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Top Underwhelming Tourist Destinations - Do You Agree?

hollywood walk of fameA new thread on reddit has tackled the world's most "remarkably underwhelming" destinations. The thread captures reader comments from the self-proclaimed "front page of the Internet" website that allows readers to submit feedback to threads in a variety of categories. Here's what readers are saying. Do you agree?

The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
"The Hollywood walk of fame is a dirty, tacky *!)P&%$! and has the highest concentration of even worse gift shops in the entire world." - A-punk

The Mona Lisa at the Louvr
"It's much smaller and less impressive than you might think." - IAm_Fhqwhgads_AMA

"Honolulu reminds me of Detroit with palm trees. Waikiki Beach is just a 40ft deep strip of sand bordered on one side by the Pacific and the other by dozens of high-rise hotels. There are beautiful places in Hawaii, but those are not them." - Panic_Azimuth

Plymouth Rock
"Plymouth Rock is about 1% as exciting as it sounds, it doesn't sound very exciting." - nicolewasnthere

The Alamo
"The Alamo for sure. I always thought that it was out in the desert, but it turns out it's just in San 200 feet from a Motel 6." -helloyesthisisblank

New Survey Shows Just What Travelers Would Give Up For Vacation

hotel amenitiesA new survey by Marriott's SpringHill Suites brand reveals key statistics about Americans and their vacation habits, and some of what we learned from the report might surprise you. Travelers are more budget conscious than ever, and increasingly inspired by what they're finding in hotels.

Here's what we learned:

Vacation Time
While it's no shock that we could all use a few more vacation days, the survey reveals that, on average, people would like 17 more paid vacation days, and that 22 percent of people don't get any vacation days at all.

Packing and Planning
If you procrastinate and pack at the last minute, you're not alone. Around 50 percent of people wait to pack until the day of or day before, with 12 percent just throwing items in a suitcase and hoping for the best.

Bargain Hunters
Flash sale sites and frequent hotel discount codes have made travelers hungry for a good deal. If they could get 25 percent off their hotel, travelers say they would:
  • give up alcohol (54%)
  • forego hotel housekeeping (40%)
  • give up mobile device access (26%)
  • forgo a camera or ability to document their trip (13%)
Bringing Vacation Home
Over four in five (84%) Americans would miss at least one convenience offered at a hotel after leaving. As a result, two in five Americans have liked something (amenities, sheets, etc.) so much that they purchased it for home use.

We'll turn the questions back to you, readers. What would you do to have a good vacation? Do you need more time off? A great discount? Leave your comments below.

[Flickr via travel.executive]

Luxury Travel: Abercrombie & Kent's New Lifestyle Club Gives Travelers A Taste Of The Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous

abercrombie and kent villa tuscanyDespite a lagging economy, the growth of the ultra luxury sector in the travel and hotel market is hotter than ever. Travelers are increasingly seeking personalized, customized experiences and high-touch service above and beyond what traditional luxury hotels can provide. As a result, many companies have new or improved specialized programs to cater to this new breed of traveler.

One of the newest is Abercrombie & Kent's A&K Lifestyle Club.

What makes the club interesting? Abercrombie & Kent has been offering ultra luxury tours and travel experiences for more than 50 years, but this is their first membership model.

The new A&K Lifestyle Club offers travelers (and their partners) a personal Travel Consultant and access to a network of 50 offices on seven continents to plan custom, high-end vacations, as well as a 24/7 global concierge service.

For a $3,750 joining fee and an annual cost of $10,500, members get a personal Lifestyle Manager who will act as the local knowledge and "fixer" both at home or wherever in the world they are. They will advise and help with lifestyle requests, from sending flowers to organizing restaurant reservations or gaining access to exclusive clubs and sold-out events. In addition, members gain instant access worldwide to logistical, medical and security advice around the clock. These team members are available whether or not you're traveling with A&K. In addition to the travel benefits and special member's only discounts, travelers also get gratis airport lounge passes and two free nights at A&K villas each year.

Want an even higher end experience? They're relaunching their popular private jet journeys in 2014 with special African safari trip, booking here now for a 19-day trip at about $80,000 per person.

