THERE’S NO DOUBT 2020 HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.
AS PORTUGAL AGAIN EARNED Best European Destination in the World Travel Awards, the nation’s primary airline, TAP Air Portugal, unfolds bold plans to more than double its flights from U.S. cities and add new routes throughout the world. By the summer of 2020 TAP will add 26 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada, for a total of 82 flights between North America and Portugal each week.
IT SEEMED A FAIRY TALE GONE WRONG. I’d schlepped my bags for more than 30 hours of flights and layovers across the globe, only to arrive at the Maldives at midnight. “How can this possibly be worth it?” I mumbled, as I stumbled onto a boat, the only passenger. I’d come to mend a broken heart in Eat Pray Love mode. But in the darkness I doubted myself. If this was paradise, it was too dark to see. The stars glittered in the night sky, a briny scent filled the air, and the water made whispering sounds as we lurched into the purple infinity of night. It was that gentle murmur that finally brought tears to my eyes. The loneliness seemed unbearable. Why had I come solo to one of the most romantic places on Earth?
ON A DARK, MOONLESS NIGHT, my friend and I joined a small group as we quietly walked the narrow cobblestone streets of New Orleans, listening to our guide tell tales of the sights around us. She pointed to shadowed, curtained windows, some even shuttered, and described unimaginable acts that took place behind them. She shared stories of horses and wagons rolling along these same streets, carrying the dead. She talked of “people” said to have been spotted for generations. Our group hung onto our guide’s every word as we crisscrossed the city during Haunted History Tours’ New Orleans Vampire Tour. Afterward, over drinks, we recounted the stories we had heard, imagining what had happened in the bar where we sat ... across the street ... in our hotel ... and what spirits and otherworldly creatures may lurk about.
YOUR FAMILY MAY LOOK DIFFERENT than your next-door neighbor’s, and it’s likely your son or daughter’s best friend at school has another type of family configuration. While today’s families come in a variety of shapes and sizes, wanderlust and the desire to see and experience different destinations and cultures through travel are as universal as the concept of family. The team behind Global Traveler and Trazee Travel recognized the need for a trusted travel source for the modern family when we debuted whereverfamily.com in 2017, and now, two years later, the web publication continues to deliver daily content across a range of topics, bringing a worldwide focus to family travel no matter the makeup of the family, its income bracket or the ages of a family’s members.
A RARE RAINSTORM IN LOS ANGELES couldn’t dampen our spirits as Global Traveler celebrated its seventh annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. With so many European winners this year, our Night in Europe theme transformed the luxury hotel’s meeting space and transported guests to Switzerland, Turkey, France and beyond.
THE CONCEPT OF A WORKING WINERY in the middle of Manhattan became a reality when Michael Dorf rented a building on Varick Street and opened City Winery in 2008. By adding to the winery a restaurant; concert hall; and spaces for receptions, parties and meetings, he created a winning combination. So much so that in the ensuing years, he opened locations in five other cities: Chicago; Nashville; Atlanta; Boston; and Washington, D.C.
BORED WITH BORDEAUX? Thoughts of Napa bring on a nap? Don’t care two whits about Tuscany? Perhaps the time has come to explore that trove of untrammeled, lesser-known, worldwide wine lands, places you’d never expect could grow a vine or 10. Microclimates around the globe ensure grapes thrive in the most unexpected places, and winemakers, dating back centuries, know just what to do with all that juicy fruit. From vintages made from grapes you never knew existed to old favorites crafted to make a drink that embraces regional gravitas, the offerings in these under-the-radar wine areas will add to your oenophile savvy. Since limited production can mean some wines don’t get exported to your favorite store, the best option is to travel for your tastings. The world, in fact, is your wine glass. Consider that every wine region relies on stellar food as its complement, and you won’t want to miss a meal.
MILLENNIALS HAVE BEEN DUBBED many things, among them, the Wanderlust Generation. However people may define this subset, it’s clear the impact this generation made on the travel industry: Social media has become another form of travel inspiration and a sales tool. It’s also where this generation gravitates to share its own travel experiences. Mobile booking is way up, thanks to millennials. According to a study conducted by Eventbrite, this age demographic craves experiences, including dedicating more income to these events, occasions and trips. Also included in the same study: Millennials command around $1.3 trillion in spending money. It’s a lucrative travel market, and the industry clearly listened.
PACK THE SUNSCREEN, flip-flops and cover-ups: The warmth of the rays you’ll find at these summery locales is matched only by their hospitality and a welcoming vibe that beckons you to their sun-drenched shores. Whether you crave a zillion diversions, outdoor pursuits or memorable dining — or need nothing more than a lounge chair and good book — you’ll find it in these U.S. coastal spots offering a shore thing.
NO ORDINARY BEDTIME ROUTINE HERE. At a particular luxury hotel in one of India’s fastest-changing cities on the fringes of Hyderabad, I find a tray of healthy nibbles, a glassful of specialty hot milk and some aromatic essential oil-infused sprays — one for the pillow and the other for soothing tension. There’s even a handy bedside pamphlet illustrating yoga poses.
