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Entries in Hotels (16)

Monday
Feb062012

Hotels, Travel Sites Push 'Leap Year' Deals for Feb. 29

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If there’s a quirky holiday to exploit, you can bet the hotel industry will find it and do just that. This is a leap year, meaning there’s 366 days -- one more than the usual 365 -- this calendar year. With that in mind, two hotels and one website are offering deals to coincide with the Feb. 29 leap day:

The Somerset on Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos

The luxury resort’s Hop, Skip and a Leap package offers every fifth night free for travel booked by Feb. 29 for stays through June 30. That translates into a 20 percent discount on five-night stays. For a stay booked for the first week in March, the best available price per night on the resort’s website is $960 (factoring in the fifth-night free, exclusive of tax) for a 1,500-square-foot one-bedroom oceanview villa with with full kitchen, dining area, living room, master bedroom with king/queen bed, 1.5 baths and a private balcony/terrace.

Westlake Village Inn, Westlake Village, Calif.

This AAA Four Diamond property is giving travelers a second night for $29 when they book one night at the regular price. The deal is available for Sunday through Thursday nights only and must be booked by Feb. 29 for travel through Dec. 30. Rates on Feb. 20, for example, start at $163 per night. With the deal, Feb. 21 would cost $29, making the two-night stay $192 exclusive of tax. This deal can only be booked by phone: Call (818) 889-0230.

Various Properties, LuxeHotels.com

The website has compiled 24 hotel deals around the world, ranging from $29 off a room rate to $29 room upgrades to 29 percent off the best available price. All deals must be booked by -- you guessed it -- Feb. 29 for travel through various dates in 2012.

**Note: Don’t assume the deal being advertised is necessarily the best deal available. Always check several travel sites and call the hotel itself to be sure you’re getting the best  price.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep122011

The Top Ten Pet-Friendly Hotels and Resorts

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- TripAdvisor recently identified the top 10 pet-friendly hotels and resorts in the U.S.  The list is based on feedback from animal owners.

Here’s a rundown of the locations, along with a brief description provided by TripAdvisor:

1. Affinia Dumont, New York City, New York, Average Nightly Rate: $192 -- $614
Amenities include plush dog beds and tasty treats. A $25 pet-surcharge applies per stay, and additional services, from grooming to a pet psychic, can be booked via the concierge.

2. Hotel Monaco Portland, Portland, Oregon, Average Nightly Rate: $126 -- $325
Complimentary dog beds and bowls will be at the ready, while travelers who select the “Portland Unleashed” pet package will receive a map of pet-friendly local breweries and restaurants, a doggie beer for their four-legged companion, and more.

3. Ocean Park Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Average Nightly Rate: $57 -- $150
For travelers seeking to enjoy an oceanside outing with their furry friend, this Myrtle Beach property gets the thumbs and paws up.

4. Palomar Washington DC, Washington D.C., District of Columbia, Average Nightly Rate: $182 -- $557
This property provides an array of complimentary amenities, from pet beds to disposable pick-up bags. During the evening wine hour from 5 to 6 p.m., four-legged travelers can enjoy “The Dish”, a pet lounge complete with treats.

5. A Laughing Horse Lodge, Port Arkansas, Texas, Average Nightly Rate: $59 -- $239
Located just two blocks from the beach, the cottages at this property offer travelers and their dogs invigorating sea air and a welcome basket, featuring treats and a collar-tag, reading ‘Return me to Laughing Horse Lodge’. A dog surcharge applies for the duration of the stay, of $25 for one dog, $35 for two dogs and $50 for three or more dogs.

6. The Paw House Inn, West Rutland, Vermont, Average Nightly Rate: $135 -- $255
Canine comforts, from beds to bowls to hiking trails, are the order of the day at this country retreat – and such is the emphasis on dog-friendly fun, that a $10 surcharge applies for travelers without an accompanying four-legged friend.

7. Carmel Country Inn, Carmel, California, Average Nightly Rate: $195 -- $395
Pets of any shape and size are welcome at this charming Bed and Breakfast, for a daily surcharge of $20 per animal. Furry companions will delight in the knowledge that an unlimited supply of biscuits awaits in the kitchen, and their photograph will be taken for the pet display in the lobby.

8. Hotel Marlowe, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Average Nightly Rate: $204 -- $489
All creatures great and small are welcome free of charge at this 236-room property. For travelers wishing to put their feet up while someone else puts their dog through its paces, the concierge can assist with dog walking or pet sitting services.

9. La Quinta Inn & Suites, Valdosta, Georgia, Average Nightly Rate: $89 -- $128
This peach of a property for travelers visiting south Georgia with their furry companions features a large pet walk area, in which dogs can enjoy a spot of al fresco exercise.

10. Cypress Inn, Carmel, California, Average Nightly Rate: $150 -- $575
Fine foods and great company await pets at this property, which offers a doggie menu and nightly “Yappy Hour”, at which two-and four-legged guests alike can mingle. A nightly pet surcharge applies, of $30 for one pet, $50 for two pets and $70 for three pets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug292011

Avoid Extra Charges When Staying at a Hotel

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From airlines to banks, and even to your cable bill, many companies are charging more fees.  And that includes hotels.  

As the Labor Day holiday weekend approaches, many travelers should beware of extra charges they may incur when staying at a hotel.

