takes care of their little ones for a couple of hours is a dream come true for most parents. 

Think Outside the Box

Guests have lots of options today more than ever before, and being the choice facility will take some thinking outside the box. Luckily, these do not have to be expensive undertakings. Small, thoughtful additions are often enough to woo your guest and keep them coming back for more.

Travel illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine

TREEHOUSES, SAMURAI HOMES & KIMONO RETREATS

With Japan on the top of many travelers’ bucket lists once travel restrictions are lifted, the country is expecting a tourism boom like no other. This has lead to the creation of many new hotels and resorts, particularly located outside of Tokyo and Kyoto. Along with new properties to open in 2021, many hotels that have opened in 2020 with unique experiences and offerings, and are eager to welcome international guests. Below is a sampling of some of the most unique hotels in Japan:

wanoi KAKUNODATE – Akita Prefecture-Opened March 13, 2020
Renovated from a historical storehouse, wanoi KAKUNODATE offers travelers a step back in time. The town of Kakunodate was known as “Little Kyoto” for samurai residences. Each of the three rooms at wanoi KAKUNODATE highlights this incredible history. The Nishinomiyake Bushigura room, inspired by the ancestor of the Nishinomiya family who was a highly regarded samurai at the time, echoes his story through its design, including tactile tools once used by samurai. The Nishinomiyake Gakkogura room was originally a storehouse for pickles. Guests can experience that history by taking a bath in a repurposed pickle barrel bathtub. The Tanmonogura room is located right next to the samurai residence street. It stands as the oldest of the three storehouses, originally built in the late Edo period.

The pickle bathtub in the Nichinomiyake Gakkogura room at wanoi KAKUNODATE (© East Japan Railway Company), Geoffrey Weill Associates, the Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

Nordisk Hygge Circles – Mie Prefecture-Opening Spring 2021
Located in Japan’s Mie Prefecture amidst towering trees and roaring waterfalls, the Nordisk Hygge Circles is a new luxury campground. The campground is intended to be a healing space for guests, while providing a sustainable camping experience. The Nordisk Hygge Circles was designed by Japanese-Danish architecture team Third Nature, who won a regenerative tourism competition launched by Danish outdoor gear company Nordisk. The campsite will consist of three main areas: a rest area with reservable circular cabins and glamping tents, a “learning field” for nature-inspired excursions and workshops, and an area where guests can pitch their own tents.

Nordisk Hygge Circles in Mie Prefecture (© Third Nature, Structured Environment, Henrik Innovation), The Japan National Tourism Organization, Geoffrey Weill Associates, for 360 Magazine

Nipponia Shirataka Former House of Okuyama – Yamagata Prefecture-Opening April 2021
Renovated from a house that was previously owned by a distinguished Japanese family in the silk production business, this “kimono retreat hotel” offers guests an escape in the rural town of Shirataka while experiencing Japan’s kimono culture. The hotel will span 8,000 square meters with five different buildings and eight guest rooms. Owned by Tomihiro, a 400-year-old kimono fabrics store, the retreat allows guests to partake in traditional craft and local lifestyle activities.

NIPPONIA Shirataka Former House of Okuyama  (© 2021 NIPPONIA Shirataka), Geoffrey Weill Associates, and Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

Treeful Treehouse EcoResort-Okinawa Prefecture-Opening Spring 2021
Located in Nago city, in the north of Okinawa island, the Treeful Treehouse EcoResort lives by the ethos of ‘sustainable luxury.’ Using minimal electricity produced solely by solar power, the resort features a number of sleek and design-forward treehouses that are seamlessly integrated with nature. One is completely suspended with 360-degrees views and contemporary interior design, built on the side of Genka River–considered one of the clearest waters in Japan. A passionate environmental project, the resort has engaged with Okinawa locals on various initiatives, including removing man-made concrete to restore the natural landscape, and re-building a watermill in an effort to “improve their area environmentally, culturally, and economically.”

Treeful Treehouse EcoResort in Okinawa (© Treeful Treehouse EcoResort), Geoffrey Weill Associates, and Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

Fauchon Hotel Kyoto-Opening March 16, 2021
A meeting of two worlds, the Fauchon Hotel Kyoto, from the famous French gourmet food company Fauchon, will stand as the company’s first hotel outside of Paris. The hotel will open in the center of Kyoto with 59 guest rooms and suites. Along with its iconic Pâtisserie & Boutique Fauchon, Fauchon Hotel Kyoto will be home to a variety of restaurants and bars, including Salon de Thé Fauchon and Le Grand Café Fauchon. The hotel will also be home to Le Spa Fauchon, which will offer a wide range of body and face treatments.