AMERICAN AIRLINES IS GEARING UP for a busy year full of expanded services and new updates to everything from its routes to its AAdvantage program and in-flight menu. The airline made headlines when it announced 18 new routes for summer 2019, including seasonal flights to the summertime favorite Glacier National Park. Although most of these Montana- bound flights are from smaller and medium-sized cities operated by partner regional aircraft, American is also adding more seasonal flights to Paris (CDG) and Madrid (MAD) from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It will add the second daily service to its existing route between American’s hub at DFW to Madrid and Paris on a Boeing 787-9.
IN 2019 A MICE PLANNER’S JOB consists of more than just finding an easily accessible, satisfactory event venue within budget. More than ever, meetings and events are experiences, and travelers’ desire for the new, exciting and undiscovered challenges MICE planners’ creativity. As such, the unprecedented up-and-coming MICE destinations across the globe tap into just that — the new and exciting.
ZERO-EMISSION, ELECTRICALLY powered commercial aircraft are still mostly sketches on the drawing board, but in many other ways the green future already arrived as travelers pass through the world’s airports, travel the world’s airlines and move between hotels where sustainability is no longer viewed as a novelty but as an economic necessity.
EVEN BEFORE WE SLIPPED our wet-suited bodies into the 72-degree waters of spring-fed Crystal River on Florida’s west coast, a curious West Indian manatee revealed its snout when it approached the platform of our pontoon boat to see what was happening. Our group squealed in delight, and we knew it was going to be a good morning of snorkeling with the manatees that gather in the natural springs in Florida to keep warm during the winter months.
OVERLOOKING THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES atop The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Global Traveler lauded its milestone 15th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards. It was truly a night to remember as we celebrated those travel companies consistently going above and beyond, as voted by our readers. In addition to honoring those winners, we also feted the Airline and Hotel of the Year; winners of our 2018 Wines on the Wing airline wine competition; the Quint Status winners; and, for the first time, the Crystal Status winners, those companies that won the same GT Tested Reader Survey award for the 15th consecutive year.
THE CULTURAL AND NATURAL DIVERSITY around the world is breathtaking; however, in the past it was up to each country to protect that heritage. For decades, UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — bestowed locations with the World Heritage Site designation, requiring the protection of properties with “outstanding universal value” in order to be listed. To quote directly: “To be deemed of Outstanding Universal Value, a property must also meet the conditions of integrity and/or authenticity and must have an adequate protection and management system to ensure its safeguarding.” By doing so, all countries of the world took a big step forward in promoting a world consciousness of the innate value of country heritages — both cultural and natural.
LAST MONTH WE KICKED OFF VOTING for our annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards while wrapping up voting for our Leisure Lifestyle Awards. We asked our trusted Globility Board to share their thoughts on voting with us to encourage others to vote, either online or via the ballot printed on one of the following pages. The Globility Board is a vetted group of well-traveled subscribers serving as a sounding board for the magazine, offering insights into their travel habits and much more. In January they shared their thoughts on hotels, resorts and cruise lines; why they vote; and what the surveys mean to them.
AFTER ARRIVING AT THE AIRPORT and making it through security, a quick check of the time reveals boarding for the flight doesn’t begin for another hour. The airport has a free WiFi network, presenting an ideal opportunity to snap a selfie and post an update to Facebook.
WHEN WE FILLED OUT OUR application to adopt our dog from a miniature schnauzer rescue organization nearly three years ago, one of the desired traits we included was a dog who would travel well — not a surprise when one of the two of us is a travel journalist. A week after we adopted Scout (just shy of her eighth birthday), we packed up the car and took off on our first road trip. A few months later, she earned her wings on her first flight when we traveled to Maine for a stay at the dog-friendly Inn by the Sea. Since those first trips, Scout travels with us whenever possible.
AS JANUARY SIGNIFIES THE START of a new year, it’s only fitting the month kicks off voting for the GT Tested Reader Survey awards; 2019 marks the 16th year of our annual reader survey. But this month also marks the end of voting for our Leisure Lifestyle Awards, another reader-voted survey, but focused on leisure travel providers like resorts, cruises and islands. As such, it’s never been more important to get out the vote!
JOIN US IN CONGRATULATING the inaugural winners of the 2018 Wherever Awards, the awards for the best in travel as decided by the readers of WhereverFamily, our sister web publication aimed at the modern traveling family. The ballot ran on whereverfamily.com from September 2017 to March 2018, with the winners announced in September 2018. Here we recap the winners as they proudly display their new awards.
WHETHER YOU ASPIRE to amass millions of frequent-flyer mile points or just want a rock-solid credit card that offers plenty of travel perks and flexibility, there’s a card that suits your needs and ambitions. But frequent-flyer miles just scratch the surface of what business travel cards really offer. Airport lounge access, free companion tickets, free upgrades, free bag checks, no foreign transaction fees and priority boarding are just a few ways to win with travel credit cards. Too many choices are usually more of an issue than not enough. Narrowing down the right card to fit both your business and personal needs can present a challenge for even seasoned travelers.
BREAK OUT THE CRYSTAL — it’s time for a celebration! This year, 2018, marks the 15th anniversary of our GT Tested Reader Survey awards, and this year’s winners shine as brightly as the most rare gemstones. Join us on the following pages as we unveil the shimmering jewels of the travel industry in our 15th annual survey.