Although the basic price for a hotel room may sound cheap, Robert Long of Kiplinger.com says "it's real easy on your vacation to bust your travel budget with all the fees you might get dinged for."

One example, he explains, are "fees to simply use the spa in the hotel."

Long says one website that may help travelers avoid fees is Priceline.com.

"They have a wonderful resource on their site -- a guide to hotels that offer a variety of complementary services," he explains.

And if you're traveling with pets, PetTravel.com features hotels that don't charge extra for a dog or cat to stay with you.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul282011

Cornell Software Can Spot Fake Hotel Reviews

Getty(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- Want to detect if online hotel reviews are legitimate? Brush up on your patterns of speech.

Software developed by Cornell University researchers found that if an online hotel review uses a lot of nouns and is heavy on specifics like the size of the bathroom, it's probably genuine. If it is verb-packed and raves in general about how great everything was, watch out.

The researchers set up their study by having 400 separate reviewers each write one fake review of a leading Chicago hotel. They took another 400 actual reviews of 20 leading Chicago hotels from TripAdvisor, the top travel site.

Then three human judges -- Cornell undergraduates -- were each given 160 reviews to evaluate and decide if the reviews were real or fake. Two were right about half the time, while the most astute of the three was 62 percent accurate.

The software was close to 90 percent accurate at nailing the fakers.

"We didn't expect to be able to do that much better than humans," said Myle Ott, 22, a Cornell Ph.D. student in computer science who is a co-author of the study along with Claire Cardie, a professor of computer science; Jeff Hancock, a communication professor; and Yejin Choi. They presented their findings in June at a meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

The software the researchers devised was able to pick out the phony reviews partly by analyzing parts of speech.

Basically, the real reviewers talked about features they actually saw in the hotel, like the room size or the checkout speed. The fakers talked about external things, like going to Chicago with their spouses and having a fabulous time.

Punctuation was also a giveaway. Reviews that had quite a bit of punctuation, especially dollar signs, dashes, parentheses and ellipses, tended to be real.

TripAdvisor has its own fake-detection techniques, according to spokeswoman Karen Drake.

She said in an email that reviews are "systematically screened by our proprietary site tools" as well as by "our large and passionate community of more than 45 million monthly visitors" who also help report suspicious content. The site also uses quality assurance specialists.

Dr. Ott hopes the software can have wider uses.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun282011

Score Travel Deals in the Summer or Fall

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Major airlines have raised their fares at least six times this year.  But with the price of fuel falling, travelers may begin to see new discounts in time for the fall.

If you can, delay your travel plans until after Labor Day to save on airfare.  For those that can't, summer discounts on hotel rooms can still be found in some popular places.

"We're still seeing really great deals...average hotel rates in the low 100s for travelers at three and four star hotels," says Jenine Tornatore of Orbitz.

Look out for special fares and other deals that may pop up on social networking sites.

"Nearly every major travel player has a Twitter and a Facebook account and often times they'll promote limited time deals and even give away free trips for their friends and followers," Tornatore says.

Another tip: shop for airfares four to six weeks in advance, and keep an eye out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when new deals are announced.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov022010

The World’s Most Infamous Hotels

Courtesy - Getty Images(NEWTON, Mass.) -- From Rock 'n' Roll riots to a presidential assassination attempt, TripAdvisor has released a list of the world’s top 10 most infamous hotels, based on a measurement of overall traveler satisfaction:

1. Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin, Germany:

The hotel gained notoriety in November 2003 after pop legend Michael Jackson infamously dangled one of his children over the balcony.

2. The Mark, New York City, New York:

After actor Johnny Depp destroyed a $1,200 suite in 1994 following a fight with his then-girlfriend, supermodel Kate Moss, The Mark's owner thanked Depp's publicist for all of the free publicity.

3. The Mercer Hotel, New York City, New York:

The Mercer became infamous after actor Russell Crowe threw his cell phone at a hotel employee in 2005.

4. Sunset Tower Hotel, West Hollywood, California:

Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes and John Wayne all lived in the hotel's penthouse at different times.

5. Hotel Ritz Paris, Paris, France:

This was to be the venue for Princess Diana and boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed's final evening together before a car accident claimed their lives.

6. Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec: 

The Fairmont is infamous for being the location where Beatle John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono had their 'Bed-in for Peace' in 1969. It was also where the song "Give Peace a Chance" was recorded.

7. Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles, California:

The Chateau Marmont has been the backdrop for a number of infamous events. Led Zeppelin band members rode their motorcycles through the lobby, Jim Morrison hurt his back at the hotel while dangling from a drain pipe, and Britney Spears was reportedly banned from the hotel for appalling table manners in 2007.

8. Chelsea Hotel, New York City, New York:

Bob Dylan composed songs while staying here.  It's also known as the place where Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning in 1953.

9. Palace Station Hotel and Casino,  Las Vegas, Nevada: 

It was this hotel that O.J. Simpson reportedly entered with a group of men to steal various objects of sporting memorabilia in 2007, leading to his ultimate conviction on related charges.

10. Hilton Washington Embassy Row, Washington D.C., District of Columbia:

Just 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan, there was an attempt on his life by John Hinckley Jr. at this hotel. The President was shot and wounded along with three others.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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