Rendering of the Grand Café at the Fauchon Hotel Kyoto, Geoffrey Weill Associates, and Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit this website

Condé Nast Traveler – 2021 Gold List

Condé Nast Traveler today announced its 2021 Gold List. The annual list, curated by Traveler editors in New York and London, is the ultimate collection of our favorite hotels and cruise lines across the globe—those that exemplify the gold standard of service and hospitality, a designation that is even more meaningful after a year of interrupted travel.

For the first time in its history, this year’s Gold List went beyond places to stay, expanding to include a range of experiences—flights, restaurants, bars, and destinations—our editors consider truly exceptional. These are the places we daydreamed about in lockdown, and a few we were actually able to visit—all that sustained us in a year of curtailed travel.

“We wanted to take a more holistic and personal approach to what we define as Gold, just as we’re doing with travel across the board,” said Jesse Ashlock, U.S. Editor at Condé Nast Traveler. “These are the properties, destinations, and experiences we kept thinking about in a year when travel was so constrained. In some cases they represent the travel that was possible to us. We hope they inspire readers to plan their next adventures as the world opens up again.”

While the expected threshold of excellence continues with this year’s Gold List, the 2021 winners more broadly reflect how and why we travel. Highlights include grand dame hotels like the stately Hotel Astoria in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Hong Kong’s near-perfect Peninsula, but also the tiny five-room SingleThread in Sonoma, California, where a pilgrimage-worthy 11 course dinner is the real draw. We spotlight destinations that we can’t wait to revisit, bustling cities like Rome and restorative places like the Peruvian Andes. And we include the restaurants and bars that should be on every traveler’s map–legends like Keens Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan and under-the-radar standouts like South Africa’s Wolfgat. We rhapsodize about the lie-flat seats on Cathay Pacific and Delta’s always stellar customer service, and how we can’t stop thinking about the Thomas Keller-created menus on Seabourn and the excursion we took to a Sicilian winery while sailing with Oceania.

All winners of the 2021 Gold List are prominently featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s website and celebrated in the January/February issue on newsstands nationwide Dec. 22.

Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa by Preferred Hotel Group

New Sustainable Hotel Brand, Beyond Green

Guided by an inherent passion to transform travel as a force for good,Preferred Hotel Group, Inc.– the family-owned company that manages and operates global travel and hospitality brands includingPreferred Hotels & Resorts,Historic Hotels of America,Historic Hotels WorldwidePHG Consulting and Beyond Green Travel– proudly announces the launch of Beyond Green. This innovative hospitality brand debuts with a global portfolio of 24 founding member hotels, resorts, andlodgesthat exemplify sustainable tourism leadership. Driven by purpose, the new brand represents Preferred’s steadfast commitment to building a better and brighter future for travel in a way that also helps to protect the planet for future generations.

Born through an inspired, natural synergy between the Ueberroth Family – the owners of Preferred Hotel Group, Inc. – and ecotourism pioneer and global sustainability expert Costas Christ – the founder of Beyond Green Travel, which Preferred acquired in February 2020 – Beyond Green brings together forward-thinking properties around the world that are committed to delivering on the three key pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally friendly practices that go beyond the basics; protection of natural and cultural heritage; and contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.

The name itself –  Beyond Green – was chosen in recognition of not only the immense importance of environmentally friendly practices, but also the paramount responsibility that the travel and tourism industry has towards protecting biodiversity, preserving cultural heritage, and improving local people’s livelihoods in travel destinations around the world, all while delivering an enjoyable and meaningful traveler experience. 

“Never before has there been a greater need to promote a kinder and gentler way to explore our beautiful, yet fragile planet. Driven by our brand promise, Believe in Travel, which guides every decision we make as a company, we believe that now is the time to go big and be bold as we look to the future of travel,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of Preferred Hotel Group, Inc.

“We are humbled by the opportunity to partner with so many inspiring leaders in sustainable tourism to launch our newest brand, Beyond Green, that was built with purpose, gratitude, and respect for nature, communities, and culture, continued Ueberroth.” 

“While there may be a tendency to think of sustainability as just the latest travel buzzword, its roots are long and deep. What we are witnessing is an evolution of travel, not a passing trend,” said Costas Christ.

