FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Intel For May, 2011

May 1, 2011
2011 / May 2011

Taking Travelers’ Allergies Seriously

Travelers with allergies know it’s no laughing matter to find pollen-laden air or feather pillows on the hotel room bed at midnight. At last, major hotel groups are paying attention to these health concerns. Hyatt has completed a program to provide each of its 125 full-service North American hotels with the option of hypoallergenic guest-rooms, making them the first chain to offer these across its properties. Using a six-step cleaning procedure, Hyatt sanitizes the rooms by forcing naturally disinfectant tea tree oil through the ventilation system, followed by a blast of ozone. A medical-grade air purification system eliminates 98 percent of pollen, airborne viruses and bacteria. If windows are opened, within an hour the ventilation system will filter out irritants. The added cost of one of Hyatt’s hypoallergenic guestrooms is between $20 and $30 a night. Visit www.hyatt.com.

Food allergies are taken just as seriously by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, which has introduced throughout its worldwide properties a new series of menus with dishes created for guests with celiac disease, diabetes and heart disease, along with those who follow macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets. The Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menus have been created individually by chefs at each of Fairmont’s 64 properties, each using local ingredients, and there is no extra charge for these options. Visit www.fairmont.com.

While Fairmont’s initiative is the most far-reaching we know about, other hotel groups have added special diet menus. Marriott Fit for You menu designations indicate dishes that are low in carbohydrates, cholesterol and fat. Westin’s SuperFoods breakfast menu features dishes rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, and several others indicate heart-healthy options on their menus.


Bring a Good Book

Qantas can claim the world’s longest Boeing 747 flight this month when it begins non-stop service from Sydney (SYD) to Dallas (DFW) with a flying time of 15 hours, 25 minutes on the 8,585-mile route. The route replaces the previous Qantas route to San Francisco (SFO). Singapore Airlines still holds the record for the world’s longest-distance flight, from Singapore (SIN) to Newark (EWR) at 10,371 miles, operated by Airbus A340-500 craft.


New Trans-Atlantic Routes

Skies between the United States and Europe are buzzing with new routes beginning this month. On May 1, AirBerlin began non-stop flights from New York (JFK) to Berlin (TXL) for the first time, and also added daily connections from New York via Düsseldorf (DUS) to the Spanish island of Mallorca (PMI). Los Angeles (LAX) connections to Mallorca fly three days a week and those from San Francisco (SFO) once a week. In addition, AirBerlin now offers flights to Barcelona (BCN) and Alicante (ALC) once a week via Düsseldorf from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Visit www.airberlin.com. On June 9, Continental Airlines launches daily non-stop service between Newark (EWR) and Stuttgart (STR), the fifth German city it serves from New York, using 175-seat Boeing 757-200 aircraft. Visit www.continental.com. In June, TAP adds flights between Lisbon (LIS) and Miami (MIA), and SATA expands its summer flights from Boston (BOS) to Lisbon and Madeira (FNC). Visit www.flytap.com.


Get Connected with Amtrak

Free WiFi service is an added perk for Amtrak travelers in 2011, as the rail line installs AmtrakConnect on Northeast Corridor services and on more West Coast trains. Already installed on high-speed Acela Express trains between Boston and Washington, D.C., and on Amtrak Cascades trains in the Pacific Northwest, the system is being installed in more than 450 additional railcars. Amtrak has also completed a new dedicated wireless network that improves connectivity and delivers high-speed signals to trains traveling through the New York tunnels and stopped at Penn Station platforms. Visit www.amtrak.com.


News

Another Iberia First

Customer service staff at Iberia Airlines’ Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) hub will now have real-time access to the information they need to make decisions and to keep passengers informed with the IBPad project. Based on iPad technology, the system, a first in the industry, will improve operations and response to customers by boosting communications and staff decision-making autonomy. Portable monitors loaded with 30 different applications provide continuous information from Iberia’s Barajas Hub Control Centre. This includes the real-time status of check-in counters, information on passengers at risk of missing connecting flights and their status (Iberia Plus Platinum or Gold cardholders), flights at risk of being delayed or cancelled, baggage remaining to be loaded on each flight (with passenger name) and other information that helps staff serve customers promptly. Visit www.iberia.com.