Can't even dream of dropping $80k on vacation? They've also launched a more affordable travel product, dubbed "Connections," where groups of up to 44 travelers enjoy similarly customized trips and high-end hotels at a much lower price point.

What do you think? Would you buy into this exclusive club, or are you apt to try to put together these types of trips on your own?

[Image Credit: Abercrombie & Kent]

Hotel News We Noted: April 26, 2013

Welcome to this week's edition of "Hotel News We Noted," where we discuss the best trends, openings and news of note in the industry. We love to hear from you, so please leave comments below or alert us to tips via email.

Kimpton Gets Quirky With Wellness Marketing
Hotels across the country have jumped on the wellness marketing trend, but Kimpton does it better than most, offering fitness rooms and gratis workout equipment for guests. We love the new video (shown above) featuring a day with Mat. It's not necessarily groundbreaking, but it is clever and creative!

Reno News: Westin Hilton Head Is Ready For Summer
A $30 million renovation at the Westin in South Carolina's Hilton Head has put the property in tip top shape, just in time for summer guests. Highlights include a new lobby, six enhanced restaurants, three pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a spa just named the #1 in South Carolina (and one of the 100 best in the U.S.).

Delta's New T4X Pop-Up Celebrates New Terminal Opening At JFK

Delta is celebrating the launch of JFK Airport's new Terminal 4 (opening May 24) with a SoHo-based pop-up dubbed T4X. The high-design concept will showcase elements of the new terminal, as well as offer some perks for visitors.

Open Tuesday though Sunday each week, the building at the corner of West Broadway and Broome will serve four $4 daily sandwich and salad offerings created by Chef Michelle Bernstein, consulting chef for Delta's International BusinessElite flights. Playing on the pop-up's terminal theme, a flight information screen will display the daily menu and a baggage claim style conveyor belt will deliver the food in a mini Delta suitcase. The lunch items are inspired by the many international destinations Delta services from JFK, including London, Rome, Istanbul, Athens and more.

The second level of T4X features the Delta Sky Club where visitors can recharge their mobile devices and relax. An adjacent Sky Bar area offers TVs, reading materials or simply a place to enjoy a T4X international lunch.

Visitors will also experience a re-creation of The Sky Deck, the distinctive rooftop terrace to be located at Terminal 4's new Delta Sky Club, created in partnership with Architectural Digest.

The space at T4X will feature video projections that capture the essence of looking out to the JFK tarmac from the Sky Deck. Similar to the actual terminal experience, T4X will feature travel-related retail essentials, both complimentary and for-purchase. Complimentary items include passport holders, luggage tags and mugs, while those for purchase include the popular Beats headphones, iPhone cases and amenity bags.

The pop-up runs from May 1 through May 22.

[Image Credit: Delta]

Man Builds, Rides Gigantic Bicycle: Dumbass Or Daredevil?

The video above depicts a man riding a hand-built, 14.5-foot-tall bike that he built himself. The video, entitled "STOOPIDTALL," indicates that the man, identified only as Richie, intends to build an even taller model to break the record of the "World's Tallest Bike" and says he configured the monstrosity in under 12 hours.

What do you think? Is the guy a daredevil or just a dumbass who is looking to injure himself or others?

If you're looking for more ridiculous bike news, we have this post here, too.

Drive Nacho Drive: Bloggers Navigate China By VW Bus And Kickstarter Campaign

brad and sheena van orden with nacho the carWe've heard of camping excursions and perhaps the occasional extended road trip in retrofitted buses, but what about an around-the-world adventure? That's exactly what's planned for Brad and Sheena Van Orden, an Arizona couple who has already trekked from the United States to the southern tip of Argentina and are now somewhere in Southeast Asia, plotting their journey west towards Greece in their faithful Volkswagen Vanagon, Nacho.

Here's the quick and dirty: Brad and Sheena wanted a grand adventure before settling down to live the rest of their normal lives together. They saw a magazine article that extolled the virtues of traveling the country in a van. They bought one – enter Nacho – and plotted out a plan to save enough money for the trip.