Beyond Green is about reconnecting with our common humanity and understanding that the diversity of our cultures and different ways of life are what create the rich fabric that makes travel so enjoyable and fascinating. In that same context, nature brings inspiration and renewal to our lives. Sustainable tourism is not about giving something up, it is about gaining something more – a great vacation that it is also a force for good,” said Christ.  

The Beyond Green platform will support the needs of its member properties by providingglobal connectivity, distribution technology, marketing, sales, quality assurance, branding, and sustainability solutions, as well as access to participate in I Prefer Hotel Rewards, the world’s largest global points-based loyalty program for independent hotels. Beyond Green will also enhance visibility for its global portfolio and champion sustainability storytelling through its brand website, StayBeyondGreen.com, which launched today in an interim state prior to the brand’s official consumer debut in Q1 2021. Beyond Green member properties will also be bookable on a common GDS chain code, to be announced in early 2021, which will be linked under Preferred Hotel Group Inc.’s master GDS chain code – PV.  

With plans for strategic growth over the next 24 months, Beyond Green celebrates its launch in collaboration with 24 inspiring founding members located across 15 countries:   

  •         &Beyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya) 
  •         &Beyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania) 
  •         &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namib Desert, Namibia) 
  •         Aristi Mountain Resort (Zagori, Greece) 
  •         Ashford Castle (Co. Mayo, Ireland)  
  •         Bentwood Inn (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA)  
  •         Blancaneaux Lodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize) 
  •         Borgo Pignano (Tuscany, Italy) 
  •         Bushmans Kloof (Western Cape, South Africa) 
  •         Cavallo Point (Sausalito, California, USA)  
  •         InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia)   
  •         Islas Secas (Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama) 
  •         Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, California, USA)  
  •         Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo (Raton, New Mexico, USA)  
  •         The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia) 
  •         The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, California, USA)   
  •         Three Camel Lodge (Gobi, Mongolia)  
  •         Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize) 
  •         Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda)  
  •         Wilderness Safaris DumaTau Camp (Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana) 
  •         Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Kaokoveld, Namibia) 
  •         Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe)  
  •         Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana) 
  •         Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana) 

To be considered for Beyond Green membership, a property must demonstrate leadership in the three key pillars of sustainable tourism as part of a rigorous vetting process and show progress in meeting more than 50sustainability indicatorsthatalign with global sustainable tourismstandards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Examples of these requirements, among others, which form part of an ongoing, biennial on-site inspection process, include management of overall environmental operations to establish benchmarks and set additional sustainability goals including carbon emission reduction targets; elimination of plastic water bottles and reducing single-use plastics; support for biodiversity conservation initiatives and restoration and protection of natural habitats; embracing local cultural vernacular in design and décor and supporting the preservation of cultural heritage sites, a demonstrated priority to hire locally according to fair wages, benefits, and non-discrimination policies that meet or exceed legal requirements; and priorityto purchase goods and services from locally owned and operated businesses. 

To help build Beyond Green as a dynamic, digital-first platform that serves travelers through authentic storytelling and wholesome sustainability stewardship, Preferred sought expert direction from two strategic agencies – Robert Louey Design and Spherical. Robert Louey Design was tasked with the branding work, inclusive of brand development, positioning, and strategy, as well as graphic design and language. Spherical has been charged with building a digital identity for Beyond Green to coincide with its consumer launch in Q1 2021, which entails creative direction and channel strategy, the production of a variety of digital assets for advertising, marketing, and social media use, and the creation of a standalone consumer-facing website. 

Travel advisors, media, hotels interested in membership, and travelers can learn more about Beyond Green and its founding members by visiting www.StayBeyondGreen.com. Prior to debuting its brand website with full booking capabilities in Q1 2021, Beyond Green invites all travelers who want to book a stay within its unique portfolio of hotels, resorts and lodges to email Book@StayBeyondGreen.com.   

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, reopens Nov. 15 as announced by 360 MAGAZINE.

Grand Wailea Reopens with Enhanced Safety

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort — an iconic beachside sprawling resort nestled on 40 acres of lush, tropical gardens fronting Maui’s Wailea Beach — will reopen its doors on November 15, 2020. Staying true to the Grand Wailea traditions and spirit while ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for guests and staff, travelers will now have the opportunity to create new memories at the celebrated resort. The reopening also marks the debut of The Grand Life, a sweeping variety of programming that focuses on well-being and incorporates personalized health and safety measures. The Grand Life will also include a reimagined twist to the exceptional experiences the resort is highly-acclaimed for, such as its award-winning spa, immersive activities, and interactive and educational experiences for kids. Detailed information on the guest arrival experience, including health & safety protocols and resort activities can be found here. 