AS GLOBAL TRAVELER CELEBRATES the 15th year of the annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, we honor those brands representing continued excellence in the industry by holding record-breaking consecutive wins. Crystal Status winners reflect those brands winning a particular category for 15 consecutive years. In our 15th year of the awards, this elite group marks the first Crystal Status winners.
APPROXIMATELY SIX MILES offshore, a shimmering white island appears. Or is it a shopping mall or an entertainment complex? Or a theme park? Or a huge resort hotel? Or a floating town of 8,000 people? Whatever it is, it is moving steadily and silently along the horizon, heading north. Even at a distance, from my vantage on the waterfront of a Spanish coastal town, I feel dwarfed. I am gazing across at Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.
THE YEAR 2019 WELCOMES A HOST of new ships, itineraries, themes (multigenerational, active, wellness, soft adventure, cultural, culinary and educational) and initiatives bound to capture the interests of many travelers. The premise: Cruising has never been easier, with all sorts of itineraries and ships appealing to various price points from luxury to value-based. Whether you join a large or small ocean cruise, river cruise or expeditionary cruise, each has its advocates, admirers and repeat customers.
TALK ABOUT LONGEVITY! For an astounding 85 years, Turkish Airlines, in one incarnation or another, has had passenger airliners in the sky. Established May 20, 1933, as State Airlines Administration, the fleet consisted of five small propeller airplanes with room for not more than seven passengers. One of these planes was a Curtiss Kingbird, with a maximum speed of 143 mph and a range of 415 miles. Both its engines generated around 300 horsepower, as compared with a single engine of a Boeing 777, which generates 110,000 horsepower.
AT JUMEIRAH FRANKFURT, a towering, 208-room luxury hotel — just steps from the Zell, this German regional capital’s busiest shopping hub — 40,000 bees buzz happily on the rooftop. Monitored by the hotel’s own beekeeper and executive chef, the insects supply enough honey for the urbane hotel’s kitchen as well as its locally themed spa (try the Skyline ritual, which uses a honey paste to enrich the skin). A regional amenity which references Germany’s artisan food culture, the honey program proves Jumeirah’s commitment to embracing community culture — a significant element of the brand’s philosophy. This trend away from homogeneity clearly sets the two-decades-old, Dubai-based corporation apart.
TODAY’S FAMILIES COME IN A VARIETY of shapes and sizes. And with that comes a variety of needs, especially when it comes to travel. With this in mind, the team behind Global Traveler and Trazee Travel decided to put our travel expertise behind whereverfamily.com, the trusted travel source for the modern family, in September 2017. Updated daily, the web publication delivers content across a range of topics, bringing a worldwide focus to family travel no matter the makeup of your family, your income or your child’s age.
HOTEL BRANDS CATERING TO KIDS You’re sure to already have your own favorite luxury hotel brands — maybe there’s one that has just the right amenities or another you can always rely on for an excellent staff, no matter where you are in the world. While you may love these brands for your own reasons, they could also offer some perks for your kids. Are you taking full advantage of these perks as more and more hotel brands begin catering to younger jetsetters?
IF IT SEEMS EVERYONE AROUND you is drinking wine, you’re not imagining it: In 2016, Americans sipped 790 million gallons of this ancient elixir, up from 330 million gallons in 1993. That surge in consumption also spurred an interest in wine-related travel that ranges from tours and cruises through winemaking regions to tastings, wine-pairing dinners and classes held by well-known sommeliers, winemakers and other experts. There are also wine-based treatments at spas, and in Bordeaux, France, La Cité du Vin, a museum devoted to all things wine, opened in 2016. Last year, 445,000 oenophiles visited the 144,000-square-foot museum, which also houses three restaurants, a tasting room, a theater and 19 interactive exhibits. And if you’ve ever wanted to play winemaker for a day, you can do that, too, at wine blending programs cropping up not just in wine-producing regions but in destinations all over the world. In Charleston, S.C., for example, guests at the Grand Bohemian Hotel can craft their own bottle; Bahama Barrels, which occupies a former convent in downtown Nassau, started a blending program in early 2018.
THE PIERRE HOTEL OPENED IN 1930, a handsome, light-shaded building on the corner of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and East 61st Street with sweeping views of Central Park. Eighty-eight years later, it remains one of the city’s most elegant and luxurious hotels. With its reputation for excellent care and distinguished service, it attracted such guests over the years as Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Paul Newman. And it has been the hotel of choice for scenes in several movies and television programs. Today, managed by Taj Hotels, this landmark hotel remains an oasis in the city, offering not only white glove service to guests but also dynamic food and beverage service, from cocktails to afternoon tea to French-American fare in its Perrine restaurant.
ARE VACATION RENTALS LIKE AIRBNB the wave of the future? Hotels are certainly sounding the alarm. The short-term lodging company grew exponentially since its founding, and its soaring popularity seems to threaten the business models of even the most established hotels.
HOW DOES A TRAVEL PROVIDER make a splash among a generation so inundated with information they can have five more bucket list-worthy destinations literally at their fingertips with one refresh of their feed? That’s the question we posed to the readers of trazeetravel.com, the sister web publication to Global Traveler, globaltravelerusa.com and whereverfamily.com. Trazee Travel is a one-stop resource for millennial travelers with news, tips, reviews and more updated daily.