Quick Jetaway

Private aviation firm XOJET Inc. has opened operations in New York City at 2 Grand Central Station. At the same time, XOJET announced its new Coast2Coast private jet program designed for transcontinental fliers. XOJET offers a full spectrum of services and aircraft to New York-based customers, from private jet membership to customized fixed-price charters. XOJET offers fixed-price charter flights to over 15,000 locations while providing guaranteed lift options that offer the freedom and standard pricing of fractional ownership without upfront cost or long-term commitment. In addition, XOJET offers helicopter transportation through HeliFlite, from heliports in Manhattan and throughout the New York area to leading private aviation airports in the region including Teterboro (TEB), White Plains (HPN) and Farmingdale (FRG). Visit www.xojet.com.


New London Trio

London hotel rooms are in full bloom this spring with two new openings and promise of a third. Billed as the city’s “21st-century Grand Hotel,” Corinthia Hotel London opened last month, all soothing oyster tones and opulence without over-decoration. Visit www.corinthia.com/london.

W Hotels’ newest flagship, W London – Leicester Square, in the heart of London’s entertainment district, shows off with 10 stories veiled in translucent glass that changes color with the time of day. The hotel will also host the U.K.’s first Spice Market, a signature restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Visit http://www.wlondon.co.uk Inter.Continental London Westminster, announced for opening in 2012, is within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and St. James’s Park. Visit www.intercontinental.com.


Airlines Tie the Knot

Love is in the air, with new airlines joining hands everywhere. The recent codeshare agreement between British Airways and Kingfisher Airlines has become a full partnership, with single booking and payment through British Airways covering connecting flights, and premium BA tickets welcomed at Kingfisher’s airport lounges. Visit http://www.britishairways.com Japan. Airlines and Iberia are on again, codesharing flights between Japan and Madrid (MAD) via London (LHR) and Frankfurt (FRA). Visit www.jal.com/en. American Airlines and WestJet Airlines made a comprehensive codeshare agreement, adding connections to 20 Canadian cities not currently served by American or American Eagle. WestJet will initially place its WS code on American or American Eagle flights from Canada to Chicago (ORD) and Boston (BOS), soon to expand throughout the American Airlines network. Visit www.aa.com or www.westjet.com.


Debut in Lima

Westin enters South America for the first time with this month’s opening of Westin Libertador Lima, in the heart of the city’s San Isidro financial and shopping district. The largest convention center and hotel in the country, the 301-room property features Westin signature Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath amenities, along with an elegant spa. Visit www.starwood hotels.com.


New Trans-Atlantic Routes

Skies between the United States and Europe are buzzing with new routes beginning this month. On May 1, AirBerlin began non-stop flights from New York (JFK) to Berlin (TXL) for the first time, and also added daily connections from New York via Düsseldorf (DUS) to the Spanish island of Mallorca (PMI). Los Angeles (LAX) connections to Mallorca fly three days a week and those from San Francisco (SFO) once a week. In addition, AirBerlin now offers flights to Barcelona (BCN) and Alicante (ALC) once a week via Düsseldorf from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Visit www.airberlin.com. On June 9, Continental Airlines launches daily non-stop service between Newark (EWR) and Stuttgart (STR), the fifth German city it serves from New York, using 175-seat Boeing 757-200 aircraft. Visit www.continental.com. In June, TAP adds flights between Lisbon (LIS) and Miami (MIA), and SATA expands its summer flights from Boston (BOS) to Lisbon and Madeira (FNC). Visit www.flytap.com.