“The core of our culture is built around happiness, wellbeing, and respect for the land. We have missed being able to provide our warm hospitality to travelers and look forward to welcoming our guests back,” said Managing Director, JP Oliver. “We are committed to fostering a connection between our travelers and Hawaii through our array of unforgettable Grand Wailea guest offerings.  

Elements of The Grand Life include

 Wellness Ambassador:

 Grand Wailea is committed to making guests’ travel plans as safe and seamless as possible. Grand Wailea will provide a ‘Wellness Ambassador’ on property to assist prior, during, and following a guest’s arrival. There will be a wellness check area with a thermal face scanner, complimentary masks, hand sanitizer, posted CDC recommendations for social distancing, and Maui county regulations. The Wellness Ambassador will be a resource to help guide all guests through Maui’s changing health and safety protocols. Creating a stress-free trip that focuses on well-being and relaxation, each traveler will leave the property having created new memories and feeling more refreshed than ever before. 

Spa Grande: 

Grand Wailea is home to the largest spa in all of Hawaii – Spa Grande – a 50,000 square foot wellness space with countless accolades for its innovative programming. Uniting Thalassotherapy and Ancient Eastern and Hawaiian Philosophies, Spa Grande features an extensive range of Hawaiian and globally inspired therapies. The signature treatments, which ensure the health and safety of guests among all other treatments, include the Hawaiian Healing Escape, a half-day transformative and indulgent experience that uses traditional Hawaiian healing practices and massage therapies combined with herbal plant medicine grown in the lush rainforests of Hawaii. Additionally, the Ho’omalie  healing treatment blends rhythmic lomilomi and pohaku (warm stone) massage, and the Hawaiian Superfood Crystal Facial is a potent collagen-producing facial that deeply infuses the skin with pristine nutrients. With travelers looking to rest and relax while staying safe, Spa Grande will reopen with a socially distant approach and follow all health & safety protocols. The Spa Grande experience will feature other special touches including a welcome hand-cleansing ritual and an immune-boosting elixir served at the end of all treatments. Open-air treatment options in a poolside cabana will also be available, as well as in-room treatments for those who would prefer not to use the spa facilities. In-room spa & wellness kits will be available for those who are looking to continue their Spa Grande experience in the privacy of their own rooms, including Knesko and Patchology face masks, bath ritual kits, sleep enhancing kit, and personalized skin care sets from Eminence and SkinCeuticals, and more.

Launching in early 2021, the spa’s new Live Grande Wellness program will allow guests to discover their path to a vibrant fulfilling life through thoughtful wellness experiences that allow for exploration on needs and desires to spiritually heal inside and out. The program will feature à la carte wellness experiences, events & workshops with visiting practitioners, one to three-day retreats and more. Highlights of the services include energy treatments such as reiki and chakra balancing, to healing arts like reflexology and cupping, nutrition sessions on intuitive eating, metaphysical sessions including birth and wedding charts and natal readings, and mindfulness sessions including personalized meditation and guided visualization. Details of the program will be announced before the end of the year.   

For guests looking to stay fit during their visit, the resort has implemented ‘gym pods,’ a dedicated private space away for individuals or families traveling together, with special equipment including Peloton bikes, interactive Mirror screens, rowing machines, free weights, and yoga mats. For travelers looking to take their workouts outside, open-air areas throughout the resort grounds will be available for personal training sessions and socially-distanced outdoor fitness classes.  

Make Your Zoom Background Your Real Background: 

Guests looking to work remotely will be treated to a seamless ‘work from home’ set-up. Upon request, guests will have access to their own “office” – a room or area at the hotel with a workstation including a monitor, conferencing equipment and any supplies they may need. For young guests engaged in virtual schooling, Grand Wailea will offer IT support, desks upon request, school supplies, and an on-demand tutor, to ensure that little guests are set up for success with their schooling. 

Grand Passport:

After almost eight-months in front of screens, whether television or iPad for entertainment, or a computer screen for virtual learning, Grand Wailea is encouraging its school-aged guests to partake in non-screen educational experiences through its new self-guided Grand Passport program. Focusing on both immersion into Hawaiian culture, including the islands’ storied Polynesian ancestry and abundance of flora & fauna, as well as sustainable practices to combat guests’ carbon footprint, self-guided tours of the artwork featured throughout the resort with work from Botero, Leger, and Chihuly, and even surfing and snorkeling lessons, the Grand Passport program will offer a memorable educational lesson that is sure to last forever.  

