Posts tagged with "Hotels"

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.

Sunset illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

7 Most Amazing Travel Destinations in Europe

With most of Europe now opening back up to tourists and travelers after the impact of COVID-19, many of us are starting to think about planning an upcoming European adventure. If you are thinking of going on vacation and want to visit Europe this year after months of uncertainty in quarantine and lockdown, the good news is that most countries on this continent have managed to get control of the coronavirus and are safe to visit once again. Here are some of the top destinations in Europe that can’t be missed. 

Portugal:

Portugal is a vibrant, diverse country with so much to see and do that it can feel like you have visited several different countries during your time there. With so much to see and do you will struggle to decide whether you want to enjoy a fun and adventurous city break in magical Porto or explore the sandy beaches and traditional resorts of Albufeira in the Algarve. Or, with trains in Portugal that run regularly, connect the country and can easily be booked online, why not travel to various different Portuguese destinations – don’t restrict yourself to just one place. 

Scotland:

With vibrant cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh and rolling countryside including picturesque views in untouched rural areas like on the Isle of Skye, Scotland is the perfect choice for anybody who is looking to visit Europe. While much of Scotland is still in lockdown due to COVID-19 compared to the rest of the UK and Europe, this might be a destination that you want to plan your travel to further in the future – but it will be worth the wait. Get starting putting your trip together with this Scotland trip planner

Spain:

There’s a reason that Spain is the most popular destination in Europe for tourists. This gorgeous county has just the right combination of cities, villages, and beaches and there really is something for everybody. You can explore the architecture and art in Barcelona, delve into history in Madrid or Seville, or party on the beach in Ibiza or Tenerife – the choice is yours! While Spain was particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus, it is now recovering and ready to welcome visitors once again. 

Italy:

Italy is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and indeed in the world. This gorgeous country has a lot to offer, from amazing city breaks in Rome, Florence, Milan or Venice to adventures in the countryside with stunning vineyards and gorgeous beaches to explore. No matter where you go, you will certainly be met with some of the best hospitality that you have ever experienced, not to mention the amazing food and wine in this country that is second-to-none. 

France:

Home to Paris, the City of Love, if you are looking for a romantic and intimate getaway with somebody special after the pandemic, there’s no better choice than France. And, since this country is closely bordered with several others in Europe, you can easily get there from destinations in Spain, Portugal, Germany, The Netherlands, and even the UK, with the Eurail train that travels along a tunnel under the English Channel. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant city break exploring the big attractions like the Lourve and Eiffel Tower in Paris or want a more relaxed vacation with summer vibes in Marseilles, there’s something here for every type of traveler. 

Malta:

This European island might be small but it certainly has a lot to offer. Visit Malta for the sand, sea, and some of the most delicious food that you will ever taste. And, there is plenty of gorgeous scenery to enjoy; head to Comino for some of the clearest, bluest sea water you will have ever seen or head into the mountains to explore and enjoy a horseback riding adventure. When it comes to things to do, there’s certainly no shortage of activities that you can enjoy amidst the stunning backdrop from quad biking to gun range shooting, or simply sipping a cocktail on the beach. 

Greek Islands:

Last but not least, the Greek islands offer some of the most unparalleled beauty in Europe with white, sandy beaches, clear blue seas, and traditional white-domed churches. Santorini is well-known for being one of the most gorgeous of the Greek islands to visit and is very popular with weddings, but the other options including Corfu, Crete, Paphos, and Thessaloniki are all stunning choices for anybody who is looking for a relaxing vacation surrounded with beautiful nature. 

Miyagi – Japan’s Most Relaxing Vacation

Geothermal wonders that rejuvenate the body and mind, Japan’s onsens (naturally occuring hot springs) are a must for any traveler, and Miyagi Prefecture has no shortage of them. With many dotted throughout Miyagi’s diverse terrain, each onsen provides a unique experience with different water sources producing baths of different temperatures, mineral content, texture and more. As these onsens are often located in the mountains, by the ocean and in forests, they provide a great place for travelers to practice the tradition of toji, extended stays at onsens to recuperate from illness or overexertion. Below is a sample of Miyagi’s best onsens for travelers to dream of relaxing in once travel restrictions are lifted.

Reflective pond at Tenshukaku Gardens (©Visit Miyagi)

One of the more popular onsen towns due to its proximity to Miyagi Prefecture’s capital Sendai, Akiu Onsen is tucked in the region’s mountains. The town features about a dozen hot spring hotels located along the scenic Natorigawa River with many offering day use of their hot spring baths. Nearby, Tenshukaku Gardens is home to its own onsen, known as Ichitaro no Yu. After strolling through the traditional Edo-style garden, guests can warm up in the hot spring with a view of Mount Osawa. Lucky bathers may even get to catch a glimpse of kamoshika, a rare Japanese goat-antelope often seen roaming on the mountainside. While the onsen’s water will leave skin soft and silky, Akiu Onsen water is also said to improve quality of sleep, circulation and reduce stress levels.