IN AN INCREASINGLY GLOBALIZED WORLD, one of social media and endless outlets for news dissemination, people and places feel closer together than ever. While this offers exciting opportunities, insight, situational awareness and human connection, it also unveils some of the real horrors communities around the world face on a daily basis — horrors difficult for many to ignore.
WITHOUT SWIFT, EXPANSIVE CHANGES to the way humans currently tread on planet Earth, we will be dealing with the effects of climate change on a grand scale. Greenhouse gases — naturally occurring but increasing significantly due to human activity — from the burning of fossil fuels contribute to a warming climate that is wreaking havoc worldwide. Driving a car, heating your home and turning on the lights can all increase your carbon footprint, which has direct ties to climate change.
GLOBAL TRAVELER READERS are frequent globetrotters, always on the go to destinations around the world. This is why we look to them to determine the industry’s best. The 14th annual Global Traveler GT Tested Reader Survey awards celebrates those companies consistently going above and beyond, as voted by our readers.
ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST CHILD, the inclination to hunker down and nest takes over your psyche. Soon you start to go stir-crazy and quickly realize you don’t have to give up your passion to travel simply because you have little ones. On the contrary, it’s time to introduce your kids to the real you. Even better, you get to see the magic, awe and wonder of the world through your children’s eyes while they receive a firsthand education on cultural differences and diversity. As your children age and savor travel just as much as you do, they’ll quickly be the ones leading you around the globe.
UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, chances are you aren’t familiar with Alaska Airlines. However, with the rapid expansion of routes because of its recent $2.6 billion, all-cash acquisition of Virgin America, all that is changing in a big way.
FOUR YEARS AGO, when Los Angeles public relations executive Sara Swiger decided to take a vacation to Poland, Hungary and Austria, she did something she’d never done before: She traveled alone. “I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been,” she says. “Since I had no one to travel with, I went by myself.”
THE SOFT SOUNDS OF WATER DROPS falling back to the lake from our paddles, and of our paddles dipping into the water, were nearly all we could hear. Around us, icebergs floated atop the lake and plummeted deeper below as they transitioned through their frozen existences. The stillness surrounding our small group of eight kayakers — novices and experienced paddlers alike — and our two guides on our kayaking adventure was unreal. Together, we navigated the icebergs on a glacier-fed lake near the small fishing village of Cordova, Alaska, enjoying a quiet on that summer day seldom found in the connected world in which we live.
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR ONE EPIC VOYAGE. This year’s 2017 GT Tested Reader Survey award winners take travelers around the world. Journey with us as we unveil the winners of our 14th annual survey, drifting around the continents to celebrate the best of the best in travel worldwide.
IN GLOBAL TRAVELER’S 14TH ANNUAL GT Tested Reader Survey awards, we celebrate those winners deemed the best in travel for the year. Our Quint Status reflects those winners collecting the same GT Tested Reader Survey award in the same category for the fifth consecutive year. In previous years, the Hall of Fame reflected winners collecting the same GT Tested Reader Survey award in the same category for 10 consecutive years. While we don’t have any winners entering the Hall of Fame in 2017, we expect to see the recipients of this year’s Quint Status inducted into the Hall of Fame in the years to come.
TO REALLY STAND OUT in any industry, excellence is expected. For the seventh consecutive year, Global Traveler celebrates those who consistently achieve and exceed excellence in the travel industry by naming an Airline of the Year and Hotel of the Year. The 2017 winners of these prestigious awards are purveyors of excellence: American Airlines, Airline of the Year, and Lotte Hotels & Resorts, Hotel of the Year.
TRAVEL IS BECOMING more associated with pop culture, with movie buffs adventuring to their favorite film sites around the world. While some say pop culture and travel don’t have much in common, engaging in travel and television and film offers a way to explore the world and its many cultures. When entered into with an open mind, we allow ourselves to imagine our lives as something other than they are.
WHICH WAS YOUR FIRST ISSUE OF Global Traveler? Mine was the November 2006 issue, with the snow-capped mountains and lakes of St. Moritz on the cover. I carry that mental image with me always. Whether you’ve been with us from the first issue in February 2004 or from the 175th in 2016, thank you for joining us on this journey around the globe. We hope you are having as much fun as we are! November 2017 marks our 195th issue. The countdown to 200 begins.
BY ANY REASONABLE STANDARD of measure, United Airlines has had a challenging year public relations-wise. From a high-profile leggings incident, deceased giant rabbit and a woman flying 3,000 miles in the wrong direction to the forcible removal of a passenger refusing to vacate his seat, the resulting negative press and public reaction caused United to re-evaluate its corporate culture and values.
“I USUALLY BOOK A HOTEL WHEN I LAND. You never know what’s going to happen. I could change a flight, so when I land I usually use Priceline,” says Dan Herman, IT practice senior advisor, The Chartis Group. “I look at the area where I want to stay and look at the star level, then grab one and go.” His approach defines the cutting edge of this style of travel, but lots of business and leisure travelers now choose to make reservations close to the time they plan to leave. The definition of last-minute travel varies, with some travelers saying it’s the day or a few days before, while others consider it up to 10 days or more in advance.
ONE BY ONE I SLIPPED off my sandals and let my toes sink into the cool, lush lawn that stretched from the patio of the Cloudy Bay tasting room and out toward the sun-ripened vineyards in the distance. Although it was my first time in New Zealand, everything around me suddenly seemed overwhelmingly familiar.