Upon check-in, children will receive a Grand Passport, which maps and lists out all educational activities to visit around the property. After each activity, a “stamp” on their passport will officially indicate they have successfully completed the ‘Hawaiian lesson.’ Following a young person’s stay, Grand Wailea will continue to send (via e-mail) immersive reading material on Hawaiian culture and print outs for coloring to continue the interest, education and conversation.  

The resort has undergone key changes in accordance with government and local authority guidance as well as Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection, which includes, among many other motions, operating at a minimum capacity and with limited facilities; COVID-19 testing; thermal screen temperature checks; light therapy to enhance the immune system; antigen testing; social distancing of at least six feet in effect in all areas; offering keyless entry for guests in every room; as well as limited bell and valet services to minimize human interaction to further appease their health & safety concerns of traveling during this time. A full list of related revisions is available here.  

As of October 15, 2020, visitors age five and older are allowed to bypass Hawaii’s mandated 14-day quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Children five and under are exempt from quarantine rules and therefore, do not require proof of a negative test/ For Hawaii-bound travelers, more information on testing here.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Hotel

The Hotel Industry Remains On the Brink of Collapse

As devastated industries wait for Congress to pass another round of COVID-19 recovery legislation, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the hotel industry remains on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic. Results show 68 percent of hotels have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time, and without further governmental assistance, 74 percent of respondents said they would be forced to lay off additional employees.

AHLA conducted the survey of hotel industry owners, operators, and employees from September 14-16, 2020, with more than 1,000 respondents. Key findings include the following:

  • 68% have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time currently.
  • Half of hotel owners said that they are in danger of foreclosure by their commercial real estate debt lenders due to COVID-19.
  • Without further governmental assistance, 74% of respondents said they would be forced into further layoffs.
  • More than 2/3 of hotels (67%) report that they will only be able to last six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels absent any further relief.

To raise awareness for hotel industry priorities, AHLA has rallied its members to “Save Hotel Jobs,” a grassroots initiative for hoteliers across the country to urge lawmakers to swiftly pass additional stimulus relief before departing on recess to campaign. This ongoing effort by hoteliers has resulted in more than 200,000 letters, calls, and tweets to members of Congress, an unprecedented demonstration of unity and support. Among hotel owner respondents, nearly half are in danger of foreclosure by commercial real estate lenders.

“It’s time for Congress to put politics aside and prioritize the many businesses and employees in the hardest-hit industries. Hotels are cornerstones of the communities they serve, building strong local economies and supporting millions of jobs,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “Every Member of Congress needs to hear from us about the urgent need for additional support so that we can keep our doors open and bring back our employees.”

Rogers reiterated the urgency of the situation on a call on Friday with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, followed by a conference call with business and travel leaders, hosted by the Economic Innovation Group. The most pressing concerns for the industry right now include access to liquidity and debt service, and liability protection.

“These are real numbers, millions of jobs, and the livelihoods of people who have built their small business for decades, just withering away because Congress has done nothing,” said Rogers on the call. “We can’t afford to let thousands of small businesses die and all of the jobs associated with them be lost for many years.”

Hoteliers can visit hotelsact.org to connect to their elected officials.

About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry and contributes nearly $660 billion to U.S. GDP. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Every day, America’s hotels make dreams come true, not just for our guests, but also for the 8.3 million people whose jobs we support—more than 1 in every 25 American jobs.

Learn more at www.ahla.com.

Online game illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

Nevada Adventures: Top 5 Unusual Things You Can Do in Vegas

Most of us associate Las Vegas with a city that never sleeps and a hometown of the biggest casinos and luxurious hotels. Vegas settles in the very heart of Nevada, a state that is considered a motherland of gambling and entertainment. When you arrive in the neon city, be prepared to meet multiple celebs walking down the streets amid casual tourists. Do you want to take a picture with His Highness Elvis Presley? Easy! Dozens of artists dressed up as the King of rock-n-roll will gladly make a selfie with you.

Vegas never sleeps, just like people who visit this marvelous city. Tourists have a myriad of cool things to do in this dazzling place. You can start your trip from attending the legendary Mob Museum to learn more about gangsters and see another dark side of Vegas. Your next destination can be the iconic museum of Madame Tussauds (not to be confused with the museum in London), where you can take a photo with eminent celebs, like Britney Spears or Mike Tyson. You can dive into the atmosphere of luxury and burlesque in the notorious Burlesque Hall of Fame. Are you a huge Marvel fan? Then welcome to the Marvel Avengers Station featuring your beloved superheroes in a full size.