Sakunami Onsen is located deeper into the mountains and the train ride to this town passes through thick pine and maple tree forests with views of the Hirosegawa River below. This onsen town was often visited by weary monks, members of the shogunate and the shogun himself centuries ago as the water was said to treat a variety of illnesses. After cleansing their mind and body at the onsens on the rocky banks of the river, travelers can opt to hike one of the many trails or take a day trip to the Nikka Whiskey Miyagikyo Distillery.

Naruko Onsen’s diverse hot spring water makes for a rich experience (© JNTO)

Known as one of the “Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan,” Matsushima Bay has its own onsens facing towards the bay with views of countless small islands

Several hotels near the bay have their own natural onsen facilities and staying the night is highly recommended. Guests should make their way out to the open-air baths during the night to see thousands of stars light up the bay. For early birds, the baths are also an ideal spot to watch the sunrise. While Naruko Onsen can be a little hard to get to as it’s hidden away in the hills of northwestern Miyagi, the trip is worth it. Naruko Onsen boasts one of the richest onsen experiences anywhere as the town has eight of the ten types of hot spring water found in Japan. Additionally, the town has more than 400 different springs providing an almost endless variety of bathing facilities. Naruko Onsen also has a wide range of ryokans from traditional inns to luxurious private baths.

The Miyagi Onsen Experience: Watch HERE

For more information on Miyagi Prefecture’s onsens, travelers are encouraged to use the website’s Trip Organizer which has plenty of resources and travel tips. Travelers can also watch this short video highlighting experiences at onsen towns in the prefecture.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Hotel

Say I Do × The Summit Hotel

The Summit Hotel in Madisonville is a featured location for Say I Do, a new series premiering on Netflix on July 1. From the creators of Queer Eye, Say I Do follows couples as they overcome obstacles to plan their surprise dream wedding in less than a week.

Say I Do stars interior designer Jeremiah Brent, fashion designer Thai Nguyen, stylist Johnny Wright, and chef Gabriele Bertaccini as experts and planners of each perfect celebration, including the one filmed at The Summit. The deserving couples on the show have always wanted to get married, but life challenges kept them from realizing their dream. Laughter, tears and love are hallmarks of the program.

“One of the highest honors we have in the hotel business is to help a couple celebrate their love with an extraordinary wedding,” said Martin Pittman, AT Hospitality Vice President of Operations. “The inspiring spaces, thoughtful details and sumptuous food at our Four Diamond hotel make every wedding special. But this one, with a couple who have loved each other through difficult times and the groom surprising his bride with the wedding in less than a week, was really something special.”

Viewers are treated to a front-row seat as they get to know the couple and their love story, and are there every step of the way, from the groom surprising the bride to the menu planning and more. It all culminates in seeing the bride glowing in her Thai Nguyen gown against the lushly decorated Rooftop Terrace at The Summit.

Say I Do is garnering national attention in the ramp-up to the premiere, with media coverage including People and FilmDaily. The official trailer can be viewed here.

The Summit is Cincinnati’s premier, luxury independent boutique hotel, with more than 32,000 square feet of space for weddings and events, including the Rooftop Terrace, Art Gallery, and Library. The Summit was recently named a AAA Four Diamond property, awarded the Inspector’s AAA Best of Housekeeping designation — significantly surpassing cleanliness expectations based on their comprehensive on-site inspection— and nominated for a Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Award.

Members of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ complimentary iPrefer program enjoy exclusive perks including complimentary room upgrades, free wi-fi, early check-in/late check-out, members-only rates and more.

The Summit opened in the historic and vibrant Madisonville neighborhood in 2018. Originally a doorbell factory, then a rainbow-hued parking garage, the property emerged as a contemporary art-filled hotel featuring a nine-story atrium, relaxing library, expansive rooftop terrace, art gallery and 239 guest suites that spark inspiration and curiosity. It is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the world’s leading independent hotel group.

Designed by hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), The Summit is an artful experience with a strong emphasis on group conferences and collaborative spaces. Guests enjoy sophisticated amenities including a Rooftop Terrace, state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga studio, Art Gallery, soaring nine-story Atrium, an ultramodern social library, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. A variety of locally sourced dining, featuring house-made cocktails and extensive beer and wine lists, is available at the hotel’s Overlook Kitchen + Bar, Brew & Barrel and The Market.