CITY WINERY IS JUST WHAT its name says: a working winery in the heart of a city — New York City, in fact. Opened in 2009 by wine enthusiast Michael Dorf, it offers the rare urban setting where wine lovers can make their own wine from grapes chief winemaker David Lecomte selects in California, New York state, Oregon and Argentina. They can bottle their wine and add custom labels. They can attend wine and food courses, wine tastings, wine seminars and wine dinners. And they can celebrate the joy of it all with music programs in the evening in City Winery’s adjoining large social space.
ACCORDING TO INTERNET MARKETING INC.’S “Millennial Travel Trends: A Look at the Largest Generations’ Habits,” a number of travel traits characterize this generation, which we define as those aged 18–35. Not surprisingly, social media plays a significant role, with 87 percent looking to Facebook for travel inspiration, 97 percent posting about their experiences on social media and 46 percent actually booking through smartphones and tablets. A large majority check multiple sites before booking and stay loyal to programs offering the most rewards. The bulk of those surveyed also upgrade their experiences by purchasing add-ons, and nearly half (49 percent) take last-minute vacations.
FOR MANY TRAVELERS, staying true to healthy routines while on the road proves difficult, whether eating, sleeping or working out. On the fitness side of things, hotels have long offered small gyms or fitness centers as a nod to keeping fit, if even just a basic treadmill or stationary bike. In recent years, however, hotels and resorts stepped up their fitness games, and many boast state-of-the-art facilities complete with personal trainers and group classes.
PASSENGERS CRUISING THOUGH Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport tend to do a double-take as they pass a treadmill with a large desk in Concourse C parked alongside a bright window overlooking the airport’s light rail. A “Welcome to Walkway” sign offers a bit of privacy for treadmill users while also explaining the exercise equipment’s offerings: free walking, device charging, internet access. This obviously isn’t your normal treadmill. For one, the machine’s maximum speed is only 2 mph, but the payoff is worth it for passengers who will soon be sedentary in airplane cabin seats. The benefits of walking are endless, even helping work performance. Researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered walking while working improves the quality and quantity of work and interactions among colleagues. What better place than an airport to help travelers produce better work, burn a few calories and boost their moods? It’s an ideal combination.
IS THERE ANYWHERE truly remote in the modern world? Here’s somewhere: Juma Lodge. For two nights in this rustic stilted hotel on a tributary of the Brazilian Amazon, our laptops and cellphones were useless. Without outside distraction, we had no choice but to immerse ourselves in the immediate environment.
AFTER TWO DECADES, my favorite aunt announced she was planning to remarry and blend her small family with her fiancé’s large, extended one. Her daughter’s reaction? “Mom, I love you. He’s a great guy. His kinfolk seem nice, and I know you’ll be happy, but let’s cut to the chase ... what does this mean for me?” My aunt’s response: “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
ANYONE WHO’S SEEN those astonishing photos of the floating garbage island of Thilafushi near Malé knows no matter where you travel, there’s no escaping environmental issues. In fact, studies show the bulk of the trash that finds its way daily to this area of the sea is generated not by residents but by visitors to nearby resorts and parks.
For the sixth consecutive year, Global Traveler congratulates the innovative leaders in the travel industry whose efficient operations, distinct amenities, superior service and outstanding hospitality set them apart from the competition with the Airline of the Year and Hotel of the Year awards. The 2016 winners of these prestigious awards are China Airlines, Airline of the Year, and Meliá Hotels International, Hotel of the Year.
Listen up! Class is in session and grades are in: This year’s class of 2016 GT Tested Reader Survey award winners scored all A’s this semester. This year, 2016, marks the 13th consecutive year (sans the typical middle-school angst) of our reader-voted GT Tested Reader Survey awards and our sixth year celebrating them with an end-of-the-year bash at The Peninsula Beverly Hills.
As Global Traveler celebrates the 13th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, we recognize those winners celebrating momentous repeat wins. The Hall of Fame reflects winners collecting the GT Tested Reader Survey award in the same category for the 10th consecutive year. New to the Global Traveler award landscape this voting season, Quint Status reflects those winners with a five-year consecutive win in their particular category.
According to the ASPCA and American Pet Products Association, between 70 and 80 million dogs and between 74 and 96 million cats make their homes with us. It comes as little surprise, then, that when we travel we want our fourlegged family members to travel with us — and travel in style. In fact, more destinations and hotels are opening their doors to our animal family members, and airlines are offering more options for our traveling pets. United Airlines, for example, boasts an award-winning PetSafe animal transport program to ensure animals too large to travel in the cabin with their owners arrive safely and comfortably to the destination.
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts has launched the JW Treatment, a Mother New York creative campaign reaffirming JW Marriott as Marriott International’s cornerstone luxury brand. The treatment is a non-traditional, multi-faceted print, digital and video campaign inspired by founder J.W. Marriott’s famous quote: “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your customers.”
Germany is currently testing the world’s first carbon dioxide emission-free train powered by hydrogen. The passenger trains—whose only emissions are steam and condensed water—were revealed last month at the Berlin InnoTrans trade show.