Top 5 unusual things to do in the neon city

Looking for more thrilling Nevada adventures?! For more demanded tourists, who want to get a truly mind-blowing and one-of-a-kind experience in the neon city, we prepared a list of the top 5 unusual things to do in Vegas.

Feel the spirit of the Wild West ghost town

The unique atmosphere of Wild West will never stop intriguing people. No wonder, as the world of brave cowboys, bandits, and saloons seems so mesmerizing and even a bit frightening (thus even more tempting). In Vegas, tourists have a unique chance to feel that Wild West thrilling spirit by booking a tour to the Wild West ghost town. The tour duration is 10 hours (10 AWESOME hours to be exact), during which visitors can learn the history of ancient cowboys, have a drink in the authentic saloon, and try their luck in gold mining. And don’t forget to purchase a cowboy hat as a souvenir from this remarkable spot.

Don’t miss the Titanic exhibition!

The sad history of the most famed liner Titanic is known to everyone. The film adaptation, directed by the eminent James Cameron, gave a second breath to the Titanic’s story and brought 11 Oscars to its creators. People still commemorate all those passengers who tragically passed away in the liner’s crash. In Vegas, you can feel the Titanic spirit as an actual traveler by attending the unique exhibition. You can step on the deck and visit recreated rooms of the legendary ship to get that realistic experience like the Titanic’s passengers decades ago. The organizers assure that those who visited their exhibition at least once would always keep Titanic’s story in their hearts.

Check the National Atomic Testing Museum

Whether you love physics or not, the National Atomic Testing Museum is a must-to-visit spot in Vegas. The museum stores unique pieces of weapons, video recordings, and letters from the times of WWII. Visitors can get a one-of-kind experience of the atomic testing and read the diaries of the prominent scientist Albert Einstein. You can discover the mysteries of atomic evolution and find out how contemporary geniuses continue their ancestors’ path by developing new top-notch technologies. You can put yourself in Sheldon Cooper’s shoes in the museum and find out what it feels like to be a talented physicist.

Visit the Red Rock Canyon

Nothing can beat the beauty of witnessing a picturesque sunset at the Red Rock Canyon. Millions of tourists annually attend this marvelous national conservation spot in Nevada. The views of the magnificent mountains and plains, incredible wildlife, and unforgettable hiking experience make the Canyon the most beloved sightseeing among tourists and locals. Visitors can book a camping tour and spend a night under the open-air, sitting near the fire and listening to the guitar. They can admire the beauty of the surrounding nature and landscape at an aerial view by booking a flight across the Canyon. This mysterious place won’t leave anyone cold.

Get unforgettable emotions in the Caesars Palace

Nevada is a gambling state, and Vegas is the heart of the most luxurious casinos and entertainment spots. When you are in Vegas, the No.1 spot to see on your map should be Caesars Palace. This magnificent place will change your vision of entertaining routine as nobody gets bored there. No wonder that this resort is titled the Palace because once you enter its doors, you dive into the parallel universe with the gorgeous halls, Michelin-starred restaurants, and lavish casinos. The majestic gambling area in the Caesars Palace will make you feel like George Clooney’s hero at Ocean’s Eleven. Visitors can have a tour in the Caesars Palace even if they don’t stay in the hotel. It is a dream place for gamblers and high rollers or casual spectators who want to feel that unique thrill.

Things to know when scheduling a voyage to Vegas

When you are in Vegas, you won’t let yourself get bored. However, there are some rules you must know when planning to visit the city of dazzle:

In Vegas, it is forbidden to drink alcohol if you are under 21.

You can’t stop a taxi on the street in Vegas. Taxis can take passengers only in the designated spots. Usually, they locate near hotels, restaurants, and casinos.

You can get married within an hour in any chapel if you provide your ID. Vegas marriages are the fastest and easy-going, though we can’t say the same thing about the divorces. When considering tying the knot in Vegas, better think twice not to pass through a tiresome divorce process afterward.

Take gambling mindfully! Though casinos and wagering activities are allowed in Nevada, there are many pitfalls that gamblers must learn before visiting a gambling spot. According to the WorldBookmakers’ experts, bettors can start wager on real money only if they set up a strategy in advance. A good strategy is a key to hit the bank on wagering and gambling.