Why are they asking me for money now? Traveling through China requires a pricey guide and special permits, a cost that will total nearly $20,000. So they've started a Kickstarter campaign. Find it here.

Why do they want to travel through China? If they skip China they'll need to head through Iran and Pakistan, areas that are known to be dangerous to foreigners.

What do I get in return? The couple has written an e-book, and their Kickstarter campaign, which already has more than $7,000 in funding, promises everything from shoutouts and postcards to a personal visit with dinner and drinks, plus your selection of stops along the route, if you decide to contribute $5,000 or more to their fund.

Thanks to Autoblog for the tip. If you have some time, take a look through the post and the associated audio interview.

[Image Credit: Kickstarter]

How To Spend Your Airport Delay: In-Airport Online Dating

airport barIn today's digital age, online dating is almost commonplace. even purports that one in five relationships now begin online.

But what about meeting someone in the airport? Sure, we've seen "Up In The Air" and know that some trashy women and men avid travel enthusiasts will even give travel dating websites like MissTravel a try, but would we actually plan to meet a date at the airport?

Dating website seems to think that they have a market and, judging by the 80,000 people signed up for the site, apparently many people agree.

Rachel Greenwald, dating strategist and author of the book "Have Him at Hello," agrees. She told CNN that niche dating sites have "become increasingly specialized in the last five years or so" and "airport dating could be very efficient."

With airport furloughs kicking in this week, we suspect that many travelers will be quite delayed and might have some time for a little layover loving.

Members on the website are from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Germany, so you can even take your conquests international.

What do you think? Would you test this for yourself? Let us know if you would – or already have – in the comments below.

[Image Credit: khym54]

Hotel News We Noted: April 19, 2013

the graham roof deck As we bring you this week's "Hotel News We Noted" column, we must first take a moment to share our thoughts with the people in and affected by this week's events in Boston and in West, Texas.

If you're joining us for the first time, "Hotel News We Noted" is a weekly column bringing readers the best, oddest and most interesting news of note from the hotel world each week. We welcome reader tips via comments and email, so feel free to send us a note!

Hotel Security: Hotels In Boston Tighten Security
Earlier this week, we shared some basic safety tips for travelers both home and abroad, but we also have word that hotels in the Boston area have tightened security in response to the bombing earlier this week at the Boston Marathon. Hotel Management has reported that the Mandarin Oriental underwent a forced evacuation and, due to an "abundance of precaution," Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood, Loews, InterContinental and Westin have upped security measures. Nearly all hotels have waived last-minute booking fees as well. Hotels in New York and Washington, D.C., have also upped security to some degree.

Unique Hotel: World's First "Chocolate Hotel" Opens
A 13-room hotel in Bournemouth, near Dorset, has opened, featuring cocoa-themed rooms, cooking classes and a chocolate bar serving boozy cocoa-inspired cocktails, the Daily Mail has reported. The family run hotel is dubbed perfect for "hen nights and girlie get-togethers." Guests paint their portraits with chocolate and enjoy sugar-high inducing amenities like chocolate fountains installed at the foot of each bed. The hotel is relatively affordable as well - £170 gets guests the "best suite" and single rooms start at just £65.

5 Unfinished Landmarks Worth A Visit

la sagrada familia

Many travelers associate cities, and even countries, with their iconic landmarks, like New York City with the Statue of Liberty, Paris with the Eiffel Tower and Pisa with its famous Leaning Tower. But what about those famous landmarks that never quite made it to completion?

We've rounded up five great places around the world where you'll find "nearly famous" monuments worth visiting.

Barcelona, Spain: La Sagrada Familia
Still under construction after more than a century, The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, which translates to Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family (see image above), is one of the most visited monuments in the country, with nearly 3 million visitors each year. Scheduled for completion sometime between 2026 and 2028 (as a best guess, anyway), the tower and cathedral was visited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

national monument of scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland: National Monument of Scotland
Construction began in 1826 on this memorial to honor Scottish soldiers who died during the Napoleonic Wars. Located on the top of Calton Hill, the monument was modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, but, due to lack of funding, was left unfinished. Today, the monument is nicknamed everything from "Scotland's Disgrace," to "Edinburgh's Folly."

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