New York–based airline JetBlue completely revamped its home terminal (T5) at New York´s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The makeover began in spring 2015 and has since completed, featuring new ways for passengers to move through the check-in process quickly and efficiently.
JetBlue signed an agreement to buy 33 million gallons of blended biofuel each year for the next 10 years. The deal is an agreement with bioenergy company SG Preston.
Austin Proper Hotel & Residences, a premier luxury lifestyle hotel and residential offering in Austin, Texas, broke ground. The lifestyle hotel held a celebration Friday, Sept. 9, kicking off construction on the tower.
Austrian Airlines announced last month it will launch its first route to the U.S. west coast April 10, 2017.
Passengers flying LATAM in business or premium-economy class now enjoy new dining options on international routes. Menu items and a new wine list boast Latin American flavors and regional ingredients.
The U.S. Treasury Department last month approved airplane sales to Iran for both Boeing and Airbus, issuing both licenses to do business with Iran Air.
A college student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ryan Pickren is already an accomplished hacker. In 2015, he hacked rival University of Georgia’s online calendar and was threatened with prison time for the deed.
Florida has a lineup of fall festivities celebrating everything from beer and cocktails to films and music. South Walton is heating up the state with events throughout its 16 distinct beach communities. South Walton has something for everyone during the fall season to highlight the destination’s culinary, art, fashion and fitness offerings.
Vail Resorts is now adding top European winter sport hot spots to its season pass. The Epic Pass is now the only multi-resort pass to feature European destinations. In addition, the pass includes its classic unlimited access to resorts in Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Lake Tahoe and Australia.
The Federal Aviation Administration is telling passengers not to use their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones aboard airplanes following recent battery explosions. Airlines are warning passengers not to turn on their phones while in flight in response.
This month, KLM will begin to offer flights from mainland Europe to new destinations including Windhoek, Namibia, and Iran. The Amsterdam-based airline will re-add these two destinations as improved global relations prompted interest in these locales from mainland Europe.
Bugatti unveils the world’s most powerful, exclusive, luxurious and fastest production super sports car in a ceremonially celebration in Singapore. Bugatti, along with their partner in Southeast Asia, Wearnes Automotive, invite customers to private appointments. Fans had the opportunity to admire the Chiron at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix Sept. 16–18. The Chiron is making its way around the world, also debuting in Europe and North America.
No one likes turbulence, but it seems like an unavoidable aspect of flying. Still, scientists may be on the way to reducing or even eliminating the unpleasantness of a bumpy ride by using data already collected by planes as they fly.
Amtrak announced plans to introduce 28 next-generation, high-speed trains in 2021, replacing those used on the current Acela Express service. The change is part of a $2.45 billion-dollar plan to upgrade the current Amtrak offerings in the Northeast corridor. New trains have one-third more seats, WiFi access, personal outlets and USB ports, adjustable reading lights at every seat and enhanced dining.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is on track for its busiest year ever, showing a 10 percent increase so far over last year — which was also a record breaker.In 2015, Sea-Tac saw around 43 million passengers, a 13 percent increase over 2014. That year, too, broke records.
Cruise fiends who were willing to fork over a pretty penny to view some of the planet's most endangered landscapes recently took to the seas for a controversial yet exclusive journey on Crystal Cruises. Passengers sailed through the Northwest Passage, a region where global warming has been wreaking the most havoc on melting icebergs and a once impassable route now able to receive vessels as some of the land has melted away.
Japan is looking to implement a security pre-clearance program at airports to cut down on wait times. The program would allow enrolled foreign travelers to complete the majority of the screening process at their airport of origin, including logging fingerprints and photos. Then, when they arrive in Japan, they’d pass through a special lane and complete a briefer screening before leaving the airport.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is the first and only airport in North America and one of 23 airports in the world to receive Carbon Neutral status, awarded by the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program. It is the highest level of environmental achievement airports can possibly obtain through the program and celebrates the reduction of emissions and the airport’s carbon footprint.
Uber is pursuing legal action in London after the government imposed new laws on ride-hailing services, hoping it can use legal channels to make it easier for the company to operate in England.
Delta Air Lines announced plans to develop an all-new, all-suite business class called Delta One. The new class will be released fall 2017.
In a time when bigger is better and mergers in the travel industry are the norm, Omni Hotels & Resorts proves the exception. Call it the anti-brand. Or as Peter Strebel, chief marketing officer, Omni, likes to say, “We’re in the business of hospitality, not size.”
Stuck in the Dark Ages. Byzantine. Complicated. Opaque. These are just a few responses from travel industry experts when asked to describe the current state of airline and hotel loyalty programs. And yet program enrollment continues to grow, often at a record pace, proving, once again, we love our points.
Meliá Hotels International, based in Spain, operates 350 hotels in 40 countries, but it offered none in the United States until opening INNSIDE New York Nomad in March. There, in an open, light-drenched space enhanced with earth and neutral shades, the hotel offers 300 guestrooms on 20 floors, a wellness suite and Impero Caffé, where well-known chef Scott Conant features Italian bistro cuisine. It also features two meeting rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Some 20,000 Airbnb bookings in New Orleans for the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival last month — 2.5 times higher than last year — led to some potential changes. The Louisiana State House of Representatives is considering a bill that forces anyone renting a property for fewer than 29 days to comply with regulations from the fire department, including installing fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a map of building exits, just like hotels do. The measure failed, but it may crop up again in the next legislative session. If nothing else, it shows cities and states are paying attention to the huge uptick in Airbnb rentals recently. Hotel and inn operators who are losing out to the company are expressing a loss of revenue. Short-term rentals are actually illegal in New Orleans, but the law is seldom enforced. Other cities are struggling to regulate the Airbnb boom, and there have been arguments over the company’s legality in New York City and San Francisco. Meanwhile, the company continues its huge growth around the world.