Summing up

People who have been in Vegas at least once admit that this majestic city stole their hearts forever. If you plan a trip to the neon city, pick up the sightseeing you want to visit beforehand. You can schedule a shopping marathon, attend the largest museums in the area, go camping to the legendary Canyon, and try your fortune at the luxurious casinos. So many awesome spots and gorgeous places to visit along the way! Vegas is full of opportunities that you can discover firsthand. 
 

Allison Christensen illustrates a sports article for 360 MAGAZINE

Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District

Downtown Orlando is about to get a major overhaul.

The hotspot will undergo a $500 million renovation in the form of the ambitious Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District.

Situated right across from the Amway Center, which houses the Magic and the Solar Bears, it will include a 300-room hotel, over 400,000 square feet of offices, 80,000 square feet of event space, more than 100,000 square feet of retail and an open-air plaza.

SISCO, who will provide the technology for the project, agreed to terms with the project owners, Cityzenith, and will use Cityzenith’s SmartWorldPro2™ Digital Twin platform. The platform integrates all software and services for large scale projects such as the Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District.

Michael Jansen, CEO of Cityzenith, said he is delighted to work with SISCO, and called the project “the most-advanced and feature-rich 3D Digital Twin model of a city in the United States.”

Jansen also said he aims to boost Cityzenith’s “Clean Cities – Clean Future” mission.

“Currently, 10,000 cities produce 70% of global greenhouse emissions and just 100 – megalopolises like New York, Tokyo, London and Paris – produce 25% of that total. It must change, and SmartWorldPro2™’s ability to create digitally-twinned cities to inventory GHG emissions and streamline sustainable urban redevelopment initiatives makes it the platform of choice for executing energy transition projects on any scale, whether a district, a campus, a city, or an entire country.”

Hotel illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Healing Through Hospitality

By Shannon Suess

There has been a lot of speculation in every industry about how today’s reality will affect tomorrow’s possibilities. In June, The New Yorker released an in-depth exploration of what the future of architecture could look like, with the roots of modernist design having grown from the sterile lines and quiet colors of Tuberculosis-era sanatoriums in days past. It paints a future full of pandemic-inspired changes, but the truth is, the evolution is already deep underway, even if we don’t realize or acknowledge it.

When it comes to the idea of traveling—of spending an extended period of time, for business or pleasure, in a hosted space outside our own homes—our psyches have subconsciously rewritten what is most important in order for us to not only feel comfortable with but actually enjoy our experience. 

For the hospitality industry, the emotional, physical, and psychological toll of a global pandemic will likely underpin travel trends that were already on the rise: biophilic designs rooted in nature, experiences rich in culture, and environments that promote both physical and mental health and wellness. But for brands looking at what’s next, there are numerous pieces of the puzzle that must come together to make guests truly feel comfortable with traveling once more.

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY TO RESILIENCE

Adopting the mentality of “one day at a time”, the ability to change and adapt spaces to fit present-day climates will be critical. With venturing outside of our own regions likely to remain difficult for the foreseeable future, travelers will instead seek out unique local destinations. They’ll gravitate toward dramatic hospitality spaces that can flex or change quickly in scale; the ability to easily flow from a multi-purpose, spacious area to a personal, private sanctuary will be paramount. 

Flexibility of this caliber will give way to opportunities for new, hybrid spaces, allowing hotels and resorts to consolidate, reimagine, and deeply personalize their offerings. Simultaneously, guests will have the opportunity to discover new experiences at various intervals during the day: Bars offering breakfast service for takeaway in the mornings gives way to an open-concept lounge or coworking space in the afternoon. By rotating “dual purpose” spaces, hosts naturally reduce footprints and create a natural time to clean and sanitize spaces.

LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY TO ELEVATE SAFETY

Technology integration into hospitality experiences is a fickle thing: With how swiftly electronics evolve, expensive hardware upgrades can often be out of date within months of being implemented. Entering a room filled with aging technology can be a visually stark reminder of just how many people have touched those devices. Instead of letting technology hinder our relaxing experience, how can we use it to subtly support guests in feeling comfortable and safe?

The all-inclusive ticket to enabling this experience could be the one device many can’t live without. Subsequently, it’s one that we’re familiar with, comfortable with, and most importantly, feel safe using: our smartphones. The integration of subtle push notifications—for example, confirmation of your room’s scheduled daily cleaning, when housekeeping is actively there, and when they’ve vacated the space—have the opportunity to set and continuously keep a guest’s mind at ease.