Made for Meetings & Events The Summit offers 32,600 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space,including the modern Madisonville Ballroom and 17 meeting rooms with high-tech amenities and natural light. Meeting attendees at The Summit can find non-traditional offerings for snacks and breaks at the hotel’s signature Nourishment Centres.

The Summit is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection and is designated a AAA Four Diamond hotel and an Inspector’s Award for Best Housekeeping winner. All guests of The Summit are eligible to enroll in the I Prefer hotel rewards program, which extends points redeemable for cash-value Reward Certificates, elite status, and special benefits such as complimentary Internet to members upon every stay at more than 700 participating Preferred Hotels & Resorts locations worldwide. The Summit is managed by AT Hospitality Group.

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Xanterra Travel Collection Sale

As COVID-19 regulations ease, many are wondering where to travel. Of course, it needs to be a special destination and it never hurts to get a good deal.  Luckily, you can find all of that at xanterra.com/week-of-wanderlust-sale.

The Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning globally diversified travel company offering unforgettable experiences in some of the most Beautiful Places on Earth®, Week of Wanderlust Sale will happen from July 3-9, 2020. This year’s sale also features generous cancellation policies so travelers can book now with confidence and travel when they’re ready.

National Parks

  • The Oasis at Death Valley: 30% off hotel stays at the beautifully renovated historic AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley and newly revitalized, family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley. Valid for select overnight stays between Oct.1, 2020 and Jan. 15, 2021 for the Inn at Death Valley and July 10, 2020 and Jan. 15, 2021 for the Ranch at Death Valley.
  • Grand Canyon South Rim: 30% off in-park lodging at Maswik Lodge North, Thunderbird Lodge, Kachina Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, and 20% off the crown jewel, El Tovar during select dates July 10, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021 and Oct. 15 to March 1, 2021. The lodges are either in or within walking distance to the Historic District and rim of the Grand Canyon that includes Lookout Studio and Hopi House.
  • Zion National Park: 30% off overnight stays inside the park at Zion National Park Lodge on select dates between Nov. 2, 2020 and March 5, 2021.
  • Cedar Creek Lodge, the gateway to Glacier National Park: 30% off room rates on select dates from Aug. 16, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
  • The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (Williams, AZ): 30% off train tickets on one of America’s great train rides within steps of the Grand Canyon’s fabled South Rim. Up to 30% off on overnight stays at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ where the trains begins for select dates between July 10, 2020 to March 1, 2021.
  • The Grand Hotel (just outside of Grand Canyon National Park): 30% off daily rates at the only AAA Three-Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon in Tusayan (just one mile from the South Rim entrance) on select dates between July 10, 2020 and March 1, 2021.

Luxury Five-Star Hotels

  • The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO:  A special golf package with rates starting as low as $595 per night. Package Includes: Classic accommodations per night (upgrade options available), unlimited golf for each person each night of the package (includes cart, weather permitting), personal locker, club storage and range balls. Suites available at 25% off of published rates.
  • Sea Island, Georgia on the Georgia coast – 25% off stays from Aug. 2-Dec. 26, 2020 at The Cloister or The Lodge (excluding Lodge Cottages). Booked online only.

Luxury Yacht-Like Cruises

  • Windstar Cruises – NOW is the best time to plan an unforgettable cruise with some of the best savings of the year. Windstar’s fleet features six ships with fewer than 300 guests per ship, you’ll experience more of what you travel to see, in private yacht-style. Plan ahead for 2021 with these incredible fares and see how Windstar makes your voyage 180 degrees from ordinary. Destinations include Tahiti, Iceland, Europe, The Mediterranean Sea and The Caribbean, and more.

Guided Travel/Tours (Bikes, walking and more)

  • VBT  – European Bicycling Tours: Get a group of your family or friends together to take the ultimate small-group biking vacation. Receive the cash equivalent of one free trip with a group of 11 people for Guided Biking Vacations.
  • Country Walkers – Worldwide Walking & Hiking Adventures: Travel with your own group of family or friends of 14 on a Fully-Guided Adventure or 17 on a Flex-Guided Adventure and receive a thank-you check of $100 per group member. Travel with a group of 8 or more on a Self-Guided Adventure and receive a thank-you check of $100 per group member.

Holiday Vacations

  • Save $500 per person on the 2021 Wonders of Australia, $500 on the 2021 Holland in Bloom, or $250 per person on a 2021 Glacier, Yellowstone & Grand Tetons tour.

For a complete list and to take advantage of Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliates’ Week of Wanderlust offers, visit xanterra.com/week-of-wanderlust-sale/.