Londoners will soon have access to all-night Tube service on two lines — a long-awaited development that will finally come to fruition Aug. 19. “The Night Tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London’s night-time economy — creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. The constant delays under the previous mayor let Londoners down badly,” said London mayor Sadiq Khan. “I have made getting the Night Tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on August 19.” The 24-hour trains were originally planned to launch last year, but no agreement could be reached between the city and unions over pay and conditions, which led to strikes and service delays. That resolved, the first all-night services will run on weekends only on the Central and Victoria lines. The Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines will gain all-night service in two phases later in the fall as new Tube drivers are trained. There are currently 200 part-time drivers undergoing the 14-week training program for the new service.
Only a decade ago, the idea of staying in a stranger’s spare bedroom or offering a ride to an unknown person was almost unheard of. Conflated with couch surfing and hitchhiking, they were seen as activities for backpackers and college students rather than the general population — at least that’s how potential investors who turned down Airbnb and Uber viewed things. As it turned out, the “sharing economy” — the term spread in the late-2000s to describe the peer-to-peer marketplace for goods and services — is for everyone, whether a family visiting Europe on summer vacation or a business traveler who needs a ride to the airport during rush hour. With Airbnb valued at more than $25 billion and Uber at more than $60 billion, it’s rare to meet a traveler who hasn’t participated in the sharing economy. The most popular application for ridesharing in the United States (and increasingly in cities all over the globe), Uber surpassed both taxis and rental cars on Certify expense reports for the first time in 2015. Along with its chief competitor, Lyft, the ridesharing giant accounted for more than 40 percent of business travelers’ rides last year. And while the popular app is intended for short trips, similar services that offer inter-city rides and car rentals from private owners are gaining popularity.
At this new luxury resort, one inevitably experiences a Papa Hemingway moment, though without the marlins. The drop-dead gorgeous scenery at the beach hideaway on one of Cuba’s tropical islands tugs at the heartstrings. Surrounded by unspoiled boulevards of sea grapes and thatched tiki huts along a strip of sugar-white sand overlooking the turquoise sea, is it any wonder Ernest Hemingway fell for Cuba’s blessed archipelago, the Jardines del Rey?
How often do you hear the phrase “an exciting time for us” uttered by a federal spokesperson talking about a government operation? But officials with both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration are practically ecstatic when discussing their respective Trusted Traveler programs, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
April marks the halfway point for the 2016 GT Tested Reader Survey awards voting. The open-ended ballot runs yearly in the magazine and online from January to August, and you, our valued readers and true travel experts, can vote for your favorites in a number of industry-related categories, from airlines and hotels to reward programs and products.
If rising tides, receding glaciers and endangered species make you wonder whether you will ever visit a glacier or see a lion in the wild, you are not alone. And yet climate change should not stop us from traveling when tourism is often the primary economic driver in many nations. But to protect pristine places, traveling responsibly makes sense.
Images of a sooty Beijing have been all over the news lately, but it’s Shanghai making an effort to curb its air pollution crisis. The World Health Organization recently named air pollution the world’s biggest environmental health threat, so the city is even more compelled to act.
Images of a sooty Beijing have been all over the news lately, but it’s Shanghai making an effort to curb its air pollution crisis. The World Health Organization recently named air pollution the world’s biggest environmental health threat, so the city is even more compelled to act.
Hawai’i’s Big Island is under a state of emergency, declared by Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi in early February. The island has 250 cases of the mosquito-spread virus confirmed since Oct. 29.
Spend a night with wolves while you search for the Northern Lights at the new Wolf Lodge in the popular arctic tourism hot spot of Narvik, Norway. The recently opened lodge offers a one-of-a-kind chance to observe wolves in their natural Arctic environment with the Night with The Wolves special from Off The Map Travel.
Some intrepid souls find flirting with danger the consummate adrenaline rush. For them, traveling to a war-torn country or one known for terrorist activity or violent crime is worth the risk, but most of the rest of us like to be fairly sure we will return home unscathed.
David P. Berg is late to our phone interview. But he offers a good excuse: He was wrapping up one of his “Donuts with David” sessions. Since joining Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in December 2014, the company’s chief executive officer has sat down with groups of employees to hear their input on everything from what they think about the business to uniform design. “Our belief is in the wisdom of the crowd. They are so much better informed than us,” he says. “Instead of sitting around trying to figure it out or second-guess, why not ask the employees what they want and need? What is precious and what would they change?”