Concurrently, granting visitors a familiar “no-contact” medium through which requests can be made—empowering a more comfortable experience—opens up a world of possibilities. Guests could use their phones to order room service, request additional towels, reserve a socially distant seat by the pool, at the bar, or in a coworking pod. The list goes on and on.  And, the more guests utilize these digital services, the more in-depth their digital profile becomes, making loyalty programs more enticing through a safe yet personalized touch.

There is a double-edged sword here, though: designers cannot rely too heavily on technology as a substitute for, or complete replacement of, social interaction. Humans crave physical connection with one another, and hospitality experiences will still need to provide the option for us to embark on that journey if we so choose.

IMPERFECTION IS PERFECTION

It’s no surprise that, as we’ve found ourselves trapped indoors the past few months, our bodies are inherently drawn to the idea of becoming reacquainted with nature; not just for the fresh air and sunshine, but for the fundamental healing properties that simply being closer to nature provides us. 

By employing the concept of biophilic design, we focus on natural over synthetic as an overarching theme, tapping into the psychosocial wellbeing that humanity is currently craving the world over. Natural color palettes that seamlessly transition outdoor experiences inside create a continued sense of calm while indoors. The addition of plants throughout both cleans the air and provokes a sense of relaxation. Removing clutter to reveal clean lines, white space, and invoke a “less is luxury” mindset. Interior design is witnessing a return to these authentic, raw, and “imperfect” materials—ones where the hand of the maker is visible, they aid us in feeling more grounded, and reinforce a sense of place.

The question that hosts must ask themselves as they look toward the future, “How can I design my experience offering to reduce anxiety and make guests feel more naturally at ease?” Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a guide, we have the opportunity to comfort guests holistically. The key to a reassured, tranquil mindset isn’t to simply coat everything in copper; designers will need to thoughtfully expand and go deeper to offer a sense of security and comfort beyond what’s on the surface.

A MULTIFACETED FOOD & BEVERAGE UPGRADE

One of the things we miss the most, undisputedly, is the ability to dine out and spend time with friends and family. We don’t just crave the energy and social activity, we long for the semblance of normalcy tied to the experience itself. 

While the industry has taken a hit to their traditional dine-in offerings, consumers are demanding more than ever before from the F&B industry: meal and cocktail kits, picnic baskets for outdoor excursions, easy curbside pickup, reliable room service, rapid and safe home delivery. 

There is ample opportunity to adapt existing room service and F&B experiences, which are anticipated to see not only a resurgence but a higher demand for gourmet-level quality. And, with a renewed focus on safety and convenience, offering grab-and-go contactless options in restaurants or lobbies that can digitally be charged to one’s room opens up new avenues for revenue and differentiation.

With an added focus on finding space outside of personal rooms that guests still feel safe in, how can restaurants take advantage of a rise in take-out by enabling positive, memorable moments? Establishing outdoor spaces that guests can retreat to for picnics or morning coffee in solitude; remodeling rooms to better allow for comfortable dining during a night in; hosts have the opportunity to allow guests to write their own stories defined by their comfort levels, and designers have the chance to enable that journey.

THE ROAD AHEAD

As brands and venues that offer hospitality experiences look toward the future, it won’t be about creating a compromised version of what we’ve known to be normal in the past, but cleverly designing and strategically implementing layers to more easily adapt for the unknowns that lie before us. 

Over the past century, the desire for machine-made perfection was palpable. Today, as we strive to become closer with nature in a primal effort to heal our bodies and minds, hosts that embrace the perfect imperfection of raw edges, materials, and palettes—as well as provide variable spaces both indoors and outside—can help guests maintain a fundamental sense of safety and comfort as they embark on their journeys.

People will not feel comfortable traveling unless they feel safe. Those who create hyper-personalized, dynamic, memorable spaces that guests can not only escape to, but ones where they can wholeheartedly focus on physical and mental rejuvenation, will come out on top. After all, isn’t that what vacation is for?

SHANNON SUESS is an award-winning interiors and hospitality designer who has dedicated over 25 years of her career to crafting world-class destinations. Working with clients around the globe, she seamlessly fuses interiors, exteriors, and the spaces in between to create memorable venues that harmonize local culture and brand. Shannon thrives on finding unique solutions to programming barriers and solving complex architectural challenges with holistic design.

An agile problem-solver dedicated to cultivating meaningful partnerships in order to bring out the best in projects, Shannon is often inspired by the music, art, and local traditions she encounters during her travels. She consistently fuses cutting-edge trends with timeless designs to sculpt extraordinary, one-of-a-kind experiences for hotels, residential, casinos, wineries, and everything in between.