Rewards

Bonus Miles with AA Rewards

Earn up to triple miles for travel between Los Angeles (LAX) and Shanghai (PVG) on American Airlines’ new non-stop service. Until June 30, AAdvantage members can boost their mileage balance each time they fly the new route. Earn triple AAdvantage miles when you fly on a purchased first-class or business-class fare, a total of more than 40,000 miles for a round trip. Or fly on a purchased economy-class fare and earn double AAdvantage miles. Members can earn this bonus an unlimited number of times. The Boeing 777 features lie-flat sleeper seats in first class and a professional atmosphere for working or resting in business class. Registration is required before flying; use bonus code LAPVG. Also through June 30, AAdvantage members can earn double miles for travel on all of the new domestic flights to nine destinations out of Los Angeles (LAX): Albuquerque (ABQ), Boise (BOI), El Paso (ELP), Houston (IAH), Oklahoma City (OKC), Phoenix (PHX), Salt Lake City (SLC), Sacramento (SMF) and Tucson (TUS). Register pre-flight, using bonus code LAX2X. Visit www.aa.com.


Taj Treats

Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces is celebrating the launch of its new brand, Vivanta by Taj, by awarding double British Airways BA Miles for each stay in any Taj hotel room. Stays in suites are awarded triple miles. On weekends, BA Miles members get room upgrades as well. The new brand, found throughout India and in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, combines stylish contemporary luxury with informality. Stays for this award can be in any Taj property. Visit www.vivantabytaj.com.


Rewards for Shopping

Earn Amtrak Guest Rewards when shopping online for everything from books and office supplies to clothing and travel gear. Begin at the Amtrak Guest Rewards online mall, where more than 1,000 merchants including Canon, The Sharper Image, Brooks Brothers, Boden, the Apple Store and Saks Fifth Avenue provide links to their catalogs. Log in to your Amtrak Guest Rewards account, select a merchant and click through to make purchases. Amtrak Guest Rewards bonus points will credit to your account. Visit www.amtrakguestrewards.com/shopping.


Deals

The Hyatt of Luxury

Bask in the luxury of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for a two-night weekend any time before Aug. 31 and save 15 percent on the Hyatt Daily Rate, with 3 p.m. check-out, access to the 50-metre outdoor heated pool, sauna and fitness — plus your choice of a weekend brunch for two including free-flowing wine, access to the Grand Club for the entire stay for breakfast and evening cocktails in the Club Lounge or HK$800 (about $100) Plateau Spa credit. Located on the waterfront on Hong Kong Island, more than 60 percent of the 549 guestrooms and suites command beautiful views of Victoria Harbour and the Central skyline. Mention code WKEND when booking at www.hongkong.grand.hyatt.com.


Links, Lunches and ‘Gators

Named “The Best Value in America” by Golf Magazine, the Mystical Golf trio of The Witch, Man O’ War and The Wizard golf courses in Myrtle Beach have become — until Sept. 7 — an even better value. The Anderson Ocean Club Mystical stay-and-play package begins at $184 per person (based on quad occupancy) and includes one round of golf at each course, three nights’ accommodations at the Anderson Ocean Club in a two-bedroom suite with complimentary high-speed Internet and furnished private balcony, lunch at each course and daily breakfast. The three courses, each designed by Dan Maples, offer tremendous variety, from the 500 acres of cypress groves and wetlands at The Witch where golfers have spotted cranes, bald eagles, alligators and black bears, to The Wizard’s dramatic and rugged landscapes, more reminiscent of wind-swept Scottish and Irish links courses. Visit www.mysticalgolf.com.


Unlimited Golf

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix offers its Unlimited Golf package with unlimited play at Wildfire Golf Club; accommodations in a deluxe resort room; breakfast buffet daily; and 20 percent off all golf, spa and tennis retail merchandise. Rates begin at $169 for one person and from $189 for two. Valid through Sept. 6. Call 800 835 6206 and mention rate code GFP. Visit www.marriott.com or www.jwdesertridge resort.com.


Romance Hilton Style

Through Dec. 8, three Hilton hotels in Vienna and one in Innsbruck invite guests to save with an Austrian Romance package that includes in-room sparkling wine on arrival, a candlelit dinner in the hotel restaurant and a full American breakfast for two, plus a complimentary room upgrade, if available. Visit www.hilton.com.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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