Happy anniversary, Global Traveler. Over the past 12 years, the publication has firmly established itself as the leading magazine for frequent, savvy travelers, and the ultimate source for travel information. That's why it is so important for us to reach the GT reader, and why it's the ultimate testament and honor for two of our Chase cards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card and the Marriott Rewards Credit Card, to be continually recognized in the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. Our partnership with the magazine is a valuable one, and we look forward to many continued years working together. Vibhat Nair, general manager, Chase Bank Credit Cards
It starts at the hotel entrance when I arrive in Philadelphia. The friendly doorman swings open the chrome and glass doors, relieves me of my luggage and escorts me to the check-in counter. Vases brimming with orchids set a calm mood, already beginning to loosen my travel knots. Check-in is no-nonsense: The staff welcomes me and completes my reservation efficiently. Key card in hand, it’s time to push the elevator button and ascend to my hotel floor.
The Global Traveler team took it back to The Roaring Twenties with friends and colleagues at our yearly reception to celebrate the annual Global Business Travel Association convention. Held at the brand-new, speakeasy-style Itta Bena in Orlando, Fla., GT hosted the event in conjunction with co-sponsor Meliá Hotels International.
Growing Chinese international tourism has become one of the hottest topic trends in the travel industry over the past few years, grabbing the attention of a diverse range of tourism authorities, hotels, airlines and hospitality groups that all want to attract this rapidly expanding demographic.
The robes are just the beginning. Savvy hotel guests know to take home their favorite lodging’s feathery down pillows, the silky 600-thread-count sheets, the tea-scented candles and especially the plush pillow-top or thick foam mattress that created a cocoon for sleeping. Travelers buying hotel furnishings for themselves not only means big business for lodgings but also smart shopping for consumers. After all, where else can you try out mattresses, pillows, bedding and other products overnight before purchasing them?
Everything travel, from A to Z. That’s the motto of Trazee Travel, the Web publication for the uber-millennial created by the team behind Global Traveler. Launched in September 2014, the website, updated several times daily, covers a wide range of subjects of interest to travelers ages 18–35. From products and tips to trends and reviews, trazeetravel.com also focuses on destination weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties and honeymoons. The Under $100 section tells a traveler how to do a destination for less than $100 a day, while the Top 5 category brings the five best of any one thing in any city — think Top 5 Free Museums in Washington, D.C. — but so much more. As promised, a little of bit of everything; there are interviews, quizzes and polls, too.
Exiting the airport in Havana, Cuba, the first thing you see is a row of parked 1950s cars backed by a billboard featuring Che Guevara’s bearded face. It’s a proper introduction to this country, where there’s a brew of old-world ambience, communistic laws and a whiff of freedom in privately owned restaurants (called paladars) and businesses in front yards.
In 2012, I joined Team in Training, an initiative of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society designed to train participants for halfand full marathons, bike races and triathlons while the participants fundraise on behalf of the organization. The training was an invaluable part of the process, as crossing the finish line on my first half-marathon — having never been a runner — gave me a surge of accomplishment. I met lifelong friends through the organization; I spoke with survivors and those stricken with blood cancers and was inspired; I saw real benefits to the dollars I raised. At the end of the day, I asked, what else can I do?
In 2004, when the published issues of Global Traveler still numbered in the single digits, GT publisher and CEO Francis X. Gallagher and I were at a meeting in Boston when we stumbled upon a celebration: A local magazine was marking its 10th anniversary. Back then, the concept of celebrating our own decennial seemed like a dream on the far horizon.
Executive floors at hotels are usually billed as a “hotel within a hotel.” On these floors, you receive VIP attention from the staff, a special desk for checking in and out, and privacy from the crush of travelers on the hotel’s regular floors. In the club lounge, you can enjoy a good breakfast and unwind with a drink at the end of the day. Often, you’ll be staying in rooms that are larger and have upgraded furnishings and amenities.
Top-tier hotels already offer enough amenities — from world-class spas to celebrity chef on-site restaurants — to make your stay over-the-top, but a guest’s most priceless resource sits in plain sight smack-dab in the middle of the lobby: the hotel concierge. Waving a “magic” service wand and granting wishes might be the concierge’s mantra these days. In fact, one could even go so far as to say the hotel concierge’s mission is to turn the impossible into the possible.
Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Delta Air Lines is happy to welcome travelers back while implementing extra precautions to ensure a safe, clean environment for passengers. After listening to customers' main concerns about returning to flying, Delta Air Lines came up with layers of protection.
Navajo Nation is an area of land in the southwestern United States. Covering about 27,000 square miles, the region in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah currently makes up the largest area of land retained by a tribe within the United States. Home to the Navajo people, the area boasts monuments, parks, markets, trails and historic sites.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Los Angeles Office announced a new initiative for would-be travelers waiting for the green light. The Buy Now, Stay Later: Thailand launch comes on the heels of Thailand’s foreign travel restrictions extending until further notice.
LOT Polish Airlines resumed its first international flights since the suspension of passenger flights in mid-March on July 1, with flights to Berlin, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest, Vilnius, Kyiv, Dubrovnik and Split. On July 2, flights to Vienna and Oslo began. From Warsaw’s Chopin Airport, flights to Toronto ramped up to seven times a week (from three) July 1; and to Seoul, up to five times a week, and to Tokyo, up to three times a week, from July 3.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Through July 30, travelers looking for a Caribbean getaway can book the Breezes Summer of Savings special at Breezes Resort & Spa – Bahamas. The promotion offers up to 60 percent off stays now through Dec. 25, starting at just $139 per person, per night at double occupancy. Book now.